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do conceive, that our laws here, not being de- do desire, you do not go to dismiss us until 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 assemblies held members of council, we leave them to an- the two subsequent years: and in the year
1693, the king and queen assumed the go" As to the expedient proposed, of thy go- vernment 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 atwe 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 if 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 assembly, 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, his excellency “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 stead.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 arrrival of this present governor, are us, 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 conPears: 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
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 transacin 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 sogrect 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 exThe 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 majesties' 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 farhighest 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 carty, 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 unaccordingly, 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 plies be presented for the last sanction of a
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 may be 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 ass bly 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 thereon, 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 the receiver, when their approand 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
on in his speech, and an act of settlement; should disapprove the same, that then th that an answer to his speech was drawn up said act should be void, and no ways prejudi and sent to the governor, together with an act cial to him or the people in relation to the va of settlement; that the messengers on their lidity or invalidity of the said charter.” return, reported, they had delivered both, and To this expedient the house unanimousl were told the governor and council had no agreed. A bill of settlement, and a mone farther business at present; and that after bill, were thereupon ordered and prepared several adjournments, being met in committee, and after some temperament, reported, agree and in high debate, their attendance was re- to, and passed. quired by the governor in order to dissolve The money bill was for raising three hun them.
dred pounds for support of government, an That the demands made upon them, in vir- relieving the distressed Indians. tue of the queen's letter, were the subject of In the act of settlement, the rotation prin these debates, is more than probable : and if ciple was wholly dropped. Elections both o so, it will follow, that their want of will or council and assembly were to be annual an power to comply with them was the cause of certain : the time of election, March 10th their dissolution.
the time of sitting, May the 10th : the mem In the year 1696, being the next year fol- bers of council for each county two, for th lowing, Markham, once the proprietary's se- assembly four: they were to be of the mos cretary and clerk of the council, and of late note for virtue, wisdom, and ability, an lieutenant-governor, summoned the next as otherwise qualified in point of fortune and re sembly, as lieutenant to the proprietary now sidency. In the governor or his deputy, and reinstated in the government; and at their the said assembly and council, the govern meeting, recommended governor Fletcher's ment was placed. The governor or his de speech at the opening of the New York as- puty was to preside in council; but at ni sembly, thereby to excite the charity of Penn- time perform any act of state whatsoever sylvania, in relieving the poor Indians, whose but by and with the advice and consent of the corn and provisions had been destroyed by the council, or a majority thereof: that two third French: and the sense of the house upon it were to be a quorum in the upper walk of bu was, by way of message, thus communicated. siness, and one third in the lower: that the
“Whereas the governor has been pleased assembly should have power to propose billi to convene us, by his writs, although not in as well as the council: that both might con the form* of our charter, as we could desire, fer on such as either of them should propose we have obeyed the same, and considered that such as the governor in council gave
hi: what he has laid before us, viz. an answer to consent to, should be laws: that the style of the late queen's letter, and our proprietary's those laws should be,-By the governor, with promise upon his restoration to his govern- the assent and the approbation of the freemer ment; and are heartily and unanimously in general assembly met: the duplicate willing and ready to perform our duty therein, thereof should be transmitted to the king': so far as in us lies, if the governor would be council, according to the late king's patent pleased to settle us in our former constitutions, that the assembly should sit on their own ad enjoyed by us before this government was journments and committees, and continue to committed to governor Fletcher's trust." prepare and propose bills, redress grievances
This was followed, on the governor's part, impeach criminals, &c. till dismissed by the with a demand of money as before for the re- governor and council; and to remain during lief of the Indians: and the assembly choosing the year liable to serve upon his and their to take care of the provincial constitution first, summons; should be allowed wages and required the governor to appoint a commit- travelling charges; two thirds to make a quotee of the council to join with a committee of rum; all questions to be decided by a majothe assembly for that purpose: such a joint rity; affirmations to be admitted in all courts, committee was appointed accordingly; who &c. instead of oaths, where required; all peragreed in recommending this expedient, sons in possession of lands by purchase or " that the governor, at the request of the as otherwise under any legal or equitable claim, sembly, would be pleased to pass an act (of so to continue; sheriffs and their substitutes settlement must be understood) with a salvo to give security for office behaviour; elections to the proprietary and people; and that he were to be free, regular, incorrupt, &c. no would also issue out his writs for choosing a member being permitted to serve without full number of representatives on the 10th of wages, or for less wages than by this act apMarch next ensuing, to serve in provincial pointed, &c. Neither the form or effect of council and assembly according to charter, this act was to be diminished or altered in until the proprietary's pleasure should be any part or clause thereof, contrary to the known therein ; and that if the proprietary true intent or meaning thereof, without the
consent of the governor and six parts in seven * They had been issued upon Fletcher's plan before specified.
of the freemen in council and assembly met:
it was to continue and be in force till the to please all by his choice of a fit person : as proprietary should by some instrument under to their address to avoid confusion in the his hand and seal, signify his pleasure to the next election, that he consented to the request contrary: and it was provided, that neither of the house, and ordered by general consent this act nor any other should preclude or de- of council and assembly, minutes to be made bar the inhabitants of this province and terri- in both : that, at the next election, three should tories from claiming, having, and enjoying be chosen for council in each county, and six any of the rights, privileges, and immunities, for assembly; the election to be on the usual which the said proprietary for himself, his day; but reserving to himself the specification heirs and assigns, did formerly grant, or which of the term the former were to serve for, which of right did belong unto them the said inhabi- was to be expressed in the writ: and that as tants by virtue of any law, charter, or grant to the other point of false information sent whatsoever, any thing therein contained to against the colony to England, the unseasonthe contrary notwithstanding.
able time of the year would not suffer the A new application from governor Fletcher merits of the case to be thoroughly discussed, for farther assistance, and the report of a com- but that all the representatives both of council mittee of the assembly to whom it was refer- and assembly, had agreed in drawing up some red (urging the infancy, poverty, and incum- general defence for the present." bered state of the colony in excuse for non And before their separation it was drawn up compliance) together with an act for ratifying and presented to the governor accordingly. and confirming the acts and proceedings of The next general assembly met at the usual the last year's assembly by some persons time, and was in every respect an extraordinaquestioned and misrepresented, are all the re- ry one : extraordinary for the number of memmains of what passed in the assembly of 1697. bers superadded in the manner just recited;
Nor does any thing material occur in the extraordinary for an occasional law they passyears 1698, 1699, till the arrival of the pro- ed at the instance of the governor and counprietary from England.
cil, to prolong the present sessions beyond the January 25th, 1699–1700, the assembly be- time limited by charter; and extraordinary for ing convened for the second time, was told by the debates concerning another new frame of the proprietary in person, that he had so con- government, which continued through the Fened them chiefly to reinforce the former whole course of it, without producing any salaws; or by a new law more rigorously to tisfactory temperament at last. discourage piracy and forbidden trade: misde Found intractable, after a month's practice, meanours which he said had exposed the go- they were dissolved; and in October following, Fernment to much odium at home, which he a new assembly was summoned; not as before had been much pressed by his superiors to cor- to consist of thirty-six members, but of twenrect, and which he, therefore, pressed most ty-four; that is to say, four instead of six for concernedly upon them.
each county. Both these points were immediately refer The place of meeting was also different; red to the consideration of two several com- for instead of assembling as usual at Philadelmittees; and one of their own members, son- phia, the members were convened at Newin-law of their late lieutenant-governor Mark- castle, perhaps only to gratify the inhabitants ham, proving to be the most obnoxious person of the territories, at a time when extraordinaon the first of these accounts, they proceeded ry demands were to be made upon them for so far as to commit him, till satisfied by the the gratification of the proprietary governor. governor that he had given sufficient security At the opening of this assembly, governfor his appearance to answer what complaints or said, he had called them upon urgent occashould be brought against him.
sions: that they were in want of a frame of They also took care to purge themselves on government; a body of laws; a settlement of the head of forbidden or illicit trade, which ap- property; and a supply for the support of gopears to have been done in so effectual a man- vernment: adding, that he would give them all ner, that the governor himself could not avoid the assistance in his power. Co-operating with the council in their justifi With the body of laws they began, and made cation. To prove which, his answer to their a considerable progress in the work; but the several addresses (concerning a fit person to frame of government again met with as many be provincial treasurer; cautions to avoid con- difficulties as before. The conditions of union fusion in the next election, which was to be between the province and the territories, in on a new model, as also the expediency of the particular, had like to have produced an imadvice and consent of the council and assem-mediate separation : and the dispute which bly thereon; and false information sent to arose concerning equal privileges or equal England against them) here inserted, will be voices in the representative, could be no sufficient: to wit,
otherwise compromised than by referring the First, as to the receiver or treasurer, that issue to the next general assembly. he would consider of it, and would take care The points which more immediately con