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William Penn Period: New Castle County Court Docket, William Penn addresses the County Court – 1682.
New Castle County court docket stipulating that since James, the Duke of York, had granted William Penn the town of New Castle and surrounding area and the counties of St. Jones (Kent) and Whorekill (Sussex) downwards, Penn requested that all inhabitants of the region confirm their titles to their land; that the justices and councillors examine their town plots to determine what land was available for newcomers–especially traders and “handicrafts men”; that he wanted all requests and petitions brought to him at the next court session; that he proclaimed the Duke’s Laws, already in place in New York, valid for this region; and finally that he promised the inhabitants of the region the same rights and privileges as those in Pennsylvania and that they should be governed by their own deputies and representatives in an assembly to be conveniently convened.
Nov. 2d: 1682
Begins Book C
Att a Cort: Helf in the Towne of New Castle upon Delloware in the Name of or: Soueraigne Lord Charles the 2d: by the Grace of God of England Scotland France & Ireland King defendr: of the Faith, and by Commission and Appointment of William Penn Esqr: Proprietry & Governor: of Pensilvania etc: on Thursday the 2d: of Nouembr: in ye: 35th: Yeare of his Mayts: Raighne Annoq Dom: 1682.
The Rt. Honorble Proprietry: etc –
Captn: Will: Markham –
Mayor: Thom: Holms – of The Councill – C3.
Mr: William Haigh –
Mr: John Simkock –
Mr: Thomas Brasie –
Mr: John Moll –
Mr: Johannes De Haes –
Mr: William Sempill – Justices of ye Peace
Mr: Arnoldus De Lagrange –
Mr: John Cann . . . .
The Right Honorble: Proprietry: William Penn by his publicq Speech directed to ye: Inhabitants in Gennerll: Did in open Cort: declare that hee had appointed and called this Cort: ‘t Cheefly to Signify and declare unto them in a more publicq manner; –
First – Thaat itt had Graciously pleased ye Illustrious Prince James Duke of Yorke and albany etc: to Give & Grant Unto him this Towne of New Castle & itts prcincts wth ye: County of St: Jones’s and Whoorekills downwards And that therefore hee was Resolued for the Incouragemt: of all ye Inhabitants thereof and for ye: Better Settlement quiet and Satisfaction of the, first to State and Settle their Lands, & possessions, and therefore hee willed and desired them to bring in att ye: next Court to bee held wth: in this Towne of New Castle all their Pattents Surveys Grants and Claymes, wch: they had to their Lands Livings Tennements & Possessions promissing to a certaine adjust and Confirme not only those as had a Sufficient Tytle & Right, but also those as yett wanted a Certaine Right to ye same: Soe far forth as Equity Justice and Reason could Requiere; –
2dly: The Proprietry: Recommended itt to ye Magistrates and desired them, to take inspection, View and Looke ouer their Towne plott, to See and find out what vacant Roome may bee found therein for ye accommodating & settling of New Commers Traeders and handicrafts men, therein, and for ye Generll: & publicq good and Incouradgemt: of ye Place and parts of wch: hee desired yt: an Account might be Given him; –
3dly That if any persons had requests or Peticons to prsent unto him, hee willed them to doe itt for an answer att ye next Cort: day;
4thly: In Regard that for want of a prsent assembly there are not as yett fitting Laws Regulacons orders and by lawes for ye Contry provyded Hee ye Proprietry: therefore recommended the magistrates in yee Interim to follow and take the Lawes of his Royll: highnesse provyded for the Province of New Yorke for their Guyde Soe farr Forth as they are Consistent and not Repugnant to ye: Lawes of England assuring ye Inhabitants of this and the other twoo Counties downwards that they Should haue and Injoy full Equall, and ye same Priveledges wth: those of those of ye Province of Pensiluania, and that for the future they Should bee Governed by Such Lawes and orders as they themselves by their deputys and Representatiues Should Consent to, and that hee would call an assembly for ye purpose as soon as Conveniently might bee: etc;
The Cort: adjorned till ye first Teusday of ye: Month of decembr. next;
RG 2200.013 New Castle County Court Record Book A-B, page 267.
Transcript from: Records of the Court of New Castle on Delaware, Vol. II, 1681-1699, (Meadville, PA: Tribune Publishing, 1935), p. 23-25.
Related Topics: Growth And Change