Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

hands with those who came to give me the personal assurances of their good wishes, and urge their solicitations that I would not think of leaving America without returning to visit Baltimore again.

On the morning of the 21st we left Baltimore by the railroad for Philadelphia, where we arrived at four o'clock, and, being met by several friends at the station, were comfortably accommodated in a good boarding-house at 188 Chesnut-street, opposite the Masonic Hall.

CHAPTER XXV.

Origin of the Settlement of Pennsylvania.-Parentage and Education of William Peon
-Origin

of the Name of Pennsylvania.- Arrival of the first Emigrants in the Dela. ware. - Publication of Penn's first " Frame of Government."-Treaty with the In dians for their Lands.-First Design for the City of Philadelphia.- Penn's Return to England. - Affectionate Farewell to his Settlement.-First Institution for the Educa. tion of Youth. — Penn deprived of his Government by Royal Warrant.-Friendship of John Locke and Lord Somers.--Restoration of Penn to his Proprietary Govern ment.-Illness and Death of Penn.-Cessation of the Quaker Authority in Pennsyl. vania. - Declaration of American Independence in Philadelphia. ---Progress of Peot sylvania in Wealth and Population.--Description of the State in its Scenery and Re sources.-Towns, Manufactures, and Public Improvements.

Of all the cities in the American Union, there is not one, probably, that bears so visibly upon its surface the impress of its founder as that of Philadelphia. The symmetry of its plan, the neatness of its buildings, the air of repose and contentment, and its multiplied institutions of benevolence, are all as prominent features of its Quaker origin and striking proofs of Quaker influence, as the names of Pennsylvania for the State and Philadelphia for the city are indic. ative of the benign spirit in which these appellations were conceived. It is desirable, therefore, to trace the leading incidents of the history of this settlement, so far as these may illustrate the origin, progress, and present condition of this portion of the Union, one of the most interesting of the States.

It was in the year 1680 that a charter for the settlement of Pennsylvania and Delaware was first granted by Charles the Second to William Penn, so that from this period its history may be most properly dated. The circumstances which preceded and led to this grant are sufficiently curious, however, to deserve mention. The father of William Penn was an admiral in the British Navy, under the protec

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

a

torate of Oliver Cromwell; and in 1664 he made the conquest of Jamaica, and first added that valuable island to the British colonial possessions. He was subsequently unfortunate in an expedition against St. Domingo, for his failure in which he was imprisoned by Cromwell in the Tower of London, and never after employed under the Commonwealth. At the restoration of the Stuarts he rose again into favour, and commanded at sea in the Dutch war of 1665 under the Duke of York; but in 1668 he was impeached by the House of Commons for embezzlement of prize-money, though the impeachment was never prosecuted to an issue.

At this time his son, William Penn, was a student at the University of Oxford, and was expected, from his father's known interest at court, to have made a figure in the world in some public walk of life. But at the age of sixteen he became so impressed with the discourses of a Quaker preacher whom he heard at Oxford, that the warmth and openness with which he espoused the doctrines of this sect led to his expulsion from the University. His father, in the true style of an admiral of those days, endeavoured to cure him of his “new-fangled notions," as they were then called, by first giving him a severe flogging, with blows, and then banishing

him from his house and presence. This had the natural effect of attaching him the more strongly to the prin. ciples for which he was so bitterly persecuted.

The admiral then resorted to another and more insidious method of curing this early “eccentricity,” as he consider ed it, which was, to send him on a course of travels through out Europe with some of the gayest young men of rank and family in France; the result of which was, that he returned to his approving parent with a complete change of manners and sentiments, as “ a man of the world.” Soon after, however, he had occasion to visit Ireland, in the year 1666, to inspect an estate ; and meeting there with the same Quaker preacher whose discourses had made so powerful an impression on him at Oxford, all his former veneration for the principles of Quakerism was revived, and he made an open, public, and solemn profession of his determination to embrace them, and act upon them through life.

According to the testimony of different writers, the conduct of Penn seems after this to have exhibited a mixture of good and evil which is very remarkable ; at one time upholding, with all his ability and influence, the despotic prerogative of the crown; at another appealing to the House Vol. I.--RR

27

of Commons for a repeal of the penal laws against Dissenters, attaching himself to Algernon Sidney, and assisting his election for Guildford as a friend of the people, against a court candidate who opposed him; soon after this, seeing his friend Sidney perish on the scaffold for his patriotism, and yet keeping up, during all this time, his cordial intimacy with the despotic sovereign and court by whom this outrage was perpetrated; being present at the execution of a most pious and benevolent as well as aged lady, Mrs. Grant, who was burned alive because she gave shelter to a person who had escaped from the rebel army of the Duke of Monmouth, but of whom she knew nothing except that he was a person in distress; and being present also at the execution of Alderman Cornish, who was hung at his own door on an imputa. tion of treason which was never proved, and in which no one but his accusers believed. This was under James the Second, with whom, in the very height of his tyranny, Penn maintained a confidential intimacy and apparent friendship, which it is as difficult to understand as it has been found impossible to explain.

İn 1680, when Charles the Second was on the throne, and when Penn, from his share in the direction of the affairs of New Jersey, with other members of the Society of Friends with whom he was associated, had become well acquainted with the value of the territory west of the Delaware River, he presented a petition to Charles, setting forth his relation. ship to the deceased admiral, and stating that a debt was due to his father from the crown, which had not been paid in consequence of the shutting up of the exchequer by the Earl of Shaftesbury. For this debt he expressed his will. ingness to receive a grant of the territories west of the Delaware and north of Maryland, which was then already in the possession of Lord Baltimore; and the grounds on which he justified his application were, a belief that, by his interest with the Quakers, he should be enabled to colonize the territory, and make it productive of a considerable revenue to the British treasury; and that, at the same time, he should be enabled to enlarge the British dominions, and promote the glory of God by the conversion of the native In. dians to Christianity. This petition was referred to the Duke of York and Lord Baltimore; and their approbation, after certain restrictions, being accorded, and some techni. cal and legal difficulties being removed, the charter was granted to William Penn, in consideration of the merits of the father and the good purposes of the son ; and by it

[ocr errors]

ORIGIN OF THE NAME.CHARTER,

315

himself and his heirs were made perpetual proprietors of the extensive, rich, and fertile province now constituting the State of Pennsylvania.

The origin of the name is thus explained. It was a proposition of King Charles that the province should be called Penn, or that this name should form part of any appellation that might be fixed on. This was resisted by Penn,

. lest it should be imputed to him as vanity. He himself proposed to call it New Wales, but this was for some reason disapproved. Penn next suggested Sylvania, as the province was so beautifully diversified with wood; to which the king insisted on prefixing the name of Penn, in honour of the admiral, whose memory he revered.

The conditions on which the Proprietary," as Penn was now called, held his vast and valuable grant, was the payment of two bear-skins annually, and a tribute of one fifth of whatever gold and silver might be discovered in the province, which tribute was to be the personal property of the king. The proprietary was empowered by this charter to divide the province into townships, hundreds, and counties ; to incorporate boroughs and cities; to make laws with the assent of the freemen; to impose taxes for public purposes; to levy men, to vanquish enemies, to put them to death by the laws of war, and to do all that belonged to the office of captain-general in an army, on condition that the laws made should be in conformity with the laws of England; that the customs due to the king on articles of trade should be fairly paid ; and that the allegiance of the province to the crown and Parliament should be maintained.

After the grant of the charter, Penn exerted himself to at, tract settlers to his new domain. He published accounts of the soil and climate, and offered to those who wished to become residents therein land at the rate of forty shillings for one hundred acres, with a perpetual quit-rent of a shilling only for each lot of that extent. Persons were admonished, before they bought, to balance present inconvenience with future ease and plenty, to obtain the consent of parents and relations, and have especial regard to the will of God. They were assured that no planter would be permitted to injure the native Indians, not even under pretence of avenging injuries received ; but that all differences between the two races should be referred to twelve arbitrators, half se, lected from each race, and their decision made binding. He was wisely aware, however, that no individual will may be safely trusted ; and, accordingly, in one of his letters of

this period, 1681, he says, “ As my understanding and inclinations have been much directed to observe and reprove mischiefs in government, so it is now put into my power to settle one. For the matters of liberty and privilege, I purpose that which is extraordinary, and leave myself and successors no power of doing mischief, that the will of one man may not hinder the good of a whole country.

The first settlers sailed from London and Bristol in three ships. They were headed by Col. Markham, a relative of Penn, as deputy-governor of the province; and certain of their number were appointed to confer with the Indians, to purchase the lands on equitable terms, and to make with them a treaty of peace. By their hands Penn himself addressed a letter to the Indians, in which he stated that, though the King of England had given him the proprietary right over this territory, he wished to purchase it, and enjoy it with the consent of the Indians themselves; for, though many of their nation had hitherto been cruelly treated by Europeans, those he now sent among them wished to treat them with justice, and reside near them in peace.

On their arrival in America the settlers took possession of a forest on the west side of the Delaware, about twelve miles above Newcastle, a settled town of Maryland, and there began to prepare for the reception of the followers by whom they were to be joined.

In 1682 Penn first published his celebrated code, entitled " The Frame of the Government of Pennsylvania," a composition which, like the character of its writer, contained a remarkable mixture of veneration for the despotic maxim of the “divine right of government,” and clear perceptions of the true principles of just and liberal policy; the latter, however, far predominating. In it he says, “ Any government is free to the people under it where the laws rule, and where the people are a party to these laws; and more than this is tyranny, oligarchy, or confusion." He insists upon the importance of having good men as the only faithful administrators of good laws; and, to supply these, he urges the importance of the virtuous education of youth; and he concludes with these remarkable words: “ We have, with reverence to God and good conscience to men, to the best of our skill, contrived and composed the frame of this government, to the great end of all rule : to support power in reverence with the people, and to secure the people from the abuse of pow. er, that they may be free by their just obedience, and the magistrates honourable for their just administration; for lib

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »