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    American Colonists Refuse "270 Chests of Tea"

    [Tea Act of 1773]. John James Autograph Letter Signed concerning a resolve to send "270 Chests of Tea" back to London only eleven days before the celebrated Boston Tea Party. Two pages, 7.75" x 9.5", "Charles Town" [South Carolina], December 5, 1773. In this letter, John James, a resident of Charleston writes to his friend Samuel Coates about the arrival of chests of tea from London to the South Carolinian bay on December 1. In part as written:

    "On the Second of this Instant Captain Curlin arived here from London with 270 Chests of Tea that was sent out by the East India Company and on the fourth we had a meeting of the Inhabitence when the Resolve to Send the Tea back likewise Determined to Not Impoart any More that paid the Duty."

    The British Parliament-which infamously included no representation from the American colonies-passed the Tea Act earlier in May 1773. One of its principle objectives was to help the British East India Company reduce its oversupply of tea by allowing the company to ship directly to the American colonies at a lower price intended to undercut the cheaper prices of the smuggled tea that the Americans preferred. If the colonists began purchasing the now-cheaper East India Tea, they would be required to pay the Townshend duties, which they had resisted for several years.

    The East India Company's tea ships were sent to the American cities of Charleston, Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia. In Charleston on December 2, Captain Alexander Curling anchored his ship laden with tea into Charleston's harbor. Local leaders met and agreed the next day (or possibly on the 4th) to refuse delivery, forcing Captain Curling to warehouse his controversial cargo in the city. One thousand miles up the coast in Boston eleven days after James wrote this letter, many citizens chose a more aggressive stance by throwing the Boston Tea Party. These acts of collective American defiance resulted in further onerous acts by Parliament-the Coercive Acts-which pushed the two sides further toward war. This letter is toned with smoothed folds and minor stains. Some weakness and separation occurs at the seams, along with some tape repairs on page two. Docketed on the fourth integral page.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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