Proceedings of the Congress at New-York.
Stamp Act Congress

To the King's most Excellent Maiesty.

The PETITION of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Mas|sachusetts-Bay, Rhode-Island, and Providence Plantations, _____ , _____ , New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Government of the Counties of New-Castle, Kent, and Sussex, upon Delaware, Province of Maryland,

Most humbly Sheweth,

THAT the Inhabitants of these Colonies, Unanimously devoted with the warmest Sentiments of Duty and Affection to your Majesty's Sa|cred Person and Government, Inviolably attached to the present Happy Establishment of the Protestant Succession in your Illustrious House, and deeply sensible of your Royal Attention to their Prosperity and Happiness, Page  18 humbly beg Leave to approach the Throne, by representing to your Ma|jesty, That these Colonies were Originally Planted by Subjects of the British Crown, who, animated with the Spirit of Liberty, encouraged by your Majesty's Royal Predecessors, and confiding in the Public Faith for the En|joyment of all the Rights and Liberties essential to Freedom, emigrated from their Native Country to this Continent, and by their successful Per|severance in the midst of innumerable Dangers and Difficulties, together with a Profusion of their Blood and Treasure, have happily added these vast and valuable Dominions to the Empire of Great-Britain. That for the Enjoyment of these Rights and Liberties, several Governments were early formed in the said Colonies, with full Power of Legislation, agreeable to the Principles of the English Constitution.

That under those Governments, these Liberties, thus vested in their An|cestors, and transmitted to their Posterity, have been exercised and enjoyed, and by the inestimable Blessings thereof (under the Favour of Almighty GOD), the inhospitable Desarts of America have been converted into Flourishing Countries; Science, Humanity, and the Knowledge of Divine Truths, diffused through Remote Regions of Ignorance, Infidelity, and Barbarism; the Number of British Subjects wonderfully Increased, and the Wealth and Power of Great-Britain proportionably Augmented.

That by Means of these Settlements, and the unparallelled Success of your Majesty's Arms, a Foundation is now laid for rendering the British Empire the most Extensive and Powerful of any Recorded in History. Our Connection with this Empire, we esteem our greatest Happiness and Secu|rity, and humbly conceive it may now be so established by your Royal Wis|dom, as to endure to the latest Period of Time; This, with most humble Submission to your Majesty, we apprehend will be most effectually Accom|plished, by fixing the Pillars thereof on Liberty and Justice, and securing the inherent Rights and Liberties of your Subjects here, upon the Principles of the English Constitution. To this Constitution these Two Principles are essential, the Right of your faithful Subjects, freely to grant to your Ma|jesty, such Aids as are required for the Support of your Government over them, and other Public Exigencies, and Trials by their Peers: By the One they are secured from unreasonable Impositions; and by the Other from Ar|bitrary Decisions of the executive Power.

The Continuation of these Liberties to the Inhabitants of America we ardently Implore, as absolutely necessary to Unite the several Parts of your wide extended Dominions, in that Harmony so Essential to the Preservation and Happiness of the Whole. Protected in these Liberties, the Emolu|ments Great-Britain receives from us, however great at present, are incon|siderable, compared with those she has the fairest Prospect of acquiring. By this Protection she will for ever secure to herself the Advantage of con|veying to all Europe, the Merchandises which America furnishes, and of Supplying through the same Channel, whatever is wanted from thence. Here opens a boundless Source of Wealth and Naval Strength; yet these immense Advantages, by the Abridgment of those invaluable Rights and Liberties, by which our Growth has been Nourished, are in Danger of Page  19 being for ever Lost; and our subordinate Legislatures, in Effect, rendered useless, by the late Acts of Parliament imposing Duties and Taxes on these Colonies, and extending the Jurisdiction of the Courts of Admiralty here, beyond its antient Limits: Statutes by which your Majesty's Commons in Britain undertake, absolutely to dispose of the Property of their Fellow Subjects in America, without their Consent, and for the enforcing whereof, they are subjected to the Determination of a single Judge in a Court un|restrained by the wise Rules of the Common Law, the Birthright of Eng|lishmen, and the Safeguard of their Persons and Properties.

The invaluable Rights of Taxing ourselves, and Trial by our Peers, of which we implore your Majesty's Protection, are not, we most humbly conceive Unconstitutional; but confirmed by the Great CHARTER of English Liberty. On the First of these Rights the Honourable the House of Com|mons Found their Practice of Originating Money Bills, a Right enjoyed by the Kingdom of Ireland, by the Clergy of England, until relinquished by themselves, a Right, in fine, which all other your Majesty's English Subjects, both within, and without the Realm, have hitherto enjoyed.

With Hearts therefore impressed with the most indelible Characters of Gratitude to your Majesty, and to the Memory of the Kings of your Illustrious House, whose Reigns have been Signally distinguished by their Auspicious Influence on the Prosperity of the British Dominions, and convinced by the most affecting Proofs of your Majesty's Paternal Love to all your People, however distant, and your unceasing and benevolent Desires to promote their Happiness, We most humbly beseech your Majesty, that you will be gra|ciously pleased to take into your Royal Consideration, the Distresses of your faithful Subjects on this Continent, and to lay the same before your Ma|jesty's Parliament, and to afford them such Relief, as in your Royal Wis|dom their unhappy Circumstances shall be judged to require.

And your Petitioners as in Duty bound will pray.