ePub 版

“For every male above the age of ten years, captured, $150 ; scalped, being killed, $134; for every female Indian enemy, and every male under the age of ten years, captured, $130; for every female above the age of ten years, scalped, being killed, $50 !” “O! quam mutatus ab illo !

Bouquet's expedition to the Muskingum, in the autumn of 1764, overawed the Indians, who sued for peace. The Delawares, Shawanees, and Senecas agreed to cease hostilities, and surrendered a great number of prisoners taken during the recent wars. The return of these prisoners, many of whom were children, carried joy to many an anxious heart in Pennsylvania. Some of the prisoners had formed attachments among the Indians which they were loth to break.

The first application to the assembly for supplies revived the old controversy with the proprietaries. Indeed, harmony was scarcely to be expected between one of the proprietary family as governor, on one side, and Dr. Franklin, the champion of equal rights and equal burdens, in the assembly, on the other. That the proprietary estates were to be taxed, was a question settled; but how, and upon what basis they were to be assessed, was a subject of controversy, and the proprietaries, as usual, leaned strongly to their own interests. The assembly were compelled to yield to the necessities of the province, and the supplies were granted ; but the conduct of the governor so incensed the assembly, that they determined, by a large majority, to petition the king to purchase the jurisdiction of the province from the proprietors, and vest the government directly in the crown. This petition, drawn up by Franklin, set forth in a strong light the increasing property, and its consequence, the increasing power of the proprietaries, and the danger to be apprehended from the existence of such a third power intervening between the crown and the people, and frustrating the designs of both, by refusing to contribute their just proportion of the public burdens. Here was a most important step towards the revolution. To break down the feudal power, and bring the people and the crown in direct communication, is in all countries the first great step towards popular freedom, and prepares the way for the next step, the direct conflict between the crown and the people. It so happened, however, that in this case the avarice of the British ministry outran the anti-feudal propensities of the people, and brought the colonies at once to the last great struggle between the people and the crown. There was much opposition from leading men in the province against throwing off the proprietary dominion. Isaac Norris, the venerable speaker, John Dickinson, afterwards distinguished in the revolution, and Rev. Gilbert Tennant, and Rev. Francis Allison, representing the Presbyterian interest, with William Allen, chief-justice, and afterwards fatherin-law of Governor Penn, were strong in opposition to the measure. The Quakers, on the other hand, supported it, and it was sustained by several successive assemblies. Dr. Franklin was appointed provincial agent to urge the measure before the ministry in London. He sailed for England November 1, 1764, and found on his arrival that he had to contend with a power far stronger and more obstinate than the proprietors themselves; even with the very power whose protection he had come to seek.

The British ministry, awakened by the events of the late war to the growing wealth of the colonies, were tempted to look to that wealth as an object of taxation, for the double purpose of replenishing the exhausted

coffers of the mother country, and of adding to her pampered monopolies the exclusive trade and manufacture for colonial consumption. This involved the great question of the propriety of taxing a people without their consent, and without allowing them a representation in the parliament laying the tax-the great question of the American revolution. The methods of assessing the tax and securing the monopoly in trade and manufacture, involved petty vexations and grievances, felt by every individual, and enlisting his cooperation in resistance. The proprietary controversies were lost sight of in the great struggle, which created new lines of party division. Dr. Franklin, as agent for all the American colonies, labored earnestly, but in vain, to avert these fatal measures. The odious stamp act was passed on the 22d March, 1765. Franklin wrote to Charles Thompson on this occasion, " The sun of liberty is set, you must light up the candles of industry and economy.” Mr. Thompson was apprehensive that other lights would be the consequence.” Dr. Franklin, with a view to place the execution of the act in proper hands, got his friend, John Hughes, nominated as stamp officer at Philadelphia. On the arrival at Philadelphia, in October, 1765, of the stamps from England, the vessels hoisted their colors at half-mast ; bells were muffled, and thousands of citizens assembled in a state of great excitement. Mr. Hughes was called on to resign his commission ; but he only agreed for the present not to perform the duties of the office. The inhabitants, determining not to encourage monopoly, determined to manufacture for themselves. This touched a vital chord in Great Britain, and the clamors of her own manufacturers were raised in opposition to the oppressive acts. The stamp act was repealed on 18th March, 1765; but the right of taxation by parliament was reaffirmed.

The lawless white men on the frontiers continued to encroach upon the Indian lands, and to provoke hostilities by atrocious murders of inoffensive Indians. Another savage war menaced the province in 1767–68, but was prevented by the timely intervention of Sir William Johnson. At his suggestion a great council was held at Fort Stanwix, in New York, at which all grievances were adjusted; and a treaty was made, November 5, 1768, with the Six Nations, which conveyed to the proprietors all the land within a boundary extending from the New York line on the Susquehanna, past Towanda and Pine creek, up the West Branch, over to Kittanning and thence down the Ohio. This was then called the new purchase, and opened a wide field of adventure to the hardy pioneers of Pennsylvania. It was a vast school too, in which some of the bravest soldiers of the subsequent wars were reared.

The revolution moved onward. Parliament still asserted its supremacy, and resolved to try a different mode of taxation. Duties were imposed on goods imported from Great Britain ; but the colonies would accede to no measure that proposed to tax them without their consent. John Dickinson published a series of able letters signed “A Farmer,” showing the extreme danger to the liberties of the colonists of acquiescing in any precedent that should establish the right of parliamentary taxation. Massachusetts addressed a circular to the colonies, setting forth their grievances, and recapitulating the arguments against the proposed tax. Gov. Penn had orders from the secretary of colonial affairs to enjoin the assembly to disregard this circular as factious, and of dangerous tendency,

and to prorogue the assembly, should they countenance it. The assembly resolved that they had a right to sit on their own adjournments, and to correspond with the other colonies concerning the general welfare; and they seconded cordially a recommendation from Virginia for a union of the colonies, to obtain, by respectful representations to his majesty, a redress of grievances. In 1769 the taxes were greatly reduced, and in 1770 were abolished, except three-pence per pound upon tea. It was the principle, however, and not the amount of the tax, against which the colonists contended; and they now brought their non-importation agreements to bear upon the tea tax. In Pennsylvania the duty was paid on only a single chest of tea.

The assembly continued to urge their agents in London to protest against the tea tax, or any other involving the same principle; and also to oppose any plan that might be proposed for an American representation in parliament: the principle of Pennsylvania being, that taxation of the colonies should not in any shape be allowed, except by the provincial assembly.

The rights of Pennsylvania were now attacked from a different quarter. A civil war, on a small scale, had been carried on, for some years, in the Wyoming valley, between the claimants under the proprietary titles, and a company of adventurous colonists from Connecticut, who claimed under the ancient charter granted in 1620 to the Plymouth Company by King James I. This grant comprehended all the territory lying in the same latitude with Connecticut and Massachusetts, as far west as the Pacific Ocean, not previously settled by other Christian powers. The Connecticut people had settled on the lands at Wyoming as early as 1762. In 1768, the proprietary government, having obtained the land by the treaty of Fort Stanwix, laid out the valley in manors, and encouraged settlers to build and cultivate there. A brisk little war immediately ensued; forts were built and attacked; settlements were burned, and goods and cattle carried away, as one or the other party prevailed. And even a small army of seven hundred men, in December, 1775, under the sheriff of Northumberland county, were vigorously attacked and repulsed by the Connecticut men at the Nanticoke falls, in a narrow defile where the river breaks through the mountains.

In view of an opposition so formidable, and of the bloodshed and distress that must necessarily follow the expulsion by force of a body of settlers so numerous, and so firmly planted, Pennsylvania wisely forbore to assert her claims, and determined to wait a favorable opportunity for submitting the question to an umpire. The details will be found under the head of Luzerne county.

The strife between the Connecticut men and the Pennsylvanian claimants annoyed the Moravian Indian settlement at Wyalusing, on the Susquehanna, and caused them to remove in a body to the Ohio, near Beaver.

In 1771, John Penn having returned to England, Mr. James Hamilton administered for a short time as president of the council, until the arrival of Richard Penn (younger brother of John) as lieutenant-governor, in the autumn of the same year. Richard Penn's administration only continued until the return of his brother John, in September, 1773 ; but he appears during that short term to have won the sincere affections of his

fellow-citizens, and to have been on courteous and harmonious terms with the assembly. The citizens of Philadelphia gave him a splendid banquet on his retirement.

It is remarkable that Pennsylvania, bounded on one end by a broad river, and on the other end and the two sides by long straight lines of longitude and latitude, should be so often engaged in disputes concerning her boundaries. In 1774 Lord Dunmore, of Virginia, set up the unfounded pretension that the western boundary of Pennsylvania did not include Pittsburg and the Monongahela river, and many settlers were encouraged to take up lands on Virginia warrants. He even took possession of Fort Pitt, by his agent Conolly, on the withdrawal of the royal troops by order of General Gage. Even General Washington, who knew that country so well, and had taken up much land in it, entertained the idea probably at that date, that what are now the counties of Fayette, Greene, and Washington, were in Virginia. Some of these new settlers were of the worst class of frontier men, and two of them, Cresap and Greathouse, were concerned in the barbarous murder of the family of Logan, "the friend of the white man.” A bloody war upon the frontier was the consequence of these murders ; but Pennsylvania, by timely conciliatory measures through Sir Wm. Johnson, escaped the ravages of that war. Gov. Penn promptly repelled the intruders under the Virginia titles, arrested and imprisoned Conolly, and kept in pay for some months the rangers of Westmoreland county, who had rallied for the defence of the frontier. Lord Dunmore's war against the western Indians followed the attack on the frontiers of Virginia.

In 1773 a new era commenced in the American revolution. The perverse determination of parliament to tax the colonies was again manifested. So long as the Americans refrained from all importations of tea, Great Britain might solace herself with the ideal right of taxation, without danger of provoking collision in the colonies. But to test the right by actual exercise, parliament encouraged the East India Company to make a forced exportation of tea to each of the principal ports in the colonies. This insidious attempt upon their liberties aroused the indignation of the colonists from New Hampshire to Georgia. At Boston, the tea was thrown overboard by the people. At Charleston, it was allowed to rot in a damp warehouse. The consignees in Philadelphia, New York, and several other places, were compelled to relinquish their appointments; and the commanders of the ships, finding no one to receive their cargoes, returned to England. The course of Pennsylvania was bold and firm, but temperate. A meeting at Philadelphia passed resolutions denouncing the duty on tea as a tax laid without their consentlaid for the express purpose of establishing the right to tax-and asserting that this method of providing a revenue for the support of government, the administration of justice, and defence of the colonies, had a direct tendency to render assemblies useless, and to introduce arbitrary government and slavery—and that steady opposition to this plan was necessary, to preserve even the shadow of liberty. They denounced all who should aid in landing or selling the tea as enemies to their country, and enjoined the consignees to resign their appointment.

The indignation of Great Britain poured itself out exclusively upon Boston, where the opposition had been most violent. That port was closed,

and its privileges transferred to Salem. The people of all the colonies sympathized with the people of Boston, and made common cause with them in denouncing this new act of oppression. The people of Philadelphia recommended to those of Boston that all lenient measures for their relief should at first be tried-assuring them, at the same time, that " the people of Pennsylvania would continue firmly to adhere to the cause of American liberty."

The governor was requested to convene the assembly. This of course was refused ; but the people in those days were never at a loss for methods of popular action. A mass meeting of the people, consisting of nearly eight thousand, assembled on the 18th June, 1774, of which John Dickinson and Thomas Willing were chairmen. This meeting recommended a continental congress, and appointed a committee to correspond with the counties, and with the other colonies, in relation to the appointment of deputies to a general congress, and also to raise a subscription for the sufferers at Boston. A convention of deputies from all the counties of the province assembled at Philadelphia on the 15th July, and passed a great number of patriotic resolutions ;-and among others, “ that they owed allegiance to George the Third ; and that they ardently desired the restoration of their ancient harmony with the mother country, on the principles of the constitution—that the inhabitants of the colonies were entitled to the same rights and liberties within the colonies, as subjects born in England were entitled to within that realm.” They also instructed the assembly, soon about to convene, pointing out the course to be taken by them in the present crisis, and enjoining upon them to appoint deputies to a general colonial congress. These instructions were drawn by John Dickinson, and were presented to the assembly by the convention in a body. The following extract shows the spirit that animated the patriots of that day:

“Honor, justice, and humanity, call upon us to hold, and to transmit to our posterity, that liberty which we received from our ancestors. It is not our duty to leave wealth to our children, but it is our duty to leave liberty to them. No infamy, iniquity, or cruelty can exceed our own, if we, born and educated in a country of freedom, entitled to its blessings, and knowing their value, pusillanimously deserting the post assigned us by Divine Providence, surrender succeeding generations to a condition of wretchedness from which no human efforts, in all probability, will be sufficient to extricate them,—the experience of all states mournfully demonstrating to us, that when arbitrary power has been established over them, even the wisest and bravest nations that ever flourished have, in a few years, degenerated into abject and wretched vassals.

To us, therefore, it appears at this alarming period our duty to God, to our country, to our. selves, and to our posterity, to exert our utmost ability in promoting and establishing harmony between Great Britain and these colonies, ON A CONSTITUTIONAL FOUNDATION."

Thus, with loyalty on their lips, but with the spirit of resistance in their hearts, did these patriots push forward the revolution. The assembly promptly responded to the instructions, by appointing Joseph Galloway, (the speaker,) Samuel Rhoads, Thomas Mifflin, Charles Humphries, George Ross, Edward Biddle, and subsequently John Dickinson, as delegates from Pennsylvania to the congress to be held in Philadelphia in September, 1774.

Peyton Randolph was chosen president of congress, and Charles Thompson secretary. This congress recommended sympathy and aid to the people of Boston; approved of their resistance to the oppressive port-bill; adopted resolutions prohibiting the importation of goods from Great Britain and dependencies after

the ensuing December, and all exports to

« 上一頁繼續 »