could say it before the Lord
, he had the comfort of
having approved himself a faithful steward to his understanding and ability.’1
Meanwhile the Quaker
legislators in the woods of Pennsylvania
were serving their novitiate in popular legislation.
To complain, to impeach, to institute committees of inquiry, to send for persons and papers, to quarrel with the executive,—all was attempted, and all without permanent harm.
But the character of parties was already evident; and the people, with an irresistible propension, tended towards the fixed design of impairing the revenues, and diminishing the little remaining authority, of their feudal sovereign.2 Penn
had reserved large tracts of territory as his private property; he alone could purchase the soil from the natives; and he reserved quitrents on the lands which he sold.
, for nearly a century, sought to impair the exclusive right to preemption, and to compel an appropriation of the income from quitrents, in part at least, to the public service.
Colonial jealousy of a feudal chief was early and perseveringly displayed.
The maker of
the first Pennsylvania almanac was censured for publishing Penn
as a lord.3
The assembly originated
bills without scruple; they attempted a new organization of the judiciary; they alarmed the merchants by their lenity towards debtors; they would vote no taxes; they claimed the right of inspecting the
records, and displacing the officers of the courts; they expelled a member who reminded them of their contravening