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_ rers to recover the proprietaries’ lands out of the hands of
the ‘enemy, was at the bottom no better than a proposal to reward them with a part of the lands they were so to recover at’more than double the price demanded in the neigh-, bouring province, without any of the risque they were in the present case to be exposed to.‘ ,
“That the governor being vested by the royal charter it
‘ self with all the powers granted thereby, for the good and
happy government of the province, was in full capacity to pass the law in question, the p‘roprietaries having no authority to restrain those powers; and all such restraints having been already considered and declared as null and void.”
“ That they did not propose to tax the proprietary as g0vernor, but as a fellow-subject, a land-holder and possessor of an estate in Pennsylvania, an estate that would be more benefitted by a proper application of the tax than any other estate in the province; that‘ the proprietary did not govern
} them, that the province, at a large expence, supported alien
tenant to do that duty for him; that if the proprietary did‘
govern them in person, and had a support allowed him on that account, they should not have thought it less. reasonable to tax him as a land-holder .for the security of his land; that they, the representatives of the people, were also allowed Wages for their service in assembly; and yet the governor, they insinuated, would hardly allow_ it to be a good reason why their estates should therefore be tax free;that it was scarce to be supposed the proprietary could, from the nature ,of his oflice, derive higher pretensions than the king himself; and yet that the king’s tenants were, by every land-tax act, impowered to deduct the same out of their rent; and that the king’s receivers were obliged, under severe penalties, to allow of such deductions; but that this was not the first instance by many, in which proprietors and governors of petty colonies have assumed greater powers, privileges, immunities, and prerogatives, than were ever claimed by their royal masterfon the imperial throne of all his extensive dominions.” '
“ That the positive law of this province hinted at by the governor as exempting the proprietaries’ estates from taxes, was no other than the law for raising county rates and levies, which were in the same act appropriated to purposes for which the proprietaries could not reasonably be charged (as wages to assembly-men, rewards for killing wolves, &c.) not a general, constitutional law of the province; that bya positive law, the people’s representatives were to dispose of the people’s money, and yet it did not extend to all cases in government; that if it had, amendments of another kind might have been expected from the governor; seeing, that, in consideration of the purposes of the grant, they had allowed him a share in the disposition, and that he, by his last amendment, proposed also, to have a share in the disposition of the overplus, if any.” .
“That they begged leave to ask, whether, if the proprietary estate was to be taxed as proposed, it would be equitas ble for the owner to have a negative in the choice of assessors, since that would give him half the choice, in lieu, perhaps, of a hundredth part of the tax; that as it was, he had oiiicers, friends, and other dependants, in every county,’ to vote for him, in number equal to the proportionable value of the share of the tax; that if the proprietary shrunk at the injustice of being taxed where he had no choice in the as-, sessors, they again asked, with what face of justice he could desire and insist on having half the‘power of disposing of the money levied, to which he would not contribute ‘a 'farthing; that there was great impropriety in saying the proprietary estate was by this act to be taxed at discretion, seeing the assessors were to be upon their oaths or solemn aflirmations, which gave the proprietary as goodrsecurity for equity and justice-as any subject in the king’s dominions.”
“That as to the governor’s plea, deduced from usage and custom, they alleged, usage and custom against reason and justice, ought to have but little weight; that the usage of exeruptions in cases where the proprietary estates could not be benefitted by a tax, was not in point; that if it was, so far as regarded the estates of persons exercising government by
themselves or lieutenant, it could not include the estates of proprietaries, who not only did not exercise government by themselves, but would moreover restrain their lieutenants from exercising the just powers they were vested with by the royal charter.”
And their last paragraph was at once so cogent and pathetie, that it ought to be given in their own words, which cannot be amended. To wit: ' ‘
I ‘ On the whole, we beg the governor would again calmly and seriously consider our bill, to which end we once more send it up to him. We know that without his assent the money cannot be raised, nor the good ends so earnestly desired and expected from it be obtained, and we fear his resolutioncto refuse it. But we entreat him to reflect with what reluctance a people born and bred in freedom, and accustomed to equitable laws, must undergo the weight of this uncommon tax, and even expose their persons for the defence, of his estate, who, by virtue of his power only, and without even a colour of right, should refuse to bear the least share of the burthen, though to receive so great a benefit! with what spirit can they exert’themselves in his cause, who will not pay the smallest part of their grievous expences? how odious must it be to a sensible manly people,'to find him who ought to be their father and protector, taking advantage of public calamity and distress, and their tenderness for their bleeding country, to force' ‘down their throats’ laws
‘of imposition, abhorrent to common justice and common
reason! why will the governor make himself the hateful instrument of reducing a free people to the abject state of vassalage; of depriving us of those liberties, which have given reputation to our country throughout the world, and drawn inhabitants from the remotest parts of Europe to enjoy them? liberties not only granted us of favor, but of right; liberties which in effect we have bought and paid for, since‘ we have not only performed the conditions on which they were granted, but have actually given higher prices for our lands on their account; so that the proprietary family have been doubly paid for them, in the value of the lands,
and in the increase of rents with increase of people. Let not our affections be torn in this manner from a family we have long loved and honored! let that novel doctrine, hatched by their mistaken friends, “that privileges granted to promote the settlement of a country, are to be abridged when the settlement is obtained,” iniquitous as it is, be detested as it deserves, and banished from all our public councils! and let the harmony, so essential to ,the welfare of both governors and governed, be once again restored; since it can
' never be more necessary to our affairs than in ‘their present
melancholy situation! we hope the governor will excuse some appearance of warmth, in a cause of all others in the world the most interesting; and believe us to be, with all possible respect and duty to the proprietary family and to himself, his and their sincere friends and well-wishers.’
The governor, on the other hand, to find them employment while he had this puzzling paper under his considera— tion, called upon them again in his majesty’s name, like any constable, to put the province into a posture of defence by establishing a militia, so as that a due regard might be had to scrupulous consciences; and demanded an explicit answer. 1
This was done August 9, being Saturday; on the Monday following, he gave them to understand, by another message, that being quite uncertain, what effect his letters to colonel Dunbar with regard to the posting his ‘troops on the western _frontiers,"'would have; having also been required by him to provide quarters for his troops, and having upon application to the mayor and corporation of Philadelphia, to provide quarters for them accordingly, been told, that they knew of no law to authorize them for so doing; a law would be nocessary for that purpose, and recommended it to them' to prepare one, those troops being then upon their march into the province, whether they were to remain there or not.
And on the morrow he plyed them with another teazer;
which, together with the assembly’s answer of the same day, and his rejoinder of the 16th, shall be given in the respective
terms they were delivered. '
‘I am importuned by the Indians, to‘ let them know what it is this government has to impart to them. If they can be made hearty for us, they may prevent a i great deal of mischief, engage other Indians in our favour, and be prepared for any other service that we may think proper to employ them in.
‘ To do this will require great skill, and an open hand, for presents they certainly expect, and will not, at this time, be satisfied with small ones.
‘The Owendaets came, on our invitation, and such terms must therefore be offered them as will effectually engage their friendship; the matter cannot now be minced neither with them nor the other nations. You will therefore please to consider this matter well, and give me your sentiments and counsel in this nice and critical situation of our affairs.’
The assembly’s answer.
‘ The secretary, by a verbal message from the governor, on the twentieth of December last, acquainted the house, “that Scaroyady’s son-in-law was charged with a message from the Owendaets, to enquire what their brethren the English designed to do in regard to the late encroachments of the French; and having heard, since he came to town, that the king of England intended to send over a number of troops to assist in repelling those invaders, he was willing, if the governor thought proper, to return to his nation, and ac-E quaint them with the joyful news; the governor therefore desired the opinion of the house, whether it would be most advisable for Scaroyady’s son-in-law to return now to the Ohio, or go to Onondago with Scaroyady.” Whereupon the house gave for answer, that it was their opinion that it would he most proper for Scaroyady’s son-in-law to return to the Ohio as soon as conveniently he could. This is all the part our house have had in relation to the Owendaets; neither did we know of the least intention of inviting them, or any others; ‘so that as they are now chme down without our knowlege or request, entirely upon the governor’s invitation,