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burthened, they may, on application to the government, reasonably expect relief.

Z. Though the Quakers, and others conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, are exempted, as you say, by charter, they might, being a majority in the Assembly, have made the law compulsory on others. At present, it is so loose, that nobody is obliged by it, who does not voluntarily engage.

X. They might indeed have made the law compulsory on all others. But it seems, they thought it more equitable and generous to leave to all as much liberty as they enjoy themselves, and not lay even a seeming hardship on others, which they themselves declined to bear. They have, however, granted all we asked of them. Our petitions set forth, that "we were freely willing and ready to defend ourselves and country, and all we wanted was legal authority, order, and discipline." These are now afforded by the law, if we think fit to make use of them. And indeed I do not see the advantage of compelling people any sect into martial service, merely for the sake of raising numbers. I have been myself in some service of danger, and I always thought cowards rather weakened than strengthened the party. Fear is contagious, and a panic once begun spreads like wildfire, and infects the stoutest heart. All men are not by nature brave; and a few, who are so, will do more effectual service by themselves, than when accompanied by, and mixed with, a multitude of paltroons, who only create confusion, and give advantage to the enemy.

of

Z. What signifies what you thought or think? Others think differently; and all the wise legislatures in the other colonies have thought fit to compel all sorts of persons to bear arms, or suffer heavy penal

ties.

X. As you say, what I thought, or think, is not of much consequence. But a wiser legislator than all those you mention put together, and who better knew the nature of mankind, made his military law very different from theirs in that respect.

Z. What legislator do you mean?

X. I mean God himself, who would have no man led to battle that might rather wish to be at home, either from fear or other causes.

Z. Where do you find that law?

X. It is in the 20th chapter of Deuteronomy, where are these words, When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? Let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it. And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? Let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in battle, and another man take her. And

Z. These all together could not be many; and this has no relation to cowardice.

X. If you had not interrupted me, I was coming to that part; (verse 8,) And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is FEARFUL and FAINT-HEARTED? Let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart; that is, lest he communicate his fears, and his brave brethren catch the contagion, to the ruin of the whole army. Accordingly we find, that, under this military law, no people in the world fought more gallantly, or performed greater

actions, than the Hebrew soldiery. And if you would be informed what proportion of people would be discharged by such a proclamation, you will find that matter determined by an actual experiment, made by General Gideon, as related in the 7th Chapter of Judges; for he, having assembled thirty-two thousand men against the Midianites, proclaimed, according to law, (verse 3,) Whosoever is FEARFUL and AFRAID, let him return and depart early from Mount Gilead.

Z. And pray how many departed?

X. The text says, there departed twenty-two thousand, and there remained but ten thousand men. A very great sifting! and yet on that particular occasion a farther sifting was required. Now it seems to me, that this militia law of ours, which gives the brave all the advantages that they can desire, of order, authority, discipline, and the like, and compels no cowards into their company, is such a kind of sieve, as the Mosaic proclamation. For, with us, not only every man who has built a house, or planted a vineyard, or betrothed a wife, or is afraid of his flesh; but the bigot, filled with sectarian malice, if such there be, who hates Quakers more than he loves his country, his friends, his wife, or family, may say, I will not engage, for I do not like the act; or, I do not like the officers that are chosen; or, I do not like the articles of war; and so we shall not be troubled with them, but all that engage will be hearty.

narrow

Z. For my part, I am no coward, but hang me if I will fight to save the Quakers.

X. That is to say, you will not pump ship, because it will save the rats, as well as yourself.

Y. You have answered most of the objections I have heard against the act to my satisfaction; but there

is

one remaining. The method of carrying it into

execution seems so roundabout, I am afraid we cannot have the benefit of it in any reasonable time.

X. I cannot see much in that objection. The several neighbourhoods out of which companies are formed, may meet and choose their company officers in one and the same day; and the regiments may be formed, and field-officers chosen, in a week or ten days after, who may immediately proceed to consider the several militia laws of Britain and the colonies, and, with the governor, form out of them such articles, as will appear most suitable for the freemen of this province, who incline to bear arms voluntarily; and the whole may be in order in a month from the first elections, if common diligence be used. And, indeed, as the colonies are at present the prize contended for between Britain and France, and the latter, by the last advices, seems to be meditating some grand blow, part of which may probably fall on Pennsylvania, either by land or sea, or both, it behoves us, I think, to make the best use we can of this act, and carry it immediately into execution, both in town and country. If there are any material defects in it, experience will best discover them, and show what is proper or necessary to amend them. The approaching winter will afford us some time to arm and prepare, and more leisure, than other seasons, for exercising and improving in good discipline.

Z. But if this act should be carried into execution, prove a good one, and answer the end, what shall we have to say against the Quakers at the next election?

X. O my friends, let us on this occasion cast from us all these little party views, and consider ourselves as Englishmen and Pennsylvanians. Let us think only of the service of our King, the honor and safety of our country, and vengeance on its murdering enemies.

If good be done, what imports it by whom it is done? The glory of serving and saving others is superior to the advantage of being served or secured. Let us resolutely and generously unite in our country's cause, in which to die is the sweetest of all deaths, and may the God of armies bless our honest endeavours.

REPORT

OF THE COMMITTEE OF AGGRIEVANCES OF THE
ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA.

once

DATED FEBRUARY 22D, 1757.

The English colonial governments were of three sorts. First, Provincial governments; where the constitution originally depends on the King's commission and instructions, given to his governors; and the Assemblies, held under that authority, have their share in making local ordinances not repugnant to English law. Next, Proprietary governments; where a district of country is given by the crown to individuals, attended with certain legislative powers in the nature of a fief; with a provision for the sovereignty at home, and also for the fulfilment of the terms and end of the grant. Lastly, Charter governments, where the fundamentals of the government are previously prescribed and made known to the settlers, being in no degree left subject to a governor's commission or proprietor's will. (See Blackstone, Vol. I. Introd. 4.) Good faith, however, to mankind seemed to require, that the constitutions, begun under the provincial or proprietary governments, should remain unaltered (except for improvement) to the respective settlers; equally as in charter governments.

By the last paragraph of the following Report, it seems that the Assembly established in Pennsylvania intended to send commissioners to England to solicit redress of various grievances, particularly respecting their Proprietors' conduct; and that, the business being referred to a committee of the Assembly, the following 13

I.

VOL. III.

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