Page images
[ocr errors]

Secondly, I do not find a Model in the World, that Time, Place, and some fingular Emergencies have not necessarily altered ; nor is it easy to frame a civil Government, that shall serve all Places alike.

Thirdly, I know what is said by the several Admirers of Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy, which are the Rule of one, a few, and many,

and are the three common Ideas of Government, when Men

on that Subject. But I chuse to folve the Controversy with this small Distinction, and it belongs to all three : Any Government is free to the People under it (whatever be the Frame) where the Laws rule, and the People are a Party to those Laws; and more than this is Tyranny, Oligarchy, or Confufion.

But Lastly, when all is said, there is hardly one Frame of Government in the World so ill designed by its first Founders, that in good Hands would not do well enough; and Story tells us, the best in ill ones can do nothing that is great or good; Witness the Jewish and Roman States. Governments, like Clocks, go from the Motion Men give them; and as Governa ments are made and moved by Men, so by them they' are ruined too. Wherefore Governments rather depend upon Men, than Men upon Governments. Let Men be good, and the Government can't be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it. But if Men be bad, let the Government be never so good, they will endeavour ta warp and spoil it to their Turn.

I know some say, Let us have good Laws, and no matter for the Men that execute them: But let them consider, That though good Laws do well, good Men do better : For good Laws may want good Men, and be abolished or evaded by ill Men; but good Men will never want good Laws, nor suffer ill ones. good Laws have some Awe upon ill Ministers, but that is where they have no Power to escape or abolish them, and the People are generally wise and good : But a


'Tis true,

loose and depraved People (which is to the Question) love Laws and an Administration like themselves. That therefore which makes a good Constitution, must keep it, viz. Men of Wisdom and Virtue, Qualities, that because they descend not with wordly. Inheritances, muft be carefully propagated by a virtuous Education of Youth; for which After-Ages will owe more to the Care and Prudence of Founders and the successive Magistracy, than to their Parents for their private Patrimonies.

These Considerations of the Weight of Government, and the nice and various Opinions about it, made it uneasy to me to think of publishing the ensuing Frame and conditional Laws, foreseeing, both the Censures they will meet with from Men of differing Humeurs and Engagements, and the Occafion they may give of Discourse beyond my Design.

But next to the Power of Necessity, (which is a Solicitor that will take no Denial) this induced me ta a Compliance, that we have (with Reverence to GOD and good Conscience to Men) to the best of our Skill, contrived and composed the FRAME and LAWS of this Government, to the great End of all Goo' vernment, viz. To support Power in Reverence with the People, and to secure the People from the Abuse of Power; that they may be free by their just Ohedience, and the Magistrates honourable for their just Administration : For Liberty without Obedience is Confufion, and Obedience without Liberty is Slavery. To carry this Evenness is partly owing to the Consilitution, and partly to the Magistracy: Where either of these fail, Government will be subject to Convullions ; but where both are wanting, it must be totally fubverted : Then where both meet, the Government is like to endure. Which I humby pray, and hope GOD quill please to make the Lot of this of Pennsylvania. Amen.



[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

To fets hall come.

[ocr errors]

O ALL PEOPLE, To whom thefe Pre

sents shall come. WHEREAS King CHARLES the Second, by his Letters Patents, under the Great Seal of England, for the Confideration therein mentioned, hath been graciously pleased to give and grant unto me William Penn (by the Name of William Penn, Efq; Son and Heir of Sir William Penn, deceased) and to my Heirs and Affigns for ever, all that Tract of Land, or Province, called Pennsylvania, in America, with divers great Powers, Preheminences, Royalties, Jurisdictions, and Authorities, necessary for the Well-being and Government thereof: NOW KNOW YE, That for the Well-being and Government of the said Province, and for the Encouragement of all the Freemen and Planters that may be therein concerned, in Pursuance of the Powers afore-mentioned, I, the faid William Penn, have declared, granted and confirmed, and by these Presents, for me, my Heirs and Afligns, do declare, grant and confirm, unto all the Freemen, Planters and Adventurers, of, in and to the faid Province, these Liberties, Franchises, and Properties, to be held, enjoyed and kept by the Freemen, Planters and Inhabitants of the said Province of Pennsylvania for ever.

[ocr errors]

IMPRIMI S. That the Government of this Province shall, according to the Powers of the Patent, consist of the Governor and Freemen of the said Province, in Form of a Provincial Council and General Allem

bly, bly, by whom all Laws shall be made, Officers chofen, and publick Affairs transacted, as is hereafter respectively declared. That is to say,

II. That the Freemen of the said Province shall, on the twentieth Day of the twelfth Month, which shall be in this present Year One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty and Two, meet and assemble in some fit Place, of which timely Notice shall be beforehand given by the Governor or his Deputy, and then and there shall chuse out of themselves seventytwo Persons, of most Note for their Wisdom, Virtue and Ability, who shall meet on the tenth Day of the first Month next ensuing, and always be called and act as the provincial Council of the faid Province,

III. That at the first Choice of such Provincial Council, one third Part of the said Provincial Council shall be chosen to serve for three Years then next ensuing, one third Part for two Years then next ensuing, and one third Part for one Year then next following such Election, and no longer ; and that the said third Part shall go out accordingly: And on the twentieth Day of the twelfth Month as aforesaid, yearly for ever afterward, the Freemen of the said Province shall in like Manner meet and assemble together, and then chuse twenty-four Perfuns, being one third of the said Number, to serve in Provincial Council for three Years : It being intended, that one third Part of the whole Provincial Council (always consisting, and to consist of seventy-two Persons as aforesaid) falling off yearly, it shall be yearly supplied by such new yearly Elections, as aforesaid; and that no one Person shall continue therein longer than three Years: And in case any Member thall decease before the last Election during his Time, that then at the next Election ensuing his Decease, another hall be chosen to supply his Place for the remaining Time he was to have ferved, and no longer.

IV. That after the first seven Years, every one of the said third Parts that goeth yearly off, shall be uncapable of being chosen again for one whole Year following: That fo all may be fitted for Government, and have Experience of the Care and Burden of it.

[ocr errors]

That the Provincial Council in all Cases and Matters of Moment, as their arguing upon Bills to be paft into Laws, erecting Courts of Justice, giving Judgment upon Criminals impeached, and Choice of Officers, in such Manner as is herein after mentioned; not less than two-thirds of the whole Provincial Council shall make a Quorum ; and that the Consent, not Approbation, oftwo-thirds of such Quorum snall be had in all such Cases and Matters of Moment. And moreover, that in all Cases and Matters of lesser Moment, twenty-four Members of the said Provincial Council shall make a Quorum, the Majority of which twenty-four shall and may always determine in such Cases and Causes of lesser Moment.

VI. That in this provincial Council the Governor, or his Deputy, fhall or may always preside, and have a treble Voice; and the said provincial Council Thall always continue, and fit upon its own Adjournments and Committees.

VII. That the Governor and provincial Council thall prepare and propofe to the General Assembly hereafter mentioned, all Bills which they shall at any Time think fit to be passed into Laws within the said Province; which Bills shall be published


« PreviousContinue »