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bly, undera solemn promise of restitution, with such altee rations and amendments as should be found necessary.
On the 28th of October, 1701, when the governor was ‘so near his departure that it might almost be said he had one foot on board, this promise was made good; the council, the assembly, (the provincial part of it, that is to say,_) and several of the principal inhabitants of; Philadelphia ate tending. ' I
The ‘charter of privileges granted by William Penn, Esq. to the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, and territories, this important instrument is called; and the main purport of ‘it is as follows, to wit: “ that because no people could be truly happy, though under the greatest enjoyment of civil libel'q ties, if abridged of the freedom of their consciences, as to, their religious profession and worship, n0 inhabitant, confessing and acknowleging one almighty God, and professing himself obliged to live quiet under the civil government, should He in any case molested or prejudiced in person or estate: that all persons professing to believe in yesus C/zrz'st the Saviour of the world, promising, when required, allegiance to the king, and taking certain attests by a certain provincial law provided, should be capable to serve the government either legislatively or executively: that an assembly should be yearly chosen by the freemen, to consist of four persons out of each county, of most note for virtue, wisdom, and ability; or of a greater number, if the governor and assembly should so agree ; upon the first of October for ever, and should sit on the 14th following, with power to chuse a speaker and other their ofi’icers, to be judges of the qualifications and elections of their own members, sit upon their own adjournments, appoint committees, prepare bills, impeach criminals, and redress grievances, with all other powers and privileges of an assembly, according to the rights of the freebarn subjects of England, and the customs observed in any of the king’s plantations in America: that two-thirds of the freemen so chosen should have the full power of the whole: that the said freemen in each respective county, at the time and place of meeting for electing
representatives, might chase a double number of persons tq present to the governor for sheriffs and coroners, to. serve for three years, if so long they should behave themselves well, out of whom the governor was to nominate_one for each office,vprovided his nomination was made the third day after presentment, otherwise the person first named to serve; and in case of death or default, the governor to supply thevacancy: that three persons should be ‘nominated by the, justices of the respective counties, out of whom the governor was to select one to serve for clerk of the peace, within ten days, or otherwise the place to be filled by the first so nomiDated: that the laws of the government should be in this‘ style, viZ._Biy the governor, with the consent aizd approbation of the freemen in general assembly met: that all criminals should have the same privileges of Witnesses and council, as, their prosecutors: that no person should be obliged to answer any complaint, matter or thing whatsoever, relating to property, before the governor and council, or in any other place but in ordinary course of justice, unless in appeals ac
cording to law: that the‘ estates of suicides should not be
forfeited: that no act, law, or ‘ordinance whatsoever should i
at any time hereafter, be made or done to alter, change, or diminish the form or efl'ect of this charter, or of any part or elapse therein, according to the true intent and meaning thereof, without the consent of the governor for the time being, and six parts in, seven of the assembly met: that the
~first article relating to liberty of conscience should be kept
and remain without any alteration iuviolably for ever: that the said William Benn, for himself, his heirs and assigns. did thereby solemnly declare, grant, and confirm, that neither he, his heirs or assigns, should procure or do any thing or things whereby the liberties in this charter contained and expressed, nor any part thereof, should be infringed or broken; and, that if any thing should be procured and done by any person or persons contrary thereto,‘ it should be held of no force or effect." _ i
Thus, though much remained of the first institution, much was taken away. The people had no longer the election of
, the “council; consequently all who, for the cfutti're,‘were to serve in that capacity, were to'be nominate-d b ythe governor; ‘consequently were 'to serve on what terms ‘he pleased. Instead of having but three voices in seventy-two, he was left single in the executive, and at liberty to re‘sti'ain the legisla
tive by refusing his assent to their bills whenever he thought
fit. On the other hand, the assembly, who at ‘first. could not ptopound laws, though they might amend or reject them, were put in possession of that privilege; and, upon the ‘whole, there was much more room for acknowledgments
than complaints. ‘How much meter the governor had grown upon lVlr.
Penn, and how much soever his concern for others had worn off, when raised to ‘a sphere above them, it is plain he'hnd not forgotten his own trial, nor the noble commentary upon lllrzgna Charta, which, in his tract called, The peaple’s ancient‘ iota/just liberties asserted, he had upon that occasion made ‘public; wherein he says, '
“There were but two sorts ‘of government: will and power; or, condition and contract. That the first was a government of men, the second of laws. That universal reason was and ought to be, among rational ‘beings, univerat! law': that ‘of laws, some were fundamental and immutable; some'temporary, made for present'convenience, and for convenience to be changed. That the fundamental laws of England were of all laws most abhorrent of will and pleasure: and, that till houses should stand without their own foundations, and ‘Englishmen ‘cease to ‘be Englishmen, they could not be cancelled, nor the szilgjccts deprived of the hemy’ir oft/2cm.”
Such as it was, by the fr‘e'emen of the province it was thankfully accepted, but by those of the territory unanimously declined; and in this divided condition this new Lycurgus, as fllontesquz'cu calls him, left them.
Andrew Hamilton, Esq. (not the celebrated barrister of
that name) was the person appointed to be his substitute;
and the principal- effort of his administration? was to bring,
abouta re-union, which being at length found impracticable’
(the territory-men still persisting in their refusal of the char; ter) the province, in virtue of that charter, claimed a sepa
' rate representative of their own, which in point of number
was fixed at’ eight members for each of the three counties, and two for the city of Philadelphia, now so constituted by the proprietaryi’s special charter; and after duly qualifying themselves according to law, their first resolution was;
“ That the representatives or delegates of the freeholders of ‘this province, according to the powers granted by the proprietary and governor by his charter, dated the eighth day of October, Anna Domini 1701, may meet in assembly on the fourteenth day of October, yearly, at Philadelphia, or elsewhere, as shall be appointed by the governor and council for the time being, and so continue on their own adjournments from time to time during the year of their service, as they shall find occasion, or think fit, for preparing of bills, debating thereon, and voting, in order to their being passed into laws ,- appointing committees, redressing of grievances, and impeaching of criminals, as they shall see meet, in as ample manner as any of the assemblies of this pro,vince and territories have hitherto at any time done, \or might legally do ; as effectually, to all intents and purposes,‘ as any of the neighbouring governments under the crown of England have power to do, according to the rights and privileges of the freeborn subjects of England, keeping to the rules and prescriptions of the parliament of England; as near as may be, respecting the infancy of the government and the [capacities of the people: and that the said assembly, as often as the governor for the time being shall require, attend on him, in order to legislation; and to answer all other just ‘ends of assemblies on any emergencies or reasons of state; but shall not be subject at any time to be by him adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved.”
This was the state of things when John Evans, Esq;
appointed deputy-governor on .the death of Mr. Hamilton,
arrived in the province, in the beginning of the year 1704WVhat his commission and instructions were does not ap—
pear; but having convened the representatives both of the province and territories, to meet him at the same time in his ‘council-chamber, he affected to be surprised at finding them in separate states; said her majesty considered them as one entire government; and earnestly pressed them both to come to an amicable agreement, not without insinuation;
that neither of them would otherwise be in a condition to
act at all. The provincials, in return, intimated, that they should be
heartily glad of a farther union with the territories if it could be obtained without prejudice to their constitution or to their charter: said, those of the territory had been the occasion of inserting that ‘clause in their charter by which they had been enabled to act separately: made professions of so much good will and good neighbourhood as might ,pre» vent all inconveniencies from their separation: that they had appointed a committee to confer with them, 8tc. '
Conferences were accordingly opened between the two houses, which produced two papers ; one from the territorymembers, not over ingenuous in its contents, offering now to receive the charter—they had till then rejected, and to cooperate with those of the province: and the other, a reply from the provincials, charging them with inconsistency, and declaring, that seeing they were byl‘their formal refusal necessitated to form themselves into a distinct asscmbl , and were now established accordingly, it was not in their power, as they conceived, without a violation of the charter and trust reposed in them, to entertain any expedient to recon— cile their request of an union with the said charter, &c.
Thus all negotiation on this head came to an end, and the provincials were already in disgrace with their new governor, for showing so little regard to his recommendation.
A bill to confirm their charter, and some proceedings to correct the exorbitancies of the proprietary land-office, rendered them yet farther obnoxious; and they also were in. their turns exasperated by some intemperate censures passed on their proceedings by one of the governor’s council. , ,
Nor was this all; the bill to confirm their charter, 8zc.