MYSTERY OF THE GREEN DRAGON TAVERN
AND THE BOSTON TEA PARTY
by Edward M. Gair, member Southern California Research
artist drew a picture of the Green Dragon Tavern. Below
it he wrote these words: "Where we met to Plan the
Consignment of a few Shiploads of Tea, Dec 16, 1773" In
the upper left hand corner of his drawing he put a
square and compass. To this day no one knows who planned
the Boston Tea Party.
had been purchased by the St. Andrews Lodge in 1764.
There was a square and compass over the front door and a
copper Dragon that had turned green through the weather.
It was a community center. Downstairs was the Tavern.
Upstairs was the St. Andrews Lodge and the Grand Lodge
of Massachusetts (Ancients). It was the largest place
for meetings in the north east end of Boston. Historians
have called it "headquarters of the American
Here the Boston
Committee of Correspondence was formed after a few
initial meetings at Brother Joseph Warren's house a few
doors away. Here the Sons of Liberty held secret
sessions. They wore a jewel around their necks and were
known to have a separate language for recognition. The
jewel had a picture of the Liberty Tree on it.
The North End
Caucus formed the guard here that publicly guarded the
tea ships so no tea could be unloaded. Brother Edward
Proctor (St. Andrews Lodge) was known to be leader of
this guard. Brother Paul Revere served with this guard.
Later Brother Paul Revere served in another guard called
the Selectmen who walked the streets of Boston, two by
two, and observed the movements of British troops before
he went off on his famous ride to Lexington. The
Selectmen guard met at the Green Dragon Tavern and took
an oath of secrecy over a Bible.
Warren, a 33 year old physician is the Grand Master of
the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts that meets upstairs.
Paul Revere is the Senior Grand Deacon. Both are Past
Masters of the St. Andrews Lodge. They are close friends
and had come to the St. Andrews Lodge in the same year.
It is Joseph Warren who sends Paul Revere to Lexington
with a coded message for Brother John Hancock (also of
St. Andrews Lodge).
Revere met at the Green Dragon Tavern with the North End
Caucus that sang the "Rally Mohawks" song. The song
tells us that Warren and Revere are there, but no one
ever tells us who the "Chiefs" are. And we'll never know
who the "Mohawks" are.
Rally, Mohawks - bring out your
And tell King George we'll pay no
taxes on his foreign tea!
His threats are vain - and vain to
think To force our girls and wives to drink His vile
Then rally boys, and hasten on
To meet our Chiefs at the Green
Our Warren's there, and bold
With hands to do and words to
cheer For Liberty and Laws!
Our country's "Braves" and firm
Shall ne'er be left by true
North-Enders, Fighting Freedom's cause!
Then rally boys and hasten on to
meet our Chiefs at the Green Dragon.
The "vile Bohea"
is another name for the tea of the East India Company.
It has been rotting in their warehouses in England. This
is cheap tea and the Company needs to get rid of it. The
British Parliament has given the East India Tea Company
a monopoly on tea. The Colonies are not supposed to buy
any other tea. Parliament has kept a tax on tea just to
prove that they have the power to tax. And taxation
without representation, along with a tea monopoly, is
On the night of
the Boston Tea Party there were men who called
themselves "Mohawks" and put lamp black and paint on
their faces as a disguise. Some of these "Mohawks" met
at the Green Dragon Tavern. Some met in homes. Some
wrapped themselves in blankets and sat in the balcony of
the Old South Meeting House mixing with the crowd. Some
came from the Edes Printing Office.
people stand on Griffin's wharf and watch the Boston Tea
Party. The crowd is silent as sixty men dump
pounds of tea into the salt water.
secret signs and countersigns for recognition.
A second raises
his hatchet and says, "Me know you."
The first then
counters by raising his hatchet and gives another "Ugh!"
In all that
crowd no one wanted to identify a "Mohawk." One man said
he would be a witness provided the trial would be 3,000
miles away in London. There never was a trial. Governor
Hutchinson wouldn't have a trial in Boston because he
thought the jury would turn out to be "Mohawks" or their
sympathizers. The "Mohawks" remain one of the mysteries
of the American Revolution.
leading up to the evening of the December 16th Tea Party
might shed a bit of light.
and Brother Revere meet at the Green Dragon Tavern to
publish the Resolution of the North End Caucus:
"To oppose the
vending of any tea sent by the East India Company . . .
with our lives and fortunes."
Molineux, a member of St. Andrews Lodge, acts as
spokesman for the Sons of Liberty. A notice was placed
on the Liberty Tree that the Consignees of the Tea were
to report and publicly resign their commissions as tea
agents for the East India Company. "Ignore this at your
peril." The Consignees do not appear. A crowd of 300
people follow Brother Molineux and Brother Warren to the
Customs House to confront the Consignees. The crowd
tears the doors off the hinges and Brother Molineux
confronts the Consignees. Will they resign as Consignees
so the tea ships can turn around and carry the tea back
to England? No. The Consignees would not resign. In fact
they then moved to Fort William under military
In New York,
Philadelphia and Charleston, the Consignees for the tea
had resigned their Commissions at the request of the
Sons of Liberty. Those tea ships had sailed back to
England with the tea.
There were no
Consignees to pay the tax and sign for the tea. But not
in Boston! Governor Hutchinson and his family were in
the tea business. Two of Governor Hutchinson's sons and
a son-in-law were Consignees. The Tea Act stated that if
the tea was not sold by December 17th, it could be
seized by the custom house and sold for nonpayment of
duties. Once the tea was in the Governor's hands, he
could dispose of it secretly to local merchants. No. The
Consignees would not resign. Steps had to be taken
before December 17th.
Committee of Selectmen try another approach to the
Governor and the Consignees. These Selectmen are leading
tradesmen in Boston. They are led by Brother John
Hancock, a member of the St. Andrews Lodge. He is the
richest man in New England. He is the Colonel of the
Governor's Cadet Corps. He has been given special orders
by the Governor to maintain order around the Tea Ships.
Also on the
Committee of Selectmen is Brother John Rowe. He is the
Grand Master of the St. John's Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts (Moderns). The St. John's Lodge meets
upstairs over the Bunch of Grapes Tavern and most of the
members are Tory in their sympathy. Brother Rowe is the
owner of one of the tea ships, the Eleanor. He has
promised to use his influence with the Governor to
return the tea ships and the tea to England.
It is a matter
of trade with the Selectmen and they use a different
meet to wait on the Consignees and request them from a
regard of their own characters and the peace and good
order of this Town and Province immediately to resign
Consignees still would not resign. History might have
been different if the Governor of Massachusetts had not
been in the tea trade.
The Tea Ship
Dartmouth arrives in Boston. The Committee of
Correspondence, led by Brother Joseph Warren,
distributes handbills calling for a Mass Town Meeting to
return the tea whence it came.
Tea shipped for this port by the East India Comnpany is
now arrived in this harbor. The Hour of Destruction on
manly Opposition to the Machinations of Tyranny stares
you in the face."
people gather and vote to return the tea ship. Brother
John Hancock acts as Moderator for the Town Meetings.
Revere starts his work as a guard on the tea ship to see
that the tea is not unloaded.
Records of the
St. Andrews Lodge indicate that the Lodge is adjourned
this night "on account of few Brethren present."
"Consignees of Tea took up the Brethren's time."
Time is running
out. Colonel John Hancock goes to the tea ships to
review the Governor's Cadet Corps. Both he and Brother
Warren had been Orators at the commemoration of those
who had died in the Boston Massacre.
were blaming the North End Caucus guard because they
would not let the Consignees unload the tea. The Caucus
had been guarding the tea at gun point and holding
secret sessions at the Green Dragon Tavern.
were blamed by both Tory and Patriot because they would
not withdraw and let the tea be returned to England.
goes to the Customs House with Francis Rotch, the owner
of the tea ship, Dartmouth. All exits to the harbor are
blocked. By law the Customs Officials cannot release the
ship unless the Consignees unload the tea and pay the
tax. On December 17th the Customs Officials are to seize
the tea according to the law.
visits Brother Rowe, owner of the tea ship, Eleanor.
These two Grand Masters hold a unique title in American
history for the Ancients and Moderns. Each were called
the "Grand Master of the Continent of America." They
meet in a concern for his "ship and cargo." Another
appeal must be made to the Governor.
The evening of
the famous Tea Party. The records of the St. Andrew
Lodge show that only five members were present. A note
says "Lodge closed on account of few members present."
of Correspondence with Brother Warren calls for a Mass
Town Meeting. Seven thousand people meet in and around
the Old South Meeting House. It is the largest crowd
that had ever assembled in Boston. They wait to hear a
message from Governor Hutchinson. Will he return the tea
away at Milton, the Governor meets with Francis Rotch,
the owner of the Dartmouth. Brother John Hancock and
Brother John Rowe help in the appeal to the Governor to
return the tea.
would not let the ships leave with the tea. It would be
contrary to the Customs law. Instead he would give the
Dartmouth military escort to Castle Island and Fort
Williams. There his sons would unload the tea and pay
the tax. The owner of the Dartmouth did not want to move
his ship under those circumstances of a 60-gun warship
owner returns to the crowded Old South Meeting Hall with
the news. He is asked two questions.
Will he take
the Dartmouth to England with the tea? No. It would mean
Would he unload
the tea at the wharf? No. He was "not authorized" to
ended and it was then that the "Mohawks" unloaded a
consignment of tea at Griffin's Wharf.
Cadet Corps stood far back from the crowd on the wharf.
The crews of
the tea ships went below and gave no assistance. Some of
them even helped unload the tea. The crowd observed a
silence. No damage was done to the ships. No tea was
kept by an individual.
The whole Tea
Party was in range of a 60-gun warship. The British
Admiral watched from the upstairs window of a house
"Mohawks" marched by under his window. The Admiral
opened the window and shouted, "Tomorrow you'll have to
pay the piper!"
Revere mounts his horse and carries the news to New
York. With that news a tea ship at New York turns around
and sails back to England with the tea. The news is
spread by the Committee of Correspondence. There are
over one hundred of these Committees in Massachusetts
alone. From the time of the Boston Tea Party the East
India Company sold no more tea in America.
Rowe calls the dumping of the tea "a disastrous affair"
in his diary. "I can truly say, I know nothing of the
matter, nor who were concerned with it. This might I
believe have been prevented. I am sincerely sorry for
the event." Brother Rowe was a Loyalist and he remains a
Attorney General placed Joseph Warren's name at the top
of a list of five. The charge would have been Treason
for the Boston Tea Party. There was a lack of evidence.
The Ministers never pressed charges.
This was not
the first time that Governor Hutchinson and his sons had
taken a loss in their tea trading. Just three years
before Brother William Molineux and Brother James Otis
(St. John's Lodge) led a crowd of a thousand patriots
from Faneuil Hall to confront the Hutchinsons. That time
there was a nonimportation agreement in Boston. It was
about to run out. His sons had been importing tea and
hiding it, waiting to make a profit. His sons
surrendered the tea and the money for the tea they had
already sold. The Hutchinsons didn't forget it. Nor did
the Sons of Liberty.
After the Tea
Party, Governor Hutchinson was withdrawn to London for
"consultation." The King and Ministry sent in General
Gage as a new military Governor and gave him "full
discretion" to find evidence for a trial of those
responsible for the Boston Tea Party. There was no trial
Franklin, a Grand Master of Pennsylvania, was in London
at the time. He called the Boston Tea Party "an act of
violent injustice." A group of London merchants wanted
to pay twice the value of the tea to keep trade open.
Franklin offered to pay for the tea himself.
mischief was the act of persons unknown, yet as probably
they cannot be found, or brought to answer for it, there
seems to be some reasonable claim on the society at
large in which it happened."
But no one ever
paid for the tea, because Parliament closed down the
port of Boston, cut off the trade, and sent in the
later Sir Winston Churchill - Prime Minister, Historian
and Freemason - commented on the act of Parliament that
had given the East India Company a monopoly on tea.
Brother Churchill called it "a stupid blunder."
been drinking coffee ever since. The English said that
the reason the Americans lost their taste for tea was
that they had a peculiar way of mixing it in the salt
It started in
the Green Dragon Tavern. If a man ordered tea, he was a
Tory. If he ordered coffee, he was a Patriot.
It is not
strange that no one could be found to identify the
"Mohawks." It was the same the year before in Rhode
Island. Some Patriots dressed as Indians attacked the
Gaspee in long boats. The British claimed that Brother
Abraham Whipple (St. John's Lodge, No. 1, Providence)
was the leader. They promised to hang him. Brother
Whipple said they would have to catch him first.
Washington, at age 22, was asked why he became a Mason.
He said it was because he found them to be "Leaders in
and the Old South Meeting House still stand in Boston.
The Green Dragon Tavern burned down years ago. The
heritage lives on in a picture made in 1773.
The artist had
the fortitude to sign his name to the words: "Where we
met to Plan the Consignment of a few Shiploads of Tea.
Dec 16, 1773."
If "Leaders in
the community" ever meet at the Green Dragon Tavern and
sing the "Rally Mohawks" song for a television show, let
them be sure that their makeup is on straight.
Paul Revere and Freemasonry Paul Revere Mernorial
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Freemasonry in American History Macoy Publishing, 1985
Roberts, Allen E.
Seekers of Truth Anchor Communications, 1988
Knollengerg, Bernhard Growth of
the American Revolution The Free Press, 1975
Miller, John C.
Origins of the American Revolution Stanford University
Lodge Stirling Royal Arch No.76 lectures page