The Beginnings Of New Jersey
New Jersey, Scheyichbi, as the Indians called it, or Nova
Caesarea, as it was called in the Latin of its proprietary grant,
had a history rather different from that of other English colonies
in America. Geographically, it had not a few attractions. It was a
good sized dominion surrounded on all sides but one by water, almost
an island domain, secluded and independent. In fact, it was the only
one of the colonies which stood naturally separate and apart. The
others were bounded almost entirely by artificial or imaginary
It offered an opportunity, one might have supposed, for some dissatisfied religious sect of the seventeenth century to secure a sanctuary and keep off all intruders. But at first no one of the various denominations seems to have fancied it or chanced upon it. The Puritans disembarked upon the bleak shores of New England well suited to the sternness of their religion. How different American history might have been if they had established themselves in the Jerseys! Could they, under those milder skies, have developed witchcraft, set up blue laws, and indulged in the killing of Quakers? After a time they learned about the Jerseys and cast thrifty eyes upon them. Their seafaring habits and the pursuit of whales led them along the coast and into Delaware Bay. The Puritans of New Haven made persistent efforts to settle the southern part of Jersey, on the Delaware near Salem. They thought, as their quaint old records show, that if they could once start a branch colony in Jersey it might become more populous and powerful than the New Haven settlement and in that case they intended to move their seat of government to the new colony. But their shrewd estimate of its value came too late. The Dutch and the Swedes occupied the Delaware at that time and drove them out. Puritans, however, entered northern Jersey and, while they were not numerous enough to make it a thoroughly Puritan community, they largely tinged its thought and its laws, and their influence still survives.
The difficulty with Jersey was that its seacoast was a monotonous line of breakers with dangerous shoal inlets, few harbors, and vast mosquito infested salt marshes and sandy thickets. In the interior it was for the most part a level, heavily forested, sandy, swampy country in its southern portions, and rough and mountainous in the northern portions. Even the entrance by Delaware Bay was so difficult by reason of its shoals that it was the last part of the coast to be explored. The Delaware region and Jersey were in fact a sort of middle ground far less easy of access by the sea than the regions to the north in New England and to the south in Virginia.
There were only two places easy of settlement in the Jerseys. One was the open region of meadows and marshes by Newark Bay near the mouth of the Hudson and along the Hackensack River, whence the people slowly extended themselves to the seashore at Sandy Hook and thence southward along the ocean beach. This was East Jersey. The other easily occupied region, which became West Jersey, stretched along the shore of the lower Delaware from the modern Trenton to Salem, whence the settlers gradually worked their way into the interior. Between these two divisions lay a rough wilderness which in its southern portion was full of swamps, thickets, and pine barrens. So rugged was the country that the native Indians lived for the most part only in the two open regions already described.
The natural geographical, geological, and even social division of New Jersey is made by drawing a line from Trenton to the mouth of the Hudson River. North of that line the successive terraces of the piedmont and mountainous region form part of the original North American continent. South of that line the more or less sandy level region was once a shoal beneath the ocean; afterwards a series of islands; then one island with a wide sound behind it passing along the division line to the mouth of the Hudson. Southern Jersey was in short an island with a sound behind it very much like the present Long Island. The shoal and island had been formed in the far distant geologic past by the erosion and washings from the lofty Pennsylvania mountains now worn down to mere stumps.
The Delaware River flowed into this sound at Trenton. Gradually the Hudson end of the sound filled up as far as Trenton, but the tide from the ocean still runs up the remains of the Old Sound as far as Trenton. The Delaware should still be properly considered as ending at Trenton, for the rest of its course to the ocean is still part of Old Pensauken Sound, as it is called by geologists.
The Jerseys originated as a colony in 1664. In 1675 West Jersey passed into the control of the Quakers. In 1680 East Jersey came partially under Quaker influence. In August, 1664, Charles II seized New York, New Jersey, and all the Dutch possessions in America, having previously in March granted them to his brother the Duke of York. The Duke almost immediately gave to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, members of the Privy Council and defenders of the Stuart family in the Cromwellian wars, the land between the Delaware River and the ocean, and bounded on the north by a line drawn from latitude 41 degrees on the Hudson to latitude 41 degrees 40 minutes on the Delaware. This region was to be called, the grant said, Nova Caesarea, or New Jersey. The name was a compliment to Carteret, who in the Cromwellian wars had defended the little isle of Jersey against the forces of the Long Parliament. As the American Jersey was then almost an island and geologically had been one, the name was not inappropriate.
Berkeley and Carteret divided the province between them. In 1676 an exact division was attempted, creating the rather unnatural sections known as East Jersey and West Jersey. The first idea seems to have been to divide by a line running from Barnegat on the seashore to the mouth of Pensauken Creek on the Delaware just above Camden. This, however, would have made a North Jersey and a South Jersey, with the latter much smaller than the former. Several lines seem to have been surveyed at different times in the attempt to make an exactly equal division, which was no easy engineering task. As private land titles and boundaries were in some places dependent on the location of the division line, there resulted much controversy and litigation which lasted down into our own time. Without going into details, it is sufficient to say that the acceptable division line began on the seashore at Little Egg Harbor at the lower end of Barnegat Bay and crossed diagonally or northwesterly to the northern part of the Delaware River just above the Water Gap. It is known as the Old Province line, and it can be traced on any map of the State by prolonging, in both directions, the northeastern boundary of Burlington County.
West Jersey, which became decidedly Quaker, did not remain long in the possession of Lord Berkeley. He was growing old; and, disappointed in his hopes of seeing it settled, he sold it, in 1673, for one thousand pounds to John Fenwick and Edward Byllinge, both of them old Cromwellian soldiers turned Quakers. That this purchase was made for the purpose of affording a refuge in America for Quakers then much imprisoned and persecuted in England does not very distinctly appear. At least there was no parade of it. But such a purpose in addition to profit for the proprietors may well have been in the minds of the purchasers.
George Fox, the Quaker leader, had just returned from a missionary journey in America, in the course of which he had traveled through New Jersey in going from New York to Maryland. Some years previously in England, about 1659, he had made inquiries as to a suitable place for Quaker settlement and was told of the region north of Maryland which became Pennsylvania. But how could a persecuted sect obtain such a region from the British Crown and the Government that was persecuting them? It would require powerful influence at Court; nothing could then be done about it; and Pennsylvania had to wait until William Penn became a man with influence enough in 1681 to win it from the Crown. But here was West Jersey, no longer owned directly by the Crown and bought in cheap by two Quakers. It was an unexpected opportunity. Quakers soon went to it, and it was the first Quaker colonial experiment.
Byllinge and Fenwick, though turned Quakers, seem to have retained some of the contentious Cromwellian spirit of their youth. They soon quarreled over their respective interests in the ownership of West Jersey; and to prevent a lawsuit, so objectionable to Quakers, the decision was left to William Penn, then a rising young Quaker about thirty years old, dreaming of ideal colonies in America. Penn awarded Fenwick a one-tenth interest and four hundred pounds. Byllinge soon became insolvent and turned over his nine-tenths interest to his creditors, appointing Penn and two other Quakers, Gawen Lawrie, a merchant of London, and Nicholas Lucas, a maltster of Hertford, to hold it in trust for them. Gawen Lawrie afterwards became deputy governor of East Jersey. Lucas was one of those thoroughgoing Quakers just released from eight years in prison for his religion.*
* Myers, "Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West Jersey, and Delaware", p. 180.
Fenwick also in the end fell into debt and, after selling over one hundred thousand acres to about fifty purchasers, leased what remained of his interest for a thousand years to John Edridge, a tanner, and Edmund Warner, a poulterer, as security for money borrowed from them. They conveyed this lease and their claims to Penn, Lawrie, and Lucas, who thus became the owners, as trustees, of pretty much all West Jersey.
This was William Penn's first practical experience in American affairs. He and his fellow trustees, with the consent of Fenwick, divided the West Jersey ownership into one hundred shares. The ninety belonging to Byllinge were offered for sale to settlers or to creditors of Byllinge who would take them in exchange for debts. The settlement of West Jersey thus became the distribution of an insolvent Quaker's estate among his creditor fellow religionists.
Although no longer in possession of a title to land, Fenwick, in 1675, went out with some Quaker settlers to Delaware Bay. There they founded the modern town of Salem, which means peace, giving it that name because of the fair and peaceful aspect of the wilderness on the day they arrived. They bought the land from the Indians in the usual manner, as the Swedes and Dutch had so often done. But they had no charter or provision for organized government. When Fenwick attempted to exercise political authority at Salem, he was seized and imprisoned by Andros, Governor of New York for the Duke of York, on the ground that, although the Duke had given Jersey to certain individual proprietors, the political control of it remained in the Duke's deputy governor. Andros, who had levied a tax of five per cent on all goods passing up the Delaware, now established commissioners at Salem to collect the duties.
This action brought up the whole question of the authority of Andros. The trustee proprietors of West Jersey appealed to the Duke of York, who was suspiciously indifferent to the matter, but finally referred it for decision to a prominent lawyer, Sir William Jones, before whom the Quaker proprietors of West Jersey made a most excellent argument. They showed the illegality, injustice, and wrong of depriving the Jerseys of vested political rights and forcing them from the freeman's right of making their own laws to a state of mere dependence on the arbitrary will of one man. Then with much boldness they declared that "To exact such an unterminated tax from English planters, and to continue it after so many repeated complaints, will be the greatest evidence of a design to introduce, if the Crown should ever devolve upon the Duke, an unlimited government in old England." Prophetic words which the Duke, in a few years, tried his best to fulfill. But Sir William Jones deciding against him, he acquiesced, confirmed the political rights of West Jersey by a separate grant, and withdrew any authority Andros claimed over East Jersey. The trouble, however, did not end here. Both the Jerseys were long afflicted by domineering attempts from New York.
Penn and his fellow trustees now prepared a constitution, or "Concessions and Agreements," as they called it, for West Jersey, the first Quaker political constitution embodying their advanced ideas, establishing religious liberty, universal suffrage, and voting by ballot, and abolishing imprisonment for debt. It foreshadowed some of the ideas subsequently included in the Pennsylvania constitution. All these experiences were an excellent school for William Penn. He learned the importance in starting a colony of having a carefully and maturely considered system of government. In his preparations some years afterwards for establishing Pennsylvania he avoided much of the bungling of the West Jersey enterprise.
A better organized attempt was now made to establish a foothold in West Jersey farther up the river than Fenwick's colony at Salem. In 1677 the ship Kent took out some 230 rather well-to-do Quakers, about as fine a company of broadbrims, it is said, as ever entered the Delaware. Some were from Yorkshire and London, largely creditors of Byllinge, who were taking land to satisfy their debts. They all went up the river to Raccoon Creek on the Jersey side, about fifteen miles below the present site of Philadelphia, and lived at first among the Swedes, who had been in that part of Jersey for some years and who took care of the new arrivals in their barns and sheds. These Quaker immigrants, however, soon began to take care of themselves, and the weather during the winter proving mild, they explored farther up the river in a small boat. They bought from the Indians the land along the river shore from Oldman's Creek all the way up to Trenton and made their first settlements on the river about eighteen miles above the site of Philadelphia, at a place they at first called New Beverly, then Bridlington, and finally Burlington.
They may have chosen this spot partly because there had been an old Dutch settlement of a few families there. It had long been a crossing of the Delaware for the few persons who passed by land from New York or New England to Maryland and Virginia. One of the Dutchmen, Peter Yegon, kept a ferry and a house for entertaining travelers. George Fox, who crossed there in 1671, describes the place as having been plundered by the Indians and deserted. He and his party swam their horses across the river and got some of the Indians to help them with canoes.
Other Quaker immigrants followed, going to Salem as well as to Burlington, and a stretch of some fifty miles of the river shore became strongly Quaker. There are not many American towns now to be found with more of the old-time picturesqueness and more relics of the past than Salem and Burlington.
Settlements were also started on the river opposite the site afterwards occupied by Philadelphia, at Newton on the creek still called by that name; and another a little above on Cooper's Creek, known as Cooper's Ferry until 1794. Since then it has become the flourishing town of Camden, full of shipbuilding and manufacturing, but for long after the Revolution it was merely a small village on the Jersey shore opposite Philadelphia, sometimes used as a hunting ground and a place of resort for duelers and dancing parties from Philadelphia.
The Newton settlers were Quakers of the English middle class, weavers, tanners, carpenters, bricklayers, chandlers, blacksmiths, coopers, bakers, haberdashers, hatters, and linen drapers, most of them possessed of property in England and bringing good supplies with them. Like all the rest of the New Jersey settlers they were in no sense adventurers, gold seekers, cavaliers, or desperadoes. They were well-to-do middle class English tradespeople who would never have thought of leaving England if they had not lost faith in the stability of civil and religious liberty and the security of their property under the Stuart Kings. With them came servants, as they were called; that is, persons of no property, who agreed to work for a certain time in payment of their passage, to escape from England. All, indeed, were escaping from England before their estates melted away in fines and confiscations or their health or lives ended in the damp, foul air of the crowded prisons. Many of those who came had been in jail and had decided that they would not risk imprisonment a second time. Indeed, the proportion of West Jersey immigrants who had actually been in prison for holding or attending Quaker meetings or refusing to pay tithes for the support of the established church was large. For example, William Bates, a carpenter, while in jail for his religion, made arrangements with his friends to escape to West Jersey as soon as he should be released, and his descendants are now scattered over the United States. Robert Turner, a man of means, who settled finally in Philadelphia but also owned much land near Newton in West Jersey, had been imprisoned in England in 1660, again in 1662, again in 1665, and some of his property had been taken, again imprisoned in 1669 and more property taken; and many others had the same experience. Details such as these make us realize the situation from which the Quakers sought to escape. So widespread was the Quaker movement in England and so severe the punishment imposed in order to suppress it that fifteen thousand families are said to have been ruined by the fines, confiscations, and imprisonments.
Not a few Jersey Quakers were from Ireland, whither they had fled because there the laws against them were less rigorously administered. The Newton settlers were joined by Quakers from Long Island, where, under the English law as administered by the New York governors, they had also been fined and imprisoned, though with less severity than at home, for nonconformity to the Church of England. On arriving, the West Jersey settlers suffered some hardships during the year that must elapse before a crop could be raised and a log cabin or house built. During that period they usually lived, in the Indian manner, in wigwams of poles covered with bark, or in caves protected with logs in the steep banks of the creeks. Many of them lived in the villages of the Indians. The Indians supplied them all with corn and venison, and without this Indian help, they would have run serious risk of starving, for they were not accustomed to hunting. They had also to thank the Indians for having in past ages removed so much of the heavy forest growth from the wide strip of land along the river that it was easy to start cultivation.
These Quaker settlers made a point of dealing very justly with the Indians and the two races lived side by side for several generations. There is an instance recorded of the Indians attending with much solemnity the funeral of a prominent Quaker woman, Esther Spicer, for whom they had acquired great respect. The funeral was held at night, and the Indians in canoes, the white men in boats, passed down Cooper's Creek and along the river to Newton Creek where the graveyard was, lighting the darkness with innumerable torches, a strange scene to think of now as having been once enacted in front of the bustling cities of Camden and Philadelphia. Some of the young settlers took Indian wives, and that strain of native blood is said to show itself in the features of several families to this day.
Many letters of these settlers have been preserved, all expressing the greatest enthusiasm for the new country, for the splendid river better than the Thames, the good climate, and their improved health, the immense relief to be away from the constant dread of fines and punishment, the chance to rise in the world, with large rewards for industry. They note the immense quantities of game, the Indians bringing in fat bucks every day, the venison better than in England, the streams full of fish, the abundance of wild fruits, cranberries, hurtleberries, the rapid increase of cattle, and the good soil. A few details concerning some of the interesting characters among these early colonial Quakers have been rescued from oblivion. There is, for instance, the pleasing picture of a young man and his sister, convinced Quakers, coming out together and pioneering in their log cabin until each found a partner for life. There was John Haddon, from whom Haddonfield is named, who bought a large tract of land but remained in England, while his daughter Elizabeth came out alone to look after it. A strong, decisive character she was, and women of that sort have always been encouraged in independent action by the Quakers. She proved to be an excellent manager of an estate. The romance of her marriage to a young Quaker preacher, Estaugh, has been celebrated in Mrs. Maria Child's novel "The Youthful Emigrant." The pair became leading citizens devoted to good works and to Quaker liberalism for many a year in Haddonfield.
It was the ship Shields of Hull, bringing Quaker immigrants to Burlington, of which the story is told that in beating up the river she tacked close to the rather high bank with deep water frontage where Philadelphia was afterwards established; and some of the passengers remarked that it was a fine site for a town. The Shields, it is said, was the first ship to sail up as far as Burlington. Anchoring before Burlington in the evening, the colonists woke up next morning to find the river frozen hard so that they walked on the ice to their future habitations.
Burlington was made the capital of West Jersey, a legislature was convened and laws were passed under the "concessions" or constitution of the proprietors. Salem and Burlington became the ports of the little province, which was well under way by 1682, when Penn came out to take possession of Pennsylvania.
The West Jersey people of these two settlements spread eastward into the interior but were stopped by a great forest area known as the Pines, or Pine Barrens, of such heavy growth that even the Indians lived on its outer edges and entered it only for hunting. It was an irregularly shaped tract, full of wolves, bear, beaver, deer, and other game, and until recent years has continued to attract sportsmen from all parts of the country. Starting near Delaware Bay, it extended parallel with the ocean as far north as the lower portion of the present Monmouth County and formed a region about seventy-five miles long and thirty miles wide. It was roughly the part of the old sandy shoal that first emerged from the ocean, and it has been longer above water than any other part of southern Jersey. The old name, Pine Barrens, is hardly correct because it implies something like a desert, when as a matter of fact the region produced magnificent forest trees.
The innumerable visitors who cross southern Jersey to the famous seashore resorts always pass through the remains of this old central forest and are likely to conclude that the monotonous low scrub oaks and stunted pines on sandy level soil, seen for the last two or three generations, were always there and that the primeval forest of colonial times was no better. But that is a mistake. The stunted growth now seen is not even second growth but in many cases fourth or fifth or more. The whole region was cut over long ago. The original growth, pine in many places, consisted also of lofty timber of oak, hickory, gum, ash, chestnut, and numerous other trees, interspersed with dogwood, sassafras, and holly, and in the swamps the beautiful magnolia, along with the valuable white cedar. DeVries, who visited the Jersey coast about 1632, at what is supposed to have been Beesley's or Somer's Point, describes high woods coming down to the shore. Even today, immediately back of Somer's Point, there is a magnificent lofty oak forest accidentally preserved by surrounding marsh from the destructive forest fires; and there are similar groves along the road towards Pleasantville. In fact, the finest forest trees flourish in that region wherever given a good chance. Even some of the beaches of Cape May had valuable oak and luxuriant growths of red cedar; and until a few years ago there were fine trees, especially hollies, surviving on Wildwood Beach.
The Jersey white cedar swamps were, and still are, places of fascinating interest to the naturalist and the botanist. The hunter or explorer found them scattered almost everywhere in the old forest and near its edges, varying in size from a few square yards up to hundreds of acres. They were formed by little streams easily checked in their flow through the level land by decaying vegetation or dammed by beavers. They kept the water within the country, preventing all effects of droughts, stimulating the growth of vegetation which by its decay, throughout the centuries, was steadily adding vegetable mold or humus to the sandy soil. This process of building up a richer soil has now been largely stopped by lumbering, drainage, and fires.
While there are many of these swamps left, the appearance of numbers of them has largely changed. When the white men first came, the great cedars three or four feet in diameter which had fallen centuries before often lay among the living trees, some of them buried deep in the mud and preserved from decay. They were invaluable timber, and digging them out and cutting them up became an important industry for over a hundred years. In addition to being used for boat building, they made excellent shingles which would last a lifetime. The swamps, indeed, became known as shingle mines, and it was a good description of them. An important trade was developed in hogshead staves, hoops, shingles, boards, and planks, much of which went into the West Indian trade to be exchanged for rum, sugar, molasses, and negroes.
Between the years 1740 and '50, the Cedar Swamps of the county [Cape May] were mostly located; and the amount of lumber since taken from them is incalculable, not only as an article of trade, but to supply the home demand for fencing and building material in the county. Large portions of these swamps have been worked a second and some a third time, since located. At the present time  there is not an acre of original growth of swamp standing, having all passed away before the resistless sway of the speculator or the consumer." Beesley's "Sketch of Cape May" p. 197.
The great forest has long since been lumbered to death. The pines
were worked for tar, pitch, resin, and turpentine until for lack of
material the industry passed southward through the Carolinas to
Florida, exhausting the trees as it went. The Christmas demand for
holly has almost stripped the Jersey woods of these trees once so
numerous. Destructive fires and frequent cutting keep the pine and
oak lands stunted. Thousands of dollars' worth of cedar springing up
in the swamps are sometimes destroyed in a day. But efforts to
control the fires so destructive not only to this standing timber
but to the fertility of the soil, and attempts to reforest this
country not only for the sake of timber but as an attraction to
those who resort there in search of health or natural beauty, have
not been vigorously pushed. The great forest has now, to be sure,
been partially cultivated in spots, and the sand used for large
glass-making industries. Small fruits and grapes flourish in some
places. At the northern end of this forest tract the health resort
known as Lakewood was established to take advantage of the pine air.
A little to the southward is the secluded Brown's Mills, once so
appealing to lovers of the simple life. Checked on the east by the
great forest, the West Jersey Quakers spread southward from Salem
until they came to the Cohansey, a large and beautiful stream
flowing out of the forest and wandering through green meadows and
marshes to the bay. So numerous were the wild geese along its shores
and along the Maurice River farther south that the first settlers
are said to have killed them for their feathers alone and to have
thrown the carcasses away. At the head of navigation of the Cohansey
was a village called Cohansey Bridge, and after 1765 Bridgeton, a
name still borne by a flourishing modern town. Lower down near the
marsh was the village of Greenwich, the principal place of business
up to the year 1800, with a foreign trade. Some of the tea the East
India Company tried to force on the colonists during the Revolution
was sent there and was duly rejected. It is still an extremely
pretty village, with its broad shaded streets like a New England
town and its old Quaker meeting house. In fact, not a few New
Englanders from Connecticut, still infatuated with southern Jersey
in spite of the rebuffs received in ancient times from Dutch and
Swedes, finally settled near the Cohansey after it came under
control of the more amiable Quakers. There was also one place called
after Fairfield in Connecticut and another called New England Town.
The first churches of this region were usually built near running streams so that the congregation could procure water for themselves and their horses. Of one old Presbyterian Church it used to be said that no one had ever ridden to it in a wheeled vehicle. Wagons and carriages were very scarce until after the Revolution. Carts for occasions of ceremony as well as utility were used before wagons and carriages. For a hundred and fifty years the horse's back was the best form of conveyance in the deep sand of the trails and roads. This was true of all southern Jersey. Pack horses and the backs of Indian and negro slaves were the principal means of transportation on land. The roads and trails, in fact, were so few and so heavy with sand that water travel was very much developed. The Indian dugout canoe was adopted and found faster and better than heavy English rowboats. As the province was almost surrounded by water and was covered with a network of creeks and channels, nearly all the villages and towns were situated on tidewater streams, and the dugout canoe, modified and improved, was for several generations the principal means of communication. Most of the old roads in New Jersey followed Indian trails. There was a trail, for example, from the modern Camden opposite Philadelphia, following up Cooper's Creek past Berlin, then called Long-a-coming, crossing the watershed, and then following Great Egg Harbor River to the seashore. Another trail, long used by the settlers, led from Salem up to Camden, Burlington, and Trenton, going round the heads of streams. It was afterwards abandoned for the shorter route obtained by bridging the streams nearer their mouths. This old trail also extended from the neighborhood of Trenton to Perth Amboy near the mouth of the Hudson, and thus, by supplementing the lower routes, made a trail nearly the whole length of the province.
As a Quaker refuge, West Jersey never attained the success of Pennsylvania. The political disturbances and the continually threatened loss of self-government in both the Jerseys were a serious deterrent to Quakers who, above all else, prized rights which they found far better secured in Pennsylvania. In 1702, when the two Jerseys were united into one colony under a government appointed by the Crown, those rights were more restricted than ever and all hopes of West Jersey becoming a colony under complete Quaker control were shattered. Under Governor Cornbury, the English law was adopted and enforced, and the Quakers were disqualified from testifying in court unless they took an oath and were prohibited from serving on juries or holding any office of trust. Cornbury's judges wore scarlet robes, powdered wigs, cocked hats, gold lace, and side arms; they were conducted to the courthouse by the sheriff's cavalcade and opened court with great parade and ceremony. Such a spectacle of pomp was sufficient to divert the flow of Quaker immigrants to Pennsylvania, where the government was entirely in Quaker hands and where plain and serious ways gave promise of enduring and unmolested prosperity.
The Quakers had altogether thirty meeting houses in West Jersey and eleven in East Jersey, which probably shows about the proportion of Quaker influence in the two Jerseys. Many of them have since disappeared; some of the early buildings, to judge from the pictures, were of wood and not particularly pleasing in appearance. They were makeshifts, usually intended to be replaced by better buildings. Some substantial brick buildings of excellent architecture have survived, and their plainness and simplicity, combined with excellent proportions and thorough construction, are clearly indicative of Quaker character. There is a particularly interesting one in Salem with a magnificent old oak beside it, another in the village of Greenwich on the Cohansey farther south, and another at Crosswicks near Trenton.
In West Jersey near Mount Holly was born and lived John Woolman, a Quaker who became eminent throughout the English speaking world for the simplicity and loftiness of his religious thought as well as for his admirable style of expression. His "Journal," once greatly and even extravagantly admired, still finds readers. "Get the writings of John Woolman by heart," said Charles Lamb, "and love the early Quakers." He was among the Quakers one of the first and perhaps the first really earnest advocate of the abolition of slavery. The scenes of West Jersey and the writings of Woolman seem to belong together. Possibly a feeling for the simplicity of those scenes and their life led Walt Whitman, who grew up on Long Island under Quaker influence, to spend his last years at Camden, in West Jersey. His profound democracy, which was very Quaker-like, was more at home there perhaps than anywhere else.
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