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His Honour' s Answer


His Honour' s Answer.

GENTLEMEN: I have the best authority to assure you, that our most gracious Sovereign and both Houses of Parliament have declared their readiness to afford, every just


and reasonable indulgence to the Colonies, whenever, they should make a proper application on the ground of any real grievances they may have to complain of. This declaration has been followed by a Resolution of the House of Commons, which it was expected would have manifested the justice and moderation of Parliament, and a disposition to comply with every wish of the subjects in America, They offer to forbear every kind of taxation or assessment on America, except such as are necessary for the regulation of Commerce, and only require that the Colonies should make provision by such ways and means as are best suited to their respective circumstances, for contributing a proportion to the common defence of the Empire, and for the support of their own civil Government and the administration of justice. His Majesty' s Ministers did not doubt this temper in Parliament would meet with such a return, on the part of the Colonies as would lead to a happy issue of the present disputes, and to a re-establishment of publick tranquillity on grounds of equity, justice, and moderation. Is it not, then, to be lamented as the most unfortunate event, that the patience of the people was exhausted at the moment of this prospect of a peaceable and happy accomplishment of all their wishes? Will not those in whom they now confide yet endeavour to obtain it? Must this Country, till now happy and flourishing beyond parallel, be involved in the dreadful calamities ever attendant on civil war, while there remains one possible means untried, by which so great, so cruel an evil might be averted? You tell me, gentlemen, that the people have lost all confidence in the ordinary officers of Government, and that they have cast their eyes upon you for advice and direction. I cannot divest myself of the most affectionate concern for the welfare, the peace, and prosperity of the people over whom I have so long presided as the immediate representative of their august Sovereign; with whom I have lived the term, of a long life, and among whom I leave all that is dear and valuable to me. I am impelled by my duty, and a most zealous attachment to the interest and safety of this people, to exhort you not to irritate the present enraged state of their minds, nor suffer them to plunge into labyrinths from whence they can neither advance nor retreat, but through blood and desolation.

His Majesty' s Ministers have, in the strongest terms, expressed the satisfaction with which the King received the assurances of the loyalty and affection of his faithful subjects in this Government, and of their ardent desire for a permanent reconciliation with the Mother Country. I cannot, then, conceive upon what grounds a suspicion is entertained that the City of New-York is to be reduced to the present state of Boston, I have not had the least intimation that any Regular Troops were destined for this Province. It is proper that General Gage should know your sentiments on this subject, and I shall embrace the first opportunity of communicating your request to him. At the same time I think there is reason to suspect that this report has been invented to facilitate the introduction of an armed force from Connecticut, which, I am told, is meditated. Will not the apprehension of such a design rouse you, gentlemen, and every virtuous citizen, to avert, by every means in your power, a measure so humiliating, so dangerous to the honour, safety, and freedom of this Colony?

I have beheld with inexpressible anxiety the state of tumult and disorder which raged in the Metropolis of this Province; and I am sorry that a recent instance, since your appointment, revives the threatening prospect of insecurity to which the inhabitants are reduced. I exhort you to carry into effect the assurances you give, me, that you are determined to improve that confidence with which the people have honoured you, in strengthening the hands of the civil Magistrates. Let this be done immediately, and with impartial firmness on every occasion; that the houses, persons, and property of your fellow-citizens may not be attacked and insulted with impunity, and every degree of domestick security and happiness sapped to the foundation,


May 13, 1775.



* To know what confidence this Colony ought to put in the assurances given to our Committee by a certain person who fills a high post in this Government, it will be sufficient to read the extracts of the letters he wrote to the Ministry, and which hive been exhibited before the Parliament.