William Penn and his Pennsylvania Colony
At the time William Penn acquired his colony of Pennsylvania in 1681, the Lenni Lenape Indians were not the only residents living along the Delaware River. Penn would also have to deal with other European colonists who had been settling in the Delaware Valley for almost fifty years.
Before Penn, the Swedish kingdom, a military power in the early parts of the 17th Century, had founded a colony along the Delaware River and its bay. Trying to keep pace with other European powers colonizing the new world; the Swedes themselves started the New Sweden Company and founded a colony as early as 1637. The Swedes lost their colony to the Dutch in 1654, seventeen years, but not before populating the Delaware Valley with a number of Swedish and Finnish families.
The Dutch had already founded a colony around New Amsterdam, the site of the future city of New York as well colonizing the area along the lower Hudson River Valley. The Dutch also previously made inroads in the Delaware Valley as early as 1651, establishing Fort Casimir at present day New Castle, Delaware.
A recently arrived and newly appointed New Sweden governor, Johan Rising, tried to oust the Dutch from Fort Casimir. While he was easily successful, the plan backfired as the New Amsterdam governor, Peter Stuyvesant, took offense and sent several ships with over three hundred soldiers to attack the Swedes. The Swedes were greatly outnumbered and surrendered the colony to the Dutch without a fight.
Even though conquered, the Swedes were allowed to continue to live as a “Swedish Nation” and had the power to set up thier own courts continue to speak their language and worship as they pleased. The Swedes also could keep their lands, only having to have them re-patented by the Dutch governor. Even though the Dutch ruled the colony, life went on as it had under the New Sweden Colony, which made for friendly relations between the Dutch and Swedish settlers.
The Dutch, however, would not hold the New Sweden colony for long. Four wars fought with England (the Anglo-Dutch Wars) saw the Dutch lose many of her colonies. During the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War (1665-67) the English gained control of New Amsterdam and New Sweden. For a brief time during the 3rd Anglo-Dutch War (1672-74) the Dutch regained control of New Sweden, but only to lose it again for good. By the year 1674 the Delaware Valley would stay in the hands of the English until the American nation was born in 1776.
In 1681, seven years after the English took control of the Delaware Valley William Penn was given his charter for his colony of Pennsylvania. Besides the original Swedish settlers who had been immigrating to the area since the mid 1630’s, there were now also some Dutch who arrived under the Dutch rule, as well as some English who arrived in the interim between the English taking control of the colony and the chartering of Penn’s colony. The need to again re-patent lands arose, as areas that Penn and his people chose to build their new city of Philadelphia were already inhabited.
The mixture of settlers, Swedes, Finns, Dutch, and English settlers, and the native Lenni Lenape Indians already inhabiting the lands of the Delaware Valley, made for interesting interactions and relations. A need arose for peacefully negotiating treaties not only with the local Native Americans, but alos for agreements with the European settlers as to how they should be relocated, or financially satisfied for the lands they were already living on and farming.
It was against this background that William Penn arrived at his colony in October 1682. While easily able to negotiate with the European’s, many of whom simply took land further up river, or moved into the interior, dealing with the Lenni Lenape was a new experience for William Penn. Within a year of his arrival, on August 16th, 1683, Penn wrote a letter to the Free Society of Traders, a stock company that invested in his colony of Pennsylvania. In his letter, Penn describes a council that he had with the Lenni Lenape Indians, in what sounds like it could have possibly been the “Great Treaty”:
“I have had occasion to be in council with them (the Indians) upon treaties for land, and to adjust the terms of trade. Their order is thus: The King sits in the middle of an half moon, and hath his council, the old and wise, on each hand; behind them or at a little distance, sit the younger fry in the same figure… When the purchase was agreed, great promises passed between us of kindness and good neighborhood, and that the Indians and English must live in love as long as the sun and moon give light; which done, another made a speech to the Indians in the name of all the Sachamakers or Kings, first to tell them what was done; next to charge and command them to love the Christians, and particularly live in peace with me, and the people under my Government; that many Governors had been on the River, but that no Governor had come himself to live and stay here before; and having now such an one that treated them well, they should never do him or his any wrong. At every sentence of which they shouted and said Amen in their way.”
The Society of Friends, also called Quakerism, began in about the middle of turbulent 17th Century England. They are seen by historians as a nonconformist breakaway movement from English Puritanism. There was much social upheaval in England as men and women of the Age of Reason began to question most everything about the established order. The English Civil War (1642-1651) also raged at this time and with the defeat of the King’s Army by the Parliamentarian forces, the Church of England’s monopoly on religion came to an end.
Earlier, in about the year 1620, one group of 17th Century religious dissenters sailed for the New World. They were the Puritans, or Pilgrims as they came to be known. They founded the colony of Massachusetts, at Plymouth Rock. However, these Pilgrims were just one of a number of groups who were dissatisfied with the Church of England. The country was bubbling with religious dissenters as Puritans, Separatists, and a group called the “Seekers” were sprouting up everywhere as more and more people were looking for a spiritual journey in their religion, rather then the drab conformity and ecclesiastical authority that predominated the Church of England.
In their earliest history, the Quakers were called “Seekers.” It is said that there was probably not much communication amongst them, as they were not an associated group per se, but simply individuals, or small groups who met, discussed religion, and worshipped together. They would not become organized until George Fox came upon the scene.
Fox was a preacher of sorts who had been traveling around England for about five years when in the year 1652 he had a vision of “a great people to be gathered.” His message of Christ being the only authority was a message that matched the feelings of the people in the middle of a confused 17th Century England. Since traveling preachers were already a part of the culture of England at this time, Fox was for the most part a welcome sight in the early years. As the followers of his message began to grow, however, he and his adherents became a threat to the social order.
Judge Fell and his wife Margaret, liberals in their views towards religion, welcomed Fox in their home at Swarthmore Hall, near Ulverston. While the judge was supportive of the Quakers, he never converted, but Margaret did with her husband’s affirmation. Since the judge was a man of standing in his community, and the fact that he allowed Quakers to meet at his home, the early Quakers in this area of England were given a bit of a legitimacy and sanctuary where they could worship without fear of being prosecuted, since the Church of England still had a monopoly on religion.
Fox preached of his direct experiences with God. He had explored many different religious sects and listened to many types of preachers, but none of them fulfilled the goal that he was seeking. He had a vision that God wanted him to teach others that “they need not depend on human teachers or guides either, because each one of them could experience God directly and hear his voice within.” A note in Fox’s journal states, “I was glad that I was commanded to turn people to that inward light, spirit, and grace, by which all might know their salvation, and their way to God; even that divine Spirit which would lead them into all Truth, and which I infallibly knew would never deceive any.”
Fox’s message of Christ and the most basic tenant of Quakerism is the perception of “the Inner Light.” This concept refers to God being present in a person and that person is to have a direct and personal experience with God. Quakers came to believe that God speaks to everybody, but it is important that you must learn to be still to hear him, Thus at a Friends religious meeting, Quakers come together to sit in silence and let the “Inner Light,” or God, speak to them and collectively guide them in life. As an individual voices his “Inner Light” message of God, he/she become part of the “ministry” of the Quakers.
Fox and his followers felt that it was not necessary to find Christ through a book, priest, or church, but by direct communication with Christ and by having direct knowledge of the spirit of Jesus. By “waiting on the Lord,” they would come to know his will.
Other common or basic tenants of Quakerism are:
The Testimony of Equality, which is the belief that all people are created equal in the eyes of God, hence their support of equality among the sexes and races. William Penn’s willingness to treat equally with the Lenni Lenape Indians emerges from this belief.
The Testimony of Integrity is the belief that one should live a life that is true to God and true to oneself and others. This is commonly associated with honesty and fair dealing with people. This testimony shines through in “William Penn’s Treaty with the Indians at Shackamaxon,” the treaty that was “never written and never broken.”
The Testimony of Simplicity, which is a reference to material possessions. Quakers traditionally limited their material possessions to what they needed to live, rather than pursue the luxuries of life that their wealth might have afforded them.
The Testimony of Peace is one of the most important fundamental tenants of Quakerism and one that ties Quakerism deeply into “William Penn’s Peace Treaty with the Indians at Shackamaxon.”
In 1651 George Fox made what amounts to the first declaration of the “Peace Testimony” when he addressed the Commonwealth Commissioners:
“I told [Commonwealth Commissioners] I lived in the virtue of that life and power that took away the occasion of all wars and I knew from whence all wars did rise, from the lust, accounding to Jame’s doctrine…I told them I was come into the covenant of peace which was before wars and strifes were.”
Another often cited early version of the “Peace Testimony” was in 1661, in a declaration to King Charles II of England. There had been an armed revolt by radicals in London and the Friends wanted to let the King know the Quaker standpoint concerning war and violence:
“We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight any war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world.
This message was rather radical to the King of England, as not only did the Quakers refuse to bear arms for the King, they also would not take an oath of allegiance to the crown, for they believed in only taking an oath to God. For these reasons the Quakers were not trusted and were sometimes seen as possible treasonous persons in times of trouble.
The very nature of Quakerism also invited confrontation as the early members voices were “loud and long” and they “wrote in the same manner.” By confronting the established Church of England and the King himself, early Quakers found themselves thrown into prisons throughout England on a variety of charges and treated miserably. In some of the American colonies Quakers were put to death.
Early imprisonment became a way of life for George Fox and his followers. Fox himself was said to have been jailed for disrupting a church service as early as 1649, then again in 1651 when he was accused of breaking the “Blasphemy Law.” He would continue to be periodically arrested, harassed, and jailed from time to time for more than twenty years.
It was during one of George Fox’s early arrests in 1650, that the actual name of “Quaker” was first used. Fox was brought up in court on a charge of blasphemy. The judge, in a mocking way called Fox and his followers “quakers” since Fox had told him he should “tremble at the word of God.” The name, stuck and the Society of Friends use it themselves today.
Even as Quakerism expanded followers would continue to be harassed and jailed. It was not until 1681 when William Penn received his charter for the colony of Pennsylvania, that the Quakers would find a home to freely worship without fear of reprisal. While they did continue to worship in England, Ireland, Europe, and in the Caribbean, it was in William Penn’s Pennsylvania that they found a true home.
Biography of William Penn
William Penn was born in London, in St. Catharine’s Parish, on October 14, 1644. His father was Vice-Admiral Sir William Penn (ca. 1621-1670), his mother Margaret Jasper, daughter of a well-to-do Rotterdam merchant. They were united Jan. 6, 1643, when the elder Penn, though only twenty, had already received his commission as post-captain in the Royal Navy. William was their first child.
Penn’s father is said to have been “a kind-hearted, genial, but shrewd and observant man of the world….a skillful sailor and navigator, very brave and prompt, a man of action, a man also who was determined to get on in the world which he saw about him.” The Admiral’s plans were to achieve a fortune and a peerage, “the fortune he got; the peerage he would have secured but for his son William’s adhesion to the doctrine of the Friends.”
At the British court Admiral Penn steered himself “as adroitly as he had steered his fleet amid the reefs and cays of the Antilles on his way to Jamaica and Hispaniola. He owed his early promotion and appointment to Cromwell, but when he thought the times were ripe he deliberately betrayed the Protector and offered his fleet to Charles II. He was a great favorite with Charles and the Duke of York, and the latter became his son’s chief protector for the father’s sake.”
Admiral Penn was the son of Giles Penn and Joan Gilbert. Giles Penn was a Bristol seaman and merchant. The Penn family had been old landowners in Buckinghamshire and Gloucestershires. Admiral Penn was the youngest son of Giles Penn and Giles himself was a younger son, which left the likelihood that neither Giles Penn, nor his son Admiral Penn, would be in line for inheriting the family’s land. They both looked toward the sea for their careers.
Admiral Penn was part of the Irish Squadron that helped Parliament in its battles in Ireland. He also patrolled the Mediterranean capturing French ships and fought in the Dutch Wars. While he was away, he lost his wife’s Irish estate to the rebellion that took place there, but later was given 12,000 acres elsewhere in Ireland.
The Admiral was chosen to lead Cromwell’s expedition to the Caribbean, where the Protector hoped to destroy the Spanish empire in the West Indies. Penn shared command with Robert Venables (general of the land forces) and a body of civilian commissioners intended to supervise colonization once their victory had been achieved.
The two were successful in capturing Jamaica, but disgraced by not capturing Hispaniola. Admiral Penn and Venables were called to answer for their actions once back in England. They were both sent to the Tower (prison). Admiral Penn was pardoned eventually and restored to the Admiralty once the Restoration took place in England, personally bringing the King back to England in his ship.
In the Second Anglo-Dutch War Admiral Penn served again as the chief of staff to the duke of York Penn died at Walthamstow and was buried in the church of St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, where his gravesite is marked by a memorial. His wife survived him until 1682. When Admiral Penn died he left property of £1500 a year in English and Irish estates to his son William. There was also a claim against King Charles’ government for money lent, which with interest amounted to £15,000. It was this debt that the King owed to the Penn family that would help to secure William Penn’s colony of Pennsylvania.
While young and still in grammar school, William Penn had visions of the “Inner Light,” though he had never heard of George Fox. He was sent from the grammar school to Oxford, and entered in Christ Church College at the age of fifteen, where he “studied assiduously” and “joined the serious set.” He went “to hear Thomas Loe preach the new gospel of the Society of Friends and he resented the discipline which the college attempted to put upon him and his intimates and in consequence he was expelled from the university for rejecting the surplice and rioting in the quadrangle.”
His expulsion from Oxford did not sit well with his father who is said to have beat him. Admiral Penn was much distressed by his son William’s nonconformity. After Penn’s expulsion his father sent him to France, where “he came home with the manners and dress of a courtier.” However Penn had shown in Paris that he could use his “rapier gallantly” and his father took him to sea with him, “to prove to the court, when he returned as bearer of dispatches, that he was capable of beginning the career of office.” Penn’s father still wanted to make something of his son at the court of England, perhaps gaining a peerage for his family.
After France, Penn’s father sent him to the Duke of Ormond and at the same time gave his son charge of his Irish estates. In Cork, William met Thomas Loe again, and heard a sermon upon the text “There is a faith which overcomes the world, and there is a faith which is overcome by the world.”
It is said it was at this meeting with Loe that William Penn became a confirmed Quaker. His father recalled him to England, but could not break his son’s convictions. William now joined the Quakers regularly, and became the most prominent of the followers of their gifted leader, George Fox. Penn’s affection for Fox was “deep and strong” and he repeatedly helped to get Fox released from jail. (Later on he gave Fox a thousand acres of land out of the first surveys made in his colony of Pennsylvania).
William Penn now began to preach in public as Fox was, and soon found himself, like Fox, being imprisoned. He profited by his imprisonments by writing a series of works, “chiefly controversial,” which revealed “a writer of great force and perspicuity and acuteness.”
Penn resumed his relations with the Duke of York, and secured the prince’s influence on behalf of his persecuted sect. This semi-alliance of Penn with the duke led to William Penn’s settlement of Pennsylvania. When, Penn returned from his first visit to his colony, he resumed his place at court upon the accession of James II (the former Duke of York), as one of the most considerable men in the kingdom. He had the monarch’s private ear, he was able to use his influence on the side of justice and humanity.
After James’ abdication came persecution for Penn. Debts, semi-exile, and afflictions of every sort came to the Quaker courtier. His first wife died and his son went to the bad, “his steward robbed and betrayed him, his province and people were ungrateful, he was accused of treason, hunted by the royal pursuivants, and reduced to poverty.” There came a short period of prosperity after this. He was acquitted of debt, and the accusations dismissed. Now remarried, Penn was glad for the opportunity to see how his work in Pennsylvania was thriving. He returned to Pennsylvania and enjoyed a brief reign of “luxurious indolence and importance at his manor and mansion of Pennsbury.”
Then his government was again threatened by royal power. He reluctantly went back to England, to find his affairs in disorder. “I never was so low and so reduced,” he wrote to James Logan. “O Pennsylvania,” he says later on, in the bitterness of his spirit, “what hast thou not cost me? Above £30,000 more than I ever got by it, two hazardous and most fatiguing voyages, my straits and slavery here, and my son’s soul almost!”
He was imprisoned for debt. Upon release he resumed his labors as a minister at the age of sixty-five. Soon after this he was paralyzed, his vigorous intellect dwindled away to second-childishness, but his sweetness of temper and disposition were still retained to the last, and in a way which evidently made a strong impression on all who were in his presence.
William Penn died on July 30, 1718, at the age of seventy-four. His funeral took place at the burial ground of Jordan’s Quaker meetinghouse, in Buckinghamshire, where his first wife and several of his family were already interred.
William Penn Acquires his Charter for Pennsylvania
In 1675, when William Penn’s “disgust with European society and his consciousness of the impossibility to effect radical reform there had been confirmed and deepened, he became permanently identified with American colonial affairs.” Penn had been put in the best possible position for acquiring a full and accurate knowledge of the resources and possibilities of the New World (particularly the country between the Susquehanna and the Hudson), when he was chosen as arbitrator in the disputes that grew out of the partition of the West Jersey lands.
In 1664, King Charles II granted to his brother James, Duke of York (the future King James II) a patent for all the lands in New England from the St. Croix River to the Delaware. This patent was meant to lead directly to the overthrow of the Dutch power in New Netherland. It was probably also intended as a hostile demonstration against the New England Puritan colonies, which both the brothers hated cordially, and which latterly had grown so independent and had so nearly established their own autonomy as to provoke more than one charge that they sought presently to abandon all allegiance due from them to the mother-country.
The Duke of York secured New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware as his own private possessions. The duke forthwith conveyed that part of New Netherland lying between the Hudson and the Delaware Rivers by deeds of lease and release, to John Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. As governor of the Channel Islands at the time, Carteret called the North American colony New Jersey, or rather Nova Coesarea, in the original grant.
In 1675, Lord Berkeley sold his undivided half-share in New Jersey to John Fenwick, in trust for Edward Billinge and his assigns for one thousand pounds. Fenwick and Billinge were both Quakers, and Billinge was bankrupt. Not long after this conveyance Fenwick and Billinge fell out over the property, and, following the custom of the Friends, the dispute was submitted to arbitration.
The disputants fixed upon William Penn as arbitrator. When he made his award, Fenwick was not satisfied and refused to abide by Penn’s decision. Penn was “offended at Fenwick’s recalcitrancy,” but he stuck to his decision. Fenwick likewise maintained his grievance.
Billinge’s business embarrassments increased and he relinquished his interest in the territory to his creditors, appointing Penn as one of the trustees in the matter. The plan was not to sell, but improve the property for the benefit of the creditors. To this end the province was partitioned, the line drawn through Little Egg Harbor to a point near presenrt day Port Jervis. The part of the province on the right of this line, called East New Jersey, the most settled portion of the territory, was assigned to Carteret. That on the left, West New Jersey, was deeded to Billinge’s trustees. A form of government was at once established for West Jersey, in which Penn’s hand is distinctly seen. The basis was liberty of person and conscience, “the power in the people,” local self-government, and amelioration of the criminal code.
The territory was next divided into one hundred parcels, ten being assigned to Fenwick and ninety to Billinge’s trustees, and the land was opened for sale and occupancy. The properties were extensively advertised, and particularly recommended to Friends. In 1677 and 1678 five vessels sailed for West New Jersey, with eight hundred emigrants, nearly all Quakers. Two companies of these, one from Yorkshire, the other from London, bought large tracts of land, and sent out commissioners to quiet Indian titles and lay off the properties.
At Chygoes Island they established a town, first called Beverly, then Bridlington, then Burlington. The Friends secured peace for themselves through the establishment of a treaty with the Native Americans. This practice became the model for PennÅfs subsequent peaceful relationships and transactions with the Indians. The Burlington colony prospered, and was reinforced by new colonists continually arriving in considerable numbers.
In 1680, Penn, as counsel for the trustees of West New Jersey, succeeded, by means of a vigorous and able remonstrance, in getting the Duke of York, then proprietary of New York, to remove an onerous tax on imports and exports imposed by the Governor of New York and collected at the Horekill. The next year Penn became part proprietor of East New Jersey, which was sold under the will of Sir George Carteret, to pay his debts. A board of twenty-four proprietaries was organized, Penn being one, and to them the Duke of York made a fresh grant of East New Jersey, dated March 14, 1682. Robert Barclay became Governor, while Penn’s friend Billinge was made Governor of West New Jersey. Both these governments were surrendered to the crown in Queen Anne’s reign, April 15, 1702.
When Admiral William Penn died he had left his son William property of £1500 a year in English and Irish estate rents. There was in addition a claim against King Charles’ government for money lent, which with interest amounted to £15,000. The king had no money and no credit. Penn was now resolved to establish a colony in America alongside his New Jersey plantations, and to remove there himself with his family so as to be at the head of a new Quaker community and commonwealth. He petitioned the king to grant him, in lieu of the claim of £15,000, a tract of country in America north of Maryland, with the Delaware on its east, its western limits the same as those of Maryland, and its northern boundary as far as plantable country extended.
Before the Privy Council Committee Penn explained that he wanted five degrees of latitude measured from Lord Baltimore’s line, and that line, at his suggestion, was drawn from the circumference of a circle, the radius of which was twelve miles from New Castle as its center. The petition of Penn’s was received June 14, 1680. The object sought by the petitioner, it was stated, was not only to provide a peaceful home for the persecuted members of the Society of Friends, but also to afford an asylum for the good and oppressed of every nation on the basis of a practical application of the pure and peaceable principles of Christianity.
The petition encountered much and various opposition. Sir John Werden, agent of the Duke of York, opposed it because the territory sought was an appendage to the government of New York, and as such belonged to the duke. Mr. Burke, the active and untiring agent of Lord Baltimore, opposed it because PennÅfs proposed grant would infringe upon the territory covered by Baltimore’s charter. At any rate, stated Mr. Burke, in a letter to the Privy Council Committee, if the grant be made to Penn, let the deed expressly state lands to the north of Susquehanna Fort, “which is the boundary of Maryland to the northward.”
There was also strong opposition in the Privy Council to the idea of a man such as Penn being permitted to establish plantations after his own peculiar model. His theories of government were held to be Utopian and dangerous alike to Church and State. However, he had strong friends in the Earl of Sunderland, Lord Hyde, Chief Justice North, and the Earl of Halifax. He had an interview with the Duke of York, and contrived to win him over to look upon his project with favor. Sir J. Werden wrote to the secretary, saying, “His royal Highness commands me to let you know, in order to your informing their lordships of it, that he is very willing Mr. Penn’s request may meet with success.”
The attorney general, Sir William Jones, examined the petition in view of proposed boundaries, and reported that with some alterations it did not appear to infringe upon any territory of previous grants. The draught of the patent, when finally it reached that stage of development, was submitted to the Lords of Trade to see if English commercial interests were subserved, and to the Bishop of London to look after the rights of the church. The king signed the patent on March 4, 1681.
The name to be given to the new territory was left blank for the king to fill in, and Charles called it Pennsylvania. Penn, who seems to have been needlessly squeamish on the subject, wrote to his friends to say that the name was in honor of his father, and that he wanted the territory called New Wales. He offered the Under Secretary twenty guineas to change the name, “for I feared lest it should be looked on as a vanity in me.” The name was not changed.
On April 2, after the signing of the charter, King Charles made a public proclamation of the fact of the patent, addressed chiefly to the inhabitants of the territory, enjoining upon them to yield ready obedience to Penn and his deputies and lieutenants. At the same time Penn also addressed a letter to the inhabitants of the province, declaring that he wished them all happiness here and hereafter, that the Providence of God had cast them within his lot and care, and, though it was a new business to him, he understood his duty and meant to do it uprightly. He told the people that they were not now at the mercy of a Governor who came to make his fortune out of them, but “you shall be governed by laws of your own making, and live a free and, if you will, a sober and industrious people. I shall not usurp the right of any or oppress his person. God has furnished me with a better resolution and has given me his grace to keep it.” He hoped to see them in a few months, and any reasonable provision they wanted made for their security and happiness would receive his approbation. Until his arrival he hoped they would obey and pay their customary dues to his deputy.
Setting up the Pennsylvania Colony
William Penn’s deputy for his new colony and the person to act on his behalf until he arrived, was his cousin, William Markham, a captain in the British Army. He was commissioned on April 20, 1681, to go out to Pennsylvania, and act in that capacity until Penn’s arrival. He was given power to call a Council of nine, of which he was to be president; to secure a recognition of Penn’s authority on the part of the people; to settle bounds between Penn and his neighbors; to survey, lay out, rent, or lease lands according to instructions; to erect courts, make sheriffs, justices of the peace, and other inferior requisite officers, so as to keep the peace and enforce the laws; to suppress disturbance or riot by the posse comitatus, and to make or ordain any ordinances or do whatever he lawfully might for the peace and security of the province.
Markham was particularly instructed to settle, if he could, boundaries with Lord Baltimore, and Penn gave him a letter to present to Lord Baltimore. The deputy soon after sailed for Pennsylvania. He was in New York on June 21st, when he obtained from the Governor, Anthony Brockholls, a proclamation enjoining upon the inhabitants of Pennsylvania that they should obey the king’s charter and yield a ready obedience to the new proprietary and his deputy. When Markham met Lord Baltimore the interview was unsatisfactory. The boundary question at once came up, and was as quickly dropped when Markham found that the lines could not be drawn according to the two respective charters without giving to Baltimore some lands which Penn was resolved to keep as his own.
Meanwhile, even before Markham’s departure, Penn began to advertise his new province and popularize what information he had concerning it. This was the business part of the “Holy Experiment,” and Penn was very competent to discharge it. He published a pamphlet titled:
Some account of the Province of Pennsylvania in America, lately granted under the Great Seal of England to William Penn, etc. Together with privileges and powers necessary to the well-governing thereof. Made publick for the information of such as are or may be disposed to transport themselves or servants into those parts.
The prospectus shows the extent of the knowledge Penn had already gleaned concerning his province, and how closely he had studied the methods by which he proposed to secure its prompt and effective settlement. In his pamphlet Penn gives assurance that under his liberal charter, paying due allegiance to the mother-country, the people will be able to enjoy the very largest proportion of liberty and make their own laws to suit themselves, and that he intends to prepare a satisfactory constitution.
Penn states explicitly in this pamphlet the conditions of immigration into his province. He looks to welcome three sorts of people come,— those who will buy, those who will rent, and servants:
“To the first, the shares I sell shall be certain as to number of acres; that is to say, every one shall contain five thousand acres, free from any incumbrance, the price a hundred pounds, and for the quit-rent but one English shilling, or the value of it, yearly, for a hundred acres; and the said quit-rent not to begin to be paid till 1684. To the second sort, that take up land upon rent, they shall have liberty so to do, paying yearly one penny per acre, not exceeding two hundred acres. To the third sort, to wit, servants that are carried over, fifty acres shall be allowed to the master for every head, and fifty acres to every servant when their time is expired. And because some engage with me that may not be disposed to go, it were very advisable for every three adventurers to send over an overseer with their servants, which would well pay the cost.”
The types of persons, Penn says, that “Providence seems to have most fitted for plantations” are:
“1st, industrious husbandmnen and day laborers that are hardly able (with extreme labor) to maintain their families and portion their children.
2d, laborious handicrafts, especially carpenters, masons, smiths, weavers, taylors, tanners, shoemakers, shipwrights, etc., where they may be spared or low in the world, and as they shall want no encouragement, so their labor is worth more there than here, and there provisions cheaper.
3d, ingenious spirits who are low in the world, younger brothers with small inheritances and (often) large families,
Lastly, there are another sort of persons, not only fit for but necessary in plantations, and that is men of universal spirits, that have an eye to the good of posterity, and that both understand and delight to promote good discipline and just government among a plain and well-intending people; such persons may find room in colonies for their good counsel and contrivance, who are shut out from being of much use or service to great nations under settled customs; these men deserve much esteem and would be hearken’d to.”
During the rest of the year and 1682 and up to the moment of his embarkation from Europe, William Penn was most busily and absorbingly engaged in the multifarious preparations for his new plantations. He drew up a great variety of papers, concessions, conditions, charters, statutes, constitutions, etc., equal to the average work of half a dozen congressional committees.
Penn had expected depart for Pennsylvania himself late in the fall of 1681, but the pressure of all these concerns and the rush of emigrants and colonists delayed him. He found he would have settlers from France, Holland, and Scotland, as well as from England, and few besides servants would be ready to leave before the spring of 1682.
In 1682 Penn is reported to be “extraordinarily busy” about his province and its affairs. He is selling or leasing a great deal of land, and sending out many servants. A thousand persons are going to emigrate along with him.
On April 18 1682, Penn sent out Capt. Thomas Holme, duly commissioned to act as surveyor-general of Pennsylvania, with detailed instructions how to act. On May 5 Penn published his “Frame of Government,” following it with his precis of new statutes for the Pennsylvania Assembly to act upon. By June 1 Penn had made the extraordinary sale of five hundred sixty-five thousand, five hundred acres of land in the new province, in parcels of from two hundred fifty to twenty thousand acres.
In October Penn sent out three commissioners, William Crispin, John Bezar, and Nathaniel Allen, to co-operate with Markham in selecting and laying out a site for Penn’s proposed great city. They also were given very full, careful, and explicit instructions by Penn, particularly as to dealing with the Indians, as some Indian titles needed to be extinguished by them. He wrote a letter to the Indians themselves by these commissioners, which shows he had studied the Native American character very carefully. It touched the Indians’ faith in the one universal Great Spirit, and finely appealed to their strong innate sense of justice.
Penn did not wish “to enjoy the great province his king had given him,” he said, “without the Indians’ consent.” The Indians had suffered much injustice from his countrymen, but this was the work of self-seekers; “but I am not such a man, as is well known in my own country, I have a great love and regard for you, and I desire to win and gain your love and friendship by a kind, just, and peaceable life, and the people I send are all of the same mind, and shall in all things behave themselves accordingly, and if in anything any shall offend you or your people, you shall have a full and speedy satisfaction for the same by an equal number of just men on both sides, that by no means you may have just occasion of being offended against them.” This was the initial step in that “traditional policy” of Penn and the Quakers towards the Indians which has been so consistently maintained ever since, to the imperishable honor of that sect.
Finally on September 1, 1682, William Penn was ready to sail for Pennsylvania on the ship “Welcome,” she of three hundred tons, Capt. Robert Greenway, master.