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up at last.
To obtain an infinite variety of purposes, by a , still wore the same equal face ; nobody aspired; lew plain principles, is the characteristic of nature. nobody was oppressed ; industry was sure of profit, is the eye is affected, so is the understanding; knowledge of esteem, and virtue of veneration. ohjecis at a distance strike us according to their An assuming landlord, strongly disposed to conduinensions, or the quantity of light thrown upon vert free tenants into abject vassals, and to reap them; hear, according to their novelty or familiar what he did not sow, countenanced and abetted ily; as they are in motion or al rest. It is the by a few desperate and designing dependants on sume with aciions. A battle is all motion :-a heruthe one side; and on the other, all who have sense all glare; while such images are before us, we can enough to know their rights, and spirit enough to altend to nothing else. Solon and Lycurgus would defend them, combined as one man against the make no figure in the same scene with the king of said landlord, and his encroachments, is the form Prussia : and we are at present so lost in the mili- it has since assumed. tary scramble on the continent next us,* in which And, surely, w a nation born to liberty like this, il must be confessed we are deeply interested, that bound to leave it unimpaired as they received it we have scarce time to throw a glance towards from their fathers in perpetuity to their heirs, and America, where we have also much at stake, and interested in the conservation of it in every apwhere, if anywhere, our account must be made pendage of the British empire, the particulars of
such a contest cannot be wholly indifferent. We love to stare more than to reflect; and to be On the contrary, it is reasonable to think, the indolently amused at our leisure, rather than com-fir t workings of power against liberty, and the mit the smallest trespass on our patience by wind- natural etforts of unbiased men to secure them. ing a painful, tedious maze, which would pay us selves against the first approaches of oppression, in nothing but knowledge.
must have a captivating power over every man of But then, as there are some eyes which can find sensibility and discernment amongst us. nothing marvellous, but what is marvellously great, Liberty, it seems, thrives best in the woods, so there are others which are equally disposed to America best cultivates what Germany brought marvel at what is marvellously' liule; and who forih. And were it not for certain ugly compari. can derive as much entertainment from their mi- sons, hard to be suppressed, the pleasure arising croscope in examining a mite, as Dr. - in ascer- from such a research would be without alloy. taining the geography of the moon, or measuring In the feuds of Florence, recorded by Machia. the tail of a comet.
vel, we find more to lament and less to praise. Let this serve as an excuse for the author of Scarce can we believe the first citizens of the an. these sheets, if he needs any, for bestowing them cient republics had such pretensions to considera. on the transactions of a colony, will of late hardly won, thongh so highly celebrated in ancient story. mentioned in our annals; in point of establish. And as to ourselves, we need no longer have rement one of the last upon the British list, and in course to the late glorious stand of the French point of rank.one of the most subordinate ; as being parliaments to excite our emulation. not only subject, in common with the rest, to the It is a known custom among farmers to change crown, but also so the claims of a proprietary, who their corn from season to season for the sake of thinks he does them honour enough in governing Billing the bushel: and in case the wisdom of the them by deputy; consequently so much farther re- age should condescend to make the like experimoved from the royal eye, and so much the more ex- ment in another shape, from hence we may learn posed to the pressure of self-interested instructions. whither to repair for the proper species.
Considerable, however, as most of them for hap- It is not, however, to be presumed, that such as piness of situation, fertility of soil, product or have long been accustomed to consider the colovaluable commodities, number of inhabitants, ship-nies, in general, as only so many dependencies on ping, amount of exportations, latitude of rights and the council-board, the board of trade, and the privileges, and every other requisite for the being board of customs; or as a hot-hed for causes, jobs, and well-being of society, and more considerable and other pecuniary emoluments, and as bound as than any of them all for the celerity of its growth, etlectually by instructions as by laws, can be preunassisted by any human help but the vigour and vailed upon to consider these patriot rustics with virtue of its own excellent constitution.
any degree of respect. A father and his family, the latter united by in. Derision, on the contrary, must be the lot of him terest and affection, the former to be revered for who imagines it in the power of the pen to set any the wisdom of his institutions, and the indulgent lustre upon them; and indignation theirs for dar. use of his authority, was the form it was at first ing to assert and maintain the independency interpresented in. Those who were only ambitious of woven in their constitution, which now, it seems, repose found it here; and as none returned with come an improper ingredient, and therefore to an evil report of the land, nuinbers followed, all be excised away. partook of the leaven they found; the community But how contemptibly soever these gentlemen
may talk of the colonies, how cheap soever they * This publication was made in London during the may hold their assemblies, or how insignificant the war that begun in 1753, and the author, who always wanters and traders who compose them, truth will adapıs hinself to his situation, had discernment be truth, and principle principle notwithstanding enough to perceive that a work on a subject so in
Courage, wisdomn, integrity, and honour are not portant would lose none of its consideration by being published in a remote colony. The introduction,
to be measured by the sphere assigned them to act which is a model of vivid style and sound wisdom, in, but by the trials they undergo, and the vouchwritten as in London, and with the zeal of a man es they furnish, and if so manifested, need neither 2. alous for the prosperity of the British government. I robes nor titles to set them off.
AN HISTORICAL REVIEW
CONSTITUTION AND GOVERNMENT
The constitution of Pennsylvania is de- | Penn, and the commendable desire of his son rived, first, from the birthright of every Bri- to enlarge the British empire, to promove such tish subject; secondly, from the royal charter useful commodities as might be of benefit to granted to William Penn by king Charles II., it, and to civilize the savage inhabitants. and thirdly, from the charter of privileges In the third section, which constitutes the granted by the said William Penn as proprieta- said William Penn the true and absolute prory and governor, in virtue of the former, to the prietary of the said province, there is a safreemen of the said province and territories ; ving to the crown, of the faith and allegiance being the last of four at several periods issued of the said William Penn,
heirs and asby the same authority.
signs, and of all other proprietaries, tenants, The birthright of every British subject is, and inhabitants of the said province, as also of to have a property of his own, in his estate, the sovereignty thereof. person, and reputation; subject only to laws The fourth, professing to repose- special enacted by his own concurrence, either in trust and confidence in the fidelity, wisdoin, person or by his representatives : and which justice, and provident circumspection of the birthright accompanies him wheresoever he said Penn, grants to him and his heirs, and to wanders or rests; so long as he is within the his and their deputies, free, full, and absolute pale of the British dominions, and is true to power, for the good and happy government his allegiance.
of the said country, to ordain, make, and enact, The royal charter was granted to William and under his or their seals, to publish any Penn in the beginning of the year 1681. A laws whatsoever, for the raising of money for most alarming period ! The nation being in public uses of the said province, or for any a strong ferment; and the court forming an other end appertaining either unto the public arbitrary plan; which, under the countenance state, peace, or safety of the said country, or of a small standing army, they began the unto the private utility of particular persons, same year to carry into execution, by cajoling according to their best discretion; by and some corporations, and forcing others by quo with the
advice, assent, and approbation of the warrantos to surrender their charters : so freemen of the said country, or the greater that by the abuse of law, the disuse of par- part of them, or of their delegates and depuliaments, and the terror of power, the king. (ties, to be assembled in such sort and form, as dom became in effect the prey of will and to him and them shall seem best, and as often pleasure.
as need shall require. The charter governments of America had, By the fifth, the said William Penn is imbefore this, afforded a place of refuge to the powered and authorized to erect courts of jupersecuted and miserable; and, as if to en- dicature, appoint judges, and administer juslarge the field of liberty abroad, which had tice in all forms, and carry all the laws so been so sacrilegiously contracted at home, made as above, into execution, under the pains Pennsylvania even then was made a new therein expressed; provided the said laws be esylum, where all who wished or desired to consonant to reason, and not repugnant or conbe free might be so for ever.
trary, (but as near as conveniently may be) The basis of the grant expressed in the pre: agreeable to the laws and statutes and rights amble was, the merits and services of admiral of England; with a saving to the crown in Vol. II. ... A 1
case of appeals; for this reason doubtless, that they do in any sort withstand the same: that in case any act of injustice or oppression and, on the contrary, enjoins them, to be at all was cominitted, the party injured might be times aiding and assisting, as was fitting to the sure of redress.
said William Penn and his heirs, and unto By the sixth, which presumes, that in the the inhabitants and merchants of the province government of so great a country, sudden ac- aforesaid, their servants, ministers, factors, cidents might happen, which would require a and assigns, in the full use and fruition of the remedy before the freeholdsrs or their dele- benefit of the said charter. gates could be asseinbled to the making of And in the last place, a provision is made, laws, the said William Penn, and his heirs, by the king's special will, ordinance, and by themselves or their magistrates duly or command, that, in case any doubt or quesdained, are impowered to make and con- tion should thereafter perchance arise, constitute fit and wholesome ordinances, from cerning the true sense or meaning of any time to time, as well for the preservation of word, clause, or sentence contained therein, the peace, as for the butter gernient of such interpretation should be made thereof the inhabitants, ualor the siin proviso as and allowed in any of his majesty's courts, as that above, regarding the laws, and so as that should be adjudged most advantageous and fathe said ordinances be nit extended in any vourable to the said William Penn, his heirs sort to bind, change, or take away the right and assigns; provided always, that no interor interest of any person or persons, for or pretation be admitted thereof, by which the in their life, meinbers, freehold, goods, or allegiance due to the crown may sufier any chattels.
prejudice or dimunution. And to the end, that neither the said Wil- The whole consists of twenty-three secliam Penn or his heirs, or other the planters, tions; of which it is presumed, these are the owners, or inhabitants of the said province, most material. They are penned with all may, by inisconstruction of the power afore- the appearance of candour and simplicity said, through inadvertency, or design, depart imaginable; so that if craft had any thing to from their faith and allegiance to the crown, do with them, never was craft better hid. As the sevenih section provides, that a transcript little is left as possible to future instructions, or duplicate of all laws, so inade and publish- and no where is there to be found the shadow ed as aforesaid, shall within five years after of a pretence, that such instructions should be the making thereof, be transmitted and deli- laws. All is equally agreeable to law and vered to the privy council for the time being: reason, the claims of the crown and the rights and if declared by the king in council, incon- of the subject ; nor, indeed, would the grant sistent with the sovereignty or lawful prero- have been valid if it had been otherwise. The gative of the crown, or contrary to the faith words legal government are words of great and allegiance due to the legal government significancy.-No command of the king's is a of this realm, shall be adjudged void. legal command, unless consonant to law, and
The said William Penn is also obliged to authenticated by one of his seals:--the forms have an attorney, or agent, to be his resident of office in such case providing, that nothing representative, at some known place in Lon. illegal shall be carried into execution; and don, who is to be answerable to the crown for the officer himself being responsible to the any misdemeanour committed, or wilfui de laws in case of yielding a criminal obedience. fault or neglect, committed by the said Penn It would therefore be a waste of words to against the laws of trade and navigation; and show, that the crown is limited in all acts to defray the damages in his majesty's courts and grants, by the fundamentals of the conascertained; and in case of failure, the go- stitution; and that, as it cannot alienate any vernment to be resumed and retained till pay- one limb or joint of the state, so neither, on ment has been made ; without any prejudice the other, can it establish any colony upon, or however in any respect to the landholders or contract it within a narrower scale, than the inhabitants, who are not to be affected or mo- subject is entitled to by the great charter of lested thereby
England. His majesty, moreover, covenants and But if it is remarkable, that such an ingrants to and with the said William Penn, in strument as this should be the growth of an the twentieth section, for himself, his heirs arbitrary court, it is equally so, that the and successors, at no time thereafter, to im- king's brother, James, duke of York, (afterpose or levy any tax on the inhabitants in wards the most unhappy of kings) was at the any shape, unless the same be with the con- rebound, a party in it; for it seems, the right sent of the proprietary or chief governor, or to all that tract of land now called the terassembly, or by act of parliament in England. ritories of Pennsylvania, was, by a prior grant,
On pun of his highest displeasure, he also vested in him; and, in August, 1082, he as. comminds all his officers and ministers, that signed it by his deeds of feoftinent to the said they do not presume at any time to attempt William Penn. any thing to the contrary of the premises, or It may also be inferred, that the said Wil
liam Penn had been as diligent in collecting but a treble vote. One third of them was, a number of proper adventurers together, as at the first, to be chosen for three years, one in obtaining the necessary authorities from third for two years, and one third for one the crown: for in the interval between the year; in such manner that there should be charter and the grant, he made use of the an annual succession of twenty-four new provisional powers given him by the sixth members, &c. The general assembly was at section of the former, to pass his first deed of first to consist of all the freemen, afterwards settlement under the title of “ Certain condi- of two hundred, and never was to exceed five tions, or concessions, agreed upon by William hundred. Penn, proprietary and governor of Pennsyl- The lawsagreed upon in England were in all vania, and those who are the adventurers and forty; partly political, partly moral, and partpurchasers in the same province.".
ly economical. They are of the nature of an This, however, contains only rules of set- original compact between the proprietary and llement, and of trade with, and treatment of the freemen, and as such were reciprocally rethe Indians, &c. with the addition of some ge- ceived and executed. neral injunctions for preserving of order and But in the following year the scene of ackeeping the peace, agreeable to the customs, tion being shifted from the mother country to usages, and laws of England.
the colony, the deportment of the legislator In the next year following, Mr. Penn was shifted too. Less of the man of God nou printed and published a system of government, appeared, and more of the man of the world. under the following title, to wit, “ The frame One point he had already carried against of the government of the province of Penn- the inclination of his followers; namely, the sylvania in America : together with certain reservation of quit-rents, which they had relaws igreed upon in England, by the governor monstrated against as a burden in itself
, and, and Jivers freemen of the aforesaid province. added to the purchase-money, was without To be farther explained and confirmed there precedent in any other colony : but he artfully by the first provincial council, if they see distinguishing thė two capacities of propriemeet."
tary and governor; and insinuating, that goAt the head of this frame, or system, is a vernment must be supported with splendour short preliminary discourse, part of which and dignity, and that by this expedient they serves to give us a more lively idea of Mr. would be exempt from other taxes; the bait Penn preaching in Gracechurch-street, than took, and the point was carried. we derive from Raphael's Cartoon of Paul To unite the subtlety of the serpent with preaching at Athens: as a man of concience the innocence of the dove is not so easily he sets out; as a man of reason he proceeds, done as said. Having in this instance expeand as a man of the world he offers the most rienced the weight of his credit and the power plausible conditions to all, to the end that he of his persuasion, he was no sooner landed, might gain some.
than he formed a double scheme for uniting Two paragraphs of this discourse, the peo- the province with the territory, though it ple of Pennsylvania ought to have for ever does not appear he was properly authorized before their eyes: to wit, 1. “ Any govern- so to do, and to substitute another frame of ment is free to the people (whatever be the government in lieu of the former, which havframe) where the laws rule and the people ing answered the great purpose of inducement are a party to those laws: and more than this here at home,* for collecting of subjects, he is tyranny, oligarchy, or confusion.” 2. “To was now inclined to render somewliat more support power in reverence with the people, favourable to himself in point of government. and to secure the people from the abuse of Of much artifice we find him accused (by power, that they may be free by their just the provincial assembly of 1704, in a repreobedience, and the magistrates honourable for sentation addressed to himself) in the whole their just administration, are the great ends course of this proceeding; whether justly or of all government."
not let the world determine. This frame consisted of twenty-four articles, They tell him, for example, in so many and savoured very strongly of Harrington and words, “That we find by the minutes of the his Oceana. In the governor and freemen assembly and other papers, as well as living of the province, in the form of a provincial witnesses, that, soon after thy first arrival Council, (always in being and yet always here, thou, having obtained the duke's grant changing,) and general assembly, the go- for the three lower counties [the territory that vernment was placed. By them conjunctive is to say] prevailed with the people of the proly, all laws were to be made, all officers ap- vince to unite in legislation and government pointed, and all public affairs transacted. with them of the lower counties; and then by Seventy-two was the number this council a subtle contrivance and artifice, laid deeper was to consist of: they were to be chosen by than the capacities of some could fathom, or the freemen; and, though the governor or his deputy was to be perpetual president, he had England, where this Review was first published
the circumstances of many could admit them and condition, that whenever the crown hai time then to consider of, a way was found out assumed that government, or the people there to lay aside that, and introduce another char- revolted, or refused to act with us in legislater, which thou completed in the year 1683.” tion, as they often did, that then the said se.
At a place called Chester, in December, cond charter should become impracticable, 1682, the freemen both of the province and and the privileges thereby granted of no effect territory were convened; but those of the to the province, because the representatives of province having, by election, returned twelve the lower counties were equal in number persons to serve for each county as members with those of the province, and the charter reof the provincial council, were induced to acquired a greater number than the province company that return with significations and had, or by charter could elect for members of petitions by their sheriffs, &c. importing that council and assembly; and our numbers, by because of the fewness of the people, their in the charter, could not be increased without the ability in estate, and their unskilfulness in revolter's consent." matters of government, their desire was, that In the interval between this session at the twelve so returned for each county, might Chester, in December, 1682, and the next at serve both for provincial council and general Philadelphia in March and April, 1683, Mr. assembly; that is to say, three of each twelve Penn, notwithstanding the act of settlement, for members of council, and the remaining furnished himself with another frame, in part nine for assembly-men ; with the same powers conformable to the first, in part modified' acand privileges granted by the charter or cording to the said act; and in part essentialframe of government to the whole : and ac- ly different from both: and concerning this cording to these significations and petitions of again, the assembly of 1704, in their repretheirs, an act of settlement was drawn up sentation aforesaid, thus freely expostulate and passed, in which, after the said charter or with the proprietary: to wit, frame has been artfully mentioned as one of “ The motives which we find upon record, those probationary laws, which by the coun-inducing the people to accept of that second cil and assembly might be altered at plea- charter, were chiefly two, viz. That the numsure, the model of the said council and assem- ber of representatives would prove burdenbly so reduced is admitted; the persons so re- some to the country: and the other was, that, turned are declared and enacted to be the le- in regard thou had but a treble vote, the peogal council and assembly; the number the ple, through their unskilfulness in the laws said council is fixed at three persons out of of trade and navigation, might pass some each county for the time to come; the num- laws over thy head repugnant thereunto, ber of assembly-men for each is reduced to which might occasion the forfeiture of the six; and, after a variety of farther regulations, king's letters patent, by which this country the said charter or frame is solemnly recog- was granted to thee; and wherein is a clause nised and accepted: as if with these altera- for that purpose, which we find much relied tions and amendments it was understood to upon, and frequently read or urged in the asbe complete.
sembly of that time; and security demanded The act for uniting the province and the by thee from the people on that account." territory humbly besought, as it is therein "As to the first motive, we know that the specified, by the deputies of the said territory, number of representatives might have been was also passed at the same time and place; very well reduced without a new charter : in virtue of which all the benefits and advan- and as to the laws of trade, we cannot contages before granted to the provincials, were ceive that a people so fond of thyself for (their) equally communicated to both; and both from governor, and who saw much with thy eyes that time were to be as one people under one in those affairs, should, against thy advice and and the same government.
cautions, make laws repugnant to those of Of this act, however, the provincial assem- trade, and so bring trouble and disappointment bly of 1704, in the representation to their pro- upon themselves, by being a means of susprietary before cited, complain in the terms pending thy administration; the influence following:
whereof and hopes of thy continuance therein, “ And as to the conveniency of the union of induced them, as we charitably conclude, to the province and lower counties, we cannot embark with thee in that great and weighty gainsay it, if the king had granted thee the affair, more than the honour due to persons in government as the duke had done the soil : those stations, or any sinister ends destructive but to our great grief and trouble, we cannot to the constitution they acted by. Therefore, find that thou had any such grant; and if thou we see no just cause thou had to insist on had, thou would not produce it, though often such security, or to have a negative upon bills requested so to do: therefore we take it the to be passed into laws in general assemblies, harder that thou, who knew how precarious since thou had by the said charter (pursuant thy power was to govern the lower counties, to the authority and direction of the king's should bring thy province into such a state letters patent aforesaid) formed those assem