The First Opposition to the Tea Act in New York


The site was the location of the first coffeehouse in colonial New York City, The King's Arms which opened under the ownership of Lieutenant John Hutchins in 1696. It stood on the west side of Broadway between Crown (now Liberty) Street and Little Queen (now Cedar) Street.

Published, Sept 6, 1773

On September 6, 1773, the Tea Act was printed in the New-York Gazette, along with the news that 600 chests of Company tea were already en-route to the colonies. The city was outraged; the Tea Act was a flagrant extension of the Indemnity Act* because it granted the Company more power over the colonies' supply of goods. By building government-granted East India outposts, colonists must rely on their supply and price of goods of the Company.

Demonstrated, Nov 5, 1773

Summoned by the Sons of Liberty, a huge crowd assembled outside the coffee house to denounce the Tea Act, and agents of the East India Trading Company who were handling cargoes of dutied tea. It was perhaps the first public demonstration in opposition to the Tea Act in the American colonies.

Signed, Dec 15, 1773

On December 15, 1773, two-hundred New York merchants, lawyers, artisans, and other businessmen signed a petition against the importation of any Company tea. The petition boldly proclaimed "execution of that Act, involves our slavery, and would sap the foundation of our freedom, whereby we should become slaves to our brethren...born to no greater stock of freedom than the Americans-the merchants and inhabitants of this city, in conjunction with the merchants and inhabitants of the ancient American colonies, entered into an agreement to decline a part of their commerce with Great Britain, until the above-mentioned Act should be totally repealed.”

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