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This commission of his was, also, accompanied with a let“ ter from the queen, countersigned Nottingham, requiring
‘him, as governor of Pennsylvania, to send such aid or as
sistance, in men or otherwise, for the security of the proVince of New York against the attempts of the French-and Indians, as the condition-of the said colony would permit, as if the good will of the freeman was no longer worth men.tioning. '
T o the assembly, however, this royal visitor thought fit to communicate both his commission and her majesty’s said letter, But then it was an assembly widely different from that appointed by their charter. Instead of six members for each of the six counties, those of Philadelp 'a and “Newcas, 'tle were reduced to four each, and the rest to three ; differjence sixteen: and, as an act of grace, his excellency dis’
‘pensed with the oaths of such as made it a point of con
science not to swear ; and accepted a written profession" and declaration of allegiance, before established in their stead.
Whether so strange an innovation was openly and specially
complained of or not, the assembly had nevertheless the spirit to open their session with the following resolution, which passed nem. can. “ That the laws of this province that. were in force and practice before the arrival of this present go— Vernor, are stillvin force: and that the assembly have a right humbly to move the governor for a continuation or confirmation of the same,”
They also interwove this vote of theirs in their address to him, and, not unartfully introduced it under the umbrage of an insinuation, that the king and queen had thought fit to appoint him to be their governor, because of the absence of their proprietary; but derived no benefit from ‘it: for the governor bluntly told them, "‘ he was sorry to find their desires grounded upon so great mistakes :” adding these em.phatical expressions, “ the absence of the proprietary is the least cause mentioned in their majesty’stlettlers patent, for theirpmajesties asserting their undoubted right of governing their subjects in this province. There are reasons of greater
moment; as the neglects and miscarriages in the late ad
ministration; the want of necessary defence against the ene-'
my; the danger of [the province must be understood] being lost from the crown.--Tlie constitution of their majesties’ government and that of Mr. Penn’s are in direct opposition one to the other: if you will be tenacious in stickling for this, it is a plain demonstration,‘ use what words you please, that indeed you decline the other.”
The assembly again, not to be wanting in duty to the king and queen, nor consistency to themselves, admitted their majesties right of government to be indubitable ; but would not allow themselves to be under any mistake in relation to the proprietary’s absence. “ And to the other reasons rendered, (said they in their remonstrances) for the superceding our proprietary’s governancy, we apprehend [they] are founded on misinformations; for the courts of justice were open in all counties in this government, and justice duly executed from the highest crimes of treason and murderto the determining the lowest difference‘ about property, before the date or arrival of the governor’s commission. Neither do we apprehend, that the province was in danger of being lost from the crown, although the government was in the hands of some whose principles are not for war: and we conceive, that the present governancy hath no direct opposition (with respect to the king’s government here in geneml) to our proprietary’s William Penn, though the exercise of thy authority at present supersedes that of our said pro~ prietary: nevertheless we readily own thee for our lawful governor, saving to ourselves and those whom we represent, our and their just rights and privileges.”
Proceeding then to business, they voted a supply; but inclined to have their laws confirmed and their grievances redressed first‘: accordingly, they sent up a committee of ten, with the book of their laws to the governor for his acceptance and ratification: and, after a long debate between him, assisted by five of his council, and them, which was terminated on his side somewhat equivocally,“ he \sent two of the said council to assure the house, in his name, of his confirmation of all the said laws (excepting one relating to ship
wrecks) during the king’s pleasure: for which they thought prbner to return him a vote of thanks. I Nor is it much to be wondered at, that men taken by sur~ prise, out of ‘the hands» oftheir fi'iena' the proprietary, and exposed at once to a wrestling-match with the crown, which they had never had any immediate transactions with before, should submit to ‘hold their liberties by courtesy, rather than incur the least risk of not holding them at all.
There was, however, a party among them, who having’ drawn up a petition of right, claiming and desiring the use and benefit of two hundred and three laws therein specified,
as in all respects consonant to- their charter, and none of
them annulled by the crown in consequence of the power reserved to the sovereign; would hear of no abatement; and who bad credit enough with the; assembly to obtain the sending a message to the governor, signifying, “ that it was the sense and expectation of the assembly, that aggrievances ought to be redressed before any bill of supply‘ought to pass.”
And here their hearts- failed them: for the governor having returned the bill sent up with the message which he had proposed amendments to, without any specifications of what
‘those amendments were to be, with the following answer,
°‘ that the assembly should have no account of the amend— ments of the bill, till they came in a full house before him to give the ‘last sanction to the laws ;” and farther, “ that he saw nothing would do but an annexion to New York.” The menace carried the supply. '
When the bill for granting it was however sent up, they not only sent up the roll of their laws with it, but also gave that part of their order the first place in their books.
They further “ Resolved, 12cm. can. that all bills sent to the governor and council in order to be amended, ought to be returned to this house, to have their farther approbation upon such amendments, before they can have their final as~ sent to pass into laws.”
And though they did not join with their committee of ten
/ iirthe following paper, they suffered it to be entered in their‘
books, by way of protest on their behalf: to wit,
‘ coroner, FLETCHER, covnauok- "
“ We whose names are hereunto subscribed, representa— tives of the freemen of this province in assembly, do declare, it is the undoubted right of this house to receive back from the governor and council all such bills as are sent up for their approbation or amendments: and that it is as necessary to know the amendments, and debate the same, as the body of the bills: and that the denial of that right is destructive to the freedom’of making laws. And we also declare, it is the right of the assembly, that, before any bill for supplies be presented for the last sanction of a law, aggrievances ought to be redressetL, Therefore, we, with protestatian (saving our just rights in assembly) do declare, that the assent of such of us, as were for sending up the bill this morning, was merely in consideration of the governor’s speedy departure, but that it should not be drawn into example or precedent for the future. DAVID LLOYD,” 8m.
And concerning this whole period, we find the freemen in assembly met for the year 1704‘, thus farther exp‘ostulating with their proprietary, in the remonstrance already more than once referred to :- to wit, “ But what thou and they (the five commissioners of state) could not effect in that behalf, was performed by colonel Fletcher in the year 1693, and then we were brought under the immediate direction of the crown, but with commands for him to govern us by the laws of the country: and although both the laws and charter had been long before transmitted to thee, in order to get the late king’s (James) approbation thereof, which we insisted upon, and urged that they were laws till disapproved, yet thou having sent no account whether they were approved or not, we were forced to comply with him, and accept of such as he pleased: but the charter he totally rejected.” ‘
Before he set out for New York, he did however give a written sanction to the laws required; and the next year's assembly proved notwithstanding to be of the same leaven
'th the last.
his assembly had been summoned by the writs of the lieutenant governor (Markham) and when met in a humour \0 state and redress the grievances of the colony, found
themselves precluded from acting by an order from Fletcher
- for their adjournment.
That, therefore, they might make the most of two days, they appointed a committee of grievances; and havingv re-~ ceived their report, agreed upon a remofistrance‘ to the g0vernor thereon, containing a complaint of their being sent for only to be dismissed; asserting the right of the house to adjourn themselves; and among several other particulars, calling upon the governor so to exert his power and authority, that cases determined by juries might not be unduly avoided by determinations inequity; that to prevent arbitrary assessments and the dissatisfaction they gave rise to, the justices of the peace might consult with, and be directed by the approbation of the several grand juries; and that the money raised by the last assembly might be properly applied and properly accounted for to the present at their next sitting. - '
Their right of adjourning themselves having been admitted, they met accordingly towards the end of the next month.
I --Governor Fletcher was by this time returned to them in
person ; and in the opening of his speech, made them a hand’ some apology for not meeting them before; urging the ne— cessity of a sudden journey to Albany, to endeavor at re’ claiming the five nations of Indians, hitherto the allies of England, but now confederated with the governor of Canada against us; said he had brought the papers which passed at the conference along with him, for their satisfaction; that their Indians would be next forced into the same fatal confe
. deracy ; that he had seen with his eyes, a large tract of cul
tivated land about Albany, which had been abandoned by the inhabitants, rather through the unkindness of their neighbours in refusing them assistance, than by the force of the enemy: prayed, that those who shut their eyes against a dis~ tant danger, might not find it at their own doors; extolled the two provinces of Jersey for the aids they\had sent; and concluded thus, “ Gentlemen, I consider your'pri? pies, that you will‘not carry arms, nor levy money to m ke war, though for your own defence; yet-I hope you will not refuse to fled t/zeilzzmgry and clot/w t/ze'nakeigmy meaning