Friday 10 May 2024

tea party (11. 551)

Passed on this day in 1773 by the parliament of Great Britain, the Tea Act was principally designed to help the British East India Company remain profitable and offload some of its surplus by undercutting the price for illegal imports, mostly smuggled into the American colonies through Dutch suppliers, by enabling direct and duty-free exports. The supplemental tariff under the Townsend Acts meant to generate revenue for colonial administration and the paid the salaries of governors (to ensure allegiance) as well as leverage to obtain better terms of trade with transportation companies. Although the quality of the black market tea was inferior to the British, it was considered patriotic to drink the smuggled tea by some groups as a political protest to the taxes levied. Despite the elimination of elimination of duties with the license for direct sales that bypassed the need for middlemen (these merchants also angered because they were rendered superfluous as were the marketeers) resulting in lower prices for higher quality tea, colonists were still upset on principal of the retention of the nominal tax used to pay the salaries of crown officials. Harbour masters in New York and Philadelphia were refusing delivery of tea shipments and reached a crisis point in December that year when the Sons of Liberty (cosplaying Native Americans, the tax was set to expire if not renewed by Parliament) raided ships docked in Boston and dumped the cargo overboard—an event known later as the Boston Tea Party, mythologised, which resulted in the embargo and closure of the port until the destroyed shipments were paid for.