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The American Revolution
British Reforms and Colonial Resistance
Violators of the Non-Importation Agreement, New York 1769

The colonists responded to the Townshend Duties on paper, paint, glass, and tea with a series of non-importation agreements. Similar to the actions taken to protest the Stamp Act several years before, non-importation was designed to adversely affect English merchants. The merchants, in turn, would again use their influence with the British government to repeal the duties. As you can imagine, non-importation hurt some colonists more than others. It was therefore difficult to get everyone to observe the agreements. What does this writer urge his fellow-colonists to do to prevent violations of New York's non-importation agreement?

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NEW-YORK, July 20th, 1769.

Of greater IMPORTANCE to the PUBLIC, than any which has yet appeared on the like Occasion.

IT was hoped that the odious Manner in which some late Violators of the Non-importation Agreement had been held up to the Public; would have prevented all others from following such detestable Examples.--But, it seems Advertisements alone will not do, and since it is found that no other bad Consequence has ensued from them, than the Loss of a little Reputation to those who have scarce any to lose, and that only with such as know how to estimate its Value: The Favour or Hatred of the Public begins to be a Matter of the most perfect Indifference.--We say begins to be; Because at first, when it was uncertain how such Advertisements would operate,--A certain Simeon Gooley, Haberdasher, Jeweller and Silversmith, a few Years since from London;--and who in that short Space of Time has benefited so much by the Favour of his Customers, as to enable him to purchase and live in a House of his own in this City, hard by the Merchant's Coffee-House; betrayed some Marks of Delicacy, and a Disposition to co-operate with his Fellow Citizens, in the Measures thought necessary to be persued for the Recovery and Preservation of their common inestimable Rights and Liberties.--As the said Simeon Cooley, having been found amongst the first who had imported Goods, contrary to the Agreement aforesaid, pretended they had been sent for, and expected to have arrived here long before the Agreement took Place--This, and his consenting with seeming Cheerfulness, to put the Goods in Store, which was actually done, saved his Credit at that Time; and to unsuspicious were the Committee of his knavith Jesuitical Intentions and so desirous of granting him every reasonable Indulgence; that, on his remonstrating to them, that his Goods would be entirely spoiled, unless they were opened and well cleaned; they readily consented to it, on his solemn Promise of returning them again after that was done, into the Store, there to lie as stipulated by the Agreement aforesaid.--The vile Ingrate however, took the Advantage of the Lenity and Credulity of the Committee, and availed himself, Judas like, as it has since appeared, of his fair Pretences in order to get Possession of his Goods, and to avoid the bad Consequences then apprehended, if taken without Consent.--But he has since plucked up fresh Courage, thrown off the Mask entirely, and now boldly bids them and all their Adherents, Defiance.--For--having lately imported other Goods in the Edward, the last Ship from London he hesitates not to declare, that he has not at any Time with-held his Orders for Goods, that he has already sold Part of those so treacherously and fraudulently obtained out of the Public Store, as before mentioned, that he will continue to sell the Remainder, together with those which arrived since, and all such as may arrive hereafter; any Thing contained in the aforesaid Non-importation Agreement contrary thereto notwithstanding.

If therefore the virtuous Inhabitants of this Colony do not by their spirited and patriotic Conduct, for which they have been so signally conspicuous on all former Occasions, give the expected Weight to this Advertisement, by properly resenting the insidious and contemptuous Machinations of the said Simeon Cooley, by forbearing either to buy of, fell to, or have the least Intercourse with him on any Pretence whatsoever--they may bid adieu to their Agreement, and the Salutary Effects expected, and which most infallibly will be derived from it, it strictly adhered to.--Shall then so contemptible a Reptile and Miscreant as the said Simeon Cooley, be suffered to baffle or defeat the united virtuous Efforts, in the Support of so righteous a Cause, not only of this City, but of the whole Continent?--God forbid!--"Better that all such miserable depraved Wretches were crushed to Atoms, than the Safety of the most inconsiderable Town endangered."

And as the Behaviour of the said Simeon Cooley has been by much the most insolent, impertinent, and daring of any former Transgressor; the blackest of them having been brought to a Sense of his Crime, a public Confession of it, a servent Supplication of Forgiveness, and a Promise never to be guilty of the like Offence,--so it is highly necessary that the Punishment of the said Simeon Cooley should be equally exemplary; and that he be treated on all Occasions, and by all legal Means as an Enemy to his Country, a Post to Society, and a vile Disturber of the Peace, Police, and good Order of this City.

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