"Let us unanimously lay aside foreign Superfluities": Textile Production and British Colonial Identity in the 1760s
- Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 19, Number 1, Winter 2021
- pp. 138-165
- Additional Information
T. H. Breen's The Marketplace of Revolution reshaped Revolutionary War scholarship by arguing that protesting British taxes on material goods both galvanized and united colonists from multiple backgrounds. Essays published in Rhode Island's Newport Mercury demonstrate, however, that arguments in favor of home textile production in the British North American colonies were not confined solely to protesting colonists. The months leading up to the Stamp Act crisis in 1765 saw twenty such articles by colonists who would identify as Loyalists during the Revolutionary War; the years following the Stamp Act crisis saw twenty-three articles by colonists who would identify as Patriots arguing in favor of home textile production in Rhode Island. The Second Calico Act in 1721 had stated that residents of the British Isles could only purchase British-made textiles, but that American colonists were to be encouraged to purchase imported fabrics from India. The break caused by the American Revolution would come in time, but for the moment, Rhode Island colonists were eager to claim their right to the privileges and protections of British subjecthood through their identities as textile-producing Britons.