Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West New Jersey and Delaware, 1630-1707

By Albert Cook Myers | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

OF the collection of seven letters from Pennsylvania put forth by Penn in the pamphlet here reproduced, the initial one by Dr. Nicholas More, which appears in full, occupying nearly one-half of the space, is of most interest and deservedly gives title to the piece. The other letters, however, although simply in the form of abstracts, contain items of value and -- barring that of the Pennsbury gardener -- are by men of like prominence in the governmental affairs of the province; but notice of them is reserved for the notes. Attention now is devoted to the writer of the most important letter alone.

Dr. More was a personage. He was not only the first speaker of the provincial assembly, held at Chester in December, 1682, but he has even the greater distinction of being the first ( 1684-1685) of the long and illustrous line of chief justices of Pennsylvania. In 1686 he was appointed by Penn one of the five commissioners to govern the province. He was, moreover, a great landowner, having in his tenure the manor of Moreland, a tract of 10,000 acres of land in Philadelphia County, adjacent to the Bucks County line. This territory, which now covers the greater part of Moreland Township, Montgomery County, was granted to him as a barony, entitling him to hold a court baron and a court leet and to take view of frankpledge. These feudal privileges, however, he never exercised. Adjoining his manor on the south was his countryseat "Green Spring," located about thirteen miles northeast of the Philadelphia of that day and about a half mile west of the present Somerton. It was here on September 13, 1686, that he wrote his letter and it was here that he obtained the agricultural results he describes.

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