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A BALLAD OF THE BOSTON TEA PARTY.

BY DR. OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.

 

    No! never such a draught was poured

        Since Hebe served with nectar

    The bright Olympians and their Lord,

        Her over-kind protector;

    Since Father Noah squeezed the grape

        And took to such behaving,

    As would have shamed our grandsire ape,

        Before the days of shaving;

    No! ne'er was mingled such a draught,

        In palace, hall, or arbor,

    As freemen brewed, and tyrants quaffed,

        That night in Boston harbor!

    It kept King George so long awake,

        His brain at last got addled,

    It made the nerves of Britain shake

        With seven score millions saddled;

    Before that bitter cup was drained

        Amid the roar of cannon,

    The western war-cloud's crimson stained

        The Thames, the Clyde, the Shannon;

    Full many a six-foot grenadier

        The flattened grass had measured,

    And many a mother many a year

        Her tearful memories treasured.

    Fast spread the tempest's darkening pall,

        The mighty realms were troubled,

    The storm broke loose, but first of all

        The Boston tea-pot bubbled!

    An evening party,--only that,

        No formal invitation,

    No gold-laced coat, no stiff cravat,

        No feast in contemplation;

    No silk-robed dames, no fiddling band,

        No flowers, no songs, no dancing!

    A tribe of red men,--axe in hand,--

        Behold the guests advancing!

    How fast the stragglers join the throng,

        From stall and work-shop gathered;

    The lively barber skips along

        And leaves a chin half-lathered;

    The smith has flung his hammer down,

        The horse-shoe still is glowing,

    The truant tapster at the Crown

        Has left a beer-cask flowing;

    The coopers' boys have dropped the adze,

        And trot behind their master;

    Up run the tarry ship-yard lads;--

        The crowd is hurrying faster.

    Out from the mill-pond's purlieus gush,

        The streams of white-faced millers,

    And down their slippery alleys rush

        The lusty young Fort-Hillers.

    The rope-walk lends its 'prentice crew,

        The Tories seize the omen;

    "Ay, boys! you'll soon have work to do

        For England's rebel foemen,

    'King Hancock,' Adams, and their gang,

        That fire the mob with treason,--

    When these we shoot, and those we hang,

        The town will come to reason."

    On--on to where the tea-ships ride!

        And now their ranks are forming,--

    A rush and up the Dartmouth's side,

        The Mohawk band is swarming!

    See the fierce natives! what a glimpse

        Of paint and fur and feather,

    As all at once the full-grown imps

        Light on the deck together!

    A scarf the pig-tail's secret keeps,

        A blanket hides the breeches,--

    And out the cursed cargo leaps,

        And overboard it pitches!

    O woman, at the evening board,

        So gracious, sweet and purring,

    So happy while the tea is poured,

      So blest while spoons are stirring.

    What martyr can compare with thee?

      The mother, wife, or daughter,--

    That night, instead of best Bohea,

      Condemned to milk and water!

    Ah, little dreams the quiet dame,

      Who plies with rack and spindle,

    The patient flax, how great a flame

      Yon little spark shall kindle!

    The lurid morning shall reveal

      A fire no king can smother,

    When British flint and Boston steel

      Have clashed against each other!

    Old charters shrivel in its track,

      His worship's bench has crumbled,

    It climbs and clasps the Union Jack,--

      Its blazoned pomp is humbled.

    The flags go down on land and sea,

      Like corn before the reapers;

    So burned the fire that brewed the tea

      That Boston served her keepers!

    The waves that wrought a country's wreck

      Have rolled o'er Whig and Tory;

    The Mohawks on the Dartmouth's deck

      Shall live in song and story.

    The waters in the rebel bay

      Have kept the tea-leaf savor;

    Our old North-Enders in their spray

      Still taste a Hyson flavor.

    And Freedom's tea-cup still o'erflows,

      With ever-fresh libations,

    To cheat of slumber all her foes,

      And cheer the wakening nations!"

 

 

COMMEMORATIVE VERSES.

 

FRAGMENT OF A RALLYING SONG OF THE TEA PARTY AT THE GREEN DRAGON.

    Rally Mohawks! bring out your axes,

    And tell King George we'll pay no taxes

                  On his foreign tea;

    His threats are vain, and vain to think

    To force our girls and wives to drink

                  His vile Bohea!

    Then rally boys, and hasten on

    To meet our chiefs at the Green Dragon.

    Our Warren's there, and bold Revere,

    With hands to do, and words to cheer,

                  For liberty and laws;

    Our country's "braves" and firm defenders

    Shall ne'er be left by true North-Enders

                  Fighting Freedom's cause!

    Then rally boys, and hasten on

    To meet our chiefs at the Green Dragon.

                    * * *

       *       *       *       *       *

 

 

A TEA PARTY BALLAD.

    Just by beauteous Boston lying

      On the gently swelling flood;

    Without Jack or streamers flying,

      Three ill-fated tea-ships rode.

    Just as glorious Sol was setting,

      On the wharf, a numerous crew--

    Sons of Freedom, fear forgetting,

      Suddenly appeared in view.

    Armed with chisel, axe and hammer,--

      Weapons new for warlike deed;

    Towards the herbage-freighted vessels,

      They approached with dauntless speed.

    O'er their heads aloft in mid sky,

      Three bright angel forms were seen;

    This was Hampden,--that was Sidney,

      With fair Liberty between.

    Soon they cried, "Your foes you'll banish,

      Soon the glory shall be won;

    Nor shall setting Phoebus vanish,

      Ere the matchless deed be done!"

    Quick as thought the ships were boarded,

      Hatches burst and chests displayed;

    Axe and hammers help afforded,--

      What a glorious crash they made!

    Quick into the deep descended,

      Cursed weed of China's coast;

    Thus at once our fears were ended,--

      Freemen's rights shall ne'er be lost!

 

 

A FAREWELL TO TEA.

(_From Thomas's "Massachusetts Spy."_)

    Farewell, the tea-board with its equipage

    Of cups and saucers, cream-bucket and sugar-tongs,

    The pretty tea-chest also lately stored

    With Hyson, Congo, and best Double Fine.

    Full many a joyous moment have I sat by you

    Hearing the girls tattle, the old maids talk scandal,

    And the spruce coxcomb laugh--at maybe nothing.

    No more shall I dish out the once-loved liquor,

    Though now detestable;

    Because I'm taught--and I believe it true,

    Its use will fasten slavish chains upon my country;

    And Liberty's the goddess I would choose

    To reign triumphant in America.

 

GEN. JOSEPH WARREN

_And the memorable Suffolk County Resolves of 1774._

The mansion where the famous Suffolk County Resolves were passed,

September 9, 1774, is still standing. It is situated in Milton, Mass., a

few doors from the Boston and Milton line, on the Quincy road. It is a

low, two-story double house, 20 × 40 feet, with the main door in its

centre, and a chimney on each end. In its front there is inserted a

marble tablet, 14 × 28 inches, with the following inscription:

                      "IN THIS MANSION,

    On the 9th day of Sept., 1774, at a meeting of the delegates

    of every town and district in the County of Suffolk, the

    memorable Suffolk Resolves were adopted.

    They were reported by Maj.-Gen. Warren, who fell----in their

    defence in the battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775.

    They were approved by the members of the Continental

    Congress at Carpenter's Hall, Phil^a., on the 17^th Sept.,

    1774.

    The Resolves to which the immortal patriot here first gave

    utterance, and the heroic deeds of that eventful day on

    which he fell, led the way to American Independence.

    'Posterity will acknowledge that virtue which preserved them

    free and happy.'"

In Warren's oration, March 5, 1772, more than two years before these

Resolves were passed, the spirit of liberty burned within his heart.

Nine months after these Resolves the battle took place, which finally

resulted in the birth of American freedom. _See portrait, page_ XLVII.

[Illustration: Signature, Joseph Lovering

Signature of Joseph Lovering taken from a check dated May 3, 1848, one

month prior to his death.

N.P. Lovering]

 

JOSEPH LOVERING.[23]

Respecting Mr. Lovering's connection with the Tea Party, Mr. George W.

Allan, of West Canton Street, Boston, now eighty-two years of age,

relates that about the year 1835, he frequently conversed with that

gentlemen, who told him that on the evening of December 16, 1773, when

he was fifteen years of age, he held the light in Crane's carpenter's

shop, while he and others, fifteen in number, disguised themselves

preparatory to throwing the tea into Boston harbor. He also said that

some two hundred persons joined them on their way to the wharf, where

the tea-ships lay. Mr. George H. Allan, the son of George W. Allan,

received a similar statement from Mr. Lovering, a short time before the

latter's death, which occurred June 13, 1848, at the age of eighty-nine

years and nine months.

Mr. Lovering appears to have been the youngest person connected with

this affair, of whom we have any knowledge. His boyish curiosity led him

to accompany the party to the scene of operations at Griffin's wharf,

and on the following morning he was closely questioned and severely

reprimanded by his parents, for being out after nine o'clock at night,

as they were strict in their requirement that he should be in bed at

that hour.

His son, Mr. N.P. Lovering, now seventy-seven years of age, resides in

Boston, and is treasurer of the Connecticut and Passumpsic River

Railroad Company. To this gentleman, and to his grand-daughter, Mrs.

C.D. Bradlee, Boston, we are under obligation for the copy of a

photograph from Mr. Lovering's oil-painting of his father.

 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Was born in Boston, 1706; died in Philadelphia, in 1790, and was buried

in Christ Churchyard. A small marble slab, level with the ground, marks

the spot. "No monumental display for me," was his request as expressed

in his will.

Some years before his death he wrote his own epitaph. His usefulness to

his country during the Revolutionary period will warrant us in giving it

place in our "Tea Leaves:"

                                                                  A.O.C.

                  The body of

           BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, PRINTER,

          Like the cover of an old book,

              its contents torn out,

      And stript of its lettering and gilding,

            Lies here, food for worms.

      Yet the work itself shall not be lost,

  For it will (as he believed) appear once more

                   in a new

          and a more beautiful edition

            corrected and amended

                by the Author.

It is believed that Benjamin Franklin was made a Freemason in St. John's

Lodge, of Philadelphia, early in the year 1731. In 1734 he printed and

published the first Masonic book ever issued in America, being the work

known as "Anderson's Constitution of 1723." Copies are now exceedingly

rare, and readily sell for fifty dollars each. One is now in the library

of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, in an excellent state of

preservation.

                                               SERENO D. NICKERSON,

                        _Recording Grand Secretary, Grand Lodge of Mass._

[Illustration: Signature, Benjamin Franklin]

"As a philosopher he ranks high. In his speculations he seldom lost

sight of common sense, or yielded up his understanding either to

enthusiasm or authority."--GOODRICH.