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A Just and Plain VINDICATION OF Sir William Keith, Bart. Late Governour of Pennsilvania, From the Untruths and Aspertions contained in a Paper, Printed at London, and now Reprinting at Phila­delphia, under the Title of The Case of the Heir at Law and Executrix of the late Proprietor of Pennsilvania, &c.

THe Heir at Law and the Executrix, in their Application to the King for His Majesty's Royal Approbation of Major Patrick Gordon to be Deputy Governor of Pennsilvania, in the Room of Sir William Keith, are pleased to assign, in general Terms, for the only Reason of their [...] that Change, viz. That Sir William had, by his Conduct, greatly Dissatisfied: be Proprietor's Family; And it is acknowledged on Sir William's part, That there was no need of more particular Reasons, so long as it appears to be a Right inherent in the Family, to change their Deputy at Pleasure; nor ever did Sir William, by any act of his, attempt to deprive the Proprietor of that Right, but on the contrary, has given his Sentiments publickly, under his Hand, That to have Removed him from the Government about two years ago, would have been more Justifiable, as well as more Decent, on the part of that Family, than to endeavour at Forcing Sir William's Complyance with a set of Instructions which were contrary to Law, and which two suc­ceeding Assemblies have Unanimously Voted to be an Incroachment on the Peoples Rights and Priviledges.

It is, however, a particular Satisfaction to Sir William and his Friends, that his Conduct, in that Government, during a Term of Nine years, was never found fault with by the Crown, neither has the Family been able to lay hold of any thing to be charged against Sir William, but what he is still ready to own and justifie in the face of the World.

Notwithstanding all this, some Persons, it seems, affecting to serve Mr. Penn's Family in a very extraordinary manner, have thought fit to Print and Publish a set of Most Notorious Untruths, full of Scurrility, [Page 2] which they are pleased to call, The Case of the Heir at Law, &c.

Sir William Keith and his Friends are not capable of answering them in their own way, neither have they the Inclination to cast the least Re­flection upon any Branch of Mr. Penn's Family, whom Sir William has faithfully served, to the best of his Judgment. But because his Inno­cence and Character may possibly suffer with Strangers, into whose hands the said Printed Case has fallen, it is thought necessary to set the Facts therein, so grosly Misrepresented, in a true Light, and to that end the Reader will find the Paragraphs here following, answerable to those of the said Printed Case.

Paragraph I.

It is not True, that the Tract of Land here said to be granted in the year 1680 since called, The Province of Pennsilvania, was then only Inhabited by Savages; for it cannot be denyed but that Mr. Penn found great Numbers of Swedes, settled there many years before that, most of which Settlements continue unto this Day, and the People not only retain their Native Language, but they are possessed of several Churches very handsomly built, and adorned, with Brick and Stone, and Clergy­men of very good Learning and Parts, are, from time to time, sent over from the Government of Sweden, to take care of these People.


This Paragraph, for Reasons best known to the Writer, does not say what sort of a Grant it was, that Mr. Penn had from Iames Duke of York; and altho' it is true, that a Copy of some such Grant was put upon a certain Record in America, about two years ago, yet there is no Date to it.


It is True, that Mr. Penn always appointed his Deputies to be Gover­nours of the said Province and Counties, but with this Reserve in the Royal Approbation, viz. We do Approve of — to be Governour of the Province of Pennsilvania, without any Limitation of Time; But of the three Lower Counties, during Our Pleasure only.


Sir William, then Mr. Keith, did not make his Circumstances at that time known to any Man in Pennsilvania, and he was so far from thinking of that Employment, that he was actually gone upon his Journey towards Virginia as far as New-Castle, which is 36 Miles from Philadelphia, when he received a Letter from two Members of the Council of Pennsilvania, in the Name of the rest, inviting him back to hear some Proposal which they had to make to him: Mr. Keith, upon that Letter, did return to Philadelphia, and after the Gentlemen had informed him how Uneasie they were under that Administration, and of the Obstacles which they found stood in the way of obtaining a Change, because of the Proprietor's then Indisposition, they offered their Recommendations to the Family, in favour of Mr. Keith, if he would please to undertake the Solicitation of the Matter at Home; and after 24 hours time given Mr. Keith to con­sider of it, he accepted a Letter of Recommendation, signed by seven of their Number, and undertook the Business at their earnest Request.

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It is Inconceiveable to think how Mankind can prevail with themselves to forge Lyes, for which there is not the least Pretence or Foundation; for upon Sir William's arrival in England, at that time, he found, it is true, no very great difficulty in Mr. Penn's own Family, who treated him civilly, and like themselves; but it was above three Months before he could Reconcile to his Proposal a set of grave Politicians, that went under the Name of Mortgagees, tho' in reality they were only plain Shop-keepers in the City of London, and Creditors to Mr. Penn, who had pledged his Estate in Pennsilvania for securing the Payment of his Debts to them. Now, some of these Gentlemen affecting much Gran­deur, by having it in their power to dispose of one of his Majesty's Pro­vinces abroad, it was not more trouble to find access to a first Minister of State, and far less difficult to perswade him, than it was to find an Opportunity of Reasoning with and Convincing some of these Gentle­men. However, after a reasonable Time spent in good comfortable Eating and Drinking, after the manner of the City, at Sir William's proper Cost and Charge, he found means to sooth the Gentlemen into an unanimous Complyance with his Design; After which he had the whole Fatigue and Charge of an Application at Court to go through, wherein, it is well known to Persons or Honour about the Court, that Sir William had no manner of Assistance from the Family, or from any that belonged to it, not but that it is believed, if they had had any Interest at that time, they would chearfully have used it for their own, as well as Sir William's Service in that Affair.

Had Mr. Penn's Circumstances been such as would have allowed him to lend Money to Sir William Keith, or any body else, this bold Assertion might have carried some Probability along with it, but it was so far otherwise, that one of the most Principal Persons in the Family, at that time, borrowed Money frequently out of Sir William's Pocket to defray his necessary Expence; and the Family were so far from contributing one way or other to defray any part of Sir William's Expence, on that business, that it can be instructed, that Sir William was charged by their own Servant Nine Guineys and an half for writing the Commission, Instructions, and other Family Papers, which Sir William actually paid.


It will be difficult to define what sort of Peace and Tranquility the Province was in upon Sir William's arrival, when the World is informed that the Courts of Judicature had refused to act, and the course of Justice had thereby been Discontinued for six Months before.

That the first Application made to Sir William was a Petition from a poor Woman, whose Son had been barbarously Murthered three years and a half before that time, at a publick Vendue, in the face of the Sun, and the Fact never enquired into.

That these Proceedings were chiefly owing to the former Governour's having declared, That no Quaker ought to sit upon the Bench, nor could they either be Jury-men or Evidence on a Capital Tryal. And how these Things were [...], and the Rights and Privileges of the Quakers Maintained by Sir William, is well known to the People of that Province, [Page 4] and fully acknowledged by many repeated Addresses, and particularly in that of the 7th of December last, from the Assembly to the Descen­dents of Mr. Penn's Family, a Copy whereof is hereunto sub-joyn'd.


Altho' there was an Act of Assembly in the Province, such as is here narrated, to continue the Powers of Government, yet it was by Sir William's care that an Act of the same nature was procur'd in the Counties, else the Government there had dropt upon the Proprietor's Death.

And as to the Private, but Untrue Representation of the State of the Province and Counties, made to his Majesty by Sir William, on that Occasion, as is here alledged, it is a base and groundless Calumny; for Sir William's Representation at that time was sent in a Publick manner to the Secretary of State, and by him Transmitted to the Lords Commissioners of Trade, whose Report in favour of Sir William's Conduct, was fully Approved by their Excellencies, the Lords Justices, by whose Orders it was, that Sir William was directed to continue in the Government until the Family Dispute about the Proprietary Right was determined, or that his Majesty's Pleasure should be further known.


No Man can justly say, that ever Sir William assumed the Title of Excellency to himself, which will appear by the Minutes of the Council, and every other Paper, whereof Sir William had the writing or direction, and wherein the Governours Name or Title is expressed; and Sir William does not know from whence the generality of the People took that Ad­dress, unless it was by observing, That his Letters in the Post-Office from Persons of the first Rank in England, were directed in that Stile; but if there be a mistake of Form in giving that Honorary Title to any Commander in Chief, even of a Garrison, it is an Error that many People in Europe fall into at this day.

Sir William never did cause to be surveyed any Lands in Pensilvania for his own use, except such as he had first purchased with his own Mo­ney, and had legal Authority to Possess, neither did he ever invite any Palatines, or other Persons whatsoever, from the Government of New-York to settle on the Proprietors Lands, as is here falsly alledged.

Since the Proprietors Principal Officers, whom it is said Sir William has displaced, are not named, nor the Circumstances related, it may wery well be taken for granted, that Sir William has done nothing of that kind but what he can warrant. And as to his attempting to invalidate the great Authority of those Personages, called Commissioners of Property, but more properly Agents to Mr. Penn's Creditors, let them prove the Misdemeanor, and Sir William is ready on the Spot to answer it.

This Paragraph concludes with a very strange Innuendo, That the Proprietor contracted a vast Debt, and spent a Paternal Estate, in settling and Improving the said Province and Counties; But the first Settlers of Pensilvania, who in great Numbers brought in large Estates into the Country along with the Proprietor, or much about that time, do tell another Story, which out of a decent Regard to the Memory of that Worthy Gentleman, shall not here be rehearsed.

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Sir William and his Friends, Thank the Author or Authors of the Case, here, whoever they be, for doing him the Honour to give him a greater share than perhaps he really had, in emitting the first Paper Currency in Pensilvania. But they so far differ in Opinion with them, as to think, That instead of Opposing the true Interest of his Majesty's Subjects, Sir William thereby most certainly Supported that Interest, as appears by the general Sentiments of the Assembly, Merchants and Trading People, as well as the flourishing Condition of the Province, since that Date; But it is a Sensless Calumny to charge Sir William with annimating the common People against the Council, because it does appear upon the Minutes of that Board, that the Council unanimously advised Sir William to pass that Bill.


Altho' Sir William did fully advise the Board of Trade, both before and after the striking of the Paper Money, yet he never received any Letter from their Lordships, directing him not to pass any Act for that purpose, as this Paragraph most falsly sets forth. On the contrary, Sir William and his Friends, have great reason to believe, that the Lords of Trade were fully satisfied all along with the Reasonableness & Success of Sir William's Conduct in that, as well as other Matters in the Govern­ment of that Province. And as to the Persons of Note, as they are here called, who Remonstrated to the Assembly, it is evident from the Ar­ticles mentioned, to have been the Substance of their Remonstrance, that they were essentially Incompatible with any Bill of that Nature; nor can these weighty Gentlemen of Note (supposing their Estates to exceed the value of One Thousand Pounds each) make up the number Seven, in the whole Province, altho', it seems, they took it in great Dudgeon, that they could not be allowed to have a Negative upon the Legislature.

If the Conclusion of this Paragraph, in these words, viz. These Acts being passed against the Opinion of all the Men of Substance, &c. has any mean­ing, it would arrogantly infer, That there was not this year one Man of Sense or Substance chosen upon the Assembly, which consists of Twenty Six in Number, and that the Council were unanimously against the Bill. But the quite Contrary will be found true; for, excepting three or four, the Assembly consisted of the very same Men who had been chosen on that very Service for several years before, being all of them Men both of Substance & Credit. And as to the Council, the majority were not only for Passing the Bill, but when Sir William caused the Bill to be Read and Voted, Paragraph by Paragraph in Council, even such of the Remonstrators themselves, as were present at that Board, agreed to all the material Enacting Clauses of the Bill; for tho' it is believed, at the same time, that they did not like the Bill, on account of their own private Interest and partial Views, yet like Men conscious of some Guilt, which they had not the Resolution to own, they affected a sort of Po­ [...]ty, by voting for the Substance of the Bill, which in some Com­ [...] they valued themselves upon; and with the same breath they would, [...] they could, have forced Sir William to destroy the Bill, by [Page 6] his Negative on meer Trifling Forms and frivolous Pretences; for they well knew, that if by any means they could but once create a Difference between Sir William and the Assembly, their Game was up.


This Paragraph is only a Copy of Mr. James Logan's words in another place, and sets forth two very strange things. 1st. That the Executrix being deputed or allowed by the Family to act as an Administratrix of the Government of Pennsilvania, she was pleased to send her Instructions to Sir William, for the better Mannagement of the most Publick Concerns, by way of private Letter, Which if Sir William had very quietly and secretly Obeyed, he must have bore the blame of breaking through the Peoples just Rights and Priviledges himself; and if he dares to refuse a blind Complyance with, or divulge these same Secret and Peremptory Orders, he shall certainly loose his Government. 2dly, We are let to understand, That this Lady very well knew, that by the Constitution, the Council was no part of the Legislature, Nevertheless since it was her Pleasure that they should have a Negative, Sir William was not to pre­sume so much as to speak to the Assembly, but by no means to do any Legislative Act without their Consent. But how these things co-operate together, and can be rendred consistent with Honesty and common Sense, let every Reasonable and Indifferent Man judge.


There is nothing Material here but what is fully answered in Sir William's Printed Letter to James Logan, dated the 13th of December last, only he is in the close, charged with Influencing the Assembly and the generality of the People, by Speeches: But since the Instructions he had received, were such as he could neither in Justice nor Honour obey, all the World must allow, it was incumbent on Sir William, under these Circumstances, to justifie his Conduct in the most Open and Publick Manner he could.

The next Five following Paragraphs seem to be chiefly levelled at Coll. Spotswood, whose generous Friendship to Sir William, at a distance, upon the score of old Acquaintance and material Justice, without any other Obligation or Motive whatsoever, seems highly to Offend these Upstart Casuists for the honour of the Penn Family; But that worthy Gentlemans established Character is universally known to be above the reach of such Scriblers, and wants no Vindication from the weak Efforts of their Malice.

The Conclusion of this Peice seems, in extravagance, to exceed all that is gone before; For when the whole Circumstances of the Case is collected and truly considered, Is it not very pretty to observe, The Creditors of Mr. Penn, who had supported his extravagant Expence, finding fault, in the most indecent Terms, with a few Persons of the best Rank in the City of London, for giving a generous Credit to Sir William, upon the occasion of his having done Mr. Penn the Honour to accept of being his Deputy in Pensilvania; For as to the Terms of Fa­vour and Compassion, which these Casuists very Impertinently make use of, there is not the least room for such a thought; Sir William being tied up by his Instructions, not to put the Family to any manner of Charge, [Page 7] but to take his Chance of what, by his own prudent Conduct, he could prevail with the People to give yearly for the Support of Government; and it is well known, before Sir William's Time, the Profits of that Government would scarce have afforded a Gentleman Shoes and Stock­ings, neither indeed before him was it Considered or Treated by the Neighbouring Provinces, as a Government; what therefore, Sir Wil­liam has accquired there, is wholly owing to himself, without ever ha­ving received to the value of One Penny, in any sort of thing, from Mr. Penn's Family. So that Sir Williams Gratitude and Thanks is most properly due to the good People of that Province, who are in all re­spects as free Agents, and as much his Majesty's Free Subjects as Mr. Penn, or any of his Family can pretend to be.

Sir William's Friends cannot but Observe here, That this method of pretending to Detract from a Gentlemans publick Character, by finding fault only with some little Neglects or Mismannagement in the Oeconomy of his Private Affairs, will be found very Impertinent, and not at all to the Purpose, amongst Men of any Sence or Spirit who cannot resist put­ting an uncommon Value and Esteem upon a Man in any Office of Publick Trust, who throughout all the parts of his Conduct, has evi­dently preferred his Princes Honour and the publick Advantage to his own private Gain on all Occasions.

And altho' Patterns of this Kind, are much more rare in these later Ages, than they were in the most flourishing Times of the Greek and Roman States, yet surely that most excellent Virtue of a Publick Spirit, indued with Humanity, and directed by the Interest of the Com­mon Wealth only, is still the same; And those Miserable Wretches, who, for lack both of Honesty and Sence, have the Impudence openly to find fault with it, do but thereby take their proper Places amongst the Scum or Dregs of Mankind.

But because these Gentlemen, to shew their skill in Accounts and small Reckonings, seem to have been at much pains in computing the Profits Sir William has received, during his Nine years Administration in Penn­silvania, Sir William's Friends, in order to gratifie their Curiosity, are willing to compare Notes with them, hoping that in return, they will give them some insight into the Methods which they have thought fit to pursue for these Twenty years past, in recovering that large Debt, which it is said, was contracted by the late Proprietor, in his pursuit of generous Projects; for as the similitude of Tempers and Capacities, for running in Debt, between the Principal and his Deputy, seems to Trot upon all Four, if the Creditors of both can but jump in Opinions about the man­ner of Recovering their Money, the little Annimosities that have arisen amongst them, may cease, and things be compremised for the future in a friendly way.

By the best Enquiry that Sir William's Friends can make, they find that his Receipt, during the Nine years that he was Deputy Governour of Pennsilvania, has been 1400 l. per annum, that currency, and no more, which brings the whole Sum to 12,600 l. that is, about 9000 l. Sterl. Of this Sum, they find that Sir William has laid out, at least 6000 l. in Lands and Improvements there, viz. 2000 l. in a Farm, which by [Page 8] Contract in Marriage, is settled as an Equivolent upon his Lady, for Joynture, and 4000 l. in another place, where by erecting an Iron-work, it is improved to near double the prime Cost; and this last Estate Sir William all along designed as a Security to his Creditors, until they were fully satisfied and paid.

Now, altho' it is certain, that, by frugal means, more Money might have been saved out of that Revenue, yet having a due Regard to the extraordinary Expences Sir William was led into, for the Advan­tage, as well as the Honour of that Province, such as the fitting out two Sloops against the Pyates, and doing the decent Honours of the Govern­ment on the King's Birth-Day, and other Festivals, all at his own pro­per Charge, without any allowance from the Publick, besides keeping a good House for the Entertaining the Neighbouring Governours, and all Strangers of Note, who constantly visited him, Sir William's Friends cannot see wherein to find so much fault with his Oeconomy, as these same Casuists would charge upon him; nor can they be induced to think, that Sir William, thro'-out his whole Conduct, has done any thing Unbe­coming a Man of Honour.

And as to the Security of the Debts due from Sir William, altho', it is true, he is not possessed of so large an Estate as the Proprietor had to Pledge, yet by making use of honest Agents, Sir William's Creditors do reasonably hope, that they will come at their Money in a Fourth part of the Time which Mr. Penn's Mortgagees, as they are called, have taken to Recover theirs.

But let Mr. Penn's Family, and their Agents, value themselves as they will upon their Success in the Removal of Sir VVilliam Keith at this Time, from the Government of Pennsilvanis, It is to be hoped; they will never be able to make it a Rule in the other Provinces, That so soon as an Governour, by a strict Regard to the Interest of the Crown, toge­ther with a just and equal Administration, in behalf of the Subject, has so Advanced the Trade and Riches of a Colony, as thereby to gain the general good VVill and Affections of the People, He shall therefore be Removed.


The ADDRESS of the House of Representatives of the Province of Pennsilvania, in General Assembly met, the 7th day of December, 1725.

To the Descendents of Our late Honourable Proprietor, William Penn, Esq

THat being met together, in Order to consider of our Provincial Affairs, we find that the General Assembly last Year, addressed Hannah Penn, Relict of the late Honourable William Penn, Esq and the rest of the Worthy Family, Remonstrating, That such part of her Private instructions as would subject the Acts of Legislation, assented to by the Governour and Representators of the People, to the NEGATIVE of a Council, was contrary to the Laws and Constitution of this Go­vernment. Which Address, We hope is come to your Notice, and will receive a Favourable Construction, and Procure us speedy Redress.

But understanding that our present Governour Sir WILLIAM KEITH, incurred the Displeasure of the Family, and is like to be Removed for passing the Acts which emitted a Paper Currency, and for not observing that Instruction, which the last Assembly conceived (and so do we) to be incompatible with the late Proprietor's Charter of Priviledges to the People, founded upon King Charles the second's Royal Grant.

If these be the Causes of our Governour's Removal, we think our selves highly Obliged, in point of Justice to his Character, to signifie, That what he did in both these respects, was by the Advice and Con­currence of the Peoples Delegates constituted by the said Royal Grant to act with him in Legislation. His Reasons for not complying with the said Instruction, have been formerly sent to the Widdow Penn, and other concerned, to which we Refer.

And what he was pleased to do, in favour of the Currency, the great Necessity and most pressing Importunities of the Inhabitants, moved him, and the Assemblies of those Times (according to the Examples of Neighbouring Provinces, whose Cash and Product (as well as Ours) falling short to make immediate Remittances to England for the Goods which they wanted) did think fit to fall upon the Expedient of Paper Bills to pass among our selves, having not Cash enough to carry on our Domestick Affairs and Commerce. And likewise, the Value of Lands and Country [...] by the Scarcity of Money and Decay of Trade, [...] likely to be ruined. Besides, [...] [Page 10] but by an Excise and Taxing the Importation of Liquors, which cumbred our Ports and hindred Trade, and yet fell short of answering the Publick Exigencies.

These, and many more Inconveniencies, are now Removed, the Administration of Government well Supported, without Clogging the Importations, our Ports Clear, Trade Revived, and the honest Deb­tors Rescued from the Oppression of their Creditors: The Value of our Country Product advanced; and the Ship-Wrights, (some of whom, before this Currency was struck, having left the Country for Want of Work, and those that stayed, having little to do) are since Returned, and come into full Employment at their Trades, so that many stately Vessels have been Built, and more upon the Stocks, and several Iron-Works are carried on. Which, with divers other In­stances of the Advantage of this Currency, has been to the Publick, as well as to those, who, both in City and Country, must have been Ruined without it, We think, may abundantly Attone for this part of the Governour's Conduct.

WE hope it will not displease the Family, or any others that are concerned for the Wellfare of this Province, if We give them a further Relation of the good Offices our Governour has (in the course of his Administration) Performed to this Colony in general, which loudly calls for Our Thankful Acknowledgments. For before he became Our Governour, divers Murderers and other Malefactors in several parts of this Province, were like to escape with Impunity; but He, to prevent a Failure of Justice, in that respect, was Pleased to Countenance and Assist the Courts to bring those Evil Doers to Condign Punishment; and soon after passed a Law, called, An Act for the [...] the Royal Sanction to it, which entirely settled the Manner of Try­ing Capital Crimes, to the Terror of those that then-to-fore made light of such Offences.

Much more might be said in Favour of the Governour's Admini­stration, which We omit, lest We should Trespass too much upon your Patience, hoping these short Hints may be sufficient to Obviate Objections, and Remove the Impressions that some Persons have en­deavoured to make on the Minds of such as may be Strangers to the Circumstances of our Affairs.

Signed by Order of the House, David Lloyd, Speaker.

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