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it consisted of delegates from the various little settlements. Acting under his guidance this assembly adopted a set of regulations for the government of the people, which was called “The Great Law.” Its leading provisions were these:
(a) The Colonial Government must not act in an oppressive or arbitrary manner.
(b) All taxpayers might vote, and public office might be held by any Christian, no matter what his creed.
(c) Each colonist might worship God as he saw fit; he
could not be compelled, against his will, to attend or support any particular church.
(d) Prisoners were to work and learn trades, and efforts should be made to reform them. This was the first law enacted by English people, recognizing the duty of reforming criminals.
(e) Only treason and murder were to be punished by death. (f) Like the Puritans the Pennsylvania assembly laid
heavy penalties on swearing, lying, dueling, drunkenness, gambling, clamorous scolding and railing with their tongues," and attendance on
stage plays” and cruel public sports.
(g) Children over twelve years of age must be taught trades or other useful occupations.
(h) And what was very important, all laws were to be strictly obeyed, no matter who might be the offender.
104. The Great Treaty with the Indians. During the early summer, Penn held a council with the neighboring Indians under a large elm tree, where for many years such conferences had been held between the savages themselves. Here, after much feasting, speech-making, smoking of peace-pipes, shaking of hands, and
THE PENN TREATY WAMPUM BELT gifts of
peace - belts made of wampum, ceremonies of which our Indians have always been fond, the aborigines solemnly promised to be the lasting friends of these peace-loving Quakers, to whom they sold large tracts of land on which to settle. Both acted throughout in a spirit of brotherhood, and the agreement which they signed has ever since been known as the Great Treaty.
Indeed, in all the colonies, the Quakers, whom the aborigines called “Penn's men,” in the treatment of their red neighbors followed the Golden Rule; and nearly everywhere they suffered far less from Indian attacks than did other white men.
105. The Mason and Dixon Line. The boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland was not clearly described in
1 This was at Shackamaxon, afterwards Kensington, now a part of Philadelphia. The “treaty tree" was destroyed by a storm in 1810.
· The wampum peace-belt presented to Penn by the Indians represents, in rude figures of beadwork, Penn grasping hands with the local chief. It is larger than those used on ordinary occasions, being twenty-six inches long by nine inches wide, and thus indicates the significance attached to the treaty by the Indians. This interesting relic is still preserved by the Pennsylvania Historical Society at Philadelphia.
the charters of the two colonies, and serious disputes arose as to where it should be. Nearly a hundred years passed before the Penn and Baltimore families came to an agreement concerning it. In 1767 two London mathematicians, named Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, surveyed and marked for them a satisfactory boundary for two hundred and forty-six miles, and this has ever since been called the “ Mason and Dixon line." It is famous in history, because in time it came also to be a part of the boundary between the free and the slave states. 1
106. Later history of Pennsylvania. Although Pennsylvania's treatment of the Indians was wise, and her colonial laws more liberal than those adopted by most of her neighbors, there was constant trouble in the province. The different nationalities, English, Welsh, Scotch-Irish, Swedes, Dutch, Germans, and French, could not agree with each other; and the colonists grumbled loudly at having, year after year, to pay rent to Penn for their land — yet this was the only way in which he could be repaid for his great expenses.? Nevertheless, Pennsylvania prospered in commerce and agriculture, and became more populous than any other colony except Virginia and Massachusetts; and Philadelphia soon became one of the most important and best-built cities in North America. Within two years of its founding, it had a population of two thousand souls.
107. Delaware. New Netherland extended as far as the Delaware River. As early as 1631, some Dutch patroons came over from Hudson River, and planted farming settlements and fur-trading posts along Delaware Bay and River,
1 In reference to this line, the South is popularly called “Dixie,” which is a corruption of Dixon, who represented the Southern claimant, Lord Balti
2 Penn stayed in the colony for nearly two years after his arrival. He made a second and last visit from 1699 to 1701. So long as he was present the colonists were quiet, for he had great influence over them; but those who governed for him when he was absent were not so tactful, and thus brought on much trouble for themselves. • After Penn's death (1718) his rights fell to his heirs. In 1778 Pennsylvania annulled the charter, and allowed these heirs $650,000 for their unsettled lands in the State.
in what is now the State of Delaware; but the Indians soon destroyed these colonies.
After the departure of the Dutch, a party of Swedish fur traders appeared (1638), built a log stockade named Fort Christina, after their Queen, on the site of Wilmington, and called the region New Sweden. Governor Stuyvesant was enraged at the way in which these foreigners made themselves at home on land claimed by Holland; so in 1655 he went with an armed fleet and forced them to surrender their post, thus putting an end to New Sweden.
When, nine years later, the English captured all Dutch territory in the Middle Colonies, Lord Baltimore asked Charles II to give him what had been New Sweden. But Penn also wanted this small tract, so that his colonists might have direct access to the ocean, and his wish was granted. After a few years he added it to his province of Pennsylvania, although he allowed it to have its own assembly and deputy governor. Later, in 1704, the little strip was made a separate colony, under the name of Delaware, but it long had the same governor as Pennsylvania.
QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS 1. Upon what claim did the English base their demand for the surrender
of New Amsterdam? 2. How did it happen that New Amsterdam was later called New York? 3. Name four events of interest to you in the early history of New York. 4. What reasons can you give for the marvelous growth of New York City? 5. The Hudson River is famous for the beauty of its scenery; it is also
interesting because of historical events connected with it. Make from
time to time a list of these events in your notebook. 6. Give a brief account of the settlement of New Jersey. 7. Account for the rapid growth of New Jersey from its settlement to the
present time. 8. What was the motive for the settlement of Pennsylvania? 9. Give your estimate of William Penn. 10. Name some of the liberal provisions of Penn's charter and the Great
Law. Of what other great Englishman, the founder of a colony, does
Penn remind you? 11. Contrast the Quakers of Pennsylvania and the colonists of Virginia
and Massachusetts, in their relations to the Indians. 12. Explain the name “Dixie.”
COMPOSITION SUBJECTS 1. Contrast New Amsterdam with New York of to-day. 2. A character study of Governor Peter Stuyvesant. 3. Describe the signing of “The Great Treaty." Quote from the speeches
you imagine William Penn and the Indians to have made. This may
be dramatized. 4. Describe either of the two following incidents in the life of William
Penn: (a) the King gives him Pennsylvania; (6) his arrival in Philadelphia.
CHAPTER OUTLINE 1. The Dutch fur traders. 2. The growth of New Amsterdam and the character of its inhabitants. 3. Its capture by the English. 4. Disputes with governing officials. 5. Founding of New Jersey. 6. William Penn and the beginning of Pennsylvania. 7. Penn's plan of government. 8. Relations with the Indians. 9. Boundary dispute with Maryland. 10. Beginning of Delaware.