While preparing a lecture on the Boston Tea Party 1773 — What Really Happened — for the Lewiston Auburn Senior College winter series, I discovered an interesting side note.
John Hancock was a merchant with his hands in shipping and banking that made him one of the wealthiest men in the colonies. A key element in the Hancock business plan was to never pay a tax or customs duty he could avoid. History books use other descriptions for him, but he was a world-class smuggler.
Several years prior to the Boston Tea Party, customs officials in the port of Boston were physically intimidated from inspecting one of Hancock's ships and they called for help. The Royal Navy sent a 50-gun battleship that moored beside and seized Hancock's ship. The name of the warship — the HMS Romney.
How ironic that the name Romney would be on the side of "big government" and the instrument of enforcing onerous regulations.
Robert Bowyer, Auburn