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to seek another employment;" of 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 characterize themselves. "And though we are mean men, and represent a poor colony, yet as we are the immediate grantees of one branch of the legislative authority of this province, (which we would leave to our posterity as free as it 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."
A Proprietary Governor a wretched Thing. Artful Conduct of Governor Keith. Penn's Death. The Province left in the Hands of Trustees Logan, one of those Trustees, obtains a Majority in the Council against the Governor. Logan makes a Voyage to England, and returns with Private Instructions to Keith. A Breach between the Governor and the Speaker. The Province in a State of Tranquillity for nine Years under his Administration. Pennsylvania easy to be governed, if well governed. Private Instructions from the Proprietary in two several Instances declared void. The Proprietaries the sole Purchasers of Indian Lands. The People at the sole Expense of Indian Affairs. Paper Money first issued in Pennsylvania. Precautions taken to secure it from Depreciation. Room left in the Constitution of the Province for Self-defence, by Force of Arms, though the Use of Arms was not consistent with the Principles of Quakers.
IT is by this time apparent enough, that, though the proprietary 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 fulfil with rigor every proprietary command, however injurious to the province or offensive to the assembly, he is recalled; that if he does 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 emolument, 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, 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 proper operation of one masterspring kept the whole machine of government, 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 of good laws; for which felicities Keith's administration was deservedly memorable.
Under proprietary displeasure, however, by the resentment and artifice of Logan, the proprietary secretary, excited and aggravated by some neglects and mistakes of his own, he sunk at last; after what manner, it may not be altogether unuseful to intimate.
When Mr. Penn died, in the year 1718, he left his hold of the province (which was much incumbered, by a mortgage on one hand, and by a transfer of it to the
crown for ten thousand pounds, of which he had received two thousand pounds, on the other,) in the hands of trustees, namely, his widow, Henry Gouldney, Joshua Gee, and his all-sufficient secretary Logan.
The difficulties thus resting in his family were very well known in the province; notwithstanding which the inhabitants, satisfied with their governor, persevered in all duties to them, nor seemed to entertain a thought to their disadvantage.
Logan and his creatures were the only malecontents; and why they were so will be made sufficiently obvious. The governor and assembly in concurrence could govern the province without his participation; so he remained without importance to either, till this share of the trust enabled him to interpose, and entitled him to be heard, at the expense of both.
In the second year after Keith's arrival, Logan had divided his council against him, and carried off a majority; and ever after had represented him in his despatches, as having substituted his own interest in the place of the proprietary's, and confederated with the assembly to make both branches of the legislature equally subservient to popular purposes.
Subtle, however, as he was, and practised in all the arts of political disguise, he could not long conceal himself from the penetration of Keith. Thus having been detected (as Keith says,*) in aggravating, and even in altering certain minutes of the council proceedings for the purposes before specified; and, in full confidence of proprietary protection, defending himself therein, with much personal abuse against the governor; the latter dismissed him from his post as secretary, and substituted another in his place.
* Governor Keith's Letter to the widow Penn, September 24th, 1724.
With this, and a variety of other complaints, all of the same tendency, Logan therefore made a voyage to England, soon after he became a trustee, and there made his court so effectually to the widow, &c., that they freighted him back with letters of reproof, and private instructions to Keith, not only to reinstate him, but, in effect, to be governed by him, as implicitly as Gookin had been governed before.
Keith, on the other hand, being a man of too much spirit to submit to such treatment, and presuming beside, that his services to and interest in the colony, and his connexions with the most considerable men in it, would uphold him against all opposition whatsoever, communicated all to the assembly together with his own answers; and this he thought was the more incumbent on him, because Logan had already been making his efforts to stir up a party against him.
Logan, upon this, commences advocate in form for the proprietary interest, presents a written plea on its behalf to the assembly, justifying therein all the restrictions laid on the governor by those instructions (which will be in the next session explained), and, whether by chance or design it is hard to pronounce, suffered the secret of the quarrel to escape, by insinuating that the proprietary, during his absence, had not received one penny either to himself or his family, from the government, whereas others had received large sums.
The assembly, however, not being in a humor to pay two government subsidies instead of one, when exempted by the original article of quit-rents from the obligation of paying any, did not so much as take notice of this point; but on the contrary, closing with the governor, desired his concurrence with them, and offered their concurrence to him, in withstanding whatever was in the said instructions contained, repugnant to their charter, or inconsistent with their privileges.