Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

themselves say, the purchase was the dearer for want of such presents. If purchases are dearer to the proprietaries when no provincial presents accompany them, does not this clearly confirm the assertion of the assembly, that they are the cheaper when there are such presents? And does it not prove what the proprietaries deny?

"13. It appears by their thirteenth paragraph, that the proprietaries think the part they voluntarily submit to bear, and expect always to bear, of public expenses, is greater than their proportion, equitably laid, would amount to. If this be so, and they are, as they say, 'far from desiring to avoid contributing to any public expense which it is reasonable they should bear a part of, although their estate is not by law liable to be taxed,' your committee are at a loss to conceive, why they should refuse to enter into an agreement for the payment of any particular proportion of Indian or other public expenses,' when such agreement might save them money, and is proposed to prevent dissatisfactions, and to preserve union and harmony between them and the people; unless it be to show their utter contempt of such union and harmony, and how much they are above valuing the people's regard.

"The charge on former assemblies, that they neglected the defence of the proprietaries' city, your committee cannot but think unkind, when it is known to the world, that they gave many thousand pounds during the war to the King's use, besides paying near three thousand pounds at one time, to make good the damages done to the masters of servants by the irregular and oppressive proceedings of the proprietaries' lieutenant; and that their not providing cannon to defend the city was not from neglect, but other considerations set forth at large in the printed proceedings of

those times, needless now to be repeated. At the same time it may be remembered, that, though the defence of the proprietaries' city, as they are pleased to term it, by batteries of cannon, was more their interest (we will not say duty) than any other persons' whatsoever, and they now represent it as a thing so necessary, yet they themselves really neglected, and even discouraged it; while some private gentlemen gave sums nearly equal to that they mention, and many contributed vastly more, considering their circumstances, by which means those batteries were not only completed in season, but the defence of both town and country in that way provided for; whereas this boasted assistance of four hundred pounds' worth of cannon, was sent, like Venetian succours, after the wars were over. Yet we doubt not but the proprietary who sent them has long since had the thanks of those who received them, though we cannot learn that they ever were favored, with any from him for what they did and expended in defence of his share of the province property.

"14. The fourteenth paragraph of the proprietaries' answer seems calculated merely for the same design with which they charge the representation, viz. to amuse the weaker part of the people. If they are really disposed to favor the drinkers of spirituous liquors, they may do it without a law, by instructing their lieutenants to abate half the license fees, which would enable the retailers to sell proportionably cheaper; or to refuse licenses to more than half the present number of public houses, which might prevent the ruin of many families, and the great increase of idleness, drunkenness, and other immoralities among us.

15. In return to the good resolutions expressed by the proprietaries in their fifteenth section, your com

mittee hope, that future, as well as past assemblies will likewise endeavour to make the public good the rule of their actions, and upon all occasions consult the true interest and honor of the proprietary family, whatever may be the sentiments or conduct of any of its particular branches. To this end, we think the honest and free remarks contained in this report, may be more conducive than a thousand flattering addresses. And we hope, that, when the proprietaries shall think fit to reconsider this matter, they will be persuaded, that agreeing to an equitable proportion of expense will be a good means of taking away one handle of dissention from 'men of warm and uneasy spirits, if such should ever unhappily procure themselves to be elected.'

"16. Yet, if the proprietaries are really desirous of preserving an union and harmony between themselves and this people, we cannot but be surprised at their last paragraph, whereby they endeavour to cut off the assemblies' access to them, in cases where the answers received from their deputies may not be thought agreeable to the public good. No King of England, as we can remember, has ever taken on himself such state, as to refuse personal applications from the meanest of his subjects, where the redress of a grievance could not be obtained of his officers. Even sultans, sophies, and other Eastern absolute monarchs will, it is said, sometimes sit whole days to hear the complaints and petitions of their very slaves; and are the proprietaries of Pennsylvania become too great to be addressed by the representatives of the freemen of their province ? If they must not be reasoned with, because they have given instructions, nor their deputy because he has received them; our meetings and deliberations are henceforth useless; we have only to know their will and to obey.

"To conclude; if this province must be at more than two thousand pounds a year expense to support a proprietary's deputy, who shall not be at liberty to use his own judgment in passing laws [as is intimated to us in the fourteenth section of the answer we have been considering], but the assent must be obtained from chief governors, at three thousand miles' distance, often ignorant or misinformed in our affairs, and who will not be applied to or reasoned with when they have given instructions, we cannot but esteem those colonies that are under the immediate care of the crown in a much more eligible situation; and our sincere regard for the memory of our first proprietary must make us apprehend for his children, that, if they follow the advice of Rehoboam's counsellors, they will like him absolutely lose, - at least, the affections of their people. A loss, which, however they affect to despise, will be found of more consequence to them than they seem at present to be aware of."

CHAPTER VI.

Unanimous Resolution of the Assembly concerning the Necessity of a Reemission of their Paper Currency. Lord Holdernesse's Letter and other Papers. The Governor revives the old Controversy, concerning the Paper-Money Instruction, and demands supplies to arm the Province. The Assembly demur, and desire a short Adjournment. The Governor persists in his former Declaration. The Assembly adjourn and are again assembled by the Governor. Debates in the Assembly, and a new Adjournment. Another Session, and a Message from the Governor, accompanied with Intelligence, that the French were before the Fort built by the Virginians on the Ohio. A joint Bill for granting Aid. Amendments proposed by the Governor. Unanimously rejected by the Assembly. The Governor's Reply. A Reflection thereon. Resolutions of the Assembly, and Message to the Governor before their Adjournment. They are re-convened by special Summons. The Proceedings of the Commissioners at Albany laid before them. They prepare and present a Bill for striking Bills of Credit, which the Governor evades for want of sufficient Powers to pass it.

[ocr errors]

THE assembly, returned in October for the remainder of the year 1753, and to last till October, 1754, being composed of nearly the same persons as the last, met with the same disposition, and proceeded on the same principles.

To have a sufficient currency was, as we have seen, the great provincial point; and, from the facts already stated, it is sufficiently clear, that the proprietary concurrence therewith was not to be obtained, but upon such terms as even silver and gold could never be worth. The loan-office, which was in the hands of the assembly, was still considered as an over-balance for the land-office, in the hands of the proprietary, though they never came into competition, and no Denefit could any way result to the province, but the proprietaries were sure to have their share of it.

What encouragement the near prospect of a war furnished to either, and what use was made of it, and

« ZurückWeiter »