Touching History

Even after too many years to count being an archivist, I can still get a chill up my spine when I encounter certain documents. That happened this past month when I came across an admission of guilt by two men, Daniel Young and John Elderkin of Norwich, Connecticut. They admitted in June 1776 to the crime of selling Bohea tea for more than 3/4 of a dollar per pound, a price established by the Continental Congress. They acknowledged that their behavior was “Injurious to the Publick, and brings contempt upon the Congress and ought to be Detested by all who are well wishers to the American Cause.” By admitting their guilt, they were spared from “being held up to public view”. Sure, I have heard of the Boston Tea Party and the hated tea tax imposed by Great Britain, but this event, while perhaps less exciting than the Tea Party, happened right here in Connecticut. Decisions made by the Continental Congress had a direct impact on the lives of two men in Connecticut. Making all history local is what we always try to do here at CHS with documents just like this.

Statement of Guilt from the Norwich Town Papers.

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