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Address of the Gentlemen



Address of the Gentlemen, Clergy, Clothiers, and other Tradesmen, of the Towns and neighbourhood of Bradford, Trowbridge, and Melksham, in the County of Wiltst transmitted to the Earl of Suffolk, one of His Majesty' s principal Secretaries of State, by Philip James Gibbs, Esq˙, Thomas Johnson, Esq˙, and Paul Newman, Esq˙, and presented to His Majesty.

To the King' s Most Excellent Majesty.

Most Gracious Sovereign:

We, your Majesty' s dutiful and faithful subjects, the Gentlemen, Clergy, Clothiers, and other Tradesmen of the Towns and neighbourhood of Bradford, Trowbridge, and Melksham, in the County of Wilts, approach the throne at a season we think critical and alarming to the honour, peace, and welfare of our Country, to testify our affectionate attachment and loyalty to your Majesty' s person and Government, our sincere abhorrence of that rebellious spirit which has appeared among our American fellow-subjects, and our unfeigned sorrow for those inquietudes which, from humanity, and concern for the common welfare of your people, your royal mind must feel, on account of those unnatural and dangerous convulsions which at present rend the British Empire.

Though we declare ourselves steadfast friends to constitutional liberty, and disdain the imputation of appearing as abetters of oppression and slavery; though we wish our American fellow-subjects all that indulgence and encouragement, which justice to the rest of your Majesty' s people, and the common interest, safety, and welfare of the Empire will admit of; yet we cannot but condemn that uncandid and malignant spirit with which they have boldly imputed to the British Legislature odious and iniquitous designs against the just rights and liberties of your Majesty' s subjects; with intention to inflame the minds of your people here, and hurry them likewise into unnatural acts of violence; whilst we can perceive no ground for so black an imputation, but the Legislature' s endeavouring to protect the persons and properties of peaceable subjects from injury, to support order and Government, and to maintain its own constitutional authority. We cannot but condemn that want of equity which leads them to urge the advantages Great Britain derives from their commerce as a sufficient reason for their not being subjected to bear an equitable proportion in the publick burdens of the State, whilst, from the same commerce, themselves derive superiour advantages, according to their property employed in it, and their different ranks and conditions in life. We cannot but condemn their want of gratitude to their Parent Country, and of tenderness to their poorer fellow-subjects here, shown in the rash unwarrantable prohibition of all commerce with your Majesty' s European Dominions; by which they designed and hoped to deprive those of the means of subsistence, who, by the sweat of their brows had long contributed to the protection and prosperity of America; though we have the pleasure to assure your Majesty, we as yet feel no such melancholy effects of American ingratitude and unkindness, by any unusual


failure of demand for our manufactures, or of employment for our poor.

Ardently wishing for the speedy restoration of peace and harmony throughout the British Empire, upon an equitable and constitutional foundation, we at the same time think it our duty to assure your Majesty of our determined readiness to use any lawful means in our power to support the constitutional rights of your crown and of the British Parliament, in and over every part of the British Dominions; not doubting but that, from the purity of your Majesty' s intentions, and the benevolence of your heart, all desirable mercy will be mixed with any severity that will with deep regret be seen needful for accomplishing that important end.

That your Majesty may long reign with glory and honour, over a free, a united, a happy and grateful people; that your descendants, adorned with princely virtues, and friends to the rights and happiness of mankind, may inherit your crown to latest ages, is the fervent prayer of your Majesty' s dutiful and faithful subjects.