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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The oppression of taxation

From the Gentleman’s Magazine 1732. We reproduce the following correspondence to show how little has changed in the concerns of the local businesses in Sudbury

February 19th 1732.
Copy of a letter from the Borough of Sudbury in the County of Suffolk, to John Knight and Carteret Leathes Esqs, their representatives in Parliament.

Gentlemen, February 19th 1732.
The many gradual advances that the Laws of Excice have made upon us, proves burdensome and discouraging to Trade, and the present design, which we hear is on Foot, to extend this further gives us too much Reason to fear, that they will increase to so great a number as will prove fatal to Trade and Liberty of the Subject.
And therefore, as you are our Representatives in Parliament, we earnestly request, nay, let us conjure you, by all the Obligations which the important Trust reposed on you, and your high Station lays you under, that if a Motion for extending the said Law, should be made in Parliament, you would strenuously oppose it, and thereby demonstrate you are acting becoming the Representatives of a Trading Borough, in the Honourable House of Commons of Great Britain, by which, will much oblige many of the Electors of the Borough of Sudbury,
Your Humble Servants.

The Answer of a Member of Parliament, to a Letter lately sent him from the Borough of Sudbury
To the Mayor, Aldermen, Common Council, and Burgesses of Sudbury

I have received the Letter you have been pleased to honour me with, wherein you seem to be under great Apprehensions, that something will shortly be offered to the House, Injurious to Trade, and dangerous to the very Being of Parliament, and our excellent Constitution –Should that be the Case, I flatter myself you will never entertain so disadvantageous an Opinion of me, as to think I can be regardless of the Trust you have reposed on me, or of the Duty which I owe my Country.
As to Trade, I have ever thought it a matter of such Consequence, as to deserve the more the immediate Care of the Representatives of a Trading People, almost preferable to every other Consideration, as to the surest Basis of Riches, Strength, and the Prosperity of these Kingdoms.
You are pleased however to own, that your Apprehensions on this Occasion proceed from the Surmises which you can scarce give Credit to, and I hope you will very soon be convinced, that they are without any real Foundation.
But as I am not acquainted with what is intended to be proposed, I think it will be very ill of become me, to be so far guided by implicit Faith, as either to approve or condemn what at present I am a Stranger to.
Should it tend to what Jealousy may possibly suggest, though it appears detrimental to trade, dangerous to the Constitution of Parliament, or the Liberties of my Fellow Subjects, I hope it is not in my Nature to forget I am an Englishman.
But, if the contrary to the Sentiments which are present entertained by many persons who wish well to their Country, it should prove a Benefit to Trade, by pointing out a Remedy for Frauds which are universally practis’d to the great discouragement and Predjudice of the fair Trader, if without creating any new Duties, or increasing those which are already established, it should considerably improve the Revenues as upon any Emergency to supply the Necessities of Publick, if the Government should thereby enabled to lessen the National Debt, or give Ease to those branches of Trade, which are most burdensome to our poor Manufacturers, if this should be the Tendency of the Scheme, I am sure my Assent to it cannot fail of your Approbation.
In Confidence of which, acting upon these Principles, and upon this Foundation, I can have no Reason to doubt the Continuance of your Favour, to which it will always be my Endeavour to deserve.
I am Gentlemen
Your most Faithful
and obedient humble Servant.


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