The Quaker Colonies
Sydney G. Fisher

Part 2 out of 3

Pennsylvania all through the colonial period. In the midst of the
worst horrors of the French and Indian wars, however, the
conscientious objectors roused themselves and began preaching and
exhorting what has been called the mystical side of the faith.
Many extreme Quaker members of the Assembly resigned their seats
in consequence. After the Revolution the spiritual party began
gaining ground, partly perhaps because then the responsibilities
of government and care of the great political and religious
experiment in Pennsylvania were removed. The spiritual party
increased so rapidly in power that in 1827 a split occurred which
involved not a little bitterness, ill feeling, and litigation
over property. This division into two opposing camps, known as
the Hicksites and the Orthodox, continues and is likely to

Quaker government in Pennsylvania was put to still severer tests
by the difficulties and disasters that followed Braddock's
defeat. That unfortunate general had something over two thousand
men and was hampered with a train of artillery and a splendid
equipment of arms, tools, and supplies, as if he were to march
over the smooth highways of Europe. When he came to drag all
these munitions through the depths of the Pennsylvania forests
and up and down the mountains, he found that he made only about
three miles a day and that his horses had nothing to eat but the
leaves of the trees. Washington, who was of the party, finally
persuaded him to abandon his artillery and press forward with
about fifteen hundred picked men. These troops, when a few miles
from Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh), met about six hundred
Indians and three hundred French coming from the fort. The
English maintained a close formation where they were, but the
French and Indians immediately spread out on their flanks, lying
behind trees and logs which provided rests for their rifles and
security for their bodies. This strategy decided the day. The
English were shot down like cattle in a pen, and out of about
fifteen hundred only four hundred and fifty escaped. The French
and Indian loss was not much over fifty.

This defeat of Braddock's force has become one of the most famous
reverses in history; and it was made worse by the conduct of
Dunbar who had been left in command of the artillery, baggage,
and men in the rear. He could have remained where he was as some
sort of protection to the frontier. But he took fright, burned
his wagons, emptied his barrels of powder into the streams,
destroyed his provisions, and fled back to Fort Cumberland in
Maryland. Here the governors of Pennsylvania and Virginia as well
as the Pennsylvania Assembly urged him to stay. But, determined
make the British rout complete, he soon retreated to the peace
and quiet of Philadelphia, and nothing would induce him to enter
again the terrible forests of Pennsylvania.

The natural result of the blunder soon followed. The French,
finding the whole frontier of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and
Virginia abandoned, organized the Indians under French officers
and swept the whole region with a devastation of massacre,
scalping, and burning that has never been equaled. Hurons,
Potawatomies, Ojibways, Ottawas, Mingoes, renegades from the Six
Nations, together with the old treaty friends of Penn, the
Delawares and Shawanoes, began swarming eastward and soon had
killed more people than had been lost at Braddock's defeat. The
onslaught reached its height in September and October. By that
time all the outlying frontier settlers and their families had
been killed or sent flying eastward to seek refuge in the
settlements. The Indians even followed them to the settlements,
reached the Susquehanna, and crossed it. They massacred the
people of the village of Gnadenhutten, near Bethlehem on the
Lehigh, and established near by a headquarters for prisoners and
plunder. Families were scalped within fifty miles of
Philadelphia, and in one instance the bodies of a murdered family
were brought into the town and exhibited in the streets to show
the inhabitants how near the danger was approaching. Nothing
could be done to stem the savage tide. Virginia was suffering in
the same way: the settlers on her border were slaughtered or were
driven back in herds upon the more settled districts, and
Washington, with a nominal strength of fifteen hundred who would
not obey orders, was forced to stand a helpless spectator of the
general flight and misery. There was no adequate force or army
anywhere within reach. The British had been put to flight and had
gone to the defense of New England and New York. Neither
Pennsylvania nor Virginia had a militia that could withstand the
French and their red allies. They could only wait till the panic
had subsided and then see what could be done.

One thing was accomplished, however, when the Pennsylvania
Assembly passed a Quaker militia law which is one of the most
curious legal documents of its kind in history. It was most aptly
worded, drafted by the master hand of Franklin. It recited the
fact that the province had always been ruled by Quakers who were
opposed to war, but that now it had become necessary to allow men
to become soldiers and to give them every facility for the
profession of arms, because the Assembly though containing a
Quaker majority nevertheless represented all the people of the
province. To prevent those who believed in war from taking part
in it would be as much a violation of liberty of conscience as to
force enlistments among those who had conscientious scruples
against it. Nor would the Quaker majority have any right to
compel others to bear arms and at the same time exempt
themselves. Therefore a voluntary militia system was established
under which a fighting Quaker, a Presbyterian, an Episcopalian,
or anybody, could enlist and have all the military glory he could

It was altogether a volunteer system. Two years afterwards, as
the necessities of war increased, the Quaker Assembly passed a
rather stringent compulsory militia bill; but the governor vetoed
it, and the first law with its volunteer system remained in
force. Franklin busied himself to encourage enlistments under it
and was very successful. Though a philosopher and a man of
science, almost as much opposed to war as the Quakers and not
even owning a shotgun, he was elected commander and led a force
of about five hundred men to protect the Lehigh Valley. His
common sense seems to have supplied his lack of military
training. He did no worse than some professional soldiers who
might be named. The valley was supposed to be in great danger
since its village of Gnadenhutten had been burned and its people
massacred. The Moravians, like the Quakers, had suddenly found
that they were not as much opposed to war as they had supposed.
They had obtained arms and ammunition from New York and had built
stockades, and Franklin was glad to find them so well prepared
when he arrived. He built small forts in different parts of the
valley, acted entirely on the defensive, and no doubt checked the
raids of the Indians at that point. They seem to have been
watching him from the hilltops all the time, and any rashness on
his part would probably have brought disaster upon him. After his
force had been withdrawn, the Indians again attacked and burned

The chain of forts, at first seventeen, afterwards increased to
fifty, built by the Assembly on the Pennsylvania frontier was a
good plan so far as it went, but it was merely defensive and by
no means completely defensive, since Indian raiding parties could
pass between the forts. They served chiefly as refuges for
neighboring settlers. The colonial troops or militia, after
manning the fifty forts and sending their quota to the operations
against Canada by way of New England and New York, were not
numerous enough to attack the Indians. They could only act on the
defensive as Franklin's command had done. As for the rangers, as
the small bands of frontiersmen acting without any authority of
either governor or legislature were called, they were very
efficient as individuals but they accomplished very little
because they acted at widely isolated spots. What was needed was
a well organized force which could pursue the Indians on their
own ground so far westward that the settlers on the frontier
would be safe. The only troops which could do this were the
British regulars with the assistance of the colonial militia.

Two energetic efforts to end the war without aid from abroad were
made, however, one by the pacific Quakers and the other by the
combatant portion of the people. Both of these were successful so
far as they went, but had little effect on the general situation.
In the summer of 1756, the Quakers made a very earnest effort to
persuade the two principal Pennsylvania tribes, the Delawares and
Shawanoes, to withdraw from the French alliance and return to
their old friends. These two tribes possessed a knowledge of the
country which enabled them greatly to assist the French designs
on Pennsylvania. Chiefs of these tribes were brought under safe
conducts to Philadelphia, where they were entertained as equals
in the Quaker homes. Such progress, indeed, was made that by the
end of July a treaty of peace was concluded at Easton eliminating
those two tribes from the war. This has sometimes been sneered at
as mere Quaker pacifism; but it was certainly successful in
lessening the numbers and effectiveness of the enemy.

The other undertaking was a military one, the famous attack upon
Kittanning conducted by Colonel John Armstrong, an Ulsterman from
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and the first really aggressive officer
the province had produced. The Indians had two headquarters for
their raids into the province, one at Logstown on the Ohio a few
miles below Fort Duquesne, and the other at Kittanning or, as the
French called it, Attique, about forty miles northeast. At these
two points they assembled their forces, received ammunition and
supplies from the French, and organized their expeditions. As
Kittanning was the nearer, Armstrong in a masterly maneuver took
three hundred men through the mountains without being discovered
and, by falling upon the village early in the morning, he
effected a complete surprise. The town was set on fire, the
Indians were put to flight, and large quantities of their
ammunition were destroyed. But Armstrong could not follow up his
success. Threatened by overwhelming numbers, he hastened to
withdraw. The effect which the fighting and the Quaker treaty had
on the frontier was good. Incursions of the savages were, at
least for the present, checked. But the root of the evil had not
yet been reached, and the Indians remained massed along the Ohio,
ready to break in upon the people again at the first opportunity.

The following year, 1757, was the most depressing period of the
war. The proprietors of Pennsylvania took the opportunity to
exempt their own estate from taxation and throw the burden of
furnishing money for the war upon the colonists. Under pressure
of the increasing success of the French and Indians and because
the dreadful massacres were coming nearer and nearer to
Philadelphia, the Quaker Assembly yielded, voted the largest sum
they had ever voted to the war, and exempted the proprietary
estates. The colony was soon boiling with excitement. The
Churchmen, as friends of the proprietors, were delighted to have
the estates exempted, thought it a good opportunity to have the
Quaker Assembly abolished, and sent petitions and letters and
proofs of alleged Quaker incompetence to the British Government.
The Quakers and a large majority of the colonists, on the other
hand, instead of consenting to their own destruction, struck at
the root of the Churchmen's power by proposing to abolish the
proprietors. And in a letter to Isaac Norris, Benjamin Franklin,
who had been sent to England to present the grievances of the
colonists, even suggested that "tumults and insurrections that
might prove the proprietary government unable to preserve order,
or show the people to be ungovernable, would do the business

Turmoil and party strife rose to the most exciting heights, and
the details of it might, under certain circumstances, be
interesting to describe. But the next year, 1758, the British
Government, by sending a powerful force of regulars to
Pennsylvania, at last adopted the only method for ending the war.
Confidence was at once restored. The Pennsylvania Assembly now
voted the sufficient and, indeed, immense sum of one hundred
thousand pounds, and offered a bounty of five pounds to every
recruit. It was no longer a war of defense but now a war of
aggression and conquest. Fort Duquesne on the Ohio was taken; and
the next autumn Fort Pitt was built on its ruins. Then Canada
fell, and the French empire in America came to an end. Canada and
the Great West passed into the possession of the Anglo-Saxon

Chapter VII. The Decline Of Quaker Government

When the treaty of peace was signed in 1763, extinguishing
France's title to Canada and turning over Canada and the
Mississippi Valley to the English, the colonists were prepared to
enjoy all the blessings of peace. But the treaty of peace had
been made with France, not with the red man. A remarkable genius,
Pontiac, appeared among the Indians, one of the few characters,
like Tecumseh and Osceola, who are often cited as proof of latent
powers almost equal to the strongest qualities of the white race.
Within a few months he had united all the tribes of the West in a
discipline and control which, if it had been brought to the
assistance of the French six years earlier, might have conquered
the colonies to the Atlantic seaboard before the British regulars
could have come to their assistance. The tribes swept westward
into Pennsylvania, burning, murdering, and leveling every
habitation to the ground with a thoroughness beyond anything
attempted under the French alliance. The settlers and farmers
fled eastward to the towns to live in cellars, camps, and sheds
as best they could.* Fortunately the colonies retained a large
part of the military organization, both men and officers, of the
French War, and were soon able to handle the situation. Detroit
and Niagara were relieved by water; and an expedition commanded
by Colonel Bouquet, who had distinguished himself under General
Forties, saved Fort Pitt.

* For an account of Pontiac's conspiracy, see "The Old Northwest"
by Frederic A. Ogg (in "The Chronicles of America").

At this time the Scotch-Irish frontiersmen suddenly became
prominent. They had been organizing for their own protection and
were meeting with not a little success. They refused to join the
expedition of regular troops marching westward against Pontiac's
warriors, because they wanted to protect their own homes and
because they believed the regulars to be marching to sure
destruction. Many of the regular troops were invalided from the
West Indies, and the Scotch-Irish never expected to see any of
them again. They believed that the salvation of Pennsylvania, or
at least of their part of the province, depended entirely upon
themselves. Their increasing numbers and rugged independence were
forming them also into an organized political party with decided
tendencies, as it afterwards appeared, towards forming a separate

The extreme narrowness of the Scotch-Irish, however, misled them.
The only real safety for the province lay in regularly
constituted and strong expeditions, like that of Bouquet, which
would drive the main body of the savages far westward. But the
Scotch-Irish could not see this; and with that intensity of
passion which marked all their actions they turned their energy
and vengeance upon the Quakers and semicivilized Indians in the
eastern end of the colony. Their preachers, who were their
principal leaders and organizers, encouraged them in denouncing
Quaker doctrine as a wicked heresy from which only evil could
result. The Quakers had offended God from the beginning by making
treaties of kindness with the heathen savages instead of
exterminating them as the Scripture commanded: "And when the Lord
thy God shall deliver them before thee, thou shalt smite them and
utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor
show mercy unto them." The Scripture had not been obeyed; the
heathen had not been destroyed; on the contrary, a systematic
policy of covenants, treaties, and kindness had been persisted in
for two generations, and as a consequence, the Ulstermen said,
the frontiers were now deluged in blood. They were particularly
resentful against the small settlement of Indians near Bethlehem,
who had been converted to Christianity by the Moravians, and
another little village of half civilized basketmaking Indians at
Conestoga near Lancaster. The Scotch-Irish had worked themselves
up into a strange belief that these small remnants were sending
information, arms, and ammunition to the western tribes; and they
seemed to think that it was more important to exterminate these
little communities than to go with such expeditions as Bouquet's
to the West. They asked the Governor to remove these civilized
Indians and assured him that their removal would secure the
safety of the frontier. When the Governor, not being able to find
anything against the Indians, declined to remove them, the
Scotch-Irish determined to attend to the matter in their own

Bouquet's victory at Bushy Run, much to the surprise of the
Scotch-Irish, stopped Indian raids of any seriousness until the
following spring. But in the autumn there were a few
depredations, which led the frontiersmen to believe that the
whole invasion would begin again. A party of them, therefore,
started to attack the Moravian Indians near Bethlehem; but before
they could accomplish their object, the Governor brought most of
the Indians down to Philadelphia for protection. Even there they
were narrowly saved from the mob, for the hostility against them
was spreading throughout the province.

Soon afterwards another party of Scotch-Irish, ever since known
as the "Paxton Boys," went at break of day to the village of the
Conestoga Indians and found only six of them at home--three men,
two women, and a boy. These they instantly shot down, mutilated
their bodies, and burned their cabins. As the murderers returned,
they related to a man on the road what they had done, and when he
protested against the cruelty of the deed, they asked, "Don't you
believe in God and the Bible?" The remaining fourteen inhabitants
of the village, who were away selling brooms, were collected by
the sheriff and put in the jail at Lancaster for protection. The
Paxtons heard of it and in a few days stormed the jail, broke
down the doors, and either shot the poor Indians or cut them to
pieces with hatchets.

This was probably the first instance of lynch law in America. It
raised a storm of indignation and controversy; and a pamphlet war
persisted for several years. The whole province was immediately
divided into two parties. On one side were the Quakers, most of
the Germans, and conservatives of every sort, and on the other,
inclined to sympathize with the Scotch-Irish, were the eastern
Presbyterians, some of the Churchmen, and various miscellaneous
people whose vindictiveness towards all Indians had been aroused
by the war. The Quakers and conservatives, who seem to have been
the more numerous, assailed the Scotch-Irish in no measured
language as a gang of ruffians without respect for law or order
who, though always crying for protection, had refused to march
with Bouquet to save Fort Pitt or to furnish him the slightest
assistance. Instead of going westward where the danger was and
something might be accomplished, they had turned eastward among
the settlements and murdered a few poor defenseless people,
mostly women and children.

Franklin, who had now returned from England, wrote one of his
best pamphlets against the Paxtons, the valorous, heroic Paxtons,
as he called them, prating of God and the Bible, fifty-seven of
whom, armed with rifles, knives, and hatchets, had actually
succeeded in killing three old men, two women, and a boy. This
pamphlet became known as the "Narrative" from the first word of
its title, and it had an immense circulation. Like everything
Franklin wrote, it is interesting reading to this day.

One of the first effects of this controversy was to drive the
excitable Scotch-Irish into a flame of insurrection not unlike
the Whisky Rebellion, which started among them some years after
the Revolution. They held tumultuous meetings denouncing the
Quakers and the whole proprietary government in Philadelphia, and
they organized an expedition which included some delegates to
suggest reforms. For the most part, however, it was a well
equipped little army variously estimated at from five hundred to
fifteen hundred on foot and on horseback, which marched towards
Philadelphia with no uncertain purpose. They openly declared that
they intended to capture the town, seize the Moravian Indians
protected there, and put them to death. They fully expected to be
supported by most of the people and to have everything their own
way. As they passed along the roads, they amused themselves in
their rough fashion by shooting chickens and pigs, frightening
people by thrusting their rifles into windows, and occasionally
throwing some one down and pretending to scalp him.

In the city there was great excitement and alarm. Even the
classes who sympathized with the Scotch-Irish did not altogether
relish having their property burned or destroyed. Great
preparations were made to meet the expedition. British regulars
were summoned. Eight companies of militia and a battery of
artillery were hastily formed. Franklin became a military man
once more and superintended the preparations. On all sides the
Quakers were enlisting; they had become accustomed to war; and
this legitimate chance to shoot a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian was
too much for the strongest scruples of their religion. It was a
long time, however, before they heard the end of this zeal; and
in the pamphlet war which followed they were accused of
clamorously rushing to arms and demanding to be led against the

It is amusing now to read about it in the old records. But it was
serious enough at the time. When the Scotch-Irish army reached
the Schuylkill River and found the fords leading to the city
guarded, they were not quite so enthusiastic about killing
Quakers and Indians. They went up the river some fifteen miles,
crossed by an unopposed ford, and halted in Germantown ten miles
north of Philadelphia. That was as far as they thought it safe to
venture. Several days passed, during which the city people
continued their preparations and expected every night to be
attacked. There were, indeed, several false alarms. Whenever the
alarm was sounded at night, every one placed candles in his
windows to light up the streets. One night when it rained the
soldiers were allowed to shelter themselves in a Quaker meeting
house, which for some hours bristled with bayonets and swords, an
incident of which the Presbyterian pamphleteers afterwards made
much use for satire. On another day all the cannon were fired to
let the enemy know what was in store for him.

Finally commissioners with the clever, genial Franklin at their
head, went out to Germantown to negotiate, and soon had the whole
mighty difference composed. The Scotch-Irish stated their
grievances. The Moravian Indians ought not to be protected by the
government, and all such Indians should be removed from the
colony; the men who killed the Conestoga Indians should be tried
where the supposed offense was committed and not in Philadelphia;
the five frontier counties had only ten representatives in the
Assembly while the three others had twenty-six--this should be
remedied; men wounded in border war should be cared for at public
expense; no trade should be carried on with hostile Indians until
they restored prisoners; and there should be a bounty on scalps.

While these negotiations were proceeding, some of the
Scotch-Irish amused themselves by practicing with their rifles at
the weather vane, a figure of a cock, on the steeple of the old
Lutheran church in Germantown--an unimportant incident, it is
true, but one revealing the conditions and character of the time
as much as graver matters do. The old weather vane with the
bullet marks upon it is still preserved. About thirty of these
same riflemen were invited to Philadelphia and were allowed to
wander about and see the sights of the town. The rest returned to
the frontier. As for their list of grievances, not one of them
was granted except, strange and sad to relate, the one which
asked for a scalp bounty. The Governor, after the manner of other
colonies, it must be admitted, issued the long desired scalp
proclamation, which after offering rewards for prisoners and
scalps, closed by saying, "and for the scalp of a female Indian
fifty pieces of eight." William Penn's Indian policy had been
admired for its justice and humanity by all the philosophers and
statesmen of the world, and now his grandson, Governor of the
province, in the last days of the family's control, was offering
bounties for women's scalps.

Franklin while in England had succeeded in having the proprietary
lands taxed equally with the lands of the colonists. But the
proprietors attempted to construe this provision so that their
best lands were taxed at the rate paid by the people on their
worst. This obvious quibble of course raised such a storm of
opposition that the Quakers, joined by classes which had never
before supported them, and now forming a large majority,
determined to appeal to the Government in England to abolish the
proprietorship and put the colony under the rule of the King. In
the proposal to make Pennsylvania a Crown colony there was no
intention of confiscating the possessions of the proprietors. It
was merely the proprietary political power, their right to
appoint the Governor, that was to be abolished. This right was to
be absorbed by the Crown with payment for its value to the
proprietors; but in all other respects the charter and the rights
and liberties of the people were to remain unimpaired. Just there
lay the danger. An act of Parliament would be required to make
the change and, having once started on such a change, Parliament,
or the party in power therein, might decide to make other
changes, and in the end there might remain very little of the
original rights and liberties of the colonists under their
charter. It was by no means a wise move. But intense feeling on
the subject was aroused. Passionate feeling seemed to have been
running very high among the steady Quakers. In this new outburst
the Quakers had the Scotch-Irish on their side, and a part of the
Churchmen. The Germans were divided, but the majority
enthusiastic for the change was very large.

There was a new alignment of parties. The eastern Presbyterians,
usually more or less in sympathy with the Scotch-Irish, broke
away from them on this occasion. These Presbyterians opposed the
change to a royal governor because they believed that it would be
followed by the establishment by law of the Church of England,
with bishops and all the other ancient evils. Although some of
the Churchmen joined the Quaker side, most of them and the most
influential of them were opposed to the change and did good work
in opposing it. They were well content with their position under
the proprietors and saw nothing to be gained under a royal
governor. There were also not a few people who, in the increase
of the wealth of the province, had acquired aristocratic tastes
and were attached to the pleasant social conditions that had
grown up round the proprietary governors and their followers; and
there were also those whose salaries, incomes, or opportunities
for wealth were more or less dependent on the proprietors
retaining the executive offices and the appointments and

One of the most striking instances of a change of sides was the
case of a Philadelphia Quaker, John Dickinson, a lawyer of large
practice, a man of wealth and position, and of not a little
colonial magnificence when he drove in his coach and four. It was
he who later wrote the famous "Farmer's Letters" during the
Revolution. He was a member of the Assembly and had been in
politics for some years. But on this question of a change to
royal government, he left the Quaker majority and opposed the
change with all his influence and ability. He and his
father-in-law, Isaac Norris, Speaker of the Assembly, became the
leaders against the change, and Franklin and Joseph Galloway, the
latter afterwards a prominent loyalist in the Revolution, were
the leading advocates of the change.

The whole subject was thoroughly thrashed out in debates in the
Assembly and in pamphlets of very great ability and of much
interest to students of colonial history and the growth of
American ideas of liberty. It must be remembered that this was
the year 1764, on the eve of the Revolution. British statesmen
were planning a system of more rigorous control of the colonies;
and the advisability of a stamp tax was under consideration.
Information of all these possible changes had reached the
colonies. Dickinson foresaw the end and warned the people.
Franklin and the Quaker party thought there was no danger and
that the mother country could be implicitly trusted.

Dickinson warned the people that the British Ministry were
starting special regulations for new colonies and "designing the
strictest reformations in the old." It would be a great relief,
he admitted, to be rid of the pettiness of the proprietors, and
it might be accomplished some time in the future; but not now.
The proprietary system might be bad, but a royal government might
be worse and might wreck all the liberties of the province,
religious freedom, the Assembly's control of its own
adjournments, and its power of raising and disposing of the
public money. The ministry of the day in England were well known
not to be favorably inclined towards Pennsylvania because of the
frequently reported willfulness of the Assembly, on which the
recent disturbances had also been blamed. If the King, Ministry,
and Parliament started upon a change, they might decide to
reconstitute the Assembly entirely, abolish its ancient
privileges, and disfranchise both Quakers and Presbyterians.

The arguments of Franklin and Galloway consisted principally of
assertions of the good intentions of the mother country and the
absurdity of any fear on the part of the colonists for their
privileges. But the King in whom they had so much confidence was
George III, and the Parliament which they thought would do no
harm was the same one which a few months afterwards passed the
Stamp Act which brought on the Revolution. Franklin and Galloway
also asserted that the colonies like Massachusetts, the Jerseys,
and the Carolinas, which had been changed to royal governments,
had profited by the change. But that was hardly the prevailing
opinion in those colonies themselves. Royal governors could be as
petty and annoying as the Penns and far more tyrannical.
Pennsylvania had always defeated any attempts at despotism on the
part of the Penn family and had built up a splendid body of
liberal laws and legislative privileges. But governors with the
authority and power of the British Crown behind them could not be
so easily resisted as the deputy governors of the Penns.

The Assembly, however, voted--twenty-seven to three--with
Franklin and Galloway. In the general election of the autumn, the
question was debated anew among the people and, though Franklin
and Galloway were defeated for seats in the Assembly, yet the
popular verdict was strongly in favor of a change, and the
majority in the Assembly was for practical purposes unaltered.
They voted to appeal to England for the change, and appointed
Franklin to be their agent before the Crown and Ministry. He
sailed again for England and soon was involved in the opening
scenes of the Revolution. He was made agent for all the colonies
and he spent many delightful years there pursuing his studies in
science, dining with distinguished men, staying at country seats,
and learning all the arts of diplomacy for which he afterwards
became so distinguished.

As for the Assembly's petition for a change to royal government,
Franklin presented it, but never pressed it. He, too, was finally
convinced that the time was inopportune. In fact, the Assembly
itself before long began to have doubts and fears and sent him
word to let the subject drop; and amid much greater events it was
soon entirely forgotten.

Chapter VIII. The Beginnings Of New Jersey

New Jersey, Scheyichbi, as the Indians called it, or Nova
Caesarea, as it was called in the Latin of its proprietary grant,
had a history rather different from that of other English
colonies in America. Geographically, it had not a few
attractions. It was a good sized dominion surrounded on all sides
but one by water, almost an island domain, secluded and
independent. In fact, it was the only one of the colonies which
stood naturally separate and apart. The others were bounded
almost entirely by artificial or imaginary lines.

It offered an opportunity, one might have supposed, for some
dissatisfied religious sect of the seventeenth century to secure
a sanctuary and keep off all intruders. But at first no one of
the various denominations seems to have fancied it or chanced
upon it. The Puritans disembarked upon the bleak shores of New
England well suited to the sternness of their religion. How
different American history might have been if they had
established themselves in the Jerseys! Could they, under those
milder skies, have developed witchcraft, set up blue laws, and
indulged in the killing of Quakers? After a time they learned
about the Jerseys and cast thrifty eyes upon them. Their
seafaring habits and the pursuit of whales led them along the
coast and into Delaware Bay. The Puritans of New Haven made
persistent efforts to settle the southern part of Jersey, on the
Delaware near Salem. They thought, as their quaint old records
show, that if they could once start a branch colony in Jersey it
might become more populous and powerful than the New Haven
settlement and in that case they intended to move their seat of
government to the new colony. But their shrewd estimate of its
value came too late. The Dutch and the Swedes occupied the
Delaware at that time and drove them out. Puritans, however,
entered northern Jersey and, while they were not numerous enough
to make it a thoroughly Puritan community, they largely tinged
its thought and its laws, and their influence still survives.

The difficulty with Jersey was that its seacoast was a monotonous
line of breakers with dangerous shoal inlets, few harbors, and
vast mosquito infested salt marshes and sandy thickets. In the
interior it was for the most part a level, heavily forested,
sandy, swampy country in its southern portions, and rough and
mountainous in the northern portions. Even the entrance by
Delaware Bay was so difficult by reason of its shoals that it was
the last part of the coast to be explored. The Delaware region
and Jersey were in fact a sort of middle ground far less easy of
access by the sea than the regions to the north in New England
and to the south in Virginia.

There were only two places easy of settlement in the Jerseys. One
was the open region of meadows and marshes by Newark Bay near the
mouth of the Hudson and along the Hackensack River, whence the
people slowly extended themselves to the seashore at Sandy Hook
and thence southward along the ocean beach. This was East Jersey.
The other easily occupied region, which became West Jersey,
stretched along the shore of the lower Delaware from the modern
Trenton to Salem, whence the settlers gradually worked their way
into the interior. Between these two divisions lay a rough
wilderness which in its southern portion was full of swamps,
thickets, and pine barrens. So rugged was the country that the
native Indians lived for the most part only in the two open
regions already described.

The natural geographical, geological, and even social division of
New Jersey is made by drawing a line from Trenton to the mouth of
the Hudson River. North of that line the successive terraces of
the piedmont and mountainous region form part of the original
North American continent. South of that line the more or less
sandy level region was once a shoal beneath the ocean; afterwards
a series of islands; then one island with a wide sound behind it
passing along the division line to the mouth of the Hudson.
Southern Jersey was in short an island with a sound behind it
very much like the present Long Island. The shoal and island had
been formed in the far distant geologic past by the erosion and
washings from the lofty Pennsylvania mountains now worn down to
mere stumps.

The Delaware River flowed into this sound at Trenton. Gradually
the Hudson end of the sound filled up as far as Trenton, but the
tide from the ocean still runs up the remains of the Old Sound as
far as Trenton. The Delaware should still be properly considered
as ending at Trenton, for the rest of its course to the ocean is
still part of Old Pensauken Sound, as it is called by geologists.

The Jerseys originated as a colony in 1664. In 1675 West Jersey
passed into the control of the Quakers. In 1680 East Jersey came
partially under Quaker influence. In August, 1664, Charles II
seized New York, New Jersey, and all the Dutch possessions in
America, having previously in March granted them to his brother
the Duke of York. The Duke almost immediately gave to Lord
Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, members of the Privy Council
and defenders of the Stuart family in the Cromwellian wars, the
land between the Delaware River and the ocean, and bounded on the
north by a line drawn from latitude 41 degrees on the Hudson to
latitude 41 degrees 40 minutes on the Delaware. This region was
to be called, the grant said, Nova Caesarea, or New Jersey. The
name was a compliment to Carteret, who in the Cromwellian wars
had defended the little isle of Jersey against the forces of the
Long Parliament. As the American Jersey was then almost an island
and geologically had been one, the name was not inappropriate.

Berkeley and Carteret divided the province between them. In 1676
an exact division was attempted, creating the rather unnatural
sections known as East Jersey and West Jersey. The first idea
seems to have been to divide by a line running from Barnegat on
the seashore to the mouth of Pensauken Creek on the Delaware just
above Camden. This, however, would have made a North Jersey and a
South Jersey, with the latter much smaller than the former.
Several lines seem to have been surveyed at different times in
the attempt to make an exactly equal division, which was no easy
engineering task. As private land titles and boundaries were in
some places dependent on the location of the division line, there
resulted much controversy and litigation which lasted down into
our own time. Without going into details, it is sufficient to say
that the acceptable division line began on the seashore at Little
Egg Harbor at the lower end of Barnegat Bay and crossed
diagonally or northwesterly to the northern part of the Delaware
River just above the Water Gap. It is known as the Old Province
line, and it can be traced on any map of the State by prolonging,
in both directions, the northeastern boundary of Burlington

West Jersey, which became decidedly Quaker, did not remain long
in the possession of Lord Berkeley. He was growing old; and,
disappointed in his hopes of seeing it settled, he sold it, in
1673, for one thousand pounds to John Fenwick and Edward
Byllinge, both of them old Cromwellian soldiers turned Quakers.
That this purchase was made for the purpose of affording a refuge
in America for Quakers then much imprisoned and persecuted in
England does not very distinctly appear. At least there was no
parade of it. But such a purpose in addition to profit for the
proprietors may well have been in the minds of the purchasers.

George Fox, the Quaker leader, had just returned from a
missionary journey in America, in the course of which he had
traveled through New Jersey in going from New York to Maryland.
Some years previously in England, about 1659, he had made
inquiries as to a suitable place for Quaker settlement and was
told of the region north of Maryland which became Pennsylvania.
But how could a persecuted sect obtain such a region from the
British Crown and the Government that was persecuting them? It
would require powerful influence at Court; nothing could then be
done about it; and Pennsylvania had to wait until William Penn
became a man with influence enough in 1681 to win it from the
Crown. But here was West Jersey, no longer owned directly by the
Crown and bought in cheap by two Quakers. It was an unexpected
opportunity. Quakers soon went to it, and it was the first Quaker
colonial experiment.

Byllinge and Fenwick, though turned Quakers, seem to have
retained some of the contentious Cromwellian spirit of their
youth. They soon quarreled over their respective interests in the
ownership of West Jersey; and to prevent a lawsuit, so
objectionable to Quakers, the decision was left to William Penn,
then a rising young Quaker about thirty years old, dreaming of
ideal colonies in America. Penn awarded Fenwick a one-tenth
interest and four hundred pounds. Byllinge soon became insolvent
and turned over his nine-tenths interest to his creditors,
appointing Penn and two other Quakers, Gawen Lawrie, a merchant
of London, and Nicholas Lucas, a maltster of Hertford, to hold it
in trust for them. Gawen Lawrie afterwards became deputy governor
of East Jersey. Lucas was one of those thoroughgoing Quakers just
released from eight years in prison for his religion.*

* Myers, "Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West Jersey, and
Delaware", p. 180.

Fenwick also in the end fell into debt and, after selling over
one hundred thousand acres to about fifty purchasers, leased what
remained of his interest for a thousand years to John Edridge, a
tanner, and Edmund Warner, a poulterer, as security for money
borrowed from them. They conveyed this lease and their claims to
Penn, Lawrie, and Lucas, who thus became the owners, as trustees,
of pretty much all West Jersey.

This was William Penn's first practical experience in American
affairs. He and his fellow trustees, with the consent of Fenwick,
divided the West Jersey ownership into one hundred shares. The
ninety belonging to Byllinge were offered for sale to settlers or
to creditors of Byllinge who would take them in exchange for
debts. The settlement of West Jersey thus became the distribution
of an insolvent Quaker's estate among his creditor fellow

Although no longer in possession of a title to land, Fenwick, in
1675, went out with some Quaker settlers to Delaware Bay. There
they founded the modern town of Salem, which means peace, giving
it that name because of the fair and peaceful aspect of the
wilderness on the day they arrived. They bought the land from the
Indians in the usual manner, as the Swedes and Dutch had so often
done. But they had no charter or provision for organized
government. When Fenwick attempted to exercise political
authority at Salem, he was seized and imprisoned by Andros,
Governor of New York for the Duke of York, on the ground that,
although the Duke had given Jersey to certain individual
proprietors, the political control of it remained in the Duke's
deputy governor. Andros, who had levied a tax of five per cent on
all goods passing up the Delaware, now established commissioners
at Salem to collect the duties.

This action brought up the whole question of the authority of
Andros. The trustee proprietors of West Jersey appealed to the
Duke of York, who was suspiciously indifferent to the matter, but
finally referred it for decision to a prominent lawyer, Sir
William Jones, before whom the Quaker proprietors of West Jersey
made a most excellent argument. They showed the illegality,
injustice, and wrong of depriving the Jerseys of vested political
rights and forcing them from the freeman's right of making their
own laws to a state of mere dependence on the arbitrary will of
one man. Then with much boldness they declared that "To exact
such an unterminated tax from English planters, and to continue
it after so many repeated complaints, will be the greatest
evidence of a design to introduce, if the Crown should ever
devolve upon the Duke, an unlimited government in old England."
Prophetic words which the Duke, in a few years, tried his best to
fulfill. But Sir William Jones deciding against him, he
acquiesced, confirmed the political rights of West Jersey by a
separate grant, and withdrew any authority Andros claimed over
East Jersey. The trouble, however, did not end here. Both the
Jerseys were long afflicted by domineering attempts from New

Penn and his fellow trustees now prepared a constitution, or
"Concessions and Agreements," as they called it, for West Jersey,
the first Quaker political constitution embodying their advanced
ideas, establishing religious liberty, universal suffrage, and
voting by ballot, and abolishing imprisonment for debt. It
foreshadowed some of the ideas subsequently included in the
Pennsylvania constitution. All these experiences were an
excellent school for William Penn. He learned the importance in
starting a colony of having a carefully and maturely considered
system of government. In his preparations some years afterwards
for establishing Pennsylvania he avoided much of the bungling of
the West Jersey enterprise.

A better organized attempt was now made to establish a foothold
in West Jersey farther up the river than Fenwick's colony at
Salem. In 1677 the ship Kent took out some 230 rather well-to-do
Quakers, about as fine a company of broadbrims, it is said, as
ever entered the Delaware. Some were from Yorkshire and London,
largely creditors of Byllinge, who were taking land to satisfy
their debts. They all went up the river to Raccoon Creek on the
Jersey side, about fifteen miles below the present site of
Philadelphia, and lived at first among the Swedes, who had been
in that part of Jersey for some years and who took care of the
new arrivals in their barns and sheds. These Quaker immigrants,
however, soon began to take care of themselves, and the weather
during the winter proving mild, they explored farther up the
river in a small boat. They bought from the Indians the land
along the river shore from Oldman's Creek all the way up to
Trenton and made their first settlements on the river about
eighteen miles above the site of Philadelphia, at a place they at
first called New Beverly, then Bridlington, and finally

They may have chosen this spot partly because there had been an
old Dutch settlement of a few families there. It had long been a
crossing of the Delaware for the few persons who passed by land
from New York or New England to Maryland and Virginia. One of the
Dutchmen, Peter Yegon, kept a ferry and a house for entertaining
travelers. George Fox, who crossed there in 1671, describes the
place as having been plundered by the Indians and deserted. He
and his party swam their horses across the river and got some of
the Indians to help them with canoes.

Other Quaker immigrants followed, going to Salem as well as to
Burlington, and a stretch of some fifty miles of the river shore
became strongly Quaker. There are not many American towns now to
be found with more of the old-time picturesqueness and more
relics of the past than Salem and Burlington.

Settlements were also started on the river opposite the site
afterwards occupied by Philadelphia, at Newton on the creek still
called by that name; and another a little above on Cooper's
Creek, known as Cooper's Ferry until 1794. Since then it has
become the flourishing town of Camden, full of shipbuilding and
manufacturing, but for long after the Revolution it was merely a
small village on the Jersey shore opposite Philadelphia,
sometimes used as a hunting ground and a place of resort for
duelers and dancing parties from Philadelphia.

The Newton settlers were Quakers of the English middle class,
weavers, tanners, carpenters, bricklayers, chandlers,
blacksmiths, coopers, bakers, haberdashers, hatters, and linen
drapers, most of them possessed of property in England and
bringing good supplies with them. Like all the rest of the New
Jersey settlers they were in no sense adventurers, gold seekers,
cavaliers, or desperadoes. They were well-to-do middle class
English tradespeople who would never have thought of leaving
England if they had not lost faith in the stability of civil and
religious liberty and the security of their property under the
Stuart Kings. With them came servants, as they were called; that
is, persons of no property, who agreed to work for a certain time
in payment of their passage, to escape from England. All, indeed,
were escaping from England before their estates melted away in
fines and confiscations or their health or lives ended in the
damp, foul air of the crowded prisons. Many of those who came had
been in jail and had decided that they would not risk
imprisonment a second time. Indeed, the proportion of West Jersey
immigrants who had actually been in prison for holding or
attending Quaker meetings or refusing to pay tithes for the
support of the established church was large. For example, William
Bates, a carpenter, while in jail for his religion, made
arrangements with his friends to escape to West Jersey as soon as
he should be released, and his descendants are now scattered over
the United States. Robert Turner, a man of means, who settled
finally in Philadelphia but also owned much land near Newton in
West Jersey, had been imprisoned in England in 1660, again in
1662, again in 1665, and some of his property had been taken,
again imprisoned in 1669 and more property taken; and many others
had the same experience. Details such as these make us realize
the situation from which the Quakers sought to escape. So
widespread was the Quaker movement in England and so severe the
punishment imposed in order to suppress it that fifteen thousand
families are said to have been ruined by the fines,
confiscations, and imprisonments.

Not a few Jersey Quakers were from Ireland, whither they had fled
because there the laws against them were less rigorously
administered. The Newton settlers were joined by Quakers from
Long Island, where, under the English law as administered by the
New York governors, they had also been fined and imprisoned,
though with less severity than at home, for nonconformity to the
Church of England. On arriving, the West Jersey settlers suffered
some hardships during the year that must elapse before a crop
could be raised and a log cabin or house built. During that
period they usually lived, in the Indian manner, in wigwams of
poles covered with bark, or in caves protected with logs in the
steep banks of the creeks. Many of them lived in the villages of
the Indians. The Indians supplied them all with corn and venison,
and without this Indian help, they would have run serious risk of
starving, for they were not accustomed to hunting. They had also
to thank the Indians for having in past ages removed so much of
the heavy forest growth from the wide strip of land along the
river that it was easy to start cultivation.

These Quaker settlers made a point of dealing very justly with
the Indians and the two races lived side by side for several
generations. There is an instance recorded of the Indians
attending with much solemnity the funeral of a prominent Quaker
woman, Esther Spicer, for whom they had acquired great respect.
The funeral was held at night, and the Indians in canoes, the
white men in boats, passed down Cooper's Creek and along the
river to Newton Creek where the graveyard was, lighting the
darkness with innumerable torches, a strange scene to think of
now as having been once enacted in front of the bustling cities
of Camden and Philadelphia. Some of the young settlers took
Indian wives, and that strain of native blood is said to show
itself in the features of several families to this day.

Many letters of these settlers have been preserved, all
expressing the greatest enthusiasm for the new country, for the
splendid river better than the Thames, the good climate, and
their improved health, the immense relief to be away from the
constant dread of fines and punishment, the chance to rise in the
world, with large rewards for industry. They note the immense
quantities of game, the Indians bringing in fat bucks every day,
the venison better than in England, the streams full of fish, the
abundance of wild fruits, cranberries, hurtleberries, the rapid
increase of cattle, and the good soil. A few details concerning
some of the interesting characters among these early colonial
Quakers have been rescued from oblivion. There is, for instance,
the pleasing picture of a young man and his sister, convinced
Quakers, coming out together and pioneering in their log cabin
until each found a partner for life. There was John Haddon, from
whom Haddonfield is named, who bought a large tract of land but
remained in England, while his daughter Elizabeth came out alone
to look after it. A strong, decisive character she was, and women
of that sort have always been encouraged in independent action by
the Quakers. She proved to be an excellent manager of an estate.
The romance of her marriage to a young Quaker preacher, Estaugh,
has been celebrated in Mrs. Maria Child's novel "The Youthful
Emigrant." The pair became leading citizens devoted to good works
and to Quaker liberalism for many a year in Haddonfield.

It was the ship Shields of Hull, bringing Quaker immigrants to
Burlington, of which the story is told that in beating up the
river she tacked close to the rather high bank with deep water
frontage where Philadelphia was afterwards established; and some
of the passengers remarked that it was a fine site for a town.
The Shields, it is said, was the first ship to sail up as far as
Burlington. Anchoring before Burlington in the evening, the
colonists woke up next morning to find the river frozen hard so
that they walked on the ice to their future habitations.

Burlington was made the capital of West Jersey, a legislature was
convened and laws were passed under the "concessions" or
constitution of the proprietors. Salem and Burlington became the
ports of the little province, which was well under way by 1682,
when Penn came out to take possession of Pennsylvania.

The West Jersey people of these two settlements spread eastward
into the interior but were stopped by a great forest area known
as the Pines, or Pine Barrens, of such heavy growth that even the
Indians lived on its outer edges and entered it only for hunting.
It was an irregularly shaped tract, full of wolves, bear, beaver,
deer, and other game, and until recent years has continued to
attract sportsmen from all parts of the country. Starting near
Delaware Bay, it extended parallel with the ocean as far north as
the lower portion of the present Monmouth County and formed a
region about seventy-five miles long and thirty miles wide. It
was roughly the part of the old sandy shoal that first emerged
from the ocean, and it has been longer above water than any other
part of southern Jersey. The old name, Pine Barrens, is hardly
correct because it implies something like a desert, when as a
matter of fact the region produced magnificent forest trees.

The innumerable visitors who cross southern Jersey to the famous
seashore resorts always pass through the remains of this old
central forest and are likely to conclude that the monotonous low
scrub oaks and stunted pines on sandy level soil, seen for the
last two or three generations, were always there and that the
primeval forest of colonial times was no better. But that is a
mistake. The stunted growth now seen is not even second growth
but in many cases fourth or fifth or more. The whole region was
cut over long ago. The original growth, pine in many places,
consisted also of lofty timber of oak, hickory, gum, ash,
chestnut, and numerous other trees, interspersed with dogwood,
sassafras, and holly, and in the swamps the beautiful magnolia,
along with the valuable white cedar. DeVries, who visited the
Jersey coast about 1632, at what is supposed to have been
Beesley's or Somer's Point, describes high woods coming down to
the shore. Even today, immediately back of Somer's Point, there
is a magnificent lofty oak forest accidentally preserved by
surrounding marsh from the destructive forest fires; and there
are similar groves along the road towards Pleasantville. In fact,
the finest forest trees flourish in that region wherever given a
good chance. Even some of the beaches of Cape May had valuable
oak and luxuriant growths of red cedar; and until a few years ago
there were fine trees, especially hollies, surviving on Wildwood

The Jersey white cedar swamps were, and still are, places of
fascinating interest to the naturalist and the botanist. The
hunter or explorer found them scattered almost everywhere in the
old forest and near its edges, varying in size from a few square
yards up to hundreds of acres. They were formed by little streams
easily checked in their flow through the level land by decaying
vegetation or dammed by beavers. They kept the water within the
country, preventing all effects of droughts, stimulating the
growth of vegetation which by its decay, throughout the
centuries, was steadily adding vegetable mold or humus to the
sandy soil. This process of building up a richer soil has now
been largely stopped by lumbering, drainage, and fires.

While there are many of these swamps left, the appearance of
numbers of them has largely changed. When the white men first
came, the great cedars three or four feet in diameter which had
fallen centuries before often lay among the living trees, some of
them buried deep in the mud and preserved from decay. They were
invaluable timber, and digging them out and cutting them up
became an important industry for over a hundred years. In
addition to being used for boat building, they made excellent
shingles which would last a lifetime. The swamps, indeed, became
known as shingle mines, and it was a good description of them. An
important trade was developed in hogshead staves, hoops,
shingles, boards, and planks, much of which went into the West
Indian trade to be exchanged for rum, sugar, molasses, and

* Between the years 1740 and '50, the Cedar Swamps of the county
[Cape May] were mostly located; and the amount of lumber since
taken from them is incalculable, not only as an article of trade,
but to supply the home demand for fencing and building material
in the county. Large portions of these swamps have been worked a
second and some a third time, since located. At the present time
[1857] there is not an acre of original growth of swamp standing,
having all passed away before the resistless sway of the
speculator or the consumer." Beesley's "Sketch of Cape May" p.

The great forest has long since been lumbered to death. The pines
were worked for tar, pitch, resin, and turpentine until for lack
of material the industry passed southward through the Carolinas
to Florida, exhausting the trees as it went. The Christmas demand
for holly has almost stripped the Jersey woods of these trees
once so numerous. Destructive fires and frequent cutting keep the
pine and oak lands stunted. Thousands of dollars' worth of cedar
springing up in the swamps are sometimes destroyed in a day. But
efforts to control the fires so destructive not only to this
standing timber but to the fertility of the soil, and attempts to
reforest this country not only for the sake of timber but as an
attraction to those who resort there in search of health or
natural beauty, have not been vigorously pushed. The great forest
has now, to be sure, been partially cultivated in spots, and the
sand used for large glass-making industries. Small fruits and
grapes flourish in some places. At the northern end of this
forest tract the health resort known as Lakewood was established
to take advantage of the pine air. A little to the southward is
the secluded Brown's Mills, once so appealing to lovers of the
simple life. Checked on the east by the great forest, the West
Jersey Quakers spread southward from Salem until they came to the
Cohansey, a large and beautiful stream flowing out of the forest
and wandering through green meadows and marshes to the bay. So
numerous were the wild geese along its shores and along the
Maurice River farther south that the first settlers are said to
have killed them for their feathers alone and to have thrown the
carcasses away. At the head of navigation of the Cohansey was a
village called Cohansey Bridge, and after 1765 Bridgeton, a name
still borne by a flourishing modern town. Lower down near the
marsh was the village of Greenwich, the principal place of
business up to the year 1800, with a foreign trade. Some of the
tea the East India Company tried to force on the colonists
during the Revolution was sent there and was duly rejected. It is
still an extremely pretty village, with its broad shaded streets
like a New England town and its old Quaker meeting house. In
fact, not a few New Englanders from Connecticut, still infatuated
with southern Jersey in spite of the rebuffs received in ancient
times from Dutch and Swedes, finally settled near the Cohansey
after it came under control of the more amiable Quakers. There
was also one place called after Fairfield in Connecticut and
another called New England Town.

The first churches of this region were usually built near running
streams so that the congregation could procure water for
themselves and their horses. Of one old Presbyterian Church it
used to be said that no one had ever ridden to it in a wheeled
vehicle. Wagons and carriages were very scarce until after the
Revolution. Carts for occasions of ceremony as well as utility
were used before wagons and carriages. For a hundred and fifty
years the horse's back was the best form of conveyance in the
deep sand of the trails and roads. This was true of all southern
Jersey. Pack horses and the backs of Indian and negro slaves were
the principal means of transportation on land. The roads and
trails, in fact, were so few and so heavy with sand that water
travel was very much developed. The Indian dugout canoe was
adopted and found faster and better than heavy English rowboats.
As the province was almost surrounded by water and was covered
with a network of creeks and channels, nearly all the villages
and towns were situated on tidewater streams, and the dugout
canoe, modified and improved, was for several generations the
principal means of communication. Most of the old roads in New
Jersey followed Indian trails. There was a trail, for example,
from the modern Camden opposite Philadelphia, following up
Cooper's Creek past Berlin, then called Long-a-coming, crossing
the watershed, and then following Great Egg Harbor River to the
seashore. Another trail, long used by the settlers, led from
Salem up to Camden, Burlington, and Trenton, going round the
heads of streams. It was afterwards abandoned for the shorter
route obtained by bridging the streams nearer their mouths. This
old trail also extended from the neighborhood of Trenton to Perth
Amboy near the mouth of the Hudson, and thus, by supplementing
the lower routes, made a trail nearly the whole length of the

As a Quaker refuge, West Jersey never attained the success of
Pennsylvania. The political disturbances and the continually
threatened loss of self-government in both the Jerseys were a
serious deterrent to Quakers who, above all else, prized rights
which they found far better secured in Pennsylvania. In 1702,
when the two Jerseys were united into one colony under a
government appointed by the Crown, those rights were more
restricted than ever and all hopes of West Jersey becoming a
colony under complete Quaker control were shattered. Under
Governor Cornbury, the English law was adopted and enforced, and
the Quakers were disqualified from testifying in court unless
they took an oath and were prohibited from serving on juries or
holding any office of trust. Cornbury's judges wore scarlet
robes, powdered wigs, cocked hats, gold lace, and side arms; they
were conducted to the courthouse by the sheriff's cavalcade and
opened court with great parade and ceremony. Such a spectacle of
pomp was sufficient to divert the flow of Quaker immigrants to
Pennsylvania, where the government was entirely in Quaker hands
and where plain and serious ways gave promise of enduring and
unmolested prosperity.

The Quakers had altogether thirty meeting houses in West Jersey
and eleven in East Jersey, which probably shows about the
proportion of Quaker influence in the two Jerseys. Many of them
have since disappeared; some of the early buildings, to judge
from the pictures, were of wood and not particularly pleasing in
appearance. They were makeshifts, usually intended to be replaced
by better buildings. Some substantial brick buildings of
excellent architecture have survived, and their plainness and
simplicity, combined with excellent proportions and thorough
construction, are clearly indicative of Quaker character. There
is a particularly interesting one in Salem with a magnificent old
oak beside it, another in the village of Greenwich on the
Cohansey farther south, and another at Crosswicks near Trenton.

In West Jersey near Mount Holly was born and lived John Woolman,
a Quaker who became eminent throughout the English speaking world
for the simplicity and loftiness of his religious thought as well
as for his admirable style of expression. His "Journal," once
greatly and even extravagantly admired, still finds readers. "Get
the writings of John Woolman by heart," said Charles Lamb, "and
love the early Quakers." He was among the Quakers one of the
first and perhaps the first really earnest advocate of the
abolition of slavery. The scenes of West Jersey and the writings
of Woolman seem to belong together. Possibly a feeling for the
simplicity of those scenes and their life led Walt Whitman, who
grew up on Long Island under Quaker influence, to spend his last
years at Camden, in West Jersey. His profound democracy, which
was very Quaker-like, was more at home there perhaps than
anywhere else.

Chapter IX. Planters And Traders Of Southern Jersey

Most of the colonies in America, especially the stronger ones,
had an aristocratic class, which was often large and powerful, as
in the case of Virginia, and which usually centered around the
governor, especially if he were appointed from England by the
Crown or by a proprietor. But there was very little of this
social distinction in New Jersey. Her political life had been too
much broken up, and she had been too long dependent on the
governors of New York to have any of those pretty little
aristocracies with bright colored clothes, and coaches and four,
flourishing within her boundaries. There seems to have been a
faint suggestion of such social pretensions under Governor
Franklin just before the Revolution. He was beginning to live
down the objections to his illegitimate birth and Toryism and by
his entertainments and manner of living was creating a social
following. There is said also to have been something a little
like the beginning of an aristocracy among the descendants of the
Dutch settlers who had ancestral holdings near the Hudson; but
this amounted to very little.

Class distinctions were not so strongly marked in New Jersey as
in some other colonies. There grew up in southern Jersey,
however, a sort of aristocracy of gentlemen farmers, who owned
large tracts of land and lived in not a little style in good
houses on the small streams.

The northern part of the province, largely settled and influenced
by New Englanders, was like New England a land of vigorous
concentrated town life and small farms. The hilly and mountainous
nature of the northern section naturally led to small holdings of
land. But in southern Jersey the level sandy tracts of forest
were often taken up in large areas. In the absence of
manufacturing, large acreage naturally became, as in Virginia and
Maryland, the only mark of wealth and social distinction. The
great landlord was looked up to by the lesser fry. The Quaker
rule of discountenancing marrying out of meeting tended to keep a
large acreage in the family and to make it larger by marriage. A
Quaker of broad acres would seek for his daughter a young man of
another landholding Quaker family and would thus join the two

There was a marked difference between East Jersey and West Jersey
in county organization. In West Jersey the people tended to
become planters; their farms and plantations somewhat like those
of the far South; and the political unit of government was the
county. In East Jersey the town was the starting point and the
county marked the boundaries of a collection of towns. This
curious difference, the result of soil, climate, and methods of
life, shows itself in other States wherever South and North meet.
Illinois is an example, where the southern part of the State is
governed by the county system, and the northern part by the town

The lumberman, too, in clearing off the primeval forest and
selling the timber, usually dealt in immense acreage. Some
families, it is said, can be traced steadily proceeding southward
as they stripped off the forest, and started sawmills and
gristmills on the little streams that trickled from the swamps,
and like beavers making with their dams those pretty ponds which
modern lovers of the picturesque are now so eager to find. A good
deal of the lumbering in the interior pines tract was carried on
by persons who leased the premises from owners who lived on
plantations along the Delaware or its tributary streams. These
operations began soon after 1700. Wood roads were cut into the
Pines, sawmills were started, and constant use turned some of
these wood roads into the highways of modern times.

There was a speculative tinge in the operations of this landed
aristocracy. Like the old tobacco raising aristocracy of Virginia
and Maryland, they were inclined to go from tract to tract,
skinning what they could from a piece of deforested land and then
seeking another virgin tract. The roughest methods were used;
wooden plows, brush harrows, straw collars, grapevine harness,
and poor shelter for animals and crops; but were the Virginia
methods any better? In these operations there was apparently a
good deal of sudden profit and mushroom prosperity accompanied by
a good deal of debt and insolvency. In this, too, they were like
the Virginians and Carolinians. There seem to have been also a
good many slaves in West Jersey, brought, as in the southern
colonies, to work on the large estates, and this also, no doubt,
helped to foster the aristocratic feeling.

The best days of the Jersey gentlemen farmers came probably when
they could no longer move from tract to tract. They settled down
and enjoyed a very plentiful, if rude, existence on the products
of their land, game, and fish, amid a fine climate--with
mosquitoes enough in summer to act as a counterirritant and
prevent stagnation from too much ease and prosperity. After the
manner of colonial times, they wove their own clothes from the
wool of their own sheep and made their own implements, furniture,
and simple machinery.

There are still to be found fascinating traces of this old life
in out-of-the-way parts of southern Jersey. To run upon old
houses among the Jersey pines still stored with Latin classics
and old editions of Shakespeare, Addison, or Samuel Johnson, to
come across an old mill with its machinery, cogwheels, flywheels,
and all, made of wood, to find people who make their own oars,
and the handles of their tools from the materials furnished by
their own forest, is now unfortunately a refreshment of the
spirit that is daily becoming rarer.

This condition of material and social self-sufficiency lasted in
places long after the Revolution. It was a curious little
aristocracy--a very faint and faded one, lacking the robustness
of the far southern type, and lacking indeed the real essential
of an aristocracy, namely political power. Moreover, although
there were slaves in New Jersey, there were not enough of them to
exalt the Jersey gentlemen farmers into such self-sufficient
lords and masters as the Virginian and Carolinian planters

To search out the remains of this stage of American history,
however, takes one up many pleasant streams flowing out of the
forest tract to the Delaware on one side or to the ocean on the
other. This topographical formation of a central ridge or
watershed of forest and swamp was a repetition of the same
formation in the Delaware peninsula, which like southern Jersey
had originally been a shoal and then an island. The Jersey
watershed, with its streams abounding in wood duck and all manner
of wild life, must have been in its primeval days as fascinating
as some of the streams of the Florida cypress swamps. Toward the
ocean, Wading River, the Mullica, the Tuckahoe, Great Egg; and on
the Delaware side the Maurice, Cohansey, Salem Creek, Oldman's,
Raccoon, Mantua, Woodberry, Timber, and the Rancocas, still
possess attraction. Some of them, on opposite sides of the
divide, are not far apart at their sources in the old forest
tract; so that a canoe can be transported over the few miles and
thus traverse the State. One of these trips up Timber Creek from
the Delaware and across only eight miles of land to the
headwaters of Great Egg Harbor River and thence down to the
ocean, thus cutting South Jersey in half, is a particularly
romantic one. The heavy woods and swamps of this secluded route
along these forest shadowed streams are apparently very much as
they were three hundred years ago.

The water in all these streams, particularly in their upper
parts, owing to the sandy soil, is very clean and clear and is
often stained by the cedar roots in the swamps a clear brown,
sometimes almost an amber color. One of the streams, the
Rancocas, with its many windings to Mount Holly and then far
inland to Brown's Mills, seems to be the favorite with canoemen
and is probably without an equal in its way for those who love
the Indian's gift that brings us so close to nature.

The spread of the Quaker settlements along Delaware Bay to Cape
May was checked by the Maurice River and its marshes and by the
Great Cedar Swamp which crossed the country from Delaware Bay to
the ocean and thus made of the Cape May region a sort of island.
The Cape May region, it is true, was settled by Quakers, but most
of them came from Long Island rather than from the settlements on
the Delaware. They had followed whale fishing on Long Island and
in pursuit of that occupation some of them had migrated to Cape
May where whales were numerous not far off shore.

The leading early families of Cape May, the Townsends,
Stillwells, Corsons, Leamings, Ludlams, Spicers, and Cresses,
many of whose descendants still live there, were Quakers of the
Long Island strain. The ancestor of the Townsend family came to
Cape May because he had been imprisoned and fined and threatened
with worse under the New York government for assisting his fellow
Quakers to hold meetings. Probably the occasional severity of the
administration of the New York laws against Quakers, which were
the same as those of England, had as much to do as had the whales
with the migration to Cape May. This Quaker civilization extended
from Cape May up as far as Great Egg Harbor where the Great Cedar
Swamp joined the seashore. Quaker meeting houses were built at
Cape May, Galloway, Tuckahoe, and Great Egg. All have been
abandoned and the buildings themselves have disappeared, except
that of the Cape May meeting, called the Old Cedar Meeting, at
Seaville; and it has no congregation. The building is kept in
repair by members of the Society from other places.

Besides the Quakers, Cape May included a number of New Haven
people, the first of whom came there as early as 1640 under the
leadership of George Lamberton and Captain Turner, seeking profit
in whale fishing. They were not driven out by the Dutch and
Swedes, as happened to their companions who attempted to settle
higher up the river at Salem and the Schuylkill. About one-fifth
of the old family names of Cape May and New Haven are similar,
and there is supposed to be not a little New England blood not
only in Cape May but in the neighboring counties of Cumberland
and Salem. While the first New Haven whalers came to Cape May in
1640, it is probable that for a long time they only sheltered
their vessels there, and none of them became permanent settlers
until about 1685.

Scandinavians contributed another element to the population of
the Cape May region. Very little is definitely known about this
settlement, but the Swedish names in Cape May and Cumberland
counties seem to indicate a migration of Scandinavians from
Wilmington and Tinicum.

Great Egg Harbor, which formed the northern part of the Cape May
settlement, was named from the immense numbers of wild fowl,
swans, ducks, and water birds that formerly nested there every
summer and have now been driven to Canada or beyond. Little Egg
Harbor farther up the coast was named for the same reason as well
as Egg Island, of three hundred acres in Delaware Bay, since then
eaten away by the tide. The people of the district had excellent
living from the eggs as well as from the plentiful fowl, fish,
and oysters.

Some farming was done by the inhabitants of Cape May; and many
cattle, marked with brands but in a half wild state, were kept
out on the uninhabited beaches which have now become seaside
summer cities. Some of the cattle were still running wild on the
beaches down to the time of the Civil War. The settlers "mined"
the valuable white cedar from the swamps for shingles and boards,
leaving great "pool holes" in the swamps which even today
sometimes trap the unwary sportsman. The women knitted
innumerable mittens and also made wampum or Indian money from the
clam and oyster shells, an important means of exchange in the
Indian trade all over the colonies, and even to some extent among
the colonists themselves. The Cape May people built sloops for
carrying the white cedar, the mittens, oysters, and wampum to the
outside world. They sold a great deal of their cedar in Long
Island, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Philadelphia finally
became their market for oysters and also for lumber, corn, and
the whalebone and oil. Their sloops also traded to the southern
colonies and even to the West Indies.

They were an interesting little community, these Cape May people,
very isolated and dependent on the water and on their boats, for
they were completely cut off by the Great Cedar Swamp which
stretched across the point and separated them from the rest of
the coast. This troublesome swamp was not bridged for many years;
and even then the roads to it were long, slow, and too sandy for
transporting anything of much bulk.

Next above Cape May on the coast was another isolated patch of
civilization which, while not an island, was nevertheless cut off
on the south by Great Egg Harbor with its river and marshes, and
on the north by Little Egg Harbor with the Mullica River and its
marshes extending far inland. The people in this district also
lived somewhat to themselves. To the north lay the district which
extended to Sandy Hook, also with its distinct set of people.

The people of the Cape became in colonial times clever traders in
various pursuits. Although in one sense they were as isolated as
islanders, their adventurous life on the sea gave them breadth of
view. By their thrift and in innumerable shrewd and persistent
ways they amassed competencies and estates for their families.
Aaron Leaming, for example, who died in 1780, left an estate of
nearly $1,000,000. Some kept diaries which have become
historically valuable in showing not only their history but their
good education and the peculiar cast of their mind for keen
trading as well as their rigid economy and integrity.

One character, Jacob Spicer, a prosperous colonial, insisted on
having everything made at home by his sons and daughters--shoes,
clothes, leather breeches, wampum, even shoe thread--calculating
the cost of everything to a fraction and economizing to the last
penny of money and the last second of time. Yet in the course of
a year he used "fifty-two gallons of rum, ten of wine, and two
barrels of cyder." Apparently in those days hard labor and hard
drinking went well together.

The Cape May people, relying almost entirely on the water for
communication and trade, soon took to piloting vessels in the
Delaware River, and some of them still follow this occupation.
They also became skillful sailors and builders of small craft,
and it is not surprising to learn that Jacocks Swain and his sons
introduced, in 1811, the centerboard for keeping flat-bottomed
craft closer to the wind. They are said to have taken out a
patent for this invention and are given the credit of being the
originators of the idea. But the device was known in England in
1774, was introduced in Massachusetts in the same year, and may
have been used long before by the Dutch. The need of it, however,
was no doubt strongly impressed upon the Cape May people by the
difficulties which their little sloops experienced in beating
home against contrary winds. Some of them, indeed, spent weeks in
sight of the Cape, unable to make it. One sloop, the Nancy,
seventy-two days from Demarara, hung off and on for forty-three
days from December 25, 1787, to February 6, 1788, and was driven
off fifteen times before she finally got into Hereford Inlet.
Sometimes better sailing craft had to go out and bring in such
distressed vessels. The early boats were no doubt badly
constructed; but in the end apprenticeship to dire necessity made
the Cape May sailors masters of seamanship and the windward art.*

* Stevens, "History of Cape May County," pp. 219, 229; Kelley,
"American Yachts" (1884), p. 165.

Wilson, the naturalist, spent a great deal of time in the Cape
May region, because of the great variety of birds to be found
there. Southern types, like the Florida egret, ventured even so
far north, and it was a stopping place for migrating birds,
notably woodcock, on their northern and southern journeys. Men of
the stone age had once been numerous in this region, as the
remains of village plats and great shell heaps bore witness. It
was a resting point for all forms of life. That much traveled,
adventurous gentleman of the sea, Captain Kidd, according to
popular legend, was a frequent visitor to this coast.

In later times, beginning in 1801, the Cape became one of the
earliest of the summer resorts. The famous Commodore Decatur was
among the first distinguished men to be attracted by the simple
seaside charm of the place, long before it was destroyed by
wealth and crowds. Year by year he used to measure and record at
one spot the encroachment of the sea upon the beach. Where today
the sea washes and the steel pier extends, once lay cornfields.
For a hundred years it was a favorite resting place for statesmen
and politicians of national eminence. They traveled there by
stage, sailing sloop, or their own wagons. People from Baltimore
and the South more particularly sought the place because it was
easily accessible from the head of Chesapeake Bay by an old
railroad, long since abandoned, to Newcastle on the Delaware,
whence sail- or steamboats went to Cape May. This avoided the
tedious stage ride over the sandy Jersey roads. Presidents,
cabinet officers, senators, and congressmen sought the
invigorating air of the Cape and the attractions of the old
village, its seafaring life, the sailing, fishing, and bathing on
the best beach of the coast. Congress Hall, their favorite hotel,
became famous, and during a large part of the nineteenth century
presidential nominations and policies are said to have been
planned within its walls.

Chapter X. Scotch Covenanters And Others In East Jersey

East Jersey was totally different in its topography from West
Jersey. The northern half of the State is a region of mountains
and lakes. As part of the original continent it had been under
the ice sheet of the glacial age and was very unlike the level
sands, swamps, and pine barrens of West Jersey which had arisen
as a shoal and island from the sea. The only place in East Jersey
where settlement was at all easy was along the open meadows which
were reached by water near the mouth of the Hudson, round Newark
Bay, and along the Hackensack River.

The Dutch, by the discoveries of Henry Hudson in 1609, claimed
the whole region between the Hudson and the Delaware. They
settled part of East Jersey opposite their headquarters at New
York and called it Pavonia. But their cruel massacre of some
Indians who sought refuge among them at Pavonia destroyed the
prospects of the settlement. The Indians revenged themselves by
massacring the Dutch again and again, every time they attempted
to reestablish Pavonia. This kept the Dutch out of East Jersey
until 1660, when they succeeded in establishing Bergen between
Newark Bay and the Hudson.

The Dutch authority in America was overthrown in 1664 by Charles
II, who had already given all New Jersey to his brother the Duke
of York. Colonel Richard Nicolls commanded the British expedition
that seized the Dutch possessions; and he had been given full
power as deputy governor of all the Duke of York's vast

Meantime the New England Puritans seem to have kept their eyes on
East Jersey as a desirable region, and the moment the Connecticut
Puritans heard of Nicolls' appointment, they applied to him for a
grant of a large tract of land on Newark Bay. In the next year,
1665, he gave them another tract from the mouth of the Raritan to
Sandy Hook; and soon the villages of Shrewsbury and Middletown
were started.

Meantime, however, unknown to Nicolls, the Duke of York in
England had given all of New Jersey to Lord Berkeley and Sir
George Carteret. As has already been pointed out, they had
divided the province between them, and East Jersey had fallen to
Carteret, who sent out, with some immigrants, his relative Philip
Carteret as governor. Governor Carteret was of course very much
surprised to find so much of the best land already occupied by
the excellent and thrifty Yankees. As a consequence, litigation
and sometimes civil war over this unlucky mistake lasted for a
hundred years. Many of the Yankee settlers under the Nicolls
grant refused to pay quitrents to Carteret or his successors and,
in spite of a commission of inquiry from England in 1751 and a
chancery suit, they held their own until the Revolution of 1776
extinguished all British authority.

There was therefore from the beginning a strong New England tinge
in East Jersey which has lasted to this day. Governor Carteret
established a village on Newark Bay which still bears the name
Elizabeth, which he gave it in honor of the wife of the
proprietor, and he made it the capital. There were also
immigrants from Scotland and England. But Puritans from Long
Island and New England continued to settle round Newark Bay. By
virtue either of character or numbers, New Englanders were
evidently the controlling element, for they established the New
England system of town government, and imposed strict Connecticut
laws, making twelve crimes punishable with death. Soon there were
flourishing little villages, Newark and Elizabeth, besides
Middletown and Shrewsbury. The next year Piscatawa and Woodbridge
were added. Newark and the region round it, including the
Oranges, was settled by very exclusive Puritans, or
Congregationalists, as they are now called, some thirty families
from four Connecticut towns--Milford, Guilford, Bradford, and New
Haven. They decided that only church members should hold office
and vote.

Governor Carteret ruled the colony with an appointive council and
a general assembly elected by the people, the typical colonial
form of government. His administration lasted from 1665 to his
death in 1682; and there is nothing very remarkable to record
except the rebellion of the New Englanders, especially those who
had received their land from Nicolls. Such independent
Connecticut people were, of course, quite out of place in a
proprietary colony, and, when in 1670 the first collection of
quitrents was attempted, they broke out in violent opposition, in
which the settlers of Elizabeth were prominent. In 1672 they
elected a revolutionary assembly of their own and, in place of
the deputy governor, appointed as proprietor a natural son of
Carteret. They began imprisoning former officers and confiscating
estates in the most approved revolutionary form and for a time
had the whole government in their control. It required the
interference of the Duke of York, of the proprietors, and of the
British Crown to allay the little tempest, and three years were
given in which to pay the quitrents.

After the death of Sir George Carteret in 1680, his province of
East Jersey was sold to William Penn and eleven other Quakers for
the sum of 3400 pounds. Colonies seem to have been comparatively
inexpensive luxuries in those days. A few years before, in 1675,
Penn and some other Quakers had, as has already been related,
gained control of West Jersey for the still smaller sum of one
thousand pounds and had established it as a Quaker refuge. It
might be supposed that they now had the same purpose in view in
East Jersey, but apparently their intention was to create a
refuge for Presbyterians, the famous Scotch Covenanters, much
persecuted at that time under Charles II, who was forcing them to
conform to the Church of England.

Penn and his fellow proprietors of East Jersey each chose a
partner, most of them Scotchmen, two of whom, the Earl of Perth
and Lord Drummond, were prominent men. To this mixed body of
Quakers, other dissenters, and some Papists, twenty-four
proprietors in all, the Duke of York reconfirmed by special
patent their right to East Jersey. Under their urging a few
Scotch Covenanters began to arrive and seem to have first
established themselves at Perth Amboy, which they named from the
Scottish Earl of Perth and an Indian word meaning "point." This
settlement they expected to become a great commercial port
rivaling New York. Curiously enough, Robert Barclay, the first
governor appointed, was not only a Scotchman but also a Quaker,
and a theologian whose "Apology for the True Christian Divinity"
(1678) is regarded to this day as the best statement of the
original Quaker doctrine. He remained in England, however, and
the deputies whom he sent out to rule the colony had a troublous
time of it.

That Quakers should establish a refuge for Presbyterians seems at
first peculiar, but it was in accord with their general
philanthropic plan to help the oppressed and suffering, to rescue
prisoners and exiles, and especially to ameliorate the horrible
condition of people confined in the English dungeons and prisons.
Many vivid pictures of how the Scotch Covenanters were hunted
down like wild beasts may be found in English histories and
novels. When their lives were spared they often met a fate worse
than death in the loathsome dungeons into which thousands of
Quakers of that time were also thrust. A large part of William
Penn's life as a courtier was spent in rescuing prisoners,
exiles, and condemned persons of all sorts, and not merely those
of his own faith. So the undertaking to make of Jersey two
colonies, one a refuge for Quakers and the other a refuge for
Covenanters, was natural enough, and it was a very broad-minded
plan for that age.

In 1683, a few years after the Quaker control of East Jersey
began, a new and fiercer persecution of the Covenanters was
started in the old country, and shortly afterwards Monmouth's
insurrection in England broke out and was followed by a most
bloody proscription and punishment. The greatest efforts were
made to induce those still untouched to fly for refuge to East
Jersey; but, strange to say, comparatively few of them came. It
is another proof of the sturdiness and devotion which has filled
so many pages of history and romance with their praise that as a
class the Covenanters remained at home to establish their faith
with torture, martyrdom, and death.

In 1685 the Duke of York ascended the throne of England as James
II, and all that was naturally to be expected from such a bigoted
despot was soon realized. The persecutions of the Covenanters
grew worse. Crowded into prisons to die of thirst and
suffocation, shot down on the highways, tied to stakes to be
drowned by the rising tide, the whole Calvinistic population of
Scotland seemed doomed to extermination. Again they were told of
America as the only place where religious liberty was allowed,
and in addition a book was circulated among them called "The
Model of the Government of the Province of East Jersey in
America." These efforts were partially successful. More
Covenanters came than before, but nothing like the numbers of
Quakers that flocked to Pennsylvania. The whole population of
East Jersey--New Englanders, Dutch, Scotch Covenanters, and
all--did not exceed five thousand and possibly was not over four

Some French Huguenots, such as came to many of the English
colonies after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes of 1685,
were added to the East Jersey population. A few went to Salem in
West Jersey, and some of these became Quakers. In both the
Jerseys, as elsewhere, they became prominent and influential in
all spheres of life. There was a decided Dutch influence, it is
said, in the part nearest New York, emanating from the Bergen
settlement in which the Dutch had succeeded in establishing
themselves in 1660 after the Indians had twice driven them from
Pavonia. Many descendants of Dutch families are still found in
that region. Many Dutch characteristics were to be found in that
region throughout colonial times. Many of the houses had Dutch
stoops or porches at the door, with seats where the family and
visitors sat on summer evenings to smoke and gossip. Long Dutch
spouts extended out from the eaves to discharge the rain water
into the street. But the prevailing tone of East Jersey seems to
have been set by the Scotch Presbyterians and the New England
Congregationalists. The College of New Jersey, afterward known as
Princeton, established in 1747, was the result of a movement
among the Presbyterians of East Jersey and New York.

All these elements of East Jersey, Scotch Covenanters,
Connecticut Puritans, Huguenots, and Dutch of the Dutch Reformed
Church, were in a sense different but in reality very much in
accord and congenial in their ideas of religion and politics.
They were all sturdy, freedom-loving Protestants, and they set
the tone that prevails in East Jersey to this day. Their strict
discipline and their uncompromising thrift may now seem narrow
and harsh; but it made them what they were; and it has left a
legacy of order and prosperity under which alien religions and
races are eager to seek protection. In its foundation the Quakers
may claim a share.

The new King, James II, was inclined to reassume jurisdiction and
extend the power of the Governor of New York over East Jersey in
spite of his grant to Sir George Carteret. In fact, he desired to
put New England, New York, and New Jersey under one strong
government centered at New York, to abolish their charters, to
extinguish popular government, and to make them all mere royal
dependencies in pursuance of his general policy of establishing
an absolute monarchy and a papal church in England.

The curse of East Jersey's existence was to be always an
appendage of New York, or to be threatened with that condition.
The inhabitants now had to enter their vessels and pay duties at
New York. Writs were issued by order of the King putting both the
Jerseys and all New England under the New York Governor. Step by
step the plans for amalgamation and despotism moved on
successfully, when suddenly the English Revolution of 1688 put an
end to the whole magnificent scheme, drove the King into exile,
and placed William of Orange on the throne.

The proprietaries of both Jerseys reassumed their former
authority. But the New York Assembly attempted to exercise
control over East Jersey and to levy duties on its exports. The
two provinces were soon on the eve of a little war. For twelve or
fifteen years East Jersey was in disorder, with seditious
meetings, mob rule, judges and sheriffs attacked while performing
their duty, the proprietors claiming quitrents from the people,
the people resisting, and the British Privy Council threatening a
suit to take the province from the proprietors and make a Crown
colony of it. The period is known in the history of this colony
as "The Revolution." Under the threat of the Privy Council to
take over the province, the proprietors of both East and West
Jersey surrendered their rights of political government,
retaining their ownership of land and quitrents, and the two
Jerseys were united under one government in 1702. Its subsequent
history demands another chapter.

Chapter XI. The United Jerseys

The Quaker colonists grouped round Burlington and Salem, on the
Delaware, and the Scotch Covenanters and New England colonists
grouped around Perth Amboy and Newark, near the mouth of the
Hudson, made up the two Jerseys. Neither colony had a numerous
population, and the stretch of country lying between them was
during most of the colonial period a wilderness. It is now
crossed by the railway from Trenton to New York. It has always
been a line of travel from the Delaware to the Hudson. At first
there was only an Indian trail across it, but after 1695 there
was a road, and after 1738 a stage route.

In 1702, while still separated by this wilderness, the two
Jerseys were united politically by the proprietors voluntarily
surrendering all their political rights to the Crown. The
political distinction between East Jersey and West Jersey was
thus abolished; their excellent free constitutions were rendered
of doubtful authority; and from that time to the Revolution they
constituted one colony under the control of a royal governor
appointed by the Crown.

The change was due to the uncertainty and annoyance caused for
their separate governments when their right to govern was in
doubt owing to interference on the part of New York and the
desire of the King to make them a Crown colony. The original
grant of the Duke of York to the proprietors Berkeley and
Carteret had given title to the soil but had been silent as to
the right to govern. The first proprietors and their successors
had always assumed that the right to govern necessarily
accompanied this gift of the land. Such a privilege, however, the
Crown was inclined to doubt. William Penn was careful to avoid
this uncertainty when he received his charter for Pennsylvania.
Profiting by the sad example of the Jerseys, he made sure that he
was given both the title to the soil and the right to govern.

The proprietors, however, now surrendered only their right to
govern the Jerseys and retained their ownership of the land; and
the people always maintained that they, on their part, retained
all the political rights and privileges which had been granted
them by the proprietors. And these rights were important, for the
concessions or constitutions granted by the proprietors under the
advanced Quaker influence of the time were decidedly liberal. The
assemblies, as the legislatures were called, had the right to
meet and adjourn as they pleased, instead of having their
meetings and adjournments dictated by the governor. This was an
important right and one which the Crown and royal governors were
always trying to restrict or destroy, because it made an assembly
very independent. This contest for colonial rights was exactly
similar to the struggle of the English Parliament for liberty
against the supposed right of the Stuart kings to call and
adjourn Parliament as they chose. If the governor could adjourn
the assembly when he pleased, he could force it to pass any laws
he wanted or prevent its passing any laws at all. The two Jersey
assemblies under their Quaker constitutions also had the
privilege of making their own rules of procedure, and they had
jurisdiction over taxes, roads, towns, militia, and all details
of government. These rights of a legislature are familiar enough
now to all. Very few people realize, however, what a struggle and
what sacrifices were required to attain them.

The rest of New Jersey colonial history is made up chiefly of
struggles over these two questions--the rights of the proprietors
and their quitrents as against the people, and the rights of the
new assembly as against the Crown. There were thus three parties,
the governor and his adherents, the proprietors and their
friends, and the assembly and the people. The proprietors had the
best of the change, for they lost only their troublesome
political power and retained their property. They never, however,
received such financial returns from the property as the sons of
William Penn enjoyed from Pennsylvania. But the union of the
Jerseys seriously curtailed the rights enjoyed by the people
under the old government, and all possibility of a Quaker
government in West Jersey was ended. It was this experience in
the Jerseys, no doubt, that caused William Penn to require so
many safeguards in selling his political rights in Pennsylvania
to the Crown that the sale was, fortunately for the colony, never

The assembly under the union met alternately at Perth Amboy and
at Burlington. Lord Cornbury, the first governor, was also
Governor of New York, a humiliating arrangement that led to no
end of trouble. The executive government, the press, and the
judiciary were in the complete control of the Crown and the
Governor, who was instructed to take care that "God Almighty be
duly served according to the rites of the Church of England, and
the traffic in merchantable negroes encouraged." Cornbury
contemptuously ignored the assembly's right to adjourn and kept
adjourning it till one was elected which would pass the laws he
wanted. Afterwards the assemblies were less compliant, and, under
the lead of two able men, Lewis Morris of East Jersey and Samuel
Jennings, a Quaker of West Jersey, they stood up for their rights
and complained to the mother country. But Cornbury went on
fighting them, granted monopolies, established arbitrary fees,
prohibited the proprietors from selling their lands, prevented
three members of the assembly duly elected from being sworn, and
was absent in New York so much of the time that the laws went
unexecuted and convicted murderers wandered about at large. In
short, he went through pretty much the whole list of offenses of
a corrupt and good-for-nothing royal governor of colonial times.
The union of the two colonies consequently seemed to involve no
improvement over former conditions. At last, the protests and
appeals of proprietors and people prevailed, and Cornbury was

Quieter times followed, and in 1738 New Jersey had the
satisfaction of obtaining a governor all her own. The New York
Governor had always neglected Jersey affairs, was difficult of
access, made appointments and administered justice in the
interests of New York, and forced Jersey vessels to pay
registration fees to New York. Amid great rejoicing over the
change, the Crown appointed the popular leader, Lewis Morris, as
governor. But by a strange turn of fate, when once secure in
power, he became a most obstinate upholder of royal prerogative,
worried the assembly with adjournments, and, after Cornbury, was
the most obnoxious of all the royal governors.

The governors now usually made Burlington their capital and it
became, on that account, a place of much show and interest. The
last colonial governor was William Franklin, an illegitimate son
of Benjamin Franklin, and he would probably have made a success
of the office if the Revolution had not stopped him. He had
plenty of ability, affable manners, and was full of humor and
anecdote like his father, whom he is said to have somewhat
resembled. He had combined in youth a fondness for books with a
fondness for adventure, was comptroller of the colonial post
office and clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly, served a couple of
campaigns in the French and Indian Wars, went to England with his
father in 1757, was admitted to the English Bar, attained some
intimacy with the Earl of Bute and Lord Fairfax, and through the
latter obtained the governorship of New Jersey in 1762.

The people were at first much displeased at his appointment and
never entirely got over his illegitimate birth and his turning
from Whig to Tory as soon as his appointment was secured. But he
advanced the interests of the colony with the home government and
favored beneficial legislation. He had an attractive wife, and
they entertained, it is said, with viceregal elegance, and
started a fine model farm or country place on the north shore of
the Rancocas not far from the capital at Burlington. Franklin was
drawing the province together and building it up as a community,
but his extreme loyalist principles in the Revolution destroyed
his chance for popularity and have obscured his reputation.

Though the population of New Jersey was a mixed one, judged by
the very distinct religious differences of colonial times, yet
racially it was thoroughly Anglo-Saxon and a good stock to build
upon. At the time of the Revolution in 1776 the people numbered
only about 120,000, indicating a slow growth; but when the first
census of the United States was taken, in 1790, they numbered

The natural division of the State into North and South Jersey is
marked by a line from Trenton to Jersey City. The people of these
two divisions were quite as distinct in early times as striking
differences in environment and religion could make them. Even in
the inevitable merging of modern life the two regions are still
distinct socially, economically, and intellectually. Along the
dividing line the two types of the population, of course, merged
and here was produced and is still to be found the Jerseyman of
the composite type.

Trenton, the capital of the State, is very properly in the
dividing belt. It was named after William Trent, a Philadelphia
merchant who had been speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly and
who became chief justice of New Jersey. Long ages before white
men came Trenton seems to have been a meeting place and residence
of the Indians or preceding races of stone age men. Antiquarians
have estimated that fifty thousand stone implements have been
found in it. As it was at the head of tidewater, at the so-called
Falls of the Delaware, it was apparently a center of travel and
traffic from other regions. From the top of the bluff below the
modern city of Trenton there was easy access to forests of
chestnut, oak, and pine, with their supplies of game, while the
river and its tributary creeks were full of fish. It was a
pleasant and convenient place where the people of prehistoric
times apparently met and lingered during many centuries without
necessarily having a large resident population at any one time.
Trenton was so obviously convenient and central in colonial times
that it was seriously proposed as a site for the national

Princeton University, though originating, as we have seen, among
the Presbyterians of North Jersey, seems as a higher educational
institution for the whole State to belong naturally in the
dividing belt, the meeting place of the two divisions of the
colony. The college began its existence at Elizabeth, was then
moved to Newark, both in the strongly Presbyterian region, and
finally, in 1757, was established at Princeton, a more suitable
place, it was thought, because far removed from the dissipation
and temptation of towns, and because it was in the center of the
colony on the post road between Philadelphia and New York.
Though chartered as the College of New Jersey, it was often
called Nassau Hall at Princeton or simply "Princeton." In 1896
it became known officially as Princeton University. It was a hard
struggle to found the college with lotteries and petty
subscriptions here and there. But Presbyterians in New York and
other provinces gave aid. Substantial assistance was also
obtained from the Presbyterians of England and Scotland. In the
old pamphlets of the time which have been preserved the founders
of the college argued that higher education was needed not only
for ministers of religion, but for the bench, the bar, and the
legislature. The two New England colleges, Harvard and Yale, on
the north, and the Virginia College of William and Mary on the
south, were too far away. There must be a college close at hand.

At first most of the graduates entered the Presbyterian ministry.
But soon in the short time before the Revolution there were
produced statesmen such as Richard Stockton of New Jersey, who
signed the Declaration of Independence; physicians such as Dr.
Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia; soldiers such as "Light Horse"
Harry Lee of Virginia; as well as founders of other colleges,
governors of States, lawyers, attorney-generals, judges,
congressmen, and indeed a very powerful assemblage of
intellectual lights. Nor should the names of James Madison, Aaron
Burr, and Jonathan Edwards be omitted.

East Jersey with her New England influence attempted something
like free public schools. In West Jersey the Quakers had schools.
In both Jerseys, after 1700 some private neighborhood schools
were started, independent of religious denominations. The West
Jersey Quakers, self-cultured and with a very effective system of
mental discipline and education in their families as well as in
their schools, were not particularly interested in higher
education. But in East Jersey as another evidence of intellectual
awakening in colonial times, Queen's College, afterward known as
Rutgers College, was established by the Dutch Reformed Church in
1766, and was naturally placed, near the old source of Dutch
influence, at New Brunswick in the northerly end of the dividing

New Jersey was fortunate in having no Indian wars in colonial
times, no frontier, no point of hostile contact with the French
of Canada or with the powerful western tribes of red men. Like
Rhode Island in this respect, she was completely shut in by the
other colonies. Once or twice only did bands of savages cross the
Delaware and commit depredations on Jersey soil. This colony,
however, did her part in sending troops and assistance to the
others in the long French and Indian wars; but she had none of
the pressing danger and experience of other colonies. Her people
were never drawn together by a common danger until the

In Jersey colonial homes there was not a single modern
convenience of light, heat, or cooking, and none of the modern
amusements. But there was plenty of good living and simple
diversion--husking bees and shooting in the autumn, skating and
sleighing in the winter. Meetings and discussions in coffeehouses
and inns supplied in those days the place of our modern books,
newspapers, and magazines. Jersey inns were famous meeting
places. Everybody passed through their doors--judges, lawyers,
legislators, politicians, post riders, stage drivers, each
bringing his contribution of information and humor, and the
slaves and rabble stood round to pick up news and see the fun.
The court days in each county were holidays celebrated with games
of quoits, running, jumping, feasting, and discussions political
and social. At the capital there was even style and extravagance.
Governor Belcher, for example, who lived at Burlington, professed
to believe that the Quaker influences of that town were not
strict enough in keeping the Sabbath, so he drove every Sunday in
his coach and four to Philadelphia to worship in the Presbyterian
Church there and saw no inconsistency in his own behavior.

Almanacs furnished much of the reading for the masses. The few
newspapers offered little except the barest chronicle of events.


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