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Meeting of the Merchants, Traders, and others, in London


London, February 7, 1775.

At a respectable meeting, yesterday, of the Merchants, Traders, and others, concerned in the American Commerce, Mr˙ Lane took the Chair at one o' clock, and Mr˙ Baker informed the company, that, agreeable to their instructions at the last meeting, the second Petition had been presented to the House of Commons, and a motion made thereon to rescind the order of Monday, the 23d of January, which had referred the first Petition to the Committee; that, after a long debate, the House refused to receive the motion, and the Petition was ordered to lie on the table; that, under this circumstance, the Committee had no alternative but to be heard before that ineffectual Committee, or to waive appearing at the bar; and being of opinion the latter was the most manly conduct, they resolved to desire one of the Committee to deliver the following Declaration, which Mr˙ Wooldridge accordingly complied with, viz: "I am


directed by the Committee of Merchants, Traders, and others, of the City of London, concerned in the Commerce of America, to represent to this Honourable Committee, that Merchants revealing at this bar the state of their affairs, is a measure which all the world wish to avoid, unless upon such great occasions as the present, when the publick weal is evidently at stake, when their duty as good subjects requires it of them; but when the mode of examination is such as totally precludes them from answering the great publick object, (which in their opinion is clearly the case at present,) they beg leave humbly to signify, that they waive appearing before the Committee which has been appointed, and that the Merchants are not under any apprehensions respecting their American debts, unless the means of remittance should be cut off by measures that may be adopted in Great Britain."

That the Committee, trusting in the propriety of the measure, and it being, in point of time, not in their power to take the sense of a general meeting, they hoped for the general approbation. He added that their Petitions were not withdrawn, or placed in any more favourable situation than when they were presented. He made some judicious and pertinent remarks on Lord North' s motion on Friday last, and observed that the Americans ought to expect something more than indulgence, as expressed in the motion, when they were contending only for their just rights and unalienable privileges.

The proceedings of the Committee being generally approved, a motion was made and seconded to return them thanks for their conduct therein, and to Mr˙ Wooldridge, for his firm and manly conduct at the bar.

Mr˙ Baker then intimated that it was the opinion of the Committee that a Petition should be presented to the House of Lords, and a motion was accordingly made, and unanimously agreed to, "that it is the opinion of this meeting that, in the present alarming situation of American affairs, the Right Honourable the House of Lords should be petitioned forthwith."

The draft of a Petition was then presented and read, the substance of which is, "first, stating the very great consequence of the American Commerce to these Kingdoms, and how It had been injured by the operations of Parliament; secondly, soliciting redress from them, as the hereditary guardians of the Nation; and, lastly, praying the petitioners may be heard by counsel at the bar of the House previous to their Lordships' having any conference with the House of Commons on that subject."

This Petition, after being read three times, was unanimously approved of; it was ordered that it should be presented this day, as soon as the House of Lords should sit.