26-year-old William Penn received from King Charles II the charter to Pennsylvania on MARCH 10, 1681, as repayment of a debt owed to his deceased father Admiral Sir William Penn, who captured Jamaica and defeated the Dutch navy.
A student at Oxford, William Penn was expelled for having his own prayer services in his dorm room instead of attending the Anglican chapel. Penn converted to Quakerism and was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
His colony was a “holy experiment” for persecuted Europeans, one of the few original colonies to accept Mennonites, Amish, Catholics and Jews. Emphasizing his plan of Christian tolerance, William Penn named the city “Philadelphia,” Greek for “Brotherly Love.”
History records that since William Penn insisted on treating the Delaware Indians honestly, paying a fair sum for the land, Philadelphia was spared the Indian attacks and scalpings that other colonial settlements experienced. Before arriving, William Penn wrote to the Delaware chiefs:
“My Friends, There is one…God…and He hath made…the king of the country where I live, give…unto me a great province therein, but I desire to enjoy it with your…consent, that we may always live together as…friends.”
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here