Page:Our Philadelphia (Pennell, 1914).djvu/196

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This was another Philadelphia fact I accepted on faith. It was not until I began to think about Philadelphia that I saw how consistent Philadelphians were in their inconsistency. Their position in the matter was what their past had made it, and the inconsistency is in their greater liberality to-day. For Pennsylvania has never been Catholic, has never had an aristocratic Catholic tradition like England: to the Friends there, all the aristocracy of the traditional kind belongs. The people—the World's People—who rushed to Pennsylvania to secure for themselves the religious liberty William Penn offered indiscriminately to everybody, found they could not enjoy it if Catholics were to profit by it with them. They had not been there any time when, as one of the early Friends had the wit to see and to say, they "were surfeited with liberty," and the Friends, who refused to all sects alike the privilege of expressing their religious fervour in wood piles for witches and prison cells for heretics, could not succeed in depriving them of their healthy religious prejudice which, they might not have been able to explain why, concentrated itself upon the Catholic. Episcopalians approved of a doctrine of freedom that meant they could build their own churches where they would. Presbyterians and Baptists objected so little to each other that, for a while, they could share the same pulpit. Moravians put up their monasteries where it suited them best. Mennonites took possession of Germantown. German mystics were allowed to search in peace for the Woman in White and wait hopefully for the