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Address of the New-York Committee of Safety to the inhabitants of the Colony



GENTLEMEN: The mischiefs which have already arisen, and the greater calamities which are threatened, from the unnatural war excited in America, by the arbitrary and inexorable spirit of His Majesty' s Ministers, and advisers, have impressed our minds with alarms and apprehensions, which occasion this address to you.

As electors, we are more particularly called upon to take into consideration these dangerous proceedings against our fellow-subjects in America; because the representatives of the people are unhappily made the instruments of these measures.

It is impossible we can see, without the utmost alarm, preparations making for the prosecution of an expensive and ruinous war with our own Colonies, from which so much of our commerce, and, therefore, the sources of our wealth, are derived. The inevitable consequence of this must be an increase of taxes, already too heavy, and an addition to the national debt, which presses us with intolerable weight. We beg you to consider what must be the situation of this kingdom, under an augmentation of taxes, and a diminution of commerce, an increase of national debt, and an equal decrease of national resources.

These are the immediate and unavoidable consequences of this war. The probable ones are still more fatal. If our natural and inveterate enemies should fall upon us, when we are exhausted of men and money, when our most valuable commerce is ruined, and our bravest and veteran troops sacrificed, what is it that can shield us from immediate ruin? If we involve ourselves, then, in this obstinate and expensive civil war, we must owe our safety to the forbearance of our enemies. Neither do we think it improbable, from the desperate valour with which the Americans defend their dearest liberties, that all our efforts will be unsuccessful, and that we shall at last be obliged to sit down under a grievous addition of debt, the shame of defeated armaments, and the total loss of our useful and affectionate Colonies.

The provision that is making for the introduction of Hanoverian and Hessian troops, instead of removing, confirms our apprehensions; because we cannot have any confidence in the protection of foreign mercenaries; and feel at once the shame and folly of that policy which is to burden us with taxes for the payment of foreign protectors, while our own brave troops are slaughtered in an unnatural, unnecessary, and inglorious contest.

For the certain expenses of this war, we see no reparation, even in conquest. Desolated fields, and depopulated Provinces, are little likely to contribute to our necessities, either by revenue or commerce. No complaint from the merchants and manufacturers in Great Britain, of illicit trade, and acts of navigation infringed, has called for these coercive measures. On the contrary, they have repeatedly petitioned against the principles upon which the war is founded. To secure our commerce, therefore, can neither be the aim, nor issue of this war. Neither can it be to settle a due subordination of the Colonies upon the parent state, since they have repeatedly and solemnly acknowledged their subordination, and submitted to our control.

We cannot, therefore, discover any real object, or possible event of this dispute, (should we be successful,) but that of establishing the arbitrary power of the Crown over our fellow-subjects in America, which must greatly endanger the Constitution here, and increase the number of placemen and pensioners, already so enormous as to threaten the utter destruction of freedom and independence among us.

The people of the Colonies have appealed to their fellow-subjects in Great Britain, for the justice and necessity of their conduct. We are convinced of their having been injured and oppressed. We sympathize in their griefs, and revere their fortitude; every motive of humanity, of justice, and of interest, calls upon us to condemn the measures of which they complain, and to declare that we will never willingly contribute to urge their oppressions, or abridge their liberties.


It has been our grief and our misfortune to see that the repeated petitions from His Majesty' s subjects in America, supported by many in this country, have not availed to prevent the dreadful extremities we now lament. The petitioners have been studiously driven to the last resources of despair, by a denial of redress, and an accumulation of grievances too severe to be endured by a free people.

In the united petition last year, from all the Colonies to the King, they asked for peace, liberty, and safety. Did it become us to refuse such a request, or to persist in violating the peace, liberty, and safety, of any part of our fellow-subjects? They pledge themselves, "that in time of war, they will be ready and willing to demonstrate their loyalty to His Majesty, by exerting their most strenuous efforts, in granting supplies and raising forces." What can we, in justice, require more from a part of the empire, restrained, in point of commercial advantages, for our benefit, and labouring, in consequence of that restraint, under a heavy and accumulating debt? Can we expect success from a war founded in such flagrant injustice? Appealing, say they, "to that Being who searches thoroughly the hearts of his creatures, we solemnly profess that our counsels have been influenced by no other motive than a dread of impending destruction."

That dread has been realized. Famine, fire and sword, have answered (i˙ e˙ were the answers given to) their reasonable requests, and earnest applications. Utter destruction, or unconditional submission, is the only alternative left them, by this imperious and intemperate Administration.

Yet still they were determined to try the force of fresh supplication. This they have done in their late petition to the Throne, more humble, but still fruitless as the former. They say, "Knowing to what violent resentments, and incurable animosities, civil discords are apt to exasperate and inflame the contending parties, we think ourselves required by indispensable obligations to Almighty God, to your Majesty, to our fellow-subjects, and ourselves, immediately to use all the means in our power, not incompatible with our safety, for stopping the further effusion of blood, and for averting the impending calamities, which threaten the British empire."

We feel these as the most amiable sentiments, of men cordially interested in our welfare, and earnestly aiming at peace and reconciliation.

In pursuance of these laudable purposes, they solemnly declare their most ardent desire, that "the former harmony between the two countries may be restored, and a concord may be established between them, upon so firm a basis, as to perpetuate its blessings, uninterrupted by any future dissensions, to succeeding generations, in both countries." They declare, that "they do not request such reconciliation as might, in any manner, be inconsistent with the dignity or welfare of Great Britain;" that, "they are ready and willing, at all times, as they have been, with their lives and fortunes, to assert and maintain the rights and interests of His Majesty, and of their mother country," They, therefore, implore His Majesty, "to take measures for preventing the further destruction of the lives of his subjects; and that he will be pleased to direct some mode by which the united applications of his faithful Colonists to the Throne, in pursuance of their common counsels, may be improved into a happy and permanent reconciliation; and that the wished-for opportunity may soon be restored to them, of evincing the sincerity of their professions, by every testimony of devotion, becoming the most dutiful subjects, and the most affectionate Colonists."

To this petition an answer has been refused. The unhappy petitioners are left to deplore the prospect of inexorable war and desolation, and to seek protection in those fatal resources which self-preservation suggests against impending destruction.

This, gentlemen, is the alarming state of America, which fills us with anxiety and apprehensions.

We lament the blood that has been already shed; we deplore the fate of those brave men, who are devoted to hazard their lives, not against the enemies of the British name, but against the friends of the prosperity and glory of Great Britain. We feel for the honour of the British arms, sullied, not by the misbehaviour of those who bore them, but by the misconduct of the Ministers who employed them, to the oppression of their fellow-subjects. We are


alarmed at the immediate, insupportable expense, and the probable consequences of a war, which, we are convinced, originates in violence and injustice, and must end in ruin.

These are the sentiments, gentlemen, which we take the liberty of communicating to you, as the reasons upon which we have acted, trusting that, if they meet with your approbation, you will co-operate with us, in endeavouring to bring the authors of these evils to the justice of their country.

Signed in obedience to order of the Common Hall.