Blast from the Past: Virginians support Boston after Tea Party

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1775-blast-from-the-past-sam-adamsIn this series, we take a look back at news coverage from the early days of the Historic Triangle.

In this letter, printed in the Virginia Gazette on April 22, 1775, Bostonian and patriot Samuel Adams wrote an unidentified Virginian man about contributions the Virginia colony was making to the city of Boston after Great Britain closed the port in retribution for the Boston Tea Party.

On December 21, 1774, a ship called the Dunmore sailed from the James River with 2681 bushels of wheat and 521 bushels of corn for the relief of the suffering Bostonians.

Adams wrote on March 2, 1775, that Virginia’s contributions to the “AMERICAN CAUSE” were essential to Boston’s industries, but what no Virginian knew when this letter was published was that the American Revolution had already begun at the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

Copy of a letter from BOSTON, dated March 2d, to a Gentleman in VIRGINIA.

SIR,

Your letter of the 24th of December last, to Mr. Cushing and others, by Capt. Tomkins of the schooner Dunmore, in which were brought several valuable donations from our friends in Virginia to the sufferers in this town by the port bill, was communicated to the committee appoint to receive such donations; and, by their discretion, I am to acquaint you that they cheerfully consented, at your request, that the schooner should be discharged at Salem, thinking themselves under obligation to promote her despatch, more especially as there was unexpected delay in her loading, and you have very generously declined receiving demurrage.*

We have repeatedly had abundant evidence of the firmness of our brethren of Virginia in the AMERICAN CAUSE, have reason to confide in them that they will struggle hard for the prize now contending for.

I am desired, by the committee, to acquaint you that a ship has lately sailed from this place, bound to James river, in Virginia, the master’s name Crowel Hatch. When he was building his ship, a proposal was made to him, by some of the committee, to employ the tradesmen of this town, whor which he should receive a recompence by a discount of 5 per cent. on their several bills; but he declined to accept of the the proposal.

This you are sensible would have been the means of his employing our sufferers at their usual rates, and at the same time as cheap to him as if he had got his vessel built by more ordinary workmen from the country.

There is also another circumstance which I must relate to you Capt. Hatch proposed that the committee should employ our smiths in making anchors for his vessel, at a price by which they could get nothing but their labour for their pains, because he could purchase caft anchors imported here for the same price, which was refused.

At this he was very angry, and (perhaps in a gust of passion) declared, in the hearing of several persons of credit, that he was used ill, threatening that “he would stop all the donations he could, and that no more should come from the place where he was going to,”-meaning Virginia.

These facts the committee thought necessary to communicate with you, and to beg the favour of you to use your influence that Capt. Hatch may not have it in his power (if he should be disposed) to traduce* the committee, and injure the sufferers in this town, for whole relief our friends in Virginia have so generously contributed.

I am, in the name of the committee,

Sir, your obliged friend,

And humble servant,

Samuel Adams

Source: Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Hunter) April 22, 1775

*Language notes: Demurrage is a penalty for delay in loading or unloading a vessel. To traduce is to slander or defame.