[From The 1769 Boston Chronicle Vol. II. No. 31. From Monday July 31, to Thursday August 3, 1769:] London. To the King’s most excellent Majesty, The humble Petition of the Freeholders of the County of Middlesex…
Rare 1769 issue of the “The Boston Chronicle,” containing the entire 1769 Middlesex Petition
Single complete issue that, notably, prints the entire Middlesex Petition to King George III.
First issued in Middlesex county, England, the petition warmly supports the Massachusetts colonists and addresses the imprisonment of British radical John Wilkes who was elected to British Parliament but then jailed for seditious libel.
In fact many of the protests printed in the Middlesex Petition, and signed by over 1500 English Freeholders, address issues of suspension of habeas corpus, censure of freedom of the press, and the rights of Englishmen in such a tense political climate:
English subjects, and even a member of British legislature, arrested by virtue of a general warrant…Their bodies committed to close imprisonment—The habeas corpus eluded—Printers punished by the ministry in the supreme court without a trial by their equals, without any trial at all—Wicked attempts to increase and establish a standing army, by endeavouring to vest in the crown and unlimited power over the militia; which should they succeed, must sooner or later, subvert the constitution…Irreligion and immorality so eminently discouraged by your Majesty’s royal example, encouraged by Administration both by example and precept—The same discretion hath been extended by the same evil Counsellors to your Majesty’s dominions in America, and has produced to our suffering fellow subjects in that part of the world, grievances and apprehensions similar to those which we complain of at home…We see ourselves…depriv’d even of the franchises of the Englishmen, reduced to the most abject state of slavery, and left without hopes or means of redress…
The first two pages (–245) of this issue of The Boston Chronicle newspaper is the second part from the previous issue’s “Letters from the Council of the Province of Massachusetts-Bay &c.” In this concluding salvo, Massachusetts Bay radicals on the governor’s council continue their rancorous debate with colonial Governor Thomas Hutchinson.
A lengthy and spirited interpretation of the legal meaning of the first Quartering Act of 1765, from the radical colonist’s perspective, is given. The article further a prelude to the extreme tensions created by the British sending in British troops into Boston which would lead to the Boston Massacre of 1770. In part:
...[P]articularly with regard to the suppressing riots, mobs, disorders or the like, the Council can with truth say, it is not in the Governor’s power to give on instance, wherein they have not exerted themselves to the utmost to suppress them. In proof of their having done so, they cam appeal to their answer to the Governor, relative to a libel published against him; to the proclamations they have advised him to issue; to the orders they have given the Attorney General to prosecute those who have been rioters, or otherwise, disturbers of the peace; and to the rewards offered to induce persons to bring them to justice.
Simmering tensions in Boston, in the heat of the summer.
Description: [From The 1769 Boston Chronicle Vol. II. No. 31. From Monday July 31, to Thursday August 3, 1769:] London. To the King’s most excellent Majesty, The humble Petition of the Freeholders of the County of Middlesex…
[Colophon:] Boston: Printed…by Mein and Fleeming. 1769. pp. Printed in three columns. Small folio, partially untrimmed, previously stabbed and stitched. Slight stains; tanning.
Brigham I: 276. Noting the paper was issued as a folio beginning in January, 1769.