Lord Cornbury's answer to the assembly's remonstrance.




"On thursday last I received a paper from you, which you call a

remonstrance; I then told you, it was of an extraordinary nature, and

contained many particulars, which tho' they lay open enough to receive

an immediate answer, yet because I would not put it in your power to say

I had given you a rash inconsiderate answer, I would make no return to it

'till the saturday following, at which time I sent you word by the

secretary, that I should not expect your attendance 'till this day. I shall

not take notice of any thing in your preamble, but the two last clauses of

it; in the first of which you say, that you have reason to think that some

of your sufferings are owing to the governor's long absence from this

province, which renders it very difficult to apply to him in some cases

that may need a present help: This is so far from being true, that besides

my being twice in this province every year, and have never staid less

than a month, some times six weeks, or more; the post goes every week

to New-York, by which I may be easily in formed of any emergency; moreover

the lieutenant governor, colonel Ingoldsby, resides constantly in this

province, and would certainly have done right to any persons that would

have complained to him; which makes this allegation very frivolous.


"In the next clause you say, that it were to be wished that the affairs of

New-York would admit the governor oftener to attend those of New-Jersey.

The affairs of New-York have never hindred the governor from attending

those of New-Jersey, whenever it has been requisite; and I can safely say,

I don't know of any grievances this province labours under, except it be

the having a certain number of people, in it who will never be faithful to

nor live quietly under any government, nor suffer their neighbours to

enjoy any peace, quiet or happiness, if they can help it.


"I now begin with your articles.


"Two women that have been condemned for murdering, have not been executed,

there having appeared most notorious malice and revenge in some people,

who were zealous in these prosecutions; the queen is the fountain of

honour, justice and mercy; and as she is so, she may when she pleases,

exert her mercy, either in reprieving or pardoning any criminal: That

power of pardoning and reprieving after condemnation, the subjects of this

province, her majesty has been pleased to intrust me with; and I am no

ways accountable to any person or number of persons whatsoever, for what I

do in those matters, but to the queen's majesty alone.


"As for what you say, with relation to the apprehensions you have, that

just heaven will not fail to pour down vengeance upon your already

miserable country, if these criminals are not made to suffer according to

their demerits: I am of opinion, that nothing has hindered the vengeance

of just heaven from falling upon this province long ago, but the infinite

mercy, goodness, long suffering, and forbearance of almighty God, who has

been abundantly provoked by the repeated crying sins of a perverse

generation among us, and more especially by the dangerous and abominable

doctrines and the wicked lives and practices of a number of people; some

of whom under the pretended name of christians, have dared to deny the

very essence and being of the saviour of the world: It is a strange thing,

that such an assembly of men as the representatives of the people of this

province are or ought to be, should complain of any thing under the name

of hardship, before they had informed themselves whether the thing they

had a mind to complain of, were really a hardship or not: This plainly is

your case at this time; for if you had asked any man, that knows any thing

of the practice of the law in England, you would have found, that if any

proceedings had been carried on against any persons supposed to be guilty,

they have always paid the court fees, notwithstanding the grand jury have

not found the bill; and this is so known a practice, that it is not to be

disputed; but when men will intermeddle with, or pretend to things which

they neither know nor understand, they cannot fail of misguiding

themselves, and misleading those that have a mind to be guided by them.


"Indeed, if juries in this country were as they ought to be, the

supposition might in some measure be allowed; but we find by woful

experience, that there are many men who have been admitted to serve

upon grand and petty juries, who have convinced the world that they have

no regard for the oaths they take, especially among a sort of people, who

under a pretence of conscience, refuse to take an oath; and yet many of

them under the cloak of a very solemn affirmation, dare to commit the

greatest enormities, especially if it be to serve a friend, as they call

him; and these are the designing men, and the vindictive tempers, of which

all the queen's good subjects ought to beware, and be protected from; and

these are the crying sins which will undoubtedly draw down the vengeance

of just heaven upon this province and people, if not timely and seriously

repented of.


"If I could persuade myself to wonder at any of the denormities contained

in this remonstrance (and which I would do if it came from any other men)

it should be at this; because no reasonable man can persuade himself to

believe, that a number of men chosen by their country to represent them,

would presume to complain of a thing as a grievance, when the thing

complained of is in fact not true; for the office of probate of wills is

wherever the governor is; consequently not at Burlington only: Ever since

the queen has done me the honour to entrust me with the government of this

province, I have never failed of being in the province twice every year,

once at Burlington, and once at Amboy; except the last year, that I had

the unspeakable misfortune of losing a wife, whom I loved as my own soul,

after a very long tedious sickness, during which I am persuaded no

reasonable man could expect I should leave her for any time; and yet

notwithstanding that, I was twice at Amboy last year, where any body that

had a will to prove, might have had it done if they had pleased; besides

my being twice every year in the province, considering the remoteness of

Cape-May county and the county of Salem, I did appoint a surrogate at

Burlington, before whom any of the inhabitants of either division might

have had their wills proved; I did not think it necessary to appoint one

in the Eastern division because the inhabitants of that division who are

most remote from New-York, are within a very easy day's journey of my

surrogate at Burlington, and much the major part of the people of that

division, are within a small day's journey of New-York, where their

private affairs daily calls many of them, and where any of them may have

their wills proved without any injury to, or encroachments upon their

properties, rights or privileges: This is so certain a truth, that I am

persuaded all judicious and impartial men will look upon this complaint to

be malicious, scandalous, and frivolous, contrived only to amuse poor

ignorant people with notions of grievances; when in truth there is no

manner or cause of complaint: Besides what you desire, is a direct

invasion of the queen's prerogative; for it belongs to her majesty alone to

appoint who shall take probate of wills, and grant letters of

administration; and that power the queen has been pleased to vest in the

governor; and I am sure I will never so far betray the trust her majesty

has honoured me with, as to sacrifice her prerogative royal, to the

humours of any person or persons whatsoever: But of all the people in

the world, the quakers ought to be the last to complain of the hardships

of travelling a few miles upon such an occasion, who never repine at the

trouble and charges of travelling several hundred miles to a yearly

meeting, where it is evidently known, that nothing was ever done for the

good of the country, but on the contrary continual contrivances are

earned on for the undermining of the government both in church and



"You have had as little regard to the truth of matter of fact in this

complaint, as in some of the rest; for it is certain, that the secretary's

office is kept at Amboy, as well as at Burlington, as far as the nature of

the thing requires, and it can admit of; for the records of the eastern

division, or at least so many of them as the agent for the proprietors of

that division could hitherto recover from one Thomas Gordon, into whose

hands they were put in the time of the proprietors government, and who has

embezzled several of them, for which he must he answerable: There is a

supreme court held once every year at Amboy, there is no more at

Burlington; so that one division does not enjoy more privileges and

advantages than the other; and you have no more reason to desire a

secretary's office to be settled at Amboy, than the people of the county

of Cumberland would have to desire a secretary of state's office to be

settled in their county, because it is a great way for them to travel to

London when they have any business in the secretary's office; the thing

is inconsistent in itself; to have two secretaries offices in the same

province, and consequently unreasonable, and I am pretty well satisfied

without precedent; besides I don't know any body that can claim the right

or power of appointing a secretary in this province but the queen, and she

has been pleased to appoint one under the great seal of England, and her

majesty is pleased to think one sufficient, as undoubtedly it is; but if

you had thought that another had been necessary, it would have been much

more modest to have acquainted me with it, that I might have humbly

represented it to her majesty, rather than to have remonstrated that as a

grievance, which is done in pursuance of the queen's commands: But this is

of the same nature with the rest of your complaints, contrived on purpose

to amuse the poor ignorant people with a notion of grievances, when in

truth there is not the least colour or cause of complaint. I could wish,

since you had a mind to colour this complaint with the authority of an act

of parliament of England, that you had advised with some lawyer, to know

whether this could be any ways brought under that statute, or can by any

construction in the world be called a monopoly; but where a man engrosses

a commodity into his own hands, and imposes what unreasonable price he

pleases upon that commodity, or where a man is suffered to enjoy any trade

or occupation exclusive of others, to the prejudice of the publick, or

particularly the hindering or burthening of trade; the thing now

complained of is so far from being of that nature, that it is directly

contrary; for by the patent now complained of; the subjects of this

province have the conveniency of sending such quantities of goods to and

from Burlington and Amboy, as their private occasions, or the nature of

their trade requires, at reasonable and certain rates, and at certain

times, which they never could do before; for before the settling of this

waggon, if any persons had occasion to send any goods to or from either of

those places, they were forced to hire a waggon, tho' perhaps they had not

the tenth part of a load, and were forced to pay such rates as the owners

of the waggon thought fit to impose upon them; whereas at present every

body is sure once a fortnight to have an opportunity of sending any

quantity of goods, great or small, at reasonable rates, without being in

danger of being imposed upon at the will of the owner of the waggon; and

the settling of this waggon is so far from being a grievance or a

monopoly, that by this means and no other, a trade has been carried on

between Philadelphia, Burlington, Amboy and New-York, which was never

known before; and in all probability would never have been, had it not

been for this certain convenient way of sending such, quantity of goods as

people pleased from place to place; and in all the parts of Europe, the

having publick carriages for goods has always been esteemed of absolute

necessity, and the want of them has been looked upon as a hardship: But it

seems those things which in the wisest and best governments in Europe,

have not only been thought convenient but esteemed of absolute necessity,

are found out by some of our wiser people here, to be grievances and

monopolies: This being undoubtedly true, it's plain the patent complained

of cannot come within the stat. of the 21 Ja. 1. chap. 3. This I believe

will be sufficient to convince all reasonable men, how frivolous and

unreasonable this complaint is. I shall observe, that when I was first

applied to for a patent for the allowing this waggon, which was by one

Dellaman, who in colonel Hamilton's time was permitted to drive a waggon

for carrying goods, tho' under no regulation, either with respect to times

of going, or prices for carrying goods, and then was no monopoly; before I

would grant it, I did acquaint the council with it, and desired them to

let me know, if they apprehended any inconveniency in granting such a

patent; those gentlemen were all of opinion, there could be no

inconveniency in it, but rather a great conveniency; and indeed experience

has proved that opinion to be true; nay, Mr. Lewis Morris himself; the

chief promoter of these unreasonable and frivolous complaints at this

time, who had the honour to be one of her majesty's council, expressed

himself very fully to that purpose: Indeed had that gentleman ever been

consistent with himself in any two actions of his life, I should wonder

how he could so soon alter his opinion in a case of that nature; but his

behaviour at all times having fully convinced the world that he never was

so, makes me cease wondering: This clause of your remonstrance is indeed

of a more extravagant nature than the former, for you presume to call that

a great grievance, and affirm it to be directly contrary to magna charta,

and contrary to the queen's express directions in the governor's

instructions; which is most certainly eactly pursuant to, and in obedience

of the express words contained in the queen's instructions to the

governor; so that you make the governor's faithful obedience to the

instructions the queen has honoured him with, to be a great grievance;

which is no less than accusing her most sacred majesty, the best of

queens, of commanding her governor to do things which in themselves are

great grievances; how grateful a return this is to her majesty, for the

repeated favours she has been pleased to shew to this province and people,

let the world judge!


"That clause of my instructions which you recite in this article, has no

manner of relation to fees; indeed there is another clause in my

instructions, which directs how, and by whom, all fees shall be settled,

and the queen's commands have been observed; the words of the clause

are those, 'And you are with the advice and consent of our said council,

to take especial care to regulate all salaries and fees belonging to

places, or paid upon emergencies, that they be within the bounds of

moderation, and that no exaction be made on any occasion whatsoever; as

also that tables of all fees be publickly hung up in all places where such

fees are to be paid, and you are to transmit copies of all such tables of

fees to us, and to our commissioners for trade and plantations as

aforesaid;' and I challenge every one of you, and all mankind, to shew,

how, when, and where, any man's life, member, freehold, or goods, have

been taken away, or harmed in this province, since it came under her

majesty's government, otherwise than by established and known laws, not

repugnant to, but as much as may be, agreeable to the laws of England:


When I first read this clause, I could not imagine what it was put in for,

unless it were on purpose to arraign the queen's express commands to me.

First, Mr. Sonmans is not the pretended agent, but the lawfully

constituted agent for the proprietors of the eastern division of this

province, and has qualified himself according to the queen's instructions

to me, and he does reside the greatest part of his time in the province;

the records are not carried out of the Eastern division, unless it be those

which Thomas Gordon has imbezzled; but those that came to the hands of Mr.

Sonmans are kept at Amboy, where any body may have recourse to them that

will desire it, at any reasonable hour; and the country is not under any

disappointment upon that account; besides the records of the Eastern

division were put into the hands of the proprietors agent, by an order

from England, upon a complaint made in England, that the records were not

in the hands of the proprietors agents.


" 'These, governor, are some of the grievances.'


"This is certainly one of the boldest assertions that ever was made,

especially when there appears no manner of proof to make it out: When I

read these two clauses; for there are two before you come to enumerate

these grievances of an higher nature, and attended with worse

consequences, I expected to have found myself, or some other persons

intrusted with me in the administration of the government over her

majesty's subjects in this province, not only accused, but made plainly

appear, by undeniable manifest proofs, beyond the possibility of a

contradiction, to be guilty of the most enormous crimes: Who can imagine

when such a body of men, as the representatives of a province, venture to

say, that they did expect when the government of the Jersies was

surrendered, to feel the influences of the queen's mild government under

her more immediate administration, and to be protected in the full

enjoyment of their liberties and properties; the last of which they thought

themselves a little more secure in, than some of the neighbouring

plantations, and had an entire dependance that her majesty's royal bounty

and goodness would never be wanting to make them easy and happy, even

beyond their wishes; it is their misfortune, that they must say, the

success has not answered the expectation; and the queen's subjects here

have felt the reverse of what they had most reason to hope that the

greatest and best of princes is without all peradventure ignorant of their

pressures, or they had long since had relief; she is too good to continue

even the deserved sufferings of the miserable, and has more of heaven in

her, than not to hear the cries of those that groan under oppression and

the unkind effects of mistaken power, to whom they owe their misery;

who would not, I say, after such assertions, expect to see the governor

proved guilty either of treason, or betraying the trust reposed in him by

the queen, by depriving the subjects of their lives, their estates or

properties, or at least denying them justice, and perverting the laws, to

the oppression, instead of administ'ring them for the protection and

preservation of the people committed to his charge? These or the like

crimes manifestly proved, are the only things that can justify men in the

accusing a governor of corrupt practice, and of shaking the liberties and

properties of the people; but if none of these things can be proved, but on

the contrary, it does appear plainly, that no one act of severity, much

less of injustice or oppression, has been done since the government of this

province came under the queen, but that there has been an impartial, just

and equal administration of justice observed thro' out the whole course of

my government, and that many acts of mercy have been extended to persons

who deserved to be severely punished; then what sort of creatures must

these bold accusers appear to be, in the eyes of all impartial and

judicious men! That these are truths beyond all contradiction, and which

all the people of this province know, I do challenge you, and every one of

you, to prove the contrary: And tho' I know very well, that there are

several unquiet spirits in the province, who will never be content to live

quiet under any government but their own, and not long under that neither,

as appears by their methods of proceeding when the government was in the

hands of the proprietors; when many of these very men who are now the

remonstrancers, were in authority, and used the most arbitrary and illegal

methods of procceding over their fellow subjects that were ever heard of;

yet I am satisfied, there are very few men in the province, except Samuel

Jenings and Lewis Morris, men known neither to have good principles, nor

good morals, who have ventured to accuse a governor of such crimes,

without any proof to make out their accusation; but they are capable of

any thing but good.


"But that the unreasonableness of these complaints may appear the plainer,

let us consider what these enormities of mine are, that have turn'd the

benign influences of the queen's mild government into oppression, and the

unkind effect of mistaken power: First, by the instructions her most

sacred majesty the queen has honoured me with, I am to allow 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

others; no persons under the name of a council of proprietors have ever

tendered themselves to take those oaths, consequently they are not capable

of acting as agents; Besides, I say, those people who call themselves a

council of proprietors, are a parcel of people, pretending to act by a

power derived from certain persons, who have no power to grant; the

governor has therefore done in this case; nothing but his duty, in

hindering, as far as in him lay, that pretended council of proprietors

from acting illegally, which they have long done to the prejudice of her

majesty's subjects: This is a truth I cannot doubt of; because besides the

other reasons I have to satisfy me in that point, you have voted my

putting the records of the eastern division into the hands of Peter

Sonmans, to be a grievance; tho' Mr. Sonmans has qualified himself long

ago; so that the council of proprietors not having qualified themselves at

all, is a much greater grievance. By the queen's instructions to me, she

is pleased to direct, that no person shall be capable of being elected a

representative by the freeholders of either division, or afterwards

sitting in general assembly, who shall not have one thousand acres of land,

of an estate of freehold in his own right, within the division for which

he shall be chosen; two gentlemen of the council informed me, that three

persons, whose names they then mentioned, were not qualified; upon which I

refused to take their attestations (for they were all Quakers) and in so

doing, I did my duty: I recommended it to the assembly at that time to

proceed in the first place, to enquire into that matter; but they did not

think fit to do it, 'till they had sat about three weeks, and then they

sent me a message, to desire those three members might be sworn, for they

were satisfied they were qualified; I sent them word, that if they would

communicate to me the proofs which had satisfied them, I should be ready

to admit them; but that they would not do: In some few days the assembly

was adjourned to meet at Burlington, where they met at the time appointed,

and sent me the same message as they had done before; I sent them the same

answer; upon which they ordered the three members to produce to me the

proofs of their qualifications; which having done, I admitted them

immediately, which I could not do before, without breaking the queen's

instructions; so that it was entirely through their own stubborness that

they were not admitted sooner, and no intent or desire of mine to keep

them out: If I had had a mind to keep any members out of the house, I

could have made objections which they could never have answered; but such

practices are below me; and it is not true, that I have made any violation

of the liberties of the people, nor have assumed to myself a negative

voice to the freeholders election of representatives, as this house of

representatives has lately most notoriously done: But of that more anon.


"Indeed the treatment I have met with from this house of representatives,

is far different from what I and all reasonable men expected from most of

them, thinking them endowed with reason and common justice to mankind; but

it is not different from what I expected from Samuel Jenings and Lewis

Morris, two men notoriously known always to have been disturbers of the

quiet and peace of this province, men always possessed with passionate

heats, and the transports of most vindictive tempers, but never capable of

such serious resentments as would become a house of representatives, if

there were any occasion given them to shew any; how they have been able to

prevail with the major part of the house to join with them, in destroying

as far as in them lay, the reputation of a gentleman who has the honour to

serve the queen as governor of this province, and is so far from deserving

such treatment from them, that he has always done to the utmost of his

power, for the good, welfare and prosperity of this province and people,

and would have done much more if the assembly would have put it into his

power, by preparing such bills as the governor at the beginning of every

sessions has recommended to them, and the condition of the country

required; but that they must answer for to God and their own consciences,

and perhaps one day to me.


"Whether many considerable sums of money have been raised or not, I know

not; and if they were raised,for what intent and purpose they were raised

I know not; but this I know, that if any money was raised, it was not

given to me, nor was ever any money offered to me to procure the

dissolution of the first assembly, or to get clear of the proprietors quit

rents, or to obtain such officers as the contributors should approve of;

as is falsly alledged: The reasons why I dissolved the first assemby were

evident to all mankind; for it was plain that house never intended to do

any thing for the support of the queen's government, nor for the good of

the country; and indeed better could not be expected from an assembly so

corruptly chosen as that was; for some of the now remonstrancers, and some

other people, prevailed with Thomas Gordon, then sheriff of the county of

Middlesex, to refuse a poll when demanded; and when the people, injured by

that practice, complained to the house of representatives, they had a day

assigned them to be heard, but were limited to bring but twenty witnesses;

the people attended at the day appointed, with the number of witnesses

they were allowed to bring, but were then by the house refused to be

heard, not only by themselves but by their council, and their witnesses

refused to be examined; tho' at the same time they heard Thomas Gordon,

who was complained against, and did examine some witnesses on his behalf;

upon which the petition of the complainants was dismist, thereby supporting

the illegal proceedings of the sheriff; this was a violalation of the

rights of the people with a vengance, and a sufficient reason, (if I had

no other) for the dissolving that assembly, that the people might once

more have a free choice of their representatives: As for getting clear of

the proprietors quit rents, it is such an absurdity to mention, that no

body would be guilty of it but Samuel Jenings and Lewis Morris; for it is

evident, that at the beginning of every sessions I have recommended it to

the assembly, to prepare a Bill or Bills, for settling the rights of the

proprietors; which I suppose will be a full answer to that part; and as I

know of no such men as contributors, so can I have no such application

made to me: I have not knowingly put any mean or mercenary men into

office; indeed at my first coming into the government of this province, I

desired the gentlemen of the council, to recommend persons to me fit to be

put into offices, military and civil; several of them gave me lists, and

amongst the rest Mr. Lewis Morris gave me one, which I have still by me,

in which indeed, by experience, I find there are some mean, scandalous

men; but I cannot accuse any body else of doing the like. Thus much I

thought myself obliged to say, in answer to your remonstrance, to satisfy

the world of the falshood of your allegations and the unreasonableness of

your complains. I have said the less in answer to the scandalous

reflections you have cast upon me, because I do not doubt, but upon my

most humble application to her most sacred majesty the queen, she will

be graciously pleased to allow me to take such measures as may be most

proper to procure me ample satisfaction, for the great and extravagant

injuries you have done me: As for the advice you conclude with, I shall

only say, that I can never answer the taking advice from men who do not

know how to govern themselves, and who have always opposed the service of

the queen, and the interest and good of the country, which are inseparable.


"Now, gentlemen, I shall take notice to you of some of your late

unaccountable proceedings in this assembly, which I can't pass by

without a breach of the trust reposed in me by her majesty; and first, I

shall observe, that at the opening of the sessions, I recommended to you

the settling a revenue, and the preparing several bills which I thought

might be useful for the country; and I told you, that if you found any

thing else necessary to be provided for by a law, you should always find

me ready to agree to any thing that might be reasonable; but instead of

proceeding upon those things so necessary, that they ought to have

employed your first thoughts, you have squandered away your time in

hawking after imaginary grievances, for the space of one whole month,

without making one step towards the service of the queen, or the country;

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;

you have taken upon you, to administer an oath to one of your members,

and have expelled him 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: You have arbitrarily taken upon

you, to command the high sheriff of this county, 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

cant protect him. This is a notorious violation of the rights of the

subjects, and a manifest interruption of justice: 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; and the party

officiating is liable to be prosecuted for acting without lawful authority,

and without being qualified to act. These, gentlemen, are some of the

irregularities you have been guilty of this sessions; some of them are

encroachments upon the queen's prerogative, the rest are all notorious

infractions upon the liberties and properties of the people.


"I was going to conclude, with giving you some wholesome advice; but I

consider that will be but labour lost, and therefore shall reserve it for

persons who I hope will make a right use of it."