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Papers Accompanying the Letter of the Agents

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Resolution of a Committee of the Whole House (of Commons.)

February 2, 1775. — To be reported the Monday following:

That it is the opinion of this Committee, that an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, to return His Majesty our most humble thanks for having been graciously pleased to communicate to this House the several papers relating to the present state of the British Colonies in America, which, by His Majesty' s command, have been laid before this House; and from which, after taking them into our most serious consideration, we find, that a part of His Majesty' s subjects in the Province of Massachusetts-Bay have proceeded so far to resist the authority of the supreme Legislature, that a rebellion at this time actually exists within the said Province; and we see with the utmost concern that they have been countenanced and encouraged by unlawful combinations and engagements, entered into by His Majesty' s subjects in several of the other Colonies, to the injury and oppression of many of their innocent fellow-subjects, resident within the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the rest of His Majesty' s dominions. This conduct on their part appears to us the more inexcusable, when we consider with how much temper His Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament have acted in support of the Laws and Constitution of Great Britain, to declare that we can never so far desert the trust reposed in us, as to relinquish any part of the sovereign authority over all His Majesty' s dominions, which by law is vested in His Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament; and that the conduct of many persons in several of the Colonies, during the late disturbances, is alone sufficient to convince us how necessary this power is, for the protection of the lives and fortunes of all His Majesty' s subjects; that we ever have been, and always shall be ready to pay attention and regard to any real grievances of any of His Majesty' s subjects Which shall in a dutiful and constitutional manner be laid before us; and whenever any of the Colonies shall make a proper application to us, we shall be ready to afford them every just and reasonable indulgence. But that at the same time we consider it as our indispensable duty humbly to beseech His Majesty, that His Majesty

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will take the most effectual measures to enforce due obedience to the laws and authority of the supreme Legislature; and that we beg leave in the most solemn manner to assure His Majesty that it is our fixed resolution, at the hazard of our lives and properties, to stand by His Majesty against all rebellious attempts in the maintenance of the just rights of His Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament.] Ayes 296, noes 106.

Amendment proposed, to leave out from the first [and] to the end of the question, and insert, to assure His Majesty, that in order to fix the true dignity of his Crown and the authority of Parliament on a sure foundation, we shall endeavour to recover the hearts of his subjects in America, too many of whom are unhappily alienated from their usual affection to their Mother Country, by endeavouring to remove all those causes of jealousy and apprehension which have arisen from an unfortunate management of His Majesty' s affairs, and from acts of the last Parliament made without sufficient information of the true state of America,"

Question put, that the words propose to be left out, stand part of this question: ayes 304, noes 105.

Whereas, by an Act 6 George III, it is declared that Parliament has full power and authority to make Laws and Statutes to bind the people of the Colonies in all cages whatsoever:

And whereas, reiterated complaints, and most dangerous disorders have grown, touching the right of Taxation, claimed and exercised over America, to the disturbance of peace and good order there, and to the actual interruption of the due intercourse from Great Britain and Ireland to the Colonies, deeply affecting the navigation, trade, and manufactures of this Kingdom and of Ireland, and announcing further an interruption of all exports from the said Colonies to Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Islands in America:

Now, for the prevention of these ruinous mischiefs and in order to an equitable, honourable and lasting settlement of claims not sufficiently ascertained and circumscribed, may it please your most excellent Majesty that it may be declared, and he it declared by the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that the Colonies of America have been, are, and of right ought to be dependant upon the imperial Crown of Great Britain, and subordinate unto the British Parliament; and that the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in Parliament assembled, had, hath, and of right ought to have; full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the people of the British Colonies in America, in all matters touching the general weal of the whole dominion of the imperial Crown of Great Britain, and beyond the competency of the local representative of a distinct Colony; and most especially an indubitable and indispensable right to make and ordain laws for regulating Navigation and Trade throughout the complicated system of British Commerce; the deep policy of such prudent acts, upholding the guardian Navy of the whole British Empire: and that all subjects in the Colonies are bound in duty and allegiance, duty to recognise and obey (and they are hereby required so to do) the supreme legislative authority and superintending power of the Parliament of Great Britain as aforesaid.

And whereas, in a Petition from America to His Majesty it has been represented that the keeping a Standing Army within any of the Colonies, in time of peace, without the consent of the respective Provincial Assembly there, is against law: Be it declaredly the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, that the Declaration of Rights, at the ever-glorious Revolution, namely, "that the raising and keeping a Standing Army within the Kingdom, in time of peace, unless it be by consent of Parliament, is against law," having reference only to the consent of the Parliament of Great Britain, the legal, constitutional, and hitherto unquestioned prerogative of the Crown, to send any part of such Army, so lawfully kept, to any of the

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British dominions and possessions, whether in America or elsewhere, as His Majesty, in the due care of his subjects, may judge necessary for the security and protection of the same, cannot be rendered dependant upon the consent of a Provincial Assembly in the Colonies, without a most dangerous innovation, and derogation from the dignity of the imperial Crown of Great Britain. Nevertheless, in order to quiet and dispel groundless jealousies and fears, be it hereby declared, that no military force, however raised and kept according to law, can ever be lawfully employed to violate and destroy the just rights of the people,

Moreover, in order to remove for ever all causes of pernicious discords, and in due contemplation of the vast increase of possessions and population in the Colonies, and having at heart to render the condition of so great a body of industrious subjects there more and more happy, by the sacredness of property and of personal liberty; and of more extensive and lasting utility to the parent Kingdom, by indissoluble ties of mutual affection, confidence, trade, and reciprocal benefits; be it declared and enacted by the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and it is hereby declared and enacted by the authority of the same, that no tallage, tax, or other charge for His Majesty' s revenue shall be commanded or levied from British freemen in America, without common consent, by act of Provincial Assembly there, duly convened for that purpose.

And it is hereby further declared and enacted by the King' s most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same. That it shall and may be lawful for Delegates from the respective Provinces, lately assembled at Philadelphia, to meet in General Congress at the said Philadelphia, on the ninth day of May next, ensuing, in order then and there to, take into consideration the making due recognition of the supreme legislative authority and superintending power of Parliament over the Colonies, as aforesaid.

And moreover, may it please your most excellent Majesty, that the said Delegates to be in Congress assembled, in manner aforesaid, may be required, and the same are hereby required, by the King' s Majesty, sitting in his Parliament, to fake into consideration (over and above the usual charge for support of civil Government in the respective Colonies) the making a free grant to the King, his heirs and successors, of a certain perpetual revenue, subject to the disposition of the British Parliament, to be by them appropriated as they in their wisdom shall judge fit, to the alleviation of the national debt, No doubt being had, but this just, free aid, will be m such, honourable proportion as may seem meet and becoming from great and flourishing Colonies towards a Parent Country labouring under the heaviest burdens, which (in no inconsiderable part) have been willingly taken upon ourselves and posterity, for the defence, extension, and prosperity of the Colonies.

And to this great end, be it further hereby declared and enacted, that the General Congress (to meet at Philadelphia as aforesaid) shall be, and is hereby authorized and empowered (the Delegates composing the same being first sufficiently furnished with powers from their respective Provinces for this purpose) to adjust and fix these partitions and quotas of the several charges to be borne by each Province respectively to wards the general contributory supply; and this in such fair and equitable measure as may best suit the abilities and due convenience, of all. Provided always, that the powers for fixing the said quotas, hereby given to the Delegates from the old Provinces composing the Congress, shall not extend to the new Provinces of East and West Florida, Georgia, Nova-Scotia, St˙ John' s, and Canada; the circumstances and abilities of the said Provinces being referred to the wisdom of Parliament in their due time.

And in order to afford necessary time for mature deliberation in America, be it hereby declared, that the provisions for ascertaining and fixing the exercise of the fight of taxation in the Colonies, as agreed and expressed by this present act, shall not be in force, or have any operation, until the Delegates to be in Congress assembled, sufficiently authorized and empowered by their respective Provinces to this end, shall, as an

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indispensable condition, have duly recognized the supreme legislative authority and superintending power of the Parliament of Great Britain, over the Colonies as aforesaid. Always understood, that the free grant of an aid, as herebefore required and expected from the Colonies, is not to be considered as a condition of redress, but as a just testimony of their affection.

And whereas, divers acts of Parliament have been humbly represented in a Petition to His Majesty from America, to have Been found grievous, in whole or in part, to the subjects of the Colonies, be it hereby declared by the King' s most, &c˙, &c˙, that the powers of Admiralty and Vice-Admiralty Courts in America shall be restrained within their ancient limits, and the trial by jury in all civil cases, where the same may have been abolished, restored; and that no subject, in America, shall, in capital cases, be liable to be indicted and tried for the same in any place out of the Province wherein such offence shall be alleged to have been committed; nor be deprived of a trial by his peers of the vicinage. Nor shall it be lawful to send persons indicted for murder in any Province of America, to another Colony, or to Great Britain for trial.

And it it hereby declared and enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that all and every the said acts, or so much thereof as are represented to have been found grievous, namely, the several Acts of the 4 Geo. III. ch. 15 and ch. 34: 5 Geo. III. ch. 25: 6 Geo. III. ch. 52: 7 Geo. III. ch. 41 and ch. 46: 8 Geo, III. ch. 22: 12 Geo. III. ch. 24 with the three Acts for shopping the Port and blocking up the Harbour of Boston; for altering the Charter, and Government of Massachusetts-Bay; and that intituled An Act for the Better Administration of Justice, &c.; also the Act for regulating the Government of Quebeek, and the act passed in the same session relating to the quartering of Soldiers, shall be and are hereby suspended, and not to have effect or execution from the date of this act. And be it moreover hereby declared and enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all and every the before recited acts, or the parts thereof complained of, shall be, and are in virtue of this present act, finally repealed and annulled, from the day that the due recognition of the supreme legislative authority and superintending power of Parliament over the Colonies shall have been made on the part of the said Colonies.

And for the better securing the due and impartial administration of justice in the Colonies, be it declared and enacted by the King' s most, &c˙, &c˙, that His Majesty' s Judges in Courts of Law in the Colonies in America, to be appointed with salaries by the Crown, shall hold their offices and salaries us His Majesty' s Judges in England, quamdiu se bene gesserit.

And it is hereby further declared by the authority aforesaid, that the Colonies in America are justly entitled to the privileges, franchises, and immunities granted by their several Charters or Constitutions; and that the said Charters or Constitutions ought not to be invaded or resumed unless for misuser, or some legal ground of forfeiture. So shall true reconcilement avert impending calamities, and this most solemn national accord between Great Britain and her Colonies stand an everlasting monument of clemency and magnanimity in the benignant Father of his People, of wisdom and moderation in this great Nation, famed for humanity as for valour, and of fidelity and grateful affection from brave and loyal Colonies to their Parent Kingdom, which will ever protect and cherish them.

The above Plan was offered by the Earl of Chatham to the House of Lords, on Wednesday, February 1, 1775, under the title of "A Provisional Act for settling the Troubles of America, and for asserting the supreme legislative authority and superintending power of Great Britain over the Colonies:" but being opposed by the Ministry, was rejected by a great majority; the numbers being for rejecting 61, for retaining 32; so it was not suffered to lie on the table for further consideration. Yet when it is considered that in the majority were all the Ministerial Lords, with all the Scottish Lords, and the Bishops, who usually vote as the Minister bids them, the sense of that House, that is, the independent part of it, does not seem to have been greatly against the bill.

B˙ F.

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