Saturday, September 27, 2008

Notes on 17th emigration to America

William Penn acquired the vast tract of land in America called Pennysylvania, through the debt of King Charles of £16,000 to his grandfather. Britain was in a religious turmoil at the time, with dissenters being persecuted, but slowly the climate changed and rather than outlaw such people as the Quakers the king thought it more prudent to allow them to move out of the country. That is probably why we see Oliver Cope and his family leaving Britain for the promised new land.
William Penn writes of the benefits of Pennsilvania promising that "the place lies 600 miles nearer the sun than England" or "whatever I could truly write as to the soil air and water, this shall satisfie me, that by the blessing of God and the honesty and industry of man it may be good and fruitful land"
And there is one interesting promotional letter to John Aubrey, written 1683, which said;
The Aier, heat and Cold Resemble the heart of France; the soyle good, the springs many and delightfull, the fruits roots corne and flesh as good I have comonly eaten in Europe. I may so of most of them better. Strawberry's ripe in the woods in Aprill, and in the last month, Peas, bean, cherrys and mulberry are here. Much black walnutt, Chestnutts, Cyprus or white cedar and mulberry are here. The sorts of fish in these parts are excellent and numerous. Sturgeon leap day and night that we can hear them a bow shot from the Rivers in out bed"
Though Aubrey was poor at this time after having lost all his estates, he does'nt seem to have made the journey, probably he was not up to the life of a gentleman farmer and preferred the country houses of his friends. His writing was prodigious and it would have been interesting to see what he would have made of the New Country.

In 1680 we see the migration from Bristol as to be estimated at about 700, and by 1718, the date of Penn's death, the population of Pennsylvania had rised to 30,000.
Penn wanted tradesman and craftsman to emigrate, so that he welcomed the carpenters, shoemakers and tailors like Cope to take the voyage. There was also speculation by London purchasers, this time lawyers, physicians and merchants who bought land but did not go across the Atlantic themselves.
Of the the first 589 purchasers, 55 were from Cheshire and the second highest 53 from Wiltshire. Although London of course had a higher proportion, but many of these would have been speculators and would never have left the country.

ref; William Penn - Mary K. Geiter

No comments:

Post a Comment