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The Boston Tea Party

Eyewitness Account by George Hewes

It was now evening, and I immediately dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equipped (bringing) with a small hatchet, which I and my associates denominated (called) the tomahawk, with which, and a club, after having painted my face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith, I repaired (went) to Griffin’s wharf, where the ships lay that contained the tea. When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in (joined) with me and marched in order to the place of our destination . . .

We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard, and we immediately proceeded (went ahead) to execute (follow) his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water.

In about three hours from the time we went on board, we had thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to be found in the ship, while those in the other ships were disposing of (getting rid of) the tea in the same way, at the same time.

We were surrounded by British armed ships, but no attempt was made to resist us.

We then quietly retired (went) to our several places of residence (our homes) without having any conversation with each other, or taking any measures (trying) to discover who were our associates (people with us) . . . There appeared to be an understanding that each individual should volunteer his services, keep his own secret, and risk the consequence for himself. No disorder (violence or noise) took place during that transaction, and it was observed at that time that the stillest night ensued (happened) that Boston had enjoyed for many months . . .

The next morning, after we had cleared the ships of the tea, it was discovered that very considerable quantities (a lot) of it were floating upon the surface of the water; and to prevent the possibility of any of its being saved for use, a number of small boats were manned by sailors and citizens, who rowed them into those parts of the harbor wherever the tea was visible, and by beating it with oars and paddles so thoroughly drenched (covered by water) it as to render its entire destruction inevitable (make it useless).