Appendix 11


    [7 Jul. 1768]

    To the King’s most Excellent Majesty, The humble Petition of the Council of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

    We your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal Subjects the Council of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, deeply impressed with a sense of your paternal affection for all your Subjects, even the most remote of them, & your disposition to hearken to their Addresses with an attention Suited to the nature of them, humbly beg leave in behalf of your faithful Subjects of said Province to represent to your Majesty

    That the first Settlers of New-England, more attentive to religion than worldly emolument, planted themselves in this Country with a view of being Secure from religious imposition, and not with any expectations of advancing their temporal Interests, which the nature of the Soil forbad them to indulge.

    That they obtained a Patent of this Country from King Charles the first, which, though vacated in the unhappy times of James the Second, revived in the present Charter of the Province, which was granted in the succeeding glorious reign of King William & Queen Mary, who by said Charter confirmed to their Subjects in this Province divers important rights & privileges, which have been enjoyed to the present time.1

    That from length and Severity of the winters; the inferiority of the Soil, and the great labour necessary to Subdue it, they underwent incredible hardships.

    That beside the climate and Soil, they had to contend with a numerous and barbarous Enemy, which made frequent inroads upon them, broke up their exterior Settlements, and several times had nearly accomplished their utter destruction by which means they were kept in perpetual alarms, & their Country made the Scene of rapine and Slaughter.

    That nothing but the most invincible fortitude, animated by the principles of religion, could have enabled them to sustain the hardships and distresses, that came upon them by these Causes______ Nothing less could have induced them to persevere in the Settlement of a Country, from wch: in it’s best estate they had only to expect a comfortable Subsistence; and that in consequence of their unremmited labour.

    That by this labour, these hardships and distresses they dearly purchased the Rights and Privilages and the Country granted to them by Charter and which they have transmitted to their Children & Successors, the present Inhabitants Your Majesty’s faithful Subjects, of this Province.

    That the present Inhabitants, though more happily circumstanced than their Ancestors & tho’ some among them especially in the trading towns, live in affluence, yet from the operation of the same causes, (the length & severity of the winters & the Stubborness and infertility of the Soil) are now able with all their labour to obtain but a comfortable Support for themselves and families, and many of them a very slender one: their Cloathing of which in this cold climate a great deal is necessary, and which except some small part of it, which they make themselves is wholly made of the woolens & other Manufactures of Great-Britain; the other necessary articles of Subsistence, and the yearly taxes upon their poles and on their real and personal estates, taking up the whole or nearly the whole produce of their Lands.

    That by their means your Majesty’s dominions have been enlarged; your Subjects increased; & the Trade of Great-Britain extended: all in degree envied by her Enemies, and unexpected by her warmest Friends; and all without any expence to her till the late War.

    That in the late War, without recurring to the former Expeditions against Canada, to the Reduction of Nova-Scotia in 17 [blank]2 to the preservation of it several times since, to the Conquest of Louisbourg with it’s dependent teritories in 1745, the reddition3 of which was esteemed by France an ample Equivalent for all her Conquests during on her part a Successful War and gave peace to Europe, ______ upon your Majesty’s requisition, and the requisitions of your Royal Grandfather4 this Province in the last War yearly raised a large body of Troops in Conjunction with other Colony Troops to assist in reducing the French Power in America: the expence of wch: was very great, & would have been insupportable, if part of it had not been refunded by Parliament from a conviction of our inability to bear the whole.

    That the loss of Men in the several Campains of that War was great, & which to a young Country must be very detrimental, and could not be retaliated by Grants of Parliament, and to which those Grants had no respect.

    That the acquisition of so large a part of America by your Majesty’s Arms tho’ a great national Good, & greatly benfic^i^al to the Colonies by freeing them from the hostilities of the French, and the Indians that were under their influence, has in several respects operated to the detriment of the Colonies: particularly in diminishing the value of real Estates, and drawing our People from us to Settle the new-acquired territory.

    That the said Acquisitions have occasioned new and increasing demands for the Manufactures of Great Britain, & have opened to her Sources of Trade greatly beneficial: and continually enlarging the benefits of which center in herself, & which with the extensive territories acquired are apprehended to be an ample equivalent for all the Charges of the War in America; and for the expences of defending protecting and Securing said Territories.

    That this Province in particular is still in debt on account of the charge incurred by the late War.

    That the yearly taxes — excepting the present Year, on which no public tax has been laid by reason of a General Valuation of Estates through the Province which could not be compleated before the dissolution of the late General Assembly, but which will probably be resumed when a new Assembly shall be called__ That the yearly taxes upon the People for lessening said debt, tho’ not so great as during the War, are nevertheless with more difficulty paid, by reason of the greater Scarcity of money.

    That the scarcity of Money in the Colonies is owing to the balance of their Trade with Great Britain being against them: which balance without the operation of the several Acts of Parliament taxing the Colonies by laying certain Duties for the purpose of drawing a Revenue from them drains them of their money so as that their trade, which is the only source of their money, is greatly embarrassed.

    That this embarrassment is much increased by the Late Regulations of Trade; and by the Tax Acts aforesaid, which draw imediately from Trade the money necessary to Support it: on the Support of which the payment of the balance aforesaid depends.

    That the said Tax Acts operating to the detriment of the Trade of the Colonies must operate to the detriment of Great Britain by disabling them from paying the Debt due to her, & by laying them under a necessity of using less of her Manufactures.

    That by using the Manufactures of Great Britain, which are virtually charged with most of the Taxes that take place there, the Colonies pay a considerable part of those Taxes.

    That by several Acts of Parliament the Colonies are restrained from importing most of the Commodities of Europe except from Great Britain: which occasions her Manufactures and all Commodities coming from her to be dearer charged and is therefore equivalent to a Tax upon them. That the Colonies are prohibited from sending to foreign markets many valuable articles of their produce: which giving to Great Britian5 an advantage in the price of them, is a proportionable & further Tax upon the Colonies.

    That the exports of the Colonies, all their Gold & Silver & their whole powers of Remittance, fall short of the charged value of what they import from Great Britain.

    That in evidence of this we humbly apprehend the Merchants of Great Britian Trading to the Colonies but especially such as send Goods to them on factorage, can declare their judgment: who from the difficulty of obtaining remittances, from the bad debts made, and from the rate of Exchange; which is generally above par, can form a very good One.____ That if it be considered what difficulties the Colonies encountered on their first Settlement; their having defended themselves (a few of them excepted) without any expence to Great Britain: the assistances given by them in the late War,6 whereby the Empire of Britain is so greatly extended, and its Trade proportionally increased; the diminution of the Value of their Estates, and the Emigration of their Inhabitants occasioned by that extention; the loss of Men in said War, peculiarly detrimental to young Countries; the Taxes on them to support their own internal Government; the share they pay of the Duties & Taxes in Britain by the Consumption of British Manufactures, for which such valuable returns are made; the Restraints upon their Trade equivalent to a Tax; the balance of Trade continually against them and their consequent inability to pay the duties laid by the Acts aforesaid____ if these facts be considered, we humbly conceive it must appear that your Majesty’s Subjects in the Colonies have been, and are as much burthened as those in Great Britain; and that they are whilst in America, more advantagious to Britain; than if they were transplanted thither and Subjected to all the duties and taxes paid there.

    With great humility we beg leave to lay this Representation at your Majesty’s feet, humbly praying your Majesty’s favourable Consideration of it & that the Charter Rights, & Privileges of the People of this Province may be secured to them.

    And if it should appear to your Majesty, that it is not for the benefit of Great Britain & her Colonies (over the whole of which your Paternal Care is conspicuous) that any Revenue should be drawn from the Colonies, we humbly implore your Majesty’s gracious Recommendation to Parliament, that your American Subjects may be releived from the operation of the Several Acts made for that Purpose, in such manner as to the Wisdom of your Majesty and Parliament may seem proper.

    At a Council held at the Council Chamber in Boston, on Thursday July 7th 1768

    Present in Council

    His Excellency Fra: Bernard Esq. Governor.

    Isaac Royall7

    James Russell

    John Erving

    Thomas Flucker

    James Bowdoin Esqrs.

    Royall Tyler

    Thomas Hubbard

    James Pitts.

    Harrison Gray

    Mr Bowdoin from the Committe appointed to prepare a humble Address to his Majesty having reported the foregoing Draft the same was accepted. And His Excellency was thereupon unanimously desired to transmit a fair Copy of the same to his Majesty’s Secy: of State with a Request that he would be pleased to lay it before his Majesty for his most gracious consideration, that his Excellency be Desired at the same time to recommend the Prayer of the said Petition.—8

    Andrew Oliver, Secretary9

    Ms, RC     CO 5/757, ff 318-323.

    This engrossed copy of the petition was not signed but its authenticity was attested by the copy of the Council minute appended to it by Province Secretary Andrew Oliver. It was transmitted by FB under cover of No. 654. Variants: James Bowdoin’s autograph draft is in Bowdoin and Temple Papers, Loose MSS; extracts of the engrossed copy were printed in Letters to Hillsborough (1st ed.), 54; Letters to Hillsborough (repr.), 106-107. Hillsborough received the petition on behalf of the king and in No. 679 notified FB that he would present it to Parliament, which he did on 28 Nov. But by doing this Hillsborough denied the Massachusetts Council the opportunity of first communicating directly with His Majesty in Council. HCJ, 32: 75.