The Address of the Citizens of Philadelphia




Philip Foner’s introduction:

Written by Paine in July, 1783, this memorial urged the national legislature to return to Philadelphia. Congress had left the city in June, after having been threatened by a mutiny of Pennsylvania troops who were discontented over the failure to receive any pay for their military services. The memorial was published in the Pennsylvania Gazette of August 6, 1783.

Most Honorable Sirs

From the Commencement of the late ever memorable contest for liberty and the honor and happiness of the human race, the Citizens of Philadelphia, and of the Liberties thereof, have in an especial manner distinguished themselves by every exertion which principle could inspire or fortitude support.

Neither have they been free with their lives only as Militia but with their fortunes as Citizens. As instances of these we need only appeal to facts.

The Progress of the War has fully confirmed the one and the monthly return of taxes from this State of which the City and Liberties form so great a part has not been exceeded by any and we wish they had been proportionally equaled by every State in the Union. To which we may add the establishment of the bank which has extended its usefulness to the public service, and acquired a permanency as effectual and in some instances superior to those of other nations.

The government of this State has, likewise, ever distinguished itself by adopting and passing and the Citizens by supporting all such laws recommended by Congress as were necessary to be passed throughout the Continent for bringing the War to a happy issue and for raising such monies as the expence of it required.

The Act for laying a duty of five Per Cent upon imported Articles though it would have found its richest mine in the Commerce and consumption of this City and State, yet struck with the propriety and equity of raising money from the Channel in which it most circulates and impressed with the Necessity as well as the bounden duty of maintaining the justice and honor of America we cheerfully gave it our best support. And as we have ever been so we mean ever to continue to be among the foremost to establish the National Character of America as the firm basis of inviolable faith and sacred honor.

In thus expressing our minds to Congress we are likewise compelled to say, That from your residence among us We have been Witnesses to the uncommon difficulties you have had to struggle with. We have beheld them with concern and often times with heartfelt anxiety. We have participated in Your Cares and partook of your burdens.

While our chiefest consolation under them was that they did not arise from any unwillingness or backwardness in the Government of this State to adopt the proper measures for removing them or from any narrow views in the Citizens to counteract them-

We do not amuse the World with calling on Congress to do Justice to the army and to the creditors of America and yet withhold the means by which that Justice is to be fulfilled. On the contrary we freely offer ourselves to bear our share in any National measure to effect those purposes and to establish the character of America equal to her Rank.

We are now most solemnly to assure your Excellency and Congress that though we do not enter into the reasons or causes which might suggest to your Honorable Body the propriety of adjourning at the particular time you did adjourn from your long accustomed Residence in this City, Yet as a Testimony of the Affections of the Citizens to that Union which has so happily succeeded in accomplishing the freedom and independence of America, We beg leave to assure Congress that if either now or at any future time until the Residence of Congress shall be permanently established it should appear to your Honorable Body that the situation of Philadelphia is convenient for transacting therein the concerns of the Nation that Congress may Repose the utmost confidence in its inhabitants, not only to prevent any Circumstance which may have a tendency to disturb their necessary deliberations but to aid in all measures to support the national honor and dignity.

[For concrete evidence that Paine wrote this Address, see his letter to Benjamin Rush, June 13, 1783]