CHAP. XVII.

 

The Assembly's reply to Lord Cornbury's letter to their remonstrance.

 

The assembly did not immediately go upon the consideration of a reply,

having before them the treasurer, Peter Fauconier's accounts, in which

they found many articles extraordinary in their nature, several of them

being paid by Cornbury's order barely, and the whole without vouchers;

they sent for him; he attending, refused to lay his vouchers before them

without the governor's commands; two members were sent to the governor, to

desire him to order the treasurer to lay the vouchers of his accounts, and

the orders for the payment of the sums therein mentioned before them; the

governor said, he had already ordered it, though it was what he could not

legally do, because the lord high treasurer had appointed an auditor

general for the province, and he not being in it, had deputed one to audit

the accounts, and that the treasurer was accountable only to the lord high

treasurer; but if the house was dissatisfied with any articles in the

accounts, and thought proper to apply to him, he would satisfy them: This

was not done; and the accounts, extraordinary as they were, remained

unsettled 'till Hunter's administration several years after. Several bills

of consequence were now also under consideration; but Cornbury,

apprehensive, that if he suffered the sessions to continue much longer, it

would produce something not to his advantage, on the 16th adjourn'd the

house 'till the next September, to meet him at Amboy. In the October

following they met accordingly: The first thing now concluded on, was a

reply to the foregoing auswer to their remonstrance; next place, they

resolved N. C. D. that they would raise no money 'till the governor

consented to redress the grievances of the country; which if he did, they

would raise .1500, for support of government for one year.

 

On the 28th, the house sent a committee to acquaint the governor, that

having seen his answer to their remonstrance in print, they thought fit to

make a reply to it, and desired to know when he would admit them to wait

on him with it; the governor said, he would return an answer in due time;

they waited for his message 'till next day, and then concluding he

intended to elude giving them opportunity of presenting, it, sent a

committee with it, but he would not receive it;1 upon which they ordered

it to be entered in their journal, as follows:

 

"May it please your excellency,

 

"WE, the representatives of this her majesty's province of New-Jersey,

finding her majesty's subjects greatly, and as we are very well satisfied

with good reason, aggrieved; thought we could not answer the trust reposed

in us by our country, should we not endeavour to get those hardships

removed under which they labour.

 

"It was needless to hunt after imaginary grievances, real ones in too

great numbers presenting themselves; and though from you we have missd of

obtaining that relief that the justice of our complaints intituled us to;

yet we do not dispair of being heard by her sacred majesty, at whose royal

feet we shall in the humblest manner lay an account of our sufferings; and

however contemptible we are, or are endeavoured to be made appear, we are

persuaded her majesty will consider us as the representatives of the

province of New-Jersey, who must better know, what are the grievances of

the country they represent, than a governor can do, who regularly ought to

receive informations of that kind from them; and we do not doubt that

glorious queen will make her subjects here as easy and happy as she can.

 

"When we told your excellency, we had reason to think some of our

sufferings were very much owing to your excellency's long absence from

this province, which rendered it very difficult to apply to your lordship

in some cases that might need a present help, we spoke truth; and

notwithstanding all your excellency has said of a months or twelve weeks

in a year, and the weekly going of a post; we cannot be perswaded to

believe, that nine months and upwards in a year, is not a long absence,

especially when the seal of the province is carried and kept out of the

government all that time; and the honourable colonel Ingoldsby, the

lieutenant governor, so far from doing right, that he declined doing any

act of government at all; whether he governs himself by your excellency's

directions or not, we cannot tell; but sure we are, that this province

being as it were without government for above nine months in a year, we

must still think it a great grievance, and not made less so by carrying

the seal of the province to New-York, and laying her majesty's subjects

under a necessity of applying from the remotest part of this province, for

three parts of the year and better, to your excellency at fort Ann, in New-

York, from which place most of the commissions and patents granted during

your excellency's absence, are dated, (by what authority we shall not

enquire) notwithstanding a lieutenant governor resides in the province,

and is by her majesty's commission impowered to execute the queen's

letters patents, and the powers therein contained, during your

excellency's absence from this province of New-Jersey; without which

powers given and duly executed, a lieutenant governor is useless and an

unnecessary charge; and we cannot think, that her sacred majesty, who

honoured that gentleman with so great a mark of her royal favour, as

giving him a commission for lieutenant governor of New-Jersey, did at the

same time inhibit him from executing the powers therein exprest.

 

"Things are sometimes best illustrated by their contraries; and

perhaps the most effectual way to convince the world, that this complaint

is frivolous and untrue, as by your excellency alledged, would be, for

your excellency to bring the seal of the province of New-York to

Burlington, keep it there, and do all the acts of government relating to

the province of New-York, at Burlington, in New-Jersey, for about three

fourths of a year, and let the lieutenant governor reside at New-York

during that time, without doing any act of government, adjourn their

assemblies on the very day, or day before they are to meet, that they may

not lose the advantage of travelling to New-York, from the remotest part

of that province, and at a time when it cannot be done without the utmost

prejudice to their affairs; it's hardly probable they would be pleased

under such an administration, notwithstanding the ease of informing your

excellency every week by the post, of any emergency that might happen.

 

"We are apt to believe, upon the credit of your excellency's assertion,

that there may be a number of people in this province who will never be

faithful to, or live quietly under any government, nor suffer their

neighbours to enjoy any peace, quiet nor happiness, if they can help

it; such people are pests in all govemments, have ever been so in this,

and we know of none who can lay a fairer claim to these characters than

many of your excellency's favorites.

 

"What malice and revenge were in the prosecution of the condemned persons,

we don't know; we never heard of any 'till now, and hardly can be

persuaded to believe it's possible there should be in both the instances.

 

"It is not impossible, there might be malice in the prosecution of the

woman who was condemned for poisoning her husband; there not being (as is

said) plain proof of the fact, but it was proved she had attempted it

before more than once; and there were so many other concurring

circumstances as did induce the jury, who were of the neighbourhood (and

well knew her character) to find her guilty, and it is hardly probable

their so doing was an act of malice.

 

"The woman who murdered her own child, did it in such a manner, and so

publickly, that it is unreasonable to suppose there could be any malice in

the prosecution of her, and we cannot think (notwithstanding your

excellency's assertions) that you can or may believe there was. This woman

was a prisoner in the sheriff's custody for breach of the peace, and going

about some of the household affairs the sheriff employed her in, with a

knife in her hand, her child who was something froward, followed her

crying; upon which the mother turned back to it and cut its throat; but

not having cut it deep enough, the child still followed her all bloody,

and crying, O! mother you have hurt me; the mother turned back a second

time, and out it effectually, and then took it up and carried it to the

sheriff or his wife, at whose feet she laid it: How far such a wretch is

entitled to the queen's favour, her majesty can best tell, when she is

made acquainted with the fact; but sure we are, she never gave your

excellency the power of pardoning wilful murder:

 

Whether your excellency has or has not reprieved them, you best know,

and are only accountable to her majesty for your procedures therein; tho'

we have too much reason to believe, the favourable opinion your excellency

has so publickly expressed of her, has been a great reason to induce her

to make her escape, which she has done. ---- We thought it our duty,

humbly to represent that matter to your excellency's consideration, and

had reason to be apprehensive of the judgments of almighty God, whose

infinite mercy has hitherto suspended the execution of his justice,

notwithstanding that great provocations have been given him, by impiety,

prophaneness and debauchery, under the mask of a pretended zeal for his

glory, and love for his church: It is not our business to enter into

religious controversies; we leave them to divines, who ought best to

understand things of that nature, and who may perhaps inform us what is

meant by denying the very essence of the saviour of the world.

 

"We cannot yet be persuaded, that an innocent person should pay fees; what

the practice in England is, we did never enquire, but believe, that

persons acquitted by a grand jury, do not pay those extravagant fees they

are made to pay here; we did not govern ourselves by the practice there,

but the unreasonableness of the thing; and your excellency does grant,

that what we say is in some measure to be allowed, were the juries in this

country such as they ought to be; we hope they are, and our experience has

not convinced us, that persons who under pretence of conscience refuse an

oath, have yet no regard for the oaths they take, as your excellency says.

The temptations to resentment prove often too powerful, and irresistably

engage us in unbecoming heats, and when the characters of men are written

with pens too deeply dipt in gall, it only evinces a want of temper in the

writer. Our juries here are not so learned or rich as perhaps they are in

England; but we doubt not full as honest. We thought the only office for

probate of wills was at Burlington; but your excellency has convinced us,

that it is wherever your excellency is, and consequently may be at York,

Albany, the east end of Long-Island, or in Connecticut, or New-England, or

any place more remote should your excellency's business or inclination call

you there; which is so far from making it less a grievance, that it rather

makes it more so; and notwithstanding those soft, cool, and considerate

terms of malicious, scandalous and frivolous, with which your excellency

vouchsafes to treat the assembly of this province; they are of opinion,

that no judicious or impartial men, will think it reasonable, that the

inhabitants of one province should go into another to have their wills

proved, and take letters of administration at Fort Ann, from the governor

of New-York, for what should regularly be done by the governor of

New-Jersey in Jersey, to which place all the acts of government relating

to New-Jersey, are limited by the queen's letters patents under the great

seal of England; and when your excellency is absent from New-Jersey, to

be executed by the lieutenant governor; and by the said letters patents not

the least colour of authority is given to your excellency, to do any act of

government relating to New-Jersey, any where but in Jersey; nor is there

any instruction (that we know of) contradicting the said letters patents

any where upon record in this province, to warrant your excellency's

conduct in that affair: If this be not cause, and just cause of complaint,

we do not know what is; we are inclined to believe, the province of

New-York would think it so, were they to come to Amboy or Burlington,

to prove wills, &c.

 

"We do not think, that what we desire, is an invasion of the queen's

right; but what her majesty, without infringement of her prerogative

royal, may assent to; and their late majesties of blessed memory, did, by

their governor colonel Fletcher, assent to an act made in New-York, in the

year 1692, entitled, An act for the supervising intestates estates, and

regutating the probate of wills, and granting letters of administration;

by which the court of common pleas in the remote counties of that

province, were impowered to take the examination of witnesses to any will

within their respective counties, and certify the same to the secretary's

office; and the judges of the several courts in those remote counties,

impowered to grant probates of any will, or letters of administration, to

any person or persons, where the estate did not exceed .50; what has been

done there may with as much reason be done here, without sacrificing the

queen's prerogative royal to the humours or caprices of any person or

persons whatsoever.

 

"It is the general assembly of the province of New-Jersey, that complains,

and not the quakers, with whose persons (considered as quakers) or

meetings we have nothing to do, nor are we concerned in what your

excellency says against them; they perhaps, will think themselves obliged

to vindicate their meetings from the aspersions which your excellency so

liberally bestows upon them, and evince to the world how void of rashness

and inconsideration your excellency's expressions are, and how becoming it

is for the governor of a province to enter the lists of controversy, with

a people who thought themselves entitled to his protection of them in the

enjoyment of their religious liberties; those of them who are members of

this house, have begged leave in behalf of themselves and their friends,

to tell the governor, they must answer him in the words of Nehemiah to

Sanballat, contained in the 8th verse of the 6th chapter of Nehemiah, viz.

There is no such thing done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of

thine own heart.

 

"We are so well assured the fact is true, that the secretary's office

is kept at Burlington only, that we still are of opinion it is a grievance,

for the reasons we have assigned; the proprietors records has not any

thing to do with the secretary's office, but is an office wholly belonging

to the proprietors, and altogether at their disposal; and is not a

secretary's office kept at Amboy, either as far as the nature of the thing

requires or can admit of, or any way at all.

 

"And as the assemblies and courts sit alternately at Amboy and Burlington,

so it is highly reasonable the secretary's office should be kept

alternately also at both these places, or by deputy in one of them, and

may be very well done without making two secretaries.

 

"Both this and the rest of our complaints, are not with design to amuse

the people, but are just and reasonable; and we believe, will by the

people be thought to be grievances 'till they are redressed; who can no

more think it reasonable, that all the inhabitants of the eastern division

should come to the office at Burlington, than that all of the western

division should go to Amboy.

 

"We are still of opinion, the grant we complain of is against the statute

we mentioned, because it is exclusive of others, and to the prejudice of

the publick. It can never be thought reasonable to prohibit any body to

cart their own goods, or any body's else, as by virtue of that grant has

been done; and not only in the road from Amboy to Burlington, but in the

road from Shrewsbury; and a patent may as well be granted to keep horses

to hire, by which a man may be hindred to ride his own: It is destructive

to the common rights of men, and a great grievance, and we had reason to

endeavour to get it redressed.

 

"It's true, a certain convenience for transportation of goods, is no

doubt of great use, and the profit that accrues by such undertakings, is

the motive that induces any persons to be at the charge of them, and

providing fit carriages for that end, and of ascertaining the times and

prices of carrying; and the more providers of such carriages, the more

certain and cheap the transportation, and freest from imposition; and

consequently the fewer carriages, the less certain and dearer, and the

persons under a necessity of using them more subject to be imposed upon by

the carrier; now whether granting by which others are excluded, waving the

unlawfulness of it, be a means to increase the number of the undertakers

in that kind, or to lessen them, and confine those who have any occasion

to transport goods, to give such price as he that has the patent thinks

fit to impose, we leave to all men of common sense to judge; and if

experience may be admitted to determine that matter, it is plain that

transportation of goods, both be land and water, is dearer than it was

before the granting of that patent: It's true, the certainty was not so

great as now; for now we are certain that a man cannot with his own carts

carry his own goods, but that if he does they will be seized; and if that

be one of the conveniences which the wise people in Europe think of

absolute necessity, we shall think it no irony to be called wiser, in

differing from them, and calling them monopolies as they are, and

prejudicial to trade, and especially that between York and Amboy,

Burlington and Philadelphia; which did not owe its beginning to your

excellency's patent, but was begun long before your excellency had any

thing to do with New-Jersey, and in all probability had much more

increased were it not for that patent; and we believe whenever the

gentlemen of the law will give your excellency their true opinion of it,

you will not be long in doubt whether tis a monopoly or not: We thought it

a monopoly, as we do still, and a grievance, as is also both that and

other grants made by your excellency at fort Ann in New-York, for any

thing in Jersey.

 

"Your excellency has neither by birth nor acquisition, a right to the

sovereignty of New-Jersey; nor have you any power of governing the queen's

subjects here, but what her majesty is pleased to grant you by her letters

patents, under the great of England; by which letters patents the powers

therein contained, are limited to that country, which was formerly granted

by king Charles the second, under the name of Nova-Caesaria or New-Jersey,

and which has since been subdivided by the proprietors, and called East

New-Jersey, and West New-Jersey, and which her majesty is pleased to

reunite under one entire government, viz. "The divisions of East and West

New-Jersey, in America; and in ease of your excellency's death, or absence

from that country, which was subdivided by the proprietors, and called

East New-Jersey and West New-Jersey, the powers of government are lodged

in other hands." Now either fort Ann and the city of New-York, is in that

country granted by king Charles the second, and sub-divided by the

proprietors thereof, and called East New-Jersey and West New-Jersey; or

your excellency is absent from New-Jersey, when you are at fort Ann in New-

York; that fort Ann is in New-Jersey, we believe, that even your

excellency will think impracticable to persuade us to do so much violence

to our reason as to believe; therefore your excellency when at fort Ann,

or any where in New-York, is absent from New-Jersey; and what the

consequence is we need not say, thinking the pretence of a power to do

acts of government relating to New-Jersey, at fort Ann, in New-York, to be

so manifestly absurd, as to need nothing further to be said against it.

 

"There is nothing more common in the statutes than the establishing fees,

and we are of opinion that all fees have been established by act of

parliament; and indeed it seems to us unreasonable they should be

established by any other authority; for if a governor, either with or

without his council, can appoint what sums of money shall be paid for

fees, he may make them large enough to defray the charge of government,

without the formality of an act of assembly, to raise a revenue for the

necessary support of the same; and if it does not come up to the taxing of

the queen's subjects, without their consents in assembly, we are to seek

what does.

 

"We cannot think the clause of your excellency's instructions, which we

have recited, to be so foreign to the matter of fees, as your excellency

says it is, for the enforcing the payment of fees by any authority but

that of the assembly's, is taking away a man's goods otherwise than by

established or known laws, except the act of a governor and council be a

law, which we think is not, nor never intended by the queen it should; nor

do we think, by the instructions your excellency mentions, you are to

establish fees; but only to regulate those already appointed, and to take

care that no exaction was used; but if it did, your excellency has

convinced the world, that you do not think yourself bound by the queen's

instructions, but where the law binds also.

 

"As in the ease of Ormston, where nothing could be more positive than her

majesty's directions; yet your excellency did not think yourself

ministerial, or by not complying with her majesty's orders, that you

accused the best of queens, with commanding her governor to do a thing

which was not warranted by law; nor never enquired, whether the refusing

obedience to her commands, was a fit return for the many favours she had

bestowed upon you; but govern'd yourself in that singular instance as near

as you could by the law. The seventh clause was not put in to arraign the

queen's express commands to your excellency; but to complain of the great

hardships her majesty's subjects lay under, by your excelency's putting

the records there mentioned, into the hands of Peter Sonmans, who is not

the proprietor's recorder, nor had no express command from the queen to

put the books into his hands; and may in part answer the challenge made by

your excellency in the last part of the next foregoing clause; for your

excellency had commanded the said records to be put into the hands of Mr.

Bass, the queen's secretary; up which; application was made to her

majesty, who was pleased to give an order in favour of the proprietors;

and without all peradventure, it was intended tbey should be in the hands

of the proprietor's recorder, which Mr. Thomas Gordon was at that time,

and regularly is still, being constituted by the majority of the

proprietors in the eastern division, and by your excellency sworn; Mr.

John Barclay was also by your excellency sworn, and a proclamation issued

in his favour; since which Mr. Peter Sonmans arrived from England, and

upon application to your excellency, was by your excellency, admitted

receiver general of the quit rents, and the proprietors records by your

excellency put into his hands; which, with submission, we think could not

be done regularly by your excellency: For in the first place, they were

constituted by the majority of the proprietors, whose servants they were,

and to whom they were accountable, and to none else.

 

"2. These places were the properties of Mr. Thomas Gordon and Mr. John

Barclay; and to deprive them of them, without due course of law, is what

your excellency has no authority to do, nor can have.

 

"3. Whether they were made by the greater or lesser part of the

proprietors, your excellency was no ways concerned, nor had any right of

determining in the favour of either one or other, the law being open to

any who thought themselves aggrieved.

 

"4. Those books and records were the properties of the general

proprietors; and if your excellency can dispossess any proprietor of them

(for Thomas Gordon was a proprietor) and put them into the hands of

another, you may by the same rule dispossess any one of their goods,

and give them to who you think fit, and any proprietor of their property,

and give it to which of the proprietors you think fit, as is actually done

by your excellency in the case of Sonmans; and was attempted with the

same violence in favour of Mr. Bass: It will not be a sufficient answer to

this, to say, Sonmans was proprietor's agent; which whether he was or

was not, your excellency had no right to determine to any other purpose

but administering an oath to him, after which he was of course to be

allowed; and so ought as many agents as the proprietors made, who were

not accountable to your excellency for any procedures in the proprietors

affairs, that were not unlawful.

 

"5. Sonmans neither had, nor pretended to have, at that time (whatever he

has done since) any right or colour of right, to be the proprietors

recorder, not any mention being made of it in that very lame commission he

had; and were he to have the top of his pretences, it would but to be

deputy to a person in England; and whether he has a right or not, is a

great question, and regularly only determinable at the common law; but

your excellency's shorter method of procedure saves disputes of that kind:

If this be acting according to established and known laws, not repugnant

to, but as agreeable as may be, to the laws of England; if this be

administering those laws for the preservation and protection of the

people, we would be very gladly informed, what perverting of them can be;

as to the matter of fact, we aver it to be truth, that Mr. Sonmans did not

reside in the province, had not given security for the keeping of those

records, as by the queen is positively directed, they were carried out of

the Eastern division, and were produced at the supreme court at Burlington

at the time of our complaint.

 

"Those things, and that gentleman's character, are so well known, that it

is needless to offer any thing else in justification of that reasonable

request we made, that they might be so kept as her majesty's subjects

might have recourse to them, and in the hands of such of whose fidelity

there is no reason to doubt.

 

"These, may it please your excellency, were the grievances we complained

of; and they were but a small number of many we could with equal justice

remonstrate; and which, notwithstanding those soft, cool, and considerate

terms of false, scandalous, and malicious, and other bitter invectives

which your excellency so often uses to the representative body of a

country; we are still of opinion, they are not imaginary, but real

grievances, not false, but God knows too true and which it was our duty,

in discharge of the trust reposed in us, to get redress'd.

 

Our sad experience has convinced us, that our endeavours have not met with

a success answerable to what might reasonably be our expectations, and

that instead of redressing the grievances of the country, their number is

encreased: Before we enumerated those grievances of an higher nature, and

attended with worse consequences, we first said, the treatment the people

of New-Jersey had received, was very different from what they had reason

to expect under the government of a queen deservedly famous for her just,

equal and mild administration; that the hardships they endured, were not

owing to her majesty, who they were well assured, would by no means, make

any of her subjects miserable, nor continue their misfortunes were she

acquainted with them, and in her power to give them relief; but that the

oppressions they groaned under, were the unkind effects of mistaken power;

and what these effects were, and who the cause of them, we proceeded to

shew; and if the instances we there give, be true, it will then appear to

the world, that the expressions we have used, are the softest could be

chosen, and very far short of what the nature of the thing could bear, and

that these bold accusers are a sort of creatures called honest men, just

to the trust reposed in them by the country, who will not suffer their

liberties and properties to be torn from them by any man, how great

soever, if they can hinder it.

 

"And that the reasonableness of our complaints may appear the plainer, we

shall consider what your excellency has said in answer, and leave it to

our superiors, and to all just and impartial men, whether we are not a

people the most abused of any of her majesty's subjects.

 

"As to the first instance, your excellency does acknowledge the fact to be

true, and offers the following reasons to justify your conduct to the

council of proprietors: The first is, that by her majesty's directions

you are to allow of all such agents as the general proprietors shall

appoint, such agents qualifying themselves by taking such oaths as the

queen is pleased to direct, and no other; that no persons under the name

of a council of proprietors, have ever tendered themselves to take such

oaths; consequently they are not capable of acting as agents.

 

"1. That the council of proprietors are a people pretending to act by a

power derived from certain persons who have no power to grant, and that

this a truth, viz. that they are a people pretending to act by a power

derived from certain persons, who had no power to grant, your excellency

is satisfied; besides other reasous, by this in particular, that the

assembly have voted to put the records into the hands of Peter Sonmans, to

be a grievance; whereas their not qualifying themselves is a greater

grievance. To set this matter in a true light, it will not be improper to

produce the words of the instructions; which are as follows:

 

'You are to permit the surveyors and other persons appointed by the

forementioned general proprietors of the soil of that province, for

surveying and recording the surveys of lands granted by and held of

them, to execute accordingly their respective trusts: And you are

likewise to permit, and if need be, to aid and assist such other agent or

agents, as shall be appointed by the said proprietors for that end, to

collect and receive the quit rents, which are or shall be due unto them,

from the particular possessor of any tracts or parcel of land from time to

time; provided always, that such surveyors, agents, or other officers

appointed by the said general proprietors, do not only take proper oaths

for the due execution and performance of their respective offices and

employments, and give good and sufficient security for their so doing;

but that they likewise take the oaths appointed by act of parliament to be

taken instead of the oaths of allegiance and supremacy; as also the test,

and subscribe the forementioned association; all which you are accordingly

to require of them, and not otherwise to admit any person into any such,

office or employment.' After the proprietors had surrendered their power

of government, relating to their soil, they were under a necessity of

employing persons, to survey and record the surveys of lands granted by

and held of them; and in the Eastern division, several quit rents being

due to them, there was a necessity of having one or more agents to collect

and receive those rents; which persons (because the crown intended, that

the proprietors by the surrender of their government, should by no means

be insecure in their properties) your excellency was directed not only to

permit such officers to be and execute their respective trusts, but also

to aid and assist them, if need were; and because such offices were places

of trust, both with respect to the proprietors and the inhabitants, it was

directed, that they should take proper oaths, and give good and sufficient

security; and that they who enjoyed those places of trust, might be

persons well affected to the present government, there was especial care

taken, to direct, that they should take the oaths appointed by act of

parliament to be taken, which your excellency was to require of them, and

not otherwise to admit them to execute those trusts: From all which we

observe, first, that no agents are concerned in that instruction, but such

as were to survey and record the surveys of lands, and collect the quit-

rents.

 

"2. That the proprietors were not limited to employ a certain number of

agents, but might employ as many as they thought fit; all which your

excellency was to aid and assist if need were.

 

"3. Your excellency was not to expect while they tendered themselves to

take the oaths appointed, but to require them to take them; and upon their

refusal not to admit them; for it was impossible they, or any else, should

deem themselves bound by the queen's instructions to certain performances,

except such instructions had been made publick, and they made acquainted

with it.

 

"Now in the first place, your excellency never published any such

instruction, nor ever did require those agents called the council of

proprietors to comply with it by taking any oaths.

 

"2. The council of proprietors are not such agents as the instructions

mention.

 

"3. Were that instruction binding, your excellency has by no means

complyed with it; for the surveyor appointed by the proprietors of the

western division, has several times tendered himself to take and

subscribe according to her majesty's directions, and has been refused.

 

"4. Mr. Sonmans, tho' a bankrupt, and his powers disputed, admitted to

keep the records of the eastern division, and that without any

security; and persons who were sworn to those places, and employed by

proprietors, and a greater number, not only not permitted to act, but

deprived of their places (with which your lordship had nothing to do)

without a due course of law, forceably by your lordship's directions.

 

"Lastly, the council of proprietors are attornies to private men, for

the taking care of their several properties, and are neither concerned in

that instruction, nor bound by it; if they were, we shall not dispute how

far that instruction may be a law to your lordship, but we are sure 'tis so

to no body else, but where the laws of the land bind without it; and if so,

'tis no sufficient warrant to destroy any man's property, or deprive him of

the use of it, without the judgment of his peers; for your lordship cannot

but know, if you do not, the last clause of the petition of right will tell

you, that the queen's servants are to serve her according to law, and not

otherwise; and every gentleman of the law can inform your excellency, if

he pleased, that the queen's authority or warrant produced (if you had

done any such thing) cannot justify the commission of an unlawful act;

which this certainly must be, except the law provides that no man must

make an attorney but with your lordship's approbation: As to the second

reason, to use your excellency's expressions, if we could wonder at any

thing your excellency has done, it would be at the reason your excellency

gives, as much as at the action; it being a plain pretending to a right of

judging solely who have a right to their estates, and who not, and

according to that judgment to permit them to retain or force them to part

with their possessions; for in the first place, that matter was never

brought before your lordship, and what information you had (if you had

any) was private; and we are told no freeman can be dispossessed of his

freehold but by judgment of his peers, or the law of the land; but here is

at once a determination, that a number of proprietors, nigh or above nine

tenths of the whole, have no right to grant, and accordingly they are

prohibited taking up or disposing of their lands; for the council of

proprietors, are all proprietors themselves, except Mr. Morris their

president; and we cant see, but any freeman, or number of freemen in the

province, may be dispossessed by the same measures; for 'tis but your

lordship's saying, the persons they had their lands from, had no right to

grant, and then order the possessors to make no further improvements,

nor to dispose of any of their lands; and thus conclude them without the

tedious formality of the old magna charta way; and who is hardy enough

to dispute with a man that commands two provinces?

 

"2. What your excellency asserts, with relation to the council of

proprietors, viz. that they were persons deriving a power from those who

had no right to grant, is what your excellency neither did, nor could

know; that you did not know it, nothing is more plain; because your

excellency some days after your lordship's answer to our remonstrance,

summoned some of the council of proprietors before yourself in council,

and there asked them the following questions, viz. First, who the late

council of proprietors were? Secondly, who were the present council of

proprietors? Thirdly, who they derived their powers from? Fourthly,

what their powers were? By which it appears, your excellency neither

knew who the council of proprietors were, what their powers were, nor

who they derived them from; which is very far from knowing whether

the persons who gave them those powers, had power to grant or not; and

that your excellency could not know, is as plain; because the deeds of

what proprietors are in this country, you never did see; and those that are

in England, you could not see.

 

"How your excellency is, from our voting the putting the records

into Mr. Sonmans hands to be a grievance, satisfied that the persons from

whom the council of proprietors derive their power, have no power to

grant; is very much beyond our poor capacities to understand, and may

perhaps be of the number of those unanswerable objections your lordship

tells us of in your answer. To the next clause your lordship justifies your

proceedings with the assemblymen, as being your duty; and that what

you did, was by virtue of the queen's instructions; how far they will

justify your excellency's conduct is our next business to speak to; but in

the first place we are obliged to your excellency, for acknowledging the

matter of fact; which tho' notoriously known, was omitted to be entered

in the journals of this house, by your excellency's faithful servant, Mr.

William Anderson, late clerk of this house.

 

"By the queen's instructions, not the least colour of authority is

given to your excellency, to be a judge of the qualifications of

assemblymen, so as to admit or reject them; which is not only a direct

contradiction to the very nature and being of assemblies, but must render

the liberties, lives and properties of the people entirely at your

excellency's disposal; which as her majesty never intended, so without

doubt she never did intend by any instruction to make so precarious; and

how well she'll be pleased at wresting her instructions to authorize what

we are well satisfied she will be very far from countenancing, time may

inform us: This house could not be so much wanting to themselves, and

the province they represent, as to omit taking notice of a procedure,

which tends to destroy the very being of assemblies, by rendering them

the tools of a governor's arbitrary pleasure, and the enemies instead of

the preservers of the liberties of their country; and we are well assured,

that nothing your excellency has said, will perswade the world to believe,

that your excellency or any other governor, has that power you pretend

to, or that it can be consistent with the liberties of a free people.

 

"That there were considerable sums of money raised; that most of them were

raised with intent and purpose to give to your lordship, to procure the

dissolution of the last assembly, and procure such officers as the

contributors should approve of; that in all probability the money so

raised, was given to your lordship; that the assembly was dissolved; that

the contributors were complied with as far as could be; that you did

receive from doctor John Johnston, two hundred pounds, upon the score

of the proprietors of the eastern division of New-Jersey; are such

notorious tuths, that it is a vanity to deny them; and will be believed,

notwithstanding all the force of evasive arts to perswade to the contrary:

And since we have mentioned doctor Johnston, it's not amiss to enquire,

whether the services you were to do the proprietors were such as your

lordship ought, or ought not to have done; if they were such as you ought

to have done, you ought not to have taken money for the doing of them;

if they were such as you ought not to have done, much less ought your

lordship to have taken money; and had you not been more than ordinarily

concerned in those private contributions, without all peradventure would

have used all possible endeavours to have detected the thing, and not

given those publick marks of your favour to the persons most concerned in

the persuading and procuring of them.

 

"As to what relates to the assembly, as your lordship is not accountable

to this house for what reasons you dissolved them, neither is this house

to your lordship for their proceedings; they acted as became a house of

representatives in the affair of Mr. Gordon, and what they did, was not

without your lordships approbation; if that could add any thing to the

power they had: As to your excellency's reflections on private men, 'tis

below the representative body of a province to take any further notice of

them, than to do that justice to the two worthy members of this house, as

to say, they both have, and deserve better characters than your excellency

gives them; and that the humblest application you can make to her majesty

will never induce her to grant you a power to use any means to procure a

satisfaction but what the laws allow of, without such application: We

concluded, by acquainting your excellency, that the way to engage the

affections of a people, was to let them be unmolested in the quiet

enjoyment of those things which belong to them of right, and should have

dated our happiness from your excellency's complying with so reasonable

and just a desire; to which your excellency replied, that you could never

answer taking advice from men, who did not know how to govern themselves,

and who have always opposed the service of the queen, and interest and

good of their country: We shall wave the admirable coolness of temper, and

considerateness of the reflection; and say, your excellency could hardly

have used plainer terms, to tell us, you will not let us be quiet in the

enjoyment of what belongs to us of right; and your excellency's

proceedings since that, has effectually convinced the world, that we have

not put a wrong construction on your excellency's expressions.

 

"Are not her majesty's loyal subjects haul'd to goals, and there

lie without being admitted to bail? and those that are the conditions of

their recognizances are, that if your excellency approves not of their

being bailed, they shall return to their prisons; several of her majesty's

good subjects forced to abscond, and leave their habitations, being

threatened with imprisonment, and no hopes of receiving the benefit of

the law; when your excellency's absolute will is the sole measure of it:

One minister of the church of England, dragg'd by a sheriff from

Burlington to Amboy, and there kept in custody, without assigning any

reason for it, and at last hauld by force into a boat by your excellency,

and transported like a malefactor, into another government, and there

kept in a garrison a prisoner; and no reason assigned for these violent

procedures, but your excellency's pleasure: Another mininister of the

church of England, laid under a necessity of leaving the province, from

the reasonable apprehensions of meeting with the same treatment; no

orders of men either sacred or civil, secure in their lives, their

liberties or estates; and where these procedures will end, God only knows.

 

If these, and what we have named before, be acts of mercy, gentleness and

good-nature; if this be doing for the good, welfare and prosperity of the

people of this province; if this be the administering laws for the

protection and preservation of her majesty's subjects; then have we been

the most mistaken men in the world, and have had the falsest notion of

things; calling that cruelty, oppression and injustice, which are their

direct opposites, and those things slavery, imprisonment and hardships,

which are freedom, liberty and ease; and must henceforth take France,

Denmark, the Muscovian, Ottoman and Eastern empires, to be the best models

of a gentle and happy government.

 

"Your excellency at last endeavours to persuade the country, that the

assembly, instead of protecting are invading the liberties of the people;

and if we might have the liberty of using some of your excellency's cool

and considerate terms, perhaps the following instances might justify those

expressions; but we leave that to just and impartial men, who no doubt

will apply them where they are most due. Your excellency asserts in the

first place, 'You have presumed to take the queen's subjects into the

custody of the serjeant at arms, who are not members of your house; which

you can't lawfully do, and is a notorious violation of the liberties of

the people.' Answer: There is nothing more known, than that the contrary

to what your excellency says is true, and hardly a session of parliament

but affords multitudes of instances, nay, several instances can be

produced during the time of your excellency's being in the house of

commons; and what your excellency means by asserting a thing, which every

body that knows any thing, knows is not so, we can't tell.

 

"Secondly, 'You have taken upon you to administer an oath to one of your

members, and have expell'd him from the house for refusing to take an oath

which you could not legally administer to him; this is most certainly

robbing that member of his property, and a most notorious assuming to

yourselves a negative voice to the freeholders election of their

representatives, for which there can be no precedent found.' Answer: We

never did administer an oath, (tho' we think we have power so to do) what

oaths were administered were administered by justices of the peace before

us: We expell'd that member for several contempts for which we are not

aceountable to your excellency, nor no body else in this province: We

might lawfully expel him; and if we had so thought fit, might have

rendered him incapable of ever sitting in this house; and of this many

precedents may be produced. We are the freeholders representatives; and

how it's possible we should assume a negative voice at the election of

ourselves, is what wants a little explanation to make it intelligible.

 

"Thirdly, 'You have arbitrarily taken upon you to command the

high-sheriff of this country, to discharge a prisoner who was in his

custody at the suit of one of the queen's subjects; and he has been weak

enough to do it, for which he lies liable to be sued for an escape,

whenever the gentleman thinks fit to do it, and from which you can't

protect him; this is a notorious violation of the right of the subject,

and a manifest interruption of justice.' Answer: The person we ordered to

be discharged, was an evidence attending by order of the house, and under

the protection of this house; who were only wanting to themselves, in not

sending the high-sheriff and lawyers to the same place, for daring to offer

so publick an affront to the representative body of a country.

 

"Fourthly, 'You have taken upon you to appoint one of your members to act

as clerk of the committee of the whole house, which you have no power to

do, &c.' Answer: Your excellency has been so very much mistaken in all the

foregoing clauses, that we have great reason to believe you are so in

this: This house has always, 'till of late, made their own clerks, and

your excellency cannot shew us any law why we may not do it still, should

we think fit to insist on it: We have made no encroachments on her

majesty's prerogative royal, nor never intended to do it, but shall to our

utmost, study to preserve it, and honourably support her government over

us, and hope your excellency will think it for the service of the queen to

comply with our reasonable desires; which will very much encourage us so

to do.

 

"Divers of the members of this assembly being of the people called

Quakers, do assent to the matter and substance, but make some exceptions

to the stile.

 

"By order of the house,

 

"Sam. Jenings, speaker.

 

"P. M. Die Veneris. 24

"Octobris, 1707."

 

1 Their message to introduce it he received, and the next day laid it

before the council, as follows: "The house of representatives having sent

a message to your excellency, to know when your excellency would be waited

upon with a reply this house has made to your excellency's answer to their

remonstrance; and your excellency having not, as is usual in such cases,

assigned them any time, they have appointed us to wait on your excellency

with the said reply, and to deliver it to you."