Parker, James (fl. 1766) Examination of Doctor Benjamin Franklin, before an August Assembly, relating to the Repeal of the Stamp-Act, &c.
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Records Franklin's testimony before the House of Commons concerning American grievances about the Stamp Act, internal levies, the debts from the French and Indian War, costs and origins of that war, American manufactures, and American sentiments towards Britain and Parliament. Among the questions and answers are: "Q. What used to be the pride of Americans? / A. To indulge in the fashions and manufactures of Great-Britain. / Q. What now is their pride? / A. To wear their old cloaths over again, till they can make new ones." Copyright and libel laws prohibited any indication of the "august assembly" being identified as the House of Commons. James Parker was the publisher of this pamphlet.
His is one of the most remarkable success stories in American history. The eighteenth child of a Boston candlemaker and soapmaker, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was apprenticed to his brother, a printer, but ran away. As a publisher in Philadelphia, he was so successful that he was able to retire at the age of 42 and devote the rest of his life to science and politics.
While serving in England as a representative of the colonies of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Georgia, Franklin promoted the idea of American liberties and testified against the Stamp Act. He had been out of touch with sentiment in the colonies, and in his testimony before Parliament, Franklin suggested that the colonists objected only to direct taxes, not to duties placed on imported goods. His testimony helped to secure the repeal of the Stamp Act and greatly enhanced his reputation both in England and America.
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