The year was 1765 and the British Parliament was in need of revenue to offset the costs of newly acquired territories in the Americas. Following the French and Indian War, the Treaty of Paris in 1763 had ceded all of the land east of the Mississippi and Canada to Britain and it now required numerous troops to secure these territories. In an effort to raise funds in the American colonies, Parliament enacted the Stamp Act in 1765, which imposed a tax on all paper goods.
In the previous year the Sugar Act of 1764 had caused a stir, and there were rumblings of “No taxation without representation,” referring to the fact that there were no representatives from the colonies in Parliament. Following the Stamp Act, those rumblings increased greatly in volume. In response a small group formed in Boston. The “Sons of Liberty” at first put pressure on those in charge of enforcing the Stamp Act, sometimes with violence. By the end of the year the movement had grown and had a presence throughout the colonies.Â
The Quartering Act caused even more strife. It shifted the cost burden of quartering troops who were returning from western posts following the French and Indian War to posts near eastern cities, as well as fresh troops who were being brought in to keep the colonies protected. The Americans viewed this infusion of troops with suspicion and weren’t too happy with the prospect of the additional financial burden this would put on colonial assemblies.
Across the ocean in the British Isles, folks there weren’t too crazy about taxes either. To avoid paying duties on imported spirits, tea, and other commodities, there was a thriving smuggling trade. In the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man offered a central jumping off point for duty-free goods that could then be smuggled into England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. To help curb these activities, Britain purchased the Isle of Man from the Duke of Atholl in 1765.
In the Auvergne and South Dordogne areas of France in the years surrounding 1765, the people lived in fear of “La BÃªte” or the Beast of GÃ©vaudan. This wolf-like creature, thought by some to be a werewolf, killed more than a sixty people.