Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

in the same breath, they might be justly ments a reasonable one. Lastly, they made charged with doing what would be not only un- it their request, that since, at such a time as precedented and absurd, but what would infal- chat, disputes and contentions between differlibly secure the end aimed at by the governor, ent parts of the government could not but be to wit, exempting the proprietaries from tax- extremely prejudicial both to the king's seration ; that as to the expedient of assessing vice and the welfare of the country, they the proprietary estate by commissioners in- might be thenceforth laid aside ; and that the stead of assessors, they did not see the neces- governor, by passing this just and equitable bill, sity of it; that the lords of parliament had, in would lay the foundation of such an agreethe year 1692, proposed a like amendment to ment as might conduce to the general benea money-bill, but finding it could not be car- fit of all concerned, and prevent the necessity ried, had dropped it then, and never revived it they should otherwise be under, of making an since; that it was one of the most valuable immediate application and complaint against rights of British subjects to have their mo- him to their sovereign.”. ney-bills accepted without amendments, a They accompanied this message with cerright not to be given up without destroying tain extracts from the journals of parliament, the constitution, and incurring greater and concerning the claims of the lords and the more lasting mischiefs than the grant of mo- perseverance of the commons in rejecting ney can prevent; that of the twenty amend them; they also, in a separate message, apments offered by the governor to the fifty plied for information concerning the Shawathousand pounds bill of the last assembly, the nese affair before-mentioned ; and in a farther present assembly had admitted every one of message they apprized him, " That their treathem that was of any consequence into the sury was quite exhausted by the heavy expresent bill, merely for the sake of avoiding penses lately incurred, and that they knew of all dispute, except that of exempting the pro- no way of raising money so expeditiously as prietary estate; and even that had been so that proposed by the bill then before the gomodified as they imagined no objection could vernor.” After which they subjoined the folremain ; that they found, however, in this in- lowing expressions, “ It is true, the money instance, how endless it was to admit such tended to be struck, may not be current bechanges : seeing the governor now wanted fore the thirty-first of December; but as that to amend his own amendments, add to his is not more than six weeks, there is no doubt own additions, and alter his own alterations; but that labour, service, and any thing else so that, though they should now accede to that money can purchase among us, may be these, they could not be sure of being ever had on credit for so short a time, if the bill the nearer to a conclusion ; that, as the pass- passes ; and in consideration of the necessity ing the proposed separate bill was equally in- of affording timely assistance to the distressed consistent with the governor's construction inhabitants in the back counties, we sincerely of the prohibitory clause in his commission, hope, and once more earnestly entreat, that which he seemed now to have got over; so the governor will no longer refuse or delay they hoped he would not, for the sake of a his assent to it.” mere opinion, concerning mode and propriety, At this time the house had a militia, bill any longer refuse a bill of so great import- under their consideration, framed in compliance to his majesty's service, and even the ance with the request of sundry petitions they proprietary estate, going daily to ruin, as well had received, setting forth, " that the peti. as the relief of the province; and that the tioners were very willing to defend themsame implicit confidence in his majesty's good selves and country, and desirous of being ness, which induced him to pass such a bill formed into regular bodies for that purpose, in any shape, might also encourage him to under proper officers, with legal authority :" believe, that any little impropriety, if any the bill therefore was, as the title expressed, there was, would be graciously passed over ; " for the better ordering and regulating such as that, if there could be any doubts, which was are willing and desirous of being united for most affected with the iniseries of the pro- military purposes.” It gave these the powers vince; they, who were most of them natives they desired, without compelling others who of it, and who had all of them their estates might be conscientiously against bearing arms. there, or he, a stranger among them; a con- In which respect it conformed with the go sideration of the many bills they had offered vernor's particular recommendation often rein vain for its relief, and their earnest endea- peated. vours to give such great sums to that end, This bill was sent up to him on the twentywould solve them all; and that, upon the first; and, at the same time, the house called whole, the house adhered to their bill without upon him for his result on the bills already amendments; because it was a money-bill; before him. because the whole sum was granted to the Nothing is more true, than, that the more crown, and to be paid out of the pockets of the clearly and unanswerably you convince a man subject; and because it was in their judg- that he is in the wrong, the more you exas

perate him against you; and never was any | thereby, he said he should leave among the truth more strongly illustrated than this ap- rest of the groundless charges against him.” pears to have been in the person of this high Condescend he did, however, to offer one and mighty governor. He could not forgive amendment more, which, according to him, the assembly, because they had put him out was to reconcile all: namely, by the addition of conceit with himself: and the poorer he of the following words to the exemption clause found himself in arguments, the more strongly proposed to be added to the first bill, to wit: his passions excited him to make use of invec- “ The estates of the honourable Thomas Penn tives. Invective became his only resource and Richard Penn, esquires, excepted; which then; and the little power he had over him- shall be taxed in the manner directed by a self, yet farther showed how unfit he was to particular law, passed or to be passed for that be a governor.

purpose.' Not willing, however, to rest the Having pronounced his proposal to the as controversy here, he proceeded to declare, sembly to be a reasonable one, and declared that their extracts from the journals of parhimself no less astonished than grieved, that liament proved nothing to the purpose for they should reject it; and, more especially, as which they were quoted; the constitution of their best argument for so doing was founded England and the constitution of Pennsylvania. on a new and lofty claim of privilege, he en- being no way similar; that how many sodeavours both to prove the novelty and ac- ever of his former amendments they had adcount for the assumption of it, by saying, mitted, their leaving out the most material “It had never been heard of, till towards the one, made the proposal of a separate bill a neclose of Mr. Hamilton's administration, and cessary expedient: so that they had no reathat the assembly being then pressed on the son for bursting out into such a lofty strain of subject of defence, first introduced and have rhetoric concerning his amending his arendsince continued their claim: either wholly to ments, &c. That as to the number of moneyavoid giving money for warlike purposes, or bills he had rejected, they were but five in all, to arrogate unwarrantable powers to them- and all rejected for sufficient reasons, (such as selves." To certain extracts from the minutes we have seen!] and that, if they were disof the council, sent together with this mes- posed to relieve their country, they had many sage to them, he then referred for his proofs, other ways, to which he should have no obthat the governor's right to amend money-jection." Proceeding then to the personal bills was never till then questioned ; and after topic, and his being treated as a stranger, he upbraiding them, in his way, for risking the takes a retrospect of their conduct, with an rejection of so important an act, on account of intent to show, that they had treated Mr. Hathe proprietary exemption, resolved all their milton, though a native, with as many abuses reason for adhering to what he called, the as they had treated him; and here occurs a indirect and perplexed method of their bill, paragraph or two which must be inserted verinto their sovereign pleasure to have it so. batim, viz. The same paragraph contained also some “ And here, was I inclined to go beyond strange insinuations, “That, not daring to my own times, I might begin with reminding trust their cause on its own bottom, they had you how contemptuously you treated the prochosen to blend both bills together, that they prietary offer of four hundred pounds, for might have a better chance of having their erecting a place of strength on the Ohio, tochief governor and his estate subjected to gether with an offer of one hundred pounds their mercy.” And what with his implicit per annum towards its support; which offers confidence, that the crown, in the common were made at a time when your concurrence method, would neither pass that or any other would probably have prevented many of the law for the sake of the greatest sums, if the calamities we now groan under. proprietary claim to an exemption was just “ I might also observe, that when Mr. Hain itself; and what with his foresight of mani- milton first called upon you, pursuant to his fest inconveniences that might ensue from a majesty's orders, to grant such supplies as total rejection thereof (which he himself had would enable him to draw forth the strength nevertheless persevered in doing.). The next of the province, and to repel force by force, paragraph is hardly to be deciphered at all, you would not admit that the French enexcept that in the close of it, he attempts to croachments and fortifications on the Ohio justify his own uncommon method, by saying, were within our limits, or his majesty's doi he had separated the two parts of the bill, minions; thereby seeking an excuse to avoid that the province might be served either way; doing what was required of you." (which the assembly had been altogether as He had also the disingenuity to mention the provident of before.) Any absurdity in this late defeat of his majesty's forces, in express method he professed himself unable to disco- terms as having happened, “for want of that ver; and the good-natured construction put timely support and assistance which it was upon it by them, of his intending to secure an in the power of the province to have afforded. infallible exemption to the proprietary estate And having again declared, that he could not

66

such purposes.

recede from his amendments, and expressed through the rest of his majesty's colonies along his satisfaction at their intended complaint the continent. against him, he concluded with the two fol And the third not only notified the receipt lowing paragraphs, which are equally insidi- of the proprietaries' despatches above-menous, injurious, and unbecoming.

tioned, but farther specified, “That, such was “ Upon the whole, it appears clear to me, their care and regard for the people, that they that you never intended that any of your bills had no sooner received the account he had should pass for raising money to defend the sent them of general Braddock's defeat, than province; and this seems now to be placed they sent him an order upon their receiverbeyond all dispute, since those people, under general for five thousand pounds, as a free whose influence you are chiefly known to be, gift to the public, to be applied to such uses as are said to have declared publicly to you, that that event might make necessary for the comthey would sooner suffer than pay towards mon security of the province; that he had di

rected the said receiver-general to have the “ However, I shall put one proof more, both money ready as soon as possible ; and that it of your sincerity and mine, in our professions should be paid by such persons as should be of regard for the public, by offering to agree appointed by act of assembly for the disposito any bill, in the present exigency, which tion of any sum they might think necessary it is consistent with my duty to pass, lest, be- for the defence of the province in that time fore our present disputes can be brought to of danger.". Two other_clauses were also an issue, we should neither have a privilege added: one importing, “That this timely and to dispute about, nor a country to dispute generous instance of the proprietaries' care in.”

and anxiety for the inhabitants, could not fail Together with this message, the secretary making the most lasting impression upon the also brought down another altogether as ex- minds of every well-wisher to that country ;." traordinary, in which the governor acquaints and the other, “ That the governor upon that the house," that he had considered their bill, occasion again recommended it to them to lay for the better ordering and regulating such aside all disputes, and to grant such supplies as were willing and desirous to be united for in addition to what the proprietaries had military purposes within that province; and given, as his majesty's service and the pressthough there were many things in it of a very ing exigencies of the province required.” extraordinary nature, and that he was con That they might not, however, have any vinced it would never answer the purpose of merit to plead on either of these heads, but defending the province, even if it could be might seem to be driven by force into every carried into execution, in any reasonable such measure as was thus recommended, on time, which he was afraid it could not, yet, the very next day after this, and before it was to show he was desirous of doing any thing possible for them to come properly to any rethat had even a chance of contributing to the solutions at all ; came again the mayor of safety of the province, he should consent to it Philadelphia, having now also prevailed with in the shape they had sent it, as it would be his corporation to join him and his prompters, entering into new disputes, should he amend with a remonštrance, in a style altogether it properly."

dictatorial," reproaching them with loosing And what is, perhaps, more extraordinary their time in deliberations, while their fellowstill, the governor on the same day, namely, subjects were exposed to slaughter, and in deSaturday, November 22, received some des- bates about privileges while they were depatches from the proprietaries, the contents prived of the great first privilege of self-preof which he did not communicate to the house servation, and requiring them to postpone all till the Monday following; by which time he disputes, grant necessary supplies, and pass a was ready to unmask such a variety of batte- reasonable law for establishing a militia ; and ries, as he thought would be sufficient, by in the close of it, recommending despatch, as their very noise alone, so to intimidate his an- the people seemed already in a deplorable tagonists at least, that they should not pre- and desperate state, and they feared it would sume to make him such a return to his last not be possible to preserve the peace and quiet message as they had done to his former. of the city, or of the province itself, much

The first was a report from his council, con- longer." taining such a discussion of Indian affairs as The house, notwithstanding, to be consistwas to be taken for a discharge in full of the ent in all things, called, in the first place, Shawanese complaints mentioned in a mes upon their committee for the answer they sage from the assembly, at their first sitting, in were directed to prepare to the governor's consequence of the governor's summons. last invective, which was ready, and in sub

The second was a call upon them to pro stance as follows; to wit, vide for a swarm of French inhabitants ba “ That if they could be astonished at any nished out of Nova Scotia by governor Law- thing which came from their governor, they rence, and sent at a venture to be distributed should be astonished at his repeating charges

and calumnies, groundless in themselves, and tion, but had endeavoured to introduce a so repeatedly, fully, and publicly refuted; French one, by reducing their assemblies to that instead of refuting them, therefore, they the insignificance to which the French parliashould only refer to their former refutations; ments had been reduced; had required them that what he says concerning the risk of los- to defend their country, and then put it out of ing so important an act was mere sophistry their power, unless they would first part with and amusement; that, as they had before as- some of the essentials which made it worth serted, conditional or alternative clauses were defending, which was in fact reducing them common; that in the same act there was an- to an Egyptian constitution : for, that as the other, namely, that in case the four year tax Egyptians were to perish by famine unless did not produce sixty thousand pounds, the de- they became servants to Pharaoh, so were fect should be supplied by an additional tax; they by the sword, unless they also became and, if it exceeded, the overplus should be servants to an absolute lord, or as he was disposed by a future act; to which the go pleased to style himself, absolute proprietary; vernor had made no objection ; that, notwith- that all comparisons made by the governor of standing all the dust he had attempted to raise, himself to his immediate predecessor would it was therefore clear to them, that the bill be to his own disadvantage, the differences was entirely unobjectionable ; that their mode between the former gentleman and his assemwas more proper than his, and as safe both for blies having been but small, in comparison the bill, and the pretended rights of the pro with those then subsisting, and conducted by prietary; that his commission had no such him with some tenderness to his country; that prohibition as he affected to find in it; and how much soever the people were at that that they could not, in a money-bill like this, time dissatisfied with some particulars in his admit of amendments not founded in reason, administration, the present had given them justice, or equity, but in the arbitrary plea- abundant reason to regret the change; that sure of a governor, without betraying the as to the collusion charged upon them, in not trust reposed in them by their constituents, intending any of the bills they had offered for and giving up their just rights as free-born the defence of their country should pass, they subjects of England; that by the charters could, with humble confidence, appeal to the their constitution was founded upon, in ad- searcher of all hearts, that their intentions perdition to the privileges therein specially fectly corresponded with their actions; that, named, thy are moreover entitled to all other not to mention the unfairness of ascribing to powers and privileges of an assembly, accord- a whole people the indiscretion of a few, ing to the rights of the free-born subjects of those who had declared they would suffer raEngland, and as is usual in any of the king's ther than pay for military measures) the goplantations in America ; that the free-born vernor himself must own, they could not be subjects of England had a right to grant their under the influence he supposed, when they own money their own way, the governor did assured him that several more votes had been not deny, nor that the same was usual in given for those measures since they were peother plantations; that therefore they had titioned against, than before; that they were the same right, and should have had it if it totally ignorant of the many other ways of had not been so specified in their charter; raising money, to which the governor had no such free-born subjects, instead of losing any objection; as also, what that other bill might of their essential rights, by removing into the be, which he might think consistent with his king's plantations, and extending the British duty to pass ; that he thought it inconsistent dominions at the hazard of their lives and for- with his duty to pass any bills contrary to his tunes; being, on the contrary, indulged with instructions from the proprietaries, which (like particular privileges for their encouragement the instructions of the president and council in so useful and meritorious an undertaking ; of the north, mentioned by lord Coke, 4 inst. that indeed their constitution was, in one res- p. 246,) were to them impenetrable secrets; pect, no way similar to that of England, namely, that, according to the same great lawyer's rethe king's having a natural connexion with his mark on governing by such insructions, misera people, the crown descending to his posterity, est survitus ubi jus est vagum aut incogniand his own power and security waxing and tum ; that, therefore, it would be in vain for waning with the prosperity of his people; them to search for other ways, or frame other whereas plantation-governors were frequently bills; and that here the matter must rest till transient persons, of broken fortunes, greedy his majesty should be graciously pleased to of money, destitute of all concern for those relieve them; since, with the governor, they they governed, often their enemies, and endea- could no otherwise hope to end their unhappy vouring not only to oppress but defame them, divisions, than by submitting to one part or and thereby render them obnoxious to their the other of the miserable alternative mensovereign, and odious to their fellow subjects; tioned by him; either not to have a privilege that their present governor_not only denied worth disputing about, or be deprived of a them the privileges of an English constitu- country to dispute it in.".

VOL II.... 0

But though this answer was, in every par- | invade our country.' Treaty, page 8. The ticular, conformable to the sense of the house, same sentiments appeared aniong the Six Naand was afterwards printed in the appendix to tions, at the Albany treaty; that the Engtheir proceedings, they declined making use lish and French were only contending which of it; and that for the present reported by the of them should have their lands.' The reacommittee was to the effect following: to soning made use of by the members at this wit, " that the bulk of the governor's long private conference with the late governor message consisted of groundless charges and was, that the land were they proposed to build calumnies, which having been repeatedly re- it was claimed by the crown, and was very futed, might be safely left to themselves; that probably beyond the limits of Pennsylvania; though they had prepared a full answer to that at least it would be beyond the reach of the rest, yet as there were now some hopes of our laws, as appeared by the people already an agreement with him in the money-bill, settled on Juniata, just beyond the North which was the principal business of the ses- mountain; that this, instead of healing, might sion, they submitted it to the house, whether create irreconcileable breaches with our Init would not be more consistent with their dians, considering what sort of people would prudence and moderation to suppress it ; that probably reside there; that the Indians had there being, however, one or two new charges never heartily requested it, nor did it seem to brought against the assemblies of that pro- be their interest so to do; and if they had revince, it might be proper to take some notice quested it, as they were in subjection to the of them; that the first of these was, that they Six Nations, it would be necessary to have contemptuously treated the proprietary offer their assent; that this precipitate act would of four hundred pounds, for erecting a place of probably create a jealousy in the French, and strength on the Ohio, and of one hundred give them some pretence of an infraction of pounds per annum towards its support; that the treaty of Utrecht on our part, and might this contemptuous treatment was not specified, finally engage the British nation in a war but might be explained, by a passage out of with France. These, and many other reathe Brief State, [a proprietary pamphlet] sons, were urged at that private conference, where it is said, “ the house refused this pro- as several of those members apprehended, to posal a place in their minutes;" that the fact governor Hamilton's satisfaction. And it apwas, however, otherwise; that the said pro- pears by George Croghan's journal, that those posal appears in several pages there specified; Indians neither did, nor did they think they and that nothing farther than what is there, could, give leave to build a house on the Ohio, could properly be made a part of those re without the express consent of the Six Nacords; and the reason thereof is then assigned tions; and accordingly they took two months in the following narrative; which, for various to acquaint the Onondago council with this reasons, deserves to be made a part of this transaction, and then to send us word, which discourse.

they never complied with. “The late governor Hamilton, after sending “It appears further, by the assembly's mes the message of the thirteenth of August, 1751, sage to governor Hamilton, on the twentyrequested a private meeting with some of the first of August, 1751, taken from the informamembers of that house, but without any au- tions of Conrad Weiser, and Andrew Monthority from the assembly.

tour, that the request inserted in George “ At this meeting governor Hamilton of Croghan's journal as made by the Indians at fered, on behalf of the proprietaries, four hun- Ohio to this government, to erect a strong dred pounds, towards building such a house trading house in their country, as well as the upon or near the Ohio, (but not a syllable of danger 'tis there said they apprehended from maintaining or supporting it.) The Indians the attempts of the French, was misunderwere so far from pressing our engaging in it, stood, or misrepresented by the person, the that instructions were drawn by this govern- governor confided in for the management of ment to require it of them, at a treaty held by that treaty: But it may be unnecessary to G. Croghan, in May, 1751, and they evidently pursue this inquiry into an affair wherein showed themselves apprehensive, such an at- George Croghan thought himself unkindly, if tempt might give umbrage to the French, and not unjustly, sacrificed to private ends, as is bring them down the Ohio with an armed well known to such as were acquainted with force, to take possession of those lands. And this affair, and appears in the letters and other about two years afterwards, these very Ohio papers sent by himself to some of the memIndians, at the treaty held at Carlisle, in Oc-bers of that assembly.” tober, 1753, say to our government, • I desire Coming then to the other new charge, you would hear and take notice of what I am namely, that the assembly would not admit, about to say; the governor of Virginia de- that the French encroachments were within sired leave to build a strong house on Ohio, the king's dominions, they maintain that this which came to the ears of the governor of charge is as ill-founded as the other; - For, Canada, and we suppose this caused him to say they, though the house never took upon

« ZurückWeiter »