Histoire: Attention, une tea party peut en cacher d’autres (When the revolution for equality and justice which inspired both Gandhi and MLK turned to mob rule and injustice)

A 1774 British print depicted the tarring and feathering  of Boston Commissioner of Customs John Malcolm (forcing him as well to drink from a teapot beneath a « Liberty Tree » from which a rope with a noose hangs). Tarring and feathering was a ritual of humiliation and public warning that stopped just short of serious injury. Victims included British officials such as Malcolm and American merchants who violated non-importation by importing British goods. Other forms of public humiliation included daubing victims’ homes with the contents of cesspits, or actual violence against property, such as the burning of stately homes and carriages. This anti-Patriot print showed Customs Commissioner Malcolm being attacked under the Liberty Tree by several Patriots, including a leather-aproned artisan, while the Boston Tea Party occurred in the background. In fact, the Tea Party had taken place four weeks earlier. “The Bostonians paying the excise-man, or tarring and feathering.” (Philip Dawe, 1774)
I will put a little of this salt into my tea to remind us of the famous Boston Tea Party. Gandhi (1930)
One Sunday afternoon I traveled to Philadelphia to hear a sermon by Dr. Mordecai Johnson, president of Howard University. He was there to preach for the Fellowship House of Philadelphia. Dr. Johnson had just returned from a trip to India, and to my great interest. He spoke of the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. His message was so profound and electrifying that I left the meeting and bought a half-dozen books on Gandhi’s life and works. Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance. I was particularly moved by the Salt March to the Sea and his numerous fasts. The whole concept of “Satyagraha” (Satya is truth which equals love, agraha is force; “Satyagraha,” therefore, means truth-force or love force) was profoundly significant to me. As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished, and I came to see for the first time its potency in the area of social reform. Prior to reading Gandhi, I had about concluded that the ethics of Jesus were only effective in individual relationship. The “turn the other cheek” philosophy and the “love your enemies” philosophy were only valid, I felt when individuals were in conflict with other individuals; when racial groups and nations were in conflict a more realistic approach seemed necessary. But after reading Gandhi, I saw how utterly mistaken I was. Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale. Love for Gandhi was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation. It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking for do many months. The intellectual and moral satisfaction that I failed to gain from the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill, the revolutionary methods of Marx and Lenin, the social contracts theory of Hobbes, the “back to nature” optimism of Rousseau, and the superman philosophy of Nietzsce. I found in the nonviolent resistance philosophy of Gandhi. I came to feel that this was the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom. (…) In the summer of 1956 the name of Mahatma Gandhi was well-known in Montgomery.  People who had never heard of the little brown saint of India were now saying his name with an air of familiarity.  Nonviolent resistance had emerged as the technique of the movement, while love stood as the regulating ideal.  In other words, Christ furnished the spirit and the motivation while Gandhi furnished the method. (…) As the days unfolded, the inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi began to exert its influence.  I had come to see early that the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one of the most potent weapons available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom. Martin Luther King (Stride toward freedom, 1958)

Attention, une tea party peut en cacher d’autres!

En cette fête d’Hanoukah où tout commença aussi par une sorte de « révolte fiscale » contre un occupant tentant de se refaire après une campagne militaire …

Et un mois après la raclée électorale de l’Administration Obama largement initiée par un mouvement se référant à la fameuse Tea party de Boston de décembre 1773…

Retour sur la Tea party d’Annapolis d’octobre 1774, reprise la plus connue de celle de Boston (après celle de New York et celle plus ou moins légendaire de Chestertown).

Où malgré l’intervention quelque peu timorée du Père fondateur et futur seul signataire catholique de la Déclaration d’indépendance Charles Carroll

La « révolution pour l’égalité et la justice » qui inspira Gandhi et par ricochet Martin Luther King fut à deux doigts de basculer dans la loi de la foule et du lynchage

Contraignant, pour cause de non-respect du boycott sur le thé, un marchand loyaliste à brûler son propre bateau (le Peggy Stewart du nom de sa fille)  …

Annapolis Tea Party – The burning of the Peggy Stewart and the ruin of Anthony Stewart

Tensions caused by English demands for taxes through the Stamp Act flared into outright mob violence when the brigantine Peggy Stewart brought a cargo of boycotted tea into Annapolis.

Tensions between American colonists and their English government were reaching a fevered level. The parliament had levied a tax on English manufactured goods in order to raise money. Called the Stamp Act, it placed a high tariff on certain goods brought into the colonies, specifically tea. The British government also required that these goods could only be purchased from England. Resistance to this tax had led to civil disobedience and mob action in the « Boston Tea Party » where a mob of revolutionaries boarded a merchant ship in native war paint and dress, removed the cases of tea in the cargo hold and dumped the expensive cargo into the harbor.

The Boston tea party is famous in the historical lore of America. But few know that a very similar incident occurred in Annapolis less than a year after its more famous Boston counterpart.

Anthony Stewart, a Scottish gentleman born in Aberdeen in 1738, made his way as a teenager in 1753 to Annapolis Maryland where he soon establish a powerful merchant shipping business on the Severn River. Eleven years later he married the daughter of the city’s most wealthy and influential merchants, James Dick. Made partner in his father-in-law’s business, he soon became very rich himself with several estates and homes around Maryland.

The Stamp Act imposed many duties on the import of goods. Boycotts sprang up all across the colonies, organized and enforced by civic associations. Even after the Stamp Act was repealed because of the American boycott, several items such as tea, glass, paint and paper were subject to the very substantial tax. The Association of Anne Arundel County agreed to a ban on tea and other goods that carried the import duty. All merchants were asked to sign an agreement allowing the association to monitor all incoming goods and enforce the boycott. James Dick signed the agreement, but Anthony Stewart did not.

In 1770, the Association declared the cargo of the merchant Good Intent to be mostly contraband, forcing the ship to return its cargo to England. This caused a great financial loss for Dick and Stewart. They were sternly warned not to protest the decision of the « Association », otherwise it would be construed as subversion of the boycott and would be dealt with accordingly, a thinly veiled threat.

In February 1774, the successful business of Stewart and Dick was contracted by a main rival of their firm, Wallace, Davidson and Johnson, to take a cargo of tobacco to London. Captain Russell was ordered to sell the Peggy Stewart in London and return with the proceeds. If he could not sell the vessel for 550 pounds then he should contract a profitable cargo and return. Unable to sell the ship, the Peggy Stewart was contracted to bring over a ton of tea back for Annapolis merchant Thomas Charles Williams, another occasional rival of both Stewart and the Wallace group. The Wallace group in London got wind of the transport and sent a letter back to Annapolis, hoping to stir up trouble for Captain Russell and Stewart, actually suggesting that « I should not be surprised to hear that you have made a Bon Fire of the Peggy Stewart… ».

Sentiment against Thomas Williams, consignee for the cargo, rose quickly against the man who declared that he would ship what ever he pleased and the Annapolis Association could go to the devil. Much of the stirrings were unknown to the vessels owner, Stewart, who awaited the birth of his child. The Peggy Stewart arrived in port on October 14 th, just slightly before his daughter. Walking down to the harbor to greet his returning captain he was dismayed to find a ship beaten up by a difficult crossing, leaking badly, with 56 sea sick indentured servants and over a ton of tea in the hold. Returning the ship to London without delivering the cargo would ruin him financially, but sending the poor sick indentured servants across the late season Atlantic in a damaged ship would be unthinkable. In order to release the « cargo » of indentured servants, Stewart, by law, had to pay the duty on the entire cargo, including the contraband tea. He paid the import duty and landed the wretched people from the leaking ship but left the tea on board.

The Williams brothers whose tea it was had refused to pay the duty on the tea, their fear of the revolutionaries on the Annapolis Committee for Safety was so great. They wrote a letter of apology to the committee, but this only served to let everyone in Annapolis know that tea had been brought in and that the duty had been paid. They stressed that it was Stewart alone who had decided to pay the duty and that they intended to hand the cargo over to the Committee.

Mathias Hammond, a political rival of Stewarts and spirited leader of the Annapolis Committee, printed up handbills and distributed them around the city making the case against Stewart and the Williams brothers. This incited the Maryland citizenry and activist started to fill the inns and tavern of Annapolis. Everyone began to talk of the Annapolis Tea Party.

Stewart attempted to get well respected Charles Carroll to intercede on his behalf, but Carroll, also a member of the Annapolis Committee, suggested the only way Stewart might save himself from the tar and feathering or lynching that was being discussed in town was to burn the ship. Stewart was in no mood to destroy such a valuable piece of property. He penned his own apology and distributed it by handbill all around town.

At a scheduled meeting on the matter on October 19th, Stewart defended himself against a heated assembly of revolutionary zealots. Carroll presented a prewritten letter of apology for Stewart and Williams brothers to sign, allowing for the tea to be burned. It was clear that if they did not sign the letter, the boisterous mob had something much more ominous in mind. They signed.

Voices from the crowd called for the ship to be burned, The old and timid James Dick, the father-in-law of Stewart, nodded in agreement. But a member of the crowd called for a vote on whether the ship should be burned. The crowd voted that the ship would not be put to the torch, just the tea.

A Doctor Warfield, a passionate orator, whipped up the crowd once more to demand that the ship be burned and that Stewart be forced to build another named after a revolutionary member of Parliament James Wilkes. The crowds passions swelled by Warfield’s oratory demanded the destruction of the ship. James Dick fearing for the safety of his family, acquiesced. The mob marched down to the waterfront with the hapless Stewart and the Williams brothers in the center of the procession. They were forced onto the ship which was sailed over to Windmill Point where she was set on fire with all her sails still up.

Annapolis, (Maryland) Oct. 20. The brig Peggy Stewart, Captain from London having on board seventeen packages containing 2320 lb of that detestable weed tea arrived here on Friday last …[After making public acknowledgement] owners of the tea went on board said vessel with her sails and colours flying, and voluntarily set fire to the tea …[Annapolis: Printed by Anne Catharine Green, 1774]

Ruined financially, James Dick became a recluse in his home, disparagingly referred to as « the Old Tory ». Stewart attempted to reconstruct his business, but he was so universally hated he was driven out of the country by death threats. He returned to England were he petitioned the Crown for compensation for his losses. He was granted a substantial yearly pension. He eventually returned to New York where he joined a Loyalist organization, the Board of Associated Loyalists. At the end of the war, the state of Maryland declared him a traitor, sentenced him to death and confiscated all his property. He had fled from the country at the end of the war and moved to Halifax where he once again became a successful merchant.

So in Maryland, the revolution for equality and justice started with mob rule and injustice for Anthony Stewart, owner of the ill-fated Peggy Stewart.

Voir aussi:

16 décembre 1773

«Tea-Party» à Boston

Le 16 décembre 1773, se déroule à Boston une bien étrange «Tea-party».

Dans le grand port de la colonie anglaise du Massachusetts, le colon Samuel Adams et quelques amis déguisés en Indiens montent sur un vaisseau à l’ancre et jettent sa cargaison de thé à l’eau (343 caisses d’une valeur de 100.000 livres). Cette manifestation d’humeur fait suite à une longue série de malentendus entre les Treize Colonies anglaises d’Amérique et le gouvernement de Londres.

Malentendus

Les colons des Treize Colonies anglaises d’Amérique du nord se plaignent d’être soumis à des taxes nouvelles par le Parlement de Westminster sans qu’ils soient consultés ni représentés au Parlement. Ils affichent leur loyauté à la couronne mais réclament d’être considérés comme des citoyens à part entière et consultés pour toutes les affaires qui les concernent.

Dès 1764, une loi sur le sucre a suscité leur colère. Le Parlement récidive l’année suivante avec une loi qui impose un timbre fiscal sur une multitude de documents imprimés. Les recettes sont destinées à financer les coûts liés à l’administration et à la sécurité des colonies.

La réaction est immédiate. En Virginie, un député, Patrick Henry, appelle à la désobéissance civile. Un peu partout, les colons s’en prennent aux percepteurs, les suspendant à des mâts ou les enduisant de goudron et de plumes. Une organisation secrète, les Fils de la Liberté (Sons of Liberty), fondée à New York par John Lamb et Isaac Sears, multiplie les provocations. Au milieu de danses et de cortèges joyeux, ces dignes bourgeois érigent des «mâts de la Liberté» surmontés de masques diaboliques pour dénoncer l’autoritarisme de Londres. La troupe réagit avec violence, abattant les mâts et chargeant la foule à la baïonnette.

Au bout de quelques mois, Londres se résout à annuler la loi du Stamp Act mais cela ne suffit pas à ramener le calme. Et voilà qu’une nouvelle loi impose en 1768 un droit d’importation sur différents produits utiles aux colons. Ceux-ci, à commencer par les habitants de Boston, lancent un puissant mouvement de boycott des marchandises anglaises. C’est au point qu’en deux ans, les importations concernées diminuent de moitié.

Le Parlement de Westminster se résout à supprimer tous les droits d’importation incriminés… sauf un modeste droit sur le thé destiné aux colonies d’Amérique. Il en fait une question de principe. Cette reculade échauffe les esprits au lieu de les calmer. Elle encourage les colons dans la voie de la hardiesse.

Le 5 mars 1770, une échauffourée se solde à Boston par la mort de 5 manifestants. Ce «Bloody massacre» (massacre sanglant) engendre beaucoup de ressentiments contre le pouvoir de Londres.

Rébellion

L’arrivée à Boston de trois navires de la Compagnie des Indes chargés de thé incite les colons et les importateurs à passer à l’action. C’est la «Tea-party».

Le roi George III réagit par cinq «lois intolérables» qui sanctionnent la colonie et ferment le port de Boston en attendant le remboursement de la cargaison de thé par les habitants. Face à cette décision arbitraire de Londres, toutes les colonies d’Amérique font cause commune avec le Massachusetts. Une partie importante des colons, quoique en minorité, se préparent à entrer en rébellion contre la métropole.

Sur une invitation de l’Assemblée du Massachusetts, 56 délégués de neuf des treize colonies anglaises d’Amérique se réunissent en congrès à New York le 14 octobre 1774 et rédigent un cahier de doléances («Declaration of Rights and Grievances») à l’adresse du gouvernement.

Cependant, leur souhait d’une plus grande autonomie est brutalement rejeté par le roi anglais Georges III qui déclare les colonies en état de rébellion. Les modérés américains font alors cause commune avec les radicaux et tous se préparent à la lutte. Ils commencent à réunir des armes…..

Voir enfin:

The Annapolis Tea Burning

The Centennial Celebration of the burning of the « Peggy Stewart » recently held in Annapolis, not only attracted the attention of the people of Maryland, but of the entire country and called forth many garbled and conflicting accounts as to who was the perpetrator of that, then perilous and treasonable violation of the King’s Authority, but which the light of after events has made to glow upon the pages of history as one of the most heroic and patriotic deeds performed during the struggle for our independence. In view of these facts I am glad to be enabled to throw some light upon that much mooted question. It was my good fortune during a recent visit to « Longwood », the residence of the late Dr. Gustavus Warfield (« Son of Dr. Charles Alexander Warfield, the hero of the ‘Peggy Stewart' ») to have my attention called to a communication to the « Baltimore Patriot » published in the year 1813, which was preserved in an old scrap book, family history and record, that dates far back into colonial times, a relic of much interest and value. I immediately recognized the historic value of that old clipping, for I realized it would lift the cloud of uncertainty from one of the most important events in the history of our Country. The authenticity of the communication is beyond a doubt, and its truthfulness will be evident to all readers. It was published immediately after the death of Dr. Charles Alexander Warfield, as a just tribute to his memory, and as an acknowledgement of his patriotism and valor. Though his name has long slumbered in oblivion, yet that one valorous and determined stand, in opposition to oppression and tyranny and the utterances of that noble sentiment, « Liberty and Independence or Death in pursuit of it », acted and uttered in those « days that tried men’s souls », entitle him to a deserved prominence in the history of his state, and his noble stand in those perilous times, should be cherished by every true patriot, as a conspicuous example of that love of liberty and justice which animated our forefathers, and wrought our freedom.

Dr. Evan W. Warfield

Grandson of Dr. Charles Alexander Warfield

1875

DR. CHARLES ALEXANDER WARFIELD

Born December 14th, 1751. Died, January 29th, 1813

Led the « Whig Club » to Annapolis,October 19th, 1774, and burnt the « Peggy Stewart »

Taken from the Baltimore Patriot, published in 1813

DEPARTED THIS LIFE, JANUARY 29, 1813

DR. CHARLES ALEXANDER WARFIELD

To the Editor of the Baltimore Patriot:

Sir, In the biography of the venerable Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, taken from the Salem Register of 20 th of September, and published in your paper of the 24th, wherein is portrayed his just and eminent services from the commencement to the termination of our Revolutionary contest, and whose subsequent and distinguished course has rendered him a blessing to his Country, and placed him in rank and estimation not to be surpassed by the renowned sages of the world; he stands now the beloved friend and father of the American people loaded with honor, age and goodness of heart. There is, however, one circumstance connected with the Burning of the Tea at Annapolis that should not be forgotten, and in which a highly-respected and valued friend of Mr. Carroll participated.

The late Dr. Charles Alexander Warfield, of Anne Arundel County, who but a short time before had obtained professional honors in the University of Pennsylvania and had been appointed Major of Battalion, upon hearing of the arrival of the brig « Peggy Stewart » at Annapolis, loaded with tea, and which vessel belonged to Mr. Anthony Stewart (a Scotch merchant), put himself at the head of the « Whig Club », of which he was a distinguished member, and marched to Annapolis with a determination to burn vessel and cargo.

When this party arrived opposite the State House, the late Judge Chase met them and harangued them, (he had been employed as a lawyer by Mr. Stewart). Dr. Warfield, finding that he was likely to make some impression upon the minds of his company, interrupted him by observing, that Chase had by former patriotic speeches made to the « Whig Club » inflamed the whole country, and now wished to get off by his own light; and pronounced it submission or cowardice in any member of the Club to stop short of their object; and called upon the men to follow him, that he would himself set fire to the vessel and cargo; but it is stated upon the best authority, that the Doctor carried in his hand the chunk of fire in company with Stewart whom he made to kindle it.

When the party first entered the city and was passing on they met Stewart, who was bold in opposition and threatened them with the vengeance of his King and Government, but his threats seemed only to increase their determination. They erected a gallows immediately in front of his house, by way of intimidation, then gave him his choice either to swing by the halter, or go with them on board, and put fire to his own vessel. He chose the latter and in a few moments the whole cargo with the ship’s tackle and apparel were in flames. Shortly after this Mr. Stewart left the Country. This act decided the course Maryland was to pursue, and had an extensive influence upon public opinion. The writer of this was in company with Judge Chase and Dr. Warfield a few years before their death, and heard them conversing upon the above subject, when Mr. Chase remarked in a jocular manner: « If we had not succeeded, doctor, in the Revolutionary contest both of us would have been hung; You for burning the ship of tea, and I for declaring I owed no allegiance to the King, and signing the Declaration of Independence. »

There were other movements and occurrences attending this early expression of a Revolutionary Spirit. Our departed friend, but a short time before he marched to the City of Annapolis to fire the tea, was parading his battalion in Anne Arundel County in the vicinity of Mr. Carroll’s residence, when he took upon himself the privilege of printing some labels with the following inscription: « Liberty and Independence, or Death in pursuit of it »; and placed one on the hat of each man in his company, many of the older neighbors who were present, were struck with astonishment, and endeavored to persuade him to have them taken down; for the idea of independence at that time had entered the mind of but few men.

The venerable Mr. Carroll, the elder and father to the present Patriarch, rode up to the father of Doctor Charles Alexander Warfield and exclaimed: My god, Mr. Warfield, what does your son Charles mean? Does he know that he has committed treason against his king and may be prosecuted for a rebel? »

The father replied, with much animation and patriotism, « We acknowledge no King, the King is a traitor to us, and a period has arrived when we must either tamely submit to be slaves, or struggle gloriously for ‘ Liberty and Independence ‘. The King has become our enemy and we must become his. My son Charles knows what he is about. ‘ Liberty and Independence, or Death in pursuit of it’, is his motto, it is mine, and soon must be the sentiment of every man in this Country! » The mighty word « Treason against the King » sounded from one end of battalion to the other, and in a few minutes not a label was seen in the hats of any of the men, except Dr. Warfield and Mr. James Connor, late of Baltimore County, who were too stern and undaunted to be intimidated by words, and they wore their labels to their homes. Thus, those great Patriots moved alternately between hope and fear, until they accomplished the great object of their lives. »

Vor également :

http://annapolisteaburning.com/

Dr. Charles Alexander Warfield, the « Annapolis Tea Party »

and the « Burning of the Peggy Stewart »

Charles Alexander Warfield

Charles Alexander Warfield

Patriot and Hero of

« The Burning of the Peggy Stuart »

Charles Alexander Warfield, son of Azel Warfield and Sarah Griffith, was one of the initial patriots in Maryland who determined the course that this country would lead in opposition to the King of England at the time of the Revolutionary War. Immediately after his death on Jan 29, 1813, his deeds were chronicled in the « Baltimore Patriot ». Dr. Charles, who had received professional honors from the University of Pennsylvania and was a distinguished member of the « Whig Club », had been appointed Major of Battalion. While parading his battalion in Anne Arundel County he printed labels inscribed  » Liberty and independence, or death in pursuit of it » and placed one on the hat of each man in his company. Many of the older neighbors were astonished and one approached the father of Dr. Charles and exclaimed: « My God, Mr. Warfield, what does your son Charles mean? Does he know that he has committed treason against his King and may be prosecuted for a rebel? » The father replied with much animation: « We acknowledge no King, the King is a traitor to us, and a period has arrived when we must either tamely submit to be slaves, or struggle gloriously for ‘ Liberty and Independence ‘. The King has become our enemy and we must become his. My son Charles knows what he is about. ‘ Liberty and Independence or death in pursuit of it’ is his motto, it is mine, and soon must be the sentiment of every man in this Country ».

A short time later the brig « Peggy Stewart », loaded with tea, docked at the Annapolis harbor. Dr. Charles, who was age 23 at the time, was determined to march to Annapolis and burn the vessel and cargo. On the way they were confronted by the ship’s owner, a Scotch merchant named Anthony Stewart, who threatened them with the vengeance of the King and the government. However, the threats only increased the determination of the small group of men led by Dr. Charles. « They erected a gallows immediately in front of Mr. Stewart’s house and, by way of intimidation, gave him his choice to either swing by the halter or go with them on board to put fire to his own vessel ». He chose the later and on October 19, 1774 the ship and it’s cargo was consumed in flames. In a conversation with Dr. Charles before their death, Judge Chase remarked, « If we had not succeeded, Doctor, in the Revolutionary contest both of us would have been hung; you for burning the ship of tea and I for declaring I owed no allegiance to the King and signing the Declaration of Independence ». In these ways, Dr. Charles Alexander Warfield and a few determined and patriotic persons moved alternately between hope and fear, until they accomplished the great hope of their lives, to give themselves and others in this country their freedom.

It is through their determined and courageous acts and those after them that we remain free today.

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