Item #55162 Manuscript petition to General Assembly in Newport against "Exorbatent interest" John Case.

Manuscript petition to General Assembly in Newport against "Exorbatent interest"

[Newport: second Monday of September A.D., 1766. (Folio sheet approx. 11½" x 7¼"), in ink; some staining, the right margin erose with a few dropped letters, small hole at the intersection of previous folds; good. The political unrest preceding the American Revolution is exemplified in this document which complains of the high rates of interest charged by the depreciation of old tenor in the Colony of Rhode Island. John Case petitioned the General Assembly of September 1766, then sitting at Newport, for the introduction of a Statute law, then in effect in Great Britain to regulate interest rates. Although the exact date of the actual writing of this petition is unknown (the Stamp Act was officially repealed March 18, 1766), it was written during a period when the colonists were severely rankled, mostly over excessive taxation and the uncertain value of money. A report in 1766 by the Committee to revise the laws of the colony debated "whether the several acts relating to the emitting and sinking of paper bills shall be inserted into the new law book." There were many problems relating to paper money and "old tenor and new tenor," which were worth different amounts. In February of 1764 an act had expired for putting a final end to old tenor, yet there were a considerable amount of such bills still outstanding. John Case writes: "As our oblegation are for the most part in a lawfull Currancey still the same is axacted which is not only to the utter Ruen of all Debters, Butt a Stagnation to all trade and Commerce and will Finally Depretiate the prime value of Land Down to allmost nothing and furthermore be the means of weakning of his Sovereign Majesty to Putt itt in the Power of a small number of letters of Money to graspe a Large number of estates from the Debters by an Exorbatant Interest Leaving them dispossessed...." Carefully choosing the impact of his words, Case changes "Wee your Cheerful Potetioner" to "Wee your Humble Potetioner" in the document, mindful that he is an unhappy subject of the King's laws. It is difficult to pinpoint John Case as there were several of that name in the time period, but he may be the John Case born in 1724 of John Case and Anne Greene. He had ten children and lived primarily in West Greenwich, R.I. (Note: A similar petition on the same topic was heard before the May 9, 1766 General Assembly--R.I. State Archives; Petitions to the General Assembly, Vol. 13, part 2, #19 - signed by 30 to 40 petitioners including one "John Case III"). No petitioners are listed here. Item #55162

Price: $600.00

See all items in Americana, Manuscripts
See all items by