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William Penn

Birthdate: 14. October 1644
Date of death: 30. July 1718

William Penn was the son of Sir William Penn, and was an English nobleman, writer, early Quaker, and founder of the English North American colony the Province of Pennsylvania. He was an early advocate of democracy and religious freedom, notable for his good relations and successful treaties with the Lenape Native Americans. Under his direction, the city of Philadelphia was planned and developed.

In 1681, King Charles II handed over a large piece of his American land holdings to Penn to pay the debts the king owed to Penn's father. This land included present-day Pennsylvania and Delaware. Penn immediately set sail and took his first step on American soil in New Castle in 1682 after his trans-Atlantic journey. On this occasion, the colonists pledged allegiance to Penn as their new proprietor, and the first general assembly was held in the colony. Afterwards, Penn journeyed up the Delaware River and founded Philadelphia. However, Penn's Quaker government was not viewed favourably by the Dutch, Swedish, and English settlers in what is now Delaware. They had no "historical" allegiance to Pennsylvania, so they almost immediately began petitioning for their own assembly. In 1704 they achieved their goal when the three southernmost counties of Pennsylvania were permitted to split off and become the new semi-autonomous colony of Lower Delaware. As the most prominent, prosperous and influential "city" in the new colony, New Castle became the capital.

As one of the earlier supporters of colonial unification, Penn wrote and urged for a union of all the English colonies in what was to become the United States of America. The democratic principles that he set forth in the Pennsylvania Frame of Government served as an inspiration for the United States Constitution.

As a pacifist Quaker, Penn considered the problems of war and peace deeply. He developed a forward-looking project for a United States of Europe through the creation of a European Assembly made of deputies that could discuss and adjudicate controversies peacefully. He is therefore considered the very first thinker to suggest the creation of a European Parliament.A man of extreme religious convictions, Penn wrote numerous works in which he exhorted believers to adhere to the spirit of Primitive Christianity. He was imprisoned several times in the Tower of London due to his faith, and his book No Cross, No Crown , which he wrote while in prison, has become a Christian classic.

Works

No Cross, No Crown
No Cross, No Crown
William Penn

„They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill, what never dies.“

—  William Penn

127 - 134
Fruits of Solitude (1682), Part II
Context: They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill, what never dies. Nor can Spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same Divine Principle; the Root and Record of their Friendship. If Absence be not death, neither is theirs. Death is but Crossing the World, as Friends do the Seas; They live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is Omnipresent. In this Divine Glass, they see Face to Face; and their Converse is Free, as well as Pure. This is the Comfort of Friends, that though they may be said to Die, yet their Friendship and Society are, in the best Sense, ever present, because Immortal.

„I have great love and regard toward you, and I desire to win and gain your love and friendship by a kind just, and peaceable life; and the people I send are of the same mind, and shall in all things behave themselves accordingly.“

—  William Penn

Letter to the Lenape Nation (18 October 1681); as published in William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania 1680 - 1684: A Documentary History, (1983) edited by Jean R. Soderlund, University of Pennsylvania Press
Context: There is one great God and power that has made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I and all people owe their being and well-being, and to whom you and I must one day give an account for all that we do in this world. This great God has written his law in our hearts, by which we are taught and commanded to love and help and do good to one another, and not to do harm and mischief one unto another. Now this great God has been pleased to make me concerned in your parts of the world, and the king of the country where I live has given unto me a great province therein, but I desire to enjoy it with your friends, else what would the great God say to us, who has made us not to devour and destroy one another, but live soberly and kindly together in the world.
Now I would have you well observe, that I am very sensible of the unkindness and injustice that has been too much exercised towards you by the people of these parts of the world, who have sought themselves, and to make great advantages by you, rather than be examples of justice and goodness unto you; which I hear has been matter of trouble to you and caused great grudgings and animosities, sometimes to the shedding of blood, which has made the great god angry. But I am not such man as is well known in my own country. I have great love and regard toward you, and I desire to win and gain your love and friendship by a kind just, and peaceable life; and the people I send are of the same mind, and shall in all things behave themselves accordingly.

„This is the Comfort of Friends, that though they may be said to Die, yet their Friendship and Society are, in the best Sense, ever present, because Immortal.“

—  William Penn

127 - 134
Fruits of Solitude (1682), Part II
Context: They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill, what never dies. Nor can Spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same Divine Principle; the Root and Record of their Friendship. If Absence be not death, neither is theirs. Death is but Crossing the World, as Friends do the Seas; They live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is Omnipresent. In this Divine Glass, they see Face to Face; and their Converse is Free, as well as Pure. This is the Comfort of Friends, that though they may be said to Die, yet their Friendship and Society are, in the best Sense, ever present, because Immortal.

„Any government is free to the people under it (whatever be the frame) where the law rules, and the people are a party to those laws, and more than this is tyranny, oligarchy, or confusion.“

—  William Penn

Frame of Government (1682)
Context: I know what is said by the several admirers of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, which are the rule of one, a few, and many, and are the three common ideas of government, when men discourse on the subject. But I chuse to solve the controversy with this small distinction, and it belongs to all three: Any government is free to the people under it (whatever be the frame) where the law rules, and the people are a party to those laws, and more than this is tyranny, oligarchy, or confusion.

„Love is indeed Heaven upon Earth; since Heaven above would not be Heaven without it: For where there is not Love; there is Fear: But perfect Love casts out Fear.“

—  William Penn

554-556
Fruits of Solitude (1682), Part I
Context: Love is indeed Heaven upon Earth; since Heaven above would not be Heaven without it: For where there is not Love; there is Fear: But perfect Love casts out Fear. And yet we naturally fear most to offend what we most Love. What we Love, we'll Hear; what we Love, we'll Trust; and what we Love, we'll serve, ay, and suffer for too. If you love me says our Blessed Redeemer) keep my Commandments. Why? Why then he'll Love us; then we shall be his Friends; then he'll send us the Comforter; then whatsover we ask, we shall receive; and then where he is we shall be also, and that for ever. Behold the Fruits of Love; the Power, Vertue, Benefit and Beauty of Love! Love is above all; and when it prevails in us all, we shall all be Lovely, and in Love with God and one with another.

„Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than from the arguments of its opposers.“

—  William Penn

142
Fruits of Solitude (1682), Part I
Context: Nothing does Reason more Right, than the Coolness of those that offer it: for Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than from the arguments of its opposers.

„Love is above all; and when it prevails in us all, we shall all be Lovely, and in Love with God and one with another.“

—  William Penn

554-556
Fruits of Solitude (1682), Part I
Context: Love is indeed Heaven upon Earth; since Heaven above would not be Heaven without it: For where there is not Love; there is Fear: But perfect Love casts out Fear. And yet we naturally fear most to offend what we most Love. What we Love, we'll Hear; what we Love, we'll Trust; and what we Love, we'll serve, ay, and suffer for too. If you love me says our Blessed Redeemer) keep my Commandments. Why? Why then he'll Love us; then we shall be his Friends; then he'll send us the Comforter; then whatsover we ask, we shall receive; and then where he is we shall be also, and that for ever. Behold the Fruits of Love; the Power, Vertue, Benefit and Beauty of Love! Love is above all; and when it prevails in us all, we shall all be Lovely, and in Love with God and one with another.

„Wherefore governments rather depend upon men, than men upon governments. Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it. But, if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn.“

—  William Penn

Frame of Government (1682)
Context: Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men, than men upon governments. Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it. But, if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn.

„Religion it self is nothing else but Love to God and Man. He that lives in Love lives in God, says the Beloved Disciple: And to be sure a Man can live no where better.“

—  William Penn

551-553
Fruits of Solitude (1682), Part I
Context: Did we believe a final Reckoning and Judgment; or did we think enough of what we do believe, we would allow more Love in Religion than we do; since Religion it self is nothing else but Love to God and Man. He that lives in Love lives in God, says the Beloved Disciple: And to be sure a Man can live no where better. It is most reasonable Men should value that Benefit, which is most durable. Now Tongues shall cease, and Prophecy fail, and Faith shall be consummated in Sight, and Hope in Enjoyment; but Love remains.

„There is one great God and power that has made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I and all people owe their being and well-being, and to whom you and I must one day give an account for all that we do in this world. This great God has written his law in our hearts, by which we are taught and commanded to love and help and do good to one another, and not to do harm and mischief one unto another.“

—  William Penn

Letter to the Lenape Nation (18 October 1681); as published in William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania 1680 - 1684: A Documentary History, (1983) edited by Jean R. Soderlund, University of Pennsylvania Press
Context: There is one great God and power that has made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I and all people owe their being and well-being, and to whom you and I must one day give an account for all that we do in this world. This great God has written his law in our hearts, by which we are taught and commanded to love and help and do good to one another, and not to do harm and mischief one unto another. Now this great God has been pleased to make me concerned in your parts of the world, and the king of the country where I live has given unto me a great province therein, but I desire to enjoy it with your friends, else what would the great God say to us, who has made us not to devour and destroy one another, but live soberly and kindly together in the world.
Now I would have you well observe, that I am very sensible of the unkindness and injustice that has been too much exercised towards you by the people of these parts of the world, who have sought themselves, and to make great advantages by you, rather than be examples of justice and goodness unto you; which I hear has been matter of trouble to you and caused great grudgings and animosities, sometimes to the shedding of blood, which has made the great god angry. But I am not such man as is well known in my own country. I have great love and regard toward you, and I desire to win and gain your love and friendship by a kind just, and peaceable life; and the people I send are of the same mind, and shall in all things behave themselves accordingly.

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„All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences“

—  William Penn

Pennsylvania Constitution (1776), Declaration of Rights http://www.pahouse.com/pa_const.htm; this may be based upon principles stated by Penn, but earlier renditions in this form have not been located.
Disputed
Context: All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent; no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishment or modes of worship.

„A good End cannot sanctifie evil Means; nor must we ever do Evil, that Good may come of it.“

—  William Penn

537-539
Fruits of Solitude (1682), Part I
Context: A good End cannot sanctifie evil Means; nor must we ever do Evil, that Good may come of it. Some Folks think they may Scold, Rail, Hate, Rob and Kill too; so it be but for God's sake. But nothing in us unlike him, can please him.

„Time is what we want most, but what, alas! we use worst; and for which God will certainly most strictly reckon with us, when Time shall be no more.“

—  William Penn

The Preface
Fruits of Solitude (1682)
Context: There is nothing of which we are apt to be so lavish as of Time, and about which we ought to be more solicitous; since without it we can do nothing in this World. Time is what we want most, but what, alas! we use worst; and for which God will certainly most strictly reckon with us, when Time shall be no more.

„When the great and wise God had made the world, of all his creatures, it pleased him to chuse man his Deputy to rule it: and to fit him for so great a charge and trust, he did not only qualify him with skill and power, but with integrity to use them justly.“

—  William Penn

Frame of Government (1682)
Context: When the great and wise God had made the world, of all his creatures, it pleased him to chuse man his Deputy to rule it: and to fit him for so great a charge and trust, he did not only qualify him with skill and power, but with integrity to use them justly. This native goodness was equally his honour and his happiness; and whilst he stood here, all went well; there was no need of coercive or compulsive means; the precept of divine love and truth, in his bosom, was the guide and keeper of his innocency. But lust prevailing against duty, made a lamentable breach upon it; and the law, that before had no power over him, took place upon him, and his disobedient posterity, that such as would not live comformable to the holy law within, should fall under the reproof and correction of the just law without, in a judicial administration.

„It is a severe Rebuke upon us, that God makes us so many Allowances, and we make so few to our Neighbor“

—  William Penn

549
Fruits of Solitude (1682), Part I
Context: It is a severe Rebuke upon us, that God makes us so many Allowances, and we make so few to our Neighbor: As if Charity had nothing to do with Religion; Or Love with Faith, that ought to work by it.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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