Massachusetts House of Representatives on the Governor’s Salary, 11 September 1728

  • The governor’s salary was often used as a weapon by representatives to coerce him into signing bills, as was the case in South Carolina with Governor Glen.
    1. The Crown gave instructions to governors to establish a permanent payment of the salary by the representatives.
      • Quite often the Houses refused to comply.
    2. The Massachusetts House used its charter, as well as British customs, to validate their actions.
  • The house granted the governor £1700 to manage public affairs for the colony & defray all the costs of his life here in America.
    1. The House hadn’t fixed his salary permanently but it feels that £1700 is more than adequate to run his affairs.
    2. The governor has stated that he was unable to comply any requests from certain committees to establish grants.
    3. The House felt that since he wasn’t willing to comply with requests, perhaps £1400 or even £1300 would be more to his needs to fulfill his duties since he had excused himself of some of his duties that were required of him by ROYAL CHARTER!
    4. He then proceeded to denigrate the Government in his role, requiring any government action to be orchestrated by the Legislature because he would not consent to a grant that was asked of him.
  • A committee of both Houses was put together to send in a report that it was in the ROYAL CHARTER that the legislature held the power to raise money to support the government in its duty to execute laws in the colony.
    1. The governor is violating the charter. This has the effect of weakening the government to perform its actions & therefore puts the entire population at risk of injustice & chaos.
    2. In response to the governor’s steadfast refusal to comply with the Houses, we are enacting the clause in the ROYAL CHARTER that allows us to decide what the governor’s salary & expenses are.
    3. The House is only willing to provide a constant salary so long as the governor performs his duty constantly. In the ROYAL CHARTER, the vague language allows the House to determine the salary from time to time according to what it feels is necessary.
  • We feel we have the right to do as we are doing because:
    1. To establish a permanent salary for the governor may prove detrimental to the people.
    2. The Magna Carta gives all Englishmen the right to raise & dispose of money for public service according to their own free will & without compulsion.
    3. To remove this ability of the House to determine the governor’s salary would throw the balances between the branches of government out of whack.
    4. The ROYAL CHARTER was written to include this power for the House. Any action in the vein of what the governor is asking is in clear violation of the charter. Royal requests for the House to change its processes would also be a contradiction of the charter.

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