Abbildungen der Seite

But the proprietaries' ‘cannot find that the quit-rents reserved to the crown, in any of the other American colonies, have ever been taxed to

, wards the raising any supplies granted those colonies; and indeed those

quit-rents are generally so small (meaning the king’s quit-rents, we suppose, for their own surely are largeenough) that little or no land tax, would be due or payable on them, if arising in Great Britain, Bro.’ If your committee are rightly informed, the king's quits-ems in the other colonies, are applied to public purposes, generally for the service of the colony that raises them. W’ hen our proprietaries shall think fit to apply those arising here in the same manner, we believe no assembly willattempt to tax them. The smallness of the parts, we cannot conceive to be a good reason for not taxing the whole. Where every man worth less than twenty shillings a year is exempt from taxes, he who enjoys a thousand a year might, as well as our proprietnries, plead to be excused, for that his income is only twenty ‘ thousand shillings, each of which shillings is far within the sum exempted by law. In the whole, though what arises from each estate be no great , sum, their quit-rents must amount to a very great revenue; and their spealt- ‘ ing of them in the diminutive terms of very small quit-rents 0r acknowlegments, is only to amuse and deceive. They are property; and property should pay for its own preservation. They ought therefore to be taxed to the defence of the country. The proprietaries indeed say, a land tax was unnecessary, as there are many other ways of raising money. They would doubtless choose any way in which their estate could not be included. But what are those many other ways? Britain, an independent state, can lay 1 infinite duties, on all foreign wares, and imported luxuries. We are suffered little foreign trade, and almost all our superfluities are sent us from Britain itself. Will she permit us to discourage their importation by heaiy imposts? or to raise funds by taxing her manufactures? a variety of excisei and duties serve only to multiply offices and ofiicers, and to make a part of the people pay for another part who do not choose to pay. No excise or 'duty, was ever a fair and unequal tax on property. The fairest, as the proprietaries themselves have acknowleged, is a poundage on all real and personal estate, according to its value. ,

W’ e are now to hear of the generosity of the proprietaries, who, as they say, ‘were so far from desiring not to contribute to the defence and supporl of his majesty’s rights and dominions, that immediately on the first notice 5 of the defeat of general Braddock, they had sent over an order upon their receiver general, to pay five thousand pounds as a free gift towards the defence of the’said province.’ ‘Ve may presume to ask, why, when they knew the assemblies werecontinually worried to give money, and the bills I in which it was offered as constantly rejected; whydid they not unmanaclc their governor, and at the same time set an example of zeal for the com mon cause by a generous gift on their part, before they heard of that defeat’ why not as soon as they knew he was sent to America? why not on Washing‘ ton’s defeat, or before his first expedition, as soon as ever their province us!


*-l u


attacked, and they learnt that the enemy had built a fort in it? but the truth is, the order was sent, not immediately .on the news of Bradtlocl'c’s defeat; the date of the order will show that it was a month after that news arrived in England. But it was immediately after they had advice, that the go.vernor had refused agrant of fifty thousand pounds to the crown for the defence of the proprietaries province, because their estate was taxed in the hill, alleging restrictions from them on that head; against which all the world exclaimed, and an universal odium was falling on their heads, and the king’s wrath justly dreaded; then it was, that the boasted order issuedl. And yet, as soon as their fears subsided, it was sincerely repented,

, and every underhand step taken to get the act, in which their gift was fix

e0’, disapproved at home; though if they had succeeded, when the bills emitted were abroad, and in the hands of the public, many of the poor soldiers, who'had received them in pay for their services, would have been ruined, and multitudes of others greatly injured. And after all,‘ this free gift, to he immediately paid, is not yet paid, though more than a year is elapsed since the order was given; and contracts, entered into by the com!

‘Inissioners in confidence of receiving that money, are yet unsatisfied, to

the loss and disappointment of many, and great detriment to the service.

However, if we will have a land tax, they are pleased to form a bill for us, or at least to direct what clauses shall be in, and what shall not be in it, thus violating the most essential right of the commons in a British constitution ! and with this particular injunction, that the tax shall be laid for no more than one year; and shall not exceed four shillings in the pound on the income; which, estimating estates at twenty years purchase, is about a fifth of a twentieth, or, in plainer words, a hundredth part of the value. Perhaps this may be well enough in times of tranquillity; but when a province is invaded, must it be given up to the enemy, if a tax of the hundredth penny iynot suflicient to save it? Yes, that is our present situation ; for the proprietaries instructions are, it seems, unalterable. Their govcr, nor is bound to observe and inforce them, and must see the king’s province perish before his eyes, rather than deviate from them a single tittle. This we have experienced within a few days, when advantage being cruelly taken of our present unhappy situation, the prostrate condition of our bleeding country, the knife of the savages at her throat, our soldiers ready to mutiny for want of pay and necessaries, our people flying in despair from the frontier for want of protection, the assembly was compelled (like Solomon’s trueTnother) to wave her right, to alter our money bills, abridge our free grant to the crown by one half, and, in short, to receive and enact a law not agreeable to our judgments, but such as was made for us by the proprietary instructions, and the will and pieasure of the governor’s council; whereby our constitution and the liberties of our country are wounded in the most essential part, and even violated and destroyed. We have reason to confide, however, in the justice of our sovereign and a British parliament, that thistyranny shall not long subsist; and we hope no time will be lost in malty ing the proper application.


In fine, we must say, in justice to the house, that the proprietary’s charge against the assembly, as ‘being inclined by their authority to tax’ the proprietary estate ‘disproportionately, &c,’is, to our knowlege, ground- ‘ less and unjust. They had as little inclination as authority to wrong him. They have not, it seems, authority enough to oblige him to do justice. As to their inclination, they hear, every one of them, and maintain, the character of honest men. When the proprietaries shall be truly willing to bear an equitable part of the public burden; when they shall renounce their exorbitant demand of rent as the exchange shall then be ; make restitution

\ of the money which they have exacted from. the assemblies of‘ this province,

and sincerely repent of their extortion, they may then, and not till then,

have some claim to the same noble title. \ o


The proprietarz'es have flrva lon 3' series of years made a great secret of the value of their estate and revenue. By accident the following authentic paper isjizllen into our hamlr, and will serve as a ground-work on which the reader may i be enabled to form some idea of the value of that estate in Pennsylvania. It is a copy of an originalpaper drawn by Mr. Thomas Penn himself many years ago, and endorsed

“My estimate of the province, T. Penn.”



‘ Fen/nylon. Curr1. LANDS granted since my arrival are very near 270,000 acres, of which not 10,000 have been paid for; more

than of old grants are remaining unpaid; is . . £41,850 0 9 2. The rent on the said grants is 5501. sterling a year, which at 20 years purchase, and 165 per cent. exchange,is...............18,15009 I S. The old rent, 4201. a year sterling, at ditto, is . . . 15,246 0 0 l 4. Lands granted between roll and the first article are 5701. i a year sterling, which at 20 years purchase, and 165 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18,810 09 5. To the difference between 4201. and 5701. for arrearages of rents which may be computed at half the time of the other-arrearages, that is 11 years at 165 per cent. 2722 10 o 6. Ferries let on short leases, the rents being 4-0]. a year, areworth...........,.-. 100000 Carried over £197,778 10 0


I“! @ e/


Pennsylsvm Curr.

Brought over J($97,778 10 0 7. Lands settled in the province, for which no grants are yet passed, except a few since the above account was taken, not less than 400,000 acres, which at 151. 100.

' amounts to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ._ ‘63,000 0 0 The rent at an halt'penny an acre is 8331. 6:. 8d. a year v sterling, reckoned as above is . . . . . . . . 27,500 0 0 , , ____.._____._ \ £188,278 10 0 ~~MANO RS. 1 Conestogoe, 65 M. from the city, 13,400 acres, at 401. per H. 5360 0 0 2 Gilbert’s, ' 25 3200 ' 70 2240 0 0 3 Springfield, 12 1600 75 1200 0 0 , 4 Highlands, 35 2500 30 750 0 0 s Spring-town, 37 ' 10,000 35 v 3500 o 0 '6 Vincent’s, 40 ' ' 20.000 35 7000 0 0, 7 Richland’s, 35 10,000 15 1500 0 0 9 About 20 tracts in the several counties, [mostly 500 acres each‘; reckoned 10,000 at 40]. . . . . . . . . . 4-000 0 0 Springet’s-bury, 207 5 ‘t 1035 0 0, On the north side of the town, 50 - 30 1500 O 0 Back of the said land 15 1'0 150 0 0

9 Lot in the bank at the north end of the town 200 feet at 31. 600 0 0‘ 10 A front and bank lot between Vine and Sassafras street, ‘

102feetat 6L , . . . . . . . . . . . 612 O 0

11 Bank lot between Cedar and Pine street, 204- feet at 31. 612 0 0

12 Front kit on the side of Cedar, 102 s 806 0 0

‘ 13 Ditto between Cedar and Pine street 160 2 320 0 O

14 Bank lot between the same streets 40 2 80 0 0

15 Marsh land near the town 600 acres 3 1800 O 0

16 Ditto 200 acres at ls. sterling rent, and 165. per cent. is 330 0 0 Lands within the draft of the town, at least 500

acres, 250 nearest Delaware, at 151-. per acre 3750 0 0

, ‘ 250 nearest Schuylkill, at 101. per acre . . 2500 0 0 17 Omitted.-—Streiper’s tract in Bucks county, 35 miles,

‘ 5000 acres, at 25!. . . . , . . _ . . . . 1250 0 0 18 The rents of the above manors and lands being 77,072 acres, at a halfpenny per acre. 20 years purchase,

and 165 per cent. eachange,'is . .I . . . . . . 5398 12 0


~ £233,972 2 0 The government to be calculated at no less than was to l

[have been paid for it, viz. 11,0001. at 165 per cent. is 18,150 0 0

Carried over £252,122 2 0


Pennryloa- Curr, Brought over £252,122 2 0

In this calculation no notice is taken of the thirds reserved on the bank lots (a copy of the patents 1. Penn has by him to shew the nature of them”) and nine-tenths of the province remains undisposed of

Three-fifths of all royal mines is reserved in the grants, and in all grants since the year 1732. One-fifth part of all other mines, delivered at the pit’s mouth without charge, is also'reserved.

No value is put on the proprietor’s right to escheated lands; and, besides these advantages, several offices are in the proprietor’s gift of considerable

Register general, about £200
Naval oificer, ' 300
Clerk of Philadelphia, I 400
—--—— Chester, 300
--—-— Bucks, 200
------ Lancaster, 200

Besides several other ofiices of less value. These are only guessed at. i \

The above paper has no date, but by sundry circumstances in it, particularly there being no'value put on the thirds of the bank lots, because they were not then fallen in; and by the valuation put on the lands (which is very dil'l'erent from their present value) it must have been drawn while Mr. Thomas Penn resided in Pennsylvania, and probably more than twenty years ago: since which time a vast addition has been made to the value of the reserved lands, and a great quantity of land has been disposed of,

perhaps equal to all preceding. ‘We must therefore add to the above sum of 252,1221. 2a. the following

articles, viz.

1. For the increased value of the lands of‘ the Conestogoe manor now valued at 4001. per hundred acres, and in the above estimate valued only at 4-01. per hundred, the said increased value being 360]. per hundred, on

13,400 acres, . . . . . - . . . . . . . 48,240 0 0

2 For the increased value of Gilbert’s manor, now worth 4001. per hundred acres, 10,560 0 0 Carried over £311,922 2 0

* By these patents, at ‘the end of fifty years, the proprietor was to have one-third of‘ the value of the‘ lots and the buildings, and other improvm

ments erected on them.

« ZurückWeiter »