THIS VENERABLE DOCUMENT
by Linda A. Ries and Jane Smith Stewart  

   

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Great Britainís charters bore the likenesses of monarchs on the first page in the upper left corner, embellished with pre-printed borders on each page symbolizing the shields of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and France (an archaic reference to Englandís wars with France centuries earlier). Royal scribes carefully produced the calligraphy on red lines drawn across the pages.

The text of the kingís message to Penn required four pages. On March 4, 1681, the Lord Chancellor, custodian of the Great Seal of England, authorized its placement upon Penn's Charter. 

Hence, this date (and not February 25, the date of the king's approval), is considered the official date of the grant. 

A braided cord, probably of silk, was threaded through three small holes cut through the lower center of the pages. The other end of the cord passed through the Great Seal itself. The seal, made of beeswax, on one side bore the likeness of King Charles upon his throne; the reverse depicted him astride with the City of London in the background.

The seal was prepared with a green pigment, indicating that it was a charter. (Red seals were usually used for other official documents.) The fragile wax seal was placed in a skippet, a small round metal box, to protect it. The document was then folded in thirds, lengthwise and widthwise, and the cord and seal wound around it. So prepared, it was presented to William Penn.

 

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