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Letter from David Barclay


Cheapside, (London,) January 16, 1775.

The Printer of the London Evening Post is desired to insert the following, being that part of a letter from Leeds which was read, on the fourth instant, at the meeting of the North American Merchants, at the King' s Arms Tavern, viz:

"Leeds, December 28, 1774.

"The unhappy differences betwixt Great Britain and America throws the Merchants in this country into great inconveniences, and the Manufacturers into great distress: there are now a great many Cloth Dressers in this Town out of employ, and a much greater number of Cloth Makers, such as Carders, Spinners and Weavers, in the country adjacent. The poor' s rate, at Dewsbury is already got up to eight Shillings in the Pound; and at Batley, Heckmondwick, and the other Towns thereabouts, the poor' s rate are nearly as much; and it is my firm belief that if the Trade to America is shut up until this time twelve months, all the rents of the lands and houses in the above Townships will not be sufficient to support the poor alone. I wish our Rulers, who are at the head of affairs, could spare a day to visit a few of the poor cottagers, and see for themselves the manner in which they live, their poor diet, their wan looks, their ragged clothing, their starved children, it might be a better guide for them, in the ordering of affairs, than their always being in London, and seeing nothing but affluence and plenty; but as this, I fear, is not likely to be the case, and as this country now feels the bad effects of the stop to America, if any thing can be done to obtain redress, it is a pity but it was done. If the Merchants of London petition Parliament for a repeal of those Acts that are the cause of the difference, the Merchants and Manufacturers of this country will be glad to join in a petition to the like import, provided the Merchants in London should think it necessary; for the people at this distance cannot so well judge what is expedient as you that are upon the spot. I therefore could wish we had the direction of the Merchants, in London, what to do; for, if there is the least prospect of doing good, our endeavours should not be wanting."

I have wrote to the author of the above, desiring that he will avow the contents to the Mayor and the rest of the gentlemen who signed the letter from Leeds, dated the 9th of January, 1775.