Why Did the Patriot Movement Wane in the Early 1770s?

659 Words3 Pages
In the early 1770s, the patriot movement was slowly gaining steam in the colonies. People like Samuel Adams were looking for ways to bolster the movement and resist what they saw as English tyranny. The Boston Non-Importation Agreement — in which area merchants pledged not to buy certain goods from Great Britain, including tea — had collapsed. Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson, whose salary as Governor was augmented by bribes for allowing the smuggling of tea in addition to the British Parliament-imposed tax on tea, wanted to capitalize on the tea business even more. Estimates at the time indicated Americans consumed between 3 million and 6.5 million pounds of tea each year. Hutchinson owned considerable stock in the East India Company in 1771. But the company, once second in size only to the Bank of England among Britain’s financial institutions, was near bankruptcy. So the company raised the price on tea to 3 shillings a pound. Then, in 1773, Parliament rewarded the company by granting it a monopoly, allowing it to handle both the shipping and the sales of tea to the colonies. While this would lower prices, English and American traders would be stripped of a great source of revenue. Hutchinson, his two sons and his son-in-law were granted exclusive rights to trade the tea in the colonies. Colonists were outraged, and Adams had a new drum to beat: If the Crown could apply this new method of favoritism to tea, it could apply it to all commodities. In late November 1773, three cargo ships carrying tea arrived in Boston Harbor. A couple of weeks before, a group of patriots and merchants called the North End Caucus had voted to deny any landing of tea shipped by the East India Company. A confrontation was looming. Boston patriots had no desire to hurt the ship owners. Their beef was with the Crown and the East India Company. They encouraged the owner of one
Open Document