The Quaker Colonies
Sydney G. Fisher

Part 1 out of 3



By Sydney G. Fisher

New Haven: Yale University Press
Toronto: Glasgow, Brook & Co.
London: Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press





Chapter I. The Birth Of Pennsylvania

In 1661, the year after Charles II was restored to the throne of
England, William Penn was a seventeen-year-old student at Christ
Church, Oxford. His father, a distinguished admiral in high favor
at Court, had abandoned his erstwhile friends and had aided in
restoring King Charlie to his own again. Young William was
associating with the sons of the aristocracy and was receiving an
education which would fit him to obtain preferment at Court. But
there was a serious vein in him, and while at a high church
Oxford College he was surreptitiously attending the meetings and
listening to the preaching of the despised and outlawed Quakers.
There he first began to hear of the plans of a group of Quakers
to found colonies on the Delaware in America. Forty years
afterwards he wrote, "I had an opening of joy as to these parts
in the year 1661 at Oxford." And with America and the Quakers, in
spite of a brief youthful experience as a soldier and a courtier,
William Penn's life, as well as his fame, is indissolubly linked.

Quakerism was one of the many religious sects born in the
seventeenth century under the influence of Puritan thought. The
foundation principle of the Reformation, the right of private
judgment, the Quakers carried out to its logical conclusion; but
they were people whose minds had so long been suppressed and
terrorized that, once free, they rushed to extremes. They shocked
and horrified even the most advanced Reformation sects by
rejecting Baptism, the doctrine of the Trinity, and all
sacraments, forms, and ceremonies. They represented, on their
best side, the most vigorous effort of the Reformation to return
to the spirituality and the simplicity of the early Christians.
But their intense spirituality, pathetic often in its extreme
manifestations, was not wholly concerned with another world.
Their humane ideas and philanthropic methods, such as the
abolition of slavery, and the reform of prisons and of charitable
institutions, came in time to be accepted as fundamental
practical social principles.

The tendencies of which Quakerism formed only one manifestation
appeared outside of England, in Italy, in France, and especially
in Germany. The fundamental Quaker idea of "quietism," as it was
called, or peaceful, silent contemplation as a spiritual form of
worship and as a development of moral consciousness, was very
widespread at the close of the Reformation and even began to be
practiced in the Roman Catholic Church until it was stopped by
the Jesuits. The most extreme of the English Quakers, however,
gave way to such extravagances of conduct as trembling when they
preached (whence their name), preaching openly in the streets and
fields--a horrible thing at that time--interrupting other
congregations, and appearing naked as a sign and warning. They
gave offense by refusing to remove their hats in public and by
applying to all alike the words "thee" and "thou," a form of
address hitherto used only to servants and inferiors. Worst of
all, the Quakers refused to pay tithes or taxes to support the
Church of England. As a result, the loathsome jails of the day
were soon filled with these objectors, and their property melted
away in fines. This contumacy and their street meetings, regarded
at that time as riotous breaches of the peace, gave the
Government at first a legal excuse to hunt them down; but as they
grew in numbers and influence, laws were enacted to suppress
them. Some of them, though not the wildest extremists, escaped to
the colonies in America. There, however, they were made welcome
to conditions no less severe.

The first law against the Quakers in Massachusetts was passed in
1656, and between that date and 1660 four of the sect were
hanged, one of them a woman, Mary Dyer. Though there were no
other hangings, many Quakers were punished by whipping and
banishment. In other colonies, notably New York, fines and
banishment were not uncommon. Such treatment forced the Quakers,
against the will of many of them, to seek a tract of land and
found a colony of their own. To such a course there appeared no
alternative, unless they were determined to establish their
religion solely by martyrdom.

About the time when the Massachusetts laws were enforced, the
principal Quaker leader and organizer, George Fox (1624-1691),
began to consider the possibility of making a settlement among
the great forests and mountains said to lie north of Maryland in
the region drained by the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers. In
this region lay practically the only good land on the Atlantic
seaboard not already occupied. The Puritans and Dutch were on the
north, and there were Catholic and Church of England colonies on
the south in Maryland and Virginia. The middle ground was
unoccupied because heretofore a difficult coast had prevented
easy access by sea. Fox consulted Josiah Coale, a Quaker who had
traveled in America and had seen a good deal of the Indian
tribes, with the result that on his second visit to America Coale
was commissioned to treat with the Susquehanna Indians, who were
supposed to have rights in the desired land. In November, 1660,
Coale reported to Fox the result of his inquiries: "As concerning
Friends buying a piece of land of the Susquehanna Indians I have
spoken of it to them and told them what thou said concerning it;
but their answer was, that there is no land that is habitable or
fit for situation beyond Baltimore's liberty till they come to or
near the Susquehanna's Fort."* Nothing could be done
immediately, the letter went on to say, because the Indians were
at war with one another, and William Fuller, a Maryland Quaker,
whose cooperation was deemed essential, was absent.

* James Bowden's "History of the Friends in America," vol. I, p.

This seems to have been the first definite movement towards a
Quaker colony. Reports of it reached the ears of young Penn at
Oxford and set his imagination aflame. He never forgot the
project, for seventeen is an age when grand thoughts strike home.
The adventurousness of the plan was irresistible--a home for the
new faith in the primeval forest, far from imprisonment, tithes,
and persecution, and to be won by effort worthy of a man. It was,
however, a dream destined not to be realized for many a long
year. More was needed than the mere consent of the Indians. In
the meantime, however, a temporary refuge for the sect was found
in the province of West Jersey on the Delaware, which two Quakers
had bought from Lord Berkeley for the comparatively small sum of
1000 pounds. Of this grant William Penn became one of the
trustees and thus gained his first experience in the business of
colonizing the region of his youthful dreams. But there was never
a sufficient governmental control of West Jersey to make it an
ideal Quaker colony. What little control the Quakers exercised
disappeared after 1702; and the land and situation were not all
that could be desired. Penn, though also one of the owners of
East Jersey, made no attempt to turn that region into a Quaker

Besides West Jersey the Quakers found a temporary asylum in
Aquidneck, now Rhode Island.* For many years the governors and
magistrates were Quakers, and the affairs of this island colony
were largely in their hands. Quakers were also prominent in the
politics of North Carolina, and John Archdale, a Quaker, was
Governor for several years. They formed a considerable element of
the population in the towns of Long Island and Westchester County
but they could not hope to convert these communities into real
Quaker commonwealths.

* This Rhode Island colony should be distinguished from the
settlement at Providence founded by Roger Williams with which it
was later united. See Jones, "The Quakers in the American
Colonies," p. 21, note.

The experience in the Jerseys and elsewhere very soon proved that
if there was to be a real Quaker colony, the British Crown must
give not only a title to the land but a strong charter
guaranteeing self-government and protection of the Quaker faith
from outside interference. But that the British Government would
grant such valued privileges to a sect of schismatics which it
was hunting down in England seemed a most unlikely event. Nothing
but unusual influence at Court could bring it about, and in that
quarter the Quakers had no influence.

Penn never forgot the boyhood ideal which he had developed at
college. For twenty years he led a varied life--driven from home
and whipped by his father for consorting with the schismatic;
sometimes in deference to his father's wishes taking his place in
the gay world at Court; even, for a time, becoming a soldier, and
again traveling in France with some of the people of the Court.
In the end, as he grew older, religious feeling completely
absorbed him. He became one of the leading Quaker theologians,
and his very earnest religious writings fill several volumes. He
became a preacher at the meetings and went to prison for his
heretical doctrines and pamphlets. At last he found himself at
the age of thirty-six with his father dead, and a debt due from
the Crown of 16,000 pounds for services which his distinguished
father, the admiral, had rendered the Government.

Here was the accident that brought into being the great Quaker
colony, by a combination of circumstances which could hardly have
happened twice. Young Penn was popular at Court. He had inherited
a valuable friendship with Charles II and his heir, the Duke of
York. This friendship rested on the solid fact that Penn's
father, the admiral, had rendered such signal assistance in
restoring Charles and the whole Stuart line to the throne. But
still 16,000 pounds or $80,000, the accumulation of many deferred
payments, was a goodly sum in those days, and that the Crown
would pay it in money, of which it had none too much, was
unlikely. Why not therefore suggest paying it instead in wild
land in America, of which the Crown had abundance? That was the
fruitful thought which visited Penn. Lord Berkeley and Lord
Carteret had been given New Jersey because they had signally
helped to restore the Strait family to the throne. All the more
therefore should the Stuart family give a tract of land, and even
a larger tract, to Penn, whose father had not only assisted the
family to the throne but had refrained so long from pressing his
just claim for money due.

So the Crown, knowing little of the value of it, granted him the
most magnificent domain of mountains; lakes, rivers, and forests,
fertile soil, coal, petroleum, and iron that ever was given to a
single proprietor. In addition to giving Penn the control of
Delaware and, with certain other Quakers, that of New Jersey as
well, the Crown placed at the disposal of the Quakers 55,000
square miles of most valuable, fertile territory, lacking only
about three thousand square miles of being as large as England
and Wales. Even when cut down to 45,000 square miles by a
boundary dispute with Maryland, it was larger than Ireland. Kings
themselves have possessed such dominions, but never before a
private citizen who scorned all titles and belonged to a hunted
sect that exalted peace and spiritual contemplation above all the
wealth and power of the world. Whether the obtaining of this
enormous tract of the best land in America was due to what may be
called the eternal thriftiness of the Quaker mind or to the
intense desire of the British Government to get rid of these
people--at any cost might be hard to determine.

Penn received his charter in 1681, and in it he was very careful
to avoid all the mistakes of the Jersey proprietary grants.
Instead of numerous proprietors, Penn was to be the sole
proprietor. Instead of giving title to the land and remaining
silent about the political government, Penn's charter not only
gave him title to the land but a clearly defined position as its
political head, and described the principles of the government so
clearly that there was little room for doubt or dispute.

It was a decidedly feudal charter, very much like the one granted
to Lord Baltimore fifty years before, and yet at the same time it
secured civil liberty and representative government to the
people. Penn owned all the land and the colonists were to be his
tenants. He was compelled, however, to give his people free
government. The laws were to be made by him with the assent of
the people or their delegates. In practice this of course meant
that the people were to elect a legislature and Penn would have a
veto, as we now call it, on such acts as the legislature should
pass. He had power to appoint magistrates, judges, and some other
officers, and to grant pardons. Though, by the charter,
of the province, he usually remained in England and appointed a
deputy governor to exercise authority in the colony. In modern
phrase, he controlled the executive part of the government and
his people controlled the legislative part.

Pennsylvania, besides being the largest in area of the
proprietary colonies, was also the most successful, not only from
the proprietor's point of view but also from the point of view of
the inhabitants. The proprietorships in Maine, New Hampshire, New
Jersey, and the Carolinas were largely failures. Maryland was
only partially successful; it was not particularly remunerative
to its owner, and the Crown deprived him of his control of it for
twenty years. Penn, too, was deprived of the control of
Pennsylvania by William III but for only about two years. Except
for this brief interval (1692-1694), Penn and his sons after him
held their province down to the time of the American Revolution
in 1776, a period of ninety-four years.

A feudal proprietorship, collecting rents from all the people,
seems to modern minds grievously wrong in theory, and yet it
would be very difficult to show that it proved onerous in
practice. Under it the people of Pennsylvania flourished in
wealth, peace, and happiness. Penn won undying fame for the
liberal principles of his feudal enterprise. His expenses in
England were so great and his quitrents always so much in arrears
that he was seldom out of debt. But his children grew rich from
the province. As in other provinces that were not feudal there
were disputes between the people and the proprietors; but there
was not so much general dissatisfaction as might have been
expected. The proprietors were on the whole not altogether
disliked. In the American Revolution, when the people could have
confiscated everything in Pennsylvania belonging to the
proprietary family, they not only left them in possession of a
large part of their land, but paid them handsomely for the part
that was taken.

After Penn had secured his charter in 1681, he obtained from the
Duke of York the land now included in the State of Delaware. He
advertised for colonists, and began selling land at 100 pounds
for five thousand acres and annually thereafter a shilling
quitrent for every hundred acres. He drew up a constitution or
frame of government, as he called it, after wide and earnest
consultation with many, including the famous Algernon Sydney.
Among the Penn papers in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
is a collection of about twenty preliminary drafts. Beginning
with one which erected a government by a landed aristocracy, they
became more and more liberal, until in the end his frame was very
much like the most liberal government of the other English
colonies in America. He had a council and an assembly, both
elected by the people. The council, however, was very large, had
seventy-two members, and was more like an upper house of the
Legislature than the usual colonial governor's council. The
council also had the sole right of proposing legislation, and the
assembly could merely accept or reject its proposals. This was a
new idea, and it worked so badly in practice that in the end the
province went to the opposite extreme and had no council or upper
house of the Legislature at all.

Penn's frame of government contained, however, a provision for
its own amendment. This was a new idea and proved to be so happy
that it is now found in all American constitutions. His method of
impeachment by which the lower house was to bring in the charge
and the upper house was to try it has also been universally
adopted. His view that an unconstitutional law is void was a step
towards our modern system. The next step, giving the courts power
to declare a law unconstitutional, was not taken until one
hundred years after his time. With the advice and assistance of
some of those who were going out to his colony he prepared a code
of laws which contained many of the advanced ideas of the
Quakers. Capital punishment was to be confined to murder and
treason, instead of being applied as in England to a host of
minor offenses. The property of murderers, instead of being
forfeited to the State, was to be divided among the next of kin
of the victim and of the criminal. Religious liberty was
established as it had been in Rhode Island and the Jerseys. All
children were to be taught a useful trade. Oaths in judicial
proceedings were not required. All prisons were to be workhouses
and places of reformation instead of dungeons of dirt, idleness,
and disease. This attempt to improve the prisons inaugurated a
movement of great importance in the modern world in which the
part played by the Quakers is too often forgotten.

Penn had now started his "Holy Experiment," as he called his
enterprise in Pennsylvania, by which he intended to prove that
religious liberty was not only right, but that agriculture,
commerce, and all arts and refinements of life would flourish
under it. He would break the delusion that prosperity and morals
were possible only under some one particular faith established by
law. He, would prove that government could be carried on without
war and without oaths, and that primitive Christianity could be
maintained without a hireling ministry, without persecution,
without ridiculous dogmas or ritual, sustained only by its own
innate power and the inward light.

Chapter II. Penn Sails For The Delaware

The framing of the constitution and other preparations consumed
the year following Penn's receipt of his charter in 1681. But at
last, on August 30, 1682, he set sail in the ship Welcome, with
about a hundred colonists. After a voyage of about six weeks, and
the loss of thirty of their number by smallpox, they arrived in
the Delaware. June would have been a somewhat better month in
which to see the rich luxuriance of the green meadows and forests
of this beautiful river. But the autumn foliage and bracing air
of October must have been inspiring enough. The ship slowly beat
her way for three days up the bay and river in the silence and
romantic loneliness of its shores. Everything indicated richness
and fertility. At some points the lofty trees of the primeval
forest grew down to the water's edge. The river at every high
tide overflowed great meadows grown up in reeds and grasses and
red and yellow flowers, stretching back to the borders of the
forest and full of water birds and wild fowl of every variety.
Penn, now in the prime of life, must surely have been aroused by
this scene and by the reflection that the noble river was his and
the vast stretches of forests and mountains for three hundred
miles to the westward.

He was soon ashore, exploring the edge of his mighty domain,
settling his government, and passing his laws. He was much
pleased with the Swedes whom he found on his land. He changed the
name of the little Swedish village of Upland, fifteen miles below
Philadelphia, to Chester. He superintended laying out the streets
of Philadelphia and they remain to this day substantially as he
planned them, though unfortunately too narrow and monotonously
regular. He met the Indians at Philadelphia, sat with them at
their fires, ate their roasted corn, and when to amuse him they
showed him some of their sports and games he renewed his college
days by joining them in a jumping match.

Then he started on journeys. He traveled through the woods to
New York, which then belonged to the Duke of York, who had given
him Delaware; he visited the Long Island Quakers; and on his
return he went to Maryland to meet with much pomp and ceremony
Lord Baltimore and there discuss with him the disputed boundary.
He even crossed to the eastern shore of the Chesapeake to visit a
Quaker meeting on the Choptank before winter set in, and he
describes the immense migration of wild pigeons at that season,
and the ducks which flew so low and were so tame that the
colonists knocked them down with sticks.

Most of the winter he spent at Chester and wrote to England in
high spirits of his journeys, the wonders of the country, the
abundance of game and provisions, and the twenty-three ships
which had arrived so swiftly that few had taken longer than six
weeks, and only three had been infected with the smallpox. "Oh
how sweet," he says, "is the quiet of these parts, freed from the
anxious and troublesome solicitations, hurries and perplexities
of woful Europe."

As the weeks and months passed, ships kept arriving with more
Quakers, far exceeding the migration to the Jerseys. By summer,
Penn reported that 50 sail had arrived within the past year, 80
houses had been built in Philadelphia, and about 300 farms had
been laid out round the town. It is supposed that about 8000
immigrants had arrived. This was a more rapid development than
was usual in the colonies of America. Massachusetts and Virginia
had been established slowly and with much privation and
suffering. But the settlement of Philadelphia was like a summer
outing. There were no dangers, the hardships were trifling, and
there was no sickness or famine. There was such an abundance of
game close at hand that hunger and famine were in nowise to be
feared. The climate was good and the Indians, kindly treated,
remained friendly for seventy years.

It is interesting to note that in that same year, 1682, in which
Penn and his friends with such ease and comfort founded their
great colony on the Delaware, the French explorers and voyageurs
from Canada, after years of incredible hardships, had traversed
the northern region of the Great Lakes with their canoes and had
passed down the Mississippi to its mouth, giving to the whole of
the Great West the name of Louisiana, and claiming it for France.
Already La Salle had taken his fleet of canoes down the
Mississippi River and had placed the arms of France on a post at
its mouth in April, 1682, only a few months before Penn reached
his newly acquired colony. Thus in the same year in which the
Quakers established in Pennsylvania their reign of liberty and of
peace with the red men, La Salle was laying the foundation of the
western empire of despotic France, which seventy years afterwards
was to hurl the savages upon the English colonies, to wreck the
Quaker policy of peace, but to fail in the end to maintain itself
against the free colonies of England.

While they were building houses in Philadelphia, the settlers
lived in bark huts or in caves dug in the river bank, as the
early settlers in New Jersey across the river had lived.
Pastorius, a learned German Quaker, who had come out with the,
English, placed over the door of his cave the motto, "Parva
domus, sed amica bonis, procul este profani," which much amused
Penn when he saw it. A certain Mrs. Morris was much exercised one
day as to how she could provide supper in the cave for her
husband who was working on the construction of their house. But
on returning to her cave she found that her cat had just brought
in a fine rabbit. In their later prosperous years they had a
picture of the cat and the rabbit made on a box which has
descended as a family heirloom. Doubtless there were preserved
many other interesting reminiscences of the brief camp life.
These Quakers were all of the thrifty, industrious type which had
gone to West Jersey a few years before. Men of means, indeed,
among the Quakers were the first to seek refuge from the fines
and confiscations imposed upon them in England. They brought with
them excellent supplies of everything. Many of the ships carried
the frames of houses ready to put together. But substantial
people of this sort demanded for the most part houses of brick,
with stone cellars. Fortunately both brick clay and stone were
readily obtainable in the neighborhood, and whatever may have
been the case in other colonies, ships loaded with brick from
England would have found it little to their profit to touch at
Philadelphia. An early description says that the brick houses in
Philadelphia were modeled on those of London, and this type
prevailed for nearly two hundred years.

It was probably in June, 1683, that Penn made his famous treaty
with the Indians. No documentary proof of the existence of such a
treaty has reached us. He made, indeed, a number of so-called
treaties, which were really only purchases of land involving oral
promises between the principals to treat each other fairly.
Hundreds of such treaties have been made. The remarkable part
about Penn's dealings with the Indians was that such promises as
he made he kept. The other Quakers, too, were as careful as Penn
in their honorable treatment of the red men. Quaker families of
farmers and settlers lived unarmed among them for generations
and, when absent from home, left children in their care. The
Indians, on their part, were known to have helped white families
with food in winter time. Penn, on his first visit to the colony,
made a long journey unarmed among the Indians as far as the
Susquehanna, saw the great herds of elk on that river, lived in
Indian wigwams, and learned much of the language and customs of
the natives. There need never be any trouble with them, he said.
They were the easiest people in the world to get on with if the
white men would simply be just. Penn's fair treatment of the
Indians kept Pennsylvania at peace with them for about seventy
years--in fact, from 1682 until the outbreak of the French and
Indian Wars, in 1755. In its critical period of growth,
Pennsylvania was therefore not at all harassed or checked by
those Indian hostilities which were such a serious impediment in
other colonies.

The two years of Penn's first visit were probably the happiest of
his life. Always fond of the country, he built himself a fine
seat on the Delaware near Bristol, and it would have been better
for him, and probably also for the colony, if he had remained
there. But he thought he had duties in England: his family needed
him; he must defend his people from the religious oppression
still prevailing; and Lord Baltimore had gone to England to
resist him in the boundary dispute. One of the more narrow-minded
of his faith wrote to Penn from England that he was enjoying
himself too much in his colony and seeking his own selfish
interest. Influenced by all these considerations, he returned in
August, 1684, and it was long before he saw Pennsylvania
again--not, indeed, until October, 1699, and then for only two

Chapter III. Life In Philadelphia

The rapid increase of population and the growing prosperity in
Pennsylvania during the life of its founder present a striking
contrast to the slower and more troubled growth of the other
British colonies in America. The settlers in Pennsylvania engaged
at once in profitable agriculture. The loam, clay, and limestone
soils on the Pennsylvania tide of the Delaware produced heavy
crops of grain, as well as pasture for cattle and valuable lumber
from its forests. The Pennsylvania settlers were of a class
particularly skilled in dealing with the soil. They apparently
encountered none of the difficulties, due probably to incompetent
farming, which beset the settlers of Delaware, whose land was as
good as that of the Pennsylvania colonists.

In a few years the port of Philadelphia was loading abundant
cargoes for England and the great West India trade. After much
experimenting with different places on the river, such as New
Castle, Wilmington, Salem, Burlington, the Quakers had at last
found the right location for a great seat of commerce and trade
that could serve as a center for the export of everything from
the region behind it and around it. Philadelphia thus soon became
the basis of a prosperity which no other townsite on the Delaware
had been able to attain. The Quakers of Philadelphia were the
soundest of financiers and men of business, and in their skillful
hands the natural resources of their colony were developed
without setback or accident. At an early date banking
institutions were established in Philadelphia, and the strongest
colonial merchants and mercantile firms had their offices there.
It was out of such a sound business life that were produced in
Revolutionary times such characters as Robert Morris and after
the Revolution men like Stephen Girard.

Pennsylvania in colonial times was ruled from Philadelphia
somewhat as France has always been ruled from Paris. And yet
there was a difference: Pennsylvania had free government. The
Germans and the Scotch-Irish outnumbered the Quakers and could
have controlled the Legislature, for in 1750 out of a population
of 150,000 the Quakers were only about 50,000; and yet the
Legislature down to the Revolution was always confided to the
competent hands of the Quakers. No higher tribute, indeed, has
ever been paid to any group of people as governors of a
commonwealth and architects of its finance and trade.

It is a curious commentary on the times and on human nature that
these Quaker folk, treated as outcasts and enemies of good order
and religion in England and gradually losing all their property
in heavy fines and confiscations, should so suddenly in the
wilderness prove the capacity of their "Holy Experiment" for
achieving the best sort of good order and material success. They
immediately built a most charming little town by the waterside,
snug and pretty with its red brick houses in the best
architectural style. It was essentially a commercial town down to
the time of the Revolution and long afterwards. The principal
residences were on Water Street, the second street from the
wharves. The town in those days extended back only as far as
Fourth Street, and the State House, now Independence Hall, an
admirable instance of the local brick architecture, stood on the
edge of the town. The Pennsylvania Hospital, the first
of its kind to be built in America, was situated out in the

Through the town ran a stream following the line of the present
Dock Street. Its mouth had been a natural landing place for the
first explorers and for the Indians from time immemorial. Here
stood a neat tavern, the Blue Anchor, with its dovecotes in old
English style, looking out for many a year over the river with
its fleet of small boats. Along the wharves lay the very solid,
broad, somber, Quaker-like brick warehouses, some of which have
survived into modern times. Everywhere were to be found ships and
the good seafaring smell of tar and hemp. Ships were built and
fitted out alongside docks where other ships were lading. A
privateer would receive her equipment of guns, pistols, and
cutlasses on one side of a wharf, while on the other side a ship
was peacefully loading wheat or salted provisions for the West

Everybody's attention in those days was centered on the water
instead of inland on railroads as it is today. Commerce was the
source of wealth of the town as agriculture was the wealth of the
interior of the province. Every one lived close to the river and
had an interest in the rise and fall of the tide. The little town
extended for a mile along the water but scarcely half a mile back
from it. All communication with other places, all news from the
world of Europe came from the ships, whose captains brought the
letters and the few newspapers which reached the colonists. An
important ship on her arrival often fired a gun and dropped
anchor with some ceremony. Immediately the shore boats swarmed to
her side; the captain was besieged for news and usually brought
the letters ashore to be distributed at the coffeehouse. This
institution took the place of the modern stock exchange, clearing
house, newspaper, university, club, and theater all under one
roof, with plenty to eat and drink besides. Within its rooms
vessels and cargoes were sold; before its door negro slaves were
auctioned off; and around it as a common center were brought
together all sorts of business, valuable information, gossip, and
scandal. It must have been a brilliant scene in the evening, with
the candles lighting embroidered red and yellow waistcoats, blue
and scarlet Coats, green and black velvet, with the rich drab and
mouse color of the prosperous Quakers contrasting with the
uniforms of British officers come to fight the French and Indian
wars. Sound, as well as color, had its place in this busy and
happy colonial life. Christ Church, a brick building which still
stands the perfection of colonial architecture had been
established by the Church of England people defiantly in the
midst of heretical Quakerdom. It soon possessed a chime of bells
sent out from England. Captain Budden, who brought them in his
ship Myrtilla, would charge no freight for so charitable a deed,
and in consequence of his generosity every time he and his ship
appeared in the harbor the bells were rung in his honor. They
were rung on market days to please the farmers who came into town
with their wagons loaded with poultry and vegetables. They were
rung muffled in times of public disaster and were kept busy in
that way in the French and Indian wars. They were also rung
muffled for Franklin when it was learned that while in London he
had favored the Stamp Act--a means of expressing popular opinion
which the newspapers subsequently put out of date.

The severe Quaker code of conduct and peaceful contemplation
contains no prohibition against good eating and drinking. Quakers
have been known to have the gout. The opportunities in
Philadelphia to enjoy the pleasures of the table were soon
unlimited. Farm, garden, and dairy products, vegetables, poultry,
beef, and mutton were soon produced in immense quantity and
variety and of excellent quality. John Adams, coming from the
"plain living and high thinking" of Boston to attend the first
meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, was invited
to dine with Stephen Collins, a typical Quaker, and was amazed at
the feast set before him. From that time his diary records one
after another of these "sinful feasts," as he calls them. But the
sin at which he thus looks askance never seems to have withheld
him from a generous indulgence. "Drank Madeira at a great rate,"
he says on one occasion, "and took no harm from it." Madeira
obtained in the trade with Spain was the popular drink even at
the taverns. Various forms of punch and rum were common, but the
modern light wines and champagne were not then in vogue.

Food in great quantity and variety seems to have been placed on
the table at the same time, with little regard to formal courses.
Beef, poultry, and mutton would all be served at one dinner.
Fruit and nuts were placed on the table in profusion, as well as
puddings and desserts numerous and deadly. Dinners were served
usually in the afternoon. The splendid banquet which Adams
describes as given to some members of the Continental Congress by
Chief Justice Chew at his country seat was held at four in the
afternoon. The dinner hour was still in the afternoon long after
the Revolution and down to the times of the Civil War. Other
relics of this old love of good living lasted into modern times.
It was not so very long ago that an occasional householder of
wealth and distinction in Philadelphia could still be found who
insisted on doing his own marketing in the old way, going himself
the first thing in the morning on certain days to the excellent
markets and purchasing all the family supplies. Philadelphia
poultry is still famous the country over; and to be a good judge
of poultry was in the old days as much a point of merit as to be
a good judge of Madeira. A typical Philadelphian, envious New
Yorkers say, will still keep a line of depositors waiting at a
bank while he discourses to the receiving teller on what a
splendid purchase of poultry he had made that morning. Early in
the last century a wealthy leader of the bar is said to have
continued the old practice of going to market followed by a negro
with a wheelbarrow to bring back the supplies. Not content with
feasting in their own homes, the colonial Philadelphians were
continually banqueting at the numerous taverns, from the Coach
and Horses, opposite the State House, down to the Penny Pot Inn
close by the river. At the Coach and Horses, where the city
elections were usually held, the discarded oyster shells around
it had been trampled into a hard white and smooth floor over
which surged the excited election crowds. In those taverns the
old fashion prevailed of roasting great joints of meat on a
turnspit before an open fire; and to keep the spit turning before
the heat little dogs were trained to work in a sort of treadmill

In nothing is this colonial prosperity better revealed than in
the quality of the country seats. They were usually built of
stone and sometimes of brick and stone, substantial, beautifully
proportioned, admirable in taste, with a certain simplicity, yet
indicating a people of wealth, leisure, and refinement, who
believed in themselves and took pleasure in adorning their lives.
Not a few of these homes on the outskirts of the city have come
down to us unharmed, and Cliveden, Stenton, and Belmont are
precious relics of such solid structure that with ordinary care
they will still last for centuries. Many were destroyed during
the Revolution; others, such as Landsdowne, the seat of one of
the Penn family, built in the Italian style, have disappeared;
others were wiped out by the city's growth. All of them, even the
small ones, were most interesting and typical of the life of the
times. The colonists began to build them very early. A family
would have a solid, brick town house and, only a mile or so away,
a country house which was equally substantial. Sometimes they
built at a greater distance. Governor Keith, for example, had a
country seat, still standing though built in the middle of the
eighteenth century, some twenty-five miles north of the city in
what was then almost a wilderness.

Penn's ideal had always been to have Philadelphia what he called
"a green country town." Probably he had in mind the beautiful
English towns of abundant foliage and open spaces. And Penn was
successful, for many of the Philadelphia houses stood by
themselves, with gardens round them. The present Walnut was first
called Pool Street; Chestnut was called Winn Street; and Market
was called High Street. If he could have foreseen the enormous
modern growth of the city, he might not have made his streets so
narrow and level. But the fault lies perhaps rather with the
people for adhering so rigidly and for so long to Penn's scheme,
when traffic that he could not have imagined demanded wider
streets. If he could have lived into our times he would surely
have sent us very positive directions in his bluff British way to
break up the original rectangular, narrow plan which was becoming
dismally monotonous when applied to a widely spread-out modern
city. He was a theologian, but he had a very keen eye for
appearances and beauty of surroundings.

Chapter IV. Types Of The Population

The arrival of colonists in Pennsylvania in greater numbers than
in Delaware and the Jerseys was the more notable because, within
a few years after Pennsylvania was founded, persecution of the
Quakers ceased in England and one prolific cause of their
migration was no more. Thirteen hundred Quakers were released
from prison in 1686 by James II; and in 1689, when William of
Orange took the throne, toleration was extended to the Quakers
and other Protestant dissenters.

The success of the first Quakers who came to America brought
others even after persecution ceased in England. The most
numerous class of immigrants for the first fifteen or twenty
years were Welsh, most of whom were Quakers with a few Baptists
and Church of England people. They may have come not so much from
a desire to flee from persecution as to build up a little Welsh
community and to revive Welsh nationalism. In their new
surroundings they spoke their own Welsh language and very few of
them had learned English. They had been encouraged in their
national aspirations by an agreement with Penn that they were to
have a tract of 40,000 acres where they could live by themselves.
The land assigned to them lay west of Philadelphia in that high
ridge along the present main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad,
now so noted for its wealthy suburban homes. All the important
names of townships and places in that region, such as Wynnewood,
St. Davids, Berwyn, Bryn Mawr, Merion, Haverford, Radnor, are
Welsh in origin. Some of the Welsh spread round to the north of
Philadelphia, where names like Gwynedd and Penllyn remain as
their memorials. The Chester Valley bordering the high ridge of
their first settlement they called Duffrin Mawr or Great Valley.

These Welsh, like so many of the Quakers, were of a well-to-do
class. They rapidly developed their fertile land and, for
pioneers, lived quite luxuriously. They had none of the usual
county and township officers but ruled their Welsh Barony, as it
was called, through the authority of their Quaker meetings. But
this system eventually disappeared. The Welsh were absorbed into
the English population, and in a couple of generations their
language disappeared. Prominent people are descended from them.
David Rittenhouse, the astronomer, was Welsh on his mother's
side. David Lloyd, for a long time the leader of the popular
party and at one time Chief Justice, was a Welshman. Since the
Revolution the Welsh names of Cadwalader and Meredith have been

The Church of England people formed a curious and decidedly
hostile element in the early population of Pennsylvania. They
established themselves in Philadelphia in the beginning and
rapidly grew into a political party which, while it cannot be
called very strong in numbers, was important in ability and
influence. After Penn's death, his sons joined the Church of
England, and the Churchmen in the province became still stronger.
They formed the basis of the proprietary party, filled executive
offices in the Government, and waged relentless war against the
Quaker majority which controlled the Legislature. During Penn's
lifetime the Churchmen were naturally opposed to the whole
government, both executive and legislative. They were constantly
sending home to England all sorts of reports and information
calculated to show that the Quakers were unfit to rule a
province, that Penn should be deprived of his charter, and that
Pennsylvania should be put under the direct rule of the King.

They had delightful schemes for making it a strong Church of
England colony like Virginia. One of them suggested that, as the
title to the Three Lower Counties, as Delaware was called, was in
dispute, it should be taken by the Crown and given to the Church
as a manor to support a bishop. Such an ecclesiastic certainly
could have lived in princely state from the rents of its fertile
farms, with a palace, retinue, chamberlains, chancellors, feudal
courts, and all the appendages of earthly glory. For the sake of
the picturesqueness of colonial history it is perhaps a pity that
this pious plan was never carried out.

As it was, however, the Churchmen established themselves with not
a little glamour and romance round two institutions, Christ
Church for the first fifty years, and after that round the old
College of Philadelphia. The Reverend William Smith, a pugnacious
and eloquent Scotchman, led them in many a gallant onset against
the "haughty tribe" of Quakers, and he even suffered imprisonment
in the cause. He had a country seat on the Schuylkill and was in
his way a fine character, devoted to the establishment of
ecclesiasticism and higher learning as a bulwark against the
menace of Quaker fanaticism; and but for the coming on of the
Revolution he might have become the first colonial bishop with
all the palaces, pomp, and glory appertaining thereunto.

In spite of this opposition, however, the Quakers continued their
control of the colony, serenely tolerating the anathemas of the
learned Churchmen and the fierce curses and brandished weapons of
the Presbyterians and Scotch-Irish. Curses and anathemas were no
check to the fertile soil. Grist continued to come to the mill;
and the agricultural products poured into Philadelphia to be
carried away in the ships. The contemplative Quaker took his
profits as they passed; enacted his liberalizing laws, his prison
reform, his charities, his peace with the savage Indians; allowed
science, research, and all the kindly arts of life to flourish;
and seemed perfectly contented with the damnation in the other
world to which those who flourished under his rule consigned him.

In discussing the remarkable success of the province, the
colonists always disputed whether the credit should be given to
the fertile soil or to the liberal laws and constitution. It was
no doubt due to both. But the obvious advantages of Penn's
charter over the mixed and troublesome governmental conditions in
the Jerseys, Penn's personal fame and the repute of the Quakers
for liberalism then at its zenith, and the wide advertising given
to their ideas and Penn's, on the continent of Europe as well as
in England, seem to have been the reasons why more people, and
many besides Quakers, came to take advantage of that fertile

The first great increase of alien population came from Germany,
which was still in a state of religious turmoil, disunion, and
depression from the results of the Reformation and the Thirty
Years' War. The reaction from dogma in Germany had produced a
multitude of sects, all yearning for greater liberty and
prosperity than they had at home. Penn and other Quakers had made
missionary tours in Germany and had preached to the people. The
Germans do not appear to have been asked to come to the Jerseys.
But they were urged to come to Pennsylvania as soon as the
charter was obtained; and many of them made an immediate
response. The German mind was then at the height of its emotional
unrestraint. It was as unaccustomed to liberty of thought as to
political liberty and it produced a new sect or religious
distinction almost every day. Many of these sects came to
Pennsylvania, where new small religious bodies sprang up among
them after their arrival. Schwenkfelders, Tunkers, Labadists, New
Born, New Mooners, Separatists, Zion's Brueder, Ronsdorfer,
Inspired, Quietists, Gichtelians, Depellians, Mountain Men, River
Brethren, Brinser Brethren, and the Society of the Woman in the
Wilderness, are names which occur in the annals of the province.
But these are only a few. In Lancaster County alone the number
has at different times been estimated at from twenty to thirty.
It would probably be impossible to make a complete list; some of
them, indeed, existed for only a few years. Their own writers
describe them as countless and bewildering. Many of them were
characterized by the strangest sort of German mysticism, and some
of them were inclined to monastic and hermit life and their
devotees often lived in caves or solitary huts in the woods.

It would hardly be accurate to call all the German sects Quakers,
since a great deal of their mysticism would have been anything
but congenial to the followers of Fox and Penn. Resemblances to
Quaker doctrine can, however, be found among many of them; and
there was one large sect, the Mennonites, who were often spoken
of as German Quakers. The two divisions fraternized and preached
in each other's meetings. The Mennonites were well educated as a
class and Pastorius, their leader, was a ponderously learned
German. Most of the German sects left the Quakers in undisturbed
possession of Philadelphia, and spread out into the surrounding
region, which was then a wilderness. They and all the other
Germans who afterwards followed them settled in a half circle
beginning at Easton on the Delaware, passing up the Lehigh Valley
into Lancaster County, thence across the Susquehanna and down the
Cumberland Valley to the Maryland border, which many of them
crossed, and in time scattered far to the south in Virginia and
even North Carolina, where their descendants are still found.

These German sects which came over under the influence of Penn
and the Quakers, between the years 1682 and 1702, formed a class
by themselves. Though they may be regarded as peculiar in their
ideas and often in their manner of life, it cannot be denied that
as a class they were a well-educated, thrifty, and excellent
people and far superior to the rough German peasants who followed
them in later years. This latter class was often spoken of in
Pennsylvania as "the church people," to distinguish them from
"the sects," as those of the earlier migration were called.

The church people, or peasantry of the later migration, belonged
usually to one of the two dominant churches of Germany, the
Lutheran or the Reformed. Those of the Reformed Church were often
spoken of as Calvinists. This migration of the church people was
not due to the example of the Quakers but was the result of a new
policy which was adopted by the British Government when Queen
Anne ascended the throne in 1702, and which aimed at keeping the
English people at home and at filling the English colonies in
America with foreign Protestants hostile to France and Spain.

Large numbers of these immigrants were "redemptioners," as they
were called; that is to say, they were persons who had been
obliged to sell themselves to the shipping agents to pay for
their passage. On their arrival in Pennsylvania the captain sold
them to the colonists to pay the passage, and the redemptioner
had to work for his owner for a period varying from five to ten
years. No stigma or disgrace clung to any of these people under
this system. It was regarded as a necessary business transaction.
Not a few of the very respectable families of the State and some
of its prominent men are known to be descended from

This method of transporting colonists proved a profitable trade
for the shipping people, and was soon regularly organized like
the modern assisted immigration. Agents, called "newlanders" and
"soul-sellers," traveled through Germany working up the
transatlantic traffic by various devices, some of them not
altogether creditable. Pennsylvania proved to be the most
attractive region for these immigrants. Some of those who were
taken to other colonies finally worked their way to Pennsylvania.
Practically none went to New England, and very few, if any, to
Virginia. Indeed, only certain colonies were willing to admit

Another important element that went to make up the Pennsylvania
population consisted of the Scotch-Irish. They were descendants
of Scotch and English Presbyterians who had gone to Ireland to
take up the estates of the Irish rebels confiscated under Queen
Elizabeth and James I. This migration of Protestants to Ireland,
which began soon after 1600, was encouraged by the English
Government. Towards the middle of the seventeenth century the
confiscation of more Irish land under Cromwell's regime increased
the migration to Ulster. Many English joined the migration, and
Scotch of the Lowlands who were largely of English extraction,
although there were many Gaelic or Celtic names among them.

These are the people usually known in English history as
Ulstermen--the same who made such a heroic defense of Londonderry
against James II, and the same who in modern times have resisted
home rule in Ireland because it would bury them, they believe,
under the tyranny of their old enemies, the native Irish Catholic
majority. They were more thrifty and industrious than the native
Irish and as a result they usually prospered on the Irish land.
At first they were in a more or less constant state of war with
the native Irish, who attempted to expel them. They were
subsequently persecuted by the Church of England under Charles I,
who attempted to force them to conform to the English established
religion. Such a rugged schooling in Ireland made of them a very
aggressive, hardy people, Protestants of the Protestants, so
accustomed to contests and warfare that they accepted it as the
natural state of man.

These Ulstermen came to Pennsylvania somewhat later than the
first German sects; and not many of them arrived until some years
after 1700. They were not, like the first Germans, attracted to
the colony by any resemblance of their religion to that of the
Quakers. On the contrary they were entirely out of sympathy with
the Quakers, except in the one point of religious liberty; and
the Quakers were certainly out of sympathy with them. Nearly all
the colonies in America received a share of these settlers.
Wherever they went they usually sought the frontier and the
wilderness; and by the time of the Revolution, they could be
found upon the whole colonial frontier from New Hampshire to
Georgia. They were quite numerous in Virginia, and most numerous
along the edge of the Pennsylvania wilderness. It was apparently
the liberal laws and the fertile soil that drew them to
Pennsylvania in spite of their contempt for most of the Quaker

The dream of their life, their haven of rest, was for these
Scotch-Irish a fertile soil where they would find neither Irish
"papists" nor Church of England; and for this reason in America
they always sought the frontier where they could be by
themselves. They could not even get on well with the Germans in
Pennsylvania; and when the Germans crowded into their frontier
settlements, quarrels became so frequent that the proprietors
asked the Ulstermen to move farther west, a suggestion which they
were usually quite willing to accept. At the close of the
colonial period in Pennsylvania the Quakers, the Church of
England people, and the miscellaneous denominations occupied
Philadelphia and the region round it in a half circle from the
Delaware River. Outside of this area lay another containing the
Germans, and beyond that were the Scotch-Irish. The principal
stronghold of the Scotch-Irish was the Cumberland Valley in
Southern Pennsylvania west of the Susquehanna, a region now
containing the flourishing towns of Chambersburg, Gettysburg,
Carlisle, and York, where the descendants of these early settlers
are still very numerous. In modern times, however, they have
spread out widely; they are now to be found all over the State,
and they no longer desire so strongly to live by themselves.

The Ulstermen, owing to the circumstances of their earlier life,
had no sympathy whatever with the Quaker's objection to war or
with his desire to deal fairly with the Indians and pay them for
their land. As Presbyterians and Calvinists, they belonged to one
of the older and more conservative divisions of the Reformation.
The Quaker's doctrine of the inward light, his quietism,
contemplation, and advanced ideas were quite incomprehensible to
them. As for the Indians, they held that the Old Testament
commands the destruction of all the heathen; and as for paying
the savages for their land, it seemed ridiculous to waste money
on such an object when they could exterminate the natives at less
cost. The Ulstermen, therefore, settled on the Indian land as
they pleased, or for that matter on any land, and were
continually getting into difficulty with the Pennsylvania
Government no less than with the Indians. They regarded any
region into which they entered as constituting a sovereign state.
It was this feeling of independence which subsequently prompted
them to organize what is known as the Whisky Rebellion when,
after the Revolution, the Federal Government put a tax on the
liquor which they so much esteemed as a product, for corn
converted into whisky was more easily transported on horses over
mountain trails, and in that form fetched a better price in the

After the year 1755, when the Quaker method of dealing with the
Indians no longer prevailed, the Scotch-Irish lived on the
frontier in a continual state of savage warfare which lasted for
the next forty years. War, hunting the abundant game, the deer,
buffalo, and elk, and some agriculture filled the measure of
their days and years. They paid little attention to the laws of
the province, which were difficult to enforce on the distant
frontier, and they administered a criminal code of their own with
whipping or "laced jacket," as they called it, as a punishment.
They were Jacks of all trades, weaving their own cloth and making
nearly everything they needed. They were the first people in
America to develop the use of the rifle, and they used it in the
Back Country all the way down into the Carolinas at a time when
it was seldom seen in the seaboard settlements. In those days,
rifles were largely manufactured in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and
there were several famous gunsmiths in Philadelphia. Some of the
best of these old rifles have been preserved and are really
beautiful weapons, with delicate hair triggers, gracefully curved
stocks, and quaint brass or even gold or silver mountings. The
ornamentation was often done by the hunter himself, who would
melt a gold or silver coin and pour it into some design which he
had carved with his knife in the stock.

The Revolution offered an opportunity after the Ulstermen's
heart, and they entered it with their entire spirit, as they had
every other contest which involved liberty and independence. In
fact, in that period they played such a conspicuous part that
they almost ruled Philadelphia, the original home of the Quakers.
Since then, spread out through the State, they have always had
great influence, the natural result of their energy,
intelligence, and love of education.

Nearly all these diverse elements of the Pennsylvania population
were decidedly sectional in character. The Welsh had a language
of their own, and they attempted, though without success, to
maintain it, as well as a government of their own within their
barony independent of the regular government of the province. The
Germans were also extremely sectional. They clung with better
success to their own language, customs, and literature. The
Scotch-Irish were so clannish that they had ideas of founding a
separate province on the Susquehanna. Even the Church of England
people were so aloof and partisan that, though they lived about
Philadelphia among the Quakers, they were extremely hostile to
the Quaker rule and unremittingly strove to destroy it.

All these cleavages and divisions in the population continue in
their effects to this day. They prevented the development of a
homogeneous population. No exact statistics were taken of the
numbers of the different nationalities in colonial times; but
Franklin's estimate is probably fairly accurate, and his position
in practical politics gave him the means of knowing and of
testing his calculations. About the year 1750 he estimated the
population as one-third Quaker, one-third German, and one-third
miscellaneous. This gave about 50,000 or 60,000 to each of the
thirds. Provost Smith, of the newly founded college, estimated
the Quakers at only about 40,000. But his estimate seems too low.
He was interested in making out their numbers small because he
was trying to show the absurdity of allowing such a small band of
fanatics and heretics to rule a great province of the British
Empire. One great source of the Quaker power lay in the sympathy
of the Germans, who always voted on their side and kept them in
control of the Legislature, so that it was in reality a case of
two-thirds ruling one-third. The Quakers, it must be admitted,
never lost their heads. Unperturbed through all the conflicts and
the jarring of races and sects, they held their position
unimpaired and kept the confidence and support of the Germans
until the Revolution changed everything.

The varied elements of population spread out in ever widening
half circles from Philadelphia as a center. There was nothing in
the character of the region to stop this progress. The country
all the way westward to the Susquehanna was easy hill, dale, and
valley, covered by a magnificent growth of large forest
trees--oaks, beeches, poplars, walnuts, hickories, and ash--which
rewarded the labor of felling by exposing to cultivation a most
fruitful soil.

The settlers followed the old Indian trails. The first westward
pioneers seem to have been the Welsh Quakers, who pushed due west
from Philadelphia and marked out the course of the famous
Lancaster Road, afterwards the Lancaster Turnpike. It took the
line of least resistance along the old trail, following ridges
until it reached the Susquehanna at a spot where an Indian
trader, named Harris, established himself and founded a post
which subsequently became Harrisburg, the capital of the State.

For a hundred years the Lancaster Road was the great highway
westward, at first to the mountains, then to the Ohio, and
finally to the Mississippi Valley and the Great West. Immigrants
and pioneers from all the New England and Middle States flocked
out that way to the land of promise in wagons, or horseback, or
trudging along on foot. Substantial taverns grew up along the
route; and habitual freighters and stage drivers, proud of their
fine teams of horses, grew into characters of the road. When the
Pennsylvania Railroad was built, it followed the same line. In
fact, most of the lines of railroad in the State follow Indian
trails. The trails for trade and tribal intercourse led east and
west. The warrior trails usually led north and south, for that
had long been the line of strategy and conquest of the tribes.
The northern tribes, or Six Nations, established in the lake
region of New York near the headwaters of the Delaware, the
Susquehanna, and the Ohio, had the advantage of these river
valleys for descending into the whole Atlantic seaboard and the
valley of the Mississippi. They had in consequence conquered all
the tribes south of them as far even as the Carolinas and
Georgia. All their trails of conquest led across Pennsylvania.

The Germans in their expansion at first seem to have followed up
the Schuylkill Valley and its tributaries, and they hold this
region to the present day. Gradually they crossed the watershed
to the Susquehanna and broke into the region of the famous
limestone soil in Lancaster County, a veritable farmer's paradise
from which nothing will ever drive them. Many Quaker farmers
penetrated north and northeast from Philadelphia into Bucks
County, a fine rolling and hilly wheat and corn region, where
their descendants are still found and whence not a few well-known
Philadelphia families have come.

The Quaker government of Pennsylvania in almost a century of its
existence largely fulfilled its ideals. It did not succeed in
governing without war; but the war was not its fault. It did
succeed in governing without oaths. An affirmation instead of an
oath became the law of Pennsylvania for all who chose an
affirmation; and this law was soon adopted by most American
communities. It succeeded in establishing religious liberty in
Pennsylvania in the fullest sense of the word. It brought
Christianity nearer to its original simplicity and made it less
superstitious and cruel.

The Quakers had always maintained that it was a mistake to
suppose that their ideas would interfere with material prosperity
and happiness; and they certainly proved their contention in
Pennsylvania. To Quaker liberalism was due not merely the
material prosperity, but prison reform and the notable public
charities of Pennsylvania; in both of which activities, as in the
abolition of slavery, the Quakers were leaders. Original research
in science also flourished in a marked degree in colonial
Pennsylvania. No one in those days knew the nature of thunder and
lightning, and the old explanation that they were the voice of an
angry God was for many a sufficient explanation. Franklin, by a
long series of experiments in the free Quaker colony, finally
proved in 1752 that lightning was electricity, that is to say, a
manifestation of the same force that is produced when glass is
rubbed with buckskin. He invented the lightning rod, discovered
the phenomenon of positive and negative electricity, explained
the action of the Leyden jar, and was the first American writer
on the modern science of political economy. This energetic
citizen of Pennsylvania spent a large part of his life in
research; he studied the Gulf Stream, storms and their causes,
waterspouts, whirlwinds; and he established the fact that the
northeast storms of the Atlantic coast usually move against the

But Franklin was not the only scientist in the colony. Besides
his three friends, Kinnersley, Hopkinson, and Syng, who worked
with him and helped him in his discoveries, there were David
Rittenhouse, the astronomer, John Bartram, the botanist, and a
host of others. Rittenhouse excelled in every undertaking which
required the practical application of astronomy, He attracted
attention even in Europe for his orrery which indicated the
movements of the stars and which was an advance on all previous
instruments of the kind. When astronomers in Europe were seeking
to have the transit of Venus of 1769 observed in different parts
of the world, Pennsylvania alone of the American colonies seems
to have had the man and the apparatus necessary for the work.
Rittenhouse conducted the observations at three points and won a
world-wide reputation by the accuracy and skill of his
observations. The whole community was interested in this
scientific undertaking; the Legislature and public institutions
raised the necessary funds; and the American Philosophical
Society, the only organization of its kind in the colonies, had
charge of the preparations.

The American Philosophical Society had been started in
Philadelphia in 1743. It was the first scientific society to be
founded in America, and throughout the colonial period it was the
only society of its kind in the country. Its membership included
not only prominent men throughout America, such as Thomas
Jefferson, who were interested in scientific inquiry, but also
representatives of foreign nations. With its library of rare and
valuable collections and its annual publication of essays on
almost every branch of science, the society still continues its
useful scientific work.

John Bartram, who was the first botanist to describe the plants
of the New World and who explored the whole country from the
Great Lakes to Florida, was a Pennsylvania Quaker of colonial
times, farmer born and bred. Thomas Godfrey, also a colonial
Pennsylvanian, was rewarded by the Royal Society of England for
an improvement which he made in the quadrant. Peter Collinson of
England, a famous naturalist and antiquarian of early times, was
a Quaker. In modern times John Dalton, the discoverer of the
atomic theory of colorblindness, was born of Quaker parents, and
Edward Cope, of a well-known Philadelphia Quaker family, became
one of the most eminent naturalists and paleontologists of the
nineteenth century, and unaided discovered over a third of the
three thousand extinct species of vertebrates recognized by men
of science. In the field of education, Lindley Murray, the
grammarian of a hundred years ago, was a Quaker. Ezra Cornell, a
Quaker, founded the great university in New York which bears his
name; and Johns Hopkins, also a Quaker, founded the university of
that name in Baltimore.

Pennsylvania deserves the credit of turning these early
scientific pursuits to popular uses. The first American
professorship of botany and natural history was established in
Philadelphia College, now the University of Pennsylvania. The
first American book on a medical subject was written in
Philadelphia by Thomas Cadwalader in 1740; the first American
hospital was established there in 1751; and the first systematic
instruction in medicine. Since then Philadelphia has produced a
long line of physicians and surgeons of national and European
reputation. For half a century after the Revolution the city was
the center of medical education for the country and it still
retains a large part of that preeminence. The Academy of Natural
Sciences founded in Philadelphia in 1812 by two inconspicuous
young men, an apothecary and a dentist, soon became by the
spontaneous support of the community a distinguished institution.
It sent out two Arctic expeditions, that of Kane and that of
Hayes, and has included among its members the most prominent men
of science in America. It is now the oldest as well as the most
complete institution of its kind in the country. The Franklin
Institute, founded in Philadelphia in 1824, was the result of a
similar scientific interest. It was the first institution of
applied science and the mechanic arts in America. Descriptions of
the first 2900 patents issued by the United States Government are
to be found only on the pages of its Journal, which is still an
authoritative annual record.

Apart from their scientific attainments, one of the most
interesting facts about the Quakers is the large proportion of
them who have reached eminence, often in occupations which are
supposed to be somewhat inconsistent with Quaker doctrine.
General Greene, the most capable American officer of the
Revolution, after Washington. was a Rhode Island Quaker. General
Mifflin of the Revolution was a Pennsylvania Quaker. General
Jacob Brown, a Bucks County Pennsylvania Quaker, reorganized the
army in the War of 1819. and restored it to its former
efficiency. In the long list of Quakers eminent in all walks of
life, not only in Pennsylvania but elsewhere, are to be found
John Bright, a lover of peace and human liberty through a long
and eminent career in British politics; John Dickinson of
Philadelphia, who wrote the famous Farmer's Letters so signally
useful in the American Revolution; Whittier, the American poet, a
Quaker born in Massachusetts of a family converted from
Puritanism when the Quakers invaded Boston in the seventeenth
century; and Benjamin West, a Pennsylvania Quaker of colonial
times, an artist of permanent eminence, one of the founders of
the Royal Academy in England and its president in succession to
Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Wherever Quakers are found they are the useful and steady
citizens. Their eminence seems out of all proportion to their
comparatively small numbers. It has often been asked why this
height of attainment should occur among a people of such narrow
religious discipline. But were the Quakers really narrow, or were
they any more narrow than other rigorously self-disciplined
people: Spartans, Puritans, soldiers whose discipline enables
to achieve great results? All discipline is in one sense narrow.
Quaker quietude and retirement probably conserved mental energy
instead of dissipating it. In an age of superstition and
irrational religion, their minds were free and unhampered, and it
was the dominant rational tone of their thought that enabled
science to flourish in Pennsylvania.

Chapter V. The Troubles Of Penn And His Sons

The material prosperity of Penn's Holy Experiment kept on proving
itself over and over again every month of the year. But meantime
great events were taking place in England. The period of fifteen
years from Penn's return to England in 1684, until his return to
Pennsylvania at the close of the year of 1699, was an eventful
time in English history. It was long for a proprietor to be away
from his province, and Penn would have left a better reputation
if he had passed those fifteen years in his colony, for in
England during that period he took what most Americans believe to
have been the wrong side in the Revolution of 1688.

Penn was closely tied by both interest and friendship to Charles
II and the Stuart family. When Charles II died in 1685 and his
brother, the Duke of York, ascended the throne as James II, Penn
was equally bound to him, because among other things the Duke of
York had obtained Penn's release in 1669 from imprisonment for
his religious opinions. He became still more bound when one of
the first acts of the new King's reign was the release of a great
number of people who had been imprisoned for their religion,
among them thirteen hundred Quakers. In addition to preaching to
the Quakers and protecting them, Penn used his influence with
James to secure the return of several political offenders from
exile. His friendship with James raised him, indeed, to a
position of no little importance at Court. He was constantly
consulted by the King, in whose political policy he gradually
became more and more involved.

James was a Roman Catholic and soon perfected his plans for
making both Church and State a papal appendage and securing for
the Crown the right to suspend acts of Parliament. Penn at first
protested, but finally supported the King in the belief that he
would in the end establish liberty. In his earlier years,
however, Penn had written pamphlets arguing strenuously against
the same sort of despotic schemes that James was now undertaking;
and this contradiction of his former position seriously injured
his reputation even among his own people.

Part of the policy of James was to grant many favors to the
Quakers and to all other dissenting bodies in England, to release
them from prison, to give them perfect freedom of worship, and to
remove the test laws which prevented them from holding office. He
thus hoped to unite them with the Roman Catholics in extirpating
the Church of England and establishing the Papacy in its place.
But the dissenters and nonconformists, though promised relief
from sufferings severer than it is possible perhaps now to
appreciate, refused almost to a man this tempting bait. Even the
Quakers, who had suffered probably more than the others, rejected
the offer with indignation and mourned the fatal mistake of their
leader Penn. All Protestant England united in condemning him,
accused him of being a secret Papist and a Jesuit in disguise,
and believed him guilty of acts and intentions of which he was
probably entirely innocent. This extreme feeling against Penn is
reflected in Macaulay's "History of England," which strongly
espouses the Whig side; and in those vivid pages Penn is
represented, and very unfairly, as nothing less than a scoundrel.

In spite of the attempts which James made to secure his position,
the dissenters, the Church of England, and Penn's own Quakers all
joined heart and soul in the Revolution of 1688, which quickly
dethroned the King, drove him from England, and placed the Prince
of Orange on the throne as William III. Penn was now for many
years in a very unfortunate, if not dangerous, position, and was
continually suspected of plotting to restore James. For three
years he was in hiding to escape arrest or worse, and he largely
lost the good will and affection of the Quakers.

Meantime, since his departure from Pennsylvania in the summer of
1684, that province went on increasing in population and in
pioneer prosperity. But Penn's quitrents and money from sales of
land were far in arrears, and he had been and still was at great
expense in starting the colony and in keeping up the plantation
and country seat he had established on the Delaware River above
Philadelphia. Troublesome political disputes also arose. The
Council of eighteen members which he had authorized to act as
governor in his absence neglected to send the new laws to him,
slighted his letters, and published laws in their own name
without mentioning him or the King. These irregularities were
much exaggerated by enemies of the Quakers in England. The
Council was not a popular body and was frequently at odds with
the Assembly.

Penn thought he could improve the government by appointing five
commissioners to act as governor instead of the whole Council.
Thomas Lloyd, an excellent Quaker who had been President of the
Council and who had done much to allay hard feeling, was
fortunately the president of these commissioners. Penn instructed
them to act as if he himself were present, and at the next
meeting of the Assembly to annul all the laws and reenact only
such as seemed proper. This course reminds us of the absolutism
of his friend, King James, and, indeed, the date of these
instructions (1686) is that when his intimacy with that bigoted
monarch reached its highest point. Penn's theory of his power was
that the frame or constitution of government he had given the
province was a contract; that, the Council and Assembly having
violated some of its provisions, it was annulled and he was free,
at least for a time, to govern as he pleased. Fortunately his
commissioners never attempted to carry out these instructions.
There would have been a rebellion and some very unpleasant
history if they had undertaken to enforce such oriental despotism
in Pennsylvania. The five commissioners with Thomas Lloyd at
their head seem to have governed without seriously troublesome
incidents for the short term of two years during which they were
in power. But in 1687 Thomas Lloyd, becoming weary of directing
them, asked to be relieved and is supposed to have advised Penn
to appoint a single executive instead of commissioners. Penn
accordingly appointed Captain John Blackwell, formerly an officer
in Cromwell's army. Blackwell was not a Quaker but a "grave,
sober, wise man," as Penn wrote to a friend, who would "bear down
with a visible authority vice and faction." It was hoped that he
would vigorously check all irregularities and bring Penn better
returns from quitrents and sales of land.

But this new governor clashed almost at once with the Assembly,
tried to make them pass a militia law, suggested that the
province's trade to foreign countries was illegal, persecuted and
arrested members of the Assembly, refused to submit new laws to
it, and irritated the people by suggesting the invalidity of
their favorite laws. The Quaker Assembly withstood and resisted
him until they wore him out. After a year and one month in office
he resigned at Penn's request or, according to some accounts, at
his own request. At any rate, he expressed himself as delighted
to be relieved. As a Puritan soldier he found himself no match
for a peaceable Quaker Assembly.

Penn again made the Council the executive with Thomas Lloyd as
its President. But to the old causes of unrest a new one was now
added. One George Keith, a Quaker, turned heretic and carried a
number of Pennsylvania Quakers over to the Church of England,
thereby causing great scandal. The "Lower Counties" or
Territories, as the present State of Delaware was then called,
became mutinous, withdrew their representatives from the Council,
and made William Markham their Governor. This action together
with the Keithian controversy, the disturbances over Blackwell,
and the clamors of Church of England people that Penn was absent
and neglecting his province, that the Quakers would make no
military defense, and that the province might at any time fall
into the hands of France, came to the ears of King William, who
was already ill disposed toward Penn and distrusted him as a
Jacobite. It seemed hardly advisable to allow a Jacobite to rule
a British colony. Accordingly a royal order suspended Penn's
governmental authority and placed the province under Benjamin
Fletcher, Governor of New York. He undertook to rule in
dictatorial fashion, threatening to annex the province to New
York, and as a consequence the Assembly had plenty of trouble
with him. But two years later, 1694, the province was returned to
Penn, who now appointed as Governor William Markham, who had
served as lieutenant-governor under Fletcher.

Markham proceeded to be high-handed with the Assembly and to
administer the government in the imperialistic style of Fletcher.
But the Assembly soon tamed him and in 1696 actually worried out
of him a new constitution, which became known as Markham's Frame,
proved much more popular than the one Penn had given, and allowed
the Assembly much more power. Markham had no conceivable right to
assent to it and Penn never agreed to it; but it was lived under
for the next four years until Penn returned to the province.
While it naturally had opponents, it was largely regarded as
entirely valid, and apparently with the understanding that it was
to last until Penn objected to it.

Penn had always been longing to return to Pennsylvania and live
there for the rest of his life; but the terrible times of the
Revolution of 1688 in England and its consequences had held him
back. Those difficulties had now passed. Moreover, William III
had established free government and religious liberty. No more
Quakers were imprisoned and Penn's old occupation of securing
their protection and release was gone.

In the autumn of 1699 he sailed for Pennsylvania with his family
and, arriving after a tedious three months' voyage, was well
received. His political scrapes and mistakes in England seemed to
be buried in the past. He was soon at his old enjoyable life
again, traveling actively about the country, preaching to the
Quakers, and enlarging and beautifying his country seat,
Pennsbury, on the Delaware, twenty miles above Philadelphia. As
roads and trails were few and bad he usually traveled to and from
the town in a barge which was rowed by six oarsmen and which
seemed to give him great pride and pleasure.

Two happy years passed away in this manner, during which Penn
seems to have settled, not however without difficulty, a great
deal of business with his people, the Assembly, and the Indian
tribes. Unfortunately he got word from England of a bill in
Parliament for the revocation of colonial charters and for the
establishment of royal governments in their place. He must needs
return to England to fight it. Shortly before he sailed the
Assembly presented him with a draft of a new constitution or
frame of government which they had been discussing with him and
preparing for some time. This he accepted, and it became the
constitution under which Pennsylvania lived and prospered for
seventy-five years, until the Revolution of 1776.

This new constitution was quite liberal. The most noticeable
feature of it was the absence of any provision for the large
elective council or upper house of legislation, which had been
very unpopular. The Assembly thus became the one legislative
body. There was incidental reference in the document to a
governor's council, although there was no formal clause creating
it. Penn and his heirs after his death always appointed a small
council as an advisory body for the deputy governor. The Assembly
was to be chosen annually by the freemen and to be composed of
four representatives from each county. It could originate bills,
control its own adjournments without interference from the
Governor, choose its speaker and other officers, and judge of the
qualifications and election of its own members. These were
standard Anglo-Saxon popular parliamentary rights developed by
long struggles in England and now established in Pennsylvania
never to be relaxed. Finally a clause in the constitution
permitted the Lower Counties, or Territories, under certain
conditions to establish home rule. In 1705 the Territories took
advantage of this concession and set up an assembly of their own.

Immediately after signing the constitution, in the last days of
October, 1701, Penn sailed for England, expecting soon to return.
But he became absorbed in affairs in England and never saw his
colony again. This was unfortunate because Pennsylvania soon
became a torment to him instead of a great pleasure as it always
seems to have been when he lived in it. He was a happy present
proprietor, but not a very happy absentee one.

The Church of England people in Pennsylvania entertained great
hopes of this proposal to turn the proprietary colonies into
royal provinces. Under such a change, while the Quakers might
still have an influence in the Legislature, the Crown would
probably give the executive offices to Churchmen. They therefore
labored hard to discredit the Quakers. They kept harping on the
absurdity of a set of fanatics attempting to govern a colony
without a militia and without administering oaths of office or
using oaths in judicial proceedings. How could any one's life be
safe from foreign enemies without soldiers, and what safeguard
was there for life, liberty, and property before judges, jurors,
and witnesses, none of whom had been sworn? The Churchmen kept up
their complaints for along time, but without effect in England.
Penn was able to thwart all their plans. The bill to change the
province into a royal one was never passed by Parliament. Penn
returned to his court life, his preaching, and his theological
writing, a rather curious combination and yet one by which he had
always succeeded in protecting his people. He was a favorite with
Queen Anne, who was now on the throne, and he led an expensive
life which, with the cost of his deputy governor's salary in the
colony, the slowness of his quitrent collections, and the
dishonesty of the steward of his English estates, rapidly brought
him into debt. To pay the government expense of a small colonial
empire and at the same time to lead the life of a courtier and to
travel as a preacher would have exhausted a stronger exchequer
than Penn's.

The contests between the different deputy governors, whom Penn or
his descendants sent out, and the Quaker Legislature fill the
annals of the province for the next seventy years, down to the
Revolution. These quarrels, when compared with the larger
national political contests of history, seem petty enough and
even tedious in detail. But, looked at in another aspect, they
are important because they disclose how liberty, self-government,
republicanism, and many of the constitutional principles by which
Americans now live were gradually developed as the colonies grew
towards independence. The keynote to all these early contests
was what may be called the fundamental principle of colonial
constitutional law or, at any rate, of constitutional practice,
namely, that the Governor, whether royal or proprietary, must
always be kept poor. His salary or income must never become a
fixed or certain sum but must always be dependent on the annual
favor and grants of a legislature controlled by the people. This
belief was the foundation of American colonial liberty. The
Assemblies, not only in Pennsylvania but in other colonies, would
withhold the Governor's salary until he consented to their
favorite laws. If he vetoed their laws, he received no salary.
One of the causes of the Revolution in 1776 was the attempt of
the mother country to make the governors and other colonial
officials dependent for their salaries on the Government in
England instead of on the legislatures in the colonies.

So the squabbles, as we of today are inclined to call them, went
on in Pennsylvania--provincial and petty enough, but often very
large and important so far as the principle which they involved
was concerned. The Legislature of Pennsylvania in those days was
a small body composed of only about twenty-five or thirty
members, most of them sturdy, thrifty Quakers. They could meet
very easily anywhere--at the Governor's house, if in conference
with him, or at the treasurer's office or at the loan office, if
investigating accounts. Beneath their broad brim hats and grave
demeanor they were as Anglo-Saxon at heart as Robin Hood and his
merry men, and in their ninety years of political control they
built up as goodly a fabric of civil liberty as can be found in
any community in the world.

The dignified, confident message from a deputy governor, full of
lofty admonitions of their duty to the Crown, the province, and
the proprietor, is often met by a sarcastic, stinging reply of
the Assembly. David Lloyd, the Welsh leader of the
anti-proprietary party, and Joseph Wilcox, another leader, became
very skillful in drafting these profoundly respectful but deeply
cutting replies. In after years, Benjamin Franklin attained even
greater skill. In fact, it is not unlikely that he developed a
large measure of his world famous aptness in the use of language
in the process of drafting these replies. The composing of these
official communications was important work, for a reply had to be
telling and effective not only with the Governor but with the
people who learned of its contents at the coffeehouse and spread
the report of it among all classes. There was not a little
good-fellowship in their contests; and Franklin, for instance,
tells us how he used to abuse a certain deputy governor all day
in the Assembly and then dine with him in jovial intercourse in
the evening.

The Assembly had a very convenient way of accomplishing its
purposes in legislation in spite of the opposition of the British
Government. Laws when passed and approved by the deputy governor
had to be sent to England for approval by the Crown within five
years. But meanwhile the people would live under the law for five
years, and, if at the end of that time it was disallowed, the
Assembly would reenact the measure and live under it again for
another period.

The ten years after Penn's return to England in 1701 were full of
trouble for him. Money returns from the province were slow,
partly because England was involved in war and trade depressed,
and partly because the Assembly, exasperated by the deputy
governors he appointed, often refused to vote the deputy a salary
and left Penn to bear all the expense of government. He was being
rapidly overwhelmed with debt. One of his sons was turning out
badly. The manager of his estates in England and Ireland, Philip
Ford, was enriching himself by the trust, charging compound
interest at eight per cent every six months, and finally claiming
that Penn owed him 14,000 pounds. Ford had rendered accounts from
time to time, but Penn in his careless way had tossed them aside
without examination. When Ford pressed for payment, Penn, still
without making any investigation, foolishly gave Ford a deed in
fee simple of Pennsylvania as security. Afterwards he accepted
from Ford a lease of the province, which was another piece of
folly, for the lease could, of course, be used as evidence to
show that the deed was an absolute conveyance and not intended as
a mortgage.

This unfortunate business Ford kept quiet during his lifetime.
But on his death his widow and son made everything public,
professed to be the proprietors of Pennsylvania, and sued Penn
for 2000 pounds rent in arrears. They obtained a judgment for the
amount claimed and, as Penn could not pay, they had him arrested
and imprisoned for debt. For nine months he was locked up in the
debtors' prison, the "Old Bailey," and there he might have
remained indefinitely if some of his friends had not raised
enough money to compromise with the Fords. Isaac Norris, a
prominent Quaker from Pennsylvania, happened at that time to be
in England and exerted himself to set Penn free and save the
province from further disgrace. After this there was a reaction
in Penn's favor. He selected a better deputy governor for
Pennsylvania. He wrote a long and touching letter to the people,
reminding them how they had flourished and grown rich and free
under his liberal laws, while he had been sinking in poverty.

After that conditions improved in the affairs of Penn. The colony
was better governed, and the anti-proprietary party almost
disappeared. The last six or eight years of Penn's life were free
from trouble. He had ceased his active work at court, for
everything that could be accomplished for the Quakers in the way
of protection and favorable laws had now been done. Penn spent
his last years in trying to sell the government of his province
to the Crown for a sum that would enable him to pay his debts and
to restore his family to prosperity. But he was too particular in
stipulating that the great principles of civil and religious
liberty on which the colony had been established should not be
infringed. He had seen how much evil had resulted to the rights
of the people when the proprietors of the Jerseys parted with
their right to govern. In consequence he required so many
safeguards that the sale of Pennsylvania was delayed and delayed
until its founder was stricken with paralysis. Penn lingered for
some years, but his intellect was now too much clouded to make a
valid sale. The event, however, was fortunate for Pennsylvania,
which would probably otherwise have lost many valuable rights and
privileges by becoming a Crown colony.

On July 30,1718, Penn died at the age of seventy-four. His widow
became proprietor of the province, probably the only woman who
ever became feudal proprietor of such an immense domain. She
appointed excellent deputy governors and ruled with success for
eight years until her death in 1726. In her time the ocean was
free from enemy cruisers, and the trade of the colony grew so
rapidly that the increasing sales of land and quitrents soon
enabled her to pay off the mortgage on the province and all the
rest of her husband's debts. It was sad that Penn did not live to
see that day, which he had so hoped for in his last years, when,
with ocean commerce free from depredations, the increasing money
returns from his province would obviate all necessity of selling
the government to the Crown.

With all debts paid and prosperity increasing, Penn's sons became
very rich men. Death had reduced the children to three--John,
Thomas, and Richard. Of these, Thomas became what may be called
the managing proprietor, and the others were seldom heard of.
Thomas lived in the colony nine years--1732 to 1741-- studying
its affairs and sitting as a member of the Council. For over
forty years he was looked upon as the proprietor. In fact, he
directed the great province for almost as long a time as his
father had managed it. But he was so totally unlike his father
that it is difficult to find the slightest resemblance in feature
or in mind. He was not in the least disposed to proclaim or argue
about religion. Like the rest of his family, he left the Quakers
and joined the Church of England, a natural evolution in the case
of many Quakers. He was a prosperous, accomplished, sensible,
cool-headed gentleman, by no means without ability, but without
any inclination for setting the world on fire. He was a careful,
economical man of business, which is more than can be said of his
distinguished father. He saw no visions and cared nothing for
grand speculations.

Thomas Penn, however, had his troubles and disputes with the
Assembly. They thought him narrow and close. Perhaps he was. That
was the opinion of him held by Franklin, who led the
anti-proprietary party. But at the same time some consideration
must be given to the position in which Penn found himself. He had
on his hands an empire, rich, fertile, and inhabited by
liberty-loving Anglo-Saxons and by passive Germans. He had to
collect from their land the purchase money and quitrents rapidly
rolling up in value with the increase of population into millions
of pounds sterling, for which he was responsible to his
relatives. At the same time he had to influence the politics of
the province, approve or reject laws in such a way that his
family interest would be protected from attack or attempted
confiscation, keep the British Crown satisfied, and see that the
liberties of the colonists were not impaired and that the people
were kept contented.

It was not an easy task even for a clear-headed man like Thomas
Penn. He had to arrange for treaties with the Indians and for the
purchase of their lands in accordance with the humane ideas of
his father and in the face of the Scotch-Irish thirst for Indian
blood and the French desire to turn the savages loose upon the
Anglo-Saxon settlements. He had to fight through the boundary
disputes with Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia, which
threatened to reduce his empire to a mere strip of land
containing neither Philadelphia nor Pittsburgh. The controversy
with Connecticut lasted throughout the colonial period and was
not definitely settled till the close of the Revolution. The
charter of Connecticut granted by the British Crown extended the
colony westward to the Pacific Ocean and cut off the northern
half of the tract afterwards granted to William Penn. In
pursuance of what they believed to be their rights, the
Connecticut people settled in the beautiful valley of Wyoming.
They were thereupon ejected by force by the proprietors of
Pennsylvania; but they returned, only to be ejected again and
again in a petty warfare carried on for many years. In the summer
of 1778, the people of the valley were massacred by the Iroquois
Indians. The history of this Connecticut boundary dispute fills
volumes. So does the boundary dispute with Maryland, which also
lasted throughout the colonial period; the dispute with Virginia
over the site of Pittsburgh is not so voluminous. All these
controversies Thomas Penn conducted with eminent skill,
inexhaustible patience, and complete success. For this
achievement the State owes him a debt of gratitude.

Thomas Penn was in the extraordinary position of having to govern
as a feudal lord what was virtually a modern community. He was
exercising feudal powers three hundred years after all the
reasons for the feudal system had ceased to exist; and he was
exercising those powers and acquiring by them vast wealth from a
people in a new and wild country whose convictions, both civil
and religious, were entirely opposed to anything like the feudal
system. It must certainly be put down as something to his credit
that he succeeded so well as to retain control both of the
political government and his family's increasing wealth down to
the time of the Revolution and that he gave on the whole so
little offense to a high-strung people that in the Revolution
they allowed his family to retain a large part of their land and
paid them liberally for what was confiscated.

The wealth which came to the three brothers they spent after the
manner of the time in country life. John and Richard do not
appear to have had remarkable country seats. But Thomas purchased
in 1760 the fine English estate of Stoke Park, which had belonged
to Sir Christopher Hatton of Queen Elizabeth's time, to Lord
Coke, and later to the Cobham family. Thomas's son John, grandson
of the founder, greatly enlarged and beautified the place and far
down into the nineteenth century it was one of the notable
country seats of England. This John Penn also built another
country place called Pennsylvania Castle, equally picturesque and
interesting, on the Isle of Portland, of which he was Governor.

Chapter VI. The French And Indian War

There was no great change in political conditions in Pennsylvania
until about the year 1755. The French in Canada had been
gradually developing their plans of spreading down the Ohio and
Mississippi valleys behind the English colonies. They were at the
same time securing alliances with the Indians and inciting them
to hostilities against the English. But so rapidly were the
settlers advancing that often the land could not be purchased
fast enough to prevent irritation and ill feeling. The
Scotch-Irish and Germans, it has already been noted, settled on
lands without the formality of purchase from the Indians. The
Government, when the Indians complained, sometimes ejected the
settlers but more often hastened to purchase from the Indians the
land which had been occupied. "The Importance of the British
Plantations in America," published in 1731, describes the Indians
as peaceful and contented in Pennsylvania but irritated and
unsettled in those other colonies where they had usually been
ill-treated and defrauded. This, with other evidence, goes to
show that up to that time Penn's policy of fairness and good
treatment still prevailed. But those conditions soon changed, as
the famous Walking Purchase of 1737 clearly indicated.

The Walking Purchase had provided for the sale of some lands
along the Delaware below the Lehigh on a line starting at
Wrightstown, a few miles back from the Delaware not far above
Trenton, and running northwest, parallel with the river, as far
as a man could walk in a day and a half. The Indians understood
that this tract would extend northward only to the Lehigh, which
was the ordinary journey of a day and a half. The proprietors,
however, surveyed the line beforehand, marked the trees, engaged
the fastest walkers and, with horses to carry provisions, started
their men at sunrise. By running a large part of the way, at the
end of a day and a half these men had reached a point thirty
miles beyond the Lehigh.

The Delaware Indians regarded this measurement as a pure fraud
and refused to abandon the Minisink region north of the Lehigh.
The proprietors then called in the assistance of the Six Nations
of New York, who ordered the Delawares off the Minisink lands.
Though they obeyed, the Delawares became the relentless enemies
of the white man and in the coming years revenged themselves by
massacres and murder. They also broke the control which the Six
Nations had over them, became an independent nation, and in the
French Wars revenged themselves on the Six Nations as well as on
the white men. The congress which convened at Albany in 1754
was an attempt on the part of the British Government to settle
all Indian affairs in a general agreement and to prevent separate
treaties by the different colonies; but the Pennsylvania
delegates, by various devices of compass courses which the
Indians did not understand and by failing to notify and secure
the consent of certain tribes, obtained a grant of pretty much
the whole of Pennsylvania west of the Susquehanna. The Indians
considered this procedure to be another gross fraud. It is to be
noticed that in their dealings with Penn they had always been
satisfied, and that he had always been careful that they should
be duly consulted and if necessary be paid twice over for the
land. But his sons were more economical, and as a result of the
shrewd practices of the Albany purchase the Pennsylvania Indians
almost immediately went over in a body to the French and were
soon scalping men, women, and children among the Pennsylvania
colonists. It is a striking fact, however, that in all the
after years of war and rapine and for generations afterwards the
Indians retained the most distinct and positive tradition of
Penn's good faith and of the honesty of all Quakers. So
persistent, indeed, was this tradition among the tribes of the
West that more than a century later President Grant proposed to
put the whole charge of the nation's Indian affairs in the hands
of the Quakers. The first efforts to avert the catastrophe
threatened by the alliance of the red man with the French were
made by the provincial assemblies, which voted presents of money
or goods to the Indians to offset similar presents from the
French. The result was, of course, the utter demoralization of
the savages. Bribed by both sides, the Indians used all their
native cunning to encourage the bribers to bid against each
other. So far as Pennsylvania was concerned, feeling themselves
cheated in the first instance and now bribed with gifts, they
developed a contempt for the people who could stoop to such
practices. As a result this contempt manifested itself in deeds
hitherto unknown in the province. One tribe on a visit to
Philadelphia killed cattle and robbed orchards as they passed.
The delegates of another tribe, having visited Philadelphia and
received 500 pounds as a present, returned to the frontier and on
their way back for another present destroyed the property of the
interpreter and Indian agent, Conrad Weiser. They felt that they
could do as they pleased. To make matters worse, the Assembly
paid for all the damage done; and having started on this foolish
business, they found that the list of tribes demanding presents
rapidly increased. The Shawanoes and the Six Nations, as well as
the Delawares, were now swarming to this new and convenient
source of wealth.

Whether the proprietors or the Assembly should meet this
increasing expense or divide it between them, became a subject of
increasing controversy. It was in these discussions that Thomas
Penn, in trying to keep his family's share of the expense as
small as possible, first got the reputation for closeness which
followed him for the rest of his life and which started a party
in the province desirous of having Parliament abolish the
proprietorship and put the province under a governor appointed by
the Crown.

The war with the French of Canada and their Indian allies is of
interest here only in so far as it affected the government of
Pennsylvania. From this point of view it involved a series of
contests between the proprietors and the Crown on the one side
and the Assembly on the other. The proprietors and the Crown took
advantage of every military necessity to force the Assembly into
a surrender of popular rights. But the Assembly resisted,
maintaining that they had the same right as the British Commons
of having their money bills received or rejected by the Governor
without amendment. Whatever they should give must be given on
their own terms or not at all; and they would not yield this
point to any necessities of the war.

When Governor Morris asked the Assembly for a war contribution in
1754, they promptly voted 20,000 pounds. This was the same amount
that Virginia, the most active of the colonies in the war, was
giving. Other colonies gave much less; New York, only 5000
pounds, and Maryland 6000 pounds. Morris, however, would not
assent to the Assembly's bill unless it contained a clause
suspending its effect until the King's pleasure was known. This
was an attempt to establish a precedent for giving up the
Assembly's charter right of passing laws which need not be
submitted to the King for five years and which in the meantime
were valid. The members of the Assembly very naturally refused to
be forced by the necessities of the war into surrendering one of
the most important privileges the province possessed. It was,
they said, as much their duty to resist this invasion of their
rights as to resist the French.

Governor Morris, besides demanding that the supply of 20,000
pounds should not go into force until the King's pleasure was
known, insisted that the paper money representing it should be
redeemable in five years. This period the Assembly considered too
short; the usual time was ten years. Five years would ruin too
many people by foreclosures. Moreover, the Governor was
attempting to dictate the way in which the people should raise a
money supply. He and the King had a right to ask for aid in war;
but it was the right of the colony to use its own methods of
furnishing this assistance. The Governor also refused to let the
Assembly see the instructions from the proprietors under which he
was acting. This was another attack upon their liberties and
involved nothing less than an attempt to change their charter
rights by secret instructions to a deputy governor which he must
obey at his peril. Several bills had recently been introduced in
the English Parliament for the purpose of making royal
instructions to governors binding on all the colonial assemblies
without regard to their charters. This innovation, the colonists
felt, would wreck all their liberties and turn colonial
government into a mere despotism.

The assemblies of all the colonies have been a good deal abused
for delay in supporting the war and meanness in withholding
money. But in many instances the delay and lack of money were
occasioned by the grasping schemes of governors who saw a chance
to gain new privileges for the Crown or a proprietor or to weaken
popular government by crippling the powers of the legislatures.
The usual statement that the Pennsylvania Assembly was slow in
assisting the war because it was composed of Quakers is not
supported by the facts. The Pennsylvania Assembly was not behind
the rest. On this particular occasion, when their large money
supply bill could not be passed without sacrificing their
constitutional rights, they raised money for the war by
appointing a committee which was authorized to borrow 5000 pounds
on the credit of the Assembly.

Other contests arose over the claim of the proprietors that their
estates in the province were exempt from taxation for the war or
any purpose. One bill taxing the proprietary estates along with
others was met by Thomas Penn offering to subscribe 5000 pounds,
as a free gift to the colony's war measures. The Assembly
accepted this, and passed the bill without taxing the proprietary
estates. It turned out, however, to be a shrewd business move on
the part of Thomas Penn; for the 5000 pounds was to be collected
out of the quitrents that were in arrears, and the payment of it
was in consequence long delayed. The thrifty Thomas had thus
saddled his bad debts on the province and gained a reputation for
generosity at the same time.

Pennsylvania, though governed by Quakers assisted by noncombatant
Germans, had a better protected frontier than Maryland or
Virginia; no colony, indeed, was at that time better protected.
The Quaker Assembly did more than take care of the frontier
during the war; it preserved at the same time constitutional
rights in defense of which twenty-five years afterwards the whole
continent fought the Revolution. The Quaker Assembly even passed
two militia bills, one of which became law, and sent rather more
than the province's full share of troops to protect the frontiers
of New York and New England and to carry the invasion into

General Braddock warmly praised the assistance which Pennsylvania
gave him because, he said, she had done more for him than any of
the other colonies. Virginia and Maryland promised everything and
performed nothing, while Pennsylvania promised nothing and
performed everything. Commodore Spy thanked the Assembly for the
large number of sailors sent his fleet at the expense of the
province. General Shirley, in charge of the New England and New
York campaigns, thanked the Assembly for the numerous recruits;
and it was the common opinion at the time that Pennsylvania had
sent more troops to the war than any other colony. In the first
four years of the war the province spent for military purposes
210,567 pounds sterling, which was a very considerable sum at
that time for a community of less than 200,000 people. Quakers,
though they hate war, will accept it when there is no escape. The
old story of the Quaker who tossed a pirate overboard, saying,
"Friend, thee has no business here," gives their point of view
better than pages of explanation. Quaker opinion has not always
been entirely uniform. In Revolutionary times in Philadelphia
there was a division of the Quakers known as the Fighting
Quakers, and their meeting house is still pointed out at the
corner of Fourth Street and Arch. They even produced able
military leaders: Colonel John Dickinson, General Greene, and
General Mifflin in the Continental Army, and, in the War of 1812,
General Jacob Brown, who reorganized the army and restored its
failing fortunes after many officers had been tried and found

There was always among the Quakers a rationalistic party and a
party of mysticism. The rationalistic party prevailed in


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