University Archives

Lot 246

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William Penn Signed Land Grant Just 7 Months After the Colony of Pennsylvania was Established

Manuscript Document Signed by Pennsylvania founder William Penn (1644-1718) along the bottom fold, large folio, London, October 24, 1681. On vellum, with a red wax signet seal attached to a vellum tab at bottom. Inscribed overall in gorgeous secretarial script, with a decorative scalloped top edge. Expected folds, minor discoloration else Fine. Beautifully framed and ready for display. Not examined out of the frame. Overall framed size: 29" x 22.25" x 1.25."

The document, in part,"This indenture made the four & Twentieth Day of October in the yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred Eighty and one and in the three and Thirtieth yeare of the Reigne of King Charles the second over England +c Betweene William Penn of Warminghurst in the County of Sussex Squire of the one part And John Poyer of the Parish of Robeston in the County of Pembrook Tanner of the other part Witnesseth that the said William Penn for and in consideration of the summe of five shillings of lawfull money of England to him in hand paid by the said John Poyer the Receipt wherof hee doth hereby acknowledge hath bargained and sold … seven hundred fifty Acres of Land …”

King Charles II granted a land charter of 45,000 square miles to William Penn, corresponding to parts of modern-day Pennsylvania and Delaware, on March 4, 1681. The royal land grant made William Penn the largest private landowner in the world and enabled him to fashion a true "peaceable kingdom" in Pennsylvania. Penn's policies of religious tolerance, and of maintaining good relations with local Native Americans, attracted religious refugees and settlers alike. Yet Penn's charter violated the terms of an earlier charter granted to Lord Baltimore for the colony of Maryland, and conflict between Penn and Baltimore would continue for generations. The two points of contention concerned ownership of the Lower Counties on the Delaware River; and the precise location of the east-to-west boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania. In the 1760s, Penn and Baltimore family descendants consented to conducting a survey of this shared boundary, resulting in the Mason-Dixon line.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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