Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Article Index

    The Cadet company, under your command, having signalized itself heretofore upon a very necessary occasion, and the late tumultuous proceedings in the town of Boston requiring that more than usual caution should be taken at this time for the preservation of the peace, I think it proper that you should forthwith summon each person belonging to the company to be ready, and to appear in arms at such place of parade as you think fit, whensoever there may be a tumultuous assembly of the people, in violation of the laws, in order to their being aiding and assisting to the civil magistrate as occasion may require."

This company, which was immediately under the governor's orders, had been of service during the stamp act riots, and had often been complimented for its discipline. The evident intent of this order, to use military force to suppress public assemblages, and the stationing of companies of British troops in the neighboring towns, augmented the uneasiness already felt. There was now, besides the soldiers at the castle, a considerable naval force in the harbor, under Admiral John Montagu.

On the morning of November 17, a little party of family friends had assembled at the house of Richard Clarke, Esq., known as the "Cooke House," near the King's Chapel, on School Street, to welcome young Jonathan Clarke, who had just arrived from London. All at once the inmates of the dwelling were startled by a violent beating at the door, accompanied with shouts and the blowing of horns, creating considerable alarm. The ladies were hastily bestowed in places of safety, while the gentlemen secured the avenues of the lower story, as well as they were able. The yard and vicinity were soon filled with people. One of the inmates warned them, from an upper window, to disperse, but getting no other reply than a shower of stones, he discharged a pistol. Then came a shower of missiles, which broke in the lower windows, and damaged some of the furniture. Influential patriots had by this time arrived, and put a stop to the proceedings, and the mob quietly dispersed. The consignees now called on the governor and council for protection.

During the day, an arrival from London brought the news that three ships, having the East India Company's tea on board, had sailed for Boston, and that others had cleared for Philadelphia.

A petition for a town meeting was at once presented to the selectmen, representing that the teas were shortly expected, and that it was apprehended that the consignees might now be sufficiently informed on the terms of its consignment, to be able to give their promised answer to the town. A meeting was therefore appointed for the next day.

John Hancock was the moderator of the last town meeting, in which public sentiment was legally brought to bear upon the consignees. It was held on the 18th. The meeting was quiet and orderly, and its business was speedily transacted.

A committee was appointed to wait on the consignees for a final answer to the request of the town, that they resign their appointment. This was their reply:

    "BOSTON, November 18, 1773.

    Sir,--In answer to the message we have this day received from the town, we beg leave to say that we have not yet received any order from the East India Company respecting the expected teas, but we are now further acquainted that our friends in England have entered into general engagements in our behalf, merely of a commercial nature, which puts it out of our power to comply with the request of the town.

    We are, sir, your most humble servants,

                                RICHARD CLARKE & SONS, BENJ. FANEUIL, JR., for self and JOSHUA WINSLOW, Esq., ELISHA HUTCHINSON, for my Brother and self."