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and happy Government of the said PROVINCE free, full, and absolute Power, by the tenor of these Presents, to Ordain, Make and Enact LAWS, of what kind soever, according to their sound Discretions, whether relating to the Public State of the said PROVINCE, or the private Utility of Individuals, of and with the Advice, Assent, and Approbation of the FreeMen of the same PROVINCE, or of the greater Part of them, of their Delegates or Deputies, whom WE will shall be called together for the framing of LAWS, when, and as often as Need shall require, by the aforesaid now Baron of BALTIMORE, and his Heirs, and in the Form which shall seem best to him or them, and the same to publish under the Seal of the aforesaid now Baron of BALTIMORE, and his Heirs, and duly to execute the same upon all Persons, for the Time being, within the aforesaid PROVINCE, and the Limits thereof, or under his or their Government and Power, ... by the Imposition of Fines, Imprisonment, and other Punishment whatsoever; even if it be necessary, and the Quality of the Offence require it, by Privation of Member, or Life . . .: And also to Remit, Release, Pardon, and Abolish, all Crimes and Offences whatsoever against such Laws, whether before, or after Judgment passed: . . . So NEVERTHELESS, that the Laws aforesaid be consonant to Reason and be not repugnant or contrary, but (so far as conveniently may be) agreeable to the Laws, Statutes, Customs and Rights, of this Our Kingdom of England.
VIII. And FORASMUCH as, in the Government of so great a PROVINCE, sudden Accidents may frequently happen, to which it will be necessary to apply a Remedy, before the Freeholders of the said PROVINCE, their Delegates, or Deputies, can be called together for the framing of Laws; neither will it be fit that so great a Number of People should immediately, on such emergent Occasion, be called together, WE THEREFORE, do grant ... that the aforesaid now Baron of BALTIMORE; and his Heirs, may, and can make and constitute fit and wholesom Ordinances from Time to Time, to be kept and observed within the PROVINCE aforesaid, ... and publickly to notify the same to all Persons whom the same in any wise
do or may affect . . .: so that the same Ordinances do not, in any Sort, extend to oblige, bind, change, or take away the Right or Interest of any Person or Persons, of, or in Member, Life, Freehold, Goods or Chattels.
XVII. MOREOVER, We will, appoint, and ordain, and by these Presents, for US, our Heirs and Successors, do grant . ... that the same Baron of BALTIMORE, his Heirs and Assigns, from Time to Time, forever, shall have, and enjoy the Taxes and Subsidies payable, or arising within the Ports, Harbours, and other Creeks and Places aforesaid, with[in] the PROVINCE, aforesaid, for Wares bought and sold, and Things there to be laden, or unladen, to be reasonably assessed by them, and the People there as aforesaid, on emergent Occasion; to whom WE grant Power by these Presents, for US, our Heirs and Successors, to assess and impose the said Taxes and Subsidies there, upon just Cause, and in due Proportion.
XVIII. AND FURTHERMORE WE ... do give . unto the aforesaid now Baron of BALTIMORE, his Heirs, and Assigns, full and absolute Licence, Power, and Authority . (to) assign, alien, grant, demise, or enfeoff so many, such, and proportionate Parts and Parcels of the Premises, to any Person or Persons willing to purchase the same, as they shall think convenient, to have and to hold ... in Fee-simple, or Feetail, or for Term of Life, Lives, or Years; to hold of the aforesaid now Baron of BALTIMORE, his Heirs and Assigns, by ... such ... Services, Customs and Rents OF THIS KIND, as to the same now Baron of BALTIMORE, his Heirs and Assigns, shall seem fit and agreeable, and not immediately of US.
THE POLITY OF A ROYAL PROVINCE
SEVEN of the original colonies — eight, if Massachusetts be included — were royal provinces when they declared their independence. Although Massachusetts had a royal governor, its elective council gave the government a somewhat anomalous character. Among the duties repeatedly enjoined upon the royal governor was that of reporting upon the state of his province. The following extracts from reports by the governors of New York and Virginia give a substantially correct account of these two provincial establishments.
4. Report of Governor Tryon on New York.1 By the Grants of this Province and other Territories to the Duke of York in 1663-4 and 1674, the powers of Government were vested in him, and were accordingly exercised by his Governors until he ascended the Throne when his Rights as Proprietor merged in his Crown, and the Province ceased to be a charter Government.
From that time it has been a Royal Government, and in its Constitution nearly resembles that of Great Britain and the other Royal Governments in America. The Governor is appointed by the King during his Royal Will and pleasure by Letters Pattent under the Great Seal of Great Britain with very ample powers. He has a Council in Imitation of His Majesty's Privy Council. — This Board when full consists of Twelve Members who are also appointed by the Crown during Will & Pleasure; any three of whom make a Quorum — The Province enjoys a Legislative Body, which consists of the Governor as the King's Representative; the Council in the place of the House of Lords, and the Representatives of the People, who are chosen as in England: Of these the City of New York sends four. — All the other Counties (except the New Counties of
1 O'Callaghan, Documentary History of the State of New York, 1, 752-56. June 11, 1774.
Charlotte & Gloucester as yet not represented) send Two. — The Borough of Westchester, the Township of Schenectady and the three Manors of Rensselaerwyck, Livingston and Cortlandt each send one; in the whole forming a Body of Thirty one Representatives.
The Governor by his Commission is authorized to convene them with the advice of the Council, and adjourn, prorogue or dissolve the General Assembly as he shall judge necessary.
This Body has not the power to make any Laws repugnant to the Laws and Statutes of Great Britain. All Laws proposed to be made by this Provincial Legislature, pass thro' each of the Houses of Council and Assembly, as Bills do thro’ the House of Commons and House of Lords in England, and the Governor has a Negative voice in the making and passing of all sueh Laws. Every Law so passed is to be transmitted to His Majesty under the Great Seal of the Province, within Three months or sooner after the making thereof and a Duplicate by the next conveyance, in order to be approved or disallowed by His Majesty; And if His Majesty shall disallow any such Law and the same is signified to the Governor under the Royal Sign Manual or by Order of his Majesty's Privy Council, from thenceforth such law becomes utterly void. - A law of the Province has limited the duration of the Assembly to seven years.
The Common Law of England is considered as the Fundamental law of the Province and it is the received Doctrine that all the Statutes (not Local in their Nature, and which can be fitly applied to the circumstances of the Colony) enacted before the Province had a Legislature, are binding upon the Colony, but that Statutes passed since do not affect the Colony, unless by being specially named, such appears to be the Intentions of the British Legislature.
The Province has a Court of Chancery in which the Governor or Commander in chief sits as Chancellor and the Practice of the Court of Chancery in England is pursued as closely as possible. The officers of this Court consist of a Master of the Rolls newly created — Two Masters. -- Two Clerks in Court. - A Register. – An Examiner, and a Serjeant at Arms.
Of the Courts of Common Law the Chief is called the Supreme Court. — The Judges of which have all the powers of the King's Bench, Common Pleas and Exchequer in England. This Court sits once every three months at the City of New York, and the practice therein is modelled upon that of the King's Bench at Westminster. — Tho' the judges have the powers of the Court of Exchequer they never proceed upon the Equity side. — The court has no Officers but one Clerk, and is not organized nor supplied with any officers in that Department of the Exchequer, which in England has the care of the revenue.
The judges of the Supreme Court hold their offices during the King's Will and Pleasure and are Judges of Nisi prius of Course by act of Assembly, & Annually perform a Circuit through the Counties. — The Decisions of this Court in General are final unless where the Value exceeds £300. Sterling, in which case the subject may be relieved from its errors only by an application to the Governor & Council, and where the Value exceeds £500 sterling an appeal lies from the Judgment of the latter to His Majesty in Privy Council.
By an Act of the Legislature of the Province suits are prohibited to be brought in the Supreme Court where the Value demanded does not exceed £20. Currency.
The Clerk's Office of the Supreme Court has always been held as an Appendage to that of the Secretary of the Province.
There is also in each County an Inferior Court of Common Pleas, which has the Cognizance of all actions real, personal & mixed, where the matter in demand is above £5. in value. The practice of these Courts is a mixture between the Kings Bench and Common Pleas at Westminster. - Their Errors are corrected in the first Instance by Writ of Error brought into the Supreme Court; and the Judges hold their offices during pleasure. - The Clerks of these Courts also hold their offices during pleasure and are appointed by the Governor, except the Clerk of Albany who is appointed under the King's Mandate.
Besides these Courts the Justices of peace are by Act of Assembly empowered to try all causes to the amount of £5.