Primary tabs

Letter from Sir Matthew White Ridley to Mr. Grieve


Burlington-street, November 6, 1775.

SIR: I have received the petition and memorial, containing the opinion of many of the free burgesses, traders, and inhabitants of Newcastle, on the measures which have been pursued in the present unhappy situation of our affairs in America, expressing a general disapprobation of them. As I have had an opportunity of expressing my opinion upon them in Parliament, (for I presume those are the measures and advice alluded to,) to some of which I thought proper to give my assent, and opposition to others, it would not be a consistent part for me now to include the whole in one general censure; nor can I agree in the character attributed to the Americans, as to their gratitude and loyalty. I believe their warmest advocates will not deny that they are at present in arms against this Country — justifying their rebellion by a denial of the legislative authority of this Kingdom — obedience to which authority, I apprehend, is as much the duty of the Colonies as any other part of His Majesty' s Dominions. I should be extremely happy if their return to obedience and their duty could be effected by lenient measures, (which, I presume, by the tenor of the petition, though not expressed, are the means the petitioners would wish to have adopted.) From His Majesty' s mild and humane disposition, such measures, I am inclined to hope and believe, will be fully tried, before those of a more coercive nature are further pursued.

I shall not trouble you further than to say, that, for these reasons, I must decline signing and presenting the petition and memorial.

I am, Sir, your most humble servant,