« ZurückWeiter »
tween the Free and the Slave States of the Union. In the uncertainty of origin, as there is for so many expressions, it is possible that Dixon has a memorial in the songster's designation of the land of the late Southern Confederacy as “Dixie.”
THE ACQUISITION AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE LAND.
The King's charter grants the soil-Europeans with anterior title Indian rights—Swedes and Dutch purchase-Bishop Compton advises Penn to do so, and such course necessary-Regulations protecting the red men-Quit rents-Feudal position of Penn- Pennsylvania "ground rents”—The vari. ous manors—Most of Penn's first sales in small quantities—The tracts of 10,000 acres cut upSales by Penn after his first visit—The Proprietor's “tenths”-Uniform price of other landMethod of selling and conveying—Conditions and Concessions to the first purchasers—The "Liberties” of the great town-Plan of PhiladelphiaHolme's survey—A colony and city on the Susquehanna projected—Warrants and patenting-Land Commissioners before Penn's second visit-Land legislation and disputes during the second visitSubsequent proceedings—The Land Office The Divesting Act.
The charter of King Charles II granted to William Penn and his heirs and assigns the soil, lands, isles, rivers, waters, &ct. within the limits or boundaries, with the fish and fishing and mines and quarries, and made him and his heirs and assigns “true and absolute proprietaries,” the King retaining allegiance and sovereignty and a fifth of the gold and silver ore clear of expense, and the King reserving a rent consisting of two beaver skins, to be delivered at Windsor Castle on the first of every January. The country and islands were erected “into a province and seigniorie."
Interfering, however, with the Proprietary's freedom to place tenants throughout the region were the rights of two kinds of human occupants: the Europeans who were already seated on particular lots of ground, and the aborigines, or supposed aborigines, miscalled Indians,-a name to which we must adhere,—who were making use of extended reaches.
It suited the purposes of England to claim that the soil on which the Swedes and Dutch had planted their North American colonies belonged all the while to her Crown by right of Cabot's discoveries, if not of acts concerning the region; but, as to all the inhabitants along the Delaware in 1664 who had not resisted the so-called recovery, justice and the King's promise and the Commissioners' stipulation forbade, while the amount of vacant land rendered unnecessary, the taking away of what a man or his father had acquired with the consent of his government, or improved by the expenditure of his money and labor. The undisposed of residue of the tracts held by rulers or political bodies was not under such immunity. In punishment for resisting the alleged rightful owner, the English confiscated the property of the Dutch Governor, the Schout, and others guilty of hostility, but, as to the other possessors of land, required merely that they surrender all old patents, and be supplied with new ones, because the old patents were upon condition of the holders being subjects of the United Belgic Provinces. Threats were made that a failure to obtain new patents would be punished with forfeiture; but a number of persons failed to comply, some hoping to avoid paying a quit rent. A rent appears to have been reserved in the old grants. This was demanded by the Duke's agents. In early patents, Nicolls reserved the quit rent to the King's use, payable yearly when demanded by the persons whom he would put in authority on Delaware River. Afterwards, the rents were often reserved to the Duke. According to Logan in 1709 (Penna. Archives, 2nd Series, Vol. XIX, p. 501), the government at New York fixed the rate at a bushel of wheat for every 100 acres.
Not only were claims by any one without an English patent liable to be disregarded some day by an English Proprietary, but if, indeed, the Duke of York had no title to the western bank of the Delaware, his grantees also, whether the Englishmen who came after the conquest or the foreigners who had been made subjects, were occupants without title. William Penn could not take advantage of this within the circle around New Castle and the region south of it; for there his only right was through the Duke. As to the old settlers in Pennsylvania proper, unfair as the eviction of them might be, and bad as Penn's position to attempt it would be, he having accepted from the Duke a release and confirmation of King Charles's patent, yet there was no security without a binding declaration from Penn. If a fresh contract was to be made with him, it would be upon the terms he would choose; if the old contract was to stand, he was to be the landlord, and take the rents formerly agreed upon. There were not many Englishmen within the limits of Pennsylvania at the date of King Charles's charter.
To the Swedes and very few others of foreign birth, as naturally more puzzled and fearful than the English occupants, Penn, on his first arrival, made reassuring speeches, and, moreover, he passed laws for title by seven years' quiet possession, and, in the Frame of Government of 2mo. 2, 1683, confirmed to all inhabitants of the Province or Territories, whether purchasers or others, full and quiet enjoyment of all lands to which they respectively had any lawful or equitable claim, saving only such rents and services for the same as were “or customarily ought to be reserved to me my heirs or assigns." Very early-Acrelius says that it was on June 14, 1683,-he sent for all the patents of the old inhabitants for inspection, and offered new patents. To make room for his capital city and its suburbs called “Liberties,” he cut down the size, or took away the whole, of certain plantations, designating other land in compensation. His persuasiveness, mingled, perhaps, with some fear of him, accomplished a great design so beneficial to the public that it would have justified, if within his authority, acts of eminent domain. Probably also his surveyors corrected lines. All this seems the foundation of the complaint that he reduced the possessions of the older inhabitants. Rev. Israel Acrelius, Provost of the Swedish Churches in America, says, in his work generally quoted as History of New Sweden, that some thousands of acres of swampy land covered with water at high tide, had been used as pasturage, although not included within the old metes and bounds, and such were, upon resurveys, cut off from the adjoining plantations, and that the new patents charged three or four times the old quit rent, so that the occupants who did not surrender their deeds kept the land they were using, and did not assume increased rent. Some of those who did surrender their deeds did not take out new patents, which, besides having to be paid for, seemed sufficiently objectionable in reserving even at the old rate a rent to be paid to Penn and his heirs and assigns. An idea had spread that the old landholders, being tenants of the King, or, rather, of the Duke, whom these foreigners confused with the King, were not bound to pay rent to any one else, and were free so long as the King did not make the requisite demand. It is noticeable that the King's patent does not in so many words give to Penn the rents and reversions of lands already granted within the region: but the Duke of York's release especially conveys all the rents &ct. which he had.