Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

without any humanitarian or moral ideas, Penn would have found no other course open to him than purchasing the Indian claim. The practice being so well established on both sides of the Delaware, the Indians would have driven out intruders. No leader without an army such as it was impracticable to keep, could have dared at the time to rouse in the savages a sense of being wronged.

In Penn's early prospectus called Some Account of the Province of Pennsylvania,he offered shares amounting to 5000 acres “free of Indian claims." In his early deeds, he covenanted to clear, acquit, and discharge the conveyed lands from all manner of titles and claims of any Indians, or natives of the province. This extinguishment of supposed paramount title, where not already accomplished before his time, was duly prosecuted. The district in which any of those early purchases were located became clear of Indian claims; and it continued to be a rule with him and his family and the land agents of any of them not to authorize a survey of any lot outside of what had been bought from the Indians.

Before any purchase of land from them was made by Penn or under his authority, he turned his mind to the two races dwelling together or in proximity with each other in harmony. The principle that only he could acquire the land which on March 4, 1680-1, belonged to the red men, eliminated the most important subject from the dealings of private individuals, and this was enforced by an act of 1683 punishing with fine and loss of the land involved any purchasing of land from the natives without leave from the Proprietary and Governor or his Deputy. Where there unavoidably would be contact, Penn undertook to secure fair and right dealing. In the Conditions and Concessions agreed upon in England on July 11, 1681, between him and the adventurers, the plan of selling goods in public market under public stamp was made to embrace all buying from and selling to an Indian, and affronts or wrongs to an Indian were to be punished as if done to a fellow planter, any abuse by an Indian was not to be revenged by the planter abused, but left for satisfaction to a magistrate and the King of said Indian, differences were to be decided by a jury half of one race, half of the other, the Indians were to have the same liberty as any of the planters as to the improvement of their ground and the providing of sustenance for their families.

By Penn's instructions of Sep. 30, 1681, to his Commissioners, Crispin, Bezar, and Allen, these articles of the Conditions were to be read to the Indians in their own tongue; then presents sent over for their Kings were to be given, and a friendship and league according to the Conditions was to be made, and this the said Crispin and others were faithfully to keep. The Assembly of 1683 enacted part of the Conditions in this shape: That on any damage done to the persons or estates of the inhabitants by any Indian, notice should be given to the King of the tribe to bring the Indian to trial before six freemen of the County and six of the near-by Indians; if such a trial were refused, the County Court should impose fine or other punishment: if any person in the Province or Territories injured an Indian, he should be tried by six freemen and six of the same tribe of Indians, the Indian King to be notified to be present.

Indians were allowed by an Act of Assembly a bounty for killing wolves. From 1690 until 1724, this was the same as paid to white men. Such had been the rule in the days of Nicolls.

Sale of strong drink to an Indian except by the Governor's license, and even the unauthorized giving of strong drink to an Indian, had been prohibited in the laws published by Nicolls. This not being in 1681 still in force in the Duke of York's possessions, and Penn's officers having forbidden the sale in his province, several Indians on Oct. 8, 1681, petitioned Lieutenant-Governor Markham to take off the prohibition until the sale should be stopped at New Castle, because the Indians were going down there to buy rum, and getting more "debauched” than before. Altogether the Indians were rather hypocritical temperance advocates, and rarely aided any approach towards teetotalism. Sale or exchange was absolutely prohibited in the Great Law passed at Chester after Penn's arrival. Subsequently the Governor and Council were authorized to suspend this law upon making agreement with the Indians that they submit to the same punishment for drunkenness as the other inhabitants, viz: fine or imprisonment on bread and water at hard labor. The law itself remained in force until Fletcher's time.

The Indians having been aggrieved in trade by strangers in Pennsylvania &ct., a law was proposed by the Assembly in 1693, and enacted by Fletcher, then Royal Governor in Penn's place, and was subsequently under Penn re-enacted, forbidding from trading with Indians all non-residents either on shore or aboard any vessel, except such as had come with their families with intent to settle, and forbidding the inhabitants of the Province and Territories to trade with the Indians privately in the woods, or at the wigwams or Indian towns, or anywhere but at the trader's own dwelling-house.

On 3mo. 17, 1701, Penn and his Councillors came to the conclusion that the Indian trade should be put into the hands of a company, which should take measures to set before the savages good examples of probity and candor, both in commerce and behavior, and that care should be taken to instruct them in the “fundamentals of Christianity.” In further considering the matter on the 31st, it was thought that there ought to be a joint stock in which all persons, especially the old traders, should be free to share, observing rules to be laid down by the government, and that no rum be sold to any but the chiefs, and in the quantities which the Governor and Council should see fit. The Assembly failed to agree with Penn upon a bill to regulate the Indian trade further than to prohibit the sale or gift of rum, brandy, or other spirits mixed or unmixed, and to forfeit any pawn taken from the Indians for any goods, the pledging of guns, kettles, &ct. having prevented some of the red men from gaining their livelihood by hunting.

It will be shown in the next chapter that by the time William Penn ended his first visit to America he had secured from the Delaware Indians, or Lenni Lenape, or had had them confirm to him the eastern end of the present Bucks County from the Jericho Hills to the Neshaminy, and also the land at the headwaters of the Neshaminy and Pennypack Creeks and across to Chester Creek beyond the ridge called the Conshohocken hills. In 1685, his agents secured the frontage on Delaware River and Bay from Chester Creek to Duck Creek, the frontage between Chester Creek and the Neshaminy apparently having been recognized as ceded to the whites, although later some further confirmation was made. Some deeds professed to grant an extensive region even south of Duck Creek and near or on the Chesapeake and Susquehanna. During his second visit, he bought on both sides of the last named river from the ancient owners.

Penn stated late in life that he had bought the land of the natives dear. Even as to those who left to him the quantity and character of goods making up the consideration, we may judge that he did not abuse the confidence of the “untutored,” for there are lists of the articles given to two of the unbusiness-like ones. Misleading is any attempt to contrast the present values of a suburban plateau and a gun; for at that time, the Indians had plenty of plateaux and few guns. Nor were those who sold at once shut out of the region sold: it seems that when the land was actually taken by settlers, these former owners were allowed to have their residence the village and corn-patches-on part of what had been made a Proprietary manor.

By the course of the early officials, Dutch, Swedish, and English, and of the Quaker pioneers in dealing with the savages, not only was peace secured for the settlers, but also, at a price which it paid the European to give, and the Indian to take, land was allotted to civilized man, who, except in the surreptitious promotion of drunkenness, was useful to the uncivilized.

The land within the bounds of the King's grant not held by white men, and not still claimed by Indians, Penn undertook to sell or lease, or to cutivate by his own laborers.

In his first prospectus aforesaid, Some Account &ct., he named as the consideration for a sale a principal sum and, in addition thereto, an annual quit rent starting after 1684. This disproves as far as concerns most of the quit rents the statement, made by the Assembly of 1755, that the quit rents were sprung upon the first purchasers, and were acquiesced in only upon Penn's statement that they would take the place of taxes for a salary to him as Governor. It is true, as will be shown, that there arose a question about quit rents, but only those upon lots in the City.

An old act of Parliament, beginning with the words Quia emptores terrarum," had directed that when owners of land in fee simple conveyed a piece in fee simple, the purchaser should hold feudally of the lord of whom the seller had held, but King Charles II, in the charter to Penn, authorized him and his heirs and assigns, notwithstanding this, to sell in fee simple, and retain feudal lordship of the piece sold. They were especially authorized to erect parcels of the territory into manors, and to hold courts baron or views of frank

« ZurückWeiter »