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Address of the Committee



In Committee, April 2, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: Your constant and unwearied application to the duties of your very important station, and your earnest endeavours to serve your country, and prevent the cruel attempts of interested persons to distress us, while they call for our gratitude and approbation, and strongly solicit us to lay no unnecessary burden upon you, yet give us the pleasing assurance that you will omit no means in your power effectually to remove our present distresses.

The scarcity of materials, the difficulty of procuring manufacturers, and the prospect we have before us of being obliged to neglect matters of great importance, and principally to attend to warlike defence, all point out the necessity of making timely provision against our future demands. For what by monopolizing in some instances, and a real scarcity in others, the country begins already to suffer, and the poor are exceedingly distressed. And if the case is so now, in the very opening of the spring, what will it be a few months hence, when the season for importation is wholly over. It becomes us, while we are wielding the sword of self-defence against an inhuman invader, to take effectual care that we distress not ourselves by unnecessary difficulties. It is not in our power to provide effectually against the necessities of the people, without some foreign trade. The scarcity of almost every species of goods which we have been accustomed to look upon as necessary to clothing and support, the consequent high price of them, and, above all, the small remaining demand for the produce of this country, which is now entirely cut off by the Prohibitory bill, all conspire to distress and discourage the people; and while it is of advantage to none but a few adventurous merchants, who run great hazards to serve us, and certain monopolizers, (whose prosperity arises from the miseries of mankind.) it can only be effectually removed by opening a free trade.

It is unnecessary to point out any particular instances to this Committee. The universal complaints of both town and country are well known to every one whose ears are not stopped by the prospect of private emolument arising from our necessities. Foreseeing the many calamities which must follow a neglect of the measure, we earnestly request you, gentlemen, either directly to apply to the honourable Continental Congress, in the name of the inhabitants of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia, whom you represent, praying


them to take every measure necessary to open and secure an immediate trade with such countries as can supply us with what we most stand in need of; and to export the produce of this country; or by some means or other, to procure an application from the city at large on this head, as to you may seem best calculated to answer the purpose. We view it as a matter of very great consequence, seeing were there ever so much money struck for the publick exigencies, while the country is debarred of the means of handling it through the want of a market for their produce, it can be of very little advantage to them, and will in the end affect its value. And while every mode of introducing gold and silver is totally cut off, and we stand in need of so many articles which must be procured by paying in specie, we are not only in danger of a scarcity of such articles, but also of having our currency depreciated; as it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to support its credit without introducing real cash into the country nearly in the same proportion to the sums we are obliged to strike. It is now in our power to provide against these evils; we therefore entreat you to fall on some effectual means for the purpose, and to take such measures as will for the future prevent forestalling, and oblige the present monopolizers to sell their stock on hand at the generous prices you have allowed them; and in doing of this, you may rest assured of our strenuous support. We are happy in assuring you that, as far as we have an opportunity of conversing with our fellow-citizens, it is what they greatly desire, and that it can meet with no opposition except from disaffected persons. We beg leave to conclude with thanking you in the warmest manner for the memorial you have sent into the House of Assembly to induce them to rescind their instructions to our Delegates in Congress, as we are persuaded that, from the delicate situation of our affairs, any instructions which may prevent them from uniting with a majority of the Colonies, must be of very dangerous consequence.

Signed on behalf of the Committee of Privates.


To the Committee of Inspection of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia.

Moved, That a vote of thanks be given to the Committee of Inspection for the steps they have taken to prevent the monopolizing and too high price of Goods, and to assure them that this Committee will support them as far as in their power in every measure for the publick safety and welfare.

Moved, That Messrs˙ Simpson and Shubart be a Committee to deliver this vote to the Committee of Inspection


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