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Governor Morris, therefore, would have been under no great difliculty on this head, if the circumstances of his province had been really such as he had been always fond of setting them forth. , ‘ ‘
But his purpose was to go; and he wanted the, countenance of the assembly to concur with his inclinations,'that he might not be charged with inconsistency, either by stimulating them with false alarms, or deserting them in real dangers. '
The assembly, however, chose to leave the difficulty upon‘ himself, as he alone was acquainted with the necessity of his attending the said congress; but then they left him at no loss concerning their opinion; for they admitted the present circumstances did call strongly for his presence at home, and for the whole authority of government; and they also ofi‘ered to be at the expence of sending commissioners to New York, to supply his place, either in concluding on the matters proposed by the crown, or concerting measures for a general treaty with the Indians. ‘For, said they, as this province always has been, so we still are ready to join with the neighbouring colonies in any treaty with the Indians, that may conduce to the general advantage of the British interest, as well as, at our own charge, to make such as tend particularly to our own peace and security.’
A noble declaration! what is alone 'suflicient to silence all the invectives which have been so liberally bestowed on this province! and what, in modern proprietary documents and the speeches and messages of deputy-governors, it would be very hard to match. ‘
Of the stress in this message, however, laid on the present state of Indian affairs, the house took the advantage to recollect what had passed between them and the governor in relation to the Shawanese complaint; and with an equal regard to truth and candor, took occasion in a message to the governor, to express themselves upon it as follows, viz.
‘ May itplease the Gavernar,
‘ We have considered the report of the‘ committee of the governor’s council, to which he is pleased to refer us for an answer to our enquiry, ‘relating to a claim of the Shawanese
Indians,‘ on the lands near Conedoguinet. We are far from desiring to justify those Indians in their late outrages and murders, committed against the people of this province, in violation of the most solemn treaties. We believe that great‘care has generally been taken to do the Indians justice by the pro_ prietaries in the purchases made of them, and in all our otherpublic transactions with them; and as they have not the same ideas of legal property in lands that we have, and sometimes think'they have right, when in law they'have none, but yet are cheaply satisfied for their supposed as well as real rights, we think our proprietaries have done wisely,not only to purchase their lands, but to “purchase them more than once,” as the governor says they have done, rather than have any difference with them on that head, or give any handle to the enemies of thev province to exasperate those people against us. It appears indeed, from the report, that they could have but a slender foundation for a claim of satisfaction for thoselands; we are however convinced, by original minutes taken by one of the commissioners at the treaty of Carlisle, now lying before us, that the Shawanese chiefs mentioned that claim of theirs to the lands in question at that time, and were. promised that the matter should be laid before the proprietaries. It was after the public general business of the treaty was over, and was not inserted in the printed account of the treaty, perhaps because it was thought to relate more particularly to the proprietary than to the province; and one of the coinmissioners being himself concerned in the proprietaries atl'airs, there was reason to believe he would take care to get it settled; and doubtless he would have done so, had he not, as vappears by the report, entirely forgot the whole transaction. We are sorry it was not done, though probably the instigations, present situation, and power of the French, might have been suflicient nevertheless to have engaged those Indians in the war against us.’
They also took into consideration the governor’s answers to their several messages in relation to the bill for regulating the Indian trade; and resolved thereon, ‘:That it was their opinion, the governor had evaded giving any answer, or of,
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fcring any‘ amendments to it, that it might be transcribed and sent over to the proprietaries for their opinion or assent; that the said bill was of great importance in the present critical situation of affairs‘; that the delay or refusal of entering into the consideration thereof at that time, might be attended with very ill consequences; and that those consequences would not lie at their door.”
And having before resolved to adjourn till the first of March ensuing, they moreover took upon them to provide for the sub~
‘_ sistence of certain friendly Indians, settled near their fron'
tiers, in the mean while. \ Nor was this all: for the incidents of the session having
shewn, that it was high time for the assembly to assert their own authority, as far forth at least, as the factions and in‘ trigues of the province at that time subsisting would permit, they called for the report of their committee appointed to sit on the several irregular and improper applications which had been made to them during the session; and having duly considered it, ordered it to be entered on the minutes of the house.
Every body knows, that the reports of committees can consist of opinions only; and these gentlemen give it as theirs, “that though it was ‘the undoubted right of the freemen of the province, not only to petition, but even to advise‘ their representatives on suitable occasions, yet alltapplications whatever to the house, ought to be respectful, decent, pertia nent, and founded in truth.” '
“That the petition of Moore and his thirty-five followers, concerning unnecessary disputes with the governor, when no disputes had been begun; and insinuating, that the house had neglected the security of the province from conscientious scruples, was founded on'mistakes and misapprehensions of facts and circumstances” [They might have said much more if they had thought propen] '
“That the petition intitled, an address of certain peoe ple called Quakers in behalf of themselves and others, (signed by Anthony Morris and twenty-two others) so far as it engaged for any more than themselves, and insinuated
they would be under a necessity of suffering rather than paying for other than peaceable measures, had notwithstanding the decency of its language,assumed a‘greater right than they were invested with; and, forasrnuch asthe said petitioners had‘ not duly considered former precedents, especially the grant of two thousand pounds to the crown in the year 1711, was an unadvised and indiscreet application to the house i at that time.” i “That the representation from the mayor of Philadelphia, and one hundred and thirty-three Others, said to be of the principal inhabitants, but in reality a great part of them not freeholders, many of them strangers and obscure persons, and some of them under age, as it charged the house with not having a proper concern for the lives of the inhabitants,
and dictated, in a haughty peremptory manner, to the repre- "
sentative body of the whole people, what laws to make, and threatened to force a compliance, 81c. if its commands were not obeyed, was a paper extremely presuming, indecent, insolent, and improper; and that the said mayor, by becoming a promoter and ringleader of such an insult on that part of the government, and by his authority, arts, and influence, drawing in so many indiscreet or unwary persons to be par
takers with him therein, had exceedingly misbehaved him
self, and failed greatly in the duty of his station.” Expressions equally applicable to the governor himself as chief magistrate; if the mayor in all this, only acted as a tool of his.
And upon the whole, “that the said paper ought to be rejected.” ' ‘
Thus ended this memorable session, on the 3d of Decemher; and that day two months, instead of that day three months, which was the time prefixed by their own adjournment, the governor, having, in that interval, left his province,‘ in order to attend the military congress at New York, notwithstanding‘the preventives thrown as above by theassembly in his way, thought fit to convene them‘ again; and by the medium of a written'message in the usual form, told them, “that “he had called them together, to consider of the
plan of‘ operations, concerted in the late council of war held
at that place for’the security of his majesty’s dominions on the continent; that he had directed the said plan to be laid before them, under a recommendation of secresy, that no
part of it might he suffered to transpire; that the many en-‘ croachments of the French, Ste. sufliciently shewed what they, had farther to expect, if they did not by an united, vigorous, , ‘and steady exertion of their strength, dislodge and confine
them within their own just bounds; that he was persuaded this would be found the best way of providing for their own security; and that therefore, he must recommend it to them to grant him such supplies, as might enable him to furnish what was expectedfrom that province towards the general service; that they must be sensible their success would very‘ much depend on their being early invmotion; and that he made no doubt, they would use the greatest diligence and dispatch in whatever measures their zeal for the public cause might induc/e them to take upon the present occasion; that every thing possible had been done for the security of the province; that a chain of forts and block-houses, extending from the river Delaware along the Kittatinny hills [where he had formerly said the 1500 French and Indians had taken post in their way to Philadelphia] to the Maryland-line, was then .almost complete; that they were placed at the most important passes, at convenient distances, and were all garrisoned with detachments in the pay of the province, and he believed, in. case the officers and then posted in them did their duty, they would prove a sufficient protection against such parties as had hitherto appeared on their borders; that he had directed the minutes of the several conferences held with the Indians, and other papers relating to Indian affairs (by which it appeared that the bulk of the Indians living on the Susquehanna, were not only in the French interest, but (leaf to all the instances of the Six Nations thereon) to be laid before them; ~‘that the heads of those nations had been convened by the timely care of general Shirley, and were
1 then mét inv council to treat on those and other matters; that