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Address of Merchants and Freeholders of Salem, to Governour Gage



May it please your Excellency:

We, who are Merchants and Freeholders in the town of Salem, beg leave to present you our dutiful respects on your appointment to the Government of this Province. The universal tribute of thanks and applause paid you for the wisdom, mildness, and exact regularity of your conduct in another command, cannot fail to excite the most just expectations that this Province will enjoy the happy fruits of your benignity.

We are deeply affected with a sense of our public calamities; but the miseries that are now rapidly hastening on our brethren in the capital of the Province greatly excite our commiseration; and we hope your Excellency will use your endeavours to prevent a further accumulation of evils on that already sorely distressed people.

By shutting up the port of Boston some imagine that the course of trade might be turned hither, and to our benefit; but nature, in the formation of our harbour, forbids our becoming rivals in commerce to that convenient mart. And were it otherwise, we must be dead to every idea of justice, lost to all the feelings of humanity, could we indulge one thought to seize on wealth and raise our fortunes on the ruin of our suffering neighbours. But so far from receiving a benefit, we are greatly injured by the shutting up the harbour of Boston, as it deprives us of a market for much the largest part of our West India imports; and there is not a town in the Province but will feel the ill effects of it. Permit us then, sir, to apply to your clemency and justice to afford us every alleviation in your power, and to procure for us every possible relief from this extensive mischief.

We account it the greatest unhappiness that this Province, which has ever been foremost in loyalty to the Kings of Britain — in its efforts to defend their Territories and enlarge their Dominions — should be the first to feel our Sovereign' s severest displeasure. Our fathers fled from oppression, braved every danger, and here began a settlement on bare creation. Almost incredible are the fatigues and difficulties they encountered to subdue a dreary wilderness filled with savage beasts, and yet more savage men; but by their invincible resolution they rose superior to them all; and by their astonishing efforts greatly facilitated the settlement of the other British Colonies in America. Yet, sir, we speak it with grief, the sons are checked and dishonoured for exhibiting proofs of their inheriting some portion of that spirit which, in their fathers, produced such astonishing effects.

A happy union with Great Britain is the wish of all the Colonies. It is their unspeakable grief that it has in any degree been interrupted. We earnestly desire to repair the breach. We ardently pray that harmony may


be restored. And for these ends, every measure compatible with the dignity and safety of British subjects we shall gladly adopt.

We assure your Excellency we shall make it our constant endeavour to preserve the peace and promote the welfare of the Province; and hereby we shall best advance the interest of our Sovereign.

In these times the Administration of Government must be peculiarly arduous and difficult; but yours we wish may be as easy as the nature of things will possibly admit, and the event happy; and that your public labours may be crowned with the noblest reward, the voluntary, disinterested applause of a whole free people.

Signed by one hundred and twenty-five persons.