Darby and  the Liberty Bell
It may seem somewhat strange to realize, but if not for Darby, we may never  have had a Liberty Bell (originally called the State
House Bell. People didn't  start to call it the "Liberty Bell" until the 1830's when it became a symbol of  the anti-slavery
movement). While Darby was not the only reason for the Bell, it  certainly played a part. Listen and I'll explain.
Of course everyone knows about the Liberty Bell and the inscription "Proclaim  Liberty Throughout All the Land" and everybody
knows that the Bell is cracked.  No. That's not the connection. We had nothing to do with its cracking.  Anyway, the inscription on
the Bell is from a book of the  Bible called Leviticus, Chapter 25 Verse 10, and when you read the whole verse,  it becomes very
interesting. The whole verse says
"And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout  all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a
jubilee unto you:  and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man  unto his family
" Lev. 25:10
So what was this 50th year stuff? Well fifty years before the Bell  was ordered for the Pennsylvania State House (later called
Independence Hall),  William Penn signed something in 1701 called the Charter of Privileges. This was  just before Penn went
back to England for the second and final time, and the  colonists in Penn's holy experiment wanted some written guarantee of
their  rights, and one of those colonists was John Blunston who lived in ...........  Right, Darby. Not only did he live in Darby but
was one of the first settlers of  Darby and owned a big chunk of it. As a matter of fact it was Blunston who gave  the land which
the Quakers used for their burial ground and for their first  meeting house. You can still see the burial ground on the hill at  12th
and Main in Darby and Blunston himself is buried there  somewhere. I'll talk about that later.
So what's the big deal about a Charter? Aren't our rights guaranteed by the  Bill of Rights, freedom of speech and all that? Not at
that time. In 1701 the  Province of Pennsylvania was owned by the Penn family and they made all the  rules; after all, King
Charles the Second had given the land to Penn in honor of  Penn's father, Admiral Penn and insisted it be named Pennsylvania
in honor of  the Father. Now Penn did have something called a "Frame of Government" which set  out the way things would be
done, but many of the colonists didn't trust the  Penn family and were afraid that the rules would be changed. One of these
people  was David Lloyd, who didn't like the Penn family at all at all and thought the  seat of Government should be in Chester
where it started and (in his opinion)  belonged. So you had a group of people around Lloyd who wanted to stick it to  the
Proprietary Party and the Penn Family in any way they could, and you had  Penn who didn't want to give up his power, and in the
middle you had ..ta da..  John Blunston, who served as mediator and deal maker. He had been a trusted  friend of Penn from the
beginning (and was likely with Penn at the famous treaty  at Shackamaxon,) and was able to talk with both sides to get the thing
signed.  The Charter of Privileges was an important model of representative government  and religious toleration later on when
the Constitution was drafted and Darby  played a part. , so, when Isaac Norris was looking for an inscription for the  State House
Bell, honoring the Charter of Privileges seemed appropriate and  the verse from Leviticus seemed to fit ,, and the rest, as they  
say, is history.  There is some speculation that Norris was also making a plea against slavery and against the land grabs
causing friction with the Indians but that is another story . For information on John Blunston's opposition to slavery, click
I said I would talk about the Burial Ground, so here it is. At various times,  Quakers did not agree with the practice of putting
up headstones on graves,  believing that it was a sign of worldly vanity, so we don't know exactly where  John Blunston was
buried when he died in 1723. Nevertheless, when you pass the  burial ground at 12th and Main, and think about the
American  liberties we enjoy, you may want to whisper a small "thank you" to John Blunston  at rest on the hill.
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