Petition of Natives of North America, to the King, Against the Bill

v1:60

The following Petition of the Natives of America, then in London, was presented to the King, on the morning of the 31st of March, before he went to the House of Lords:

v1:61

To the King' s most excellent Majesty, the humble Petition of several Natives of America, showeth:

That your Majesty' s Petitioners are natives of your Dominions in America, and bear most true and cordial allegiance to your Majesty' s Royal person and family.

That allegiance and protection being reciprocal, your Petitioners look up to your Majesty for protection under the common law of the land, which is their birth-right.

That, according to law, no man can be condemned to punishment without being called upon to answer, nor without an opportunity of hearing the evidence against him, and defending his innocence. That in violation of this law, and of every principle of natural justice, a Bill is now offered for the Royal assent, calculated to inflict pains and penalties, with unexampled severity, upon your Majesty' s loyal town of Boston, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay; the said town being unapprized of the proceedings, and not heard in its defence; that such Bill, if it receive your Majesty' s assent, will immediately take away from the inhabitants of the town of Boston the use of property to the amount of several hundred thousand pounds, vested in quays, wharfs, store-houses, &c˙; will restrain many thousands of your Majesty' s subjects from procuring subsistence for themselves and their families, by their ordinary occupations; may endanger the community, by violent commotions from so many men rendered desperate, by being deprived of their daily bread; and, what cannot but do the last violence to the Royal justice, will punish the innocent for the guilty.

Your Majesty' s Petitioners most humbly represent, that this Bill is the more unjust, as the trespass it is meant to punish, has not been prosecuted in the Courts of common law in America, where only according to law and the constitution, it is cognizable. That the interposition of this Bill is as totally unnecessary as the mode of it is unjust; because, your Majesty' s Courts in America, are open to the redress of any injury sustained there; and justice is so little liable to perversion, that under every impression of popular prejudice, Captain Preston and others had, in this your Majesty' s Province of the Massachusetts Bay, a fair trial, and a favourable verdict.

Your Majesty' s Petitioners do therefore humbly pray, that your Majesty will be most graciously pleased to suspend your Royal assent to a Bill, calculated to condemn and punish their countrymen unheard, and form a precedent, which will take away every security and protection, under the law, from all your Majesty' s subjects in America.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

William Lee,
Walter Izard,
B˙ Franklin,
Edward Fenwicke,
John Ellis,
Thomas Pinckney,
H˙ Laurence,
William Middleton, Jun˙,
William Blake,
John Boylston,
Robert Izard,
John Ballendine,
Charles Fuller,
John Ward,
Isaac Motte,
Jos˙ Johnston,
Thomas Barker,
John Hobson,
William Middleton,
Daniel Bowley,
Thomas Ruston,
John Perronneau,
Peeke Fuller,
Arthur Lee,
Joh˙ Williams,
Joel Poinsett,
Robert Izard, Jun˙,
William H˙ Gibbs,
Philip Neyle,
James Marshall,
J˙ F˙ Grimke,