Page:American Archives, Series 4, Volume 1.djvu/95
BILL FOR GOVERNMENT OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.
the defendant or defendants, in such action or suits, may plead the general issue, and give the said Act, and the special matter in evidence, at any trial to be had thereupon, and that the same was done in pursuance and by the authority of this Act; and if it shall appear so to have been done, the jury shall find for the defendant or defendants; and if the plaintiff shall be nonsuited, or discontinue his action, after the defendant or defendants shall have appeared; or if judgment shall be given upon any verdict or demurrer against the plaintiff, the defendant or defendants shall recover treble costs, and have the like remedy for the same as defendents have in other cases by law.
III. BILL FOR THE BETTER REGULATING THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PROVINCE OF 3LASSACHUSETTS BAY. HOUSE OF COMMONS. FRIDAY, March 25, 1774. Resolved, That this House will this day, after the House shall have proceeded upon the other orders of the day, resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to take into further consideration his Majesty's most gracious Message of Monday, the 7th day of this instant, March, together with the Papers which were presented to the House by Lord North, upon the 7th and llth days of this instant, March, by his Majesty's command. Ordered, That the several Papers which were presented to the House by the Lord North, upon the 28th day of November and 7th day of December. 1768, and the 20th day of January, } 769; and also the several Papers presented to the House by Mr. Vice Chamberlain, upon the 7th day of May, 1770, from No. 1, to No. 9, inclusive, relating to his Majesty's Colonies, in North America, be referred to the said Committee. Ordered, That the Paper, intituled "Massachusetts " Bay Charter, granted by King IVilliam and Queen. Mary, " in the third year of their reign," which was presented to the House upon the 22d day of January, 1740, be referred to the said Committee. MONDAY, March 28, 1774. Resolved, That this House will immediately resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to take into further consideration his Majesty's most gracious Message of Monday, the 7th day of this instant, March, together with the Papers which were presented to the House by the Lord North, upon the 7th and llth days of this instant, March, by his Majesty's command. The House accordingly resolved itself into the said Committee. Mr. Speaker left the Chair. Sir Charles Whitworih took the Chair of the Committee. Lord North rose and said, he meant now to open the plan of the Bill which he proposed to bring in; and as it might very well be understood by gentlemen in that House, from the Papers relating to America, that then laid before them, that an executive power was wanting in that country, and that it was highly necessary to strengthen the magistracy of it; that the force of the civil power consisted in the posse comitatus; and when it is considered, said his Lordship, that the posse are the very People who have committed all these riots, little obedience to the preservation of the peace is to be expected from them. There appears to be a total defect in the constitutional power throughout. If the democratic part shows that contempt of obedience to the laws, how is the Governor to execute any authority vested in him? If he wants any magistrate to act, whom he knows will be willing to execute the laws, he has not the power of appointing one, nor of removing one that will not act; the Council have alone that power, whose dependence is on the democratic part of the constitution. It appears that the Civil Magistrate has been, for a series of years, uniformly inactive; there is something radically wrong in that constitution, in which no magistrate FOURTH SERIES. 5 for such a number of years, has ever done his duty in such a manner as to force obedience to the laws. If the Governor issued a proclamation, there was hardly found a magistrate to obey it; the Governor, of his own authority, can do nothing; he cannot act, or give out any order, without seven of the Council consenting; the authority of that Government is in so forlorn a situation that no Governor can act; and, where there is such a want of civil authority, can it be supposed that the military, be they ever so numerous, can be of the least service? For I shall always consider that a military power, acting under the authority and controul of a Civil Magistrate, is part of the constitution; but the military alone ought not, and cannot act without the controul of the Civil Magistrate. How was it possible for the military to maintain good Government when they were not called upon by the civil authority? I propose, in this Bill, to take the executive power from the hands of the democratic part of Government; I would propose, that the Governor should act as a Justice of Peace, and that he should have the power to appoint the officers throughout the whole civil authority, such as the sheriffs, provost, marshal, Sic. The Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court excepted. I would have them only removable by his Majesty, under his sign manual, and upon good representations made here. Every gentleman will naturally see the impropriety of such irregular assemblies, or townmeetings, which are now held in Boston; I would have them brought under some regulation, and would not suffer them to be held without the consent of the Governor, unless upon the annual election of certain officers, which it is their province to choose. Their juries are improperly chosen; I think a degree of regulation highly necessary; I am always ready and open to hear those matters discussed, and inclined to alter my opinion, when I hear better reasons for adopting any other mode of putting the civil magistracy of that country upon a good footing; but until the executive power is free, it cannot act; our regulations here are of no import, if you have nobody in that country to give them force. Some immediate, as well as permanent remedy, must be adopted. I therefore propose the present Bill, which I apprehend will effectually purge that constitution of all its crudities, and give a degree of strength and spirit to the civil magistracy, and to the executive power. 1 therefore move you, Sir, " That leave be given to bring in " a Bill for the better regulating the Government of the " Province of Massachusetts Bay." I propose that this Bill shall be brought in, and lie upon the table, for the inspection of the House and gentlemen who wish to make the propriety of such a Bill the measure of their conduct. Mr. Byng said, that he could not be at all surprised at hearing that the Governor of Boston had no power, when he had not a single place in his gift. It was now become a fashion, he said, to give away those places of emolument to men of this country, with reversions to one, two, or three sons; to men who had never been of the least public service to this country, in his apprehensions, [meaning Mr. Bradshaw.] Whilst places continue to be given away to men of this country, the emoluments of which arise from the labour and sweat of an American brow, it will undoubtedly, and very properly, totally annihilate the power of any