Josiah Rhinehart Sypher.

School history of Pennsylvania, from the earliest settlements to the present time online

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as the sun and moon shall endure."

21. Though the articles of this treaty were reduced to writ-
ing, no trace of the original record can be found. In a speech
delivered by Governor Gordon in May, 1728, to the tribes
represented at his council, he referred to this treaty, warmly
commended the Indians for their great fidelity to the pledges
of their fathers, and recited nine articles as the chief links in
the strong chain that had, for more than half a century, bound
them together in unbroken peace.

22. The great elm, named the "treaty tree," under which
Penn's council was held, was blown down by a violent storm
in 1810. Upon the ground, where for more than 200 years, it
had cast its shadow, a small monument has been erected by
the Penn Society of Philadelphia, and a young elm^ sprouting
from the roots of the old tree, has now grown up to perpetu-
ate the memory of this important event in history. The
treaty ground was afterward purchased by, and is now the
property of the State.

20. "What reply was made by the Indians ?

21. "What do we know about tlie articles of this treaty?

22. What is the present condition of the "treaty grounds?"



Tlie First Legislature and Laws.

1. The first legislative assembly in the Province of Penn-
sylvania met at Chester, on the 4th clay of December, 1682.
The writs of election had called. for the return of seventy-two
members from the six counties, to constitute the Council, and
invited the inhabitants to assemble in mass, to constitute the
Assembly. This, however, the people deemed to be imprac-
ticable, and instead of obeying the writs, they elected only
seventy-two members in all; the legislature, therefore, was
organized to consist of three members of Council and nine
members of the Assembly from each county.

2. Nicholas Moore was elected President of the Assembly
on the second day of the session. This legislature sat only
three days, and passed three important acts: An act of

Chapter Y. — 1. When and where did the first legislature meet?
How was it organized ?

2. Who was president of the Assembly ? How long was the ses-
sion ? What acts were passed ?


union, whereby the Province and the Territories were joined
under one government; an act of naturalization, bj which
all the early settlers — Swedes, Dutch, and Fins — were ad-
mitted to full citizenship in the provincial government; and
an act entitled ''The Great Law," which comprised a general
system of jurisprudence for the Province.

3. This law contained sixty-one chapters. It had been
carefully prepared by Penn, and was designed to compre-
hend all that was necessary to form a complete code for the
protection and government of the people. Religious tolera-
tion was secured in the amplest form to all who professed
belief in the Deity.* Swearing, cursing, and blasphemy were

* The law provided that, " no person now or at any time hereafter
living in this Province, who shall confess and acknowledge one
Almighty God to be the Creator, upholder, and ruler of the world,
and that professeth him or herself obliged in conscience to live peace-
ably and justly under the civil government, shall in anywise be mo-
lested or prejudiced for his or her conscientious persuasion or prac-
tice ; nor shall he or she at any time be compelled to frequent or
maintain any religious worship, place, or ministry whatever, con-
trary to his or her mind, but shall freely and fully enjoy his or her
Christian liberty in that respect, without any interruption or reflec-
tion ; and if an}^ person shall abuse or deride any other for his or her
different persuasion and practice in matter of religion, such shall be
looked upon as a disturber of the peace, and be punished accordingly ;"
- and also, "that according to the good example of the primitive Chris-
tians, and for the ease of the Creation, every first da}^ of the week,
called the Lord's Day, people shall abstain from their common toil
and labor, that whether masters, parents, children, or servants, they
may the better dispose themselves to read the Scriptures of truth at
home, or frequent such meetings of religious worship abroad as may
best suit their respective persuasions."

secure? How was swearing punished?


punished b}^ fine and imprisonment. Personal liberty was
strictly guarded. The judiciary power was vested in a Su-
preme Court, a Court of Common Pleas; and a Court of
Quarter Sessions and Jail Delivery.

4. Real estate was made devisable by will, and, in case of
intestacy, it was equitably distributed among the heirs. Con-
veyances of real estate, bills, and bonds, exceeding five
pounds in value, were declared void unless registered. A
public registry was established for births, marriages, and
deaths. The use of oaths was abolished, and the penalty of
perjury was affixed to false affirmation.

5. The rights and privileges of citizenship were extended
to all. Every person who paid taxes enjoyed the right to
vote and the privilege of being elected to public office; and
the purity of elections was defended by providing for punish-
ments against bribery.

6. Murder was made punishable by death ; and to all
lesser crimes lighter penalties were affixed. Marriage was
declared to be a civil contract, to be entered into with con-
sent of parents or guardians, and in the presence of wit-

t. Drunkenness, encouragement of intemperance, drinking
or pledging of healths, were declared to be offenses punish-
able by fine and imprisonment; stage plays, masks, revels,
playing at cards, dice, lotteries, and other enticing and evil
sports were punished by fine and imprisonment.^

8. Prison-houses, which had been regarded in all countries
as places of confinement only for purposes of safety and re-

4. What did this law abolish ?

5. "Who were allowed to vote ?

6. What penalties were provided? What of marriages ?

7. What practices were declared to be crimes ?



straint, were declared by this code to be workhouses, where
felons, thieves, and vagrants might be reformed and taught
to work at some useful trade.

9. In the frame of government which stood in place of a
constitution, Penn made provision for the education of the
youth in the Province, and enacted that the governor and pro-
vincial council should erect and order all public schools.

10. By an act of Assembly it was provided that the laws
should be printed, and taught in all the schools of the Prov-
ince and Territories.

11. The Swedes were much pleased, both with the gener-
osity of the proprietary, and the wisdom of the legislative
enactments; they sent one of their principal men to express
their gratitude to Penn, and their determination to ''love,
serve, and obey him with all they possessed."

12. Thus the internal affairs of the new government were
progressing satisfactorily, both to the proprietary and to the
people ; but beyond the borders there was trouble. The am-
biguity of language employed in the grants and charters given
for lands in America was the source of protracted and serious
strife between the several proprietors.

13. Lord Baltimore, the proprietor of Marj^land, claimed
that his possessions extended as far north as to the end of the
fortieth degree of north latitude, which is near Philadelphia,
on the Delaware ; whereas Penn insisted that his grant reached
southward to the beginning of the fortieth degree of north lati-

8. "What were prison-houses made?
9 and 10. What is said of schools ?

11. How did the Swedes like this code of laws ?

12. What was the condition of the atfairs of government?

13. What did Lord Baltimore claim? What did Penn claim?
How was this dispute settled?


tude, which touches Delaware bay nearly "TO miles below the
city. This dispute was finally settled in 1761 by the courts of
England, when a decree was made fixing the southern bound-
ary midway between the 39th and 40th parallels of north lati-
tude. Two engineers, Mason and Dixon, were employed to
survey the line, and erect a stone pillar to mark every mile
of the bound ar}^

14. On the 10th of March, 108.3, the Provincial Council
convened in Philadelphia, and two days later the Assembly
was organized. Penn was present at this session of the
legislature, and readily gave his assent to the amendment of
the charter and the revision of the code of laws. By the
old charter, the governor, who was president of Council, had
three votes; the amended charter reduced these to one. The
powers of the Assembly, composed of the immediate repre-
sentatives, were enlarged; and the authority of the Council
which acted as the high court of the Province was curtailed
and limited.

15. The proprietary showed great wisdom in endeavoring
as far as possible to make the people party to the laws. He
provided that all bills proposed by Council should be published
by proclamation, so that the people might read and discuss
them before they were sanctioned by the Assembly.

16. In order to avoid lawsuits and the expense of settling
difficulties in court, the law provided for the appointment of
three arbitrators, vested with authority to hear and to decide
all differences between citizens.

14. "When and where did the second legislature meet? "What was
done at this session?

15. How were new laws to be passed?

16. What provision was adopted to prevent lawsuits? Is this cus-
tom still in use ?


It. The Assembly adjourned after a session of twenty-two
days, but the Council, consisting of eighteen members, re-
mained in session to assist the governor in the discharge of
his executive duties, to hear and decide questions of dispute,
and to try persons charged with having committed offenses
against the community.

18. The Council assumed to exercise unlimited jurisdiction
in the administration of the laws ; and at its first session tried
the only case of prosecution for witchcraft that ever occurred
in Pennsylvania. During this trial Penn presided in person.
The accused was a woman named Margaret Matson; the
Council decided that she was " guilty of having the common
fame of being a witch, but not guilty in manner as she stands

17. How did the legislature adjourn?

18. What did the council assume to do? "What remarkable case
was tried? What do you know of the history of witchcraft in






German and Welsh Settlements. — Penn returns to England.

1. After the laws had been remodeled and the affairs of
government had been arranged in the several counties, Wil-
Ham Penn directed his attention to the purchase of lands from
the Indians. He first procured a confirmation of the titles
for tracts purchased by Markham and those who had pre-
ceded him.

2. In one of the purchases made by Penn, it was agreed
that the tract should extend as far as a man could walk in
three days. To make this survey, Penn set out with several
of his friends and a number of chiefs. They began the

Chapter YI. — 1. After arranging the affairs of the government,
what did Penn next do ?



journey at the mouth of the Neshaminy, and went up the
Delaware. The party walked along leisurely, frequently sit-
ting down to rest, and at the end of a day and a half had
gone a distance of about thirty miles. Near the mouth of
Baker's creek, Penn marked a spruce-tree, and said the line
to that point would include as much land as he wanted.

3. The remainder of the purchase was not measured until
September, 1733, when Governor Patrick Gordon em-
ployed three of the fastest walkers he could find to make the
survey; one of these men, it is said, walked eighty-six miles
in the day and a half yet allowed by the contract. The In-
dians felt that this measurement of their lands was unfair —
they therefore refused to give their consent to it, and out of
this transaction grew the first difficulties between the natives
and the government of Pennsylvania.

4. On the 16th of August, 1G83, Penn wrote to the " Free So-
ciety of Traders" in England, and said of the city of Phila-
delphia: " It is advanced, within less than a year, to about
fourscore houses and cottages, such as they are, where mer-
chants and handicrafts are following their vocations as fast
as they can ; while the countrymen are close to their farms.
Some of them got a little winter corn in the ground last sea^
son, and the generality have had a handsome summer crop.
They reaped their barley in the month called May, the wheat
in the month following."

5. While the colonists were thus happily engaged in clear^
ing their grounds, erecting dwellings, and building churches

2. How was one of these tracts of land measured ? Who walked the
line? How and what distance did Penn and his party walk?

3. When was the remainder of this tract measured ? How was it
walked ? AYhat did the Indians think of this measurement ? What
grcAV out of it?

4. What did Penn write to the Society of Traders?


and school-houses, in the fall enjoyment of civil and religious
liberty, their friends in Europe were suffering the severest per-
secutions. The laws against non-conformists were enforced
with despotic rigor; persons who met quietly for religious
worship were arrested, imprisoned, and prosecuted as rioters.

6. The reports freely circulated in England, that in Penn-
sylvania there was perfect freedom of conscience and permis-
sion for all the people to worship God as they wished, in-
duced many of the oppressed to seek an asylum under the
government of William Penn. Christian men and women
in other countries of Europe, hearing good tidings from this
colony, also prepared to emigrate hither. Thus, many ships
came to Philadelphia every 3^ear, bringing families who found
new homes in a land of freedom.

T. A colony of Germans from Creshiem and Crefelt arrived
in the Province in October, 1683, and founded the village of
Germantown, six miles from Philadelphia. The settlement
was projected under the auspices of a company of Germans
at Frankfort on the Main. The settlers purchased the land
at one shilling per acre, and the distribution of town lots was
made by casting lots. Some of the early settlers had dug
caves in the banks of the Delaware, which they used as dwell-
ings. Francis Daniel Pastorius, a German scholar, lived for
a short time in one of these caves, and there received his
countrymen who came to Pennsylvania. The plans for set-
tling Germantown and the division of town lots were made
by Pastorius in his underground house.

5. "What was the condition of the colonists? What was taking
place in Europe?

6. What reports w^ere circulated in Europe ? What effect had

7. When and by whom was Germantown settled? Who was the
leader of these settlers? Where was the plan of the settlement


8. The emigrants from Germany were an industrious and
intelligent, as well as devout Christian people; many highly
educated men were among them, who became influential and
useful citizens, and aided materially in conducting the affairs
of the Province.

9. These German Christians at Germantown were the first
people in America who protested against the iniquity of sell-
ing human beings into slavery. An anti slavery society was
formed in their church, and, in 1688, the association sent an
address to the "Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends,"
protesting against the "iniquitous sj^stem" of buying and
selling and holding men in slavery ; declaring it, in their
opinion, an act irreconcilable with the precepts of the Chris-
tian religion. Though Pastorius urged this petition upon
the attention of his brethren with great earnestness, three
3^ears elapsed before the societies of English Christians in
Pennsylvania and New Jersey yielded to the purer philan-
thropy of their German neighbors.

10. The first distinctive Welsh settlement in Pennsylvania
was founded in 1682. The emigrants from Wales, however,
were not cordially welcomed hj the English. They were
excluded from the city privileges in Philadelphia, granted
by the proprietary to original purchasers. They Avere pushed
back into the wilderness, and forced to form their settlements
in the uninhabited parts of the Province. They founded
Merion and Haverford, which are now townships in Mont-
gomery and Chester counties. These people, like those
who preceded and those who followed them, came with the

8. What was the character of the Germans?

9. What were the German settlers first to do ? What did they say
of shivery?

10. When did the Welsh come to Pennsylvania. How were they


hope of finding peace in the forests of America, and of enjoy-
ing the right to worship God in forms and ceremonies most
acceptable to themselves. They cheerfully endured the toil
of subduing the forests, and suffered the hardships of pioneer
life, for the attainment of that which, to all Christians and
freemen, is more than meat and better than raiment — liberty
of conscience, and perfect equality of citizenship.

11. The Quakers settled in Philadelphia, at Chester and
Darby, and along the Delaware river as far up as to the
falls. So many emigrants now came to the Province, that
when they first landed, there was not room to receive them
in the houses of the small settlements. Log-huts were built
as rapidly as possible, to shelter the families ; some took pos-
session of the holes in the bank of the river, which had been
abandoned for better habitation by the original occupants.
Every possible effort was put forth to make the new settlers
comfortable, and thus the Province grew rapidly in popula-
tion and strength.

12. Penn had now established a government in accordance
with his own ideal model. The 1-aws were much more liberal
than those of any other country; the people enjoyed more
perfect liberty of thought and action and property than under
any other government. The good will of the Indian tribes
had been secured, so that there was no danger that the set-
tlers would be disturbed. The colonists had given so much
attention to farming, that there was an abundance of wheat,
corn and barley in the country for bread, and the wild ani-
mals and fowls in the woods and the fishes in the rivers, af-

received? Where did they settle? What did the early settlers come
to find? What were they willing to endure?

11. Where did the Quakers settle? Did many emigrants come tQ
Pennsylvania? How were they received?


forded plenty of meat. Seeing, then, that his people were
prosperous and well provided for, he set sail for England on
the 12th of August, 1684.

13. The inhabited portion of the Province and Territories
had been organized into twenty-two townships, and con-
tained about 7000 inhabitants ; 2500 of these resided in Phil-
adelphia, which was a city of over 300 houses, possessing
considerable trade with the West Indies, South America,
and Europe.

14. The population was composed of Swedes, Pins, Dutch,
English, Germans, and Welsh; an influx of Scotch, Irish, and
Prench soon followed, and thus added to the diversity in
nationality, language and sentiment which has ever charac-
terized the people of Pennsylvania.

12. What had Penn now done ? What was the condition of the
people? Wlien did Penn sail for England?

13. How had the Province been organized? How many inhabit-
ants were there? How many in Philadelphia? How old was Phila-
delphia at this time?

14. Of what people was the population composed ?





Conflict of Authority. — The Governor of Neio York sent to
rule Pennsylvania. — The Province restored to Penn.

1. The laws and the spirit of the new government, which
no one understood as well as Penn himself, were not easily-
impressed upon a population so dissimilar. The officers ap-
pointed to administer its affairs during the absence of
the proprietary were inexperienced, and the lawmakers were
unaccustomed to legislative duties. The different authorities,
therefore, did not act in harmon}^ The executive quarreled
with the legislative department, and the members of the
Assembly from the Territories set themselves up against the
members from the Province.

2. To remedy this public evil, Penn took the executive
power from the Council in 1686, and placed it in the hands of

Chapter YII. — 1. Did the people fully understand Penn's laws?
What happened ?


five commissioners, who administered the government for
two years; at the end of that time, Captain John Blackwell
was appointed deputy governor. This gentleman had been
a soldier, accustomed to exact prompt obedience from those
under his command; but was not qualified to govern the
quiet ajid orderly, yet independent, people of Pennsylvania.

3. He attempted to exercise arbitrary power over the legis-
lature, the laws, and the people, and thus brought all good
men to oppose his authority and to regard him as an enemy;
and, therefore, at the end of the first year of his administra-
tion he left the Province. Meanwhile, the differences be-
tween the people of the Territories and those of the Province
had become so irreconcilable that two Assemblies were estab-
lished and two deputy governors were appointed: Thomas
Lloyd was appointed governor for the Province, and Wm.
Markham for the Territories.

4. King Charles II. of England, who had signed the
charter for Pennsylvania, died February, 1685, and his
brother James, Duke of York, became king. William Penn
was now a favorite at court — his friend was king of England.
He therefore at once entered upon a great work of love, and
left no effort untried, until he procured a decree for the libera-
tion of thousands of Quakers and other Christians, who were
perishing in the prisons of their native country, because they
worshiped God in such ways as seemed to them best.

5. About this time persecution broke out anew in France,

2. What was done to remedy the evil ? When was Blackwell ap-
pointed governor? What was the character of the new governor?

3. What did Blackwell attempt?- How long was he governor?
What occurred between the people of the Province and Territories?

4. What happened in England? How did this afl'ect Penn ? What
did Penn procure?


and the most inhuman cruelties were inflicted on all who, in
their forms of religious worship, did not conform to the cere-
monies of the Established Church. Penn was in England,
and wrote to his colonists in Pennsylvania: "In France not
a meeting is left; they force all, by not suffering them to sleep,
to conform ; they use drums, or fling water on the drowsy till
they submit or run mad. Such as flj" and are caught, they
execute, or send to the galleys. Thus they use all qualities.
Many persons and much wealth will visit your parts. Be-
lieve me, it is an extraordinary day, such as has not been
since generations ago. Read this to the weighty Friends
and magistrates, in private, and gird up your loins and serve
the Lord in this juncture."

6. This persecution in Europe drove many of the most
earnest Christian people to America; and, as Pennsylvania
Justly had the reputation of allowing the fullest freedom in
matters of religion, very many of the opi^ressed came to this

T. King James II. was a Catholic in faith, and although
he was hostile to the Established Church of England, he did
not persecute the Puritans and other dissenting sects. There
was, nevertheless, a strong church party, both in England
and on the Continent, that vigorously opposed his reign.
His daughter Mary was married to William of Holland,
Prince of Orange. This prince was made the leader of the
Protestant party, and in the autumn of 1688 crossed over
to England with an army, as the protector of the Protestant

5. How were Protestants treated in France ? What did Penn write
to his people?

6. What effect had this persecution in Europe?

7. What change now took place in England ? In what year did
William and Mary ascend the throne?



religion. King James became alarmed and bewildered at
the universal defection witnessed in all parts of the kingdom,
and, after a brief struggle, fled with his family to France, and
William and Mary were crowned sovereigns of England.

Online LibraryJosiah Rhinehart SypherSchool history of Pennsylvania, from the earliest settlements to the present time → online text (page 3 of 24)