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[374] ‘the delegates far exceeded the largest claims of the
chap. XVI.} 1760.
House of Commons, not only by raising the money, but by investing themselves with the sole application of it, and usurping by this means the most valuable prerogative of the executive power.’ The Board, therefore, in June, assured the cabinet ministers, that ‘experience had shown how vain it was to negotiate away his Majesty's authority, since every new concession became a foundation for some new demand, and that of some new dispute;’ and they recommended that ‘the constitution should be brought back to its proper principles, to restore to the crown, in the person of the proprietaries, its just prerogative, to check the growing influence of assemblies, by distinguishing, what they are perpetually confounding, the executive from the legislative power.’

When, in July, the subject was discussed before the Privy Council, Lord Mansfield made the extraordinary motion, ‘that the attorney and solicitor general be instructed to report their opinion whether his Majesty could not disapprove of parts of an act and confirm other parts of it.’1 But so violent an attempt to extend the king's prerogative, at the expense of the people of the colonies and the proprietaries, met with no favor.

At last, of the seventeen acts objected to, the six which encroached most on the executive power were negatived by the king; but by the influence of Lord Mansfield, and against the advice of the Board of Trade, the assessment bill, which taxed the estates of the proprietaries, was made the subject of an informal capitulation between them and the agent of the people

1 Proprietary to Thomas Penn, 22 August, 1760.

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