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Message from the Governour to the House


Some of the Members being met, the Deputy Secretary brought down the following Message from his Excellency, viz:

Mr˙ Speaker and

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

I reply to your answer to my Message of yesterday, concerning your vote for excluding the three members returned for three Towns in the County of Grafton, by virtue of the King' s writ, I would observe, that in the early state of New-Hampshire, when the Massachusetts-Bay exercised jurisdiction over the inhabitants, a commission was issued by King Charles the Second, appointing a President and Council to govern the Province, according to the methods and regulations specified in the said commission. This laid the foundation of the Constitution by which the Province hath since been governed; and the people, by their acceptance and acquiescence in the frame of Government then given them, bound themselves to maintain the same.


Among other things, the President and Council were authorized to issue writs for calling a General Assembly. It hath ever since been the invariable practice, as circumstances made it reasonable to extend representation in the Province, to call the members by the King' s writ; it is a part of the Constitution first established by the aforesaid commission, and ever since preserved unaltered; and you all came by your seats in the House in the same constitutional way; and the laws of the Province rest upon this foundation. It is true that some contention was heretofore made by a former House, on this point, but after a long and fruitless controversy, the House thought it advisable at length to proceed to business with the new members in the established course.

Since my administration, three new members have been called from three Towns in the County of Cheshire, and they took their seats without interruption. Upon petitions to the Governour and Council from the inhabitants of the County of Grafton, it seemed equally reasonable to extend to them the same privilege, expressly given by President Cult' s commission, and secured by constant usage since, which was done in the usual form with advice of Council. It does not now appear, either by a general view of this practice, or any particular instance, that it hath not been exercised for the advantage of the people; and as there is no reason at present to apprehend danger from the influence of the Crown, the argument you make use of to support or justify your refusal of the new members, has, in itself, in reality, very little weight, more especially as provision is established by law for regulating the election of Assembly-men, and their qualifications.

In short, a Constitution has been given to this Province, which the people have accepted, and lived happily and prospered under, and I apprehend their interest will be much better Consulted by adhering to that Constitution, than by any innovations or attempts to alter or subvert it, especially in a point of inherent right and prerogative of His Majesty, which cannot be suffered to be violated or infringed.

The Treasurer' s accounts are prepared, and I should have ordered them to be laid before the House, but my duty calls upon me to take care that no members, constitutionally returned to the Assembly, should be excluded from their privilege of acting freely in all matters of business that may come before the General Assembly. No inconvenience can as yet be occasioned by these accounts, as a sufficient number of members to make a House did not attend till yesterday, and then (as I understand) but a very thin House.

I am sorry to observe, that it appears to me from the determination not to rescind the vote for excluding the three members for Plymouth, Lyme, and Oxford, that the House did not meet with a disposition to proceed upon the affairs of the Province. In hopes, however, that this business may acquire a more favourable consideration in a fuller House of Assembly, on a future day, I think it my duty to adjourn the General Assembly, and it is hereby adjourned accordingly, to Tuesday, the 28th of September next, at ten o' clock in the morning, then to meet at the State-House in Portsmouth.


Fort William and Mary, New-Hampshire, July 15, 1775.