This famed act of American colonial defiance served as a protest against taxation. Seeking to boost the troubled East India Company, British Parliament adjusted import duties with the passage of the Tea Act in 1773. While consignees in Charleston, New York, and Philadelphia rejected tea shipments, merchants in Boston refused to concede to Patriot pressure. On the night of December 16, 1773, Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships in the Boston harbor and threw 342 chests of tea overboard. This resulted in the passage of the punitive Coercive Acts in 1774 and pushed the two sides closer to war.