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Petition from the Inhabitants


On the 13th of May, his Excellency the Governor ordered the following Petition, with several Papers relative to the imprisonment of Mr˙ John Conolly, by the Officers of Pennsylvania, while he was acting as a Magistrate under the authority of this Government, to be laid before the House of Burgesses.

To his Excellency JOHN Earl of DUNMORE, his Majesty' s Lieutenant and Governor General of the Colony and Dominion of VIRGINIA, and Vice Admiral of the same, and the Honorable the COUNCIL and HOUSE OF BURGESSES,

The Petition of the Inhabitants settled on the Waters of the OHIO showeth:

That the major part of your Petitioners have formerly lived in his Majesty' s Colony of Virginia, and preferring the mild, easy, and equitable Government thereof, to the


expensive administration of justice in Pennsylvania, which, being a limited and Proprietary Government, hath extended an unlimited, and (as we think) illegal jurisdiction over his Majesty' s subjects, settled many miles west of their bounds, which is oppressive to the poor, and burthensome to all, particularly in trying titles to land, and in recovery of small debts, wherein their officers' fees are so disproportioned that they seem rather calculated for enriching individuals than the public good; their practising attornies being left at liberty to exact such fees as they may choose, in all land trials, and will not plead against their jurisdiction, however far west it may be extended. Officers of Government being generally at the disposal of the Proprietaries' Governor, who will neither appoint nor continue any but those who adhere strictly to their master' s interest, however contrary to the good of the settlers, his Majesty' s subjects; add to this, a heavy Provincial tax, which they likewise exact, a great part thereof being swallowed up by the officers who lay and collect the same, to the great grievance of the subject.

From the aforesaid several grievances, and the farther ill provided defence of the country in cases of emergency, we humbly conceive our lives and properties in imminent danger, from our contiguity to the faithless and barbarous natives, whose treaties, alliance, and sincerity, are never to be relied on, as well as a hearty conviction that the present Government is usurped.

We humbly entreat your Lordship and Council, and the Honorable House of Burgesses, to make such provision for us, in our present distressed situation, as to you shall seem meet; and your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.

Signed by 587 Inhabitants.