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already was, and till he was sure of the contrary, it would not be decent for him to appear. Of that thou canst best inform him. That day you come to Bramber, Sir John Fagg will meet you both; and that night you may He at Wiston, and then, when thou pleasest, with us at Worminghurst.'
Penn wrote a second letter to Pelham to protest against the scandal of Henry's name being used in his absence to the prejudice of Algernon; expressing his fears that this ungenerous act would lead to greater feuds in the Sydney family. Sunderland moved the wires at will; and what with feasting and drinking—the Pelhams contributing half a fat buck—the men of Bramber were divided at the poll. Henry obtained as many votes as his brother. Algernon got the casting voice, and was declared duly returned. Penn now considered his friend about to take his seat, where his counsels and his example might be of service to his country. But as soon as the Houses met, his return was cancelled by a court intrigue.
This second disappointment made a deep impression on the mind of Penn. It drove the rage of Guildford from his thoughts. That Dalmahoy should be willing to take advantage of an honest adversary, that a petty official, whom the court could make or mar at pleasure, should be ready to stain his fame, were things conceivable to him. But that a nephew and a brother —members of an illustrious house, and men whom he had known for years—
should serve the purpose of a base cabal, to the dishonour of their blood, these things were inconceivable to him. If the nearest relatives of Sydney would not pause at such an act of baseness, what was left for virtue but to flee away from a corrupt society and court?
A NEW COUNTRY (1680).
Turning from the rape of Bramber and the gallery of Whitehall, Penn looked in mind across the ocean. He had made another effort; he had failed; but though he never sank in hope, he felt that there was hardly room in England for a new experiment in freedom to be made. The people were too much divided; some too rich and some too poor; some too learned, some too ignorant; for a frame of government in which every man ought to be the equal of every other man. On finding that a trial could not well be made in England, Penn adopted the romantic scheme of giving up his fortune and his future life to trying this experiment in lands beyond the sea
In place of the great sums of money due to his deceased father—not a penny of which had yet been paid—he offered to accept a stretch of desert, lying backwards towards the unknown west, beyond the Delaware. This tract was then a wilderness, with here and there a house of wood and thatch, in which some Dutch or Swedish farmer lived. To this wild country he proposed to lead out a colony of citizens, to seek those fortunes and enjoy those liberties in the New World which the evil passions of the older world denied them. There was poetry and chivalry in such a thought. The soldier of Kinsale, with the adventurous genius of his race, would be in modern times a hero of romance. To be a leader of adventurers was not his highest aim. He wished to found in that wilderness a Free Colony for all nations—an original and august conception; one to keep his name for ever in the memories of mankind. His experiment was to bear witness to the world that there is in human nature virtue for self-government. In the colony of his brain there should be equal laws. The sovereignty—judicial, representative, administrative — should be with the people. Every office should be filled by men elected to their functions, and paid out of the public revenue for their services. The state should employ the best of servants, and admit no masters. There should be no privileged order. In Utopia there should be no power, not even his own, above the law. Justice should be equally administered. To the natives of the soil he would offer protection, the useful arts, European comforts, above all the gospel. Love should brood over all his projects. Freedom of the conscience—equality of political and civil rights— respect for personal liberty—and full regard for the rights of property: these were the points of his scheme.
The block of country lay to the north of that Catholic province of Maryland, which was owned by Baltimore. For eastern boundary it had the state of New Jersey, with the affairs of which Penn was now familiar. It had only one outlet to the sea; by means of the river Delaware; but it stretched inland over an undefined country, across the Alleghannies to the banks of the Ohio on the west, and to Lake Erie on the north. The length of this province was nearly three hundred miles; its width about one hundred and sixty miles; and it contained no less than forty-seven thousand square miles of surface; little less than the entire area of England. Much of the land was hilly, and the hills were green with wood. The Indians hunted elk and deer over its plains, danced the war-dance, and smoked the pipe of peace beneath the shade of its majestic oaks. Nature, it is true, had not been prodigal in this region; mountain chains covered a large portion of its area; and while the adjoining states of Virginia, Maryland, and New York, were alive with industry, hardly an English settler had as yet thought of sitting down in this bleaker clime. The winters were severe on the eastern slopes, and men supposed they must be colder in the valleys on the west. Yet the land was rich in many of the best elements of wealth. Between Cape Henlopen and Cape May, the Delaware offered a basin in which the commerce of a great continent would have room. The Susquehannah, the Delaware, the Ohio, the Alleghanny, and a host of rivers either watered the interior of the country or washed its boundaries. It was rich in mineral treasures. Iron was found in a thousand mines; to the west of the Alle