Item of the Day: The True Sentiments of America (1768)

Full Title: The True Sentiments of America: contained in a collection of letters sent from the House of Representatives of the Province of Massachusetts Bay to the several persons of high rank in this kingdom: together with certain papers relating to a supposed libel on the governor of that province, and a dissertation on the canon and the feudal law. London: Printed for I. Almon, in Piccadilly, 1768.

 Agreeable to a Vote of the Honourable House of Representatives of the Province of Massachusett’s-Bay, the following humble, dutiful, and loyal Petition to the KING, signed by the Speaker, by their Order of the 20th  January 1768; together with the Representations of the House to his MAJESTY’s Ministers; their Letter to their Agent, &c. are here inserted.

An humble Petition to the King’s most Excellent Majesty.


YOUR Majesty’s faithful subjects, the representatives of your province of the Massachusetts-Bay, with the warmest sentiments of loyalty, duty, and affection, beg leave to approach the throne, and to lay at your Majesty’s feet their humble supplications, in behalf of your distressed subjects the people of the province.

Our ancestors, the first settleres of this country, having with royal consent, which we humbly apprehend involves the consent of the nation, and at their own great expence, migrated from the mother kingdom, took possession of this land, at that time a wilderness, the right whereof they had purchased for a valuable consideration of the council established at Plimouth, to whom it had been granted by your Majesty’s royal predecessor King James the first.

From the principles of loyalty to their Sovereign which will ever warm the breast of a true subject, though remote they acknowledged their allegience to the English crown: and your Majesty will allow us with all humility to say, that they and their posterity, even to this time, have afforded frequent and final proofs of their zeal for the honour and service of their prince, and their firm attachment to the parent country.

 With toil and fatique, perhaps not to be conceived by their brethren and fellow-subjects at home, and with the constant peril of their lives, from a numerous, savage, and warlike race of men, they began their settlement, and God prospered them.

They obtained a charter from King Charles the first; wherein his Majesty was pleased to grant to them and their heirs and assigns for ever, all the lands therein described, to hold of him and his royal successors in free and common soccage; which we humbly conceive is as absolute an estate as the subject can hold under the crown. And in the same character were granted to them, and their posterity, all the rights, liberties, privileges, and immunities of natural subjects, born within the realm.

This charter they enjoyed, having, as we most humbly conceive, punctually complied with all the conditions of it, till in an unhappy time it was vacated–But after the revolution, when King William and Queen Mary, of glorious and blessed memory, were established on the throne: In that happy reign, when, to the joy of the nation and its dependencies, the crown was settled in your Majesty’s illustrious family, the inhabitants of this province shared in the common blessing. Then they were indulged with another charter; in which their Majesties were pleased for themselves, their heirs and successors, to grant and confirm to them as ample estate in the lands or territories as was granted by the former charter, together with other the most essential rights and liberties contained therein: The principal of which, is that which your Majesty’s subjects within the realm have ever held a most sacred right, of being taxed only by representatives of their own free election.

Thus blessed with the rights of Englishmen, through the undulgent smiles of Heaven, and under the auspicious government of your Majesty and your royal predecessors, your people of this province have been happy, and your Majesty has acquired a numerous increase of loyal subjects, a large extent of dominon, and a new and inexhaustible source of commerce, wealth and glory.

With great sincerity, permit us to assure your Majesty, that your subjects of this province, ever have, and still continue to acknowledge your Majesty’s high court of parliament the supreme legislative power of the whole empire. The superintending authority of which is clearly admitted in all cases, that can consist with the fundamental rights of nature and the constitution, to which your Majesty’s happy subjects in all parts of your empire conceive they have a just and equitable claim.

It is with the deepest concern that your humble suppliants would represent to your Majesty, that your parliament, the rectitude of whose intentions is never to be questioned, has thought proper to pass divers acts imposing taxes on your Majesty’s subjects in America, with the sole and express purpose of raising a revenue. If your Majesty’s subjects here shall be deprived of the honour and privilege of voluntarily contributing their aid to your Majesty, in supporting your government and authority in the province, and defending and securing your rights and territories in America, which they have always hitherto done with utmost chearfulness [sic]: If these acts of parliament shall remain in force, and your Majesty’s commons in Great Britain shall continue to exercise the power of granting the property of their fellow subjects in this province, your people must then regret their unhappy fate in having only the name left of free subjects.

With all humility we conceive that a representation of your Majesty’s subjects of this province in the parliament, considering their local circumstances, is utterly impracticable: Your Majesty has heretofore been graciously pleased to order your requisitions to be laid before the representatives of your people in the general assembly, who  have never failed to afford the necessary aid to the extent of their ability, and sometimes beyond it; and it would be ever grievous to your Majesty’s faithful subjects to be called upon a way, that should appear to them to imply a distrust fo their most ready and willing compliance.

Under the most sensible impressions of your Majesty’s wife and paternal care for the remotest of your faithful subjects, and in full dependence on the royal declarations in the charter of this province, we most humbly beseech your Majesty to take our present unhappy circumstances under your royal consideration, and afford us relief in such manner as in your Majesty’s great wisdom and clemency shall seem meet.


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Filed under 1760's, Colonial America, Great Britain, History, Massachusetts, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

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