Friday, April 04, 2014

"Though I desire to extend religious freedom, yet I want some recompense for my troubles."

So wrote William Penn, according to John Steele Gordon in a speech Gordon delivered in San Diego, California, November 15, 2013, at a Hillsdale College Free Market Forum.  An adaptation of that speech, entitled "Entrepreneurship in American History," is reproduced in the February 2014 edition of Imprimis, to which you can find your way through this link.

Gordon states that it "has not been nearly well enough noted that the American colonies, while many ended up in royal hands, were not founded by the English state.  Several, such as Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Virginia, were founded by profit-seeking corporations.  Others, such as Pennsylvania and Maryland, were founded by proprietors.  To be sure, many of these enterprises had non-entrepreneurial motives, such as providing a refuge for religious dissenters," but the founders sought "some recompense" for their "troubles."

Gordon writes further:

New York, of course, was founded by the Dutch, not the English, and profit was the sole reason for settling on Manhattan.  Indeed, so bent on moneymaking were the Dutch that they did not get around to building a church for 17 years, worshiping instead in the fort.  When they did finally build a church, they named it for St. Nicholas, and Santa Claus has been the patron saint of New York ever since.

God's common grace abounds through entrepreneurs, and he blesses a country that gives them the liberty to exercise their gifts.

No comments: