Isaac Penington

ISAAC PENINGTON (1616-1679), Sir Isaac's eldest son, was one of the most notable of the 17th-century Quakers. He was early troubled by religious perplexities, which found expression in many voluminous writings. No less than eleven religious works, besides a political treatise in defence of democratic principles, were published by him in eight years. He belonged for a time to the sect of the Independents; but about 1657, influenced probably by the preaching of George Fox, whom he heard in Bedfordshire, Penington and his wife joined the Society of Friends. His wife was daughter and heiress of Sir John Proude, and widow of Sir William Springett, so that the worldly position of the couple made them a valuable acquisition to the Quakers. Isaac Penington was himself a man of very considerable gifts and sweetness of character. In 1661 he was imprisoned for refusing to take the oath of allegiance, and on several subsequent occasions he passed long periods in Reading and Aylesbury gaols. He died on the 8th of October 1679; his wife, who wrote an account of his imprisonments, survived till 1682. In 1681 Penington's writings were published in a collected edition, and several later editions were issued before the end of the 18th century. His son John Penington (1655-1710) defended his father's memory against attack, and published some controversial tracts against George Keith. Edward Penington (1667-1711), another of Isaac Penington's sons, emigrated to Pennsylvania, where ha founded a family. Isaac Penington's stepdaughter, Gulielma Springett, married William Penn.

See Maria Webb, The Penns and Peningtons of the l?th Century (London, 1867); Lord Clarendon, History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England (7 vols., Oxford, 1839); Bulstrode Whitelocke, Memorials of English Affairs: Charles I. to the Restoration (London, I73 2 ); J- Gurney Beyan, Life of Isaac Penington (London, 1784); Thomas Ellwood, History of the Life of Ellwood by his own hand (London, 1765); Willem Sewel, History of the Quakers (6th ed., 2 vols., London, 1834).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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