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Answer of the House to the Governour' s Message


May 4, 1775. — The House met pursuant to adjournment.

The Committee appointed to prepare and bring in a draught of an Answer to the Governour' s Message reported an Essay for that purpose, which being read by paragraphs, and after some alteration, agreed to by the House, was ordered to be transcribed.

The Answer of the House to the Governour' s Message being transcribed according to order, was again read, signed by the Speaker, and follows in these words, viz:

Answer to the Governour' s Message from the House.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HONOUR: We have taken into our serious consideration your Message of the second instant , and the Resolution of the British House of Commons therein referred to .

Having "weighed and considered this plan with the temper, calmness, and deliberation that the importance of the subject and the present critical situation of affairs demand," We are sincerely sorry that we cannot "think the terms pointed out" afford "a just and reasonable ground for a final accommodation" between Great Britain and the Colonies.

Your Honour observes, "that the Colonies, amidst all those complaints which a jealousy of their liberties has occasioned, have never denied the justice or equity of contributing towards the burdens of the Mother Country;" but your Honour must know, that they have ever unanimously asserted it as their indisputable right, that all aids from them should be their own free and voluntary gifts, not taken by force nor extorted by fear.

Under which of these descriptions the "plan held forth and offered by the parent to her children "at this time, with its attendant circumstances, deserves to be classed, we choose rather to submit to the determination of your Honour' s good sense, than to attempt proving by the enumeration of notorious facts, or the repetition of obvious reasons.

If no other objection to "the plan" proposed occurred to us, we should esteem it a dishonourable desertion of sister Colonies, connected by an union founded on just motives and mutual faith, and conducted by General Councils, for a single Colony to adopt a measure so extensive in consequence, without the advice and consent of those Colonies engaged with us by solemn ties in the same common cause.

For we wish your Honour to be assured, that we can form no prospect appearing reasonable to us, of any lasting advantages for Pennsylvania, however agreeable they may be at the beginning, but what must arise from a communication of rights and prosperity with the other Colonies; and that if such a prospect should be opened to us, we have too sincere an affection for our brethren, and too strict a regard "for the inviolable performance of" our "engagements," to receive any pleasure from benefits equally due to them, yet confined to ourselves, and which, by generously rejecting them at present, may at length be secured to all.

Your Honour is pleased to observe, that as we are "the first Assembly on the Continent to whom this Resolution has been communicated, much depends on the moderation and wisdom of our counsels, and we shall be deservedly revered to the latest posterity, if, by any possible means," we "can be instrumental in restoring the publick tranquillity, and rescuing both Countries from the dreadful calamities of a civil war."

Your Honour, from your long residence and conversation among us, must be persuaded that the people we represent are as peaceable and obedient to Government, as true and faithful to their Sovereign, and as affectionate and dutiful to their superiour State, as any in the world; and though we are not inattentive to the approbation of "posterity," as


it might reflect honour upon our Country, yet higher motives have taught us upon all occasions to demonstrate by every testimony our devotion to our King and Parent State.

Still animated by the same principles, and most earnestly desirous of enjoying our former undisturbed condition of dependance and subordination productive of so many blessings to "both Countries," we cannot express the satisfaction we should receive" if, by any possible means," we could "be instrumental in restoring the publick tranquillity." Should such an opportunity offer, we shall endeavour with the utmost diligence and zeal to improve it, and to convince His Majesty and our Mother Country, that we shall ever be ready and willing with our lives and fortunes to support the interests of His Majesty and that Country, by every effort that can be reasonably expected from the most loyal subjects, and the most dutiful Colonists.

Until Divine Providence shall cause, in the course of his dispensations, such a happy period to arrive, we can only deprecate, and, if it be possible, strive by prudence to avoid the "calamities of a civil war;" a dreadful misfortune, indeed, and not to be exceeded but by an utter subversion of the liberties of America. Signed by order of the House:


May 4, 1775.

Ordered, That Mr˙Brown and Mr˙ John Jacobs wait on the Governour and deliver the foregoing Answer to his Message.