Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

\ 3-: v - - _-... "all. I

/
.

ROBERT n. MORRIS, Esq. nap. Covsmvon. 187

you have paid a proper regard to truth. However, as it ‘is v

not my intention .to enter into a controversy with you upon that bill, which might have been agreed upon between us‘, had the usual method of proceedingin such casesibeen pur— sued by you, I shall say nothing more upon the head, espe; cially as this matter seems purposely chosen to lead me and the public from considering that part of your conduct that must, in its consequences, most nearly affect the inhabitants of this province], , ' 1

It is in, every reader’s power to’ confute'every article :of this message from the materials before him, though not to account for the governor’s reasons for so unseasonably ex

posing himself; but as we have heard one party, ’tis it we

should hear the other, and if they have been guiltv of' any partiality,'or failed in any point of justice‘tothcmseIves, let

him supply the defect or correct the error that finds himself

qualified so to do. .
The piece that ensues was their answer. To wit:

‘May it please the Governor, .

‘When we met, in obedience to. the governor’s summons, 0n the 17th of March last, we really brought with us the sin, cerest inclinations to promote the public service, by granting the‘ supplies expected by the crown ;_ and we trust it will ap—4 pear/t0 all who impartially examine the proceedings of thatsession, that we did every thing in our power‘, as our affairs were then circumstanced; and consequently that the danger to which this country stood exposed, and his majesty’s re-. peated and affeqtionate calls, had great weight with us, what.ever they had with the governor. ' v

‘The bill we sent up, for striking the sum of twenty-fivethousand pounds, and giving the same to the king’s use, and for providing a fund to sink it, had nothing‘ extraordinary in its nature, or differing from other bills heretofore passed or presented for likepurposes in this province, excepting that

the sum given was extraordinary, compared with the time

proposed for.sinking it; the sum for the Canada expedition, in the last war, being but five thousand pounds, to.be sunk in ten years,'and this sum, though five times greater, was to

be sunk'by the ~same fund, in the same number-of years.’ In the bill five thousand pounds of the sum was appropriated to pay for provisions ‘bought and given for the use of the forces in Virginia, under‘ general Braddock; ten thousand pounds more was given to buy provisions for the New England forces under his command; five thousand-pounds more was subjected to his order, and to be disposed of for the king’s service as he should think fit; and the remaining five thousand pounds was appropriated for the, subsistence of Indians

Ital-ting refuge in ‘this province, payment of posts or expresses,

hire of carriages, clearing of roads, and other necessary con‘ tingent expences for the king’s service, as might be incumbent on this government to discharge. Thus the whole twenty-five thousand pounds was appropriated to the king’s service ; and almost all of it to the immediate use of general Braddock, or to such purposes as were by him especially recommended in his letters, laid before the house by the governor. The members of the house, mentioned by the governor, were to have no share in ‘the disposition of it; it was disposed of by the bill, and they could only have the trouble of laying it out accordingv to the appropriation, and keeping the accounts. This is truth, ‘andwell known to the governor, if he perused our bill with any degree of attention; yet how dill'erently is it represented in the governor’s message! it is called only, “ a'bill forstriking twenty-five thousand pounds ;” which is but a part of the title, the words, “ and for giving the same to the king’s use,” being (as it would seem)carefully omitted, lest they might militate against the assertion which immediately follows, that, “ twenty thousand pounds of it was subjected to the disposition of some members of‘ the house, and of the assembly for the time being.” Then it is said, “ it gave general Braddock a power over no more than five thousand pounds,” because it gave him‘ a power to draw for, and appropriate as hepleased, no more than that sum, though all the twenty-five thousand pounds (except a small part for the support of Indian refugees, which is likewise for the king’s service) was appropriated for his, and his army’s use, or services by him required; and we 'cannot learn

I

\\

that any other colony besides, hath given, or ofl‘e'red to give,

that gentleman a‘ power overas many pence. Great subtilty and dexterity appear in this manner of disguising truths, and changing appearances, but we see in it very little candor and ingenuity.‘ ‘ ' ~

‘In the next paragraph of the'governor’s message, there are ‘many assertions in whichv we think we are equally mis— represented; we are charged with “offering money in away, and upon terms which'we knew the governor could not, consistent with his duty to the crown, consent to.” We really thought, and still think, it was inconsistent with his duty to the crown to refuse it; if we are mistaken, ’tis an error in judgment; we have appealed to our gracious king on'this head,-,and we hope for a favorable determination. We are charged with “ trifling with the king’s commands, and refuse ing to give at,all,” though we have actually given great sums in obedience to those commands, and‘ earnestly endeavored to give much greater, which the governor refused, unlesswe would give in a manner which we think inconsistent with

our prdsent just liberties and privileges, held under the royal

charter. We are charged with “resolving toaggrandise our own power, and destroy that of the crown ;” a charge as we conceive, utterly groundless, and for which we have never given the least foundation. We are charged with a “scheme of indepéndeney.” We have no such scheme, nor ever had; nor do we, as a part of the legislature, desire any indepen» dency but what the constitution authorises, which gives us a right to judge for ourselves and our constituents, of the uti~ lity and propriety of laws, or modes of laws, about to bemade; and does not yet, and we confide never Will, oblige us to make laws by direction. We are charged with grasping at the disposition of all public money, and at the power of filling all the oflices of government: a charge, as we conceive, equally groundless and invidious ; we have, by law, a right to dispose of some public money, and we cannot be‘properly said to grasp at what we are in possession of; that part of the public money which the governor receives, arising by 1icences,'&c. great as it is, he disposes of as he pleases, and

I

¢\

we have never attempted to interfere in it; nor can one instance be given of our attempting to fill any oflice, which we are not by some express law impowered to fill. But the heatviest charge of this paragraph concludes it; the governor is pleased to say, “ when his majesty and the nation are at the cxpence of sending troops for the protection of these colonies, you refuse to furnish them with provisions and necessary carriages, though your country is full of both; unless you can at the same time encroach upon the rights of the crown.” This charge is really amazing! it requires, however, no other answer, than a simple relation of fact. In the same session, and as soon as it appeared there was no hope of obtaining the bill for giving twenty thousand pounds to the king’s use, and many weeks before the forces arrived, we voted and gave five thousand pounds to purchase provisions and other necessaries for those forces; these provisions were accordingly bought, and are sent to Virginia, being the full quantity required of us; we have since given ten thousand pounds to purchase provisions for the New-England forces; it was given as soon as requested, and before the troops were raised; those provisions are most of them actually purchased, great part sent away, and all will probably be at the place appointed before they are wanted. We gave not a pound of provision less than was asked of us, and all the carriages required of us have been furnished. This has been done with the greatest readiness and alacrity, and done, we conceive, without-the least encroachment on the rights of the crown, unless “borrowing money on our own credit” (which we thought even every private man had a right to do, if he had any credit) he indeed such an encroachment.

‘ Indeed the next paragraph begins with charging this upon us as a crime, “you have, the governor is pleased to say,

by a vote of your own house, without the consent of the go- '

vernment, impowered a committee of your members to borrow money upon the credit of the assembly, and to dispose of the same to certain uses in that vote mentioned.” By this caution in expressing the uses, a stranger might imagine, that they were wicked, if not treasonable uses and that the

3.5-:

0 \

aonaar u. Mounts, Esq. on). oovsnnon. 191

governor, ouhof mere tenderness for his people, forbore to explain them; but the uses mentioned in the votes, are, to purchase fresh victuals, and'other necessaries, for the use of the king’s troops at their arrival; ‘and to purchase and transport provisions requested by the government of the Massa'chu'setts-bay, to victual the forces about to march for securing his majesty’s territories. These are the uses, in the votes mentioned, and the only uses; and we can conceive no reason for touching them so gently by the name of certain uses, unless the governor thought, that ‘being more explicit on the uses, might seem to lessen, in some degree, the heinous crime of borrowing money on our own credit.

‘ The governor is pleased to add, “you have also, by votes and resolves, of your own house, created bills, or notes of credit, made payable to the bearers thereof, to the amount of fifteen thousand pounds, which you have issued in lieu of money, and they are now circulating in this'province, without the approbation of: the government.” This charge, we presume, will, like the rest, vanish on a little explanation. By the laws of this province now in force, and which have received the royal assent, the disposition of the interest-money, and excise, is vested in the assembly for the time being: out of this revenue the assemblies have, from time to time, defrayed the charges of government. The constant method of payment was always this; when an account against the public was allowed, or any expence for public service agreed to, an order issued, drawn on the treasurer‘, or trustees of the loan-oflice, and signed by the speaker, or the clerk, by order of the house. As these‘orders were generally paid on sight, they naturally obtained 'some credit, and sometimes passed through several hands before payment was demanded. At the last settlement of the public accounts, it appeared, that a considerable sum of this interest and exelse-money, over which the assembly alone had a legal powor, ought to be in the hands of the treasurer and trustees. The governor himself was pleased to point this money out to us, to compute the sum, andnrge the housetto make use of it, when in January lasthe refused their bill for giving

« ZurückWeiter »