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William Penn - His education and early career
- Points in his character - PENNSYLVANIA Terms of the charter - Settlers on the ground - Proposals to emigrants Course pursued towards the Indians
Frame of government - Provisions Quit-claim from the Duke of York - Penn's voyage to New York -- Freemen called together ---- Regulations agreed upon- Code of laws Boundary question — Interview with the Indians — Penn's intercourse with the natives — Philadelphia founded - Meeting of the legislative body - Its acts Revenue voted the proprietary — Prosperity of the colony -- Penn returns to England - Enjoys favor of James II. --Vexatious trials and difficulties with the colonists The result -- Printing press — High school --The lower counties on the Delaware -Penn deprived of his administration.
The name of WILLIAM PENN is one | miral, his father, at first beat him and of the most eminent in American co- turned him out of doors, but afterwards lonial history, and well deserves the sent him to make the tour of Europe, esteem and respect with which it has in the hope that mingling more freely been, and is, regarded by philanthro- with the great world might effect the pists and patriots. This remarkable cure of his eccentric enthusiasm. His man was the only son of Admiral Penn, travels undoubtedly tended both to endistinguished during the protectorate | large his mind and to give additional of Cromwell by the conquest of the suavity to his manners. Island of Jamaica, and afterwards by his On his return to London for the conduct and courage during the war purpose of studying the law at Lincoln's with Holland, in the reign of Charles Inn, he was considered quite “a modII., with whom and his brother, the ish fine gentleman.” “The glory of Duke of York, he was a great the world,” he says,
overtook ine, favorite. Young Penn was en- and I was even ready to give up mytered as a gentleman commoner at Ox-self unto it;" but his deep sense of ford at the period when the Quakers, the vanity of the world, and the “irrein the midst of dislike and opposition ligiousness of its religions,” which the from all sects and parties, persisted in preaching of the itinerant Quaker had the propagation of their offensive tenets. produced, was aroused from temporary Through the earnestness of one of their slumber by his providential encounter itinerant preachers, the son of the admi- with the same individual, on the ocral became converted to the doctrines casion of a journey to Ireland, and he of the new sect, and entering upon an
determined to cast in his lot with these enthusiastic advocacy of his new views, advocates of brotherly love and imhe was fined and expelled from the partial toleration. “God in his everUniversity. The exasperated old ad- lasting kindness,” thus he declares,
guided my feet into this path in the shown so much wisdom and discretion flower of my youth, when about two that it is not surprising that he was and twenty years of age.” At once he looked up to with unusual deference entered upon that career of preaching and respect both at home and in Amerhis beloved doctrines, which, in the face ica. His father had bequeathed to of many trials, he long continued to him a claim against the government for follow both at home and abroad. Im- £16,000. As it was almost hopeless prisoned in Ireland, he was enlarged to expect the liquidation of this debt only to be received on his return to from a king like Charles II., Penn beEngland with animosity and derision, | came desirous of obtaining in lieu of it and a fresh ebullition of rage from a grant of American territory; a wish his indignant father, who, for the sec- that his influence with the Duke of ond time, expelled him from his home. York and the leading courtiers at length But the spirit of Penn was too high and enabled him to realize. “This day,” he calm to be intimidated or exasperated. observes, in a letter dated JanuMenaces and promises were alike em- ary 5th, 1681, “after ployed in vain. “Tell my father,” he ings, watchings, solicitings, and disputes, said, after having been sent to the my country was confirmed to me under Tower, “ that my prison shall be my the great seal of England, with large grave before I will budge a jot, for I powers and privileges, by the name of owe my conscience to no mortal man. PENNSYLVANIA, a name the king gave it I have no need to fear. God will make in honor of my father. I chose New amends for all.” He remained many Wales, being a hilly country, and when months in confinement, from which he the secretary, a Welshman, refused to was at length released through the call it New Wales, I proposed Sylvania, influence of the Duke of York, the and they added Penn to it, though I friend of his father as well as himself. much opposed him, and went to the The high spirited old admiral was, on king to have it struck out. He said his death bed, fully reconciled to his 'twas past, and he would take it upon son, and committed him and his claims him ; nor could twenty guineas move on the government to the good offices the under secretary to alter the name, of the Duke of York, with whom Penn for I feared it should be looked on as was quite a favorite, and on terms of a vanity in me, and not as a respect in the closest intimacy.
the king to my father, as it really was. Some years before Penn entered Thou mayst communicate my grant," directly upon the great work with he adds, “to my friends, and expect which his name is indissolubly unit- shortly my proposals. 'Tis a dear and ed, he had been called upon to take just thing, and my God, that has given
an active interest in the affairs it me through many difficulties, will, I
of his fellow Quakers in New believe, bless and make it the seed of a Jersey. He had done this with so much nation. I shall have a tender care to the prudence, and had on various occasions government, that it be well laid at first."
PENN’S FRAME OF GOVERNMENT.
The charter differed but little from instructions for building the new city, that of Maryland: it created Penn which Penn desired might resemble a " true and absolute lord” of Pennsyl- green and open country town. For the vania, with ample powers of govern- first time, probably, the Indians found ment; but “the advice and consent of themselves addressed in the language the freemen of the province” were ne- of genuine philanthropy and good will, cessary to the enactment of laws.
A as brethren of the great family of man, veto was reserved to the crown, and not as heathen. “The great God," to Parliament the right of levying du- thus he wrote to their sachems," had ties and taxes.
been pleased to make him concerned There were already within the limits in their part of the world, and the king of Pennsylvania a considerable number of the country where he lived had of Dutch and Swedish settlers. Penn given him a great province therein ; accordingly, in April of this year (1681,) but he did not desire to enjoy it withsent out the royal proclamation, con out their consent; he was a man of stituting him lord proprietor, by the peace, and the people whom he sent hands of his kinsman, William Mark- were of the same disposition, and if ham; and to engage the good will of any difference should happen between these, he tells them “ that they are now them, it might be adjusted by an equal fixed at the mercy of no governor that number of men chosen on both sides.” comes to make his fortune great; that Early in 1682, Penn issued his "Frame they shall be governed by laws of their of Government,” wherein he purposed own making, and live free, and, if they to leave to himself and his sucwill, a sober and industrious people.” cessors "no power of doing mis“I shall not usurp the right of any," chief—that the will of one man may he continues, "nor oppress his person. not hinder the good of the whole counGod has furnished me with a better try; for liberty without obedience is resolution, and has given me His grace confusion, obedience without liberty is to keep it." Markham was also autho- slavery.” The Assembly, which was to rized to arrange the question of boun- consist, first, of all the freemen, afterdaries with the proprietary of Mary- wards, of delegates, never more than five land.
hundred nor less than two hundred freeIn England, meanwhile, (May, 1681), men, were to elect a council of seventythere were proposals issued for the two members, one third to go out and be sale of the lands, at the rate of forty replaced annually, over whom the proshillings, or about $10 the hundred prietary or his deputy was to preside acres, subject, however, to a per- and enjoy a triple vote. This council petual quit-rent of one shilling for was not only invested with the exevery hundred acres. A company was ecutive power, but was also authorized formed, and three vessels set sail in to prepare bills for presentation to the July, with a body of emigrants for the Assembly. In addition, a body of shores of the Delaware—carrying out forty "fundamental laws,” was agreed
upon by Penn and the emigrants, who Isaac, and Jacob would be well conproposed to settle in Pennsylvania. tented with.” Markham had already
In order to prevent all future pre- commenced the erection of a mansion tence of claim on the part of the Duke house for Penn some distance further of York, or his heirs, Penn obtained up the river, nearly opposite the presof the Duke his deed of release for it; ent city of Burlington. and, as an additional territory, he pro- Early in the month of December, cured of him also his right and interest 1682, having paid a visit to his in that tract of land, which was at first friends in New Jersey, and on Long called the territories of Pennsylvania, Island, Penn returned to Chester to afterwards “the three lower counties give his earnest attention to the seton the Delaware."
tling the government, arranging the Every preliminary arrangement hav- question of boundaries, and propitiating ing been completed, Penn set sail, ac- the good will of the natives. Instead companied by a hundred emigrants, of all the freemen, as Penn's writ of and during the year was followed by summons had requested, only twelve more than twenty ships, all of which delegates from each of the six counties arrived in safety. His own voyage appeared: eighteen of these were conwas long and disastrous; the small stituted a council and the remainder pox broke out on board, and cut off an Assembly. In future, too, the Asthirty of the passengers. At length, sembly was to consist of thirty-six toward the end of October, the ship members only, six from each county, entered the broad and majestic Del- to be chosen annually, with a council aware, and came to anchor at composed of three members for each Newcastle. As soon as the news of county, to hold their seats for three Penn's arrival was spread abroad, the years, one being chosen each year. The magistrates and settlers flocked toge restriction of the governor to three ther, to greet him at the court-house ; votes was dropped, and the governor his title-deeds were produced; and and council were to possess jointly the he conciliated the assembled multitude right of proposing laws. This enlargewith promises of civil and religious ment of the proprietary's power, acfreedom. Continuing his ascent of the cording to Penn's account of the matter, river, he landed at Upland, or Chester, was the spontaneous movement of the where he found a plain, simple, in- freemen themselves; hence he was not dastrious population, composed of Swe- guilty, as some twenty years later it dish Lutherans and Quakers, who had was charged upon him, of using undue established themselves in a country influence and violating his original prowhich, from the purity of the air and mise. A code of laws was enacted water, the freshness and beauty of the nearly resembling those already agreed landscape, and the rich abundance of upon in
upon in England between the emiall sorts of provisions, he declared, in grants and Penn. Its broad outlines his enthusiasm, that “an Abraham, were on the whole worthy of his phi
THE BOUNDARY QUESTION.
lanthropic professions. Universal tol- both parties believed themselves to eration was proclaimed; each sect was be in the right, and after a warm and to support itself. Every freeman had unsatisfactory debate, the negotiation the right of voting and holding office was for the present broken off; it was —the only reservation being the ne- afterwards, in the following year, recessity of a belief in God and absti- sumed in England with considerable nence from labor on the Lord's Day. acrimony, and terminated in the asTrial by jury was established. Murder signment to Penn of half the territory alone was punishable with death. Pri- between the banks of the Delaware mogeniture, with a trifling reservation, and the Chesapeake. was abrogated. Marriage was regarded The famous traditionary interview as a civil contract. Two wise and im- with the Indians under the great elm portant provisions, must not be over- of Shakamaxon, commemorated by the looked-every child was to be taught pencil of West, was held probably not some useful trade, thus tending to long after Penn and Lord Baltimore prevent future vagabondage and crime had met with reference to the bound—while the prisons were to be also ary question. It was a scene of deep work houses, where the offender might and touching interest; and though it is be not only punished, but if possible, true that Penn enjoyed advantages reclaimed again to the community. over the older States in that the Del
Penn having proceeded to New awares were a feeble tribe, yet his sincastle, found the question of boundaries cerity and good will cannot be doubtto be a very difficult and perplex-ed, and we know that no Quaker blood ing subject. Many of the charters had was ever shed in contests with the abbeen granted in ignorance of the pre- origines of that region. cise geography of the country, an am- The good understanding produced by biguity which occasioned, naturally this interview was carefully kept up. enough, serious disputes. Such was During his stay in the country Penn partly the case with that of Penn's, often met the Indians in friendly interwho earnestly contended for his de course. He partook of their simple sired line of boundary, as being of the fare, and mingled in their athletic last importance to the future welfare games. On one occasion, as he himself of his colonists. “It was not the love informed Oldmixon, he was involved or need of the land, but the water," in an awkward dilemma, from which and the facility of access and harbor- he escaped by the exercise of his usual ing, that induced him to press his prudence. Having visited an Indian claims, and, as Lord Baltimore af- sachem, he had retired for the night, firmed, to encroach within the limits when he was startled by the entry of of his own grant. Of the merits of this the daughter of his host, who, thus dispute, which is in truth somewhat ob- instructed by her father, came and scure, different views have been taken placed herself by his side, in comby different historians. Very possibly pliance with certain ideas of hospital