The Mystery of the Green Dragon Tavern and the Boston Tea Party

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by Blake Bowden, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    An artist drew a picture of the Green Dragon Tavern. Below it he
    wrote these words:

    "Where we met to Plan the Consignment of a few Shiploads of Tea,
    Dec 16, 1773"

    In the upper left hand corner of his drawing he put a square and
    compass. To this day no one knows who planned the Boston Tea Party.

    The building had been purchased by the St. Andrews Lodge in 1764.
    There was a square and compass over the front door and a copper
    Dragon that had turned green through the weather. It was a
    community center. Downstairs was the Tavern. Upstairs was the St.
    Andrews Lodge and the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (Ancients). It
    was the largest place for meetings in the north east end of Boston.
    Historians have called it "headquarters of the American
    Revolution."

    Here the Boston Committee of Correspondence was formed after a few
    initial meetings at Brother Joseph Warren's house a few doors away.
    Here the Sons of Liberty held secret sessions. They wore a jewel
    around their necks and were known to have a separate language for
    recognition. The jewel had a picture of the Liberty Tree on it.

    The North End Caucus formed the guard here that publicly guarded
    the tea ships so no tea could be unloaded. Brother Edward Proctor
    (St. Andrews Lodge) was known to be leader of this guard. Brother
    Paul Revere served with this guard. Later Brother Paul Revere
    served in another guard called the Selectmen who walked the streets
    of Boston, two by two, and observed the movements of British troops
    before he went off on his famous ride to Lexington. The Selectmen
    guard met at the Green Dragon Tavern and took an oath of secrecy
    over a Bible.

    Dr. Joseph Warren, a 33 year old physician is the Grand Master of
    the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts that meets upstairs. Paul Revere
    is the Senior Grand Deacon. Both are Past Masters of the St.
    Andrews Lodge. They are close friends and had come to the St.
    Andrews Lodge in the same year. It is Joseph Warren who sends Paul
    Revere to Lexington with a coded message for Brother John Hancock
    (also of St. Andrews Lodge).

    Warren and Revere met at the Green Dragon Tavern with the North End
    Caucus that sang the "Rally Mohawks" song. The song tells us that
    Warren and Revere are there, but no one ever tells us who the
    "Chiefs" are. And we'll never know who the "Mohawks" are.

    Rally, Mohawks - bring out your axes!
    And tell King George we'll pay no taxes on his foreign tea!
    His threats are vain - and vain to think
    To force our girls and wives to drink His vile Bohea!
    Then rally boys, and hasten on
    To meet our Chiefs at the Green Dragon.
    Our Warren's there, and bold Revere,
    With hands to do and words to cheer For Liberty and Laws!
    Our country's "Braves" and firm defenders
    Shall ne'er be left by true North-Enders, Fighting Freedom's cause!
    Then rally boys and hasten on to meet our Chiefs at the Green Dragon.

    The "vile Bohea" is another name for the tea of the East India
    Company. It has been rotting in their warehouses in England. This
    is cheap tea and the Company needs to get rid of it. The British
    Parliament has given the East India Tea Company a monopoly on tea.
    The Colonies are not supposed to buy any other tea. Parliament has
    kept a tax on tea just to prove that they have the power to tax.

    And taxation without representation, along with a tea monopoly, is
    tyranny!

    On the night of the Boston Tea Party there were men who called
    themselves "Mohawks" and put lamp black and paint on their faces as
    a disguise. Some of these "Mohawks" met at the Green Dragon Tavern.
    Some met in homes. Some wrapped themselves in blankets and sat in
    the balcony of the Old South Meeting House mixing with the crowd.
    Some came from the Edes Printing Office.

    Two thousand people stand on Griffin's wharf and watch the Boston
    Tea Party. The crowd is silent as sixty men dump 90,000 pounds of
    tea into the salt water.

    There are secret signs and countersigns for recognition.

    One "Mohawk" says "Ugh!"

    A second raises his hatchet and says, "Me know you."

    The first then counters by raising his hatchet and gives another
    "Ugh!"

    In all that crowd no one wanted to identify a "Mohawk." One man
    said he would be a witness provided the trial would be 3,000 miles
    away in London. There never was a trial. Governor Hutchinson
    wouldn't have a trial in Boston because he thought the jury would
    turn out to be "Mohawks" or their sympathizers. The "Mohawks"
    remain one of the mysteries of the American Revolution.

    The events leading up to the evening of the December 1 6th Tea
    Party might shed a bit of light.

    October 23rd

    Brother Warren and Brother Revere meet at the Green Dragon Tavern
    to publish the Resolution of the North End Caucus:

    "To oppose the vending of any tea sent by the East
    India Company . . . with our lives and fortunes."

    November 3rd

    Brother William Molineux, a member of St. Andrews Lodge, acts as
    spokesman for the Sons of Liberty. A notice was placed on the
    Liberty Tree that the Consignees of the Tea were to report and
    publicly resign their commissions as tea agents for the East India
    Company. "Ignore this at your peril." The Consignees do not appear.
    A crowd of 300 people follow Brother Molineux and Brother Warren to
    the Customs House to confront the Consignees. The crowd tears the
    doors off the hinges and Brother Molineux confronts the Consignees.
    Will they resign as Consignees so the tea ships can turn around and
    carry the tea back to England? No. The Consignees would not resign.
    In fact they then moved to Fort William under military protection.

    In New York, Philadelphia and Charleston, the Consignees for the
    tea had resigned their Commissions at the request of the Sons of
    Liberty. Those tea ships had sailed back to England with the tea.
    There were no Consignees to pay the tax and sign for the tea.

    But not in Boston! Governor Hutchinson and his family were in the
    tea business. Two of Governor Hutchinson's sons and a son-in-law
    were Consignees. The Tea Act stated that if the tea was not sold by
    December 17th, it could be seized by the custon house and sold for
    nonpayment of duties. Once the tea was in the Governor's hands, he
    could dispose of it secretly to local merchants. No. The Consignees
    would not resign. Steps had to be taken before December 1 7th.

    November 5th

    The Town Committee of Selectmen try another approach to the
    Governor and the Consignees. These Selectmen are leading tradesmen
    in Boston. They are led by Brother John Hancock, a member of the
    St. Andrews Lodge. He is the richest man in New England. He is the
    Colonel of the Governor's Cadet Corps. He has been given special
    orders by the Governor to maintain order around the Tea Ships.

    Also on the Committee of Selectmen is Brother John Rowe. He is the
    Grand Master of the St. John's Grand Lodge of Massachusetts
    (Moderns). The St. John's Lodge meets upstairs over the Bunch of
    Grapes Tavern and most of the members are Tory in their sympathy.
    Brother Rowe is the owner of one of the tea ships, the Eleanor. He
    has promised to use his influence with the Governor to return the
    tea ships and the tea to England.

    It is a matter of trade with the Selectmen and they use a different
    appeal:

    "The Selectmen meet to wait on the Consignees and
    request them from a regard of their own characters
    and the peace and good order of this Town and
    Province immediately to resign their appointment."

    No. The Consignees still would not resign. History might have been
    different if the Governor of Massachusetts had not been in the tea
    trade.

    November 29th

    The Tea Ship Dartmouth arrives in Boston. The Committee of
    Correspondence, led by Brother Joseph Warren, distributes handbills
    calling for a Mass Town Meeting to return the tea whence it came.

    "The detestable Tea shipped for this port by the
    East India Comnpany is now arrived in this harbor.
    The Hour of Destruction on manly Opposition to the
    Machinations of Tyranny stares you in the face."

    Five thousand people gather and vote to return the tea ship.
    Brother John Hancock acts as Moderator for the Town Meetings.

    Brother Paul Revere starts his work as a guard on the tea ship to
    see that the tea is not unloaded.

    November 30th

    Records of the St. Andrews Lodge indicate that the Lodge is
    adjourned this night "on account of few Brethren present."

    Note: "Consignees of Tea took up the Brethren's time."

    December 15th

    Time is running out. Colonel John Hancock goes to the tea ships to
    review the Governor's Cadet Corps. Both he and Brother Warren had
    been Orators at the commemoration of those who had died in the
    Boston Massacre.

    The Consignees were blaming the North End Caucus guard because they
    would not let the Consignees unload the tea. The Caucus had been
    guarding the tea at gun point and holding secret sessions at the
    Green Dragon Tavern.

    The Consignees were blamed by both Tory and Patriot because they
    would not withdraw and let the tea be returned to England.

    Brother Warren goes to the Customs House with Francis Rotch, the
    owner of the tea ship, Dartmouth. All exits to the harbor are
    blocked. By law the Customs Officials cannot release the ship
    unless the Consignees unload the tea and pay the tax. On December
    17th the Customs Officials are to seize the tea according to the
    law.

    Brother Warren visits Brother Rowe, owner of the tea ship, Eleanor.
    These two Grand Masters hold a unique title in American history for
    the Ancients and Moderns. Each were called the "Grand Master of the
    Continent of America." They meet in a concern for his "ship and
    cargo." Another appeal must be made to the Governor.

    December 16th

    The evening of the famous Tea Party. The records of the St. Andrew
    Lodge show that only five members were present. A note says "Lodge
    closed on account of few members present."

    The Committee of Correspondence with Brother Warren calls for a
    Mass Town Meeting. Seven thousand people meet in and around the Old
    South Meeting House. It is the largest crowd that had ever
    assembled in Boston. They wait to hear a message from Governor
    Hutchinson. Will he return the tea to England?

    Seven miles away at Milton, the Governor meets with Francis Rotch,
    the owner of the Dartmouth. Brother John Hancock and Brother John
    Rowe help in the appeal to the Governor to return the tea.

    The Governor would not let the ships leave with the tea. It would
    be contrary to the Customs law. Instead he would give the Dartmouth
    military escort to Castle Island and Fort Williams. There his sons
    would unload the tea and pay the tax. The owner of the Dartmouth
    did not want to move his ship under those circumstances of a 60-gun
    warship military escort.

    The Dartmouth owner returns to the crowded Old South ~eeting Hall
    with the news. He is asked two questions.

    Will he take the Dartmouth to England with the tea? No. It would
    mean his "ruin."

    Would he unload the tea at the wharf? No. He was "not authorized"
    to unload it.

    The meeting ended and it was then that the "Mohawks" unloaded a
    consignment of tea at Griffin's Wharf.

    The Governor's Cadet Corps stood far back from the crowd on the
    wharf.

    The crews of the tea ships went below and gave no assistance. Some
    of them even helped unload the tea. The crowd observed a silence.
    No damage was done to the ships. No tea was kept by an individual.

    The whole Tea Party was in range of a 60-gun warship. The British
    Admiral watched from the upstairs window of a house nearby.

    Afterward the "Mohawks" marched by under his window. The Admiral
    opened the window and shouted, "Tomorrow you'll have to pay the
    piper!"

    Brother Paul Revere mounts his horse and carries the news to New
    York. With that news a tea ship at New York turns around and sails
    back to England with the tea. The news is spread by the Committee
    of Correspondence. There are over one hundred of these Committees
    in Massachusetts alone. From the time of the Boston Tea Party the
    East India Company sold no more tea in America.

    Brother John Rowe calls the dumping of the tea "a disastrous
    affair" in his diary. "I can truly say, I know nothing of the
    matter, nor who were concerned with it. This might I believe have
    been prevented. I am sincerely sorry for the event." Brother Rowe
    was a Loyalist and he remains a Loyalist.

    The English Attorney General placed Joseph Warren's name at the top
    of a list of five. The charge would have been Treason for the
    Boston Tea Party. There was a lack of evidence. The Ministers never
    pressed charges.

    This was not the first time that Governor Hutchinson and his sons
    had taken a loss in their tea trading. Just three years before
    Brother William Molineux and Brother James Otis (St. John's Lodge)
    led a crowd of a thousand patriots from Faneuil Hall to confront
    the Hutchinsons. That time there was a nonimportation agreement in
    Boston. It was about to run out. His sons had been importing tea
    and hiding it, waiting to make a profit. His sons surrendered the
    tea and the money for the tea they had already sold. The
    Hutchinsons didn't forget it. Nor did the Sons of Liberty.

    After the Tea Party, Governor Hutchinson was withdrawn to London
    for "consultation." The King and Ministry sent in General Gage as a
    new military Governor and gave him "full discretion" to find
    evidence for a trial of those responsible for the Boston Tea Party.
    There was no trial in Boston.

    Benjamin Franklin, a Grand Master of Pennsylvania, was in London at
    the time. He called the Boston Tea Party "an act of violent
    injustice." A group of London merchants wanted to pay twice the
    value of the tea to keep trade open. Franklin offered to pay for
    the tea himself.

    "Though the mischief was the act of persons unknown,
    yet as probably they cannot be found, or brought to
    answer for it, there seems to be some reasonable
    claim on the society at large in which it happened."

    But no one ever paid for the tea, because Parliament closed down
    the port of Boston, cut off the trade, and sent in the troops.

    Many years later Sir Winston Churchill - Prime Minister, Historian
    and Freemason - commented on the act of Parliament that had given
    the East India Company a monopoly on tea. Brother Churchill called
    it "a stupid blunder."

    Americans have been drinking coffee ever since. The English said
    that the reason the Americans lost their taste for tea was that
    they had a peculiar way of mixing it in the salt water.

    It started in the Green Dragon Tavern. If a man ordered tea, he was
    a Tory. If he ordered coffee, he was a Patriot.

    It is not strange that no one could be found to identify the
    "Mohawks." It was the same the year before in Rhode Island. Some
    Patriots dressed as Indians attacked the Gaspee in long boats. The
    British claimed that Brother Abraham Whipple (St. John's Lodge, No.
    1, Providence) was the leader. They promised to hang him. Brother
    Whipple said they would have to catch him first.

    George Washington, at age 22, was asked why he became a Mason. He
    said it was because he found them to be "Leaders in the community."

    Faneuil Hall and the Old South Meeting House still stand in Boston.
    The Green Dragon Tavern burned down years ago. The heritage lives
    on in a picture made in 1773. The artist had the fortitude to sign
    his name to the words: "Where we met to Plan the Consignment of a
    few Shiploads of Tea. Dec 16, 1773."

    If "Leaders in the community" ever meet at the Green Dragon Tavern
    and sing the "Rally Mohawks" song for a television show, let them
    be sure that their makeup is on straight.

    References

    Steblecki, Edith Paul Revere and Freemasonry Paul Revere
    Mernorial Association, 1985

    Roberts, Allen E. Freemasonry in American History Macoy
    Publishing, 1985

    Roberts, Allen E. Seekers of Truth Anchor Communications, 1988

    Knollengerg, Bernhard Growth of the American Revolution The Free
    Press, 1975

    Miller, John C. Origins of the American Revolution Stanford
    University Press, 1943


    Source: Edward M. Gair, member Southern California Research Lodge
     

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