had succeeded to the throne, he employed his fortune,
his influence, and his fame, to secure that ‘impartial’ liberty of conscience, which, for nearly twenty years,1
he had advocated, with Buckingham
, 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 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
hundred Friends were liberated from the horrible dungeons and prisons where many of them had languished hopelessly for years.
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.
, 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