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that occur to us, which the people of this province with great difficulty labour under; the many infractions of the constitution in manifest violation of the royal grant, the proprietary charter, the laws of this province, and of the laws, usages, and customs of our mothercountry) and other matters; which we apprehend call aloud for redress.”
They are as follow:
First, By the royal charter (which has ever been, ought to be, and truly is, the principal and invariable fundamental of this constitution) King Charles the Second did give and grant unto William Penn, bis heirs and assigns, the province of Pensylvania; and also to him and his heirs, and his or their deputies or lieutenants, free, full, and absolute power, for the good and happy government thereof, to make and enact any laws, “ according to their best discretion; by and with the advice, assent, and approbation of the freemen of the said country, or of their delegates or deputies;" for the raising of money, or any other end appertaining to the
nally depends on the king's commission, and instructions given to bis governors; and the assemblies, held under that authority, have their share in making local ordinances not repugnant to English law. Next, proprietary governments; where a district of country is given by the crown to individuals, attended with certain legislative powers in the nature of a fief; with a provision for the sovereignty at home, and also for the fulfilment of the terms and end of the grant. Lastly, charter governments, where the fun. damentals of the government are previously prescribed and made known to the settlers, being in no degree left subject to a governor's commission or proprietor's will: (See Blackstone, Vol. I. Introd. 9 4.)-Good faith however to mankind seemed to require, that the constitutions, once begun pnder the provincial or proprietary governments, should remain unaltered (except for improvement) to the respective settlers, equally as in charter. governments. B. V.
public public state, peace, or safety of the said country. By the words of this grant, it is evident, that full powers are granted to the deputies and lieutenants of William Penn and his heirs, to concur with the people in framing laws for their protection and the safety of the province, according to their best discretion; independent of any instructions or directions they should receive from their principals. And it is equally obvious to your committee, that the people of this province and their representatives were interested in this royal grant; and by virtue thereof have an original right of legislation inherent in them; which neither the proprietors nor any other person whatsoever can divest them of, restrain, or abridge, without manifestiy violating and destroying the letter, spirit, and design of this grant.
Nevertheless we unfortunately find, that the proprietaries of this province, regardless of this sacred fundamental of our rights and liberties, have so abridged and restricted their late and present governor's discretion in matters of legislation, by their illegal, impracticable, and unconstitutional instructions and prohibitions; that no bill for granting aids and supplies to our most gracious sovereign (be it ever so reasonable, expedient, and necessary for the defence of this his majesty's colony, and safety of his people) unless it be agreeable thereto, can meet with his approbation : by means whereof the many considerable sums of money which have been offerred for those purposes, by the assemblies of this province (ever anxious to maintain his honour and rights,) have been rejected ;, to the great encouragement of his majesty's enemies, and the imminent danger of the loss of this colony.
Secondly, Secondly, The representatives of the people in general assembly met, by virtue of the said royal grant, and the charter of privileges granted by the said William Penn, and a law of this province, have right to, and ought to enjoy all the powers and privileges of an assembly, according to the rights of the free-born subjects of England, and as is usual in any of the plantations in America: [also] it is an indubitable and now an incontested right of the commons of England, to grant aids and supplies to his majesty in any manner they think most easy to themselves and the people; and they [also) are the sole judges of the measure, manner and time of granting and raising the same.
Nevertheless the proprietaries of this province, in contempt of the said royal grant, proprietary charter, and law of their colony, designing to subvert the fundamentals of this constitution, to deprive the assembly and people of their rights and privileges, and to assume an arbitrary and tyrannical power over the liberties and properties of his majesty's liege subjects, have so restrained their governors by the despotic instructions (which are not to be varied from, and are particularly directory in the framing and passing of money-bills and supplies to his majesty, as to the mode, measure, and time) that it is jinpossible for the assembly, should they lose all sense of their inost essential rights, and comply with those instructions, to grant sufficient aids for the defence of this his majesty's province from the common enemy.
Thirdly, in pursuance of sundry acts of general as. sembly, approved of by the crown, [and]a natural right inherent in every man antecedent to all laws, the as.
semblies of this province have had the power of disposing of the public monies, that have been raised for the encouragement of trade and support of government, by the interest money arising by the loan of the bills of credit and the excise. No part of these monies was ever paid by the proprietaries, or ever raised on their es tates; and therefore they can have no pretence of right to a voice in the disposition of them. They have ever been applied with prudent frugality to the honour and advantage of the public, and the king's immediate service, to the general approbation of the people: the credit of the government has been preserved, and the debts of the public punctually discharged. In short, no ins conveniencies, but great and many advantages have accrued, froin the assembly's prudent care and management of these funds.
Yet the proprietaries resolved to deprive the assemblies of the power and means of supporting an agent in England, and of prosecuting their complaints and remonstrating their aggrievances, when injured and oppressed, to his majesty and his parliament: 'and to rob them of this natural right(which has been so often approved of by their gracious sovereign) have, by their said instructions, prohibited their governor from giving his assent to any laws emitting or re-emitting any paper-currency or bills of credit, or for raising money by excise or any other method; unless the governor or commander in chief for the time being, by clauses to be inserted therein, has a negative in the disposition of the monies arising thereby: let the languishing circumstances of our trade be ever so great, and a further or greater medium be ever so necessary for its support.
Fourthly, By the laws and statutes of England, the chief rents, honours, and castles of the crown are taxed, and pay their proportion to the supplies that are granted to the king for the defence of the realm and support of government: his majesty, the nobility of the realm, and all the British subjects, do now actually contribute their proportion towards the defence of America in general, and this province in particular: and it is in a more especial manner the duty of the proprietaries to pay their proportion of a tax, for the immediate preservation of their own estates, in this province. To exempt therefore any part of their estates from their reasonable part of this necessary burthen, it is unjust as it is illegal, and as new as it is arbitrary.
Yet the proprietaries, notwithstanding the general danger to which the nation and its colonies are exposed, and great distress of this province in particular, by their said instructions, have prohibited their governors from passing laws for the raising supplies for its defence; unless all their located, unimproved, and unoccupied lands, quit-rents, fines, and purchase monies on interest (the much greater part of their enormous estates in this colony) are expressly exempted from paying any part of the tax.
Fifthly, By virtue of the said royal charter, the proprietaries are invested with a power of doing every thing “ which unto a complete establishment of justice, unto courts and tribunals, forms of judicature, and manner of proceedings, do belong." It was certainly the import and design of this grant, that the courts of judicature should be formed, and the judges and officers thereof hold their commissions, in a manner not repug.