This chapter discusses how both silk production and consumption revealed the florescence of empire but also hinted at its decay. In contemporaneous moments of protest surrounding parliamentary legislation after the Seven Years' War, silk weavers in London rioted and marched to petition the king for duties against continental silks, while Americans signed non-importation agreements and championed the wearing of homespun over English textiles. Although they protested different issues, both groups referenced the same ideological touchstones—like the rights of freeborn Englishmen to petition their grievances, and their support of English radical John Wilkes' (1725–97) criticizing the crown—as applicable to their own crises.
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