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Conventions

AND

CONSTITUTIONS

OF

PENNSYLVANIA.

PART I.

Chapter I. The Royal Charter granted to William Penn,

Esq. Proprietary and Governor of Pennsylvania

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CHARLES the second, by the grace of God, king of England, Scotland,

France and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. Io all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:

Whereas our trusty and well beloved subject William Penn, Esq. şon and heir of sir William Penn, deceased (out of a commendable desire to enlarge our English empire, and proinote such useful commodities as may be of benefit to us and to our dominions, as also to reduce the

savage natives by gentle and just manners to the love of civil soci. ety and christian religion) hath humbly besought leave of us to transport an ample colony unto a certain country hereinafter described, in the parts of America not yet cultivated and planted; and hath likewise humbly besought our royal majesty, to give, grant and confirm all the said country, with certain privileges and jurisdictions requisite for the good government and safety of the said country and colony, to him and his heirs for ever:

Section 1. Know ye, therefore, that we favouring the petition and good purpose of the said Williain Penn, and having regard to the memo. ry and merits of his late father in divers services, and particularly to his conduct,courage and discretion, under our dearest brother James duke of York, in that signal battle and victory fought and obtained against the Dutch fleet, commanded by the Heer Van Opdam, in the year 1663: In consideration thereof of our special grace, certain knowledge and mere motion) have given and granted, and by this our present charter, for us our heirs and successors, to give and grant unto the said William · Penn, his heirs and assigns, all that tract or part of land in America with all the islands therein contained, as the same is bounded on the east by Delaware river, from twelve miles distance northwards of New Castle town unto the three and fortieth degree of northern latitude, if the said river doth extend so far northward: but if the said river shall not extend so far north wards, then by the said river so far as it doth extend; and from the head of the said river the eastern bounds are to be determined by a peridian line, to be drawn from the head of the said river unto the saių three and fortieth degree. The said lands to extend westwards five degrees in longitude, to be computed from the said eastern bounds; and the said lands to be bounded on the north by the beginning of the three and fortieth degree of northern latitude, and on the south by a circle drawn at twelve miles distance from New Castle northwards; and westwards unto the beginning of the fortieth degree of northern latitude, and then by a straight live westavards to the limits of longitude, above mentioned.

Sect. 2. We do also give and grant unto the said William Penn, his heirs and assigns, the free and undisturbed --use and continuance in, and passage unto, and out of all and singular ports, harbours, bays, waters, rivers, isles and inlets, belonging unto, or leading to and from the country or islands aforesaid, and all the soil, lands, fields, woods, underwoods, mountains, hills, fens, isles, lakes, rivers, waters, rivulets, bays and inlets, situate or being within, or belonging unto the limits and bounds aforesaid, together with the fishing of all sorts of fish, whales, sturgeons, and all royal and other fishes, in the seas, bays, inlets, waters, or rivers, within the premises, and the fish therein taken; and also all veins, mines and quarries, as well discovered as not discovered, of gold, silver, gems and precious stones, and all other whatsoever, be it stonse, metals or of any other thing or matter whatsoever, ..found or to be found within the country, isles or limits aforesaid.

. Sect. 3. And him the said William Penn, his heirs and assigns, we do by this our royal charter, for us, our heirs and successors, make, create and constitute the true and absolute proprietaries of the coun-try aforesaid, and of all other the premises: Saving always to us, our -heirs and successors, the faith and allegiance of the said William Penn, his heirs and assigns, and of all other the proprietaries' tenants and inhabitants, that are or shall be within the territories and precincts aforesaid; and saving always unto us, our heirs and successors, the sovereignty of the aforesaid countries; to have, hold, possess and enjoy the said tract of land, country, isles, inlets, and other the premises, unto the said William Penn, his heirs and assigns, to the only proper use and behoof of the said William Penn, his heirs and assigns for ever, to be holden of us, our heirs and successors, kings of England, as of our castle of Windsor, in our county of Berks, in free and common socage, by fealty only for all services, and not in capite, or by knights service: Yielding and paying therefor to us, our heirs and successors, two beaver skins, to be delivered at our said castle of Windsor, on the first day of January in every year; and also the fifth part of all gold and silver ore which shall from time to time happen to be found within the limits aforesaid, clear of all charges. And of our surther grace, - certain knowledge, and mere motion, we have thought fit to erect, and me do hereby erect the aforesaid country and islands into a province

and seignory, and do call it Pennsylvania, and so from henceforth we will have ii called.

Sect. 4. Au forasmuch as we have hereby made and ordained the aforesaid William Penn, his heirs and assigns, the true and absolute proprietaries of all the lands and duminions aforesaid, koow ye, there. fore, that we (reposing special trust and confidence in the fidelity, wise dom, justice and provident circumspection of the said William Penn) for us our heirs and successors, do grant free, full and absolute power, (by virtuc of these presents) to him and his heirs, and to his and their deputies and lieutenants, for the good and happy government of the said country, to ordain, make and enect, and under his and their seals to publish any laws-whatsoever, for the raising of money for the public use of the said province, or for any other end, appertaining either unto the public state, peace or safety of the said country, or unto the private utility of particular persons, according unto their best discretion, by and with the advice, assent and approbation of the freemen of the said.country, or the greater part of them or of their delegates or deputies, whom for the enacting of the said laws, when and as often as need shall require, we will that the said William Penn, and his heirs, shall assemblein such sort and form, as to him and them shall scem best, and the same laws duly to execute, unto and upon all people within the said country and limits thereof.

Sect. 5. And we do likewise give and grant unto the said William Penn, and his heirs, and to his and their deputies' and lieutenants, such power and authority to appoint and establish any judges and jus« tices, magistrates and other officers whatsoever, for what causes soever (for the probates of wills; and for the granting of administrations within the precincts aforesaid) and with what power soever, and in such forms as to the said William Penn, or his heirs shall seem most convenient: Also to remit, release, pardon and abolish (whether before judgment of aster) all crimes and offences whatsoever, committed, within the said country against the said laws (treason and wilful and malicious murder cnly excepted, and in those cases to grant reprieves, until our pleasure may be known therein) and to do all and every other thing and things, which unto the complete establishment of justice unto courts and tribunals, forms of judicature, and manner of proceedings, do belong, although in these presents express mention be not made thereof; and by judges by them delegated, to award processy hold pleas, and determine in all the said courts and tribunals all actions, suits and causes whatsoever, as well criminal as civil, personal, real and mixed: which laws, so as aforesaid to be published, our pleasure is, and so we enjoin, require and command, shall be most absolute and available in law; and that all the liege people and subjects of us, our heirs and successors, do observe and keep the same inviolable in those parts, so far as they concern them, under the pain therein expressed, or to be expressed. Provided nevertheless, that the said laws be consonant to reason, and be not repugnant or contrary, but (as near as conveniently may be) agreeable to the laws, statutes and rights of this our kingdom of England; and saving and reserving to us, our heirs and successors, the receiving, hearing and determining of the appeal and appeals of all or any person or persons, of, in, or belong. ing to the territories aforesaid, or touching any judgment to be there made or given.

Sect. 6. And forasmuch as in the government of so great a country, sudden accidents do often happen, whereứnto it will be necessary to apply a remedy, before the freeholders of the said province, or their delegates or deputies, can be assembled to the making of laws; neither 'will it be convenient that instantly, upon every such emergent occasion, so great a multitude should be called together: Therefore (for the beta ter government of the said country) we will and ordain, and by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, do grant unto the said Wil. Liam Penn, and his heirs, by themselves, or by their magistrates and officers, in that behalf duly to be ordained as aforesaid, to make and constitute fit and wholesome ordinances from time to time, within the said country to be kept and observed, as well for the preservation of the peace, as for the better government of the people there inhabiting; and publicly to notify the same to all persons, whom the same doth or any way may concern.

Which ordinances, our will and pleasure is, shall be observed inviolably within the said province, under the pains therein to be expressed, so as the said ordinances be consonant to reason, and be not repugnant nor contrary, but (so far as conveniently may be) agreeable to the laws of our kingdom of England, and so as the said ordinances be not extended in any sort to bind, charge, or take. away the right or interest of any person or persons, for or in their life, members, freehold, goods or chattles. And our further will and pleasure is, that the laws for regulating and governing of property within the said province, as well for the descent and enjoyment of lands, as likewise for the enjoyment and succession of goods and chattles, and likewise as to felonies, shall be and continue the same, as they shall be for the time being by the general course of the law in our kingdom of England, until the said laws shall be altered by the said William Penn, his heirs or assigns, and by the freemen of the said province, their delegates or deputies, or the greater part of them.

Sect. 7. And to the end that the said William Penn, or heirs, or other the planters, owners or inhabitants of the said province, may not at any time hereafter (by misconstruction of the powers aforesaid) through inadvertency or design, depart from that faith and due allegiance, which by the laws of this our realm of England, they and all our subjects, in our dominions and territories, always owe unto us, our heirs and successors, by colour of any extent or largeness of powers hereby given, or pretended to be given, or by force or colour of any laws hereafter to be made in the said province, by virtue of any such powers; our further will and pleasure is, that a transcript or dupli. cate of all laws, which shall be so as aforesaid made and published within the said province, shall within five years after the making thereof be transmitted and delivered to the privy council, for the time being, of us, our heirs and successors: And if any of the said laws, within the space of six months after that they siall be so transmitted and delivered, be declared by us, our heirs or successors, in our or their privy council, inconsistent with the sovereignty or lawful prerogative of us, our heirs or successors, or contrary to the faith and allegiance due to the legal government of this realm, from the said William Penn, or his heirs, or of the planters and inhabitants of the said province, and that thereupon any of the said laws shall be adjudga ed and declared to be void by us, our heirs or successors, under our or their privy seal, that then and from thenceforth, such laws, concerning which such judgment and declaration shall be made, shall become void:

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Otherwise the said laws so transmitted shall remain and stand in full force, according to the true intent and meaning thereof.

Sect. 8. Furthermore, that this new colony may the more happily encrease, by the multitude of people resorting thither; therefore we, for us, our heirs and successors, do give and grant by these presents, power, licence and liberty unto all the liege people and subjects, both present and future, of us, our heirs and successors (excepting those who shall be especially forbidden) to transport themselves and families unto the said country, with such convenient shipping as by the laws of this our kingdom of England they ought to use, and with fitting provision, paying only the customs therefor due, and there to settle themselves, dwell and inhabit, and plant, for the public and their own private advantage.

Sect. 9. And furthermore, that our sabjects may be the rather ena couraged to undertake this expedition with ready and cheerful minds, know ye, that we, of our especial grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, do give and grant, by virtue of these presents, as well unto the said William Penn, and his heirs, as to all others who shall from time to time repair unto the said country, with a purpose to inhabit there, or to trade with the natives of the said country, full licence to lade and freight in any ports whatsoever, of us, our heirs and successors according to the laws made or to be made within our kingdom of England, and into the said country, by them their servants or assigns, to transport all and singular their goods, wares and merchandises, as likewise all sorts of grain whatsoever, and all other things whatsoever, necessary for food or clothing, not prohibited by the laws and statutes of our kingdoms and dominions to be carried out of the said kingdoms, without any let or molestation of us, our heirs and successors; or of any the officers of us, our heirs and successors, saying always to us, our heirs and successors, the legal impositions, customs, and other duties and payments, for the said wares and merchandise, by any law or statute due or to be due to us, our heirs and successors.

Sect. 10. And we do further, for us, our heirs and successors, give and grant unto the said William Penn, his heirs and assigns, free and absolute power to divide the said country and islands into towns, hundreds and counties, and to erect and incorporate towns into boroughs, and boroughs into cities, and to make and constitute fairs and markets therein, with all other convenient privileges and immunities, according to the merit of the inhabitants, and the fitness of the places, and to do all and every other thing and things touching the premises, which to him or them shall seem requisite and meet, albeit they be such as of their own nature might otherwise require a more especial commandment and warrant than in these presents is expressed.

Sect. 11. We will also, and by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, we do give and grant licence by this our charter, unto the said William Penn, his heirs and assigns, and to all the inhabitants and dwellers in the province aforesaid, both present and to come, to import or unlade, by themselves or their servants, factors or assigns, all merchandises and goods whatsoever, that shall arise of the fruits and commodities of the said province, either by land or sea, into any of the ports of us, our heirs or successors, in our kingdom of England, and not into any other country whatsoever: And we give him full power to dispose of the said goods in the said ports; and in within one year next after the unlading of the same, to lade che said

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