The King and the Quaker

The King and the Quaker

Author: Vincent Buranelli

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN: 9781512814958

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 256

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This is a critical study of the astonishing friendship between William Penn and James II—"two cardinal personalities of the modern era, authoritative men who deflected the political current of their time and left lasting influences that still can be felt on both sides of the Atlantic." Their friendship is no mere sidelight to seventeenth-century English history; indeed, it is not so much the friendship of a Quaker and a Catholic that intrigues us but, rather, the closeness of a Quaker leader and a Catholic monarch, standing together at the center of power in England for three decisive years. Vincent Buranelli introduces his problem thus: "Nothing else in the life of William Penn has puzzled the biographers and historians so much as his persistent loyalty to James II. The antithesis between Catholic monarch and Quaker subject would seem to make any real understanding between the two men improbable; their presumed inability to speak to one another is compounded by the customary interpretation of James as a would-be tyrant and of Penn as an apostle of religious liberty; and yet Penn was not only a courtier throughout his reign but also a friend, possibly the best friend, of the King. . . . James II is one of the most reviled figures of modern history. William Penn is one of the most revered. How is their steadfast friendship to be explained?" "Penn was loyal to James II, and he was right," argues Buranelli. His book texts this hypothesis and, in doing so, makes sense of a hitherto baffling side of William Penn.
The King and the Quaker
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