On this day in 1774, the First Continental Congress petitions King George III regarding the oppressive Coercive Acts.
Originally, the British incurred a massive debt as a result of the French and Indian War. This led Parliament to enact the Stamp and Townshend Acts to exact more tax revenue from the colonies.
This ‘taxation without representation’ led to the Boston Tea Party. Parliament responded with the punitive Coercive Acts, or the Intolerable Acts, as the colonists called them.
To restore favorable relations, the newly-formed Congress issued a respectful Petition to the King requesting repeal of the Coercive Acts.
Here are a few examples from the Petition:
“Had our Creator been pleased to give us existence in a land of slavery, the sense of our condition might have been mitigated by ignorance and habit. But, thanks be to his adorable goodness, we were born the heirs of freedom…”
“we doubt not but your royal wisdom must approve the sensibility that teaches your subjects anxiously to guard the blessing they received from Divine Providence…”
“Permit us then, most gracious Sovereign, in the name of all your faithful People in America, with the utmost humility, to implore you, for the honour of Almighty God, whose pure Religion our enemies are undermining;”
“That your Majesty may enjoy every felicity through a long and glorious Reign, over loyal and happy subjects, and that your descendants may inherit your prosperity and Dominions till time shall be no more, is, and always will be, our sincere and fervent prayer.”
Even so, the king failed to adequately respond. On July 6, 1775, the Second Continental Congress adopted the “Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms.”