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[Answer of Mr. Moore.]
Philadelphia Aprill 21: 1702
Your Excellencies by Cap! Hill of the 29 of December came not to my hands till the 10th of March at night wch I much wondred at the Commands therein lay'd and all others from your hands readyly should follow but before I had them what was most materiall was transmitted to Coľ Quary. Things have been here at full Stopp expecting the issue att home. And now by a Vessell newly arriv'd we have account the matter is called for by the house of Commons from the Lords of Trade and the doom ere this past, the Administrac'ons of this and the Jerseys is at pr’sent under Col’ Hamil tons care, we hear the latter have surrender'd their Goverment to the King wch will be a leading case to the rest. I have not a Syllable from Coll' Quary, N York continues still in confusion, the English scatter'd and waiting my Lord Cornburys arrivall. M' Vesey the minister is now in Jersey. Maj? Wenthorp Governour of Connecticut and Coll' Hamilton, have interposed their advice like honest gentlemen but reason wil not be hearkn’d to, Col Bayard is reprieved at last noe accon' yett in the Indies tis said the Spaniard refused the french Convoy, and have taken their plate ashore and laid up their Ships for this year. I doubt not yo' Excellencies has later news from England than wee, We hear of your Exsellencies intention for England but flatter our Selves shall have the honour of seeing y" here ere y departure, my humblest regards to your Lady and Self beggs acceptance. I am
Order of Council, referring to the Lords of Trade a
Petition from Peter Sonmans and William Dockwra.
ORDER OF COUNCIL, upon the Petic'on of MSon
mans & M? Dockwra relating to a Gov? to be appointed by her Majesty for East & West
New Jersey. At the Court of St James's the 14th day of May 1702.
Upon reading this day at the Board the Petition of Peter Sonmans and William Dockwra, for themselves and on behalf of others Proprietors of the Provinces of East and West New Jersey in America, relating to a Governor to be appointed by her Maty for the said Provinces. It is ordered by her Maty in Councill that it be as it is hereby Referred to the Lords Comm's of Trade and Plantations to Examine the Allegations of the said Petition, a copy whereof is hereunto annexed, and to Report to this Board a true State of the matter of Fact therein set forth, with their Opinion upon the whole matter.
TO THE QUEENS MOST EXCELL! MAT! THE HUMBLE PETIC'ON OF PETER SONmans and Wil
LIAM DOCKWRA for themselves and on the behalf of others Proprietors of the Provinces
of East and West New Jersey in America. Sheweth.
That whereas the Lords Comms for Trade & Plantations have represented to yo? Matie that the reduceing of the Colonies of East and WEST NEW JERSEY to an Orderly form of Government under a Governour constituted by yoMaties im’ediate Com’ission will be of great Service in preventing illegall Trade, Harbouring of Pyrates &c. and that when a Surrender of the said Government shall be made yo? Mate would be pleased to Nominate some Person wholly unconcerned in the Factions which have divided the Inhabitants of those parts, as by the said Representacion hereunto annexed does more at large appeare, Yo? Petrs in Obedience to yo! Matle are ready to Surrender their Right of Gov. ernment and are informed that some of the West Jersey Society and a few others joyning with one Andrew Hamilton and those of his Faction (Notwithstanding the Representation of the said Lords Comm? to your Matie) have presumed to Petic'on yo? Matle in behalf of the said Andrew Hamilton to be Governour of the said Province, who tho' he was formerly Governour under the Com’ission of the Proprietors of the said Colonies, was by the Proprietors of East Jersey dismissed for his Mismanagements and Male Adminis. tracion, and has been guilty of protecting Scotch Ships and encourageing illegall Trade to the infringement of the Acts of Navigation against whom there are Sundry Petitions & Remonstrances now lying before the Honoble Plantation Board
1 In the margin of the document is the following: “Mem'd'm. The Petitioners by a Mem'l to the Board (25th May) desire that these words might be corrected and made have already surrendered."
That the said Andrew Hamilton at this day Setts up in opposition to the präsent Governour constituted by the same Authority by which he Acted as Governour in East Jersey and has caused the seizing all Records & detained the Provinciall Seale, thereby Subverting the Government and has brought all into Anarchy & Confusion
Yo! Pets further humbly begg leave to Represent to yo" Mate That as the chief motive to their Surrender was the well Settling those Provinces under yo? Matles more im’ediate Authority, so they humbly conceive it impossible the Differences there can be reconciled if yo? Matie should please to constitute the said Andrew Hamilton Governour; Forasmuch as that neither yo! Pet's here, or the Inhabitants there who have opposed the said Andrew Hamilton can reasonably hope for redress of the Injuries they have received from the Male Administracion and Injustice of the said Andrew Hamilton if he should be Arm’d with yo! Majesty's Com'ission, whereby he will become both Judge & Party
Yo! Pet"therefore most humbly Pray That yo? Matie would be graciously pleased to Constitute Some Person Governour who is wholly unconcern'd in the Divisions and Factions of the said Provinces
And yo? Pet? (as in Duty
1 PETER SONMANS was the son of the Arent Sonmans, an East Jersey Proprietor.
Order of Council, referring to the Lords of Trade a
Petition from the Proprietors of East & West
[From P. R. O. B. T. Proprieties, Vol. 6, 1. 37.] Order of Council upon the Peticion of several Pro
prietors of East & West New Jersey relating to a Gov? to be appointed by her Maty for those
Provinces. ATT the Court at S' James's the 14th day of May 1702.
PRESENT THE QUEENS MOST EXCELL? MATin COUNCILL Upon reading this day at the Board the Petic'on of
who was shot by a highwayman in 1683, when passing through Hunterdon Shire on his way from Scotland to London, in company with his wife, Robert Barclay the first Governor, and one other person, as noticed on page 527, volume I PETER inherited the geater part of his father's estate, and came over to New Jersey as early as 1688, for a brief period, and in 1705 came again with the intention of remaining. He received his education in Leyden, and had held several public ofices in England, For some time he was one of the Council and afterward a member of the Assembly from Bergen county. The Proprietors bestowed upon him several important positions, being at different periods Receiver of their Quit-Rents, Ranger of the Forests, Surveyor General &c. Notwithstanding these indications of the good opinion entertained for him by others, he very soon incurred the ill-will of the Assembly and of most of the public, leading to his being dismissed from many of his public offices, among them being the high position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, to which he had been appointed by William Pinhorne while filling the executive office prior to the arrival of Governor Hunter. Although dispossessed of his authority as Receiver of the Proprietors' Quit-rents, he persisted in performing the duties of the office until, in 1726, Governor Burnet issued a proclamation pronouncing his conduct illegal and unwarranted. He rendered himself particularly inimical to the Qakers by considering them as prohibited from sitting as jurors and from making affirmations instead of taking oaths; and appears to have enjoyed contentions, preferring to attain his ends by some tortuous, difficult course than by any concessions to others. His unpopularity led him at last to remove to Philadelphia, where he had a son, Peter, practicing physic, and died there in March, 1734.
Mr. Sonmans was twice married; his second wife being Sarah, daughter of John Nevill of Stafford, England, and sister of Judge Samuel Nevill, subsequently of Perth Amboy, whom he married October 17th, 1723. She was left his sole heiress and executrix, and on her death in December, 1735, the settlement of her estate devolved upon her brother, who came to America for the purpose.