Boston December 17, 1773
Ye Olde Uncle Foch Snooze’s Tavern and Whiskerarium
It’s Friday night and the place is packed full of men with too little deodorant and women with too much underwear. Our country is still in its larval stage at this point, but some themes that have stuck with us are readily apparent. Just common folks unwinding after a vicious pre-Revolutionary work week. The atmosphere is tense because of “George”, and his name is brought up quite a bit in both the “liberal” and “conservative” cliques.
Standing on a wooden table giving a speech we have powdery wig wearing Walter Walterson, a conservative in the acceptable definition for that era. Back then they had a different name, they were called Tories. Walter is ticked off what with all of the scruffy looking ne’er do wells rocking the boat by defying HIS beloved George. Intellectual snobs who thought themselves wiser than the king, they were. These riff raff were threatening the status quo that made the Colonies great and British.
“A man should be proud to have soldiers of the crown garrisoned in his house by order of his liege!” Walter announced as he hefted his tin flagon in the direction of a new bailey that was hastily constructed after the last riot. “It shows a special kind of regard for his subjects when his majesty bestows this honor, a special trust! We face the most deadly enemies in the history of our empire whatever inconveniences we must endure for our families’ safety should NOT concern us. Unless you have something to hide that is…..”
Uncle Foch Snooze’s was a Torie tavern after all, so Walt’s spontaneous declaration of crown loyalty and regurgitated propaganda was well met with a room full of “aye”s and similarly raised flagons. “We are the only true citizens of this land! And God has given our kingdom these colonies as a testament to the greatness of the British Empire!! Long live the king!”
Seamus Hannedy and William O’Reely, Walter’s Irish stable boy and manservant (respectively) jumped to their feet in support of their master’s words. Seamus, being the boldest but the dumbest of the two was first to add to the growing pep rally. “Here, here master! Oye gets tahrned in a bed whey whenever me hart thinksa nuttin boot tha king b’gosh I tell ye!” Awkward general silence eventually oozed into a state of equally awkward and confused sounds of accord as the crowd GUESSED he meant something ….well something good. The thing about Hannedy was that even HE didn’t know what was coming out of his mouth half the time. Top notch stable boy though…
The harbor was still a dark amber color from the escapades the night before. The local ruffians backed by their “Sons of Liberty” puppet masters had destroyed a precious cargo of British tea by dumping it overboard from the ships to the water below. The proud vessels Dartmouth and the newly arrived Beaver and Eleanour were violated and the livelihoods of Boston’s tea merchants were shamelessly inconvenienced. Those ships are the king's property, after all. The proud Dartmouth, graceful Eleanour, and yes even the king's precious Beaver were violated all night long by shabby men.
At first, everyone had said local Indians were responsible. One of them even had “I be an injun bloke” written in red paint on the back of his jacket to avoid any potential confusion. Clever ruse….these people were good. However the drunken boasts the next morning pointed to liberal scum, Alexander Hamilton, as the ring leader of these beastly men.
And that was the source of all the fuming and grumbling in the smoky recesses of Uncle Foch Snooze’s that cold Friday night. Resentment was growing, and it was beginning to fester in drinking establishments such as these. These upstart colonists who claim no loyalty to the great George are nothing more than traitors, scallywags, and “readers” in the hearts and minds of this establishment.
These Sons of Liberty were starting to spread their message of defiance throughout His Majesty’s colonies. And last night’s ruckus will serve as a recruiting tool for years to come unless they find a way to stem this tide of liberalism. The notion of a person being in charge of his own destiny and not subject to the king’s rule was laughable at best. If all men are created equal, then why are some men born king? Let their so called “free minds” chew on that one for a while!
Who did these barbarians think they were? After all, even after dumping all of that luxurious tea into the harbor, the soldiers and constables had to stop people from running into the dark Earl Grey surf with enormous crumpets clutched to their chests like boogie boards*. One unfortunate woman who succeeded in the stunt was heard to slur, “quite lovely” before succumbing to hypothermia and adding more chaos to the harbor’s surreal new biochemical makeup. So they were still English at heart after all and the tea was of impeccable quality. What a waste.
Walter continued his tirade. “It’s all these foreign influences, Catholics, Masons, and intellectuals that have taken us here! If we could just go back to being a white, English, Protestant, and well behaved little colony I’m certain all of this chaos will pass! We have mixed ourselves too closely with too many different kinds of people and we have become perilously close to….diversity!”
The simultaneous gasp of the entire tavern conveyed the brevity of his last statement. And Walter used the ensuing silent pause to gaze upon everyone assembled with a look that meant business, brow furrowed, nostrils flared, and talcum powder cascading like unholy snowflakes from his fake hair. Anger and irritation in the crowd were starting to give way to genuine dread and fear. Fear of being forced into accepting undesirable elements of humanity as “different” instead of the more comfortable “less than”. What next? A Catholic governor? Poor people owning land?
The assembled crowd was a cross section of the more wealthy and influential loyalists in the upper colonies. Walter had his riders send invitations to the gathering this morning after reading about the tea incident in the newspaper. There was no masking the paper’s liberal bias anymore as the headline simply read verbatim: “HA HA HA HA!” There were also several articles praising the qualities of this new black tar drink called “coffee”. Yeah, like that would ever take the place of a good cup of tea…..it’ll never catch on here.
“You’ve made your point, young Walterson!” wafted the wizened voice of Sir Cockton “Cock” Shaney. Sir Shaney always made it a point to be the voice of reason at these gatherings. No one was certain what exactly earned him his knighthood, but rumor had it that George and he were student and teacher once upon a time. There was a darkness to him that couldn’t be readily explained. All babies within twenty paces of him just start shrieking inconsolably. Whatever it was, Sir Shaney had a way of making even the hardest British redcoat scamper aside in fear whenever they crossed his path.
Shaney continued “Until this body accepts my last written proposal and acts on it, we shall all be listening to the same speech over and over again, just with different words. I painstakingly pointed out every detail required to make it come to fruition, I even provided visual aids to…”
“Cock!” Walter interrupted.
“Ah yes, you are referring to the written proposal you submitted by carving ‘just torture the bastards to death’ into your chair and using it to beat your chambermaid into a coma last Christmas party? The council has already deliberated, has made its decision, and stands by it. There were children in the same room for God’s sake, man! We respectfully ask that you lay that plan to rest, Sir, however appealing and intricate as it may seem to you.”
Karlton Rovington, the rotund fertilizer tycoon, used the uncomfortable silence to give his input. “The liberal elements in this country have us at a disadvantage on the following fronts: education, press bias, and these weird concepts called ‘facts’. Facts are these strange pieces of information that are supposedly not subject to the crown’s scrutiny or alteration. Here is one example of a supposed ‘fact’, if you jump in front of a running horse you will be hurt. Well what if you’re the king? Wouldn’t the horse either stop or be instantly transported to Hades for its insolence?”
“Oooh ya bet’cher arse this guy’s smart!!!” O’Reely piped in from the back. “Quiet taig!” barked Walter in response. He was also transfixed by the hardcore science his colleague was laying down. “Go on, Rovington, you have our attention.”
The tubby man’s sweat glistened like anointing oil as he continued. “Gladly! If we can defeat their facts, we have them dead to rights. And I am here to tell you that facts are easily killed with some simple formulas. Reason is always overpowered by emotion if that emotion can be tweaked far enough. For example let’s say we have one of these bleeding heart Sons of Liberty types giving another one of their soapbox speeches about how all ‘oppressed and subjugated’ we are. One of us can be there to yell ‘hey I noticed we haven’t been invaded by the Turks yet! I guess it’s a good thing our king keeps you safe enough to be able to make that speech huh?!? Let’s face it, gentlemen, no one wants the Turks invading!”
“The Turks…….my GOD, is that a possibility?!” This came from Willie Gibbsin whose lacquered beechwood wig moved as one unit when he raised his eyebrows at the thought of an imminent Turkish invasion. The same wooden wig probably saved him several nasty cuts after he then shrieked in a pitch that should have been way to high for a man and executed a flawless (but horizontal) triple corkscrew dive through the glass window next to him.
“No, no, no you idiots!! It’s NOT a possibility”, Rovington was trying to calm the quickly panicking room by speaking very loudly and slowly. “It couldn’t happen in a million years, and that’s my point! The common people don’t know that, in fact they know very little about the world beyond their farms and churches. We can say pretty much whatever we want to say, and if we say it with enough conviction, the people will believe the bloody sky is green!"
“But Rovington, you said yourself that we are at the disadvantage when it comes to education.” Walter chimed in, “the leaders of this rabble will know deceit when it’s this obvious, and its part of their agenda to make everyone just as educated as they are.”
“Which is why we must work to kill their ‘facts’ as efficiently as we can. We have to approach the common people as though we were ‘one of them’ and….”
“Eeeeewwwww! Seriously?” Screeched the Widow Coultain
“…and show them that being a good British subject is an obedient one by projecting a sense of superiority over these new ‘freedom huggers’. If they believe we are "just plain salts" like them, we can present our "view" as some kind of backwoods wisdom. We will attack their leaders personally by spreading enough misinformation to keep BOTH sides wondering who is telling the truth. We also need to start our own press works that churns out nothing but praise to the king and our point of view whilst ridiculing all others.”
“We can name it ‘FLOWERS’!!!” Someone in back screamed as though the word “eureka” should have preceded the sentence.
“We can name it after this tavern for all I care, the point is we need a method of steering the hearts and minds of this country back to what’s important: King, country, and working endless hours for us in complete servitude. And by the time we are done with them, we’ll have them thinking God just wants it that way!”
With that the entire tavern erupted into thunderous applause. Hope for a return to the “simpler times” seemed real and attainable. Plans were made and schemes were cooked to thwart this new enemy to the crown. This disgusting notion of “freedom” was about to become just another passing fad like “democracy” in ancient Greece or roller disco in twelfth century Venice*.
A consensus was taken and the first target they were going to focus on was Alexander Hamilton himself. Best to start the effort locally, and besides, it was time he paid for all that tea that was snatched from the king’s Beaver!