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it to you by one of you,” Fletcher discovered a copy of a letter with similar
advice and was therefore well aware of these Quakers™ stance against him.124
According to Fletcher, they followed Penn™s instructions and did “as much in
theire [power] . . . to baffell my endeaviors . . . for theire Majesties service.”125

122 Nash, Quakers and Politics, 186.
123 Penn to Robert Turner, 29th of the 9th mo. 1692, PWP, 3: 356“57.
124 PWP, 3: 358, n.20, 377, n.5.
125 Benjamin Fletcher to Secretary of State, Aug. 18, 1693, quoted in Nash, Quakers and Politics,
186“87.
Constituting a Quaker Government in Pennsylvania 127

The second oppositional campaign was the old familiar one. Members of the
Assembly had dismissed Penn as a threat and they continued their resistance to
him and the Council. This time, however, they had a sense of unity following
the Keithian Controversy. They also saw the opportunity for an ally in their
cause. Seeing a possibility of achieving otherwise-unreachable ends through
Fletcher, members of the Assembly (composed at this time of Keithian Quak-
ers and malcontented non-Quakers) had welcomed him to Philadelphia.126 Not
surprisingly then, as Fletcher went about the task of trying to govern the colony,
he favored the Assembly. In this way, Penn unwittingly played into the hands of
these radical Friends by instructing his supporters to resist Fletcher™s rule “ elite
Quakers shunned the of¬cial positions Fletcher offered them, leaving Fletcher
little choice but to bestow more power on the Assembly. Furthermore, Friends
who were once Council members retreated, taking up positions in the Assem-
bly, and thereby strengthening it. Fletcher all but disbanded the Provincial
Council and gave the Assembly the power to make legislation. Penn, realizing
his mistake, remarked on this most recent turn of events to his supporters that
“the advantage the disafected [am]ong us make by [the Keithian Controversy]
ag[ainst un]ity, against Frds haveing power, [against] me, & [you] in perticu-
lar are great & Lamentable . . . Oh! Sorrowfull Conclusion of 8 or nine years
Governmt.”127
In the summer of 1694, Penn reestablished good relations with the crown
and was reinstated as proprietor of the colony. William Markham, now deputy
governor, had the onerous task of trying to bring the colony back under pro-
prietary control. He attempted to reinstate the 1683 Frame that Fletcher had
abolished, but to no avail. By this time the Assembly was strong enough so as
to be nearly unstoppable in its progress toward complete control of the gov-
ernment. They wrote of the 1683 Frame that it “is not deemed in all Respects
Sutably Accomodated to our present Circumstances.”128 Instead, David Lloyd,
kinsman of Thomas Lloyd and speaker of the Assembly, argued for a “new
modelling” of government that of¬cially put almost the whole government into
the control of the Assembly.129 This was the most overt challenge to Penn™s
authority.130 But it was nothing new for the Assembly.131 During the Fletcher
years as the elite councilmen had joined the Assembly, they realized that their
best chance for provincial autonomy from royal or proprietary control was a
strong lower house.132 They accordingly took steps to secure their new-found
strength.


126 See The Address of some of the Peaceable and Well Affected Freeholders and Inhabitants of
the Town and County of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1693).
127 Penn to Friends in Pennsylvania, 11th of the 10th mo. 1693, PWP, 3: 383.
128 1696 Frame of Government, PWP, 3: 458.
129 See Norris Papers, Family Letters, I, 122. HSP.
130 PWP, 3:456.
131 See Nash, Quakers and Politics. He argues that it was “strikingly different” than other chal-
lenges (200).
132 Ibid., 201.
128 Quaker Constitutionalism in Theory and Practice

The 1696 Frame, while retaining some of the provisions from the 1683
Frame, made changes in Pennsylvania™s power structure. The most notable of
these was that the Assembly could now make laws. The new Frame decreed
that “the Representatives of the Freemen when mett in Assembly Shall have
power to prepare and propose to the Governour and Council all such Bills as
the Majour part of them shall at any time see needful to be past into Lawes.”
The role left to the governor and Council was “recommending to the Assembly
all such Bills as they shall think ¬tt to be past into Lawes.” But the Assembly
will only meet and confer with the Council on these matters “when desired” by
the Assembly.133 The popular Assembly ¬nally had in its grasp the power and
liberty it had been struggling for since the founding of the province “ almost.
It was still not of¬cial.
Meanwhile, Penn, distracted by deaths in his family, embattled by politics
in England, and fully aware of the fruitlessness of asserting his will “ or his
version of God™s will “ in Pennsylvania, did not do anything actively to resist
this new move. Though he did not reject the 1696 Frame outright, neither did
he sanction it. His only existing reference to it on record is vague. In a letter
to some leading Friends in of¬ce, he reasserted somewhat feebly that making a
charter was his “own peculier prerogative, devolved thereby from the Crown
upon” him in order to keep provincial laws “as neer as may be to those in
Eng[land].” The only concern he made plain was that Pennsylvania™s laws were
“too remote from wt other Colonys are in their Constitution[s]” and that this
might “furnish our enimys wth a weapon to wound us.”134 Quaker governance
was dangerous and unbalanced according to those of a Whiggish bent. Finally,
the 1696 Frame was instituted when Friends compelled Markham to accept
it by threatening to withhold funds to aid in the defense of New York “
a directive from the crown “ if he did not. They did this by claiming that,
because the 1683 Frame was invalid, they were not properly constituted as a
body and needed to be reconstituted to vote to give funds for New York.135
Markham refused their conditions and neither passed the new constitution nor
delivered funds to New York.
The late 1690s in Pennsylvania government were by no means quiet or har-
monious. The same struggles for power among Friends continued and were
complicated by an in¬‚ux of non-Quakers into the province, many of whom
sided with the “radical” faction of Friends. Increasingly, in these years as the
Assembly wrangled for its prerogatives, one man was coming to the fore as
its leader “ David Lloyd. Lloyd came to Pennsylvania in 1687 from Wales as
Penn™s trusted attorney general. In his forty-four-year career in Pennsylvania
government, he was the most important and certainly most controversial polit-
ical ¬gure.136 In 1691 he became convinced of Quakerism, and would later
133 1696 Frame of Government, PWP, 3: 462.
134 William Penn to Samuel Carpenter and Others, 1st of the 10th mo. 1697, PWP, 3: 531.
135 LL, 1: 528“29.
136 Ibid., 1: 490. See also Roy N. Lokken, David Lloyd: Colonial Lawmaker (Seattle: University
of Washington Press, 1959); H. Frank Eshleman, The Constructive Genius of David Lloyd in
Constituting a Quaker Government in Pennsylvania 129

be described by some as a “rigid Quaker.”137 During the early years of the
province as he was still de¬ning his political character, he played a crucial role
in government by supporting the Assembly in their bids for power and actively
aiding them by, among other things, writing the 1696 Frame of Government.
At this point in time, however, his biographers believe he “had shown lit-
tle indication of opposition to the proprietor or to the Quaker leadership.”138
Penn himself described Lloyd in glowing terms as “an honest man & the Ablest
Lawyer in that province, & a zealous Man for the Government.”139
Lloyd™s knowledge and skill as a lawyer both helped and hurt his advance-
ment in the province. It caused him to rise to great heights in the Pennsylvania
government. By virtue of being one of the few Quaker lawyers, and having an
aptitude for law and tenacious personality, Lloyd had made himself indispens-
able to the colonial legislative process. But this zeal and success also attracted
the notice of the English government in unfavorable ways. In disputes with the
crown over the regulation of trade, Lloyd championed colonists™ rights and
won great popularity among them. But he angered the Board of Trade, which
became intent not just on enforcing the law, but on removing Lloyd from
the scene. Penn found himself in an awkward position between the authority
of the crown and the rights and interests of his colonists as represented by
Lloyd. In 1699 the Board of Trade demanded that Penn remove him “not only
from the Place of Attorney General . . . but from all other publick Imployments
whatsoever.”140
Whether or not Penn could have prevented Lloyd™s removal is debatable.
What can hardly be disputed, however, is that he executed the removal with
very little tact, and furthermore, appeared to betray Lloyd in his attempt to
appease the Board. Not only did he remove Lloyd from all his appointed
of¬ces, but in an un-Quakerly motion, he proceeded to prosecute him, mak-
ing no allowances for Lloyd to defend himself. Adding insult to injury, Penn
then removed Lloyd from his position on the Provincial Council and dele-
gated the job of informing him to Lloyd™s father-in-law.141 Among the many
unwise moves Penn made as proprietor, his treatment of David Lloyd in par-
ticular would shape the future of the colony in ways he did not intend. What
Penn failed to consider was that, although he could of¬cially strip Lloyd of
his titles, Lloyd™s quali¬cation as the most able legal mind in the province
guaranteed him a role in the government and a hand in the creation of future
legislation.


Early Colonial Pennsylvania Legislation and Jurisprudence, 1686“1731 (Philadelphia: Penn-
sylvania Bar Association, 1910); Burton Alva Konkle, “David Lloyd, Penn™s Great Lawmaker,”
Pennsylvania History vol. 4, no. 3 (1937), 153“56.
137 LL, 1: 492.
138 Ibid.
139 William Penn to the House of Lords, 1 March 1697, PWP, 3: 486.
140 The Board of Trade to Penn, PWP, 3: 577.
141 LL, 1: 1: 493.
130 Quaker Constitutionalism in Theory and Practice

The 1701 Charter of Privileges
By 1701, the political events had conspired to create a very precarious situation
for Penn. His neglect of the colony, the appointment of foreign governors, the
Keithian Controversy, and his mistreatment of the foremost legal ¬gure in the
province all contributed to his loss of control of the government. Meanwhile,
since the founding of the colony, Quakers had been practicing self-government,
angling for ever-greater popular power, and exercising their unique process of
dissent and reform. This was the situation in Pennsylvania on the eve of the
creation of the Charter of Privileges, the Quakers™ sacred institution that would
be the foundation of the colony for the next seventy-¬ve years.
In 1699, after a ¬fteen-year absence, Penn returned to America. He planned
to spend several years restoring order to the colony and faith in his leadership.
But even if the developments of the last decades had not already converged to
make his job nearly impossible, new circumstances arising in England did. The
English government had begun aggressive action to take colonies away from
proprietors. The Reuni¬cation Bill, which was intended not to void the colonial
charters (as some Anglicans had wanted) but simply to remove all rights of a
proprietary governor, was introduced to the House of Lords in 1701. The
Quaker legal advocacy group in England, the Meeting for Sufferings, lobbied
against it and informed Penn of the danger.142 Although Penn had planned on
remaining in the colony for some time, he realized soon after his arrival that he
would need to sail for England as soon as possible. His concern was to preserve
his Quaker colony and the privileges to which the inhabitants had become
accustomed, most importantly, liberty of conscience. Penn wrote: “Can it enter
the head of any man of Common Sence knowing any thing of America that wee
came hither to be under a Kings Governour that is Mercenary[?] . . . are wee
come 3000 Miles into a Desart of only wild people as well as wild Beasts . . . to
have only the same priviledges wee had at home?”143
Penn saw this move by the English government as a direct, deliberate,
and speci¬c attack on the colonies of religious dissenters in America. “The
Design,” he explained, “seems to Lye against Proprietary Govmts upon the
foot of Dissent in Religion.” He argued, “[f]or Except for Carolina they
were all granted to Non Conformists and then the meaning is that no Dis-
senters Even in a Wilderness at 3000 Miles Distance & at the other End of
the world shall Enjoy the powers ¬rst granted them for their Incouragement
& Security in their Hasardous & most Expensive Enterprises.” Furthermore,
he believed that if other dissenters in America, especially the Baptists and
Independent Presbyterians suspected this, they would unite and “make a bold
Appearance & stand both within doors & without agst the progress of such a
Bill.”144

142 PWP, 4: 64.
143 Penn to Charlwood Lawton, 18th of the 6th mo. 1701, PWP, 4:67.
144 Ibid., 4: 73.
Constituting a Quaker Government in Pennsylvania 131

In Pennsylvania the matter seemed dire. The threat from England necessi-
tated more stability in the colony than had ever existed and, most importantly,
a legitimate, functional constitution. By 1699 the colony had been without
an approved, written constitution for seven years since the 1683 Frame was
discarded and not replaced with any that satis¬ed Penn. If Penn would have
a chance of securing the colony™s political privileges against the crown, a new
charter would have to be drawn up in the two months before he left for Eng-
land. Penn was then caught in a dif¬cult position. He had come with the aim of
restoring his authority in the province, but since 1693 the Assembly had had
virtual control over the colony. Friends had gotten a taste of sovereignty and
were not about to relinquish it.
In relation to his colonists, where William Penn found himself in 1701
was exactly the position in which George Fox found himself a few decades
earlier during the Wilkinson-Story Controversy “ distrusted and resisted by
Friends intent on not being oppressed. In the ¬rst twenty years of Pennsylvania
government, Penn had attempted to realize his vision for the province, with
himself as its leader. From the beginning, the question of where authority lay
for Penn was clear. He had put the power to make laws and regulations in
the hands of an elite few and expected the people to disregard their God-given
powers of legal discernment and simply obey. Perhaps he should have known
better than to think a colony of Quakers would be so easily led. These people
had contested this kind of “top-down” delegation of power in their religious
lives, and it surely would not be tolerated in any holy political experiment.
In the eyes of his co-religionists, Penn had ceased to be a revered leader, and
instead took the shape of a tyrannical ruler. That he too was a Quaker mattered
less than that he was the one who wielded authority over them. Authority by
any human was to be questioned, and weighed against the authority of God
within.
With his authority threatened both from above by the English government
and from below by his colonists, Penn did not have much time before he left
Pennsylvania to work out a plan that would balance his rights, interests, and
authority as the proprietor with those of his colonists, and at the same time
preserve the rights of the Quaker colony in the face of a royal threat. Just
over a year earlier, he had recognized that “Tho™ this be a Colonie of 19
years standing . . . we have yet much to do to establish its constitution . . . there
are in it Some Laws obsolete others hurtfull, others imperfect that will need
Improvement & it will be requisite to make some new ones . . . If . . . there be
anie thing that jars, alter itt.”145 Now his decision was to give the job to the
lesser of his adversaries “ his brethren in the Assembly. In a hurried address
to the General Assembly, Penn gave them carte blanche to write up whatever
sort of charter they liked. He told them to draft “some suitable expedient and
Provision for your safety, as well in your Privileges as Property, and you will


145 William Penn, “Speech to the Provincial Council,” April 1, 1700, PWP, 3: 590“91.
132 Quaker Constitutionalism in Theory and Practice

¬nd me ready to Comply with whatsoever may render us happy, by a nearer
Union of our Interest.”146 But those who had the future of Pennsylvania in
their hands were hardly concerned with Penn™s interests. They took him at his
word and, given this golden opportunity, they made the most it.
At this moment, all the factors of Pennsylvania™s short history converged “
the colonists™ discontent, their suspicion of authority, the religious differences
among Friends, and Penn™s mishandling of David Lloyd™s dismissal. With the
dissatis¬ed Keithians behind him, as well as most other Friends in of¬ce, Lloyd
drafted a charter that was radically different from Penn™s last constitution,
the 1683 Frame, and even more favorable to the Assembly than the 1696
Frame. This new charter codi¬ed the powers they had been exercising and
the arrangements they had established in recent years. In addition to securing
religious liberty in Pennsylvania once and for all, it abolished the Provincial
Council altogether as part of the legislative process, relegating it to being merely
an advisory body to the governor, and granted power to the Assembly, with
gubernatorial ascent, to make laws. Although there were still those loyal to
Penn in government at this time who might have looked out for his interests,
these Friends, like Penn, were concerned about the possibility of falling under
royal government and losing their liberty of conscience. The legacy of Fletcher™s
governorship and the current tense situation between proprietors and the crown
convinced them to go along with Lloyd and the “radical” faction in pushing
for this new charter. The Lloydians were mainly interested in a government
that would be out of Penn™s control. As James Logan, Penn™s loyal secretary
characterized it, “David [Lloyd] professes so much zeal for the public good
that . . . he has gained too great ascendant over the honest country members to
let thy interest be considered as it ought.”147
Very soon it became apparent to Penn that he had made himself extremely
vulnerable. As the Charter was being drawn up, Penn caught wind of rumors
about “wht D[avid] L[loyd] has declared as to my powrs in proprietary matters,
by wch I perceive tis publick.” On this point, he instructed James Logan to
“let [Lloyd] know my minde (occasionally) . . . while he is [on the] draught of
that scheam.”148 Further, he hoped Logan would “Ply David Lloyd discreetly;
dispose him to a proprietary plan, and the privileges requisite for the people™s
and Friends™ security.”149 But Logan must have had a more realistic sense of
the situation. He explained to Penn that the Provincial Council was helpless to
protect Penn™s interests “for they are looked upon as ill here as the Court party
[in England].”150


146 Minutes of the Provincial Council of the Province of Pennsylvania from the Organization to
the Termination of the Proprietary Government, vols. 1“4 (Philadelphia: Jo. Severn, 1852), 2:
35.
147 Logan to Penn, 28th of the 7th mo. 1704, Penn-Logan Corresp., 1: 316.
148 Penn to Logan, 8 Sept. 1701, PWP, 4: 88.
149 Ibid., 6th of the 7th mo. 1701, Penn-Logan Corresp., 1: 52.
150 Logan to Penn, 3rd of the 8th mo. 1704, Penn-Logan Corresp., 1: 321.
Constituting a Quaker Government in Pennsylvania 133

Lloyd™s biographers believe that it is dif¬cult to know his deepest motives for
how and why he drafted the Charter as he did.151 Penn™s supporters believed
that Lloyd was driven by a deep-seated grudge against Penn for the rough treat-
ment he had received a few years earlier.152 While it seems this was certainly
a factor considering the vehement and calculated opposition Penn met from
Lloyd since his dismissal, it should not be forgotten that Lloyd had a history of
writing radical legislation that furthered popular rights. Although the grudge
he bore toward Penn may have focused his efforts, it cannot be considered his
only motive for leading the movement for popular government.
Regardless of Lloyd™s motives, Penn had been manipulated into acquiescence
to the Assembly™s will. Under pressure from all sides, Penn grudgingly signed
the Charter into law “ a decision he and his closest advisors would soon regret.
In what can only be called a peaceful coup d™etat, these dissenters among
Friends wrested all legislative prerogative away from the Provincial Council
and placed it squarely “ and legally “ in the hands of the popular Assembly. To
do this, they employed the same peaceful process that their brethren in England
had been using to resist unjust rulers and their laws. They did not overthrow
the government Penn had founded, they merely reorganized it; likewise, they
did not remove Penn, they simply made him irrelevant. And neither, as in most
other colonies, did these dissenters ever take up arms against their government.
At the moment the Charter was put in place, it became not just one of the
most signi¬cant examples of Quaker political ideals and process but also a
vehicle for promoting them until the American Revolution. Shortly after his
return to England, Penn wrote to James Logan, “I wish now I had never past
it . . . when my hasty goeing for wt obliged yt motion was unforeseen, when
those Laws & yt c[h]arter received their sanction from me.”153 He complained
to his con¬dant, “Let these ungrateful men see what I suffer for them . . . they
may meet with their match after a while that they have so basely treated me “
unworthy spirits!”154 At this point, the table had been fully turned, and now
William Penn and his ally against the radicals in the Assembly, Isaac Norris,
Sr., lamented that they were “Dissenters in our own country.”155 But of course,
all Friends might have described themselves thus.
Although hardly what Penn had in mind for his Quaker political experi-
ment, the polity that this charter constituted was more Quakerly than anything
he could have achieved by his own design. The distinctive character of Penn-
sylvania politics that would de¬ne the colony depended on two clauses in the
Charter, only one of which Penn had intended “ liberty of conscience and pop-
ular control of the legislative process. Aside from the implications these things

151 LL, 1: 494. Although authorship of the charter has not been established de¬nitively, it seems
clear that Lloyd had a great part in writing it. In 1704, Logan informed Penn that “bills are
all drawn by David Lloyd,” 28th of the 7th mo., Penn-Logan Corresp., 1: 316.
152 Ibid.
153 Penn to Logan, “Notes and Queries,” PMHB, vol. 7 (1883), 228“36.
154 Penn to Logan, 21st of the 4th mo. 1702, Penn-Logan Corresp., 1: 111.
155 Isaac Norris to Penn, 23rd of the 9th mo. 1710, Penn-Logan Corresp., 2: 431.
134 Quaker Constitutionalism in Theory and Practice

might have had for later constitutional thought, they were immensely impor-
tant for the immediate purposes of the Quaker government. The ¬rst clause
allowed inhabitants of the colony to be Quakers; the second allowed them to
act like Quakers in political of¬ce. The Charter, in other words, allowed polit-
ical legitimacy to be de¬ned in good measure by Quaker faith and practice. It
rede¬ned the very government itself. There would be no top-down imposition
of authority from remote rulers; legislation would evolve from the sense of the
Assembly, not the dictates of a governor or proprietor; each individual would
be allowed to follow instead the leadings of his conscience in matters of reli-
gion and politics; and peace, not war, would be pursued as a matter of policy.
Beyond strictly governmental activities, the Charter also allowed Friends to
determine to a great degree the civil law, social policies, and civic culture of
the province according to their theology and thereby minimize the in¬‚uence
of other non-Quaker groups and regulate individual behavior in the polity.
Friends in of¬ce were able to establish a political culture that was, according
to their opponents, Quakerized.156

Conclusion
The Charter was not fully “settled” for another twenty-¬ve years. The factions
that had existed before it was implemented, led by Lloyd and Logan, revived
after 1701 and struggled over whose interpretation of the Charter would pre-
vail. David Lloyd wrote to Penn that “I hold my self Obliged in Conscience”
to defend his views on the Charter.157 But by 1728, the Lloydian faction
had ¬nally adopted a more moderate tone and preached Quaker process and
unity to their opponents in their disputes. They argued that “all the proper
means for a Reconciliation were used by Us, and rejected by our Brethren
with Contempt,” and that “the Supporters of this Difference never intended
to redress our Grievances, by desiring Us to joyn them; but wanted our Con-
currence, only to reinstate themselves in a Capacity of Acting.” The Lloydians
¬nally “appealed to our Brethren” and proved that “[w]e are not singular in
Our interpretation of the Law.”158 The interpretation of this constitution was
¬nally set.
The Charter of Privileges was a unique document in colonial American gov-
ernment. It was not exceptional simply because it created the only major colo-
nial government with a unicameral legislature, thus granting more power to its
popular representatives than any other colonial charter; nor was it extraordi-
nary merely because it was the only colonial constitution with clauses guaran-
teeing religious liberty and constitutional amendment; nor was it remarkable
only for its longevity “ lasting seventy-¬ve years intact as the constitution
of Pennsylvania. It was also unique because it was a quintessentially Quaker

156 Jones, The Quakers in the American Colonies, 287.
157 David Lloyd to Penn, 19th of the 5th mo. 1705, PWP 4: 373.
158 David Lloyd, Defence of the Legislative Constitution, 7.
Constituting a Quaker Government in Pennsylvania 135

achievement. What makes the 1701 Charter a Quaker constitution “ and distin-
guishes it from other colonial constitutions “ is that it grew out of an established
process of peaceful dissent and resistance within the Society of Friends. The
process by which it came into being, how it was used once in place, and what
its advocates achieved for the province made manifest the internal procedures,
experiences, and theology of the Society of Friends in the seventeenth and eigh-
teenth centuries. The 1701 Charter was the culmination of a twenty-year period
of constitutional turmoil, and an even longer period of practiced resistance to
authority by members of the Society of Friends. In pushing for a constitution
that effectively placed power in the hands of the people and alienated their
leader, Quakers were repeating a pattern of behavior learned and practiced in
the earliest years of their existence in England.
This constitutional moment prepared and enabled Quakers to create a truly
Quaker colony. Over the next seventy-¬ve years, they expand their process
and principles with remarkable success to the entire province. How one de¬nes
success, is, of course, relative.
4

Civil Unity and “Seeds of Dissention” in the Golden Age

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