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William Penn and the Quakers Penn was born in London on October 24 1644 the son of Admiral Sir William Penn Despite high social position and an excellent education he shocked his upper-class associates by his conversion to the beliefs of the Society of Friends or Quakers then a persecuted sect He used his inherited wealth and rank to benefit and protect his fellow believers Despite the unpopularity of his religion he was socially acceptable in the kings court because he was trusted by the Duke of York later King James II The origins of the Society of Friends lie in the intense religious ferment of 17th century England George Fox the son of a Leicestershire weaver is credited with founding it in 1647 though there was no definite organization before 1668 The Societys rejections of rituals and oaths its opposition to war and its simplicity of speech and dress soon attracted attention usually hostile The Charter King Charles II owed William Penn 16000 money which Admiral Penn had lent him Seeking a haven in the New World for persecuted Friends Penn asked the King to grant him land in the territory between Lord Baltimores province of Maryland and the Duke of Yorks province of New York With the Dukes support Penns petition was granted The King signed the Charter of Pennsylvania on March 4 1681 and it was officially proclaimed on April 2 The King named the new colony in honor of William Penns father It was to include the land between the 39th and 42nd degrees of north latitude and from the Delaware River westward for five degrees of longitude Other provisions assured its people the protection of English laws and kept it subject to the government in England to a certain degree Provincial laws could be annulled by the King In 1682 the Duke of York deeded to Penn his claim to the three lower counties on the Delaware
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