National Geographic : 1935 Jul
THE PENN COUNTRY IN SUSSEX* Home of Pennsylvania's Founder Abounds in Quaker History and Memories of Adventurous Smugglers BY CoL. P. T. ETHERTON E NGLISHMEN as well as Americans honor the memory of William Penn and all that is linked with his name is revered. More and more Americans, in their visits to England, make the pilgrim age to the County of Sussex, where the founder of Pennsylvania lived so many years, preached, and gathered some of the band who helped make American history. Penn's immediate ancestors were seafar ing men of distinction; his father was an admiral in the British Navy, and Charles II knighted him for his services. In due course the son, William Penn, who was born in 1644, went up to Oxford. He was already a devoted Quaker, and the dis approval of the college authorities only served to fan the flame of his sincerity. Finally he incurred the violent displeas ure of the college governors because he had written a book stating his religious views, and was expelled. His father sent him to France, but upon his return to England he carried on with added enthusiasm the gospel of Quakerism. The specter of religious persecution was abroad; dissenters and those of new faiths were driven out, and hundreds of clergy with their families were without home or even bread. The gaols were full of those who refused to recant; Penn himself lan guished in the gloomy cells of the Tower of London, from which he was released by Charles II, and of Newgate, where he served two sentences. A PERILOUS VOYAGE Equipped with a charter from the King to take over a large territory in the New World, Penn set out on his mission in 1682. He crossed the tempestuous Atlantic in a 300-ton ship which carried 100 colonists in addition to the crew, and the voyage lasted two months! Smallpox broke out and a third of the devoted little band perished on the high seas during that terrible voyage. Their leader had proposed to call the promised land Sylvania, but the Court of St. James's added the word Penn, in honor of his father. The Quaker chief modestly wished to eliminate the family name, but Charles declined, so he gained further fame through the obstinacy of a king. Penn made two trips to America, but could not remain long either time. He felt his presence was necessary in England, where there was a constant struggle for lib erty of conscience. Nobly he fought and well, and before he died in 1718 he saw the young colony blossom out, and knew that his party at home had weathered the storm. Pilgrims to the Penn country in Sussex have a choice of headquarters. They can take London, Brighton, or other large county towns, and will enjoy a tour such as even England at its best offers in few locali ties. Life in this Old World corner remains fundamentally undisturbed, and if Penn could come to life again he would find con ditions little altered (see map, page 63). THE BIRTH OF ENGLAND'S NAVY On these shores Romans landed; they established a capital at Chichester, and con structed roads, marvels of engineering skill, that exist to this day. Then came the Saxons, who planted the banner of Chris tianity, and after them the Normans, under William the Conqueror. The story of Sussex is also linked with the sea and sea power; Alfred the Great became the advocate of an increased navy, * For some years THE GEOGRAPHIC has been printing a series of articles on the British Isles, its counties and cities. Among these are: Counties: "Down Devon Lanes," May, 1929; "A Char-a bancs in Cornwall," December, 1924. Special Dis tricts: "Between the Heather and the North Sea," February, 1933; "Beauties of the Severn Valley," April, 1933; "Vagabonding in England," March, 1934; "Through the English Lake District," May, 1929; "A Tour in the English Fenland," May, 1929; "Through the Heart of England in a Canadian Canoe," May, 1922; "A Short Visit to Wales," December, 1923; "Ireland-The Rock Whence I Was Hewn," March, 1927. Islands: "The Channel Islands," August, 1920; "England's Sun Trap Isle of Wight," January, 1935; "Feudal Isle of Sark," July, 1932; "Timeless Arans," June, 1931; "Ork neys and Shetlands," February, 1921. Cities: "Edinburgh, Athens of the North," August, 1932; "London from a Bus Top," May, 1926; "Some Forgotten Corners of London," February, 1932; and "Oxford, Mother of Anglo-Saxon Learning," November, 1929. Others will be published in early issues of THE GEOGRAPHIC.- The Editor.