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of Pennsylvania and the Territories, and notified those attorneys in a letter of 1mo. 29, 1705, by which time about four years' interest was said to be due, that, the lease of Pennsylvania and Territories made to William Penn having expired, the latter was only tenant at will, and the attorneys were to warn the holders of land not to pay to Penn's agents any quit rents. Even then the Fords were not anxious to take the property, and Lloyd and Moore, as well as Norris, showed patience and consideration: but the instructions sounded like the death knell of Penn's authority, or perhaps rather the funeral tolling over all government commissioned by him at least since the expiration of the lease.
This letter of attorney and the instructions arrived about 5mo. 10, 1705. They appear to have caused some change in the feelings of the voters, or else it was an ordinary instance of reaction, that a great effort of the Proprietary's friends was successful in carrying the ensuing election for Assemblymen. Shippen, Carpenter, Pusey, and Hill, with Norris, whose sympathies were on that side, took the seats recently held by enemies or those acting as such. David Lloyd was rejected by the ballot of the County of Philadelphia, but, however, was one of the two chosen to represent the People of the city. Growdon, his father-in-law, who had differed with him politically for some time, was one of the friendly, as against three or four "scabbed sheep,” as Logan calls them, from Bucks. The result in Chester County had been thoroughly controlled. Growdon was made Speaker.
Much legislation resulted from this harmony with the executive branch. The Attorney-General of England had, on Oct. 13, 1704, reported to the Board of Trade, objections to thirty of the laws of 1700 and 1701, and observations on another, viz: that for taking lands in execution. Penn, to enable the Province to save time by making new laws on the various subjects, obtained
and sent over a copy of this report, and possibly also suggested alterations in other laws which he knew would be opposed by the Commissioners for Trade and Navigation. The Province acted in nearly every case, and nearly every substituted law was allowed by the Crown. Some of the laws are in force to-day, for instance that for Defalcation, or set-off against a plaintiff's demand, and that for Taking Land in Execution, allowing a jury to declare the rents for seven years insufficient to pay the debt, and in that case having the Sheriff make sale under a writ called by its Latin words Venditioni exponas, and furthermore providing that mortgages be sued out by the writ called Scire facias and the premises sold under a writ called Levari, a great advance upon the proceedings in chancery for foreclosure, as clung to in other parts of the United States.
Some of the changes made were little more than formal; others were quite radical. A table of consanguinity and affinity was set forth within which marriages should be void, but the Assembly made a departure from English law in not including a deceased wife's sister in the table. Milder punishments for some crimes were substituted for the bloody ones which the Quakers had recently prescribed. Doubtless much to Penn's disappointment, but as a necessary compliance with the sentiment of British officials, the law concerning liberty of conscience was so changed as to protect only those who professed faith in the Trinity, and acknowledged the inspiration of the Scriptures.
A compromise between the Anglican and Quaker friends of Penn was attempted in an act for the qualification of magistrates and manner of giving evidence. It allowed Councillors, Assemblymen, Commissioners, Justices, Clerks, Sheriffs, and other officers to qualify by affirmation when conscientiously unable to take an oath, but required them to subscribe the declarations and professions of faith according to the Act of Parliament of 1 W. & M. for relieving Dissenters who scrupled at taking an oath. As regarded the competency of unsworn persons to testify in court, provision was necessary, owing to the Queen's repeal of the Act passed at New Castle in 1700, and re-enacted in 1701, allowing witnesses to give evidence by “solemnly promising” to speak the truth. To guard against what would be practically, but not etymologically, perjury, such act had ordered that a person convicted of wilful falsehood was to suffer the punishment which the one against whom the false testimony was given "did or should undergo." This the Attorney-General objected to, construing it to mean that a person bearing false witness against any one in a trial for felony was to be hung, even although the person tried were acquitted. The omission of religious words in the affirmation was not animadverted upon by the Attorney-General; nevertheless, as Evans's political influence in England was through the Church, the members of the Assembly, who except Griffith Jones, “not in unity with Friends,” and Growdon, not in regular standing, and except John Swift, were all Quakers, were constrained by Evans to prescribe, in the new act aforesaid for qualifications and giving evidence, that the affirmant answer yes or yea to the strange expression in the English act, objected to by radical Quakers some years before as partaking of the nature of an oath, viz: “Dost thou declare or thou shalt declare (English act says “I do declare'') in the presence of Almighty God, the witness of the truth of what thou sayest” (English act, “of what I say”). However, consideration was given to the consciences of Quaker Judges, such Judges being allowed to make non-Quakers affirm, if there were no one on the bench free to administer an oath, and moreover the administration of an oath, when there were Judges who scrupled at administering one, being de clared the act of the person administering it, and not of the whole bench. Evans was afraid to pass this, and only did so upon the insertion of a proviso that the act should not go into force until the 20th of September. Furthermore, he notified the Board of Trade by letter of Jany. 19, 1705-6, so as to have a decision reached, if possible, before the act should go into force. Attorney-General Northey, to whom the Board referred the act, saw the desirableness of so securing service and testimony for the courts in a Quaker colony, but objected to a provision of the same act admitting the written deposition of a sick or removing person to be evidence in all cases criminal as well as civil. Meanwhile, Samuel Finney and others, we are told by Penn, employed an attorney in England to oppose the act before the Commissioners for Trade. This attorney, who was George Willcocks, pointed out, among other objections, that the form of affirmation was not an express declaration that the party says the truth. The Commissioners agreed to recommend disallowance, unless Penn gave assurance that the Assembly would enact by an additional law that no Judges could sit, unless there were one who could administer an oath, and that all who refused to take oaths be obliged to declare their refusal to be for conscientious scruple, and that only in civil cases should the written deposition be accepted as evidence. Of course, Penn could give no assurance of the action of any Assembly, but only that his Lieutenant could take care by appointing enough Churchmen that rarely would a case be tried before Quakers alone. The act was disallowed by the Queen on Jany. 8, 1707-8. Thus fell, after a short life, about the only Quaker provision made by the Assemblymen chosen in 1705.
That the Indians should neither have grievances, nor hear rumors inciting them to rise against the colonists, an act, drawn up by Logan, and to remain in force for three years, was passed, and, moreover, was not repealed in England. Under its terms, any person killing, wounding, beating, or abusing an Indian was made subject to the same punishment as if the injury were done to a natural born subject of England, and was to be fined in addition; a person spreading stories which might alienate the mind of the Indians was, on conviction by either Christian or Indian evidence, to be heavily fined, and to be imprisoned, and to give security for good behavior; fifty pounds a year were allowed for necessary treaties and messages ordered by the Governor and Council; no one for trading with the Indians was to go into the woods or from his plantation except to an English market town or place, unless to buy corn, venison, provisions, or skins for clothing himself or family, without a license from the Governor by order of the Governor and Council, good for one year, which license was to be granted to any natural born subject of the Crown upon his giving security to trade honestly, and observe the rules and orders made by the Governor and Council for regulating the trade; all skins, furs, and other commodities bought of the Indians by such traders were to be sold within the province.
The majority of those Assemblymen being in the humor to do whatever was for the Proprietary's interest, acts were passed for enforcing the payment of his quit rents, for collecting the arrears of the 20001. voted to him in 1700, and for providing for the Lieutenant-Governor, as well as paying debts and application to such other purposes as the Governor and Assembly might appoint. This last mentioned act levied a tax of 2 d. per l. on all estates over 301. exclu. sive of household goods and implements of use, and 10s. per head on all freemen over twenty-one who had been six months clear of apprenticeship, and were not worth 301., also an impost for three years on certain liquors imported, and on butter and cheese, except when from Delaware, New Jersey, England, or Ireland, and on