“That as the Manufactury of Woolens in these Colonies tho’ rapidly advancing may not furnish an immediate supply of clothing, it would be for the interest of the Inhabitants to go into the practice of wearing leathern waistcoats and breeches as far as may be consistent with the convenience and necessities of Individuals and that the Members of this Congress should set the example. And that it be earnestly recommended to all dealers in skins to sell them at the usual price and not take advantage of any additional demand for that article which may happen.”
I am charmed! By the now-antiquated language, by the idea that Congress should set a national example by wearing more leather, and by the hopeful entreaty to “dealers in skins” not to jack up prices too much.
This recommendation was part of a series of resolutions coming out of an Oct. 2, 1775 report from a committee on trade. Much of the discussion on Oct. 13 dwelt on aspects of importation and exportation, including a directive that no livestock should be exported, except horses, and that livestock should not be transported on water except on rivers, bays, or sounds. (In other words, internally, not out at sea where the British navy could capture them–by my interpretation, anyway.)
Curious about what else the Continental Congress was up to in 1775? The Library of Congress has records of Congressional journals in their various forms through 1875. You could peruse them all afternoon, or you could think about the consequences of such a directive today–your member of Congress in a leather vest and breeches!
(A quick search didn’t turn up a satisfactory image of the Congress in 1775–all the paintings seem to focus on George Washington or on the Declaration of Independence, both absent from Congress on this day in 1775–though this one could have made the cut. Instead, enjoy a Muppet rendition of Congress, also not in 1775.)