Massachusetts refuses to pay the governor (1728)


In September 1728 the Massachusetts assembly considered a petition from the royal governor, who had requested that the legislature provide him with a regular salary, rather than simply paying his expenses. After deliberation the legislature decided against this, giving the following reasons:

“Because it is an untrodden path which neither we nor our predecessors have gone in, and we cannot certainly foresee the many dangers there may be in it, and we must depart from that way which has been found safe and comfortable.

Because it is the undoubted right of all English men by Magna Carta, to raise and dispose of moneys for the public service of their own free accord, without any compulsion.

Because this must necessarily lessen the dignity and freedom of the House of Representatives in making acts and raising and applying taxes etc., and consequently cannot be thought a proper method to preserve that balance in the three branches of the legislature, which seems necessary to form maintain and uphold our Constitution.

Because the Charter fully empowers the General Assembly to make such laws and orders as they judge for the good and welfare of the Inhabitants; and if they or any part of them judge this not to be for their good, they neither ought nor can come into it… Moreover if we should now give up this right, we shall open a door to many other inconveniencies.”