a product message image
{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade
9 minute read

Peaceable Kingdom

By Marie Liu

Long after Penn’s Treaty with the Lenape in 1681, the event would be memorialized over and over again by Quaker preacher and artist Edward Hicks. In a series of 62 paintings he depicts Quaker colonists and Lenape Indians shaking to the Treaty of Shackamaxon. These ubiquitous folk images have become so popular and familiar to us in this century, yet I for one never realized that there was actually more than one version or that the mountains featured in many of these paintings, were none other than the most iconic scene in the Poconos.

Virtually all paintings in this series titled Peaceable Kingdom or Penn’s Treaty depict William Penn and his Quakers at the Treaty of Shackamaxon with Chief Tammany and the Lenape. Two very different groups peacefully coming together to form an agreement to secure land for the future city of Philadelphia. Sometimes Hicks portrayed them at the actual Piedmont site under a giant Elm tree (Penn’s Treaty), others featuring the Delaware Water Gap in the background, while beasts and babies play in the foreground (Peaceable Kingdom). Using this similar

cast of characters, he repaints this theme over and over, with variations, yet all possessing the same unmistakable, primitive, and almost cartoon-like imagery, made so popular in modern times by its appearance on item such as towels, rugs, blankets, mugs, t-shirts, etc. Yet how many of us noticed that there were more than one of the images? Easy to overlook, as the subject matter and style were so similar. Besides, who would ever imagine someone creating 62 versions of a painting? Was he obsessive compulsive? Or perhaps a perfectionist trying to improve his idea, or possibly so convinced of its message that he wanted to spread it far and wide? Likely all of the above (Walt Whitman spent 4 decades writing and re-writing Leaves of Grass. The first edition having 12 poems and final edition over 400) as artists are likely to have a dose of compulsion, perfectionism and conviction that drives what they do.

Edward Hicks was born to Anglican parents in 1780 in Bucks County PA. His father, a loyalist, was left penniless after the Revolutionary War and his mother died when he was 18 months old. He was then raised by family friends on the Twining

> Peaceable Kingdom Oil painting by Edward Hicks

“These ubiquitous folk images have become so popular and familiar to us in this century, yet I for one never realized that there was actually more than one version or that the mountains featured in many of these paintings, were none other than the most iconic scene in the Poconos.”

Farm and was there introduced to Quakerism. At 13 years old, he became an apprentice to a coach maker where he learned the craft of coach painting. At 20 he left the firm to become an independent coach and decorative painter. He also began attending Quaker meetings and after several years became a member of the Society of Friends (the term Quaker was an unflattering label given to the members of the Society of Friends for their physical quaking during spiritual trance). Hicks marries, starts his large family and becomes a Quaker preacher. Eventually though, unable to maintain his work as a preacher and painter at the same time, he left preaching. Decorative painting remained his main source of income, although he often made easel or studio paintings for family and friends, not for sale. Unrestrained by rules of his congregation, he was able to freely express his own conception of his faith through these easel paintings and in particular, the Peaceable Kingdom series.

dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together: and a little child shall lead them.” which was the perfect metaphor for the utopian dream that the Quakers had founded their new colony in the new world on. This theme, of wild animals communing with children would become Hick’s message, his artistic sermon. The predator and prey living side by side in harmony, all in submission to the innocence of a child. The powerful yielding to the powerless, the calming of primitive aggressions to bring about harmony in the world. Repeated by the image of Quakers and Indians coming together to live in peace and harmony.

Penn sought to coexist with the Lenape. He learned their language and rituals because he intended to live side by side with them, “…with your love and consent, that we may always live together as neighbors and friends”. He purchased his land from them and Penn’s Treaty was described by French

philosopher Voltaire as ‘the one treaty with the Indians that the whites have never broken’. The Lenape saw this agreement as the dawning of a new era of cooperation between themselves and settlers. Chief Tammany is recorded having said that the Lenape and the English colonists would "Live in peace as long as the waters run in the rivers and creeks and as long as the stars and moon endure." These words have been memorialized on the statue of Tammany that stands in Philadelphia to this day.

He also includes the Delaware Water Gap scene to convey the idea of Penn’s colony expanding and bringing these ideals of a peaceable kingdom upriver as the Philadelphia colony grew. Worth noting here the names of Mt. Minsi (term to describe the Lenape tribe of this tri-state area) and Mt. Tammany (named for Chief Tammany) once having the profile of an Indian naturally sculpted in the rock surface high above.

“ Unrestrained by rules of his congregation, he was able to freely express his own conception of his faith through these easel paintings and in particular, the Peaceable Kingdom series. ”

As relates to the Feb/March issue of Pocono Living article “The Infamous Walking Purchase”, William Penn came to America after receiving 45,000 acres along the Delaware River from James Duke of York as payment for his Admiral father’s service to the crown during the Anglo–Dutch Wars. Disgusted by the inequality he saw in Europe, William joined a group called the Philadelphians in challenging the Church of England and was imprisoned. Once released (through his father’s petition to the King), young William was anxious to

AUTHOR MARIE LIU

Marie Liu didn't expect to become so enthralled with the Poconos when she moved to Milford from New York State in 2009, but her work since then has been entirely focused on elements of the region that she seeks to reveal through her oil paintings. The Delaware River, pristine creeks, woods scenes and waterfalls, that are so abundant here, have provided her with endless inspiration and are the perfect place for a landscape artist. Being grateful, her paintings serve as a tribute to those agencies and organizations that work to protect these areas for our benefit.

She was honored to be the Resident Artist of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area for one year, from 2015 - 16. Focusing her creative energies on exploring and interpreting the Park through all four seasons, researching the history, and engaging with visitors was a highpoint of her professional life; culminating in exhibits at Kittatinny and Dingmans visitors centers. She not only portrayed the beauty of the Park, but was also cognizant of it's unique history, strove to portray that in her paintings.

Her work can be seen at the ARTery Gallery in Milford, a cooperative that is owned and operated by artists. She will also be exhibiting at the new Gallery at Brodhead Creek Heritage Center in East Stroudsburg from July - September 2020. Visit her website athttps://mliuart. com. and view videos about her experience as Resident Artist and her affinity for Pinchot and Grey Towers on her You Tube channel: Marie Liu Art. 

leave for America to develop on his land the dream of a city founded upon the Quaker ideals of brotherly love, tolerance, and equality. His design for the city was based upon avoiding the over-crowded, disease ridden and dangerous city life of Europe. His plans included wide streets, no dark alleys where nefarious activities could be conducted, green parks as buffers for fire, no garrisons or walls (as his relations with Indians was good) and plenty of farm land to sustain the city. His plans were to become inspiration for future cities.

His was the first colony based on freedom and democracy that would set the foundation not only for Philadelphia but also for our new nation post-Revolutionary War. Our founding

fathers used these same ideals when formulating their vision for the United States. Historians in the 20th century have also suggested the Iroquois Confederacy’s system of government influenced the development of the United States form of government.

As history would have it, Penn’s ideal city would quickly deteriorate when he left for England to settle a land dispute. Upon his return to Philadelphia years later, he was appalled by the number of taverns and the deviant behavior that he witnessed. In 1701 he authors the Charter of Privilege, outlining the basic rights of citizenship and establishes the first democratically elected legislature.

THE POTTING SHED

Let us create something beautiful for you

EXQUISITE FLORAL • GIFTS • HOME DECOR

(570)424-1174 931 Ann Street • Stroudsburg, PA 18360

“His was the first colony based on freedom and democracy that would set the foundation not only for Philadelphia but also for our new nation postRevolutionary War. Our founding fathers used these same ideals when formulating their vision for the United States. “

It is known that some Quakers had slaves and Penn himself owned slaves. Sad that his own lofty belief in equality did not extend to the black race and will forevermore be a mark against him for the hypocrisy that revealed. Perhaps he was just a product of his time, but several Quakers disagreed with the practice and rebelled against it, including Frances Pastorious, who founded Germantown and wrote the Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery, the first abolitionist document in North America.

And also, tragically after Williams death his sons would engineer the fraudulent and despotic Walking Purchase that would lead to the final and complete eviction of the Lenape from the region of the Poconos that they so cherished. 

Classic American Fine Dining Wednesdays Pasta & Live Music! Friday s Jumbo Cajun Shrimp Six for $6 & Live Music!

Business Rt. 209 • Snydersville, PA • 570-992-6634 (Just 5 miles south of Stroudsburg) www.stonebar.com • 5 pm Reservations Receive 20% Off • Bar Social 4 -5 p.m. Tues - Sun Drink Features & Half Price Apps

Rudy ’ s Your Neighborhood Tavern Established in 1933

90 Washington Street, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301 570-424-1131