« ZurückWeiter »
ceremony warrants were issued by the Council to arrest him on a charge of treason.
Penn was tiring of these daily warrants of arrest and this time took no pains to help his enemies in their search. He ceased to run about the streets, to preach in public, and to court the general gaze. His wife was very ill, and Springett, his elder son, not strong. His family remained at Worminghurst, on the Sussex down, where he was often with them when the eyes of neighbouring justices of the peace were shut. But he was neither in disguise nor hiding. Though he stayed in London mostly, he lived in his own house, engaged in writing books. 'I know my enemies,' he wrote, “their true character and history, and their intrinsic value to either this or any other government. I commit them to time, with my own conduct and afflictions.' He was well aware how much a man must pay for leave to do good, but he was ready to pay out that price.
When Penn was under cloud, and driven away, the Council made quick work of his American affairs. Their object was to bring his province under more direct control, and on the tenth of March, 1692, an Order in Council took away his government, and placed it in commission with a view to joining Pennsylvania with New York. So far as King William meddled, the question was decided on military grounds. Colonel Fletcher was the governor of New York, and William wished to strengthen Fletcher, who was menaced by the French. No case was urged against the rule of Penn, except that it was one of peace. No lack of faith or loyalty was proved against him. William felt that during war the city of fraternal love must be defended from the French and Iroquois, then hovering on the frontier, by a rougher arm than Penn's, and he desired his Council to prepare the draft of a commission for his signature, uniting in a single hand the governments of Pennsylvania, Delaware, the two Jerseys, New York, and Connecticut.
To Penn this blow was crushing. Nearly all his fortune had been sunk in Pennsylvania; he had paid all costs of governing from his private purse. His means were pinched on every side, nor could he tell which way to turn for help. His timber had been cut and sold; his Irish lands were ruined by the war; and Shangarry Castle was sequestered by the crown. His rents were stopped. Guli was worse; and Springett, his intelligent and handsome boy, was entering on that stage of slow de cline which led him to an early grave. His second son, in whom the blood of Admiral Penn was strong, required a father's care : for in his mother's weakness he was apt to run into excess. The Fords, too, were begining to display their teeth, though with a cat-like smoothness and a cat-like patience.
Penn was much in London, where the council were not eager to molest him, though the warrants were allowed to stand. “God seeth in secret, and will one day reward openly,' he wrote: 'my privacy is not because men have sworn truly, but falsely, against me; for wicked men have laid in wait for me, and false witnesses have laid to my charge things that I knew not.' With whom he lived in these dark days is nowhere told. Not feeling safe at Worminghurst he was compelled to move from place to place, and leave his sickly wife and drooping child unseen for weeks, except by stealth at dead of night and in the houses of their friends, where wife and son could come to him unseen. We know that he was busy with his pen. For not to count such trifles as a ‘Preface to Barclay's Works, and a second ‘Preface to Burnyeat's Works,' six pieces of importance came from him in his retirement. The New Athenian,' 'Just Measures and ‘A Key Opening the Way,' are three polemical discourses. ‘A Brief account of the People called Quakers,' is a picture of his sect, as he conceived that body in his mind. 'Some Fruits of Solitude : reflections and maxims relating to the conduct of human life' takes in a larger field; and “An Essay toward the present Peace' is one of those fine efforts of his pen, which help us to understand how a disciple of George Fox could have been the intellectual friend of John Locke, Speaking of himself in the preface of 'Some Fruits of Solitude,' he says-he ‘has now had some time he could call his own, a property he has ever before been short of in which he has taken a view of himself and of the world, observed wherein he has gone wrong or wasted good effort, and has come to the conclusion, that if he had to live his life over again, he could serve God, his neighbour, and himself, better than he had done, and have seven precious years of time to spare, though he was not an old man yet, and had certainly not been one of the idlest.' Specimens of his maxims will suffice to show the character of the whole collection.—'We are in pain to make our children scholars—not men; to talk rather than to know. This is true canting.'— They only have a right to censure who have a heart to help: the rest is cruelty, not justice.'—'Love labour : if thou dost not want it for food, thou wilt for physic.' •To delay justice is injustice.'—“The truest end of life is to find the life that never ends.'—“To do evil that good may come of it, is bungling in politics as well as in morals. Many of his maxims are political ‘Ministers of state should undertake their posts at their peril; if princes wish to override them let them show the laws—and resign : if fear, gain or flattery prevail, let them answer for it to the law.'
His second work is more original in form and substance. In 'An Essay towards the present and future Peace of Europe,' he inquires into the polity of nations, -the causes which lead to war,-the conditions necessary to peace. He finds that the great aim of statesmanship is to secure peace and order; and he demonstrates that these ends are to be obtained more readily and certainly by justice than by war. But the question then occurs -How can justice be obtained for nations except by force? He reviews the history of society, and finds that in early times individuals stood in the place of states; every man assumed the right to be a judge in his own cause every man claimed to be his own avenger. As society advanced from a ruder to a more civilized form, the individuals bound themselves to submit to general restrictions : to give up the old right of judging and avenging their own quarrels for the public good. Why then should not Europeans do for themselves, that which Celts and Teutons, Franks and Scandinavians, have already done on a smaller scale. As England has its Parliament, France its StatesGeneral, Germany its Diet-each in its sphere overruling private passion, -he proposes that Europe shall have her Congress. Before this sovereign council he would have disputes of nation and nation heard; and its decisions carried out by the united power of Europe. He refers to Henri Quatre and his League of Peace, and proves from the United Provinces that peace might easily be kept if kings and statesmen would but try.
These dreams were all connected with his great Experiment.
Colonel Fletcher, a mere soldier, coarse, abrupt, unlettered, was a stranger to his ideas and intentions; and there was only too much reason to fear that he would overturn that peaceful and popular constitution which had been framed with so much thought. Penn never doubted that in the end he should be able to regain his colony, and continue, under happier auspices, his great Experiment; but he also saw that mischief done in a day might require years of patient government to retrieve. He therefore wrote a letter to the newly appointed officer in which he warned