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Penn's Letter to the Indians

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In 1681 William Penn, an English Quaker, was granted territory in North America by King Charles II. This land was named Pennsylvania. Penn planned a city on this territory and named it Philadelphia, which in Greek means "brotherly love." Perhaps the name was fitting, for soon after receiving the land Penn wrote a letter to the Native American chiefs in the area asking for their friendship. He tells them that he is sensitive to the "unkindness and injustice that hath been too much exercised towards you" by other settlers. In contrast, Penn says he wants to live "peaceably with you." Indeed, Penn's short tenure in the colony was noted for democratic government and for peace with the native peoples.
Penn's Letter to the Indians

William Penn

My friends--there is one great God and power that hath made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I, and all people owe their being and well-being, and to whom you and I must one day give an account for all that we do in the world; this great God hath written his law in our hearts, by which we are taught and commanded to love and help, and do good to one another, and not to do harm and mischief one to another. Now this great God hath been pleased to make me concerned in your parts of the world, and the king of the country where I live hath given unto me a great province, but I desire to enjoy it with your love and consent, that we may always live together as neighbours and friends, else what would the great God say to us, who hath made us not to devour and destroy one another, but live soberly and kindly together in the world? Now I would have you well observe, that I am very sensible of the unkindness and injustice that hath been too much exercised towards you by the people of these parts of the world, who sought themselves, and to make great advantages by you, rather than be examples of justice and goodness unto you, which I hear hath been matter of trouble to you, and caused great grudgings and animosities, sometimes to the shedding of blood, which hath made the great God angry; but I am not such a man, as is well known in my own country; I have great love and regard towards you, and I desire to win and gain your love and friendship, by a kind, just, and peaceable life, and the people I send are of the same mind, and shall in all things behave themselves accordingly; and if in any thing any shall offend you or your people, you shall have a full and speedy satisfaction for the same, by an equal number of just men on both sides, that by no means you may have just occasion of being offended against them. I shall shortly come to you myself, at what time we may more largely and freely confer and discourse of these matters. In the mean time, I have sent my commissioners to treat with you about land, and a firm league of peace. Let me desire you to be kind to them and the people, and receive these presents and tokens which I have sent to you, as a testimony of my good will to you, and my resolution to live justly, peaceably, and friendly with you.
 I am your loving friend, WILLIAM PENN 

 
Source: Microsoft Encarta
   


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