« ZurückWeiter »
sire, that these grievances may be speedily redressed, and our liberties inviolably preserved.”
May 15. “ That no person who is commissionated or appointed by the governor to receive the governor’s fines, for“ feitures, or revenues whatsoever, shall sitin judgment in any court of judicature within this government, in any matter or cause whatsoever, where a fine or forfeiture shall or may ac
true to the governor.”
these votes, the governor at length favoured them with the , meeting desired; and thereat made a speech, which are,
the following remarkable paragraphs: viz.
“I suppose you have been formerly acquainted with the reasons and necessity of the proprietary’s absenting himself so long from you as till the late revolutions in England; he hath frequently evidenced his strong desire above all things to be restored to you: what hath hindered of late, we have from the divers reports of things transacted in England, which require we should wait for their being rendered more certain; and, in the mean time, strive in our prayers, that the Lord, who governs this universe, will do it in his wisdom and good will, towards all his sufl‘ering people, and ourselves in particular. \
“I suppose, gentlemen, you expecte have been sent down to you from the provincial council, for your consideration, before your coming up and passing them into laws at this meeting. Divers reasons might be why none were; I shall acquaint you with some of them: viz.
i‘ 1- The honorable proprietary, for reasons known to himself, hath given positive directions for letting all the laws drop or fall, except the fundamentals‘, and afterwards for ‘calling together the legislative authority, to pass such of them, or others, as they should see lit for the future; which is my full intention to do,
“ 2- The honorable proprietary, being by his patent from the king, authorised by himself, his heirs, &c. with consent of the freemen, to make, and under his seal to publish, ne~
(1 some bills should
cessary laws for the good of the people; which had never‘
been done with all requisite circumstances, whilst himself‘
‘ was here; and without which, I must doubt whether what
were passed, or should'hereafter be passed, have that due sanction or establishment which laws require; and finding
- the great seal, under which they should pass, was not to be had, the keepertthereof refusing to allow the use of it in any cases by my direction, I therefore looked upon it as labour in vain to attempt it.v
“ 3. The present posture and alteration of affairs in Eng’ land; the uncertainty touching the condition of the proprietary himself, and his power; and the fears of what dangers might ensue, as well to him as ourselves, in passing and confirming laws of such a nature, as would have been approved of in this conjuncture of affairs, forbad it.
“ 41. The animosities and dissentions which were here amongst you before .I came, and have been lately revived amongst the members of the provincial council, by the endeavours of some, as to their proceedings in that service, bin’dered their agreement in council, as to doing any thing; insomuch as I was constrained, for love and peace sake, upon that and the other foregoing considerations, to dismiss them from further attendance on that account.
“ 5. An expedient occurred to me, of less danger to us all: viz. that I, being by my commission, as aforesaid, referred for my rule and instructions to the laws then in being, and which had been, as well by the proprietary as people, npproved and owned as such, whilst he was amongst you here, and observing that he had reserved the confirmation
and disannulling of whatlaws should be made in his absence,‘
to himself; so that if any were or should be proposed, they could not take effect among‘ us as laws, till his pleasure should be therein declared; Icame to a resolution within
myself; of observing them in the course of my government,’ "
as so many rules and instructions ‘given m'eiby‘my ‘master, as far as I should find and judge them not contrary to the laws of England, and in ‘supplying the want or defect in your laws by the laws of Englanthiwhich'l believe will be most grateful to our superiors in England, especially at this
time; and will be as useful among ourselves, there being no other way occurring to my understanding whereby you may receive the benefit of them: and in this purpose I am ready, unless you should otherwise advise, until by better infor— mation out of England, we shall be led out of these state
“ lVe heartily wish that thy design in coming hither, with all imaginable respect to our g overnor and inhabitants here, may be pursued accordingly with suitable measures; and we cannot but have that opinion of our worthy governor’s
tender regard to the people here, that as he will justify no‘
unbecoming behaviour in us towards his representative, so we hope he will vindicate no unlawful or rigid procedure against us. As to our governor’s absence, we are very sensible that, as it may be to his disappointment, so it is extremely to our prejudice. We were in expectation of receiving bills from thee and the council as formerly; to—the reason thou art pleased to give why none are sent, that the proprietary and governor hath given directions for letting all the laws drop or fall, we are credibly informed, that afterwards he was well pleased they should stand; and all the laws 'made here since his departure, were sent for his perusal, and none of them, to our knowledge, in the least declared void by him; neither do we conceive that he hath any reason so to
ed at any higher sanction than was used vin the governor’sv
time; but in case bills had been prepared and promulgated
according to charter, and had passed by us into laws, and the
great seal had been necessary, and the same duly required to be applied to the said laws, andthe keeper refused the same, then we might justly blame such refusal: but as to the‘ way thou mentions, that our proprietary and governor is
_ authorised by himself, and with ‘consent of the freemen, to
make laws, and under his seal—to publish them, and not; in the granted way of the charter and not Q settlement ,- as we
do not desire, so our hopes are, that no laws of that make will be imposed upon us: and had we made laws at this time, as formerly, we question not but that they had been as inof~ fensive in the present conjuncture, as afore : and we do conceive, that our laws here, not being declared or adjudged by the king under his privy seal to be void, do remain and stand in full force, according to the true intent and meaning thereof.
“ As for the charge of animosities and dissentions amongst us before thy coming here, it is so general, that we can make no other answer than that in matters of government, our apprehensions were otherwise, the end of good government
' being answered, in that power was supported in reverence
with the people, and the people were’ secured from the abuse of power; but for what thou mentions to have been renewed since amongst the members of council, we leave them to am swer.
“ As to the expedient proposed, of thy governing this province and territories, by such of the laws as were made before our proprietary and governor went hence, which thou shalt judge not contrary to the laws of England, we conceive no such expedient can be consistent with our constitution, without the concurrence of the council, according to such methods as have been heretofore used in legislature, and what course of government is otherwise, will be ungrateful and uncertain to us, for how far the laws of England are to ,be our rules, is declared by the king’s letters patent.
“ As to thy assuring us, thy just compliance with us, in what we may reasonably desire, we take it kindly, and do desire that our members of council may be permitted to sit, according to our former request.”
The governor finding himself thus steadily opposed, had recourse to another piece of practice, which was to prevail on certain members to withdraw themselves from the house: the house, on the other hand, voted this to be a treachery, and farther prepared and presented the following request to the governor: viz.
“ To the Governor and Council, sitting at Philadelphia, the twentieth day of the third month, 1689.
“ We the representatives of the freemen of Pennsylvania, and territories thereof, in assembly met, being much disappointed in our expectation in not finding any bills prepared and promulgated by you for a further concurrence ; and per‘ ceiving three members duly elected to serve in council (in whose wisdom and faithfulness we much confide) too long kept out; and that amemberof our own,is treated with great rigor and severity in the time of assembly, and not allowed to be with us, though most of us have known him to have been serviceable therein these several years: we (being undera strait in Qpese considerations) do request your tender regard of our grievances already presented, and of our an~ swer presented to the governor in council, to his speech de~ livered to us there; and we do desire, you do not go to dismiss us until we are ‘received, and righted in our just complaints: and that are be not discouraged in charging before the provincial council, such persons or members whom we canwitb great probability make appear to‘ ‘be ill ministers and chief authors of the present arbitrariness in government; and who are men unworthy, as we conceive, to be much consulted with, and unfit to be chief magistrates-What we purpose to do herein, shall be orderly, speedily, and within bounds.” ‘
It does not appear that this request met with any regard, or that the proprietary interest gained any ground in the as
semblies held the two subsequent years: and in the year.
1693, the king and queen assumed the government of the colony into their own hands; under what pretext, in virtue of what management, whether to gratify any displeasure
conceived against Mr. Penn, or in concert with him, is-not specified. ‘ '
Colonel Fletcher was appointed governor of New York and Pamsylvania by one and the same commission, with equal powers and prerogatives in both provinces; as if therewas no such thing as a charter extant. ' ~