Abbildungen der Seite

are sent, that the proprietary and governor hath given directions for letting all the laws drop or fall, we are credibly informed, that afterwards he was well pleased they should stand; and all the laws made here since his departure, were sent for his perusal, and none of them, to our knowledge, in the least declared void by him; neither do we conceive that he hath any reason so to do.

"As to the establishment of laws, we expected nor aimed at any higher sanction than was used in the governor's time; but, in case bills had been prepared and promulgated according to charter, and had passed by us into laws, and the great seal had been necessary, and the same duly required to be applied to the said laws, and the keeper refused the same, then we might justly blame such refusal; but, as to the way thou mentions, that our proprietary and governor is authorized by himself, and with consent of the freemen, to make laws, and under his seal to publish them, and not in the granted way of the charter and act of settlement; as we do not desire, so our hopes are, that no laws of that make will be imposed upon us; and, had we made laws at this time, as formerly, we question not but that they had been as inoffensive in the present conjuncture, as afore; and we do conceive, that our laws here, not being declared or adjudged by the King under his privy seal to be void, do remain and stand in full force, according to the true intent and meaning thereof.

"As for the charge of animosities and dissensions amongst us before thy coming here, it is so general, that we can make no other answer than that, in matters of government, our apprehensions were otherwise, the end of good government being answered, in that power was supported in reverence with the people,



and the people were secured from the abuse of power; but for what thou mentions to have been renewed since amongst the members of council, we leave them to answer.

"As to the expedient proposed, of thy governing this province and territories, by such of the laws as were made before our proprietary and governor went hence, which thou shalt judge not contrary to the laws of England, we conceive no such expedient can be consistent with our constitution, without the concurrence of the council, according to such methods as have been heretofore used in legislature; and what course of government is otherwise, will be ungrateful and uncertain to us; for how far the laws of England are to be our rules, is declared by the King's letters patent.

"As to thy assuring us thy just compliance with us, in what we may reasonably desire, we take it kindly, and do desire that our members of council may be permitted to sit, according to our former request."

The governor finding himself thus steadily opposed, had recourse to another piece of practice, which was to prevail on certain members to withdraw themselves from the House; the House, on the other hand, voted this to be a treachery, and farther prepared and presented the following request to the governor; viz.

"To the Governor and Council, sitting at Philadelphia, the twentieth day of the third month, 1689.

"We, the representatives of the freemen of Pennsylvania and territories thereof, in Assembly met, being much disappointed in our expectation in not finding any bills prepared and promulgated by you for a further concurrence; and perceiving three members duly elected to serve in council (in whose wisdom and faithfulness we much confide) too long kept out; and that a

member of our own is treated with great rigor and severity in the time of assembly, and not allowed to be with us, though most of us have known him to have been serviceable therein these several years; we (being under a strait in these considerations) do request your tender regard of our grievances already presented, and of our answer presented to the governor in council, to his speech delivered to us there. And we do desire you do not go to dismiss us until we are received and righted in our just complaints; and that we be not discouraged in charging before the provincial council such persons or members, whom we can with great probability make appear to be ill ministers and chief authors of the present arbitrariness in government; and who are men unworthy, as we conceive, to be much consulted with, and unfit to be chief magistrates. What we purpose to do herein, shall be orderly, speedily, and within bounds."

It does not appear that this request met with any regard, or that the proprietary interest gained any ground in the assemblies held the two subsequent years; and, in the year 1693, the King and Queen assumed the government of the colony into their own hands; under what pretext, in virtue of what management, whether to gratify any displeasure conceived against Mr. Penn, or in concert with him, is not specified.


The Government assumed into the Hands of the Crown in 1693, and administered by Colonel Fletcher, Governor of New York. He declares the Constitution of Penn's Government, and that of their Majesties, to be directly opposite each to the other. He menaces the Assembly with an Annexation of their Province to that of New York. Protestation against passing Bills. Remonstrance to Penn. The Governor admits the Principles of the Quakers, not to carry Arms or levy Money to make War. The Assembly insist on their Right to appropriate as well as to raise Money. The Government of William Markham. A new Act of Settlement or Frame of Government. The Government resumed by Penn. A new Model of Elections. The Assembly formed thereon dissolved. Another Assembly called upon another Model. Aids granted to the Proprietary Governor in Exchange for a Confirmation of Property. Penn's Speech to a new Assembly. Three of the Requisitions they made to him, with his Answers and their Replies. A Breach between the Province and the Territory. The last Charter of Privileges. It is unanimously rejected by the Freemen of the Territory. Penn's Departure for England. Andrew Hamilton, DeputyGovernor, in vain endeavours to re-unite the Territory with the Province.

COLONEL Fletcher was appointed governor of New York and Pennsylvania by one and the same commission, with equal powers and prerogatives in both provinces; as if there was no such thing as a charter ex


This commission of his was also accompanied with a letter from the Queen, countersigned Nottingham, requiring him, as governor of Pennsylvania, to send such aid or assistance, in men or otherwise, for the security of the province of New York against the attempts of the French and Indians, as the condition of the said colony would permit; as if the good will of the freemen was no longer worth mentioning.

To the assembly, however, this royal visitor thought fit to communicate both his commission and her Majes

ty's said letter. But then it was an assembly widely different from that appointed by their charter. Instead of six members for each of the six counties, those of Philadelphia and Newcastle were reduced to four each, and the rest to three; difference sixteen; and, as an act of grace, his Excellency dispensed with the oaths of such as made it a point of conscience not to swear; and accepted a written profession and declaration of allegiance, before established in their stead. Whether so strange an innovation was openly and specially complained of or not, the assembly had nevertheless the spirit to open their session with the following resolution, which passed nem. con. "That the laws of this province, that were in force and practice before the arrival of this present governor, are still in force; and that the assembly have a right humbly to move the governor for a continuation or confirmation of the same."

They also interwove this vote of theirs in their address to him, and, not unartfully, introduced it under the umbrage of an insinuation, that the King and Queen had thought fit to appoint him to be their governor because of the absence of their proprietary; but derived no benefit from it; for the governor bluntly told them, "he was sorry to find their desires grounded upon so great mistakes;" adding these emphatical expressions, "The absence of the proprietary is the least cause mentioned in their Majesties' letters patent, for

their Majesties asserting their undoubted right of gov erning their subjects in this province. There are reasons of greater moment; as the neglects and miscarriages in the late administration, the want of necessary defence against the enemy; the danger of [the province must be understood] being lost from the crown. The constitution of their Majesties' government and that of Mr. Penn's are in direct opposition one to the




« ZurückWeiter »