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Seditious Cufflink Uncovered at Colonial Tavern in North Carolina

Monday, July 8, 2019

GREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA—According to a report in The Charlotte Observer, a small piece of pressed glass etched with the words “Wilkes and Liberty 45” has been discovered among the artifacts recovered from the site of an eighteenth-century tavern in Brunswick Town, which was destroyed by the British Army during the Revolutionary War. Charles Ewen of East Carolina University said the slogan referred to John Wilkes, an English pamphleteer who was critical of the government. Pamphlet 45 in particular argued that the King was not above reproach. “Brunswick Town was a hotbed of sedition, being among the first to oppose the Stamp Act, and what better place than a tavern to find confirmation of these sentiments?” Ewen said. Parts found with the jewel indicate that it was once part of a cufflink. Ewen thinks such cufflinks may have helped rebels recognize each other. “Maybe it was something under the radar,” he said. “They weren’t outright denouncing the government, but maybe wearing these cufflinks let you know who was on your side.” For more on the archaeology of the American Revolution, go to “Small Skirmish in the War for Freedom.”

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