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sole right of the commons to direct, limit, and | Maryland, and Pennsylvania ; and, that he appoint in such bills, the ends, purposes, con- might not be delayed in his operations, those siderations, conditions, limitations, and quali- things might be immediately forwarded to him fications, of such grants, which ought not to under proper convoys;' adding, that the said be changed by the house of lords." To say general had lately received intelligence, which nothing of certain remarkable provisions of he had communicated to him, that the French, theirs in the year 1678 (which, in a course of together with their Indians, intended, as soon conferences with the lords, they adhered to) as the army was far advanced, to fall upon the to appoint a receiver of their own for the ad- back country; and that, though the general ministration of the money then granted for the thought it a bravado, he also thought it advisepayment and disbanding of the army, and the able to take all possible precautions against payment of the same into the chamber of it; that he had called them together upon this London, instead of the exchequer.
application and intelligence; that he had reTheir adjournment was to the first of Sep- commended it to them to enable him to furnish tember; but they were assembled by special such of the things demanded as were proper summons on the 13th of June; and the first for the province, and to conduct them to the minute on their books of public note is, one, to places where they would be wanted, which specify the approbation given by the lords jus- could not be well done without a strong guard; tices to governor Thomas's act for granting as also by a militia or otherwise, to protect the five thousand pounds out of bills of credit for said back country against the incursions of the the king's use. The date of this approbation enemy; that, upon the receipt of the general's is October 9, 1748, so that it was subsequent letter, he had written to the governors of Virto the king's instruction so pertinaciously in- ginia and Maryland, to know what shares of sisted upon; and having, either by some acci- these supplies their governments would redent or neglect been overlooked thus long, the spectively furnish, that he needed not inforce governor, as we have seen, had in the Decem- the point by any other arguments, than that ber before taken the advantage to express fort Du Quesne was within their province, and himself thus hardily to the assembly: Colo- that the great expense the nation was at on nel Thomas's conduct is no rule to me, nor this occasion would be thrown away, his mawill mine be for any one that may succeed jesty's intentions rendered abortive, and his me; and if we may judge from his not trans- arms dishonoured, if the countries the said mitting that act to England, we may presume, general should recover were left in such a that he did not look upon that particular as the naked condition, that the French might take most recommendatory part of his administra- possession of them again, as soon as the army tion. It is true, he was never censured for it; should be withdrawn, &c. and, indeed, how could he, as the transaction A very little skill in political matters would was never made known to his majesty or his have shown those concerned, that there was ministers."
rather more management concealed under this And the next minute that follows this, con- speech than was strictly necessary, and put cerning the said approbation, notifies, them on their guard accordingly,
That sundry letters from sir Peter Halket The assembly of Pennsylvania had some and colonel Dunbar were then read, acknow- wisdom as well as much plainness; and thereledging the receipt of certain presents from fore, by way of preliminary, desired to have the house to the officers of their respective re- the letter in their custody, which was to be the giments, of the most considerate and accept- ground of their proceedings. The governor able kind, and returning thanks for the same. hesitated : said it contained many matters not
The reason of this summons assigned by the proper to be made public; that it would not governor in his message was to this effect, be safe, therefore, unless the house would « That general Braddock having begun his previously promise him it should not be printed; march towards fort Du Quesne, had repre- but however, he would show it to a committee, sented to him, “That in case he should reduce if the house would appoint one for that purpose. that fort, his intentions were to leave a garri- The house on the other hand, renewed their son, with all the guns, stores, &c. he should request in writing, alleged that it had always find in it; that in case the French should been the custom, when assemblies were called abandon and destroy the fortifications, &c. as together on occasion of letters received, to he had reason to apprehend they would, he communicate those letters; that giving a should then repair it, or construct some place committee a sight of letters, on which any of defence; but that in either case, as the ar- important step was to be taken, did not seem tillery, stores, &c. he had with him would be sufficient; but that the letters should lie beabsolutely necessary for the prosecution of his fore the house to be read as often as necessary plan, he was determined to leave none of them to the right understanding of the matters they behind him, and expected to have all his wants contained or required; that the governor of that kind, as well as provisions for his garri- might safely put his trust in the prudence of son, supplied by the governments of Virginia, the house ; in fine, they would hear of no a.
ternative, since the importance of the contents in the preceding April, and paid out of the moof that letter had been urged as the reason for ney in the disposition of the house, which was calling them together at so unseasonable a almost exhausted, could not answer all the purtime of the year; and, as they could not take poses intended by the bill for granting twentythe letter into consideration without seeing it, five thousand pounds to which the governor rethey hoped he would not, by starting new fused his assent) had already prepared two methods of proceeding, and engaging them in money-bills, one for striking ten thousand trivial disputes, any longer obstruct or delay pounds for the exchange of defaced bills, and the public service.
one of fifteen thousand pounds more for the This was done the sixteenth. The next king's use, the governor's answer concerning day, instead of an answer, the governor sent general Braddock's letter came; and therein them down a brace of new messages. One in he asserted, that the governor for the time bethe morning, giving them to understand, ing had a right to call the assembly together “ That the roads they had ordered to be made whenever he thought the public service reto the Ohio would be attended with a much quired it; that his speeches or messages were greater expense than was at first imagined; a sufficient foundation for them to proceed that the money sent to the commissaries was upon; that they having, by the plenitude of already spent; that more was wanting ; and, their own power, not only given their orders that the general having discharged the sol- to the printers to proceed with the publicadiers' wives out of the army, with a stoppage tion of the secretary of state's letters, in conof one shilling sterling a week out of their tradiction to his to the contrary, but also husband's pay for their subsistence, it would claimed a right of doing the same by any become the compassion of the province to other papers laid before them, they could not supply what would be farther necessary for be at a loss for the reason of his caution on that purpose;" and another in the afternoon, the present occasion; that he being answercontaining more intelligence. Intelligence able for every secret of state that should be he himself had now received, and had for communicated to him for the king's service, warded to the general : namely, that several and by the nature of his station the sole and bodies of troops had passed from Canada over only judge what letters and papers were the lake Ontario in their way to the Ohio, to proper to be made public, did expect a projoin the forces already there; that the French mise of secresy from the house, either verbal were doing their utmost to engage the Indians or otherwise, or something tantamount to it; on their side ; and, rather than fail, were de- and that otherwise he should not communitermined to oppose general Braddock with the cate it. whole force of Canada. Containing also a And, on the twenty-sixth following, the asrepetition of what in effect he had said before sembly returned their answer. In the opening concerning the back country; heightened of which, having admitted the governor's right with some new apprehensions, that when the or power to call them together, they, nevertroops were removed, the enemy might either theless, insist on the usual manner of exerciscut off or greatly interrupt their communica- ing it; that is to say, with a proper regard to tion with the province, which might be every the convenience of the members at their harway attended with fatal consequences. And vest, and to despatch, when necessarily sumall was made use of to authorize a fresh de- moned at that or other unseasonable times, mand for a militia-law, and a new demand for for the sake of keeping up a good understanda supply to enable him to build strong houses ing between the governor and them. “But,” on the new road to the Ohio, and to maintain said they, “should our governors consider such a number of men as should be necessary this power, as a power of bringing us togeto keep the communication between the pro- ther at a great expense to the country, merely vince and the army open, escort provisions, to show their abilities in contriving new stores, &c. that the general might neither be modes, or making new demands upon the peoforced to weaken his army by making detach- ple, to obstruct the ends of their meeting, we ments from it, nor expose those detachments apprehend it will answer no valuable purpose.” to be surprised and cut off; and that he might That his speeches and messages were a suffioccasionally make use of them as auxiliaries cient foundation for them to proceed upon, too, in case the numbers brought against him they also admitted to be occasionally true; but should make such a reinforcement necessary; then they were of opinion, on the contrary, and (after having rung all the changes that that when his writs of summons were founded such a medley of demands and suggestions in on letters or advices, referred to in his said such hands was capable or) making the province speeches and messages, they had a right to answerable, as usual, in case of non-compli- have the original papers laid before them; and ance, for all mischiefs.
they averred this had ever been the practice On the 21st, however, when the house in their province ; so that a different conduct (having taken into consideration, that the fif- at that time could only tend to obstruct the teen thousand pounds given to the king's use public business before them. • If governors,"
they farther intimated, "might differ in their as that confirmation of our acts, which we modes of conducting themselves, according to presume will have its due weight with our the different reasons for choosing them or pur- governor, may be more certainly known to poses to be served by them, it became the peo- him than it appears to have hitherto been, we ple nevertheless to be consistent with them- take the liberty of sending him the original selves at all times, which could never be if confirmation. they did not make original papers the rule of “ We have only to entreat the governor their proceeding. The objection drawn from would be pleased to give this bill all the destheir printing the secretary of state's letter, so patch in his power, as our long sitting at this often recurred to by the governor, though so time is in every respect unseasonable, and fully confuted, they would not allow to be of the presence of many of our members is now any weight, unless he could show, their print- absolutely necessary at their homes, for the ing it had discovered any of his majesty's de- better security of their harvests under their signs and commands, with respect to the present calamitous circumstances.” French, not more generally known before by To understand what is here meant by the his own messages, the public prints, and the words calamitous circumstances, it is necesspeeches of other governors; especially as it sary the reader should be informed, that had been communicated without any caution, Pennsylvania having been visited this year and had been printed before this objection of with a severe frost and drought, which had his was known. Answerable for every secret obliged the inhabitants in many places to mow of state communicated to him by his superiors their wheat, in order to supply the want of as such, they seemed willing to allow ; but fodder for their cattle, no longer abounded in such as he was enjoined to lay before the as- bread-corn, as it usually does; and very mesembly, they contended, were so to be laid lancholy apprehensions began to be entertainbefore them, and they were to be responsible ed, that the miseries of scarcity would be su. for the use made of them afterwards. And as peradded to those of war. to his sole and only power of judging what From the 21st to the 25th, nevertheless, the papers were fit, and what not, to be laid be- governor brooded over the two bills (viz. the fore the public, they so far disputed it, as to ten thousand pounds bill for exchange, and the except such papers as were necessary for their fifteen thousand pounds bill for the king's use,) justification, which, they presumed, were sub- and then sent down a message acknowledge ject to the decisions of their own prudence ing, that many of the bills of credit were in a only, wherein they were assured he might bad condition, but requiring to be first satisvery safely confide.”
fied, how much of the money formerly struck The more trivial this dispute may appear, for exchanging bills, and of which three thouthe more apparent becomes that spirit of per- sand three hundred and two pounds six shilverseness which the proprietaries had let lings and eight pence was at the last settloloose, to keep the province in a perpetual ment remaining in the hands of the trustees, broil; till, weary of the conflict, they should was still so remaining, before he passed that grow tame by degrees, and at last crouch, like bill. He was answered the same day, that, the camel, to take up what load, and carry it according to the best computation that could what length of way, their drivers pleased. be made, the sum was one thousand three
On the said 21st of June, when the go- hundred and two pounds six shillings and vernor's litigious message thus answered came eight pence. Before that answer could reach down, the house sent up their two money-bills his hands, his secretary was despatched to the with a message, importing, that the several house with such amendments to the other, services, by them enumerated, having almost which was the principal bill, as he was, exhausted their treasury, they had sent up a unquestionably, preconvinced the assembly new bill to give the additional sum of fifteen would never comply with. And that this is thousand pounds for those purposes ; in which i no uncharitable or unreasonable assertion, is bill, said they (for the rest of the message manifest from the whole tenor of his conduct, shall be given in their own words).“ We have which was demonstrably such as would have carefully followed the act passed by governor better became a French governor than an Thomas, in 1746, for granting five thousand English one. pounds for the king's use, and the other acts The assembly, however, bestowed a prorelating to our bills of credit, confirmed by the per time of consideration on those amendcrown on the twenty-ninth of October, 1748; ments, and then acquainted him by message, from which acts so confirmed, the enacting that they adhered to their bill in all its parts ; clauses, so far as they could be made agree- but accompanied this declaration with a quesable to our present circumstances, have been tion, Whether he would pass it into a law as inserted in this bill, that every objection aris- it then stood ? to which he answered first, ing from the royal instruction to colonel that he would take it into consideration; and Thomas, in 1740, might be obviated by a di- finally gave it under his hand, that he adhered rect decision of the highest authority. And to his amendments, without assigning any
reasons, desiring a conference, or having re- | no distinction as to age or sex—as to those course to any other expedient usual on the like that are armed against them, or such as they occasions.
can surprise in their peaceful habitations The ten thousand pounds bill for exchang- all are alike the objects of their crueltying torn and defaced money, met with a bet- slaughtering the tender infant and the frightter fate; for, after some concessions on both ed mother with equal joy and fierceness. To sides, it was passed into a law; and this was such enemies, spurred on by the native crualmost the only fruit of a session so unseason- elty of their tempers, encouraged by their ably exacted, and introduced with such extra- late success, and having now no army to fcar, ordinary demands.
are the inhabitants of this province exposedThey then acquainted the governor hy mes and by such must we now expect to be oversage, that they proposed to adjourn to the first run, if we do not immediately prepare for our of September then next ensuing; and the go- own defence ; nor ought we to content ourvernor signified in reply, that he had no objec- selves with this, but resolve to drive and contion thereto.
fine the French to their own just limits.” Notwithstanding which he summoned them Here the noble example of the eastern again to meet on the 23d of July; and they governments (New England) in forcing the met accordingly, gave him notice thereof as enemy to keep a due distance from their borusual, and required a copy of the writs by ders, was recommended and enforced; and which they were summoned. His answer then returning to his main point, he again exwas not returned till the next day, and then patiated thus: “ Allow me therefore, gentlewhat he said was to this effect : that he should men, to recommend to your most serious conhave laid the business he had for the consider. sideration the present state and condition of ation of the house before them the day pre- your country, the danger to which the lives ceding, had not the shocking news he had and properties of all those you have underreceived, prevented his getting it ready time taken to represent, stand exposed at this crienough ; but that the house should hear from tical and melancholy conjuncture ; and to dehim that morning, and also have the copy of the sire that you would not, by any ill-timed parwrit as desired.
simony, by reviving any matters that have This shocking news was the strange, un- been in dispute, or from any other motive, precedented, ignominious defeat of general suffer the ple to remain any longer undeBraddock; and what, if possible, is more fended, or the blood of the innocent to be shed shocking still, this incident, which, though by the cruel hands of savages. There are so inconsiderable to the whole, struck so much men enough in this province to protect it horror through every párt, had no other effect against any force the French can bring, and on him, than the miracles of Moses had on the numbers of them are willing and desirous to heart of Pharaoh.
defend their country upon the present occaIf the exposed condition of the province had sion, but they have neither arms, ammunition, before furnished him with topics for levies of nor discipline, without which it will be im| money and troops, and for placing an unlimit- possible to repel an active enemy, whose trade
ed confidence in him their governor, and his is war. I therefore hope, that you will, withfirst movers the proprietaries, he now thought out delay, grant such supplies as may enable it would render hi eloquence irresistible; me not only to secure, the people of this proand at all hazards resolved to make the most vince, but by reinforcing and assisting the of it.
king's troops, enable them to remove the Fear, though most and enfeebler of any of French from their present encroachments. the passions, has the strongest dominion over “ If something very effectual be not done at us; and while we are scarce half of our this time for the safety and security of the selves, it is not to be wondered, that we be- province, the enemy, who know how to make come the property of any body else. the best use of a victory, will strengthen
With a face, and a voice, and whatever themselves in such a manner, that it will be else was suitable for the practice now to be next to impossible for us to remove them.” tried, did the governor now meet the assem In effect, the assembly chose, for this once, bly; and having despatched his text (the de- to be blind to the artificial part of his speech, feat of Braddock) in less than six lines, came and to discharge their own duty in such a at once to use and application in the terms manner, as should leave him, even on his own following: “This unfortunate and unexpect- premises, inexcusable for any failure on his ed change in our affairs, will deeply affect side. every one of his majesty's colonies, but none On the very next day they granted an aid of them in so sensible a manner as this pro- to the crown of fifty thousand pounds; and vince, which, having no militia, is thereby though it is plain by this that they did not left exposed to the cruel incursions of the want a goad, on the next following, when they French and their barbarous Indians, who de- had the ways and means of raising this sum light in shedding human blood, and who make under consideration, the governor, by mes
sage, apprised them that colonel Dunbar,“ We have deliberately and seriously conwith the remainder of the king's forces, had sidered the governor's speech of the twentyreached fort Cumberland ; and that, as soon fourth instant, together with the letters and as his circumstances would admit, he intend- papers he has been pleased to lay before us, ed to continue his march to Philadelphia; and by which we find, that the defeat of the forces, that he had laid these matters before them, under the immediate command of general that they might fall upon measures, as soon as Braddock, and the retreat of colonel Dunpossible, for the protection of the western bar, to fort Cumberland, are attended with frontier.
very shocking circumstances; nevertheless, it But this had not the desired effect; for the gives us real satisfaction, under this unfortuassembly in their reply most rationally suggest- nate and unexpected charge in our affairs, ed, that colonel Dunbar's forces might be em- that this province has seasonably and cheerployed on this service; and requested the fully complied with the demands of the king's governor to make use of his instances accord- forces, and that no part of this unhappy deingly. This he could not refuse; but the feat can be laid to our charge. sequel may show how little desirous he was “ We think it our duty on this occasion to of having the province defended by those be neither parsimonious nor tenacious of such forces.
matters as have been in dispute, and are now The next day, while the house was de- under the consideration of our superiors; but, bating on the ways and means, among which reserving to ourselves all our just rights, we one was known to be taxing the proprietary have resolved to grant fifty thousand pounds estate in proportion with others, a pompous for the king's use, by a tax on all the real and message was sent down, containing an offer personal estates within this province, in which on the part of the proprietaries, of one thou- we shall proceed with all possible despatch ; sand acres of land, west of the Alleghany hoping to meet in the governor the same good mountains, without purchase-money, and for dispositions he so earnestly recommends to us. fifteen years clear of quit-rents, to every co “The governor's call of our house at this lonel who should serve on an expedition from time is agreeable to us, as it impowers us to that or the neighbouring provinces against the exert ourselves yet farther in the service of the French on the Ohio ; seven hundred and our country; and the like opportunity given fifty to each lieutenant-colonel and major ; to the lower counties, under the governor's five hundred to each captain, four hundred to administration, we doubt not will be accepteach lieutenant and ensign, and two hundred able to them, and add their contribution to the to every common soldier; and requiring the common cause, before the time to which they house to afford some assistance to such as stand adjourned." should accept the same.
And now a plain, undefining reader would To make up weight, a letter of intelligence think, that, the danger of the province being from an Indian trader lately returned from so great as the governor had described it, and Canada, whither he had fled to avoid being the disposition of the assembly so sincere to apprehended for killing a man, was sent along provide for its security, the issue of the seswith' this message; and, upon the heels of sion could not but be as happy as the prospect both, a remonstrance (not a petition) was con- was promising. jured up, from sundry inhabitants of the city The very reverse of this, however, happenand county of Philadelphia (emigrants from ed to be the case. The assembly found the the famous borough of Totness it must be proprietaries in possession of an immense espresumed) and presented to the assembly, tate, in lands and quit-rents; this estate was containing a submissive conceit, that one hun- as much endangered as any other estate, and dred thousand pounds was as small a sum as was to be defended in common with the rest; would answer the present exigency; and sig. they did not think the immensity of it gave it nifying the willingness of the presenters to any title to any exemption of any kind, and contribute their proportion of the same, or of they found no such exemption specified in any a larger sum if necessary; not to insist on of their charters. sundry petitions from many of the inhabit Proceeding, therefore, by the rules of reaants of three townships ; and two more from son and equity, as well as policy, they taxed sundry inhabitants of the county of Chester, the whole land alike; and subjected the prowho made it their prayer to be furnished with prietaries, as landholders, to a proportional arms and ammunition for defence of their share of all the claims and impositions, which houses and families.
their deputy would have exempted them from The assembly, in the mean time, with a as governors in chief, and was so strenuous degree of composure and steadiness, which in for imposing on the people alone; and this a higher orbit would be called dignity and one bitter ingredient was mors in olla, death magnanimity, delivered their sentiments and in the pot. The burdens laid by the propriepurposes in one address to the governor, in the taries, or by proprietary power on the profollowing concise but weighty terms: viz. vince, could not be too heavy; but they them
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