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Account of the Proceedings at New-York, on the arrival of Captains Chambers and Lockyer, with the Tea, (enclosed in the preceding letter). [1774-04-28] Anonymous. [S4-V1-p0249] [Document Details][Complete Volume]


Letter from Lieutenant Governour Colden to the Earl of Dartmouth

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Enclosed in Lieutenant Governor Colden' s Letter to the Earl of Dartmouth, of May 4, 1774.

On Monday se' ennight, April 18, advice was received from Philadelphia, that Captain Chambers, of the ship London, of this port, had taken on board, at the port of London, eighteen boxes of fine tea, which were regularly cleared, and the mark and numbers were taken from the cocket by Captain All, of Philadelphia. As Captain Chambers was one of the first who refused to take the India Company' s tea on freight the last summer, for which he received the thanks of the citizens, they could not believe that he knew of the tea' s being on board, and therefore supposed it to have been shipped by some Ministerial tool, under another denomination, in order to injure the owners, or the reputation of the master, or to make an experiment of this mode of introducing the teas to America. The Committee, and the inhabitants, were, therefore, determined to examine into the matter with great vigilance.

In the night, the long expected tea ship Nancy, Captain Lockyer, arrived at Sandy Hook without her mizenmast, and one of her anchors, which were lost in a gale of wind the 2d inst., when her maintopmast was sprung, and thrown on her beam-ends. Letters being delivered to him by the Pilot, from sundry gentlemen of this city, informing him of the determined resolution of the citizens not to suffer the tea on board of his ship to be landed, he requested the Pilot to bring him up to procure necessaries, and make a protest; but he would not do it till leave was obtained. Early the next morning this was communicated to the Committee; and it appearing to them to be the sense of the city that such leave should be granted to him, the ship to remain at the Hook, the Pilot was immediately despatched to bring him up. This intelligence was immediately communicated to the public by an handbill.

At 6 P. M. the pilot boat returned with Captain Lockyer on board; and although the people had but a very short notice of it, the wharf was crowded with the citizens, to see the man whose arrival they long and impatiently wished, to give them an opportunity to co-operate with the other Colonies. The Committee conducted him to the house of the Honorable Henry White, Esq., one of the consignees, and there informed Captain Lockyer, that it was the sense of the citizens that he should not presume to go near the custom-house, and to make the utmost despatch in procuring the necessary articles he wanted for his voyage. To this he answered; "That as the consignees would not receive his cargo, he would not go to the custom-house, and would make all the despatch he could to leave the city." A Committee of Observation was appointed to go down in a sloop to the Hook, to remain near the tea ship till she departs for London; and four Committees were appointed to watch the ship London, on her arrival, day and night, till she should be discharged.

Wednesday night, April 20th, arrived Captain Lawrence, from London, who confirmed the account received from Philadelphia, of Captain Chambers having on board eighteen boxes of fine tea, but could not tell who was the shipper, or to whom it was addressed. Thursday the Committee interrogated Captain Lawrence relative to what he knew of the tea' s being on board of Captain Chambers; when he showed them a memorandum in his pocket-book, which he took from the cocket in the middle of Captain Chambers' file of papers, in the Searcher' s Office at

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Gravesend, corresponding with the advice transmitted from Philadelphia, except some variation in the mark. This morning the following handbill was distributed:

"To the Public. — The sense of the city, relative to the landing the East India Company' s tea, being signified to Captain Lockyer by the Committee, nevertheless, it is the desire of a number of the citizens, that at his departure from hence, he should see, with his own eyes, their detestation of the measures pursued by the Ministry and the India Company, to enslave this country. This will be declared by the convention of the people at his departure from this city, which will be on next Saturday morning at 9 o' clock, when, no doubt, every friend to this country will attend. The bells will give the notice about an hour before he embarks from Murray' s wharf.

By order of the Committee.
New York, April 21, 1774."

Friday, at noon, Captain Chambers came into the Hook; the Pilot asked him if he had any tea on board? He declared he had none. Two of the Committee of Observation went on board of Captain Chambers, and informed him of the advices received of his having tea on board, and demanded a sight of all his cockets, which was accordingly given them; but the cocket for the tea was not found among them, nor was the mark or number on his manifest.

About 4 P. M. the ship came to the wharf, when she was boarded by a number of the citizens. Captain Chambers was interrogated relative to his having the tea on board, but he still denied it. He was then told that it was in vain to deny it, for as there was good proof of its being on board, it would be found, as there were Committees appointed to open every package, and that he had better be open and candid about it, and demanded the cocket for the tea; upon which he confessed it was on board, and delivered the cocket. The owners and the Committee immediately met at Mr. Francis' s, where Captain Chambers was ordered to attend. Upon examining him who was the shipper and owner of the tea? he declared that he was sole owner of it. After the most mature deliberation, it was determined to communicate the whole state of the matter to the people, who were convened near the ship, which was accordingly done. The Mohawks were prepared to do their duty at a proper hour; but the body of the people were so impatient, that before it arrived a number of them entered the ship, about 8 P. M., took out the tea, which was at hand, broke the cases, and started their contents into the river, without doing any damage to the ship or cargo. Several persons of reputation were placed below to keep tally, and about the companion to prevent ill-disposed persons from going below the deck.

At 10 the people all dispersed in good order, but in great wrath against the Captain; and it was not without some risk of his life that he escaped. Saturday, in the morning, the shipping in the harbour displayed their colours, and a large flag was hoisted on the Liberty Pole, and at 8 A. M. all the bells of the city rang, pursuant to the notice published on Thursday. About nine, the greatest number of people were collected at and near the coffee house, that was ever known in this city. At a quarter past nine the Committee came out of the coffee house with Captain Lockyer, upon which the band of music attending played God save the King. Immediately there was a call for Captain Chambers. Where is he? Where is he? Captain Lockyer must not go till we find Captain Chambers, to send him with the tea ship. This produced marks of fear in Captain Lockyer, who imagined some mischief was intended him; but upon assurances being given him to the contrary, he appeared composed. The Committee, with the music, conducted him through the multitude to the end of Murray' s wharf, where he was put on board the pilot boat, and wished a safe passage; upon which the multitude gave loud huzzas, and many guns were fired, expressive of their joy at his departure. The Committee of Observation at the Hook have cognizance of him till a fair wind offers for his departure from thence. Thus, to the great mortification of the secret and open enemies of America, and the joy of all the friends of liberty and human nature, the union of these Colonies is maintained in a contest of the utmost importance to their safety and felicity.

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On Sunday night, at 8 P. M., the Committee of Observation returned from the Hook. They inform us, that the sailors of the tea ship, being unwilling to proceed with her to London, made a raft of spars and boards, in order to quit the ship with the tide of flood, but were observed by the Captain, and being aided by the Committee, who offered their assistance to him, they desisted from their project.

That on Sunday, at 10 A. M., the ship and the sloop, with the Committee, weighed their anchors and stood to sea; and at 2 P. M. the pilot boat and the Committee' s sloop left her at the distance of three leagues from the Hook.

With Captain Lockyer, in the ship Nancy, went passenger Captain James Chambers.

Many persons still suspecting that Captain James Chambers continues privately in this city, they may be assured that he sailed out of the Hook, for London, on Sunday last, on board the Nancy, Captain Lockyer, who afforded him a very hospitable and gentlemanly reception; and whose whole behaviour, during his stay in this city, proved him to be a sensible, discreet, and a very well bred man.


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Account of the Proceedings at New-York, on the arrival of Captains Chambers and Lockyer, with the Tea, (enclosed in the preceding letter). [1774-04-28] Anonymous. [S4-V1-p0249] [Document Details][Complete Volume]



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