The New Student's Reference Work/Penn, William

Penn, William, founder of Pennsylvania, was the son of Admiral William Penn, and was born at London, Oct. 14, 1644. Penn studied at Christ Church, Oxford, and there became a convert to Quakerism. In 1668 Penn was thrown into London Tower on account of The Sandy Foundations Shaken. While in prison he wrote No Cross, No Crown and Innocency with Her Open Face. He was liberated through the influence of the Duke of York, afterward James II. In 1670 Admiral Penn died, leaving his son $7,500 a year and claims upon the government for $80,000. In 1681, in lieu of his monetary claim, Penn obtained territory comprising the present state of Pennsylvania. He desired to call it Sylvania, but Charles II insisted on the prefix Penn, in honor of his father. In October of 1682 he held his famous interview with the Indian tribes. Penn concluded a peaceful arrangement for the purchase of their lands, and for 50 years his colony remained unmolested by them. Penn planned and named Philadelphia, and for two years managed affairs in the wisest, most benevolent and liberal manner. Not Quakers only but persecuted members of other churches sought refuge in his colony, where religious toleration was fully recognized and respected. In 1684 Penn returned to England to exert his influence in favor of his persecuted brethren at home, in which he was so far successful that soon after James II came to the throne (1685) 1,200 imprisoned Quakers were set at liberty. After the accession of William III, Prince of Orange (1688), Penn was accused of treason and conspiracy, but was acquitted. In 1699 Penn paid a second visit to Pennsylvania, where his colony required his presence. His two years' stay was marked by many useful measures and by efforts to improve the condition, not only of the colonists, but of the Indians and negroes. He returned to England in 1701. When an agent of Penn's died, he left claims which the latter refused to pay, and was committed to Fleet Prison, where he remained until friends procured his release by settling the claims. He died on July 30, 1718.