The Settlement of New Jersey and Pennsylvania - North American Colonies

Taken from The British Empire in the Nineteenth Century (1898) by Edgar Sanderson

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been read in the original sketch, can never be forgotten by those who have had the privilege of seeing Joseph Jefferson, one of America's, nay, of the world's, greatest actors in his presentment—beautiful in idea, most delicate in execution—of the good-natured, worthless Dutchman who wanders to the woods of the Catskill Mountains, falls into a deep slumber, and awakens, after a sleep of many years, to find himself changed from a subject of George the Third into a citizen of the United States, with his wife dead, his beard grown a foot long, and new faces, buildings, and names all around him on his return to his native village near the Hudson.

New Jersey, once forming a part of "New Netherland", was granted by James, Duke of York, in 1664, to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, and derived its name from the largest of the Channel Islands, where Carteret had been governor. It soon became, by sale to William Penn, and by settlement, a Quaker colony, and after union for some time with New York, was made a "royal province" in 1738. It contained also many other Puritan settlers, and Presbyterians who had fled from persecution in Scotland under Charles the Second.

Pennsylvania, destined to become one of the most important territories, was founded by the famous Quaker, William Penn, son of the admiral who captured Jamaica. In payment of a debt due from the Crown the younger Penn received from Charles the Second, in 1682, a grant of the territory lying between New Jersey and Maryland, west of the Delaware. The woody region took its name from the founder and the Latin word for "forest". Penn wished to secure a place of refuge for his persecuted brethren, and applied, from the first, in his new colony the principles professed by the Quaker sect. Two thousand colonists, despatched in the first year, founded as capital the town of Philadelphia, embodying the Greek for "brotherly love". The code called "The Great Law", drawn up by a legislative body of settlers, required all voters and office-holders to be professors of the Christian faith: apart from that, all Deists were left free to their own religious profession. Penn's kindly words and demeanour at once gained the hearts of the Indians, at an interview, ending in a treaty, held beneath the foliage of a great elm-tree, which, carefully preserved until 1810, was then blown down, and has its site marked by a monument. It is the boast of the peaceful sect who object to … continue reading »

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