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Petition of Joseph Barrell


The Petition of Joseph Barrell, for himself and others, was read, and ordered to be filed. The Petition is as follows, viz:

"To the Honourable Provincial Congress, now sitting at WATERTOWN:

"The Petition of JOSEPH BARRELL, late of BOSTON, humbly sheweth:

"That in the fire in Boston, which began in the soldiers' Barracks on the evening of the 17th of May last, his store, together with his effects, to a very considerable amount, were consumed.

"Your petitioner humbly apprehends that this loss is entirely owing to the present unhappy times, occasioned by the cruel oppression of the British Administration; as, at the general desire of the friends of the Country, he removed with his family from Boston, that scene of distress, and by the chicanery of General Gage, was prevented from carrying his effects with him, as he, with his distressed townsmen, were shamefully deceived by the fairest promises of a speedy removal, with their effects, without molestation, until the end of the capitulation on the side of the General was fully answered; and then they were insulted by the most cruel perversion of that comprehensive plain English word, effects, confining it to a few trifles, which, when suffered to depart, were clogged with such restrictions as will forever disgrace him. But notwithstanding all this, still your petitioner had been safe, in all probability, had not the General, by an order as extraordinary as new, secured from the inhabitants the fire-engines, and given the use of them to his Troops, whereby, as your petitioner is informed, it was a very considerable time before they were in use at all, and then conducted with such consummate ignorance as to be of no service, in which time the flames raged to that degree that no human help could prevent them. And your petitioner is further informed, that some of his effects saved from the fire by his friends, were afterwards destroyed by the savage order of the Officers of the Army.

"Whereupon, your petitioner humbly hopes that his case, together with the case of his fellow-sufferers, may, by this honourable Congress, be represented to the Grand Continental Congress, that they, in their great wisdom, may take


such measures as to them shall seem fit to alleviate their sufferings; and that what is thus destroyed in the general cause, may not fall so very heavy on any individual. And your petitioner, as in duty bound, shall ever pray, &c.


"June, 1775."