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Evans' administration was so unpopular, that a formal address of thanks was voted to the proprietor for having rid the colony of his government.
Charles Gookin, who arrived in 1709, was a native of Ireland, an honest. open-hearted old soldier, more at home in the field than among the intrigues of the cabinet. During the eight years of his reign the usual want of harmony prevailed between the executive and legislative departments. In 1715 Governor Gookin held a council with the Indians at Philadelphia, in which the chain of friendship was brightened, and grievances amicably allayed.
The expense attending the establishment of his province, together with many acts of private beneficence, had so impaired the fortunes of Penn, that in 1708, “to clear a debt contracted for settling and improving said colonies,” he was compelled to borrow about $30,000, (£6,600,) and secure the loan by a mortgage of the province. Thus early commenced the pecuniary embarrassments of Pennsylvania. [The state is now pledged, if not mortgaged, for more than $40,000,000.]
In 1712 he negotiated with Queen Anne for the transfer of the government of the province and territory to the crown, for which he was to receive £12,000. A bill for the purpose was introduced in parliament, and a small portion of the money advanced; but an apoplectic fit, which seized Penn this same year, so impaired his faculties, more especially his memory, that he was incapable of formally executing a transfer of the government according to agreement. This state of mind, although it continued for six years until his death, did not prevent “ the happy enjoyment of that divine mental felicity which resulted from the nature of his religion and manner of life." He died at Rushcomb, near Twyford, in Buckinghamshire, England, on the 30th July, 1718, aged about 74 years.
By his will, his estates in Great Britain were devised to his eldest son, William, by the first wife. The government or jurisdiction of Pennsylvania and territories, was given in trust to the Earls of Oxford, Mortimer, and Powlet, to be disposed of to the queen, or any other person, to the best advantage. He appointed other trustees, in England and America, among whom were Hill and Logan, for the purpose of paying his debts out of the proceeds of his lands in America, and distributing the surplus among his children. He expressed a wish in the will that his children should settle in Pennsylvania. The right of government was claimed by his eldest son, William, and the case was carried before the court of chancery, who, some years afterwards, decided that it should go with the personal estate, to the widow and children; and the government was accordingly afterwards administered by the children of the younger branch of the family.
The affectionate patriarchal relation which had subsisted between Penn and his colony ceased with his death; the interest which his family took in the affairs of the province was more mercenary in its character, and looked less to the establishment of great and pure principles of life and government. The widow, Hannah Penn, as executrix, had the management of the proprietary interest, during the minority of the heirs; and for many years afterwards, her shrewd and powerful intellect was exerted in the appointment of governors, and the direction of the affairs of the colony.
New principles of action had also sprung up in the colony. After the
predominance in England of the protestant succession, by the revolution of 1688, the Quakers were no longer compelled to go to America to avoid persecution ; while a new set of men, bent more upon making their fortunes than upon the defence or promotion of high religious principle, were induced to emigrate. These were either of the Church of England, or Presbyterians from Scotland and Ireland, and were not averse to bearing arms. The adventurous traders of New England, too, trained in the school of puritan republicanism, were also coming to seek their gains in the genial climate of the south. Among these was the boy, Benjamin Franklin, the new master-spirit of Pennsylvania, who arrived in October, 1723. The Mennonists, or German Baptists, a sect which adhered to the principle of non-resistance, persecuted in Europe, and driven from one country to another, sought the toleration of Penn's colony, and emigrated between the years 1698 and 1717-many in the latter year-settling in Lancaster, Berks, and the upper parts of Chester county. The Dunkards, also a non-resistant sect, began to emigrate about the year 1718, and subsequently established a sort of monastery and convent, at Ephrata, in Lancaster county. The Lutheran Germans, who, on the other hand, were not averse to fighting when occasion required it, began now to emigrate in greater numbers, settling principally in Berks and Lancaster counties.
Amid this great diversity of races, languages, sectarian and political prejudices, were early planted the seeds of strife that agitated the province for more than fifty years, and terminated only in the American revolution.
On one side was the proprietary family, with their feudal prerogatives, their manors of 10,000 acres, their quit-rents, and baronial pomp,-alienated, in their sympathies, from the colony--preferring the luxuries of aristocratic life in England, to the unostentatious manners of the new world—ruling the colony by capricious deputies—and ever refusing to be taxed for the common defence of the country. On the other side was a hardy and enthusiastic band of colonists, free in this new world to develop the great principles of civil liberty, then just dawning upon the human mind—willing to bear their share of the pecuniary burdens of the frontier wars against the encroachments of the French, provided the proprietaries would consent to be equally taxed-a part of them burning to take up arms in defence of the colony, while the Quakers, and other nonresistant sects, were equally zealous to promote peace. The village ambition of Newcastle, the rival of Philadelphia, fostered the quarrel between “ the province” and “the territories ;" the tendency of colonial trade was always in opposition to the monopolizing spirit of the mother country; and the tenants of the soil found a fruitful subject of controversy in the rents exacted by the proprietary government.
About a year previous to Wm. Penn's death, Sir William Keith succeeded Gookin as lieutenant-governor, (1717.) Keith was condescending, courteous, and crafty: he courted successfully the good will of the assembly and the people, and was equally successful in infusing harmony and useful activity into the public councils. The province certainly prospered under his administration ; but whenever the popular interest was opposed to that of the proprietaries, he openly espoused the popular side, at the expense of the other, and in opposition to the advice of the council, at the head of which were James Logan and Isaac Norris. In
consequence of this propensity, Hannah Penn had him removed, and he then became the representative of the people in assembly,—but eventually lost their confidence, and returned in poverty to London. During his administration, and with his approbation, the province first entered, in 1723, upon the unfortunate experiment of issuing paper money, based upon real estate. The debates on this subject resembled much those of modern days. Logan and Norris, on the part of certain merchants, made a most clear and able report in opposition to it, or rather in favor of greatly restricting the issue and the terms. The principles of their report have striking application to the paper money crisis of Pennsylvania in 1841-43. During Keith's administration also, the Quakers, to their great joy, procured a renewal and confirmation of the privilege of affirmation in place of an oath, and of the cherished privilege of wearing the hat whenever and wherever it suited them.
Emigration from Germany and other parts greatly increased, so much at one time as to alarm Gov. Keith, lest the peace with the Indians might thereby be disturbed. A court of chancery was instituted by Gov. Keith, of which he was the chancellor. Keith was the complaisant but injudicious patron that induced the young printer, Ben Franklin, to try his fortune—it had like to have been his misfortune-in London.
Patrick Gordon succeeded Keith in 1726. His administration in general was marked by tranquillity in the province, and harmony in the public councils : great improvements were carried on, and trade to the West Indies, Spain, and Portugal, as well as Great Britain, greatly increased.
The enterprising public spirit of Benjamin Franklin now began to display itself, by founding one of those monuments which will perpetuate his memory long after the plain marble slab that covers his grave shall have decayed. “The promotion of literature had been little attended to in Pennsylvania. Most of the inhabitants were too much immersed in business to think of scientific pursuits; and those few whose inclinations led them to study, found it difficult to gratify them, for the want of libraries sufficiently large. The establishment of a public library was an important event. This was first set on foot by Franklin, about the year 1731. Fifty persons subscribed forty shillings each, and agreed to pay ten shillings annually. The number increased, and in 1742 the company was incorporated by the name of the Library Company of Philadelphia. The Penn family distinguished themselves by donations to it.
In 1732 Thomas Penn, and in 1734 John Penn, his elder brother, both proprietors, arrived in the province, and received from the colonists and the assembly those marks of respect due to their station, and to the sons of the illustrious founder. Thomas Penn, soon after his arrival, aided by seven special commissioners, entered upon the adjustment of the southern boundary, and running the line, according to articles of agreement of 10th May, 1732, between the proprietaries and Lord Baltimore. New points of dispute, however, arose : the question was again adjourned, and was not finally settled until 1761. John Penn returned to England in 1735, to oppose the pretensions of Lord Baltimore ; but Thomas Penn remained for some years in the colony, spending his time much after the manner of an English country gentleman. He was cold and distant in his intercourse with society, and consequently unpopular. His moral
character, too, in a certain particular, was not above reproach.* In 1733, public notice having been previously given in the papers, the famous Indian walk was performed by Ed. Marshall. This walk was the cause of jealousies and heart-burnings among the Indians, that eventually broke out in loud complaints of injustice, and atrocious acts of savage vengeance.
Gov. Gordon died in 1736, and for two years James Logan, as president of the council, administered the affairs of the province. He had frequent occasion to attempt to conciliate the Indians, then becoming more and more jealous of the crafty encroachments of the pale-faces. Benjamin Franklin was elected clerk of the assembly, in 1736. Many of the Schwenckfelders, a German sect, who had been driven out by persecution from Nether Silesia, arrived in the years 1733–34, and settled about the sources of Perkiomen creek. The Moravians, from the same country, first began to emigrate about the year 1737 to_1740, settling at first in Georgia, and subsequently in the Forks of the Delaware.
George Thomas, a West Indian planter, governed from 1738 until 1747, when he resigned. He was a man of talent and energy, but mistook at first the true character of the people over whom he presided. He incurred the displeasure of the Quakers by pressing them too strongly and openly for military subsidies; an object which he afterwards learned to obtain more easily by stratagem and conciliation. He also gave offence by requiring the enlistment of indented servants-redemptioners, who had sold themselves to pay their passage across the ocean. In 1739, George Whitfield arrived in the province, and attracted thousands by his eloquence, A lazaretto was erected in 1740, to accommodate sick emigrants.
Thomas Penn, one of the proprietaries, returned to England in 1741. Respectful and conciliatory addresses were exchanged at his departure, between him and the assembly. On the death of his brother John, in 1746, he became the principal proprietor, possessing three fourths of the province. He died in 1775.
In March, 1744, hostilities were openly declared between France and Great Britain. The peaceful era of Pennsylvania was now at an end, and the dark cloud of savage warfare began to gather on the western frontier. The lands acquired by the Indian walk, and by purchasing the Shawanees’ lands without their consent, were now to be paid for by the blood of the colonists. The Delawares refused to leave the Forks of Delaware. The Six Nations were called on to order them off, which they did, in the overbearing tone of conquerors and masters. They retired to Wyoming, with the repeated wrongs rankling in their hearts.
Dr. Franklin now became prominent as a public man, and published his “Plain Truth,” to endeavor to conciliate the executive and assembly, and awake them both to the importance of military preparations. He was appointed a colonel, but declined: he preferred to wield the pen. Logan too, who justified defensive war, assisted the cause with his means.
* See Watson's Annals, first edition, page 112. It should be recorded, however, to his credit, that when Lieut. Gov. Hamilton, having declared war against the Indians in 1756, had offered a reward for scalps, Thomas Penn promptly discountenanced the barbarous policy, proposing instead the “ making prisoners of their wives and children as a means to oblige them to sue for peace, rather than that rewards should be offered for scalps, especially of the women, as it encourages private murders.” See Gordon, p. 322. He was also a very munificent patron of the College of Philadelphia, of a library at Lancaster, and other literary institutions.
On the resignation of Gov. Thomas, in 1747, the executive administration devolved on Anthony Palmer, president of council, until the arrival of James Hamilton—a son of Andrew Hamilton, former speaker-as lieutenant-governor, in November, 1749.
An alarming crisis was at hand. The French, now hovering around the great lakes, sedulously applied themselves to seduce the Indians from their allegiance to the English. The Shawanees had already joined them; the Delawares waited only for an opportunity to revenge their wrongs; and of the Six Nations, the Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas were wavering. The French were fortifying the strong points on the Ohio. To keep the Indians in favor of the colony required much cunning diplomacy and expensive presents. In this alarming juncture, the old flame of civil dissension burst out with increased force. The presents to the Indians, with the erection of a line of forts along the frontier, and the maintenance of a military force, drew heavily upon the provincial purse. The assembly, the popular branch, urged that the proprietary estates should be taxed, as well as those of humble individuals. The proprietaries, through their deputies, refused, and pleaded prerogative, charter, and law: the assembly in turn pleaded equity, common danger, and common benefit, requiring a common expense. The proprietaries offered bounties in'lands yet to be conquered from the Indians, and the privilege of issuing more paper money: the assembly wanted something more tangible. The assembly passed laws laying taxes, and granting supplies, but annexing conditions: the governors opposed the conditions, but were willing to aid the assembly in taxing the people, but not the proprietaries. Here were the germs of revolution, not fully matured until twenty years later. Dr. Franklin was now a member and leader in the assembly. In the mean time, the frontiers were left exposed, while these frivolous disputes continued. The pacific principles, too, of the Quakers, and Dunkards, and Mennonists, and Schwenckfelders, came in to complicate the strife ; but as the danger increased, they prudently kept aloof from public office, leaving the management of the war to sects less scrupulous.
This state of feeling in the public councils continued not only during the administration of Gov. Hamilton, but also of his successors, Morris and Denny, until at last Benjamin Franklin, in London, secured the royal assent to a law taxing the proprietary estates, with certain modifications.
The Scotch Irish, a pertinacious and pugnacious race, tired of waiting for the forms of land-offices, and treaties, and surveys, were pushing their settlements upon unpurchased lands about the Juniata, producing fresh exasperation among the Indians. Massacres ensued; the settlers were driven in below the mountains; and the whole province was alive with the alarms and excitements of war. The governors during this crisis, until the year 1759, were James Hamilton, mentioned above; Robert Hunter Morris, a lawyer from New Jersey, who succeeded him in 1754; and William Denny, who came from England in 1756, and continued until 1759. They were generally able men, and might have been popular, had they not been shackled by the instructions of the proprietors, which they felt bound to defend, often probably in opposition to their better judgment. Denny at last yielded to the popular voice, and of course lost the confidence of the proprietors. It will be more convenient to follow the