« ZurückWeiter »
fluence with the King. But where bad Penn been all these years, and why had he not called before ? He had promised the Admiral to look after his son; but that son had never shown himself at court. James told his ward to come whenever be had any business; he should always be pleased to see him; and would do his best to fulfil towards him the duties of a guardian.
Love of country was one of the most powerful sentiments of a Puritan. But he had other inspirations. Love of personal freedom-claim to the free utterance of his thoughts-determination to bend his knee only at the shrine which his conscience owned—these things were stronger than the love of country, even than the love of life. Not lightly, not hastily, did the founders of the New World turn their backs on the land which had given them birth. Years of wrong and insult were required to loosen their tenacious hold of the soil which had been ploughed and reaped by their Saxon fathers. When endurance was at length exhausted they departed more in sorrow than in anger; quitting the ports they were never more to behold again with blessings on their lips and with their faces like their hearts still turned towards dear old England. In the days of reace and concord, now and then recurring in the most unsettled times, the tide of emigration et bed; but when the act of indulgence had been cancelled by the King and the fury of persecution began to fill the jails with victims, plans for founding a New Home beyond the seas, away from the old political and religious rivalries of Europe for the persecuted of all creeds and nations, were revived.
To Penn this dream had been more or less familiar from his youth. At twelve years old the victories of his father in Jamaica turned his fancies towards the West. By usage Admiral Penn should have received his share of the conquered
lands, and but for his arrest by Cromwell, an estate.-a very large one-in that island, would have come to Penn. It might come any day. The Admiral's claims against the crown were still unsettled, and the King might choose to pay his debts by giving up the lands which Cromwell had withheld. \n the retirement of his family in Ireland Penn had been employed in planting an English colony on foreign soil; at Wanstead and in the Navy Gardens the subject of buying an estate in the New World had been often raised; in his hour of excitement and disobedience at Oxford, he had turned to these earlier projects and laid out a new Oceana or Utopia in his fancy; at the yearly meetings of his own religious society the settlement of the Quakers in Jamaica, in New England, and on the Delaware, had been frequently discussed. The journey he had recently made into Holland and Germany had roused the gathering zeal of years. At Amsterdam, at Leyden, in the cities of the Middle Rhine, his imagination was excited by the stories he had heard from relatives and friends of those who had crossed the Atlantic in their barks. At length his mind began to fix itself on what he called the Holy Experiment of planting a religious democracy in the western world.
His first connexion with the continent on which he was to build himself a monument was in the affairs of New Jersey. No reader need be told that in the reign of Charles the Second many of the colonies in America were either given or sold away to private persons. In accordance with his principle of misrule, the King made over to his brother James the province of New Netherland, then stretching from the shores of the Delaware river to the Connecticut river, even before a single rood of land had yet been wrested from the Dutch. Two months before the conquest of that country, James in turn had granted to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, in equal shares, the region lying between the Hudson river and the Delaware river. When the English forces took possession of the country, these old names and boundaries were removed, and in honour of Sir George Carteret
(a Jersey man) the province became New Jersey. • As the object of nearly all noble owners of such estates was to make money, they offered such concessions or constitutions—as would attract a crowd of able, energetic, and wealthy men. Without being advocates of civil and religious liberty, the speculators not unfrequently 'established in their colonial possessions enlarged and liberal laws. The owners of New Jersey offered some concessions in this spirit. A number of Puritans set sail from the port of New Haven, with a view to establish themselves in the new territory; and having reached the Passaic, they held a council there with Indian tribes, changed the name of the settlement to New Ark, and laid the foundations of a democratic state. Under their free and vigorous rule the province rapidly increased; the Quakers took an interest in it, and a few of them went out. But Berkeley in a short time grew dissatisfied; disputes arose about quit-rents and privileges; and the Earl found his ease disturbed by murmur and remonstrance from men into whose hands he had passed away the reins. These troubles made him anxious to sell his share; and as Fox had just returned from a visit to the English settlements in America, the Quakers opened a communication with Berkeley, who agreed to sell his share in the province for a thousand pounds. The buyers, John Fenwick and Edward Billing,
quarrelled, and the matter was referred to Penn The letters still extant show that Fenwick was disposed to resist the award; but a rebuke from Penn, in which he spoke in noble and affecting language of the meanness of such quarrels, brought him round. “Thy grandchildren,' said the expostulator to his client, ‘may be in the other world before the land thou hast allotted will be employed.
Fenwick, with his family and a number of emi- • grants, set sail in the ship Griffith for New Jersey, and ascending the Delaware a considerable distance, found a fertile and pleasant spot, where they landed their goods and chattels, formed a settlement, and called the town Salem-place of peace and rest. Meantime the affairs of Billing got involved. Unable to meet his creditors, Billing gave up his property into the hands of trustees. Penn was one of these trustees. Full of his old dreams of a model state, and fresh from the study of Harrington and More, Penn was not content to carry on the government of the province as he found it, simply as a commercial venture, and without regard to the working out of great ideas. Sydney's lessons had made a deep impression on his mind; and Locke's constitution for Carolina was ever present to his thoughts. The first attempt to lay the foundations of a free colony was obstructed by the joint ownership of the soil, as even within the limits prescribed by law, the trustees of Billing could only exercise a semi-sovereignty, while Sir George Carteret remained co-partner. The object, then, which lay in front of every effort for the good of the settlers, was such a division of the province as should separate Carteret's share from the rest; and this result was obtained by Penn after a troublesome