Merchants And Traders
of Philadelphia in the Province of Pensilvania
Merchants And Manufacturers
After the repeal of the late American Stamp-Act, and some acts of regulation Injurious to the Trade of Great Britain and her Colonies, in which you so generously interposed your aid and influence; we flattered ourselves, that no similar Measures would in future be adopted, but the Busineſs so happily begun, would have been proſecuted and ended, in the, general Emolument of both Countries. For with great truth we aſsure you, that it is our firmest desire to see the Commercial Interest of the latter, inseperably connected with the former, on Principles of mutual benefit; the grand Cement, and only solid Foundation, on which a permanent Union between them can be properly established. An Attempt to support a Trade between two Countries, on any other, must appear to you, who have had much Experience, idle and Chemerical.
With the utmost concern, therefore, we observe, that instead of relieving the commercial Intercourse between us, from the restrictions under which it has long laboured, new impositions have been laid by the British Parliament, on the Importation of sundry Manufactures of Great Britain, and other Articles of Trade imported from thence, into America, for the sole purpose of Revenue; This we apprehend, is not only injurious to our Rights as British Subjects, (who cannot be Constitutionally and Legally taxed, but by their own or the Consent of their Representatives), but very detrimental and impolitic, with respect to the future Trade between Great Britain and her Colonies: Hence we find ourselves again, under an indispensable Neceſsity, to Addreſs you, and to request that you will exert your Interest and Influence, to Obtain a Repeal of the Acts Imposing those duties; and a further Relief from the other Burthens, which the American Trade has long laboured under, with almost insuperable Difficulty... Measures, which we propose to you with the more freedom as we are Convinced your Interest is full as much concern’d as ours to have them Accomplished with all poſsible Expedition.
The Statues imposing Duties on Paper, Glaſs, Tea, &c. being a Tax on the Americans, without their Consent we look upon, Unconstitutional and destructive of our Rights as your Brethren and English Subjects. But as the Aſsembly of this Province, we are informed have with Decency And Firmneſs, petitioned the British Legislature for relief, in which the dangerous effects and injurious Operation of these Acts, to our Privileges, are set forth; we think it unneceſsary to be more particular on this Head; but the inexpediency and bad tendency of these Statues, were they in themselves Constitutional, must in our Opinion, (whenever they are considered with the Attention due to Matters of so much Consequence to both Countries) furnish abundant Reason for their Repeal.;
Being well appriz’d that by Several Laws the American Merchants are prohibited from importing such goods as are manufactured in Great Britain and other Merchandize interfering with her Trade from any other part of Europe, Hence the Colonists have ever paid such prices for them as the British Merchants and Manufacturers have thought proper to Charge, notwithstanding which they have hitherto generally contended themselves with supplying their wants and even their Luxuries from their Mother Country, and applying their labour and Industry to the Cultivation of their Lands and raising such Commodities as would either mediately or immediately serve for Remittances in Discharge of their debts to Britain. Thus an interesting and beneficial Commerce Between them has been founded on the most lasting principles it has increased beyond the most sanguine expectations, and would continue so to do, to the inexpreſsible Advantage of the Mother Country, were those principles permitted to remain inviolate, and the progreſs of Commence left to advance, in its old succefsful Channel. But we must inform you of a solemn truth, which we think highly worthy of the most serious Attention of our Superious, before it is too late, that if those Acts of Parliament which prohibit us from a Circuitous Trade, refrain us from a proper Medium of Commerce, impose Duties on British Manufactures and opprefs us with other Burthens and Difficulties in discharging our Debts & fulfilling our Contracts, with the Merchants in Britain are Continued; the People of American, must from necefsity if not from motives of Interest, set up Manufacturies of their own which must gradually diminish and in its Consequence put an end to that mutual beneficial Commerce, that has hitherto subsisted between us. For alth’o the late and perhaps the present disposition of the Colonists in general leads them to the Cultivation and Improvements of Lands and to rely on our Mother Country for her Manufacturies and Merchandize, to supply them with a Variety of necefsaries, yet should those Restrictions and Duties be continued, it is too Evident to be denied, that they will impel the people from Necefsity, to raise the raw Materials, and operate as bounties by encouraging the [A]mericans to manufac ture for themselves, Materials of almost every kind may be found or raised in America, the different Soils and Climates will encourage the undertaking, and when the benefits thereof, shall be once generally known and experienced, the busineſs will be lastingly established, and the present Commerce between the Two Countries, must in a great measure cease, where the loſs and injury will fall, it is easy to perceive. American Taught and impell’d by the Indiscretion of the Mother Country, to raise and save every neceſsary within herself, we are Satisſyed, will be greatly benefited, but how far the British Merchant and Manufacturer will be affected and distreſsed we must leave you to determine.
Under these Circumstances, we still hope the Parliament may by proper Information be convinced, that the true Interest of the Mother Country, will hereafter in a great degree depend, on their releiving us from those unnatural and useleſs Fetters, with which the Sinews of American Commerce have been so injudiciously cramp’d, and in particular the following, which we beg leave to remind you of in a brief manner, as we have been full and explicit on most of them, in our addreſf to you of November 1765.
1st. Were the duties, lately imposed on the Merchandize imported from Great Britain taken off and no future Burthens laid on them; the Colonists as heretofore would naturally persue the cultivation and Improvement of their Lands and rely on the British Merchants, for a supply of a great Variety of neceſsaries, as well as luxuries, without Interfering with the Interest of the Mother Country in her Manufactures.
2dly. The Restriction on Paper Currency, from being a Legal Tender in Colony Debts, as it deprives as of the only cerculating Medium of Trade, which we can by any means retain among us, provents the Cultivation of our Lands, obstructs the improvement of the Country, and is peculiarly embarraſsing and distreſsing to Commerce, which your own experience must inform you cannot be carried on to extensive Advantage without it.
3dly. The prohibition of the Colonists, from exporting Bar Iron to the Foreign ports in Europe, is manifestly injurious to both Countries, as it deprives the Amerians [sic] of a Considerable Circuitous remittance to Great Britain
4thly. The importation of Wines and Fruit from the Continent of Europe, into America through England, is attended with delay, which often endangers the Total loſs of the latter, and occasions a very great and unneceſsary expense as well as the Risque of a double Voyage to the Colonies, without producing the least [crossout] profit or Advantage to the Revenue of Great Britain, and therefor we Conceive it to be, as unnatural as well as unneceſsary Restriction on our Trade.
5thly. Our Trade to Madeira, formerly contributed to enable us to make remittances to Great Britain by an exportation of Wines of the growth of that Island from these Colonies; which is now totally obstructed by the heavy Duty to which that Article is subjected, and no Drawback allowed on exportation to Great Britain, which we esteem a great Grievance; Redreſs therein will be of manifest benefit to us, without prejudice to our Mother Country. We have also the like Cause of complaint in the Articles Coffee and, Foreign Indigo.
6thly. By an Act of Parliament paſsed in the Year 1765 Sugars of the Growth of the English West India Islands imported into Great Britain, from the Continent of North America are Declared, “shall be deemed and taken to the Foreign Sugars, and liable to the same duties and restrictions” which is a discouragement to the Commerce of the Colonies with Great Britain; because it deprives the North American Merchants of an Advantageous Remittance, which they might often make to the British Merchant when the Markets of these Colonies are overstocked with those sugars, received in return for our Flour and other Produce Shipped to the British Islands, this is a Circumstance that often happens, and reduces the Merchants here to very Considerable Difficulties.
Thus we have given you, from motives of Real regard to the Interests of both Countries, a brief iew of the Restrictions and Burthens on our Trade, which we think ought in all good policy to be redreſsed, and the regulations to be made for their mutual benefit, Should thse, we are Confident, our Commercial Connections will neceſsarily revive and our Trade Increase, to the inconceivable benefit of the Mother Country. Because it will from hence follow, that the greatest part of the produce of their Labour and Industry of the Coloniſts must flow to Great Britain, while the Former at liberty in their Commerce, will never think it worth while to Manufacture among themselves, but, Should the present Burthens on Trade be continued and particularly the Acts, imposing duties on Sea, Paper, Glaſs &c. for the sole purpose of Raising a Revenue in America, it is our Serious & Candid opinion the Commerce between Great Britain and her Colonies, must of neceſsary consequence Greatly diminish, and the General Importation of Goods suddenly Cease.
As you have hitherto had occasion to Consider the subject we have only to add, and repeat our earnest requests, that you will for your own as well as our Interest and that of both Countries exert your Interest and Influence with the Ministry and Parliament to obtain Redreſs, the manner of do ing it must be submitted to you who are on the Spot and Can best determine on the properest Method.