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152 A Quaker Experiment in Government.
The Assembly became alarmed at the threats to exclude Quakers from office by the imposition of oaths, and were ready to take advice of the Governor. He shrewdly intimated that they would secure favor at court by re-adopting the criminal laws of England so far as they would apply to Pennsylvania. Hence the act of 1718 “ for the advancement of justice and the more certain administration thereof," the very act which as we have seen made an affirmation as good in law as an oath, contained also the authority to inflict the penalty of death upon a dozen crimes, including robbery, burglary, malicious maiming, arson, and manslaughter by stabbing, to which was afterward added counterfeiting.
This act was passed by a Quaker Assembly, drawn up by a Quaker lawyer, and its acceptance by the Crown brought with it a sense of relief and satisfaction to a Quaker community. The royal approbation was triumphantly announced by the Governor, securing on the one hand liberty to hold office without taking an oath, and on the other the great extension of capital punishment. Penn and his liberal penal code died in the same year. This act was in force till after the revolution. Not only was the existing law adopted as the Governor advised, “ as the sum
and result of the experience of the ages," but persons convicted or attainted were to suffer “ as the laws of England now do or hercafter shall direct." If there was any testimony in Quakerism against capital punishment, which there does not appear to have been prior to the Revolution, it was bartered, and the right to make laws was surrendered to the English power. That in defence of a principle fully accepted Friends could brave all dangers had been fully proven, and the only explanation of their anomalous position is that the taking of life judicially was not at that time an iniquity in their eyes. The question was one of expediency upon which a compromise could properly be made.
doctrine of universal divine light seemed to give encouragement to do missionary work among them. George Fox again and again in his letters urges ministers to convey to the Indians the messages of Christ's life and death, and God's love for them.* The Indians responded as if they knew the reality of the indwelling of the Great Spirit. On that point their theory and that of the Quakers agreed, and this may have been the basis of the bond of sympathy which existed between them.
On the “18th of the Eighth month (October), 1681," the Proprietor sent by his cousin and deputy, William Markham, a lettert to the In
No phase of early Pennsylvania history needs less defense than the Indian policy of the colonists. The “Great Treaty” at Shackamaxon has been immortalized by West on canvas and Voltaire in print, and historians have not hesitated to do it ample justice. The resulting seventy years of peace and friendship, as contrasted with the harassing and exterminating wars on the boundaries of nearly all the other colonies, attest its practical utility. The date of the treaty is more or less uncertain, its place rests on tradition, and its objects are not positively known.* It seems probable that it occurred in June, 1683, under the elm tree whose location is now marked by a stone, and that it was held for the double purpose of making a league of friendship and of purchasing lands.
There can be no doubt of Penn's benevolent intentions regarding the Indians. The Quaker
• " Pennsylvania Magazine," Vol. VI., pages 217 to 238. Article by Frederick D. Stone, which is frequently used in the succeeding pages.
“ You must instruct and teach your Judians and negroes and all others how that Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man, and gave himself a ransom for all men, and is the propitiation not for the sins of Christians only but for the sins of the whole world.”-G. F., in 1879.
• "And God hath poured out his spirit upon all flesh, and so the Indians must receive God's spirit. . . . And let them know that they have a day of salvation, grace and favor of God offered unto them; if they will receive it it will be their blessing."-G. F., in 1888.
7" My Friends : There is a great God and power that hath made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I and all people owe their being and well-being; to whom you and I must one day give an account for all that we do in the world.
" This great God hath written his law in our hearts, by