Thomas Young, born in 1731, was a family physician of John Adams and also one of the most enthusiastic and radical leaders of the patriots. He was actively involved in all major revolutionary activities in Boston between 1766 and 1774, except … the Boston Tea Party. His inclusion in the most commonly used lists of participants is arguably an error. According to a report by a British government informant that described what was happening at the Old South Meeting House during the time when the destruction of tea occurred, Mr. Young was addressing the crowd with a speech about the medicinal risks of drinking tea. It is likely that this speech was a distraction meant to help the Tea Party organizers by keeping the crowd in the Meeting House while the tea was being destroyed. So even though Mr. Young did not empty the tea chests himself, he is considered to be one of the active organizers of the Boston Tea Party. Despite his role in the American Revolution, participation in the Continental Congress, and the political work after the revolution, Mr. Young’s place in history books is less prominent. Perhaps one of the reasons is that he was not a native of Massachusetts and only arrived to Boston in 1765 after the Stamp Act protests, or because his religious views did not match his fellow patriots views of the time. In 1774, he left Boston in fear that his family would be targeted by British soldiers. Mr. Young was not an atheist as some sources indicate, but a deist, a person whose worldview embraces a philosophy of natural religion, denying interference by a Creator with the laws of the universe. He was one of the close associates of Samuel Adams. Adams, himself a deeply religious man, nevertheless defended Young’s right unorthodox opinions and stated that it was Young’s politics, not his religious opinions, that mattered. Young was known to pursue his ideas with great optimism and enthusiasm. One of such ideas was that legislatures should meet in buildings like theaters so popular audiences could give them immediate feedback on their decisions. Young was involved in the post revolution nation building and successfully suggested names for several. He died in England with his family in 1777.
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