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In 1767 the British Parliament passed the Townshend Acts. This set of Acts placed increased duties on British goods imported into the American Colonies. Although none of the Townshend Acts specifically named textiles and clothing as any of the items upon which an additional duty was to be placed, the women of the Colonies began a boycott of British cloth. Local groups of women began to organize themselves into chapters of Daughters of Liberty (as a counteropart to the men's Sons of Liberty). They encouraged all women in the Colonies to increase the production of their own homespun thread, yarn and woven cloth so that none would be purchased from Britain. Yarn and cloth were some of the primary materials women could produce, so their boycott of such materials made a strong statement to te British Parliament.
This song appeared in 1769 in the Boston Newsletter.
Young ladies in town, and those that live round, Let a friend at this season advise you;
Since money's so scarce, and times growing worse, Strange things may soon hap and surprise you.
First, then, throw aside your topknots of pride; Wear none but your own country linen;
Of economy boast, let your pride be the most To show clothes of your own make and spinning.
What if homespun they say is not quite so gay As brocades, yet be not in a passion,
For when once it is known this is much worn in town, One and all will cry out - 'Tis the fashion!
And, as one, all agree, that you'll not married be To such as will wear London factory,
But at first sight refuse, tell 'em such you will choose As encourage our own manufactory.
No more ribbons wear, nor in rich silks appear; Love your country much better than fine things
Begin without passion, 'twill soon be the fashion To grace your smooth locks with a twine string,
Throw aside your Bohea, and your Green Hyson tea, And all things with a new-fashion duty;
Procure a good store of the choice Labrador, For there'll soon be enough here to suit you.
These do without fear, and to all you'll appear, Fair, charming, true, lovely and clever;
Though the times remain darkish, young men may be sparkish, And love you much stronger than ever.
Then make yourselves easy, for no one will teaze ye, Nor tax you, if chancing to sneer,
At the sense-ridden tools, who think us all fools; But they'll find the reverse far and near.
Note: The midi file that is linked to this page was sequenced by John Renfro Davis, and included on his website, located at: http://www.contemplator.com/america