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office, by the immediate sale of their lands? We are unwilling to make any further remarks on this head, which has, we find, been heretofore insisted upon by our late governor, but carries with it, as we conceive, such appearances of severity, without answering any good purpose, that we think it our indispensable duty to oppose it, as far as in justice we may; and now more especially, when we have offered a bill which would raise a generous sum of money immediately, for the use of the crown, in a manner that would be most easy and most agreeable to us all. Whilst we are upon this article, as the governor must be in a great measure a stranger to our accounts, we take the liberty to remark, that the proprietary patents make, as we are informed by the trustees, near one half of the mortgages now outstanding. These, after paying for their lands out of the money borrowed from the province, are to improve them with the remainder, if any; and, as they must have shelter for themselves at least, however mean, and some land cleared for their subsistence, it necessarily puts them in arrears, let them be ever so honest and industrious; whilst the purchases of such their lands are constantly complied with on granting the patents, the bulk of which, we presume, may have been remitted to Great Britain, and makes a very sensible diminution of the silver and gold current among us; so that all ranks of people, however flourishing the governor may be pleased to represent us, complain justly for want of a due medium to carry on our trade. But, as this inquiry is not immediately before us, we shall at present leave it, and proceed to inform the governor yet farther, that his computation of our annual income is also too high; for, as our excise, communibus annis, yields about three thousand pounds (out of which five hundred pounds are yearly
applied towards sinking the sum of five thousand pounds, heretofore granted to the King's use), the interest payable into the loan-office is much about the same sum; and his error in the last article, we presume, might arise upon a supposal, that our whole principal sum of eighty thousand pounds was always yielding an interest; but this has ever been found impracticable, as considerable sums must be continually changing hands, by virtue of our reëmitting acts. Besides which, the province has, out of that principal sum, lent considerable parts of it without yielding any interest at all; and particularly a debt from the city of Philadelphia, still due upon the first and second thirty thousand pounds' acts, long since expired. And, until that is in our hands, it would be unjust to compute an interest arising from it, or upbraid us with it, as money which ought to have been in our hands by law, whilst some may think we have no power to sue for it by the laws in being."
Again; concerning the royal instructions, or act of Queen Anne, said to have been shamefully slighted and disregarded in that and the neighbouring provinces, they argued thus; "The neighbouring provinces must answer for themselves; but, so far as regards this colony, we find, by the votes of the House, that, whilst Colonel Thomas had the act before him for emitting and reëmitting eighty thousand pounds, this very act of the sixth of Queen Anne was considered, debated, and so fully explained, that, although exchange was then higher than at this time, he (who was undoubtedly under the same oaths and bonds to observe the acts of trade with our present governor) after mature deliberation, gave his assent to that act on the 19th of May, 1739; which, after having been recommended by the merchants in England trading to this province,
as an act not only reasonable, but likewise necessary for carrying on the commerce of this country,' the King was pleased to confirm it in a full council on the 12th of May following. What then the governor does or can mean, by saying, we know that this province has shamefully slighted a royal instruction, intended to enforce an act of the sixth of Queen Anne, is what we are entirely at a loss to imagine; neither can we conceive any good reason why our governor should choose to call our bill for granting twenty thousand pounds for the King's use, a bill for striking forty thousand pounds, without any further explanation, though that bill had been repeatedly under his consideration. It would be, perhaps, too unkind to suppose, as the bill itself and the contents of it would in all probability be unknown to our superiors, further than the grant to the crown, he could have the least intention to misrepresent the purport of it, and for this reason we leave it entirely to his own reflection. The title of that bill is, An act for striking forty thousand pounds in bills of credit, and for granting twenty thousand pounds thereof to the King's use, and to provide a fund for sinking the same; and for applying the remainder to the exchange of torn and ragged bills now current in this province;' and the governor well knows, it adds no more to our paper currency than the very twenty thousand pounds granted the King, and even that struck for no other reason than to answer the immediate call of the crown, and to make the grant effectual."
In answer to the governor's assertion, that the French were already in possession of part of their province, they instance the language constantly used here at home, to wit; that the French had invaded his Majesty's territories in Virginia; as also a map then lying
before them, founded on authorities supplied by the Board of Trade and their own proprietaries, wherein every fort built by the French is placed beyond the western boundaries of Pennsylvania; and they again took refuge behind the cautions so minutely expressed and strongly insisted upon, in the first letter from the secretary's office, urging, that while the two crowns were still in a state of amity, it could answer no good purpose to contravene them; and that, the King himself having most graciously interposed, it would be more prudent and becoming to consider him as the most proper judge of the limits of his own dominions.
In the next section they dispute the probability and almost the possibility of the arrival of such a body as six thousand of the best troops of France at the lower fort upon the Ohio, as asserted by the governor; insinuate, that such accounts would have deserved more credit, if they had been transmitted from Oswego, near which they must have necessarily passed, and from whence very minute intelligence was received of the passage of those forces, which first laid the foundation of the enemy's strength upon the Ohio; and leave the fact to rest upon its own evidence.
After this referring to their dispute with Governor Hamilton, and the information they gave him of an instruction from the crown, not to pass any private act, or act of privilege to any individual, without a suspending clause, which had never been enforced by the proprietaries or observed by any governor, they plead a necessity of informing the governor, though with great reluctance, "That in the year 1735, Governor Gordon passed an act for vesting more effectually certain lands in George M'Call, in direct contradiction to that instruction, without the least mention of a suspending clause."
And with an elevation of sentiment, style, and manner, seldom seen in public papers, they finish their reply as follows;
"As we have reason to believe the assembly was then acquainted with that instruction, and as the bill particularly related to our honorable proprietaries, our last assembly, notwithstanding the indiscreet call upon them, contented themselves, from motives of prudence and moderation, with barely pointing out this transaction, in hopes our honorable proprietaries would see themselves at least equally concerned with the representatives of the people both in fact and right, and thereby might be induced to join cordially with the people of this province in vindicating our charter from the continual infraction of such instructions; which, if they must operate in the manner the governor is pleased to contend for, and our proprietary instructions must be binding upon us also, the rights derived to us by the royal charter is a name only, whilst the very essence of it is effectually destroyed; under the sanction of which charter a sober, industrious people, without any charge to the crown or the proprietary, first settled this wilderness, and, by their frugality and the equity of their laws, laid the foundation of a flourishing colony, which already, within the ordinary life of a man, has made a considerable addition to the dominions of the crown by an increase of dutiful and loyal subjects, and bears no mean rank in contributing to the wealth and trade of our mother country.
"Whether the above act for granting five thousand pounds for the King's use, or the act for vesting lands in George M'Call, were ever sent home for the royal approbation, very little concerns us; as we presume the transmitting our acts is the immediate duty of our proprietaries or their lieutenants, in pursuance of the royal