« ZurückWeiter »
letters of protection to the Moorish governor of the town. Lord Conway drew up letters in his favour, and Giles went back to Tetuan with the King's command to buy him Barbary horses, as well as hawks. On his return to England he came to town, when he made the acquaintance of Sir Robert Mansel, Edward Nicholas, Endymion Porter, and other gentlemen of the court. Mansel had a great opinion of the skipper, and wrote to Lord Dorchester, then Secretary of State, in his behalf. For Giles was in some trouble about a sale of cargoes in Tetuan; the proceeds had been seized, and Captain Penn was much afraid of being clapped in jail. His great friends helped him, for the King, in love with his new hawks, was eager for his agent to go out again.
In passing from Bristol to Barbary for several years, Giles Penn became acquainted with the Moors their ports, their customs, and their speech. At Sallee he was pained to hear that hundreds of English captives were said to be enslaved in that pirate stronghold ; some of them were women; but, the port of Sallee being in revolt against the empire nothing could be done for them in the native court. On coming home Penn laid his news before the King, with full reports of what he had seen and done, and hints of measures by which the captives might be released. His plans were laid before the Council and approved. A fleet was manned and victualled for the voyage. Admiral Rainsborough was appointed to the chief command; and there was a talk of sending out Captain Penn as Rainsborough's Vice-admiral. The skipper came to London, lodged at the Black Boy, in Ave Maria Lane, and saw Lord Cottington and Lord Portland, who consulted him on every detail of the expedition the ships to be
sent out, the stores to be laid in, the crews to be impressed, the mode of approaching the piratetown, and the general policy of the voyage. But after being detained in London more than half a year, he was dismissed with money and thanks; the money not much, the thanks still less. The voyage was a great success. Sallee was taken, the prisoners were released, and Muley Mohammed, on receiving back his revolted port, repaid the citizens, who had bought these English captives from Algerines, the value of their liberated slaves.
To prevent this traffic in English flesh and blood, the London merchants prayed the King to appoint a consul in Sallee, offering to pay all charges from the profits of their trade; and when the Council wrote to ask them who should be sent out, they answered Captain Penn. A warrant was accordingly drawn up, and on the 30th of December, 1637, Giles Penn of Bristol was appointed His Majesty's Consul at Sallee.
When Captain Penn went to reside in Sallee, his son William kept his ship, until ship and man were taken together into the service of King Charles. At Rotterdam, the Bristol boy had fallen in with Margaret, a daughter of Hans Jasper- of that town —a girl with rosy flesh and nimble wit, -and being taken by her comely face, had offered her his heart, and taken up her own in pledge. But William was a prudent lover. Bent on rising in the world -perhaps rising to be Penn of Penn's Lodge, -he had left the lady in her father's house on the canal, till he could lodge her in a better home than a poor skipper's cabin in a merchant-ship.
In those days every vessel going out of Thames or Severn on a distant voyage was armed; with five guns, ten guns twenty guns, as the case might need. She armed according to the seas she had to cross, the pirates to resist; and every officer on board was trained in all the details of war at sea. The trading navy was a fighting navy. When the country wanted fleets, and men to officer these fleets, she had only to send for the port-reeves and masters of companies, hire the vessels, and engage the officers and crews. The commercial navy was not the reserve; it was the actual fleet; but only called and paid in time of war.
In 1639, when the future Admiral was eighteen years and six months old, the Dutch acquired, by two great victories over Spain, a perfect command of the Narrow Seas. Tromp rode within sight of Dover Cliffs, and Charles was suddenly smitten with the want of money, ships, and men. The money was refused him ; but he found no difficulty in procuring ships and men. The craft in which William Penn was serving as a skipper seems to have been hired by the Crown; and thus a lad of twenty passed into the public service with lieutenant's rank. Even now he would not marry; and his rosy Margaret could wait. Knowing his duty as few men know it, he was soon employed, and soon rewarded for success. At twenty-one he was a captain. A few months later, fortune still going with him, he received a regular commission in the King's service, with the promise of the first ship worthy of his fame; and having got his commission in his pocket, he ran over to Rotterdam and claimed his bride.
From that day forward Penn was always rising. When on shore he lived with his young wife in the naval quarter, near the Tower. His frank and jovial ways were highly relished. He had seen the world; he sang a stave; he loved a prank and
jest; and drank his wine with any salt alive. ‘Dutch Peg,' with more wit than Penn himself,' says Pepys, was jeered at first, until her friends discovered that both she and Captain Penn were folks to rise.
A first step for the young captain of the royal navy was to find employment for his talent. The
great dispute of King and Commons as to which • should command the marine had just been settled
(1643) by the appointment of Warwick, in opposition to the will of Charles, to the office of Lord High Admiral. A part of the fleet, stationed in the Irish seas, adhered to the royal cause under the command of Sir John Pennington, whom the King had vainly tried to make Lord Admiral; but the number of his vessels was not formidable even at first, and capture and desertion soon reduced them to such a state of weakness as to prevent their being troublesome to the Parliamentary chiefs.
One of Pennington's captured ships was the Fellowship, Captain Burley, cut out in Milford Haven; a vessel of twenty-eight guns; the third in size and weight then serving in the Irish seas. This ship was given to Captain Penn, who received his orders to sail in the service of his country; and though his wife Margaret was then in a critical state, expecting to be confined, he went on board. At six o'clock in the morning, all being ready, he shipped his anchor and dropped down the Thames. But he was suddenly recalled to his house on Tower Hill. The Fellowship was detained in the river three weeks, and during these three weeks the Founder of Pennsylvania was born into the world.
The day of his birth was Monday, October the fourteenth, 1644.
After Penn of Penn, and Penn of Penn's Lodge the boy was christened William. Round in face, with soft blue eyes and curling hair the boy was 'a love' not only in his mother's eyes, but in his father's heart. Captain Penn had now a son to fight for; and as soon as Peg was fit to be left, her husband joined his ship, and after visiting his admiral in the Downs, pushed on to Portsmouth, where he took Lord Broghill and his company on board. With Broghill Captain Penn formed a friendship which was never broken till his death, and which descended to his son. On landing Broghill at Kinsale, Penn put to sea, and cruised about the opening of St. George's Channel, from Milford Haven to the Cove of Cork.
In this service he remained some years; the ablest, if not the boldest, cruiser in that section of the Commonwealth fleet. The prizes which he seized were sometimes rich; and he was able to remove his wife and child from the close atmosphere of Tower Hill to the lawns and gardens of a country house. For some Lrief time he hired a place at Wanstead, in Essex, to which he ran on leave. A daughter Margaret, and a son Richard, were in season added to the nursery in which William broke his toys; heirs not only to their father's gains, but the fortune made in foreign lands by ‘Uncle George.'
The first great grief which fell upon the Wanstead circle came as news from San Lucar in Spain.