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STRONG sense of the excellence of WILLIAM PENN's character, and of the many useful lessons that might be derived from it, induced me several years ago to make an abstract of Clarkson's life of him, with the hope that many might be led, by seeing it in a more compendious form, to become acquainted with it, that would shrink from the idea of wading through a more voluminous work. Since my removal to this country, however, the kind encouragement of some, who had it in their assist me in procuring many additional materials, induced me to recommence the subject and endeavour to form an original sketch of my own.
The manner in which this undertaking has been executed provës but too plainly that the estimate formed of my powers for performing the task was far beyond what they deserved; yet I am willing to flatter myself that its merits are sufficient to gain for this little work the kind attention of those who have always received with so much indulgence whatever I have presented to them. It has been my endeavour to enable my readers to judge
for themselves of the character for which I claimed their admiration, by giving, wherever it was in my power, either WILLIAM PENN's own words, or the words of those who were immediately and actively connected with him. In consequence
of many names will appear in this volume, that will be recognized with pride by many readers as the stock from which they themselves derived their being; and I have only to regret that my limits would not permit me to give more of those names which are so honourably mentioned, and thus to gratify that only justifiable pride of ancestry, the pride of having descended from virtue, sense and learning.
The assistance that I have received from many gentlemen in the city, especially from P. S. Du Ponceau, Esq. John Vaughan, Esq. and T. I. Wharton, Esq. demands my warmest acknowledgments, whilst to Mrs Deborah Logan, who so kindly granted me permission to make use of her valuable mass of manuscript, I feel unable to express my gratitude in proportionable terms. Had the object for which she so kindly lent her aid, been executed in a manner more worthy of the subject, I should have felt satisfied that she would find her reward in the promotion of a cause that she has so much at heart; but as it is, I can only hope that she will accept the will for the deed, and be assured that its deficiencies have arisen from anything rather than from an indifference to the noble subject that I had undertaken.
WILLIAM PENN, son of Admiral Sir Wil
liam Penn, was born in London October the 14th 1644. . Fortune at the moment of his birth seemed to mark him as one of her most favoured children, and surrounded him with her richest offerings, presented under the smiles of princes and the protection of power. But wonderful are the ways of Providence and often most unlooked for are the means by which its designs are accomplished. And so it proved in this instance, when he, who was surrounded by all the allurements of the world, simply for conscience sake rejected all her flattering gifts, and submitted to the miseries of scorn, contempt, and persecution, viewing all those adventitious circumstances in their true light and aiming at that real greatness which it is not in the power of princes to bestow, little imagining that he even then was preparing the way for becoming the founder of a mighty state and the father of a powerful people.
Admiral Sir William Penn was a distinguished officer under the parliament, and was entrusted with the command of the fleet sent by Cromwell against Hispaniola ; and was afterwards sent to the Tower by him on the failure of that expedition, though the blame rested chiefly on Venables who had the command of the soldiers. The admiral afterwards held high offices under Charles the second ; and as he was received as the personal friend of that monarch's brother the duke of York, his power in promoting the interests of his son might be considered as almost unbounded; and naturally anxious that the full benefit of these advantages might be enjoyed, his first care was to give him a liberal education.
For this purpose he sent him first to a grammar school at Chigwell in Essex, which was not only an excellent seminary but had also the advantage of being near Wanstead, at that time his own country residence. It is said that when at this school, and when only eleven years old, he received strong
religious impressions, and became convinced of the capability of man to enjoy a direct communication with God. How far this was real or imaginary, it would be presumption in' us to determine; but it may fairly be said that the conviction was of essential importance to his future character, by strengthening his belief in the support and protection of the Deity, and enabling him to persevere in those paths which his judgment and conscience dictated.
From Chigwell his father removed him to a school on Tower hill, near his own residence, and gave him, at the same time, the additional advantage of a private tutor, a circumstance which bespeaks no common care in the admiral to fit him for what he conceived to be his high destination: for the subject of education was not then generally conceived to be of the importance that it now is; and private tutors consequently must have been much less common. At the age of fifteen he had made such use of the opportunities he had enjoyed, that he was sent to college, and was entered a gentleman commoner at Christ's Church, Oxford. He here spent his time so properly between study and exercise, as not to exceed a due proportion of either. He indulged himself in all those manly sports which are calculated to make the body strong and athletic, as well as those amusements which are not less necessary to give vigour to the mind-thé society of amiable and