« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
As an illustration of the practice on appeal to the council the case of Grantham v. Wollaston may be cited:
One Wollaston purchased a negro from Grantham and gave a bond for £26, 15 s. in payment. Judgment was entered on this bond by the New Castle County court, execution issued and a portion of the defendant's land sold by the sheriff to Grantham for £30, 10 s. and the latter was put in possession. Wollaston on the 18th, 3 mo., 1687, petitioned to the council at Philadelphia averring that the county court had denied him an appeal to have his case heard in equity. After reading a copy of the proceedings the council directed the secretary to take security for the prosecution of the appeal at the next provincial court and ordered the county court to stop all proceedings. The provincial court on the 10th, 2 mo., 1688, made an order restoring Wollaston to possession, which, it was explained later by one of the judges, was not intended to be executed "until the debt and damages were satisfied.” On the 7th, 12 mo., 1688–9, Wollaston again petitioned the council, complaining of a forcible entry and detainder, whereupon it was resolved that a warrant be drawn, directed to the justices of the peace dwelling “nearest to ye place where ye fforce is alleaged,” to make a view and, if they found no force, to require the sheriff to summon a jury to inquire into the facts and thereupon to imprison the offender and restore quiet possession to the petitioner. On March 4, 1688–9, the clerk of the county court returned to the council the finding of the jury, which was in effect that Grantham had been the victim of the forcible entry. “This was judged by ye board to be a great affront and contempt of their author
1 I Colonial Records, 161, 18, 3 mo. 1687, and see pages 172, 193, 210, 215-18.
ity." Grantham's wife then petitioned the council setting forth her husband's side of the case, and the assembly also remonstrated against the action of the provincial court and requested the council to rehear the whole matter "as the supreame judges of this government.” Governor Blackwell and the council, accordingly, proceeded to New Castle where, on March 13 and 14, 1689, the facts were again reviewed. Both parties were called in and “endeavors used with both of them to agree the matter between themselves,” but in vain. Wollaston declared he had better be without the land
£30, 10 s. for it, and on the other hand Grantham refused to take back the negro, contending justly that the defendant had had several years' use of his purchase while the plaintiff had been out his money. The council thereupon resolved and ordered that the sheriff's sale to Grantham should be confirmed and that he should be restored to possession, that this should be in full of all demands against Wollaston, debt, damages and charges, and "that this be the finall conclusion & judgement of this board in that case.”
It has been observed that the judicial powers exercised by the council resembled those wielded by the court of star chamber in its purest and best days, but however beneficial such control was in correcting the errors of an amateur judiciary, it was contrary to the constitutional principles then uppermost in English minds after a century-long struggle with absolutism. Accordingly, when the revision of the Frame of Government was under consideration in 1701, the assembly petitioned that no person should be answerable before the governor and council or in any place but an ordinary court of justice.? Penn replied that he knew of no per
1 McCall's address before the Law Academy (1838); I Pennsylvania Bar Association Reports, 386.
2 II Colonial Records, 34, 20, 7 mo. 1701.
son obliged so to answer, but he inserted the following clause in the new charter:
“That no person or persons shall or may, at any time hereafter, be obliged to answer any complaint, matter or thing whatsoever Relateing to Property before the Governs and Council, or in any other place but in the ordinary Courts of Justice, Unless appeals thereunto shall be hereafter by Law appointed.”
The council was also the only court for the trial of serious crimes until 1685, when that jurisdiction was conferred on the provincial court. Important cases of this kind were those of the Proprietor against Pickering for counterfeitings and against Margaret Mattson* for witchcraft. The latter case is peculiarly interesting as illustrating the superstition of the times and in its outcome was most creditable to the common sense of Penn and the jury. The accusation against the woman was that she had bewitched the witness's cattle, but the evidence was mostly hearsay, as the defendant herself cleverly pointed out. The verdict of the jury was: “Guilty of haveing the Comon fame of a Witch, but not Guilty in manner and forme as Shee Stands Indicted.” The defendant was permitted to go, on entering bond for good behavior. The fear of witchcraft did not disappear for some time in Pennsylvania. In 1695, the grand jury of Chester County presented “Robert Roman of Chichester for practising Geomacy according to Hidon and Divining by a Stick.” The accused submitted to the court, was fined five pounds and ordered "never to practice the arts" but behave himself well, which he promised. His books, “Hidon's Temple of Wisdom,"
1 II Colonial Records, 38, 29, 7 mo. 1701. 2 II Colonial Records, 56, 28, 8 mo: 1701.
3 Pennypacker's Colonial Cases, 32; I Colonial Records, 29, 24, 8 mo. 1683, and page 32.
* Pennypacker's Colonial Cases, 35; I Colonial Records, 40, 27, 12 mo. 1683.
“Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft," and "Cornelius Agrippa's Necromancy,” were ordered to be brought into court.Another accusation of witchcraft was brought to the attention of the council in 1701 but dismissed as trifling.
The jurisdiction of the council in admiralty matters was a source of much trouble to them. There are numerous cases in the minutes relating to seamen's wages, pilots' fees, violations of the navigation laws and complaints against masters for ill treatment of passengers. An example of the last is the case of March v. Kilner where the master of the ship was charged with beating the passengers and permitting the crew to drink their beer. Kilner denied everything, "only ye kicking of the maid.” He was reprimanded and advised to “make up the business wch accordingly he did.” The proprietor was, by his charter, personally charged with the duty of seeing to the enforcement of the English navigation acts and that fines and duties were imposed and collected according to that complicated and, as the colonists thought, burdensome system. The responsibility for the execution of these laws rested upon the council and many were the complaints to the home government of their indifference and laxity in these matters. Indeed Penn was obliged to write to them in 1697 urging the enforcement of the laws and stating that it had been reported to him “that you doe not onlie wink att but Imbrace pirats, shipps and men."'4 The
1 Hazard's Pennsylvania Register, Vol. V, 159. In Sussex County Edward Southrin was accused of having conversed with the devil. Sussex County Records (Turner), 36.
2 I Colonial Records, 8, 21, 1 mo. 1683, and pages 35, 69.
3 Pennypacker's Colonial Cases, 29; I Colonial Records, 23, 7, 7 mo. 1683.
4 I Colonial Records, 494, 9 February, 1697-8; Board of Trade Journals, Mss. Historical Society Pennsylvania, Vol. X, 268, 287, 333.
council indignantly denied this accusation and reported :
“Wee know of none that has been entertained here, unless Chinton & Lassell, with some others of Avery's Crew, that happened for a smal time to sojourn in this place, as they did in some of the neighboring governments; but as soon as the magistrats in Philadelphia had received but a Copie of the Lords Justice's proclamation, gott all that were here apprehended, & would have taken the Care & Charge of securing ym, untill a Legall Court had been erected for their trial, or an opportunity had presented to send ym to England; but before that Could be effected, they broke goale & made their escape to New York, where Hues & Crys wer sent after ym.”'
Nevertheless the records of the time are full of references to piracy, and Pennsylvania was reported to have “become ye greatest refuge & Shelter for pirats & Rogues in America.” Undoubtedly the “pirats and rogues” took advantage of the mild temper and humanity of the Quaker justices. In 1698 the town of Lewes was plundered, a woeful account of which is contained in a letter from the local justices to Lieutenant-Governor Markham, and in 1700 it was reported to Penn that the great Captain Kidd was lying off Cape Henlopen and trading with some of the inhabitants.2
To deal with such matters, a court of vice admiralty was established, by the Crown, for Pennsylvania and the territories in 1697, of which Colonel Robert Quarry was appointed judge. Quarry was a former governor of South Carolina, a vain and quarrelsome person who disliked the Friends and was bitterly opposed to the
1 I Colonial Records, 495, 10 February, 1697-8.
2 I Colonial Records, 532, August 9, 1699 and see page 549; Sussex Records (Turner), 42. August 17, 1696, Mr. Randolph delivered to the Commissioners of Trade a paper relating to the ill execution of the Acts of Parliament and a list of names of Pirates and Scotchmen inhabiting and trading in Pennsylvania; Memoirs of Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. IV, part 2,