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Peggy Stewart and her Cargo

The Peggy Stewart and her Cargo of Tea, October 19, 1774. Nevertheless, some merchants in the colony attempted to evade the non-importation agreement. On October 15, 1774, the brig Peggy Stewart, with a cargo of tea for Williams & Co., entered the harbor of Annapolis, and the owner of the vessel, Mr. Anthony Stewart, a member of the non-importation society, paid the duty. This so incensed the people of Anne Arundel County that some of the more violent among them proposed to tar and feather Mr. Stewart, although he had already publicly apologized and confessed that he had done wrong.

He and Joseph and James Williams, the owners of the tea, signed a paper acknowledging that they had insulted the people of the colony by their conduct and promising not only never to repeat the offense but also to burn all the seventeen packages of tea. This, however, was not enough to satisfy the people.

Major Warfield called the members of his club around him and, mounting their horses, they rode to Annapolis. They wore these words on their hats, "Liberty or Death," They rode in broad daylight with no disguises, through the country from the uplands of what are now Howard and Montgomery Counties, down through the lowlands of Anne Arundel into Annapolis, and to the front of the residence of Mr. Stewart.

Captain Hobbs, who was one of the party, has handed down the account of Major Warfield's actions and words. " Drawing them in line before the house he called on Mr. Stewart to accept one of two propositions:  'You must either go with me and apply the torch to your own vessel or hang before your own door.' " His manner of expression, though courteous, carried the conviction that it would be safer to accept the former alternative.

Accordingly, on October 19, four days after her arrival, the Peggy Stewart was run aground on Windmill Point where Stewart himself set fire to her, and she with her cargo was burned to the water's edge.

Major Warfield stood beside Mr. Stewart when he applied the torch.

Peggy Stewart House ~ Annapolis

Maryland AHGP


Source: History of Maryland, by L. Magruder Passano, Wm. J.C. Dulany Company, 1901.


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