A Modern Tea Party
NOVEMBER 01, 1962 by GORDON CONKLIN
Mr. Conklin is Editor of the American Agriculturist. This article is reprinted by permission from their September 1962 issue.
The night was bitterly cold outside Faneuil Hall, but the angry voices inside its walls were turning the air a heated blue. Only the day before, a group of men dressed as Indians had thrown three shiploads of tea into the
"Those sophomoric nuts have ruined our colonial image," he said. "Didn’t they know that the tax to be raised on that tea was to be used to pay subsidies to businesses that were overproducing? Only a week ago I talked with the Lord High Commissioner and he assured me that I would receive, from tea tax funds, 500 pounds sterling for every ship I did not build in my shipyard.
"So now these damned hotheads piously talk ‘principles,’ saying that taxation without representation is wrong. If they don’t like the setup, why don’t they just stay out of the program instead of acting like a bunch of schoolboys and ruining the deal for the rest of us? Besides, everyone else is being subsidized by funds drawn from the Stamp Act, the Sugar Act, and the Townshend Act—why shouldn’t we have our share?"
A tall man sitting quietly amidst the hubbub addressed the speaker:
"Mr. Winthrop, you have four sons, do you not?"
"Why, yes. But what’s that got to do with this?"
"I assume," the questioner went on, "that you have always advised them to leave the painted ladies at Ye Olde Ramshead’s
"Get to the point, man!"
"But, Mr. Winthrop, you and I don’t need the research of Professor Kantsay at Harvard to know that adultery is quite common. Are you, then, ready to abandon a principle and recommend to your sons that ‘since everyone else is doing it’ they’d better get their share before it’s too late?"
Livid with rage,
Smythe, you’ll be bringing religion into this thing. I suppose you’ll be comparing these irresponsible show-offs to Martin Luther when he drove nails into a cathedral door."
"No," Smythe replied. "I’m no theologian—and I don’t think the comparison is very apt anyway. But I’ll back the men that jumped those tea ships and did something dramatic to call attention to the violation of a basic principle.
"I’d like to debate this some more," he continued, "but I’ve got to go. A friend of mine asked me to be sure and bring him the best horse I own. Maybe you know him—name’s