Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER XXIII. CLEARING GROUND. (1681-82). Philip Ford, a Bristol Quaker and a leading member of the Free Society of Traders gained the confidence of Penn and was appointed as his agent in the western port. This Ford was one of those sedate and sallow rogues who made a business of religion, and was lashed by every writer for the comic stage. He had the face of Cantwell and the hand of Overreach. Penn saw that he was quick and ceremonious, and fancied he was honest and sincere. For many years he was the agent through whose hands receipts and payments on the largest scale were made, but many years elapsed before the family of Penn became aware how much of what was properly their own stuck fast to Ford.

When Markham landed on the Delaware he made known a letter from Penn to the people of Pennsylvania, under date of April 8, 1681. announcing the issue of his patent, and explaining the spirit in which he should proceed to plant a free state in that country. Then he called the Indian sachems into council and surprised the redskins by inquiring whether they would sell a piece of land near the Trenton Falls to the new lord; and if so, what would be their price? The new lord, whom the great King bad set to rule and own the countrywas, he said, a just man who would neither do them wrong himself nor suffer any of sons to do them wrong. He meant to live with

them in love; to buy their lands if he should want it; and to trade with them in open market, as a wbite man bought and sold with white men. In July the terms of sale were fixed; in August they were signed by Markham on behalf of Penn, and by the various sachems who had claims on the estate; and Colonel Markham set about to clear the woods and stake the buildings of the homestead afterwards known as Pennsbury Manor. Markbam had less success with Baltimore than with the Indians; but his opening moves in that game of chance and skill—the boundary question-left a deep impression of his tact. He was in truth too able and too worldly in such things to be a fitting deputy for an idealist like Penn.

While Markham was buying Pennsbury Manor from the sachems, Penn was putting out in London articles of concession for intending colonists. In these concessions he described the country and the constitution, and he dwelt with vigour on the line of conduct he intended to pursue towards natives of the soil. From Cortez and Pizarro downwards, Europeans in America had treated the aborigines as property. Not content with robbing them of their lands, their lakes, their huntinggrounds, their ornaments of pearl and gold, the pale-faces from Seville and Cartagena had seized their persons and compelled them, under terror of the rod, to toil and die. When some of the bolder spirits among these natives fled from the faces of their tyrants, they were hunted down like wolves, and either worried by blood-hounds or sent to painful death in the mines. Even Puritan settlers, flying from an unjust rule at home, had been at war with natives of the soil, and more than one scene of treachery stains the page of New England history. Penn, strong in his belief in human good

ness, would not arm his followers even for their own defence. In his province the sword should cease to be the symbol of authority; no soldier and no cannon should be seen; he would rely on justice and on courtesy to win the confidence of those whom it had hitherto been the vice of his country men to treat as foes.

In the autumn two vessels, called the Amity and the John Sarah, sailed from the Thames, and a third vessel, called the Bristol Factor from the Avon. Penn had now completed his scheme with regard to the Indians, and by the John Sarah he sent out three commissioners, William Crispin, John Bezar, and Nathaniel Allen, with written instructions to buy land from them in his name, to arrange a regular course of trade, and enter into treaties of peace and friendship. At sea the two vessels from the Thames parted company. The Amity was driven by storms among the West Indian islands, and did not reach the Delaware till the following spring. The John Sarah was the first to make land; but the Bristol Factor soon afterwards appeared in the river. As they slowly cut the stream, the passengers observed some cottages on the right bank, forming the Swedish village of Upland, and it being nearly dark, with a long winter night before them in an unknown river, they thought it best to pull up. While the adventurers were enjoying themselves in their own fashion on shore, a sudden frost set in, and next morning they found to their alarm that the vessel was locked in ice. The hospitable Swedes offered them such protection as their scanty homesteads yielded ; such as could not obtain the shelter of a roof dug holes in the ground or piled up earthen huts; and here at last they determined to wait patiently for the coming spring. Many of

these accidental settlers in Upland were still there when Penn arrived next year.

Meanwhile the friends of the Holy Experiment were busy in England and on the Continent. The Lords of Plantations had left several sources of uncertainty in the grant. The quarrel with Baltimore seemed to threaten angry and expensive litigation; for between the Catholic lord and the Quaker lord irreconcilable views as to the nature and aims of government came in to embitter the dispute. Colonel Markham held conference after conference with Baltimore, but without result. Each appealed to his political friends in England, where the King himself took part with Penn and felt sufficient interest in the matter to write more than one letter to Lord Baltimore about the boundary lines. Some claims advanced on behalf of the Duke of York were hardly less important to the settlers. James had not consented to forego his seignorial rights over the province. Penn considered it essential to his plans that no hostile power should ever be able to shut his people out from commerce with the world-an event clearly possible if the mouth of the Delaware was to be held by an enemy. To prevent an evil of so much magnitude to the future state, Penn obtained from His Royal Highness a grant of the strip of land fronting the Delaware from Coaquannoc to Cape Henlopen, then called the Territories, now forming the State of Delaware. Some months elapsed before these great affairs could be arranged with the Duke's agents; but on Wednesday, the 24th of August, two drafts of conveyance were sent by his Royal Highness to the Board of Trade, in which he formally made over all his rights and titles in these estates to Penn and his heirs for ever. These important concessions relieved the new proprietor from every immediate fear; and Penn was now become the lord paramount of territories almost as large as England. James behaved to him in all these matters like an honest guardian and a faithful friend.

Excited by his happy fortunes, Penn pushed on his preparations for the voyage with zeal. William Bradford, a printer of Leicester, agreed to go out with his presses. Wallis, the famous mathematician, suggested how much Penn might do to extend the domain of science. Statesmen were at fault as to the geography of America; its natural history was hardly better known to scholars. Penn agreed to make and transmit to England observations on points of scientific interest; and the Royal Society, then recently founded, elected him a member.

Lady Penn, the merry romp and loving mother, died while he was hurrying on these preparations for his voyage. She was affectionate to her son, without understanding his principles or altogether approving his conduct. Her removal was a blow to him; his sister, Margaret Lowther, being the only one now left to him of his father's blood. For many days he was unable to bear the light; and weeks elapsed before the usual calm returned to his heart—the habitual activity to his brain.

The Welcome, which was to take him out to America, was already in the Downs. Compared with many other ships then navigating the Atlantic, the Welcome, carrying three hundred tons burden, was a stately bark. On deck a hundred pale and anxious faces gathered; it was getting deep into the autumn, and a winter voyage was then regarded with alarm. The men were well-todo, and many of them had been used from their birth to all the comforts of life. As yet the Gov.

« ZurückWeiter »