The New York Non-Importation Agreement was signed by 200 New York City merchants during the Stamp Act crisis of 1765, on October 31, the eve of the day the act was to begin. The Stamp Act taxed many items printed on paper such as newspapers, contracts, wills, diplomas, certificates, etc. Colonists were furious with the tax because they had no elected representatives in Parliament. This violated a longstanding British right that people should only be taxed by their elected representatives. The colonists protested in various ways, one of which was non-importation agreements. A non-importation agreement meant that merchants refused to import goods from Britain. This particular non-importation agreement was signed by 200 merchants from New York City. It was a model followed by merchants across the colonies. Eventually this created an enormous amount of pressure on British manufacturers who saw their sales slump. Many had to lay off large numbers of employees and some faced bankruptcy. These British merchants began to pressure Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act as well, even writing their own address to Parliament, a Letter from London merchants urging the Repeal of the Stamp Act. Parliament finally did repeal the Stamp Act on March 18, 1766. Learn more about the history of the Stamp Act or read the actual Stamp Act of 1765 text here. You can read the New York Non-Importation Agreement below.
At a general meeting of the merchants of the city of New York, trading to Great Britain, at the house of Mr. George Burns, of the said city, innholder, to consider what was necessary to be done in the present situation of affairs with respect to the Stamp Act, and the melancholy state of the North American commerce, so greatly restricted by the impositions and duties established by the late acts of trade, they came to the following resolutions, viz.
First. That in all orders they send out to Great Britain for goods or merchandise of any nature, kind, or quality whatsoever, usually imported from Great Britain, they will direct their correspondents not to ship them unless the Stamp Act be repealed. It is nevertheless agreed that all such merchants as are owners of and have vessels already gone, and now cleared out for Great Britain, shall be at liberty to bring back in them, on their own accounts, crates and casks of earthen ware, grindstones, pipes, and such other bulky articles as owners usually fill up their vessels with.
Secondly. It is further unanimously agreed that all orders already sent home, shall be countermanded by the very first conveyance; and the goods and merchandise thereby ordered, not to be sent unless upon the condition mentioned in the foregoing resolution.
Thirdly. It is further unanimously agreed that no merchant will vend any goods or merchandise sent upon commission from Great Britain that shall be shipped from thence after the first day of January next unless upon the condition mentioned in the first resolution.
Fourthly. It is further unanimously agreed that the foregoing resolutions shall be binding until the same are abrogated at a general meeting hereafter to be held for that purpose. In witness whereof we have hereunto respectively subscribed our names.
This was subscribed by upwards of two hundred principal merchants.
In consequence of the foregoing resolutions the retailers of goods of the city of New York subscribed a paper in the words following, viz.
We, the underwritten, retailers of goods, do hereby promise and oblige ourselves not to buy any goods, wares, or merchandises of any person or persons whatsoever that shall he shipped from Great Britain after the first day of January next unless the Stamp Act shall be repealed-as witness our hands.
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