“Young Ladies in Town”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1769 (in the "Boston Newsletter")
Keywords: clothes patriotic commerce
Found in: US


"Young ladies in town, and those that live 'round, Wear none but your own country linen." Homemade clothes may not be as grand, but it avoids sending money to Britain. The ladies are advised that the young men will love them all the same


After the end of the Seven Years' War, the British government had been determined to make the American colonies pay for the troops stationed there. The first attempt had been Grenville's Stamp Act -- which was so hated and so unjust that it had to be repealed almost instantly.

But England still needed the money. George III had tried to form a more reasonable government by bringing in William Pitt the Elder (1708-1778). But Pitt almost immediately was incapacitated, leaving the government in the hands of the inexperienced Duke of Grafton (1735-1811; he became Prime Minister in 1766) and Charles Townshend (1725-1767), Chancellor of the Exchequer and the government's primary representative in the House of Commons.

Assessments of Townshend vary; Don Cook, in _The Long Fuse_, for instance, calls him a "loose cannon" and accuses him of setting his own interests ahead of the state's (p. 115) an says he "figured out nearly every way he could incite troubles with the Americans." On the flip side, he made major improvements in the administration of Ireland; a balanced assessment would say that he did both harm and good.

But, with respect to colonial relations, the Townshend Acts were a disaster. They were not as onerous as the Stamp Act, but they were definitely burdensome. Had the Stamp Act not come first, the colonists might have grumbled but complained. But the Stamp Act had precipitated opposition, and the Townshend Acts caused more grumbling -- the more so since, as with the Stamp Act, the colonies had not been consulted.

Townshend did not live to see the effects of his unfortunate measure, dying almost at once. The duties would be repealed in 1770. - RBW

Historical references

Cross references


  1. Scott-BoA, pp. 57-58, "Young Ladies in Town" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. BI, SBoA057