PENN’S CHARTER AND ARRIVAL.
But when Penn arrived he brought with him letters patent from Charles II., king of England, to this same district of country and the wilds indefinitely beyond it, having also obtained from his friend, the king’s brother, the duke of York, full releases of the claims vested in him to the “Lower Counties,” which now form the State of Delaware.
Penn was accompanied by from sixty to seventy colonists—all that survived the scourge which visited them in their passage across the sea. He landed first at New Castle, of which the Dutch of New York had by conquest obtained possession. To them he made known his grants and his plans, and succeeded in securing their acquiescence in them.
Thence he came to Upland (Chester), the head-quarters of the Swedes, who “received their new fellow-citizens with great friendliness, carried up their goods and furniture from the ships, and entertained them in their own houses without charge.” His proposals with regard to the establishment of a united commonwealth they also received with much favor. And immediately thereupon he convened a general assembly of the citizens, which sat for three days, by which an act was passed for the consolidation of the various interests and parties on the ground, a code of general regulations adopted, and the necessary features of a common government enacted; all of which together formed the basis of our present commonwealth.
HOW PENNSYLVANIA WAS NAMED.
The name which Penn had chosen for the territory of his grant was Sylvania, but the king prefixed the name of Penn and called it Penn’s Silvania (Penn’s Woods), in honor of the recipient’s father, Sir William Penn, a distinguished officer in the British navy. Penn sought to have the title changed so as to leave his own name out, as he thought it savored too much of personal vanity; but his efforts did not avail. And thus our great old commonwealth took the name of Pennsylvania, and the city of Philadelphia was laid out and named by Penn himself as its capital.
THE MEN OF THOSE TIMES.
In dwelling upon the founding of our happy commonwealth it is pleasant to contemplate how enlightened and exalted were the men whom Providence employed for the performance of this important work.
Many are apt to think ours the age of culminated enlightenment, dignity, wisdom, and intelligence, and look upon the fathers of two and three hundred years ago as mere pigmies, just emerging from an era of barbarism and ignorance, not at all to be compared with the proud wiseacres of our day. Never was there a greater mistake. The shallowness and flippancy of the leaders and politicians of this last quarter of the nineteenth century show them but little more than school-boys compared with the sturdy, sober-minded, deep-principled, dignified, and grand-spirited men who discovered and opened this continent and laid the foundations of our country’s greatness. And those who were most concerned in the founding of our own commonwealth suffer in no respect in comparison with the greatest and the best.