The Chestertown Tea Party

By | May 23, 2013

Many are talking about the Tea Party who are in protest of the taxes as well as the size and policies of some of the Governments and Politicians of the United States, however this is about an annual non political Tea Party that is in memory of Revolutionary Times.

During the 18th century the Maryland Eastern Shore town of Chestertown was a major seagoing port. The port town on the Chester River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, joined others in the cause to protest against King George III of Great Britain when asked to pay what they felt was unreasonable taxes.

In the Spring of 1774, just a few months after citizens of Boston dressed as Indians dumped a load of tea into the Boston Harbor, the town of Chestertown brought forward a list of grievances now known as the “Chestertown Resolves”.

Legend has it that on May 23, 1774 townsmen boarded the Geddes, a trade ship with a load of tea, and openly dump the tea into the Chester River. While the ‘Resolves’ are a part of record, there isn’t any primary evidence that the event occurred. It wasn’t until the local newspaper published a story from oral history in the late 19th century that the event was first record.

Since the mid 1970’s the town of Chestertown has held an annual Tea Party Festival on Memorial Day weekend. The highlight of the weekend is an reenactment of the protest against the British. Thousands come to the town each year to get a taste of the 18th century.

Whether or not it’s a legend or the truth, Chestertown did join in the protests that helped form a new, independent nation. And as much as the 19th century fountain in the town’s central park, its Colonial and Victorian Homes, and Washington College, the tea party has become a part of the town’s history.

Full text of the Chestertown Resolves:
Chestertown Resolves
1st- RESOLVED, that we acknowledge his majesty George III, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, to be our rightful and lawful sovereign to whom we owe and promise all dutiful allegiance and submission.

2nd – RESOLVED, that no duty or taxes can constitutionally be opposed on us, but by our own consent given personally, or by our own representatives.

3rd – RESOLVED, that the act of the British parliament of the 7th of George III, chapter 46, subjecting the colonies to a duty on tea, for the purpose of raising revenue in America, is unconstitutional, oppressive and calculated to enslave the Americas.

4th – RESOLVED, therefore, that whoever shall import, or in any way aid or assist in importing, or introducing from any part of Great Britain, or any other place whatsoever, into this town or country, any tea subject to the payment of a duty imposed by the aforesaid act of Parliament: or whoever shall willingly and knowingly sell, buy or consume, in any way assist with the sale, purchase or consumption of any tea imported as aforesaid subject to a duty, he or they, shall be stigmatized as enemies to the liberties of America.

5th – RESOLVED, that we will not only steadily adhere to the foregoing resolves, but will endeavor to excite our worthy neighbors to a like patriotic conduct, and to whoever, amongst, shall refuse his concurrence, or after complying, shall desert the cause, and knowingly deviate from the true spirit and meaning of these our resolutions, w will mark him out and inimical to the liberties of America, and unworthy member of the community, ad a person not deserving our notice our regard.

6th – RESOLVED, that the foregoing resolves be printed, that our brothers in the and other colonies may now our sentiments as therein contained.

Signed by order of the Committee, W Wright, Clerk

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Information about the Chestertown Tea Party Festival can be found at www.chestertownteaparty.com


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