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A Mock Petition to the House of Commons

To the honourable the Knights Citizens and Burgesses of Great Britain in Parliament assembled,

The Petition of BF. Agent for the Province of Pensilvania, Most humbly Sheweth,

That the Transporting of Felons from England to the Plantations in America, is and hath long been a great Grievance to the said Plantations in general.

That the said Felons being landed in America, not only continue their evil Practices, to the Annoyance of his Majesty’s good Subjects there, but contribute greatly to corrupt the Morals of the Servants and poorer People among whom they are mixed.

That many of the said Felons escape from the Servitude to which they were destined, into other Colonies, where their Condition is not known and wandering at large from one populous Town to another commit many Burglaries Robberies and Murders, to the great Terror of the People, and occasioning heavy Charges for the apprehending and securing such Felons, and bringing them to Justice.

That your Petitioner humbly conceives the Easing one Part of the British Dominions of their Felons by burthening another Part with the same Felons, cannot increase the common Happiness of his Majesty’s Subjects; and that therefore the Trouble and Expence of transporting them is upon the whole altogether useless.

That your Petitioner nevertheless observes with extream Concern, in the Votes of Friday last, that Leave is given to bring in a Bill, for extending to Scotland the Act made in the 4th. Year of the Reign of King George the First, whereby the aforesaid Grievances are (as he understands) to be greatly increas’d by allowing Scotland also to transport its Felons to America.

Your Petitioner therefore humbly prays, in behalf of Pensilvania and the other Plantations in America that the House wou’d take the Premisses into Consideration, and in their great Wisdom and Goodness repeal all Acts and Clauses of Acts for Transporting of Felons; or if this may not at present be done, that they would at least reject the propos’d Bill for extending of the said Acts to Scotland; or, if it be thought fit to allow of such Extension, that then the said Extension may be carried farther, and the Plantations be also by an equitable Clause in the same Bill permitted to transport their Felons to Scotland.

And your Petitioner, as in Duty bound shall pray, &c.;

April 12-15, 1766