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Extract of a Letter From a Merchant in London, to his Friend in Virginia, Dated April 26, 1775



We have petitioned the King, Lords, and Commons, on behalf of the Colonies, which has produced a promise to repeal the Tea Act, Boston Port Bill, and those of this Session of Parliament for restraining the Fishery and Trade of some of the Colonies, to Great Britain, Ireland, and the West-India Islands, provided your Assemblies will raise a Revenue, in their own mode, towards the support of Government, and to pay part of the interest, amounting to more than three-fourths of the value of all the exports to America, annually, for eleven years, ending at Christmas, 1773, of the heavy debt contracted the last war, which was begun in and carried on for the defence and protection of America. This, it is hoped, will restore harmony between all His Majesty' s subjects on both sides the Atlantick; and that the Resolve to forbear exporting the produce of the industrious Planter, will be expunged and buried in oblivion. If it should be strictly adhered to in the present form, I doubt the beneficial branch of your commerce in tobacco will, in a great measure, be lost to Virginia and Maryland, as that trade will be turned into other channels, and the markets will be plentifully supplied by the Holland, Flanders, German, Russian, and Turkey Merchants, as it grows plentifully in all those countries, and also in Florida, from whence some very good tobacco has been lately, imported, so that the revenues will not be diminished, and the revenge intended against Government will terminate in distressing, if not in the ruin, of the Planters and a few Merchants, there being only twenty-two houses in London who regularly send ships to import tobacco from Virginia and Maryland.

Having a little leisure time on my hands, I thought it expedient to lay these facts before you, knowing you can make a proper use of them, for the mutual interest of Great Britain and America. Peace cannot be restored by threats or hostilities, but may be easily obtained by treaty, which I most ardently wish for.

The Ship Catharine, Captain Potter, cleared out at the Custom-House at Norfolk, in Virginia, last February,


with twenty thousand five hundred staves, for Lisbon, where she did not go, but arrived at Dunkirk, and delivered her cargo, with about ninety hogsheads of tobacco, which were covered with the staves; also, it is now discovered, that two other ships have arrived with like cargoes, and more are expected at the same port Quere, Do these ships bring their return in tea, brandy, claret, &c˙, to be smuggled into the Colony? What will be the consequence of this pernicious practice, time will discover.