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been so for these thirty years past. Whatever private reasons the proprietaries may have to make a secret of their revenue, we know of none to make one of the revenu of the province, nor has it ever been attempted. Their following observations, concerning the nature of our taxes, and the distinction between general and particular taxes, seem to your committee not so just and accurate as might be expected; for we cannot conceive, that the willingness of people to subject themselves to the payment of interest or excise, by taking money on loan, or consuming spirituous liquors, makes either the one or the other less a tax. The manner of laying a tax, the easy method of levying it, and the benefits arising from the disposition of it, may all tend to induce people to pay it willingly; yet it is still a tax. And, indeed, all taxes ought, upon the whole, to produce greater good to a people, than the money kept in their pockets could do; in such case, taxes are no burdens; but otherwise, they are. Taxes, seemingly particular, are also more general than they are often supposed to be. The laboring man must live; excise the materials of his subsistence, and he generally finds means to get more for his labor.
After estimating our whole present revenue, as if it had been the same for twenty years past, and would certainly continue, though the proprietaries know it depends on temporary acts near expiring, the renewal of which is at best dubious, they conclude that four hundred pounds a year for Indian expenses is a small sum, and that we are under no necessity of being frugal, on this account, of the public money. This four hundred a year is the sum that they find has been paid on an average for twenty years past, and they take no notice of its being a growing charge, and that, for the four last years before the representation, it amounted to near twelve hundred a year, which we conceive disinterested persons will think a very large sum; and although the same excise might have been raised, if not half that money had been expended, it does not seem to us to follow, that the proprietaries ought not to have paid their just proportion of it. If the sum be small, their proportion of it must have been smaller; and the money so saved might have been applied to some other use, beneficial to the public, or have remained ready in the treasury for any emergency.
9. On the ninth paragraph, your committee will only observe, that the people of Pennsylvania do likewise pay duties and excise for the support of his Majesty's government; and other taxes, which, considering their ability, are perhaps proportionably equal to those paid by the proprietary family, or any other subjects in England.
We pay, indeed, as much as an infant colony can well bear, and we hope and believe the justice of a British Parliament will never burden us with more. The proprietaries' exemption was not published till now at their own instance. It was made use of as a private motive to themselves only, in the representation.
10. On inquiry, we have reason to believe, that the interpreter's bills of charge against the province have always been allowed and paid; and, where his accounts have contained blank articles for his services, he has been asked what would satisfy him, and the same has been allowed. We suppose the instances alluded to, wherein the assembly did not fully satisfy him, must have been such as the proprietaries were concerned in by the purchase of lands, and a part might accordingly be left for them to pay. We believe our assemblies always have been, and we hope always will. be, ready to acknowledge gratefully any services rendered to the public by the proprietaries; and not merely to acknowledge them, but to make adequate returns.
11. Whether the monopoly of lands, in favor of the proprietary, was established by the royal grant, or by act of assembly, or by both, your committee do not think it material at this time to dispute, since the reasoning in the representation remains the same, namely, that those, in whose favor such monopoly was erected, ought at least to bear a part of the expense necessary to secure them the full benefit of it.
12. In the twelfth paragraph, three things appear somewhat extraordinary to your committee. 1. That the proprietaries should deny, that treaties for land are made at less expense on account of provincial presents accompanying them, which we think any disinterested judge would at least allow to be probable. 2. That they should say the last purchase was made on no other account, but purely to save the province the expense of a present; as if they had no occasion to purchase more land of the Indians, or found no advantage in it. 3. That, to prove such purchases were not the cheaper on account of provincial presents accompanying them, they should give an instance in which, they themselves say, the purchase was the dearer for want of such presents. If purchases are dearer to the proprietaries when no provincial presents accompany them, does not this clearly confirm the assertion of the assembly, that they are the cheaper when there are such presents? And does it not prove what the proprietaries deny?
13. It appears by their thirteenth paragraph, that the proprietaries think the part they voluntarily submit to bear, and expect
always to bear, of public expenses, is greater than their proportion, equitably laid, would amount to. If this be so, and they are, as they say, "far from desiring to avoid contributing to any public expense, which it is reasonable they should bear a part of, although their estate is not by law liable to be taxed;" your committee are at a loss to conceive, why they should refuse, "to enter into any agreement for the payment of any particular proportion of Indian or other public expenses," when such agreement might save them money, and is proposed to prevent dissatisfactions, and to preserve union and harmony between them and the people; unless it be to show their utter contempt of such union and harmony, and how much they are above valuing the people's regard.
The charge on former assemblies, that they neglected the defence of the proprietaries' city, your committee cannot but think unkind, when it is known to the world, that they gave many thousand pounds during the war to the King's use, besides paying near three thousand pounds, at one time, to make good the damages done to the masters of servants, by the irregular and oppressive proceedings of the proprietaries' lieutenant; and that their not providing cannon to defend the city was not from neglect, but other considerations set forth at large in the printed proceedings of those times, needless now to be repeated. At the same time, it may be remembered, that, though the defence of the proprietaries' city, as they are pleased to term it, by batteries of cannon, was more their interest (we will not say duty) than any other person's whatsoever, and they now represent it as a thing so necessary, yet they themselves really neglected and even discouraged it; while some private gentlemen gave sums nearly equal to that they mention, and many contributed vastly more, considering their circumstances, by which means those batteries were not only completed in season, but the defence of both town and country in that way provided for; whereas this boasted assistance of four hundred pounds' worth of cannon, was sent, like Venetian succours, after the wars were over. Yet we doubt not, but the proprietary who sent them has long since had the thanks of those who received them, though we cannot learn, that they ever were favored with any from him, for what they did and expended in defence of his share of the province property.
14. The fourteenth paragraph of the proprietaries' answer seems calculated merely for the same design, with which they charge the representation, namely, to amuse the weaker part of the people. If they are really disposed to favor the drinkers of spirituous liquors,
No. I.] ASSEMBLY AND PROPRIETARIES.
they may do it without a law, by instructing their lieutenants to abate half the license fees, which would enable the retailers to sell proportionably cheaper; or to refuse licenses to more than half the present number of public houses, which might prevent the ruin of many families, and the great increase of idleness, drunkenness, and other immoralities, among us.
15. In return to the good resolutions expressed by the proprietaries in their fifteenth section, your committee hope that future, as well as past assemblies, will likewise endeavour to make the public good the rule of their actions, and upon all occasions consult the true interest and honor of the proprietary family, whatever may be the sentiments or conduct of any of its particular branches. To this end, we think the honest and free remarks contained in this report, may be more conducive than a thousand flattering addresses. And we hope, that, when the proprietaries shall think fit to reconsider this matter, they will be persuaded, that agreeing to an equitable proportion of expense will be a good means of taking away one handle of dissension from "men of warm, uneasy spirits, if such should ever unhappily procure themselves to be elected."
16. Yet, if the proprietaries are really desirous of preserving a union and harmony between themselves and this people, we cannot but be surprised at their last paragraph, whereby they endeavour to cut off the assembly's access to them, in cases where the answers received from their deputies may not be thought agreeable to the public good. No king of England, as we can remember, has ever taken on himself such state, as to refuse personal applications from the meanest of his subjects, where the redress of a grievance could not be obtained of his officers. Even sultans, sophis, and other eastern absolute monarchs, will, it is said, sometimes sit whole days to hear the complaints and petitions of their very slaves; and are the proprietaries of Pennsylvania become too great to be addressed by the representatives of the freemen of their province? If they must not be reasoned with, because they have given instructions, nor their deputy, because he has received them, our meetings and deliberations are henceforth useless; we have only to know their will, and to obey.
To conclude, if this province must be at more than two thousand pounds a year expense to support a proprietary's deputy, who shall not be at liberty to use his own judgment in passing laws, (as is intimated to us in the fourteenth section of the answer we have been considering,) but the assent must be obtained from chief governors, at three thousand miles' distance, often ignorant or misinformed
in our affairs, and who will not be applied to or reasoned with when they have given instructions, we cannot but esteem those colonies that are under the immediate care of the crown, in a much more eligible situation; and our sincere regard for the memory of our first proprietary must make us apprehend for his children, that, if they follow the advice of Rehoboam's counsellors, they will, like him, absolutely lose, at least, the affections of their people. A loss, which, however they affect to despise it, will be found of more consequence to them, than they seem at present to be aware of.
All which is humbly submitted to the correction of the House, by, &c.
September 11th, 1753.*
THOMAS PENN'S ESTIMATE OF THE VALUE OF THE PROPRIETARY ESTATE IN PENNSYLVANIA.
THE proprietaries have for a long series of years made a great secret of the value of their estate and revenue. By accident, the following authentic paper is fallen into our hands, and will serve as a ground-work on which the reader may be enabled to form some idea of the value of that estate in Pennsylvania. It is a copy of an original paper drawn by Mr. Thomas Penn himself, many years ago, and endorsed, "My estimate of the Province, T. PENN."
"1. Lands granted since my arrival are very near 270,000 acres, of which not 10,000 have been paid for; more than of old grants are remaining unpaid; is
"2. The rent on the said grants is £550 sterling a year, which, at twenty years' purchase, and 165 per cent exchange, is
£ 41,850 0 0
18,150 0 0
"Carried over £60,000 00
* Several documents, inserted at this place, in the first edition of the "Historical Review," are omitted, for reasons heretofore stated. See above, p. 383.- Editor.