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ldest born, was respected; but generations of Virginians had hardly as yet succeeded each other; the rule had produced no effect upon society, and, from the beginning, had been modified in many counties by the Chap XIV.} custom of gavelkind. Jones's State of Virginia, p. 61. Virginia could not imitate those great legislative reforms of the Long Parliament, because her happier soil was free from the burdens of forest laws and military tenures, courts of wards, and starchambers. The tendencoyment of legislative powers, as the birthright of the children of Englishmen; and fortified their demands by the favor of Coventry, whom they extolled as one of the worthiest of men; Burk, ii. App. XXXIX. and LVII. by the legal erudition of Jones and Winington, Ibid. XL. XLI. and by the voices of many great friends, won by a sense of humanity, or submitting to be bribed by poor Virginia. Ibid. XXXIX. Some with, some without charge. But fidelity, justice, and favor, were not enough t
ur own, but are tenants at will, not for the soil only, but for our personal estates. Such conduct has destroyed government, but never raised one to true greatness. Lastly, to exact such unterminated tax from English planters, and to continue it after so many repeated complaints, will be the greatest evidence of a design to introduce, if the crown should ever devolve upon the duke, an unlimited government in England. Such was the argument of the Quakers; and it was triumphant. Sir William Jones decided that, as the grant from the duke of York had reserved no profit or Chap. XVI.} 1680. Aug. 6. jurisdiction, the tax was illegal. The duke of York promptly acquiesced in the decision, and in a new indenture relinquished every claim to the territory and the government. After such trials, vicissitudes, and success, the light of peace dawned upon West New Jersey; and in November, 1681, Jennings, acting as governor for the proprietaries, convened the first legislative assembly
or arguments in favor of freedom? We are the representatives of the freeholders of this province; —such was the answer of the assembly;—his majesty's patent, though under the gieat seal, we dare not grant to be our rule or joint safety; for the great charter of England, alias Magna Charta, is the only rule, privilege, and joint safety of every free-born Englishman. Gordon's New Jersey, 47. The firmness of the legislature preserved the independence of New Jersey; the decision of Sir William Jones protected its people against arbitrary taxation; its prosperity sprung from the miseries of Scotland. The trustees of Sir George Carteret, tired of the burden of colonial property, exposed their province to sale; Chap. XVII.} 1682 Feb. 1 and 2. and the unappropriated domain, with jurisdiction over the five thousand already planted on the soil, was pur- Leaming and Spicer's Grants, &c., of N. Jersey, 73. chased by an association of twelve Quakers, under the auspices of William Penn.