Primary tabs

Petition of the Planters of His Majesty' s Sugar Colonies residing in Great Britain


The Committee having agreed to confine their present Petition merely to the subject of the Bill depending in Parliament, reserving themselves for further application on other matters, so much only of the following Petition was presented to the House of Commons as related to the Bill.

To the Honourable the Commons of GREAT BRITAIN, in Parliament assembled.

The humble Petition of the Planters of His Majesty' s Sugar Colonies residing in GREAT BRITAIN, and of the Merchants of LONDON trading to the said Colonies:

Showeth, that your Petitioners having upon a former occasion stated and laid before this honourable House, with all the accuracy, precision and truth that were in us, the worth and value of His Majesty' s Sugar Colonies in the West-Indies, their national magnitude and importance to Great Britain, their situation as depending upon their sister Colonies in North-America, for the maintenance of property and support of life, our fears and apprehensions of dangers and distress, arising out of the unhappy disputes subsisting between Great Britain and America; we firmly trusted, if conciliation did not render it unnecessary that these substantial motives would have made us the objects of your consideration and attention.

That, in this state of things, at first positively bad, now comparatively worse, and soon, too soon, may he superlatively bad; again do we, your Petitioners, find ourselves obliged to return, to lay our grievances before you, and to implore that relief which justice pleads for, under innocent and unmerited sufferings.

That, fixed between two contending powers, to be abandoned by both, though tied to each by the closest bands of interest, of friendship, of blood; and to be left to beggary, nay, to famine, without a helping hand from either; what scene of piteous horror more can imagination form. And yet this frightful picture is our own.

That, thrust out from our natural channel, and stopped from that course of trade which immemorial usage had rendered habitual, and till now uninterrupted, it is not in us, but in your wisdom, to say what substitute must now take place, what manner of help may be had.

That suggestions of bounties on certain enumerated goods to be procured from Canada, Nova-Scotia, and the Floridas, have been made, as one probable mode of assistance; but, added to the vain hope of receiving any supplies from these Colonies, alas, sorry are we to think that our wants and necessities will afford bounties of a sufficient encouragement to them, and enough to fill even the unsparing hand of extortion itself.

That another idea has been entertained of obtaining a


market for the disposal of our rum; an idea, though very inadequate to our purposes, yet, as it promises some advantage, and is the only anchor of hope that remains with us, we wish to cherish, and to look towards you for its effects.

That the means that have been pointed out for effectuating this measure, are in two ways: either to stop the distillation of malt spirits here, and thus admit our rum to consumption in their room, with the general impost upon it, or by taking off the general impost, to enable us to sell it at so low a price, as by increasing thereby the consumption, the increased quantity imported might, in like proportion, find its vent.

That, amidst the flattering expectation that that application might meet a forward disposition in you to relieve, our hopes are at once blasted, and cut off by the bringing in of a bill "to prohibit all trade and intercourse with the Colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay," &c˙, by which we feel ourselves considered as objects of intended punishment, rather than as faithful subjects in need of protection.

That, when the American Congress adopted their Non-Importation and Non-Exportation Resolve, the fears naturally arising to us from thence were somewhat abated, by a reliance on our parts of a relaxation of theirs, at least with regard to us; but lest, happily foe us, this event might succeed, the present bill not only deprives us of the probability, but establishes the impossibility likewise.

That, as to the principle and general policy of the bill, these we leave to those whom they may concern; we confine ourselves merely to so much thereof as is afflicting to us.

Your Petitioners, therefore, most humbly pray, that upon this ground we may be allowed to be heard at your bar, by our agents and counsel, against the said bill, relying on your wisdom, goodness, justice, and mercy, not only for special relief in this instance, but for such other assistance as we have asked, and you can further give.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.