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Petition of the Planters of his Majesty' s Sugar Colonies


Upon reading the 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, whose names are thereunto subscribed, setting forth —

"That the Petitioners are exceedingly alarmed at an Agreement and Association entered into by the Congress held at the City of Philadelphia, in North America, on the 5th of September, 1774, whereby the Members thereof agreed and associated for themselves and the inhabitants of the several Provinces lying between Nova Scotia and Georgia, that from and after the first day of December, 1774, they would not import into British America any Molasses, Syrups, Paneles, Coffee, or Pimento, from the British Plantations; and that after the tenth day of September, 1775, if the Acts and the parts of Acts of the British Parliament therein mentioned, are not repealed, they would not directly or indirectly export any Merchandise or commodity whatsoever to the East Indies. And the Petitioners do most humbly represent, that the British property or stock vested in the West India Islands, amounts to upwards of thirty millions sterling; that a farther property of many millions is employed in the commerce created by the said Islands, a commerce comprehending Africa, the East Indies, and Europe; that the whole profits and produce of these capitals ultimately centre in Great Britain, and add to the national wealth, while the navigation necessary to all its branches establishes a strength which wealth can neither purchase nor balance; that the Sugar Plantations in the West Indies are subject to a greater variety of contingencies than many other species of property, from their necessary dependence or external support; and that therefore, should any interruption happen in the general system of their commerce, the great national stock thus vested and employed, must become unprofitable and precarious; that the profits arising from the present


state of the said Islands, and that are likely to arise from their future improvement, in a great measure depend on a free and reciprocal intercourse between them and the several Provinces of North America, from whence they are furnished with provisions and other supplies absolutely necessary for their support and the maintenance of their plantations; that the scarcity and high price in Great Britain and other, parts of Europe, of those articles of indispensable necessity, which they now derive from the middle Colonies of America, and the inadequate population in some parts of that Continent, with the distance, danger, and uncertainty of the navigation from others, forbid your Petitioners to hope for a supply in any degree proportionate to their wants; that if the first part of the said Agreement and Association for a Non-Importation, hath taken place and shall be continued, the same will be highly detrimental to the Sugar Colonies; and that if the second part of the said Agreement and Association for a Non-Exportation, shall be carried into execution, which the Petitioners do firmly believe will happen, unless the harmony that subsisted a few years ago between this Kingdom and the Provinces of America, to the infinite advantage of both, be restored, the Islands which are supplied with most of their subsistence from thence, will be reduced to the utmost distress, and the trade between all the Islands and this Kingdom will of course be obstructed, to the diminution of the publick Revenue, to the extreme injury of a great number of the Planters, and to the great prejudice of the Merchants, not only by the said obstruction, but also by the delay of payment of the principal and interest of an immense debt due from the former to the latter;" and therefore praying "That their Lordship will be pleased to take into their most serious consideration that great political system of the Colonies heretofore so very beneficial to the mother country and her Dependencies, and adopt such measures as to their Lordships, in their great wisdom, shall seem meet, to prevent the evils with which the Petitioners are threatened, and to preserve the intercourse between the West India Islands and the Northern Colonies, to the general harmony and lasting benefit of the whole British Empire; and that they may be heard by themselves, their Agents or Counsel, in support of their Petition."

It is ordered that the said Petition do lie on the table.



* It is thus in the Journal, but in the original petition it is West.

* It is thus both in the Journal and in the original Petition.