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be annexed, and are hereby annexed, unto the province of Pennsylvania, as of the proper territory thereof; and the people therein should be governed by the same laws, and enjoy the same privileges, in all respects, as the inhabitants of Pennsylvania did, or should, enjoy from time to time, as by the same act, more at large appears: but lest the said proprietary and freemen of the said province should by the said union, be deprived of the immunities and powers then before invested in them, apart from the said annexed counties, by virtue of the king's letters patent, and first charter of liberties, or should otherwise be impeded or obstructed, in any act of government, which might relate to the public good, justice, peace and safety of the said province, which might not so immediately concern the territories, it was, at the same general assembly, further enacted, that all matters and things, not therein provided for, which should, or might, concern the public good, justice, peace and safety of the said province, and the raising and imposing taxes, customs, duties, or charges whatsoever, should be, and are, thereby referred to the order, prudence and determination of the governor and freemen of the said province, from time to time; which said laws have been sithence continued in, and by, the succeeding general assemblies: Now, for as much as the present state and emergency of this government requires some speedy provision, for the support and safety thereof, and for the better establishing the justice and peace of the same, by reason of the breach, that the representatives of the said annexed counties have lately made, in wilfully absenting themselves from their charteral attendance, in the last legislative council and assembly, and declining their other incumbent duties and services to the present constitutions of this province; as also, in opposing and tumultuously preventing the election of new members, to supply the neglect of the said absenting representatives, withstanding all provincial acts of government, and denying the powers of the same: therefore, for preventing all doubts and scruples concerning the meeting, sitting and proceeding of this present general assembly, Be it declared and enacted, and it is declared and enacted, by the deputy governor, with the assent of the representatives of the freemen of the said province in general assembly met, by the king and queen's authority, that the meetings of council, since the dissent and refusal aforesaid, of the representatives of the said annexed counties, and the meetings of the deputy governor and representatives of the province, in provincial council and assembly met, on the tenth day of the third month last past, at Philadelphia, and now sitting, in this present general assembly, are the, provincial council and assembly of this province of Pennsylvania; and are hereby declared, enacted and adjudged so to be, to all intents, constructions and purposes, notwithstanding the absence of the representatives of the said counties annexed:—And, for removing all objections, that may arise concerning the validity, force and continuation of the laws of this government, Be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That
all these laws, that were made, continued and stood unrepealed at
David Lloyd, CI. Council.'
In 1693 the enemies of Penn, by false representations of his conduct, created in the mind of king William, suspicions of his loyalty; and just as he was about to revisit his colony which greatly needed his presence, in the year 1692, he was deprived of the government of Pennsylvania and the territories, by king William and queen Mary; and Benjamin Fletcher, the governor of New York; to whom the following commission arrived early in the year 1693.
'William and Mary, by the grace of God, king and queen of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c.
To our trusty and well-beloved Benjamin Fletcher, Esquire, our captain general and commander-in-chief of our province of New York, and the territories depending thereon, in America, greeting:
Whereas, by our commission, under our great seal of England, bearing date the eighteenth of March, in the fourth year of our reign, we have constituted and appointed you, the said Benjamin Fletcher, to be our captain general and governor-in-chief, in and over our province of New York, and the dependences thereon in America; and have thereby granted unto you full power and authority, with the advise and consent of our council, as need shall require, to summon and call general assemblies of the inhabitants, being freeholders, within the said province, according to the usage of the province of New York; and that the persons thereupon duly elected by the major part of the freeholders of the respective counties and places, and so returned, and having before their sitting, taken the oaths appointed by act of parliament, to be taken instead of the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and subscribed the test; and without taking and subscribing whereef none shall be capable of sitting, though elected, shall be called the general assembly of that our said province, and have thereby granted unto you, the said Benjamin Fletcher, by and with the consent of our said council and assembly, or the major part of them, full power and authority, to make, constitute and ordain, laws, statutes and ordinances for the public peace, welfare, and good government of our said province, and of the people and inhabitants thereof; which said laws, statutes and ordinances are to be, as near as may be, agreeable to the laws and statutes of this our kingdom of England; provided that all such laws, statutes and ordinances be, within three months, or sooner, after the making thereof, transmitted unto us, under our seal of New York, for our approbation, or disallowance of the same; and in case any, or all of them, not before confirmed by us, shall,
at any time, be disallowed, and not approved, and so signified by us, our heirs and successors, under our, or their sign manual, or signet, or by order of our or their, privy council, unto you, the said Benjamin Fletcher, or to the commander-in-chief of the province of New York, for the time being, then such, and so many of them, as shall be so disallowed and not approved, shall from thenceforth cease, determine and become utterly void, and of none effect: and to the end that nothing may be passed, or done, by our said council and assembly to the prejudice of us, our heirs and successors, we have hereby willed and ordained, that you, the said Benjamin Fletcher, shall have and enjoy one negative voice, in the making and passing of all laws, statutes and ordinances, as aforesaid; and that you shall and may, from time to time, as you shall judge it necessary, adjourn, prorogue and dissolve all general assemblies aforesaid.
We, therefore, reposing special trust and confidence in the prudence, courage and loyalty of you, the said Benjamin Fletcher, to be our captain general and governor-in-chief, in and over our province of Pennsylvania, and in the country of New Castle, and all the tracts of land depending thereon, in America, and we do accordingly, by these presents, command and require you to take the said province and country under your government, and for the better ordering, governing and ruling over said province and country, and the tracts and territories depending thereon, we do derebygive and grant unto you, the said Benjamin Fletcher, all and every the like powers and authorities, as in our said commission, bearing date the eighteenth day of March, in the fourth year of our reign, are given, granted and appointed you, for the ruling and governing our province of New York, to be exercised, in like manner, by you, the said Benjamin Fletcher, in and over our said province of Pennsylvania, and the country of New Castle, and the territories and tracts of land, depending thereon in America.'
Governor Fletcher, upon receiving this commission, repaired to his new government, after having first notified his intention by the following letter, directed,
'To the honorable Thomas Lloyd, Esquire, deputy governor of
Having received their majesties' commission under the great seal, for the government of Pennsylvania, and being required to make a speedy repair to that province, I think fit to acquaint you, that I propose to begin my journey from home, on Monday, the twentyfourth instant, and desire the council, and principal freeholders may have notice; that their majesties' commands may be communicated to them, so soon as I arrive, which, I hope, may be the twentyninth.
"I am, Sir, your very loving friend,
JVbto York April the 19th 1693.'
We have long neglected, but not forgotten our Swedish ancestors. Through all the changes of government in Delaware, they remained a peaceable, contented, and happy people. They were prosperous in their secular concerns, and only anxious about their clerical affairs.
"Mr. Fabritius preached for the Swedes for a period of fourteen years, though for nine years of that time he was entirely blind. Being at last disabled from further services through the infirmities of old age, the people were under serious apprehensions lest they should be left without a minister. To prevent so great an evil, they had, while Mr. F. was yet able to officiate, twice written to Sweden, representing their want of a pastor. These letters, it appears, were never received. Discouraged by this failure, they applied to the Lutheran Consistory at Amsterdam, to procure for them a minister, by ordaining and sending them some Swedish student of theology who might be in that city; or, if no such person could be obtained, to correspond in their behalf with some ecclesiastical body in Sweden. This letter was written in 1691.
The reason of this application of the Swedes to Holland rather than to England was, their ignorance of the English language, and the little intercourse they had had with the latter nation; as well as the greater probability, as they thought, of getting a Swedish minister through the former channel than the latter. Here again, however, they were destined to meet with disappointment . No preacher came, and the prospect became very dark and gloomy. The Rev. Mr. Lock had died in 1688, and Mr. Fabritius, four or five years afterwards, so that they were now entirely without a clergyman. In this extremity, they resolved still to keep their churches open, and appointed two worthy and pious men to perform for them the office of lay-readers; who, besides the prayers and psalms, read homilies or sermons. The persons who officiated in this capacity at Wicaco was Mr. Andrew Benktsen or Bankson; and at Christina, they had Mr. Charles Christopher Springer.*
We here arrive at a most interesting part of our narrative. The
* This Mr. Springer wrote the letter to Thelin, presently to come under our notice. He was a native Swede, and had come to America by a remarkable providence. He was in the family of the Swedish ambassador in London. Going home one evening in a post-chaise, he was seized, and carried on board of a merchant vessel, in the Thames, bound to Virginia. He was there sold as a servant for five years. When free, he went to the Swedes, and by his capacity and virtue acquired such influence as to be appointed justice of the peace, in the district of Christina. He was afterwards, for many years, a useful member of that church.
reader has observed with what a holy and praise-worthy zeal the attention of the first settlers on this soil, was directed to the introduction and continuance among them of the blessings of a preached gospel; he has seen that, after succeeding in this lor a period of rather more than fifty years, they found all their efforts to have the vacant congregations supplied with other clergymen, to administer to them and their children the ordinances of the church, ending in utter disappointment, and a dark cloud resting on the future. Now who that has observed the usual dealings of God's providence in behalf of his people, where they have been thrown into difficulties such as the present, is not led to expect his interposition in behalf of these pious Swedes, thus striving to secure to themselves and their posterity, the privileges and blessings of the ministry of his church? It is when human aid fails, that divine assistance is not only most needed, but is most looked for, and in its exercise, is most apt to strike the eye of the observer. We know there are some disposed to deny this doctrine of a superintending providence, and to laugh at the idea of God interposing in the affairs of men. But what will not man deny when acting under the impulses of 'an evil heart of unbelief?' It is true, God acts through the instrumentality of human means; as. when he made use of the brethren of Joseph, for the accomplishment of those wonderful designs of his providence brought about by the residence of the latter in Egypt. But his controlling influence is not the less seen and felt in the world, because he makes use of subordinate agents for the accomplishment of his purposes. Let the means be what they may, we are sure of the truth of the doctrine; as every one must be sure of it who receives the scriptural declaration, that 'God ruleth in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.'
With regard to the Swedes, in the crisis of their affairs at which we have arrived, while all was dark before them, He, 'without whom not even a sparrow falleth to the ground,' was preparing the way for the supply of their spiritual wants, and in a short time afforded them the deliverance they had been seeking. About the time of which we are writing, a person of the name of Andrew Printz, a nephew, as he said, of governor Printz, had come over in an English vessel to the Delaware., and being himself a Swede, had become acquainted with his countrymen here, by whom he had been cordially received. Meeting, on his return to Sweden, with John Thelin, postmaster at Gottenburg, he mentioned to that gentleman his having met, across the Atlantic, with some of their countrymen, whose condition he represented as very comfortable in things temporal, but very forlorn and destitute in a spiritual point of view. This pious man was at once interested in their behalf, and he resolved to lay their case before the king, Charles XI. This led to the following letter, which was addressed by Mr. Thelin to the Swedes on the Delaware.