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Address and Petition of Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons, of the City of London, to the King



St˙ James' s, March 22, 1776.

This day the Right Honourable the Lord-Mayor, several of the Aldermen, the Sheriffs, and some of the Common Council of the City of London, waited upon his Majesty (being introduced by the Earl of Hertford, Lord Chamberlain of His Majesty' s household) with the following Address and Petition, which was read by the Recorder:

To the King' s Most Excellent Majesty.

The humble Address and Petition of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons of the City of LONDON, in Common Council assembled.

Most Gracious Sovereign:

We, the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons, of the City of London, in Common Council assembled, beg leave to approach your Throne, and to entreat your Majesty' s royal attention, whilst, with the humility of dutiful subjects, we lay before your Majesty what at present most immediately affects us in the spirit and tendency of the publick measures now depending, and the anxiety we feel at the naked and exposed state in which this country will be left, by draining it of the national troops, as well as at the danger and disgrace attending the late treaties for foreign mercenaries, whose latitude is such as to provide the means of introducing a foreign Army even into this Realm.

We cannot, sir, without horrour, look forward to national debt and of burdensome taxes, that loss of our most valuable resources, those distresses of our merchants and manufacturers, those deficiencies of the revenue, that effusion of the blood of our countrymen and brethren, that failure of publick credit, and those dreadful calamities and convulsions, which must follow a civil war so begun and pursued, whose extent no wisdom can foresee.

We humbly conceive that no people can be bound to surrender their rights and liberties as a return for protection. The Colonies have fought our battles with us; and in the last war they so far exceeded, their abilities, that this nation thought it just and necessary to make them an annual compensation; and even now, driven to open hostilities in their own defence, they are willing (their Charters being inviolably secured) to continue to us all those advantages of a regulated and exclusive commerce, to which we have long owed our opulence and prosperity. And we have every assurance which men in their situation can safely give, that, if asked as freemen, they are willing to go further, and to afford to the exhausted state of the revenue of this country such reasonable voluntary aid as their abilities permit; provided that their contributions are unalienably applied to relieve that distress which is the only fair and politick foundation of requiring them; and that neither their aids nor our own sinking fund shall be any longer perverted from a publick benefit, and misapplied to the purpose of corruption, instead of redeeming the debts of the nation according to its first wise and just institution.

Indulge, most gracious Sovereign, the humanity and benignity of your own Royal disposition, and our prayers will be granted. We implore the extension of your Majesty' s justice and mercy towards that Continent which, when arbiter of the terms of peace, it was your Majesty' s own determination to prefer to every other compensation for all the expenses of the last war. We humbly and earnestly beseech your Majesty, that the most solemn, clear, distinct, and unambiguous specification of those just and honourable terms, which your Majesty, with both Houses of Parliament, means to grant to the Colonies, may precede the dreadful operations of your armament. Every colour and suspicion of injustice and oppression will then be removed from the proceedings of the Mother Country; and if those just and honourable terms are not submitted to, your Majesty will undoubtedly be enabled to meet, what will then be rebellion, with the zealous hearts and hands of, a determined, loyal, and united people.

Signed by order of Court: