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But when the governors and assemblies disagreed, so that laws were not passed, the presents were withheld. When a disposition to agree ensued, there sometimes still remained some diffidence. The governors would not pass the laws that were wanted, without being sure of the money, even all that they called their arrears; nor the assemblies give the money, without being sure of the laws. Thence the necessity of some private conference, in which mutual assurances of good faith might be received and given, that the transactions should go hand in hand. What name the impartial reader will give to this kind of commerce, I cannot say: to me it appears an extortion of more money from the people, for that to which they had before an undoubted right, both by the constitution and by purchase; but there was no other shop they could go to for the commodity they wanted, and they were obliged to comply. Time established the custom, and made it seem honest; so that our governors, even those of the most undoubted honour, have practised it. Governor Thomas, after a long misunderstanding with the assembly, went more openly to work with them in managing this commerce, and they with him. The fact is curious, as it stands recorded in the votes of 1742-3. Sundry bills, sent up to the governor for his assent, had lain long in his hands, without any answer. Jan. 4, the house "ordered, that Thomas Leech and Edward Warner wait upon the governor, and acquaint him, that the house had long waited for his result on the bills that lie before him, and desire to know, when they may expect it:" the gentlemen return, and report, " that they waited upon the governor, and delivered the message of the house according to order; and that the governor
was pleased to say, he had had the bills long under consideration, and waited the result of the house." The house well understood this hint; and immediately resolved into a committee of the whole house, to take what was called the governor's support into consideration; in which they made (the minutes say) some progress; and the next morning it appears, that that progress, whatever it was, had been communicated to him; for he sent them down this message by his secretary: "Mr. Speaker, the governor commands me to acquaint you, that as he has received assurances of a good disposition in the house, he thinks it incumbent on him to show the like on his part; and therefore sends down the bills which lay before him, without any amendment." As this message only showed a good disposition, but contained no promise to pass the bills, the house seem to have had their doubts; and therefore, February 2, when they came to resolve, on the report of the grand committee, to give the money, they guarded their resolves very cautiously, viz. "Resolved, that on the passage of such bills as now lie before the governor, (the naturalization bill, and such other bills as may be presented to him during this sitting) there be PAID him the sum of five hundred pounds. Resolved also, that on the passage of such bills as now lie before the governor (the naturalization bill, and such other bills as may be presented to him this sitting) there be PAID to the governor the further sum of one thou-sand pounds, for the current year's support; and that orders be drawn on the treasurer and trustees of the loan-office, pursuant to these resolves." The orders were accordingly drawn ; with which being acquainted, he appointed a time to pass the bills; which was done
with one hand, while he received the orders in the other: and then with the utmost politeness [he] thanked the house for the fifteen hundred pounds, as if it had been a pure free gift, and a mere mark of their respect and affection. "I thank you, gentlemen (says he) for this instance of your regard; which I am the more pleased with, as it gives an agreeable prospect of future harmony between me and the representatives of the people." This, reader, is an exact counterpart of the transaction with governor Denny; except that Denny sent word to the house, that he would pass the bills before they voted the support. And yet here was no proprietary clamour about bribery, &c. And why so? Why at that time the proprietary family, by virtue of a secret bond they had obtained of the governor at his appointment, were to share with him the sums so obtained of the people!
This reservation of the proprietaries they were at that time a little ashamed of; and therefore such bonds were then to be secrets. But as, in every kind of sinning, frequent repetition lessens shame, and increases boldness, we find the proprietaries ten years afterwards openly insisting on these advantages to themselves, over and above what was paid to their deputy: "Wherefore (say they) on this occasion it is necessary that we should inform the people, through yourselves their representatives, that as by the constitution our consent is necessary to their laws, at the same time that they have an undoubted right to such as are necessary for the defence and real service of the country; so it will tend the better to facilitate the several matters which must be transacted with us, for their representatives to show a regard to us and our interest." This was in their answer to the M 4
representation of the assembly [Votes, December, 1754, p. 48.] on the justice of their contributing to Indian expences, which they had refused. And on this clause the committee make the following remark: "They tell us their consent is necessary to our laws, and that it will tend the better to facilitate the matters which must be transacted with them, for the representatives to show a regard to their interest: that is (as we understand it) though the proprietaries have a deputy here, supported by the province, who is, or ought to be, fully impowered to pass all laws necessary for the service of the country; yet, before we can obtain such laws, we must facilitate their passage by paying money for the proprietaries, which they ought to pay; or in some shape make it their particular interest to pass them. We hope, however, that if this practice has ever been begun, it will never be continued in this province; and that since, as this very paragraph allows, we have an undoubted right to such laws, we shall always be able to obtain them from the goodness of our sovereign, without going to market for them to a subject." Time has shown, that those hopes were vain; they have been obliged to go to that market ever since, directly or indirectly, or go without their laws. The practice has continued, and will continue, as long as the proprietary government subsists, intervening between the crown and the people.
Do not, my courteous reader, take pet at our proprietary constitution, for these our bargain and sale proceedings in legislation. It is a happy country where justice, and what was your own before, can be had for ready money. It is another addition to the value of money, and of course another spur to industry. Every land
land is not so blessed. There are countries where the princely proprietor claims to be lord of all property; where what is your own shall not only be wrested from you, but the money you give to have it restored shall be kept with it; and your offering so much, being a sign of your being too rich, you shall be plundered of every thing that remained. These times are not come here yet: your present proprietors have never been more unreasonable hitherto, than barely to insist on your fighting in defence of their property, and paying the expence yourselves; or if their estates must [ah! must] be taxed towards it, that the best of their lands shall be taxed no higher than the worst of yours.
Pardon this digression, and I return to governor Denny; but first let me do governor Hamilton the justice to observe, that whether from the uprightness of his own disposition, or from the odious light the practice had been set in on Denny's account, or from both; he did not attempt these bargains, but passed such laws as he thought fit to pass, without any previous stipulation of pay for them. But then, when he saw the assembly tardy in the payment he expected, and yet calling upon him still to pass more laws; he openly put them in mind of the money, as a debt due to him from custom. "In the course of the present year (says he, in his message of July 8, 1763) a great deal of public business hath been transacted by me, and I believe as many useful laws enacted, as by any of my predecessors in the same space of time: yet I have not understood that any allowance hath hitherto been made to me for my support, as hath been customary in this province." The house having then some bills in hand, took the matter into immediate consideration, and voted