Colonies Along Delaware River And Bay
Population.—The settlements along Delaware River and Bay formed an industrial and social group. In 1700 the population numbered less than 20,000, from 12,000 to 15,000 being in Pennsylvania which included Delaware. The interior of West New Jersey was unoccupied, the population remaining close to the coast. From Barnegat to Cape May the settled area was about ten miles wide. Along the eastern shore of the bay and river the population belt widened to twenty-five or thirty miles. In Pennsylvania and Delaware the settled area was continuous from the mouth of the Lehigh River to the southern boundary of Delaware. Back from the river the habitations extended for forty or fifty miles, but on the bay shore none of the settlers were more than ten or fifteen miles inland. The population of the Delaware region was composed of many nationalities. West New Jersey contained many English, but the descendants of the early Swedish and Dutch settlers were there in considerable numbers. Pennsylvania contained about 1,000 Swedes, Dutch, and Finns, the remnant of the early occupations. Penn's advertising and reputation for philanthropy brought to his colony English, Germans, Scotch, and Welsh.
Conditions in West New Jersey.—The following description of West New Jersey, written in 1698, gives an excellent picture of the colony: "In a few Years after  a Ship from London, and another from Hull, sail'd thither with more People, who went higher up into the Countrey, and built there a Town, and called it Burlington which is now the chiefest Town in that Countrey though Salem is the ancientest; and a fine Market-Town it is, Having several Fairs kept yearly in it; likewise well furnished with good store of most Necessaries for humane Support, as Bread, Beer, Beef, and Pork; as also Butter and Cheese, of which they freight several Vessels and send them to Barbadoes, and other islands.
"There are very many fine stately Brick-Houses built [at Salem], and a commodious Dock for Vessels to come in at, and they claim equal Privilege with Burlington for the sake of Antiquity; tho' that is the principal Place, by reason that the late Governor Cox, who bought that Countrey of Edward Billing, encouraged and promoted that Town chiefly, in settling his Agents and Deputy-governors there, (the same Favours are continued by the New-West-Jersey Society, who now manage Matters there) which brings their Assemblies and chief Courts to be kept there; and by that means it is become a very famous Town, having a great many stately Brick-Houses in it, (as I said before) with a great Market-House...; It hath a noble and spacious Hall over-head, where their Sessions is kept, having the Prison adjoining to it....
"A Ship of Four Hundred Tuns may sail up to this Town in the River Delaware; for I my self have been on Board a Ship of that Burthen there: and several fine Ships and Vessels (besides Governour Cox's own great Ship) have been built there.... There are Water-Men who constantly Ply their Wherry Boats from that Town to the City of Philadelphia in Pensilvania, and to other places. Besides there is Glocester-Town, which is a very Fine and Pleasant Place, being well stored with Summer Fruits, as Cherries, Mulberries, and Strawberries whither Young People come from Philadelphia in the Wherries to eat Strawberries and Cream, within sight of which city it is sweetly Situated, being but about three Miles distant from thence."
Economic conditions in Pennsylvania.—When Penn's colonists arrived they found many farms under cultivation. Many of the new arrivals took up farming, and the lower counties became a supply region for Philadelphia. Under Penn's direction. Philadelphia soon became a trading center, and as it grew Burlington declined. Furs and food-stuffs were exchanged for manufactured articles from Europe, and for sugar and other West Indian produce. With the exception of the making of coarse cloth and cordage, there was little manufacturing. Practically all of the settlers were freemen, although slavery and indenture gradually crept in. The standard of living was higher than in most of the colonies, for Indian wars did not disturb pursuits, the lands were fertile, and the climatic conditions less rigorous than along the New England coast. Most of the early accounts tell of well-built houses, and productive gardens and orchards.
Religion and education.—In church affiliation the Delaware River country was a mixture. In West New Jersey were found Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, and Lutherans. In Pennsylvania there were the same denominations, but religiously and politically the Quakers were in the ascendency. In 1695 an Episcopal church was established at Philadelphia, but the Anglican church made slow progress along the Delaware. The Dutch and Swedes had established schools under the direction of the ministers. The Quakers were also keenly interested in education, and schools were immediately established. In 1682 the West New Jersey assembly granted three hundred acres for the support of a school at Burlington, and one of the first acts of the Pennsylvania assembly was intended to begin elementary education. In 1689 the Friends' Public School at Philadelphia was founded and was open to all sects. But most of the schools were founded by churches or private individuals.
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