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were before them should have been passed, yet, as he desired that the members should give their full attention to the several bills and " imploy your Thoughts seriously to find out Ye most effectual ways to Attain those Desirable Ends," he adjourned the session until the 18th of May next succeeding.
An elaborate daily journal was kept of the votes and proceedings of the House of Representatives, as the Assembly was sometimes called, from the first day of its session until its close. It does not appear anywhere in its pages whether the acts which the Assembly did pass, or even those which were concurred in by the Council, except the one relating to buying land from the Indians, were ever presented to the Governor, for his approval. The usual custom was, after a bill had passed both Assembly and Council, for the Governor to send a messenger to the House and "comand " the attendance of its members; then for the Speaker and Representatives to repair to the Council Chamber where the Governor sat, and receive from him, in person, a notice of his approval or disapproval of the bill in question.
It is evident from all the proceedings and from the peremptory manner of Cornbury in his speeches to the legislature that he fully intended to control all legislation, even though he had the power of veto, which was final.
The legislature was prorogued until May 18, 1?<H, but it did not meet then. It convened for its second session on the first day of September, 17n4r,' at Burlington, according "to his Excell'cys Adjt.", and adjourned on that day, at the request of the Governor, until the succeeding Monday, when the Governor "Comanded their attendance imediately." On their appearance before him, Cornbury made a speech containing some very excellent recommendations and suggesting the passage of several bills. Amongst other recommendations made by him was the following: "I intreat you to lay aside all animosities, w'ch may have been occasioned by former misunderstandings, by this means you will Easily finish the Bills I have proposed to you, and such others as you may (see?) fit to Offer to me, for ye Service of ye Queen and ye Good of ye Countrey, w'ch I am sure ought to'be Inseparable."
The legislature continued in session until the 28th of September, when it was dissolved by the Governor. His address to the members at that time contained several sharp rebukes which were entirely undeserved. The House met from day to day, sometimes as early as at eight o'clock in the morning, continuing its session until after dark, as appears by an order recorded in the journal, that candles should be brought in, and there is every evidence from the journal that the members were industriously engaged in the performance of their duties. It must be said, however, that there was great embarrassment in their action relative to one matter to which the Governor directed the attention of the House, and that was the law which would settle, if passed, the rights of the Proprietors to the quit-rent they demanded. It was undoubtedly right that the Proprietors should be assured of the payment of this rent, but it had been a bone of contention, especially in East Jersey, from 1670. If the legislature had passed a law requiring the payment to be made, it would have aroused the anger of the great body of the colonists and led to very serious difficulty. It is very doubtful whether Cornbury really desired this law to be passed. He had a greater grievance. His creditors were clamorous, for he was irretrievably in debt, and hoped to extricate himself by the salary which he expected to receive as Governor of New Jersey. He demanded ^2,000 to be paid to him yearly, for an indefinite period. The demand was extortionate; the province was unable, at that time, to raise so large a sum; the legislature, going as far as they dared, offered to raise ^1,300, but this did not satisfy Cornbury's cupidity, and their refusal to raise the sum he required was the real reason of his dissolution of the House. His speech made to them on the 28th of September, shows his great dissatisfaction and exactly upon what point he was dissatisfied. In the beginning of his speech, he says this: "On the 4th of this Month I acquainted You with such things as I thought necessary for ye Service of her Most Sacred Ma'ty, ye Queen, & ye good of this Province, to be past into Laws this Sessions, ... & On ye 7th you thought fit to present me with an Address, in w'ch you gave me Assurance, y't you w'd Dispatch ye matters I had recommended, to you, and such others as you thought necessary for ye Good of ye Province. I rely'ed on these promises, and it is w'th a great deal of Concern, y't I am forced to say, y't you had no manner of Regard to these promises. Y'e Two Bills which I believe all mankind will agree are the most necessary (because ye one was to provide for ye Support of ye Governm't & ye other for ye Defence of ye Country) mean ye Bill to Settle ye Revenue & to settle ye Militia of this Province, had been so little Regarded, y't ye first was not brought in into ye H'e till Tuesday last, a day so late in point of time, y't every body knows it is Impossible for me to stay to pass it."
1 Smith savs the meeting Was on the 7th of September and (iordon & Mulford both follow him in the error. The Journal of the "House of Representatives*' kept at the time, fixes the initial day of this second session on the 1st day of September, 17C4, and the fact that it closed on the 28th dav of the same month.
The last sentence in the speech gives a plain indication if any more were needed, of his hope that another legislature might be elected more compliant to his wishes. "Therefore y't I may see whether there may not be found persons inclined to support Her Ma'ties Gover't in this Province, as it ought to be, I do think fit to dissolve this present Assembly pursuant to ye Power to me Granted, by her most Sacred Ma'ty, the Queen under the Broad Seal of England this Assembly is dissolved."
Political parties began now to be formed in the province, with no distinctive names or distinguishing principles as to public policy, but differing so much upon one point as to be antagonistic to each other. They can only be described by saying that one favored the Governor and the other opposed him.
Cornbury determined that a majority of the members of the next Assembly should be entirely subservient to him, and endeavored to control the election to that end. In some respects it was easy for him to accomplish his purpose. The number of voters was small and in this early history of the province might perhaps have been influenced by selfish or other motives presented to them for the purpose of controlling their action. But there were other circumstances which militated against the efforts of the Governor and his friends. The electors were scattered over a large extent of country; the majority of them were sturdy, self-respecting, thoughtful men; many of them were keensighted and easily pierced through the thin veil with which Cornburv attempted to cover his cupidity and his baseness.
He was not successful. The majority of the representatives elected to sit in the second Legislature were opposed to him. So, it became necessary, if he desired to carry his pet plans by a vote of the Assembly, that he should resort to other measures. He was not deterred by the question whether his proposed plans were just or unjust—whether they were legal or illegal. What swayed him was his own selfish ends.
There were three prominent men from West Jersey who were elected members of the incoming Assembly. They were Thomas Gardiner, Thomas Lambert and Joshua Wright. Gardiner had been
elected Speaker of the House at the preceding session and had been accepted by the Governor as such Speaker. Thomas Lambert was a member of the first Legislature and had taken his seat without the slightest objection. But when these three members presented themselves to take the required oath, they were rejected, upon the ground that they did not possess the number of acres of land necessary to be held by a legislator, according to the "Instructions." The objection was formally made by two of the Governor's Councillors; it did not come from the Assembly, nor from any member of it, but from the Governor, himself, through the advice of his Council. He had, perhaps, an excuse for some action in the matter, provided a serious objection had been made by the proper person, but there was no authority given to him as Governor, to decide whether or not a member was qualified. The "Instructions" required that each member should possess, in his own right, 1,000 acres of land, or be worth a certain amount in pounds sterling. The fact that these three persons were the only ones who were refused the right to a seat and that they were known to be opponents of the Governor, makes the case very suspicious, to say the least, that the Governor was actuated by his fear of their influence against him, in the Assembly.
Almost immediately after the refusal to admit Gardiner and his fellows to their privilege of membership, a resolution was passed "that they may be admitted to make appear to ye H'e their Qualifications to sit in this Gen'l Assembly." and thereupon they produced copies of several surveys of lands, "possest by them in order to prove their Qualifications to sit as members of this House." This was on the 17th of November, 1704. There had been some action taken in the Legislature on the loth and 16th, but nothing definite had been arrived at. On the 17th, the further consideration of the case was postponed until Wednesday, the 22d, when nothing was done, nor in fact, was anything accomplished until the 4th of December, when a petition was presented on behalf of Gardiner and his associates, that "ye H'e would please to Admit them to make their Qualifications to serve in this Assembly appear before them." An order was made upon this petition, that they be admitted to be heard the next day, when the further hearing was adjourned until the 6th of December; then the House proceeded to the consideration of the petition, and made this order: "Tho Lambert, Josh Wright & Tho Gardiner having appear'd before this H'e & shew'd their Qualifications to sit in this H'e as Members, And ye House having considered ye same, are of Opinion y't each of them, hath a Thousand Acres of Land, And y'fore it is Ordered, That Mr. Salter & Jno Key do Attend his Excell'cy & Acquaint him therewith & pray y't they may be Admitted to take their Oaths or Attestation in order to take their places in this House."
Notwithstanding this action, the Governor still refused to permit these gentlemen to take their seats and on the afternoon of the next day the Legislature ordered that two of its members attend the Governor and state to him the reasons which satisfied the Assembly "that Tho Lambert, Joshua Wright, & Tho Gardiner held each of them 1000 Acres of Land in his own Right." This had no more effect than the prior action, and the seats of the three members remained vacant during the whole of the first session of the second Assembly; it was not until the next year that the Governor consented that they should take their seats.
On the 17th of October, 1705, the second day of the second session, the two members who had been appointed to wait on the Governor, with the reasons why the Assembly was satisfied that the members who had been refused their seats each had a thousand acres of land and were therefore entitled to sit in the Assembly, reported that they had attended the Governor and had informed him of the action of the Legislature and had requested him to admit the members. The Governor's reply, they stated, was "That whereas her Ma'ty had Reposed a Trust in him, y't he should be likewise satisfied of y'e Qualifica'ons of ye Members, & desired to know ye reasons w'ch had satisfied ye House of ye Qualifica'ons of ye sd persons." The report further stated that the Governor had ordered that the three non-sitting members should attend him the next morning at Nine o'clock. According to this order the three members did wait upon the Governor the next morning, and presented their deeds. He took minutes of the surveys of the lands, but made no decision, and it was not until the 26th of October that a message was received from him that he had admitted Gardiner, Lambert and Wright, and they took their seats.
But the mischief had been done. The object of the Governor had been accomplished. He had secured a majority of subservient members of the legislature who were willing to do his bidding. What he desired more than all else was that a bill should be passed providing for his own salary and for the expenses of the government. He knew that the three members from West Jersey would oppose it and that it