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Portrait of a Woman in SilkHidden Histories of the British Atlantic World$
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Zara Anishanslin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300197051

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300197051.001.0001

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Unraveling Empire

(p.297) 16. 1763
Portrait of a Woman in Silk

Zara Anishanslin

Yale University Press

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.

Keywords:   silk industry, silk weavers, Spitalfields, silk production, protests, John Wilkes

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