Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Penn, William (1644-1718), the founder of the colony of Pennsylvania, was born in London, and studied at Christ Church, Oxford, where he became a convert to Quakerism. The violence with which he attempted to assert his views led to his expulsion from the university, and his father, Admiral William Penn, refused to receive him into his house. He allowed him to travel, however, hoping that new scenes would divert his thoughts from religion, and afterwards placed him in charge of his estates in Ireland; but Penn clung resolutely to his opinions, and his father, perceiving the futility of all interference, became reconciled to him, and, at his death in 1670, left him his fortune. Meanwhile an attack on Anglican doctrines, entitled The Sandy Foundation Slialcen, had resulted in Penn's imprisonment in the Tower (1688), where he consoled himself with the composition of No Cross No Crown. After a second imprisonnient - this time in Newgate - in 1671, he travelled in Holland and Germany in support of Quakerism. In 1681 he received a grant of the fertile region N. of Maryland and W. of the Delaware in payment of the debts due from the Crown to his father. In consequence of its wide forests, he gave it the name "Sylvania," the first syllable being added by the king in honour of his father. On his arrival in the New World he laid out the town of Philadelphia, and for two years governed his oolony with prudence and success, returning to England in 1684. Pennsylvania (q.v.) was quickly peopled by religious refugees and other immigrants from England, Holland, and Germany. During the reign of James II. Penn became very intimate with the king, who had been a close friend of his father's; he "was even suspected of sharing his unconstitutional designs, but there appears to be no ground for the charges brought against him by Macaulay. He was deprived of his government-in 1692, but received it again in 1694. His closing years were much hampered with debt, and he passed some time in the Fleet. He died at Ruscombe, in Berkshire.