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The American Revolution
British Reforms and Colonial Resistance
To the Tradesmen of Philadelphia, September 24, 1770

The debates about the Townshend Duties and what to do about them highlighted many differences of opinion and interests among American colonists. What position does this writer take concerning what Philadelphians should do about the Townshend Duties? To what extent does this writer demonstrate fears of British conspiracies against American liberties?

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TO THE Tradesmen, Farmers, and other Inhabitants of the City and County of Philadelphia.

AND will you suffer the Credit and Liberties of the Province of Philadelphia to be sacrificed to the Interests of a few Merchants in Philadelphia?--Shall the Grand Question, whether American shall be free or not, be determined by a few Men, whose Support and Importance must always be in Proportion to the Distresses of our Country?--Shall we exchange our birthright Privileges for the paltry Luxuries of Great-Britain, which impoverish and destroy us while we consume them?--In determining Questions of such great Consequence, the Consent of the Majority of the Tradesmen, Farmers,, and other Freemen of the City and County of Philadelphia should have been obtained, as well as of the Merchants who unhappily carried this Vote in the Affirmative. Many of them have plead the Wants of the Tradesmen as an Arguments for a General Importation. This is a mean Artifice, and altogether void of Foundation. The Tradesmen who have suffered by the Non-Importation Agreement are but few, when compared to the Number of those who have received great Benefit from it, and even these have had Virtue enough to stifle their Complaints. The Contest with the Ministry at present is for Victory, and if the Matter in Dispute was of much less Importance, yet considering its Consequences it becomes us to be firm and invincible. We would by no Means wish to preclude our Mechants from a partial Importation. Let them adopt an Agreement similar to that of Maryland, etc.

A TRADESMAN

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