Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

for granting twenty thousand pounds for the king’s use, a bill for striking forty thousand pounds, without any further explanation, though that bill had been repeatedly under his

consideration. It would be, perhaps, too unkind to suppose, ‘

as the bill itself, and the , contents of it, would in all probability be unknown to our‘ superiors, further than the grant to the crown, he could have the least intention to misrepresent the purport of it, and for this reason we leave it entirely to his own reflection. The title of that bill is, “ an act for striking forty thousand pounds in bills of credit, and for granting twenty thousand pounds thereof ‘to the king’s use, and to provide a fund for sinking the same; and for applying the remainder to the exchange of torn and ragged bills now current‘ in this province ;” and the governor well knows, it adds no more to our paper-currency than the very twenty thousand pounds granted the king, and even that struck for no other reason than to answer the immediate call of the crown, and to make the grant effectual.’

In answer to the governor’s assertion, that the French were already in possession of part of their province, they instance the language constantly used here at home: to wit, that the French had invaded his majesty’s territories in Virginia; as also a‘ map then lying before them, founded on authorities supplied by the board of trade and their own proprietaries, wherein every fort built by the French is placed beyond the western boundaries of Pennsylvania; and they again took refuge behind the cautions so minutely expressed and strongly insisted upon, in the first letter from the secretary’s office, urging, that while the two crowns were still in a state of 'amity, it could answer no good purpose to contravene them; and that the king himself, having most graciously interposed, it would be more prudent and becoming to consider him as the most proper judge of the limits of his own dominion's. 7»

In their next section, they dispute the probability and almost the possibility of the arrival of such a body as six thousand of the best troops of France at the lower fort upon the Ohio, as asserted by the governor; insinuate, that such ac

\ ,|

[graphic][graphic]

counts would have deserved more credit, if they had been transmitted from Oswego, near which they must have ne~ ccssarily passed; and from whence very minute intelligence was received of the passage of those forces which first laid the foundation of the enemy’s strength upon the Ohio; and leave the fact to ,rest upon its own evidence.

After this referring to their dispute with governor Hamilton, and the information they gave him of an instrucs tion from the crown, not to pass any private act, or’ act of privilege to any individual, without a suspending clause, which had never been inforced by the proprietaries, or observed by any governor, they plead a necessity of in-' forming the governor, though withgreat reluctance, ‘That in the year 17 35, governor Gordon passed an act for vesting more efl‘ectually certain lands in George M‘Call, in direct contradiction to that instruction, without the least mention of a suspending clause.’

And with an elevation of sentiment, style, and manner, seldom seen in public papers, they finish their reply as follows: I i ‘As we have reason to believe the assembly was then acquainted with that instruction, and as the bill particularly related to our honourable proprietaries, our last assembly, notwithstanding the indiscreet call upon them,‘ contented themselves, from motives of prudence and moderation, with barely pointing out this transaction, in hopes our honourable proprietaries would see themselves at least equally concerned with the representatives of the people‘ both in fact and right, and thereby might be induced to join cordially with the people of this province, in vindicating our charter from the continual infraction of such instructions; which, if they must Operate in the manner the governor is pleased to contend for, and our proprietary instructions must be binding upon us also, the rights derived to us by the royal charter is a name only,'whilst the very essence of it is effectually destroyed: under the sanction of which charter, a sober, industrious people, without any charge to the crown or the

' proprietary, first settled this wilderness, and by their frugaq

[graphic]

lity, and the equity of their laws, laid thelfoundation of a flourishing colony, which already, within the ordinary life of a man, has made a considerable addition to the dominions of the crown, by an increase of dutiful and loyal subjects, and bears no mean rank in contributing to the wealth and trade of our mother country.

‘ Whether the above act for granting five thousand pounds for the king’s use, or the act for vesting lands in George M‘Call, were ever sent home for the royal approbation, very little concerns us, as we presume the transmitting our acts is the immediate duty of our proprietaries, or their lieutenants, in pursuance of the royal charter, which we look upon as the anterior solemn royal instruction, for the rule of their conduct, as well as of our own.

‘Upon the whole, from what we have said, we presume it evidently appears, that proprietary instructions and restrictions upon their governors, as they have occasionally been made a part of the public records at different times, have been judged and resolved by our governor, council, and the representatives of the people, either,

‘ 1. Inconsistent with the legal prerogative of the-crown
settled by act of parliament.

‘2. Or a positive breach of the charter of privileges to
the people. a’

‘3. Or absurd in their conclusions, and therefore im

practicable. ,

‘4. Or void in themselves.—-Therefore,

_‘_Whenever the governor shall be pleased to lay his proprietary instructions before us for our examination, and if then they should appear to beef the same kind as heretofore, his good judgment should lead him to conclude, that such “ considerations in life” as our allegiance to the crown, or the immediate safety of. the colony, &c. are suflicient inducements for him to disobey them, notwithstanding any penal bonds to the contrary, we shall cheerfully continue to grant such further sums of money for the king’s use, as the circumstances of the country may bear, and in a manner we judge least burthensome to the inhabitants of this province.’

‘rial—r!‘

[graphic]

Lastly, that they might be able to set all imputation and misrepresentation whatsoever at defiance, they applied them— selves to find out some expedient, by which the service recommended to them by the crown might be promotedas far as in them lay, even without the concurrence of the governor. In order to which, having thoroughly weighed the contents of Sir Thomas Robinson’s last letter, and the state of the provincial treasury, in ‘which there was scarce five hundred pounds remaining, they unanimously resolved to raise five thousand pounds on the credit of the province, for the accommodation of the king’s troops; and impowered certain members of their own to negociate the loan,‘ and allow such, interest as should be found necessary. ‘ ‘ '

The controversy, however, which this new governor had been so ingenious as to work up to such a pitch inlso short a time, was, by the continuance of the same ingenuity, to be still continued as warm as ever.

Accordingly, down came another message from him, in which he complains to the assembly, of the very great obscurity, unnecessary repetitions, and unmeaning paragraphs contained in their last performance ; and through the whole, manifests that spirit‘ of perverseness, which is but too prevalent with most men on the like occasions. Of the inaccura- ‘ cies before acknowledged in that performance (and which are perhaps unavoidable in pieces drawn up from a variety of suggestions, and subject to a variety of alterations and additions), he takes all the advantage he can; and does indeed foul the water, though he cannot divert the current.

It would be endless to wade through all the iminutenesses of so tedious a contest; and odds if the reader did not leave the writer in the midst of it. i ' i

To be as concise as possible, therefore: his paper is as insidious as that of the assembly was candid and open. He would not allow that he had promised them a sight 'of his instructions, with regard to their bill for granting twenty ' thousand pounds to the‘ king; which was so far true, because he could have none regarding that particular measure; he would not allow that-he had represented their application for

[graphic]

1

those instructions, as having a tendency to alienate the affections of the people from the king; which was also‘true, because such 'his representation had been confined to the expressions they had made use of concerning the invasion of their civil and religious liberties; the last of which is indeed no otherwise to be accounted for, than by the demand made upon them, to establish a militia, and thereby oblige those to carry arms, who made it a point of conscience to disavow resistance by force; those expressions, he would needs have it, had the tendency he ascribed to them; because, ‘he very well knew how fond the people were of their currency, and how averse to any restraint upon it.’ He endeavoured to embroil them with the crown, for having called. the instruction in question, an infraction of the royal charter. He reproached them both with ingratitude and with injustice, for being pleased to be angry with their proprietaIries. In vindicating the alfections of those‘ gentlemen to the province, he derived his argument from their interest in it; and he is peremptory, that, instead of entertaining designs to invade the just rightsv and privileges of the inhabitants, there was nothing they so much dete'sted and abhorred: he adhered to the ‘resolution he had taken, nevertheless, not to lay his instructions before them at that time ; being vsensible they were no way necessary, and that the assembly, having already declared them destructive to their liberties, they were not in a proper temper (for the consideration of them; to shew he was not restrained by proprietary instructions from passing bills for the defence of the country, he declares himself ready to pass a law for establishing a militia, 810. and for emitting any sum in paper-money, on proprietary terms; that is to say, on such funds as might

' sink the same in five years. He perseveres in maintaining,

that the act of the sixth-of Queen Anne had been shamefully slighted even in their. province; because pieces of eight

' were then, and had been for many years past, current at se.

ven shillings and six pence; whereas, according to that act, they should pass for six shillings only: as if money, like all other commodities, would not find and fix its own value, in

was

« ZurückWeiter »