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Saturday, April 10, 2010

M. Elahi, Letter- Boston Tea Party was about representation, not taxation per se

To: "Letters to the Editor"
Cc: bhepburn@thestar.ca

Subject: Boston Tea Party was about representation, not taxation per se


The EditorThe Toronto Star

Boston Tea Party was about representation, not taxation per se Re "Sarah Palin and Tea Party anger in Canada," by Bob Hepburn (April 8).

While Sarah Palin and the so-called Tea Party group are railing agaist taxation, they fail to realize that the rallying cry of the American Revolution was: "Taxation without representation is tyranny," not taxation is tyranny.

This is why the Boston Tea Party took place after the repeal of the Stamp Duty. It may be recalled that when on April 12, 1770 British Parliament repealed the Stamp Duty, many Americans were not happy.

In many leading urban areas of America, obscure political hacks such as Sam Adams of Boston had achieved public renown for the first time in their lives by denouncing the threat of British tyranny from the moment of the Stamp Act. No new dish of outrage from Britain meant lean days or bad home-cooking. As time passed, the stature of politicians whose popularity depended upon British tyranny diminsihed progressively. They despaired for their future.

Then in 1773, Parliament passed a legislation with American implications. In the course of regulating the affairs of the East India Comany, the House of Commons legislated some provisions that would make British tea, legitimately imported, cheaper and therefore competitive with that smuggled into the colonies from Holland. It lowered the duties on British tea.

So-called Patriots like Sam Adams interpreted cheap tea as a means to seduce the Sons of Liberty (as they called themselves) into subjugation. They saw in it a British design to undermine American liberty. Adams and his followers decided to "venture upon a desperate remedy" to prevent the tea from being landed.

On December 16, 1773, one hundred and fifty Sons of Liberty disguised as Indians boarded three ships in Boston harbor and "in very little time," according to Sam Adams, "every one of the teas was immersed in the bay, without the least injury to private property."

Of course, the East India Company regarded their tea as private property of some value. In fact, by their accounting, 10,000 pound worth of private property had been wantonly and publicly destroyed, leading to a chain of events triggering the so-called American War of Independence.

If Britain allowed the colonies to raise their own taxes, no revolution would have taken place and America, like Canada, would have peacefully evolved as an independent nation. In fact, if the Americans didn't revolt, the British colonies in North America would have formed one continental federation within the British Commonwealth. By not addressing the issue of representation, Britain missed the point.

The rabid anti-tax groups both in the U.S. and Canada need to be reminded that the Boston Tea Party was about represntation and not about taxation per se. In fact, the Boston Tea Party took place after the Stamp Duty was revoked and the duty on tea reduced.

They may also be reminded that U.S. President Barack Obama has been elected by a majority of American voters while Sarah Palin has been rejected in the last presidential race. As such, she doesn't represent the majority of Americans.

MAHMOOD ELAHI
Ottawa.

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