Selling Empire and the 1760s Textile Debate

Today’s post is part of our series marking the 75th anniversary of the Omohundro Institute by exploring the OI books that have had an impact on a scholar’s life. by Abby Chandler This particular story begins at the Newport Historical Society in the summer of 2005. I had just completed the first year of a doctoral program which would result in a dissertation on sexual misconduct trials in colonial New England and my first book, Law and Sexual Misconduct in New England, 1650-1750: Steering Toward England. I was in Rhode Island because I was interning at the NHS and my supervisor had asked me to create a first person interpretive program for a Loyalist named Martin Howard who had lived in their Wanton-Lyman-Hazard house. Among his multiple endeavors, in 1764 Howard helped found an organization known as the Newport Junto, whose members who supported the expansion of the British Empire in the mid-eighteenth century by advocating for a wide range of political causes and interests. They believed the solution for Rhode Island’s bitter partisan politics was for Rhode Island to become a royal colony instead of a chartered colony. They supported the Sugar and Stamp Acts. They published a long series of letters signed by O.Z. in the Newport Mercury in 1764 and 1765 campaigning for home textile production in Rhode Island. Read More

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