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the said country, or of their delegates or deputies;” for the
Nevertheless we unfortunately find, that the proprietaries
Secondly, The representatives of the people, in general assembly met, by virtue of the said royal grant, and the charter of privileges granted by the said William Penn, and a law of this province, have right to, and ought to enjoy all the powers and privileges of an assembly, according to the rights of the free-born subjects of England, and as is usual in any of the plantations in America: [also) it is an indubitable and
now an incontested right of the commons of England, to grant aids and supplies to his majesty in any manner they think most easy to themselves and the people; and they (also] are the sole judges of the measure, manner, and time of granting and raising the same.
Nevertheless the proprietaries of this province, in contempt of the said royal grant, proprietary charter, and law of their colony, designing to subvert the fundamentals of this constitution, to deprive the assembly and people of their rights and privileges, and to assume an arbitrary and tyrannical power over the liberties and properties of his majesty's liege subjects, have so restrained the governors by the despotic instructions (which are not to be varied from, and are particularly directory in the framing and passing of moneybills and supplies to his majesty, as to the mode, measure, and time) that it is impossible for the assembly, should they lose all sense of their most essential rights, and comply with those instructions, to grant sufficient aids for the defence of this his majesty's province from the common enemy.
Thirdly, in pursuance of sundry acts of general assem-: bly, approved of by the crown, [and] a natural right inherent in every man antecedent to all laws, the assemblies of this province have had the power of disposing of the public monies, that have been raised for the encouragement of trade and support of government, by the interest money arising by the loan of the bills of credit and the excise. No part of these monies was ever paid by the proprietaries, or ever raised on their estates; and therefore they can have no pretence of right to a voice in the disposition of them. They have ever been applied with prudent frugality to the honor and advantage of the public, and the king's immediate service, to the general approbation of the people : the credit of the government has been preserved, and the debts of the public punctually discharged. In short, no inconveniencies but great and many advantages have accrued, from the assembly's prudent care and management of these funds.
Yet the proprietaries resolved to deprive the assemblies of the power and means of supporting an agent in England,
and of prosecuting their complaints and remonstrating their aggrievances, when injured and oppressed, to his majusty and his parliament; and to rob them of this natural right (which has been so often approved of by their gracious sovereign) have, by their said instructions, prohibited their governor from giving his assent to any laws emitting or reemitting any paper-currency or bills of credit, or for raising money by excise or any other method ; unless the governor or commander in chief for the time being, by clauses to be inserted therein, has a negative in the disposition of the monies arising thereby; let the languishing circumstances of our trade be ever so great, and a further or greater medium be ever so necessary for its support.
Fourthly, By the laws and statutes of England, the chief rents, honors, and castles of the crown are taxed, and pay their proportion to the supplies that are granted to the king for the defence of the realm and support of government: his majesty, the nobility of the realm, and all the British subjects, do now actually contribute their proportion towards the defence of America in general, and this province in particular; and it is in a more especial manner the duty of the proprietaries to pay their proportion of a tax, for the immediate preservation of their own estates, in this province. To exempt
therefore any part of their estates from their reasonable part of this necessary burthen, it is unjust as it is illegal, and as new as it is arbitrary.
Yet the proprietaries, notwithstanding the general danger to which the nation and its colonies are exposed, and great distress of this province in particular, by their said instructions, have prohibited their governors from passing laws for the raising supplies for its defence; unless all their located, unimproved, and unoccupied lands, quit-rents, fines, and purchase monies on interest (the much greater part of their enormous estates in this colony) are expressly exempted from paying any part of the tax.
Fifthly, by virtue of the said royal charter, the proprietaries are invested with a power of doing every thing “which unto a complete establishment of justice, unto courts and
tribunals, forms of judicature, and manner of proceedings, do belong.” It was certainly the import and design of this grant, that the courts of judicature should be formed, and the judges and officers thereof hold their commissions, in a manner not repugnant, but agreeable to the laws and customs of England; that thereby they might remain free from the influence of persons in power, the rights of the people might be preserved, and their properties effectually secured. That by the guarantee, William Penn (understanding the said grant in this light) did, by his original frame of government, covenant and grant with the people, that the judges and other officers should hold their commissions during their good ben haviour, and no longer.
Notwithstanding which, the governors of this province have, for many years past, granted all the commissions to the judges of the king's bench or supreme court of this province, and to the judges of the court of common pleas of the several counties, to be held during their will and pleasure ; by means whereof, the said judges being subject to the influence and directions of the proprietaries and their governors, their favorites and creatures, the laws may not be duly administered or executed, but often wrested from their true sense, to serve particular purposes ; the foundation of justice may be liable to be destroyed; and the lives, laws, liberties, priviliges, and properties of the people thereby rendered precarious and altogether insecure ; to the great disgrace of our laws, and the inconceivable injury of his majesty's subjects.
Your committee further beg leave to add, that besides these aggrievances, there are other hardships the people of this province have experienced, that call for redress: The inlistment of servants, without the least satisfaction being made to the masters, has not only prevented the cultivation of our lands, and diminished the trade and commerce of the province, but is a burthen extremely unequal and oppressive to individuals. And should the practice continue, the consequence must prove very discouraging to the further settlement of this colony, and prejudicial to his majesty's fu. ture service.- Justice, therefore, demands, that satisfaction
should be made to the masters of such inlisted servants; and that the right of masters to their servants be confirmed and settled But as those servants have been inlisted into his majesty's service for the general defence of America, and not of this province only, but all the colonies, and the nation in general, have and will receive equal benefit from their service; this satisfaction should be made at the expence of the nation, and not of the province only.
That the people now labour under a burthen of taxes, almost insupportable by so young a colony, for the defence of its long-extended frontier, of about two hundred miles from New Jersey to Maryland ; without either of those colonies, or the three lower counties on Delaware, contributing their proportion thereto; though their frontiers are in a great measure covered and protected by our forts. And should the war continue, and with it this unequal burthen, many of his majesty's subjects in this province will be reduced to want, and the province, if not lost to the enemy, involved in debt, and sunk under its load.
That notwithstanding this weight of taxes, the assemblies of this province have given to the general service of the nation, five thousand pounds to purchase provisions for the troops under general Braddock; two thousand nine hundred and eighty-five pounds and eleven pence for clearing a road by his orders; ten thousand five hundred and fourteen pounds ten shillings and a penny to general Shirley, for the purchasing provisions for the New England forces; and expended the sum of two thousand three hundred and eighty-five pounds and two pence halfpenny in supporting the inhabitants of Nova Scotia ; which likewise we conceive ought to be a national expence.
And that his majesty's subjects, the merchants and insurers in England, as well as the merchants here and elsewhere, did during the last, and will during the present war, greatly suffer in their property, trade, and commerce, by the enemy's privateers on this coast, and at our capes, unless some method be fallen on to prevent it.