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pledge, and to grant estates to be held of such manors. More than this, the Proprietaries could interpose subordinate barons between themselves and the actual owners of the plantations; for the Proprietaries' license could authorize the purchaser of land in fee from them similarly to erect it into a manor, and to hold such courts within it, and to grant in fee simple to be held of such manor; but on all further or other alienations, the lands were to be held of the lord of whom the alienor had held them. In spite of the last mentioned restriction upon subinfeudation, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, after the American Revolution, decided that the statute Quia emptores was never in force in Pennsylvania, and that our ordinary "ground rents," as we call them, are services incident to feudal tenure.
William Penn granted the power to hold manorial courts to the Free Society of Traders, whose 20,000 acres he erected into the manor of Frank, and to Dr. Nicholas More, whose 10,000 acres were to be called the manor of Moreland. The license to More was dated Aug. 21, 1682. There is a tradition that More built a jail, no doubt for joint use with the Society of Traders, he being President of the Society. Besides these and the tracts reserved for the Proprietary himself, over which, of course, he could hold court, there were several blocks of 10,000 acres, and even some smaller ones, subsequently laid out as manors for certain of his relations. Against them and his wife's brethren, the Peningtons, he did not enforce a certain article of the Conditions, hereinafter mentioned, dated July 11, 1681, viz: that no purchaser of over one thousand acres should have more than one thousand in one tract, unless he planted a family on every thousand within three years. Nor did Penn or these relations or connections suffer the loss of location by violation of another article, viz: that every one should plant, or man, his surveyed land within said period, or be obliged to move off on being reimbursed the cost of the survey. The Assembly of 1755 thought Penn himself within the rule: and he and the others probably put settlers upon these tracts ultimately. Every tract of 10,000 acres belonging to one owner came to be spoken of as a manor; and it is likely that Penn contemplated erecting as such, when peopled, even the tracts of that size of persons outside of his family: witness his direction in 1701 for a license of that kind for the Growdons' 10,000 acres or even for Joseph Growdon's 5000. In a deed of 1685 to Eneas Mackpherson alias Chatone of Inveressie in Scotland, esquire, for 5000 acres, the Proprietary erected them into a manor to be called the manor of Inveressie, with power to hold manorial courts; but claim under this deed, being made for the first time to the later Penns, was rejected.
William Penn, no doubt, could have gotten a quick return by "unloading” large shares of his province upon wealthy acquaintances, such, for instance, as those who were Proprietors of East Jersey, under whom great tracts might long lie waste, or upon those who would give considerable money to be local barons, who would make the colony less attractive to a poor man. Penn's great purpose, however, in obtaining a large territory and freedom to govern it, was to plant a colony, not to engage in real estate speculation. He surely hoped for some profit in the end; but the vision of a commonwealth based upon his ideas dominated his proceedings. Not merely was it to be a refuge for those oppressed on account of religion, although as such it would attract many, and particularly those with whom he had most influence, but it was to flourish with an industrious population. Not to interfere with the opportunities of such, he, in August or September, 1681, refused £6000 more than half the principal of the Crown's debt to his father—for 30,000 acres and a monopoly of the Indian trade from the Delaware to the Susquehanna, he to have, moreover, two and a half per cent of the profits of the trade. The Free Society of Traders had no such monopoly. Penn's first thought was to sell one hundred "shares," as he called them, of his land, each containing 5000 acres, and to let as much as he could to renters in lots not exceeding 200 acres, adding 50 acres for transporting a servant, and granting 50 acres to the servant at the expiration of the term of service. Very soon, however, the size of the lots to be sold was varied, and, in the sales of over 550,000 acres, made before 3mo. (May) 22, 1682, a tract was in some instances as small as 125 acres, and, in the majority of cases, less than 1000 acres. Besides Nicholas More, the greatest purchaser before May 22, 1682, was William Bacon of the Middle Temple. He did not remove to Pennsylvania, but soon sold his 10,000 acres in pieces. Some blocks of 10,000 acres were purchased respectively by two or more persons, so that the process of division began at once; while, with the large holdings, the descent to a number of owners, and the tempting prices early obtainable through the development of the country, brought about a break up or curtailment. Dr. More died in 1687; his widow, Mary, who married John Holmes, died in 1694. The death of two of the Doctor's children, Samuel and Rebecca, without issue tended to the concentration of the property, but, under an Act of Assembly of 1694 authorizing sale for benefit of the family, the “Green Spring” plantation, on which stood the dwelling-house (near Somerton, Philadelphia), was sold in the following year, and the heirs disposed of nearly all the other land before 1720.
The estates of the Society of Traders were sold by trustees appointed by an Act of Assembly of March 2, 1722-3. The tract of 7700 acres in Chester County, comprising the present township of Newlin, was bought by Nathaniel Newlin, who, although an agriculturist, had apparently no intention of keeping so much after opportunities to sell at sufficient profit. He reduced the tract somewhat, and, dying in 1729, left the balance to be divided among a number of children. The remembrance of a baronial court seems involved in the notion of residents of the locality some generations later that the Newlins would “some day come back and take away our liberties.”
After Penn's return to England from his first visit to America, he made some large sales. Through some of these, Joseph Pike, a prominent Quaker of Cork, Ireland, who never resided in the Province, became owner of more than 25,000 acres, most of which he and his heirs kept throughout the period of this history. In 1699, four Londoners, probably all Quakers, viz: Tobias Collett, citizen and haberdasher, Michael Russell, citizen, mercer, and weaver, Daniel Quare, watchmaker, and Henry Gouldney, linen draper, who with their associates were commonly known afterwards as the London Company, bought from Penn nine lots in the City of Philadelphia and certain tracts and also 60,000 acres to be laid out as they might desire, 5000 acres however to be in each of the three manors of Highlands, Gilberts, and Rockland, and a single tract to be in the vacant land of each township, together with the proportion of liberty lots, if any vacant, to which they would have been entitled had they been purchasers under the first Concessions. Most of this great acreage was soon surveyed. None of the owners came to Pennsylvania, although the sales did not dispose of everything until very late in the Colonial period.
By the Conditions and Concessions agreed upon between Penn and his first purchasers, and dated July 11, 1681, he was to retain for his own use 10,000 acres out of every 100,000. The great feature of these tracts, or, as they were called, “tenths” or “manors,” was that they were withdrawn from sale at the current price; and afforded the Proprietary the opportunity to reap, like the neighbouring purchasers, a profit from the appreciation of real estate in the particular district. William Penn at first did not take his full number of "tenths”; but, particularly as new regions were opened to settlers, Proprietary manors continued to be laid off until about the beginning of the American Revolution.
Upon the assumption that one acre of wild land was as valuable as another, Penn made all the sales in the earlier years at the rate of £100 principal for 5000 acres clear of Indian claim, subject to the quit rent of 1s. for every 100 acres. Such ground as differed much from the rest could, if poorer, by William Penn's fairness, or, if better, by his successors' shrewdness, or that of his or their agents, be excepted by survey as Proprietary manors. Outside of the manors, the price for frontier land asked by the Proprietaries or their agents seems to have been always uniform, although raised from time to time.
Penn's first method of disposing of land was to convey, on receipt of the purchase money, a certain quantity of unlocated acres by a lease for a year, and a release in fee dated the next day after the lease, and to have those acres laid out and surveyed under the direction of his Surveyor-General, and then to grant by letters patent the located land according to metes and bounds.
The releases, probably executed at the same time as the lease, expressed the tenure, from William Penn his heirs and assigns as of the seigniory of Windsor, and reserved a quit rent to them, and contained a covenant that they, at times appointed in and by certain constitutions or concessions, would clear and discharge the land from all Indian title or claim, and that Penn or his heirs or assigns would execute all other acts and conveyances provided for in such concessions. The pur