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Account of the transactions at a Meeting of the Freeholders of the County of Middlesex



Account of the transactions at the Meeting, at Mile End, of the Freeholders of the County of Middlesex, on the 26th of September, 1774.

At twelve o' clock about forty Freeholders were assembled, who had paid each one shilling for admittance. They now began to come in faster, and several gentlemen refused to pay the admittance money. At this instant the two Sheriffs arrived, and a contest arose about paying the previous shilling, which at length subsided on the Sheriffs agreeing to give ten guineas for the use of the room, and those gentlemen who had paid received their money again, and the doors were thrown open. About one o' clock the Sheriffs took the chair, and Mr˙ Sheriff Sayre having apologized for the obstruction that had happened, which arose from a misunderstanding between the Under Sheriff and the master of the house, the business began.

Mr˙ Sayre, in a very handsome speech, reminded the Freeholders of the very important occasion of their being assembled; he expatiated on the rights and privileges of Englishmen, and hoped they would, while they were yet at liberty to assemble, nominate such men for their Representatives in Parliament as would be zealous to transmit their rights to the latest posterity.

Mr˙ Sheriff Lee then desired leave to read a letter which intimated the wish of several gentlemen to know whether persons possessed of freeholds in London had a right to vote as freeholders of Middlesex, and requesting that the question might be agitated at the Mile End Meeting; but no person in company avowing the latter, the matter subsided.

A Freeholder now moved that the gentlemen to be returned as proper persons to represent the county in Parliament, should sign a declaration to the following effect: That they would endeavour to obtain Acts for shortening the duration of Parliament; for limiting the number of placemen and pensioners, &c˙; and to procure the repeal of the Quebec Act; the Boston Port Bill; the Bill for the administration of justice in the Province of the Massachusetts, and the Bill to subject persons offending in America to be brought to England for trial.

Mr˙ Sawbridge proposed, in addition hereto, that the Candidates should also sign a general declaration of their principles as being founded on those of the Revolution. After some debate, the last article was put separately, and when it had appeared that it was the general sense of the Freeholders that this article should make part of the declaration to be signed by the candidates, a gentleman objected to the proceedings as irregular, insisting that the other part of the proceedings should have been first proposed. This occasioned some hesitation, till Mr˙ Sawbridge set the company right by informing them that it was a rule in the House of Commons, when any question was proposed, and an amendment afterwards offered, to submit the amendment first, and then the whole question as amended. The whole conditions were, therefore, now submitted to the opinions of the Freeholders, which, with only seven dissenting hands, were, that the candidates should sign a declaration to the purport above mentioned.

Mr˙ Wilkes declared his perfect willingness to sign the paper, and said that Mr˙ Glynn had seen all of it but the proposed amendment, which he was likewise willing to sign. There seemed to be no doubt of Mr˙ Glynn' s equal readiness to sign the declaration respecting the Revolution principles; and it was proposed, first the name of each candidate separately, and then both together, "That John Wilkes and John Glynn, Esquires, be proper persons to


represent this county in Parliament, on condition of their signing the above mentioned obligation;" to which all hands, except about five, readily assented with the loudest plaudits.