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thought fit to dispose of, were in a fair way | may be reclaimed and re-assumed at any of being sold off, he did not think it for his time, it cannot be too soon reclaimed and reinterest to incumber himself with more. assumed.
This happened sooner than he foresaw; That assembly then, which first discovered though it must be acknowledged the founders this lapse, or which at the requisition of their of few cities appear to have had more fore- constituents, first endeavoured to retrieve it, sight than he. The growth of his colony ex- did no more than their duty; and the prececeeded his most sanguine expectations; and, dent they set cannot be too closely followed. when successive new purchases came to be Again: the distinction made by Mr. Penn made, an inconvenience by degrees became in the case of the quit-rents, between his two manifest, which, perhaps, had not been thought capacities of governor and proprietary, had of before, or if thought of, had not been guard- an use, which even he, with all his shrewded against.
ness, did not perhaps advert to, when it was Men who want a present convenience must made; or at least expect it would be adverted not be over solicitous about future contingen- to by any body else. cies; and, in general, we choose to be blind For the support of the governor and governto such objects as we fear we have not ment, it must be recollected they were substrength enough to remove: he that is too mitted to; for the support of the proprietary, much of a huckster often loses a bargain; as, when absent from his government, and when he that is too little so, often purchases a law- the government charge was otherwise supsuit.
ported, they were paid : and as he and his It was no hard matter to induce a belief, agents went on, not only to reserve such that occasional treaties with the Indians, un- rents out of all the parcels of lands they disder the pretence of keeping up the same bro- posed of, but even to rise in their demands, as therly correspondence which had been at first the value of lands rose ; so it could not but established with them, was a necessary mea- follow, that in process of time these quit-rents sure of government; nor to prevail with the would of themselves become an immense esprovince, while this was understood to be the tate. sole consideration, to bear the expense of them. When, therefore, the proprietary no longer
But when it appeared, as in the course of acted as governor, nor even resided in the time was unavoidable, that a treaty and a pur- province, nor expended a fifth of his income chase went on together; that the former was there, could it be supposed, that this estate, a shoeing-horn for the latter; that the go- thus obtained and thus perverted from its vernor only made the compliments, and the original purpose, should not be liable, in comassembly the presents, &c. it could not but mon with all other estates, to contribute to appear also, that there must be somewhat un- those charges it was first in the entire allotfair in a procedure where one paid all the ted for, and the whole amount of which it so cost, and the other engrossed all the profit; many fold exceeds ? and that it was high time to put some stop to No property in England is tax-free: no a practice so injurious to their understandings. difference in the amount, or value of property,
It is not indeed necessary in private life to makes any difference in the duty of subjects: bargain, that those who purchase for their and nothing is more consonant to reason, than own use and advantage, should pay the price that he who possesses most, should contribute out of their own pockets; but in public it is. most to the public service.
Persons who stand on the same ground And yet, for want of a specific clause to will insist on the same rights; and it is mat- declare their property taxable, the present ter of wonder, when any one party discovers proprietaries insist on having it exempted folly or insolence enough to demand or expect from every public obligation, and upon chargany pre-eminence over the other.
ing the difference on the public, who, it canWhereas prerogative admits of no equality; not be too often remembered, gave it in the and presupposes, that difference of place al- first instance as the price of an exemption ters the use of language, and even the very from all other taxes. nature of things.
Clear, however, it will be made to every Hence, though protection is the reason, unprejudiced mind, that such a specific clause and, consequently, should be the end of go- neither is nor ever was necessary; and, that vernment, we ought to be as much upon our in virtue of the inherent right, as well as the guard against our protectors as against our power and authority reposed in the freemen enemies.
to tax themselves by ways and means of their Power, like water, is ever working its own own providing, all the property of the province way; and wherever it can find or make an lies indiscriminately at their discretion, subopening, is altogether as prone to overflow ject to an equal taxation. whatever is subject to it.
The paper currency of the province is next And though matter of right overlooked, 'to be mentioned; and as that was out of pros
pect while the several frames of government as possible on a par with gold and silver, they were under consideration, it could not be imposed sufficient penalties on all those who comprehended in any of them.
presumed to make any bargain or sale upon The currency then was, and so continued cheaper terms, in case of being paid in the one to be, for many years after, gold and silver preferable to the other: they provided for the of any species by weight; at first in so irre- gradual reduction of them, by enacting, that gular a manner, and at such uncertain rates, one eighth of the principal, as well as the whole as gave the crafty many opportunities to prey interest money, should be annually paid. And upon the ignorant and necessitous; conse- it was not till they were convinced by expequently was productive of much contention, rience of the utility of the measure, and the inembarrassment, and confusion.
sufficiency of the sum, that they adventured By royal proclamation, in the fourth of to issue thirty thousand pounds more. queen Anne, the rates and values of all foreign Such, moreover, was the benefit apparently coins current in the English colonies were li- resulting from it; euch the inconveniency apmited and ascertained ; and, in her sixth, the prehended by every body from the scarcity of contents of the said proclamation were enacted money sure to follow a too precipitate disinto a law, which is still in force.
charge of the loans; and such the apparent But the annual influx of these foreign coins, growth of the province during this interval, through what channel soever, or from whatso- that, in the year 1729 (Patrick Gordon, goever source, by no means answered the de- vernor) it was thought advisable to increase mands of an annual issue.
the provincial capital by a new emission of From England came all the manufactures bills, to the amount of thirty thousand pounds, consumed in the plantations; and all the re- and to render the repayments still easier to turns they could make by their commodities the borrowers, by reducing them to one sixsent thither directly, or the product of them at teenth a year. other markets, fell far short of the balance Again: in the year 1739 (George Thomas, growing against them.
governor) occasion was taken from the disco The defect, therefore, was to be made good veries repeatedly made, that these provincialin gold and silver, and was so as long and as bills had been counterfeited, not only to call often as any could be found. Every colony, them all in, in order to their being replaced in its turn, was, consequently, drained of its with others of a new impression, &c. but also specie; and, as it is an impossibility known for the reasons before given, to issue the furand avowed, for any trading community to sub-ther sums of eleven thousand one hundred sist without some medium of circulation, every and ten pounds five shillings, (which, added colony in its turn was obliged to have recourse to the sums already in circulation, made their to the same expedient of uttering provincial whole capital amount to eighty thousand bills of credit, and making them answer, as far pounds) to be current for sixteen years. as possible, all the topical purposes of gold and Lastly: finding, that the like, or a greater silver ; by which their severa, capitals were sum, in case the province should grow still enlarged; the gold and silver became commo- greater, would in all probability be always dities that could be spared for exportation; necessary, the assembly moreover provided, and the merchants at home were paid in that that so fast as any of the former borrowers gold and silver, without any provincial detri- should repay their provincial-money, the trusment.
tees of the loan-office might re-emit the same Pennsylvania, however, if not the very sums during the said term of sixteen years, last, was one of the last, which gave into it. on the same conditions, either to them or It was not till the year 1722 (Keith, govern- others, without any new authority for that puror) that they made their first experiment; and pose. even then they proceeded with the utmost And, upon the whole, it is to be observed, caution and circumspection, in every step they that the assembly, in establishing this paper took.
currency, in taking upon themselves, as repreKnowing, for example, that the danger of sentatives of the province, to appoint the trusdepreciation was the only danger they had to tees and other officers charged with the adguard against, and that nothing but an over ministration of it; in providing that the said quantity, defect of solid security, and of pro- trustees and officers should be responsible to per provision to recall and cancel them, could the province for their conduct in it; and in create that danger, they issued at first but fif- reserving to the assembly, for the time being, teen thousand pounds; they made no loans the disposition and application of the annual but on land-security or plate deposited in the product, met not with any such objection from loan-office: they obliged the borrowers to pay their governors, or the proprietaries, or the five per cent for the sums they took up; they ministry here at home, as could excite the made their bills a tender in all payments of least apprehension of any such contest, as all kinds, on pain of vacating the debt, or for- might either embroil the province, affect the feiting the commodity: to keep them as near interest, or incommode the government of it.
It is true, the proprietaries and their agents | been at first opprobriously called by that of did, from the beginning, discover a repugnance quakers, have been forced, by the joint tyto this measure, till they found themselves ranny of imposition and custom, to answer to considered in it; like the snail with his horns, it ever since. they had no sensations for the province, but Of these, the majority carried along with what reached them through the nerves of pow. them a scruple better accommodated to the er and profit. Profit, though ranked last, they forming of a society and preserving it in peace, consulted first; and when possessed of one than to the protecting it from those insults point, they thought they might wrangle more and depredations which pride and lust of dosuccessfully for the other.
minion have at all periods committed on their If the widow Penn acquiesced in the paper- weaker neighbours; and from the visitation money acts passed by Keith, she reprimanded of which, no system of politics, morals, or rehim for passing them; and in a manner forbid ligion, hath as yet been able to preserve manhim to pass any more.
kind. Gordon (Keith's successor) having over and All their views, purposes, and endeavours over again acknowledged his conviction of the were narrowed, therefore, to the forms and conveniences arising to the province from a uses of civil life; and to link the several parts reasonable increase of their paper currency, of their own little community in the most exgave the assembly to understand, in so many pedient manner together. words, that nothing but the gratification of the Nor, indeed, had they at that time any proprietaries in the affair of their quit-rents, other object before them: alike to wage war would prevent the opposition they were other against any power in alliance with England, wise to expect to the act then before them in and to correspond with any power at war with England.
her, was expressly forbid both to the proprieBy special contract with the several pur- tary and the province, by the fifteenth section chasers, these quit-rents of theirs were to be of the royal charter. paid in sterling money; and, as it was impos The French were too feeble in America sible, by any provision whatsoever, to make and too remote from Pennsylvania, to be then the provincial currency answer the universal apprehended. The provinces adjacent were purposes of gold and silver, so no provision branches from the same root, and responsible could hinder these metals from having the pre- for their conduct to the same laws; and the ference of paper. To convert paper into spe- Indians, from the very beginning, had been cie or bullion could not of course but be at considered and treated as equally the sons of tended with some cost; and hence the propri- one common father. etary-remittances could not but come shorter Land wanted by us was a drug to them. home. When, therefore, by the eighty thou- The province, then to be allotted, peopled, and sand pounds act, paper was to become the pro- cultivated, had not been wrested from them vincial establishment, they would not allow by violence, but purchased for a suitable consitheir share of the provincial advantage result- deration. In the contract between the proprieing from it (which was, at least, equal to that of tary and his sub-adventurers, all possible care the province, as will hereafter become appa- had been taken that no cause of complaint rent) to be what it really was, an adequate should be administered to them: in trade consideration, but insisted, not only on having they were not to be overreached nor imposed the difference between paper and specie or upon : in their persons they were not to be inbullion made up to them, and that the differ- sulted or abused; and, in case of any complaint ence of exchange should be made up to them on either side, the subject-matter was to be also; or, in other words, that the pounds ster- heard by the magistrates in concert with the ling due to them in Pennsylvania, should be Indian chief, and decided by a mixed jury of paid to them nett in England.
Indians and planters. In short, the sum of one thousand two hun The same regard to conscience which led dred pounds was in this manner extorted from them into this wilderness, adhered to them afthe province, together with an annuity of one terwards; and having thus resolved and prohundred and thirty pounds, to continue during vided, never to be aggressors, and not being the circulation of those bills; which will serve sovereigns, they left the rest to Providence. to show, at least, that the province could not Governed by principle in all things, and bebe more stubborn, upon other occasions, than lieving the use of arms to be unlawful, the the proprietaries were selfish on this. case of defence by arms could not come with
There remains yet another topic to be touch- in their plan. ed upon, which will require a more tender But then as their community was left open consideration from the reader than perhaps it to Christians of all persuasions, and the conmay always find.
ditions of union could be abhorrent to none, Mr. Penn and his followers were of that they might well presume on being joined by sect, who call themselves by the amiable and numbers, which has since happened accordlevelling name of Friends; and who having ingly, who, being devoid of such scruples,
might be easily induced, for proper considera-, tablished for sixteen years, the merchants tions, to take that difficulty out of their hands: trading to the eastern colonies of America, and, as to military service, under all English took occasion to complain to the house of tenures whatsoever, no man could be compel- commons, of the inconveniences and discouled to serve in person, who made it his choice ragements brought on the commerce of Great to serve by proxy.
Britain in those parts, by the excessive quanAdd to all his; that William Penn him- tities of paper money there issued, and the deself does not appear to have been under the preciated condition thereof, for want of proper dominion of these scruples; he having taken funds to support its credit. The house, by care in his charter from the crown (sect. 10.) way of palliative, addressed the throne to put a to be invested with all the powers ever be- temporary stop to the evil, by instructing the stowed on a captain-general (which were al- several governors, not to give their assent to so to descend to his heirs and assigns) “to any farther laws of that nature, without an exlevy, muster, and train all sorts of men, of press proviso, that they should not take effect what condition soever, or wheresoever born, till his majesty's approbation had been first and to make war and to pursue such enemies obtained. as should make incursions into the province, Such instructions were accordingly sent; as well by sea as land, even without the li- and those to the governor of Pennsylvania mits of the said province, and, by God's assist- were dated August 21, 1740. Notwithstandance, to vanquish and take them,” &c. ing all which, the lords of trade and planta
And, lastly, if ever involved in the quarrels tions (having already in their hands a full of the mother-country, and obliged to take and clear account of the currency, as estatheir share of the common duty and the com- blished by the eighty thousand pounds act, as mon danger, they might reasonably hope for also of the rates of gold and silver, from the all the protection from thence they might year 1700 to the year 1739; and having been stand in need of, on the condition of contribut. moreover convinced, by the merchants trading ing all that was in their power, consistent to that province, that such a sum was not onwith their principles, towards it.
ly reasonable but necessary for carrying on This they have occasionally done from colo- the commerce of the country) thought fit to nel Fletcher's time downwards, and they recommend the said act, to the royal acceptwould have done more, if the proprietary calls ance and ratification; and ten days afterand those of their deputies had not put it out wards the lords justices passed it into a law. of their power.
Here the affair slept for several years, exAllowing, therefore, that this unresisting cept that the assembly, in conformity to an orprinciple would have been a solecism in the der, which accompanied the instructions just construction of an independent state, it was mentioned, caused a second state of their curnot, provincially speaking, destitute of proper rency to be transmitted the following year to palliatives.
the lords of trade : and before it was again reAt least, scruple of conscience is at all sumed in parliament, the several incidents, times, and in all cases, less blameable than next to be recited, took place. the wanton experiments tried upon the pro When the attempt upon Carthagena was vince, even by the proprietary's own agents : | under consideration, the northern colonies first to scatter terrors among the peaceable in- were called upon to furnish soldiers for that habitants, and then to plead the necessity of service, and Pennsylvania among the rest. a military force from the effects of their own The assembly was at that time composed, as wicked devices.
it had hitherto generally been ; consequently Of this nature was the false alarm raised in this demand could not but be productive of the queen's time by Evans and Logan: a fact scruples and difficulties in point of conscience; which stands charged against them, in the that, however, they might discharge all oblirecords of the assembly, at this very day; and gations at once, they voted four thousand which, as often as recollected, will ever sug- pounds for the king's use, and the governor gest a fear, that a measure, so unwarrantably took upon himself to raise the soldiers. contended for, would, if obtained, be as un This was a duty of office; and, if he had warrantably made use of.
discharged it properly, what would have given We have now such a summary of the state universal satisfaction. The labour of the of Pennsylvania, from its origin, before us, as plantations is performed chiefly by indented may render every branch of the controversy servants, brought from Great Britain, Ireland, still depending, familiar to us: and, as facts and Germany; nor, because of the high price are best seen and understood in order of time it bears, can it be performed any as they occurred, we shall do our best to fol. These seryants are purchased of the captains low the thread as it lies.
who bring them; the purchaser, by a positive In April, 1740, when the paper currency of law, has a legal property in them during the the province had been just increased, as above term they are bound for; can sell or bequeath specified, to eighty thousand pounds, and es-them; and, like other chattels, they are lia
ble to be seized for debts. Out of these, ne-, which they cheerfully concurred in doing, vertheless, did the governor make his levies. seduced by their interests and their inclinaA ferment ensued: the owners were tena- tions into a belief, that the whole line of our cious of their rights: the governor stood upon colonies would not be thus agitated, nor their prerogative as paramount to all: the dispute Indian allies induced to take up the hatchet was brought into the courts; and such was in conjunction with them, merely by way of the terror of power, that the aggrieved was feint to facilitate a peace. forced to repair to New York for advocates. Forces were every where raised by the
The assembly, seeing no other remedy, several governors, and the assembly of Pennthought themselves bound to defend the rights sylvania voted five thousand pounds for the of their constituents; and did defend them ac- king's use, or, in other words, as their concordingly, by refusing to part with their sup- tingent for this pretended national service. ply, unless these servants so unjustly taken The money so voted being more than their from their masters were restored. The go- revenue could furnish, they proposed to raise vernor was obstinate, and so the money was, it by an addition of the like sum to their paat last, applied, as it ought, to indemnify them per currency; in which case the king would for the injury they had sustained.
be served, the provincial capital would be so That, however, they might not be misre far enlarged, and the interest arising from it presented or misunderstood at home, as defi- would, in a due proportion of time, discharge cient in zeal for the public, or backward to the principal. contribute to the service, they came the next And here began the first dispute between year to the following vote, to wit: The the governor and the assembly on this topic: house, taking into consideration the many the governor pleaded the instruction of 1740 taxes their fellow-subjects in Great Britain as a reason, why he could not bring himself are obliged to pay towards supporting the dig- to such a pitch of boldness as he apprehended nity of the crown, and defraying the necessa- was necessary to the contravention of it; and ry and contingent charges of government, therefore urged them to find out some method and willing to demonstrate the fidelity, loyal- less exceptionable for raising the said sum: ty, and affection of the inhabitants of this pro- and they, willing to comply as far as possible vince to our gracious sovereign, by bearing with his scruples, so far receded from their a share of the burden of our fellow-subjects, point to that time as to issue it out of the proportionably to our circumstances, do there- money dormant in the loan-office for exchangfore, cheerfully and unanimously resolve, ing torn and illegible bills, and to replace it that three thousand pounds be paid for the by a new emission of bills to the same amount, use of the king, his heirs and successors, to be to be sunk out of the product of the excise in applied to such uses as he in his royal wisdom ten years. Upon which the governor waved shall think fit to direct and appoint.” And the instruction, and passed the bill; five hunthe said three thousand pounds were after- dred men were raised and supported by it, for wards paid into his majesty's exchequer by near eighteen months, employed chiefly in dethe agent of the province accordingly. A free fending the frontiers of New York, when the gift, if ever there was one, from subject to expedition at length was dropped and the sovereign; and, however small, a sufficient troops disbanded. voucher for the good intentions of those who A formal bill to restrain the northern colomade it.
nies in general, from issuing paper bills of In the beginning of the year 1745, the pro- credit, it must be observed had been brought ject against Louisburgh, having been carried into parliament, but not perfected; and in in the assembly of New England by a single the year 1748 again: upon which occasion vote only, was imparted to the assembly of the next governor of Pennsylvania, James Pennsylvania by governor Shirley, with a de- Hamilton, Esq.; in a message to the assembly sire, that they would contribute thereto: but in October 1749, made use of the following though they could not be prevailed upon to remarkable expressions: "I take it for granttake any part in an enterprise which to them ed, we are all sensible of the mischievous appeared so desperate, they voted four thou- tendency of the bill that was brought into parsand pounds in provisions, for the refresh- liament the last year, to regulate and restrain ment and support of the brave troops who had paper bills of credit in the plantations (in taken the place, as soon as it was known which there was a clause to enforce the orthey were in possession of it, and that such ders of the crown in his majesty's American supplies were wanting.
dominions) and it is not improbable, that someIn the beginning of the year 1746, the mi- thing of the same kind may be offered in the nisters affected to entertain a project for the ensuing session. I persuade myself you will reduction of Canada. By letters from the give your agent full instructions upon this secretary's office, dated April 6, the northern subject, in case it should become necessary colonies were severally called upon to con- for him to oppose it: the honourable proprietribute their respective quotas towards it; taries at that time laboured and with success