ePub 版

to remain here for life, and to give a home to his family and his pôsterity in the New World. But his work was accomplished. Divesting himself and his successors of all power to injure, he had founded a democracy. By the necessity of the case, he remained its feudal sovereign ; for it was only as such that he could have granted or could maintain the charter of colonial liberties. His resignation would have been a surrender of the colony to the crown. But time and the people would remove the inconsistency. And now, having given freedom and popular power to his provinces, no strifes remaining but strifes about property, happily for himself, happily for his people, happily for posterity, he departed from the “ young countrie” of his affections, and exiled himself to the birth-place of his fathers. For the separation of the territories, contingent pro

vision had been made by the proprietary. In 1702, 1702. Pennsylvania convened its legislature apart, and the two colonies were never again united. The lower counties became at once almost an independent democracy; for, as the authority of the proprietary was one of suffer

ance merely, and was often brought into question, 1708. the executive power intrusted to the governor of Pennsylvania was too feeble to limit the power of the people. Delaware had its own legislature, its own tribunals, its own subordinate executive offices, and virtually enjoyed an absolute self-government. 1701. The subsequent years in Pennsylvania exhibit con1710. stant collisions between the proprietary, as owner of the unappropriated public territory, and a people eager to enlarge their freeholds. The scoldings of David Lloyd may be consigned to oblivion ; the integrity of the mildly aristocratic James Logan, to whose judicious care the proprietary estates were intrusted, has preserved its purity unsullied by the accusations or impeachments of the assembly. Strifes also existed on political questions. The end of government was declared to be the happiness of the people, and from this maxim the duties of the governor were derived. But the organization of the judiciary was the subject of longest controversy. That the tenure of the

judicial office should be the will of the people, was °• claimed as “the people's right.” The rustic legislators insisted on their right to institute the judiciary, fix the rules of court, define judicial power with precision, and by request displace judges for misbehaviour. Neither would they, even in the highest courts, have English lawyers for judges. “Men skilled in the law," said they,

" of good integrity, are very desirable ; yet we in1700. cline to be content with the best men the colony affords.” And the courts obtained no permanent organization till the accession of the house of Hanover. The civil constitution included feudalism and democracy; from this there could be no escape but through the sovereignty of the people. Twice, indeed, the province had almost become a royal one-once by act of parliament, and once by treaty. But, in England, a real regard for the sacrifices and the virtues of William Penn gained him friends among English statesmen; and the malice of the pestilent English office-seekers, of Quarry, and the men employed in enforcing the revenue laws, valuing a colony only by the harvest it offered of emoluments and jobs, and ever ready to appeal selfishly to the crown, the church, or English trade, was never able to overthrow his influence. His poverty, consequent on his disinterested labours, created a willingness to surrender his province to the crown ; but he insisted on preserving the colonial liberties, and the crown hardly cared to buy a democracy. If the violent conflicts of the assembly, in their eagerness to engross all authority, and gain control over the questions of property between the province and its proprietary, seemed sometimes to compel a surrender of his powers of government, yet the bare apprehension of such à result always brought the colonists to a gentler temper.

Thus did Penn perfect his government. An executive dependent for its support on the people ; all subordinate executive officers elected by the people; the judiciary dependent for its existence on the people; all legislation originating exclusively with the people ; no forts, no armed police, no militia ; perfect freedom of opinion ; no established church; no difference of rank ; and a harbour opened for the reception of all mankind, of children of every language and every creed; could it be that the invisible power of reason would be able to order and to restrain, to punish crime and to protect property ? Would not confusion, discord, and rapid ruin successively follow such a government? Or was it a conceivable thing, that, in a country without army, without militia, without forts, and with no sheriffs but those elected by the rabble, with

their liberty shouts, wealth and population should in. crease, and the spectacle be given of the happiest and most prosperous land ?

In New Jersey, had the proprietary power been vested in the people, or reserved to one man, it would have survived; but it was divided among speculators in land, who, as a body, had gain, and not freedom, for their end.

In April, 1688, “ the proprietors of East New Jersey had surrendered their pretended right of government," and the surrender had been accepted. In October of the same year, the council of the proprietaries, not of the people, of West New Jersey, voted to surrender to the secretary-general for the dominion of New England, “all records relating to government." Thus the whole province fell, with New York and New England, under the consolidated government of Andros. At the revolution, therefore, the sovereignty over New Jersey was merged in the crown; and the legal maxim, soon promulgated by the lords of trade, that the domains of the proprietaries might be bought and sold, but not their executive power, weakened their attempts at the restoration of their authority.

Will you know with how little government a community of husbandmen may be safe? For twelve years, the whole province was not in a settled condition. From June, 1689, to August, 1692, East New Jersey had no government whatever, being, in time of war, without military officers, as well as without magistrates ; and afterwards commissions were issued by two sets of proprietors, of which each had its adherents; while a third party, swayed by disgust at the confusion, and also by disputes about land titles, rejected the proprietaries altogether. In

for the western moiety, Daniel Coxe, as largest owner of 1039. the domain, claimed exclusive proprietary powers; yet the people disallowed his claim, rejecting his deputy under the bad name of a Jacobite. In 1691, Coxe conveyed such authority as he had to the West Jersey Society; and in 1692, Andrew Hamilton was accepted in the colony as governor under their commission. Thus did em West New Jersey continue, with a short interruption

94. in 1698, till the government was surrendered. But the law officers of the crown questioned even the tem1702.

porary settlement, and the lords of trade claimed New

an Jersey as a royal province, and they proposed a 1099. settlement of the question by“ a trial in Westminster Hall on a feigned issue.” The proprietaries, threatened

with the ultimate interference of parliament, in re1702. spect to provinces “where,” it was said, “no regular government had ever been established,” resolved rather to resign their pretensions. In the first year of Queen Anne, the surrender took place before the privy council.

It is worthy of remark, that the domain, ceasing to be connected with proprietary powers, remained, under the rules of private right, safe to its possessors, and was never confiscated. After the revolution, even to the present time, their rights have been respected like other titles to estates. So true it is, that the separation of private property from political questions tends to its security.

The surrender of “the pretended ”rights to government being completed, the two Jerseys were united in one province; and the government was conferred on Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, who, like Queen Anne, was the grandchild of Clarendon.

New Jersey neve again obtained a charter: the royal commission and the royal instructions to Lord Cornbury constituted the form of its administration. To the governor appointed by the crown belonged the power of legislation, with consent of the royal council and the representatives of the people. A freehold, or property qualification, limited the elective franchise. The governor could convene, prorogue, or dissolve the assembly at his will, and the period of its duration depended on his pleasure. The laws were subject to an immediate veto from the governor, and a veto from the crown, to be exercised at any time. The governor, with the consent of his council, instituted courts of law, and appointed their officers. The people took no part in constituting the judiciary. Liberty of conscience was granted to all but Papists, but favour was invoked for the Church of England. - At the same time, its prosperity was made impossible by investing the governor with the right of presentation to benefices.

In suits at law, the governor and council formed a court of appeal ; if the value in dispute exceeded two hundred pounds, the English privy council possessed ultimate jurisdiction. Two instructions mark, one a declining


bigotry, the other an increasing interest. “Great incon. venience,” says Queen Anne, “may arise by the liberty of printing in our province” of New Jersey; and therefore, no printing press might be kept, “no book, pamphlet, or other matters whatsoever, be printed without a license.” And, in conformity with English policy, especial countenance of the traffic “in merchantable negroes " was earnestly enjoined. Thus the courts, the press, the executive, became dependent on the crown, and the interests of free labour were sacrificed to the cupidity of the Royal African Company.

One method of influence remained to the people of New Jersey. The assembly must fix the amount of its grants to the governor. The queen did not venture to prescribe, or to invite parliament to prescribe, a salary, still less, herself to concede it from colonial resources. Urgent that all appropriations should be made directly for the use of the crown, to be audited by her officers, she wished a fixed revenue to be settled ; but the colonial de. liberations were respected, and the wise assembly, which never established a permanent revenue, often embarrassed its votes of supplies by insisting on an auditor of its own.

The freemen of the colony were soon conscions of the diminution of their liberties. For absolute religious freedom, they obtained only toleration ; for courts resting on enactments of their own representatives, they now had courts instituted by royal ordinances; and the sense of their loss quickened their love of freedom by an undefined sentiment of having suffered a wrong. By degrees they claimed to hold their former privileges by the nature of an inviolable compact. The surrender of their charter could change the authority of the proprietaries, but not impair their concessions of political liberties. Inured to self-reliance and self-government, no thought of independence sprung up among them ; but the Quakers and Puritans of East and West New Jersey, cordially joining to vindicate their common liberties, never feared an encounter with a royal governor, and were ever alert to resist encroachments on their rights.

Retaining its own legislature, New Jersey was, for a season, included in the same government with New York. The first governor of West New Jersey had been the peaceful Thomas Olive, who, as a magistrate, had quietly

« 上一頁繼續 »