Seth Kaller, Inc.

Inspired by History

Other Pennsylvania Offerings

More...

William Penn’s Copy of Privy Council Decision:
Delaware Belongs to Him, not to Lord Baltimore
Click to enlarge:

“Upon reading this day at the Board the Humble petition of Wm. Penn Esqr … Her Maty. in Councill taking the same into her consideration is Graciously pleased, to ordr accordingly, that the sd petition of the Lord Baltimore, Be, and it is hereby Dismissed”

WILLIAM PENN. Autograph Docket on Manuscript Document. [London, England], January 27, 1709 (document reads “1708,” but is actually 1709, because, before 1752, Britain and its colonies held to the old Julian calendar with March 25 as the first day of the calendar year). 2 pp., 7⅝ x 12 in.

Inventory #21622       Price: $50,000

Penn, through cultivation of key British politicians such as Secretary of State, Lord Sunderland, won a crucial victory in the Privy Council in his long contest with Lord Baltimore over ownership of the “lower counties,” now known as Delaware.

Partial Transcript (in hand of the secretary of Queen Anne’s Privy Council)

“At the Court of St. James’s the 27th of January 1708. Present, The Queen’s Most Excellt. Maty … Upon reading this day at the Board the Humble petition of Wm. Penn Esqr. Proprietary under her Maty of the province of Pensylvania in America, setting forth that upon a complaint formerly made by Charles Lord Baltimore, proprietor of the Province of Maryland, the Respective Boundaries of those Countries, has after Severall hearings  of Both parties and their Councills before the Lords of his Matys. Most Honble Privy council who were the then Committee for trade and plantations, been setled, and on the Seventh day of Nobr. 1685 Confirmed by an Order of his Late Maty. King James the 2d in Councill, wch the Lord Baltimore had acquiessed under for three & twenty years, and praying that a Late petition of the Lord Baltimore to her Maty. For vacating the said order may be dismissed; Her Maty. in Councill taking the same into her consideration is Graciously pleased, to ordr accordingly, that the sd petition of the Lord Baltimore, Be, and it is hereby Dismissed: And that the Lords Commrs for trade and plantations to whom that petition was, by an Ordr. of this Board of the 9th Instant referr’d, Do not proceed to Examine into the Allegations thereof as by ye same Ordr was Directed. Edwd Southard

[docket in William Penn’s hand:] Order of / Councll agst / Ld Baltime / for Dismissing his Petition / 27th Jany 1708

Historical Background

In November 1685, King James II and his Privy Council formally declared that the three “lower counties” of Delaware belonged to William Penn. However, after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, King William revoked the charters of both Maryland and Pennsylvania, ending the proprietary privileges of Lord Baltimore and William Penn, respectively. Penn achieved recognition of his proprietary again in 1694. By the time of Queen Anne’s accession in 1702, Penn enjoyed more political connections than Baltimore.

Undaunted, Lord Baltimore continued to work in England for restoration of his proprietary and for revocation of King James II’s ruling on the ownership of Delaware. Writing to provincial secretary James Logan, Penn reported, “Ld Baltr … Petitioned the Queen in order … to dismiss or repeale the order of Councill in her Fathers time, & only run the line, & leave the Lower Countys [Delaware] to him as his by his graunt…. I appeared to them, told them they could not be proper Judges, or Shake a definitive order or Sentence of King & Council complained to Ld President Sommers & Ld Sunderland secretr of state, they agreed with me … and concurd wth me to Petit. the Queen … & prayd to have so ill a President to American settlemts {prevented & his Petition} dismist, & so it was, in high Council.”

From this point forward, the territories that became Delaware could never again be claimed by Maryland. Such ironclad rulings were in fact quite rare in the history of British North America. Lord Baltimore finally obtained recognition of his proprietary again in 1715, but he died just before this ruling, leaving the lordship to his grandson, the 5th Lord Baltimore. His grandson did not claim Delaware, but continued to contest the boundary between Maryland and Delaware, as well as the location of the 40th parallel dividing Pennsylvania and Maryland. This led to legal conflicts and violence on the ground in the 1730s.

References

Penn to James Logan, Feb. 27, 1708/9, in Richard and Mary Dunn, eds. The Papers of

William Penn, vol. 4. Philadelphia, 1987, pp. 635-636.


Add to Cart Ask About This Item Add to Favorites