After Columbus discovered the New World, Spain grew in power to surpass Portugal as the largest global empire, giving rise the saying, the sun never set on the Spanish Empire.
From Madrid, the Spanish Holy Roman Emperor Charles V ruled territories in Europe, North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and all the way to the Philippines.
Catholic Spain was instrumental in beating back the attacks of the Muslim Ottoman Turks from taking over Europe, most notably at the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571.
Rather than following up on this astounding victory and freeing the rest of the Mediterranean from Ottoman control, Spain turned its attention to crushing the Protestant Reformation in the Netherlands and England.
Unfortunately for Spain, its famed Spanish Armada was destroyed in 1588 by the combined efforts of the British and Dutch navies, aided by a hurricane.
Spain's expensive military campaign losses eventually led to national bankruptcy.
In 1598, British merchant brothers, Anthony and Robert Sherley, became the first Englishmen to reach Persia.
As a result, Persian Shah Abbas I sought an alliance with Britain against the Ottoman Empire.
The Sherleys advised the Shah on upgrading the military tactics of his army, which was made up mostly of captured “Ghulam" slave soldiers from Armenia, Georgia, Circassia, and other Caucasians.
Robert Sherley married a Christianize Circassian woman from the Shah's court, who took the name Lady Teresa Sampsonia. She is considered by some as the first Persian to travel to England.
Shah Abbas sent Persia's first diplomatic mission to Europe in 1599, traveling through Moscow, Norway, and Italy, where they met Clement VIII, the Pope who first tasted the Ottoman Turkish drink -- coffee: “This Satan’s drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall cheat Satan by baptizing it."
The first coffee house was opened in Rome in 1645, then coffee houses quickly spread across Europe.
The Persian delegation of Abbas I made such a stir in Europe that Shakespeare make reference to it in his play Twelfth Night, 1601–1602.
One of the Persians, Uluch Beg, converted to
Catholicism and took the name Don Juan of Persia, writing of his experiences in a book published in 1604.
The Persian delegation finally reached Spain in 1602, during the reign of Philip III and were willing to allow Christianity to be preached in Persia if Spain would join them against the Ottoman Empire.
When Philip made too many stipulations, including that the Shah end relations with the British East India Company, the deal fell through.
The English fought an Anglo-Spanish War 1585-1604, with some 130,000 casualties, with one of the main conflicts being the Nine Years War in Ireland.
King Philip III landed 6,000 Spanish Catholic troops in Ireland to with Irish Catholics to wage war on Anglican England, but the English defeated the combined Spanish and Irish armies at the Battle of Kinsale, 1602.
In 1607, Virginia was settled by Anglicans;
In 1620, Massachusetts was settled by English Separatist Pilgrims.
In 1624, New Amsterdam was founded by Dutch Reformed;
In 1633, Maryland was founded by English Catholics;
In 1636, Rhode Island was founded by Baptists;
In 1636, Connecticut was founded by Congregationalists;
In 1638, New Hampshire was founded by Congregationalists;
In 1638, Delaware founded by Swedish Lutherans.
The Dutch were simultaneously engaged in an Eighty Years' War of independence from Spain, which was in a dynastic union with Portugal.
England then had a Civil War between the Anglicans and Puritans, 1642-1646, which ended with the Puritan army, led by Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, defeating the Royalist Anglican army of King Charles I.
Charles was beheaded in 1649.
One of Cromwell’s young soldiers was 16-year-old John Bunyan, who years later wrote Pilgrim’s Progress.
Englishmen set up a covenantal form of government with no king, called the Commonwealth of England.
It was essentially England’s version of the American republic -- a “we the people” type experiment -- but it lasted less than a dozen years.
For his military service, Cromwell awarded Admiral William Penn the Macroom Castle in Ireland, on land seized from Catholics after the failed Rebellion of 1641.
He later moved to the Shangarry Castle.
On October 14, 1644, the same year Pilgrim leader William Brewster died, Admiral Penn’s son was born, also named William Penn, who was baptized at All Hallows Church, London.
This was also the same year Samuel Rutherford published his famous treatise, Lex Rex (The Law is King), which argued that the Law is superior to any king.
Cromwell demoted Anglican ministers, including Rev. Lawrence Washington, the great-great-grandfather of George Washington.
Lawrence's son, John Washington, became a merchant and sailed to Virginia in 1657.
Though the English and Dutch navies had previously fought together against Spain and Portugal, they both grew into global economic and military powers, having colonies around the world.
They competed over trade routes to the Far East spice islands.
This erupted into the first of a series of Anglo-Dutch Wars, by 1652-1654.
Fighting spanned the globe from the Far East to trading outposts in South America and New Amsterdam.
Admiral Penn helped the English navy fight the Dutch.
Cromwell then sent Admiral William Penn, Sr., to the Caribbean, where he captured Jamaica from the Spanish in 1655.
Accompanying Penn was Pilgrim leader Edward Winslow, who died on the expedition of Yellow Fever.
Jamaica so far from England that British inhabitants of the island turned to privateers, pirates and buccaneers for protection, resulting in the city of Port Royal, Jamaica, becoming infamous as "the Sodom of the New World," till it was destroyed in an earthquake tsunami in 1692.
Penn return to England, but the political climate had changed.
He was suspected of corresponding with the exiled Charles II, and was arrested, being imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Fortunately for him, he was soon released and knighted by Cromwell’s son.
It was during this time that the Penn estate in Ireland was visited by a Quaker missionary, Thomas Loe, who preached to his 15-year-old son.
Loe shared about the light of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and that faith was more than agreeing with government doctrines.
Young Penn later recalled that it was during this time that: "... the Lord visited me and gave me divine Impressions of Himself."
Oliver Cromwell died in 1658.
His son, Richard, was unable to hold the Commonwealth together, and many, including Admiral Penn, advocated for a return to monarchy.
Admiral Penn sailed with the Earl of Sandwich to the Netherlands and brought Charles II back to England where he was restored to his father's throne in 1660.
This ended the Commonwealth of England.
Os Guinness stated in an interview ("Thinking in Public," June 5, 2017):
"The covenantal ideas in England were the lost cause, sadly. They failed. The king came back.
But the lost cause became the winning cause in New England, and covenant shaped constitutionalism."
In appreciation for his loyalty, Charles II knighted Penn and gave him the rank of Lord High Admiral, with the title of "Sir.
In 1660, young William Penn entered Christ Church College, Oxford University.
Students were either strict Puritans, nonconforming Quakers, or and aristocratic Anglicans called "Cavaliers." Young Penn was a cavalier.
In 1661, young Penn accompanied his father in the great honor of attending the King’s coronation ceremony in London.
As a youth, Penn contracted smallpox and lost his hair, resulting in him adopting the habit of wearing a wig.
At Oxford, Penn got in trouble for attending religious meetings at the home of Dr. Owen, the former Puritan head of Christ Church.
Becoming increasingly vocal in his criticism of Anglican religious ceremonies, and missing chapel to have his own service in his room, Penn was expelled from Oxford.
This was a major embarrassment to his father, who beat young Penn and chased him out of the house.
In 1660, Charles II approved the Royal Society of London for improving Natural Knowledge, a meeting of the greatest scientific minds in England, with the motto Nullius in verba, which is Latin for "Take nobody's word for it"
In 1662, Admiral Penn sent his 18-year-old son out of England to go on a grand tour, visiting the royal courts of Europe, being accompanied by the Earl of Crawford.
He was received at court by the King of France, Louis XIV, who was a cousin of England’s Charles II.
Penn studied for a year at the Protestant Huguenot Academy in Anjou, spending time with French Protestant theologian Moise Amyraut, who advocated tolerance toward others in matters of faith.
In August of 1664, Penn returned to London and enrolled in law school at Lincoln’s Inn on Chancery Lane, intending to pursue a career in law and make his father proud.
A Second Anglo-Dutch War broke out in 1665.
This time, young Penn went to sea, accompanying his Admiral father and Charles II’s younger brother, James II, the Duke of York, who was Commander of the Royal Navy.
Before the battle, Penn was sent as an emissary with dispatches for the King.
He wrote with admiration of his father: "I never knew what a father was till I had wisdom enough to prize him ... I pray God ... that you come home secure.”
In 1663, Charles II had granted The Carolinas as private property to seven lord proprietors, with its constitution allegedly being written with the help of John Locke.
In 1664, New Jersey was founded by Swedish Lutherans.
During the Second Anglo-Dutch War, 1665-1667, Admiral Sir William Penn again helped defeat the Dutch navy.
Though victorious, there was no celebration, as England was suffering from the 1665 Great Plague of London, which killed over 100,000 -- a quarter of city.
It was that plague that made 24-year-old Isaac Newton leave Cambridge University for his family’s country estate.
There he observed an apple fall to the ground and discovered the Law of Gravity.
It was during this plague that young Penn was impressed with the way Quakers, while caring for the sick, were derided by Anglican churchmen and even falsely accused of spreading the plague.
Penn observed the insensitive way people reacted to the suffering and dying during epidemic: “It gave me a deep sense of the vanity of this world, of the irreligiousness of the religions in it.”
Young Penn was sent to Ireland to manage the family’s estate and begin practicing law.
When a Catholic Irish rebellion began at Carrickfergus, Penn became a soldier.
He and his friend Lord Arran helped crush the resistance. Afterwards, he had his portrait painted wearing armor.
He considered following in his father’s footsteps with a military career, but his father dissuaded him.
Meanwhile, the Great Fire of London consumed the central part of the city in 1666.
When Penn arrived there, he was distressed by seeing the fire’s utter destruction and from learning of his father’s terminal illness.
He returned again to Ireland, to the family’s Shangarry Castle.
The Second Anglo-Dutch War ended in 1667 with the Treaty of Breda.
In negotiating the treaty, the British offered to give back Manhattan Island, New York, to the Dutch in exchange for the tiny Indonesian spice Island of Run, but the Dutch refused, as they wanted to keep a monopoly on the nutmeg trade.
This is considered one of the worst negotiating mistakes in history, as New York went on to become one of the richest cities in the world, while nutmeg plants were smuggled off the Dutch Island of Run, leaving it with little importance.
Meanwhile, King Charles II restricted religious dissenters.
His police arrested Quakers and other dissenters for breaking laws, such as:
- the 1593 Act of Uniformity of Public Prayers (reissued in 1662), which prohibited British subjects from making up their own prayers. All approved prayers were written in The Book of Common Prayer. People were instructed to open it up to the right page and “read” the appropriate prayers.
- the 1665 Five Mile Act, which forbade nonconforming and dissenting clergymen from preaching or living within five miles of a town, unless they swore to never again to resist the government. Thousands of ministers courageously defied this Act and were deprived of their livelihood.
- the 1664 Conventicle Act, which made it a crime to attend unauthorized religious meetings. It prohibited "... more than five persons in addition to members of the family, for any religious purpose not according to the rules of the Church of England."
It was renamed in 1714 to the Riot Act, as the government considered those attending unauthorized prayer meetings as part of an insurrection. Police would bust into a house, pull out the paper and read the Riot Act, ordering everyone to immediately disperse or be arrested and imprisoned, where they might die.
It was so severe that it became an expression “Read them the Riot Act!”
Scotland had many of these illegal conventicle meetings.
The word "conventicle" is derived from the word "covenant" and referred to gatherings of church members according to Jesus' promise in Matthew 18:20, "Where two or three are met together in my name."
The English Book of Canon Law, Article 11, declared:
"All conventicles and secret meetings ... have ever been justly accounted very hateful to the state ... No priests or ministers of the Word of God, nor any other persons, shall meet together in any private house or elsewhere ... under pain of excommunication ipso facto."
Charles II issued a “Proclamation for the Suppression of Coffee-Houses,” 1675:
"Whereas it is most apparent, that the Multitude of Coffee-Houses of late years set up and kept within this Kingdom ... have produced very evil and dangerous effects;
His Majesty hath thought it fit and necessary, That the said Coffee-houses be (for the future) put down and suppressed,
and doth ... strictly charge and command all manner of persons, That they ... do not ... keep any Publick Coffee-house ... or sell by retail, in his, her or their house or houses (to be spent or consumed within the same) any Coffee, Chocolet, Sherbett or Tea, as they will answer the contrary at their utmost perils.”
John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress was arrested in 1661 for violating the Act of Uniformity of Public Prayers, and for having: "several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the great disturbance and distraction of the good subjects of this kingdom."
Bunyan spent 12 years in prison, during which time he penned his famous novel Pilgrim’s Progress.
Early Baptist dissenters John Smith, John Murton and Thomas Helwys were dragged before the Star Chamber and imprisoned in the notorious Newgate prison.
Back in Ireland, at the age of 22, Penn began visiting a Quaker meeting in Cork, Ireland.
By chance, he became re-acquainted with Thomas Loe.
At one of the meetings, the police suddenly burst in and began arresting attendees.
Instead of distancing himself from the Quakers, Penn surprised everyone by proclaiming he was one of them.
He argued at court that Quakers had no political agenda (unlike the Puritans) so they should not be subject to laws restricting religious meetings.
His family name got him out of jail, but when his father heard it, he immediately recalled young Penn to London, as his actions jeopardized the father’s position at the Royal Court.
His Admiral father warned him that he was on a dangerous collision course with the Crown, but to no avail.
Enraged, the Admiral kicked his son out and threatened to disinherit him but could not bring himself to do it.
With no place to go, Penn began living with Quakers.
He traveled with Quaker Josiah Coale, who had just returned to England from America.
It was Coale who suggested the idea to Penn of setting up a utopian colony in America.
Penn met George Fox, (1624-1691), founder of Quakerism, and traveled with him.
Fox emphasized the rights of individuals.
In 1668, Penn wrote his first pamphlet, which harshly criticized Catholics, Anglicans, and other Protestant dissenters, for their dependence on outward ceremonial observances and rote memorization of confessions, rather than emphasizing the seeking of God in your own heart.
It was titled: "Truth Exalted; in a short, but sure, testimony against all those religions, faiths, and worships that have been formed and followed in the darkness of apostasy. — And for that glorious light which is now risen, and shines forth in the life and doctrine of the despised Quakers, as the alone good old way of life and salvation.
--Presented to princes, priests and people, that they may repent, believe and obey. By William Penn, whom divine love constrains in a holy contempt to trample on Egypt's glory, not fearing the Kings wrath, having beheld the Majesty of him who is invisible."
Penn debated fellow Quaker George Whitehead and dissenting Presbyterian minister Thomas Vincent.
Vincent accused Penn of heresy.
Penn responded by writing the pamphlet “The Sandy Foundation Shaken."
He was charged with printing his pamphlet without first obtaining a publishing license from the Bishop of London.
He was arrested and, at the urging of the Bishop of London, sent to the Tower of London without a trial.
He asked for pen and paper, which the guards gave him, thinking he was going to write an apologize and retract his beliefs on freedom of conscience.
Instead, Penn wrote his famous work, “No Cross, No Crown,” stating:
"Christ's cross is Christ's way to Christ's crown ...
The unmortified Christian and the heathen are of the same religion, and the deity they truly worship is the god of this world.
It is a false notion that they may be children of God while in a state of disobedience to his holy commandments, and disciples of Jesus though they revolt from his cross."
A royal chaplain helped Penn petition for a meeting with the King, which was denied.
"My prison shall be my grave before I will budge a jot: for I owe my conscience to no mortal man."
He then wrote a conciliatory pamphlet titled: "Innocency with her Open Face," which influenced the King, after eight months, to have him released in July of 1669.
In September of 1669, Penn began courting Gulielma Springett, the step-daughter of the Buckinghamshire Quaker Isaac Pennington.
Gulielma's mother’s first marriage was to Sir William Springett, who died in the English Civil War.
Penn returned to his law practice in Ireland.
There he wrote "Letter of Love to the Young Convinced" and "The Great Case of Liberty of Conscience."
Penn successfully campaigned, with the help of the influential Lord Arran, for the freedom of hundreds of Quakers imprisoned in Ireland.
In June 1670, Penn returned to London and was reconciled with his dying father.
His father told him: "Let nothing in this world tempt you to wrong your conscience."
William Penn, who later founded Pennsylvania, wrote in England's Present Interest Considered, 1675:
"Force makes hypocrites, 'tis persuasion only that makes converts."
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Good history – I was looking this over a second for a quote by Luther on how people without a concept of God have no concept of the future.