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And when the French war broke out, his governor was displaced, his own authority suspended, and the governorship annexed, in spite of the charter, to the province of New York. An attempt, unworthy and scandalous, was made to break the charter; and the ingenuity of legal art was taxed to find a flaw.
And at the grave of Fox, in the beginning of 1691, after Penn had pronounced over his friend the last eulogy, he himself, on the charge of a false and branded miscreant, was threatened with arrest, and had to hide himself, in order to escape prison. Thus stricken and harassed, domestic sorrow came to barb the arrow, and the wife of his heart, “the wise, the humble, the constant,” heartbroken by her husband's sufferings, was struck down with fatal disease. Yet, firm and undaunted, Penn stood under the storm. “I know my enemies, their true character and history : I commit them to time, with my own conduct and afflictions." And time did him justice. He would not press for acquittal. He spent his involuntary leisure in the review, as he tells us, of his life and acts; and he gave to the world, from his retreat, two works-one on morals, the other on the promotion of peace—which shew the robust activity of his vigorous mind. In these studies he spent his hours. He declined the grateful offer of Locke to procure for him a pardon. He would not accept from the Whig Secretary of State the release, which the many friends, whom he had obliged, had
wrung from Government. He demanded justice: to be heard and cleared-not, unheard, to be dismissed. He prevailed. Before the Council in Westminster he was tried, and absolved from every charge; and he appeared at large, to receive the last sigh of his devoted wife, who died in his arms, and to find that his eldest and favourite son was sinking in a slow decline.
PENN A SUFFERER.
Penn's long residence in England had not been favorablc to the condition or prospects of his Colony. Dif. ficulties had arisen, as soon as he left it. The Assembly had quarrelled with the members of Government -one they had impeached : they had put another in prison. The Council had been careless in their duties. The provisions of the Charter had been violated both by Council and assembly. Penn made a change in the members of the executive. He sent out a new Deputy: but the quarrels only increased, and his second Deputy was recalled. The original executive was restored, and a temporary harmony established, but this was broken by the contumacy of turbulent offenders, and by the onslaught now made on the independent constitution of the Colony. For, the first event which roused Penn from his grief, on account of the death of his wife, was the effort made by William's government to abolish the charter of Pennsylvania, and to form one
imperial government out of the northern colonies. This would have blasted the scheme of his life. He appealed to the Queen in Council; his case was heard ; and the decision, which reserved to the Crown the right of providing for the defence of the settlement, confirmed in Penn's hands the government of his State. Penn was able, therefore, to replace his cousin in the command of the province; and to discharge the melancholy duty,—for two entire years most tenderly performed, of watching the sick-bed of his sinking son, tending him with a father's love, and cheering him with a Christian's comforts.
In April, 1696, his son died, and Penn married again, residing chiefly in Britain. Various works in defence of the Quakers, or in explanation of their opinions, with occasional ministerial visits, to the Friends through the country, and to his estates in Ireland, and an unsuccessful attempt to convert the Czar at Moscow, occupied his time. But the difficulties in which his colony was involved, through disputes between the King's revenue agent and his own Governor, and between Colonel Markham his Governor, and the Assembly, had now become so serious, that it was indispensable that Penn should go over to America; and he removed there, with his family, in the autumn of 1699, and was received with great rejoicings by the settlers. His first meeting with his Assembly took place at Philadelphia, to which he summoned them in the depth
of winter, a winter too of unusual severity, to pass two bills against piracy and illicit trade. These were passed, as he desired; nor did he forget the improvement of the city, into which he introduced some of those wise sanitary provisions, at which, a century and a half later, we are slowly arriving.* His courtesy, tact and kindness, settled the disputes, reconciled the King's agent, and restored harmony. Conferences with the Indians secured their confidence; his treaty with them in 1701 effected the alliance of the five nations ; his practical suggestions improved the communication, postage and trade of the American colonies; nor did he, in these engagements, forget the instruction and improvement of the negro slaves, though thwarted in these plans by the selfishness of the Assembly. In his magnificent country-house on the Delaware, he shewed a taste for elegance and comfort, for sumptuous affluence and 'liberal hospitality, which modern Quakerism has not disowned. In his exquisite gardens, his spacious shrubberies, tended by skilful gardeners from Scotland, he received his visitors, or ruminated on the plans of practical improvement which occupied his mind; and in the goodly yacht, which danced lightly over the broad waters of the Delaware, he revived that love of boating which, while a boy, he had shewn, when he ran his skiff into the Cherwell and sailed his boat on the Isis. But it was no life of indul.
* Clarkson’s Life, p. 223.