PENN, Richard (?1734-1811), of Laleham, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1784 - 1790
20 Dec. 1790 - June 1791
1796 - 1802
1802 - 1806

Family and Education

b. ?1734, 2nd s. of Richard Penn by Hannah, da. of Richard Lardnet, M.D.; gd.-s. of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania.  educ. Eton 1748; St. John’s, Camb. 13 Oct. 1752, aged 18; I. Temple 1752.  m. 21 May 1772, Mary, da. of William Masters, of Philadelphia, 2s. 2da.

Offices Held

Lt.-gov. Pennsylvania 1771-3.


The Penns, as proprietors of Pennsylvania, maintained a close connexion with the province. Richard Penn went to Pennsylvania in 1763; remained there till 1769; and two years later returned as lieutenant-governor. He was popular with the provincials who objected to his being superseded in 1773 by his brother’s appointment as governor. The appointment seems to have caused a breach with his brother, but Penn did not return to England till 1775 when he was entrusted with a petition to the King from the Continental Congress, then sitting at Philadelphia. After 1787 he was granted considerable compensation by the Americans for the loss of his proprietary rights, and he visited America again shortly before his death.

In 1784 he was returned for Appleby by Lord Lonsdale with whom he had long been on intimate terms but about whose character he had no illusions.1 In Parliament Penn, like the rest of the Lonsdale Members, supported Pitt, but was of a different stature from most of them, and was the only one who did not go over to Opposition on the Regency—his name appears in the consolidated list (February 1789) as having voted with Administration. According to James Boswell,2 with whom Penn was friendly, Lonsdale in 1789 asked Pitt to appoint Penn ambassador to America. There is no evidence before 1790 of his having spoken in the House.

He died 27 May 1811, aged 75.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Boswell Pprs. xviii. 11. See LOWTHER, Sir James.
  • 2. Boswell Pprs. xviii. 8.