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versy without end before them, productive in since the expenditure of the fifty-five thousand its way of all manner of calamities public and pounds, was destined for the current service, private, and to be prevented or shortened only as the managers appointed by the said act, by a submission equally ruinous.
with the consent and approbation of the go They saw this; and it threw them into vernor, and not otherwise, should direct. agonies, though not into despair.
When the said bill was presented to the The first expedient they made use of was governor, he made use of the answer of course, the following message to the governor : that he would give it all the despatch in his May it please the Governor,
power; but afterwards he gave them notice “ The house have taken into their most by message, that difficultes had arisen; and serious consideration the proprietary instruc- that he desired a conference with a committions relating to the passing of money-bills, tee of the house, in order to a discussion of which the governor has been pleased to lay be them. fore us; and as we are fully convinced the pre A committee was ordered accordingly ; at sent unhappy circumstances of this province which (Sept. 13) the governor was pleased to require very large and immediate supplies, express himself to the following purport, viz. we have likewise considered the funds where Ġ That although, at the request of the house, by such sums as we judge absolutely neces- he had laid the proprietary instructions before sary for the security of the province may be them with the utmost candour, yet he was sunk; but every thing we have hitherto been surprised to find there was a clause in the bill able to propose, must be rendered in great now before him, whereby the surplus-money degree fruitless by those instructions, if ad- (if any) was to be in the disposition of the ashered to.
sembly, contrary to the said proprietary in“We therefore request the governor would structions ; that the term for sinking the sum be pleased to inform us, whether he does not granted to the king's use was too long, and apprehend himself at liberty, notwithstanding would depreciate the value of the currency; the said proprietary instructions, to pass such that so long a time was contrary to the sense equitable bills as we may offer him, if con- of the ministry, and the spirit of the act of sistent with his own judgment, and agreeable parliament, which restrains the eastern coloto such laws as have been enacted by his pre- nies from striking bills of credit for any longdecessors, and received the royal assent.” er term, even upon the most pressing emerTo this the governor answered,
gencies, than five years only; that in the reGentlemen,
port of the board of trade on the act passed “I am very glad to hear the house have by this assembly for granting sixty thousand taken the money-bills into their serious consi- pounds to the king's use, the chief reason deration, and the proprietary instructions on their lordships urged for not advising his mathat subject.
jesty to disallow that act, was the shortness “ It would be with great reluctance, espe- of the time for sinking the same ; and that cially at this time, if I should differ in senti- there were many ways to sink the sum grantments with the house of representatives. ed to the king's use, by the present bill, withYou will be pleased to observe how I am cir- out extending the excise for so long a time.” cumstanced, and that I cannot recede from At the request of the committee he also iny instructions without risking both my ho- gave them the heads of his objections in writnour and fortune, which, I am persuaded, you, ing; namely, gentlemen, are too equitable to desire.' 1. To the length of the term of twenty
A bill for striking the sum of sixty thousand years for sinking the said sum, as it might enpounds, in bills of credit, and giving the same danger the entire loss of the currency; and to the king's use, and for providing a fund to as the lords of trade had assigned the shortsink the same, by laying an excise on wine, ness of the time prescribed in the sixty thourum, brandy, and other spirits, was the result; sand pounds act, as their reason for advising ten thousand pounds of which was appropriat- his majesty to give his assent to it. 2. To ed as the quota of the province to the general the disposition of the surplus-money by the asfund for the common service and defence of sembly alone. 3. To the subjecting the ten the colonies, and rendered subject to the or- thousand pounds given as a contribution to the ders of the earl of Loudon; ten thousand general fund, to the order of lord Loudon only, pounds to discharge the debt contracted by and not of the commander-in-chief for the the province for the provisions furnished for time being. 4. To the application of any the expedition against Crown-point; which part of the money to the discharge of the ten debt had been unavoidably incurred, and could thousand pounds given for the use of the no otherwise be discharged; no part of the Crown-point expedition, as the said sum was hundred and fifteen thousand pounds, granted issued upon a fund already established. by parliament for the colonies, having been His other objections, being of a less general allotted to Pennsylvania ; and the residue, af nature, need not to be specified. And in the ter paying such debts as had been contracted close of all, that he might be thoroughly un
derstood, he farther chose to express himself after their meeting, so as to have such new as follows; to wit, “ that he had had several excises ready before the money now granted applications made to him from the frontier, re- is expended; though we still think a well questing the aid of the legislature in their pre- proportioned tax on property, the most equal sent distressed circumstances; that the eyes and just way of raising money. of the neighbouring colonies were upon them; “ If every man who received our bills of and above all, that the nation of England were credit in payment, was obliged to keep them in expectation of their granting the neces- in his hands till the end of twenty years, to sary supplies for the king's service; that he be sure the length of the term would occasion was sorry to find the first bill offered to him a proportionable depreciation. But they being should be such as he could not pass; and that a legal tender in all payments, and the poshe hoped they would so conduct themselves, sessor able to exchange them immediately as that he might make a favourable represent for their value, it is not length of term, but ation of their conduct to his majesty. excess of quantity, that must occasion their
The house, on the other hand, having taken depreciation; and that quantity is by this bill these objections into consideration, appointed yearly to diminish. Besides, the eighty thoua committee to collect the sense of the house sand pounds we have out on loan, is not to in answer to them, which upon the report sink in the next six years, which will greatwas approved, and sent up to the governor by !y lessen our currency, and consequently the committee of conference.
lessen the danger of the depreciation. And this answer, so far as regards the ob “ If the quantity should prove too great, jections above stated, can be given in no which we believe it will not, a subsequent terms so apposite as their own, viz.
act, laying excise or duty on other commodi“1. The house chose, at this time, an ex- ties, increasing the duty per gallon, raising cise bill rather than a land-tax bill, to avoid it also from private consumption, or obtaining any dispute about taxing the proprietary es- money by any other means for the public sertate, and because, as it was a mode of raising vice, may be made, and the money applied to money they were used to and understood, the more speedy sinking this sixty thousand the bill might more speedily be formed and pounds. brought to effect, so as to answer the present “ 2. There will probably be little or no surpressing emergency; and being in the same plus left to the disposition of the assembly. form with a number of preceding excise People now leave the province faster than bills, that had been passed by former govern- they come into it. The importation of Gerors, gone through the offices at home, and re- mans is pretty much over. Many go from ceived the royal assent; they well hoped it us to settle where land is cheaper, The might meet with no objections.
danger attending frontier settlements will - The last time it passed, the term was ten probably be long remembered, even after a years. No inconvenience arose from the peace may be restored. And if our inhabitlength of that term. Could we have sunk ants dininish, the excise will be lessened inthe sum we wanted by the excise in that stead of being increased. At its best, it pro term, we should not desire to extend it. But duces, communibus annis, not more than three we expect it will not yield more in twenty thousand pounds per annum. years than the sixty thousand pounds granted. “ In former excise laws the assembly have The act of parliament made for the eastern had the disposition of the whole. They precolonies, is not in force here. Had the par- served the public credit; paid all public debts liament thought it fit that this province should punctually every year; and have not abused be governed by that act, they would not have the trust reposed in them. excluded Pennsylvania out of the bill, as they “ The instruction is not a royal but proprieactually did. Governor Hamilton had form- tary instruction, calculated to establish arbierly offered to extend the excise to any term, trary government among us, to distress the during which we would load it with three assembly and people, and put it out of their thousand pounds per annum, granted to the power to support their complaints at home.
From whence we concluded the It would, moreover, deprive us of a just right term of twenty years would not be objected and privilege, enjoyed from the first settleto, sixty thousand pounds being granted. ment of the country: “Other taxes or excises on other consump
“3. Lord Loudon is a nobleman distinguishtiors might possibly be laid, but we have no ed by the great trust the crown hath placed experience of them; they will require a time in him. . We have likewise received a high of more leisure to be well considered, and character of his integrity and uprightness, laws for collecting them properly formed, so which induces us to confide in him. The as to be effectual, and not injurious to our chance of war (which heaven prevent) may, trade. If this war continues, we may soon after several removes, give him a successor want them all; and the succeeding assembly unknown to us. If it should be found necesmay take those matters in hand immediately sary and convenient before the money is ex
pended, the governor and assembly can at happiness, in being placed immediately under any time, by a little act, subject the remain- his care and protection.” der to the order of his successor, the com The kings of Great Britain have a negative mander-in-chief for the time being.
on laws as well as the deputy-governors of « 4. It is true, there was a fund appropriated Pennsylvania ; but then they use it as rarely io sink the notes issued for the grant to the as possible; and when they do, they rather Crown-point expedition. That fund in a great demur than refuse; but the deputy-governor measure fails by the loss of one whole county of Pennsylvania, having no such manageto the enemy, and the abandoning consider- ments to observe, thought the peremptory able parts of other counties, where lands mort-style the best; and so sent down the secretagaged to the loan-office are situated. The ry with a verbal message, which is entered whole sum was appropriated to the king's in the minutes of the province in these words: service. And if those notes had not been “Sir, the governor returns the bill, entiissued, that assistance could not have been tled, “an act for striking the sum of sixty given, as our affairs were then circumstanced. thousand pounds, in bills of credit, and giving They cannot be redeemed in due time by that the same to the king's use, and for providing fund, without adding to the distresses of the a fund to sink the bills so to be emitted, by people, already too great; and the public laying an excise upon wine, rum, brandy, and credit ought to be kept up, as it may be want- other spirits. And his honour commands ed on some future emergency. Besides, those me to acquaint the house, that he will not notes bear interest, and at this time the pro- give his assent to it; and, there being no pervince is less able than ever to pay interest. son to judge between the governor and the We should now save money by all means in house in these parts, he will immediately our power."
transmit to his majesty his reasons for so do “ 10. The fund appropriated for sinking the ing.' five thousand pounds, given for the Canada The remainder of that day (the 15th) as it expedition, was broke in upon by the late ex- may be surmised, was wasted in a vain discus traordinary demands for public money.. Five sion of the difficulties they were involved in; thousand pounds was given in provisions to for the house broke up without coming to any general Braddock, and near four thousand resolution. The next was a blank likewise ; pounds more to cut a road for the king's ser no business was done ; but, on the third, havvice at the instance of that general; besides ing resumed the consideration of the golarge sums for the maintenance of Indians, vernor's objections to their bill, the commitextraordinary and expensive treaties, &c. not tees report thereupon, the governor's verbal expected or foreseen when the fund was laid. message refusing his assent to the said bill, It may therefore fall short, and the outstand- and the proprietaries' instructions, prescribing ing debts not pay the whole; but, however, to the representatives of the freemen of the the public credit ought to be supported; and province, the modes of their raising money the new laid excise is the most proper fund for the king's service, they came to the folto supply deficiencies in the old.
lowing resolutions, to wit: “ The house cannot be supposed insensible “That the said proprietary instructions are of the distresses of their fellow-subjects on the arbitrary and unjust, an infraction of our charfrontiers. Several of the members reside ter, a total subversion of our constitution, and there. They hoped they had in this bill pro- a manifest violation of our rights, as freeborn vided for those people the means of speedy subjects of England. assistance, and avoided all objections. They “That the bill for granting sixty thousand see none now of importance enough, in their pounds to the king's use, to which the goopinion, to prevent the passage of the bill. vernor has been pleased to refuse his assent, They grant the money freely to the king's contains nothing inconsistent with our duty use, and cannot admit of amendments to a to the crown, or the proprietary rights,' and money-bill; they therefore persuade them- is agreeable to laws which have been hitherselves, that the governor will consider the to enacted within this province, and received present circumstances of the province, and the royal approbation. the consequences of dispiriting the inhabit “ That the right of granting supplies to the ants, by depriving them at this time of their crown is in the assembly alone, as an essenprivileges, without which they would think tial part of our constitution, and the limitation the country scarce worth defending; and that of all such grants as to the matter, manner, he will not suffer a proprietary instruction, measure, and time, is only in them. new, unjust, and unseasonable, to deprive his “ That it is the opinion of this house, that majesty of a grant so large, so freely given, the many frivolous objections, which our goand so necessary for his service; and for the vernors have been advised from time to time, to preservation of the proprietary estate, as well make to our money-bills, were calculated with as the securing the lives and fortunes of the a view to embarrass and perplex the repreinhabitants, who promised themselves great sentatives of the people, to prevent their doing
VOL II.... R
any thing effectual for the defence of their remain) the remarks of the committee by or. country, and thereby render them odious to der of the house, on the proprietaries' instructheir gracious sovereign, and to their fellow. tions, already before the reader, which consubjects, both at home and abroad.
tain as full à vindication of themselves and " That the proprietaries increasing their their conduct, as is in the power of thoughts restrictions upon the governor, beyond what and words to express; and consequently as they had ever done before, at a time when the full an exposition of the claims and demands province is invaded by the king's enemies, brought against them. and barbarous tribes of Indians are ravaging Too long, however, is this performance to the frontier settlements; and their forbidding be given in the entire; more especially in the the passing of any bills whereby money may close of so long a narration; and too signifibe raised for the defence of the inhabitants, cant is it to admit of any abridgment; to the unless those instructions are strictly complied appendix, therefore, the reader must be referwith, is tyrannical, cruel, and oppressive, with red, if he has a curiosity to see it; where it regard to the people, and extremely injurious is lodged, as a requisite without which neito the king's service; since, if the assembly ther his entertainment nor his information should adhere to their rights, as they justly could be complete. might, the whole province would be thrown It will suffice to say in this place, that it was into confusion, abandoned to the enemy, and unanimously approved of and agreed to by lost to the crown.
the house; and that the house was unanimous “ The house, reserving their rights in their also in resolving “ that it was highly necesfull extent on all future occasions, and pro sary, a remonstrance should be drawn upand testing against the proprietary instructions sent home, setting forth the true state of and prohibitions, do, nevertheless, in duty to Pennsylvania, and representing the pernicious the king and compassion for the suffering in consequences to the British interest, and to habitants of their distressed country, and in the inhabitants of that province, if contrary humble but full confidence of the justice of to their charters and laws, they were to be his majesty and a British parliament, wave governed by proprietary instructions.”. their rights on this present occasion only; and The true state of Pennsylvania is now do further resolve, that a new bill be brought before us. It is apparent the assemblies of in for granting a sum of money to the king's that province have acted from the beginning use, and that the same be made conformable on the defensive only; the defensive is what to the said instructions."
every man, by the right and law of nature is By this new bill, both the sum and the time entitled to. Jealousy is the first principle of was reduced one half; that is to say, the sum defence; if men were not to suspect, they to thirty thousand pounds, and the time for would rarely, if ever, be upon their guard. raising it, by excise, to ten years. The bill Magna Charta is apparently founded upon was immediately prepared and read, and the this principle; nay, provides, that opposition next day was sent up to the governor, who, should be always at hand to confront and obon the 20th, condescended to signify, that he viate danger. Penn, the founder of the colowas ready to pass the same into a law, pro- ny, founded it upon Magna Charta ; and, as vided, a clause therein relating to the fines we have seen, the birthrights of his followers and forfeitures, being paid into the treasury, were rather enlarged than diminished by his was first struck out; which, on account of institutions. That the latter part of his acthe present exigency of affairs, having been tive life, therefore, was employed in underalso agreed to by the house, the said bill was, mining his own foundations, only serves to on the 21st of September, passed accordingly excite ous concern, that so few should be of a into a law.
piece with themselves; and to make him anUnder these circumstances, in this man- swerable in part for the trespasses of his heirs. ner, and for these considerations, had go Fatally verified, however, we see, both vernor Denny the honour to extort this pro- there and every where else, the fable of the prietary sacrifice from these honest, consider- axe, which having been gratified with as ate, able, spirited men, who had stood in the much wood only as would serve it for a han. gap for so many years, and who had never dle, became immediately the instrument to been driven out of it, if it had been possible hew down the forest, root and branch, from for them to have saved their country and its whence it was taken. constitution too.
It is as apparent, on the other hand, that To the cruelty of the conjuncture alone these proprietaries have acted an offensive they gave way; not to any superiority of rea- part; have set up unwarrantable claims; son in their adversaries, nor through any fail- have adhered to them by instructions yet ure of integrity or fortitude in themselves. more unwarrantable; have availed . them
Of this a sufficient testimonial remains still selves of the dangers and distresses of the to be given out of their minutes; wherein are province, and made it their business (at least to be found (and it is to be hoped will for ever their deputies have) to increase the terrors of
the tiines, purposely to unhinge the present main an asylum for all that wish to remain as system; and, by the dint of assumptions, free as the inhabitants of it have hitherto made snares, menaces, aspersions, tumults, and a shift to preserve themselves ? every other unfair practice whatsoever, would
Sub judice lis est. have either bullied or wheedled the inhabitants out of the privileges they were born to; What part the offices here at home have nay, they have actually avowed this perfidious taken in this controversy, it will be time purpose, by avowing and dispersing those enough to specify when 'tis over; and appeals pamphlets in which the said privileges are respectfully made argue a presumption, that insolently, wickedly, and foolishly pronounc- right will be done. ed repugnant to government, the sources of But one circumstance more, therefore, reconfusion; and such as, having answered the mains to be added in behalf of this persecutgreat end of causing an expeditious settle- ed province, which is the testimonial of comment, for which alone they were granted, modore Spry, contained in the following exmight be resumed at pleasure, as incompati- tracts from two of his letters to one Mr. Lovel, ble with the dictatorial power they now chal- a gentleman of Philadelphia, and by him comlenge, and would fain exercise.
municated to the speaker of the assembly, to And this being the truth, the plain truth, wit: and nothing but the truth, there is no need to direct the censures of the public; which, on
August 5, 1756.
“ 'Tis impossible to conceive how much I proper information, are always sure to fall in the right place.
am obliged to the gentlemen of Pennsylvania The parties before them are the two pro- majesty's ships in North America with such
for their ready concurrence in supplying his prietaries of a province and the province it- a number of seamen, at their government's self. And who or what are these proprietaries? in the province, unsizeable subjects and expense; and I must entreat you to make unsufficient lords. At home, gentlemen, 'tis my most grateful acknowledgments to your true, but gentlemen so very private, that in speaker, and the rest of the gentlemen con
cerned in it." the herd of gentry they are hardly to be found; not in court; not in office; not in parliament.
August 7, 1756. And which is of most consequence to the “I have joined Mr. Holmes, and we are community ;-whether their private estate now under sail, with a fair wind, for Louisshall be taxed, or the province shall be saved? | burg. Last night a ship luckily arrived with
Whether these two private gentlemen, in twenty-nine seamen more from the people of virtue of their absolute proprietaryship, shall your good province; God bless them! I shall convert so many fellow-subjects, born as free ever greatfully remember and acknowledge as themselves, into vassals? or, whether so it. I have the seamen all on board my own noble and useful a province, shall for ever re-ship, except four that are sick at the hospital.”