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William Penn
1644 - 1718

Founder of the state of Pennsylvania, prolific author of more than 150 books and pamphlets advancing the Quaker philosphy of life and government. Penn became a Quaker at the age of 23, at a time of intense religious persecution in England. Jailed at 24 for writing a critical religious book entitled Sandy Foundations Shaken (1668) without license from the Anglican bishop, Penn was resolute in his convictions and was later released. Granted the Charter for Pennsylvania due to a Crown debt owed his father, Penn travelled to America in 1681 and established a colony that was characterized by peaceful relations among colonists and with natives, by religious freedom, and by equal treatment of all before the law.


Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.

No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.

Let the people think they govern and they will be govern'd.

1693 - from Some Fruits of Solitude
To do evil that good may come of it is for bunglers in politics as well as mortals.

Impartiality, though it be the last, is not the least part of the character of a good magistrate. ... Justice is justly represented blind, because she sees no difference in the parties concerned. ... The impartial judge in judgment, knows nothing but the law. ... Impartiality is the life of justice, as that is of government.

1693 - from Some Fruits of Solitude
Knowledge is the treasure, but judgment the treasurer of a wise man. He that has more knowledge than judgment, is made for another man's use more than his own.

1693 - from Some Fruits of Solitude
Patience and diligence, like faith, remove mountains.

1693 - from Some Fruits of Solitude
Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders, than from the arguments of it opposers.

1693 - from Some Fruits of Solitude
My prison shall be my grave before I will budge a jot, for I owe my conscience to no man.

1668 - from a letter to his father from the Tower of London
Men must be governed by God, or they will be ruled by tyrants.

True godliness doesn't turn men out of the world, but enables them to live better in it and motivates their endeavors to mend it.

Where thou art obliged to speak, be sure speak the truth: for equivocation is half way to lying, as lying, the whole way to hell.

1693 - from Some Fruits of Solitude
Where the reins of government are too slack, there the manners of the people are corrupted...

1693 - from Some Fruits of Solitude
Patience is a virtue every where; but it shines with great lustre in the men of government.

1693 - from Some Fruits of Solitude