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Troops were enlisted, laws passed authorizing the issuance of bills of credit, and stores of victual, clothing and ammunition provided. Fortunately the two belligerents came to terms and peace was declared, articles being signed at Aix-la-Chapelle, in April, 1748.
Common justice, independent of all other considerations, should have induced the mother country to have remembered her colonies in the treaty. They had nobly come to her rescue in her extremity; they had sent their bravest and best to the siege of Louisberg; hundreds of her staunchest men had perished in battle and an enormous sum of money had been expended in furthering the interests of England. The British were properly chargeable with wicked inactivity and had suffered the colonists to assume all the risks of the contest on the Western Continent. The New England people rightly believed that Cape Breton, instead of being surrendered to the French as it was, by the treaty, should have been annexed, as an English province, to its possessions in North America and that the colonists should have been fully reimbursed for their expenses. But, in the terms of the treaty, the American Colonists were entirely ignored. About $900,000 was divided among the four colonies of New England, Massachusetts receiving the largest share and New Hampshire only $10,000, the other colonies getting nothing. The people were becoming restive under the selfish indifference of a country which recognized no duty due from her to her children in another continent, but demanded so much. This selfishness, this wicked indifference, was preparing the way for the final disruption between England and her North American subjects and all this was remembered when, a few years afterwards, the colonies declared themselves independent and hostilities began between them and the parent country.
Hamilton, who followed Morris, died in the summer of 1747 and John Reading, the next oldest Councillor, took his place. Reading was an old man and reluctantly assumed the duties of the position. He was very soon superseded by Jonathan Belcher, who having been appointed by the king, published his commission some time in August, 1747.
John Hamilton invented a scheme for establishing post offices in America, and, about 1694, obtained a patent from the crown for his invention, but he never put his scheme into practical operation, the government having purchased it for a consideration.
Jonathan Belcher was born at Cambridge, Mass., in Ki81, and was the son of Andrew Belcher, a merchant and a man of great wealth, who gave his son all the opportunities for acquiring an education that the country, at that time,-afforded. He graduated with honor from Harvard College, at an early age and afterwards spent six months abroad, improving himself by travel. While in Europe, the ample fortune of his father and the influence of friends procured admission for him into the very best society. After being presented at court, he returned to his native country and engaged in business. In 1729, he was appointed Governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, which position he retained for eleven years. While quite a youth, he became a devout Christian, severely, though sincerely, puritanical in his views, and when George Whitfield visited North America, in 1741, he was one of his most ardent supporters. After a short visit to England, in 1747, he returned with his appointment as Governor of New Jersey, and came to New York, landing thereon August the 8th, 1747. Two days afterwards, he published his commission at Amboy, then the seat of government of the colony. On the 20th of the same month he met the Legislature at Burlington and became, for a short time, a citizen of that town, living, at first, with a Quaker named Richard Smith, and then, in his own house. He was much pleased with the town and surrounding country, with its soil and climate, but his pious soul was sorely tried by the irreverent manner in which the people observed the Sabbath. There were only two places of religious worship in the town— one Episcopalian, and the other, Quaker. He tried both, but was exceedingly dissatisfied and longed for the old ways and customs of his own church. To obtain these, he frequently drove with his coach and four to Philadelphia, twenty miles distant. But his conscientiousscrfiples against this apparent desecration of the Sabbath, led him to abandon the effort to worship with those who shared his religious views. He removed to Elizabeth Town in 1751 and changed the seat of government from Amboy to that place. While attending the commencement exercises of the College of New jersey, at Newark, in September, 1750, he was seized with a stroke of paralysis from which he never entirely recovered, but continued to exercise the functions of Governor until his death, August 31st, 1757.
Governor Belcher was remarkable for personal dignity and grace of manner, which he retained to the last. He was a scholar, largely interested in educational matters and a firm and fast friend of the College of New Jersey, upon which he bestowed many benefactions. The Rev. Dr. Aaron Burr, who died just twenty days afterwards, preached his funeral sermon to a very large congregation in the Presbyterian" Church. He eulogized the deceased in the very highest terms, speaking of him as "the scholar, the accomplished gentleman and the true Christian," and referred to his unshaken integrity and uprightness, his zeal for justice, his proof against all kinds of corruption and bribery, his distinguished and unaffected piety and his sacred regard for the Lord's day. He was an excellent Governor and died universally regretted.
The death of Governor Belcher again promoted John Reading from the Council Chamber to the Gubernatorial chair. He, at first, refused to accept the office, but finally consented and served until the arrival, in June, 1756, of Francis Bernard, with the commission of Governor from the king. Bernard only remained in office for about two years and was then removed to Massachusetts and became the Chief Magistrate of that colony. He was succeeded by Thomas Boone, who was about a year in office, when he was transferred to South Carolina. Josiah Hardy followed Boone, but his term was still shorter than his predecessor's, as he was soon made Consul at Cadiz, in Spain. Hardy was succeeded by William Franklin, the last royal Governor of New Jersey, who was the son of Benjamin Franklin and had been educated by his father with the greatest care; but, under the influence of the ministry of England, he had become imbued with prejudice against the colonists and finally, when the struggle came, resulting in the independence of the colonies, he espoused the royalist cause, to his father's intense grief and indignation.
In Governor Belcher's time the three acts, mentioned before, which Morris had refused to approve, were passed without any objection whatever. They were these: One obliging Sheriffs to enter into bond with sufficient sureties, conditioned for the faithful performance of their duty; one to prevent actions of ^15 and under being brought in the Supreme Court; and the other fixed the amount of the fees and costs for services performed by all the officers of the Government from Governor down to the criers in the several courts.
On November "23. I?23, an ordinance had been published by Governor Burnet, for regulating the fees of all these various offices, but, serious abuses had crept into the practice of the courts, to the very great discontent of the people, and this new law was demanded almost by public outcry. The act did not very materially alter Burnet's ordinance, but it virtually annulled it. By its terms its operation was suspended until the King's assent should be given thereto, which was d-^re in Council, November 23, 1749.
There was a large amount of important legislation during Belcher's administration; among the acts were the following:
"An Act to pardon Persons guilty of Insurrections, Riots, Tumults and other Disorders raised and committed in this Province," passed February 17, 1747-8.
The act recites "That great Numbers of ill disposed Persons Inhabitants of this Province, had committed great and dangerous Insurrections, Riots and Disorders; and, in open Violation of the established Laws of the Land, had frequently and in a most audacious riotous Man ner, assembled themselves together, broke open the Gaols of the several Counties of Essex, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon and Morris, whereby they had rendered themselves obnoxious to grievous Punishment, Fines and Penalties," and that some of them "having for themselves and others conscious of their guilt by their Petitions to-the House of Representatives, brought their supplications of the Governor on their behalf." By the terms of the act, a full and free pardon was granted.
"An Act for the better enabling of Creditors to recover their just Debts from Persons who absconded themselves."
The present attachment law of New Jersey is almost similar in its provisions to this.
An act to prevent lotteries and gambling and "to restrain the abuse of Horseracing within this Colony for the future."
An act for the revival of the act for the relief of poor distressed prisoners for debt.
An act to restrain tavernkeepers and others from selling liquor to servants and slaves and to prevent negroes and mulattos from hunting and carrying a gun on the Lord's day.
An act to prevent the exportation of merchantable flour to foreign markets.
An act continuing an act to prevent actions of jQ\5 and under to be brought in the Supreme Court.
An act to prevent the exportation of provisions, and naval or warlike stores from New Jersey to Cape Breton or any other dominion settled by the subjects of the French king.
An act "more effectually to prevent the French from being supplied with provisions, naval and warlike stores from the colonies of New Jersey."
At the time of the passage of the last two laws England and France were at war.
The following statutes were passed in John Reading's time:
Several acts providing for the defense of the frontiers of the colony; the building of barracks; and preventing selling spirituous liquors to the soldiers.
These act were all passed during the same war.
These laws were passed in Bernard's time:
Further acts providing for the defence of the frontiers during the war with France.
An act empowering certain persons to purchase the claims of Indians - to land in the colony.
An act to raise 1,000 effective volunteers.
These laws were passed in Thomas Boone's time:
An act to explain and fix in what money taxes should be paid.
An act to prevent the sale of tickets in lotteries "erected out of the province;" to enable three public lotteries to extend time for drawing until November, 1761-62-63.
These three lotteries were authorized by an act heretofore quoted, empowering certain persons to purchase claims of the Indians to lands in the colony.
These laws were passed in Josiah Hardy's time:
An act effectually to prevent horseracing and gaming in the province . : New Jersey.
An act to postpone the drawing of the "Province Lottery."
An act to empower the trustees of the College of New Jersey to raise by ;ottery a sum of money for the use of that college.
Governor Bernards influence upon the political situation, or upon anv other interest of the colony was hardly perceptible. He had very i:.c opportunity to make himself felt, as his administration lasted a r.le less than two years. He was an Englishman, of excellent ancestry, and of good education, having graduated at Oxford College. At the time of his appointment to the office of Governor of New Jersey, :-.c Was a proctor and solicitor practicing his profession at London.
He arrived at Ambov on the 14th of T"-ne. l?oS. and on the 16th of * : "o same month, two days atterwards, he proclaimed his commission
t- -;":i appropriate ceremonies. His reception by the people of his provvo was iv.;:oh more elaborate than that of any of his predecessors. It - V :r;eresting to give a bnet description of his inauguration. On