Revolution in Charleston: 1769 Boycott of Imported British Goods

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The South Carolina Gazette advertising British imported goods in a paper dated November 21, 1774. Photography: Kyle Brown. All Rights Reserved. The revenue acts enacted by the British government on the American colonies, namely the Townshend Acts of 1767, did not affect the merchants of Charles-Town equally. Taxes were felt more harshly by smaller merchants and planters. As a result, local merchants took the initiative to form the Non-Importation Association at Charles-Town. But the boycott was not united.Collectively, resentment towards Britain and the revenue acts did not materialize until 1769. Charles-Town, and the broader South Carolina, lacked cohesiveness in the revolt against the tax laws.[1] Artisans and planters were in support of the boycotts, but the merchants were indifferent. A merchant named Christopher...

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Charles Town’s First Tea Party: December 3, 1773

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Tea caddy, England (attributed), c.1830. Made from mahogany and mahogany veneers with paper-lined interior compartments. Courtesy of the Charleston Museum, copyright 2016 By the 1770’s, tea trading was a vital industry in colonial America. Parliament’s Townshend Duties tax began to put a strain on the colonists’ use of tea as a source of income. When parliament ruled to repeal the Townshend duties, it was with the exception of the tax on tea.Shortly thereafter, the major colonies altered their previous non-importation agreements against the Townshend duties to apply strictly to tea (Charles Town on December 13, 1770). In the Fall of 1773, hostilities between the East India Company and the colonists reached a point where the colonists resorted to tea-smuggling, with...

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Colonial American tea caddies, teapots, and tea accessories

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Tea box and tea caddies, China, c.1835, Chinese lacquered box with pewter inserts. Courtesy of The Charleston Museum, Copyright 2016 On a colonial American tea table, one would find an assortment of the following tea accoutrements—the teapot, tea cosy, tea urn, tea samovar, tea kettle, tea caddies, tea spoons, teapoy, tea table, infuser, tea strainer, tea butler, tea services, slop bowl, sugar bowl, sugar tongs, teaspoons, hot water jug, creamer, teacups and saucers, mote spoon, muffiner, cake stand, butter knife, bread-and-butter plate, pastry fork, clotted cream bowl and spoon, jam jar and spoon, and lemon fork.[1] When a young colonist began serving tea, it was important to acquire these necessary accessories as one entered adulthood, to be fully respected in society. The...

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Tea as a measure of social status in colonial times

Posted by Darren Hartford on


Middleton Place, Charleston, SC Beginning in the 1690’s, preparing, serving, and drinking tea was a ceremonial act that was woven into the daily life of the more wealthy colonists. For those who could afford the luxurious tea, much pride was found in performing a dignified tea service on each occasion.[1] The host or hostess who prepared and served the tea followed a process that included specific manners and equipment. As accompaniment, the colonists brewed tea with equipment that added to the appraisal of their social status. A tea canister was used to store the dry tea leaves; these canisters could be bought in sets to match the likes of the other tea equipment and equipage. Some tea canisters had a lid...

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