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Petition from William Bollan, Agent for Massachusetts


MONDAY, March 14, 1774.

A Petition of William Bollan, Esq˙, Agent for the Council of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England, was presented to the House, and read, setting forth, that the English American Colonies were deduced and planted by the adventurers and settlers, at their expense, in foreign inhospitable lands, acquired by their vigorous efforts, made under the authority of their princes, granted with the encouragement proper for this spirited and noble enterprise; and that the several princes, by whose authority the Colonies were established, and the numerous nobles and other worthy persons, of whom several were men of the greatest accomplishments, endued with the wisdom proper for obtaining and preserving Empire, by whose advice, aid, and concurrence, they were undertaken and advanced, were so far from understanding that these adventurers and settlers, who by their travail, expenses, labors, and dangers, should enlarge the public dominion, should thereby, contrary to natural justice, lessen their public liberties; that, from the


many letters patent Royal, made and passed for obtaining and regulating new dominion, and the whole history of their settlement, it manifestly appears, it was the intent of all parties, that the settlers, and their posterity, should enjoy the same; whereupon, they became adventurers; and, inspirited by their confidence therein, with their long and quiet enjoyment of their public rights, overcoming difficulties, perils, and hardships, inexpressible and innumerable, they raised the King' s American Empire out of a dreary and dangerous wilderness, with so great and continual increase of commerce, that of late years it hath given employment unto two-thirds of the British shipping, with a comfortable support to no small part of the inhabitants of Great Britain, and great addition to the dignity and strength of its Naval Empire; and that, by the statute law of this Kingdom, it is clearly supposed, and in effect fully declared, that the Colonists were well entitled to the English right, and the lands they inhabit free; and that the Acta Regia of Queen Elizabeth and her successors, whereby the acquests of new dominion were made and established, and security given to the adventurers, planters, and their descendants, of the perpetual enjoyment of their public liberties, having, as the Petitioner presumes, never been laid before the House, nor the Colonies ever yet had any opportunity to ascertain and defend their invaluable rights, and the House, as the Petitioner is advised, now having under their consideration the state of the Northern Colonies, the Petitioner therefore prays, that he may be permitted to appear, and lay before the House, authentic copies of the proper Acta Regia, and to support the matters herein contained, in a manner suitable to their nature, and to the inclinations of the House.

Ordered, That the said Petition do lie upon the table.