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[395] had succeeded to the throne, he employed his fortune,
Chap XVI.}
his influence, and his fame, to secure that ‘impartial’ liberty of conscience, which, for nearly twenty years,1 he had advocated, with Buckingham and Arlington, before the magistrates of Ireland, and English juries, in the tower, in Newgate, before the commons of England, in public discussions with Baxter and the Presbyterians, before Quaker meetings, at Chester and Philadelphia, and through the press to the world. It was his old post—the office to which he was faithful from youth to age. Fifteen thousand families had been ruined for dissent since the restoration; five thousand persons had died victims to imprisonment. The monarch was persuaded to exercise his prerogative of mercy; and at Penn's intercession, not less that twelve
1686
hundred Friends were liberated from the horrible dungeons and prisons where many of them had languished hopelessly for years. Penn delighted in doing good. His house was thronged by swarms of clients, envoys from Massachusetts2 among the number; and sometimes there were two hundred at once, claiming his disinterested good offices with the king. For Locke, then a voluntary exile, and the firm friend of intellectual freedom, he obtained a promise of immunity,3 which the blameless philosopher, in the just pride of innocence, refused. And at the very time when the Roman Catholic Fenelon, in France, was pleading for Protestants

1 Penn, in Proud, i. 325. So Penn, in his autograph Apology. This was communicated to me in Ms. by J. F. Fisher, who has since caused it to be printed. It is a most honorable office to do justice to the illustrious dead. My friend writes of Penn with affectionate interest, and yet with careful criticism. True criticism does not consist in absolute skepticism as to exalted worth.

2 Lambeth Mss., communicated by Francis L. Hawks.

3 Mackintosh, p. 289. Am. ed. refers to Clarkson. The original authority for the fact is Le Clerc, from whom it passed into the Biographia Britannica.

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