The New International Encyclopædia/Penn, Sir William

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PENN, Sir William (1621-70). A British sailor, probably born in Bristol, England. He was brought up to the sea, and under the Commonwealth held many important naval commands. In 1649 he was appointed vice-admiral of the Irish fleet, and in 1650-51 cruised along the coast of Southern Europe and in the Mediterranean, seeking Prince Rupert. In 1652 he was appointed vice-admiral of the fleet under Gen. Robert Blake (q.v.), and participated in the victory off Portland (February 18, 1053), and those of June 3d and July 31st. After the conclusion of the Dutch War Penn entered into negotiations with the Stuarts, but these proving fruitless, he accepted the command of a fleet sent against the Spanish possessions in America, and on May 17, 1655, captured the island of Jamaica. In 1660 he was knighted by the King and appointed a commissioner of the navy. Five years later he won, though nominally under the command of the Duke of York, a victory over the Dutch near Lowestoft (June 3, 1665). Consult: Granville Penn, Memorials of the Professional Life and Times of Sir William Penn, and Dixon, Life of William Penn.