Abbildungen der Seite

their lands and properties, and give them all the“ powers he could, as he was lord of this seignory, and much more to that eiiect.’

And now, to finish on the ‘head of the representation, which throws so much light on the first foundation of this colony, what afterwards passed in the assembly concerning it, candour requires should here be subjoined.

‘ But what, says governor Evans, I must not be silent in, is, that he (the proprietary) highly resents that heinous indignity and most scandalous treatment he has met with in the letter, directed not only to himself, but also to be shewn to some other persons disaffected to him, in the name of the assembly and people of this province, of which I have formerly demanded a copy, but was then denied it, under pretence (when it was too late) that it should be recalled: if that letter was the act of the people, truly represented, he thinks such proceedings are suflicient to cahcel all obligations

' of care over them: but if done by particular persons only, ' and it is an imposture in the name of the whole, he expects

the country will purge themselves, and take care that due satisfaction be given him.’ ‘ .

The reader will observe that the letter is not complained of as scandalous, because of its false/200a’, but because of its freedum, in' which it must be understood consists the indignityr

And the assembly’s reply was as follows :

‘As to the representation or letter sent to the proprietary by order, or in the name of the farmer assembly, which he takes, it seems, as an indignity, and resents it accordingly; it not having been done by this house, but being the act (or in the name) of afbrmer, as we are not intitlecl to the affront,

-’ \

3 “ William Biles acquainted this house, that Nathaniel Puckle had a. letter from the proprietary to be communicated to several persons here, en. couraging them to insist upon the privileges of their charter and laws, and not tamely give them up; and instanced what advantage it has been to the people of Rhoda-Island,‘ Connecticut, and other proprietary governments, to assert their rights,” ‘8w. Votes qfdsrembly, for August 21, 1704.


[graphic][merged small]

g'f any be, neither are we concerned in answering it: our part. is only to lament (as we really do) that there should be true occasion for such representation; or, if none, that it should be offered to our proprietary, whom we both love and honour; and, therefore, we hope his obligations of care over us and the people of this province by no such means shall be cancelled.’

That this man’s government should be one continued broil, from the beginning of it to the end, is proof sulficient, that Mr. Penn left his frame at least in a very imperfect Stfltfis '

Nor were the people themselves insensible of it, nor more backward to declare their sentiments concerning it, than of the other parts of his conduct.

Evans, for‘ example, having made use of the following clause in one of his papers to the assembly, to Wit;

‘ The governor, at his arrival, found the people possessed of a charter, by virtue of which the present assembly now sits, containing the frame of government, settled solemnly, as he has reason to believe, between the proprietary and the people, because by the subscription, it is said to be tlzantfuliy accepted of by the assembly then sitting, and was signed not only by the proprietaly, but by the speaker of the assembly, in the name of all those of the province (as it is aflirmed>wh0 were then present, and unanimously consenting, and is far-i ther witnessed by the council: this, therefore, ought fully to. conclude : {or if the people could allege, that any thing more was their due, it ought at that time to ' have been fixed and settled; the assembly then sitting, as the governor is informed, having fully considered and debated it; or if any demands, which it is imagined might further have been made, were not then granted, the governor cannot think it proper

for him to inte'rmeddle or to concern himself farther than by

virtue of the king’s letters patent, to the proprietary, and the proprietary’s commission to him, ,writhjher majesty’s royal approbation, to govern according to that charter, and the

laws in force, 81c. ., _' i v.

The assembly thus replied.

‘ As to the present charter, which the governor found ni -

being at his arrival, though it be fiz'r shaft of an English con.stitution, yet even that has been violated by several inroads made upon it: and if the governor cannot grant the just an

reasonable" demands of the people’s representatives agreeable with an English establishment, there is cause to conclude, that the proprietary is not fully represented here : and, however the charter was received, yet it was not with such unanimity as is alleged, because diminutive of former privileges; neither was it prepared by the house of representa


tives, but done in great haste.’
‘ We are not striving for grants of power, but what are es-

sential to the administration of4 justice, and agreeable to an English constitution: and if we have not been in possession of this these twentyrfour years, we know where to place the fault, and shall only say, it is high time we were in the enjoyment of our rights.’ 7

And lastly, the said assembly having drawn up two several remonstrances to the proprietary, reciting the particulars of their grievances and complaints against the said governor, took occasion in the last of them, dated June 10, 1707, to express themselves as follows.

‘ We, and the people we represent, being still grieved and oppressed with the trial-administration and practices of thy deputy, and the ill carriage, unwarrantable proceedings, and great exactions of thy secretary, are like to be destroyed by the great injustice and arbitrary oppressions of thy evil ministers, who abuse the powers given thee by the crown, and we suppose have too much prevailed upon thee to leave us hitherto without relief. , I

‘ That the assembly which sat here on the 26th of the sixth, month, 1704‘, agreed upon certain heads or particulars, which, according to the order of that day, were drawn up in a representation, and was signed by the speaker, and sent thee

4 The goverhor had rejected the bill proposed by the assembly for establishing courts of justice, 81c. andhad done it by an ordinance of his



he had been Logan’s screen, so his successor, Gookin, was little better than Logan’s tool. The first had the name; the latter the power; and by the help of the council, spurred him on, or reined him in, as he pleased.

Both were necessitous, consequently craving alike; and having each considered himself first, and the proprietary next, had little consideration left for the crown, and none at all for the people.

If Evans adventured to act in many respects as if there was neither charter nor assembly, or, rather, as if he was authorised by his commission to do what he pleased in con

tempt of both, (as appears byyhis arbitrary dismission of one

assembly, merely because they could not be brought to obey his dictature) Gookin after his example, and at the instance of Logan, declared another assembly to be no assembly, and refused to hold any further correspondence with them: and yet when he was on the point of being recalled, he "was both mean enough and desperate enough to convene the assembly, purposely to make them this laconic proposition, viz. “ That, for the little time he had to stay, he was ready to do the country all the service he could :--and that they might be their own careers, in case they would in some measure provide for his going back to seek another employment.” Oi” which, however, they made no other use than to gratify him with a present of two hundred pounds.

Lastly, that the reader may have a general idea of those assemblies, represented in proprietary language as so refractory and turbulent, so pragmatical and assuming, let him accept of a passage out of one of their own papers to governor Evans, in which they thus characterise themselves. ‘ And though we are mean men, and represent a poor colony, yet as we are the immediate grantees of one vbranch of the legislative authority of this province, (which we would leave

to our posterity as free as was granted) we ought to have,

been, and do expect to be more civilly ‘treated by him that claims the other branch of the same authority, and under the same royal grant, and has his support from us and the~ people we represent.


HE‘E" "


It is by this time apparent enough’, that though the praprietarg/ and popular interests spring from one and the same source, they divide as they descend: that every proprietary governor, for this reason, has two masters; one who gives him his commission, and one who gives him his pay: that he is on his good behaviour to both: that if he does not fullil with rigour every proprietary command, however injurious to the province or offensive to the assembly, he is ‘recalled: that if he'idoes not gratify the assembly in what they think they have a right to claim, he is certain to live in perpetual broils, though uncertain whether, he shall be enabled to live at all: and that, upon the whole, to be a governor upon such terms, is to be the most wretched thing alive;

Sir William Keith could not be ignorant of this: and therefore, however he was instructed here at home, either by his principal or the lords of trade, resolved to govern himself when he came upon the spot, by the governing interest there: so that his administration was wholly different from that of his two predecessors. _ ‘

With as particular an eye to his own particular emolus ment, he did indeed make his first address to the ,assembly; but then all he said was in popular language: he did not so much as name the proprietary.- and his hints were such as could not be misunderstood, that in case they would‘ pay

him well, he would serve them well. The assembly, on the other hand, had sense enough to.

discern, that this was all which could be required of a man

who had a family to maintain with some degree of splendor,v and who was no richer than plantation governors usually are: in short, they believed in him, were liberal to him, and the returns he annually made them were suitable to the

confidence they "placed in him: so that the prdper operation V

of one master-spring kept the whole machine of govern» ment, for a considerable period of time, in a more consistent motion than it had ever known before.

Of all political cements reciprocal interest is the strongest; and the subject’s money is never so well disposed of, as in the maintenance of order and tranquillity, and the purchase


« ZurückWeiter »