William Penn Summary and Legacy Essay

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John A. Morettam author of William Penn and the Quaker Legacy, presents William Penn’s life in a very informational and positively biased story through his years. He looks majorily on the side that William Penn’s decisions were right and that his childhood and young adulthood, founding of Pennsylvania, and in his later years his selling of Pennsylvania were all done well. William Penn accomplished a lot and was an esteemed gentleman, and the author really portays him as such while describing everything William did, as well as his relationships.

And so the novel starts off with William Penn’s father’s influence on William Penn Jr. n many different ways. In the beginning of the story it was neglect. He was always gone and never had time for William Penn Jr. William Penn Jr. became very close to his mother as a result. Not having his fathers companionship created a lacking of a male role model, as well as his teachers lacking male role model potential. When William Penn Sr. moved his family to Ireland he was able to bond more with William Penn Jr. and this helped him and many different ways.

His introduction to Quakerism was realized in Ireland when a preacher did a sermon at their house and William Penn Jr. as very moved by it. This proved vital with the combination of religious influence from his mentor and professors to young William’s devotion to being holy later in his life. When the commonwealth and Cromwell died off the family exited exile and this allowed charles II to regain his throne. Sir William Penn was knighted for his devotion to the Stuart monarchy. This helps shape William Penn Jr. ‘s interests in the family reputation and makes him feel like he is a part of it, as his father wanted. Upon arriving at Oxford he was unlike all the other attendants which worried his father.

Then he became aquainted with dissenters of the universty and immediatly knew these were the people he fit in with. This was one example of Penn’s early conversion to Quakerism without knowing yet. Then his father retired causing him to settle down and become more in touch with his son again. He sent young William Penn off to law school to learn law in the hopes he would gain friends in high places for the future while finishing his education. William Penn Jr. was soon then placed into local politics by his father and held a commisoner job for helping out “down on their luck” eople, a sort of welfare.

This job reinforced his likeing of the Quaker faith as they helped people without reason while being persecuted, which William Penn Jr. wittnessed during his less than a year work. William Penn Sr. then sent his son to Ireland to settle legalities of his new land that was a result of Irish Royalists taking back their old estate. He inadvertantly was finally “convinced” to be a Quaker during a visit to Cork. Even after his personal persecution by Quakerism, he stood stalwart to his new faith. William Penn Jr. became a Quaker when it was at the worse time to become one.

With the laws set forth to conform everyone to Anglicanism, Quakers went like lambs to the slaughter because of their clear defiance of the law. Fortunatly for William Penn Jr. his incarcerations were brief because of his political standing and being the son of Admiral Penn. But William Penn Jr. was steadfast in his beliefs of Quakerism and this cost him later in his religious affairs. Upon William Penn Jr. release he was well known spokesperson and writer of the Quaker movement. Many praised him for his zealous, nonconformist visage.

He then went on to write a pamphlet (or apology), that was to prove Quaker beliefs and motives, and their reasonings behind them. Even with William Penn Jr. ‘s fantastic writing skills and logic, the pamphlet was discredited and condemned by the masses, and young Penn was incarcerated in The Tower. His stay lasted shy of 9 months and during this time he wrote another pamphlet which was his ultimate piece upon release, it contained more than 600 pages. But his untimely release was only met because of his conformity to his beliefs on the trinity which he refuted in his earlier condemning pamphlet.

He wrote a apology for his beliefs on Jesus Christ the savior and was released by the king because of it. It isn’t really to say whether or not William Penn Jr. really believed in what he wrote in that apology for a good period of his life. Within a Year of Young William Penn’s release, William Penn Sr. had passed away. William Penn after departing for a sidetrip to see “Guli” his future wife, stayed an extra 4 days because of Guli and this marked the start of their soon to be marriage. Although this was postponed 3 years because of William Penn’s work that needed to be finished for his father in Ireland.

Penn worked hard to obtain the release of captive Quakers in prison during his visit to Ireland. His father’s affairs came after his Quaker faith during his arrival in Ireland. He persistantly attempted to gain release while having knowlege of The Court’s ways to help his cause. Penn’s hard work payed off and his friends were released from prisons via Penn’s invaluable skills of politics, persausion, and influence on the Stuart Court and Brokers of the Court.

After his Quaker escapedes, William Penn Jr. immediately atteneded to his fathers errands which majorily were good and serving a good job for William Penn Sr. But his father’s health was failing and William Penn Jr. soon rushed home to england upon recieveing a scary letter from his mother. He left his advisor in charge of the Irish affairs that he had brought with him. In retaliation of the great George Fox’s arrest for preaching in a public place, William Penn Jr. could not sit idle and let his friends be persecuted against, so he began to speak in the same place as Fox and was immediatly arrested and brought forth to the same man Fox was judged by, but he was not so forgiving as he was to Fox.

It could have been jealousy, or to prove his loyalty, but whatever the case, young Penn was to be sent to a terrible place of foul stench. Fortunately for Penn and his comrade, a clause in the law allowed for a trial by jury. Penn’s trial was lasted four days and was one of the most famous trials in all of english law history. The court officals were so poor in their character and were so illegal that went the verdict was said to be not guilty, the jurors were sentenced fines until either they had “the right” verdict or they paid the fines.

They all refused to pay the fines as well as William Penn and his comrade, and were sent to Newgate Prison, the worst England had to offer. The majority payed their fine but the rest were set free after 2 months and sued for their rights against the officals. This was one of the biggest events in English law history and William Penn had no idea at the time. Upon growing apart rapidly and frustratingly, William Penn’s mother, Lady Penn, died partly because of the fact that Penn was gone so much from his mother.

The bond inbetween the two decreased over time, and sadly she pasted and was burried next to William Penn’s father, William Penn Sr. Again sad, William Penn had to write a letter to Guli and the children of his family, because Penn was leaving for what is named after him, Pennsylvania. He instructed in his letters to raise his kids to be educated unlike himself, with useful skills. He did not want them attending schools like Oxford where he went, because it was full of bad influences. Much like what we see in America, he wanted them to be taught by a tutor in their home that stayed with them.

Before embarking on his quest to the colonies, Penn suffered a great loss when his finacial correspondent Phillip Ford snuck his way in to William’s pockets by having him sign papers that would come back to haunt him dearly in the future. Penns arrival was a year after the settlement of the colony first started. It was vast but because of religious freedom, was not full of Quakers. The amazing thing was how rapidly Pennsylvania expanded though. Pennsylvania had oppurtunities no other colony supported, had a chance to become in the upper class off of shear dedication, hard work, and a good socioeconomic plan.

Pennsylvania run under William Penn’s Advertising with good neighboring colonies and trade supplied the colony with maximum effiecentcy to become one of the fastest growing colonies in the time when making a new colony was the best. Penn was very pro slavery. He owned slaves himself, rationalized why owning slaves was not wrong if all men were created equal, and how it would help him with the friends (Quakers) that had money. Penn ran his estate off of a purely black crew and when anti slavery Quakers cracked down on him, Penn disbanded them, but still kept two “servants” until his death which he did not release.

Plentiful economic oppurtunity, divine climate, and semi equal gender divisons increased Pennsylvania’s growth immensly. The capital, Philedelphia, was named by two greek words meaning, brotherly love. This was important because William Penn established a colony off of Quaker idealism and equality for all. William Penn invisioned a city unlike that of london and paris, and rural towns as well, but of the suburbs we see today. He wanted straight streets, houses with area on each side for gardening and lawns, and it to be symetrically stable and beautiful.

Much to William Penn’s dismay, Philedelphia by the time of his death was a disorderly crowded and filthy city, just as any other English port city. The vast melting pot that became Pennsylvania was unlike that of what Penn first thought of when colonizing Pennsylvania. The ethnic and religious diversity became a big part of Pennsylvania’s recipes . Indians were a key part to Pennsylvania as well as the colony live peacefully with them mainly due to the fact that they less in number from many ailments. Peace agreements and general lack of hostility also attributed to the success of the finacial growth and prosperity.

Penn treated the Native Americans with respect and for the first time in history showed that the Native Americans were the true owners of the land, and this ultimately proved how much better Pennsylvania was than previous colonies. Sadly with all the success, there was bad news for William Penn. War struck up with France producing numerous amounts of tension filled bouts between Penn and the government. With the illegal trading and William Penn’s status as high figure of economic and royal importance, the Pennsylvania colony was a priority, giving the gorvernment excuse to strip William Penn of his land.

Because of the colonies Quaker background it was specifically target for “defiance” and absence in defensive help to England. Penn Fought tooth and nail to keep his land against many people such as Robert Quarry, and the Church of England as well. William Penn was able to produce sufficent arguement especially when it came to economics on his behalf to keep his colony under his control instead of the unification of the colonies. Upon William III’s untimely death parliment closed the case down, in most ways, William Penn had won.

When Robert Quary was fired and lost his campign, a small victory for William Penn, he attempted to sway the board of trade with a letter to distust Penn because of his manipulation of them so he could continue his plans in spite of them. This of course was not true and upon Queen Anne’s, the daughter of James II, reign William Penn was happily in the “rays” of royal favor. With the new government, Penn was supplied with power from many new rulers he had befriended and as a result allowing him to keep his colony.

The changing point in Penn’s fight was that of when William Penn gained and audience with the Queen and Anne allowed him to hold his land for one year without interference from the Lords of Trade. Suprising to everyone, William Penn after just about a years time offered to sell his right to govern Pennsylvania to The Crown because of his position in life and debt to Philip Ford who had wronged William badly. Penn was also weary of his colonists as they were fighting him in a struggle for many things like paying their rent.

The timeing was perfect for William Penn to keep hold of his land and the ideals and lifestyle that he had come to create. Unfortunately William Penn was a poor choice in character and when Hamilton the governer died, William’s replacement was very bad indeed. Penn’s next replacement after public outcry was a military leader because he had no choice, he was in debtor’s jail. The Fords had bankrupt him and after many a dispute and some help from the Duke of Marlborough, William Penn exited prison for the last time and payed his debt off.

William Penn’s family was very large by now and as it happened, they hardly knew William at all. His second wife, Hannah, had seven children, two of which would not make it to adulthood, with William. The son of William Penn, or “Billy” was more of a cavalier like his grandfather, much to the dismay of his father. He did not see Pennsylvania as the Quaker haven but a cash cow to fit his lavished life style. Due to his unruly behavior, he lost his favor with is father and was no longer the heir of Pennyslvania.

He did not attend his father at his deathbed in 1718. The colony he orginal founded had lost its touch and was infected by upper-class superiority. The feeling of community was lost and William had had enough while searching for a new inheritor. William Penn decided it best to gain monetary value of his colony that had fallen into disarry and offered it to The Crown again for 20,000 pounds. This time the Queen accepted it, although the process was slowed when William Penn had a minor stroke in 1712.

The finalities were 12,000 pounds to Penn with an 1,000 pound advance along with the lands he agreed upon for his family and friends, but not an acre to Billy. While writing to James Logan, William suffered his second stroke in october of the same year. The most important in William Penn’s late life was his third stroke, breaking him down, and putting him in bed somewhat permenantly. William Penn stayed that way for the rest of his life and had difficulty speaking and comprehending. His Quaker Vision and spirit died with him on July 30, 1718. Though, William Penn’s Quaker legacy is forever present in America.

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