PLANNING THE BOSTON TEA PARTY: RECEIPT FOR LETTERS DELIVERED FROM THE COMMITTEE OF CORRESPONDENCE.
DRURY, JOTHAM. 1741-1831. Autograph Document Signed integrally ("Jotham Drury"), 1 p, oblong 12mo, Boston, December 3, 1773, being an invoice submitted by Drury to the Boston Committee of Correspondence for the delivery of letters to the surrounding towns, text on verso indicating that this invoice was delivered to SAMUEL ADAMS, additionally docketed, light creasing and toning, margins rough.
RECEIPT DELIVERED TO SAMUEL ADAMS FOR THE CIRCULATION OF LETTERS DURING THE LEADUP TO THE BOSTON TEA PARTY, the first major action planned by the Committee of Correspondence. The closest comparable item to the present is another receipt delivered to the Committee of Correspondence, dated January 3, 1774, for Paul Revere's delivery of the official account of the Boston Tea Party to New York (sold at Christie's in 2002 for $140,000).
The 1773 Tea Act was the immediate catalyst of the Boston Tea Party. Angered at the notion of taxation without representation, the American colonists declared they would not let any ship bearing tea from England land and unload. In every colony except Massachusetts, protesters were able to force the tea consignees (those receiving the shipments) to either resign their position or return the tea to England. Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson, however, dug in, and encouraged the consignees to stand firm. (Not surprisingly, two of the consignees were his own sons.)
The first of the British ships bearing tea, the Dorcester, arrived in Boston harbor on November 27, 1773. On the 29th Samuel Adams called a meeting and a resolution was passed urging the Captain of the Dorcester to return to England without unloading his cargo. Governor Hutchinson, however, would not let the ship leave without paying the tea duty. For weeks the Dorcester was at an impasse, and on December 17, 1773, a loose collection of colonists, some masquerading as Mohawks, boarded the ship and tossed her cargo into Boston harbor.
This document, apparently in the hand of Jotham Drury, documents the transmission of information from the Committee of Correspondence led by Samuel Adams to the neighboring towns during the heated days leading up to the Tea Party. In part: "The Honorable Committy of the town of Boston to: / Jotham Drury / Riding to Cambridg Brookline Roxbury and Dorchestor with a Letor to Each Town ...... Horse and Self £1:4:0." Marked "allowed" on recto and verso. Jotham Drury served as commander of the 3rd Continental Artillery under Maj. Genl. Henry Knox during the Revolutionary War.