The calendar said winter had yet to arrive in Boston, but the icy wind testified to the contrary. Fifes and drums coaxed a crowd into the meetinghouse, where Samuel Adams’s fiery rhetoric against the hated tea tax melted away the chill. Boots stomped upon the wooden floor planks. Hands pounded the pews. The audience expressed its disgust for the Crown’s tyranny by unleashing the 18th-century expletive: “Fie!” Soon the frenzied horde began to chant, “Dump the tea into the sea!”
With the rabble sufficiently roused, the angry mob was set loose upon the city — just as soon as we filed out of the rows in an orderly fashion. It wasn’t Dec. 16, 1773, but just another day at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, which reopened in June near the Griffin’s Wharf location where patriots boarded three ships and heaved 342 crates of tea into Boston Harbor.