Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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JENNINGS, Samuel, Quaker preacher, born in England; died in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1708. He came from Bucks county, England, in 1680, and settled at Burlington, New Jersey Shortly after his arrival he was appointed by Byllynge the first deputy-governor of West Jersey, in which office he served until 1683, when he was chosen governor by the provincial assembly. Byllynge denied the right of the assembly to so elect, and removed Jennings from office. At a later date he took up his residence in Philadelphia, where, in 1690-'3, he was justice of the quorum and judge of the county court. He became involved, on the Quaker side, in the controversy provoked by George Keith, Thomas Budd, and others. Out of this controversy grew the historical pamphlet" the Plea of the Innocent," issued by Keith and Budd (1692), in which Jennings was charged with "being too high and imperious In worldly courts," and was called "an impudent, presumptuous, and insolent man." Keith and Budd were arrested, charged with "defamingly accusing" Jennings, on which charge they were indicted, tried, convicted, and titled, and for the printing of the pamphlet, among others of a similar character, William Bradford's press was seized by the authorities. In 1694 Jennings went to London, where, in the famous trial, lasting six days, before the London yearly meeting, on the appeal of Keith from the action of the Philadelphia Quakers, he appeared in person on behalf of the latter, and ably confuted the statements and arguments of Keith. While in London he wrote and published "The Case Stated." Soon afterward he returned to this country and resumed his residence at Burlington, where he subsequently served in the provincial assembly and the council of West Jersey, under Lord Cornbury. He was chosen speaker of the assembly, and in this body fearlessly opposed the arbitrary rule of Cornbury, and wrote the address to the crown which led to the governor's removal. He did more than any of his contemporaries in organizing the civil government of West Jersey. He was a noted preacher among the Quakers, both in England and in this country, and in his work made many pilgrimages to Massachusetts, Long Island, New York, and Maryland.
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