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|Chapter I.||The Finnish emigration to Sweden, from where their path led to the American shores.|
|Chapter II.||Motives and inducements that led Sweden to establish a colony on the Delaware River.|
|Chapter III.||A colony established on the Delaware River.|
|Chapter IV.||The second expedition. The Dutch withdraw from the company. Dutch colonists coming to the Delaware.|
|Chapter V.||The third expedition. Finnish colonists brought to the Delaware River.|
|Chapter VI.||The fourth and the fifth expeditions. More Finnish colonists brought to America.|
|Chapter VII.||The sixth, seventh and eighth expeditions. The Finns beseeching the queen to be permitted to go to America.|
|Chapter VIII.||The ninth and tenth expeditions. The Finns flocking to get passage for America.|
|Chapter IX.||The Delaware settlements under the Swedish administration.|
|Chapter X.||The Delaware colony conquered by the Dutch.|
|Chapter XI.||New expeditions of Finns arriving at the Delaware River.|
|Chapter XII.||The first period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.|
|Chapter XIII.||England replacing Holland as the ruler of the South River.|
|Chapter XIV.||The first period of the Finnish settlement under the English rule.|
|Chapter XV.||The second period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.|
|Chapter XVI.||The second period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.|
|Chapter XVII.||The third period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.|
|Chapter XVIII.||The last stages of the Finnish settlements on the Delaware.|
Chapter XVII. The Third Period of the Finnish Settlements under the English Rule.
A Change in the government of the Delaware River was taking place at this period. William Penn, who had inherited from his father Vice-Admiral Sir William Penn a considerable wealth, had become interested in the proprietorship of New Jersey in America and thus having obtained information about the land in that section of the country, proposed to King Charles II, to receive land in America in lieu of 15,000 pounds that the government owed to his father. To this the king was very willing and after the boundaries had been defined, the charter, constituting William Penn proprietary of Pennsylvania, was signed by the king on March 4, 1681. The boundaries of Pennsylvania were to be, on the east, the Delaware River, starting from a point twelve miles distance northward of New Castle town, up the river as far as forty-third degree of northern latitude, if the said river extends so far northwards, otherwise as far as the river extends, and from that point along the meridian line to the said forty-third degree. The land was to extend westward five degrees of longitude from the eastern bounds. On the north the forty-third degree of northern latitude was to be the boundary and on the south a circle drawn at twelve miles distance from New Castle, northward and westward, for the fortieth degree of northern latitude, along which degree it was to continue to the above mentioned limits of longitude.
For this area, named by the king Pennsylvania, William Penn and his heirs were to pay to the king and his successors two beaver skins yearly, on the first of January at the castle of Windsor.
Nearly a month after the charter had been signed, the following declaration was addressed by the king's command to the inhabitants of Pennsylvania:
"Charles R. - Whereas his majesty, in consideration of the great merit and faithful services of Sir William Penn, deceased, and for divers other good causes him thereunto moving, hath been graciously pleased, by, letters-patent bearing date the 4th day of March last past, to give and grant unto William Penn, Esq., son and heir of the said Sir William Penn, all that tract, etc. (as described above).
"His majesty does, therefore, hereby publish and declare his royal will and pleasure, that all persons settled or inhabiting within the limits of the said province, do yield all due obedience to the said William Penn, his heirs and assigns, as absolute proprietaries and governors thereof, as also to the deputies, agents, or lieutenants, lawfully commissioned by him or them, according to the powers and authorities granted by the said letters-patent, wherewith his majesty expects and requires as ready compliance for all persons whom it may concern, as they tender his majesty's displeasure.
"Given at the court, etc., 2d April, 1681, thirty-third year of reign. By his majesty's command,
William Penn, who commissioned his cousin William Markham, to be deputy-governor for him in the province of Pennsylvania, prepared with his own hand, the following letter for the inhabitants of the province, to be read by Deputy-Governor Markham at his arrival to the colony.
"My friends. - I wish you all happiness, here and hereafter. These are to let you know that it hath pleased God, in his providence, to cast you within my lot and care. It is a business that, though I never undertook before, yet God has given me an understanding of my duty, and an honest mind to do it uprightly. I hope you will not be troubled at your change, and the king's choice, for you are now fixed at the mercy of no governor that comes to make his fortune great; you shall be governed by laws of your own making, and live a free, and, if you will, a sober and industrious people. I shall not usurp the right of any, or oppress his person. God has furnished me with a better resolution, and has given me his grace to keep it. In short, whatever sober and free men can reasonably desire for the security and improvement of their own happiness, I shall heartily comply with and in five months resolve, if it pleases God, to see you. In the mean time, pray submit to the commands of my deputy so far as they are consistent with the law, and pay him those dues, (that formerly you paid to the order of the governor of New York), for my use and benefit, and so I beseech God to direct you in the way of righteousness, and therein prosper you and your children after you. I am your true friend,
"London, 8th of the month called April, 1681."
William Penn's commission to his deputy governor reads as follows:
"The commission given by William Penn, governor and proprietor of the province of Pennsylvania, to his cousin, William Markham, to be deputy governor for him, of the aforesaid province.
"At Westminster, this 10th of (2d mo.) April 1681.
"Whereas the king has; graciously pleased, upon divers good considerations, to settle upon me and my heirs for ever, by his letters-patent, under the great seal of England, dated the 4th of March last, a tract of land in America, by the name of Pennsylvania, lying and bounded as in the said letters-patent is particularly expressed, with ample powers and authorities requisite for the well-governing of the same, to be exercised by me or my deputy. Out of the special regard that I have to the care and fidelity of my cousin, William Markham, I do hereby appoint him my deputy, and fully authorize him in my stead and for my behoof, and for the benefit of the said province, to act and perform what may be fully needful to the peace and safety thereof, till I myself shall arrive, or he shall receive further orders; that is to say, he has hereby power.
"First. To call a council, and that to consist of nine, he presiding.
"Second. That he does there read my letter to the inhabitants, and the king's declaration of subjection; then (or there) take the inhabitants' acknowledgements of my authority and propriety.
"Third. To settle bounds between me and my neighbours; to survey, set out, rent, or sell land, according to (my) instructions bearing date the 8th of the month called April, 1681.
"Fourth. To erect courts, make sheriffs, justices of the peace, and other requisite inferior officers, that right may be done, the peace kept, and all vice punished, without partiality, according to the good laws of England.
"Fifth. To call to his aid, and command the assistance of any of the inhabitants of those provinces, for the legal suppression of tumults or riots, and conviction of the offenders, according to law, and to make or ordain any ordinances, and to do any thing or things that to the peace and safety of the said province he may lawfully do, by the power granted to me in the letters-patent, calling assemblies to make laws only excepted. Given under my hand and seal, this 10th day of the month called April, 1681.
"Witnesses - Henry West, John West."
Penn now desired emigrants to his colony, and therefore issued a lengthy proposal, in which he explains the profits of colonization to the country by which colonies are planted. Then he proceeds to enumerate the benefits derived by the colonists themselves in the enterprise, and among other things says: "Such as could not only marry here, but hardly live and allow themselves clothes, do marry there, and bestow thrice more in all necessaries and conveniences, (and not a little in ornamental things too), for themselves, their wives and children, both as to apparel and household stuff."
After describing the colony as to its convenience for navigation, capability in production of commodities, the making of its laws, and the conditions of the distribution of land, he speaks of the persons that are most fitted for plantations. He desires farmers and farm laborers, tradesmen, and also poor "ingenious spirits" may have time and opportunity, for the easy subsistence in the colony, to gratify their inclinations and thereby improve science. And another sort of people, he says, that are not only fit but necessary in plantations, are "men of universal spirits," who have not gained recognition under settled customs, referring in this connection to parallels in the ancient Greece and Rome.
Next he advises about the journey, what goods are fit to take with for the use or for selling with profit, also about the charges for the voyage and how to start living on arrival to the colony. And lastly concludes by urging people not to make rash or hasty decisions but maturely consider all inconveniences as well as future ease and plenty.
In the whole the document unravels William Penn, as a practical dreamer, as a man of learning, and considering to the soft life in which he had been brought up, a wonderful observer of all conditions in human society, besides being a man of perfect knowledge of the things that appeal to the different types of human mind.
While these events of historical consequences were taking place in London, Mr. John Levin appeared at the Delaware River, on April 8th, to inquire into the sources of revenue for the Duke of York.
The Upland County Court was sitting at the town of Kingsessing, on June 14, 1681. The justices present were Otto Ernest Cock, Israel Helme and Lasse Cock.
The justices Henry Jones and George Brown who had failed to attend the court, were fined ten pounds each, according to the law. Justice George Brown later appeared and became seated in the court, having been hindered to come sooner for want of passage over the creek.
As the cattle, hogs and horses were running wild in the forests, the ordinances of the Delaware River required all domestic animals marked. Claes Janson on this day brought in the earmark of his cattle and hogs, desiring it recorded, which the court granted. The earmark being: the foremost side of the ears half cut away.
Land was getting so valuable along the river that in every court at this time there were disputes about tracts that formerly were not cared about. In this court Lasse Dalbo claimed a piece of land on the Schuylkill, which was occupied by Sven Loom. The defendant replied that he has had the first grant and survey and has paid the quit-rent for the land. The plaintiff desired the case settled by a jury which was granted and the jury bringing in their verdict in favor of the defendant the court passed judgment accordingly.
The president of the court, Otto Ernest Cock, acquainted the court, that he had bought and paid, of the Indian proprietors a certain swampy or marshy island, called by the Indians Quistconck, (the present Hog Island), lying at the upper end of Tinicum Island in the river, opposite Andreas Boone's Creek; and desired the court's approbation. The court having well informed themselves about the premises, did approve the same.
A petition was presented to the court by the Rev. Jacobus Fabritius, upon which the court ordered that the church wardens of the petitioner's church do take care that everyone of those who have signed and promised towards the minister's maintenance, do pay him the sums promised, upon pain of execution against the defaulters.
Upon complaint made by the overseers of the highways, the court condemned John Champion to pay a fine of twenty-five guilders, for not working upon the highway when due warning had been given to him.
William Warner and William Orian presented a request to the court, upon which it was ordered that the several people who hold lands, of the tract which the petitioners had bought from the Indians on the Schuylkill River, everyone to repay to the petitioners proportionable to the quantity of land they hold there. The whole purchasing price being 335 guilders and the following persons were holding parts of the land: Andreas Inckoren 200 acre", Andreas Homman 200 acres, Pelle Larsson 100 acres, Peter Erickson 200 acres, William Warner 100 acres, William Orian 100 acres, John Boyles and John Schoeten 400 acres and, Swen Loom 300 acres.
Upon petition the court granted lands to the following persons: Reinier Petersen 200 acres, Andries Boon 200 acres, William Warner Senior 400 acres, Richard Tucker 100 acres, Otto Ernest Cock 400 acres, Lionel Brittain and Jan Classen 200 acres.
William Boyles, the Upland County constable at the Delaware Falls, complained to the court that Gilbert Wheeler, at the said falls, is selling liquors by retail to the Indians, contrary to the law and forewarning of the said constable. The said information was ratified by Justice George Brown, upon which the court condemned the said Gilbert Wheeler to pay four pounds and costs as fine for his trespass, according to law of the government.
The court appointed and authorized William Boyles to be surveyor and overseer of the highways from the falls to Poetquessing creek. He was to take care that the highways be made good and passable, with bridges over all marshy places. The work upon the highways was to be performed between this and the next court and all the inhabitants living within the above said area were ordered to be ready to work and to complete a certain highway upon due notice by the overseer. The unwilling to be fined according to former order and practice.
The court adjourned till the second Tuesday of September next, but it never met any more. Here ends the local government of the Finns in the country today known as the State of Pennsylvania. The government had been managed by the Finnish magistrates with such fairness and orderliness that there is no equal in example among the early American colonies.
About ten days after the above court day, in June 1681, Deputy-Governor Markham arrived to take charge of the Province of Pennsylvania and Lieutenant Anthony Brockholls of New York issued the following proclamation, releasing the justices and other officers who fell within the new province, from their allegiance to the Duke of York.
"Whereas his majesty hath been graciously pleased, by his letters-patent bearing date 4th March last, to give and grant to William Penn, Esquire, all the tract of land in America, now called by the name of Pennsylvania, formerly under the protection and government of his royal highness, (then follows the description of the boundaries), with all powers, pre-eminences, and jurisdictions necessary for the government of a province, as by letters-patent doth at large appear, which, with his majesty's gracious letter, directed to the inhabitants and planters within the said limits, and a commission from the said William Penn to the bearer hereof, William Markham, Esquire, to be his deputy governor of the said province, have been produced and shown to us, and are entered upon record in the office of records for this province, and by us highly approved of, as his majesty's royal will and pleasure, therefore thought fit to intimate the same to you, to prevent any doubt or trouble that might arise, and to give you our thanks for your good service done in your several offices and stations, during the time you remained under his royal highness' government, expecting no further account than that you readily submit and yield all due obedience to the said letters-patent, according to the true intent and meaning thereof, in the performance and enjoyments of which we wish you all happiness.
"New York, June 21, 1681."
The above document is copied in the Upland Court Record, by which the record becomes to a close.
Soon after his arrival to the Delaware, Deputy-Governor Markham, according to his instructions, nominated a council of nine men. Seven of these were Englishmen and two were Finns, namely Otto Ernest Cock and Lasse Cock.
The following "Obligation of Councilmen" was signed by the newly appointed. "Whereas we whose hands and seals are hereunto set are chosen by Wm. Markham (agent of Wm. Penn, Esq., Proprietor of the Province of Pennsylvania) to be of the Council for the said province, do hereby bind ourselves by our hands and seals, that we will neither act nor advise, nor consent unto anything that shall not be according to our own consciences the best for the true and well Government of the said Province, and likewise to keep secret all the votes and acts of us, the said Council, unless such as by the general consent of us are to be published. Dated at Upland the third day of August, 1681."
The Finns at this time were handicapped for the lack of knowledge in the English language. In their affairs with the Dutch they had used the Swedish language rather than the Dutch. Swedish in those days being very similar to the Dutch language, it could be therefore easily mastered by the Dutch colonists. Swedish had become the language of communication on the Delaware River between the different nationalities, although there was scarcely a Swede in the colony since the downfall of the Swedish rule. Many of the Finns on their arrival to the colony did not speak Swedish, as Papegoja who was appointed commander of the colonists that arrived on the ship Mercurius in 1666, was compelled to employ an interpreter as he could not speak Finnish and the passenger did not understand Swedish. Also Trotzig writes in his letter in the spring of 1664, that of the one hundred and forty Finnish colonists, then in Amsterdam on their way, to the Delaware Colony, but some of the men could speak Swedish. The greatest part of the Delaware Finns came from the Finnish settlements in the south-central Sweden where some of the Finns still retain their language, despite arbitrary measures during more than two centuries to compel them to learn Swedish.
In the colony most of the Finns seem to have acquired the Swedish rather than the Dutch language, although a report of a Finnish commission investigating a land dispute in Kingsessing on June 4, 1673, was left to the Upland Court in the Dutch language.
Despite the Delaware Colony had been under the English rule about seventeen years, before it came under William Penn, the Englishmen were few and only newly arrived among the Finns. Therefore there had not been need of the English language, nor opportunity to practice it, except to some of the magistrates who came in contact with the English commanders at the river and with the correspondence, orders and commissions of the governors of New York. An English colonist, Thomas Paschall, in a letter to his friend in England refers to the Finns as ingenious, who speak English, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch and the Indian languages. But Mr. Paschall must have been rather optimistic as far as the Finns' knowledge of English concern. This was unfortunate, as the Finns had the experience of twenty-six years in self-government in the colony, having been more or less by themselves since the downfall of the Swedish rule on the Delaware. They would have been valuable as stabilizers in the new government and undoubtedly would have saved much disappointment and sorrow from William Penn.
Deputy-Governor. Markham established himself first in Upland, where a newly organized court met the first time on September 13, 1681, according to the resolution of the former court. Among the nine justices present four were of the old Finnish colony, namely, Otto Ernest Cock, Lasse Cock, Sven Svenson and Andreas Bankson. In the jury drawn in this court, two of the twelve members were Finns, namely, Lasse Dalbo and Peter Rambo, Jr.
On the 30th of September, 1681, Proprietor Penn appointed three commissioners, who were to proceed to Pennsylvania, with instruction having the following points: They were to take special care that the people embarking with them shall be well accommodated on their arrival to the colony. They were to warn the old inhabitants, if found taking advantages of the new immigrants by raising the prices of food supplies, etc. They were to let the rivers and creeks sounded, especially at Upland, in order to settle a great town. In founding a navigable, high, dry and healthy place, suitable for the town they were to lay out ten thousand acres of land for that purpose. No more land to be surveyed till the town be fixed and the people settled upon it. The sixth article of the instructions reads: "If it should happen that the most convenient place for the great town should be already taken up, in greater quantity of land than is consistent with the town-plot, and that land not already improved, use utmost skill to persuade them to part with so much as will be necessary, that so necessary and good a design be not spoiled; that is, where they have ten acres by the water side, to abate five, and to take five more backward, and so proportionably, because that, by the settlement of this town, the remaining five, in two or three years' time, will be worth twice as much as those before, yea, what they take backward for their water side land, will, in a little more time, be really more valuable than all their ten forward was before; urging my regard to them if they will not break this great and good contrivance, and in my name promise them what gratuity or privilege you think fit, as having a new grant at their old rent; nay, half their quit rent abated, yea, make them as free as purchasers, rather than disappoint my mind in this township; though herein be as sparing as ever you can, and urge the weak bottom of their grant, the Duke of York having never had a grant from the king, etc. Be impartially just and courteous to all, that is both pleasing to the Lord and wise in itself."
The commissaries further are instructed in the plan of the town. And the Indians were to be summoned in conference and Penn's conditions with the purchasers of land to be read to them in their own tongue, that they will see they are fairly treated. Their chieftains were to be given presents sent by Penn, and the commissioners were to make a league of friendship with them. Penn further warns the commissaries to appear grave in the conference, as the Indians do not love to be smiled on.
The commissaries were to buy land from the Indians from time to time, but to see that they do not sell one another's land as the ownership between themselves is not always settled. But the commissaries were by no means allowed to sell any land before Penn himself arrives to the colony, nor to allow old patents, that have been forfeited by not planting in time according to the old law of the place. The forfeiters were to be paid their expenses of patent and surveying.
In the middle of the town the commissaries were to leave space for a storehouse, market and state houses. And on the river bank, in the middle of the town plan, they were to lay aside three hundred acres for the situation of Penn's own house.
A quarter of a mile or at least two hundred feet along the shore were to be left for harbor purposes.
The fifteenth article of the instruction reads: "Let every house be placed, if the person pleases, in the middle of its plat, as to the breadth way of it, that so there may be ground on each side for gardens or orchards, or fields, that it may be a green country town, which will never be burnt, and always be wholesome."
Lastly Penn leaves the town plan to the commissaries as they will find the situation.
The following letter was sent by Penn with the commissaries to the Indians:
"London, 18th of October, 1681.
"My friends - There is one great God and power that bath made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I, and all people owe their being and well-being, and to whom you and I must one day give an account for all that we do in the world; this great God hath written his law in our hearts, by which we are taught and commanded to love and help, and do good to one another, and not to do harm and mischief one to another. Now this great God hath been pleased to make me concerned in your parts of the world, and the king of the country where I live hath given unto me a great province, but I desire to enjoy it with your love and consent, that we may always live together as neighbors and friends, else what would the great God say to us, who hath made us not to devour and destroy one another, but live soberly and kindly together in the world? Now I would have you well observe, that I am very sensible of the unkindness and injustice that hath been too much exercised towards you by the peoples of these parts of the world, who sought themselves, and make great advantages by you, rather than be examples of justice and goodness unto you, which I hear hath been matter of trouble to you, and caused great grudgings and animosities, sometimes to the shedding of blood, which hath made the great God angry; but I am not such a man, as is well known in my own country; I have great love and regards towards you, and I desire to win and gain your love and friendship, by a kind, just, and peaceable life, and the people I send are of the same mind, and shall in all things behave themselves accordingly; and if in anything any shall offend you or your people, you shall have a full and speedy satisfaction for the same, by an equal number of just men on both sides, that by no means you may have just occasion of being offended against them I shall shortly come to you myself, at what time we may more largely and freely confer and discourse of these matters. In the meantime, I have sent my commissioners to treat with you about land, and a firm league of peace. Let me desire you to be kind to them and the people, and receive these presents and tokens which I have sent to you, as a testimony of my good will to you, and my resolution to live justly, peaceably, and friendly with you.
"I am your loving friend,
The commissioners were given to bring over a letter of recommendation to the Finns from Liembergh, the Swedish ambassador in London, written in the "Norse" language, as Penn says, and to be delivered by Deputy-Governor Markham to the Rev. Fabricius, for publication among the people.
In the meantime the Indians presented in Upland the following petition to the Governor and Council of Pennsylvania:
"Whereas, the selling of strong liquors was prohibited in Pennsylvania and not at New Castle, we find it a greater ill-convenience than before, our Indians going down to New Castle, and there buying rum, and making themselves more debauched than before. "Therefore we, whose names are hereunder written, do desire that the prohibition may be taken off, and rum and strong liquors may be sold as formerly, until it be prohibited in New Castle, and in that government in Delaware.
"Pesienk (Passayunk) in Pennsylvania, 8th October, 1681."
On November 30th, the second court of the Province of Pennsylvania was held at Upland. Present were Governor William Markham and twelve justices of which seven were Englishmen and five of the old inhabitants, viz., Otto Ernest Cock, Lasse Cock, Swen Swenson, Andreas Bankson and Hendrick Bankson. Among the jurors were John Cock, Erik Cock, Mons Peterson and Peter Joakum.
The third court of the new province was held on March 4, 1682, in which nine overseers of highways were appointed, having their specified districts from Marcus Creek to the neighborhood of the Delaware Falls and along the Schuylkill. They were selected mostly from the older inhabitants, among which was Andreas Rambo, son of Peter Rambo, Senior.
During the winter and spring of 1682, Penn was busy in England, selling lands in the colony and negotiating about the organization of a commercial company, the "Free Society of Traders," which was incorporated and granted special privileges in the colony. He had also worked a constitution, to his province, having a lengthy preface and twenty-four articles. The constitution is headed as follows:
"The frame of the government of the province of Pennsylvania, in America, together with certain laws agreed upon in England, by the governor and divers freemen of the aforesaid province, (those in England who had bought land from Penn in the province), to be further explained and continued there by the first provincial council that shall be held, if they see meet."
In the preamble for the arrticles of the constitution he says among other things that; "Now know ye, that for the well-being and government of the said province and for the encouragement of all the freemen and planters that may be therein concerned, in pursuance of the powers aforementioned, I, the said William Penn, have declared, granted, and confirmed, and by these presents, for me, my heirs and assignees; do declare, grant, and confirm, unto all the freemen, planters, and adventurers, of, in, and to the said province, these liberties, franchises, and properties, to be held, enjoyed, and kept by the freemen, planters, and inhabitants of the said province of Pennsylvania, for ever."
The first and second articles read as follows:
"I. That the government of this province shall, according to the powers of the patent, consist of the governor and freemen of the said province, in form of a provincial council and general assembly, by whom all laws shall be made, officers chosen, and public affairs transacted, as is hereafter respectively declared. That is to say:
"II. That the freemen of the said provinces shall, on the 20th day of the twelfth month, which shall be in this present year one thousand six hundred eighty and two, meet and assemble in some fit place; of which timely notice shall be beforehand given by the governor or his deputy, and then and there shall choose out of themselves seventy-two persons, of most note for their wisdom, virtue, and ability, who shall meet on the 10th of the first month, next ensuing, and always be called and act as the provincial council of the said province."
In the third and fourth articles Penn gives the rules of reelection, in the fifth he establishes the quorum, in the sixth he retains the presidency of the provincial council for himself or his deputy. In the seventh article he defines the preparation of bills for the general assembly, in the eighth the execution of laws, in the ninth the inviolability of the "Frame of Government." The tenth, eleventh and the twelfth articles deal with the settlement of towns, with the management of the treasury and about schools and learning. The thirteenth article deals with committees of the provincial council and the duties of each committee in the government of the province.
The fourteenth article reads as follows: "And to the end that all laws prepared by the governor and provincial council aforesaid, may yet have the more full concurrence of the freemen of the province, it is declared, granted, and confirmed, that at the time and place or places for the choice of a provincial council as aforesaid, the said freemen shall yearly choose members to serve in a general assembly as their representatives, not exceeding two hundred persons, who shall yearly meet, from the 20th day of the second month, which shall be in the year one thousand six hundred eighty and three following, in the capital town or city of the said province, where during eight days the several members may freely confer with one another, and if any of them see meet, with a committee of the provincial council, (consisting of three out of each of the committees aforesaid, being twelve in all,) which shall be at the time purposely appointed to receive from any of them proposals for the alterations or amendments of any of the said proposed and promulgated bills; and on the ninth day from their so meeting, the said general assembly, after reading over the proposed bills by the clerk of the provincial council, and the occasion and motives for them being opened by the governor or his deputy, shall give their affirmative or negative, which to them seemeth best, in such manner as hereinafter is expressed. But not less than twothirds, shall make a quorum in the passing of laws, and choice of such officers as are by them to be chosen."
The articles from fifteenth to the twenty-first, inclusive, deal with the enrollment of the laws, about increase of the members in the assembly, (Penn proposing that in the first year all the freemen in the province shall. or may take part in the assembly), how the courts are established and the officers chosen, (Penn appointing the first officers), the duties of the assembly, election to be by ballot, and lastly provisions are made in case of infancy of the governor or proprietor.
The twenty-second article makes provisions in case any day mentioned in the articles falls on Sunday. Article twenty-three provides that any change in this constitution requires the consent of the governor, his heirs or assigns, and six parts of seven of the freemen in the provincial council and general assembly.
The twenty-fourth and last article reads:
"And lastly, that I, the said William Penn, for myself, my heirs and assigns, have solemnly declared, granted, and confirmed, and do hereby solemnly declare, grant, and confirm, that neither T, my heirs nor assigns, shall procure or do any thing or things whereby the liberties in this charter contained and expressed shall be infringed or broken; and if any thing be procured by any person or persons, contrary to these premises, it shall be held of no force or effect."
The charter or frame of government was signed by William Penn, on the 25th of April, 1682.
Shortly after the issuance of the "Frame of Government," Penn with some freemen that were coming to the colony from England, agreed upon forty laws, which were to be presented to the assembly in the colony for ratification. The laws were titled as "Laws agreed upon in England." They further amplified and confirmed the Penn's "Frame of Government." The first act reads "That the Charter of liberties, (the Fame of Government), declared, and confirmed the five and twentieth days of the second month, called April, (Quaker calculation of time), 1682, before divers witnesses, by William Penn, governor and chief proprietor of Pennsylvania, to all the freemen and planters of the said province, is declared and appointed, and shall be forever held as fundamental in the government thereof, according to the limitations mentioned in the said charter."
The sixteenth act provides: "That seven years' quiet possestion (of land) shall give an unquestionable right."
The thirty-ninth act reads as follows: "That there shall be no time any alterations of any of these laws, without the consent of the governor, his heirs or assigns, and six parts of seven of the freemen, met in provincial council and general assembly."
The last act of the laws says, "That all other matters and things not herein provided for, which shall and may concern the public justice, peace, or safety of the said province, and the raising and imposing taxes, customs, duties, or other charges whatsoever, shall be, and are hereby referred to the order, prudence, and determination of the governor and freemen in provincial council and general assembly to be held from time to time in the said province."
The above referred laws were ratified and signed by William Penn and the party of freemen in England, on May 5, 1682.
Deputy-Governor Markham, with the commissioners appointed by Penn on September 30, 1681, had been diligently looking for a suitable place, where to lay off ten thousand acres of land for the site of a great town, according to the orders of the proprietary. In this they were seriously hampered for the reason that the Finns had occupied and settled the western side of the Delaware River, within the Province of Pennsylvania, as far up the river as above the Neshaminy creek. The land about Upland, which Penn had especially in his mind for the town, had been all occupied far to the inland, besides the boundary question between Pennsylvania and Maryland had become threatening on account of Lord Baltimore's claims. The deputy-governor and the commissaries therefore had selected the land between the Finnish settlements of Wiccaco and Shackamaxon, called by the Indians Coquannock or Coaquannock. This land, being kind of a ridge along the Delaware River, had only lately been occupied by the Finns, on account of it being less adapted for agriculture and being covered with heavy pine forest. Two hundred and fifty acres of this shore was granted on Tuesday the 13th of November, 1677, to Justice Peter Rambo, by the Upland Court and at the same court on March 13th, 1679, Rambo claimed the land upon the grant, but Justice Oele Swensson and his brothers Swen and Andreas pleaded that the same land was within the bounds of their patent of the Wicaco tract, which was granted to them and their father Swen Gunnarrson by Governor Stuyvesant on May 5, 1664, and confirmed to them by Governor Lovelace on May 3, 1669. The court decided in favor of the Swensons.
However was the statute of this land, Richard Noble, Surveyor of the Upland County, upon warrant of the Upland Court, surveyed the shore land between Wicaco and Cooconocon Creek (Pegg's Run), on June 21, 1681, to the Swensons or Swansons, as they are hereafter referred to. This tract contained 345 acres and was an addition to their former land, called Wicaco, which contained 800 acres.
It was the custom on the Delaware that with each grant of land a proportionate amount of pasture land was assigned besides the land described in the patent. In some patents the area of the pasture land was given in acres, but was free from the quit-rent. This explains why the Swanson brothers claimed the Coaquannock although it was not mentioned in their patent. In order to make their ownership certain they got the land surveyed for them, but were too late to receive a patent upon the tract from the Duke of York, as the Province of Pennsylvania was transferred by Lieutenant Brockholls to William Penn on the same day as Richard Noble made the survey. This undoubtedly had much to do with the decision of Markham and the commissaries to locate the town of Philadelphia on that site.
When the location of Philadelphia was decided is not recorded, but it was known in London in July, 1682, as James Claypoole, treasurer of the Free Society of Traders, writes to his brother on the 14th of that month that "I have 100 acres where our capital city is to be, upon the river near Schuylkill and Peter Cock; there I intend to plant and build my first house."
The first purchase of land in Pennsylvania made in the name of William Penn from the Indians was that of the territory on the west side of Delaware River between the Neshaminy and Towsissink creeks. The deed was signed on July 15, 1682, Lasse Cock acting as interpreter. The site of Philadelphia was not purchased from the Indians, it had long belonged to the Finns as commonage, and the Swanson brothers were later given for their Coaquannock tract nearly twice as much land further inland by William Penn. Some amendments, or rather explanations and amplifications were made in the first land purchase of William Penn from the Indians on the following first day of August. The document says that it was made "at the house of Captain Lasse Cock," who was the only white witness in the deal, and the interpreter in all of the early transactions between Deputy-Governor Markham and William Penn with the Indians.
On August 24, 1682, the Duke of York transferred the rest of his territory on the west side of the Delaware River, from twelve miles above New Castle to Cape Henlopen, for William Penn. All the Finns and other old settlers, on the west side of the river now fell under the same government.
Having arranged his affairs in England, William Penn with about one hundred Quaker colonists left for Pennsylvania about the first day of September, 1682. Numerous English immigrants had already arrived to the province and all the houses of the early colonists were filled by the new arrivals. In the autumn of 1682, lots were drawn for the immigrants in Philadelphia and the building of houses had already started, but none was ready on the arrival of Penn. The first residences for the Englishmen in Philadelphia were caves dug into the river bank, some of which had been left there by the Indians.
William Penn, with his diminished party of immigrants, nearly one-third of which had died on the way for smallpox, arrived before the town of New Castle on the 27th day of October, 1682, and produced deeds of feoffment from James, Duke of York, upon which he received possession of the town in the following day and the two counties below New Castle, few days later. On the 29th, Penn appeared in Upland, which he selected as his temporary capital and residence, and changed its name to Chester.
Immediately after his arrival, Penn was a busy man. Twenty-three ships, with more than thousand immigrants, arrived in the Delaware during 1682, these needed much of his care. The boundary question between Penn's province and that of Lord Baltimore had become acute and disturbing, requiring Penn's immediate attention. Besides he felt it to be his duty to the Duke of York to visit his colony of New York.
But Penn could not escape of meeting the Indian chieftains, as he had promised in his letter, sent to them by his commissaries. The Indians had been accustomed to receive presents from every new deputy-governor, director or commander at their arrival. And when the presents were not forthcoming, the Indians were not shy to make a remark about it. Penn had already sent preliminary presents to them and the Indians had been made to regard the proprietary as a great dignitary, for which the greater were their anticipations.
An ancient tradition, very popular in connection of the early American colonial history, relates that "a treaty of amity and friendship" was made by Penn with the Indians, at Shackamaxon, under the branches of a great elm tree. The elm, to which the tradition was attached grew on the bank of the Delaware River, at the house built and formerly owned by Captain Lasse Cock, Penn's official interpreter in the Indian affairs. The house and plantation was sold by Captain Cock in 1678, to Elizabeth Kinsey, and by marriage became the property of Thomas Fairman. A monthly meeting of the Quakers was held in the house on the 8th of November, 1682, the record if the Society of Friends telling of Penn arriving to Philadelphia at that time, therefore it is most probable that the celebrated Penn-Indian treaty was then made.
The elm tree, known as "The Treaty Tree," became an object of veneration and was carefully protected, even the British officers posted guards around it during the Revolutionary War. The Great Elm Tree was blown down in 1810, being two hundred and eightythree years of age, as proved by its rings. A monument now marks the site of the tree, under which branches William Penn spoke his message of trust in humanity, in which he was never disappointed as far as concern the Indian nations represented at the noble occasion.
On the fourth of December, 1682, agreeably to earlier summons, the first General-Assembly met at Upland, now known as Chester. The members of the assembly were few and Quaker in color. The Finns and other old settlers were found to be foreigners, by the Quaker advisers of Penn, and therefore not eligible as members of the assembly. This constituted a violation of Penn's charter from the king, as in the document the planters and inhabitants in the province are always referred to as the king's subjects before there was any suggestion of new colonists. By the governor's of New York these Delaware colonists were always referred to as his Majesty's subjects and oath of allegiance had been required in behalf of the inhabitants when the river fell under English rule.
The old Finnish county of Upland having been divided into three separate counties, these three counties and the three old counties down the river, called the lower counties, each elected twelve members to the assembly, of which three from each county were to be members of the provincial council. Penn's noble Frame of Government was thus broken from the very start.
On the third day of the session a petition was presented by the freemen of the three lower counties, New Castle, Jones and New Deal, "humbly desiring that they may be favored with an act of union, by the governor and assembly, for their incorporation in and with the province of Pennsylvania, in order to the enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the aforesaid province, and that they might ever after be esteemed and accounted as freemen of the before-mentioned province."
On the same day the Finns and other old inhabitants of Delaware presented that the governor would be pleased to make them as free as the English members of the province, and that their lands may be entailed on them and their heirs for ever. This had been granted to them when England took possession of the Delaware River in 1664. While the patents granted in name of the Duke of York, were issued to guarantee the lands for the colonists and their heirs for ever. William Penn likewise in the preamble of his "Frame of Government" solemnly says that, "Now know ye, that for the well-being and government of the said province, and for the encouragement of all the freemen and planters that may be therein concerned, in pursuance of the powers aforementioned, I, the said William Penn, have declared, granted, and confirmed, and by these presents, for me, my heirs and assigns, do declare, grant, and confirm, unto all the freemen, planters, and adventurers of, in, and to the said province, these liberties, franchises, and properties, to be held, enjoyed, and kept by the freemen, planters, and inhabitants of the said province of Pennsylvania, for ever."
The two above mentioned petitions caused an act of union and naturalization to be made, by which, firstly, the three lower counties became annexed to the province of Pennsylvania, to enjoy the privileges granted in the "Frame of Government." Secondly, it is said in the act: "And forasmuch as it is apparent that the just encouragement of the inhabitants of this province and territories thereunto belonging, is likely to be an effectual way for the improvement thereof, and since some of the people that live therein, and are like to come thereinto, are foreigners, and so not freemen, according to the acceptation of the law of England, the consequences of which might prove very detrimental to them in their estates and traffic, and so injurious to the prosperity of this province and territories thereof, be it enacted by the governor and proprietary of the province and counties aforesaid, by and with the consent of the deputies of the freemen thereof, in assembly met, that all persons who are strangers and foreigners; that do now inhabit this province and counties aforesaid, that hold land in fee in the same, according to the law of a freeman, and who shall solemnly promise, within three months after the publication hereof, in their respective county courts where they live, upon record, faith and allegiance unto the King of England, and his lawful heirs and successors, and fidelity and lawful obedience to William Penn, proprietary and governor of these provinces, etc., and his heirs and assigns, according to the king's letters-patent, shall be held and reputed freemen of the province and counties aforesaid, in as ample and full manner as any person residing therein; and it is hereby further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that when at any time person that is a foreigner shall make his request to the proprietary of this province, for the aforesaid freedom, the said person shall be admitted on the condition herein expressed, paying, at admission, twenty shillings sterling, and no more, any thing in this law, or any other law, act, or thing in this province, to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding.
"Given at Chester, alias Upland, the 7th of December, 1672, under the hand and broad seal of William Penn, proprietary and governor of this province and the territories thereunto belonging, being the second year of his government, by the king's authority.
It is regrettable that Penn, in keeping and conveying his "Friends," had so exhausted his means, despite having sold lands in the colony for tens of thousands of pounds, that he had to resort to so heinous proceedings as to extract head money for privileges that by right were possessed alone by the people who had to pay it, who had pioneered and settled the land, bought it from the Indians and to most of them the land was now their native country.
But the Finns had learned to expect injustice of any foreign domination and did not seem to mind of it as Penn is quoted of having said that the act of naturalization "much pleased the people." "The Swedes (as Penn calls the Finns), for themselves, deputed Lasse Cock to acquaint him, on one occasion, that they would love, serve, and obey him with all they had, declaring it was the best day they ever saw."
In order to secure the Quaker interests on the Delaware River, it was found that not such a large general assembly and provincial council could be formed as provided in the "Frame of Government," therefore it was necessary to re-frame an "Act of Settlement," to cut the number of members in the provincial council from seventytwo to eighteen, and the assembly which was "the first year to consist of the whole body of the freeholders, and ever after of an elected number, not exceeding two hundred persons, without the consent of the provincial council and general assembly," was cut to thirty-six members.
Finally the liberal conditions and laws proposed and agreed upon by Penn with the colonists in England, were presented to the assembly and received their final shape. Sixty-nine laws were passed on a day, the collection being titled: "The Great Law, or, the body of Laws of the province of Pennsylvania and territories thereunto belonging, passed at an assembly at Chester, alias Upland, the 7th day of the 10th month, December, 1682."
The set of laws begins with a lofty preamble, and the first law purports to establish the liberty of conscience. However in the law number two it is said: "And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that all officers and persons commissioned and employed in the service of the government of this province, and all members and deputies elected to serve in assembly thereof, and all that have right to elect such deputies, shall be such as profess and declare they believe in Jesus Christ to be the son of God, and Saviour of the world."
The fortieth act of the Great Law says: "And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the days of the week, and the months of the year, shall be called as in Scripture, and not by heathen names (as are vulgarly used) as, the first, second and third days of the week; and first, second, and third months of the year, etc., beginning with the day called Sunday, and the month called March."
The session of the first assembly lasted four days.
Undoubtedly William Penn, in the beginning of his colonial enterprise earnestly meaned good, but having been raised in soft life, he had missed the opportunity to develop his character in the respect of firmness of carrying his good and noble resolutions into effect when he became in contact with and was prevailed upon by evil influences. This defect in his character caused him much disappointment, sorrow and even calamity in the near future.
Soon after the meeting of the assembly, Penn set out to meet at West River, in Maryland, Lord Baltimore about the threatening boundary question. This matter had been a nightmare to every one who claimed the right to rule at the west side of the Delaware River. On June 20, 1632, Charles I., king of England, confirmed to Cecilius Calvert, Baron of Baltimore, a charter, upon a territory in America, which in the charter was named Maryland. The eastern and northern boundary of the territory is defined in the charter to be a line drawn from the ocean "unto that part of the Bay of Delaware on the north, which lyeth under the fortieth degree of north latitude from the equinoctial, where New England is terminated; and all the tract of land within the metes underwritten (that is to say), passing from the said bay, called Delaware bay, in a right line, by the degree aforesaid unto the true meridian of the fountain of the river of Pottowmack" (Potomac). This definition of the boundary had been made of early defective maps. The Delaware Bay, in modern maps does not extend to the fortieth degree of north latitude at all, but the said degree crosses the Delawaro River few miles above present city of Philadelphia. Lord Baltimore's map of 1635, shows the northern boundary of Maryland to be at about Appoquiniminck Creek on the Delaware Bay, but when the true position of the fortieth degree of north latitude became known, Lord Baltimore's heirs claimed the right to the added territory. Then the Delaware colonies became under the rule of the Duke of York, and Lord Baltimore's heirs could not vigorously force their claim against the king's brother.
When Charles II., king of England, granted to William Penn the territory in America, named Pennsylvania in the charter, a new mistake was made. The fortieth degree of north latitude was supposed to cross the Delaware River at about the present city of Wilmington. The southern boundary of Pennsylvania was therefore defined in the charter to be from the Delaware River the circumference of a circle drawn with twelve miles' radius from the town of New Castle, as its center, as far as it meets the fortieth degree of northern latitude, and along that degree westward to a certain limit of longitude. Lord Baltimore's surveyors had however taken accurate bearings and as the Delaware territory now had fallen into the hands of a private party, Lord Baltimore saw opportunity to push immediately his claims, he visited Deputy-Governor Markham in Upland and in the interview it was discovered by actual observations, that Upland itself was at least twelve miles south of the fortieth degree of north latitude, which discovery ended the conference.
In the conference between William Penn and Lord Baltimore at West River in Maryland, on December 12, 1682, no settlement about the boundary could be made. The dispute continued, with temporary agreements until it was finally settled that the boundary lines between Pennsylvania and Maryland were to be about the same as meaned and intended in the charter and the deeds of feoffment to William Penn. This was ratified by King George III., in 1769.
The winter of 1682-1683 witnessed a great building activity in Philadelphia and in the spring there was already accommodations for the Provincial Council and the Assembly to meet. On the loth of March, 1683, the Council came together in the new town and the Assembly two days later. The council having eighteen members, all Englishmen, except Lasse Cock. The assembly at this meeting still had fifty-four members, all Englishmen, except Andreas Bengtsson, Swen Swensson, Gasparus Herman, Peter Alrichs and Cornelis Verhoof.
Some opposition had been expressed in the colony against the breaking of the original charter, or the "Frame of Government" and Dr. Nicholas Moore, president of the Society of Free Traders, was commanded before the council on the 13th of March to duly apologize for his utterance against the General Assembly "that they have this day broken the Charter, and therefore all that you do will come to nothing, and that hundreds in England will curse you for what you have done, and their children after them, and that you may be hereafter be impeached for treason for what you do."
A new Frame of Government was signed, sealed and delivered through the council and the assembly to the inhabitants of the province on the second day of April, fourteen members of the council and forty-four of the assembly being present. The council and assembly were to be called the General Assembly, and the assembly was to consist hereafter thirty-six members.
During the year of 1683, the old settlers and native inhabitants of Pennsylvania became far outnumbered by the new English immigrants, and being scattered all along the river, they could not pool their votes for their own representatives in the General Assembly, they fell in oblivion politically, but economically they were in the advantage. They had occupied the entire river shore that was the first one to advance in value, and having their plantations brought up to productive stage, they at once became the most prosperous part of the population. On the other hand the newcomers profited for the accommodations that already existed in the colony, for the knowledge that the old settlers had gained in the cultivation of the soil in the new conditions and for the mutual trust and good relations that existed between the Indians and the old colonists. While the history of all other colonies in North America are full of horrible massacres, the Finnish settlers on the Delaware scarcely lost a night's sleep on account of the Indians. The Finns and the Delaware Indians each relied upon the other as a protector against the attacks of strange Indian tribes living further inland. At the time of the arrival of William Penn, the names of the Indian chiefs were very much Finnish, mostly animal names, as was the habit of the Indians to adopt. Thus the great king of the Lenni-Lenape nations had adopted the name "Tammanen," (also spelled Tammany and adopted by a political association in New York City), which is a Finnish name for mare horse. There were also Indian names like "Secane," or "Sikane," which in Finnish mean hog. The Indian moccasins likewise are the ancient Finnish low shoes and undoubtedly were acquired by the Indians from the Delaware Finns. The Finnish name for these shoes is "Lapatossut," but in their simplest form were called "muokasin," or makeshift shoes, from which the Indian name of the same may have been derived.
All the letters, sent by William Penn, or by the members of his colony to England, after their arrival to the Delaware River, speak with great satisfaction of the accommodations and wealth that already had been created in the colony. William Penn in his letter to the Committee of the Free Society of Traders, in 1683, says:
"We have no want of horses, and some are very good and shapely enough; two ships have been freighted to Barbadoes with horses and pipe-staves, since my coming in. Here is also plenty of cowcattle, and some sheep; the people plow mostly with oxen." The newcomers were cheerfully received, mutual respect prevailed and none needed to go hungry, for the lack of provisions. In the above mentioned letters Penn says about the Finns (whom he most of the time refers as Swedes), "they kindly received me, as well as the English, who were few before the concerned with me came among them; I must needs commend their Respect to Authority, and kind behaviour to the English. As they are people proper and strong in body, so they have fine children, and almost every house full; rare to find one of them without three or four boys and as many girls; some six, seven and eight sons; and I must do them that right, I see few young men more sober and laborious." And Penn further continues in his letter: "We are daily in hopes of shipping to add to our number; for blessed be God, here is both room and accommodation for them; the stories of our necessity being either the fear of our friends, or the scare-crows of our enemies."
In a letter to his steward, William Penn says: "Pray send us some two or three smoked haunches of venision and pork, get them of the Swedes (Finns), also some smoked shadds and beelf the old priest at Philadelphia had rare shadds." By the "old priest" Penn refers to the Rev. Fabritius, the minister of the Finns of Wicaco parish. This shows that at this period the rare shad, that is caught on the other side of the river at Gloucester, N. J., was then already made use of.
A new English colonist, Thomas Paschall, who lived among the Finns on the west side of the Schuylkill, says in his letter to his friend, in 1683, among other things that: "The River is taken up all along by the Swedes and Finns, and some Dutch, before the English came, near eight score of miles, and the Englishmen some of them, buy their Plantations, and get room by the great Riverside, and the rest get into creeks, and small rivers that run into it, and some go into woods seven or eight miles. . . . I have hired a house for my family for the winter, and I have gotten a little house in my land for my servants, and have cleared land about six acres; and this I can say, I never wish myself at Bristol again since my departure. I live in the Schuylkill Creek, near Philadelphia, about 100 miles up the River. Here have been 24 ships with passengers within this year, so that provisions are somewhat hard to come by in some places, though at no dear rate, there is yet enough in the River, but it is for to fetch, and suddainly there will be an order taken for continual supply. Now I shall give you an impartial account of the country as I find it, as followeth. When we came into Delaware Bay we saw an infinite number of small fish in sholes, also large fish leaping in the water. The River is a brave pleasant River as can be desired, affording divers sorts of fish in great plenty, it's planted all along the shore, and some creeks, especially in Pennsylvania side, mostly of Swedes, Finns and Dutch, and now at least, English throng among them, and have filled all about 160 miles up the great River; some English that are about the Rivers and creeks a great way in the woods, and have settled the falls, have sowed this year 30 or 40 bushels of wheat, and have great stocks of cattle. Most of the Swedes and Finns are ingenious people, they speak English, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch and the Indian. They plant but little Indian corn, nor tobacco; their women make most of the linnen cloath they wear, they spinn and weave it and make fine linen, and are many of them curious housewives. The people generally eat rye bread, being approved of best by them, not but that here is good wheat, for I have eaten as good bread and drank as good drink as ever I did in England, as also very good butter and cheese, as most in England. Here is three sorts of wheat, as Winter, Summer and Buck Wheat; the Winter Wheat they sow at the fall, the Summer Wheat in March, these two sorts are ripe in June; then having taken in this, they plow the same land, and sow Buck Wheat, which is ripe in September. I have not given above 2 s. 6 d. per skipple (which is 3 English pecks) for the best wheat and that in goods which cost little more than half so much in England, here is very good Rye at 2 s. per skipple, also barley of 2 sorts, as Winter and Summer, at 4 guilders per skipple; also oats, and 3 sorts of Indian Corn, (two of which sorts they can malt and make good beer of as of barley), at four guilders per skipple, a guilder is four pence halfpenny. I have bought good beef, pork and mutton at two pence per pound and some cheaper, also turkeys and wild geese at the value of two or three pounds of shot apiece, and ducks at one pound of shot, or like value, and in great plenty: here is great store of poultry, but for curlews, pigeons and pheasants, they will hardly bestow a shot upon them. I have venision of the Indians very cheap, although they formerly sold it as cheap again to the Swedes; I have four dear for two yards of trading cloath, which cost five shillings, and most times I purchased it cheaper. We had bearsflesh this fall for little or nothing, it is good food, tasting much like beef. There have been many horses sold of late to Barbadoes, and here is plenty of rum, sugar, ginger and molasses. I was lately at Bridlington-fair, where were a great resort of people, with cattle and all sorts of goods, sold at very reasonable rates.
"Here are gardens with all sorts of herbs and some more than in England, also gooseberries and rose-trees, but what other flowers I know not yet. Turnips, parsnips, and cabbages, beyond compare. Here are peaches inabundance of three sorts I have seen rot on the ground, and the hogs eat them, they make good spirits from them, also from corn and cherries, and a sort of wild plums, and grapes, and most people have stills of copper for that use. Here are apples, and pears, of several sorts, cherries both black and red, and plums and quinces; in some places peach stones grow up to bear in three years."
In the letter of William Penn, from which we already have quoted, it is said that the early settlers had not paid great attention for the propagation of fruit trees, but the above letter of Thomas Paschall shows that a good deal had been accomplished, especially when we take into consideration that fruit trees, like peach, apple and pear were introduced in the colony by the settlers.
On the 12th of December, 1685, Penn writes in his "Further account of the Province of Pennsylvania," that a considerable quantity of flax and hemp is dressed yearly in the province, and that peaches are cultivated in great quantities, the people drying them in the sunshine and lay them up in lofts to be stewed in the winter with meat. He further says that: "It has been often said we were starved for want of food; some were apt to suggest their fears, others to insinuate their prejudices, and when this was contradicted, and they assured we had plenty, both of bread, fish and flesh, then it was objected that we were forced to fetch it from other places at great charges: but neither is all this true, tho all the world will think we must either carry provisions with us, or get it of the neighbourhood till we had gotten houses over our heads and a little land in tillage, we fetcht none, nor were we wholly helpt by neighbours. The old inhabitants supplied us with most of the corn we wanted and a good share of pork and beef. It is true New York, New England, and Rhode Island did with their provisions fetch our goods and money, but at such rates, that some sold for almost what they gave, and others carried their provisions back, expecting a better market nearer, which showed no scarcity, and that we were totally destitute on our own River."
This was rather well done by the old settlers, as Penn says that since the beginning of 1682, 7,200 new people had arrived to the province. Besides there was immigration going on to the east side of Delaware River, in the western New Jersey.
On the 13th of September, 1686, Dr. Nicholas Moore, president of the company of the Free Traders, wrote to William Penn, who was then in England, that some corn already had been exported from the Province of Pennsylvania and that some thousand of bushels of wheat were exported at the season at hand.
On October 2, 1686, David Lloyd, attorney-general of Pennsylvania, writes to William Penn that: "I shall only add, that five ships are come in since our arrival (July 15, 1686), one from Bristol, with 100 passengers; one from Hull with 160 passengers; one from New England for corn, and two from Barbadoes; all of them, and ours (of above 300 Tun) had their loading here, ours for New England, and the rest for Barbadoes; and for all this wheat (as good, I think, as any in England) is sold for three shillings six pence per bushel, this country money, and for three shillings ready money (which makes two shilling five pence English)."
Most of this production was done by the Finns, as the English were engaged with the building of the city and those who engaged in farming could not realise much in the first years, not enough for themselves. The City of Philadelphia grew in three years more than New York and Boston had done in fifty years, but we must take into consideration that there was forty years of productive labor of the old inhabitants behind it. It was this that made such a rapid development possible. Penn's colony was laid on a firm foundation of labor of the early settlers, otherwise the colony, for the manner it was started, had resulted in the greatest disaster in the early colonial history of America.
The year 1683, was spent with a great activity in the Province of Pennsylvania. At the end of that year 80 houses had been finished in Philadelplhia, besides hundreds of newcomers were living in the caves that they built for temporary shelter, while preparing for houses. The council met during the year fifty-seven times and several land purchases were made during the summer from the Indians. From King Tammanen and others, Penn bought the land between the Pennypack and Neshaminy Creeks; from Chief Wingebone the land on the west side of the Schuylkill River, above the falls; from Chief Secane and Icquoquehan the inland between the Schuylkill River and the Chester Creek; from Chief Neneshickon and others the inland between the Schuylkill River and Pennypack Creek; from Chief Kekerappan and Chief Machaloha the vast back forest as far south and west as Chesapeake Bay and the Susquehanna River. In these deals Captain Lasse Cock acted as interpreter and among the witnesses appear Peter Cock, Peter Rambo and Swan Swensson.
Before the council, held at Philadelphia on February 7, 1684, there was heard a case of witchcraft, the accused parties appearing to be Finns. Two women, Margaret Mattson and Gerdrud Hendrickson, were suspected of being witches and having bewitched cows. The case of Margaret Mattson was tried before the jury on February 27th, when several witnesses were heard. The jury found the prisoner "guilty of having the common fame of a witch, but not guilty in manner and form" Nils Mattson, her husband, and Anthony Nilsson, her son, entered into recognizance of fifty pounds each for the good behavior of Margaret Mattson for six months. Similarly Jacob Hendrickson, husband of Gerdrud Hendrickson, entered into the recognizance of fifty pounds for the good behavior of his wife for six months. The superstitious parties that appeared as hearsay witnesses were Englishmen and William Penn acted as the judge. Among the Finns present were Lasse Cock, member of the court, who acted as interpreter for Margaret Mattson. Gunnar Rambo was in the grand jury and Johan Cock was a witness, but did not know anything about the matter. Annakey Coolin denied of having even uttered anything she was alleged.
The controversy between William Penn and Lord Baltimore, concerning the boundaries, and other matters, required Penn's presence in England, where he sailed on June 12, 1684, after having left the care of government in the hands of the Provincial Council, of which Thomas Lloyd was made president. The town of Philadelphia now had two thousand five hundred inhabitants and had three hundred houses, while hundreds of the people lived in caves along the river bank. Soon after the arrival of Penn to England, Charles II. died and was succeeded by James, Duke of York, in whose favor Penn had stood, for his father having fought under the flag of James. This helped Penn in obtaining from the king's council a favorable decree in his dispute with Lord Baltimore. But the period of Penn's absence from the Province is marked by unhappy differences between the assembly and the council, and between the members of the three lower counties and those of Pennsylvania proper. In the assemblies of 1685 and 1686, disagreements prevailed and undignified scenes took place. In 1686, Penn changed the form of executive government to a board of five commissioners, but the next session of the assembly, continued with the usual lack of harmony. Penn made another change, by appointing, in 1688, Captain John Blackwell as governor of the province. But Captain Blackwell, who was not a Quaker, fell into dissention with some of the members of the council and returned to England in February, 1690, after which the government of the province again devolved on the council, with Thomas Lloyd as president.
At this period grave events took place in England. A revolution in 1688, drove James from the throne, and the new rulers, William and Mary, decided to make war on the French king. A letter, announcing of immediate hostilities, was laid before the council at Philadelphia, on October 1, 1689, and during the following year atrocities were made at the borders of Pennsylvania, by the French and Indians from the French territory of the Middle West of North America. The Delaware territory was threatened by a hostile invasion by land and sea, but the Quakers whose doctrines forbade them to carry arms did not want to concern themselves with the war, which brought much controversy when the English king was seeking for funds to carry on the long war against France.
The Finns were willing and ready to bear arms to defend the colony, as they show in the petition of the officers of their old militia to the council on April 24, 1690. The petition was also signed by William Markham, the secretary of the province, and by John Holme. It reads as follows:
"To the Honorable Provincial Council, now Deputy Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania.
"The humble petition of some of the inhabitants willing and ready to bear arms for the service and difence of this government, shewith:
"That whereas, there is war between the crowns of England and France and that our enemies, the French, have barbarously murdered many his Majesty's subjects, very near the confines of this Province, which have struck no small terror in us and our families, and may happen to attack us when we least think of it, we humbly pray that you, our Governor, will be pleased forthwith to settle the country in such a posture that we may to be able by force of arms, to defend it against any assault of our enemies; and as in duty bound, shall pray."
This is signed by
This is the only occasion that the Quakers gave any attention to the dangers of invasion by the enemy. The step taken by the Council was the following decision
"The board being informed that Lassi Cock intends up the Schuylkill among our Indians, the beginning of the next week, do request that the president, with the present members, give instruction to the said Lassi Cock to make particular enquiry concerning the store and quantity of ammunition in the custody of the few French families seated up the said River, and in case he shall find greater store than shall be judged expedient to be left there, to have the same secured, in order to be brought to Barnabas Willcox's store, assuring the owner's reasonable satisfaction for the same; and further, that such of the said French who may be justly suspected of unfaithfulness to this province, may be by the most suitable means, persuaded down here; and that the chief sachem of our Indians may be assured of our good intention toward them and their people, and that we desire a meeting with their chief men as soon as they can conveniently, giving us notice of the time nine or ten days before, and if he sees occasion to employ four or six likely and trusty persons of them to range along the most likely parts for the discovering of any designs of the French, or their Indians, against the peace, who shall have competent satisfaction at their return to us. And our desire is that Captain Markham, Rob. Turner, with such credible persons as may be persuaded upon this service, go along with the said Lasse Cock, and that he upon all occasions, take the advice and concurrence of the said persons; and in the meantime, care be taken for suitable presents for them at their meeting with us."
On the 22d of May, 1690, delegates of the Delaware Indians appeared in Philadelphia to confer about the hostilities, for which the council ordered that Captain Lassi Cock be sent for, to be in town by eight of the following morning, to interprete between the council and the Indians.
When James, former Duke of York, was driven from the throne, Penn lost all influence at the English court. Penn's intimacy with the deposed monarch covered him with suspicion of conspiring the restoration of James. He was thrice examined before the privy council, was held in bail and tried in the court, however no evidence appearing against him. Penn was preparing to return to Pennsylvania with five hundred emigrants, when an infamous person accused him, on oath, with being engaged in a conspiracy of the papists in Lancashire to raise a rebellion, and restore James to the crown. Penn narrowly escaped arrest on his return from the funeral of George Fox, the founder of the Quaker "Society of Friends." At this time Penn deemed it prudent to retire in concealment.
After the departure of Deputy Governor Blackwell from Pennsylvania in 1690, the Council, according to the constitution, assumed executive power, and elected Thomas Lloyd as its president. But the struggle between the Quaker and the non Quaker interests continued in the Province and in 1691, six councilors from the Lower Counties, formed themselves into a separate council, assuming upon themselves the executive power in the Lower Counties.
When all the efforts of Penn, to bring about a union between the two sections of the Province failed, he conferred the government of the Upper Counties to Thomas Lloyd and that of the Lower Counties to William Markham.
The dissensions in the Province furnished the new rulers of England, William and Mary, an opportunity to punish Penn for his attachment to the deposed king. William Penn was deprived of his province and Benjamin Fletcher, Governor-General of New York, was commissioned by their majesties, on October 21, 1692, to assume the governorship of Pennsylvania and the territories as "Captain-General." The commission to Fletcher reads in part as: "And whereas, by reason of great neglect in America, and the absence of the proprietor, the same is fallen (Pennsylvania) into disorder and confusion, by means whereof not only the public peace and administration of Justice (whereby the properties of our subjects should be preserved in those parts) is broken and violated, but there is also great want of provision for the guard and defence of our said province against our enemies, whereby our said province, and the adjacent colonies, are much exposed, and in danger of being lost from the crown of England. For the prevention whereof, as much as in us lies, and for the better defence and security of our subjects inhabiting those parts during this time of war, we find it absolutely necessary to take the government of our province of Pennsylvania into our own hands, and under our immediate care and protection."
Governor Fletcher came to Philadelphia on April 26, 1693, and had his commission read in the market place. Later he demanded the oath, or its substitute, (according to the act of the English Parliament), from the members of the Council, which Thomas Lloyd refused to take, but the other members, among which were William Markham and Lasse Cock, all subscribed. Fletcher appointed Markham his Lieutenant-Governor, to preside over the Council, in the Captain-General's absence in New York. The Upper and Lower Counties were again united under one government, but the differences now swinged to the united opposition of the General Assembly against the efforts of Fletcher to extract money and men for the defence of the colony against French invasion. This worked to the interest of William Penn, who had many friends among the nobles that surrounded the king. These friends made the true character of Penn known among the royals, and a new hearing was granted to Penn before the privy council, where he was honorably acquitted, and was restored to his proprietary rights by patent, dated August, 1694, in which the disorders in. the province were ascribed solely to his absence. Penn's wife, Gulielma Maria, was ill at this time and died in February, 1694.
William Markham was once more appointed by Penn, on September 24, 1694, to be Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania and territories. After some difficulties between Markham and the General Assembly, a new Frame of Government or Constitution was drawn and adopted on November 7, 1696. The Council was to consist of two representatives, chosen biennially from each county, the Assembly of four representatives from each county and the election for the Assembly was to take place on the 10th of March each year. The constitution further provided, "that the representatives of the freemen when met in Assembly, shall have power to prepare and propose to the Governor and Council all such bills as they or the major part of them shall at any time see needful to be passed into law within the said province and territories." Another important victory for the popular cause was the provision in the constitution declaring the General Assembly indissoluble for the time for which its members were elected and giving it power to sit upon its own adjournments and committees, and to continue its sessions in order to propose and prepare bills, redress grievances, and impeach criminals. This constitution was never formally sanctioned by Penn, but to keep the people quiet, it was continued until 1701, when a new one was substituted in its place, under which the people finally began to settle down.
On the first day of December, 1699, William Penn, accompanied by his second wife and children, arrived in the Delaware, where he was cordially welcomed. In the autumn of 1701, Penn was again obliged to return to England, to fight a bill, then before the Lords, to change the proprietary governments in America into regal ones. Before sailing away, Penn convened the Assembly on September 16, 1701. A new constitution that had been pending since Penn's arrival to the colony, was agreed and signed by Penn and by the Assembly and Council, on October 28, 1701. The Constitution or "The Charter of Privileges" provided to the Lower Counties the right to separate from the Upper Counties by forming an Assembly of their own within three years if they wanted.
The new "Charter of Privileges" annulled the right of the people, to choose the members of the Council. Penn appointed himself ten of his friends, chiefly Quakers, to be "Council of State," who were empowered by their commission of October 28, 1701, to consult and assist, with the best of their advice and counsel, the Proprietary himself or his deputies, in all public affairs and matters relating to the government. And in his absence, or on the death or incapacity of his deputy, they, or any five of them, were authorized to execute all the Proprietary powers in the administration of the government. The new constitution plainly shows of a more autocratic spirit in Penn, after his own unpleasant experiences and the strifes in the Province. From the other hand it shows the more conciliatory spirit of the people of the Province, when there was a question of them becoming directly under the royal government, that they did not however want.
After having appointed Andrew Hamilton, formerly Governor of East and West New Jersey, to be his Deputy Governor in Pennsylvania, William Penn sailed for England, arriving at Portsmouth about the middle of December, 1701. The bill, for reducing the proprietary provinces into regal ones, pending in Parliament, was entirely dropped. King William died on the 18th of March, 1702, and was succeeded by the Princess Anne of Denmark, with whom William Penn was in great favor.
The administration of Deputy Governor Hamilton was not very long, for he died in April, 1703. Thereafter the government of the Province again devolved upon the Council and the Lower Counties, taking advantage of the clause in the constitution, providing them the right to separate from the Upper Counties within three years if they chose, composed their own Assembly in 1703.
As successor to Deputy Governor Hamilton, Penn had selected John Evans, an officer, of the Queen's household and a man of twenty-six years. He was to be however rather as a figure-head governor, under Secretary James Logan, who was a steadfast supporter of the Proprietary and the Quaker interests. Evans arrived in the Province in February, 1704, settled in a stately house of the old Lasse Cock's plantation, in the Finnish village of Shackamaxon, and soon fell in odds with the Assembly in trying to raise an armed force, according to the order of the Queen, who was then at war with France and Spain. Besides there soon ensued a misunderstanding between the Deputy Governor and Secretary Logan, which all tended to the removal of Evans from his office in the beginning of 1709, and Captain Charles Gookin was dispatched by the Proprietary to assume the office of the Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania.
At this time William Penn, for his generosity towards the cause of the Quaker sect, had fallen in financial embarrassment. Already, in 1707, Penn was involved in a lawsuit with the executors of the estate of his former steward, who preferred large claims against him, and was obliged to spend some time in debtors' prison, from which he got out at the end of December, 1708, by mortgaging the Province of Pennsylvania for the sum of 6,600 pounds. The strifes in the province were going on, the Assembly had demanded the impeachment of Secretary James Logan, and his retention brought much grievances. Finally in 1714, Penn entered into an agreement with Queen Anne to cede to her the Province of Pennsylvania and the Lower Counties, for the sum of 12.000 pounds sterling. But before the legal forms were completed, an apoleptic stroke reduced him to the feebleness of infancy. On the 30th day of July, 1718, William Penn died at Rushcombe, in Buckinghamshire, England, aged seventy-four. His heirs continued as Proprietaries of Pennsylvania until 1776, when the Revolution, resulting to the independence of the United States of America, made an end to the proprietary rights.
The political turmoils and petty strifes between the Quaker and non-Quaker interests in Pennsylvania and in the Lower Counties (the present State of Delaware), had not much effect upon the Finnish element of these territories. But there was another issue, the land troubles, that vitally hurt the descendants of the early Finnish colonists. The Finnish pioneers of these territories had during more than forty years before the arrival of Penn and his Quakers, selected and settled at their leisure, the most suitable lands along the Delaware River and its western tributaries. This much displeased the Quakers, who, as Proprietary Penn's proteges, felt privileged and justified to own these lands and pleasant grounds for themselves. During those times when the Finns were the only ones on the River who cared to take up and cultivate land, the surveyors were not. very accurate in their surveys, for the abundance of land and fewness of the cultivators, they rather saw that the pioneers had enough.land within the boundaries and acreages described in their certificate of survey. Besides there were allotted "meadow land" or "marshy land" outside of the boundaries and acreages of the farm plots. These extra lands were free of quitrents and were sometimes defined in the patents by their acreage or as "besides marshy land proportionately," but often were not mentioned in the patents at all, the settlers having established commonages of forests or of lowlands that were covered with water during the flood-tide, but were useful during the ebb, for the pasturage of cattle. In these commonages each surrounding farmer had his equal right for cutting of timber or for hay making and pasturage and the rights had been respected by the courts and the governors of the Duke of York. Besides these, there were farmers, who did not have patents upon their lands, as they had bought their lands from the Indians, whom they considered the rightful owners of the lands, and therefore had not hurried for the patents from authorities that were established by conquest and without any moral rights upon the lands. Others had taken up their lands only some time before the country was transferred under William Penn's government and were therefore too late to receive their patents from the Duke of York. These colonists held only the grants of the local courts, or also the surveyors' certificates. On June 14, 1683, William Penn issued an order to the old inhabitants of the Province, to bring in their surveyors' certificates in order to receive patents, and those who had patents were ordered to bring them in likewise, in order to receive new ones. Many of the Finnish farmers, for being orderly and abiding to regulations, handed in confidence their patents and certificates to Penn's Surveyor-General Thomas Holme. Soon afterwards an order was issued for the resurvey of these old homesteads, and when the farmers applied for their promised new patents, their lands were resurveyed and the commonages, pasture lands and good measures in the original surveys were taken off. Others did not hurry with such a resurvey and their old patents, that they had given up to the Surveyor-General, disappeared and their lands were put under higher taxes than had been originally granted to them, while their occupuancy fell to the class not considered to rest upon "a good and equitable right." Some of the Finns for the many and constant changes in the government of the Delaware River territory, were not as quick to hand in their patents, thinking that those they had obtained from the Duke of York were always safe, and they had reasoned it right, as they never were molested and troubled in the occupation of their lands, but held all that rightly belonged to them.
Among the forty laws, agreed upon by Penn and some freemen in England, who were preparing to come to the colony, the sixteenth act provided "that seven years' quiet possession (of land) shall give an unquestionable right." These laws were ratified and signed by William Penn and party of freemen, on May 5, 1682. The first General Assembly passed these acts, but the act of seven years' quiet possession of land was found to be not in conformity with the Quaker interests and did not become a law. The charter by which the Province of Pennsylvania was granted to William Penn, provided that all laws which shall be made in the province must be within five years transmitted and delivered to the Privy Council of the king of England, where within six months of their delivery they will be repealed or otherwise become a law. During the years that William Penn had influence in the English royal court, his opinions were respected in passing or repealing the laws.
When William Penn returned to the colony in 1699, there immediately started a movement to make room for the Quakers in their coveted places, the validity, of the old settlers' occupancy of land was vigorously questioned, and in order to induce Finns who stubbornly held on upon their ancient lands, to vacate, a parcel of ten thousand acres was assigned for them in the back woods, sixty miles up the Schuylkill at Manatawny. Some Finnish families moved to settle there.
The "overplus lands," as the parcels cut off from the old homesteads were called, became the subjects of much. discussion at this time, both in the Council and the Assembly. Many Englishmen had bought farms from the Finns, others had become owners of the old plantations by marriage, besides there were some Dutch, who were possessing old farms, all these became united in the maintenance of their rights to the lands. On November 8, 1700, the Assembly, by two delegates, delivered a message to William Penn and his Council, at New Castle, desiring the law of seven years' quiet possession to be held in force. Upon which Penn desired the delegates to acquaint the Assembly, that he desired a conference with them about that matter. On November 27, 1700, the Assembly passed "An Act of Privileges to a Freeman," providing that no freeman in the province and territories could be disseized of his freehold, except by the decision of a committee composed of twelve freemen or by the law of the province. It appears that this act was delivered by Penn's agents to the privy council in London near the expiration of the five years' time limit and was repealed by the queen in council, on February 7, 1705, Penn being then in England.
On the same day as the Assembly passed the above mentioned act, it also passed "An Act for the effectual establishment and confirmation of the Freeholders of this province and territories, their heirs and assigns, in their lands and tenements." In its first section this act provided, "that all grants and parcels of land taken up within this province and territories, and duly seated by virtue of letters patent or warrants obtained from governors or lawful commissioners under the Crown of England, before the King's grant to the proprietary and governor for this province (except the same was held by fraud or deceit) shall be quietly enjoyed by the actual possessors, their heirs and assigns. . . . . "And although no patent hath been granted, yet if peaceable entry and possession hath been obtained by warrants or otherwise as aforesaid, and thereupon quiet possession hath been held during the space of seven years or more, such possession or such entry as aforesaid shall give an unquestionable title to all such lands according to the quantity they were taken up for, and shall be deemed and held good and be confirmed by the proprietary to the settlers or possessors thereof their heirs and assigns forever. . . . "And whereas our proprietary and governor did formerly in a clause of our charter of privileges give and grant to all and every one of the inhabitants of this province and territories full and quiet enjoyment of their respective lands to which they had any lawful or equitable claim, saving only such rents and services for the same as were or customarily ought to be reserved to the proprietary, his heirs and assigns, which clause upon delivering up our said charter was reserved and our said proprietary and governor was pleased to reserve to us. We therefore desire it may be enacted, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the said clause shall be in as full force, power and virtue as if the surrender of the charter as aforesaid had never been made."
The above act was passed by the Assembly, on November 27, 1700, and was repealed by the queen in council, on February 7, 1705. The Assembly once more tried its luck by passing again on January 12, 1706, an act providing, "that seven years' quiet possession of lands within this province, which were first entered on upon an equitable right, shall forever give an unquestionable title to the same against all, during the estate whereof they are or shall be possessed." This act having been considered by the queen in council, on October 24, 1709, was allowed to become a law.
The clause in the above act, "which were first entered on upon an equitable right," was insisted upon and inserted to the bill by the Quaker council in Philadelphia, on December 27, 1705, when the bill was considered by them, and it worked against the Finns, whose patents, grants and certificates had been taken away and been destroyed or become lost. Other provisions were left out of the bill by the same council.
On January 8, 1706, the council considered another bill, submitted by the assembly, namely, "The bill for confirming grants and patents from the proprietor," and it was ordered, "that the clause, obliging the proprietor to appoint commissaries upon reasonable demands to confirm all lands, etc., to be left out as being unfit for the governor to pass without the Proprietary's immediate assent."
The more the Finns by their hard farm labor advanced in prosperity, the more they became the envy of the Quakers who as Penn's proteges felt that they were wronged and deprived of something that should be theirs. The Quakers had missed the opportunity to see how the early Finns had opened their farms in the wilds of Delaware. There was more than fifty million acres of uncultivated land in Pennsylvania and better adapted to agriculture than the Delaware shores, but farms cannot be created by impulse, they required hard labor and self denial of the best time of man's life, this the Quakers did not want to do.
Finally on June 1, 1709, the Finns presented to the Assembly a petition, (in which they call themselves Swedes as Finland was then united with Sweden and the Finns were commonly called in Pennsylvania as Swedes, also the parents of these Finns had mostly come from the Finnish colonies in Sweden, where most of them were born), complaining that, "Whereas we the Swedes, ancient settlers and first inhabitants of this Province, with great difficulty, hazard and loss of several of our lives, having at last obtained peace and quietness with the Indians and after the changes that have happened by reason of the divers sorts of governments, we have lived peaceably and quietly, enjoying our lands and estates, which we first settled, under our own government. And since we are informed that upon the surrendering of this province to the crown of England, in lieu of Surinam to the Dutch, it was agreed on both sides, that the inhabitants were in no wise to be disturbed either in their lives, liberties, or estates; we after that being summoned to appear before the government which then resided at New York, were obliged to take patents or grants for what land we held before, or desired after. But since this Province has been granted to William Penn, he and his officers called for our patents and grants under pretence of renewing them, which having obtained would not return them again, but instead thereof resurveyed great parts of our lands, and took it from some of us: others were required to pay greater quit-rents than before; and because some of us refused the payment of such quit-rents, being on some tracts of land three or four times more than we ought or used to pay, when under the government of New York, we being, as we suppose, the Queen's tenants, and not liable to pay any at all to the proprietor - the collector, James Logan, threatened to make distress upon our goods for the said rents, using at the same time many harsh and opprobrious epithets:
"We, therefore, presuming that the same justice which, under similar cases, is dispensed by the Parliament of England, may be obtained here, solicit from you our representative, some help in our distress, that we may have our patents restored to us, together with all the overplus of the quit-rents which have been unjustly exacted from us these twenty years past: For which we shall always pray."
The above petition was signed by twenty-four members of the Finnish community, among which was Otto Ernest Cock, who originally owned the Tinicum Island and Hog Island and few hundred acres other land besides. Three other descendants of Peter Cock signed the petition. Several of the signers had purely English names at this period already.
The Assembly delivered a copy of the above petition to Governor Charles Gookin and his Council, signed by David Lloyd, the speaker, and several members of the Assembly. For this the, governor and the council, after discussing the petition on June 11, 1709; inserted, by James Logan, the secretary, to its record that "James Logan being present, in answer to those allegations, affirmed it was utterly false that he ever had any of those ancient grants in his keeping, and informed the board that as far as he could understand that matter, the Swedes had delivered up those old grants, in order to obtain more firm titles for their lands from the proprietor, which, most of them had accordingly obtained; he said that he never demanded more from any of them than one bushel of wheat for every hundred acres of the land they held, and so proportionately, which was the quit-rent first agreed to be paid under the English government; that when he first arrived these people, with all the old settlers, were in the practice of paying the said rent and that he had never attempted to alter or augment it. That this petition he was certainly informed was carried on purely by the instigation of two or three persons concerned in lands in Chester County, most eminently disaffected to the proprietor and the government."
In the morning of August 17, 1709, three commissaries from amongst the Finns appeared before the Assembly in Philadelphia, in order to receive a reply for the above quoted petition, upon which the assembly by verbal message requested it from the governor. The messenger having told to the governor that the "Swedes" were urgent with the House to have an answer, and if they could not obtain relief here, designed to apply to the Swedish ambassador in England. This threat much displeased the governor and council and it was ordered that the House for preventing mistakes, should be required to send their said message in writing, as also to send a perfect copy of the said petition, with the names of all the subscribers to the same, in which the copy delivered to the governor was deficient. Samuel Preston, member of the Council, was ordered to go to the House and deliver the request.
Samuel Preston returning from the House, reported that they answered that they would send the solicitors of the said petition, who were waiting on the House, to the governor, that he might be satisfied with themselves, in what he desired of them.
Upon this, the secretary, James Logan, was immediately ordered to the House and require of them a perfect copy of the petition, with all names added, also to require an account of the persons who had threatened to apply to the Swedish ambassador. The speaker of the Assembly answered to the secretary's demand that the House would take the first part of the message into consideration, but that if the members of Assembly who brought the said message to the governor in the morning, had mentioned anything of the Swedes applying to the ambassador of that nation in England, it was a mistake, for that the House had no such thing in charge, to prove which they read to Secretary Logan the minute made upon it, in which no such expression was contained.
During Secretary Logan's absence in the House, the message of the Assembly, that had been delivered verbally to the governor in the morning, arrived to the Council, now drawn up in writing in these words: "Ordered that Joshua Hoopes, Abraham Bickley and Henry Lewis, do wait upon the governor, and acquaint him that some of the Swedes have been with the Assembly, requesting an answer to their petition, a copy whereof the House had lately sent to the governor, therefore do desire to know the governor's result and conclusion upon the said petition."
The solicitors of the petition, by direction from the House, appeared before the governor, and being asked whether they came to speak to the aforesaid petition, they answered yes. The petition then was read to them and they were asked if they owned it as theirs, to which they answered in the affirmative. The matter of the said petition was then largely spoken to by most of the members present and the grievances belittled and minimized. The solicitors were informed that they had taken wrong steps to obtain relief, if they were really injured, for that this could be had only by application to the proprietor himself, or his commissioners, or else by law, the only method of redress amongst the English, when other means fail; that if it was intended that they thought themselves injured by being obliged to pay a bushel of wheat for every hundred acres they held, this was no injury, but pursuant to the first agreement with the English government for their lands, and with which the English and those of all other nations here, as well as "Swedes" complied; that if any of them had been injured in losing a part of their lands, upon the first settlement of the proprietary's great colony amongst them, (the secretary affirming he knew but one instance of the kind and never heard of more than two), the persons suffering ought to complain in a proper way and not those of the nation conspire together, to make themselves a faction; that several at the board were sensible what they had done was not of themselves, but at the instigation of some very ill disposed persons, highly disaffected against the proprietor and his government; that they were extremely ungrateful to the proprietor, to suffer themselves to be thus made use of by his late enemies, for that it was most certain no people in the province had been more kindly treated, or more highly indulged by the proprietor, ever since his first settlement of this colony, than the "Swedes" had constantly been; and therefore, that if they behaved themselves so unworthily of those favors, they might find their error when they could not so well remedy themselves: for that if they caballed with the enemies of the government, they could not be considered otherwise than as such, but as they had always behaved themselves peaceably and as good subjects hitherto, so they ought for their own sake, to continue such, and if any particular of them had any, cause of complaint, if they would apply themselves properly, as the English and all other subjects must do, they would certainly be as much regarded as any other.
Secretary Logan in his "Record of the Council" further declares the solicitors as ignorant of the laws and no masters of the English language, and the slick secretary finally clears himself, in his narrative, of the charges against him in the said petition and made it appear that he had not given any occasion for the accusation against him. And the secretary further declares that upon the whole it being most manifest, that the petitioners had been seduced by such ill disposed persons as have been mentioned and used only to serve a malicious end, they were advised to take more care of themselves for the future, and not to render themselves obnoxious to their best friends, by facetious caballing, only to gratify the illnature of those who never intended nor were capable of serving them.
The petition of the Finns was communicated to William Penn, in England, who in return communicated the matter to Count Charles Gyllenberg, the Swedish ambassador in London, and the affair was brought to the notice of the king and royal council of Sweden, by which an admonition was dispatched to the descendants of the old Swedish subjects, on the Delaware. But the Finns were not satisfied to be branded as disorderly, if they were standing for their manifest rights of property. A new petition was presented to the Assembly, in 1713, by the Finns, requesting the Assembly's good testimony that during all the time the Delaware Colony had bees, under English rule, they had conducted themselves as quiet and loyal subjects. The testimony was to be delivered by their messenger to the English and Swedish courts, followed by a letter to the Swedish ambassador in London, which in part says:
"The Right Honorable Count Gyllenberg, the Swedish Envoy in London.
"May it please your Excellency.
"We are much concerned that Mr. Penn should complain of us in such general terms as renders it difficult to make any particular defence, as he seems to do in our case. We can with all sincerity assure your Excellency, that we and our predecessors, have been ready upon all occasions, to serve Mr. Penn, and never as far as we know; gave him the least cause of complaint. But, the manifest wrongs we received, gave us frequent and Just occasion to complain. That this may appear, we respectfully ask your impartial consideration of our case and grievances, which in part, may appear to your Excellency in these following particulars, viz:
"When this country was surrendered to the English, all the inhabitants were confirmed in their lands, but required by the Governor of New York (to whom they were then annexed) to take patents out there for the same, and to become tenants to the kings of England, under the rent of a bushel of wheat per annum, for every hundred acres. But may it please your excellency, when this province was granted to the present governor by the late King Charles II., we find, that lands held by the Indians, and not the lands confirmed before to our predecessors, much less the rents reserved to the crown of England, were granted to Mr. Penn; who, nevertheless, by an order under his hand and provincial seal, dated the 14th of June, 1683, did require all that had not patents, or were willing to have their patents renewed, to send their certificates of survey, and old patents to the surveyor-general's office; whereupon many of the said patents and certificates were taken in, and have been detained ever since from the owners; and instead of having patents upon the said certificates of survey, or the old patents renewed, the governor and his commissioners caused the lands therein mentioned, without any warrant of law, or consent of the possessors, to be actually surveyed, and the greatest and best part thereof patented to new purchasers under Mr. Penn; and the rent of what was left, advanced to some three, and others fourfold more, than was reserved by the old patent."
The above letter shows that the Finns were somewhat misinformed concerning the grant of the territory to William Penn. According to the charter, the inhabitants of the Delaware Colony were to be William Penn's tenants and consequently were to pay their quit-rents to him, although remaining as the king's subjects. This wrong idea may be the result of the naturalization and exaction of 20 shillings per head from the old settlers at the first arrival of Penn, although they were the king's subjects.
To settle the land question for once and all, a bill was passed in 1712, called "An Act Confirming Patents and Grants." This new act at large reads as follows:
"Be it enacted by Charles Gookin, Esquire, by the Queen's royal approbation Lieutenant-Governor under William Penn, Esquire, absolute Proprietary and Governor-in-Chief of the Province of Pennsylvania, by and with the advise and consent of the freemen of the said Province in General Assembly met, and by the authority of the same, that all lands and hereditaments which any person or persons do hold and enjoy, or ought to have, hold and enjoy within this province, as well by or under any gift, grant or estate made or granted by the said Proprietary and Governor, William Penn, or his commissioners of property and agents, pursuant to the said person's right of purchase, demise or grant from him the said propietary, as also by or under any old grant, patent or warrant obtained or had from governors or lawful commissioners, under the crown of England, before the date of the late King Charles the Second, his letters patent to the said proprietary, or by any other legal or equitable grant, right, title, entry, possession or estate whatsoever, shall, by virtue of this act, be held and enjoyed by such person or persons. according to the purport and intent (of the) respective right, grant, patent, purchase or demise, and for and in the estate or estates thereby granted or intended to be thereby granted or settled.
Provided alwaye, that nothing herein contained shall be construed or adjudged to confirm any lands taken up by virtue of the said old grants and not duly seated or improved by the grantees or their assigns before the year one thousand six hundred and eightytwo, nor to create or confirm any right or interest to any person or persons whatsoever for or to any more or greater quantity of lands, marsh, meadow or cripple than shall appear, by gift, grant, demise or purchase from the said proprietary or his commissioners or agents, or from his predecessors, the former governors or commissioners aforesaid to be the said person or persons' just due (over and above the six acres by the said proprietary allowed to be added to every hundred acres of land for roads and barrens, and the four acres over or under, to be accounted for difference of surveys), nor shall create a right to the possessor or claimer of any lands that were not taken up or surveyed by virtue of a warrant or order from persons empowered to grant the same, and by a surveyor appointed for that purpose; anything herein or in any patent, grant or survey to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding.
"And be it further enacted, that the governor and council shall and will from time to time, and at all times hereafter, upon all reasonable demands, make and execute, or cause so to be, all and ever such patents, grants or assurances, as may be necessary according to the laws and constitutions of this province, to grant, assure and confirm all and singular the lands, tenements and hereditaments in the said province by him, the said proprietary, or his commissioners or agents heretofore sold, granted or disposed, or which by him, his heirs or assigns, or by his or their commissioners or agents shall hereafter be sold, granted or disposed to any person or persons, bodies politic or corporate to hold the said lands, hereditaments and premises, with their appurtenances, to the grantee or persons interested therein, for such estate or estates, term or terms of life, lives or years, and for such uses and under such rents or acknowledgements as the same lands and premises were, are or shall be sold, granted or disposed of as aforesaid. Saving to all persons, their rights, titles, estates and interests in lands (granted, derived or claimed by, from or under the said old patents or grants made before the date of the said letters patent) seated and improved as aforesaid.
"And whereas several persons before the date of the said late King's royal charter obtained grants or patents for more lands than they had any right unto by their original warrants or orders for the surveying or laying out the same, in which case it has been the method of the said proprietary and his commissioners, by their warrants to order resurveys of those lands, and allot to the possessors thereof or to the heirs or assigns of the old patentees or grantees so many acres of land and meadow or marsh, as really belonged unto them by virtue of the said respective original warrants or orders, or by the right of occupancy or improvement, and confirm the same by new patents, and dispose the residue as other vacant lands which had never been surveyed. Nevertheless, no effectual care has been hitherto taken for excavating and annulling the record of those old exhorbitant grants, patents, surveys or locations; and for securing the new patentees against the demands of the old patentees and possessors, or such as claim by, from or under them:
"Therefore be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that nothing herein contained shall extend to revive, make good or confirm any of the said old grants or patents, nor give to the grantees or patentees of the same, nor their heirs, executors or assigns, any right, title, interest, or estates of, in, to or for any more or greater quantity of lands, marsh, meadow or cripple, than were expressly granted or really intended to be granted in and by the said original first warrants or orders for survey to which the old patents respectively relate. But that all and every said old grants or patents, as to the residue or overplus of the said lands and hereditaments contained therein, shall be and are hereby declared to be null and void and of none effect; and that all and every the grants, patents, conveyances and assurances made or to be made and granted for the said residue or overplus lands, to any person or persons whatsoever, and all the estate and estates, rights, interests and possessions of any person or persons of, in or to the said overplus lands, shall, notwithstanding any of the said old grants or patents, be and continue and are hereby declared to be good and available in law against the said old patents and against all others claiming or to claim the said overplus land or any part thereof by, from or under them or any of them, as if the same lands had never been surveyed or located before the date of the said King's letters patent: saving always to all and every person and persons (other than those who, will set up or insist on any of the said old grants or patents to maintain or make good their demands or claims to any more of the said overplus land than what they or those under whom they claim have occupied, built upon or improved) all and every such right, title, interest, use, possession, estate, rents, reversions, commons, profits and advantages whatsoever, as he, they or any of them, should or might have had before the making of this act, anything herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.
"And whereas, by a late law of this province, passed in the year one thousand seven hundred, and confirmed in the year one thousand seven hundred and one, it was (amongst other things) enacted that any person's lands in this province should be resurveyed; and if upon such resurvey (after allowance of four acres in the hundred, over or under, for difference of surveys, and six per cent for roads) an overplus should be found, the possessor thereof should have the refusal of it from the proprietary at reasonable rates; and in case of disagreements about such rates, the proprietary was to choose two men, and the possessor two more, who should either fix a price on the said overplus land or appoint where it should be taken off for the proprietary in one entire piece at an outside (saving to the purchaser or renter his improvements and best conveniences), any three of whom agreeing should be conclusive; and the charges of resurveying should be borne by the purchaser or renter of the main tract, if he bought the overplus or if not then by the proprietary; and that deficiencies should be made good by the proprietary, according as he received for overplus land as aforesaid.
"In pursuance of which act, resurveys have been made of divers lands, wherein overmeasure was found. But the act expiring before the same could be cut off, or the rates thereof settled as the said law directed, the proprietary is not satisfied for the overmeasure, and the owners of the land want confirmation of what is their just due.
"Be it, therefore, enacted, that where any overplus land has been found upon the said resurveys (after allowances are made for roads and difference of surveys as aforesaid) the proprietary, his heirs and assigns, and his or their commissioners or agents, shall give the possessor or owner of such land the refusal thereof at reasonable rates; and in case of disagreement with the said possessor about such rates, then the proprietary, his heirs and assigns, and his or their commissioners or agents, shall give the possessor or owner of such land the refusal thereof at reasonable rates; and in case of disagreement with the said possessor about such rates, then the proprietary, his heirs or assigns, or his or their commissioners or agents, shall forthwith choose two men, and the said possessor or owner shall at the same time choose two more, which persons so chosen, or any three of them, shall within thirty days after such choice either fix a price on the said overplus land to be paid by the said possessor or owner, or within the same time appoint where it shall be taken off for the proprietary, his heirs or assigns, in one entire and convenient piece at an end or outside; saving to the said possessor or owner his improvements and best conveniences."
The above act was passed on June 7, 1712, but was repealed by the Queen in Council on February 20, 1713, and therefore did not become a law. In the meantime the Penn's commissioners Richard Hill, Isaac Norris and James Logan continued to clip off pieces from the old lands of the Finns, through resurvey, although all previous acts for resurvey were likewise repealed by the queen and royal council of England. The descendants of the early Delaware colonists were through this ruling in England allowed to possess all the lands that, their forefathers had occupied. Furthermore "the law about seven years' quiet possession," which was passed by the Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania on January 12, 1706, was allowed to become a law by laspe of time in accordance with the proprietary charter, having been considered by the Queen in Council, on October 24, 1709. This law provided, that seven years' quiet possession of lands within the Province, which were first entered on upon an equitable right, shall forever give an unquestionable title to the same against all, during the estate whereof they are or shall be possessed.
The persistency of the Quaker government to get something for nothing resulted to another petition to the Assembly in 1722, by the Finns and their English relatives. The chief complaint of this petition was that the proprietor by his commissioners, especially within the last five years, had interfered with the lands that were occupied by the first Finnish colonists and those Englishmen who were here before the country was granted to William Penn, although they had their rights to the land; not only from the English authorities before Penn's time, but were likewise confirmed by the law about seven years' quiet, possession.
The Assembly communicated the petition to Governor Sir William Keith, who left it for consideration to the proprietary agents Richard Hill, Isaac Norris and James Logan. This petition, alike with the previous petition of the Finns, is not in the record of the Council. The secretary, James Logan, did not write there anything that might be prejudicial to the Quaker government, although their own replies to these petitions are at large in the record. The author of this work regrets of having not been able to secure the full text of the petition, and therefore cannot give it here for the reader. The answer of the proprietary agents, submitted to the governor on February 28, 1722, follows here.
"Having seriously considered the petition from certain persons amongst us called Swedes, addressed to the House of Representatives, which the Governor, by his letter of the 20th of last month was pleased to refer to us for our opinion, we with all due submission humbly offer our sentiments upon as follows:
"As we cannot find that any one of those persons whose names are put to that petition has had their title to land held by virtue of grants from the Governor of New York, called in question by the late Proprietor or any under him, within the compass of our knowledge. We have therefore just cause to apprehend that this petition arises from much different foundation. For of all men in this Province those called the Swedes have certainly the least reason to complain of hard usage. The Proprietor at his first arrival, finding their ancestors possessed of the then most valuable tracts of land on the front of the River, without inquiring into the validity of their titles, but considering them as strangers in an English government, through his known benevolence to mankind was pleased so far to distinguish them by his favors as to confirm to all such as applied to him all their just claims to the great disappointment of those English adventurers who embarked with him, and hazarded their lives and fortunes on the commendable design of peopling this colony. Or where it was found necessary to apply any of those claims to other purposes, he was pleased to make very ample compensation for them, a pregnant instance of which is his grant of six hundred acres of land to the Swansons in lieu of a very slender claim they had to about half that quantity in the place where it was judged most convenient this city should be built. The same measures also his commissioners, by his order, from time to time pursued in relation to these people and himself again on his second arrival, finding them much crowded in their old possessions, through the same goodness in a most peculiar manner, extended his favors by granting them in one tract, for their greater conveniency, no less than ten thousand acres of land on Schuylkill without any other consideration on their parts than the easy quitrent of one bushel of wheat for each one hundred acres yearly, of which divers of them have, by sale of their rights without any improvement, made considerable advantage. Yet, notwithstanding these special, marks of favor, which those people, when left to themselves will duly acknowledge. In our former unhappy times, when men who "delighted in embarrassing the public, exerted their endeavor to promote that end. One of the measures then taken was to spirit up those people to petition the Assembly, and to complain of grievances. So that this is not the first time that they have been prevailed on by truly designing persons (to use the words of the petition) to draw upon themselves the imputation of ingratitude. In which nevertheless they may the more easily be pardoned, since they were only made use of by others, and that it might be truly said of them, as some of themselves have owned, that they knew not what they did.
"But seeing the petition mentions the suit between Shae and Justis, and as a groundless clamor has been raised and spread from that and another affair, both grounded originally on the claims of the Swansons, we shall beg leave, briefly and truly to represent both cases, that the state of these matters may be the more clearly understood.
"The Proprietor, after his first arrival, as we have already observed, granted by his warrant to these brothers of the Swansons six hundred acres of land very near the city, and within the bounds of its liberties, which was to be held under the yearly quitrent of only three bushels of wheat for the warrant. This the said brothers, or their relicts or heirs, disposed of to two Englishmen and another Swede, who married in the family, but having no other title than a warrant and survey, they obliged themselves (as we have been credibly informed) by articles and bonds to procure a patent, and until that was done to pay the quit-rent. At the proprietor's return into the province all these three brothers being then dead, their widows, after a law had been passed. for a general resurvey, applied to the proprietor requesting, according to the practice at that time, a resurvey and title to the said land, that they might be eased from the further payment of quit-rents and discharge their or their late husbands' bonds. Desiring that the overplus in measure might be cut off, for as no more than 600 acres were sold, they were obliged to make a title only to that quantity. A warrant was accordingly granted at their request, the land was resurveyed, and tho' it lay within the City Liberties, in which lands were wanted to answer the demands of the first original purchasers, who had not obtained the rights due to them by the proprietor's first concessions to purchasers in England. Yet to the manifest injury of those purchasers the allowance of ten acres in the hundred was also made to that land, six hundred and sixty acres, that there might be no room for complaint, instead of 600, were regularly laid out, most of the overmeasure above that quantity was cut off, on the side remotest from the Town adjoining to the City Liberty Land, and a patent was prepared confirming the whole 660 acres to those three widows according to their desire. But whether it was to make a firmer title to the vendees and their assigns, or for whatever other end, the widows applied to the proprietor again, and at the instance of those men requested that the tract might be divided into three equal parts of 200 acres each, with the mentioned allowance, and be severally confirmed to those vendees, etc., respectively, in which they were also gratified. The division lines and bounds were actually run, and returned into the office, and according to those returns three several patents to the venders were drawn by the secretary and signed by the Proprietor in October, 1701, now above twenty years ago, and most of the overmeasure being thrown off, as has been observed, to the other City Liberty Lands, was about fourteen years after granted indifferently with others of the same, to Thomas Shute, who, having at high rates bought divers rights to Liberty Land belonging to original purchases, made of the Proprietor in England in the year 1681 and 1682, to the quantity of --- acres, as he fully made appear to us, obtained warrants for the same, and the surveyor, in laying it out taking in some part of (as he had good reason) the overplus of the Swansons', which had so long before been cut off from the tract, returned it accordingly into the office, and a patent was thereupon granted to T. Shute in the usual manner for all those Rights together. Now, though the Swansons had never any pretence to the land there but from the Proprietor's warrant of survey, nor their assignees any real title but from the proprietor's patents. Though they have the utmost they can claim either in Law or equity. Though the overplus in the first erroneous survey was regularly cut off ; and though T. Shute holds his land by virtue of firm original deeds of lease and release, executed by the Proprietor in England before any one adventurer camp over into Pennsylvania; and had it as regularly surveyed and confirmed by patent as any other lands have been in the province, (all which can be largely proved). Yet some men not only have the assurance to disturb him in his possession, but have been so unjust as to raise a clamour and impose on many to believe that the rights of the good Swedes have in this case been invaded, when in truth the question only lies in this whether or not the assignees of the Swansons' shall hold much more than their due and what they have no manner of right to, and thereby deprive the assigns of the first English purchasers of their undoubted rights that have been largely paid for. That is, whether a warrant to the Swedes, with an erroneous survey upon it, shall give a better right to what was never granted, nor intended to be granted, than English deeds of lease and release, with a regular process through the offices for a confirmation, will give for what was truly purchased so many years before.
"The other case is this: The same three widows whom we have mentioned, applied to the Proprietor in the same year, 1701, for the grant of some unsurveyed marsh or cripple, which lay contiguous to their or their children's lands in Wiccaco. The Proprietor, with his usual indulgence to these people, the same day granted them a warrant for 50 acres; except that they yearly made use of the grass of it, but from this grant only. Some few years ago the unhappy heirs to two-thirds of those lands were induced to sell their rights in Wiccaco, both highland and marsh, to some English purchasers, for from such sales only those clamours here rose. Hereupon immediately the new purchasers were pleased to give out, that they had a right, not only to their respective shares of the fifty acres granted by the proprietor to the widows, but of all the marsh that lay there. (Upon the petition of Justice Oele Swanson, the Upland Court granted on June 19, 1678, twenty-five acres of the marsh to the Wiccaco plantation. - Author's remark.) This being wholly new to us, who were then about encouraging the improvement of the vacant marshes and cripples to the southward of this town, we appointed a day for all those to meet us, whom we understood to have any claim to those lands of Wiccaco, and having then accordingly being met, we desired them to acquaint us with the claim we understood they had made to the remainder of that marsh above the 50 acres, assuring them, that if they had any equitable right, of which we had never found the least footstep or probability, we were so far from desiring to deprive them of it that we should be ready to confirm it to them, but their lawyer, then with them, (for what reason he best knew,) advised them (as some of them have freely owned) against it, alleging, at the same time something out of the Royal Charter to the Proprietor which was never there. On this head also, though more could not have been done on our parts, and nothwithstanding we have no foundation to believe they have any such right as they have pretended, the same kind of noise and clamour has been raised, fomented not much by the Swedes themselves, as by others more nearly related to Great Britain, who may justly be accounted the truly designing men to whom our divisions, whenever they arise will be owing.
"These (may it please the Governor) are the only cases we know, in which the Swedes in the late cry have been rendered as suffering persons; and perhaps it may exceed the belief of any rational man who is a stranger to the place, that sugh indirect uses could be made of them. Upon the whole, we shall briefly say, that all men who have fair and just rights might have had them confirmed, and those who neglect it, may undoubtedly have them hereafter upon a candid application; honest men want no other provisions, and it is presumed no Assembly of this Province, now will espouse the cause of the other part of mankind. The greater part of those old claims are already confirmed by the Proprietor of or his commissioners; and if any yet want a confirmation, it has been owing, we conceive to a notion industriously instilled into those people, that a title from New York was preferable to any the Proprietor could give from the King's Letters Patent, and therefore it is unreasonable they should apply for an act derived from the Proprietor's authority to have them. Their titles from New York have never yet been called in question, for all that was said at the trial of their cause was intended to show the Proprietor's great favor and tenderness to that old settlement, who have not always made the best returns, of which this petition is an instance. But such an act as seems to be desired to confirm all men in all their claims to which they could plead quiet possession, would, under any administration, be highly unjust, seeing some persons (and such are seldom the best of men) have long possessed themselves of lands and lots without any right at all, of which divers instances could be given. Acts of such a nature, we say, could at no time be justly passed without the consent of the Proprietor or those intrusted by him in those cases. And we beg leave further to add, that the Governor himself is fully sensible, that at this time, while the affairs of the late Proprietor's family remain unsettled, none such can by any means be passed that may affect their estate and interest here; and we hope those men, who on a late occasion, were so tenderly concernecl where there was no danger, that his heirs should not be wronged, will now abhor the thoughts of so manifest and flagrant an injustice.
"These men, called Swedes amongst us, we are sure have never been injured by the proprietor or any under him; though they are very ill used by those who from time to time court their hands and names to carry designs that require such palliating. These people, as they are descended from a nation famed of their loyalty and obedience to government, may of themselves, and when not misled by others, be quiet honest men. But how far it is consistent with the peace, honor, or security of an English government, that they who by their birth are really English, and have had the utmost protection, should upon occasion be thus nationally distinguished, (as the Governor has most justly observed to us,) is humbly referred with what here offered to his further consideration."
Publication: E. A. Louhi: The Delaware Finns or The First Permanent Settlements in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West New Jersey, and Eastern Part of Maryland. New York, The Humanity Press Publishers. 1925, 331 pages.
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