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Memoirs of the Public and Private Life of William Penn. By Thomas Clarkson,

M. A. With a Preface, by W. E. Forster. London: C. Gilpin. 1849.

Clarkson's “ Memoirs of William Penn" It is scarcely within our province to trace is a work now so familiar to all readers of the circumstances of the early association of biography, and the life of Penn is so much a the Macaulays—father and son—with the matter of history, that but little could be i Society of Friends; to enter into the etails found for the critic of to-day to notice in this of a contested election for Edinburgh, in volume, were it not for the copious Preface which the said “Friends” took an unusually from the pen of Mr. Forster. This gentle active part; in which Thomas Babington man appears to refute, in a neat and mas- Macaulay suffered an ignominious defeat, as terly manner, the aspersions cast on the it was said, mainly in consequence of the excharacter of Penn by that most amusing, ertions of the said “Friends:" still less shall most pungent, most romantic of historians, we attempt to trace any connection between Thomas Babington Macaulay. Novelists and this defeat and the curiously elaborate and essayists are, as a rule, bad historians. The most painfully caustic attack which Thomas admirable limner of Edward Waverley proved Babington Macaulay now makes on the Sohimself but a sorry historian of Napoleon ciety of Friends, through one of their memBonaparte. The reason is obvious. The bers, whose memory has ever been cherished brilliant fancy which could depict in glowing by that Society with the fondest marks of colors an imaginary hero, absolutely distorted approbation and esteem. We shall deal the figure of a short, thick-set, hard-headed, only with the details before us, and that as self-willed, far-sighted, and energetic piece briefly as the subject will permit. of mortality like the Emperor Napoleon ; Mr. Macaulay's attack on William Penn whose deeds, whether viewed with approba- does not consist simply of a few heavy accution or censure, are so many stern, dry, re- sations and an accompanying censure. Penn's gistered facts, engraved on adamant for the supposed infamy is introduced to the notice teaching of all posterity.

of the reader with a show of great reluctance; VOL XXI. NO. IV.


mission to execute in Ireland ; and on his sented from the Established Church, deterreturn a perfect reconciliation with his father mined him to return to England, in the hope took place, to the joy of all concerned, but that his personal influence with the king especially of his mother, who, throughout all might lead to at least a mitigation of the the differences with his father, had remained sufferings of his oppressed countrymen and William's firm and affectionate friend. friends. If other motives, connected with

In the following year, William Penn was his own interest and character, contributed again arrested and committed to Newgate, to the adoption of such a resolution, we have for preaching, in contravention of the new the concurrent testimony of all his biograConventicle Act, then recently passed. The phers as to this being the chief inducement. circumstances attending the trial of Penn and Oldmixon expressly states that “Mr. Penn William Mead are matters of history; they stayed in Pennsylvania two years, and would were acquitted of the charge brought against not then have removed to England, had not them, but were remanded to Newgate for the persecution raged against the dissenters so vionon-payment of fines illegally imposed, to lently, that he could not think of enjoying peace gether with the jury who had acquitted in America, while his brethren in England were them. Admiral Penn privately paid the so cruelly dealt with in Europe. He knew he money, and liberated both his son and William had an interest with the Court of England, and Mead.

was willing to employ it for the safety, ease, The admiral, considering that the treat- and welfare of his friends.” Providing, therement his son met with in the Tower was little fore, for the government of the colony during short of oppression, now clave to him more his absence, we are told that he quitted than ever; and finding his own end approach- Philadelphia,ing, he had his son constantly with him, this free intercourse strengthening and copfirming gret of the Dutch, Swedes, and Germans, whom

“ To the regret of the whole colony ; to the rethe admiral's good opinion of his son's quali- he had admitted into full citizenship with the rest, ties and character. And, foreseeing the dan- and who had found in him an impartial governor gers and persecutions to which he would be and a kind friend ; to the regret of the Indians, subject on account of his religious tenets, the who had been overcome by his love, care, and admiral on his death-bed earnestly com

concern for them; and to the regret of his own mended William to tbe care of the Duke of countrymen, who had partaken, more or less, of

that generosity, which was one of the most promiYork, requesting him to protect his son as

nent features in his character. And here, I may far as he consistently could, and to ask the observe, with respect to his generosity, that the king to do the same, in case of future perse- whole colony had experienced it; for, it onght cution. The answer was gratifying, both never to be forgotten, that when the first Assembly Charles and the Duke promising their ser

offered him an impost on a variety of goods, both vices on fit occasions, which promise they imported and exported (which impost, in a course appear to have performed as far as lay in of years would liave become a large revenue of ittheir power.

self), he nobly refused it; thus showing that his Considerations of personal inconvenience own aggrandizement, but for the promotion of a

object in coming among them was not that of his seem never to have had any weight with Wm. public good.”— Clarkson, p. 155. Penn when the welfare of others was concerned, and especially when the great prin- William Penn landed in England early in ciple of liberty of conscience in matters of October; and from a letter, dated on the religion was at stake. To uphold this prin- 29th of that month, addressed to the wife of ciple seems to have been the ruling object of his old friend, George Fox, we find that he his life; as was particularly shown soon after had even then already been at court, where, he had founded the colony of Pennsylvania, he says, “ he had seen the king and the Duke and was residing at Philadelphia, actively of York. They and their nobles had been engaged in administering the affairs of the very kind to him, and he hoped the Lord government of the province. Even there, would make way for him in their hearts to the cry of the oppressed reached his ear serve his suffering people, as also his own infrom England. For whether it was thought terests as it related to his American conthat, in the absence of one who had ever been cerns.” their undaunted advocate at the court of The latter were soon brought to a final Charles II., dissenters might be persecuted issue, by the king's decision between Penn with impunity, it is certain that, in the year and Lord Baltimore, respecting some land on 1684, the accounts received by Penn of the the Chesapeake and Delaware, which had cruel measures enforced against all who dis- I been the subject of disagreement; with regard to the first question, the king gave a his secrets and counsels. He often honored him sort of promise that he would do something with his company in private, discoursing with him in behalf of those whose cause was pleaded of various affairs, and that, not for one, but many by Penn.

hours together, and delaying to hear the best of

his Shortly after this, died Charles II., and for an audience. One of these, being envious,

peers, who, at the same time, were waiting bis brother James succeeded to the throne. and impatient of delay, and taking it as an affront It will be remembered that Admiral Penn, to see the other more regarded than himself, adwhen on his death-bed, had commended his ventured to take the freedom to tell his majesty son William to the care and guardianship of that when he met with Penn he thought little of James, when Duke of York; and, on the ac

his nobility. The king made no other reply, than cession of the latter to the crown, a more

that Penn always talked ingenuously, and he heard regular acquaintance grew up between him acquired thereby a number of friends. Those,

him willingly. Penn, being so highly favored, and William Penn, which soon ripened into also, who formerly knew him, when they had any intimacy. Entertaining the opinion that favor to ask at court, came to, courted, and enJames was favorable to liberty of conscience, treated Penn to promote their several requests. Penn conceived it to be his duty to cultivate Penn refused none of his friends any reasonable this intimacy, in order that he might be in a office he could do for them, but was ready to serve position to further the interests of those who them all, but more especially the Quakers, and

these wherever their religion was concerned. It were suffering on account of their religious is usually thought, when you do me one favor opinions; and that he might have the readier readily, you thereby encourage me to expect a access to James, he took up his abode at second. Thus they ran to Penn without interKensington, with his family.

mission, as their only pillar and support, who al.

ways caressed and received them cheerfully, and “ It appears,” says Mr. Clarkson, “ that, while effected their business by his influence and elohe resided there, he spent his time, and used his quence. Hence his house and gates were daily influence with the king, solely in doing good. All thronged by a numerous train of clients and suppolitics he avoided, never touching upon them un

pliants desiring him to present their addresses to less called upon ; and then he never espoused a

his Majesty. There were sometimes there two

hundred and more. party, but did his best to recommend moderation these affairs required money for writings, such as

When the carrying on of and to allay heats. If he ever advised the king, it was for his own real interest and the good of the drawing things out into form, and copyings, and nation at large. Generally speaking, however: made on such occasions, Penn so discreetly ma.

for fees, and other charges, which are usually and, in endeavoring to promote this, he was alive naged matters, that out of his own, which he had to the situation, not only of those of his own reli- in abundance, he liberally discharged many emergious society, but of those of other Christian de gent expenses. nominations who were then languishing in the gaols of the kingdom."--p. 158.

This intimacy with the king, however, ope

rated greatly to Penn's disadvantage. The This is the testimony of one who is not a

people, considering James to be a Papist, member of the religious body to which Wil

were apprehensive that he would endeavor liam Penn belonged ; and it is singularly con- establish Popery in its stead. And, know

to overthrow the Protestant religion and firmed by another historian, Gerard Croese, ing that Penn was so frequently at court, who had no more connection with the and so constantly engaged as the mediator Quakers than Mr. Clarkson. The evidence between the monarch and the people, many of two such independent witnesses may, suspected that the Quaker was a Papist in therefore, we should imagine, be looked upon disguise ; it was accordingly reported that he as unimpeachable. Gerard Croese is quoted had been bred at St. Omer's, and received by Mr. Macaulay whenever it suits his pur. priest's orders at Rome. The term Jesuit pose; we have therefore the less scruple in laying before our readers a passage from that rally believed to be engaged in plotting with

was energetically revived, and he was genewriter, in reference to the intimacy subsisting the king for the subversion of the established between James II. and William Penn, and religion. Even the amiable Tillotson, with the use made by the latter of his influence whom William Penn had been on terms of with the monarch.

friendship, could not avoid being infected

with the delusion; and to him William Penn, “ William Penn," he

says, was greatly in favor with the king-the Quakers' sole patron at

who, besides having a high personal regard court--on whom the hateful eyes of his enemies for the Doctor, knew from the estimation in were intent. The king loved him as a singular which he was held by the nation generally, and entire friend, and imparted to him many of that any opinion he might entertain would

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