Edenton Tea Party
The Edenton Tea Party was a political protest in Edenton, North Carolina, in response to the Tea Act, passed by the British Parliament in 1773. Inspired by the Boston Tea Party and the calls for tea boycotts and the resolutions of the first North Carolina Provincial Congress, 51 women, led by Penelope Barker, met on October 25, 1774, and signed a statement of protest vowing to give up tea and boycott other British products "until such time that all acts which tend to enslave our Native country shall be repealed."
Organized by women
The Edenton Tea Party was a landmark, not because of the stances taken—boycotts were common across the Thirteen Colonies—but because it was organized by women, who at this time were very much absent in politics, the Tea Party was one of the first instances of political action. Despite their usual absence at political gatherings, women played a significant role in the running of the household and were therefore crucial to boycott efforts instigated by men. Barker believed their action would be noteworthy in England and sent a copy of the declaration to the British press. She said at the time, “Maybe it has only been men who have protested the king up to now. That only means we women have taken too long to let our voices be heard. We are signing our names to a document, not hiding ourselves behind costumes like the men in Boston did at their tea party. The British will know who we are.”
While the reaction in England was mostly derogatory and dismissive (i.e. engraver Philip Dawe's satirical depiction of the event), in the colonies it inspired many others to take up the boycotts and their actions were praised by many patriots.The Edenton tea party had 50 women, or 51 including Penelope Barker. The Signers of the Declaration include: Abagail Charlton, Mary Blount, F. Johnstone, Elizabeth Creacy, Margaret Cathcart, Elizabeth Patterson, Anne Johnstone, Jane Wellwood, Margaret Pearson, Mary Woolard, Penelope Dawson, Sarah Beasley, Jean Blair, Susannah Vail, Grace Clayton, Elizabeth Vail, Frances Hall, Mary Jones, Mary Creacy, Anne Hall, Rebecca Bondfield, Ruth Benbury, Sarah Littlejohn, Sarah Howcott, Penelope Barker, Sarah Hoskins, Elizabeth P. Ormond, Mary Littledle, M. Payne, Sarah Valentine, Elizabeth Johnston, Elizabeth Crickett, Mary Bonner, Elizabeth Green, Lydia Bonner, Mary Ramsay, Sarah Howe, Anne Horniblow, Lydia Bennet, Mary Hunter, Marion Wells, Tresia Cunningham, Anne Anderson, Elizabeth Roberts, Sarah Mathews, Anne Haughton, and Elizabeth Beasly.
Unlike many famous documents from the American Revolution, the petition signed at the Edenton Tea Party survives only through British accounts. The text of the petition, and the list of signers, was printed in the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser on January 16, 1775.
The full text of the petition reads:
As we cannot be indifferent on any occasion that appears nearly to affect the peace and happiness of our country, and as it has been thought necessary, for the public good, to enter into several particular resolves by a meeting of Members deputed from the whole Province, it is a duty which we owe, not only to our near and dear connections who have concurred in them, but to ourselves who are essentially interested in their welfare, to do every thing as far as lies in our power to testify our sincere adherence to the same; and we do therefore accordingly subscribe this paper, as a witness of our fixed intention and solemn determination to do so.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2009-08-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Edenton Tea Party - North Carolina History Project". Northcarolinahistory.org. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
- "Penelope Barker". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
- "The Edenton "Tea Party" - North Carolina Digital History". Learnnc.org. Retrieved 8 November 2017.