Benjamin Franklin Papers
Note: this document has content that may require expanded/print view for best results (icons above right)

Remarks on Thomas Penn’s Estimate of the Province, 29 May 1759

Remarks on Thomas Penn’s Estimate of the Province

Printed in [Richard Jackson], An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pensylvania … London: Printed for R. Griffiths, in Paternoster-Row, 1759, pp. 431–8.

In the issue of May 26–29, 1759, The London Chronicle announced that An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pensylvania was “This day published.” So appeared at last a work with which Franklin had been long and closely concerned.8 The main part of the book consists of a 380-page narrative of the colony’s political history from the granting of the royal charter to William Penn in 1681 to the end of September 1756. It includes, in full or in extract, many of the messages exchanged between the governors and the Assembly, organized and presented in such a way as to emphasize the allegedly selfish and arbitrary policies of the Proprietors and their deputies and to justify the Assembly’s position in the long series of disputes that had taken place. At the end there appears, in sixty-four pages of fine print, an appendix “containing sundry Original Papers” relating to these controversies. Among these are the Proprietors’ Answer to the Assembly’s Representation and the Assembly Committee’s Report on the Answer, Sept. 11, 1753 (above, V, 42–57); the Assembly Committee’s eloquent Report on the Governor’s Instructions, Sept. 23, 1756 (above, VI, 515–31); William Franklin’s letter to The Citizen, Sept. 17, 1757 (above, VII, 258–63), and Thomas Penn’s estimate of the value of the proprietary estates and revenues, with remarks on the estimate. The whole work was a major propaganda effort to win support, especially in Great Britain, for the Assembly in its protracted conflict with the Proprietors.

At the time and for many years afterwards, Franklin was generally regarded as the author of the Historical Review, but it has long been recognized that, although he and his son William supplied many of the materials, the actual writer was Richard Jackson. Franklin repeatedly denied authorship and was even a little apologetic to Norris for some of the expressions in the book, saying he “was not permitted to alter every Thing [he] did not fully approve.”9 In discussing it with David Hume, Sept. 27, 1760, he stated specifically that it “was not written by me, nor any Part of it, except the Remarks on the Proprietor’s Estimate of his Estate, and some of the inserted Messages and Reports of the Assembly which I wrote when at home, as a Member of Committees appointed by the House for that Service; the rest was by another Hand.”1 The Assembly “Messages and Reports” to which he referred have all been printed in earlier volumes of this edition; the “Remarks on the Proprietor’s Estimate” are printed below, preceded, in order to make them intelligible, by the Estimate itself.

The authenticity of the Penn Estimate has been sharply challenged. In a study of the proprietary system in Pennsylvania, William R. Shepherd pointed out that “No authentic document of this origin or nature is known to exist,” and added that the only direct reference to it or to Franklin’s remarks on it to be found among the Penn Manuscripts is in a letter from Thomas Penn to Richard Peters, May 18, 1767, in which the Proprietor declared: “It is quite impossible that Mr. Franklin’s accounts can have any foundation.” Shepherd strongly implied, but without directly saying so, that Franklin was guilty of outright forgery, and that he based the alleged Estimate either on his own knowledge of the procedures in the Pennsylvania Land Office or on information supplied by others in the colony. Shepherd pointed out, further, that the figures in the Estimate are greatly in excess of those found in other, more reliable records.2

The present editors have been unable either to prove or to disprove the authenticity of the Penn Estimate, though it is clear that if it was a forgery Franklin was not the author. Writing to Joseph Galloway, Sept. 16, 1758, he acknowledged receipt of the paper and declared that it would “be of good Use.”3 Isaac Norris knew it had been sent to Franklin and he referred to its contents in a letter written a few days after the Historical Review was published.4 Obviously the paper was sent to Franklin from Pennsylvania as part of the “ammunition” his backers were supplying him for his assault on the Proprietors, and there seems no reason to believe that either Franklin or Jackson suspected its authenticity. Who wrote it, if it was a forgery, or how Franklin’s Pennsylvania friends got hold of it, if it was genuine, remains unknown.5 In any case, the remarks on the Estimate are clearly by Franklin and so are included here among his papers.

The Proprietaries have for a long Series of Years made a great Secret of the Value of their Estate and Revenue: By Accident the following authentic Paper is fallen into our Hands, and will serve as a Groundwork, on which the Reader may be enabled to form some Idea of the Value of that Estate in Pensylvania. It is a Copy of an original Paper drawn by Mr. Thomas Penn himself many Years ago,6 and endors’d

“My Estimate of the Province, T Penn.


Pensylvania Curr.
“1 Lands granted since my Arrival are very near 270,000 Acres, of which not 10,000 have been paid for; more than of old Grants are remaining unpaid;7 is } £41,850 0 0
“2 The Rent on the said Grants is £550 Sterling a Year, which at 20 Years Purchase, and 165 per Cent. Exchange,8 is } 18,150 0 0
“3 The old Rent,9 £420 a Year Sterling, at ditto, is } 15,246 0 0
“4 Lands granted between Roll and the first Article1 are £570 a Year Sterling, which at 20 Years Purchase, and 165 per Cent. is } 18,810 0 0
“5 To the Difference between £420 and £570 for Arrearages of Rents which may be computed at half the Time of the other Arrearages, that is 11 Years at 165 per Cent.2 } 2,722 10 0
“6 Ferries let on short Leases, the Rents being £40 a Year are worth3 } 1,000 0 0
“7 Lands settled in the Province for which no Grants are yet passed, except a few since the above Account was taken, not less than 400,000 Acres, which at £15 10s. 0d. amounts to } 63,000 0 0
“The Rent at an Half-penny an Acre is £833 6s. 8d. a Year Sterling, reckon’d as above is } 27,500 0 0
£188,278 10 0
M. from the City, Acres, per H.
“ 1 Conestogoe, 65 13,400 at £40 5,360 0 0
“ 2 Gilbert’s, 25 3,200 70 2,240 0 0
“ 3 Springfield, 12 1,600 75 1,200 0 0
“ 4 Highlands, 35 2,500 30 750 0 0
“ 5 Spring-tow[n], 37 10,000 35 3,500 0 0
“ 6 Vincent’s, 40 20,000 35 7,000 0 0
“ 7 Richland’s, 35 10,000 15 1,500 0 0
“ 9 About 20 Tracts in the several Counties, mostly 500 Acres each; reckon’d 10,000 at £40 }
4,000 0 0
“ Springet’s-bury 207 Acres at £5 1,035 0 0
“8 { On the North Side of the Town
Back of the said Land
50 30 1,500 0 0
15 10 150 0 0
“ 9 Lot in the Bank5 at the North End of the Town, 200 Feet at £3 }
600 0 0
“10 A Front and Bank Lot between Vine and Sassafras Street, 102 Feet at £6 }
612 0 0
“11 Bank Lot between Cedar and Pine Street, 204 Feet at £3 }
612 0 0
“12 Front Lot on the Side of Cedar Street 102 3 306 0 0
“13 Ditto between Cedar and Pine Street 160 2 320 0 0
“14 Bank Lot between the same Streets 40 2 80 0 0
“15 Marsh Land near the Town 600 Acres at £3 1,800 0 0
“16 Ditto 200 Acres, at 1s. Sterling Rent, and 165 per Cent. is }
330 0 0
“Lands within the Draft of the Town, at least 500 Acres.
“250 nearest Delaware, at £15 per Acre }
3,750 0 0
“250 nearest Schuylkill, at £10 per Acre }
2,500 0 0
“17 Omitted.—Streiper’s Tract in Bucks County, 35 Miles; 5,000 Acres at £25 }
1,250 0 0
“18 The Rents of the above Manors and Lands being 77,072 Acres at a Half-penny per Acre. 20 Years Purchase, and 165 per Cent. Exchange, is }
5,298 12 0
£233,972 2 0
“The Government to be calculated at no less than was to have been paid for it, viz. £11,0006 at 165 per Cent. is }
18,150 0 0
£252,122 2 0
“In this Calculation no Notice is taken of the Thirds reserved on the Bank Lots (a Copy of the Patents J. Penn has by him to shew the Nature of them*7) and nine Tenths of the Province remains undisposed of. }
“Three Fifths of all Royal Mines is reserved in the Grants, and in all Grants since the Year 1732. One fifth Part of all other Mines, delivered at the Pits Mouth without Charge is also reserved. }
“No Value is put on the Proprietor’s Right to escheated Lands; and, besides these Advantages, several Offices are in the Proprietor’s Gift of considerable Value. }
“Register General, about £200 }
“Naval Officer, £300
“Clerk of Philadelphia, £400
“ Chester, £300
“ Bucks, £200
“ Lancaster, £200
“Besides several other Offices of less Value. These are only guessed at.” }

The above Paper has no Date, but by sundry Circumstances in it, particularly there being no Value put on the Thirds of the Bank Lots, because they were not then fallen in;8 and by the Valuation put on the Lands (which is very different from their present Value) it must have been drawn while Mr. Thomas Penn resided in Pensylvania, and probably more than Twenty Years ago; Since which Time a vast Addition has been made to the Value of the Reserved Lands, and a great Quantity of Land has been disposed of, perhaps equal to all preceding.

We must therefore add to the above Sum of £252,122 2s. 0d. the following Articles, viz.9

Pensylvania Curr.
Brought over £252,122 2 0
1. For the increased Value of the Lands of the Conestogoe Manor now valued at £400 per Hundred Acres, and in the above Estimate valued only at £40 per Hundred, the said increased Value being £360 per Hundred, on 13,400 Acres, } 48,240 0 0
2. For the increased Value of Gilbert’s Manor, now worth £400 per Hundred Acres, } 10,560 0 0
3. For Ditto on Springfield Manor, now worth £500 per Hundred Acres, } 6,800 0 0
4. For Ditto on Highland’s Manor, now worth £350 per Hundred Acres, } 8,000 0 0
5. For Ditto on Springtown, now worth £400 per Hundred Acres, } 36,500 0 0
6. For Ditto on Vincent’s Manor, now worth £300 per Hundred Acres, } 53,000 0 0
7. For Ditto on Richland’s now worth £450 per Hundred Acres, } 43,500 0 0
9. For Ditto on the 20 Tracts, now worth £300 per Hundred Acres, } 26,000 0 0
8. For Ditto on Springetsbury, &c. at least } 2,685 0 0
9. For Ditto on all the Articles of Lots from No. 9 to 14. being trebled in Value, } 5,060 0 0
15. For Ditto on the Marsh Land, now worth £20 per Acre, } 10,200 0 0
16. For Ditto on the Value of Lands within the Draft of the Town, now worth one with another, £50 per Acre,* } 18,750 0 0
17. For Ditto on Streiper’s Tract now worth £325 per Hundred. } 15,000 0 0
[On the next Articles for the Reserved Rent, and the Value of the Government, we add no Advance.]3
For the Thirds of the Bank Lots and Improvements on them, as they fell in after this Estimate was made; reckoning every 20 Feet of Ground with its Improvements, one with another, worth £480 the Thirds being £160 for each 20 Feet, } 37,280 0 0
573,697 2 0
Thus far for the present Value of what was then estimated, But since that Time, very great Quantities of Land have been sold, and several new Manors laid out and reserv’d; one of which, viz. that of Conedoguinet4 is said to contain 30,000 Acres: The Quantity sold since the Estimate, must be at least equal to what was sold before, as the People are doubled, and the Manors probably equal in Quantity: We may therefore suppose, that a fair Estimate of the Lands sold, Rents and Manors reserved, and new Towns laid out into Lots, since the above Estimate, would be at least equal to it, that is another Tenth,5 and amount also to £573,697 2s. 0d. } 573,697 2 0
For Eight of these Nine Tenths of the Province which were not dispos’d of at the Time of making the Estimate; Note, The Province Grant to William Penn is of three Degrees of Latitude, and five of Longitude; each Degree of Latitude contains 69½ Statute Miles, and each Degree of Longitude about Lat. 40 contains 53 Statute Miles; so the Dimensions of the Province are 265 Miles by 208½, which gives for its Contents 55,252½ square Miles or Thirty five Millions, Three Hundred and Sixty-one Thousand, Six Hundred Acres; Eight Tenths of this Quantity, is 28,289,280 Acres, which at £15 10s. per 100 Acres (the present selling Price) is6 } 4,384,838 8 0
For the yearly Quitrent on 28,289,280 Acres at a Halfpenny Sterling per Acre, is £58,936 per Annum, which at 165 per Cent. and 20 Years Purchase, is } 1,856,484 0 0
For the additional Value on One Tenth Part, at least, of those Eight Tenths, which being pick’d out of the best of the Lands after every Purchase from the Indians, before any private Person is allowed to take up any,7 and kept for 20 or 30 Years, is to be sold at a Medium for £300 per 100 Acres Advance; this on 2,828,928 Acres, is } 8,486,784 0 0
For the Three Fifths of all Royal Mines, and One Fifth of all other Mines reserv’d to these Lords Proprietors, we can as yet estimate no Sum, and must leave it a Blank as we find it; but since in the Ridges of Mountains not yet settled, some very valuable Specimens of Ores have been found by Travellers, it is not unlikely this Article may in Time become considerable beyond Computation. }
For the Offices we shall likewise make no Estimation, tho’ they are greatly increas’d in Number and Value, with the Increase of People; as we believe the Proprietaries do not raise immediate Money from the Grants of those Offices at present, they being chiefly dispos’d of to bribe or reward their Partisans and Favourites; in which however they may find their Account. }
For the Escheats we likewise add nothing; for tho’ it is thought a valuable Article, we have no Information on which we can form any Judgment concerning its Value, it must however be continually increasing. }
There is another Article, we are greatly at a Loss about, which is the Interest of Money arising to the Proprietors from Securities on Lands possess’d by Persons unable to make present Payment. These pay not only Quitrent for the Land but Interest for the Purchase Money. This Interest* is thought to be a very considerable Income, but we cannot estimate it. }
The Three Lower Counties on Delaware, which are a distinct Territory and Government from the Province of Pensylvania, and held by a different Title, are also a very valuable Part of the Proprietary Estate; tho’ what Value should be put on the same is at present difficult to say. }
Total in Pensylvania Currency £15,875,500 12 0

In Sterling, about Ten Millions!

But on the whole, it appears pretty clearly, that deducting all the Articles containing the Valuation of Lands yet unsold, and unappropriated within their Patent, and the Manors and Rents to be hereafter reserv’d, and allowing for any small over-Valuations in their present reserv’d Lands and Incomes [tho’ ’tis thought if any be it will not be found to exceed the under-Valuation in other Instances]8 there cannot remain less than a Million of Property which they now at this Time have in Pensylvania.

And in that Province there are but 20,000 Families, to each of which, one with another, there does not belong more than £300 of Property, if so much; which multiply’d by 20,000 gives £6,000,000 for the whole Property of the People there.

The Proprietaries then have in present Possession a Property there at least equal to one sixth of That of the People. They ought therefore to pay the same Proportion of the Taxes.

That the Reader may form some Judgment of the Profits made by this Monopoly of Land in America in Favour of the House Of Penn, we shall just mention, that the Land is first purchased of the Indians, and none but the Proprietors are allow’d to purchase of the Indians within the Limits of their Grant: The Indians of late Years have somewhat rais’d their Price; and for the last great Purchase in 1754,9 which was of about Seven Millions of Acres, they demanded (how much do you think?) no less than 2000 Dollars amount at Seven and Sixpence Currency each, to Seven Hundred and Fifty Pounds.

Pensyl. Currency.
The Land so bought the Proprietor has the Moderation to sell (except the best of it serv’d in Manors for himself) at so low a Price as £15 10s. 0d. per Hundred Acres, which will produce } £1,085,000 0 0
Deduct the Purchase Money 750 0 0
Remains Profit £1,084,250 0 0
Besides the Profit of a Tenth of the 7,000,000 Acres, reserv’d in Manors to be sold hereafter at an Advance of at least £300 per Hundred Acres1 } 2,100,000 0 0
And also the Quitrent to be reserv’d on 7,000,000 Acres at ½d. Sterling per Acre £14,583 6s. 8d. which at 165 per Cent. and 20 Years Purchase, is worth } £481,250 0 0
Profit, in all £3,665,500 0 0

But the Indian Council at Onondago not being satisfied with the sale of so much Land at once, the Proprietors have since been obliged to disgorge a Part of the Hunting Country they had not paid for, and reconvey the same to the Indians,2 who, when they are dispos’d to sell it, may possibly demand 2000 Dollars more, for which the above Account must then have Credit.

One would think that where such good Bargains are bought of the poor Natives, there should be no Occasion for fraudulent Art to over-reach them, in order to take more than is granted: And that if a War occasion’d by such Injuries should be drawn upon the innocent Inhabitants, those who were the Cause of the War, if they did not, as in Justice they ought, bear the whole Expence of it, at least they would not refuse to bear a reasonable Part. Whether this has ever been the Case is now a Subject of Publick Enquiry.

But let us see how the Land bought in such lumping Pennyworths of the Natives by the Monopolist, is huckster’d out again to the King’s Subjects. To give the Reader some Idea of this, after remarking that £15 10s. 0d. per Hundred Acres for wild Land, is three Times dearer than the Proprietor of Maryland’s Price, and ten Times dearer than his Majesty’s Lands in Virginia and Carolina, both as good if not better Countries, we shall present him with a genuine Account, stated under the Hand of the Proprietor’s Receiver General, obtain’d with great Difficulty by the Purchaser of two Tracts of Land, some Time after he had paid his Money; when on more particular Consideration of the Sum paid compar’d with the Quantity bought, he imagin’d he had paid too much. The Account is as follows, viz.3

John Fisher in Right of Jacob Job Dr.
“To Land 423 A. 53 Ps. in Pextang Township, Lancaster County, granted to said Job by Warrant of Mar. 19th, 1742 } £65 12 1
“Interest from 1st March 17324 to 19th March 1742, is 10 Years 18 Days } 39 11 2
105 3 3
“19th March 1742, paid5 15
90 3 3
“Int. from 19th March 1742 to 20th February 1747, is 4 Years, 11 Months, 1 Day } 26 11 11
“Quitr. to next Month is 15 Years, £13 4s. 7d. Sterl. at 85 per Cent.6 24 9 6
141 4 8
“John Fisher in Right of Thomas Cooper Dr.
“To Land 268 Acres in Pextang Township, Lancaster County granted by Warrant of 9th January 1743 to said Cooper } £41 10 9
“Interest from 1st March 17377 to 9th January 1743 is 5 Years, 10 Months, 8 Days } 14 11 9
56 2 6
“9th January 1743 Paid8 7 10 0
48 12 6
“Interest from 9th January 1743 to 20th February 1747 is 4 Years, 1 Month, 11 Days } 11 19 10
“Quitr. to next Month is 10 Years, £5 11s. 8d. Sterl. at 85 per Cent.9 10 6 7
70 18 11
£141 4 8 20th February 1747.
70 18 11
212 3 7
10 Transfer, &c.1
212 13 7

Philadelphia, 23d February 1747.

“Received of John Fisher Two Hundred and Twelve Pounds, Three Shillings and Seven Pence, in full for 423 Acres in Pextang Township, granted by Warrant of 19th March 1742, to Jacob Job, and for 268 Acres in same Township, by Warrant of 9th January 1743 to Thomas Cooper, both in the County of Lancaster.

For the Hon. Proprietaries,

£212 3 7
10 Fees
( )
212 13 7

Lynford Lardner Receiver Gen.

N. B. The Quitrent in full to 1st March 1747.

The Purchaser not being skill’d in Accounts, but amaz’d at the Sum, apply’d to a Friend to examine this Account, who stated it over again as follows,2 viz.

   “John Fisher in the Right of Jacob Job, Dr.
1742. 19th March. “To 423 Acres, 50 Per. of Land, in Pextang, County Lancaster, granted to said Job by Warrant dated this Day } £65 12 1
“By Cash paid that Day 15 0 0
£50 12 1
“To Interest on £50 12s. 1d. from the 19th March 1742 to 20th Feb. 1747, being 4y. 11 m. 1d. } 14 18 9
“To 5 Years Quitrent for said Land at One Halfpenny Sterl. per Acre Ann. viz. from March 1742, the Time the Land was surveyed (for Quitrent ought not to be paid before) to March 1747 amounting in the whole to £4 8s. 4d. Sterling at 85 per Cent. the Exchange charg’d in the Account delivered } 8 5 9
“20th Feb. 1747. Sum due on Job’s Right £73 16 7
 “John Fisher, in Right of Thomas Cooper. Dr.
1743. 9th January, “To 268 Acres of Land in Pextang aforesaid, granted said Cooper by Warrant this day } £41 10 9
“By Cash paid that Day 7 10
“9th Jan. 1743, Ballance due £34 0 9
“To Interest on £34 0s. 9d. from 9th Jan. 1743, to 20th Feb. 1747 being 4y. 1 m. 11d. } 8 7 8
“To 4 Years and 2 Months Quitrent for said Lands, viz. from Jan. 1743 to the First March 1747, Amounting in the whole to £2 6s. 6d. Sterling, at 85 per Cent } 4 7
“20th Feb. 1747. Sum due on Cooper’s Right £46 15

“In Feb. 1747, John Fisher obtained a Proprietary Patent for the Lands above mentioned. But by the Accompts then exhibited to him, and which he paid, he was charged on Job’s Right £141 4s. 8d. which is £67 8s. 1d. more than the above Account, and also was charged on Coopers Right, £70 18s. 11d., which is £24 3s.d. more than the above Accompt of Cooper’s. So that by the two Accompts it is supposed he has paid £91 11s.d. more than could legally be received from him.

“The Reason of such great Difference in the Accompts are as follow, viz.

“1st That Interest has been charged on the Consideration Money for Job’s Land, for 10 Years and 18 Days before the Land was survey’d.

“2d That Quitrent has also been charged for that Time at 85 per Cent.

“3d That the Principle and Interest to the Time of Warrant and Survey were added together, and that Interest was charged for that Total to the Time the Patent was granted.

“4th That Interest has been charged on the Consideration Money for Cooper’s Land, for 5y. 10 m. 8 d. before the Land was survey’d.

“5th That Quitrent has also been charged for that Time at 85 per Cent.

“6th That the Principle and Interest to the Time of Warrant and Survey were added, and Interest charged for that Total to the Time the Patent was granted, which is compound Interest.”

To these Remarks of the Accountant we shall only add, That the Price of Exchange between Philadelphia and London is not fix’d, but rises and falls according to the Demand for Bills; That 85 per Cent. charg’d for the Exchange in this Account is the highest Exchange that perhaps was ever given in Pensylvania, occasion’d by some particular Scarcity of Bills at a particular Time; That the Proprietor himself in his Estimate reckons the Exchange but at 65, which is indeed near the Medium, and this Charge is 20 per Cent. above it. That the Valuing the Currency of the Country according to the casual Rate of Exchange with London, is in itself a false Valuation, the Currency not being really depreciated in Proportion to an occasional Rise of Exchange; since every Necessary of Life is to be purchas’d in the Country, and every Article of Expence defray’d by that Currency (English Goods only excepted) at as low Rates after as before such Rise of Exchange; That therefore the Proprietor’s obliging those who purchase of him to pay their Rents according to the Rate of Exchange is unjust, the Rate of Exchange including withal the Risque and Freight on remitting Money to England; and is besides a dangerous Practice, as the great Sums to be yearly remitted to him, put it in the Power of his own Agents to play Tricks with the Exchange at Pleasure, raise it at the Time of Year when they are to receive the Rents, by buying a few Bills at a high Price, and afterwards lower it by refraining to buy till they are sold more reasonably.

By this Account of the Receiver General’s, it appears we have omitted two other Articles in the Estimation of the Proprietary Estate, viz.

For the Quitrents of Lands many Years before they are granted! } – – – –
For the Interest of the Purchase-Money many Years
before the Purchases are made!
} – – – –

On what Pretence these Articles of Charge are founded, how far they may be extended, and what they may amount to, is beyond our Knowledge; we are therefore obliged to leave them blank till we can obtain more particular Information.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8See above, VII, 374 n.

9See below, p. 402.

1ALS in Royal Society of Edinburgh.

2William R. Shepherd, History of Proprietary Government in Pennsylvania (N.Y., 1896), pp. 84–9.

3See above, p. 151.

4See below, pp. 391–2.

5It may be pointed out that soon after the publication of the Historical Review the book was violently attacked, both in general and on particular points, by the Proprietors or their supporters, but the editors have found no contemporary allegation, published or unpublished, that the Estimate itself was spurious, other than Penn’s remark quoted above. See, for example, the hostile review in The Critical Review: or, Annals of Literature, VIII (1759), 108–15, and a long, anonymous criticism in what appears to be the same clerical hand that is found on several papers emanating from the office of Ferdinand J. Paris, APS.

6If the Estimate is authentic and BF’s conclusion (in the first paragraph of his Remarks below) is correct that Penn drew up this Estimate while he was residing in Pa., it must have been prepared between 1732 and 1741, probably before 1735, when the Gilbert Manor was sold to Samuel McCall. PMHB, III (1879), 454.

7The Proprietors derived revenue from the granting of land to individuals in two major ways: the original purchase money, and the annual quitrent (a fixed payment, theoretically in perpetuity, in commutation of all feudal dues to which the Proprietors might be entitled as lords of the soil). The rates stipulated for grants changed several times. Before 1713, though there were many individual variations, the purchase price was generally £5 per hundred acres and the quitrent (always payable in sterling or the equivalent in local currency) was one shilling per hundred acres. In 1713, or soon after, the purchase price was increased to £10 per hundred, and in 1719 the quitrent was raised to 2s. per hundred. In 1732 Thomas Penn advanced the purchase price to £15 10s. per hundred acres and the quitrent to a halfpenny per acre (4s. 2d. per hundred). These rates exceeded those of neighboring colonies and resulted in substantial emigration. The Penns made some reductions in the 1750s in the purchase price on new grants and in 1765 set it at £5 sterling per hundred acres but raised the quitrent to a penny per acre (8s. 4d. per hundred). Shepherd, Proprietary Government, pp. 34–5.

8In this and the following entries dealing with properties on which the Proprietors were entitled to quitrents, the capital value of proprietary rights is calculated at twenty times the annual quitrent yield. In converting the sterling amounts into Pa. currency £100 sterling are equated to £165 Pa. currency, which BF conceded was “near the Medium,” but see below, p. 378, for BF’s comment on the proprietary receiver general’s action in charging a landowner for many years at a much higher rate.

9In 1706 James Logan, provincial secretary, prepared and sent to William Penn in England a quitrent roll of the province (referred to in the next entry). 2 Pa. Arch., VII, 65. Probably the “old Rent” mentioned here represents the total shown on that roll.

1That is, between 1706 and 1732.

2The arithmetic of this calculation is simple: £150 (the difference between the annual rents mentioned in entries 3 and 4 above) multiplied by 11 years gives £1650 sterling, which, converted at 165 percent, equals £2722 10s. Pa. currency. It is not clear, however, what the difference between total annual rents due for lands granted during two separate periods has to do with arrearages, or what specific 22-year period is involved in “the Time of the other Arrearages,” or why half that time should be used for such a computation.

3Under the royal charter Penn had authority to provide ferries, though various Assemblies contested his exclusive control over them.

4William Penn and his heirs retained for themselves numerous parcels of land, both large and small. They erected several into what they called manors and often leased out portions of these or other tracts to tenants for cultivation. The properties named in the list of holdings here recorded were located as follows: Conestoga, in Lancaster Co., near the town of Lancaster; Gilbert, in the present Montgomery Co., including parts of Pottstown and Pottsgrove; Springfield, in Montgomery Co., almost directly north of Philadelphia on Whitpaine’s Creek; Highland, in Bucks Co., on the Delaware River in Upper Makefield Township; Springton, in northeastern Chester Co., on the east branch of Brandywine Creek; Vincent, in northern Chester Co., near the Schuylkill River; Richland, in northwestern Bucks Co., mostly in Richland Township; Springettsbury, probably the manor in the Fairmount area, now part of Philadelphia, not the large manor of the same name in York Co.; Streiper’s Tract, in Bucks Co., on the Delaware River in Tinicum Township. A map showing the location of most of these Penn properties and many others not here listed, prepared by Fred J. Gorman, is in PMHB, LXVII (1943), 92.

5When William Penn was granting lots in the city, he accorded special treatment to many of those on the bank of the Delaware between Front St. and the river. There were restrictions on the height of buildings and the quitrent was to be increased at the end of every fifty years to an amount equaling one-third of the then rental value of the property. Charles P. Keith, Chronicles of Pennsylvania (Phila., 1917), I, 81; Shepherd, Proprietary Government, p. 37 n.

6During the early years of the eighteenth century protracted negotiations took place between William Penn and the royal officials for the surrender of the government of Pa. to the Crown. In 1712 agreement was reached and a deed prepared by which Penn and his heirs were to yield all rights of government (but not the rights to the soil) in return for payment of £12,000 in four years. Penn received £1000 on account, but before he had formally executed the deed he suffered an incapacitating stroke. His continued ill health, the tangled state of his finances, and changes in the government prevented further action, and when the Whigs returned to power in 1714 the matter was dropped. Winfred T. Root, The Relations of Pennsylvania with the British Government, 1696–1765 (N.Y., 1912), pp. 349–65.

7BF’s note. As indicated in the next note but one above, the quitrent was to be increased at the end of fifty years to one-third of the then current rental value.

8For many of the “bank lots” the change in quitrent was to occur during the middle 1730s.

9While it is impossible to suggest more accurate figures now, BF’s estimates of the increased capital value of many of these properties during a period of twenty or twenty-five years seem excessive.

1Perhaps the charge for recording the transfers of title to Fisher, although under Thomas Penn warrants specified the payment of one year’s quitrent at every alienation. Shepherd, Proprietary Government, p. 33.

2In this restatement the accountant eliminated all charges for interest and quitrents from the dates of the initial filings to the dates of issuance of the warrants for survey.

3Brackets in the original.

4On the west side of the Susquehanna River at Harris’s Ferry; see above, VI, 254 n.

5It is not clear how BF arrived at the conclusion that the lands disposed of up to the time of the Estimate and those disposed of since then each totaled one tenth of the total land in the province. According to his calculation in the next paragraph each tenth would amount to 3,536,160 acres.

6In estimating the potential value of the remaining eight-tenths of Pa. and the potential capitalized value of the quitrent income to be derived from it, BF made two very dubious assumptions:

a. All the remaining area in the province—valleys, plateaus, mountains, river beds, and bodies of water—was equally salable at the set price of £15 10s. per hundred acres, regardless of its suitability for settlement.

b. All lands would yield quitrents at a halfpenny an acre, although it was common knowledge in Pa. that there were already a great many squatters occupying lands for which they had paid no purchase money or quitrent, in spite of the efforts of the proprietary agents to collect (Shepherd, Proprietary Government, pp. 49–53, 71–2). What BF could not know was that, when finally surveyed, the total area of Pa. has proved to be not 55,252.5 square miles, but only 45,302.33. Iris Richey, ed., The Pennsylvania Manual, 1961–1962 (Vol. 95), p. 754.

7According to Shepherd (Proprietary Government, p. 47) the surveyors often failed to set aside the proprietary tenths of new tracts before settlers swarmed in “and the proprietors had to content themselves with land which had been avoided by the settlers because of its worthlessness.”

8Brackets in the original.

9See above, V, 349–50 n, and map facing p. 225.

1BF had already included this tenth among the lands to be sold at £15 10s. per hundred acres, mentioned in the entry immediately above.

2See above, pp. 210–11.

3For an understanding of the account and the discussion of it the following summary or the procedure in making land grants in Pa. may be helpful: The prospective buyer normally filed in the provincial secretary’s office a claim for the land he desired, though often only the number of acres would be indicated, not the specific location within a general area. The secretary would issue to the surveyor general a warrant to lay out and survey the land in question. When the surveyor general or his deputies had performed this task he executed and returned a certificate of survey. After receiving this document and a certificate from the receiver general of payment of the purchase price, the commissioners of property (later the governor) would issue a patent under the great seal, which was recorded by the provincial secretary. In theory, these steps should follow each other in short order, but in practice many years often elapsed between them. The Proprietors intended that the purchase price (“consideration money”) should be paid at the time of the first application, but often the prospective grantee made only a partial down payment, or even none at all. The proprietary agents later assessed interest on the unpaid balance of the purchase price and on the stipulated quitrent from this earliest date in the transaction, though settlers believed they were not liable for either until the warrant for the survey was issued. Shepherd, Proprietary Government, pp. 26–38.

4Apparently the date on which Jacob Job had initially filed for the land. Recomputation shows that in all entries in this account, and in the restatement which follows it, interest was charged at the rate of 6 percent per annum. It was calculated as simple interest for the period indicated in each entry but the receiver general compounded it from one period to the next.

5Apparently Job (or Fisher if he had bought Job’s interest by then) paid £15 down on the purchase price on the date the warrant for survey was issued.

6Charged from the date of Job’s initial application and converted to Pa. currency at a very high rate of exchange.

7Apparently the date on which Thomas Cooper had initially filed for the land.

8Cooper’s (or Fisher’s) down payment at the time of the warrant.

9Charged from the date of Cooper’s initial application.

1Perhaps the charge for recording the transfers of title to Fisher, although under Thomas Penn warrants specified the payment of one year’s quitrent at every alienation. Shepherd, Proprietary Government, p. 33.

2In this restatement the accountant eliminated all charges for interest and quitrents from the dates of the initial filings to the dates of issuance of the warrants for survey.

Authorial notes

[The following note(s) appeared in the margins or otherwise outside the text flow in the original source, and have been moved here for purposes of the digital edition.]

º *By these Patents, at the end of 50 Years the Proprietor was to have One Third of the Value of the Lots and the Buildings, and other Improvements erected on them.

º *The Lots of Land within the Plan of the Town were originally promis’d to be given to the Purchasers of Land in the Country.1 But that has been long since discontinued; and for many Years past the Proprietor has shut the Office, and forbid his Agents even to sell any more of them; intending to keep them all, till he can let them out on high Ground Rents, or on Building Leases. 500 Acres divided into House Lots, and dispos’d of in this Manner, will alone make a vast Estate. The old Proprietor likewise in his Plan of the City, laid out five large Squares, one in each Quarter, and one in the Centre of the Plan, and gave the same to the Inhabitants for publick Uses. This he publish’d in all his Accounts of the Country, and his Papers of Invitation and Encouragement to Settlers; but as no formal Deed or Conveyance of those Squares is now to be found, the present Proprietor has resum’d them, turn’d them again into private Property that the Number of his Lots may be increas’d; and his Surveyor General in his lately publish’d Plan of the City, has conceal’d all those Squares by running intended Streets over them.2 A Proceeding equally odious to the People, and dishonourable to the Family!

º *See Fisher’s Account hereafter.

Index Entries