The Papers of William Penn: 1685-1700 - Vol. 3

The Papers of William Penn: 1685-1700 - Vol. 3

The Papers of William Penn: 1685-1700 - Vol. 3

The Papers of William Penn: 1685-1700 - Vol. 3

Excerpt

This is the third volume in a select edition of The Papers of William Penn, designed to present the most interesting and representative correspondence, religious and political papers, journals, and business records of WP — as he will be referred to henceforth. The overall plan of the work is described in the introduction to our first volume. Volume One, spanning the first thirty-five years of WP's life, from 1644 to 1679, documents his activities as a young Quaker activist. Volume Two, covering the years 1680 to 1684, documents the founding of Pennsylvania. The present volume covers a much longer period than Volume Two, from 1685 to 1700. WP spent most of this time in England. He reached the height of his influence at court under James II, was forced into hiding and temporarily lost the government of Pennsylvania under William and Mary, and finally returned to America in 1699 to find a colony much changed during his fifteen-year absence.

The years 1685 to 1700 were turbulent for WP, holding both much promise and deep disappointment. In the public sphere WP played three major roles: as proprietor of Pennsylvania he defended his colony against the territorial claims of the neighboring Lord Baltimore and the English government's effort to tighten its control over the proprietary colonies in America; as a prominent Quaker he lobbied indefatigably for religious toleration; and as a loyal supporter of James II he was charged with treason after James's fall and was an object of suspicion to William and Mary. Just as he regained his liberty, WP experienced tragedy in the personal realm with the death of his wife, Gulielma, and his eldest son, Springett. WP was deeply grieved by these losses but found new hope and vitality in 1696 in his marriage to Hannah Callowhill, who accompanied him on his second trip to Pennsylvania, where their only "American" child, John, was born in 1700.

For a chronology of WP's actions and related events from 1685 to 1700, see pp. 18-21. The documents in this third volume are ar-

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