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David Kinnison, the last survivor of the tea party, died at Chicago in 1852, at the great age of one hundred and fifteen. He was one of seventeen inhabitants of Lebanon, Maine, who had associated themselves together as a political club, and, who had determined, at all hazards, to destroy the tea, whether assisted or not. Some of them repairing to Boston, joined the party, and twenty-four, disguised as Indians, hastened on board the ships, twelve armed with muskets and bayonets, the rest with tomahawks and clubs. They expected to have a fight, not doubting that an effort would be made for their arrest, and agreed at the outset to stand by each other to the last. They also pledged themselves not to reveal the names of the party. Owing to the great age of Kinnison, when this relation was made to Mr. Lossing, it is possibly in some particulars erroneous, and is given only as a piece of original evidence, and simply for what it is worth.

With a British squadron and British troops so near at hand, it seems strange that the party was not interrupted. The probable reason is, that something far more serious was expected on any attempt to land the tea, and that the authorities, the owners of the ships, the consignees of the tea, and all others concerned, were glad to be thus extricated from a serious dilemma. They, however, could not be called upon to interfere, except by the civil authorities, in case of a riot.

Governor Hutchinson says "the tea could have been secured in the town in no other way than by landing marines from the men-of-war, or bringing to town the regiment which was at the castle, to remove the guards from the ships and to take their places." This would have brought on a greater convulsion than there was any danger of in 1770, and it would not have been possible, when two regiments were forced out of the town, for so small a body of troops to have kept possession of the place. He did not suppose such a measure would be approved of in England, nor was he sure of support from any one person in authority. There was not a justice of peace, sheriff, constable or peace officer in the province who would venture to take cognizance of any breach of law against the general bent of the people. So many of the actors were universally known that a proclamation, with a reward for discovery, would have been ridiculed. Hutchinson submitted the consideration of the affair to the council, and that body promised to give it attention, but nothing came of it. "Of the thousands concerned in the transaction," wrote General Gage to the historian Chalmers, "or who were spectators of it, only one witness could be procured to give testimony against them, and that one conditionally that the delinquents should be tried in England." So far as is known, only a single person was arrested,--a Mr. Eckley, and he was never brought to trial.

A fourth tea-ship, destined for Boston, was wrecked on Cape Cod. The few chests of tea saved from her cargo were, by the governor's order, placed in the castle. Twenty-eight chests, brought a little later by another vessel from London, on the joint account of Boston merchants, were destroyed by a disguised party, on March 7, 1774. The people of Charlestown destroyed, in the market place, all the tea they could find in the town, paying the owners its value. Other towns did the same.

An account of the transaction, drawn up by the Boston committee, was carried by Paul Revere, to New York and Philadelphia. When the news reached New York, vast numbers of the people collected. They were in high spirits, one and all declaring that the ships with tea on board, designed for that port, should on arrival be sent back, or the tea destroyed. They highly extolled the Bostonians for what the people had done, and immediately forwarded the news to Philadelphia. When Revere, on his return, brought word that Governor Tryon had engaged to send the New York tea-ships back, all the bells in Boston were rung next morning.

Extract from a letter to the Sons of Liberty, in New York, dated Boston, December 17, 1773:

    "The bearer is chosen by the committee from a number of gentlemen, who volunteered to carry you this intelligence. We are in a perfect jubilee. Not a Tory in the whole community can find the least fault with our proceedings.... The spirit of the people throughout the country is to be described by no terms in my power. Their conduct last night surprised the admiral and English gentlemen, who observed that these were not a mob of disorderly rabble, (as they have been reported,) but men of sense, coolness and intrepidity."

The tea shipped to South Carolina (two hundred and fifty-seven chests) arrived on the second of December. So strenuous was the opposition to its being landed, that the consignees were persuaded to resign. Though the collector, after the twentieth day, seized the dutiable article, as no one would sell it or pay the duty, it perished in the damp cellars where it was stored.

On December 25, news reached Philadelphia that its tea-ship was at Chester. The Delaware pilots had been warned, by printed handbills, not to conduct any tea-ships into the harbor, as they were only sent for the purpose of enslaving and poisoning the Americans. Four miles below the town it came to anchor. On the 27th, news of what had occurred in Boston having arrived, five thousand men collected in town meeting at an hour's notice. At their suggestion, the consignee, who came as passenger, resigned, and the captain agreed to take his ship and cargo back to London the very next day.

The ship "Nancy," Captain Lockyer, destined for New York, having been blown off the coast, refitted at Antigua, and proceeding thence to New York, arrived there April 18, 1774. Some of the committee went on board and prevented her coming up to the city, but the captain was allowed to procure some necessary stores, and then, by the advice of the consignees, returned to London without breaking bulk. A quantity of tea--private property--was imported from London, and an application from the consignee to have it returned to England was refused by the custom-house officers. A number of "Mohawks" then took charge of the business, and emptied the whole of it into the sea.

A few days later, Captain Chambers, master of the ship "London," trading to New York, who had on a former occasion received the thanks of her citizens for refusing to bring the East India Company's tea, was detected in introducing eighteen boxes of fine tea, curiously concealed between blankets, etc., which he intended to smuggle, but the people having discovered it, immediately threw it into the sea, and the captain, to escape the wrath of the people, took refuge in Captain Lockyer's vessel, and sailed for England.

Opposition to the obnoxious tea duty had by no means subsided, when, in October, 1774, the brigantine "Peggy Stewart" approached Annapolis, Maryland, with a cargo of tea on board. At once there was a great commotion. Terror seized the owners. They applied to Charles Carroll for advice. He told them there was but one way to save their persons and property from swift destruction, and that was to burn their vessel and cargo instantly, and in sight of the people. It was done, and the flames did for Annapolis what the "Mohawks" had done for Boston.