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It wasn't as rowdy as Boston,
but NH patriots were ready

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By Charles W. Brewster

Editors Note: C.W. Brewster was a Portsmouth columnist in the mid-1800's. This article includes his opinions and may not reflect current research or current values.
JDR

RAMBLE LXXI.
Revolutionary meeting at North church - Resistance against the importation of Tea.

READ: Paul Revere's Other Ride

THE old North Church has some political as well as religious reminiscences. Before the Court House was built, all town meetings were held there; and in the times of the Revolution, some public meetings on the affairs of the country. We find the following account of a PORTSMOUTH TEA PARTY, held in that place, not to drink, but to discontinue the use of that beverage at a time when the spirit of the colonies required it. That there was a patriotic feeling in that party, the resolutions show. At a meeting of the freeholders and other inhabitants of the town of Portsmouth, held at the North meeting-house December 16, 1773, for the purpose of consulting and advising upon the most proper and effectual method to prevent the receiving or vending of teas sent out by the East India Company, Samuel Hale was moderator, and the following among other resolutions, were passed:

Resolved, That it is the natural right of men, born and inheriting estates in any part of the British empire, to have power of disposing their own property either by themselves or their representatives.

Resolved, That the act of the British Parliament, levying a duty on teas, landed in America, payable here, is a tax whereby the property of Americans is taken from them without their consent.

Resolved, 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.

Resolved, That the power given by Parliament to the East India Company, to send out their teas to the colonies, subjected 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 an indispensable duty of all true-hearted Americans to render this effort abortive.

Resolved, That in case any of the Company's tea shall be brought into this port, in order for sale, we will use every method necessary to prevent its being landed or sold here.

Resolved, That whoever shall directly or indirectly promote, or in any way aid or assist in the importation of any of the East India Company's tea, or any teas subject to the payment of a duty here, by an act of the British Parliament, shall be deemed an enemy to America.

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published and sent to every considerable town in this government, and that a committee be appointed to correspond with them, and also with the several committees in the other governments.

Therefore, Voted, That Hon. John Sherburne, John Pickering, Esq., George Gains, Jacob Sheafe, Samuel Cutts, Esq., Samuel Hale, Esq., and Capt. John Langdon, or any three of them, be a Committee, for the purposes aforesaid.

In the early days of Rev. Dr. Buckminster, before other denominations arose in Portsmouth, the pews in the upper gallery of the North Church were generally occupied. One who attended the meeting when the revolutionary war was in progress, gave us a pungent illustration of the spirit of the women of that day. He entered a family pew in the gallery, with some other children, under the charge of his grandmother, to witness the ordination of Mr. Buckminster, in 1779. Some male intruder had entered and taken possession of her usual seat in front. Not heeding her request to remove, she took a ball from her pocket, and taking out a pin of the largest size, deliberately gave one thrust at his arm; in a moment he sprang out of the pew, and she was left undisturbed to her devotions. Such was the spirit of the mother of that distinguished patriot, George Gains, of Revolutionary memory.

Text scanned courtesy of The Brewster Family Network
Copy of Rambles courtesy Peter E. Randall
History Hypertext project by SeacoastNH.com
Design © 2001 SeacoastNH.com

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