תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

fettlers in this state, who have been described as making the first advances in the unsettled country, are attached to the present simple and visionary frame of government. The second settlers are divided in their opinions respecting it. But ninety-nine out of an hundred of the third settlers, or real farmers, are opposed to it, and wish for a safe, ftable, and compound form of government. As the first species of settlers are more idle and bold than the last, who, though the most numerous, are quiet,--they have forced them to submit to it.

Among other useful laws of this state, of a public nature, are, one that declares all rivers and creeks to be highwaysa law for the emancipation of negroes, already mentioned bankrupt law, nearly on the model of the bankrupt laws of England a law commuting hard labour for a long term of years, for death, as a punishment for many crimes which are made capital by the laws of England. Murder, arson, and one or two other crimes, are yet punished with death—A bill was before the legislature last year, (1787) the purport of which was to enable foreigners, (remaining in their native allegiance) to hold lands in Pennsylvania, which is not the case in Great-Britain, nor in any other of the United States.

New Inventions.] These have been numerous and useful. Among others are the following: A new model of the planetary world, by Mr. Rittenhouse, commonly, but improperly, called an Orrery-a quadrant, by Mr. Godfrey, called by the plagiary name of Hadley's quadranta fteam-boat, so constructed, as that by the affiftance of steam, operating on certain machinery within the boat, it moves with confiderable rapidity against the stream, without the aid of hands. Messrs. Fitch and Rumsay contend with each other for the honour of this inventiona new printing press, lately invented and constructed in Philadelphia, worked by one person alone, who performs three-fourths as much work in a day, as two persons at a common press. Besides these there have been invented many munufacturing machines, for carding, spinning, winnowing, &c. which perform an immense deal of work with very little manual aslistance.

History.] Pennsylvania was granted by king Charles II. to Mr. William Penn, son of the famous admiral Penn, in consideration of his father's services to the crown*. Mr. Penn's petition for the grant was presented to the king in 1680; and after confiderable delays, occafioned by Lord Baltimore's agent, who apprehended it might interfere with the Maryland patent, the charter of Pennsylvania received the royal signature on the 4th of March, 1681. To secure his title against all claims, and prevent future altercation, Mr. Penn procured a quit-claim deed from the duke of York, of all the lands, covered by his own patent, to which the duke could have the least pretensions. This deed bears date, August 21, 1682. On the 24th of the fame month, he obtained from the duke, by deed of feoffment, Newcastle, with twelve miles of the adjacent territory,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

* A large debt was due from the crown to Mr. Penn, a part of which he offered to remit, on condition be obtained his grant. This, whatever benevoLent motives are beld out to the world, must have been a principal confideration with the king in making, the grant.

and

[ocr errors]

and the lands fouth to the Hoarkills. In December following, Mr. Penn effected an union of the lower counties with the province of Pennsylvania*.

The first frame of government for Pennsylvania is dated in 1682. By this form, all legislative powers were vested in the governor and freemen of the province, in the form of a provincial council, and a general aflembly. The council was to consist of feventy-two members, chosen by the freemen; of which the governor, or his deputy, was to be perpetual prefident, with a treble vote. One-third of this council went out of office every year, and their seats were supplied by new elections.

The general assembly was at first to contist of all the freemen-afterwards of two hundred, and never to exceed five hundred.

In 1683, Mr. Penn offered another frame of government, in which the number of representatives was reduced, and the governor vefted with a negative upon all bills passed in assembly. By several specious arguments, the people were persuaded to accept this frame of government.

Not long after, a dispute between Mr. Penn and Lord Baltimore required the former to go to England, and he committed the administration of government to five commillioners, taken from the council. In 1686, Mr. Penn required the commissioners to dissolve the frame of government; but not being able to effect his purpose, he, in 1688, appointed Capt. John Blackwell his deputy. From this period, the proprietors usually resided in England, and administered the government by deputies, who were devoted to their interest. Jealousies arose between the people and their governors, which never ceased till the late revolution. The primary cause of these jealoufies, was an attempt of the proprietary to extend his own power, and abridge that of the affembly; and the consequence was inceffant disputes and diffenfions in the legislature.

In 1689, governor Blackwell, finding himself opposed in his views. had recourse to artifice, and prevailed on certain members of the council to withdraw themselves from the house ; thus defeating the measures of the legislaturet. The house voted this to be treachery, and addressed the

governor on the occasion.

In 1693, the king and queen assumed the government into their own hands. Col. Fletcher was appointed governor of New-York and Pennfylvania by one and the same commission, with equal powers in both provinces. By this commission, the number of counsellors in Pennsylvania was reduced.

Under the administration of governor Markham in 1696, a new form of government was established in Pennsylvania. The election of the council and assembly now became annual, and the legislature, with their powers and forms of proceeding, was new modelled.

In 1699, the proprietary arrived from England, and affumed the reins of government. While he remained in Pennsylvania, the last charter of privileges, or frame of government, which continued to the revolution.

• See Franklin's biftorical review of the conftitution and government of Pennsylvania, page 14

+ Two instances of a fucceffion of members from the asèmbly, with similar views, bave taken place fince the revolution, and seem to have been copied from the example in 1689.

was

was agreed upon and established. This was completed and delivered to the people by the proprietary, October 28, 1701, just on his embarking for England. The inhabitants of the territory, as it was then called, or the lower counties, refused to accept this charter, and thus separated themfelves from the province of Pennsylvania. They afterwards had their own assembly, in which the governor of Pennsylvania used to preside.

In September, 1700, the Susquehannah Indians granted to Mr. Penn all their lands on both sides the river. The Susquehannah, Shawanese, and Potomak Indians, however, entered into articles of agreement with Mr. Penn, by which, on certain conditions of peaceable and friendly behaviour, they were permitted to settle about the head of Patomak, in the province of Pennsylvania. The Conoítoga chiefs also, in 1701, ratified the grant of the Susquehannah Indians, made the preceding year.

In 1708, Mr. Penn obtained from the Sachems of the country, a con, firmation of the grants made by former Indians, of all the lands from Duck creek, to the mountains, and from the Delaware to the Susquehannah. In this deed the Sachems declared, that they had seen and heard read divers prior deeds which had been given to Mr.

Penn, by former chiefs. While Mr. Penn was in America, he erected Philadelphia into a corporation. The charter was dated October 25, 1701, by which the police of the city was velted in a mayor, recorder, aldermen, and common: council, with power to enquire into treasons, murders, and other felonies; and to enquire into and punish smaller crimes. The corporation had also extensive civil jurisdiction ; but it was dissolved at the late revolution, and Philadelphia is governed like other counties in the state.

By the favourable terms which Mr. Penn offered to settlers, and an unlimited toleration of all religious denominations, the population of the province was extremely rapid. Notwithstanding the attempts of the proprie tary, or his governors, to extend his own power, and accumulate property by procuring grants from the people, and exempting his lands from taxation, the government was generally mild, and the burdens of the people by no means oppressive. The selfish designs of the proprietaries were vigorously and constantly opposed by the affembly, whofe firmness preserved the charter rights of the province.

At the revolution, the government was abolished. The proprietaries were absent, and the people by their representatives formed a new conftitution on republican principles. The proprietaries were excluded from all share in the government, and the legislature offered them one hundred and thirty thousand pounds in lieu of all quit rents, which was finally accepted. The proprietaries, however, still poffefs in Pennsylvania many large tracts of excellent land.

It is to be regretted, that among all the able writers in this important ftate, none has yet gratified the public with its interesting history. As therefore history is not professedly the province of a geographer, a more particular detail of historical facts, than has already been given, will not be expected. We shall therefore conclude the history of Pennsylvania with the following list of governors.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

A List of the several PROPRIETORS, Governors, LIEUTENANT

Gover nors, and Presidents of the Province, with the times of their respective Administrations.

PROPRIETORS.
The Honourable William Penn, born 1644, died 1718.
John Penn,

died 1746.
Thomas Penn,
Richard Penn,
John Penn,

died 1771.

GOVERNORS, EC. Governor, William Penn, Proprietor, from Oct. 1682, to Aug. 1684. President, Thomas Lloyd

Aug. 1684, to Dec. 1688. Lt.-Governor, John Blackwell,,

Dec. 1688, to Feb. 1689-90. President and Council governed, Feb. 1689-90, to April 26, 1693. Governor, Benjamin Fletcher, 26 April, 1693, to 3 June, 1693. Lt.-Governor, William Markham, 3 June, 1693, to Dec. 1699. Governor, William Penn, Proprietor, 3 Dec. 1699, to i Nov. 1701. Lt.-Governor, Andrew Hamilton, i Nov. 1701, to Feb. 1702-3. President and Council governed,

Feb. 1702-3, to Feb. 1703-4. Lt. Governors, John Evans,

Feb. 1703-4, to Feb. 1708-9. Charles Gooking March, 1708-9, to 1717. Sir William Keith, Bart.

1717 to June, 1726. Patrick Gordon,

June, 1726 to 1736. George Thomas,

1738

1747. President, Anthony Palmer,

. 1747 to 1748. Lt.-Governors, James Hamilton

1748 to Oct.

1754 Robert Hunter Morris, O&. 1754, to 19 Aug. 1756. William Denny, 19 Aug. 1756, to 17 Nov. 1759. James Hamilton, 17 Nov. 1759, to 31 O&t. 1763. John Penn,

31 Oct. 1763, to 6 May, 1771. President, James Hamilton, 6 May, 1771, to 16 O&t. 1771. Lt.-Governor, Richard Penn, Governors, Thomas Wharton, March, 1777, to April, 1778. Joseph Reed,

O&t. 1778, to Oct. 1781. William Moore,

Nov. 1781, to Nov. 1782. Tohn Dickinson,

Nov. 1782, to O&t. 1785. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Oct. 1785, to Oct. 1788. Thomas Miffin,

Oct. 1788.

to

16 O&. 1771.

DEL AWARE.

[ocr errors][merged small]

NT.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

SITUATION and EXTEN
Miles.
Length 92

° 30' 40°
Breadth 16

° and ' Boundaries. ] OUNDED north, by the territorial line, which di

vides it from Pennsylvania ; east, by Delaware river and Bay ; south, by a due east and west line, from Cape Henlopen, in lat. 38° 30' to the middle of the peninsula, which line divides the state from Worcester county in Maryland; west, by Maryland, from which it is divided by a line drawn from the western termination of the southern boundary line, northwards up the said peninsula, till it touch or form a tangent to the western part of the periphery of the above-mentioned ter. ritorial circle : containing about 1400 square miles,

Climate.] In many parts unhealthy. “The land is generally low and flat, which occasions the waters to stagnate, and the consequence is, the inhabitants are subject to intermittents.

Civil Divisions.] The Delaware state is divided into three counties,
viz.
Counties.

Chief Towns.
Newcastle,

Wilmington and Newcastle.
Kent,

Dover.
Sussex,

Milford and Lewistown.
Rivers.] Choptank, Nanticok and Pocomoke, all have their sources
in this state, and are navigable for vessels of 50 or 60 tons, 20 or 30
miles into the country. They all run a westwardly course into Chesa-
peek Bay. The eastern side of the state, along Delaware bay and river,
is indented with a great number of small creeks, but none confiderable
enough to merit a description.

Soil and Productions.] The south part of the state is a low flat coun. try, and a considerable portion of it lies in forest. What is under cultivation is chiefly barren, except in Indian corn, of which it produces fine crops.

In ome places rye and flax may be raised, but wheat is a foreigner in these parts. Where nature is deficient in one resource, she is generally bountiful in another. This is verified in the tall, thick forests of pines, which are manufactured into boards, and exported in large quantities into every sea-port in the three adjoining states.-As you proceed north the foil is more fertile, and produces wheat in large quantities, which is the staple commodity of the state. They raise all the other kinds of grain common to Pennsylvania. The state has no mountain in it, ex

* The Territorial Line, so called, is a circle described with a radius of 12 English miles, and whose centre is in the middle of the town of Newa castle.

cept

71 78

« הקודםהמשך »