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Then fhall it be feen to the nations, that there
is no inchantment againft Jacob, nor divina
tion againft Ifrael ; but your tents mall be
goodly, and your dwellings glorious."

In the fpring of 16^3, afecond Affembly
was held in the new city of Philadelphia,
and a great number of laws were pafled.
Among other good regulations, it was enact
ed, that, to prevent law-fuits, three arbitra
tors, called peace-makers, mould be chofen
by every County Court,to hear and determine


* Probably alluding to the ten tribes of Ifrael, from
whom he fuppofes the Indians to be defcended.

P E N N. 423

imall differences between man and man.
This Aflembly granted to the Governor an
impoft on certain goods exported and im
ported, which he, after acknowledging their
goodnefs, was pleafed, for the encouragement
of the traders, " freely to remit." But the
moft diflinguifhed act of this Aflembly, was
their acceptance of another frame of govern
ment which the proprietor had devifed,
which was " in part conformed to the firft,
in part modified according to the act of fettle-
ment, and in part effentially different from
both." The moft material alterations were
the reducing the number of the Affembly
from feventy-two to fifty-four, and the giv
ing the Governor a negative in lieu of a tre
ble voice in acts of legiflation. Their
" thankful" acceptance of this fecond char
ter, was a proof of his great afcendency over
them, and the confidence which they placed
in him ; but thefe changes were regarded
by fome as a departure from the princi
ples on which the original compact was

The ftate of the province at this time has
been compared to that of " a father and his
family, the latter united by intereft and af
fection ; the former revered for the wifdom


424 PEN N.

of his inftitutions and the indulgent ufe of
his authority. Thofe who were ambitious
of repofe, found k in Pennfylvania ; and as ;
none returned with an evil report of the land,
numbers followed. All partook of the leav
en which they found : The community
wore the fame equal face : No one afpired,
no one was opprefled : Induftry was fure of
profit, knowledge of efteem, and virtue of ven
eration." When we contemplate this agree
able piclure, we cannot but lament that Mr.
Penn mould ever have quitted his province ;
but after refiding in it about two years, he
found himfelf urged, by motives ofintereft
as well as philanthropy, to return to Eng
land. At his departure, in the furamer of
1684, his capital city, then only of two
years fianding, contained nearly three hun
dred houfes, and two thoufand inhabitants ;
befides which there were twenty other fet-
tlements begun,- including thofe of the Dutch
and Swedes. He left the adminiftration of
government in the hands of the Council and
AfTembly, having appointed five Commiflion-
ers to prefide in his place.

The motives of his return to England
were two. A controverfy with Lord Bal
timore 1

P E N N. 425

timore, the proprietor of Maryland, con
cerning the limits of their refpedive patents ;
and, a concern for his brethren, who were
fuffering by the operation of the penal laws
againft diffenters from the eftablifhed Church.

The controverfy with Lord Baltimore
originated in this manner. Before Penn
came to America, he had written to James
Frifby and others, at their plantations on
Delaware Bay, then reputed a part of Mary
land, advifmg them, that as he was confi
dent they were within his limits, they fhould
yield no obedience to the laws of Maryland.
This warning ferved as a pretext to fome of
the inhabitants of Cecil and Baltimore coun
ties, who were impatient of control, to
withhold the payment of their rents and tax
es. Lord Baltimore and his Council order
ed the military officers to aflift the fherifFs in
the execution of their duty, which was ac-
complimed, though with great difficulty.
After this, Markham, Penn's agent, had a
meeting with Lord Baltimore at the village
of Upland, which is now called Cheiler,
where a difcovery was made by a quadrant,
that the place was twelve miles fouth of the
4oth degree of latitude, a circumftance before
F F f unknown


P E N K.

unknown to both parties. Baltimore there
fore concluded to derive an advantage from
precifion, whilft Penn wifhed to avail him-
felf of uncertainty. After Penn's arrival in
America, he vifitcd Lord Baltimore, and had
a conference with him on the fubjeft. An
account of this conference taken in fhort-
hand by a perfon prefent, with a ftatement
of the matter in debate, were fent by Lord
Baltimore to England, and laid before the
Lords of trade and plantations in April, 1683.
Upon which, letters were written to both,
advifmg them to come to an amicable agree
ment. This could not be done ; and there
fore, they both went to England, and laid
their refpeHve complaints before the Board
of Trade. Baltimore alleged that the traft in
queftion was within the limits of his charter,
and had always been fo underftood, and his
claim allowed until diilurbed by Penn. The
words of his charter were, " to that part of
Delaware Bay on the north, wnich lies un
der the 4oth degree of northerly latitude
from the equinoctial." Penn, on the other
hand, affirmed that Lord Baltimore's grant
was of "lands not inhabited by the fubjecls
of any Chriftian Prince ;" that the land in


P E N N. 427

queftion was pofTefTed by the Dutch and
Swedes prior to the date of the Charter of
Maryland ; that a furrender having been
made by the Dutch of this territory to King
Charles, in 1664, tne country had ever fmce
been in pofTeffion of the Duke of York. The
Lords at feveral meetings, having examined
the evidences on both fides, were of opinion
that the lands bordering on the Delaware did
not belong to Lord Baltimore, but to the
King. They then proceeded to fettle the
boundary, and on the yth of November,
1685, it was determined, that "for avoiding
further differences, the tradt of land lying
between the river and bay of Delaware, and
the eaftern fea, on the one fide, and Chefa-
peak Bay on the other fide, be divided into
two equal parts by a line from the latitude of
Cape Henlopen, to the 4oth degree of north
ern latitude, and that one half thereof lying
towards the Bay of Delaware and the eaftern
fea, be adjudged to belong to his Majefty,
and that the other half remain to the Lord
Baltimore, as comprifed within his Charter."
To this decifion Lord Baltimore fubmitted,
happy that he had loft no more, fmce a quo
warranto had been ifiued again ft his Charter.
But the decifion, like many others, left room


428 PEN N.

for a farther controverfy, which was carried
on by their refpective fucceflbrs for above
half a century. The queftion was concern
ing the conftruction of "the 4oth degree of
latitude," which Penn's heirs contended was
the beginning and Baltimore's the completion
of the 4oth degree, the difference being fixty-
nine miles and an half.*

The other caufe of Mr. Penn's departure
for England proved a fource of much great
er vexation, and involved confequences inju
rious to his reputation and intereft. His
concern for his fuffering brethren induced
him . to ufe the intereft which he had at
Court for their relief. He arrived in the
month of Auguft, and the death of Charles,
which happened the next February, brought
to the throne James II. under whom, when
Lord high Admiral, Penn's father had com
manded, and who had always maintained a
fteady friend fhip with the fon. This fuccef-
fion rather increafed than diminifhed his at^
tachment to the Court ; but as James openly
profefled himfelf a Papift, and the prejudices


* For the particulars of this ccntroverfy, and its final
decifiDn by Lord Chancellor Hardwicke in 1750, the
reader is referred to Douglas's Surrmary, II. 309, and
Vefey's Reports* I. 444.
v |


P E N N. 429

of a great part of the nation againft him were
very high, it was impoffible for his intimate
friends to efcape the imputation of being po-
piihly affected. Penn had before been fuf-
pected to be a Jefuit, and what now contrib-
uted to fix the ftigma upon him was, his
writing a book on liberty of confcience, a
darling principle at Court, and vindicating
the Duke of Buckingham, who had written
on the fame fubjeft. Another circumftance
which ftrengthened the fufpicion was, his
taking lodgings at Kenfington, in the neigh
bourhood of the Court,, and his frequent at
tendance there, to folicit the liberation of his
brethren who now filled the prifons of the

He endeavoured to allay thefe fufpicions
by publifhing an addrefs to his brethren, in
which he refers to their knowledge of his
character, principles and writings, for eigh
teen years paft, and exprefles his love of
moderation, and his wifh that the nation
might not become " barbarous for chriftiani-
ty, nor abufe one another for God's fake."
But what gave him the greateft pain was,
that his worthy friend Doctor Tillotfon had
entertained the fame fufpicion, and exprefled




43^ E N R

4 * /

it in his converfation. To him he wrote an

expoftulatory letter, and the Doctor frankly
owned to him the ground of his apprehen-
fion, which Penn fo fully removed, that Doc
tor Tillotfon candidly acknowledged his mik
take, and made it his bufinefs on all occafions
to vindicate Penn's character.* This ingen
uous acknowledgment, from a gentleman of
fo much information, and fo determined an
enemy to Popery, is one of the heft evi
dences w r hich can be had, of Mr. Penn's in^
tegrity in this refpect ; but the current of
popular prejudice was at that time fo flrong,
that it was not in the power of fo great and
good a man as Doctor Tillotfon to turn it.
Had Mr. Penn fallen in with the difcon-
tented part of the nation, and encouraged
the emigration of thofe who dreaded the
confequences of King James's open profef-
fion of Popery, he might have made large
additions to the numbers of his coionifls, and
greatly increafed his fortune ; but he had
received fuch ailurarices from the King, of
his intention to introduce univerfal toleration,
that he thought it his duty to wait for the


* T'hcfc letters which do honour to both the writers,
are printed in the firft volume of Penn's works, and in the
V Biographia Brit.tanica under the article PFNN-

IV ~_ '

$ **


P E N N. 431

Enlargement which his brethren muft experi
ence from the expected ev6nt. His book on
liberty of cbnlcience, addreiVed to the King
and Council, had not been publifhed many
days, before the King iffued a general pardon,
and rhfttucted the Judges of Aflize on their
refpective circuits to extend the benefit of it
to the Quakers in particular. In confe-
quence of this, about thirteen hundred of
them, who had been confined in the prifons,
were fet at liberty. This was followed by

' 4P >

a declaration for liberty of confcience, and

for fufpending the execution of the penal

laws againft Diffenters, which was an occa-

fton of great joy to all denominations of . * V ,

them. The Quakers, at their next general ^ g v

meeting, drew up an addrefs of thanks to the

King, which was prefented by Mr. Penn.

. J*

The declaration of indulgence, being a
fpecimen of that difpeniing power, which the
houfe of Stuart were fond of affumingj and
being evidently intended to favour the free
exercife of the Popifh religion, gave an
alarm to the nation, and cauied very fevere
cenfures on thole, who having felt the bene
fit of it, had expreffed their gratitude in
terms of affection and refpect. The Qua
kers in particular became very obnoxious,


432 P E N N.

and the prejudice againft Penn as an abettor
of the arbitrary maxims of the Court, was
inereafed ; though on a candid view of the
matter, there is no evidence that he fought
any thing more than an impartial and univer-
fal liberty of confcience.*

It is much to be regretted, that he had not
taken this critical opportunity to return to
Pennsylvania. His controverfy with Lord
Baltimore had been decided by the Council,
and his pacific principle ought to have led
him to acquiefce in their determination, as
did his antagonift. He had accomplifhed
his purpofe with regard to his brethren the
Quakers, who, being delivered from their
difficulties, were at liberty either to remain in
*L< the kingdom, or follow him to America.

* ' H tlL

The ftate of the province was fuch as to
require his prefence, and he might at this
time have refumed his office, and carried on


* " If an univerfal charity, if the afieriing"" an im
partial liberty of confcience, if doing to others as one
would be done by, and an open avowing and fteady prac-
tifmg of thefe things, in all times, and to all parties, will
juftly lay a man under the reflection of being a Jefuit or
Papift, I mud not only fubmit to the character, but em
brace it ; and I can bear it with more pleafure than it is
pofEble for them with anyjuftice to give it to me."

Penn'sLet. to Sec. Popple, 0^/24, i688<

P E N, 433

his bufmefs in Pennfylvania, with the greateft
probability of fpending the remainder of his
days there in ufefulnefs and peace.

The revolution which foon followed, pla
ced him in a very difagreeable fituation-.
Having been a friend to James, he was fup-
pofed to be an enemy to William. As he
was walking one day in White-hall, he was
arrefted and examined by the Lord^ in Coun
cil, before whom he folemrily declared, "That
he loved his country and the Proteftant re- -
ligion above his life> and that he had never
ated againft either ; but that King James
had been his friend and his father's friend,
and that he thought himfelf bound in juftice
and gratitude to be a friend to him." The
jealous policy of that day had no ear for fen-
timents of the heart. He was obliged to
find fecurities for his appearance at the next
term, and thence to the fucceeding term, in
the laft day of which, nothing having been
fpecifically laid to his charge, he was ac

The next year ( 1 690) he was taken up
again, on fufpicion of holding correfpondence
with the exiled King. The Lords requir
ing fecurities for his appearance, he appealed
G G g to '

434 PEN N.

to King William in perfon, who was inclined
to acquit him,but topleafe fome of the Coun
cil, he was for a while held to bail and then

Soon after this, his name was inferted in
a proclamation, wherein eighteen Lords and
others were charged with adhering to the
enemies of the kingdom ; but no evidence
$ , - appearing againft him, he was a third time

acquitted, by the Court of King's Bench.

Being now at liberty, he meditated a re
turn to Pennfylvania, and publimed propofalsf
for another emigration of fettlers. He had
proceeded fo far as to obtain from the Sec
retary of State an order for a convoy ; but
fiis voyage was prevented by a fourth accu-
fation, on the oath of a perfon whom the
Parliament afterward declared a cheat and
impofior j a warrant was iffued for appre
hending him, and he narrowly efcaped an
arreft, at his return from the funeral of his
frknd George Fox, on the i6th of January,
1 69 1. He then thought it prudent to retire,
and accordingly kept himfelf concealed for
two or three years, during which time he
employed himfelf in writing feveral pieces,
one of which, entitled " Maxims and Reflec

P E N- N. 435

dons relating to the conduct of human
life," being the rcfult of much obfervation
and experience, has been much celebrated,
and has pafied through feveral editions.
In 1693, by the mediation of feveral perfons
of rank, he was admitted to appear before
the King in Council, where he fo maintain
ed his innocence of what had been alleged
againft him, that he was ^fourth time hon
ourably acquitted.

The true caufe of thefe frequent fufpicions
was the conduct of his wife ; who being
paffionately attached to the Queen, confort
of James, made a practice to vifit her at St.
Germain's every year, and to carry to her
fuch prefents as ihe could collect from the
friends of the unhappy royal family.
Though there was no political connexion
or correfpondence between Penn's family and
the King's, yet this circumftance gave colour
to the jeaioufy which had been conceived ;
but the death of his wife which happened in
February, 1694, put an end to all thefe fuf
picions. He married a fecond wife in 1696,
a daughter of Thomas Callowhill, of Briftol,
by whom he had four fons and one daughter.


436 PEN NL

By his continual expenfes, and by the pe
culiar difficulties to which he had been ex-
pofed, he had run himfelf deeply into debt.
He had loft ^yooo before the revolution,
and ^4000 fince ; befides his paternal eftate
in Ireland, valued at ^450 per annum. To
repair his fortune, he requefted his friends in
Pennfylvania, that one hundred of them
would lend him 100 each, for fome years,
on landed fecurity. This, he faid, would en
able him to return to America, and bring a
large number of inhabitants with him. What
anfwer was given to this requeft, does not
appear, but from his remaining in England
fix or feven years after, it may be concluded
that he received no encouragement of this
kind from them. The low circumftances of
the firft fettlers, muft have rendered it impof-
fible to comply with fuch a requeft.

Pennfylvania had experienced many in
conveniences from his abfence. The Pro
vincial Council having no fteady hand to
hold the balance, had fallen into a controver-
fy refpecling their feveral powers and privi
leges, and Moore, one of the proprietary of
ficers, had been impeached of high mifde-
meanors. Difgufted with their difputes, and


P E N N. 437

4i Satisfied with the Conftitution which he
had framed and altered, Penn wrote to his
Commiffioners (1686) to require its diflblu-
tion ; but the Aflembly, perceiving the lofs
of their privileges, and of the rights of the
people to be involved in frequent innovations,
oppofed the furrender. The Commiffioners
themfelves were foon after removed by the
proprietor, who appointed for his Deputy
John Blackwell, an officer trained under
Cromwell, and completely verfed in the arts
of intrigue. He began his administration in
December, 1688, by a difplay of the power
of the proprietor, and by endeavouring to
fow difcord among the freemen. Unawed
by his infolence, they were firm in defence
of their privileges, whilit at the fame time
they made a profeffion of peace and obedi
ence. He imprifoned the Speaker of the
Aflembly which had impeached Moore, and
by a variety of artifices evaded the granting-
an Habeas Corpus. He delayed as long as
poffible the meeting of a new Afiembly ; and
when they entered on the fubjecl: of griev
ances, he prevailed on fome of the Members
to withdraw from their feats, that there might
riot be a quorum. The remainder voted


438 PEN N.

that his conduct was treacherous, and a ftrong
prejudice was conceived not only againft the
Deputy, but the proprietor who had appoint
ed him. The province alfo fell under the
royal difpleafure. Their laws had not been
prefented for approbation, and the new King
and Queen were not proclaimed in Pennfyl
vania for a long time after their acceilion ;
but the adminiftration of government was
continued in the name of the exiled monarch.
At what time the alteration was made % we
cannot be certain ; but in the year 1692, the-
King and Queen took the government of the
Colony into their own hands, and appointed
Col. Fletcher, Governor of New- York and
Pennfylvania, with equal powers and pre-v
rogatives in both, without any reference to
the Charter of Pennfylvania.

It being a time of war between England
and France, and the province of New- York
being much expofed to the incurfions of the
Indians in the French intereft, the principal
objecl: which Fletcher had in view, was to
procure fupplies for the defence of the coun
try, and the fupport of thofe Indians who
were in alliance with the Englifh. The Af-
fembly infilled on a confirmation of their


P E N N.

laws, as a condition of their granting a fupply,
to which he confented, during the King's
pleafure. They would have gone farther,
and demanded a redrefs of grievances ; but
Fletcher having intimated to them that the
King might probably annex them to New-
York, and they knowing themfelves unable
to maintain a controverfy with the Crown,
fubmitted for the prefent to hold their liber
ties by courtefy, and voted a fupply. On
another application of the fame kind, they
nominated Collectors in their bill, which he
deemed inconfiftent with his prerogative,
and after fome altercations diflblved them.

In 1 696, William Markham, Deputy-Gov
ernor under Fletcher, made a (imilar propo-
fal, but could obtain no fupply, till an expe
dient was contrived to fave their privileges.
A temporary act of fettlement was pafled,
fubject to the confirmation of the proprietor,
and then a grant was made of three hun
dred pounds ; but as they had been repre-
fented by fome at New-York, as having acted
inconfiftently with their principles in grant
ing money to maintain a war, they appro
priated this grant to " the relief of thofe
friendly Indians who had fuffered by the


440 P E N N.

war." The reqiieft was repeated every
year, as long as the war continued ; but the
infancy, poverty, and embarraflments of the
province, were alleged for non-compliance.
The peace of Ryfwick, in 1698, put an end
to thefe requifitions.

Thus the province of Pennfylvania, as
well as its proprietor, experienced many in
conveniences during their long feparation of
fifteen years ; and it is fomewhat fmgular to
remark, that whilft they were employed in an
ineffectual ftruggle with the royal Governor
and his Deputy ; he, whom Montefquieu
flyles the American Lycurgus, was engaged
in his darling work of religious controverfy
and of itinerant preaching through England,
Wales, and Ireland.

In Auguft, 1699, he embarked with his
family, and after a tedious paflage of three
months, arrived in Pennfylvania. By reafcn
of this long voyage, they efcaped a peftilen-
tial diftemper, which during that time raged
in the Colony.

He did not find the people fo tractable as
before. Their minds were foured by his
long abfence, by the conduct of his Deputies
and the royal Governors ; their fyftem of


P E N N. 441

laws was incomplete, and their title to their
lands infecure. After much time fpent in
trying their tempers and penetrating their
views, he found it moll advifeable to liften
to their remonftrances. Five feffions of Af-
fembly were held during his fecond refi-
dence with them ; his expreffions in his pub
lic fpeeches were foothing and captivating,
and he promifed to do every thing in his
power to render them happy. They requeft-
ed of him that, in cafe of his future abfence,
he would appoint for his Deputies men of
integrity and property, who mould be inveft-
ed with full powers to grant and confirm
lands, and inftruted to give true meafure ;
and that he would execute fuch an inftru-
ment as would fecure their privileges and
pofleflions. To thefe requefts he feemed to
confent, and with the moft flattering complai-
fance defired them to name a perfon for his
fubftitute, which they with equal politenefs

In May, 1 700, the Charter was furrender-
ed by fix parts in feven of the AfTembly, un
der a folemn promife of reftitution with fuch
alterations and amendments as iliould be
found neceflary. When a new Charter was
H H h ia

442 P E N N.

in debate, the reprefentatives of the lower
counties wanted to obtain fome privileges
peculiar to themfelves, which the others
were not willing to allow. The members
from the territory therefore refufed to join,
and thus a feparation was made of the Prov
ince of Pennfylvania from the three lower

In this new Charter, the people had no
voice in the election of Counfellors ; who
ever afterwards ferved in this capacity were
appointed by the proprietor, but they had
no power of legiflation. The* executive
was veiled folely in him, and he had a nega
tive on all their laws. On the other hand,
the Aflembly had the right of originating
laws, which before had been prepared for
their deliberation. The number of mem
bers \vas four from each county, and more
if the Governor and AfTembiy mould agree.
They were invefted with all the powers of a
legiflative body, according to the rights of
Englifh fubjects and the practice of other
American Colonies. The privileges before
granted Were confirmed, and fome of their

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Online LibraryUnknownAmerican biography: or, An historical account of those persons who have been distinguished in America, as adventurers, statesmen, philosophers, divines, warriors, authors, and other remarkable characters .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 21 of 24)