Furthermore, the plans of Gustavus respecting his projected colony on the Delaware were well understood in official circles in England itself, especially in London, from 1634. John Oxenstiern, brother of the great chancellor, was at that time Swedish ambassador in London, and in that year he obtained from King Charles I. a renunciation and cession to Sweden of all claims of the English to the country on the Delaware growing out of the rights of first discovery, and for the very purposes of this colonial free state and asylum first projected by the Swedish king.
THE SWEDES IN ADVANCE OF PENN.
We are left to our own inferences from these facts. But, however much or little Penn may have been directly influenced and guided by what Gustavus Adolphus had conceived and elaborated on the subject, the wise and noble conception which he brought with him for practical realization in 1682 was known to the European peoples for more than fifty years before he laid hold on it. The same had also been one of the chief sources of the inspiration of Lord Baltimore in the founding of the colony of Maryland, of which Penn was not ignorant. And the same, not unknown to him, had already begun to be realized here in what is now called Pennsylvania full forty-four years before his arrival.
Shipload after shipload of sturdy and devoted people, mostly Swedes, animated with the same grand ideas, had here been landed. And so successfully had they battled with the perils and hardships of the wilderness, and so justly had they treated and arranged to dwell in peace and love with the wild inhabitants of the forests, that when Penn came he found everything prepared to his hand. The Swedes alone already numbered about one thousand strong. They had conquered the wild woods, built them homes, and opened plantations; and “the eye of the stranger could begin to gaze with interest upon the signs of public improvement, ever regularly advancing, from the region of Wilmington to that of Philadelphia.”
When Penn landed he found a town and court-house at New Castle, and a town and place of public assemblage at Upland, and a Christian and free people in possession of the territory, with whom it was necessary for him to treat before his charter could avail for the planting of his colony. The land to which the Swedes had acquired title (by England’s release to Sweden of all claim from right of discovery, by charter from Sweden, by purchase from the Indians, first under Minuit, the first governor, and then under his successor, Governor Printz, and by other purchases or agreements) was the west bank of the Delaware River from Cape Henlopen to Trenton Falls, and thence westward to the great fall in the Susquehanna, near the mouth of the Conewaga Creek, which included nearly the whole of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
The fortunes of war, in Europe and between the colonies, in course of time complicated the titles to one and another portion of this territory, but the Swedes and Dutch occupied and held the most prominent parts of it by right of actual possession when and after Penn’s charter was granted.