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cuted, and the contract he entered into for the good of his people completed, is stiled, an "attempt to violate the constitution for which our fathers planted a wilderness; to barter away our glorious plan of public liberty and charter privileges; a risquing of the whole constitution; an offering up our whole charter rights; a wanton sporting with things sacred, &c."
Pleasant surely it is to hear the proprietary partizans, of all men, bawling for the constitution, and affecting a terrible concern for our liberties and privileges. They, who have been these twenty years cursing our constitution, declaring that it was no constitution, or worse than none; and that things could never be well with us till it was new modelled, and made exactly conformable to the British constitution: they, who have treated our distinguishing privileges as so many illegalities and absurdities; who have solemnly declared in print, that though such privileges might be proper in the infancy of a colony to encourage its settlement, they became unfit for it in its grown state, and ought to be taken away they, who by numberless falshoods, propagated with infinite industry in the mother country, attempted to procure an act of parliament for the actual depriving a very great part of the people of their privileges: they too, who have already deprived the whole people of some of their most important rights, and are daily endeavouring to deprive them of the rest: are these become patriots and advocates for our constitution? Wonderful change! astonishing conversion! Will the wolves then protect the sheep, if they can but persuade them to give up their dogs? Yes; the assembly would destroy all their own rights, and those of the people; and the proprietary partizans are become the
champions for liberty! Let those who have faith now make use of it for if it is rightly defined, the evidence of things not seen, certainly never was there more occasion for such evidence, the case being totally destitute of all other.
It has been long observed, that men are with that party, angels or demons, just as they happen to concur with or oppose their measures. And I mention it for the comfort of old sinners, that in politics, as well as in religion, repentance and amendment, though late, shall obtain forgiveness, and procure favour. Witness the late speaker, Mr. Norris; a steady and constant opposer of all the proprietary encroachments; and whom, for thirty years past, they have been therefore continually abusing, allowing him no one virtue or good quality whatsoever: but now, as he shewed some unwillingness to engage in this present application to the crown, he is become all at once the "faithful servant;" -but let me look at the text, to avoid mistakes-and indeed I was mistaken-I thought it had been "faithful servant of the public," but I find it is only " of the house." Well chosen that expression, and prudently guarded. The former, from a proprietary pen, would have been praise too much, only for disapproving the time of the application. Could you, much respected [Mr. Norris], go but a little farther, and disapprove the application itself? Could you but say, the proprietary government is a good one, and ought to be continued ; then might all your political offences be done away, and your scarlet sins become as snow and wool; then might you end your course with (proprietary) honour. P→ should preach your funeral sermon, and S-, the poisoner of other characters, embalm your memory. But those honours
honours you will never receive; for with returning health and strength you will be found in your old post, firm for your country.
There is encouragement too for young sinners. Mr. Dickenson, whose speech our prefacer has introduced to the world, (though long hated by some, and diśregarded by the rest of the proprietary faction) is at once, for the same reason as in Mr. Norris's case, become a sage in the law, and an oracle in matters relating to our constitution. I shall not endeavour to pluck so much as a leaf from these the young gentleman's laurels. I would only advise him carefully to preserve the panegyrics with which they have adorned him: in time they may serve to console him, by balancing the calumny they shall load him with, when he does not go through with them in all their measures: he will not probably do the one, and they will then assuredly do the other. There are mouths that can blow hot as well as cold, and blast on your brows the bays their hands have placed there." Experto crede Roberto." Let but the moon of proprietary favour withdraw its shine for a moment, and that "great number of the principal gentlemen of Philadelphia," who applied to you for the copy of your speech, shall immediately despise and desert you.
"Those principal gentlemen!" What a pity it is that their names were not given us in the preface, together with their admirable letter! We should then have known, where to run for advice on all occasions. We should have known, who to choose for our future representatives for undoubtedly these were they that are elsewhere called "the wiser and better part of the province." None but their wisdoms could have known before-hand, that a speech which they never heard, and
a copy of which they had never seen, but were then requesting to see, was "a spirited defence," and "of our charter privileges," and that "the publication of it would be of great utility, and give general satisfaction." No inferior sagacity could discover, that the appointment of a governor by the proprietor was one of our " charter privileges," and that those who opposed the application for a royal government were therefore patriot members, appearing on the side of our privileges and our charter!
Utterly to confound the assembly, and show the excellence of proprietary government, the prefacer has extracted from their own votes, the praises they have from time to time bestowed on the first proprietor, in their addresses to his sons. And though addresses are not generally the best repositories of historical truth, we must not in this instance deny their authority.
What then avails it to the honour of the present proprietors, that our founder and their father gave us privileges, if they, the sons, will not permit the use of them, or forcibly rend them from us? David may have been a man after God's own heart, and Solomon the wisest of proprietors and governors; but if Rehoboam will be a tyrant and a, who can secure him the affections of the people? The virtue and merit of his ancestors may be very great, but his presumption in depending upon those alone may be much greater.
I lamented, á few pages ago, that we were not acquainted with the names of those " principal gentlemen, the wiser and better part of the province." I now rejoice that we are likely, some time or other, to know them; for a copy of a petition to the king is now before
me; which, from its similarity with their letter, must be of their inditing, and will probably be recommended to the people, by their leading up the signing.
On this petition I shall take the liberty of making a few remarks, as they will save me the necessity of following farther the preface; the sentiments of this and that being nearly the same.
It begins with a formal quotation from the [assembly's] petition, which they own they have not seen, and of words that are not in it; and after relating very imperfectly and unfairly the fact relating to their application for a copy of it, which is of no importance, proceeds to set forth, "that as we and all your American subjects must be governed by persons authorised and approved by your Majesty, on the best recommendation that can be obtained of them; we cannot perceive our condition in this respect to be different from our fellow-subjects around us, or that we are thereby less under your majesty's particular care and protection than they are; since there can be no governors of this province without your majesty's immediate approbation and authority." Such a declaration from the wiser part of the province is really a little surprising. What! when disputes concerning matters of property are daily arising between you and your proprietaries, cannot your wisdoms perceive the least difference between having the judges of those disputes appointed by a royal governor, who has no interest in the cause, and having them appointed by the proprietaries themselves, the principal parties against you; and during their pleasure too? When supplies are necessary to be raised for your defence, can you perceive no difference between having a royal governor, free to promote his majesty's service by