March 18, 1766 – Stamp Act Repeal
Passed the prior March 22, the Stamp Act caused widespread protests, violence and a complete boycott of British trade in the colonies. The boycott caused massive disruption in London trade and gave England and America their first taste of the colonies’ growing economic power. The Stamp Act repeal was March 18, 1766. lt was a huge success for America and an even bigger failure for Parliament. This brilliant cartoon “The Repeal-or the Funeral Procession for Miss Americ-Stamp” was printed in London and became a bestseller. It’s very complex, but here’s an explanation of some of the elements. The printer, Benjamin Wilson, was a friend of Franklin’s and sent him a personal copy.
Over the tomb are two skulls with the dates 1715 and 1745 – the dates of uprisings by Jacobites (believed the King’s authority came from God rather than the Parliament). Dr. William Scott who authored a series of letters in support of the stamp act, leads the procession. A little dog pees on his leg. Lord Grenville, author of the Stamp Act carries the coffin. Other supporters of the act, who voted against its repeal, follow.
Three ships, bearing the names of the MPs who lead the repeal (Conway, Rockingham, Grafton) are being loaded up with goods to be shipped to America now that trade has resumed.
On the right, in front of the warehouses (it’s a bit hard to see) a crate labeled “Statue of Mr. Pitt” (a strong supporter of the Colonies) is being lowered into a boat with the number 250, the number of votes in Parliament in favor of the repeal. The statue was ordered by Charleston, SC, where I think it still stands today!
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