Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

them (to whom it of right belongs) to provide for such expenses as they shall judge necessary for the public service.

14. As you desire to appear willing, on your parts, to ease your constituents of a small part of the Indian expense, by throwing it upon us, we shall, on our part, and hereby do, recommend it to you to give them a real and far greater relief, by taking off a large share of that only tax which is borne by them. As the general expense amounts to little more than three thousand pounds a year, we conceive it may very well be provided for out of the interest of the paper money, and one half of the present excise; especially if we shall be induced, from the state of your trade (which we expect soon to receive), to consent to an increase of your paper currency. This would ease the inhabitants of about fifteen hundred pounds a year, which would be felt by many of them, when they would not be sensible of the trifle you propose we should contribute to the public expenses. We have directed the governor to consent to such a law, when you shall think fit to present it to him.

15. As we shall ever, in the first place, endeavour to promote the real interests of the good people of Pennsylvania, we make no doubt of preserving a union and harmony between us and them, unless men of warm or uneasy spirits should unhappily procure themselves to be elected for representatives, and should, for the supporting their own private views, or interests, influence their brethren, otherwise honest and well designing, to espouse their cause. In such case, indeed, disputes may arise, wherein we shall engage with the utmost reluctance; but even then, as we shall make the general good the rule of our actions, we shall, on all such occasions, if ever they should happen, steadily, and without wavering, pursue measures the most likely to conduce to that good end.

16. The representatives being annually chosen, we are aware that we are not writing now to the same persons, who sent the representation to us; the persons most forward to push on a measure (which, from the answer we directed our governor to give to the former application he was desired to make to us, must be supposed disagreeable) may not now be in the House, but may be succeeded by more prudent persons, returned for their places, who would be careful not to press a matter too far, in which the rights of the people are not really concerned; however, the answer we give must be to the representation sent us. And we desire, in any matter of the like nature, that the House will be satisfied with such an answer as the governor may have orders to give on our behalf.

THOMAS PENN,
RICHARD PENN.

REPORT ON THE PROPRIETARIES' ANSWER.

IN obedience to the order of the House, your committee have considered the representation made by a former assembly to the proprietaries, concerning Indian affairs, with their answer delivered to this House; and, since all further application to the proprietaries on the subject of that representation is now forbidden, and they seem to require that their answer should be put on the minutes of assembly, we are of opinion, that the representation, not hitherto made public, should accompany it, with such of the following remarks made on each paragraph of the said answer, as the Hous think proper.

shall

1. On the first paragraph of the answer, we shall just observe, that the declaration it contains is a noble one, and worthy of the rank our proprietaries hold among us; we only wish, that, in the present case, they had thought fit to give a proof of the sincerity with which it is made, such as would have been satisfactory to others, since our assemblies are esteemed interested judges.

2. The insinuation, in the second paragraph, as if the assembly were actuated by an inclination to oppose the proprietary interests, we look upon to be injurious, and as groundless as the other supposition, that the members might have in view their future election, of which we shall take further notice when we come to the sixth paragraph, where it is again repeated. No instance can be given of that assembly's opposing, or attempting to oppose, the proprietary interest. It rather appears, that they thought they were consulting those interests in the very point in question, if it be consistent with the proprietary interest to have a good understanding with the people; since the representation expressly proposed a method of preventing misunderstandings for the future.

3. In the third paragraph, the representation is treated as a mere repetition of a former application, and therefore improper, as "repeating the request could only produce the repeating the answer;" but the representation appears to your committee to contain, not only a repetition of the request, but new reasons in support of it, and answers to such as had been given for refusing it. And such a repetition of an application we think justifiable in all cases; except where we can be sure that the first thoughts of the persons applied to are infallibly right, or, if wrong, that they are incapable of hearing reason.

4. With regard to the opinion, said to be declared by the Lords

of Trade, "that our proprietaries were no more obliged to contribute to public charges, than any other governor-in-chief of the King's colonies;" your committee presume to suppose their Lordships could only mean, that, as governor-in-chief, the proprietaries were not obliged by law; and not, that as proprietaries they were not obliged in equity. The latter is the point at present in dispute between the proprietaries and people of Pennsylvania, though in this paragraph evaded. The assembly mention no other obligation but such as, in their opinion, arises from reason and justice; they humbly submit their reasons to the proprietaries' consideration, and, from their equity only, they hope a compliance with the request. The position, understood as the proprietaries would understand it, must as well hold good among the governed as the governors of the colonies; for, should the wealthiest inhabitant say, he ought to pay no more towards public charges than any other inhabitant, he would be right, considering him merely as an inhabitant; but as a possessor of property, he would be wrong; and therefore laws are made, obliging such as would not otherwise be just, to pay in proportion to their substance.

5. The fifth paragraph seems intended to combat an assertion, that the purchases from the Indians were made with the people's money. As we find no such assertion in the representation, we do not think it necessary at present to inquire how far, or in what instances, the people have had a share directly or indirectly in any such purchases. The representation only intimates, that the House conceived, treaties for the purchase of land were made on more reasonable terms to the proprietaries, for the provincial presents accompanying such treaties; and that this was an additional reason why the proprietaries should bear a proportionable part, at least, of the expense of such presents; since, besides their share of "the common benefits and conveniences, which arise from the mutual exchange of friendly offices with the Indians," they reap a particular advantage to themselves, and that a very considerable one. This reason we apprehend is not answered in the present paragraph; it is only evaded, by changing the state of the question. A subtilty, in our opinion, unworthy the dignity of the proprietaries and chief governors of a province.

6. On the sixth paragraph we would observe, that the request to the proprietaries, that they would be pleased to bear a part of Indian expenses, was founded on the supposed equity of the case; and that they would consent to settle the proportion to be paid by them, was proposed as a means of preventing dissatisfactions be69

VOL. III.

TT*

[ocr errors]

tween them and the people. To these points, this paragraph only 'answers, that the people are able enough to pay these expenses without the assistance of the proprietaries. This likewise seems to be starting a new question, and one that is beside the present purpose; for though it were true, that the people are able to pay, it does not follow, that they should therefore pay unjustly, nor is it likely that they will be pleased and satisfied with so doing, for such a reason. The proprietaries are likewise able to pay, they have revenue enough, but they do not think this a sufficient reason even to pay a part; why, then, should it be thought sufficient to induce us to pay the whole? The charge contained in this paragraph, "that the application was only an attempt to induce the weakest of the people to imagine the House had an uncommon regard to their interests, and were therefore the most proper persons to be continued their representatives at the ensuing election," your committee think an absolute mistake, and unsupported by the least degree of probability. For there had not been for some years, nor was there expected to be, nor has there since been, any contest at elections between the proprietary and popular interests; nor, if there had, would it have been necessary to take such measures, the proprietaries having, of late years, no formidable share of the people's love and esteem. Nor was the supposed address in fact made to the people; for the representation has never yet been published, nor were the votes containing those resolutions published, till after the election was over. Nor is the situation of an assembly-man here so advantageous, as to make it worth his while to use artifice for procuring a reëlection; for, when the smallness of the allowance, the expense of living, the time he is absent from his own affairs, and other inconveniences, are considered, none will suppose he can be a gainer by serving the public in that station.

7. But whether assembly-men may or may not expect any gainful advantages from that station, we find our chief governors informing us in pretty plain terms, in the seventh paragraph, that they themselves are not without such expectations from theirs. They tell us, "their, consent is necessary to our laws, and that it will tend the better to facilitate the matters, which must be transacted with them, for the representatives to show a regard to their interest." That is, as we understand it, though the proprietaries have a deputy here, supported by the province, who is or ought to be fully empowered to pass all laws necessary for the service of the country, yet, before we can obtain such laws, we must facilitate their passage

by paying money for the proprietaries, which they ought to pay, or in some other shape make it their particular interest to pass them. We hope, however, that if this practice has ever been begun, it will never be continued in this province; and that, since, as this very paragraph allows, we have an undoubted right to such laws, we shall be always able to obtain them from the goodness of our sovereign, without going to market for them to a subject.

Yet, however easy it may be to understand that part of this paragraph which relates to the proprietaries' interest, your committee are at a loss to conceive why, in the other part of it, the people are to be acquainted, "that the crown has been pleased to give the proprietaries a rank, and that they expect from the representatives a treatment suitable thereto." We cannot find on perusing the representation in question, that it contains any treatment unsuitable to their rank. The resolve of the House was, that, to prevent dissatisfaction on all sides, they should be requested, in the most reasonable and most respectful manner, to agree upon a proportion of Indian charges to be paid by them and the province according to justice; and it may be submitted to the judgment of all impartial persons, whether the representation drawn in pursuance of the resolve, was not both reasonable in itself, and respectful in the manner. It was not, as the proprietaries represent it, an address to the public. It is not to this day made public. It was a private application to themselves, transmitted to them through the hands of their governor. Their true interest (which they will always find to consist in just, equitable, and generous measures, and in securing the affections of their people) was consulted in it; and one suitable means proposed to obtain that end. As to rank, the proprietaries may remember, that the crown has likewise been pleased to give the assemblies of this province a rank; a rank which they hold, not by hereditary descent, but as they are the voluntary choice of a free people, unbribed, and even unsolicited. But they are sensible, that true respect is not necessarily connected with rank, and that it is only from a course of action suitable to that rank they can hope to obtain it.

8. Your committee are quite surprised at the concern the proprietaries are pleased to express, in their eighth paragraph, on their being, as they say, laid under a necessity of acquainting the public with the state of the revenue of the province; as if the state of that revenue had ever been a secret; when it is well known, and the proprietaries themselves know, that the public accounts are yearly settled, stated, printed, and published by the assembly, and have

« ZurückWeiter »