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Penn had leisure to settle his family in the place which he had meant to be their future home. Pennsbury was an ancient Indian royalty. It had been chosen as the abode of chiefs on account of its situation. Arms of the great river, which were bent no less than three times round it, had in ruder ages of warfare made an almost impregnable defence. When the estate was first laid out by Markham, it consisted of 8431 acres; but a portion of the ground was left in forest state as a park; and the proprietor from time to time reduced its size by grants to different men. On this land his agent Markham had begun to build, even before his first arrival in the country, a mansion worthy of the owner of a great province; and during his absence in England it had been completed. The front of the house, sixty feet long, faced the Delaware, and the upper windows commanded views of the river and of the opposite shores of New Jersey. The depth of the manorhouse was forty feet, and on either wing outhouses were disposed so as to produce an agreeable and picturesque effect. A brew-house, a large wooden building covered with shingles, stood at the back, some little distance from the mansion, and concealed among the trees. The house itself stood on a gentle eminence; it was two stories high, built of fine brick, and covered with tiles. A large and handsome porch and stone steps led into a spacious hall, extending nearly the whole length of the house; a hall which could be used on public
occasions for the entertainment of distinguished guests and the reception of Indian tribes. The rooms, arranged in suites had ample folding-doors, and wainscots planed from English oak. A simple taste prevailed throughout. The oaken capital at the porch was decorated with the carving of a vine and bunch of grapes. These decorations had been sent from England. The gardens of Pennsbury were the wonder of the colony. A country house, with ample garden, was the proprietor's passion; and by a liberal outlay of care and money he made the grounds of Pennsbury unequalled for extent and beauty. Penn sought for able gardeners with a zeal which bordered on enthusiasm. In one of his letters he speaks of his good fortune in having met with 'a rare artist' in Scotland, who is to go out to America and have three men under him. Orders were given that if this Scotch artist could not agree with Ralph, the old gardener, they were to divide the grounds between them, Ralph taking the upper gardens and the courtyards, the rare Scotch artist having charge of all the lower grounds. Penn gave instructions as to every detail. Lawns, shrubberies, and flower-beds surrounded the manor on every side. A broad walk, lined with poplars, led to the river brink, a flight of stone steps forming the descent from the higher terrace to the lower. Near the house the woods were laid out with walks and drives; the old forest trees were carefully preserved; the most beautiful wild flowers found in the country were transplanted to the gardens: trees and shrubs not indigenous to the soil were imported from Maryland; while walnuts, hawthorns, hazels, and various kinds of fruit trees, seeds, and roots, were sent from home. The furnishing of Pennsbury was to match. Mahogany was a luxury then unknown; but Mrs. Penn's spider tables and high-backed carved chairs were of the finest oak. An inventory of the furniture is still extant. There were a set of Turkey worked chairs, arm-chairs for ease, and couches with plush and satin cushions for luxury and beauty. In the parlour stood the great leather chair of the proprietor; in every room were cushions and curtains of satin, camlet, damask, and striped linen; and there is a carpet mentioned as being in one apartment, though at that period such an article was hardly ever seen except in the palaces of kings. Mrs. Penn's sideboard furniture included a service of silver, consisting of cups and tankards, bowls and dishes, tea-pots, salt-cellars and silver forks; blue and white china, a complete set of Tonbridge ware, and a great quantity of damask table-cloths and fine napkins. Penn's table was well served. Ann Nichols was his cook; and he used to observe in his pleasantry, “Ah, the book of cookery has outgrown the Bible, and I fear is read oftener-to be sure it is of more use.' But he was no favourer of excess, because, as he said, 'it destroys hospitality and wrongs the poor.' The French cuisine in vogue was a subject of his frequent ridicule. "The sauce is now prepared before the meat,' says he, in his Maxims, 'twelve pennyworth of flesh with five shillings of cookery may happen to make a fashionable dish. Plain beef or mutton is become dull food; but by the time its natural relish is lost in the crowd of cook's ingredients, and the meat sufficiently disguised from the eaters, it passes under a French name for a rare dish' Penn's cellars were well stocked ; canary, claret, sack, and madeira, being the favourite wines consumed by his family and their guests. Besides these nobler drinks there
was a plentiful supply of ale and cider. Penn's own wine seems to have been madeira; and he certainly had no dislike to the temperate pleasures of the table. In one of his letters to his steward Sotcher, he writes, “Pray send us some two or three smoked haunches of venison and pork-get them from the Swedes; also some smoked shads and beefs.' He adds with unction, “The old priest at Philadelphia had rare shads !
For travelling, the family had a coach, but in consequence of the bad roads, even those between Pennsbury and Philadelphia, it was seldom used; a light calesh in which they chiefly drove about; and a sedan-chair in which Hannah and Lettie went a-shopping in the town. Penn rode about the country on horseback, and sailed from one settlement to another in his yacht. He retained the passion for boating, which he had acquired at Oxford to the last; and that love of fine horses which the Englishman shares with the Arab did not forsake him in the New World. On his first visit to America he had carried over three bloodmares, a fine white horse not of full breed, and other inferior animals, not for breeding but for labour. His inquiries about the mares were as frequent and minute as those about the gardens; and when he went out for the second time, in 1699, he took with him the magnificent colt Tamerlane, by the celebrated Godolphin Parb, to which the best horses now in England trace their redigree. Yet Tamerlane could not wean his master's affections from his yacht: a veeeel of six oars, with a regular crew, who received their wages as such-and well deserved them while the Governor was at home. In giving some directions about his house and effects after his return to Fngland he writes of this yacht, ‘But above all dead things, I hope nobody uses her on any account, and that she is kept in a dry dock, or at least covered from the weather.'
The dress and habits of the Penns at Pennsbury had as little of the sourness and formality which have been ascribed to the early followers of George Fox as the mansion and its furnishings. There was nothing to mark them as differing from families of rank in England and America at the present day. Pennsbury was renowned throughout the country for its hospitalities. The ladies dressed like gentlewomen; wore caps and buckles, silk gowns and golden ornaments. Penn had no less than four wigs in America, all purchased in the same year, at a cost of nearly twenty pounds. To innocent dances and country fairs he not only made no objection, but countenanced them by his own and his family's presence. His participation in the sports of the aborigines has been referred to. All the gentler charities which distinguished him in England continued to distinguish him in Pennsylvania; he released the poor debtor from prison, he supported out of his private purse the sick and destitute, he gave pensions of three shillings a-week to many of the aged who were beyond labour, and there were numerous persons about him whom he had rescued from distress in England, and whom he supported wholly or in part until their own industry made them independent. Some of the best pages of his history are written in his private cash-books.
In April, 1700, the Assembly met for ordinary business. There had been already many changes introduced into the constitution; and it was well known that a large part, perhaps a majority, of the new parliament would be favourable to a fresh revision. The Holy Experiment was proceeding