29 August 2022

William Penn the Papist?

In 1687, our late Sovereign liege Lord King James VII and II visited Chester. His host, Bishop Thomas Cartwright wrote:

Sunday 28 August He walked thro the City (the Mayor, bareheaded carrying the Sword before him) to the Castle and heard Mass in the Shire Hall. 

He went into the choir of the Cathedral at nine o'clock where he healed 350 persons. After which he went to his devotions in the Shire Hall, and Mr Penn held forth in the Tennis Court, and I preached in the Cathedral.

His Majesty left the following day for the great and royal Catholic shrine at Holywell to pray for the birth of an heir. He was presented with the shift which his great-grandmother Mary Queen of Scots wore when she was beheaded. He was, indeed, granted an heir: our late Sovereign liege Lord King James VIII and III.

I presume 'healed' means that he touched for the King's Evil.

Bishop Cartwright was one of those Anglican bishops who supported the King's principled desire to allow Toleration to all, Papists, Anglicans, Quakers, and the rest. He published the Declaration of Indulgence, was one of the Commissioners for the reform of Magdalen College; and, after the Dutch Invasion, followed the King into exile. He died in Dublin in 1689.

I presume Mr Penn was that same Quaker William Penn who had dealings in North America and who accepted as sincere the King's policy of religious toleration.

The visit to Chester must have been one of those truly 'ecumenical' occasions which happened in England during this reign, before the Great Treachery of 1688 put a stop to them.

It is surprising how little we hear about this particular little corner of History.


Paul in Melbourne, Australia said...

As readers may recall, William Penn supported the King's Declaration of Indulgence. He went around England preaching in favour of the indulgence. He offered his assistance to the King. These high hopes were dashed by the Glorious Revolution.

Penn maintained that “force makes hypocrites; ’tis persuasion only that makes converts”. His policy of tolerance drew persecuted Amish, Dunkers, Schwenkfelders, Mennonites, and later the Moravians, to Pennsylvania.

Penn is still held in high regard by Quakers.

While Ben Pink Dandelion (yes, his parents were atheists and he was a "cradle atheist") remains true to the original message of George Fox and William Penn, I am afraid that Fox and Penn would be astonished at London Yearly Meeting and its departure from the original Quaker message.

Paul in Melbourne, Australia said...

One often wonders whether Dissenters may have enjoyed greater religious tolerance under James II than under his successors, who continued with the Clarendon Code.

Richard said...

Thanks to Duffy et al our nation has learned the truth about the 'Reformation': that it was a power-and-loot grab by a decadent oligarchy.
Maybe the next lesson is that 1688 was the year of a highly unglorious protestant coup.

Claudio Salvucci said...

Fr. Joseph Greaton of the Maryland Jesuits traveled up to Pennsylvania in the 1720s, and in 1733 bought a piece of property in Philadelphia and founded what is known today as "Old St. Joseph's" church. It was quite nondescript on the outside, but everyone knew what went on within...even visiting Indians used to stop in for Mass on occasion.

At the time, Penn's descendants were called to task by outraged citizens for letting a Popish Chapel operate right out in the open in defiance of the Crown....but nothing was ever done about it.

The Penns served Catholics quite well in the Commonwealth, compared to the other colonies.