American Heritage: Another fuse lit in situation in coloniesPublished 11:02pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012
“Moses lifting up his wand, and dividing the Red Sea, and Pharaoh in his chariot overwhelmed with the waters. This motto: ‘Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.’” (Comment by Benjamin Franklin in July of 1776. This comment was made after he became a part of a committee to draft a seal for the new United States that had just been formed. This was his recommendation)
As we left off on our story of Freedom on the brinks, we were looking at the new Tea Tax of 1773.
As we continue we now come to November. British tea is now boycotted within the colonies and the colonies begin to produce their own tea. But three ships arrive from East India Company. These ships were full of tea. The Sons of Liberty decided it was time to take further actions. On Dec. 16, 1773, they disguised themselves as American Indians and boarded the ships. They ripped open the 342 chests that were loaded with tea with their tomahawks, and dumped the tea into the Boston Harbor.
King George felt that the “Boston Tea Party” was the last straw. He called upon Parliament to take action against the rebellious colonists. He told the members of Parliament that Massachusetts must be made an example of the royal vengeance to the rest of the Colonies. Boston was at the top of the list. King George looked at Boston with great disdain. Those people had gone too far.
In March 1774, Parliament met again. In this session a number of acts were passed to punish Massachusetts. They decided that the port of Boston would be closed to trade until the tea that had been destroyed was paid for. Parliament also stated that the town meetings, which were held in the colony, were outlawed unless they were granted by the governor’s permission to be held. The only exemption for this was for regular election of officers.
The British troops would be housed in public buildings that were designated by the governor for that purpose. Up to this time, there were no measurements of punishment for individuals who were indicted for capital crimes. Now Parliament decided that there would be certain circumstances where the offender could be sent to England for trial.
Another fuse has been lit in the explosive situation in the colonies.
The Virginia Burgesses decided that the day that the “Intolerable Acts,” as they were called, went into effect would be recognized as a day of fasting and prayer.
On Sept. 5, 1774, the first Continental Congress met in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia. This was the result of Virginia’s call for an annual congress of committees from all the colonies. The reason for this meeting was to deliberate and decide on how the colonies would respond to what was coming upon them from England. They were meeting to decide on how to recover their rights and liberties.
They also wanted to establish a way to restore harmony between the colonies and Great Britain. Georgia was the only colony not represented.