WILLIAM PENN. Autograph letter signed ("WmPenn"), to Sir John Rodes,  York, "30th 9mo [November] [16]86"
Lot 359
WILLIAM PENN
Autograph letter signed ("WmPenn"), to Sir John Rodes, York, "30th 9mo [November] [16]86"
Sold for £3,625 (US$ 6,135) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
WILLIAM PENN
Autograph letter signed ("WmPenn"), to Sir John Rodes, offering advice on his spiritual welfare ("...I rejoice that god has drawn neer to thy heart with his blessed Spirit; and I beseech him to be good unto thee, & make thy passage easy & sweet through the holy death of the Cross to that life & Kingdom which shall never have end. o keep thyn eye to that holy truth that has visited thy Soul, & it will give thee strength to overcome all the difficultyes in the way. 'Twill be thy eternall Crown if thou art faithfull. be retired, few in words, especially about religion; hide the word in thy heart, by which the young man cleanses his way & it will make thee wise to Salvation...") and on his education ("...I intend some books for thee, & a short method or course of exercise, which may be for thy proffitting. Salute me to thy Sister. walke wisely. the lord be with thee & be the holy guide of thy youth, that thy age may be honorable in him in whom stands the honest nobility, & where all nations must have the blessing, if ever they will be blest..."); autograph address panel ("For my esteemed/ Friend Sr Jo: Rodes/ at/ Balbrugh Hall"); with note of provenance (see below), York, "30th 9mo [November] [16]86" 2 pages, old repairs and paper-strengthening at centre and at edges (especially at seal-tears), some dust and other staining, but nevertheless still in reasonably attractive and sound condition, 4to, York, "30th 9mo [November] [16]86"

Footnotes

  • 'BE RETIRED, FEW IN WORDS, ESPECIALLY ABOUT RELIGION': WILLIAM PENN'S LETTER OF ADMONITION TO A YOUNG QUAKER. The recipient of this letter, Sir John Rodes, fourth and last baronet of Barlborough Hall (1670-1743), was sixteen, or nearly sixteen, years old at the time. His mother and two married sisters were members of Pen's Quaker circle, and other letters to him by Penn are printed by S.F. Locker Lampson, A Quaker Post Bag: Letters to Sir John Rodes of Barlborough Hall..., 1910. Our letter is printed by Mrs Colquhoun Grant, Quaker and Courtier: The Life and Work of William Penn, 1907, p. 123. However, she misreads the Quaker style of dating ("9.mo" referring to November prior to the calendar change of 1752), and gives the year as 1680 as opposed to 1686. The earlier date seems unlikely as Penn is known to have been in London, rather than York, in late November 1680 busy negotiating the terms of the Pennsylvania charter (see William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania: A Documentary History, edited by Jean R. Soderlund, 1983, especially p. 32). The letter was presented to Penn's descendant Lord Ranfurly by Reginald Caulfield in 1900, having been purchased at the sale of the Chevalier de Chatelain, author and translator, at Sotheby's, 5 May 1900 (see the note of provenance).

    Penn at this time wielded considerable influence with James II, who had recently sent him on an unofficial mission to the Prince and Princess of Orange to sound them out on the possible repeal of the Penal Laws and Test Act. That same year saw the publication of his plea in favour of religious toleration, A Perswasive to Moderation to Church-Dissenters, in Prudence and Conscience. The following spring he was to help draft the Declaration of Indulgence.
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