Last year, the council delivered 1, meals to help people in need in the Schuylkill County area, from McAdoo to Pine Grove. In the past five years of Whalen overseeing the event, the council has distributed an average of 1, meals to approximately families. Knights of Columbus councils throughout the United States participate in food drives to provide meals for needy families during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.
The organization, established in by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, was founded on the principles of charity, unity and fraternity. So we start dealing with all of these organizations, putting information out there. The council also promotes the operation by including information in local church bulletins four weeks in advance of Thanksgiving. Those in need of a free meal call one of the several numbers listed in the ads in order to get their name on the distribution list. Nevertheless, Penn was more than a real estate promoter; he was a visionary who dreamed of a colony where people could live together harmoniously.
This seemed to him impossible in the Europe of the s with its frequent wars and almost constant religious discrimination and at times intense persecution. Essential to Penn was freedom of worship. They did not attend services in their parish churches. In private homes and plain meeting houses they worshiped in silence unless a Friend were inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak. They permitted women to address their meetings. They refused to swear oaths and were pacifists.
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As a result, the English magistrates physically abused, fined, and imprisoned them. Penn himself was confined in the Tower of London at times. The only available tract in eastern North America lay west of New Jersey, north of Maryland, and south of New York, an area that England had conquered from the Dutch in and which the King had given to his brother James, the Duke of York. After appropriate discussions the King granted Penn's request on March 4, Why King Charles provided Penn with such a potentially valuable area at a time when he was tightening control of his American colonies is open to question.
In the preamble to the Charter, the King mentioned his desire to "enlarge our English Empire," to provide useful goods, and to civilize and Christianize the "Savage Natives," but these were standard objectives, not peculiar to Pennsylvania.
A more plausible explanation is that the King owed Penn a large amount of money, a debt the younger Penn inherited from his father. Kings sometimes paid their debts in land rather than cash. Another possibility is Penn's friendship with the Duke of York, an unlikely but real relationship between a Roman Catholic and Friend. Furthermore, the King might have wanted the Friends, whom some considered religious "fanatics," to leave England and go far away to America. In some respects, the Charter was as nebulous and contradictory as the King's reasons for granting it.
Specifications of the colony's boundaries seem complex in writing and proved troublesome in practice; more clear were grants to Penn and his heirs of control of the land and waterways; use of wildlife and natural resources; as well as possession of gold, silver and "precious stones. Although Penn had proprietary authority over the colony, his power was not absolute. The Charter required that his laws be consistent with those of England and they were to be set forth "with the advice, assent, and approbation of the freemen… or of their delegates or deputies.
For example, all laws had to be submitted to the Privy Council the King's advisors within five years. Colonists were to obey Parliament's trade laws, first passed in the l's and re-enacted in the ls and 70s, that required trade in most commodities to be with England.
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Penn was to maintain an agent in or near London to respond to any charges of their violation. Aware that Quakers would dominate this colony, the King specified in the Charter that if twenty inhabitants appealed to the Bishop of London for an Anglican clergyman, one should be sent.
King Charles II's Charter continued to authorize the Penns' authority over the province for the next three quarters of a century. When William Penn was disabled by a stroke in , his wife Hannah assumed proprietary authority. Upon her death in , Penn's sons and grandsons became proprietors. Their authority survived numerous challenges.
Legislators complained almost immediately after the colony's founding about Penn's power which led him in l to relinquish his votes in the upper house Council. Continued agitation caused him to plead that they not be so "governmentish. The most serious threat emerged in the s and '60s when the proprietary government failed to protect the colony's frontiers from the French, Indians, and possibly also the Scots-Irish settlers in the interior. Assuming that royal control of the colony would result in more effective protection, Benjamin Franklin and his political allies tried to persuade the King to abolish the proprietorship.
Parliament's revision of colonial policy and the controversy it provoked overwhelmed Franklin's appeal. The controversy ultimately produced the Declaration of Independence in , the War for American Independence, and the Treaty of Paris of , which nullified the Charter and produced the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a state in the independent United States of America.
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The Charter is four pages on parchment, each measuring an average of 20"x24". The upper left corner of the first page bears the portrait, or cartouche, of Charles II.
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The borders of each page are embellished with the shields of lands conquered at one time or another by England, including France, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The four pages were bound together at the bottom of each page with a silken cord, and in turn the cord threaded through the Great Seal of England. The Seal, made of green beeswax and placed in a metal box called a skippet, hung like a pendant from the document. The document was given to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in by a lawyer representing the Penn Family.
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By this time, constant folding and unfolding of the popular first page caused rotting of the parchment in the lower left corner. In the s, the entire document was placed on permanent display in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, where it remained for most of the s.
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At that time approximately five inches of each page at the bottom were trimmed away to fit in frames for display purposes. The silken cords binding the pages, together with the Great Seal of England, were also removed, and have since been lost. The Charter remained under the administrative responsibility of the Department of State until transferred to the newly created State Archives early in the s. It was displayed at the State Museum until when it was removed due to increasing concern for its fragility and security, and replaced with full-scale color facsimiles.
The document is presently housed in a special climate-controlled high security vault in the State Archives in Harrisburg, and is displayed on special occasions. The King, enthroned, front view, crowned, with long hair flowing over the back of the right and in front of the left shoulder, wearing the collar of the Garter, holding in his right hand a sceptre nearly perpendicular, slightly inclining to the left, his left hand placed upon a large orb ensigned with a cross which rests upon his left knee.
The throne is supported at its base by two eagles; the arch behind the King's head is upheld by two pilasters: the interior of the arch is curved in representation of a large shell; above the arch is a canopy with festooned curtains in front of which are two winged infant Angels supporting a shield bearing the Royal Arms, the same as on the shields in the Seal of James I.