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proprietary system of government. Almost immediately after his appointment his court came into conflict with the county court of Philadelphia. Certain goods having been seized by the collector of customs under a warrant issued by Colonel Quarry, a judge of the county court at the instance of David Lloyd, a lawyer and member of the council, granted a writ of replevin under which they were taken from the collector. Quarry was exceedingly indignant at this and complained both to the home government and to the governor and council, who made such apologies as they could, handed over the replevin bond to him, and reprimanded the judge, who tendered his resignation. David Lloyd, however, was as obstinate and hot-headed as Quarry himself. At the succeeding county court he brought an action against the marshal for the detaining of the goods. In the words of Quarry
“Ye marshall being called to defend the sute, hee produced in his owne Justificaon His maties Lres pats, undr ye broad seal of ye High Court of Admiraltie, with the Judges warrt for ye seizure aforesaid, which sd patent having in the frontis piece his most sacred maties effigies stampt, with the sd seal adpendant, the sd David Lloyd, in a most insolent & disloyal manner, taking the sd Commission in his hand & exposing it to ye people, did utter & publish these scurilous & reflecting words following, viz:-what is this? do you think to scare us wt a great box (meaning ye seal in a tin box) and a little Babie; (meaning ye picture or effigies aforesaid); 'tis true, said hee, fine pictures please children; but wee are not to be frightened att such a rate; & many more gross & reflecting expressions on his matie to ye like effect."2
For this and other insults to the court of admiralty, Penn, by order of the board of trade, suspended Lloyd from the council and dismissed him from all public
1 I Colonial Records, 535, December 21, 1699, and see page 545. 2 I Colonial Records, 576, May 14, 1700.
employment and he from that time became a bitter opponent of the proprietor. Nevertheless in spite of stringent laws and a more systematic patrol of the coast by cruisers it was long before pirates ceased to be a menace to commerce. In 1712 Logan wrote, “We have been extremely pestered with pirates who now swarm in America and increase their numbers with every vessel they take.”2 In 1718 Governor Keith in calling the council's attention to the losses sustained by the colony through piracy, said that he was informed that Teach had been lurking for some days in and about Philadelphia and that he suspected that many of the pirates who had surrendered under an offer of pardon still kept up a correspondence with their companions abroad. The Teach referred to was the notorious pirate “Blackbeard” who was shortly after killed in an encounter with a vessel fitted out by Virginia for his capture.
It must not be supposed that either the provincial court or the council, in its judicial capacity, was a court of last resort. Under the charter the right was reserved to the king to hear and determine appeals from all judgments given in the province, and until the Revolution there was no court of last resort in Pennsylvania. A reference to this subject is contained in the commisșion of William and Mary to Governor Fletcher wherein it is provided that if either party to a civil cause is dissatisfied with the judgment of the superior court of the
1 Memoirs Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. IV, part 2, 301.
2 Watson's Annals of Philadelphia (1850), Vol. II, 218; III Colonial Records, 43, August 11, 1718.
3 Blackbeard's head was struck off and brought back in triumph on the end of the bowsprit. Afterwards his skull was made into the bottom of a very large punch bowl long used at the Raleigh Tavern at Williamsburg, Va.; Watson's Annals of Philadelphia (1850), Vol. II, 221.
province “they may then appeale unto us in our privy Council, provided the matter in difference exceed the real value and Sum of three hundred pounds Sterling."'1 The Act of October 28, 1701, contained provisions for appeals to England but no limit of money value was fixed. While the right to such appeals to England was, in this colony, unquestioned, the difficulty and expense of prosecuting them was such as to render them infrequent. In 1685 an appeal to England was allowed by the provincial court upon entry of security, but from the discussion in the council it would seem that the appellant failed to enter security as required.3
In December, 1699, Penn returned to America and began the work of reconstructing the government of the province, which had been restored to him on the express condition that he would put an end to the existing state of confusion. The political and constitutional history of provincial Pennsylvania has been ably and thoroughly treated elsewhere and it is not our purpose to refer to it except as it affected the courts. Suffice it to say that the period of utopian and paternal experiments had closed and that thereafter the proprietor and his successors were engaged in a struggle to maintain a difficult position between two fires; on the one side a democracy, selfish, narrow and individualistic, and on the other a home government, critical and contemptuous, that regarded the colony as little more than a nest of republicans and smugglers. Penn found the assembly determined to strengthen its position and after much fruitless discussion, granted a charter
1 I Colonial Records, 313, 21, 9 mo. 1690.
4 Board of Trade Journals, July 13, 1694; Mss. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. VII, 300.
5 Shepherd's Proprietary Government in Pennsylvania (Columbia University Studies in History, 1896).
conferring very extended powers on the legislative body and containing little else of constitutional importance. Nothing was said of the judges. The provincial court was then an insignificant factor in the political life the province and the organization of the courts was left to be regulated by an act of assembly, which will be referred to presently.
With the adoption of the charter of privileges of 1701, the government of the province assumed a form that it was to retain until the Revolution. The power of profosing and enacting laws passed to the assembly and the council ceased to exercise judicial powers. More important still, the council ceased to be an elected body and was thereafter appointed by the proprietor or in his absence by his lieutenant-governor. The effect of this was to throw into the assembly the abler spirits of the opposition and greatly strengthen that body, while the council, chosen from among the friends of the governor or proprietor, was thereafter regarded as representing the proprietary interests rather than those of the populace.
One humble court has not been referred to, that of the coroner. The following is a specimen of a verdict taken in 1699 in Chester County :
“We whose names are underwritten, summoned and attested by the Coroner to view the body of Sarah Baker, haveing made strict enquiry, and alsoe had what evidence could be found, attested to what they know, and wee can find noe other but that it pleased Almighty God to visit her with death by the force of Thunder; and to this we all unanimously agree.'
Who will say that this is not quite equal in intelligence to the verdict of the average coroner's jury at the present time?
1 II Colonial Records, 54, 28, 8 mo. 1701; Proceedings of the Constitutional Conventions of Pennsylvania of 1776 and 1790, 31.
2 Chester County Records, 6, 5 mo. 1699, reprinted in Hazard's Pennsylvania Register, Vol. V, 156.
In 1701 William Penn was called back to England to defend his proprietorship. Before his departure a general revision of the earlier legislation was undertaken at the sessions of the assembly held at New Castle in 1700 and at Philadelphia in 1701. The acts there passed, one hundred and fourteen in number, seem, in a sense, to have been regarded as supplying the previous legislation and were passed with the expectation of being presented to the privy council for approval, as required by the charter. In fact, when the board of trade inquired of Penn, on his return, as to whether the laws received from him were a complete body of all the laws of the province, he replied that he believed they were the present body of laws, and it will be noticed that the compilations of the eighteenth century begin with the Acts of 1700.
Among these acts was one of October 28, 1701, entitled "An Act for Establishing Courts of Judicature in this Province and Counties Annexed." Its origin was as follows: Edward Shippen, for the two previous years chief justice of the provincial court, and John Guest, the then chief justice, both members of the council, brought into the assembly on October 7th, a bill for establishing the courts, which was "unanimously rejected.” Some few days after, David Lloyd, who was not then a member of either council or house, proposed a bill which was voted to be adopted with amendments, and Richard Hallowell and Isaac Norris were appointed a committee to draw up the bill, with the amendments. The bill met with no apparent opposi
1 II Statutes at Large, 461.
2 II Statutes at Large, 148; Charter and Laws of Pennsylvania,