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by a ready assent to your laws; and a proprietary governor, shackled by instructions, forbidding him to give that asscnt, unless some private advantage is obtained, some profit got, or unequal exemption gained for their estate, or some privilege wrested from you? When prerogative, that in other governments is only used for the good of the people, is here strained to the extreme, and used to their prejudice, and the proprietaries benefit, can you perceive no difference? When the direct and immediate rays of majesty benignly and mildly shine on all around us, but are transmitted and thrown upon us through the burning-glass of proprietary government, can your sensibilities feel no difference? Sheltered perhaps in proprietary offices, or benumbed with expectations, it may be you cannot.
But surely you might have known better than to tell his majesty," that there can be no governors of this province, without his inmediate approbation.” Don't you know, who know so much, that by our blessed constitution the proprietors themselves, whenever they please, may govern us in person, without such approbation?
The petition proceeds to tell his majesty, “that the particular mode of government which we enjoy, under your majesty, is held in the highest estimation by good men of all denominations among us; and hath brought multitudes of industrious people from various parts of the world,” &c. Really! Can this be from proprietary partizans? That constitution, which they were for ever censuring as defective in a legislative council, defective in government powers, too popular in many of its modes, is it now become so excellent? Perhaps, as they have been tinkering it these twenty years, till they have stripped it of some of its most valuable privileges, o 2
and almost spoiled it, they now begin to like it. But then it is not surely this present constitution, that brought hither those multitudles. They came before. At least it was not that particular in our constitution (ihe proprietary power of appointing a governor) which attracted them, that single particular, which alone is now in question, which our vencrable founder first, and now the assembly, are endeavouring to change. Asto the remaining valuable part of our constitution, the assembly have been equally full and strong in expressing their regard for it, and perhaps stronger and fuller; for their petition, in that respect, is in the nature of a petition of right: it lays claim, though modestly and bumbly, to those privileges on the foundation of royal grants, on laws confirmed by the crown, and on justice and equity, as the grants were the consideration offered to induce them to settle, and which they have in a manner purchased and paid for, by executing that settlement without putting the crown to any expence.
Whoever would know what our constitution was, when it was so much adınired, let him peruse that elegant farewelspeech of Mr. Hamilton, father of our late governor, wlien, as speaker, he took his leave of the house, and of public business, in 1739; and then let him compare that constitution with the present. The power of
арpointing public officers by the representatives of the
people, which lie so much extols, where is it now? Even ilie baro naming to the governor in a bill, a trivial officer to receive a light-house duty (which could be considered as no more than a mere recommendation) is, in a late message, styled, “ an encroachment on the prerogative of the crown!” The sole power of raising and disposing of public money, which he says was then lodged
in the assembly, that incstionable privilege, what is become of it? Inch by inch they have been wrested from us in times of public distress; and the rest are going the same way. I remember to have seen, when governor Hamilton was engaged in a dispute with the assembly on some of those points, a copy of that speech, which then was intended to be reprinted, with a dedication to that honourable gentleman, and this motto from John Rogers's verses in the Primer:
We send you here a little book,
For you to look upon;
Now he is dead and gone.
Many a such little book has been sent by our assemblies to the present proprietaries: but they do not like to see their father's face; it puts their own out of coun
The petition proceeds to say, “ that such disagreements as have arisen in this province, we have beheld with sorrow; but as others around us are not exempted from the like misfortunes, we can by no means conceive them incident to the nature of our government, which hath often been administered with remarkable harmony: and your majesty, before whom our late disputes have been laid, can be at no loss, in your great wisdom, to discover, whether they proceed from the above cause, or should be ascribed to some others." The disagreements in question are proprietary disagreements in government, relating to proprietary private interests. And are not the royal governments around us exempt from these misfortunes? Can you really, gentlemen, by no means conceive, that proprietary government disagrecments are incident to the nature of proprietary govern
your wisdoms are so hard to conceive, I am afraid they will never bring forth. But then our government “ hath often been administered with remarkable harmony.” Very true; as often as the assembly have been able and willing to purchase that harmony, and pay for it, the mode of which has already been shown. And yet that word often seems a little unluckily chosen: the flame that is often put out, must be as often lit. If our government hath often been administered with remarkable harmony, it hath as often becn administered with remarkable discord : one often is as numerous as the other. And his majesty, if he should take the trouble of looking over our disputes (to which the petitioners, to save themselves a little pains, modestly and decently refer him) where will he, for twenty years past, find any but proprietary disputes concerning proprietary interests; or disputes that have been connected with and arose from them?
The petition proceeds to assure his majesty, “ that this province (except from the Indian ravages) enjoys the most perfect internal tranquillity!"--- Amazing! what! the most perfect tranquillity! when there have been three atrocious riots within a few months! when in two of them, horrid murders were committed on twenty innocent persons; and in the third, no less than one hundred and forty like murders were meditated, and dcclared to be intended, with as many more as should be occasioned by any opposition! when we know that these rioters and murderers have none of them been punished, have never been prosecuted, have not even been apprehended! when we are frequently told, that they intend still to execute their purposes, as soon as the protection of the king's forces is withdrawn! Is
our tranquillity more perfect now, than it was between the first riot and the second, or between the second and the third ? And why “except the Indian ravages," is a little intermission to be denominated “ the most perfect tranquillity?" For the Indians too have been quiet lately. Almost as well might ships in an engagement talk of the most perfect tranquillity between two broadsides. But “ a spirit of riot and violence is foreign to the general temper of the inhabitants.” I hope and believe it is; the assembly have said nothing to the contrary. And yet is there not too much of it? Are there not pamphlets continually written, and daily sold in our streets, to justify and encourage it? Are not the mad armed mob in those writings instigated to embrue their hands in the blood of their fellow-citizens, by first applauding their murder of the Indians, and then representing the assembly and their friends as worse than Indians, as having privately stirred up the Indians to murder the white people, and armed and rewarded them for that purpose ? Lies, gentlemen, villanous as ever the malice of hell invented, and which, to do you justice, not one of you believes, though you would have the mob believe them.
But your petition proceeds to say, “ that where such disturbances have happened, they have been speedily quieted.” By whom were they quieted? The two first, if they can be said to be quieted, were quieted only by the rioters themselves going home quietly (that is, without any interruption) and remaining there till their next insurrection, without any pursuit, or attempt to apprehend any of them. And the third, was it quieted, or was the mischief they intended prevented, or could it have been prevented, without the aid of the