Hope Lodge

Charter Day

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Hope Lodge celebrates Charter Day typically the second Sunday in March. Tours are available and admission is free.

The "charter" in Charter Day refers to the charter King Charles II of Great Britain granted Pennsylvania founder William Penn on March 4, 1681. The following is from the Pennsylvania State Achives:

"Essential to Penn was freedom of worship. He had become a member of the Religious Society of the Friends of God, commonly called Quakers. 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. As a result, the English magistrates physically abused, fined, and imprisoned them. Penn himself was confined in the Tower of London at times.

Consequently, on June 24, 1680, Penn asked King Charles II (1660-1685) for a charter for land in America. 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 1664 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, 1681.

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."

To read the complete history of the charter document visit: docheritage.state.pa.us/documents/charter.asp