Penn, William (16441718)

Penn, William, founder of Pennsylvania, the son of an admiral, born in London; was converted to Quakerism while a student at Oxford, and for a fanatical attack on certain fellow-students expelled the University; his father sent him to travel in France, and afterwards placed him in charge of his Irish estates; his religious views occasioned several disputes with his father, and ultimately brought him into conflict with the Government; he spent several periods of imprisonment writing books in defence of religious liberty, among them “The Great Cause of Liberty of Conscience” (1671); then travelled in Holland and Germany propagating his views; his father's death brought him a fortune and a claim upon the crown which he commuted for a grant of land in North America, where he founded (1682) the colony of Pennsylvania—the prefix Penn, by command of Charles II. in honour of the admiral; here he established a refuge for all persecuted religionists, and laying out Philadelphia as the capital, governed his colony wisely and generously for two years; he returned to England, where his friendship with James II. brought many advantages to the Quakers, but laid him under harassing and undeserved prosecutions for treason in the succeeding reign; a second visit to his colony (1699-1701) gave it much useful legislation; on his return his agent practically ruined him, and he was a prisoner in the Fleet in 1708; the closing years of his life were clouded by mental decay (16441718).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

Penitents, Order Of * Pennant, Thomas
Penates
Penda
Pendennis
Pendleton
Pendragon
Penelope
Peninsular State
Peninsular War
Penitential Psalms
Penitents, Order Of
Penn, William
Pennant, Thomas
Pennsylvania
Penny
Penny Wedding
Penrith
Penryn
Penseroso, II
Pensionary, the Grand
Pentacle
Pentagram