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In the meantime, a remonstrance was offered by certain planters and merchants, interested in trading to the British sugar colonies in America, alleging, that the price of negroes was greatly advanced since the forts and settlements on the coast of Africa had been under the direction of the committee of the company of merchants trading to that coast; a circumstance that greatly distressed and alarmed the petitioners, prevented the cultivation of the British colonies, and was a great detriment to the trade and navigation of the kingdom; that this misfortune, they believed, was in some measure owing to the ruinous state and condition of the forts and settlements; that, in their opinion, the most effectual method for maintaining the interest of that trade on a respectable footing, next to that of an incorporated joint-stock company, would be putting those forts and settlements under the sole direction of the commissioners for trade and plantations; that the preservation or ruin of the American sugar colonies went hand in hand with that of the slave trade to Africa; that, by an act passed in the year one thousand seven hundred and fifty, for extending and improving this trade, the British subjects were debarred from lodging their slaves and merchandise in the forts and settlements on the coast; they, therefore, prayed that this part of the act might be repealed; that all commanders of British and American vessels, free merchants, and all other his majesty's subjects, who were settled, or might at any time thereafter settle in Africa, should have free liberty, from sunrise to sunset, to enter the forts and settlements, and to deposit their goods and merchandise in the warehouses thereunto belonging; to secure their slaves or other purchases without paying any consideration for the same; but the slaves to be victualled at the proper cost and charge of their respective owners.