Date: undated, probably November 28, 1773
Author: Attributed to Joseph Warren
“A part of the tea shipped by the East-India Company is now arrived in this harbor, and we look upon ourselves bound to give you the earliest intimation of it; and we desire that you favor us with your company at Faneuil Hall, at nine o’clock forenoon, there to give us your advice what steps are to be immediately taken in order effectually to prevent the impending evil; and we request you to urge your friends in the town to which you belong to be in readiness to exert themselves in the most resolute manner to assist this town in its efforts for saving this oppressed country.”
Source: Circular letter probably from the Boston Committee of Correspondence as quoted in Richard Frothingham’s Life and Times of Joseph Warren, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1865, page 255. Frothingham states that the original draft was in Joseph Warren’s handwriting and was then in the possession of the prolific 19th century historian Bancroft. Therefore, this manuscript may currently reside at the New York Public Library among Bancroft’s papers. I did not find it there on my most recent research visit, but cannot claim to have done a systematic search of the entire accumulation.
Commentary: Frothingham wrote: “The committee of correspondence were also in session this day, and obtained from the owner of the Dartmouth a promise not to enter her [into the Port of Boston] until Tuesday. They issued a circular letter to the committees of Cambridge, Charlestown, Dorchester, and Roxbury, convening ‘the little senate’ on the next morning. The following characteristic words, in the original draft, are in Warren’s handwriting.” The above words follow.
1773 had been an eventful year for Warren. He was a founding and active member of the Boston Committee of Correspondence, whose ability to engage Patriots across the province was beginning to be realized in 1773; participated in the House of Representatives answer to Thomas Hutchinson’s New Year address; treated as news and propaganda the release of Governor Hutchinson’s leaked letters; suffered the loss of his spouse and mother of their four children, Elizabeth Hooton Warren in late April of that year; and influenced resurrectionist activities in medical education. All this was but a prelude to the challenges to American Liberty posed by the arrival of East India Company tea. Boston just happened to be the first British North American port where tea laden ships arrived. The town’s Patriots’ reception of the resented ships’ cargoes would reboot the tone and tempo of resistance to Tory ministerial policies toward British North American colonies.