[The following is, as far as I have been able to tell, the first written account of the alleged discussions between William Penn and George Fox re: William Penn's sword. This is taken from Samuel M. Janney, The Life of William Penn; With Selections from His Correspondence and Auto-Biography. Philadelphia: Hogan, Perkins, and Co., 1852. (Chapter 3, pages 42-43; from the copy in Spruance Library, Bucks County Historical Society.) My research indicates that while this tale is a very popular and entrenched urban legend among Friends, it is nonetheless, a self serving falsehood unworthy of a people who are supposed to be committed to truth. -pds.]

"When William Penn was convinced of the principles of Friends, and became a frequent attendant at their meetings, he did not immediately relinquish his gay apparel; it is even said that he wore a sword, as was then customary among men of rank and fashion . Being one day in company with George Fox, he asked his advice concerning it, saying that he might, perhaps, appear singular among Friends, but his sword had once been the means of saving his life without injuring his antagonist, and moreover, that Christ has said, "he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." George Fox answered, "I advise thee to wear it as long as thou canst." Not long after this they met again, when William had no sword, and George said to him, "William, where is t hy sword?" "Oh!" said he, I have taken thy advice; I wore it as long as I could." This anecdote, derived from reliable tradition,* seems to be characteristic of the men and the times. It shows that the primitive Friends preferred that their proselytes should be led by the principle of divine truth in their own minds, rather than follow the opinions of others without sufficient evidence.

"It must have been .manifest to George Fox that his young friend, while expressing his uneasiness about the sword, was under the influence of religious impressions that would, if attended to, lead him, not only into purity of life, but likewise into that simplicity of apparel which becomes the disciples of a self-denying Saviour."

*Related to me by J. P. of Montgomery County, Pa., who had it from James Simpson.