Gateway to the Classics: Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis
Stephen of Philadelphia by  James Otis

Trouble over the Boundary Lines

Now, as you also know, when King James I died, Charles I became king of England, and in 1632 he gave to Lord Baltimore a large tract of land in that portion of America where the London Company already had possession, setting down exactly, as he believed, the bounds of the country; but, because of the English people's not knowing very much about this world of America, the lines were considerably mixed.

As I have already told you, Charles II owed the father of our William Penn a large amount of money, near to sixteen thousand pounds, as I have heard it said, and to pay that debt, he gave to the son all the country which was afterward named Pennsylvania.

Therefore, as you can see, our William owned the land between that part of the country the king gave to Lord Baltimore and the Dutch settlement which had been captured from the West India Company; but exactly where the property of one left off and the other began, nobody seemed able to make out.


You know, from what I have set down, that our William went over to New York shortly after he came to this country. At the time he did so, Jethro and I believed the journey was made simply because of his desire to see the city; but, later, we came to know it was on business concerning the claims which Lord Baltimore had already set up to the ownership of a goodly part of Pennsylvania.

When one stops to think how large this country of America is, and how much more land it contains than could be used even if half the people of England should come here to-morrow, it seems childish to quarrel over a few acres of forest more or less; and yet the settlers of Virginia were claiming that those of Maryland were crowding too far toward the sea, while, in turn, Lord Baltimore insisted that our William Penn had laid claim to a portion of the country which had been given to him.

And thus it was with the desire to settle in a friendly way the bounds of Pennsylvania that our governor would again have speech with Lord Baltimore.

 Table of Contents  |  Index  |  Home  | Previous: A Matter of History  |  Next: Members of the Governor's Following
Copyright (c) 2005 - 2023   Yesterday's Classics, LLC. All Rights Reserved.