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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Letter to the Indians

By William Penn (1644–1718)

[Born in London, England, 1644. Died at Ruscombe, Berkshire, England, 1718. Select Works of William Penn. 1782.]

MY FRIENDS, There is a Great God and Power, that hath made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I and all people owe their being and well-being; and to whom you and I must one day give an account for all that we do in the world. This Great God hath written his Law in our hearts, by which we are taught and commanded to love and help, and do good to one another, and not to do harm and mischief unto one another. Now this Great God hath been pleased to make me concerned in your part of the world, and the king of the country where I live hath given me a great province therein; but I desire to enjoy it with your love and consent, that we may always live together as neighbors and friends; else what would the Great God do to us? who hath made us not to devour and destroy one another, but to live soberly and kindly together in the world. Now I would have you well observe that I am very sensible of the unkindness and injustice that hath been too much exercised towards you by the people of these parts of the world, who have sought themselves, and to make great advantages by you, rather than to be examples of justice and goodness unto you, which I hear hath been matter of trouble unto you, and caused great grudgings and animosities, sometimes to the shedding of blood, which hath made the Great God angry. But I am not such a man, as is well known in my own country. I have great love and regard towards you, and I desire to win and gain your love and friendship by a kind, just, and peaceable life, and the people I send are of the same mind, and shall in all things behave themselves accordingly; and if in any thing any shall offend you or your people, you shall have a full and speedy satisfaction for the same, by an equal number of just men on both sides, that by no means you may have just occasion of being offended against them.

I shall shortly come to you myself, at what time we may more largely and freely confer and discourse of these matters; in the mean time I have sent my commissioners to treat with you about land, and a firm league of peace.—Let me desire you to be kind to them and the people, and receive these presents and tokens which I have sent you, as a testimony of my good-will to you, and my resolution to live justly, peaceably, and friendly with you.

I am your loving friend,
LONDON, the 18th of the 8th month, 1681.