Governor Burnet of Massachusetts on the Governor’s Salary, 17 September 1728

Governor Burnet of Massachusetts on the Governor’s Salary, 17 September 1728

  • I thought it’d be best to delay in responding to your message so that you could check in with your constituencies & to see if there was any progress in the question of my salary. But now it’s clear what your intentions are.
    1. You will neither pass an act to fix a salary for the governor neither in the short term or the long term.
    2. It appears to me that you aren’t being very representative of your constituents because you are voting against their will on this matter.
      • To do so is to hamper the government’s ability to perform its function in protecting the people & to administer justice.
    3. I have stated previously that it’s a custom of Parliament to establish payment for the employ of Royal Appointments – it causes Great Britain to flourish.
  • You had asked me to consent to your grant & when I hesitated, you docked my pay in order to bring me to heel, to make me more dependent on your good will, which you are withholding from me.
    1. At this point it’s clear that you will ask anything of me & hold the question of my salary over my head to get me to consent anything you ask of me.
    2. Even His Majesty has instructed you not to play fast & loose with my salary in order to ram your legislations through.
      • Furthermore the acts that you wish to pass will lead to the weakening of the government, the colony & the people. You are depriving the Governor’s branch of government of the dignity & freedom necessary for it to fulfill its duty.
      • My duty will not allow me to give you want you want, nor even grant a recess.
  • I’ll answer explicitly all of your objections to my actions:
    1. Objection: This untrodden path I & my predecessors have gone down may be unpredictable & may present unnecessary dangers to the people.
      • Response: My actions are perfectly in line with all British subjects. You not exposed to any dangers the rest of the country is facing. In fact, all the money you’ve been asking to tax the people of will cripple them in their businesses, their private lives & the government as a whole. Exposing the government to credit risk for silly requests is not something that I’m willing to do as a royal appointee. As the royally appointed governor, I am charged with holding royal prerogative to step in & nullify any act that will endanger the public & its government.
    2. Objection: The Magna Carta grants all Englishmen the right to raise & dispose of Money for public service of their own free will & without compulsion.
      • Response: The Magna Carta does not grant Englishmen the right to behave in the wrong manner. You may tax the people with their consent & spend the money with their consent but you can’t hamper the British Constitution by holding the executor of your laws over a barrel by refusing to pay him if he doesn’t consent to pass laws that are contradictory to public welfare.
    3. Objection: Your actions lessen the dignity & freedom of the House of Representatives to levy taxes & spend them. Therefore your actions are throwing the balance of the branches of government out of whack.
      • Response: Your acts have substantially reduced the credit rating of the colonial government by increasing the amount of money it’s borrowing, so I’ve decided to reject spending proposals that go beyond what the Crown feels is appropriate. To allow such bills to go through would be to endanger the ability of the government to perform its duty by exposing it to the inevitable risk that comes with financing government expenditure.
    4. Objection: The Royal Charter enables the Legislature to formulate & enact laws into being for the welfare of all of the colony’s inhabitants. To nullify that ability that would in fact violate the Royal Charter.
      • The charter does enable the House of Representatives to do such things but also under the ROYAL CHARTER is written that no act will be allowed to pass if it does not get royal consent. The Royal class in all of its various forms has veto power that it exercises infrequently but does do when it is felt necessary for the benefit of the public. This precedent was set from the time of King Edward I & has been reestablished by the Glorious Revolution & by various acts of Parliament.

Author: knowit68

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