The State Museum of Pennsylvania Image of Penn's Treaty
An Image of Peace: The William Penn Treaty

Article Titles

An Image
of Peace

Deeds of Peace

The Elegant Land

The Common People

Brother Onas...
William Penn

Creating an
Image of Peace

Spreading an
Image of Peace

Celebrating an
Image of Peace

Sharing an
Image of Peace

Image Gallery


Brother Onas … William Penn
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Such goods as will be of service if taken to Pennsylvania: Dutch and Osnabruck Linens, Holland Thread, Bremen bed sheets,…. Fulled stockings, several good razors, butcher's knives, chopping knives, broad-axes, all sorts of chisels and files, spades, shovels, scythes, forks, sickles, saws, hammers, iron pots and kettles, all kinds of cheap woolen goods…. Several mattresses, colored kerchiefs, calico and canton flannel, all kinds of cookery spices, glazier's lead, powder and shot…

--Daniel Falckner, 1702

Broadside- William Penns's Treaty
Edward Weber & Co.
(American, fl. 1835-1851)

Broadside- William Penns's Treaty
c. 1840-1850
Lithograph with watercolor
20 3/4 x 13 13/16
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Meyer P. Potamkin

William Penn arrived in Pennsylvania on October 29, 1682 after almost seven weeks at sea. In two years Penn returned to England. He traveled back to Pennsylvania in 1699 and left again for England in 1701, never to return.

Before leaving England for Pennsylvania in 1682, William Penn wrote several letters to the Native Americans. These words of friendship support Penn's desire for peace. This copy, reprinted in the mid-nineteenth century and decorated with an image of Native Americans and Penn, reprints Penn's second letter read to the Lenape by Penn's representative Thomas Holme in August 1682.

Text of the letter:

The Great God who is the power and wisdom that made you and me, Incline your hearts to Righteousness, Love, and peace. This I send to Assure you of my Love, and to desire your love to my Friends and then when the Great God brings me among you, I Intend to order all things in such manner, that we may all live in Love and peace one with another, which I hope the Great God will incline me and you to do. I seek nothing but the honor of His name, and that we who are His workmanship, may do that which is well pleasing to Him. The man which delivers this unto you is my Special Friend, Sober, wise and Loving. You may believe him. I have already taken Care that none of my people wrong you, by good Laws I have provided for that purpose, nor will I ever allow any of my people to sell Rumme to make you people Drunk. If any thing should be out of order, expect when I come, it shall be mended, and I will bring you some things of our Country that is useful and pleasing to you. So I rest In
the Love of our God that made us. I am.

Your Loving Friend,
Wm. Penn

At our arrival, we found it a wilderness; the chief inhabitants were Indians, and some Swedes; who received us in a friendly manner: and though there was a great number of us,… provisions were found for us, by the Swedes and Indians, at very reasonable rates, as well as brought from diverse other parts, that were inhabited before.

-- Richard Townsend, Shipmate of William Penn On the Proprietor's first visit to Pennsylvania, 1682

The Landing of Penn at Dock Creek, Philad.a Unknown (American)
The Landing of Penn at Dock Creek, Philad.a, 19th Century
Etching with watercolor
5 x 9
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Meyer P. Potamkin

Showing Tamanens's Signature
Indian Deeds #3A
Showing Tamanens's Signature
The Pennsylvania State Archives

According to legend, Native Americans met William Penn under an elm tree at Shackamaxon, just north of Philadelphia. Traditionally, the encounter included words of friendship and maybe the purchase of land. While such a "Great Treaty" meeting may never have occurred, it symbolized the desire for peace on the part of both the Lenape and William Penn.

On several occasions, Native American leaders placed their marks, like signatures, upon papers granting land to William Penn. These original documents from the Pennsylvania State Archives survive as evidence of the relationship between William Penn and the Native Americans.