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settlers their titles on condition of their paying the state a small price per acre, from 86 cents to $1 20, according to the quality of their land. The New England emigrants became obedient, industrious, and valuable citizens of their adopted state: and Wyoming, after a long train of unparalleled sufferings, enjoyed a state of repose and prosperity.
In 1799, Thomas M'Kean, who had for a long time been distinguished as the chief-justice of the state, was elected governor, and continued to discharge the duties of the office during nine years, being three times elected by the people. His election, in preference to his able and distinguished competitor, the Hon. James Ross, was the result of a warm conflict between the two great parties—federal and republican—which were then assuming those distinct political ranks into which, for many years, the people were divided. His success, through what was termed " the momentum of Pennsylvania politics,” paved the way for Mr. Jefferson's accession to the presidency, whose administration Mr. M'Kean vigorously supported. List of Governors of the Colonies on the Delaware, and of the Province and
State of Pennsylvania. ACCESS.
Exit. 1623. The Dutch planted a colony on the Delaware under Cornelius Jacob May, ap
pointed governor by the West India Company, under the authority of the
States General. 1624. William Useling appointed governor of the Swedish colony to be established
on the Delaware, (but he never came here.) 1630. David Peterson De Vries, (Dutch.) 1631. John Printz, (Swedish.) 1638. Peter Minuits, (Swedish, but himself a native of Holland.)
1640 1640. William Kieft-Dutch governor of New York. 1643. John Printz, (Swedish.)
1653 1653. Papegoia, (son-in-law to Printz.)
1654 1654. Risingh. 1657. Alrichs, 1658. John Paul Jaquet, under Stuyvesant, Dutch governor of New York. 1659. Beekman, 1664. Robert Carr—under Richard Nichols, English governor of New York. 1673. Anthony Colve-Dutch governor of New York. 1674. Sir Edmund Andross-English governor of New York. 1681. William Penn-founder of the province.
1684 1684. Governor's Council—Thomas Lloyd, president.
1687 1687. Five commissioners appointed by Wm. Penn.
1688 1688. John Blackwell, lieutenant-governor.
1690 1690. Governor's Council.
1691 1691. Thomas Lloyd-deputy governor.
1692 1692. Benjamin Fletcher-governor of New York.
1693 1693. William Markham-lieutenant-governor. 1700. William Penn.
1701 1701. Andrew Hamilton-deputy governor.
1704 1704. John Evans.
1709 1709. Charles Gookin.
1717 1717. Sir William Keith.
1726 1726. Patrick Gordon.
1736 1736. James Logan-president of council.
1738 1738. George Thomas-lieutenant-governor.
1747 1747. Anthony Palmer-president of council.
1748 1748. James Hamilton-lieutenant-governor.
1754 1754. Richard H. Morris, do.
1756 1756. Wm. Denny, do.
1759 1759. James Hamilton. do.
1763 17G3. John Penn. do.
1771 177t: Richard Penn. do.
1799 1808 1817
Exit. 1776. Thomas Wharton, Jun.-president of the Supreme Executive Council. 1778 1778. Joseph Reed,
1782 1782. John Dickinson,
1785 1785. Benjamin Franklin,
1788 1788. Thomas Mifflin.
1791 1791. Thomas Mifflin-governor under the constitution of 1790. 1799. Thomas M'Kean. 1808. Simon Snyder. 1817. William Finley,
1820 1820. Joseph Hiester.
1823 1823. John Andrew Shulze.
1829 1829. George Wolfe.
1835 1835. Joseph Ritner.
1839 1839. David Rittenhouse Porter—first under const. of 1838–2d term expires in Jan. 1845
The state of Pennsylvania, having purchased from the aborigines the whole territory within her chartered limits, and driven them beyond the boundary; having done her full share in the revolutionary contest; having, with the aid of the general government, quelled three civil wars within her own limits; having quieted all the boundary claims of neighboring states; and having, for the government of the domain thus acquired, established a well-balanced constitution on the principles of republican freedom, was now fully prepared to lay aside the implements of war, and devote all her energies to the arts of peace. If not the first, Pennsylvania was one of the first states to engage in the great system of public improvement. She merits unquestionably the praise of having constructed the first stone turnpike in the Union, and probably of having attempted the first canal over one hundred miles in length. Her noble stone bridges, some of them constructed as early as 1800, at an expense of $60,000 and $100,000, conferred upon her the name of the state of bridges. The stone turnpike, from Lancaster to Philadelphia, 62 miles, was commenced in 1792, and finished in 1794, at a cost of $465,000, by a private company, Between that period and the war of 1812, some thirty companies received charters from the state, and constructed many miles of road. As late as the year 1832, 220 turnpike companies had been authorized by law, although all did not finally proceed in the prosecution of their respective works; yet passable roads were made by these companies to the extent of about 3000 miles. A continuous line of stoned turnpike now extends from Trenton, on the Delaware, to the boundaries of Ohio. The cost of this thoroughfare, which is in length about 340 miles, including the bridges, has been ascertained to transcend that of the celebrated road of Napoleon over the Simplon.
William Penn himself was aware of the near approach of the headwaters of the Swatara and Tulpehocken creeks, and had foreseen their future connection. As early as 1762, it was proposed to connect the waters of Lake Erie and the Ohio with those of the Delaware ; and, as a part of the plan, Dr. David Rittenhouse and Rev. Wm. Smith surveyed à route for a canal between the Susquehanna and Schuylkill, by way of the Swatara and Tulpehocken. On the 29th Sept. 1791, a company to construct a canal by that route was incorporated; and another to make a canal from Norristown to the Delaware at Philadelphia, and to improve the navigation of the Schuylkill, was incorporated on the 10th April, 1792. After an expenditure of $440,000, these works were for a time suspended. In 1811 the two companies were united as the Uldon
Canal Co., and were then specially authorized to extend their canal to Lake Erie, should it be deemed expedient. The Union Canal was, after many delays and embarrassments, completed in 1827, thirty-seven years after the commencement of the work. The Schuylkill Navigation Company was incorporated in 1815; the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in 1801 ; the Lehigh Navigation, first company in 1798, and again in 1813 ; the Conewago Canal Co., (on the west side of the Susquehanna, around Conewago falls,) in 1793; the Lackawanna Navigation Company in 1817. These were among the earlier and more important attempts to improve the rivers and construct canals by private companies. Some of the works, however, lingered under embarrassing circumstances until a later day, when the opening of coal mines, and the development of other resources of the state, justified their completion.
During the war of 1812-14 with Great Britain, the enemy gained no foothold in Pennsylvania, nor did any very important event of the war occur in the state, except the preparation of Perry's victorious fleet at Erie, in the summer of 1813. (See Erie county.)
To carry out successfully the gigantic project of uniting the great eastern with the great western waters, was supposed to require an amount of capital, and of credit, beyond the control of any joint-stock company; and the preëminent power and credit of the state herself was enlisted in the enterprise. Unfortunately, to do this required legislative votes, and these votes were not to be had without extending the ramifications of the system throughout all the counties whose patronage was necessary to carry the measure. In March, 1824, commissioners were appointed to explore a route for a canal from Harrisburg to Pittsburg by way of the Juniata and Conemaugh, and by way of the West Branch of the Susquehanna, Sinnemahoning, and the Allegheny—and also between the head waters of Schuylkill, by Mahanoy creek, to the Susquehanna-with other projects. In 1825, canal commissioners were appointed to explore a number of routes in various directions through the state. In August, 1825, a convention of the friends of internal improvement, consisting of delegates from 46 counties, met at Harrisburg, and passed resolutions in favor of “opening an entire and complete communication from the Susquehanna to the Allegheny and Ohio, and from the Allegheny to Lake Erie, by the nearest and best practicable route.” The starting impulse being thus given, the great enterprise moved on, increasing in strength and magnitude as each successive legislature convened ; and the citizens of every section were highly excited, not to say intoxicated, with local schemes of internal improvement. Contemporaneously with these enterprises, anthracite coal began to be successfully introduced for family use; and besides the discovery of vast and rich deposits of this mineral almost exclusively in Pennsylvania, the circumstance was an additional reason for the construction of improvements. Iron mines and salt wells were also opened, stimulated by the high tariff of 1828; and the rich bituminous coal-fields west of the Allegheny invited enterprise and speculation to that quarter. To describe the various public works that grew out of the powerful impulse given from 1826 to 1836, would require of itself a small volume. Suffice it to say that, in Oct. 1834, the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad was opened for travelling: the main line of canal had been previously completed; and in the same month, on the comple
tion of the Allegheny Portage Railroad, an emigrants' boat, from the North Branch of the Susquehanna, actually passed over the Allegheny Mountains, with all its family on board, and being launched into the canal at Johnstown, proceeded on its route to St. Louis !
The commonwealth had not progressed far with her grand system of internal improvements, before there was perceived an equal necessity for a general system of education, to develop the mental resources of the citizens. William Penn had been careful to declare, in founding his colony, that “that which makes a good constitution must keep it, viz., men of wisdom and virtue, qualities that, because they descend not with worldly inheritance, must be carefully propagated by a virtuous education of youth ;” and in his frame of government had provided that the governor and provincial council “shall erect and order all public schools.” The first republican constitution of 1776 had decreed that “a school or schools shall be established in each county." The constitution of 1790 provided that "the legislature, as soon as may be, shall provide by law for the establishment of schools throughout the state, in such manner that the poor may be taught gratis.". Unfortunately, the legislature for many years overlooked that part of the provision which requires the “establishment of schools throughout the state," and devoted their more especial attention to provide “ that the poor may be taught gratis.” Colleges and numerous academies, it is true, were incorporated throughout the state, and generally endowed by the legislature, the conditions of endowment often being that a certain number of poor children should be taught gratis. These enactments were not, however, the result of a great general principle emanating from the government, but were granted at the voluntary and often tardy solicitation of individuals, societies, or counties. The provision for the poor was nearly inoperative, for few of the freemen of Pennsylvania, poor and illiterate though they might be, were willing to place the fact on the public records of the county. These laws were partial and local in their object, and limited in their application. In short, education was generally left to voluntary effort. There was no general system of education ; no efficient plan for furnishing, not to the poor alone, but to the people at large, the opportunity and the inducement to become intelligent. The extensive prevalence of the German language, or rather the Pennsylvanian dialect of the German, was not without a pernicious effect upon
the cause of education. There were German newspapers, but not a very plentiful supply of German books, in past years; and the consequence was, that the minds of that class of our population, though naturally strong, were to a great extent without ample means for cultivation, and education among them gradually declined. The number of people who could neither read nor write, in either language, had increased to an alarming extent, and became an object of ridicule to the people of other states who had been more careful to provide a proper system of education. The state at length awaked from her lethargy, about the year 1833; the legislature took the matter seriously in hand, and passed an act "to establish a general system of education by common schools," approved by Gov. George Wolfe on the 1st April, 1834. It is worthy of remark, as exhibiting the tardiness of the state upon this subject, that the legislative committee are found referring to the example and experience, among others, of the young state of Ohio. The law of 1834 was found,
in practice, to be defective in some points, and was amended in 1836. Under this law an excellent system has been gradually extended throughout the state, and promises, in the course of a few years, to raise up a whole generation of intelligent, well-educated youth. By this law the secretary of state is ex-officio the superintendent of common schools; a fund is provided for the support, in part, of the schools, while the supply of the other part is left to be made up by taxation, under prescribed forms, of the people in the several accepting districts; the state is laid off in school districts, generally corresponding with the township or borough divisions; and it is left optional with each township or district to decide for itself whether it will accept of the school law or not. If it accept, the taxes are assessed and the schools established accordingly, and its proper share of the general fund is received: if it do not accept, its share of the general fund is not received, and the citizens of the district are left to provide their own schools by voluntary effort, if they choose to have y; while the authorities of the township assess a tax upon the citizens for the education of the
From the Philadelphia Public Ledger. The following tables have been compiled from the reports of the superintendent. They show briefly, but comprehensively, the progress of the school system from the commencement, in 1836, to the end of the school year, 1841. The whole number of School Districts in the State—the number which have and which have not
155 Receipts and Expenditures of the several Common School Districts, exclusive of the City and
County of Philadelphia.
teaching, fuel, &c. 1835, $29,460 33 Not ascertained. Not ascertained. Not ascertained. 1836, 98,670 54 $207,105 37
$193,972 90 1837, 463,749 55 231,552 36
493,071 39 1838, 323,794 92 385,788 00
560,450 69 1839, 276,826 92 382,527 89
597,162 78 1840, 264,536 66 393,917 90 } 161,384 06
580,262 63 1841, 249,400 87 397,952 01
524,348 66 The whole number of Scholars taught in the Common @chools, and the average number of
months the Schools were open.
7 City and County of Philadelphia.-The schools in this district are not governed by the gene. ral law establishing a system of common-school education; but as they are organized in an im. portant section of the commonwealth, for the same purposes as the other common schools through. out the state, and receive an equal share of the annual appropriation, the following information in relation to them, taken principally from the reports of the controllers, is submitted.
The following table shows the annual receipts from the state and county treasury, the sums expended in purchasing and erecting schoolhouses, and the number of scholars educated in each year :