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Old New Boston: A tea party 250 years later

February 24. 2013 8:34PM

People in tricorn hats and other colonial-era garb had a little tea party at the Whipple Free Library in New Boston last Monday. As far as reports go, no one seems to have been terrified or threatened.

New Boston's town charter was signed on Feb. 18, 1763, eight days after the Treaty of Paris ended the French and Indian War, the expense of which led King George III and Parliament to begin imposing a series of unpopular taxes on the American colonists.

The inhabitants of New Boston in its first 15 years as a town would have discussed, maybe even participated in, the tumultuous events of their time, some of which hit close to home. In 1765 Parliament passed the Stamp Act, followed the next year by the Declaratory Act and the next year by the Townshend Duties, all of which led to talk of rebellion. In 1772 in Weare, right next to New Boston, men accused of illegally cutting the king's trees attacked the sheriff and his deputy who had come to collect fines, beat them and sent them packing. This was a year before the Boston Tea Party.

Today, the "Molly Stark Cannon," captured at the Battle of Bennington in 1777 by Gen. John Stark's militiamen, some of whom were from New Boston, sits in town as a reminder of the town's heritage.

Since 2010, people dressing in tricorn hats and quoting the Founding Fathers have been mocked, ridiculed and vilified. Anyone wearing a tricorn hat and talking about having a tea party in the past few years has risked being called a radical, an extremist or even a danger to the country. Just imagine the reaction if someone from New Boston's celebration last week had been caught by the media quoting the Founding Fathers on individual liberty or natural rights.

As it happens, the tea time at the Whipple Free Library got no one put on a government watch list or labeled as an agent of a hate group, as far as we know, anyway. It's a lucky thing, too. After all, not far away sits a cannon still maintained by the New Boston Artillery Co. Whatever would the staff at MSNBC think?

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