Talk:William Penn

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In his Declaration of Rights, Penn apparently wrote that "All men have a natural and infeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent; no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishment or modes of worship."

Does anyone understand what he means by "infeasible right"? My understanding of 'infeasible' is 'unlikely, improbable, difficult to achieve' etc., and all dictionaries I have consulted provide no additional connotations.


Based on a quick survey of other websites quoting Penn's declaration, I suspect the actual word is "indefeasible", which Merriam-Webster Online says means "not capable of being annulled or voided or undone". I guess this is the Internet version of the telephone game, where endless copying introduces amusing errors. Interestingly, other sites claim the word Penn wrote was "unalienable", which I attribute to latter-day transcribers confusing Penn's words with similar words from Jefferson et al. I'm trying to find a suitably authoritative source, but I haven't found one yet. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 08:40, 9 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Jeff, many thanks for your helpful response. Your hypothesis regarding the correct wording makes much more sense than the wording I quoted.


"Quaker minister"[edit]

At least in modern day Quakerism there is no such thing as a "minister," ministry being provided by all present at a meeting. This is one of the ways in which Quakerism differs from other Christian faiths. I think the word 'minister' should be removed. - —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) on March 8, 2007 (UTC)

I believe that this varies between branches. There are certainly some branches of Evangelical Quakers who do. - —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) on April 15, 2008 (UTC)

N.B.: The word "minister" has not appeared in the intro since March 12, 2007, when (talk · contributions) removed it. - InvisibleSun 01:42, 16 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Knowledge is the treasure, but judgment the treasurer of a wise man.
  • Less judgment than wit is more sail than ballast.
  • Liberty without obedience is confusion, and obedience without liberty is slavery.
  • O Lord, help me not to despise or oppose what I do not understand.
  • Whereas the glory of Almighty God and the good of mankind is the reason and end of government, therefore, government in itself is a venerable ordinance of God.
  • To be furious in religion is to be irreligiously religious.

"No Cross, No Crown"[edit]

"No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown." This is a great quote, but I can't find it in the online editions of his book. As a preacher, I can imagine how one of us took the book title and amplified (improved?) it, and then over time it got attributed to Penn. I suggest it be listed as UNSOURCED.

"governed by God ... ruled by tyrants"[edit]

The statement that "Unless we are governed by God, we shall be ruled by tyrants" turns up in various forms attributed to William Penn. (This one comes from an 1949 speech by Norman Vincent Peale.) A common form is "Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants." Or "Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants." This last version was given at Wikiquote as "From a letter to Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia; as quoted in Can These Bones Live (2008), by David P. Pett, p. 117." Pett says he got it from William Federer's God and Country, which is a secondary source; unfortunately my copy is in storage currently so I can't check it to see what Federer's claimed source is. The sentence does not appear in Penn's letter to Peter the Great as usually given, e.g. in Janney's Life of William Penn, pp. 407ff. S0208 (talk) 01:26, 1 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]