The Revolution.--Stamp Act.--Stamp Master for New Hampshire.--George Meserve.--Resigns.--Excitement in Portsmouth.--Act repealed.--Resignation of Gov. B. Wentworth.--His policy.--His death.--His successor Gov. John Wentworth.--His reception.--Charter of Dartmouth College.--Division of the State into Counties.--Jurors from Derryfield.--Judge Blodget.--Effect of the division.--The Molasses Act.--Brigantine Resolution.--Seizure and Rescue.--White pines.--Their seizure.--Samuel Blodget Deputy Surveyor.--Settles with trespassers.--Whiting attempts to make arrests.--Treatment.--The tea tax.--Meeting at Portsmouth.--Tea landed at Portsmouth.Town meeting.--Tea reshipped.--Agreement not to import or use tea.--Dix's tea destroyed.--Tea destroyed at Haverhill.--More tea landed at Portsmouth.--Great excitement.--Consignee mobbed.--Meeting of Legislature.--Dissolved.--Members meet.--Dispersed by Sheriff--They call a Convention at Exeter.--Convention.--Choose Delegates to Congress.--Wentworth employs carpenters for Gen. Gage.--Excitement.--Nicholas Austin.--The patriots take Fort William and Mary.--Bring off powder and cannon.--Proclamation of the Governor.--Town meeting in Derryfield.--Refuse to send delegates to Convention.--Will pay their proportion.--Congress at Amherst.--Capt. Stark Delegate,--Jealousy as to eastern part of State.--Convention at Exeter.--Choose delegates to Congress.--Gov. Wentworth sends writs to new towns to choose Representatives.--Col. Fenton elected from Plymouth.--Great Excitement.
The conquest of Canada, gave to the British government time and opportunity, to carry into effect a long recommended and cherished plan of raising a revenue from the American colonies, by taxation. An act was accordingly passed in 1765 imposing duties upon certain articles imported into the colonies. This act was passed under the pretence of regulating trade, and was submitted to, but with a good deal of restivenes in some quarters. It was considered as a violation of the British constitution, under which it was argued that the colonies could not be taxed by the Parliament, because they were not represented there. "Taxation and representation," it was said "should go together." But the government were determined to carry matters with a high hand, and soon they brought forward and carried the act, known as the Stamp Act. This act required a government stamp to be placed on all paper used in the colonies for legal or mercantile transactions. No legal or mercantile transactions were valid, unless written upon paper so stamped. The paper was stamped in England, and distributed in the colonies by certain Agents. This act produced alarm and excitement throughout the colonies. Decided opposition to the act was determined upon in many of the colonies. Nowhere did the act receive more decided opposition than in New Hampshire. The Stamp Master for this Province was Geooge [sic] Meserve, Esq, of Portsmouth. He was in England at the time of his appointment. On his arrival in the harbor of Boston, hearing of the universal dissapprobation of the act in the colonies he resigned his commission before he landed. His resignation was not known, however, in this Province, and the people were determined that he should not exercise the duties of his office. In Portsmouth, on the 17th of September, the people having heard of his arrival at Boston, made a most unequivocal demonstration against him. His effigy was exposed, at the Market, in company with two others representing Lord Bute and the Devil,--two personages that were supposed to have been cheifly [sic] instrumental in bringing about the act. In the evening a procession was formed, which passed through the various streets with groans and hisses, bearing the effigies, and as a finale, burned them upon the public Parade. On the 18th of November, Mr. Meserve arrived in Portsmouth. The people immediately assembled and compelled him to make a public resignation of his office. Meantime the stamped paper arrived in Boston and was lodged in the Castle. The act was to go into operation on the 1st of November. On that day the people from all parts of the Province rushed to Portsmouth, to prevent by force the distribution of the stamps. Learning, as they came into the towns adjacent to Portsmouth, of the resignation of the Stamp Master, most of them returned to their homes, while others went into the town to join in the public ceremonies, prepared by the people of Portsmouth, to express their disapprobation of the odious act, and their joy at its defeat in this Province. They were appropriate, and carried out with the greatest spirit. It turned out that Mr. Meserve when he resigned his commission, on the 9th and 18th of September had none to resign. And in fact it did not arrive until after the time appointed for the act to go into operation. This fact got noised about and the people of Portsmouth thinking he had acted in bad faith towards them, and that he intended to perform the duties of Stamp Master, assembled on the 9th of January, 1766, and demanded his commission and instructions, which he was forced to give up. He was then required to make oath that he would not, directly or indirectly, distribute any of the stamped paper or attempt to perform the duties of the office to which he had been appointed. The commission was then carried in triumph through the streets, and was afterward sent to the agent of the Province in England.
At length, the Stamp act was received throughout the colonies with such a burst of indignation, that it was repealed on the 4th of March, 1766. The news was received with the most unbounded rejoicing throughout the colonies.
The year 1766 was marked in New Hampshire by the resignation of Governor Bening Wentworth, and the appointment to the vacated office, of John Wentworth, Esq. The Province had become prosperous in consequence of the comprehensive policy of the retiring Governor.
He followed the policy of granting townships of lands to any set of respectable petitioners, under certain restrictions, and upon certain conditions, whether the petitioners were of New Hampshire or any other Province, his object being to increase its resources, by having its lands cultivated and covered by an industrious people.
If the people of New Hampshire washed a grant and could comply with its provisions, which were usually to build so many houses and mills, and cultivate so many acres in a given time, then such people had a grant; but none such offering, the people of other States were accommodated with grants complying with the like conditions. This was undoubtedly the true policy. But it brought upon Governor Wentworth any amount of odium. His opponents took advantage of it and made it tell to his disadvantage. They held that these lands belonged to the people of New Hampshire, and that they alone should receive the benefit of them. From this they easily passed to other complaints. The Governor was a staunch Episcopalian, and as such, he usually reserved a right in each town for the "Society for the propagating the gospel," of which he was a member, and which of course had in view the propagation of the Gospel as understood and believed by Episcopalians. This of course found no favor in the eyes of the Puritans, or Scotch Prestyberians [sic], and they were not long in joining the opposition to the Governor. Then he had reserved for himself in each grant, five hundred acres of land, and to this recorded fact, they added the charge, that no grant had been given by him, without a liberal bonus; and thus the Governor was filling his coffers indirectly out of the lands of the people.
We are unable to tell how much of truth there was in this charge; but true or false, it is not at all probable, posterity would have heard any thing of the charge, if the Governor had complied with the wishes of those making it, and had granted the lands to them, thus limiting the resources, and stopping the growth of the Province, by making overgrown landed proprietors of a few favorites among the leading famalies [sic] of the Province. Nor is it probable that if he had complied with their wishes, that he would have lacked the bonus or a reservation; but on the contrary, find that reservations were common; and many suppose that a bonus was not unusual, or unacceptable in like cases. But as before observed, these charges operated to his disadvantage. He incurred also a measure of dislike form the majority of the well informed people of the Province, differing from his religious views, because he would not consent to the establishment of a college in the Province. He was the patron of learning, and it was through his instrumentality that the Assembly of New Hampshire voted three hundred pounds sterling to Harvard college; and after his resignation, he gave five hundred acres of land to Dartmouth college; the same land upon which that college now stands; but still he was so strong in the belief in Episcopacy, that he would not grant a charter for a college, unless it could be under the direction of the Episcopalians. This was a subject of complaints; but those complaining, were equally in fault with the Governor, and showed that the cause of learning was but little part of their object, by refusing a charter, unless it were put under the control of men of their peculiar religious views. But all these complaints produced an effect to his disadvantage in the minds of the Lords of Trade, and this fact together with his advanced age, led to the determination on the part of the King to supersede him. Governor Wentworth was aware of these complaints, as also of their result, and did not enter very warmly into the support of the obnoxious measures of the British Ministry. In fact the "Stamp Act," went into operation while these complaints were before the British Ministry--and nowhere was that odious measure received with more pointed marks of disapprobation than in Portsmouth, the capital of the Province, and the residence of Governor Wentworth.
Soon after, he had informal notice of the intention of the Ministry to supersede him, and in 1766, he resigned in favor of his nephew, John Wentworth, then in England, and who had received from the Marquis of Rockingham, the promise of the place.
Ex Governor Wentworth lived in retirement on his estate at Little Harbor, and died October 14th, 1770, in the 75th year of his age.
John Wentworth, Esq., received his commission as Governor of New Hampshire, and Surveyor of the woods in North America, August 11th, 1766, being then in England. He arrived at Charlestown, S. C. in March 1767 and immediately started for the north. The most extensive arrangements were made for his reception in Portsmouth. A Committee consisting of members of the Council and the Assembly met him at the line of Massachusetts where he was received with formal ceremonies; and thence was escorted to Portsmouth by a company of Cavalry. People joined the company on all parts of the roach upon horse-back, and upon entering the town, the Governor was attended by a most imposing cavalcade. There he was attended by a regiment of militia, and thus attended he parsed [sic] through the main streets to the Court House, where his commission was publicly read to him by the High Sheriff. The Governor, the Honorable Council, the Committy [sic] of the Assembly and invited guests then partook of an entertainment, after which the procession again formed and escorted the Governor to his mansion. The ships in the harbor flaunted with colors, the bells rang merry peals, and salutes were fired from batteries in the town, and at the Fort during the march of the procession. People vied with each other in demonstrations of joy. No person had ever been received in the Province with such marks of honor. But a cloud was already in the political sky, that was to obscure all this sunshine. The people were restive under the duties upon certain imports, and although the repeals of the Stamp Act, had allayed the excitement, yet the fire was only smothered for a time, and was ready to break out on fitting occasion and to burn with renewed energy.
One of the first important and popular acts of the Governor, was the chartering of Dartmouth College, under date of December 13, 1769. It was named after William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, one of its principal patrons in England.
In 1771, Governor Wentworth accomplished the project of dividing the province into Counties. The bill passed the assembly March 19, 1771, dividing the province into five counties, viz; Rockingham, Strafford, Hillsborough, Cheshire and Grafton. Rockingham was named from Charles Watson Wentworth, Marquis of Rockingham; Strafford, from Charles Wentworth, Earl of Strafford; Hillsborough from Willis Hills, Earl of Hillsborough; Cheshire from a County in the west of England; and Grafton from Augustus Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton.
This division relieved the people of very great burthens [sic]. Prior to this, all the Courts were held in Portsmouth, and the transaction of legal business was attended with great delay and expense. Derryfield was attached to the County of Hillsborough, Amherst being made the shire town. Courts of General Sessions, of Common Pleas and of Probate were established in this County. The first Grand Juror from this town was Capt. John Stark. He was chosen on the 28th day of September 1771. The first Petit Jurors were Ensign Samuel Moore and Ensign Samuel Stark. Their names "were drawn out of the box" the same day. Hon, Samuel Blodget of Derryfield was appointed one of the Justices of the court of Common Pleas of the Peace for Hillsborough County. In addition to easing the people from expense, the division of the Province into Counties, was productive of other very important advantages. Not the least of them was, that men of energy, talent and means, moved into the shire towns, and other towns eligibly situated, and thus enterprise, business and wealth became diffused throughought [sic] the Province, instead of concentrating at the Capital and becoming attached to the trappings of the royal Governor. But the most important result was the fact that the power of the Governor over the people was in a great measure impaired. So long as all the Courts ere held at Portsmouth, it was the head and source of all political power and influence. The Governor through his friends could the more readily control every political movement. But the divsion [sic] into Counties, created as many little republics within the Province, each, as it were, having its capital at the shire town, where they could meet "in Court time," talk politics, and fashion their opinions of men and things. This would have been the natural result of the division of any province into Counties; but in New Hampshire this result was the sooner brought about. The people in the various sections of the province, they were very dissimilar in their habits, and manner of thinking. In the Piscataqua valley the people were mainly direct from England. They came here for the purpose of trade, fishing and speculation. In the main they were loyal subjects of the King, and were the more content to adhere to his representative, the Governor. In the Merrimack valley the people were mainly Puritans from Massachusetts, and Scotch Presbyterians from Ireland, little attached to royalty, and firm haters of episcopacy. While in the Connecticut valley, the people were emigrants from Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and imbued with the peculiar views moral and political, of the people of those Provinces. The division into Counties brought these people together within their own Counties, and they soon began to think and act for themselves, without reference to the acts of other Counties, or the wishes of the royal Governor. This result was strikingly apparent in the Revolution; but of this in its place.
The "Molasses Act" as one of the most unpopular acts of Parliament to raise revenue in America, was called, was very onerous upon the merchants of Portsmouth, who carried on a considerable trade with the West Indies. Every attempt was made to elude the payment of the duties. At length, in the latter part of the year 1771, the Brigantine Resolution, with a cargo of 100 hogsheads of molasses, came into the harbor of Portsmouth alongside the wharf with her crew, and commenced discharging her cargo, without entering the vessel at the Custom House, or securing the duties. The Brigantine was immediately seized by the Collector, and libelled before the Court of Vice Admiralty. But in the night of the 29th and 30, of October, a sufficient force went on board the Brigantine, disguised and armed with clubs, seized and bound the officers of the customs on board, and then discharged and secured the molasses. Governor Wentworth issued a Proclamation, offering a reward of $200 for the discovery of the rioters, but the people kept their own secrets, and the Governor's Proclamation went for naught.
This "riot" as it was call, was approved by the masses. It was a bold act and served to strengthen the opposition to the oppresive measures of the Parliament, throughout the Province.
But there was another cause of discontent in the interior of the Province. All White Pine Trees from 15 to 36 inches in diameter, were reserved for the royal navy.
The office of surveyor of the "King's woods," was holden by Governor Wentworth, who had his deputies in all places where the pine grew in plenty. These deputies were the cause of a great deal of vexation and trouble. The owner of the land before he commenced cutting, was under the necessity of employing a deputy surveyor to mark the trees upon his land, reserved for the use of the King, and if he neglected to have his land thus surveyed, from inability to pay for surveying, or other cause, and proceeded to cut his timber, the same was forfeited to the King! In this way whole mill-yards of lumber, got out by the settlers for building their houses and barns, the work of an entire winter, were often forfeited. The Governor would ride past the mill in his coach, stop, and order his servant to mark the broad R upon each log, and the same was the King's! After this mark, the owner or miller dared not touch a log! They were then advertised and libelled in the court of Admiralty, and sold at public auction, and the proceeds went into the King's treasury! In most cases however the marking and advertising, was gone through by the deputies.
Seizures were made in all parts of the Province, wherever the pine abounded, and mills had been erected. As a consequence, the most determined hostility prevailed among all mill-owners, and owners of lumber, where seizures had been made, against the surveyor and his deputies. This hostility soon prevailed among land owners generally, and was not limited to the Surveyor and his Deputies, but extended to the Government. In the winter of 1771 and 1772, an extensive seizure was made in this immediate neighborhood, that caused the greatest excitement. A Deputy visited most of the mill-yards upon the Piscataquog, and placed the "broad R" upon all logs of the diameter reserved for the royal navy. They were then libelled in the Court of Vice Admirality at Portsmouth, and the owners cited to appear and shew cause why they should not be forfeited. The citation was published in the N. H. Gazette of Feb. 7, 1772, and was as follows.
"All persons claiming property in the following WHITE PINE LOGS, seized by order of the SURVEYOR GENERAL in Goffstown and Weare, in the Province of New Hampshire, may appear at a Court of Vice Admiralty to be held at Portsmouth, on Thursday the 27th Instant at Ten of the clock A.M. and shew cause why the same should not be declared forfeited, agreeable to an Information filed in said Court.
200 White Pine Logs from 15 to 30 Inches diameter lying at Richards' mill in Goffstown.
250 Ditto from 15 to 35 inches diameter at Patty's mill.
35 Ditto from 36 to 20 ditto at Dows' mill.
140 Ditto from 30 to 18 ditto at Asa Patty's old mill.
270 Ditto from 36 to 17 ditto at Clement's mill in Weare.
154 Ditto from 36 to 15 ditto at Job Rowles mill.
Also 74 bundles of Clapboards at Merrimack River.
Portsmouth, Feb 5, 1772.
JOHN SHERBURN, D. Rr.
Samuel Blodget, Esquire, was sent forthwith to Portsmouth as an agent to effect a compromise as to the matter of libel, and succeeded so far, as that by the payment of certain sums by the individuals transgressing the laws, the informations were to be withdrawn. Mr. Blodget was appoited [sic] the Agent by the Governor, to effect the proposed settlement with the offenders and was also appointed Deputy Surveyor. His commission was as follows;"To Samuel Blodget, of Goffstown, in said province [L. S.] Esq.
After his return, Mr. Blodget sent each of the offenders a copy of the following letter.
"Goffstown. Feb. 24th 1772.
Sir;--The late seizure of White pine Logs, has caused me a disagreeable journey to Portsmouth, at the special request of a number of my friends, to solicit the Governor in the behalf of them who have unnecessarily trespassed in cutting the King's timber, &c. His Excellency thought fit to deputise me one of his Majesty's Surveyors of the King's woods in this Western District, thereby authorizing me to carry the King's laws into execution. As they are very severe, I shall be very loth to prosecute unless obstinate or notorious offenders force it upon me; of which I give you this early notice, at the same time, acquaint you his Excellency has pleased to put it in my hands to make the matter easy to you.
Among the trespassers, were James McFerson, William McFerson, Thomas Miller. of Bedford, and Thomas Shirley, Alexander Gilchrist, Samuel Kennedy, Joseph Kennedy, John Pattee, Asa Pattee, Ebenezer Hadley, John Hadley, John Clogston, Silas Walker, David McClure, Job Kidder, John Little, and Plummer Hadley, of Goffstown. These settled with Mr. Bloget, and their logs were restored. But the owners of the logs at Clement's mills in Weare, (at the Oil Mills) were "obstinate and notorious offenders" and would make no compromise. Accordingly complaints were made against them and put into the hands of Benjamin Whiting Esq, the sheriff of the County, for service.
On the 13th of April, 1772, Mr. Whiting, in company with a Mr. Quigley his assistant Deputy, (probably of New Boston,) proceeded to Weare to serve these warrants. One of the principal of these men was a Mugget, or Mudget, who lived near Clement's Mills. Mr. Whiting called upon him and made the arrest, but Mudget suggesting that he would furnish the necessary bail in the morning, as it was then late, the sheriff and his assistant Quigley, repaired to the tavern near by, kept by Mr. Quimby, and put up for the night. Meantime the fact of Mudget's arrest got noised abroad through the town, and there were not wanting scores of men to offer themselves as bail for him. But during the night a more summary process was agreed upon by Mudget and his friends.
Accordingly, early in the morning, Mudget called at Quimby's, and being shown to Whiting's room, he entered, waked up the sheriff, and told him his bail was ready. Mr. Whiting jumped out of bed, chiding Mudget for calling him so early, and essayed to dress himself; but Mudget's bail, some twenty or thirty men with faces blacked, were impatient, and rushing into the room proceeded to the business by them set apart for the morning. Whiting seeing the intention of his early visirors [sic] seized his pistols and would have fired upon them, but he was seized and disarmed. They then beat him to their heart's content, two on a side holding him up from the floor, by his arms and legs, while others crossed out their account of certain logs cut, hauled and forfeited, upon his naked back!
Quigley, his assistant, showed more fight, and was secured only, by taking up the ceiling over head, and beating him with long poles, thrust down from the garret!
After the populace had beaten the King's officers to their entire satisfaction, their horses were led to the door saddled and bridled for their riders. The ears, mains and tails of the horses had been cut, and they as well as their masters, presented a most woe-be-gone appearance! Whiting and Quigley refused to mount, and were assisted to their horses in no very gentle manner. They were then started down the road amid the jokes and jeers of the populace. This was a high-handed outrage, and was ill brooked by the sheriff, who was a man somewhat disposed to have things his own way.
Accordingly he repaired forthwith to Colonels Goffe of Bedford, and Lutwyche of Merrimack, who at his request, ordered out the "Posse Comitatus" and armed with muskets, marched to Weare, but the rioters had fled to the woods, and not a soul of them could be found.
Soon after, however, one of them was caught and committed to jail, and others gave bail for their appearance at Court, in September. But the actions being continued from term to term, in the unsettled state of affairs that followed, Mudget and his bail doubtless escaped punishment, and the affair in a few years began to be looked upon as one of merit, rather than one deserving disapprobation.
This affair produced the most intense excitement in all sections of the country. The people at large sided against the Government, and banded together to protect themselves, determined to resist the proceedings of the Governor and his Deputies at all hazards. In this they were conspiring against law, but they held it a most unjust and oppressive law. A man bought a lot of land for a farm and proceeded to erect his "log hovels," and the chances were, that before he got them "roofed in" or his chimney of "cobble and clay" "topped out," that he was under arrest, because, sticks of pine timber were in the walls of his house, of more than fifteen inches in width! Such a law could not be enforced. And it is not a little surprising, that Governor Wentworth, usually so politic and cautious, should have attempted to enforce it. However, he soon saw the impolicy of the movement, but not until it was too late. The interior of the province was already in a turmoil, ready to join in any movement against the government.
It was remarked by the elder Adams, jocosely but pointedly, that "molasses was an important ingredient in American Independence." He might have added pine logs with equal force and truth. For wherever in the colonies was a fine growth of pines, there was to be found an exuberant growth of patriotism.
But the duty upon tea, became the most obnoxious tax, not from its amount per pound, but because the British Government held on to it, with so much pertinacity. They repealed other duties, but the one upon tea, was retained to test a principle, their right to tax their American Colonies. But to this tax the Colonies would not submit, and they very generally entered into an agreement not to import or use tea, while it was subject to such duty. As a consequence, the importation of tea into America, became very much limited, and the revenue from the tax upon the tea was a failure. To meet this difficulty, the duty upon tea was taken off, and the East Indian Company was allowed to ship their teas to America, and was to pay to the Government three pence per pound on its being landed in America. The colonists determined to resist this measure, as it was an indirect way of raising a revenue in the colonies, by the East Indian Company.
Accordingly every large town upon the sea-coast held public meetings and passed resolutions against the landing of any teas, so shipped, upon our shores. The excitement in the sea-ports soon spread into the country towns, and the opposition to the measures became general among the people.
In New Hampshire, Portsmouth took the initiative, and at a public meeting, held Dec., 16, 1773, passed the following preamble and resolutions;
"Upon a serious consideration of the late act of Parliament, subjecting the colonies to pay a duty upon teas in America, and more especially the act of Parliament, passed at their last session, whereby the East Indian Company have full power to export their teas to the colonies, liable to a duty upon being landed here, it appears manifestly that the latter (act) was artfully designed by the ministry to carry more effectually into execution the former which was made for the express purpose of raising a revenue from the colonies by the authority of the British Parliament only, without our consent. Wherefore, from a due sense of the value and importance of our liberties and properties, and from just apprehensions of the horrors of slavery, we are induced to make the following resolves.
First.--That the measures of late pursued by the ministry of Great Britain in their attempt to subject the colonies by the sole authority of the British Parliament, are not only unjust, arbitrary, and inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the Britisn [sic] constitution, but directly tend to hasten on the destruction of an empire, which by preserving in all its parts, those original rights, which first gave rise to its present glory, might increase in wealth and power, become the envy of all nations, and continue in full strength and grandeur for ages to come; therefore, in the foregoing view, we cannot but think ourselves bound by our duty to the King, and love to the nation of which we are members, to oppose such measures to the extent of our power.
Secondly.--That it is the natural right of men born and inheriting estates in any part of the British dominions, to have the power of disposing of their own property, either by themselves or their representatives.
Thirdly.--That the act of the British Parliament, laying a duty upon teas landed in America, payable here, is a tax, whereby the property of Americans is taken from them without their consent.
Fourthly.--That notwithstanding the preamble to the act laying a duty upon teas, asserts that the act is made for the support of government, the administration of Justice, &c., in America, yet this is not only unnecessary, but has a direct tendency to subvert our constitution, render our assemblies useless and the government arbitrary.
Fifthly.--That every virtuous and public spirited freeman ought steadily to oppose to the utmost of his ability, every artful attack of the ministry to enslave the Americans.
Sixthly.--That the power given by Parliament to the East-Indian Company, to send out their teas to the colonies, subjectted [sic] to the payment of duties on being landed here, is a plain attempt to enforce the ministerial plan, and a direct attack upon the liberties of America, and that it is the indispensible [sic] duty of all true hearted Americans, to render this effect abortive.
Seventhly.--That a union of all the colonies appears to be the most likely method, under God, of obtaining the repeal of all those acts, which are so subversive of the freedom of the British colonies, and destructive to the whole nation.
Eighthly.--That in case any of the Company's teas should be brought into this port for sale, we will use every necessary method to prevent its being landed or sold here.
Ninthly.--That whoever shall directly or indirectly promote or in any ways aid and assist in the importation of any of the East-Indian Company's teas, or any teas subject to payment of a duty here, by an act of the British Parliament, shall be deemed an enemy to America.
Tenthly.--That this town do hereby return their thanks, to all their brethren in the several governments, upon this continent for their noble exertions upon this important and alarming occasion.
Eleventhly.--That the proceedings of this meeting be published, and sent to every considerable town in this government, and that a committee be chosen to correspond with them, and with the several committees in the other governments."
The proceedings of this meeting were soon distributed throughout the country towns, and met with general approbation.
Meantime suspicions were afloat that importations were to be made into Portsmouth, under the auspices of the British government to try the temper of the people, this province being supposed to be more completely subject to the royal control.
If such suspicions were well founded, the ministry erred most egregiously as to the temper of the people of New Hampshire, as the result shows; for in no other colony was there a more determined opposition to the importation of the "obnoxious article;" and in no other colony was that opposition attended with more complete success; for in both instances where its importation was attempted, after the tea had been entered at the Custom House, the officers of the Government were compelled by the people to cause the same to be re-shipped after being landed and stored at the Custom House, and to be carried out of the colony!
The first importation consisted of twenty-seven chests, and came consigned to Edward Parry, of Portsmouth, and was landed before the people knew of its arrival, on the 25th day of June, 1774. The people became greatly excited, and the Selectmen forthwith issued a notice for a Town Meeting at the North meeting house, on the 27th instant. The proceedings of this meeting were as follows;
"Province of New Hampshire, Rockingham. ss.
At a Town Meeting, held at the North Meeting House in Portsmouth, on the 27th day of June, 1774.
Voted, Mr. Thomas Hart, Moderator.
At the same meeting, a committee of eleven respectable inhabitants, were elected to treat with the consignee, and to deliberate what would be most expedient to be done in a cause of so much difficulty and intricacy, and to report at the adjournment the result of their proceedings.
Voted, That a watch of twenty-five men be appointed to take place at 8 o'clock, P. M. at the expense of the town, to take care and secure the tea, being 27 chests, in the care of George Meserve, Esq., and prevent any insult that may arise to any individual until the adjournment of this meeting.
Voted unanimously, That the proceedings of this meeting hitherto are satisfactory to the town, and the watch are desire to give the earliest notice to the Inhabitants, should any disturbance arise, by ringing the bell or any other method, and the inhabitants be and hereby are desired to use every method in their power to prevent such disorder, and to keep up the good order and peace of the Town.
Voted, That this meeting be adjourned to Tuesday the 28th inst. three o'clock in the afternoon.
Met according to adjournment.
Voted, That three gentlemen be and hereby are a committee to wait on Edward Parry, Esq. and desire his attendance at this meeting.
At which time the committee reported as follows;
ALHN Hillsborough County
History of Manchester
Created March 5, 2001
Copyright 2000, 2001