Petition of the Quebec Traders, 1764
May it please Your Majesty.
Confident of Your Majesty's Paternal Care and Protection extended even to the meanest and most distant of your Subjects, We humbly crave your Majesty's Gracious Attention to our present Grievances and Distresses.
We presume to hope that your Majesty will be pleased to attribute our approaching your Royal Throne with disagreeable Complaints, to the Zeal and Attachment we have to your Majesty's Person and Government, and for the Liberties & Priviledges with which your Majesty has indulged all your Dutifull Subjects.
Our Settlement in this Country with respect to the greatest part of us; takes it's date from the Surrender of the Colony to your Majesty's Arms; Since that Time we have much contributed to the advantage of our Mother Country, by causing an additional Increase to her Manufactures, and by a considerable Importation of them, diligently applied ourselves to Investigate and promote the Commercial Interests of this Province and render it flourishing.
To Military Government, however oppressive and severely felt, we submitted without murmur, hoping Time with a Civil Establishment would remedy this Evil.
With Peace we trusted to enjoy the Blessings of British Liberty, and happily reap the fruits of our Industry: but we should now despair of ever attaining those desirable ends, had we not Your Majesty's experienced Goodness to apply to.
The Ancient Inhabitants of the Country impoverished by the War, had little left wherewith to purchase their common necessaries but a Paper Currency of very doubtfull Value: The Indian War has suspended our Inland Trade for two years past, and both these Causes united have greatly injured our Commerce.
For the redress of which we repose wholly on your Majesty, not doubting but the Wisdom of your Majesty's Councils will in due time put the Paper Currency into a Course of certain and regular Payment, and the Vigour of Your Majesty's Arms terminate that War by a peace advantageous and durable.
We no less rely on your Majesty for the Redress of those Grievances we suffer from the Measures of Government practised in this your Majesty's Province, which are:
- The Deprivation of the open Trade declared by your Majesty's most gracious Proclamation, by the Appropriation of some of the most commodious Posts' of the Resort of the Savages, under the Pretext of their being your Majesty's private Domain.
- The Enacting Ordinances Vexatious, Oppressive, unconstitutional, injurious to civil Liberty and the Protestant Cause.
- Suppressing dutifull and becoming Remonstrances of your Majesty's Subjects against these Ordinances in Silence and Contempt.
- The Governor1 instead of acting agreeable to that confidence reposed in him by your Majesty, in giving a favorable Reception to those of your Majesty's Subjects, who petition and apply to him on such important Occasions as require it, doth frequently treat them with a Rage and Rudeness of Language and Demeanour, as dishonorable to the Trust he holds of your Majesty as painful to those who suffer from it.
- His further adding to this by most flagrant Partialities, by fermenting Parties and taking measures to keep your Majesty's old and new Subjects divided from one another, by encouraging the latter to apply for Judges of their own National Language.
- His endeavouring to quash the Indictment against Claude Panet (his Agent in this Attempt who laboured to inflame the Minds of the People against your Majesty's British Subjects) found by a very Worthy Grand Inquest, and causing their other judicious and honest Presentments to be answered from the Bench with a Contemptuous Ridicule.
- This discountenancing the Protestant Religion by almost a Total Neglect of Attendance upon the Service of the Church, leaving the Protestants to this Day destitute of a place of Worship appropriated to themselves.
- The Burthen of these Grievances from Government is so much the more severely felt, because of the natural Poverty of the Country; the Products of it been extremely unequal to support its Consumption of Imports.
- Hence our Trade is miserably confined and distressed, so that we lye under the Utmost Necessity of the Aids and Succours of Government, as well from Our Mother Country as that of the Province, in the Place of having to contend against Oppression and Restraint.
We could enumerate many more Sufferings which render the Lives of your Majesty's Subjects, especially your Majesty's loyal British Subjects, in the Province so very unhappy that we must be under the Necessity of removing from it, unless timely prevented by a Removal of the present Governor.
Your Petitioners therefore most humbly pray your Majesty to take the Premises into your gracious Consideration, and to appoint a Governor over us, acquainted with other maxims of Government than Military only; And for the better Security of your Majesty's dutiful and loyal Subjects, in the Possession and Continuance of their Rights and Liberties, we beg leave also most humbly to petition that it may please your Majesty, to order a House of Representatives to be chosen in this as in other your Majesty's Provinces; there being a number more than Sufficient of Loyal and well affected Protestants, exclusive of military Officers, to form a competent and respectable House of Assembly; and your Majesty's new Subjects, if your Majesty shall think fit, may be allowed to elect Protestants without burdening them with such Oaths2 as in their present mode of thinking they cannot conscientiously take.
We doubt not but the good Effects of these measures will soon appear, by the Province becoming flourishing and your Majesty's People in it happy. And for your Majesty and' your House your Petitioners as in Duty bound shall ever pray, &ca &ca
- Sam Sills
- John Danser
- Edward Harrison
- James Jeffry
- Eleazer Levy
- James Johnston
- James Shepherd
- Thomas Story
- John Watmough
- Dan Bayne
- John Ord
- John Purss
- Geo. Allsoopp
- Alexander McKenzie
- William Mackenzie
- Geo. Measam
- B Comte
- Jean A. Gastineau
- Peter Faneuil
- Ph. Payn
- Geo. Fulton
2. The Oaths of the Test Act of 1673.
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