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Thomas Mills to John Adams

1 Jul. 1785

Chapter Coffee House July 1st 1785.

The Petition of Thomas Mills Clerk, Humbly Sheweth.

That, as it would be the utmost Gratification of his Wishes to pay, with the greatest veneration and respect, every possible Encomium on Your Excellency, which your distinguished Rank, Splendid Virtues, and great Abilities (which were most conspicuously displayed in your Steady exertions and unremitting Ardor in the glorious cause of Liberty and Independance) so highly claim; and for which you will eternally receive the well earned Commendation, the superbiam quastitam Meritis of every true Advocate for the just Rights, Liberties, and Privileges of Mankind; It gives your Petitioner the most heartfelt Concern that, instead of assuming the more grateful character of a Panegerist, he is compelled by necessity to approach your Excellency as an humble Supplicant.

That your Petitioner, considering the many weighty and Important Concerns of the Republic, which must necessarily engage your Excellency’s attention, “Cum tot Sustineas et tanta negotia Solus” humbly begs leave to lay before Your Excellency, a short and plain Representation of his unfortunate Case, with a Strict Adherence to Matters of Fact.

That your Petitioner was endowed with a liberal Education, and having first taken his Degree at Oxford, was ordained Priest in the Year 1771, from which Time he officiated chiefly as Curate to his aged Father who was possessed of the Small Living of Miserdine in Glocestershire (and who was then in such a weak and infirm State as to be incapable of performing the Ministerial Function) till a singular Circumstance occured; which, notwithstanding it proved the primary Source of your Petitioner’s Misfortunes and present Distress, he will not, as he yet glories in the Deed, mention with Regret.

That on Sunday October the 22d. 1780 Your Petitioner, under a conscientious persuasion of the Rectitude of his Conduct, Zealously attached to the glorious cause of civil and virtuous Liberty, from which he will not on any Consideration whatever be induced to recede, and spurning with a just abhorrence, at the detestable Idea of a servile Submission to an Arbitrary and uncontrouled Government, which too generally sways with the Iron Rod of Tyrany and Oppression) having obtained Leave of Mr. Archdeacon Chapman to preach at the Abbey Cathedral in Bath, advanced certain Doctrines not altogether palatable to some Men high in Office, then present; (which by the inclosed Sermon, literally transcribed from the Original, and most humbly submitted to Your Excellency’s perusal, will more fully appear) who, being incensed at your Petitioner, because he dared to tell them the Truth, prevailed with the Archdeacon to Order the Organist to play a full Organ, to the great interruption of your Petitioner in his discourse, and to the general dissatisfaction of the unprejudiced Audience, many of whom reprobated the Archdeacons unjustifiable and iniquitous Conduct.

That the Ministerial Advocates having convened the next day and held a consultation together on the above Affair, executed a Resolution of representing, in a very unfair manner, Your Petitioner’s Conduct, (as far as related to the circumstance of the preceding Day; for they could bring no other Accusation against him, Your Petitioner having preserved his Character unblemished and irreproachable) to the Bishop of Glocester, in whose Diocese your Petitioner then held a Curacy, under his Father: which ungenerous proceeding not having the desired Effect on the good Sense of his Lordship the Bishop, who, as he himself declared, had never heard any ill Report of your Petitioner; The Ministerial Party, his Enemies, then caused repeated Advertizements and paragraphs to appear in the Glocester Journal and other Papers, describing your Petitioner as a Person of violent and dangerous Republican Principles, and an Enemy to the British Constitution; which tended greatly to his prejudice; for by these and such like unfair Methods by them taken, his Credit was greatly affected, his Interest much hurt, and his future views in Life utterly obscured.

That your Petitioner having a Wife and Six Small Children, and little more than a Curacy of £30. a year to maintain them, was under the disagreeable necessity of contracting a few debts in the procurement of Sustenance for his Indigent Family: Which Circumstance being known, afforded the Tories his Adversaries a fair Opportunity of gratifying their Malevolence by prevailing on his Creditors to proceed against him for the same, which one or two of them did by arresting him, or otherwise greatly harrassing him, to the utter Ruin of your Petitioner; who was, in Consequence of the Cruelty of his persecuting Creditors, obliged to desert his Native Home, and to suffer four Years Exile from his dear Wife, his Children, his Relations, and Friends: And your Petitioner’s Father being lately deceased, and leaving Six Children to partake of the Division of his Effects, which are inconsiderable; Your Petitioner’s Share being very trifling, scarce sufficient to satisfy the Demands of his Relentless Creditors, Your Petitioner, his beloved Wife, and dear helpless Children, at this time, Experience the most poignant distress.

That your Petitioner having the greatest Veneration for that Land of Liberty, where Bellona has, with the Arm of Valor, lately Erected a Temple Are perennius, adorned with the Trophies of Victory, to that Guardian Genius; which present and after ages, will adore and admire, whilst those Servile Wretches and Monsters of Mankind who Envy the Splendor and Magnificence of its Structure, will never be able to efface it; Your Petitioner is induced, as well from Inclination, as compelled by necessity, to seek, with his Wife and Six Children, that Assylum and Protection across the vast Atlantic, which he cannot find in his Native Land.

Your Petitioner therefore most humbly entreats Your Excellency to take his Unfortunate Case into your humane Consideration; and benignly Condescend to favor him with a Recommendatory Letter to America, or otherwise to hold out to him the soothing Hand of Succour and Relief in such manner as to Your Excellency shall seem meet.

And your Petitioner will ever pray &c.

RC (MHi: Adams Papers); internal address: “To His Excellency John Adams Esqr / Minister Plenipotentiary from The / Independant States of America to The / Court of Great Britain.”; endorsed: “Revd. Mr. Mills’s Letter and Sermon.”
This early access document should not be cited in formal research.
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