The Making of William Penn

The Making of William Penn

The Making of William Penn

The Making of William Penn

Excerpt

Dryden's well-known description of Buckingham as "not one but all mankind's epitome," might be applied with equal truth, though with widely different meaning, to his great contemporary, William Penn. More perfectly, perhaps, than any other man of his time he shared the multifarious life of England, both as actor and sufferer, and gathered up into one consistent whole the jarring tendencies of his century. It has been the fashion to regard him as a "sport," an unaccountable and disconcerting phenomenon, which broke the long line of churchgoing squires and rollicking seamen who were his forebears. Yet it may be doubted whether any man great or small can safely be looked upon as a freak of nature. The qualities which are most apparent in their latest descendant may have been struggling underground through generation after generation of his ancestors, while we who look back can take no account of embryo desires and ambitions which never were fulfilled. It needs but a superficial acquaintance to recognise the makings of William Penn the Quaker in William Penn the "wise and friendly" Admiral, or in the Irish mother, who brought with her from the wilds of Clare a merry and indomitable spirit and a hand always ready to help the sick and distressed. This study is an attempt to trace the influences which went to form his character, and to . . .

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