Massachusetts Freemasons Commemorate Boston Tea Party Connections
Hancock, Revere, and Warren Among Many Masonic Participants
The Massachusetts Freemasons will commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party by highlighting the unique and important connections between the fraternity and the events that took place on December 16, 1773. They will honor the anniversary with a series of programs taking place at their Boston headquarters and throughout downtown Boston during the weekend of December 15-17, 2023.
The Boston Tea Party was a political protest organized and executed by the Sons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty, as well as Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Boston Caucus, often met in the basement of the Green Dragon Tavern on Union Street (then known as Green Dragon Lane) in the North End. The Boston Tea Party was planned at the Green Dragon Tavern. Daniel Webster, the statesman and U.S. Secretary of State, claimed it was “the Headquarters of the Revolution”.
The Green Dragon Tavern was purchased by the Freemasons of The Lodge of Saint Andrew in 1764. Among the Sons of Liberty’s notable members who belonged to The Lodge of Saint Andrew were John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Joseph Warren. When the Boston Tea Party occurred, Warren was Grand Master of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge. Revere served as Grand Master between 1795 and 1797.
On December 16, 1773, The Lodge of Saint Andrew was scheduled to meet. The Lodge’s Secretary made a notation in their records (image right) that reads:
Lodge Closed (on account of the few Members present) untill tomorrow Evening.
In Howard Giles Unger’s 2011 book, American Tempest: How the Boston Tea Party Sparked a Revolution, he identified 21 Freemasons who participated, or who were believed to have participated, in the Boston Tea Party. Hancock and Warren are generally acknowledged as not having participated; however, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum have designated them as “Architects of the Boston Tea Party” as part of their Grave Marker Commemoration program.
Celebration and Commemoration
The Massachusetts Freemasons, in partnership with Revolution 250, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Dr. Joseph Warren Foundation, organized a series of events to commemorate and celebrate the anniversary of the Tea Party.
On Saturday, December 16, in the fraternity’s headquarters at the corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets, a revolutionary symposium will begin at 8:30 a.m. featuring a slate of historians and scholars speaking on topics such as:
- John Hancock: The Tea Act and the Boston Tea Party | Dr. Brooke Barbier
- Freemasonry Before the Revolution Gothic Hall | Walter Hunt
- How Freemasonry Shaped Paul Revere’s Revolutionary Role | Dr. Jayne Triber
- How Bostonians Learned to Talk About the Destruction of the Tea | J.L. Bell
- Tea: Consumption, Politics, and Revolution, 1773-1776 | Dr. James Fichter
- Teapot in a Tempest: The Boston Tea Party of 1773 | Dr. Ben Carp
Tours of the Freemasons’ historic building will be offered between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The tour culminates with a display of artifacts and memorabilia from their museum collection. Highlights of the exhibit include:
- Boston Tea Party Tea Leaves in Vial with Case and original label
- Green Dragon Sign with Bracket
- Paul Revere Equestrian Statuette (a study for the Revere statue in the North End)
At 5:00 p.m., more than 500 Freemasons will march from their building to the Old South Meeting House to join the reenactment of the Meeting of the Body of the People. From there they will join the “rolling rally” and process to the Harborwalk to watch the “destruction of the tea”.
Contact Robert Huke, Communications & Development Director at email@example.com or 617.426.6040 for additional information.