Petition of the “Female Inhabitents of … Woburn …”

In 1774, fifty-one ladies of Edenton, North Carolina, signed a resolution vowing to abstain from tea and refusing to purchase English goods in protest against Parliamentary taxes. See my post and the English cartoon on that subject.

I was intrigued to learn from Chris Hurley’s guest post on J. L. Bell’s excellent blog that fifty women from Woburn, Massachusetts, had committed to the same thing in 1775. But they went much further, asking the Provincial Congress to “encourage and promote our own Manufactories.” In order to do that, the petitioners asked for the imposition of an excise tax on the “spiritous liquors” so readily imbibed by men in taverns and “Tippling Houses,” to be used “by way of Bounty to those of us that shall produce the most and best Cloths & other Manufactures of various kinds.” Finally, they asked that a committee be named to judge the quality of the products so as to ensure that the best were subsidized.

What an amazing and thoughtful document! Including not only a determination to forgo luxuries but a plan to actively promote domestic manufactures by women, the money for materials coming from what was essentially a “sin” tax on the consumption of liquor by men. Notice, too, the numbers of women from the same families who signed the petition. See the original here. Thanks again to Chris Hurley.

posted April 30th, 2012 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Patriots, Resistance to British

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