Friday, June 8, 2012

The Committe for Tarring and Feathering

To Captain Ayres,
Of the Ship POLLY, on a voyage from London to Philadelphia.


We are informed that you have, imprudently, taken Charge of a Quantity of Tea, which has been sent out by the India Company, under the Auspices of the Ministry, as a Trial of American Virtue and Resolution.

Now, as your Cargo, on your arrival here, will most assuredly bring you into hot water; and as  you are perhaps a Stranger to these parts, we have concluded to advise you that of the present Situation of Affairs in Philadelphia --- that, taking Time by the Forelock, you may stop short in your dangerous Errand --- secure your ship against the Rafts of combustible Matter which may be set on Fire, and turned loose against her; and, more than all this, that you may preserve your own Person, from the Pitch and Feathers that are prepared for you.

In the first Place, we must tell you, that the Pennsylvanians are, to a Man, passionately fond of Freedom, the Birthright of Americans; and that at all events are determined to enjoy it.

That they sincerely believe, no Power on the Face of the Earth has a Right to tax them without their Consent.

That in their Opinion, the Tea in your Custody is designed by the Ministry to enforce such a Tax, which they will undoubtedly oppose; and in so doing give you every possible Obstruction.

We are nominated to a very disagreeable, but necessary Service --- To our Care are committed all Offenders against the Rights of America, and hapless is he, whose evil Destiny has doomed him to suffer at our Hands.

You are sent out out on a diabolical Service, and if you are so foolish and obstinate as to complete your Voyage, by bringing your Ship to Anchor in this Port,  you may run such a gauntlet, as will induce you to, in your last Moments, most heartily to curse those who have made you the Dupe of their Avarice and Ambition.

What think you, Captain, of a Halter around your neck --- ten Gallons off liquid Tar decanted on your Pate --- with the Feathers of a dozen wild Geese laid over that to enliven your Appearance?

Only think seriously of this --- and fly to the Place from whence you came ---fly without Hesitation --- without the Formality of a Protest --- and above all, Captain Ayres, let us advise you to fly without the wild Geese Feathers.

Your Friends to serve,


A copy of this 1773 broadside is being sold by Sotheby's in New York, with an expected price of around $20,000.

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