The Tory Lover by Sarah Orne Jewett
THE PARTING FEAST
"A little nation, but made great by liberty."
The faces gathered about the table were serious and full of character. They wore the look of men who would lay down their lives for the young country whose sons they were, and though provincial enough for the most part, so looked most of the men who sat in Parliament at Westminster, and there was no more patrician head than the old judge's to be seen upon the English bench. They were for no self-furtherance in public matters, but conscious in their hearts of some national ideas that a Greek might have cherished in his clear brain, or any citizen of the great days of Rome. They were men of a single-hearted faith in Liberty that shone bright and unassailable; there were men as good as they in a hundred other towns. It was a simple senate of New England, ready and able to serve her cause in small things and great.
The next moment after the minister had said a proper grace, the old judge had a question to ask.
"Where is Miss Mary Hamilton?" said he. "Shall we not have the pleasure of her company?"
"My sister looks for some young friends later," explained the host, but with a touch of coldness in his voice. "She begs us to join her then in her drawing-room, knowing that we are now likely to have business together and much discussion of public affairs. I bid you all welcome to my table, gentlemen; may we be here to greet Captain Paul Jones on his glorious return, as we speed him now on so high an errand!"
"You have made your house very pleasant to a homeless man, Colonel Hamilton," returned the captain, with great feeling. "And Miss Hamilton is as good a patriot as her generous brother. May Massachusetts and the Province of Maine never lack such sons and daughters! There are many of my men taking their farewell supper on either shore of your river this night. I have received my dispatches, and it is settled that we sail for France to-morrow morning at the turn of tide."
"To-morrow morning!" they exclaimed in chorus. The captain's manner gave the best of news; there was an instant shout of approval and congratulation. His own satisfaction at being finally ordered to sea after many trying delays was understood by every one, since for many months, while the Ranger was on the stocks at Portsmouth, Paul Jones had bitterly lamented the indecisions of a young government, and regretted the slipping away of great opportunities abroad and at home. To say that he had made himself as vexing as a wasp were to say the truth, but he had already proved himself a born leader with a heart on fire with patriotism and deep desire for glory, and there were those present who eagerly recognized his power and were ready to further his best endeavors. Young men had flocked to his side, sailors born and bred on the river shores, and in Portsmouth town, who could serve their country well. Berwick was in the thick of the fight from the very beginning; her company of soldiers had been among the first at Bunker's Hill, and the alarm at Lexington had shaken her very hills at home. Twin sister of Portsmouth in age, and sharer of her worldly conditions, the old ease and wealth of the town were sadly troubled now; there was many a new black gown in the parson's great parish, and many a mother's son lay dead, or suffered in an English prison. Yet the sea still beckoned with white hands, and Paul Jones might have shipped his crew on the river many times over. The ease of teaching England to let the colonies alone was not spoken of with such bold certainty as at first, and some late offenses were believed to be best revenged by such a voyage as the Ranger was about to make.
Captain Paul Jones knew his work; he was full of righteous wrath toward England, and professed a large readiness to accept the offered friendliness of France.
Colonel Jonathan Hamilton could entertain like a prince. The feast was fit for the room in which it was served, and the huge cellar beneath was well stored with casks of wine that had come from France and Spain, or from England while her ports were still home ports for the colonies. Being a Scotsman, the guest of honor was not unmindful of excellent claret, and now set down his fluted silver tumbler after a first deep draught, and paid his host a handsome compliment.
"You live like a Virginia gentleman, sir, here in your Northern home. They little know in Great Britain what stately living is among us. The noble Countess of Selkirk thought that I was come to live among the savages, instead of gratifying my wishes for that calm contemplation and poetic ease which, alas, I have ever been denied."
"They affect to wonder at the existence of American gentlemen," returned the judge. "When my father went to Court in '22, and they hinted the like, he reminded them that since they had sent over some of the best of their own gentlefolk to found the colonies, it would be strange if none but boors and clowns came back."
"In Virginia they consider that they breed the only gentlemen; that is the great pity," said Parson Tompson. "Some of my classmates at Cambridge arrived at college with far too proud a spirit. They were pleased to be amused, at first, because so many of us at the North were destined for the ministry."
"You will remember that Don Quixote speaks of the Church, the Sea, and the Court for his Spanish gentlemen," said Major Tilly Haggens, casting a glance across at the old judge. "We have had the two first to choose from in New England, if we lacked the third." The world was much with the major, and he was nothing if not eager spoken. "People forget to look at the antecedents of our various colonists; 't is the only way to understand them. In these Piscataqua neighborhoods we do not differ so much from those of Virginia; 't is not the same pious stock as made Connecticut and the settlements of Massachusetts Bay. We are children of the Norman blood in New England and Virginia, at any rate. `T is the Saxons who try to rule England now; there is the cause of all our troubles. Norman and Saxon have never yet learned to agree."
"You give me a new thought," said the captain.
"For me," explained the major, "I am of fighting and praying Huguenot blood, and here comes in another strain to our nation's making. I might have been a parson myself if there had not been a stray French gallant to my grandfather, who ran away with a saintly Huguenot maiden; his ghost still walks by night and puts the devil into me so that I forget my decent hymns. My family name is Huyghens; 't was a noble house of the Low Countries. Christian Huyghens, author of the Cosmotheoros, was my father's kinsman, and I was christened for the famous General Tilly of stern faith, but the gay Frenchman will ever rule me. 'T is all settled by our antecedents," and he turned to Captain Paul Jones. "I'm for the flower-de-luce, sir; if I were a younger man I'd sail with you to-morrow! 'T is very hard for us aging men with boys' hearts in us to stay decently at home. I should have been born in France!"
"France is your country's friend, sir," said Paul Jones, bowing across the table. "Let us drink to France, gentlemen!" and the company drank the toast. Old Cæsar bowed with the rest as he stood behind his master's chair, and smacked his lips with pathetic relish of the wine which he had tasted only in imagination. The captain's quick eyes caught sight of him.
"By your leave, Colonel Hamilton!" he exclaimed heartily. "This is a toast that every American should share the pleasure of drinking. I observe that my old friend Cæsar has joined us in spirit," and he turned with a courtly bow and gave a glass to the serving man.
"You have as much at stake as we in this great enterprise," he said gently, in a tone that moved the hearts of all the supper company. "May I drink with you to France, our country's ally?"
A lesser soul might have babbled thanks, but Cæsar, who had been born a Guinea prince, drank in silence, stepped back to his place behind his master, and stood there like a king. His underlings went and came serving the supper; he ruled them like a great commander on the field of battle, and hardly demeaned himself to move again until the board was cleared.
"I seldom see a black face without remembering the worst of my boyish days when I sailed in the Two Friends, slaver," said the captain gravely, but with easy power of continuance. "Our neighbor town of Dumfries was in the tobacco trade, and all their cargoes were unloaded in Carsethorn Bay, close by my father's house. I was easily enough tempted to follow the sea; I was trading in the Betsey at seventeen, and felt myself a man of experience. I have observed too many idle young lads hanging about your Portsmouth wharves who ought to be put to sea under a smart captain. They are ready to cheer or to jeer at strangers, and take no pains to be manly. I began to follow the sea when I was but a child, yet I was always ambitious of command, and ever thinking how I might best study the art of navigation."
"There were few idlers along this river once," said General Goodwin regretfully. "The times grow worse and worse."
"You referred to the slaver, Two Friends," interrupted the minister, who had seen a shadow of disapproval on the faces of two of his parishioners (one being Colonel Hamilton's) at the captain's tone. "May I observe that there has seemed to be some manifestation of a kind Providence in bringing so many heathen souls to the influence of a Christian country?"
The fierce temper of the captain flamed to his face; he looked up at old Cæsar who well remembered the passage from his native land, and saw that black countenance set like an iron mask.
"I must beg your reverence's kind pardon if I contradict you," said Paul Jones, with scornful bitterness.
There was a murmur of protest about the table; the captain's reply was not counted to be in the best of taste. Society resents being disturbed at its pleasures, and the man who had offended was now made conscious of his rudeness. He looked up, however, and saw Miss Hamilton standing near the open doorway that led into the hall. She was gazing at him with no relic of that indifference which had lately distressed his heart, and smiled at him as she colored deeply, and disappeared.
The captain took on a more spirited manner than before, and began to speak of politics, of the late news from Long Island, where a son of old Berwick, General John Sullivan, had taken the place of Lee, and was now next in command to Washington himself. This night Paul Jones seemed to be in no danger of those fierce outbursts of temper with which he was apt to startle his more amiable and prosaic companions. There was some discussion of immediate affairs, and one of the company, Mr. Wentworth, fell upon the inevitable subject of the Tories; a topic sure to rouse much bitterness of feeling. Whatever his own principles, every man present had some tie of friendship or bond of kindred with those who were Loyalists for conscience' sake, and could easily be made ill at ease.
The moment seemed peculiarly unfortunate for such trespass, and when there came an angry lull in the storm of talk, Mr. Lord somewhat anxiously called attention to a pair of great silver candlesticks which graced the feast, and by way of compliment begged to be told their history. It was not unknown that they had been brought from England a few summers before in one of Hamilton's own ships, and that he was not without his fancy for such things as gave his house a look of rich ancestry; a stranger might well have thought himself in a good country house of Queen Anne's time near London. But this placid interlude did not rouse any genuine interest, and old Judge Chadbourne broke another awkward pause and harked back to safer ground in the conversation.
"I shall hereafter make some discrimination against men of color. I have suffered a great trial of the spirit this day," he began seriously. "I ask the kind sympathy of each friend present. I had promised my friend, President Hancock, some of our Berwick elms to plant near his house on Boston Common; he has much admired the fine natural growth of that tree in our good town here, and the beauty it lends to our high ridges of land. I gave directions to my man Ajax, known to some of you as a competent but lazy soul, and as I was leaving home he ran after me, shouting to inquire where he should find the trees. 'Oh, get them anywhere!' said I, impatient at the detention, and full of some difficult matters which were coming up at our term in York. And this morning on my return from court, I missed a well-started row of young elms, which I had selected myself and planted along the outer border of my gardens. Ajax had taken the most accessible, and they had all gone down river by the packet. I shall have a good laugh with Hancock by and by. I remember that he once praised these very trees and professed to covet them."
"'T was the evil eye," suggested Mr. Hill, laughing; but the minister slowly shook his head, contemptuous of such superstitions.
"I saw that one of our neighbor Madam Wallingford's favorite oaks was sadly broken by the recent gale," said Mr. Wentworth unguardedly, and this was sufficient to make a new name fairly leap into the conversation, - that of Mr. Roger Wallingford, the son of a widowed lady of great fortune, whose house stood not far distant, on the other side of the river in Somersworth.
General Goodwin at once dropped his voice regretfully. "I am afraid that we can have no doubt now of the young man's sympathy with our oppressors," said he. "I hear that he has been seen within a week coming out of the Earl of Halifax tavern in Portsmouth, late at night, as if from a secret conference. A friend of mine heard him say openly on the Parade that Mr. Benjamin Thompson of old Rumford had been unfairly driven to seek Royalist protection, and to flee his country, leaving wife and infant child behind him; that 't was all from the base suspicions and hounding of his neighbors, whose worst taunt had ever been that he loved and sought the company of gentlemen. 'I pity him from my heart,' says Wallingford in a loud voice; as if pity could ever belong to so vile a traitor!"
"But I fear that this was true," said Judge Chadbourne, the soundest of patriots, gravely interrupting. "They drove young Thompson away in hot haste when his country was in sorest need of all such naturally chivalrous and able men. He meant no disloyalty until his crisis came, and proved his rash young spirit too weak to meet it. He will be a great man some day, if I read men aright; we shall be proud of him in spite of everything. He had his foolish follies, and the wrong road never leads to the right place, but the taunts of the narrow-minded would have made many an older man fling himself out of reach. 'T is a sad mischance of war. Young Wallingford is a proud fellow, and has his follies too; his kindred in Boston thought themselves bound to the King; they are his elders and have been his guardians, and youth may forbid his seeing the fallacy of their arguments. Our country is above our King in such a time as this, yet I myself was of those who could not lightly throw off the allegiance of a lifetime."
"I have always said that we must have patience with such lads and not try to drive them," said Major Haggens, the least patient of all the gentlemen. Captain Paul Jones drummed on the table with one hand and rattled the links of his sword hilt with the other. The minister looked dark and unconvinced, but the old judge stood first among his parishioners; he did not answer, but threw an imploring glance toward Hamilton at the head of the table.
"We are beginning to lose the very last of our patience now with those who cry that our country is too young and poor to go alone, and urge that we should bear our wrongs and be tied to the skirts of England for fifty years more. What about our poor sailors dying like sheep in the English jails?" said Hamilton harshly. "He that is not for us is against us, and so the people feel."
"The true patriot is the man who risks all for love of country," said the minister, following fast behind.
"They have little to risk, some of the loudest of them," insisted Major Haggens scornfully. "They would not brook the thought of conciliation, but fire and sword and other men's money are their only sinews of war. I mean that some of those dare-devils in Boston have often made matters worse than there was any need," he added, in a calmer tone.
Paul Jones cast a look of contempt upon such a complaining old soldier.
"You must remember that many discomforts accompany a great struggle," he answered. "The lower classes, as some are pleased to call certain citizens of our Republic, must serve Liberty in their own fashion. They are used to homespun shirt-sleeves and not to lace ruffles, but they make good fighters, and their hearts are true. Sometimes their instinct gives them to see farther ahead than we can. I fear indeed that there is trouble brewing for some of your valued neighbors who are not willing to be outspoken. A certain young gentleman has of late shown some humble desires to put himself into an honorable position for safety's sake."
"You mistake us, sir," said the old judge, hastening to speak. "But we are not served in our struggle by such lawlessness of behavior; we are only hindered by it. General George Washington is our proper model, and not those men whose manners and language are not worthy of civilization."
The guest of the evening looked frankly bored, and Major Tilly Haggens came to the rescue. The captain's dark hint had set them all staring at one another.
"Some of our leaders in this struggle make me think of an old Scottish story I got from McIntire in York," said he. "There was an old farmer went to the elders to get his tokens for the Sacrament, and they propounded him his questions. 'What's your view of Adam?' says they: 'what kind of a mon?' 'Well,'says the farmer, 'I think Adam was like Jack Simpson the horse trader. Varra few got anything by him, an' a mony lost.'"
The captain laughed gayly as if with a sense of proprietorship in the joke. "'T is old Scotland all over," he acknowledged, and then his face grew stern again.
"Your loud talkers are the gadflies that hurry the slowest oxen," he warned the little audience. "And we have to remember that if those who would rob America of her liberties should still prevail, we all sit here with halters round our necks!" Which caused the spirits of the company to sink so low that again the cheerful major tried to succor it.
"Shall we drink to The Ladies?" he suggested, with fine though unexpected courtesy; and they drank as if it were the first toast of the evening.
"We are in the middle of a great war now, and must do the best we can," said Hamilton, as if he wished to make peace about his table. "Last summer when things were at the darkest, Sam Adams came riding down to Exeter to plead with Mr. Gilman for money and troops on the part of their Rockingham towns. The Treasurer was away, and his wife saw Adams's great anxiety and the tears rolling down his cheeks, and heard him groan aloud as he paced to and fro in the room. 'O my God!' says he, 'and must we give it all up!' When the good lady told me there were tears in her own eyes, and I vow that I was fired as I had never been before, - I have loved the man ever since; I called him a stirrer up of frenzies once, but it fell upon my heart that, after all, it is men like Sam Adams who hold us to our duty."
"I cannot envy Sam Curwen his travels in rural England, or Gray that he moves in the best London society, but Mr. Hancock writes me 't is thought all our best men have left us," said Judge Chadbourne.
" 'T is a very genteel company now at Bristol," said John Lord.
"I hear that the East India Company is in terrible difficulties, and her warehouses in London are crammed to bursting with the tea that we have refused to drink. If they only had sense enough to lift the tax and give us liberty for our own trade, we should soon drink all their troubles dry," said Colonel Hamilton.
"'T is not because we hate England, but because we love her that we are hurt so deep," said Mr. Hill. "When a man's mother is jealous because he prospers, and turns against him, it is worst of all."
"Send your young men to sea!" cried Captain Paul Jones, who had no patience with the resettling of questions already left far behind. "Send me thoroughbred lads like your dainty young Wallingford! You must all understand how little can be done with this poor basket of a Ranger against a well-furnished British man-of-war. My reverend friend here has his heart in the matter. I myself have flung away friends and fortune for my adopted country, and she has been but a stingy young stepmother to me. I go to fight her cause on the shores that gave me birth; I trample some dear recollections under foot, and she haggles with me all summer over a paltry vessel none too smart for a fisherman, and sends me to sea in her with my gallant crew. You all know that the Ranger is crank built, and her timbers not first class, - her thin sails are but coarse hessings, with neither a spare sheet, nor stuff to make it, and there's not even room aboard for all her guns. I sent four six-pounders ashore out of her this very day so that we can train the rest. 'T is some of your pretty Tories that have picked our knots as fast as we tied them, and some jealous hand chose poor planking for our decks and rotten red-oak knees for the frame. But, thank God, she's a vessel at last! I would sail for France in a gundalow, so help me Heaven! and once in France I shall have a proper man-of-war."
There was a chorus of approval and applause; the listeners were deeply touched and roused; they all wished to hear something of the captain's plans, but he returned to the silver tumbler of claret, and sat for a moment as if considering; his head was held high, and his eyes flashed with excitement as he looked up at the high cornice of the room. He had borne the name of the Sea Wolf; in that moment of excitement he looked ready to spring upon any foe, but to the disappointment of every one he said no more.
"The country is drained now of ready money," said young Lord despondently; "this war goes on, as it must go on, at great sacrifice. The reserves must come out, - those who make excuse and the only sons, and even men like me, turned off at first for lack of health. We meet the strain sadly in this little town; we have done the best we could on the river, sir, in fitting out your frigate, but you must reflect upon our situation."
The captain could not resist a comprehensive glance at the richly furnished table and stately dining-room of his host, and there was not a man who saw it who did not flush with resentment.
"We are poorly off for stores," he said bitterly, "and nothing takes down the courage of a seaman like poor fare. I found to-day that we had only thirty gallons of spirits for the whole crew." At which melancholy information Major Haggens's kind heart could not forbear a groan.
General Goodwin waved his hand and took his turn to speak with much dignity.
"This is the first time that we have all been guests at this hospitable board in many long weeks," he announced gravely. "There is no doubt about the propriety of republican simplicity, or our readiness to submit to it, though our ancient Berwick traditions have taught us otherwise. But I see reason to agree with our friend and former townsman, Judge Sullivan, who lately answered John Adams for his upbraiding of President Hancock's generous way of doing things. He insists that such open hospitality is to be praised when consistent with the means of the host, and that when the people are anxious and depressed it is important to the public cheerfulness."
"'T is true. James Sullivan is right," said Major Haggens; "we are not at Poverty's back door either. You will still find a glass of decent wine in every gentleman's house in old Barvick and a mug of honest cider by every farmer's fireside. We may lack foreign luxuries, but we can well sustain ourselves. This summer has found many women active in the fields, where our men have dropped the hoe to take their old swords again that were busy in the earlier wars."
"We have quelled the savage, but the wars of civilization are not less to be dreaded," said the good minister.
"War is but war," said Colonel Hamilton. "Let us drink to Peace, gentlemen!" and they all drank heartily; but Paul Jones looked startled; as if the war might really end without having served his own ambitions.
"Nature has made a hero of him," said the judge to his neighbor, as they saw and read the emotion of the captain's look. "Circumstances have now given him the command of men and a great opportunity. We shall see the result."
"Yet 't is a contemptible force of ship and men, to think of striking terror along the strong coasts of England," observed Mr. Hill to the parson, who answered him with sympathy; and the talk broke up and was only between man and man, while the chief thought of every one was upon the venison, - a fine saddle that had come down the week before from the north country about the Saco intervales.
"A little nation, but made great by liberty": The source of this quotation has not been located; assistance is welcome.
[ Back ]
Parliament at Westminster: Since the 18th Century, the English Parliament, gathering at the halls of parliament in Westminster, London, had co-ruled the nation with the king or queen.
[ Back ]
Bunker's Hill .. Lexington: In the American Revolutionary battle of Bunker Hill -- actually fought at Breed's Hill in June 1775 --, even though American forces were driven from the hill, their fierce resistance prevented the British from breaking the American siege of Boston. The battles of Concord and Lexington (Massachusetts) of April 1775 were the first serious engagements of the American Revolution.
[ Back ]
my classmates at Cambridge arrived at college: Now Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass., the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The college was founded in 1636 to train young men for the ministry, and this continued to be an important mission well into the 19th Century.
[ Back ]
Don Quixote speaks of the Church, the Sea, and the Court: In Don Quixote (1605), Book 4, Chapter 12, Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) writes: "There is an old proverb in this our Spain, in mine own opinion very true (as ordinarily all proverbs are, being certain brief sentences collected out of long and discreet experiences), and it is this, 'The Church, the Sea, or the Court.' The meaning is, that whosoever would become wealthy, or worthy, must either follow the Church, haunt the seas by exercising the trade of merchandises, or get him a place of service and entertainment in the king's house; for men say that 'A king's crumb is more worth than a lord's loaf.'" (Research: Gabe Heller).
[ Back ]
pious stock as made Connecticut and the settlements of Massachusetts Bay: Both of these American colonies were settled in the 17th Century by Puritans, followers of Calvinist theology and dissenters from the Church of England.
[ Back ]
Norman and Saxon: See Jewett's book, The Story of the Normans (1887) for her work on Normans and Saxons, the two peoples who contested for control of England at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
[ Back ]
fighting and praying Huguenot blood: Huguenots was the name for French Protestants in the period 1560-1629. In these years, Protestantism had ambiguous status in an officially Roman Catholic country, where Protestantism still became favored by many powerful people. As the number of Protestants rapidly increased, Catholics became fearful and conflicts were frequent. The Encarta Encyclopedia says: "The religious hatred was intensified by political rivalry between the house of Valois, then in possession of the French throne, and the house of Guise. Catherine de Médicis, widow of Henry II, who governed in the name of her son, King Charles IX, at times allied herself with the Huguenots for political reasons, but generally sided against them. The Huguenots were persecuted severely in Charles's reign, and they in turn made reprisals upon the Roman Catholics. Finally, open civil war broke out. Between 1562 and 1598 eight bitter wars were fought between French Roman Catholics and Protestants."
Jewett has constructed what appears to be a thoroughly fictional heritage for Tilly Haggens. See Extended Notes on People.
[ Back ]
Christian Huyghens, author of Cosmotheoros: Christian Huyghens, also Christian Huygens or Christiaan Huyghens, (1629-1695) was a Dutch astronomer, mathematician, and physicist. His Cosmotheoros appeared in 1698. (Research: Gabe Heller).
[ Back ]
flower-de-luce: symbol of France
[ Back ]
born a Guinea prince: Guinea, in West Africa, was one source of American slaves.
[ Back ]
Queen Anne's time: The reign of Queen Anne of England was 1702-1714.
[ Back ]
Boston Common: Boston Common is a 48 acre tract originally reserved in 1634 as pasture and training field.
[ Back ]
the Earl of Halifax tavern in Portsmouth ... Mr. Benjamin Thompson of old Rumford:
See Portsmouth in People and Places for the tavern and Parade and Ben Thompson.
[ Back ]
Earl of Halifax Tavern (Stavers House)
William Pitt Tavern (formerly Earl of Halifax)
Strawbery Banke Museum
Photo by Terry Heller, 2003
"He that is not for us is against us": See Matthew 12:30.
[ Back ]
"There was an old farmer went to the elders to get his tokens for the Sacrament.... 'What's your view of Adam?':
Adam is the first man in the Genesis account of creation; Genesis 3 recounts "the fall," by which humanity lost its intimate relationship with God.
In 18th-century Scotland a communion token was "a simple metal ticket which permitted the holder to partake of Communion in the Church of Scotland and other Presbyterian Churches. The Communion Service was a special occasion, held perhaps only once or twice a year. Shortly before the Sacrament was celebrated individuals were examined by the minister to ensure that they understood and practised the basics of their religion and led good lives. If found worthy, they were given a token which admitted one to the Sacrament." (Research: Gabe Heller; source: http://www.hunterian.gla.ac.uk/coins/CommunionTokens/communion.html).
[ Back ]
halters round our necks: According to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, Benjamin Franklin, at the signing of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
[ Back ]
East India Company is in terrible difficulties ... warehouses in London are crammed to bursting with the tea ... lift the tax: The East India company was set up in 1600 by Queen Victoria and a number of merchants to challenge the Dutch East India Company. It was the only company that had the right to trade between England and the East Indies for nearly a century, from 1600 until 1694, and as such was the only legal source of Asian tea for the British Empire during that time. Later it took over by force the governmental workings of India, which it handed over the the British crown starting in 1834.
In 1770 the British parliament removed many taxes placed on items sold to the American colonies. The King saw to it that a 3% tax remained on tea, against the wishes of his parliament. This fueled anti-British sentiment in the American colonies and made boycotting of
tea a political statement. Sales of East India tea to the American colonies dropped sharply. In 1773, the British parliament removed the tax from the colonies, but took action against illegal tea imports by allowing only authorized Company agents to sell tea. This further offended American colonials. In response, 50 members of the "Sons of Liberty," some dressed as Indians, boarded a vessel carrying tea and dumped it into Boston harbor, drawing further attention to the boycott. See Chapter 29 notes for "Sons of Liberty." (Research: Gabe Heller).
[ Back ]
Ranger is crank built ... sails are but coarse hessings ... rotten red-oak knees for the frame: Crank, from German for weak or sick, means that the ship is poorly built, likely to behave poorly at sea. S. E. Morison points out that in this case, it meant that the ship tended to lean over too far with the wind, making it difficult to fire cannon accurately when under sail (118). Probably "hessings" refers to the hessian weave of the sails. This is more or less burlap, coarse and loosely woven, not especially suited for sail-cloth. Red-oak knees are knobby parts of the oak that stick out at the base and rot easily in the damp, inappropriate wood for a ship frame. (Research: Gabe Heller). See also the notes to The Diary of Ezra Green, where Captain Jones complains of the Ranger's deficiency of sail and S. E. Morison (106-11). Jones remedied some of these problems upon arriving in Nantes (Morison 118-9).
[ Back ]
Saco intervales: "Intervales" is an archaic, mainly New England usage, indicating the area around this town.
[ Back ]