[Page]
[Page 1]

ANSWER To what has been offer'd as Argument against the Validity and Force of an Act of Assembly, Entituled, An Act that the Solemn Affirmation and Declaration of the People called Quakers, &c. Passed in the Province of New-Jersey, in the 13th Year of the Reign of Queen Anne.

WHEREAS there has been of late an Objection, without any Foun­dation in Law or Reason, started against the People call'd Quakers, their being Imploy'd in any Places or Posts of Profit or Trust in this Province; which Objection, in my Opinon, has a Tendency of no less Consequence than the rendring the Municipal Laws thereof of no Force or Effect for the Future, and Subverting the Civil Government; I have Judg'd it Necessary for the Satisfaction of the Minds of the Scrupulous, and Stopping the Mouths of the Clamorous and Siditious, until a more Effectual Method may be pursu'd, if Ne­cessity to require, to set that Affair in so clear a light, that the Half-sighted may See, and the half-witted be Convinced of the Unreasonableness and Absurdity of that Objection. The rest can see and understand without my Help.

The whole Force of their Objection Leans upon this. There is, say they, an Act passed in Great Britain, in the First Year of His Majesties Reign, Entituled, An Act for making Perpetual an Act of the 7th and 8th Years of the Reign of his late Majesty King William the Third, Entituled, An Act that The Solemn Affirmation and Declaration of the People call'd Quakers shall be accepted in stead of an Oath in the usual Form, &c. This Act of the first of King George Extends that Act of King Williams to the Plantations, by the last Clause in it, in these Words, Provided always, That so much of this Act as Relates to the Affirmations to be made by the People call'd Quakers, shall be Extended to that Part of Great Britain call'd Scotland, forever, and to the Plantations belonging to the Crown of Great Britain, for Five Years, and to the end of the next Session of Parliament after the said Five Years, and no longer.’ And that Act of King William has in it the following Clause, Provided, and be it Enacted, That no Quaker or reputed Quaker shall BY VIRTUE OF THIS ACT, be qualified or permited to give Evidence in any Criminal Causes, or Serve on any Jury's, or bear any Office or place of Pro­fit in the Government, any thing in THIS ACT contained to the Contrary not­withstanding.’ Now, say they, The Law past in this Province some time ago for qualifiing That People for Places of Profit and Trust, is by that of the first of King George, above mentioned, Repealed and of no longer Force, and Consequently Quakers can no longer enjoy Places of Profit, &c. This is all that has come to my Ears upon this head that has the Appearance of any Meaning in it.

And first, I shall observe in General, into what a woeful Condition must the Plan­tations be Plung'd, if such Laws as shall by a Legislature, I awfully Constituted by virtue of the Letters Pattent, under the broad Seal, be Enacted for the Good [Page 2] Government and Ease of the Subjects there, shall by Implication or Construction, he deemed to be Repealed upon the Suggestion of any petty Attorney who shall or may affirm for Excuse, that he may say what he thinks fit for the Benefit of his Clyent.

But in the next place, That Act of Assembly is not so much as by Implication Repealed; for the Words in that Act upon which they lay the stress of this Argu­ment, are these, "Provided, That no Quaker shall by Virtue of THIS Act, be Qualified, &c. Now, I know no Quaker that pretends that he is or can by Virtue of THAT Act be qualified, but I believe every Quaker thinks that he is or may be qualified by Virtue of an Act of Assembly, Entituled, An Act that the Solemn Affir­mation and Declaration of the People called Quakers, &c. passed in this Province, and sent home for the approbation of the Soveraign above two Years ago, and for any thing I have heard to the contrary, Approv'd and Ratify'd. It is as plain as Words can make it, that That Act of the 7th and 8th of King VVilliam has No Negative but upon it self, and Consequently cannot be alledged in Bar to any Laws already Enacted in the Plantations, or even such as may be Enacted; for by these Letters Patent, which give a being to this Government and Legislature, all such Laws as shall be Enacted by the Governour, Council and Assembly, are declared to be in Full Force from the time of Enacting. The Governour, indeed, by his Instructions is Commanded ‘Not to give his A [...]ent to any Bills of Unusual and Extaordinary Nature and Importance, wherein the Prerogative Royal of the Crown, or the Property of the Subject may be prejudiced, &c. because all Laws enacted there, are in Force from the time of Enacting; and if he Trans­gresses in this point, He is accountable for it.’ But the Law in Question is so far from the Suspition of being of that Nature, that it is exactly conformable to the Governours Instructions, and what he had in Command from the Soveraign, in the following words, being the 60th and 61st Instruction to him under the Queens hand and Seal,

AND Whereas We have been Informed that divers of our good Subjects In­habiting those parts do make a Religious Scruple of Swearing, and by reason of their Refusal to take an Oath in Courts of Justice, and other places, are or may be lyable to many Inconveniencys, Our Will and Pleasure is, that in Order to their ease in what they conceive to be matter of Conscience, so far as may be consistent with good Order and Government, you take care that an Act be pas­sed by the General Assembly of our said Province to the like Effect as that past here in the 7th and 8th Year of his late Majestys Reign, Entituled An Act that the Solemn Affirmation and Declaration of the People called Quakers, shall be accep­ted instead of an Oath in the usual Form, and that the same be transmitted to Us, and to our Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, as before directed. And whereas We have been further informed, That in the first Settlement of the Govern­ment of our said Plantation, it may so happen that the Number of Inhabitants fitly qualified to Serve in our Council, of the General Assembly, and in other Places of Trust or Profit there, will be but small, it is therefore Our Will and Pleasure, that such of the said People called Quakers as shall be sound capable of any of those Places or Imployments, and accordingly be Elected or appointed to Serve therein, may, upon their taking and signing the Declaration of Allegiance to Us, in the Form used by the same People in this Kingdom, together with a Solemn De­claration for the true Discharge of their respective Trusts, be admitted by you into any of the said Places or Imployments.

Which Instructions are contained also in His present Majestys Instructions to the Governor, dated at St. James's the First Day of July, 1715. word for word.

[Page 3]To Sum up the whole I do Affirm, That an Act of Assembly, entituled, An Act that the Solemn Affirmation and Declaration of the People called Quakers, &c. pass'd in the last Assembly of this Province, stands in Full Force and Vigour, being passed by the Soveraigns especial Command, not having been Disallowed or Disap­proved by the Soveraign, nor Repealed or made void by any subsequent Act of Par­liament or Assembly; And that by virtue of that Act, Quakers or reputed Quakers, when duly qualified as that Act directs, are capable of Offices of Profit and Trust in this Province; and that the asserting or affirming the contrary, serves only to open a Gap to Pretenders to Law, to plead against the Validity of any or all your Municiple Laws, when either their Selfish Views or perverse Purposes may suggest to them so very Ridiculous and Absurd a Notion, and to weaken (as I verily believe it is intended) the Administration, and Unhinge or Dissolve the Government in this part of the Province, where it was first openly and avowedly Asserted.

Ro. Hunter.

A SPEECH Made by the Chief Justice of New-Jersey in the Supream Court at Burlington, the first Day of May, 1716. before the Grand Jury was Sworn and Affirmed.

IT is now the sixth time I have had the Honour to sit here in the Month of May. I was called to the Office of Chief Justice at a time when it was vacant, without my seeking. In the Opinion of many Persons the greater part and most con­siderable for Wealth and Interest, of the first Settlers in the Western-Division, are of the People called Quakers, or so reputed to be; and these (amongst other things) do distinguish themselves, by refusing to take an Oath in Form by Law prescribed to be used generally. The late Queen Anne (of blessed Memory) having this under her Royal Consideration, by her Instructions to his Excellency, our Governour, was graciously [...] not only to appoint some of the People call'd Quakers to be of her Majesties [...] Council for the Province of Nova Cesaria or New-Jersey, but also gave leave and encouragement to others of them to bear Offices of Trust and Profit in the Government, which could not otherwise be effected than by Qualifying them in their own way of Affirmation. Pursuant hereunto an Act of Assembly was passed in the 13th Year of her said Majestys Reign, entituled, An Act that the solemn Affirmation and Declaration of the People called Quakers shall be accepted instead of an Oath in the usual Form, and for Qualifying and enabling the said People to serve as Jurors, and to execute any Office or Place of Trust or Profit within this Province. By which Law, these People (being Affirmed as that Law directs) are admitted to serve on all Inquests, Grand and Petty Jurys (except on petty Jurys in Causes Criminal) any Law Custom or Usage to the contrary notwithstanding. Our most Gracious Soveraign Lord King George, upon his Accession to the Throne, in a publick [Page 4] manner did declare, That the Indulgence and Toleration granted by Law to scrupu­lous Consciences, was no way inconsistent with the Civil and Religious Constitution of the Kingdom. His Majesty has likewise renewed the Commission and confirmed his Excellency Brigadeer Hunter in the Government of this Province with the In­structions relating to the People called Quakers. And why should private Persons set up for and pretend to be Wiser than the Laws, Wiser than their King and Gover­nours, and Wiser than their Legislators? This Act of Parliament made in favour of the People called Quakers in the first year of his Majesties Reign, which was so of­fi [...]iously obtruded to the Court in November last, backt with the Rash and Precipi­tant Opinions of some Gentlemen at the Bar, in my Opinion, was altogether then Mis-understood and Mis-interpreted by them; for it was very plainly designed as a Favour and Indulgence to all the People called Quakers, who were amongst his Majesties Subjects in all and every of his Dominions, and no manner of Restraint of any Liberty and Indulgence which they then were, or might be otherwise possessed of thereafter. At that time (as I suppose it was intended) it gave me some Sur­prize, and coming from a private hand at Philadelphia, printed on a small single Sheet, in no Statute Book of publick Laws, from no Board of Trade, Secre­tary of State, or other Officer or Minister directed to the Governour of either this or the Neighbouring Province, the Opinion which I then gave, was, That as yet I could not take any Notice of it as a publick Law, nor give my Opinion upon it, being only a Presumptive Evidence of the being of such Law. And there being a Positive notorious Act of Assembly of this Province for Qualifying the People called Quakers to serve on Jurys of all Sorts (except in Criminal Causes) on that Affirmation, I did Order the Secretary to qualify them accordingly, which (contrary to his Duty) he posi­tively Refused to do, by means whereof, we had no Grand Jury this last Term, I did pronounce him in Contempt of the Court, and Imposed a Fine upon him for this Contempt. And now having better considered of the Substance and Intent of this Law or Statute, I am fully prepared to give my Opinion thereof, with relation to the Inhabitants of this Division who are Quakers or reputed Quakers. My first Ob­servation is, That this Paragraph of the Statute is only Negative of it self; for the Words are, Provided and be it Enacted, That no Ouaker or reputed Quaker shall by virtue of This Act be Qualified or permitted to give Evidence in any Criminal Causes or serve on any Jurys, or bear any Office or place of Profit in the Government, any thing in This Act contained to the contrary in any ways notwithstanding. Then again, this Act of Parliament of Great Britain is an Enlargement of the Quaker Privieldge to what it never was before, It makes that perpetual to them in England, which before was Temporary, and expired or near expiring by its own Limitation; Carrys the same into that part of Great Britain called Scotland, where it was not before, and makes it perpetual there; and into the Plantations generally for Five Years. This does no ways hinder, but that by virtue of the Act of Assembly of this Province, which is a Municipal Law thereof, the Quakers or reputed Quakers are qualified to be of Jurys, and Evidence, and bear Offices of Trust and Profit in the Government; nor but that they may be so qualified hereafter by any other Law hereafter to be made for that or the like purpose, Although by virtue of That Act of Parliament they are not so qualified.

It is true, there are other inhabitants in Burlington, who profess themselves to be of the Church of England, as by Law established; and it were to be wished they were more numerous, and better disposed towards the Government thereof, under the best of Princes, and a prudent and well deserving Governour, who bears the par­ticular Marks of his Majestys Royal Favour. Can any of these say, that whilst they behaved themselves well, they were denyed to have the Oathes administred to them [Page 5] in due Form of Law, and their Priviledges? The promiscuous Return of both sorts upon the Sheriffs Pannels to serve on Grand Jurys, with the Differences of Parties, has been an Occasion of great Obstruction to the Courts of Judicature, notwith­standing my frequent Admonitions to the contrary. I am not altogether ignorant of the Authors of those Disturbances, having been present at Burlington the greatest part of the time of that Session of Assembly, when that Law, in Favour of the Quakers, was in Framing; the pretended Zeal for the Church, and its supposed and Imaginary Danger, with the humour of new invented Distinctions, run to a very great Height, so that some Persons seemed to be almost disposed to a total Contempt of Government, and Rebellion. I shall forbear naming Persons in hopes that these ill humours are evaporated and at an end; I do beseech you to be at the pains to read that Grave and sage Advice given by his Grace the most Reverend Father in God Thomas late Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, and the other Right Honourable the Lords Bishops then in and about London, of the 3d of November last, in their printed Declaration, and consider whether it is not worthy of all our Regard and Obedience. These groundless and subtil Distinctions and Jealousies, which of late had like to bring the State and Constitution of the Government into Danger, are now over in Great Britain, By the blessing of God upon his Majestys Arms, and his prudent Conduct; Let them not Survive here; Let us for the future Resovle to lay aside all bitter Envying and Stri [...]e one against another, on any Store what­soever, and heartily endeavour to preserve, maintain and improve that Harmony, Love and Peace which our most Gracious Soveraign Lord the King has given such Assurances of to all his Loving Subjects whatsoever. Why shall Moderation and Christian Charity be laid aside as Useless, Anti-christian and Heterodox, and Envy, Hatred and Malice pass upon us for Zeal and Religion!

I do understand the Grand Jury of Burlington, at the last General Sessions of the Peace, after an Unpresidented manner, have found an Indictment against Me, for what I have done in the Execution of my Office upon the Bench, in November last, as also Indictments against some other Persons of Figure and Distinction in the Go­vernment; Were it an Offence only against me Personally, I thank God, I could pass it by without the least Resentment; (I am ready to believe they were none of their own Framing, especially that against my Self,) but as it is an open Affront put upon me, as I represent the Kings Person, it deserves Correction. The Law does not suppose that a Judge is Infallible, and therefore he is not accountable in Law for a Mistake in his Opinion; and in many cases the Judges of England are of different Opinions. And the Law provides well for the Support of the Dignity of such Persons as do represent his Majesty in the Office of Administration of Justice. The Judgment for Striking in Westminster-Hall, &c. siting the Courts, is, That the Offender shall be Imprisoned during his Life, Forfeit all his Lands, Tenements, Goods and Chatte [...]s, and that his Right Hand be cut off at such a place; Which Judgment is given by the Common Law. It is one of the species of High-Treason to Kill and Murder a Justice of either Bench, in their Places doing their Offices. If any Man in West­minster-Hall, or in any other place, sitting the Courts of Chancery, Exchequer, the Kings Bench, the Common-Pleas, or before Justice of Assize, or of Oyer and Ter­miner, shall draw a Weapon against any Judge or Justice, though he strike not, this is a great Misprison, for the which he shall loose his Right Hand, and Forfeit his Lands and Goods, and his Body to perpetual Imprisonment. The Reason given for it, is, Because it tendeth Ad Impedimentum Le [...]s Terrae, To the Hinderance of the Law of the Land. I do not mention these Matters to you, for that I would aggra­vate [Page 6] the Offence (which is the occasion of this Discourse) above what it is, but to show you, That as in these Higher Crimes against his Majesties Justices upon the Bench, doing their Offices, an extraordinary Punishment is to be inflicted, so in smaller Offences committed against them, for the doing of their Duty in their Offices, the Law will proportionably require a sharper Reproof, than for the like Offences against Persons in a private Capacity. I shall not take upon my self to direct this Punishment, but cannot think that any of those Persons, who were of that Grand Jury, can properly serve in that Trust again, until they shall make Ransom for that Offence, which I sincerely desire may be Moderated, being inclineable to believe, That none of them did compose those Presentments, and that they were prepared to their hands.

The Charge to the Grand Jury at Burlington, the First Day of May, 1716.

I Would have introduced my Charge this time to the Grand Jury, by saying some­what concerning the Necessity and Usefulness of Government, and what a great share of our Christian Duty it is, to be subject and Obedient thereunto, and to Support it. It is a thing so well known, that few will offer to dispute it, yet so little regarded by many, makes it necessary to be mentioned and urged. It is a thing so Copious, more might easily be said on that head, than my Time will now permit; I shall therefore confine my self to that nervous and sollid Argument of the Apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, who had imbraced the Christian Religion, and lived under the Obedience and Government of Heathen Rulers and Magistrates, chap. 13. from ver. 1. to v. 8. ‘Let every Soul be subject to the Higher Powers, for there is no Power but of God; the Powers that be are ordained of God; Whosoever there­fore resisteth the Power, resisteth the Ordinance of God, and they that resist, shall receive to themselves Damnation; For Rulers are not a Terror to good Works, but to the Evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the Power? do that which is good and thou shalt have praise of the same; for he is the Minister of God to thee for good; but if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the Sword in vain; for he is the Minister of God, a Revenger to execute Wrath upon him that doth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for Wrath, but also for Conscience sake; for for this cause pay we Tribute also; for they are Gods Mi­nisters attending continually on this very thing. Render therefore to all their Dues, Tribute to whom Tribute is due; Custom to whom Custom; Fear to whom Fear; Honour to whom Honour.’ St. Peter writing to the Strangers who had imbraced the Christian Faith, in his first general Epistle, was of the same Mind, his words are. ‘Submit your selves to every Ordinance of Man for the Lords sake, whether it be to the King as Supreme, or to Governours, as unto them that are sent by him, for the Punishment of evil Doers, and for the Praise of them that do well; for so is the Will of God.’

The Health and very Life of Government consists in the due Execution of the Laws, and this is the Prerogative of the Crown, and this the King does by his Mi­nisters and Officers, who do represent his Person, in the due Execution of their Offices; Without this the Law is but a dead Letter. And it is for this end we are now met here. And for that we are Judges of Record, by the order of the Laws, [Page 7] we cannot take Knowledge of Offences without the Information of others, and therefore, by the Kings Authority, you are called together here, according to antient Practice in England, and the former Usage, as Men, who by common intend­ment, do know such Offences, as we have power to deal withal, committed within the several places of your Habitations in the County of Burlington. Let there be no more Strife and Dis-uniting amongst you, on the score of that mixture of Persons which the Law has allowed to serve. Those who have taken the Affirmation are by that Law as much oblig'd as any sworn in the most Solemn manner, and are under the same Penalties. And however the same may be variously understood, it is certain they be thereby qualified to serve on Grand Jurys; and if any Number of such, upon their Enquity, being Attested, do agree to the Truth of what others do agree to Present, upon their Oaths, where is the Injury or Prejudice to the Verdict of those who are Sworn? Is the Presentment the less True, because the others do Affirm it to be True, and that in the Presence of God, and upon the Penalty of Perjury? You who have taken an Oath upon the holy Contents of that Book, do take upon you a Vow of great Importance, which ought to be seriously weighed and considered; For in the Book are contained, not only the Comfortable Promises of Almighty God, to those that Serve and Fear him, but also the heavy Wrath and Fearful iudgments denounced against Impenitent Sinners, False Swearers, and such as d [...] [...]onceal the Truth, and instead thereof Advance Falshood and Lyes. The Prophet Zachariah, chap. 5. to v. 5. in his Vision, saw A Flying Roll, Twenty Cubits long and Ten Cubits broad, then said God unto him, This is the Curse that goeth forth over the whole Earth; For every one that Stealeth shall be cut off, as on this side, according to it, and every one that Sweareth shall be Cut Off, as on that side, according to it: I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of Hosts, and it shall enter into the House of the Thief, and into the House of him that Sweareth Falsly by My Name; it shall remain in the midst of the House, and shall consume it, with the Timber thereof, and the Stones thereof. And you who are Attested or Affirmed, are under the same Curse and Penalty, if you Falsi [...]y your Solemn Affirma­tion.

The Service which you are now to perform, is of very great Importance; first, It concerns the Honour of God, and the Advancement of his Glory, and the Sup­pressing of Satans Kingdom. Then it concerns the Security of His Majesty's Person, and his Government as now established, and the Preservation of the Common Peace of all his Subjects in this County, in the quiet Enjoyment of their Lives and Liberties, their Wives and Children, and their Lands, Te­nements, Goods and Chattels, and all other Rights and Properties whatsoever; For without Justice can be neither Order nor Peace, but Confusion and Trouble. If you carefully observe your Oath, you shall do much Good, answer all these good Ends, and be Praise Worthy; but if Contrary-wise (which I hope there [...]s no reason to apprehend) any of you should be Tempted to Violate your [...]olemn Engagement, you should draw down upon your selves the Vengeance and Displeasure of God, and subject your selves to the Punishment of the Law. Wherefore, I do Exhort you, in Gods Name, to Observe the Contents of this Oath, and Affirmation much to the same purpose. Twelve must agree to Find any Bill, or to [...] it by Ignoramus. I shall enumerate some Black Crimes to you, but hope there be very Few or no such Criminals. T [...]e are Offences by the Common Law, and Offences by the Statute Law, o [...] which some are Capital, some not Capital; Some against God immediately, and some [Page 8] immediately against Man. Capital Offences against God immediately, are Heresie and Witch-craft; Not Capital, Breaking the Lords Day, Prophane Swearing, and the like; Against Man immediately, are High-Treason, Petit-Treason, Fellonies by Common Law or by Statute Law. Fellonies by Common Law are of Four Kinds, such as are committed against Life, against the Goods, against the Habitation, and against the Protection of publik Justice. Murder is against the Life, so is Man-slaughter, Felo-de-se, Chance-Medley, and se-de [...]endendo. Against the Goods of a Man, Larceny or Theft, distinguisht by Grand and Pettit Robbery, and Larceny from a House. To this we may add Piracy. Offences against the Dwell [...]g-House, are Burglary, Arson; And against the Protection of publick Justice, [...]s Breach of Prison. Divers Fellonies against the Statute, Rape, Carrying away Women against their Will, Cutting out their Tongues, &c. Poligamy, and many more, which are not Capital, as Misprisons▪ Conspiracys, Bribery, Perjury, Riots, Routs, Unlawful Assemblies, Monopolies and all Breaches of the Peace; False Weights and Measures, Nusances, and all Real Grievances and Offences whatsoever; and such are Persons Refusing to pay Taxes, and such as advise their Neighbours so to do; Such as shall utter and spread Infamous and Approbious Language against the Government, their Governours, Judges, Justices, and other Magistrates and Officers, for doing their Duty, and that Oppose them in doing thereof; and those Officers that are Negligent of their Duty: All these things are against the King's Peace and fall under your Consideration. So God direct you.

FINIS.

Printed and Sold by William Bradford in New-York; Sold also by Andrew Bradford in Philadelphia, 1716.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.