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Image of Pamphlet - 1681 Translation

SOME

ACCOUNT

OF THE

PROVINCE

Of

PENNSYLVANIA

IN

AMERICA;

Lately Granted under the Great Seal

Of

ENGLAND

To

William Penn, &c.

Together with the Privileges and Powers necessary

to the well-governing thereof.

 

Made Public for the Information of such as are or may be disposed to Transport themselves or Servants into those Parts.

 

LONDON: Printed, and Sold by Benjamin Clark,

Bookseller in George Yard, Lombard Street, 1681.

 


William Penn's Invitation

 

Since (by the good providence of God) a Country in America is fallen to my lot, I thought it not less my duty than my honest Interest to give some public notice of it to the World, that those of our own, or other Nations, that are inclined to Transport themselves or Families beyond the Seas, may find another Country added to their choice, that if they shall happen to like the Place, Conditions and Constitutions, (so far as the present Infancy of things will allow us any prospect) hey may, if they please, fix with me in the Province hereafter described. But before I come to treat of my particular Concernment, I shall take leave to say something of the benefit of Plantations or Colonies in general, to obviate a common Objection.

 

Colonies then are the Seeds of Nations begun and nourished by the care of wise and populous Countries; as conceiving then best for the increase of Human Stock, and beneficial for Commerce.

Some of the wisest men in History have justly taken their Fame from this Design and Service: We read of the Reputation given on this account to Moses, Joshua and Caleb in Scripture Records; and what Renown the Greek story yields to Lycurgus, Theseus, and those Greeks that Planted many parts of Asia: Nor is the Roman account wanting of instances to the Credit of that people; They had a Romulus, a Numa Pompilius; and not only reduced, but moralized the Manners of the Nations they subjected; so that they may have been rather said to conquer their Barbarity than Them.

 

Nor did any of these ever dream it was the way of decreasing their People or Wealth: For the Cause of the decay of any of those States or Empires was not their Plantations, but their Luxury and corruption of Manners: For when they grew to neglect their ancient Discipline, that maintained and rewarded Virtue and Industry, and addicted themselves to Pleasure and Effeminacy, they debased their Spirits and debauched their Morals, from whence Ruin did never fail to follow any People: With Justice therefore I deny the vulgar Opinion against Plantations, That they weaken England; they have manifestly enriched, and so strengthened her; Which I briefly evidence thus.

 

1st. Those that go into a Foreign Plantation, their Industry their is worth more than if they stayed at home, the Product of their Labor being in Commodities of a superior Nature to those of this Country. For Instance; hat is an improved Acre in Jamaica or Barbados worth to an improved Acre in England? We know 'tis three times the value, and the product of it comes for England, and is usually paid for in English Growth and Manufacture. Nay, Virginia shows that an ordinary Industry in one man produces Three thousand pound weight of Tobacco and Twenty Barrels of Corn yearly: He feeds himself, and brings as much of Commodity into England besides as being returned in the Growth and Workmanship of this Country, is much more than he could have spent here: Let it also be remembered, that the Three thousand weight of Tobacco brings in Three thousand Two pences by way of Custom to the King, which makes Twenty-five Pounds; An extraordinary Profit.

 

2nd. More being produced and imported than we can spend here, we Export it to other Countries in Europe, which brings in Money, or the Growth of those Countries, which is the same thing; and this is the Advantage of English Merchants and Seamen.

 

3rd. Such as could not only marry here, but hardly live and allow themselves Clothes, do marry there, and bestow thrice more in all Necessaries and Conveniences (and not a little in Ornamental things too) for themselves, their Wives and Children, both as Apparel and Household stuff; which coming out of England, I say 'tis impossible that England should not be a considerable Gainer.

 

4th. But let it be considered, That the Plantations employ many hundreds of Shipping, and many thousands of Seamen; which must be in diverse respects and Advantage to England, being an Island, and by nature fitted for Navigation above any Country in Europe. This is followed by other depending Trades, as Shipwrights, Carpenters, Sawyers, Hewers, Trunnel Makers, Joiners, Slopfellers, Dry salters, Iron workers, the Eastland Merchants, Timber fellers, Victuallers, with many more trades which hang upon Navigation: So that we may easily see the Objection (That Colonies or Plantations hurt England) is at least of no strength, especially if we consider how many thousands Blacks and Indians are also accommodated with Clothes and many sorts of Tools and Utensils from England, and their Labor is mostly brought hither, which adds Wealth and People to the English Dominions. But 'tis further said, They injure England, in that they draw away too many of the people; for we are not so populous a country as formerly: I say there are other reasons for that. (PENN was writing after the Bubonic Plague of 1660ís and the English Civil Wars).

 

1st. Country People are so extremely addicted to put their Children into Gentlemens Service, or send them to Towns to learn Trades, that Husbandry is neglected; and after a soft and delicate Usage there, they are for ever unfitted for the Labor of a Farming Life.

 

2nd. The Pride of the Age in its Attendance and Retinue is so gross and universal, that where a man of 1000 Pounds a year formerly kept but four or five Servants, he now keeps more than twice the number; He must have a Gentleman to wait upon him in his Chambers, a Coach man, a Groom or two, a Butler, a Man Cook, a Gardner, two or three Lackeys, it may be a Huntsman, and a Faulkner, the Wife of a Gentlewoman and Maids accordingly: This was not known by our Ancestors or like Quality. This hinders the Plough and the Dairy, from whence they are taken, and instead of keeping People to Manly Labor, they are effeminated by a lazy and luxurious Living; But, which is worse, these people rarely marry; though many of them do worse; but if they do, 'tis when they are in Age; And the reason is clear, because their usual keeping at their Masterís is too great and costly for them with a Family at their own Charge, and they scarcely know how to live lower; so that too many of them choose rather to vent their Lusts at an evil Ordinary than honestly Marry and Work; The excess and sloth of the Age not allowing Marriage and the Charge that follows; all which hinders the increase of our People. If Men, they often turn either Soldiers, or Gamesters (gamblers), or Highwaymen (robbers). If Women, they too frequently dress themselves for a bad market, rather than know the Dairy again, or honestly return to Labor, whereby it happens that both the Stock of the Nation Decays and the Issue is corrupted.

 

3rd. Of old time the Nobility and Gentry spent their Estates in the Country, and that kept the people in it; and their Servants married and sate at easy Rents under their Mastersí favor, which peopled the place: Now the Great men (too much loving the Town and resorting to London) draw many people thither to attend them, who either donít marry; or if they do, they pine away their small gains in some petty Shop; for there are so many, they prey upon one another.

 

4th. The Country being thus neglected, and no due Balance kept between Trade and Husbandry, City and Country, the poor Country man takes double Toil, and cannot (for want of hands) dress and manure his land to the Advantage it formerly yielded him, yet must he pay the old Rents, which occasions Servants, and such Children as go not to Trades, to continue single, at least all their youthful time, which also obstructs the increase of out people.

 

5th. The decay of some Country manufacturers (where no Provision is made to supply the people with a new way of living) causes the more Industrious to go abroad to seek their Bread in other Countries and gives the lazy an occasion to loiter and beg or do worse, by which means the Land swarms with Beggars: Formerly 'twas rare to find any asking Alms, but the Maimed, or Blind, or very Aged; now thousands of both Sexes run up and down, both City and Country, that are sound and youthful, and able to work, with false Pretenses and Certificates; nor is there any care taken to employ or deter such Vagrants, which weakens the Country, as to People and Labor.

 

To which let me add, that the great Debauchery in this Kingdom has not only rendered many unfruitful when married, but they live not out half their time, through Excess, which might be prevented by a vigorous execution of out good Laws against corruption of manners. These and the like Evils are the true grounds of the decay of our People in the Country, to say nothing of Plagues and Wars: Towns and Cities cannot complain of the decay of People, being more replentified than ever, especially, London, which with reason helps the Country man to this objection. And though some do go to the Plantations, yet numbering the Parishes in England, and computing how many live more than die, and are born than buried, there goes not over to all the Plantations a fourth part of the yearly increase of the People. And when they are there, they are not (as I said before) soft to England, since they furnish then with much Cloths, Household stuff, Tools, and the like necessaries and that in greater quantities than here their condition could have needed, or they could have bought, being there well to pass, that were but low here, if not poor; and now Masters of Families too, when here they had none, and could hardly keep themselves; and very often it happens that some of them, after their Industry and Success there have made them wealthy, they return and empty their Riches into England; one in this capacity being able to buy out twenty of what he was when he went over.

 

Thus much to justify the Credit and Benefit of Plantations; wherein I have not sought to speak my interest, but my Judgment; and I dare venture the success of it with al sober and considering men. I shall now proceed to giver some account of my own concern.

 

1st. I shall say what may be necessary of the Place or Province.


2nd. Touch upon the Constitutions.


3rd. Lay down the Conditions.


4th. Give my sense what persons will be fit to go.

5th. What Utensils, Furniture, and Commodities are fit to carry with them, with the charge of the voyage, and what is first to be done and expected there for some time.

 

And Lastly, I shall give an Abstract of the Grant by Letter Patents under the Great Seal of England, that an account may be given of the Estate and Power granted to me thereby.

 

I.†† Something of the Place

 

The place lies 600 miles nearer the Sun than England; for England being the 50th degree and ten minutes of North Latitude, and this Place begins at Forty, which is about the Latitude of Naples in Italy, or Mompellier in France. I shall say little in its praise, to excite desires in any, whatever I could truly write as to the Soil, Air and Water: This hall satisfy me, that by the Blessing of God, and the honesty and industry of Man, it may be a good and fruitful Land.

 

For Navigation it is said to have two conveniences; the one by lying ninescore (180) miles upon the Delaware River; that is to say, about three score and ten (70) miles, before we come to the Falls, where a Vessel of Two Hundred Tons may Sail, (and some Creeks and small Harbors in that Distance, where ships may come nearer than the River into the Country) and above the Falls, for Sloops and Boots, as I am informed, to the extent of the Patent. The other convenience is through Chesapeake Bay.

 

For Timber and other Wood there is a variety for the use of man. For Fowl, Fish and Wild Deer, they are reported to be plentiful in those Parts. Our English Provision is likewise now to be had there at reasonable Rates. The Commodities that the Country is thought to be capable of, are Silk, Flax, Hemp, Wine, Cider, Wood, Madder, Liquorices, Tobacco, Potash, and Iron, and it does actually produce Hides, Tallow, Pipe Staves, Beef, Pork, Sheep, Wool, Corn, as Wheat, Barley, Rye, and also Furs, as your Peltree, Minks, Raccoons, Martins, and such like; store Furs which is to be found among the Indians, that are profitable Commodities in Europe.

 

The way of trading in those Countries is thus: they send to the Southern Plantations Corn, Beef, Pork, Fish and Pipe Staves, and take their Growth and bring for England, and return with English Goods to their own Country.

 

Their Furs, they bring for England, and either sell them here, or carry them out again to other parts of Europe where they will yield a better price: And for those that will follow the Merchandise and Navigation there is conveniency, and Timber sufficient for Shipping.

 

II.†† The Constitutions

 

For the Constitution of the Country, the Patent shows, first, That the People and Governor have a Legislative Power, so that no Law can be made or Money raised, but by the Peopleís consent.

 

2nd. That the Rights and Freedoms of England (the best and largest in Europe) shall be in force there.

 

3rd. That no Law against Allegiance (which should we, it were by the Law of England void of itself that moment) we may Enact what Laws we please for the good prosperity and security of the said Province.

 

4th. That so soon as any are engaged with me, we shall begin a Scheme or Draft together, such as shall give ample testimony of my sincerer Inclinations to encourage Planters, and settle a free, just and Industrious Colony there.

 

III.†† The Conditions.

 

My conditions will relate to three sorts of people: 1st. Those that will buy: 2nd. Those that take up Land upon Rent: 3rd. Servants. To the first, the Shares I sell shall be certain as to the number of Acres, free from any Indian encumbrance, the price of a hundred pounds, and for the Quit rent but one English shilling or the value of it yearly for a hundred Acres; and the said Quit Rent not to be paid until 1684. To the second sort, that take up Land upon Rent, they shall have liberty so to do paying yearly one penny per Acre, not exceeding Two hundred Acres. To the third sort, to wit, Servants that are carried over, Fifty Acres shall be allowed to the Master for every Head, and Fifty Acres to every Servant when their time is expired. And because some engage with me that may not be disposed to go, it were very advisable for every three Adventurers to send an Overseer with their Servants, which would well pay the Cost.

 

The Dividend may be thus; if the persons concerned please, a Tract of Land shall be surveyed; say Fifty thousand Acres to a hundred Adventurers; in which some of the best shall be set out for Towns or Cities; and there shall be so much Ground allotted to each in those Towns as may maintain some Cattle and produce some Corn; then the remainder of the Fifty thousand Acres shall be shared among the said Adventurers (casting up the Barrens for Commons, and allowing for the Same) whereby every Adventurer will have a considerable quantity of Land together; likewise everyone a proportion by a Navigable River, and then backward into the Country. The manner of Dividend I shall not be strict in; we can but speak roughly of the matter here; but let men skillful in Plantations be consulted, and I shall leave it to the majority of votes among the Adventurers when it

shall please God we come there, how to fix it to their own content.

 

IV.†† These persons that providence seems to have most fitted for Plantations are,

 

1st. Industrious Husbandmen and Day Laborers, that are hardly able (with extreme Labor) to maintain their Families and portion their Children.

 

2nd. Laborious Handicrafts, especially Carpenters, Masons, Smiths, Weavers, Taylors, Shoemakers, Shipwrights, &c. where they may be spared or are low in the World: And as they shall want no encouragement, so their Labor is worth more there than here, and there provision cheaper.

 

3rd. A Plantation seems a fit place for those Ingenuous Spirits that being low in the World, are much clogged and oppressed about a Livelihood, for the means of subsisting being easy there, they may have time and opportunity to gratify their inclinations, and thereby improve Science and help Nurseries of people.

 

4th. A fourth sort of men to whom a Plantation would be proper, takes in those that are younger Brothers of Small Inheritances; yet because they would live in site of their Kindred in some proportion to their Quality, and canít do it without a labor that looks like Farming, their condition is too straight for them; and if they married, their Children are often too numerous for the Estate, and are frequently bred up to no Trades, but are a kind of Hangers on or Retainers to the elder Brothers Table and Charity: which is a mischief, as in itself to be lamented, so here to be remedied; For Land they have for next to nothing, which with moderate Labor produces plenty of all things necessary for Life, and such an increase as by Traffic may supply them with all conveniences.

 

Lastly, There are another sort of Persons, not only fit for, but necessary in plantations, and that is Men of universal Spirits, that have an eye to the Good of Posterity, and that both understand and delight to promote Good Discipline and just Government among a plain and well intending people; such persons may find Room in Colonies for their good Counsel and Contrivance, who are shut out from being of much use or service to the great Nations under settled Customs: These men deserve much esteem, and would be hearkened to. Doubtless twas this (as I observed before) that put some of the famous Greeks and Romans upon Transplanting and Regulating Colonies of People in diverse parts of the World; whole Names, for giving so great proof of their Wisdom, Virtue, Labor, and Constancy, are with Justice honorably delivered down by story to the praise of our own times; though the World, after all its higher pretences of Religion, barbarously errs from their excellent Example.

 

V.†† The Journey and its Appurtenances, and what is to be done there at first coming.

 

Next let us see, What is fit for the Journey and Place, when there, and also what may be the Charge of the Voyage, and what is to be expected and done there at first. That such as incline to go, may not be to seek here, or brought under any disappointments there. The Goods fit to take with them for use, or sell for profit; are all sorts of Apparel and Utensils for Husbandry and Building and Household Stuff. And because I know how much people are apt to fancy things beyond what they are, and that Imaginations are great flatterers of the minds of Men; To the end that none may delude themselves, with an expectation of Immediate Amendment of their conditions, so soon as it shall please God they Arrive there; I would have them understand, That they must look for a Winter before Summer comes, and they must be willing to be two or three years without some of the conveniences they enjoy at home; And yet I must needs say that America is another thing than it was at the first Plantation of Virginia and New England: For there is better Accomodation, and English Provisions are to be had at easier rates: However, I am inclined to set down particulars, as near as those inform me, that know the Place, and have been Planters both in that and in Neighboring Colonies.

 

1st. The passage will come for Masters and Mistresses at most to 6 Pounds a Head, for Servants Five Pounds a Head, and for Children under Seven Years of Age Fifty Shillings, except they Suck, then nothing.

 

Next being by the mercy of God, safely arrived in September or October, two Men may clear as much Ground by Spring (when they set the Corn of that Country) as will bring in that time twelve month Forty Barrels, which amounts to Two Hundred bushels, which makes Twenty Five quarters of Corn, So that the first year they must buy Corn, which is usually very plentiful. They may so soon as they come, buy Cows, more or less, as they want, or are able, which are to be had at easy rates. For Swine, they are plentiful and cheap; these will quickly Increase to a Stock. So that after the first year, what with the Poorer sort, sometimes laboring to others, and the more able Fishing, Fowling, and sometime Buying; They may do very well, till their own Stocks are sufficient to supply them, and their Families, which will quickly be and to spare, if they follow the English

Husbandry, as they do in New England, and New York; and get Winter Fodder for their Stock

 

VI.†† and Lastly, An Abstract of the

 

PATENT

GRANTED BY THE

K††† I††† N††† G

To William Penn, &c.

The Fourth of March, 1681

 

I.We do Give and Grant (upon diverse considerations) to William Penn his Heirs and assigns for ever all that Tract of Land in America with all Islands thereunto belonging That is to say from the beginning of the fortieth degree of North Latitude unto the forty third Degree of North Latitude whose Eastern bounds from twelve English miles above Newcastle (alias Delaware Town) runs all along upon the side of Delaware River.

 

II.Free and undisturbed use and passage into and out of all Harbors Bays Waters Rivers Isles and Inlets belonging to or leading to the same Together with the Soil Fields Woods Underwoods Mountains Hills Fenns Isles Lakes Rivers Waters Rivulets Bays and Inlets Situate in or belonging unto the Limits and Bounds aforesaid. Together with all sorts of Fish Mines Metals, &c. To have and to hold to only the behoof of the said William Penn his Heirs and Assigns for ever To be holden of us as of our Castle of Windsor in free and common soccage paying only two Beaver Skins yearly.

 

III.†† And of our further Grace we have thought it fit to erect and we do hereby erect the aforesaid Country and Islands into a Province and Seigniory and do call it Pennsilvania and so from henceforth we will have it called.

 

IV.That reposing special confidence in the wisdom and justice of the said William Penn we do grant to him and his Heirs and their Deputies for the good and happy Government thereof to ordain and enact and under his and their Seals to publish any Laws whatever for the public uses of the said Province by and with the device and Approbation of the Freeholders of the said Country or their delegates so as they be not repugnant to the Law of this Realm and to the Faith and Allegiance due unto us by the legal Government thereof.

 

V.Full power to the said William Penn, &c. to appoint Judges Lieutenants Justices Magistrates and Officers for what causes soever and with what Power and in such Form as to him seems convenient Also to be able to Pardon and Abolish Crimes and Offenses and to do all and every other thing that to the complete Establishment of Justice unto Courts and Tribunals forms of Judicature and manner of proceedings do belong And our pleasure is and so we enjoin and require that such Laws and Proceedings be most Absolute and advisable in Law and that all the Liege People of us our Heirs and Successors inviolably keep the same in those parts saving to us final appeals.

 

VI.†† That the Laws for regulating Property as well as for the descent of Lands as enjoyment of Goods and Chattels and likewise as to Felonies shall be the same there as here in England until they shall be altered by the said William Penn his Heirs and Assigns and by the Freemen of the said Province or their Delegates or Deputies or the greater part of them.

 

VII.†† Furthermore that this new Colony may the more happily increase by the multitude of People resorting thither therefore we for us our Heirs and Successors do Hereby grant License to all the liege People present and future of us, &c. (excepting such as shall be especially forbidden) to Transport themselves and Families into the said Country there to Inhabit and Plant for the public and their private good.

 

VIII.Liberty to Transport what Goods or Commodities are not forbidden paying here the legal Customs due to us, &c.

 

IX.†† Power to divide the Country into Counties hundreds and towns to Incorporate Towns into Boroughs and Boroughs into Cities to make Fairs and Markets with convenient Privileges according to the merit of the Inhabitants or the fitness of the place and to do all other thing or things touching the premises which to the said William Penn his Heirs and Assigns shall seem Meet and requisite albeit they be such as of their nature might otherwise require a more special commandment and warrant then in these presents is expressed.

 

X.†† Liberty to Import the Growth or Manufactures of that Province into England paying here the legal duty.

 

XI.†† Power to erect Ports Harbors Creeks Havens Keys and other places for Merchandise with such Jurisdictions and Privileges as to the said William Penn, &c. shall seem expedient.

 

XII.†† Not to break the Acts of Navigation neither Governor nor Inhabitants upon the penalties contained in the said Acts.

 

XIII.†† Not to be in League with any Prince or Country that is in War against

us our Heirs and Successors.

 

XIV. ††Power of Safety and defense in such way and manner as to the said William Penn, &c. seems meet.

 

XV.Full power to Assign Alien Grant Demise or ENFEOFF (in fief) (of the premises so many and such parts and parcels to those that are willing to purchase the same as the said William Penn thinks fit to have and to hold to them the said Persons their Heirs or Successors in fee Simple or fee Tail or for Term of Life or Lives or years to be held of the law William Penn, &c. as of the said Seigniory of Windsor by such services Customs and Rents as shall seem fit to the said William Penn his Heirs and Assigns and not immediately of us our Heirs or Successors and that the said Persons may take the premises or any Parcel thereof of the said William Penn, &c. and the same hold to themselves their Heirs and Assigns the Statute OUIA EMPTORES TERRARUM in any wise notwithstanding.

 

XVI.†† We give and grant License to any of those Persons to whom the said William Penn, &c. has granted any Estate of Inheritance as aforesaid with the consent of the said William Penn to erect any parcel of Lands within the said Province into Manners to hold Courts Baron and view of Frank, pledge, &c. by Themselves or Stewards.

 

XVII.†† Power to those Persons to Grant to others the same Tenures in fee Simple or otherwise to be held of the said Manners respectively and upon all further Alienations the Land to be held of the Manner that it held of or before Alienation.

 

XVIII.†† We do covenant and Grant to and with the said William Penn his Heirs and Assigns that we will not set or make any Custom or other Taxation upon the Inhabitants of the said Province upon Lands Houses Goods Chattels or Merchandise except with the consent of the Inhabitants and the Governor.

 

XIX.†† A charge that no Officers nor Ministers of us our Heirs and Successors do presume at any time to attempt any thing to the contrary of the premises or in any sort withstand the same but that they be at all times aiding to the said William Penn and his Heirs and Assigns in the full use and benefit of this our Charter.

 

XX.†† And if any doubts or questions shall hereafter arise about the true sense or meaning of any Word Clause or Sentence contained in this our Charter We will ordain and Command that at all times and in all things such Interpretation be made thereof and allowed in any of our Courts whatsoever as shall be adjudged most advantageous and favorable unto the said William Penn his Heirs and Assigns so as it be not against the Faith and Allegiance due to us our Heir and Successors.

 

In witness whereof we have caused our Letters to be made Patents. Witness our self at Westminster, &c.

 

To conclude, I desire all my dear Country Folk, who may be inclined to go into those Parts, top consider seriously the premises, as well as the present inconveniences, as future ease and Plenty, that so none may move rashly or from a fickle but solid mind, having above all things, and Eye to the providence of God, in the disposal of themselves. And I would further advise all such at least, to have the permission, if not the good liking of their near relations, for that is both Natural and a Duty Incumbent upon all; and by this means will natural affection be preserved, and a friendly and profitable correspondence be maintained between them. In all which I beseech Almighty God to direct us, that his blessing may attend our honest endeavor, and then the Consequence of all our undertaking will turn to the Glory of his great Name, and the true happiness of us and our Posterity. Amen

 

WILLIAM PENN

 

POSTSCRIPT,

Whoever are desirous to be concerned with Me in this Province, they may be treated with and further Satisfied, at Philip Fords in Bow Lane in Cheapside, and at Thomas Rudyards or Benjamin Clarks in George Yard in Lumbard Street.

 

 

THE END.