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nonna'r H. MORRIS, Esq; mar. covsauon. 281
l OF this the governor took no noticy/e, but proceeded to
Newcastle, as he had before intimated e would ; and the as- _
'sembly having at last conquered the di culties raised among themselves, and passed their bill for regulating the officers and soldiers in the service and pay of the province, adjourned to the 5th of April then next ensuing.
As this adjournment was so very short, the members were
- permitted to have the full benefit of it; but when they met
again new troubles arose ; not to say were‘ prepared for them. ‘Sir William Johnson’s treaty with the Six Nations was
a laid beforeth'etp ; and they found the go'ternor strongly de
termined 'to involve the province in an Indian war with the Delawares and Shawanese; which? a very considerable part of the province, from principles of prudence, as well as scruples ‘of conscience, most earnestly desired to avoid.
The affair was soon taken into consideration; and the '
house appeared to be far Prom unanimous upon it: some from the papers laid before them, ‘finding reason to believe, that an accommodation might still be effected, were for addressing the governor to suspend his purpose for some ‘time longer; and others had influence enough to ‘postpone the debate, and thereby prevent their coming to any conclusion upon the question at all. _ v ’
The issues of war and peace, they might probably argue, were solely in the executive; and consequently the executive was alone to be answerable for the uses made of them.
But whatever their'arguments were, whatever effect they had within doors, the same difference of opinion still remained without. On one hand, some of the people called Quakers, residing in the city of Philadelphia, on behalf of
themselves and many others, presented petitions both to the ,
governor and the house, full of exhortations to pursue pacific measures with these savages, and to preserve the province, if possible, from the calamities of an Indian war,- and, on the other, ‘the governor informed the house, that a number of people from the back counties had resolved on a meeting, in order to proceed in a body to some demands of the legislature then‘ sitting; and, ‘after having made -a merit of
his information, added, “that, by the advice of the council, he should give immediate orders to the provincial and other magistrates, to use their utmost endeavors to prevent the mischiefs which ight attend so extraordinary aprocedure.”
The house, ho ever, preserved their equanimity you this occasion; surpriz‘ they did express, that, having in all respects demonstrated so much care and concern for the security of the province, any‘of the people should meditate mischief against them ; but, instead of discovering any fear,
they announced the laws of the province against rioters, and _
accompanied theirithanks to the governor for his intelligence, with a request, th he would’ lay before them what informations he had receiiid concerning their views or designs, or wherein they hadiaipprehended themselves to be either neglected or aggrieved: which requestv he never thought fit to comply with.
It may indeed be collected, that these insurgents were as strenuous for war, as the quietists were for peace; and that the governor took advantage of this very incident to declare war against the Delawares and Shawanese, and offer rewards for taking prisoners and scalps, which he did immediately thereon. He also ‘ave notice, in form, of the same to the assembly, urging the many and great cruelties on his majesty’s subjects within the province, as the cause; and concluded his message in the following terms: '
‘ But as great partiyof the sixty thousand pounds is already expended, and What remains will very soon be consumed in maintaining the troops posted on the frontiers, and other necessary services, I recommend it to you, gentlemen, to grant such further supplies, as may be necessary to carry on the war with vigor, upon the success of which the future peace and safety of the inhabitants of this province will very much depend.’ '\ p I _ -,
The same day he also informed them, “that the Indians which had so long subsisted on the bounty of the province (instead of taking'part in this new war) were on the point of removing \with their families (he was fearful, on some discontent, though he knew of no reason,) into the country of
the Six Nations; and had demanded of him the necessary conveyance and passports.” And he added, “\that if they could not be prevailed on to act with the English, ,which he had directed the interpreter to endeavour, it would be necessary to reward the two partizans amongst them (Scarroyady and Montour) to their satisfaction fortheir trouble and service, to send the others away well satisfied, and to give those that should continue good encouragement.”
The house, in answer, signified in substance, “ that their late supply of sixty thousand pounds had fully enabled the governor, and the commissioners who were joined with him for the disposition of it, to do all that was desired, or necessary to be done; that if great part of that supply, so lately granted, was already expended, and the rest would soon be so, they knew of no remedy; but that as the assessment for sinking the bills of credit issued in pursuance of the said act had not as yet been laid or levied, as a great part of the money was still in hand, and as they were soon to meet again upon the adjournment, then so necessary to their private affairs, having waited long for’the governor’s answer to their bills, they could not think it would be of use at that time to lay an'additional load of taxes on the inhabitants; they concluded with an earnest recommendation of the bill for regulating the Indian trade, as a bill of great importance for conciliating the minds of the Indians yet unfixed in their resolutions, and confirming those already in alliance with them, by'supplying them with such goods and other things they might have occasion for, on the easiest 'terms, at the charge and under the inspection of the government.” And, in a separate message, sent at the same time, they farther gave him to understand, “that, having seriously deliberated on his message for putting a stop to the exportation of provisions, ever since they had received it, and made a full enquiry into the circumstances of the country, they had reason to hope that, under the common course of God’s good providence, no considerable danger or inconvenience could arise from continuing to leave theinports still open till their next .1’ P
meeting; as also, that they proposed to adjourn till the 24th of the month next ensuing.” ‘
The return to this was, that the governor ‘had no objection to the proposed time of adjournment; that he thought, with the house, there was no immediate necessity for laying an embargo on provisions; that he should lay before the commissioners the affair of the Indians now in town, and endeavour to send them away well satisfied; that he expected the house would have made some preparations for executing the plan of operations for the ensuing campaign, but as they had not, it must lie upon them; that as to the Indian trade, and excise bills, he should consider them against the next meeting; and lastly, that he thought it proper to mention to the house by their messengers, that although he had had more burdens laid upon him than any of his predecessors in the same time, yet he had received less from the house than any of them.’ '
Lastly, the house taking into consideration what the g0vernor had said relating to their not having made preparations for executing the plan of operations for the ensuing ‘campaign, resolved, in these words, that as this province has received no assistance from our mother country, and as we have already expended large sums of money for the raising and supporting a considerable body of men for the defence of our extensive frontiers, against the continued depredations and encroachments of a savage and merciless enemy, b6sides what has been expended in maintaining the friendly ‘Indians, French neutrals, and in other purposes for the king’s
service, which expences are likely to be continued for some
time; the house are of opinion, that the present circumstances of the province will not now admit of their going into any preparations for executing the aforesaid plan of operations ;- and that it would be not only impracticable, but very imprudent, at a time the country is so greatly distressed by the unjustifiable taking of: indented servants, and so many of our freemen are inlisted and gone away, to send so great a proportion of men as is demanded of us, to so great a dis
, wan»: ,/ ~ , - , ‘WNW ’ ' ‘*7
tance, and thereby deprive ourselves of their assistance, I ’ which we have too much reason to think we shall soon have occasion for.’
These were the transactions of April 16th; and, as the reader will observe no notice was taken of the governor’s remonstrance concerning himself, he will from thence, perhaps,be led to account for his re-convening them so soon afterwards as the 10th of May; he being then absent at a place called Harris’s ferry, and having nothing more pressing to lay before them, than what is contained in the follbwling abstract of his message to them upon that occasion; to wit, '
“ That the people of the frontier counties westward having lost great numbers of their fighting men, and the remainder being either driven from their. habitations, or worn out with fatigue, there was the greatest reason to apprehend, the next attack would produce the entire evacuation of the two next counties, York and Cumberland; that the consideration of this deplorable and dangerous situation of those counties,
' which the most considerable of their inhabitants had, in the 'most affecting manner, laid before him, had induced him to ‘call them together; that the best and speediest means might be taken to prevent, if possible, farther desolation; that the law for establishing a voluntary militia had contributed very little, if any thing, to the defence of the frontier; that he had observed it was defective when he passed it, and that itrequired so much time to carry it into execution, that nothing good was to be expected from it; that, though‘ many companies had been formed under it, yet, for want of sufiicient power lodged in him to order them to the frontiers, they were, as to that most material service, entirely useless; that he must therefore recommend it to them to form such a militia as might be just, equal, and carried into immediate execution, so ‘as that he might be able to' draw the strength of the province to such parts as stood most in need of it; and the whole burden of defending the province might not fall too heavily on the few inhabitants whose circumstances obliged them to remain in the back counties ; that, as by the