Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

blies, and, thereupon reserved but a treble the proprietary power as might awe the mavote in the provincial council, which could not jority into proprietary measures. be more injurious to thee than to the people, Thus John White, the former speaker, who for the reasons aforesaid."

signed the letter from the assembly to Mr. And again, afterwards;

Penn, concerning the misdemeanours of More, “ Thus was the first charter laid aside, con- was no sooner returned for the county of Newtrary to the tenor thereof, and true intent of castle, than he was thrown into prison, and the first adventurers; and the second charter by violence wrested out of the hands of the introduced and accepted by the general as- assembly, after he had been brought up to sembly held at Philadelphia, in the first and Philadelphia by habeas corpus. The said second months, 1633, where thou solemnly governor also finding that the said assembly testified, that what was inserted in that char- was not of the proprietary complexion, and ter was solely intended by thee for the good that they were disposed to open the session and benefit of the freemen of the province, with a discussion of grievances, found preand prosecuted with much carnestness in thy tences for several days to evade giving them spirit towards God at the time of its compo- audience, all either frivolous or groundless ; sure."

and in the mean time, left no stone unturned In less than three years after Mr. Penn's to temper the council to his own mind; and arrival in the province, and when it began to then by their concurrence, to make a suitable wear a thriving face, a dispute between lord impression upon the assembly. Baltimore, proprietary of Maryland, and him, The assembly, however, not only retained furnished him with a pretence to return to their firmness, but also took care to leave the England ; leaving the government to be ad- two following memorials of it in their miministered by five commissioners of state, nutes: to wit, taken out of the provincial council, the re

May 14.

s That whereas this assembly mainder of that council, and the general as have attended here for several days, and have sembly.

sent several messengers to the governor and James II. was now on the throne: Mr. Penn council, appointed to confer with the members was attached to him closely by obligations, if of assembly according to charter: and whereas not by principles: that prince's impolitic plan the said messengers have given this house to of restoring the Roman ritual by universal understand, that they were answered by the toleration, seems to have been almost inspired governor, that there was not a full council to by him: in the king's dispute with the fellows receive them: and, whereas this house being of Magdalen college, Mr. Penn was an active well assured, that there is, and has been, for instrument on his majesty's behalf, not without these two days last past, a competent number some injurious imputations to himself: and of members in town, ready to yield their atfor some years after the revolution, had the tendance, yet several of the said members misfortune to lie tinder the suspicions and the have not been hitherto permitted to sit in frowns of the government.

council, to the great detriment and grievance His nursling-colony was yet in the cradle, of the country : therefore, we desire, that while it was thus deserted ; consequently these grievances may be speedily redressed, stood in need of all expedience to facilitate and our liberties inviolably preserved." its growth, and all preservatives against dis- May 15. “That no person who is commisorders.

sionated or appointed by the governor to reDisorders it actually fell into, which are ceive the governor's fines, forfeitures, or reve. still to be traced in the minutes of their as- nues whatsoever, shall sit in judgment in any semblies: one More in particular, we find court of judicature within this government, in impeached by the assembly before the pro- any matter or cause whatsoever, where a fine vincial council, of misdemeanourin ten several or forfeiture shall or may accrue to the goarticles, and, in a letter to the proprietary, vernor.” signed by John White, speaker, represented On the last of these two days, and previous as an aspiring and corrupt minister of state. to the last of these votes, the governor at

We find the assembly and provincial coun- length favoured them with the meeting desircil at variance about their respective powers ed ; and thereat made a speech, in which are an! privileges; what is more extraordinary the following remarkable paragraphs: viz. still, we find the proprietary, in 1686, requir- "I suppose you have been formerly acing and enjoining his said commissioners to quainted with the reasons and necessity of dissolve the frame of government by his late the proprietary's absenting himself so long charter constituted; and they not being able from you as till the late revolutions in Engto carry this point, we find, in December, 1688, land; he hath frequently evidenced his strong a deputy-governor appointed, captain John desire above all things to be restored to you: Blackwell, who, like a practised man, set out what hath hindered of late, we have from the with endeavouring to sow dissensions among divers reports of things transacted in England, the freemen, and by making such a display of which require we should wait for their being rendered more certain ; and, in the mean time, should be proposed, they could not take effect strive in our prayers, that the Lord, who go- among us as laws, till his pleasure should be verns this universe, will do it in his wisdom therein declared; I came to a resolution withand good will, towards all his suffering people, in myself, of observing them in the course of and ourselves in particular.

my government, as so many rules and instruc“I suppose, gentlemen, you expected some tions given me by my master, as far as I should bills should have been sent down to you from find and judge them not contrary to the laws the provincial council, for your consideration, of England, and in supplying the want or debefore your coming up and passing them into fect in your laws by the laws of England, laws at this meeting, Divers reasons might which I believe will be most grateful to our be why none were; I shall acquaint you with superiors in England, especially at this time; some of them: viz.

and will be as useful among ourselves, there “ 1. The honourable proprietary, for rea- being no other way occurring to my undersons known to himself, hath given positive di- standing whereby you may receive the benefit rections for letting all the laws drop or fall, of them: and in this purpose I am ready, unexcept the fundamentals, and afterwards for less you should otherwise advise, until by betcalling together the legislative authority, to ter information out of England, we shall be pass such of them, or others, as they should led out of these state meanders.” see fit for the future; which is my full inten- The assembly answered, among other tion to do.

things, as follows: viz. "2. The honourable proprietary, being by “ We heartily wish that thy design in comhis patent from the king, authorized by him- ing hither, with all imaginable respect to our self, his heirs, &c. with consent of the free- governor and inhabitants here, may be purmen, to make, and under his seal to publish, sued accordingly with suitable measures; necessary laws for the good of the people; and we cannot but have that opinion of our which had never been done with all requisite worthy governor's tender regard to the people circumstances, whilst himself was here; and here, that as he will justify no unbecoming without which, I must doubt whether what behaviour in us towards his representative, so were passed, or should hereafter be passed, we hope he will vindicate no unlawful or rihave that due sanction or establishment which gid procedure against us. As to our governor's laws require; and finding the great seal, under absence, we are very sensible that, as it may which they should pass, was not to be had, the be to his disappointment, so it is extremely io keeper thereof refusing to allow the use of it our prejudice. Were we in expectation of rein any cases by my direction, I therefore look- ceiving bills from thee and the council as fored upon it as labour in vain to attempt it. merly; to the reason thou art pleased to give

“3. The present posture and alteration of why none are sent, that the proprietary and affairs in England; the uncertainty touching governor hath given directions for letting all the condition of the proprietary himself, and the laws drop or fall, we are credibly informhis power: and the fears of what dangers ed, that afterwards he was well pleased they might ensue, as well to him as ourselves, in should stand; and all the laws made here passing and confirming laws of such a nature, since his departure, were sent for his perusal, as would have been approved of in this con- and none of them, to our knowledge, in the juncture of affairs, forbad it.

least declared void by him; neither do we * 4. The animosities and dissensions which conceive that he hath any reason so to do. were here amongst you before I came, and * As to the establishment of laws, we exhave been lately revived amongst the mem- pected nor aimed at any higher sanction than bers of the provincial council, by the endea was used in the governor's time; but in case vours of some, as to their proceedings in that bills had been prepared and promulgated acservice, hindered their agreement in council, cording to charter, and had passed by us into as to doing any thing; insomuch as I was con- laws, and the great seal had been necessary strained, for love and peace sake, upon that and the same duly required to be applied to and the other foregoing considerations, to dis- the said laws, and the keeper refused the miss them from further attendance on that ac- same, then we might justly blame such refu. count.

sal: but as to the way thou mentions, that “5. An expedient occurred to me, of less our proprietary and governor is authorized by danger to us all: viz. that I, being by my himself, and with consent of the freemen, to commission, as aforesaid, referred for my rule make laws, and under his seal to publish and instructions to the laws then in being, and them, and not in the granted way of the charwhich had been, as well by the proprietary as ter and act of settlement; as we do not depeople, approved and owned as such, whilst he sire, so our hopes are, that no laws of that was amongst you here, and observing that he make will be imposed upon us: and bad we had reserved the confirmation and disannulo made laws at this time, as formerly, we quesling of what laws should be made in his ab- tion not but that they had been as inoffensive sence, to himself; so that if any were or in the present conjuncture, as afore: and we do conceive, that our laws here, not being de- do desire, you do not go to dismiss us unti. clared or adjudged by the king under his pri- we are received, and righted in our just comvy seal to be void, do remain and stand in full plaints : and that we be not discouraged in force, according to the true intent and mean-charging before the provincial council, such ing thereof.

persons or members whom we can with great “ As for the charge of animosities and dis- probability make appear to be ill ministers sensions amongst us before thy coming here, and chief authors of the present arbitrariness it is so general, that we can make no other in government; and who are men unworthy answer than that in matters of government, as we conceive, to be much consulted with, our apprehensions were otherwise, the end and unfit to be chief magistrates.- What we of good government being answered, in that purpose to do herein, shall be orderly, speedipower was supported in reverence with the ly, and within bounds." people, and the people were secured from the It does not appear that this request met abuse of power; but for what thou mentions with any regard, or that the proprietary inteto have been renewed since amongst the rest gained any ground in the assenıblies held members of council, we leave them to an- the two subsequent years: and in the year swer.

1693, the king and queen assumed the go“ As to the expedient proposed, of thy government of the colony into their own hands; verning this province and territories, by such under what pretext, in virtue of what manageof the laws as were made before our proprie- ment, whether to gratify any displeasure contary and governor went hence, which thou ceived against Mr. Penn, or in concert with shalt judge not contrary to the laws of Eng- him, is not specified. land, we conceive no such expedient can be Colonel Fletcher was appointed governor consistent with our constitution, without the of New York and Pennsylvania by one and concurrence of the council, according to such the same commission, with equal powers and methods as have been heretofore used in le- prerogatives in both provinces: as if there gislature, and what course of government is was no such thing as a charter extant. otherwise, will be ungrateful and uncertain This commission of his was, also, accompato us, for how far the laws of England are to nied with a letter from the queen, counterbe our rules, is declared by the king's letters signed Nottingham, requiring him, as governor patent.

of Pennsylvania, to send such aid or assist“ As to thy assuring us, thy just compliance ance in men or otherwise, for the security of with us, in what we may reasonably desire, the province of New York against the at- . we take it kindly, and do desire that our mem- tempts of the French and Indians, as the conbers of council may be permitted to sit, accord. dition of the said colony would permit, as it ing to our former request.”

the good will of the freemen was no longer The governor finding himself thus steadily worth mentioning. opposed, had recourse to another piece of To the assembły, however, this royal visiter practice, which was to prevail on certain mem- thought fit to communicate both his commisbers to withdraw themselves from the house: sion and her majesty's said letter. But then the house, on the other hand, voted this to be a it was an assembly widely different from that treachery, and farther prepared and presented appointed by their charter. Instead of six the following request to the governor: viz. members for each of the six counties, those of “To the governor and council

, sitting at Philadelphia and New Castle were reduced to Philadelphia, the twentieth day of the third four each, and the rest to three; difference month, 1689.

sixteen: and, as an act of grace, hisexcellency “We the representatives of the freemen of dispensed with the oaths of such as made it a Pennsylvania, and territories thereof, in as- point of conscience not to swear; and acceptsembly met, being much disappointed in our ed a written profession and declaration of alexpectation in not finding any bills prepared legiance, before established in their sttad.and promulgated by you for a further concur- Whether so strange an innovation was openrence; and perceiving three members duly ly and specially complained of or not, the aselected to serve in council (in whose wisdom sembly had nevertheless the spirit to open and faithfulness we much confide) too long their session with the following resolution, kept out; and that a member of our own, is which passed nem. con. " That the laws of treated with great rigor and severity in the this province that were in force and practice time of assembly, and not allowed to be with before the arrival of this present governor, are 08, though most of us have known him to still in force: and that the assembly have a have been serviceable therein these several right humbly to move the governor for a convpars: we (being under a strait in these con- tinuation or confirmation of the same. siderations) do request your tender regard of They also interwove this vote of theirs in our grievances already presented, and of our their address to him, and not unartfully introanswer presented to the governor in council, duced it under the umbrage of an insinuation to his speech delivered to us there; and we that the king and queen had thought fit to

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

appoint him to be their governor, because of which they thought proper to return him a
the absence of their proprietary ; but derived vote of thanks.
no benefit from it: for the governor bluntly Nor is it much to be wondered at, that men
told them, “ he was sorry to find their desires taken by surprise, out of the hands of their
grounded upon so great mistakes :" adding friend the proprietary, and exposed at once to
these emphatical expressions, “ the absence of a wrestling-match with the crown, which
the proprietary is the least cause mentioned they had never had any immediate transac-
in their majesties' letters patent, for their ma- tions with before, should submit to hold their
jesties asserting their undoubted right of go- liberties by courtesy, rather than incur the
verning their subjects in this province. There least risk of not holding them at all.
are reasons of greater moment: as the ne- There was, however, a party among them,
glects and miscarriages in the late adminis- who having drawn up a petition of right,
tration; the want of necessary defence claiming and desiring the use and benefit of
against the enemy; the danger of [the pro- two hundred and three laws therein specified,
vince must be understood] being lost from the as in all respects consonant to their charter,
crown.—The constitution of their majesties' and none of them annulled by the crown in
government and that of Mr. Penn's are in di- consequence of the power reserved to the so-
rect opposition one to the other : if you will vereign; would hear of no abatement; and
be tenacious in stickling for this, it is a plain who had credit enough with the assembly to
demonstration, use what words you please, obtain the sending a message to the governor,
that indeed you decline the other."

signifying, “ that it was the sense and ex-
The assembly again, not to be wanting in pectation of the assembly, that aggrievances
duty to the king and queen, nor consistency to ought to be redressed before any bill of supply
themselves, admitted their mạjesties' right of ought to pass."
government to be indubitable; but would not And here their hearts failed them: for the
allow themselves to be under any mistake in governor having returned the bill sent up
relation to the proprietary's absence. “And with the message which he had proposed
to the other reasons rendered, (said they in amendments to, without any specifications of
their remonstrances) for the superceding our what those amendments were to be, with the
proprietary's governancy, we apprehend (they] following answer, “ that the assembly should
are founded on misinformations; for the courts have no account of the amendments of the bill,
of justice were open in all counties in this go- till they came in a full house before him to
vernment, and justice duly executed from the give the last sanction to the laws;" and far-
highest crimes of treason and murder to the ther, “ that he saw nothing would do but an
determining the lowest difference about proper. annexion to New York.” The menace car-
ty, before the date or arrival of the governor's ried the supply.
commission. Neither do we apprehend, that When the bill for granting it was however
the province was in danger of being lost from sent up, they not only sent up the roll of their
the crown, although the government was in laws with it, but also gave that part of their
the hands of some whose principles are not order the first place in their books.
for war: and we conceive, that the present They further “Resolved, nem. con. that
governancy hath no direct opposition (with all bills sent to the governor and council in
respect to the king's government here in ge- order to be amended, ought to be returned to
neral) to our proprietary's William Penn, this house, to have their farther approbation
though the exercise of thy authority at pre- upon such amendments, before they can have
sent supersedes that of our said proprietary: their final assent to pass into laws.”
nevertheless we readily own thee for our law- And though they did not join with their
ful governor, saving to ourselves and those committee of ten in the following paper, they
whom we represent, our and their just rights suffered it to be entered in their books, by
and privileges."

way of protest on their behalf: to wit, Proceeding then to business, they voted a “ We whose names are hereunto subscribsupply ; but inclined to have their laws con- ed, representatives of the freemen of this profirmed and their grievances redressed first: vince in assembly, do declare, it is the un. accordingly, they sent up a committee of ten, doubted right of this house to receive back with the book of their laws to the governor from the governor and council all such bills for his acceptance and ratification: and, after as are sent up for their approbation or amenda long debate between him, assisted by five ments: and that it is as necessary to know of his council, and them, which was termi- the amendments, and debate the same, as the nated on his side somewhat equivocally, he body of the bills: and that the denial of that sent two of the said council to assure the right is destructive to the freedom of makhouse, in his name, of his confirmation of all ing laws. And we also declare, it is the right the said laws (excepting one relating to ship of the assembly, that, before any bill for supwrecks) during the king's pleasure: for Iplies be presented for the last sanction of a

may be

law, aggrievances ought to be redressed. | fore; urging the necessity of a sudden jourTherefore, we, with protestation (saving our ney to Albany, to endeavour at reclaiming the just rights in assembly) do declare, that the five nations of Indians, hitherto the allies of assent of such of us, as were for sending up England, but now confederated with the gothe bill this morning, was merely in considera- vernor of Canada against us; said he had tion of the governor's speedy departure, but brought the papers which passed at the conthat it should not be drawn into example or ference along with him, for their satisfaction; precedent for the future. DaviD LLOYD,” &c. that their Indians would be next forced into the

And concerning this whole period, we find same fatal confederacy; that he had seen with the freemen in assembly met for the year his eyes, a large tract of cultivated land about 1704, thus farther expostulating with their Albany, which had been abandoned by the inproprietary, in the remonstrance already more habitants, rather through the unkindness of than once referred to: to wit, “ But what thou their neighbours in refusing them assistance, and they (the five commissioners of state) could than by the force of the enemy: prayed, that not effect in that behalf, was performed by those who shut their eyes against a distant colonel Fletcher in the year 1693, and then danger, might not find it at their own doors; we were brought under the immediate direc- extolled the two provinces of Jersey for the aids tion of the crown, but with commands for him they had sent; and concluded thus, “ Gentleto govern us by the laws of the country: and men, I consider your principles, that you will although both the laws and charter had been not carry arms, nor levy money to make war, long before transmitted to thee, in order to though for your own defence; yet I hope you get the late king's (James) approbation there will not refuse to feed the hungry and clothe of, which we insisted upon, and urged that the naked: my meaning is to supply those Inthey were laws till disapproved, yet thou hav- dian nations with such necessaries as may ining sent no account whether they were ap fluence them to a continuance of their friendproved or not, we were forced to comply with ship to these provinces. And now, gentlehim, and accept of such as he pleased: but men, if you will consider wherein I the charter he totally rejected."

useful to you, according to the tenor of my Before he set out for New York, he did commission, in redressing your grievances, if however give a written sanction to the laws you have any, you shall find me ready to act required; and the next year's assembly proved by the rules of loyalty, with a true regard to notwithstanding to be of the same leaven with liberty and property." the last

What appears to have been most remark This assembly had been summoned by the able in this session, was a dispute between the writs of the lieutenant-governor (Markham) governor and the house about a money bill: and when met in a humour to state and 're- he alleging it was inconsistent with his trust dress the grievances of the colony, found them- to pass the bill, because they had named colselves precluded from acting by an order from lectors therein, which seemed to derogate Fletcher for their adjournment.

from the confidence reposed in the king's That, therefore, they might make the most officer appointed to collect the last tax; and of two days, they appointed a committee of insisting upon some answer to the queen's grievances; and having received their report, letter, before he came to a final resolution conagreed upon a remonstrance to the governor cerning it; and they at once adhering to their thereor, containing a complaint of their being bill, and desiring it might not be rejected on sent for only to be dismissed ; asserting the the first of those accounts; since they could right of the house to adjourn themselves; and not but assert their undoubted right to approamong several other particulars, calling upon priate as well as raise money, agreeable to the governor so to exert his power and au- the privileges heretofore granted them, the thority, that cases determined by juries might practice in England, as well as in that and not be unduly avoided by determinations in also in some of the neighbouring colonies ; equity; that to prevent arbitrary assessments and that as to the receiver, when their appro and the dissatisfaction they gave rise to, the priations had been answered, he was to disjustices of the peace might consult with, and pose of the remainder as the governor and be directed by the approbation of the several council should order. grand juries; and that the money raised by The governor still pressed for their answer the last assembly might be properly applied to her majesty, instead of giving them the saand properly accounted for to the present at tisfaction desired; and the said answer provtheir next sitting.

ing to be a remonstrance, he dissolved them. Their right of adjourning themselves having Of the next sessions the accounts are exbeen admitted, they met accordingly towards tremely imperfect. We find, indeed, by a the end of the next month.-Governor Fletcher course of minutes, that a joint committee of was by this time returned to them in person; the council, at the requisition of the govern. and in the opening of his speech, made them or, had several meetings, to consider of the a handsome apology for not meeting them be- queen's letter, the governor's demands there

VOL II....B

« ZurückWeiter »