Today’s Memorable U. S. Event
4 Mar 1681 – Founding of Pennsylvania
Seeking refuge for persecuted Quakers, Penn pressed his case to the King to extend the limited Quaker lands already secured in Jersey. Whether from personal sympathy or political expediency, to Penn’s surprise, the King granted an extraordinarily generous charter which made Penn the world’s largest private (non-royal) landowner, with over 45,000 square miles (120,000 km2). Penn became the sole proprietor of a huge tract of land south of New Jersey and north of Maryland (which belonged to Lord Baltimore), and gained sovereign rule of the territory with all rights and privileges (except the power to declare war).
The land of Pennsylvania had belonged to the Duke of York, who acquiesced, but he retained New York and the area around New Castle and the Eastern portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. In return, one-fifth of all gold and silver mined in the province (which had virtually none) was to be remitted to the King and the Crown was freed of a debt to the Admiral of £16,000.
Penn first called the area “New Wales”, then “Sylvania” (Latin for “forests or woods'”), which Charles changed to “Pennsylvania” in honor of the elder Penn. On March 4, 1681, the King signed the charter and the following day Penn jubilantly wrote, “It is a clear and just thing, and my God who has given it me through many difficulties, will, I believe, bless and make it the seed of a nation.” 1682 in England, he drew up a Frame of Government for the Pennsylvania colony. Freedom of worship in the colony was to be absolute, and all the traditional rights of Englishmen were carefully safeguarded. Penn drafted a charter of liberties for the settlement creating a political utopia guaranteeing free and fair trial by jury, freedom of religion, freedom from unjust imprisonment and free elections.
Colonial Cycle – Glorious Revolution Era – Fourth Turning, Crisis (1675-1692)