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Title: William Penn - Life Stories for Young People
Author: Oertel, Hugo
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                     [Illustration: _WILLIAM PENN_]

                    _Life Stories for Young People_

                              WILLIAM PENN

                     _Translated from the German of
                              Hugo Oertel_

                            GEORGE P. UPTON
              _Translator of “Memories,” “Immensee,” etc._

                        WITH FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS

                  [Illustration: A. C. McCLURG & CO.]

                          A. C. MCCLURG & CO.

                          A. C. McClurg & Co.
                       Published September, 1911

                         THE · PLIMPTON · PRESS
                              [W · D · O]
                       NORWOOD · MASS · U · S · A

                          Translator’s Preface

The life of William Penn is one which cannot be too closely studied by
American youth, and the German author of this little volume has told its
story in most attractive style. Not one of the early settlers of the
United States had loftier purpose in view, more exalted ambition, or
nobler character. The brotherhood of man was his guiding principle, and
in seeking to carry out his purpose he displayed resolute courage,
inflexible honesty, and the highest, noblest, and most beautiful traits
of character. He encountered numerous obstacles in his great
mission—imprisonment and persecution at home, slanders and calumnies of
his enemies, intrigues of those who were envious of his success,
domestic sorrows, and at last, and most deplorable of all, the
ingratitude of the colonists as the settlement grew, and in some cases
their enmity. It is a shining example of his lofty character and fair
dealing that the Indians, who were always jealous of white men and
suspicious of their designs, remained his stanch friends to the end, for
he never broke faith with them. His closing days were sad ones, and he
died in comparative seclusion, but his name will always be preserved by
that of the great commonwealth which bears it and his principles by the
name of the metropolis which signifies them. This world would be a
better one if there were more William Penns in it.

                                                                G. P. U.

Chicago, _July, 1911_


  Chapter                                                           Page
  I William Penn’s Father—Childhood of Penn—Expulsion from Oxford
          for his Religious Views—Travels on the Continent            11
  II The Plague and its Results—Penn as a Soldier—His Religious
          Struggle—Becomes a Quaker—Imprisonment for Attending
          Meetings—Death of his Father                                24
  III Penn’s Third Imprisonment—His Happy Marriage—Fresh
          Persecutions—Visits to Germany—Quaker Emigration            36
  IV The Popish Plot—Settlement of Virginia—The Royal Cession to
          Penn—Christening of Pennsylvania—Outlines of Penn’s
          Constitution                                                48
  V Description of Penn’s Domain—Negotiations with the Indians by
          Penn’s Agent—Death of Penn’s Mother—Final Instructions
          to his Family—Departure of the “Welcome”                    60
  VI Penn’s Arrival—The Founding of Philadelphia—First General
          Assembly—Building of the “Blue Anchor”—The First School
          and Printing Press                                          72
  VII The Indian Conference—Signing of the Treaty—Penn Returns to
          England to Defend his Rights against Lord
          Baltimore—Accession of James the Second—His Dethronement
          and Accession of William the Third                          84
  VIII Penn Tried for Treason and Acquitted—Withdrawal of Penn’s
          Charter—Death of his Wife and Son—Second
          Marriage—Journey to America—Penn’s Home—Attempts to
          Correct Abuses—Returns to England and Encounters Fresh
          Dangers—Penn in the Debtors’ Prison—Ingratitude of the
          Colonists                                                   96
  IX Death of his Dissolute Son William—Penn’s Last Illness and
          Mental Decline—His Death and Will                          109
    Appendix                                                         113


  William Penn                                            _Frontispiece_
  The Duel                                                            22
  Penn and the Indians                                                82
  The Conference                                                      84

                              William Penn

                               Chapter I
 William Penn’s Father—Childhood of Penn—Expulsion from Oxford for his
                Religious Views—Travels on the Continent

William Penn was descended from an old English family which, as early as
the beginning of the fifteenth century, had settled in the county of
Buckinghamshire in the southern part of England, and of which a branch
seems later to have moved to the neighboring county of Wiltshire, for in
a church in the town of Mintye there is a tablet recording the death of
a William Penn in 1591. It was a grandson and namesake of this William
Penn, and the father of our hero, however, who first made the family
name distinguished. Brought up as a sailor by his father, the captain of
a merchantman, with whom he visited not only the principal ports of
Spain and Portugal, but also the distant shores of Asia Minor, he
afterward entered the service of the government and so distinguished
himself that in his twentieth year he was made a captain in the royal
navy. In 1643 he married Margaret Jasper, the clever and beautiful
daughter of a Rotterdam merchant, and from this time his sole ambition
was to make a name for himself and elevate his family to a rank they had
not hitherto enjoyed. In this he succeeded, partly by policy, but also
unquestionably by natural ability; for although the name of Penn is
scarcely enrolled among England’s greatest naval heroes, yet at the
early age of twenty-three he had been made a rear-admiral, and two years
later was advanced to the rank of vice-admiral—this too at a time when
advancement in the English navy could only be obtained by real merit and
valuable service.

Penn’s father was also shrewd enough to take advantage of circumstances
and turn them to his profit. Although at heart a royalist, he did not
scruple to go over to the revolutionists when it became evident that the
monarchy must succumb to the power of the justly incensed people and
Parliament; and when the head of Charles the First had fallen under the
executioner’s axe and Oliver Cromwell had seized the reins of
government, Admiral Penn was prompt to offer his homage. Cromwell on his
part may have had some justifiable doubts as to the sincerity of this
allegiance, but knowing Penn to be an ambitious man of the world, he
felt reasonably sure of winning him over completely to the side of the
Commonwealth by consulting his interests. He had need of such men just
then, for the alliance between England and Holland, which he was
endeavoring to bring about, had just been frustrated by the passage by
Parliament of the Navigation Act of 1651, requiring that foreign
merchandise should be brought to England on English vessels only. This
was a direct blow at the flourishing trade hitherto carried on by the
Dutch with English ports, and a war with Holland was inevitable. As this
must of necessity be a naval war, Cromwell was quite ready to accept the
services of so able and experienced an officer as William Penn. The
young admiral fully justified the Protector’s confidence, for it was
largely owing to his valor that the war, during which ten great naval
battles were fought, ended in complete victory for the English.

Scarcely less distinguished were his services in the subsequent war with
Spain, when he was given the task of destroying that country’s
sovereignty in the West Indies. He conquered the island of Jamaica,
which was added to England’s possessions, but was unable to retrieve an
unsuccessful attempt of the land forces assisting him to capture the
neighboring island of Hispaniola. He had been shrewd enough to make
terms with Cromwell before sailing for the West Indies. In compensation
for the damages inflicted on his Irish property during the civil war he
was granted an indemnity, besides the promise of a valuable estate in
Ireland, and the assurance of protection for his family during his
absence. It was well for Penn that he did so, for on his return he was
summarily deprived of his office and cast into prison—ostensibly for his
failure to conquer Hispaniola. The real reason, however, for this action
on the part of Cromwell was doubtless due to his knowledge of certain
double dealing on the part of Penn, who, shrewdly foreseeing that the
English Commonwealth was destined to be short-lived and that on the
death of Cromwell the son of the murdered King would doubtless be
restored to the throne, had secretly entered into communication with
this prince, then living at Cologne on the Rhine, and placed at his
disposition the entire fleet under his command. The offer had been
declined, it is true, Charles at that time being unable to avail himself
of it, but it had reached the ears of Cromwell, who took this means of
punishing the admiral’s disloyalty.

That our hero should have been the child of such a father proves the
fallacy of the saying, “The apple never falls far from the tree.” His
mother, fortunately, was of a very different and far nobler stamp. She
seems to have felt no regret at her son’s religious turn of mind, for
later, when the father, enraged at his association with the despised
Quakers, turned him out of doors, she secretly sympathized with the
outcast and supplied him with money.

This son, our William Penn, was born in London on the fourteenth of
October, 1644, as his father was floating down the Thames in the
battleship of which he had just been placed in command. For his early
education he was indebted entirely to his mother, his father’s
profession keeping him away from home most of the time. From what is
known of her, this must have been of a kind firmly to implant in the
child’s heart the seeds of piety, for such a development of spirituality
can only be ascribed to impressions received in childhood. William was
only eleven at the time of his father’s disgrace, but old enough to
understand and share his mother’s distress at the misfortune which fell
like a dark shadow across his youthful gayety. Even then the boy may
have realized how little real happiness is to be found in a worldly
career, and how poor are they whose whole thoughts are centred on the
things of this life.

The admiral’s imprisonment did not last long, however. A petition for
pardon having been sent to the Protector, he was released and retired
with his family to bury his blighted ambitions on the Irish estate near
Cork which he had received as a reward for his achievements in the war
with Holland. Two more children had been born to them in the meantime, a
daughter, Margaret, and a second son, who was named Richard. Here, amid
the pleasures and occupations of a country life to which he devoted
himself with the greatest zest and enjoyment, young William grew into a
slender but stalwart youth. When it became time to consider his higher
education, for which there were no suitable opportunities at home, it
was decided to send him to Oxford—a plan which was deferred for a time,
however, owing to an event which was of more concern to Admiral Penn
than his son’s education, since it opened fresh fields for his ambition.

This was the death of Oliver Cromwell on September 3, 1658. The news
revived Penn’s still cherished plans for assisting in the restoration of
Charles the Second, thereby laying the foundation of a new and brilliant
career at the court of the young King, whose favor he had already
propitiated by his offer of the fleet. These schemes he did not dare to
put into immediate execution for fear of involving himself in fresh
troubles, the parliamentary party still being in power and Cromwell’s
son Richard chosen as his successor. But no sooner had the latter,
realizing his inability to guide affairs with his father’s strong hand,
resigned the honor conferred upon him, no sooner was it announced that
Parliament had received a message from Charles the Second and was
favorably inclined toward his restoration to the throne, than the
aspiring admiral lost not a moment in hastening over to Holland to be
among the first to offer homage to the new King.

The knighthood which he received from that grateful monarch served only
as a spur to still greater zeal in his interests, to which he devoted
himself with such success that he not only won over the navy to the
royal cause by his influence with its officers, but having accomplished
his election to Parliament, was thus able to assist in the decision to
recall the exiled sovereign. Again he was among the first to carry this
news to Holland, thereby establishing himself still more firmly in the
King’s favor. Not till these affairs were settled and a brilliant future
assured for himself and his family did Sir William find time to think of
his son, who was accordingly sent to Christ Church, Oxford.

The young man must have soon discovered the deficiencies of his previous
education and realized that he was far behind other students of his own
age, but he applied himself to his studies with such diligence that he
made rapid progress and earned the entire approbation of his
instructors, while his amiability and kindness of heart, as well as his
skill in all sorts of manly sports, made him no less popular with his
fellow students. But skilful oarsman, sure shot, and good athlete as he
was, he never lost sight of the deeper things of life. Indefatigably as
he devoted himself to acquiring not only a thorough knowledge of the
classics, but also of several modern languages, so that he was able to
converse in French, German, Dutch, and Italian, he showed an even
greater fondness for the study of religion. He was especially interested
in the writings of the Puritans, which were spread broadcast at this
time, glowing with Christian zeal and denouncing the efforts made by the
court to introduce Catholic forms and ceremonies into divine worship in
the universities as well as elsewhere. Feeling it a matter of conscience
to protest against these innovations, Penn, with a number of his fellow
students, reluctantly determined to resist the orders of the King, with
whom his father stood in such high favor, but whose dissolute life could
win neither respect nor loyalty from the earnest and high-minded youth.

About this time there appeared at Oxford a man whom William had already
seen as a child and who even then made a deep impression on him. This
was Thomas Loe, a follower of Fox, the Quaker whose teachings he was
endeavoring to spread throughout the country. He had visited Ireland for
this purpose and, doubtless at the suggestion of Sir William’s pious
lady, was asked to hold a meeting at their house. The eleven-year-old
William never forgot the effect produced by this sermon. Even his
father, not usually susceptible to religious feeling, was moved to
tears, and the boy thought what a wonderful place the world would be if
all were Quakers.

Now that this same Thomas Loe had come to Oxford, what could be more
natural than that the young zealot, already roused to opposition and
imbued with Puritan ideas, should attend these Quaker meetings with
companions of a like mind? Strengthened in his childish impressions and
convinced that divine truth was embodied in Loe’s teachings, Penn and
his friends refused to attend the established form of service, with its
ceremonies, for which they openly expressed their abhorrence and
contempt. He was called to account and punished by the college
authorities for this and for attending the Quaker meetings, but it only
added fuel to the flame. Indignant at this so-called violation of their
principles, against the injustice of which they felt it a sacred duty to
rebel, they began to hold meetings among themselves for devotional
exercises, and only awaited a pretext for open revolt. This was soon
furnished by an order from the King prescribing the wearing of
collegiate gowns by the students. The young reformers not only refused
to wear them, but even went so far as to attack those who did and tear
the objectionable garments off from them by force—a proceeding which
naturally led to their expulsion after an official examination, during
which Penn had spoken boldly and unreservedly in his own and his
companions’ defence.

The effect of this on the worldly and ambitious father may easily be
imagined. He had looked to his eldest son, on whom he had built such
high hopes, to carry on his aspiring schemes after his own death, and
totally unable to comprehend how a mere youth could be so carried away
by religious enthusiasm, the disgrace of William’s expulsion from the
university was a bitter blow to his pride. It was but a cold reception
therefore that the young man met with on his return to the paternal
roof. For a long time his father refused even to see him, and when he
did it was only to overwhelm him with the bitterest reproaches. He
sternly commanded him to abandon his absurd religious beliefs and break
off all communication with his Oxford associates, and when William
respectfully but firmly refused to do this until he should be convinced
of their absurdity, the admiral, accustomed as an officer to absolute
obedience, flew into such a passion that he seized his cane and ordered
his degenerate son out of the house.

On calmer reflection, however, he became convinced of the uselessness of
such severity, for William, he discovered, though moping about, dejected
and unhappy, was still keeping up a lively correspondence with his
Quaker friends, so he resolved to try other methods. Knowing by
experience the power of worldly pleasures to divert the mind of youth
and drown serious thought in the intoxication of the senses, he
determined to resort to this dangerous remedy for his son, whose ideas
of life, to his mind, needed a radical change. He therefore arranged for
William to join a party of young gentlemen of rank who were about to set
out on a tour of the continent, first visiting France and its gay
capital, reckoning shrewdly that constant association with young
companions so little in sympathy with Quaker ideas and habits would soon
convert his son to other views. Or if this perhaps did not fully
accomplish the purpose, the allurements of Paris, where King Louis the
Fourteenth and his brilliant court set such an example of luxury and
licentiousness, could not fail to complete the cure.

Little to young Penn’s taste as was this journey, and especially the
society in which he was to make it, he did not care to renew his
father’s scarcely cooled anger by opposing it, nor was life at home
under existing circumstances especially pleasant or comfortable. He
yielded therefore without protest to his father’s wishes and set out for
Paris with the companions chosen for him, well provided with letters of
introduction which would admit him to the highest circles of French

The correctness of the admiral’s judgment proved well founded, and the
associations into which he had thrown his son only too well fitted to
work the desired change. In spite of his inward resistance young Penn
found himself drawn into a whirl of gayety and pleasure for which he
soon grew to have more and more fondness and which left him no time for
serious thought. He was presented to the King and became a welcome and
frequent guest at that dissolute court. The life of license and luxury
by which he was surrounded and against which he had almost ceased to
struggle failed, however, entirely to subdue his better nature, as the
following incident will show.

Returning late one evening from some gathering wearing a sword, as
French custom demanded, his way was suddenly stopped by a masked man who
ordered him to draw his sword, demanding satisfaction for an injury. In
vain Penn protested his innocence of any offence and his ignorance even
of the identity of his accuser, but the latter insisted that he should
fight, declaring Penn had insulted him by not returning his greeting.
The discussion soon attracted a number of auditors, and under penalty of
being dubbed a coward by refusing to cross swords with his adversary,
Penn was obliged to yield. But if, as is not unlikely, the whole affair
was planned by his comrades to force him to use arms, a practice
forbidden among the Quakers, the youth who undertook the role of
challenger was playing rather a dangerous game; for among his other
acquirements Penn had thoroughly mastered the art of fencing and quickly
succeeded in disarming his adversary. Instead of pursuing his advantage,
however, as the laws of duelling permitted, the spectators were
astonished to see him return the rapier with a courtly bow to his
discomfited foe and silently withdraw. He might yield to the prevailing
custom so far as to draw his sword, but his conscience would not permit
him to shed human blood.

                       [Illustration: _THE DUEL_]

It was with the greatest satisfaction that Sir William learned of the
change that had been wrought in his son, and to make it yet more
permanent and effectual he ordered him to remain abroad, extending his
travels to other countries. He was now in a position to afford this, as
through the favor of the King’s brother, the Duke of York, he had
received an important and lucrative post in the admiralty, but he would
gladly have made any sacrifice to have his son return the kind of man he
wished him to be. But the father’s hopes ran too high. Although
outwardly become a man of the world, William had by no means lost all
serious purpose in the vortex of Parisian life, for he spent some time
at Saumur, on the Loire, attracted thither by the fame of Moses
Amyrault, a divine, under whose teaching he remained for some time and
of whom he became a zealous adherent. From there, by his father’s
orders, he travelled through various parts of France and then turned his
steps toward Italy in order to become as familiar with the language as
he already had with French, and to cultivate his taste in art by a study
of the rich treasures of that country.

                               Chapter II
       The Plague and its Results—Penn as a Soldier—His Religious
 Struggle—Becomes a Quaker—Imprisonment for Attending Meetings—Death of
                               his Father

In 1664 another war broke out between England and Holland, owing to the
refusal of the latter to allow the existence of English colonies on the
coast of Guinea, where the Dutch had hitherto enjoyed the exclusive
trade. Admiral de Ruyter was ordered to destroy these settlements and a
declaration of war followed. The Duke of York, then Lord High Admiral of
England, believing the services of his friend Admiral Penn indispensable
at such a juncture, appointed him to the command of his own flagship
with the title of Great Commander. This compelled Sir William to recall
young Penn to take charge of the family affairs during his absence.
Rumors of Louis the Fourteenth’s favorable disposition toward the Dutch
also made him fear for his son’s safety in France. The change wrought in
William by his two years’ absence could not fail to delight the admiral.
The seriousness of mind which had formerly led him to avoid all worldly
pleasures had vanished and was replaced by a youthful vivacity of manner
and a ready wit in conversation that were most charming. In appearance
too he had improved greatly, having grown into a tall and handsome man,
his face marked by an expression of singular sweetness and gentleness,
yet full of intelligence and resolution.

To prevent any return to his former habits, his father took pains to
keep him surrounded by companions of rank and wealth and amid the
associations of a court little behind that of France in the matter of
license and extravagance. He also had him entered at Lincoln’s Inn as a
student of law, a knowledge of which would be indispensable in the lofty
position to which he aspired for his son and heir. And why should not
these hopes of future distinction be realized? Was he not in high favor
not only with the King, but also with the Duke of York, who must succeed
to the throne on the death of Charles? Nevertheless, the admiral must
still have had doubts as to the permanence of this unexpected and most
welcome change, for when he sailed with the Duke of York in March, 1665,
he took William with him, feeling it safest, no doubt, to keep him for a
time under his own eye and away from all temptation to relapse into his
old ways. These prudent calculations were soon upset, however, for three
weeks later, when the first engagement with the Dutch fleet took place,
young Penn was sent back by the Duke of York with despatches to the King
announcing the victory. As the bearer of these tidings he was naturally
made welcome at court and remained in London, continuing his law

Then came the plague, which broke out in London with such violence as to
terrify even the most worldly and force upon them the thought of death.
Persons seemingly in perfect health would suddenly fall dead in the
streets, as many as ten thousand deaths occurring in a single day. All
who were able to escape fled from the city, while those who could not
get away shut themselves up in their houses, scarcely venturing forth to
obtain even the necessities of life. The terrible scenes which met the
eye at every turn quickly banished William’s newly acquired worldliness
and turned his thoughts once more to serious things. Religious questions
absorbed his whole mind and became of far greater importance to him than
those of law, with which he should have been occupying himself.

Sir William observed this new change with alarm and displeasure on his
return with the fleet, and even more so when his services were rewarded
by the King not only by large additions to his Irish estates, but also
by promises of still higher preferment in the future. Of what use would
these honors be if the son who was to inherit them insisted on embracing
a vocation that utterly unfitted him for such a position? Again he cast
about for a remedy that should prove as effectual as the sojourn in
France had been, and this time he sent his son to the Duke of Ormond,
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whose court, though a gay and brilliant one,
was not so profligate as those at Paris and London. The admiral had
overlooked one fact, however, in his choice of residence for his son;
namely, that there were many Quakers in Ireland.

The letters which he carried procured young Penn an instant welcome to
court circles in Dublin, where his attractive person and his cleverness
soon made him popular. Again he found himself plunged into a whirl of
gayety and pleasure, to which he abandoned himself the more readily as
it involved no especial reproach of conscience. Soon after his arrival
he volunteered to join an expedition commanded by the Duke’s son, Lord
Arran, to reduce some mutinous troops to obedience, and bore himself
with so much coolness and courage that the viceroy wrote to Sir William
expressing his satisfaction with young Penn’s conduct and proposing that
he should embrace a military career, for which he seemed so well
adapted. Greatly to William’s disappointment, however, the admiral
refused his consent, having other plans for the future. There was also
work for him now wherein he could utilize his knowledge of law, some
question having arisen as to the title of the large estates recently
granted the admiral by Charles the Second. The matter having to be
settled by law, William was intrusted by his father with the trial of
the case, which he succeeded in winning.

One day while at Cork, near which his father’s property was situated, he
recognized in a shopkeeper of whom he was making some purchases one of
the women who had been present at that never-to-be-forgotten meeting
held at his father’s house by Thomas Loe. Much pleased at thus
discovering an old acquaintance, the conversation naturally turned to
religious subjects, and on William’s expressing the wish that he might
again see and hear the famous preacher, the Quakeress informed him that
Loe was then living in Cork and would hold one of his usual meetings the
following day. It is needless to say that young Penn was present on that
occasion and his Oxford experience was repeated. Loe’s sermon seemed
aimed directly at him, for it was on “the faith that overcometh the
world and the faith that is overcome by the world.” As the first part of
the sermon, wherein the preacher depicted with glowing enthusiasm the
splendid fruits of that faith that overcometh, awoke in the young man’s
heart memories of the true peace and happiness that had been his so long
as he had remained true to his beliefs, so the second part, dealing with
the faith that succumbs to worldly temptations, fell like blows upon his
conscience. Bitter remorse for his frivolous life of the last few years
overwhelmed him, and Loe, to whom he presented himself at the close of
the meeting, perceiving his state of mind, did not fail to strengthen
the effect of his discourse by the most solemn exhortations.

For a time filial duty and worldly ambition struggled against the voice
of awakened conscience, but the latter finally triumphed. Penn now
became a regular attendant at the Quaker meetings and belonged, in heart
at least, to the persecuted sect. In September, 1667, while present at
one of these meetings, usually held with as much secrecy as possible, in
order to avoid the jeers of the rabble, the place was suddenly invaded
by order of the mayor and all the participants arrested. Finding the son
of so distinguished a personage as Sir William Penn among the prisoners,
the astonished official offered to release him at once if he would
promise not to repeat the offence, but Penn refused to enjoy any
advantages over his companions and went with them to prison. While there
he wrote to the Earl of Orrery, complaining of the injustice of his
imprisonment, since the practice of religious worship could be called
neither a criminal offence nor a disturbance of the peace. On receipt of
this letter an order was given for his immediate release, but the report
that he had joined the Quakers quickly spread, calling forth both
derision and indignation among his friends at court.

When this rumor reached the admiral, who feared nothing so much as
ridicule, he promptly ordered his son to join him in London. Finding him
still in the dress of a gentleman with sword and plume, he felt somewhat
reassured and began to hope that after all he might have been
misinformed, but the next day, when he took William to task for keeping
his hat on in his presence, the youth frankly confessed that he had
become a Quaker. Threats and arguments proving alike useless, the
admiral then gave him an hour’s time to consider whether he would not at
least remove his hat before the King and the Duke of York, that his
future prospects and position at court might not be ruined. But
William’s resolution had been fully matured during his imprisonment at
Cork, and his conversion was a serious matter of conscience. He was
forced to admit to himself therefore that such a concession would be a
violation of his principles, and announced at the end of the time that
it would be impossible for him to comply with his father’s wishes. At
this the admiral’s hitherto restrained anger burst all bounds.
Infuriated because all his plans and ambitions for the future were
baffled by what seemed to him a mere notion, he heaped abuse and
reproaches on his son and finally ordered him from the house with
threats of disinheritance.

This was a severe test of Penn’s religious convictions. Not only was he
passionately devoted to his mother, on whose sympathy and support he
could always count, but he also had the deepest respect and regard for
his father, in spite of their widely different views, but his conscience
demanded the sacrifice and he made it, leaving his home and all his
former associations. Now that the die was cast he laid aside his worldly
dress and openly professed himself as belonging to the Friends, as they
were called, who welcomed him with open arms. It would have fared ill
with him, however, accustomed as he was to a life of affluence and ease,
had it not been for his mother, who provided him with money from time to
time as she found an opportunity.

It was not long, however, before the admiral relented, owing chiefly to
her efforts in his behalf, and allowed him to return home, though still
refusing to see or hold any communication with him. It must indeed have
been a crushing blow to the proud and ambitious man of the world to have
his son and heir travelling about the country as a poor preacher, for it
was about this time, 1668, that William first began to preach. He also
utilized his learning and talents by writing in defence of the new
doctrines he had embraced. One of these publications, entitled “The
Sandy Foundation Shaken,” attracted much attention. In it he cleverly
attempted to prove that certain fundamental doctrines of the established
church were contrary to Scripture—a heresy for which the Bishop of
London had him imprisoned. Indeed his malicious enemies went so far as
to claim that Penn had dropped a letter at the time of his arrest,
written by himself and containing treasonable matter, but although his
innocence on this point was soon established, he was forced,
nevertheless, to remain for nine months in the Tower. Even the King, to
whom Sir William appealed on his son’s behalf, did not dare to intervene
for fear of increasing the suspicion, in which he already stood, of
being an enemy to the church. All he could do was to send the court
chaplain to visit Penn and urge him to make amends to the irate Bishop,
who was determined he should publicly retract his published statements
or end his days in prison. But this the young enthusiast refused to do,
replying with the spirit of a martyr that his prison should be his grave
before he would renounce his just opinions; that for his conscience he
was responsible to no man.

This period of enforced idleness was by no means wasted, however. While
at the Tower he wrote “No Cross, No Crown,” perhaps the best known and
most popular of all his works, wherein for his own consolation as well
as that of his persecuted brethren he explained the need for all true
Christians to bear the cross. Another, called “Innocence with her Open
Face,” further expounded certain disputed passages in the Holy Book that
had shared his imprisonment. The manly firmness and courage with which
Penn bore his long confinement without allowing his newly adopted
beliefs to be shaken forced universal respect and sympathy and even
softened his father’s wrath at last. The admiral himself had been having
troubles. False accusations made against him by his enemies had so
preyed on his mind that his health had given way, and he had been forced
to resign his post in the admiralty and retire to private life. He
visited his son several times in prison, and his appeals to the Duke of
York finally secured William’s release, without the recantation demanded
by the Bishop. Further residence in London at that time being
undesirable, however, he went back to his father’s estate in Ireland.
Here he labored unceasingly for the liberation of his friends in Cork,
who were still languishing in prison, and at last had the joy of seeing
his efforts crowned with success by securing their pardon from the Duke
of Ormond.

At the end of eight months he returned again to England at the wish of
his father, whose rapidly failing health made him long for his eldest
son. He had fully relented toward him by this time and a complete
reconciliation now took place, greatly to the joy of all parties. But
the year 1670, which brought this happiness to Penn, was also one of
trial for him, owing to the revival of the law against dissenters, as
all who differed from the doctrines of the established church were
called, declaring assemblies of more than five persons for religious
purposes unlawful and making offenders punishable by heavy fines or even
banishment. Among the thousands thus deprived of liberty and property,
being at the mercy of the meanest informer, one of the first to suffer
was William Penn.

On the fourteenth of August, 1670, the Quakers found their usual place
of meeting in London closed and occupied by soldiery. When Penn arrived
on the scene with his friend William Mead he attempted to address the
assembled crowd, urging them to disperse quietly and offer no
resistance, which would be quite useless. But as soon as he began to
speak both he and Mead were arrested and taken to prison by warrants
from the mayor of London for having attended a proscribed meeting and
furthermore caused a disturbance of the peace. The prisoners were tried
before a jury on September third. Although the three witnesses brought
against them could produce no testimony to confirm the charge, Penn
voluntarily confessed that he had intended to preach and claimed it as a
sacred right. In spite of all the indignities and abuse permitted by the
court, he pleaded his cause so stoutly and so eloquently that the jury
pronounced a verdict of not guilty. This was far from pleasing to the
judges, who were bent on having Penn punished, so the jury were sent
back to reconsider, and when they persisted were locked up for two days
without food or water and threatened with starvation unless a verdict
were reached which could be accepted by the court. Even this proving
ineffectual they were fined for their obstinacy, and refusing to pay
these fines were sent to prison, while Penn and his friend Mead, instead
of being released, were still kept in confinement for refusing to pay a
fine which had been arbitrarily imposed on them for contempt of court.

The admiral, however, whose approaching end made him more and more
anxious to have his son at liberty, sent privately and paid both fines,
thus securing the release of both prisoners. Penn found his father
greatly changed. The once proud and ambitious man had experienced the
hollowness of worldly things and longed for death. “I am weary of the
world,” he said to William shortly before his death. “I would not live
over another day of my life even if it were possible to bring back the
past. Its temptations are more terrible than death.” He charged his
children, all of whom were gathered about him, “Let nothing tempt you to
wrong your conscience; thus shall you find an inward peace that will
prove a blessing when evil days befall.”

He talked much with William, who doubtless did not fail to impress upon
his dying father the comfort of a firm religious faith, and before he
died expressed his entire approval of the simple form of worship adopted
by his eldest and favorite son. Sir William died on the sixteenth of
September, 1670. Shortly before the end he sent messages to the King and
to the Duke of York with the dying request that they would act as
guardians to his son, whom he foresaw would stand greatly in need of
friends and protectors in the trials to which his faith would expose
him. Wealth he would not lack, for the admiral left an estate yielding
an annual income of about fifteen hundred pounds, besides a claim on the
royal exchequer for fifteen thousand pounds, which sum he had loaned at
various times to the King and his brother.

                              Chapter III
 Penn’s Third Imprisonment—His Happy Marriage—Fresh Persecutions—Visits
                      to Germany—Quaker Emigration

After his father’s death Penn became more absorbed than ever in his
chosen mission of spreading the gospel as interpreted by Fox, which
seemed to him the only true form of religion. The restraint he had
hitherto felt obliged to impose on himself in this respect, out of
deference to his father’s prejudices, was now no longer necessary and he
was free to follow the dictates of his soul. But he was soon to suffer
the consequences of having drawn upon himself the displeasure of the
court by his bold defence during the recent trial, and still more by a
pamphlet issued soon after his father’s death in which he fearlessly
denounced the unjust and arbitrary action of the judges not only toward
the accused, but also toward the jury. Just before the new year of 1671
Penn was again arrested on the charge of having held unlawful meetings
and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment at Newgate, during which
time he wrote several important works, chiefly urging the necessity of
liberty of conscience in England.

After his release Penn made a journey to Holland and Germany, whither
many of the Quakers had fled to escape the continual persecutions to
which they were subjected in their own country. Others had crossed the
ocean to seek in America an abode where they could live without
hinderance according to their convictions, and the letters written by
these drew large numbers to this land of promise; for in spite of the
hardships of the voyage thither, the emigrants drew such glowing
pictures of the beauty and fertility of the country and the happiness of
enjoying religious worship undisturbed as could not fail to appeal to
their unfortunate brethren so sorely in need of this blessing.

During his travels Penn had seen many of these letters and heard the
subject of emigration freely discussed, and gradually he formed a plan
which indeed had been the dream of his youth, although there had then
seemed no prospect of its ever being realized. This plan, however, was
forced into the background for a time by an event of more personal
importance; namely, his betrothal to Guglielma Maria Springett, daughter
of Sir William Springett of Sussex, who had greatly distinguished
himself as a colonel in the parliamentary army and died during the civil
wars at an early age. His widow and her three children, of whom Guli,
the youngest, was born shortly after her father’s death, had retired to
the village of Chalfont in Buckinghamshire, where she afterward married
Isaac Pennington, one of the most prominent of the early Quakers. It was
while visiting Friend Pennington at his home in Chalfont that Penn met
and fell in love with the charming Guli, who willingly consented to
bestow her hand on this stalwart young friend of her stepfather, whose
belief she shared. The marriage took place in 1672 and proved one of
lasting happiness on both sides. Conjugal bliss did not divert Penn from
his sacred calling, however, for we find him soon on his travels again,
with his faithful Guli, who accompanied him everywhere until the birth
of their first child made it no longer possible. This was a son, to whom
they gave the name of Springett, for his grandfather. But even the joys
of fatherhood could not confine Penn to his home, now doubly happy. He
travelled about the country constantly, either alone or with other
distinguished Friends, and was so active both as a preacher and as a
writer that he soon became known as the “sword” of the society.

The year 1673 brought fresh persecutions to the Quakers through the
passage by Parliament of the so-called Test Act, excluding all
dissenters from holding office of any kind under the crown, which King
Charles had been forced to sign, much against his will, since it also
applied to Catholics. As the Quakers were looked upon as among the worst
enemies of the established church, not only on account of their extreme
candor and boldness, but also for their contempt of all outward forms of
worship, their day of trial was not long delayed. George Fox was one of
the first victims, and in order to secure his release Penn once more
made his appearance at court after an interval of five years. His
guardian and protector, the Duke of York, received him most graciously,
reproached him for his long absence, and promised to use his influence
with the King in Fox’s behalf. He also agreed to do all in his power to
put an end to the oppressive persecution of the Friends, and dismissed
Penn with the assurance that he would be glad to see him at any time or
be of any service to him. The promised intercession, however, was either
forgotten or without avail, for the merciless enactments against
dissenters of all kinds continued as before and filled all the prisons
in the country. Little wonder that their thoughts turned to emigration,
in which some of their brethren had already taken refuge. For
deep-rooted as is the Englishman’s attachment to his native land, even
patriotism must yield to that inborn love of freedom and the higher
demand of the spirit for liberty of conscience.

To Penn especially this idea appealed with irresistible force now that
he had at last given up hope of ever securing these rights in England.
But whither? Not in Holland or Germany was to be found the longed-for
freedom. Refugees in those countries were scarcely less oppressed and
persecuted than at home. It was across the sea that Penn’s thoughts
flew, to the silent primeval forests of the New World, where no
tyrannical power yet held sway; where every man was the builder of his
own fortune and the master of his destiny, unfettered by iron-bound laws
and customs; where a still virgin Nature, adorned with all the charms of
a favored clime, invited to direct communion with the Creator of all
things and inspired a peace of mind impossible to secure elsewhere.
There was the place to found the commonwealth of which he had dreamed.
All that as a boy he had heard from his father’s lips of that wondrous
new Paradise beyond the seas; all that as a youth with his intense
longing for freedom his fancy had painted of such an ideal community;
all that as a man he had learned from the letters of emigrants who had
already reached this land of promise, all this combined to create an
inspiring vision that ever unfolded fresh beauties to his mind. And
when, in 1676, Penn was unexpectedly brought into actual contact with
this country, no doubt it seemed to him like the finger of God pointing
out to him the land of his dreams.

In that year Charles the Second, who had already disposed of various
English conquests and possessions in North America, made over to his
brother James, Duke of York, the province of New Netherlands, ceded to
him by the Dutch after their defeat in 1665. This was that fertile tract
of country lying between the Delaware and Connecticut Rivers, where the
Dutch West Indian Trading Company had already made some settlements. The
Duke of York kept only a part of this territory, however; that which was
named for him, New York. The territory between the Hudson and Delaware
Rivers he gave in fee to two noblemen, Lord Berkeley and Sir George
Carteret, the latter of whom, having been formerly governor of the
channel island of Jersey lying off the French coast, called his part New
Jersey. Both these provinces granted full freedom of government and of
belief to all sects—a matter not so much of principle perhaps as of
policy, to attract thither victims of the penal laws in England, for the
greater the number of colonists who settled in these still sparsely
populated territories, the more their value and their revenues would
increase. Nor were these calculations unfounded. Hundreds of Puritans,
among whom were many Quakers, took advantage of this opportunity to seek
new homes, and their industry and perseverance soon brought the land to
a state of most promising productiveness. Finding the care of these
distant possessions burdensome, however, Lord Berkeley sold his share
for a thousand pounds to one Edward Billing through his agent John
Fenwick. Some dispute concerning the matter having arisen between these
two men, both of whom were Quakers, Penn was chosen to settle the
controversy and decided in favor of Fenwick, who had emigrated with a
large party of Friends to the coast of Delaware and founded the town of

Penn’s connection with the American province did not end here. Billing,
having become embarrassed in his affairs, was forced to resign his
interest in the territory to his creditors, who at his request appointed
Penn as one of the administrators. This office, though not altogether
agreeable to him, he felt obliged to accept in the interest of the many
Quakers already settled there; but if his model community were to be
founded there, he must have a free hand and not be hampered by any
regulations or restrictions which might be made by Sir George Carteret
as joint owner of the province of New Jersey. He therefore directed his
efforts to securing a division of the territory, in which he finally
succeeded, Carteret taking the eastern part, while the western, being
sold to the highest bidder for the benefit of Billing’s creditors, came
into the sole possession of the Quakers.

For this new State of West New Jersey, Penn drew up a constitution, the
chief provision of which was the right of free worship and liberty of
conscience. The legislative power was placed almost entirely in the
hands of the people, to be exercised by chosen representatives, while
all matters of law and justice were intrusted to a judiciary the members
of which were to serve for a period of not more than two years. Copies
of this constitution were printed and widely circulated among the
Quakers, together with a full description of the soil, climate, and
natural products of the new colony. The result was amazing. Penn’s home,
then at Worminghurst in Sussex, was literally besieged by would-be
emigrants seeking for information, in spite of the fact that in these
published pamphlets he had strongly urged that no one should leave his
native land without sufficient cause and not merely from idle curiosity
or love of gain. Two companies were now organized to assist in the work
of emigration. The first ship carried over two hundred and thirty
colonists, and two others soon following, it became necessary to
establish at once a provisional government, consisting of Penn himself
with three other members chosen from the two companies.

One of the first acts of the settlers, after safe arrival in the New
World, was to arrive at an amicable understanding with the native tribes
by paying them a good price for the land they had occupied or claimed
for their hunting grounds. This was quite a new experience to the
Indians, who had hitherto met with only violence and robbery from the
white men—treatment for which they had usually taken bloody revenge.
They willingly consented, therefore, to bargain with these peaceful
strangers, so different from any they had yet seen. “You are our
brothers,” they declared in their broken English,” and we will live with
you as brothers. There shall be a broad path on which you and we will
travel together. If an Englishman falls asleep on this pathway the
Indian shall go softly by and say, ‘He sleeps, disturb him not!’ The
path shall be made smooth that no foot may stumble upon it.”

It was no small advantage to these early settlers, struggling against
hardships and privations to make a home in the wilderness, to be at
peace with the natives and have nothing to fear from their enmity. Often
indeed, when threatened with want or danger, they were supplied with the
necessities of life by the grateful Indians, who knew how to value the
friendship and honesty of their new neighbors.

Thus West New Jersey bade fair to develop into a favorable place for
Penn to found that ideal Commonwealth of which he had so long dreamed.
But in the preoccupations of this new enterprise Penn did not lose sight
of the duties that lay nearest to him. Hearing that the Friends he had
formerly visited in Holland and Germany were anxious to learn from his
own lips of the settlement in New Jersey, he decided to make another
journey to those countries, the more so as it was important to secure
for the new colony as many as possible of the German artisans, who at
that time held a high reputation for skill and industry.

Penn was also especially desirous of making the acquaintance of a noble
lady whom Robert Barclay had first interested in the Quakers and whose
influence would be of the utmost importance to the members of that
persecuted sect in Germany. This was the Princess Elizabeth of the
Rhine, daughter of the Elector Palatine Frederick the Fifth, afterward
King of Bohemia. She was closely connected with England, her mother
having been a daughter of King James the First, and was deeply
interested, therefore, in all that concerned that country. At this time
she was living at Herford in Westphalia and was distinguished not only
for her learning, but still more for the benevolence and sincere piety
that made her the friend and protectress of all persecuted Christians of
whatever sect. She had learned from Robert Barclay to feel the greatest
respect and admiration for the Quaker form of belief, and much was hoped
from her protection.

In 1677, therefore, Penn again sailed for Holland with George Fox,
Robert Barclay, and George Keith, all prominent members of the Society
of Friends, in a vessel the captain of which had served under Admiral
Penn. Rotterdam, Leyden, Haarlem, and Amsterdam were visited in
succession and large meetings held, there being many Quakers in each of
these cities. At Amsterdam George Fox was left behind to attend a
general assembly or conclave, where questions of importance to the
Society were to be settled, while Penn and his other two companions went
on to Herford. They were most kindly received by the Princess Elizabeth,
who not only permitted them to hold several public meetings, but also
invited them frequently to her own apartments for religious converse,
owing to which she finally became a member of the sect herself.

Robert Barclay now returned to Amsterdam to join Fox, but Penn,
accompanied by Keith, who was almost as proficient as himself in the
German language, journeyed on by way of Paderborn and Cassel to
Frankfort-on-the-Main, where Penn preached with great effect, winning
over many influential persons to his own belief. From Frankfort the two
Quaker apostles went up along the Rhine to Griesheim near Worms, where a
small Quaker community had been formed. Here Penn’s plan for founding a
trans-atlantic State for the free worship of their religion was received
with the greatest enthusiasm, and large numbers did indeed afterward
emigrate to New Jersey, where they took an important place in the
colony, being among the first to condemn and abolish the slavery then
existing in America, and established a reputation for German worth and
integrity beyond the seas.

On his return to Cologne, Penn found a letter from the Princess
Elizabeth urging him to go to Mühlheim to visit the Countess of
Falkenstein, of whose piety she had already told him. In endeavoring to
carry out this request of his royal patroness, however, Penn and his
friend met with a misadventure. At the gates of the castle they
encountered the Countess’ father, a rough, harsh man with small respect
for religion of any sort. He roundly abused them for not taking off
their hats to him, and on learning that they were Quakers, he had them
taken into custody and escorted beyond the boundaries of his estates by
a guard. Here they were left alone in the darkness, at the edge of a
great forest, not knowing where they were or which way to turn. After
much wandering about they finally reached the town of Duisburg, but the
gates were closed and in spite of the lateness of the season they were
forced to remain outside till morning.

From Amsterdam Penn went to join Fox again at Friesland, improving this
opportunity to make another satisfactory visit to Herford, and parting
from the noble Princess as a warm friend with whom he afterward enjoyed
a frequent correspondence. Not till early in the winter did the four
friends return to England, and the stormy passage, together with his
nocturnal adventure at Duisburg, so affected Penn’s health that for some
time he was obliged to submit himself to the care of his devoted wife,
especially as the importunities of prospective emigrants gave him little
chance to recuperate.

                               Chapter IV
      The Popish Plot—Settlement of Virginia—The Royal Cession to
    Penn—Christening of Pennsylvania—Outlines of Penn’s Constitution

The year 1678 seemingly opened with brighter prospects for those who had
suffered so severely in the past for their religious beliefs. The
clearest sighted members of Parliament must have realized the detriment
to England when such numbers of peaceable citizens, blameless in every
respect save for their form of worship, were forced to abandon their
native land, taking with them their possessions and their industries,
and must have realized that such persecutions must end.

Penn, in spite of being a Quaker, had won the esteem of all classes by
his high character and his ability and enjoyed the confidence of some of
the most influential personages in the kingdom. Hearing of this change
of attitude adopted by Parliament, he laid aside for the time being all
thoughts of his transatlantic commonwealth and gave himself up to the
work of securing recognition of his great principle of liberty of
conscience. Profiting by the favor in which he stood with the Duke of
York, he endeavored to obtain through him the submission to Parliament
of an Act of Toleration. The Duke looked favorably on the plan, but
being himself a member of the Church of Rome, maintained that such a law
should not be restricted to Protestant dissenters only, but apply also
to Catholics. All seemed to be going well and Penn’s efforts bade fair
to be crowned with success, when suddenly an event occurred which
deferred for years the passage of this act and added fresh fuel to the
fires of persecution. This was the invention of the famous Popish Plot
by an infamous wretch named Titus Oates. Formerly a clergyman in the
Anglican Church, he had been deprived of his living because of his
shameful excesses and fled to Spain, where he joined the Jesuits.
Expelled from this order also for improper conduct, he revenged himself
by turning informer and swore to the existence of a conspiracy among the
Jesuits to massacre all the prominent Protestants and establish the
Catholic religion in England. Even the King, for permitting the
persecution of Catholics in his kingdom, was not to be spared, nor the
Duke of York, who was not credited with much real devotion to that

It is doubtful whether there ever was any real foundation for this
atrocious charge based by Oates upon letters and papers intrusted to him
by the Jesuits and which he had opened from curiosity. Nevertheless the
story was generally credited in spite of the absurdity of the statements
of such a worthless wretch, and aroused the wildest excitement
throughout the country, in consequence of which the established church,
alarmed for its safety, enforced more rigorously than ever the edicts
against all dissenters. Seeing his hopes of religious freedom in England
once more fading, Penn bent his efforts the more resolutely toward the
establishment of a haven in America. He had long ago decided the
principles by which his new commonwealth was to be governed; namely, the
equality of all men in the eyes of the law, full liberty of conscience
and the free worship of religion, self-government by the people, and the
inviolability of personal liberty as well as of personal property—a form
of government which, if justly and conscientiously carried out, must
create indeed an ideal community such as the world had never yet seen.
Nor was it an impossibility, as was proved by the gratifying success of
the New Jersey colony, where a part of these principles, at least, had
already been put into practice.

But where was this model State to be founded? It must be on virgin soil,
where no government of any kind already existed, and where the new ideas
could be instituted from the beginning. As the most suitable spot for
this purpose Penn’s glance had fixed upon a tract of land lying west of
New Jersey and north of the royal province of Maryland, which had been
founded in 1632 by a Catholic nobleman, Lord Baltimore, as a refuge for
persecuted members of his own faith, but which also offered liberty to
those of other sects. The only occupants of this territory were a few
scattered Dutch and Swedish settlers, but they were so small in number
and so widely separated that they need scarcely be taken into
consideration as possible obstacles to Penn’s plans after the arrival of
the class of colonists he favored in numbers sufficient to populate this
wide extent of land. For the rest the country was still an unbroken
wilderness, where one could wander for days hearing no sound but the
songs of the countless birds that filled the vast forests. As to the
natives, in spite of their undeniable cruelty and savage cunning when
provoked or wronged, it was quite possible to make friends and allies of
them by kindness and fair treatment, as the New Jersey settlers had
already learned.

This was the territory of which Penn now determined to secure possession
if possible, a task which promised no great difficulty, as the English
crown claimed sovereignty over all that portion of North America lying
between the thirty-fourth and the forty-fifth degrees north latitude, on
the strength of the discovery of its coast line by English navigators.
King James the First had given a patent for part of these possessions to
an English company, the grant including all the land from the Atlantic
to the Pacific, and some attempt had been made to found colonies and
develop the riches of the country, but later this company was divided
into two, one taking the northern portion, the other the southern. This
latter, called the London Company, lost no time in fitting up a ship
which entered Chesapeake Bay in 1607, sailed up the James River, and
landed its passengers at what was afterward called Jamestown, the first
English colony in America. These colonists were soon followed by others,
and by the year 1621 the settlement had so increased that the London
Company, which had retained the right of ownership, exercised through a
governor, granted a written constitution to the province, which they
named Virginia. In 1624, however, this company, having some disagreement
with King James, was dissolved and Virginia became the property of the
crown. This being followed by the voluntary withdrawal of the parties
owning the northern half of the territory, the tract between the
fortieth and forty-eighth degrees, known as New England, was then deeded
by James to the Plymouth Company, which made no attempt at colonization
itself, but sold land to others, part of which thus came into possession
of the Puritan emigrants.

In 1639, however, during the reign of Charles the First, their charter
expired and the lands still belonging to them, including what were
afterward the States of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, again
reverted to the crown. The district lying between the Delaware and
Hudson Rivers had been claimed by the Dutch—Hudson, the English
navigator who discovered it, having been then in the service of Holland;
and here between Delaware Bay and the Connecticut River they had founded
their colony of New Netherlands. In 1655 the adjoining territory on the
west bank of the Delaware, comprising the present State of Delaware and
the southern part of Pennsylvania, had been bought from the Indians by a
Swedish trading company at the instigation of King Gustavus Adolphus and
a settlement founded under the name of New Sweden. Not proving the
commercial success hoped for, this was afterward abandoned. England’s
acquisition of New Netherlands as the prize of her naval victories over
Holland, the formation of the colonies of New York and New Jersey, the
possession of the latter by the Quakers and the drafting of its
constitution by William Penn,—all these have been related in the
preceding chapter.

The territory which Penn now had in mind, therefore, had belonged to the
crown since the dissolution of the Plymouth Company and was again at the
disposal of the King. As to Penn’s confidence in his ability to obtain
possession of it without difficulty, it will be remembered that he had
inherited from his father a claim of fifteen thousand pounds against the
royal exchequer. As neither the King nor the Duke of York were able to
repay this sum, the unpaid interest on which, during the ten years since
the admiral’s death, amounted to more than a thousand pounds, Penn felt
sure the King would welcome a proposal to cede this tract of land in
America as payment of his claim—certainly a simple method of releasing
himself from this large debt.

But the affair was not to be so easily settled after all, for the time
was past when the sovereign had absolute power to dispose of crown
possessions as he would, the privy council now having a voice in the
matter, and to obtain their consent was difficult, Penn’s ideas in
regard to the government of this new State being regarded not only as
preposterous, but also as dangerous to itself and to the crown. He was
urged, therefore, by his friends to make no mention of his real purpose
in his petition to the King, lest he be forced to renounce his
long-cherished plan. Although he accepted this prudent advice, there
were still many obstacles to overcome, owing to the difficulty of
defining any exact boundaries in that trackless wilderness and the
precautions necessary to incorporate in the patent all possible security
for the maintenance of crown prerogatives.

While the matter was still before the council and the result by no means
certain, Penn took advantage of an opportunity which offered itself of
becoming a joint owner of New Jersey, by which, even should his petition
be refused, his plans could still be carried out in that province, if
only on a small scale. Sir George Carteret, tired of his colonial
possessions, offered to sell his ownership, and Penn, with a number of
others, concluded the purchase. Again the public confidence in him and
his enterprises was shown by the haste with which hundreds of families,
especially from Scotland, took advantage of the liberal terms offered to
emigrants in his published prospectus and enrolled their names as future
colonists. At length, after much deliberation, and owing largely to the
influence of the Duke of York, to whom Penn had again applied for
assistance, the council agreed to comply with his proposal, partly also,
perhaps, from the fear that in case they refused Penn might insist upon
the payment of his debt, for which at the moment no means were

On the twenty-fourth of February, 1681, the King signed the deed
granting to Penn the absolute ownership of all that territory extending
from the Delaware River to Ohio on the west and as far as Lake Erie on
the north, covering an area equal to the whole of England, and the fifth
of March, at a special meeting of the privy council, this patent was
delivered to Penn in the presence of the King. As evidence of His
Majesty’s high good-humor on this occasion, a popular anecdote is told.
As Penn, according to the Quaker custom, neither took off his hat on the
King’s entrance nor made the usual obeisance, Charles quietly removed
his own hat, although it was the royal prerogative to remain covered on
entering an assembly of any kind. To Penn’s astonished query as to the
reason for this unusual proceeding he replied smilingly, “It is the
custom at court for only one person to remain covered.”

Another proof of the King’s satisfaction at thus being freed from his
indebtedness to Penn was shown in choosing a name for the new province.
Penn at first suggested New Wales, on account of the mountainous
character of the country, but one of the councillors, who was a Welshman
and none too well disposed toward the Friends, objected to the idea of
giving the name of his native land to an American Quaker colony. His new
domain being as thickly wooded as it was hilly, Penn then proposed
Sylvania, which met with general approval, the King, however, insisting
that Penn’s own name should be placed before it, making Pennsylvania or
“Penn’s woodland.” In vain he protested that this would be looked on as
vanity in him. Charles would hear of no denial, declaring good-naturedly
that he would take the whole responsibility on himself. The name of
Pennsylvania was inserted in the patent, and Pennsylvania it remained.

This document is still in existence, carefully preserved among the State
archives. It is written in old English script on a roll of stout
parchment, each line underscored with red ink and the margins adorned
with drawings, the first page bearing the head of King Charles the
Second. It was a proud and joyful moment for Penn when he received this
deed from the King’s hand, marking the first and most important step
toward the realization of his dreams. “It is a gift from God,” he
declared reverently. “He will bless it and make it the seed of a great

The patent conferred upon the new owner the right to divide the province
into counties and municipalities; to incorporate towns and boroughs; to
make laws with the people’s consent; to impose taxes for public
purposes; to muster troops for the defence of the State, and to execute
the death sentence according to martial law—all on condition that no
laws should be made in opposition to those existing in England, that the
royal impost on all articles of commerce should be lawfully paid and
allegiance to the crown duly observed. In case of failure to comply with
these conditions the King reserved the right to assume control of
Pennsylvania in his own person until he should be indemnified to the
full value of the land. Parliament also reserved the right to impose
taxes on the colonists. By the express desire of the Bishop of London it
was stipulated that should twenty or more of the inhabitants of the
province desire the services of a clergyman of the established church,
he should be permitted to dwell among them unmolested. Lastly, Penn, the
owner, in recognition that the land was held in fee of the English
crown, was to pay an annual tribute to the King of England of two
bear-skins, with the fifth part of all gold and silver found in
Pennsylvania at any time.

Penn set to work at once upon the task of drawing up a constitution for
his new colony, “with reverence before God and good-will toward men,” as
he states in the introduction to this instrument. The sovereign power
was to be exercised by the governor, Penn himself, jointly with the
citizens of the commonwealth. For legislative purposes a council of
seventy-two was to be chosen by the people, one-third of which number
was to retire at the end of every year and be replaced by others
selected in the same way. This council was to frame laws and superintend
their execution; to maintain the peace and security of the province; to
promote commerce by the building of roads, trading posts, and harbors;
to regulate the finances; to establish schools and courts of justice and
generally do all that should be required to promote the welfare of the
colony. The only prerogative claimed by Penn for himself was that he and
his lawful heirs and successors should remain at the head of this
council and have the right of three votes instead of one.

In addition to the council of state there was to be an assembly which at
first was to include all free citizens of the State, but later, when
their number became too large, to consist of not more than five hundred
members, to be chosen annually. All laws made by the council must be
submitted for approval or rejection to this assembly, which also had the
right to select candidates for public offices, of whom at least half
must be accepted by the governor.

These were the outlines of Penn’s masterly scheme of government, to
which were added some forty provisional laws to remain in force until
such time as a council of state could be chosen. These included entire
freedom of religious belief and worship, any molester of which was to be
punished as a disturber of the peace, and the prohibition of all
theatrical performances, games of chance, drinking bouts, sports that
involved bloodshed or the torture of animals—all, in short, that could
encourage cruelty, idleness, or godlessness. Prisoners must work to earn
their support. Thieves must refund double the amount stolen or work in
prison until the sum was made up, and all children above the age of
twelve years must be taught some useful trade or occupation to prevent
idleness. Many of these provisional laws and regulations have remained
permanently in force in Pennsylvania, the council being unable to
substitute anything better, and their wisdom has been amply proved by
the experience of more than two hundred years.

                               Chapter V
  Description of Penn’s Domain—Negotiations with the Indians by Penn’s
Agent—Death of Penn’s Mother—Final Instructions to his Family—Departure
                             of the Welcome

This newly acquired territory, which was henceforth to absorb all Penn’s
attention, lay to the north of Maryland and west of New Jersey, of which
Penn was now joint owner, reaching from the Delaware River on the east
to the Ohio on the west, and north as far as Lake Erie. The eastern and
western boundaries were well defined by these two rivers, but on the
north and south the lines had yet to be agreed upon with the owners of
the adjoining colonies—no easy matter where the land was largely
primeval forest, untrodden by human foot save for the Indians who
traversed it on their hunting expeditions. The greater part of the tract
was occupied by the various ranges of the Allegheny Mountains, whose
bare rocky peaks offered no very inviting prospect and held out few
hopes as to a favorable climate. But wherever trees could find
nourishment for their roots, dense forests extended, untouched as yet by
any axe, while verdant meadows lined the countless streams that
descended from the mountain heights to empty their waters into the
Allegheny and Susquehanna Rivers which flowed through the middle of the
State. The only outlet to the ocean was through the Delaware River,
which opened into Delaware Bay, where there was a good harbor.

The climate of the country was a diversified one. While in the mountain
regions the winters were severe, the eastern slopes toward the Atlantic
Ocean, as well as those in the northwest toward the Ohio River and Lake
Erie, enjoyed a temperate climate with often great heat in the summer.
In these regions the soil was rich and fruitful, promising bountiful
returns to the settler after he had once succeeded in clearing the land
and making room for the plough. The forests, almost impenetrable in
places with masses of sumach bushes and climbing vines, furnished almost
every kind of wood already known to the English colonists: cedar,
cypress, pine, and sycamore, as well as the full-blooming tulip tree,
which flourished in sheltered spots. Game of all sorts abounded and the
streams were full of fish. The most delicious grapes and peaches,
chestnuts and mulberries grew wild in protected places, and flowers of
tropical gorgeousness greeted the eyes of astonished settlers. The gold
and silver of which King Charles had been so careful to reserve a share
were not found in the province, but there was plenty of iron and an
inexhaustible supply of the finest coal. Also there were valuable salt
springs, as well as those useful materials, lime, slate, and building
stone. In short, it was a country well fitted to supply every need of
the settler and offering magnificent prospects for the future.

To be sure, it was inhabited by several tribes of Indians, chief of
which were the Lenni Lennapes in the southern part and the Iroquois in
the northern, but if they were disposed at first to regard with
suspicion this invasion of their domains, they soon found the newcomers
fair and honest in their dealings with them and willing to pay for the
right to settle there, like the New Jersey colonists. Indeed these
semi-savage natives seemed to place little value on the permanent
possession of the land over which they claimed sovereignty. They had no
fixed abiding place, but roamed about at will, settling down for a time
where the hunting was especially good or the streams promised to fill
their nets with fish. So long as they were free to hunt and fish as they
chose and their women had a small piece of open ground in which to
prepare the maize cakes that served them for bread, no hostile attacks
were to be feared from them.

Penn himself little suspected that he had received an empire in exchange
for his claim against the crown, nor did he realize as long as he lived
the full value of his newly acquired territory. The idea of enriching
himself or his family was as far from his thoughts as it had been close
to his father’s. With him it was purely a question of obtaining a home
for his ideal Commonwealth, and he refused all the offers to purchase
rights of trade there that poured in upon him as soon as the patent had
been granted, even though he was in great need of money at the time and
although the sale of such rights was not only perfectly legitimate, but
no more than any other in his position would have done without
hesitation. One merchant, for instance, offered him six thousand pounds,
besides two and a half per cent of the yearly profits, for the exclusive
right to trade in beaver hats between the Delaware and Susquehanna
Rivers. Penn was resolved that trade in his colony should be no more
restricted than personal liberty or freedom of conscience, and the more
widely his principles of government became known, the larger grew the
number of would-be emigrants who wished to settle there. He soon found
himself so overrun with agents wishing to consult him as to the sale of
lands or the formation of trading companies that he scarcely knew which
way to turn. There was hardly a city in the three kingdoms that did not
send messengers or petitions, while offers came even from Holland and
Germany, where Penn was so well known.

Emigration companies were also formed for the foundation of settlements
on a larger scale. To one of these, in Frankfort-on-the-Main, Penn
deeded a tract of fifteen thousand acres along the banks of a navigable
river, with three hundred acres in the interior on which to found the
capital of the new State. A trading company in Bristol concluded a
contract for the purchase of twenty thousand acres and set to work at
once to fit out a ship, while in London, Liverpool, and Bristol
emigrants gathered in such numbers that Penn soon had no fear as to the
settlement of his colony. Among these, it is true, were many adventurers
in search of a fortune only, which they hoped to make more quickly and
easily under Penn’s form of government than elsewhere. But by far the
greater number were victims of oppression, seeking to escape the endless
persecutions to which they were subjected at home on account of their
religious opinions, and taking with them little but good resolution and
a pair of useful hands.

Immediately on receiving the patent Penn despatched his cousin, Colonel
Markham, with three ships to take possession of the new province in his
name, to arrange with Lord Baltimore as to the doubtful boundary lines
on the south, and above all to make friends with the Indians by
concluding a formal treaty with them for the purchase of such lands as
they laid claim to. The kindliness of his nature made it impossible for
him to treat the unfortunate natives as other Europeans had done,
driving them ruthlessly from their own hunting grounds wherever the land
was worth taking possession of and forcing them as far as possible into
slavery. The Spanish explorers especially, in their insatiable thirst
for gold, had even robbed them of all the precious metals and pearls
they had and endeavored by the most shameful cruelty to extort from them
knowledge of the location where they found the gold of which their
ornaments were made. If they offered the slightest resistance or took up
arms to defend themselves or regain their liberty, they were hunted like
wild beasts by bloodhounds trained for that purpose, or fell in heaps
before the murderous bullets against which their arrows were of no
avail. Even the Puritan settlers of New England, who should have
practised the Christian virtues of justice and humanity, were guilty of
many acts of cruelty and treachery toward the red men, with whom they
were perpetually at warfare in consequence.

Penn hoped, by the use of gentler methods, to win the confidence of the
Indians, who must have already discovered from the New Jersey settlers
that all white men were by no means like those with whom they had first
come in contact. It was necessary, in fact, if his colony were to enjoy
permanent peace and security, and in spite of the ridicule which such
humane ideas was likely to evoke, Markham was charged with the strictest
instructions in this regard. He was a bold and determined man, devoted
to his kinsman Penn, the wisdom and purity of whose ideas he fully
appreciated in spite of his soldierly training. On his arrival in
Pennsylvania he lost no time in concluding a treaty with the chiefs or
sachems of the principal tribes, conveying to Penn for a fixed sum all
lands claimed by them with the solemn assurance in his name that no
settler should ever molest or injure them. The next two ships which came
over from England brought three agents authorized to make further
treaties of peace and friendship, thus strengthening the work begun by
Markham, and also an address written by Penn himself to be read to the
Indians, expressing it as his earnest wish “by their favor and consent,
so to govern the land that they might always live together as friends
and allies.”

Markham was less fortunate, however, in his negotiations with Lord
Baltimore concerning the doubtful boundary lines, which, if not
definitely fixed, were likely to prove a source of much contention. The
existence of a Quaker colony adjoining his own province was by no means
pleasing to the Catholic nobleman, who, if left to himself, would have
done all in his power to prevent its foundation. The matter was only
settled by the King’s personal interference in Penn’s behalf, and then
only a temporary decision was arrived at, the Duke of York’s influence
having finally to be brought to bear before everything could be arranged
satisfactorily for the future prosperity of the new State. Pennsylvania,
as already mentioned, had but one direct outlet to the Atlantic Ocean.
Should this be cut off or obstructed at any time by enemies, it would be
ruinous to the trade of the colony. Penn therefore determined to acquire
if possible a strip of land forming the west shore of Delaware Bay on
the peninsula extending between Delaware and Chesapeake Bays, the
possession of which was indispensable for the protection of
Pennsylvania’s trading vessels. After much negotiation this was
accomplished with the Duke of York’s aid and the sovereign rights to
this piece of coast granted to Penn and his heirs forever. This removed
the last obstacle to his undisputed possession of the new territory and
its successful development, and he was now free to cross the Atlantic
and assume the government in person.

Just at this time, however, a great misfortune befell him in the sudden
death of his mother, that tender guardian of his childhood, friend and
mediator of his troubled youth, and devoted sharer of the hopes and
plans of his manhood, whose support and sympathy had never failed him.
So overwhelmed with grief was he by this loss that for a time his health
was seriously affected and it was many weeks before he recovered his
peace of mind. This sad event also added to Penn’s difficulties. Being
unwilling to take his wife and children with him on this first voyage,
he had hoped to leave them under his mother’s wise and experienced
guardianship, in which case he could have parted from them with good
heart, feeling sure that all would be well during his absence. This was
now no longer possible, however, and another anxiety was added to his

In these days of swift and luxuriously appointed steamships, when the
voyage from Europe to America is so quickly and comfortably made, it
seems strange to think of regarding it with so much anxiety and
apprehension; but in Penn’s time steamships were unknown and travellers
had to depend on clumsy sailing vessels, entirely at the mercy of the
winds, while the passage, now made easily in from five to seven days,
then required at least six weeks, and sometimes, with contrary winds,
double that. And aside from the dangers of such a sea voyage, what
unknown experiences awaited them in that distant land, where homes must
be hewed out from the wilderness, where privation and hardships of every
sort must be endured, where death indeed by Indian tomahawk or knife was
possible at any moment! Under these circumstances even so brave and
resolute a man as William Penn might well feel anxiety over such a
voyage and its outcome. For a time he did think of taking with him the
wife and children from whom he found it so hard to part, that he might
watch over them himself; but the giant task awaiting him beyond the sea
claimed all his mind and strength and he feared the care of a family at
such a time might defeat the whole purpose of his journey, to say
nothing of his dread of exposing them to the dangers and uncertainties
of a life of which he had heard more than enough from those who had
already experienced it. But Penn had firm faith in God and in the
righteousness of a cause which aimed not at personal gain but the bodily
and spiritual welfare of thousands, and which if it succeeded must
result in the creation of a veritable earthly Paradise. He therefore did
all that lay in his power to further it and left the issue in the hands
of Providence.

Before leaving he made a sort of testament containing his parting
instruction’s to his dear ones, to be kept ever before their eyes. In
this he laid particular stress on the proper education of his children,
who, if all went well, would one day be called to govern the State of
Pennsylvania, and charged his wife to live as economically as possible
in other respects, but to spare nothing to this end. The two sons,
Springett and William, were to be thoroughly grounded in all branches of
knowledge necessary to their future position, especially in agriculture,
shipbuilding, surveying, and navigation. The only daughter, Letty or
Letitia, was to receive also a suitable training in all domestic
affairs. Above all, they were to be taught piety and the fear of God and
to strive with all their strength to attain these virtues. “Let your
hearts be righteous before the Lord and put your trust in Him,” he
concluded; “then no one will have power to harm or injure you.”

Autumn was already approaching before the _Welcome_, which was to carry
Penn across the ocean, was ready to set sail. It was a fine vessel of
three hundred tons and larger than most ships crossing the Atlantic in
those days, but even its capacity was taxed to the utmost, for more than
a hundred colonists, mostly of the wealthier class, were eager to make
the voyage with the owner of the new province, and each had to carry
sufficient provisions to last possibly for twelve or fourteen weeks.
Even then many who had been accustomed to a life of ease and luxury were
forced to content themselves with scanty rations lest the supply give
out. The quantity of luggage of all sorts required by so many persons
was also no small matter, although no one was allowed to carry any
material for house fittings, such as doors or windows, but Penn himself,
who also took with him a horse. The hold of the ship was full and even
the deck lined with chests and boxes when at last, on the first of
September, 1682, the _Welcome_ was ready to start on her journey. As
soon as Penn had come on board after parting with his family, the anchor
was lifted and the good ship sailed away from Deal, followed by the
prayers and benedictions of thousands.

It was already late in the season and a dangerous, trying winter voyage
was before them, should the passage prove a long one. The winds were
fair, however, and all promised well, when the alarming discovery was
made that an unmarked and unwelcome guest was on board; namely, the
smallpox, one of the worst diseases that could have broken out, since on
a crowded vessel it was impossible to prevent infection by isolating the
patients. At first the epidemic seemed so mild it was not thought
necessary to turn back, but it gradually grew more and more malignant
and raged to such an extent that for three weeks deaths were of daily
occurrence and more than half of the ship’s company were swept away.
There was no physician of any kind on board, but Penn labored heroically
to relieve the sufferers, placing all his supplies at their disposal,
watching by their bedsides, and endeavoring to banish by the word of God
the deadly fear that accompanies contagious diseases. But it was of no
avail. Day after day death continued to claim its toll. After the
horrors of such an experience, it may be imagined with what joy and
rapture the first sight of the shores of America was hailed by those who
had survived that terrible nine weeks’ voyage.

                               Chapter VI
       Penn’s Arrival—The Founding of Philadelphia—First General
  Assembly—Building of the “Blue Anchor”—The First School and Printing

On the twenty-seventh of October the _Welcome_ cast anchor before
Newcastle, a small village on the strip of land granted to Penn by the
Duke of York. News of the arrival of the vessel quickly spread and the
entire population, young and old, regardless of nationality, flocked to
welcome the long-expected governor. English, Scotch, and Irish stood
side by side with the stolid German, the clumsy Hollander, and the
fair-haired Swede, all eager to behold at last the man in whose hands
lay the moulding of their future. The native children of the wilderness
in their strange dress, with high fringed moccasins, an eagle or heron’s
feather thrust through the head band, bow in hand, a quiver of feathered
arrows fastened to the shoulder, also flocked to meet him. Who can say
which gazed with keener interest on the approaching ship flying a great
English flag from her masthead, the white men, who had some idea of what
to expect from the newcomer, or the redskins, who in spite of their
apparently calm indifference must have been inwardly consumed with
curiosity to see what sort of man it was in whose name and by whose
orders they had met with treatment so different from any that had
hitherto been accorded them by white men. Certainly nothing but
good-will could have been read in the noble features and the earnest,
kindly gaze of the dignified-looking man who now disembarked from the
vessel, distinguished only from his companions by the broad blue scarf
he wore. As he stepped ashore on the landing stage and received the
greetings of his cousin, Markham, a deafening shout burst from the
assembled throng. Deeply moved, Penn bowed in acknowledgment of the
tribute, and through the tears that glittered in his eyes shone the
resolve to merit the confidence so spontaneously expressed.

The following day, after he had somewhat recovered from the long and
trying voyage, a meeting of the people was held in the town-hall and the
legal documents pertaining to the transfer of the tract were read aloud,
after which a deputy of the Duke of York handed to Penn, in the name of
his master, a flask of water and a small basketful of earth in token
that the land had been actually delivered over to him. The new owner
then arose and in his deep rich voice addressed the assembly, which
listened in breathless silence to his words. He told how from early
youth it had been his dream to found somewhere a free State to be
governed by the people, where full liberty of conscience could be
enjoyed and the Christian virtues flourish. He explained the principles
according to which he had drawn up the constitution for Pennsylvania,
and promised that the same laws should be followed in the administration
of this additional territory which had been granted to him, assuring the
people that the chief power should be exercised by himself only until
the new constitution could be put into force, during which time he would
endeavor to wield it to the best of his ability for the public good.
Lastly he retained all existing officials in their positions as proof
that he harbored no prejudices and was disposed to deal fairly in all

When he had finished speaking a rousing cheer testified to the approval
of his audience and he was unanimously urged to retain the governorship
of the new territory, making it a part of Pennsylvania. This he promised
to take into consideration, leaving the matter to be decided at the next
assembly, which was to be held at Upland, a settlement made by the
Swedes in Delaware, and up to this time the most important town in that
region. This was now Penn’s destination, and as he sailed up the
Delaware River his heart must have thrilled with delight at the fresh
beauties revealed by each curve of the winding stream, until at last the
settlement was reached and he stepped ashore on his own dominions, his
Pennsylvania. The spot where Penn first landed is still shown, marked by
a solitary pine tree.

Here, too, his arrival was hailed with general rejoicing. Those who had
preceded him to America with Markham and done all in their power to
carry out his plans looked anxiously for his coming to better their
situation, which truly was in need of improvement. They had been
received in the most friendly way, it is true, by the Swedish settlers,
who had given them all the assistance possible, but their hospitality
was unable to afford shelter for all. A few, whose means permitted, had
managed to bring over with them enough lumber to build a small house at
once, but the majority were forced to live in tents or huts made from
clay and the branches of trees, neither of which offered much protection
against the severe weather of the winter months. Some had even made use
of the caves hollowed out from the high banks of the Delaware by the
Indians in former times or dug new ones for themselves, finding them a
better shelter than any other available. It was in one of these caves
that the first birth in the settlement occurred, and the child, who was
named John Key, received from Penn the gift of a building site in the
new town he had planned.

His first care was to establish a permanent location for the colonists
who had come over with him before they should scatter in search of
homes, as the previous ones had done, regardless of any definite plan.
Markham was in favor of using Upland, or Chester as Penn now called it,
as the nucleus of the future city. But Penn had made a better choice, in
which he was supported by Thomas Holme, an experienced surveyor whom he
had sent out from England and who had already thoroughly explored the
surrounding country. A more favorable spot for the location of a great
commercial centre could scarcely have been found than the one thus
selected. It was at the junction of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers,
where the high banks of the latter ensured a safe harbor, while near by
Holme had discovered quarries containing an inexhaustible supply of the
finest building stone, which would make the construction of houses a
comparatively simple matter. Penn lost no time in purchasing this land
from the three Swedes to whom it belonged and set to work at once with
the assistance of Thomas Holme to draw up plans for laying out the new
city, which was to receive the name of Philadelphia, signifying
“brotherly love.” This being the ruling principle on which his State was
founded, he wished it to attract thither all who had suffered so
bitterly from the lack of brotherly love in religious matters. Before a
single one of the trees that covered the spot was felled, before a
single foundation stone was laid, the plan of the whole city was already
clear in Penn’s mind and the enterprising Holme began at once to lay out
its streets and public squares. An additional tract of about two square
miles was also purchased, so that these might be of ample width and size
to afford the future inhabitants plenty of space and air, while the
building lots were to be large enough to permit every house to be
surrounded by a garden, thus giving the city the appearance, as Penn
expressed it, of a green country village.

His next act was to summon a general assembly of the people, at which
were also present delegates from those settlements on Delaware Bay which
were anxious to join Penn’s Commonwealth, a desire which was granted,
the assembly unanimously agreeing to the union of the two territories.
The constitution drawn up by Penn was accepted almost without a change,
and to the forty provisional laws were added twenty-one more, made
necessary by the special requirements of the new State. In three days
the whole work of legislation was completed, a proof of the unanimity of
opinion that existed among these enthusiasts drawn thither by the same
desire, that of finding an asylum where they could live undisturbed in
the enjoyment of their religious convictions. Once this blessing was
secured, they willingly submitted to laws and regulations that may not
have been altogether in accordance with their own ideas, as indeed could
scarcely have been expected among people of so many different
nationalities and traditions. This matter settled, Penn now made a
series of visits to his neighbors the governors of New York, Maryland,
and New Jersey, hoping by a personal interview with Lord Baltimore to
arrive at some settlement of the troublesome boundary question, but
failing in this he returned to his own colony, where there was abundance
of work for him.

After Penn’s departure from England, hundreds who had hitherto hesitated
decided at once to follow him. During the Spring of 1683 twenty-three
ships came sailing up the Delaware River, filled with colonists for whom
it was necessary to provide quarters that they might lose no time in
making a home for themselves while the favorable season lasted. This
task was made somewhat easier now, as the indefatigable Holme had
already explored the whole State and divided it into counties. In order
that all might have an equal chance, Penn had the land sold at public
auction. Prices were absurdly low, averaging threepence an acre, with an
additional rental of one shilling on every hundred acres, which was to
form a sort of State revenue for the governor. When it is remembered
that Penn had not only paid the English government for the land
originally, even though a comparatively small sum, but had also bought
it again from the Indians, whose right of possession seemed to him far
more well founded than that of the English crown, this rental seems a
poor compensation, and he can hardly be blamed for afterward reserving a
considerable estate for himself and his children, especially as he also
made a handsome provision both for the Duke of York and for his friend
and co-worker George Fox. The colonists now found themselves in the
midst of stirring times, especially in the region of the new town,
Philadelphia. Alloted building sites were cleared of trees and all who
could work were pressed into service to secure as soon as possible a
better shelter against the weather than was afforded by the tents or
temporary huts already erected. Even delicate women unused to manual
labor of any kind helped their fathers or husbands in the fields as they
could, cooked, carried wood and water, and cared for the cows they had
brought with them from England, some even sawing wood or carrying mortar
for building. If strength or courage failed, it was restored and hearts
and hands again strengthened by the singing of some hymn and by the
remembrance of the inestimable blessing which was theirs as a reward of
their labors and sacrifices.

The first building completed was a block-house twelve feet wide and
twenty-two feet long, called the “Blue Anchor” and forced to serve a
variety of purposes. It was used as a general place of business, and
being on the bank of the river, formed a landing place for vessels, as
well as a tavern. Later it was also used for a post-house, for Penn,
realizing the necessity of some regular means of communication between
Philadelphia and the outlying settlements to the west, soon established
a messenger post service by which news could be sent and received once a
week. Travellers could also be provided with horses if desired. Few
availed themselves of this service at first, it is true, for the rates
were very high; the delivery of a letter from Philadelphia to Trenton
Falls in New Jersey, for example, costing threepence, and ninepence to
Baltimore, Maryland. The “Blue Anchor” soon had companions, however. In
the course of a few months as many as eighty houses had been built and a
regular trade gradually developed. Merchants set up shops supplied with
merchandise such as was constantly arriving by vessel from England.
Trained artisans were now available to do the work that every man had
been hitherto obliged to perform for himself as best he could. The
husbandman betook himself to the hoe and plough wherever there was a
clearing large enough to use them and won such rich harvests from the
virgin soil that it soon became no longer necessary to bring grain from

The interiors of the houses were quite as rude and rough as the
outsides. Once sure of a sound roof to cover them, the settlers were
content with only the barest necessities in the way of household
furniture, whatever luxuries and comforts they may have been accustomed
to in the past. Costly furnishings would have formed indeed a strange
contrast to the rough bark-covered logs that constituted the walls, and
the covering of lime and moss that served as hangings, or the
hard-packed clay that took the place of boards for flooring. A table, a
bench or two, a bed, all hewed by hand with an axe and innocent of saw
or plane, besides a few necessary cooking utensils,—these sufficed for
the needs of the hard-working settlers, who only sought the shelter of a
house when night or stormy weather made work without impossible and the
axe and plough must needs be laid aside. Not until the original
block-houses began to be replaced by stone buildings was any thought
given to interior convenience, but as soon as it became possible to
employ the services of skilled workmen the question of comfort and even
elegance began to be more considered. Nor was this long in coming, for
in less than a year from the time when Penn first landed at Newcastle
there were more than a hundred stone houses erected in Philadelphia, and
two years later the number had increased to six hundred. Penn could with
truth assure his English friends that his American colony was the
largest ever founded on private credit, and this in no spirit of undue
pride or self-applause. “In seven years,” he writes, “with the help of
God and of my noble companions, I will show you a province that shall
rival our neighbors’ growth of forty years.” Nor did he leave any stone
unturned on his part to make good this prophecy.

One of his chief desires was to provide some means for the education of
the colonists’ children that they might not grow up rude and ignorant—a
state of things most undesirable among a people who were to govern
themselves. This was no easy matter, for the hard-working settler,
struggling to wrest a home from the wilderness, needed the help of his
children as soon as they were old enough to be of any use. He himself
was little disposed after the day’s labors to devote the evenings to
teaching his children, even did his own education warrant it, nor could
he spare the time to send them to a school. Any regular form of tuition,
moreover, could only be possible to those living in Philadelphia. For
those who had settled many miles, sometimes a whole day’s journey to the
westward, it would have been impossible to make paths through the
trackless wilderness for their children, even had there been a school
within reach.

Nevertheless Penn made every exertion to accomplish this end, and as
early as December, 1683, even before the site of Philadelphia was
entirely cleared of trees, he had a certain Enoch Flower open a school
in a wretched wooden cabin which was divided into two rooms. Instruction
was confined, however, to reading and writing, for the former of which a
charge of four shillings, the latter six shillings, a quarter, was made,
to form a school fund. Arrangements were also made by which the children
of distant settlers could be provided with board and lodging at a cost
of ten pounds a year. This primitive institution was gradually improved
and enlarged till in six years’ time the position of head master was
assumed by Penn’s friend, George Keith. By the efforts of a certain
William Bradford who had come over from England on the _Welcome_, a
printing press was also set up in Philadelphia, the first product of
which, of any note, was a calendar for the year 1687.

Another of Penn’s special cares was the maintenance of friendly
relations with the Indians, for which Colonel Markham had already paved
the way. He made it a personal duty to win their confidence and to this
end mingled with them as much as possible, roaming about with them
through the forest, wholly unarmed, sharing their meals, and even
joining in the games and sports of the young men, at which he sometimes
displayed skill or agility equal to their own. In this way he also
learned their language and became so familiar with their habits and
manner of thought that it became as easy for him to communicate with
them as if he had been one of themselves.

                 [Illustration: _PENN AND THE INDIANS_]

It was necessary, however, for him to establish peaceful relations with
all the Indian tribes claiming his territory as their hunting grounds,
as well as with those nearer at hand, for the farther the settlers
penetrated into the wilderness the greater was the danger of their being
treated by the Indians as hostile invaders, unless protected by some
agreement. He therefore determined to invite all the tribes to a general
council for the purpose of concluding a solemn treaty of peace and

                              Chapter VII
 The Indian Conference—Signing of the Treaty—Penn Returns to England to
    Defend his Rights against Lord Baltimore—Accession of James the
       Second—His Dethronement and Accession of William the Third

The place chosen by Penn for this conference was a spot which had been
used by the natives from time immemorial for such purposes. It was
called “Sakimaxing,” now Shakamaxon, meaning “Place of the King,” and
was situated on the bank of the Delaware not far from the site of
Philadelphia. The wide-spreading branches of a huge elm, then at least a
hundred and fifty years old, shaded the beautiful spot which commanded a
superb view of the river and the dark woods of the New Jersey shore
beyond. Long before a paleface ever entered these regions the Indians
had assembled here to hold their councils, settle their disputes, and
smoke the pipe of peace, as was their custom. It was here too that
Colonel Markham had first treated with them.

                    [Illustration: _THE CONFERENCE_]

They willingly obeyed the summons of the “great Onas,” as they called
the white chief who had completely won their hearts, while the distant
tribes who had never seen Penn in person were most curious to behold
this paleface of whom they had heard so much and who must be so
different from any other of whom they had ever heard. They arrived in
bands, in their picturesque garb, the skin of some animal or a handwoven
blanket wrapped about the upper part of their bodies, which were marked
with strange signs and painted in the most brilliant colors, their feet
enclosed in leather moccasins, making possible a light and perfectly
noiseless tread, their heads adorned with the huge war bonnets of
many-colored feathers. All the great chiefs were present, among them the
wise old Tamemund, most distinguished of all. Penn, now in the prime of
manhood, was handsomely dressed in European fashion to receive his
Indian friends. The long coat with its rows of shining buttons and lace
ruffles falling from the wrists fitted smoothly over his tall,
well-built frame and half covered the slashed knee breeches. He wore,
according to the custom of the time, a long curled wig on which rested a
plain beaver hat. As he stood there calm and dignified, as became a
great leader, surrounded by a few of his closest friends, among whom was
Colonel Markham, already known to most of the Indians, the kindness and
benevolence that shone in his dark eyes could not but win the confidence
of these simple children of the forest.

After the pipe of peace had been passed around the circle, Tamemund
arose and placed on his head a sort of crown, or wreath, to which was
attached a small horn. This was to signify that the spot as well as the
company was now consecrated, so to speak, and the conference could
proceed. He then seated himself again, surrounded by the oldest and most
renowned chiefs of tribes, the warriors forming a semi-circle behind
them, while the youths who had not yet attained the dignity of braves
ranged themselves in the background. Tamemund now announced that his
children were ready to listen to the great Onas.

Slowly and with dignity Penn arose in answer to this summons, and after
letting his keen glance travel lightly over the assembled group, waiting
silent and motionless for his words, he began to speak, using the Lenni
Lennapee dialect, with which he was most familiar, and preserving as far
as possible the figurative language of the Indians. The Great Spirit, so
he declared, who made all men and to whom all good men return after
death, who reads all hearts, knew that he and his children meant well by
their red brothers and sincerely wished to live in peace and concord
with them and to be their friends and to help them in every way
possible. This too was the will of the Great Spirit, that all his people
should be as one family, bearing one another’s burdens and sharing one
another’s sorrows. Thus would he and his children treat their Indian
brothers; musket and sword should be discarded and they should live
together friendly and loyally. In return they hoped for the same pledge
from the redmen, in whose justice and honesty they had the firmest

After these introductory words, which were received with repeated signs
of approval from his audience, Penn read aloud the treaty of peace,
drawn up by himself, and explained its various points more in detail. It
stipulated that everything should be free, alike to the palefaces and
their red brothers, and the doors of the one be ever open to the other,
that the children of Onas would listen to no false tales against their
brothers, who on their part must believe no evil of the palefaces, but
each must agree to report to the other anything that should come to his
knowledge which might prove harmful to him. Should any one suffer a real
injury he must not take vengeance himself, but lay the matter before his
chief or Onas, when sentence should be passed by the judgment of twelve
just men; after this the injury must be forgotten as if it had never
occurred. Lastly, this treaty of friendship should be handed down to
their children and be kept sacred so long as water flowed in the rivers
or the sun, moon, and stars shone in the heavens.

Penn then placed the written treaty on the ground between himself and
the Indian chiefs, who retired to hold a brief consultation, after which
Tamemund answered for his companions that they were satisfied with the
treaty and would keep it in the letter and in the spirit. This was all.
No oaths were taken, no seal set; the simple word of both was
sufficient. It has been said of this treaty made by Penn with the
Indians, in contrast to the many signed and sealed between Christian
peoples only stands alone as the only treaty never sworn to and never
broken. While the other settlers in the New World were perpetually at
warfare with the Indians, and many were slain by them in the most cruel
manner, there was never a drop of blood shed in this manner in the
Quaker colony. The memory of Penn, the great Onas, was cherished by the
natives long after he had left America and even after his death, and
none of his children ever lacked shelter and hospitality from them. Nor
have his countrymen forgotten the service rendered to them by this
treaty with the Indians. When in 1810 the great elm under which it was
concluded was blown down in a terrific storm, Penn’s descendants in
England were sent a block of wood from this famous tree, which,
according to its rings, had attained an age of nearly three hundred
years and the enormous circumference of twenty-four feet. On the spot
where it had stood a simple monument of granite was afterward placed in
memory of that invaluable covenant to which Pennsylvania was so largely
indebted for its quick and prosperous development.

The original constitution drawn up by Penn proving in some respects no
longer adapted to existing conditions in the colony, it was subjected to
some changes, though the fundamental principles were retained unaltered.
The government was now placed entirely in the hands of the people, to be
exercised through their deputies, and a council also chosen by them,
Penn resigning all share in the administration. “My aim,” he wrote one
of his friends, “is to leave no power to my successors by which any
single individual may work harm to or interfere with the welfare of the
whole country.” How much this was appreciated is shown by the passage of
a resolution by the government to impose a tax on certain articles for
Penn’s benefit. He refused to accept it, however, although he might have
done so with a clear conscience, as it was well known that he had spent
over twenty thousand pounds at various times in paying the Indians for
the land they had given up, but in which they still retained the right
to hunt and fish. On the thirtieth of March, 1683, the newly revised
constitution was accepted, signed by Penn, and then submitted to the
English government for approval.

At this time Penn was much interested in the progress of a house which
was being built for him under Markham’s supervision at a place afterward
known as Pennsburg, which was to be his family mansion when he brought
his wife and children out from England. Anxious as he was, however, that
all about it should be according to his wishes, the troublesome boundary
dispute called him away to Newcastle, where it was hoped the matter
might be finally settled. But no agreement was reached and Lord
Baltimore soon afterward sailed for England to lay his claims before the
King. Reluctant as he was to leave America, and necessary as his
presence was there at that time, Penn realized, therefore, that in order
to protect his own rights he would be forced to follow the same course
and carry his case to England likewise. This decision was hastened by
the arrival of letters from home informing him not only of the dangerous
illness of his wife, but also of the outbreak of fresh persecutions
against all dissenters, and especially the Quakers. The Friends wrote
urging his return and beseeching him to use his influence at court once
more in their favor, as he had so often done in the past. Moreover, his
enemies had circulated various calumnies against him which could only be
refuted by himself in person.

There seemed no choice left him. He must put the Atlantic Ocean between
him and his province, for which he had labored so zealously and so
successfully for more than a year and a half. But before he sailed he
once more summoned the Indian chiefs to bid them farewell and urge them
even more strongly than before to keep faith with him and observe their
treaty with his “children.” During his absence the business of
government was entrusted to a few chosen citizens on whom he could
depend to carry out his ideas and principles. How hard it was for him to
leave in spite of his anxiety to be at the bedside of his sick wife, and
how much at heart he had the welfare of his province, is shown by the
fact that even after he had boarded the ship he took time before it
sailed to write a parting letter of instructions to his deputies, urging
them to maintain the peace he had striven so hard to establish and
invoking the blessing of God on the new settlement.

The return voyage was a more prosperous one than the last, and in June,
1684, Penn landed safely on his native shores again. The anxiety he had
suffered during the voyage as to his wife’s illness fortunately proved
groundless, for he found her quite restored to health, thus leaving
nothing to mar the joy of reunion with his family. He did not long enjoy
this happiness, however, for his first care was to secure some
settlement of his dispute with Lord Baltimore. He hastened to London,
therefore, after a few days, to present himself at court, where he was
most graciously received both by the King and the Duke of York, who
assured him that the matter should be promptly adjusted in all fairness.
The King falling ill soon after this, however, the subject was again
deferred and Lord Baltimore determined to take advantage of the
situation by possessing himself of the disputed territory. He sent word,
therefore, to his agents in America to seize it by force, ejecting all
settlers who refused to acknowledge his sovereignty or to pay the tax
imposed by him. Nothing but the threat made by the government of
Pennsylvania of an immediate complaint to the King prevented the
execution of this order, the result of which interference was that in
addition to the malicious charges already heaped upon Penn by his
enemies it was said that this apostle of peace had done his best to
kindle a civil war in America.

On the sixth of February, 1685, King Charles the Second died and his
brother the Duke of York succeeded to the throne as James the Second.
The time now seemed ripe for Penn to pave the way for the establishment
in England of that liberty of conscience for which he had already made
so many sacrifices and secured so successful a home across the sea. The
new King had always been opposed to the religious persecutions that had
existed during his brother’s reign and Penn looked with confidence for
some manifestation of these sentiments now that James was on the throne.
Nor was he disappointed. In response to a petition addressed to the new
sovereign by Penn, an order was immediately issued suspending all
penalties against religious offenders and releasing those who were
imprisoned for such reasons, among whom were more than twelve hundred
Quakers alone. But the mere exercise of the royal right of pardon by no
means satisfied Penn. His aim was to secure universal liberty of
conscience in England by the passage of a law which should guarantee
this, and through the favor he enjoyed with the King he still hoped to
bring it about. In order to be near at hand, therefore, he removed his
residence from Worminghurst to London, that he might lose no opportunity
of exerting his influence with James, nor did the fact of his being
accused of having secretly joined the Catholic religion to please the
King deter him in the least, accustomed as he was to all sorts of

The political intrigues in which James the Second was continually
involved, and which finally led to another revolution, Penn was careful
to avoid, and he would gladly have exchanged the turmoil of court life
for his peaceful transatlantic colony had not a feeling of duty to the
cause he had undertaken urged him to remain where he might be of some
use. He spent much time at court and was held in high regard by the
King, who permitted him to say many things that no other could have
ventured with impunity. This was well known and Penn’s house was
constantly besieged with petitioners seeking to profit by his influence
with the King. Yet firm as was Penn’s confidence in James’ good faith,
he could not blind himself to the ever-increasing distrust and
dissatisfaction with which his subjects regarded him. Not only did he
openly practise the rites of his religion, having a magnificent chapel
built near the palace for the observance of Catholic worship, but he
also instituted several monastic orders, while the Jesuits were
permitted such influence at court that it was generally feared an
attempt would be made to introduce that religion as the state form of
worship. This suspicion was still further increased when in March, 1687,
the King summarily abolished all penal laws against dissenters,
including the so-called Test Act, which permitted none but members of
the established church to hold public office of any kind. As this act
had been originally framed for the express purpose of excluding
Catholics from the government, its abolition naturally was regarded with

Rejoiced as Penn was at the repeal of the hated laws against dissenters,
he felt it his duty to warn the King against showing such open favor
toward Catholicism, urging him at the same time to secure the authority
of Parliament for these reforms. But James heeded neither the warning
nor the appeal and insisted on the exercise of absolute power without
reference to Parliament. Fearing lest the abolition of some of the
fundamental national laws might follow in the same arbitrary manner, a
storm of protest followed and a general revolt seemed imminent. Many
eyes had already been turned toward the King’s son-in-law, Prince
William of Orange, as a possible successor to the English throne, and at
this crisis the Prince, being even then in communication with the
malcontents in England, was approached with offers as to the
dethronement of James, offers which he had no scruples in accepting.

On the fifth of November, 1688, he accordingly landed on the English
coast with a well-armed force and was hailed with general acclamations,
the troops hastily collected by the King for his own defence also
deserting to his standard. On hearing this news James fled from London,
thinking to escape to France, but being discovered on his way to the
coast he was advised by his friends to return to London. At the approach
of the Prince of Orange, however, he again fled, and this time succeeded
in reaching the shores of France in safety, where he was willingly given
shelter by his friend Louis the Fourteenth.

On the twenty-second of January, 1689, the throne of England was
declared vacant by Parliament and the Prince of Orange proclaimed King,
as William the Third, on subscribing to a law regulating the
prerogatives of the crown as well as the State and depriving the
sovereign of those rights which James had so arbitrarily exercised of
abolishing laws on his own absolute authority or of interfering with
their execution.

                              Chapter VIII
Penn Tried for Treason and Acquitted—Withdrawal of Penn’s Charter—Death
     of his Wife and Son—Second Marriage—Journey to America—Penn’s
Home—Attempts to Correct Abuses—Returns to England and Encounters Fresh
    Dangers—Penn in the Debtors’ Prison—Ingratitude of the Colonists

The flight of King James was the signal for the departure of his friends
and favorites also, but Penn refused to leave the country in spite of
urgent entreaties from all sides to do so. Calm in the consciousness
that he had done nothing which was not for the honor and welfare of
England, he persisted in this determination even when the houses of many
who were supposed to favor the fugitive King were burned by the
populace. When called upon by the council, which had assumed the reins
of government, to explain his relations with James, he declared simply
that his life had been devoted to the service of his country and the
Protestant religion, that the King had been his father’s friend and his
own guardian, and that while he had always shown him the respect and
obedience due from a subject, he had done nothing and should do nothing
inconsistent with his duty to God and his country.

On this frank declaration he was allowed to go free, after giving a bond
of six thousand pounds, until his public trial should take place, at
which he was later acquitted. In spite of this, however, he was twice
again tried for treason, in one case even being accused of complicity in
a plot to restore James the Second to the throne, but his innocence was
so clearly proved and his frank simplicity made so favorable an
impression on his judges and on the King as well, that in both cases he
was fully exonerated and discharged from custody. Owing to his being
still under suspicion, however, and secretly watched, he was doubtless
warned to remain out of sight for a time, for except for some works of
his which were published at this period, even his friends saw nothing of
him for a space of two years. The passage of a law framed by the new
King acknowledging the existence of dissenters and forbidding their
persecution in future rejoiced Penn greatly, even though the Test Act
still remained in force and only members of the established church could
enjoy the full rights of citizenship. But other matters had arisen in
the meantime that caused him great uneasiness.

War between France and England again seemed inevitable, in which case
the North American States would be placed in a position of great danger,
the French having established such friendly relations with the Indians
that an alliance between them must be expected. Under these
circumstances it seemed absolutely necessary for Penn to carry out the
plan he had long had in mind of returning to Pennsylvania to protect the
rights he had earned by such labor and sacrifice. An unforeseen event,
however, interfered for a time with this intention, for on the tenth of
March, 1692, a royal decree was issued placing both Pennsylvania and New
Jersey under the military command of a Colonel Fletcher, who was to
defend them against the hostile tribes of Indians already on the
war-path. It came about in this way. The North American provinces,
already grown or growing into States, having been made practically
independent either by gift or purchase during the preceding reigns, King
William determined to unite them again with the English crown and
thereby provide himself with part of the force he needed for the war
with France. As the Quakers of Pennsylvania had shown no great haste to
offer allegiance to the new sovereign, Penn’s enemies had taken
advantage of this fact to urge the withdrawal of his charter, and while
Penn himself had no doubt that this arbitrary measure would be revoked
in the course of time, and felt convinced that the money he had spent in
purchasing the land from the Indians, almost his entire fortune, must
constitute an indubitable claim to the province, still the blow was a
hard one and he found himself in a by no means encouraging situation.
Added to this were family cares and anxieties, both his wife and eldest
son being seriously ill at the time.

Amid these troubles he was only sustained by his faith in God and in the
ultimate triumph of right, a faith which was justified after some delay
by the restoration to him of his American province, the King, however,
reserving the right to defend it until the end of the war, a condition
to which Penn, being a Quaker, could conscientiously make no objection.

Penn’s greatest anxiety now was to return to America, but he was still
detained in England by the condition of his oldest son, who had
developed consumption. Shortly before this he had experienced the bitter
sorrow of losing Guli, his beloved wife, who for twenty-one years had
been the joy of his life. Being unable consequently to leave England he
arranged by permission of the government to send a few trustworthy
representatives to Pennsylvania to protect his rights while he remained
to care for his sick son. After an illness of two years Springett died,
February 10, 1696, and the heartbroken father exclaimed: “I have lost in
him all that a father can lose in a son.”

Penn was now left in sole care of his two remaining children, Letty and
William, the latter of whom, resembling his grandfather more than his
father in character, needed judicious control. It was this fact chiefly
that induced Penn, then nearly fifty years old, to marry again. At the
beginning of the year 1696 he was united to Hannah Callowhill of
Bristol, a sensible, pious woman, who presented him with six children
and outlived him several years. Still Penn found himself unable to go
back to Pennsylvania, which he had not seen for thirteen years. For
neither his wife nor his daughter Letty, now grown to womanhood, could
make up their minds to follow him to America and leave their native
land, perhaps forever. As little would his son William listen even to
the idea of exchanging the pleasures he enjoyed at home for the monotony
of life in Pennsylvania.

By the year 1699, however, the English government had received so many
complaints of mismanagement on the part of Markham and Penn’s other
representatives there that Penn, fearing he might again be in danger of
losing his province, decided to make the move to America at any cost,
especially as the French war had been brought to a close by the Peace of
Ryswick and the usual peaceful conditions might be expected again to
exist in Pennsylvania. Under these circumstances his wife and daughter
abandoned their opposition to the plan, but young William still refusing
to leave England, the family were forced to sail without him. Owing to
contrary winds, the passage this time was a very long one, lasting fully
three months, a fortunate occurrence as it proved, notwithstanding
general complaints, for they thereby escaped an epidemic of some
malignant fever which had caused great loss of life in Philadelphia.

Penn’s return to his province after an absence of fifteen years was
hailed with universal rejoicing, and now that he had brought his family
with him it was hoped he would remain to watch over the people who had
so long been deprived of his fatherly care. It must indeed have been a
temptation to Penn to settle down here in peace for the rest of his
days, for his Pennsburg had now grown into a most beautiful estate. The
land chosen for it by himself and Markham was superbly situated and
protected against any kind of attack by the Delaware River, which almost
entirely surrounded it, affording at the same time a delicious coolness
that made it comfortable even in the intense heat of summer. The house,
which was built overlooking the river, was sixty feet in length by forty
in depth and was surrounded with magnificent gardens, which were Penn’s
special delight. Beyond these stretched a fine park, left for the most
part in its natural wildness and filled with huge trees whose
interlacing branches formed a canopy overhead, while here and there were
artfully planned nooks and bits of fine landscape gardening. The lower
story of the stately mansion was almost entirely taken up by a great
hall capable of accommodating the largest assemblies, while the upper
contained the living rooms, the windows of which commanded a charming
view across the river to the wooded shores of New Jersey. The extensive
outbuildings included a fine stable, for Penn was a great lover of
horses, and on the water before the house was moored a charming pleasure
yacht for excursions on the river. Penn’s wife and daughter were equally
pleased with this delightful home, and as the master of the house was
fond of having guests and willingly permitted all innocent forms of
amusement, they found little reason to regret the change to which they
had found it so hard to reconcile themselves.

Penn himself, however, had little time to devote to pleasure, for much
and difficult work awaited him. First of all it was necessary to rectify
the evils which had given rise to so much complaint, chief of which was
the introduction of contraband trade. He soon found that by no means all
the inhabitants of his colony shared his disinterestedness or his
loftiness of purpose. He met with especial opposition in his efforts to
better the condition of the negro slaves. This traffic in human beings
had continued to flourish ever since his first visit to America, for at
that time its infamy was not recognized. The blacks were looked upon as
creatures little above the brutes, to buy and sell whom was perfectly
legitimate. In the first constitution drawn up by him, Penn had inserted
an article stipulating that negro servants should be freed after
fourteen years of service, provided they gave their former masters
two-thirds of all they produced from the land assigned to them, failing
which they were to return to servitude. This did not prevent the
continuation of slavery, however, the legality or illegality of which
being regarded as a question which no reasonable man need trouble
himself about. The German settlers from the Rhine Palatinate were the
only ones to protest against it, and they indeed left no stone unturned
to secure support and recognition for their cause. Penn’s attempts to
introduce a law for the benefit of the negroes therefore met with such
strong opposition from the assembly that he was forced to abandon his
benevolent plans until a more favorable opportunity should occur. He
kept no slaves himself, preferring to hire those of his neighbors when
he needed their services.

The Indians were overjoyed at the return of the great Onas, who
immediately renewed the old friendly relations with them. They had
faithfully observed the treaty concluded in 1682 and had fared so well
in consequence that other tribes which had then held aloof were now
eager to join the alliance, to which Penn gladly agreed, as it would add
in no small degree to the safety of his province. After this ceremony
had been performed in the manner already described, Penn entertained his
new allies in the great hall of his mansion, while they returned the
hospitality by performing some of their wild dances upon the lawn for
their host and his family.

Penn continued to labor unceasingly for the welfare not only of his own,
but also of the neighboring provinces for two years, when once more he
was interrupted by the arrival of bad news from England. This was the
introduction of a bill into Parliament bringing all proprietary
governments under the control of the crown, and it was with difficulty
that Penn’s friends succeeded in having the hearing deferred until he
could return from America. His presence in England therefore seemed
indispensable at this juncture and the assembly of Pennsylvania urged
him to lose no time. All necessary measures of government were hastily
arranged and some alterations made in the constitution, but already it
had become painfully evident that the representatives of the people were
seeking their own advantage only and paying little heed to the interests
of the man to whom they owed so much. They even refused to furnish the
means for his journey to England, though it was undertaken entirely at
their behest and in their interest, and Penn was forced to depend on
raising the necessary money during his stay in London by the sale of
some of his lands.

His wife and daughter were glad enough to return to England. The novelty
and excitement of the new life had worn away by this time and they
hastened as much as possible the preparations for departure. The
Indians, on the contrary, were bitterly disappointed when they heard
that the great Onas was to leave them again so soon. They came from near
and far to bid him farewell and were only consoled by the assurance that
during his absence the same justice and friendship should be shown them,
to insure which Penn made both the council and his deputy, Colonel
Hamilton, personally responsible. As a parting gift he presented the
city of Philadelphia with a deed of grant for the land on which it
stood, and after promising to send his son out at once, that he might
become familiar with the nature and needs of the country over which he
might one day claim ownership, Penn left the shores of America, never to

On his arrival in England, toward the end of 1701, he found the
situation by no means so bad as he had feared. It had been merely a plot
on the part of his enemies to deprive him of his ownership of
Pennsylvania without any indemnification. Upon Penn’s proving that he
had relinquished a claim on ten thousand pounds against the crown in
exchange for his patent, which document had been drawn up in the proper
legal form; that besides this he had acquired undisputed possession of
the land by subsequent purchase from the Indians; and finally, that the
interest on that ten thousand pounds had by this time increased it to
more than double that sum, which must lawfully be paid to him if he were
deprived of his province, even King William was forced to recognize the
justice of his cause and the proposed bill was abandoned, never to be
revived again.

Penn had not neglected to fulfil his promise to the Pennsylvanians and
immediately after his arrival had ordered his son to leave as soon as
possible for Philadelphia; but it was with great reluctance that he did
so, for during his father’s absence the pleasure-loving youth had
abandoned himself to every form of dissipation, to the great detriment
not only of his health, but of his pocket. To send him out to America
alone without restraint or guardianship of any kind meant merely a
continuation of his dissolute career, with perhaps ruin and disgrace to
the honorable name he bore. Nor was the young man any better pleased
with the idea, and it was not till his father had opened his eyes to the
seriousness of the situation and agreed to pay his debts that he yielded
and promised to go without further protest. Before he sailed Penn wrote
to some of the Friends in Philadelphia begging them to watch over his
son with fatherly care and solicitude. All seemed to go well at first
with young William. He troubled himself little, to be sure, as to the
province or its affairs, preferring rather to spend his time in hunting
and fishing; but the evil spirit in him soon broke out afresh, and he
plunged once more into a life of wild excess, defying all the laws of
the country, and after he had succeeded in squandering huge sums of
money and making himself thoroughly detested, he went back to England,
unbidden and unregretted.

The payment of these new debts contracted by his son caused Penn great
financial embarrassment, which was still further increased by the
unexpected and extortionate demands of a creditor. This was the
successor of his former advocate and man of business, who at the time of
Penn’s first journey to America had advanced him the sum of twenty-eight
hundred pounds in exchange for which and ostensibly as a mere matter of
form he had induced his unsuspecting client to sign a bond pledging the
whole province of Pennsylvania as security. Now without any warning an
account of fourteen thousand pounds was sent in to Penn with the threat
that an attachment would be served if this sum were not immediately
paid. After investigating this fraudulent account, he declared himself
willing to settle for some four thousand pounds, all to which the
creditor was justly entitled. This the latter refused to accept,
however, and the owner of Pennsylvania was forced to go to a debtors’
prison as the assembly of that colony refused to make him any advances
or even pay the revenues owing to him. In this emergency Penn offered
for the sum of twenty thousand pounds to sell his whole province to
Queen Anne, who, as the second daughter of the dethroned King James the
Second, had succeeded to the throne on the death of William the Third,
in 1702. She refused to take it, however, and at length he managed by
great effort to raise between seven and eight thousand pounds, with
which his false creditor finally agreed to content himself, Penn thereby
procuring release.

The long confinement had so seriously affected Penn’s health that he now
decided to leave London and moved with his family to Brentford, some
eight miles distant, where he devoted himself entirely to his former
vocation of preaching the gospel throughout the country and conducting
meetings for his Quaker brethren. The increasing infirmities of age,
however, soon put an end to these journeyings, Penn having now reached
the age of sixty-five, and in 1710, therefore, he retired to Rushcombe
in Buckinghamshire, where he remained until his death.

From there he addressed a communication to the settlers in Pennsylvania,
reproaching them for the ingratitude with which they had rewarded his
labors and sacrifices in their behalf. His last journey to England had
been taken solely in their interests to prevent the absorption of that
province by the crown, in which case their existing constitution would
have been abolished. He had made every effort to accomplish this
purpose, in spite of their indifference, with the result that he had
become impoverished while they had grown rich; while they, thanks to his
foresight and perseverance, were in possession of an empire, liberty,
and power, and he, for their sake and because of their avarice, had been
forced to languish in a debtors’ prison. He was forced to conclude,
therefore, that it was their wish to sever the old relations hitherto
existing between them and himself, in which case, if they would signify
their desire by the choice of a successor, he would then know how to

This letter did not fail to impress the conscience-stricken
Pennsylvanians. At the popular election which shortly followed a new
assembly was chosen in place of the one that had proved so ungrateful to
their benefactor, and it was no small consolation to Penn, broken as he
was by trouble and ill health, that this new assembly unanimously agreed
on the passage of resolutions that filled him with hope for the future
of the province.

                               Chapter IX
   Death of his Dissolute Son William—Penn’s Last Illness and Mental
                       Decline—His Death and Will

The younger William Penn meanwhile had gone from bad to worse, to the
bitter disappointment of his father, who after the untimely death of his
first-born had placed all his hopes on this unworthy son. After having
entirely estranged his family by his excesses, he entered the army in
defiance of his father’s principles, but resigned soon after when an
opening offered for election to Parliament. Failing to accomplish this,
however, he abandoned his wife and children and went to the continent,
where he led a life of riotous adventure in the various capitals till
his death in 1720.

It may have been the arrival of some distressing news about this
degenerate son that led to the apoplectic stroke with which Penn was
seized early in the year 1712 and which in his feeble state of health
was a serious matter, although he rallied for a time sufficiently to be
able to occupy himself with colonial affairs. The question of slavery
was much on his mind. He had become more and more convinced of its
inhumanity and sinfulness and had great hopes of securing its abolition,
as the untiring efforts of the German settlers had secured the passage
of a law forbidding the importation of any more slaves.

This first stroke, however, was soon followed by two more which left him
a wreck physically and mentally. The devoted care of his wife and
children helped to avert any immediate danger to his life, but the
brilliant mind was hopelessly shattered. He became like a child, serene
and peaceful fortunately, playing about the house or garden most of the
time with his own young children and those of his son, whom with their
deserted mother he had taken into his own home at Rushcombe.
Occasionally there would be lucid moments when he was able to converse
intelligently, and then the placid smile would vanish from his lips at
the sight of his wife’s care-worn face and the realization of the
burdens she had to bear not only in the management of family affairs,
but also to keep up the extensive correspondence required by colonial

In this condition Penn lived on for five long years, sometimes able to
recognize his old friends when they came to see him and even exchange a
few intelligible words with them, but toward the end the power both of
speech and memory failed him. On the thirtieth of May, 1718, he passed
away quietly and peacefully at the age of seventy-four, after a life of
ceaseless devotion to the service of God and the welfare of humanity.

In a will made while still in full possession of his mental faculties,
Penn left the following directions: His son William, having already
squandered the money left him by his deceased mother as her family
inheritance, was debarred from any share in the estate, the English
property, yielding at that time an annual revenue of some fifteen
hundred pounds, passing to his children instead. To each of the
grandchildren, as well as his daughter Letty, he bequeathed ten thousand
acres of the best land still unsold in Pennsylvania, and after disposing
of enough more of this land to pay the expenses of his burial, the
remainder was to be divided among his five children by his second wife,
Hannah Callowhill, who was made executor with an annuity of three
hundred pounds. The management of his colonial affairs he entrusted to
his two friends the Earls of Oxford and Pawlett, with orders to dispose
of his right of possession on the most favorable terms possible, either
to the English crown or elsewhere, the proceeds to be invested for the
benefit of these children.

Penn had arranged his worldly affairs with his usual wisdom and
foresight. While it might appear by the terms of the will that he had
shown a preference for his son William’s children by leaving them the
English property with its assured returns, his own receiving only the
doubtful American possessions which of late had yielded a revenue of
little more than five hundred pounds a year, yet as a matter of fact it
was quite the reverse; for during the twenty years of peace and
prosperity that followed the French and Indian war the value of the
colonial property increased enormously. In 1797 the government of
Pennsylvania paid the descendants of William Penn the sum of one hundred
and thirty thousand pounds for their rights of ownership, exclusive of
all personal properties, as well as back-standing payments and rents due
from the sale of lands left them by the founder of the State; while in
England they also received the additional sum of five hundred thousand
pounds voted by Parliament as indemnity for the losses suffered by him.

The body of William Penn was laid to rest beside those of his first wife
and their eldest son in the quiet churchyard of the village of Jordan in
Buckinghamshire. Hundreds came from far and near to pay their last
respects to the noble Quaker, and it needed not the eulogies pronounced
over his grave to proclaim to the world that a great and good man had
passed away.


The following is a chronological statement of the more important events
in William Penn’s life:

    1644    Birth
    1658    Death of Oliver Cromwell
    1659    Penn enters Oxford
    1660    Expulsion from Oxford
    1660    Visits Germany
    1664    War between England and Holland
    1665    Penn in the naval service
    1667    Adopts the Quaker faith
    1668    Begins preaching
    1670    Penn’s arrest
    1672    Marriage
    1673    Fresh Quaker persecutions
    1677    Visits Holland
    1681    Royal cession of land to Penn
    1682    Penn goes to America
    1682    Founding of Philadelphia
    1682    Treaty made with the Indians
    1683    The new constitution accepted
    1684    Penn returns to England
    1685    Death of Charles the Second
    1688    Dethronement of James
    1696    Second marriage
    1699    Penn returns to America
    1701    Penn goes back to England
    1702    Penn imprisoned for debt
    1710    Penn retires to private life
    1718    Death of William Penn

                     LIFE STORIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

                    _Translated from the German by_
                            GEORGE P. UPTON

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