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

By Albert Cook Myers | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

IN 1692, William Bradford, the Quaker printer, of Philadelphia, published a small quarto (6¿ x 4 7/8 inches) of eight pages entitled A Short Description, of Pennsilvania. This little book is in verse and is believed to be the first metrical composition printed in Pennsylvania. The only known copy of the work is in the Ridgway Branch of the Library Company of Philadelphia, to which it was bequeathed by Charles A. Poulson some sixty years ago.

An element of uncertainty hangs over the authorship of the verses. The title and last page of the book assign them to one Richard Frame. Yet strange to say a thorough search of all Pennsylvania sources likely to be fruitful of results has failed to reveal a single reference -- other than these citations in the book itself -- to substantiate the existence of a person of this name here at that time.

It is true that some of the public and many private records for the period have perished or are otherwise defective; nevertheless those that survive are so full and of such a varied character that it is rare indeed to find entries lacking of settlers of even the most humble position. The observing intelligence discernible in this writer would seem to raise him far out of the obscurity of the latter class. The suggestion that the author may have made only a brief sojourn here and so have escaped record or chronicler finds no support from the internal evidence, which indicates an extended acquaintance with the province. This absence of data, then, respecting the presence of Richard Frame raises the question whether this was not an assumed name.

Be that as it may, we are confined to the book itself for

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