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Ruth of Boston by  James Otis

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FINE CLOTHING FORBIDDEN

AND yet we did not spend all our time complaining one to another lest on the morrow we should be hungry, and in proof of this I am minded to set down here that which I have copied from the law made in our town four years after we came across from Charlestown:

[97] "That no person, either man or woman, shall hereafter make or buy any apparel, either woolen, or silk, or linen with any lace on it, silver, gold, or thread, under the penalty of forfeiture of said cloths. Also that no person, either man or woman, shall make or buy any slashed cloths, other than one slash in each sleeve, and another in the back; also all cut-works, embroideries, or needle-work, capbands, and rails are forbidden hereafter to be made and worn under the aforesaid penalty; also all gold and silver girdles, hatbands, belts, ruffs, beaver hats are prohibited to be bought and worn hereafter."

Mother says it is because of our people having given themselves up to vanity that the Lord laid His hand heavily upon us by cutting off the harvest, and yet it seems to me, although I question not that which she has said, that the good God would never punish all our people for the sin which a few committed.

Yet, perhaps, there were more than a few who committed the sin, else why should it have been that our wise men felt it necessary to forbid fanciful dress, as they did in this law which I have set down?


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