Prelude to the 'Boston Tea Party', 2 December 1773The charter granted by Charles II to the 'Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies' paved the way for the East India Company to become a government in all but name. In India it issued its own currency and maintained its own army.This mock calling card, issued in Philadelphia, is a response to the attempt by the British Government to off-load the Company's massive tea surplus in America under the Tea Act. The writer expresses a marked preference for coffee and self-government. The Tea Act hastened the American War of Independence and led to the so-called 'Boston Tea Party'. Previously the colonies had been free to import tea from other countries. They were therefore able to avoid the duty of 3d per pound-weight. In protest at this legal imposition a gang of around 50 men, disguised as native Americans, boarded East India Company ships on 16 December 1773 and emptied 300 chests of tea into the water.