ran, that their proposition to inquire ‘judiciously’
implied an intention of setting up a jurisdiction, and looked more like an insurrection than a settlement.
‘We are no critics in words,’ replied the Meeting;1
‘we know not how many different constructions the term “judiciously” may bear; as to ourselves, we meant no more by it, than wisefully, carefully, and soberly to examine the matter in hand.’
Their wrongs were flagrant and undeniable.
‘Grievous now it is to us,’ they said, ‘to have our substance torn from us by those monsters in iniquity, whose study it is to plunder us.’
And since their ‘reasonable request’ for explanations was unheeded, they resolved on ‘a meeting for a public and free conference yearly, and as often as the case might require,’ that so they might reap the profit of their right under ‘the Constitution
of choosing representatives and of learning what uses their money was called for.’2
Yet their hope of redress was very distant.
How could unlettered farmers succeed against the undivided administrative power of the Province?
And how long would it be before some indiscretion would place them at the mercy of their oppressors?
The apportionment of Members of the colonial Legislature was grossly unequal; the Governor
could create Boroughs; the actual Legislature, whose members were in part unwisely selected, in part unduly returned, rarely called together, and liable to be continued or dissolved at the pleasure of the Governor
, increased the poor man's burdens by voting an annual poll-tax