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Petition of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons


The House being informed that the Sheriffs of the City of London attended at the door, they were called in; and at the Bar, presented to the House,

A Petition of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons, of the City of London, in Common Council assembled.

And then they withdrew.

And the said Petition was read:

To the Honourable the Commons of GREAT BRITAIN in Parliament assembled:

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

That although your Petitioners bear all due respect to the policy of those Acts of Parliament, which have anciently preserved to Great Britain a necessary and beneficial share of commerce with our Colonies, yet they are exceedingly alarmed at the consequences that must ensue, if the Bill now depending to restrain the Trade and Commerce of Massachusetts Bay and New-Hampshire, and Colonies of Connecticut and Rhode-Island, and Providence Plantation, in North America, to Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Islands in the West Indies; and to prohibit such Provinces and Colonies from carrying on any Fishery on the banks of Newfoundland, or other places therein to be mentioned, under certain conditions, and for a time to be limited, should pass into a law; and that the said Bill, as the Petitioners conceive, is unjustly founded, because it involves the whole in the punishment intended for the supposed offences of a few; and that it must in its consequences overwhelm thousands of his Majesty' s loyal and useful subjects with the utmost poverty and distress, in as much as they will be thereby deprived of the Fisheries, which are the natural means of supporting themselves and families; and that the extensive commerce between Great Britain and her Colonies, will by this Bill be greatly injured, as a capital source of remittance will be stopped, which will not only disconnect the future commercial intercourse between those Colonies and this country, but it will eventually render them incapable of paying the large debts already due to the Merchants of this City; and that the utmost confusion will probably ensue from enforcing this Bill, if passed into a law, as it cannot be supposed that a great number of men, naturally hardy and brave, will quietly submit to a law which will reduce them almost to famine, they not having within themselves Provisions sufficient for their subsistence; and that it will induce the French to extend their Fisheries, and by that means increase the wealth and strength of our rivals in trade, to the great prejudice of this country; and that the Petitioners feel for the many hardships which their fellow-subjects in America already labour under, from the execution of several


late Acts of Parliament, evidently partial and oppressive, and which seem to be extended and continued by this Bill, in as much as it confirms those Acts which in particular cases deprive the American subject of Trial by Jury; prohibits the inhabitants from carrying Provisions from one Colony to another; invites a contraband trade under military protections; prevents any subject of Great Britain or Ireland from being part owner of certain American Ships or Vessels, and vests an undue and dangerous authority in the Governour and Council of Massachusetts Bay. Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray this Honourable House, that the said Bill may not pass into a law.

Ordered, That the said Petition do lie upon the table, until the said Bill be read a second time.