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abridgment; to the Appendix, therefore, the reader must be referred, if he has a curiosity to see it; where it is lodged, as a requisite, without which neither his entertainment nor his information could be complete.*
It will suffice to say in this place, that it was unanimously approved of, and agreed to, by the House; and that the House was unanimous also in resolving, "that it was highly necessary, a remonstrance should be drawn up and sent home, setting forth the true state of Pennsylvania, and representing the pernicious consequences to the British interest, and to the inhabitants of that province, if, contrary to their charters and laws, they were to be governed by proprietary instructions."
The true state of Pennsylvania is now before us. It is apparent, the assemblies of that province have acted from the beginning on the defensive only. The defensive is what every man, by the right and law of nature, is entitled to. Jealousy is the first principle of defence; if men were not to suspect, they would rarely, if ever, be upon their guard. Magna Charta is apparently founded upon this principle; nay, provides, that opposition should be always at hand to confront and obviate danger. Penn, the founder of the colony, founded it upon Magna Charta; and, as we have seen, the birthrights of his followers were rather enlarged than diminished by his institutions. That the latter part of his active life, therefore, was employed in undermining his own foundations, only serves to excite our concern, that so few should be of a piece with themselves, and to make him answerable in part for the trespasses of his heirs.
This document, entitled "Report of a Committee of the Assembly, September 23d," is omitted in the Appendix, for the reasons stated above, (p. 383,) where references to it may be found Editor.
Fatally verified, however, we see, both there and everywhere else, the fable of the axe, which, having been gratified with as much wood only as would serve it for a handle, became immediately the instrument to hew down the forest, root and branch, from whence it was taken.
It is as apparent, on the other hand, that these proprietaries have acted an offensive part; have set up unwarrantable claims; have adhered to them by instructions yet more unwarrantable; have availed themselves of the dangers and distresses of the province, and made it their business (at least their deputies have) to increase the terrors of the times, purposely to unhinge the present system; and, by the dint of assumptions, snares, menaces, aspersions, tumults, and every other unfair practice whatsoever, would have either bullied or wheedled the inhabitants out of the privileges they were born to; nay, they have actually avowed this perfidious purpose, by avowing and dispersing those pamphlets in which the said privileges are insolently, wickedly, and foolishly pronounced repugnant to government, the sources of confusion, and such as, having answered the great end of causing an expeditious settlement, for which alone they were granted, might be resumed at pleasure, as incompatible with the dictatorial power they now challenge, and would fain exercise.
And, this being the truth, the plain truth, and nothing but the truth, there is no need to direct the censures of the public, which, on proper information, are always sure to fall in the right place.
The parties before them are the two proprietaries of a province and the province itself. And who or what are these proprietaries? In the province, unsizeable subjects and unsufficient lords. At home, gentlemen, 67
it is true, but gentlemen so very private, that in the herd of gentry they are hardly to be found; not in court, not in office, not in Parliament.
And which is of most consequence to the community, whether their private estate shall be taxed, or the province shall be saved?
Whether these two private gentlemen, in virtue of their absolute proprietaryship, shall convert so many fellow-subjects, born as free as themselves, into vassals, or whether so noble and useful a province shall for ever remain an asylum for all that wish to remain as free as the inhabitants of it have, hitherto, made a shift to preserve themselves?
"Sub judice lis est.”
What part the offices here at home have taken in this controversy, it will be time enough to specify when it is over; and appeals respectfully made argue a presumption, that right will be done.
But one circumstance more, therefore, remains to be added in behalf of this persecuted province, which is the testimonial of Commodore Spry, contained in the following extracts from two of his letters to one Mr. Lovell, a gentleman of Philadelphia, and by him communicated to the Speaker of the assembly, to wit;
"August 5th, 1756.
"It is impossible to conceive how much I am obliged to the gentlemen of Pennsylvania for their ready concurrence in supplying his Majesty's ships in North America with such a number of seamen, at their government's expense; and I must entreat you to make my most grateful acknowledgments to your Speaker, and the rest of the gentlemen concerned in it."
"August 7th, 1756.
"I have joined Mr. Holmes, and we are now under sail, with a fair wind, for Louisburg. Last night a ship luckily arrived, with twenty-nine seamen more from the people of your good province. God bless them! I shall ever gratefully remember and acknowledge it. I have the seamen all on board my own ship, except four that are sick at the hospital."