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Shorter Book Reviews 121 Lockridge also attacks Byrd's writing style for not measuring up to John Dryden's or Alexander Pope's (37-39), but then, few contemporary '\\Titers could match the literary skills of those writers. Lockridge has presented a new view of William Byrd. Earlier '\\Titers, such as Louis B. Wright, editor of Byrd's diaries and prose works, and Pierre Marambaud, author of a 1971 book analyzing Byrd's career, emphasized the Virginian's abilities as a politician, writer and planter. The difference in interpretation between their work and Lockridge's results from the latter's narrow personality theory, and from the enormous difficulties in applying twentieth-century psychological theory ac.ross two-and-a-half centuries to a very different, badly-documented world. Despite impressive writing and ingenious argument, Lockridge is less successful here than he had been in applying social science methods to the study of Colonial New England. CarlSwanson Department of History East Carolina University Mary M. Schweitzer. Custom and Contract: Household, Govemment and the Economy in Colonial Pennsylvania. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987. xii + 271 pp. Illus. No less an authority than James Madison once forecast the future America as a stable, blended Republic that would derive its strength from a unique balance of the old with the new and the one with the many. The common good would be achieved under appropriate government, by the easy mingling of diverse sections, customs and interests. Madison's imaginative model of liberal self-interest joined to corporate harmony has been read backwards into the first half of the eighteenth century by Mary Schweitzer~s history of colonial Pennsylvania. Pre-Revolutionary Pennsylvania is presented by Schweitzer in a familiar way, as a colonial crucible of the quintessential American mix of ethnic, religious, political and economic diversity. The province's reputation as a land of opportunity and as a religious and ethnic haven attracted steady and large immigration, and its population grew rapidly in size and ethnic complexity. That growth, furthered by high rates of natural increase, was absorbed by an economy that expanded and was refined until it eventually 122 Shorter Book Reviews sustained the most even distribution of wealth in colonial America. At first blush, the political structure of eighteenth-century Pennsylvania appears to have been complex and contradictory. It consisted of layers and overlappings of authority that descended ostensibly from the King in Parliament and the Board of Trade, to the Proprietors (the Penns) and their appointed councillors and Governor, to elected representatives at the Assembly and community level. The hierarchy thus consisted of three tiers of government authority and responsibility: imperial, provincial and local. In Schweitzer's analysis, if the Crown or the Proprietor had been able to exercise the full extent of its legal powers, Pennsylvania's social and economic development, as well as its prosperity, would have been retarded. Instead, the combination of loose Imperial management and of the settlers' isolation from, and resistance to, it created an environment of selfdetermination and laissez-faire economic practices. More importantly, economic exigencies and the politics of localism undermined Penn's neofeudal proprietary scheme. He filled Pennsylvania with landed settlers by granting them statutory political rights and participation, and then expected to profit from quitrents, a form of obligatory "dues" drawn from feudal precedent. The logic of political rights made it easy for inhabitants to ignore the dues, and any possibilities of recreating Europe in Pennsylvania, or of creating wealth for the Penns, disappeared early in the Colony's history. It is in such a political context that Schweitzer reveals her study's debt to Louis Hartz's theory of American liberalism, and to her pre-dating and reordering of his study of nineteenth-century liberal Pennsylvania. For Schweitzer, the robust competition in provincial politics and the legendary Proprietary/anti-Proprietary partisanship, along with such subsets as Quakers and Presbyterians, city and farm, "older" and frontier settlement, resulted in a social and political equilibrium that tended to neutralize or limit centralized power. The result was a high level of horizontal and vertical mobility, and an atmosphere that allowed localities and individuals to pursue their more immediate economic interests. Thus, Schweitzer builds a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 121-125
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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