The Missing Cross to Purity


The Journal of George Fox - 1661 - 1666 - Scarborough Castle Prison <page 1 >

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From a Painting by Sir Peter Lely,
displayed at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania

VOL. I I

 

And they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars
forever and ever. Daniel 12:3


This year several Friends were moved to go beyond the sea, to publish truth in foreign countries. John Stubbs, Henry Fell, and Richard Costrop were moved to go towards China and Prester John's country (India) ; but no masters of ships would take them. With a huge effort, they got a warrant from the king; but the East India Company found ways to avoid it, and the masters of their ships refused to take them. Then they went into Holland, hoping to get passage there; but could not get passage there either. Then John Stubbs and Henry Fell took a ship headed for Alexandria in Egypt, intending to continue by the caravans from there. Meanwhile Daniel Baker was set to go to Smyrna (Greece) persuaded Richard Costrop to accompany him, contrary to his own freedom; and in the passage when Richard fell sick, D. Baker left him sick in the ship, where he died. But Baker, that hard-hearted man, afterwards lost his own condition.

John Stubbs and Henry Fell successfully traveled to Alexandria; but they had not been there long, before the English consul banished them from there. Yet before they left, they had dispersed many books and papers there, which opened the principles and way of truth to the Turks and Grecians. They gave the book called, 'The Pope's strength broken,' to an old friar, for him to give or send to the pope; when the friar had read this book, he clapped his hand upon his breast, and confessed, ‘What was written there was truth; but, (said he), if I should confess it openly, they would burn me.' John Stubbs and Henry Fell, not being allowed to go farther, returned to England, and came to London again. John had a vision that the English and Dutch, who had joined together refusing to provide them passage on their ships, 'would become enemies with one another.' And so it came to pass.

Having stayed in London some time, I felt drawings to visit Friends in Essex. I went to Colchester, where I had very large meetings, and from there to Coggeshall; not far from which there was a priest convinced, and I had a meeting at his house. So after traveling a little in those parts while visiting Friends in their meetings, I returned pretty quickly to London. There I found great service for the Lord; for a large door was opened, many flocked into our meetings, and the Lord's truth spread mightily that year. Yet Friends had great travail and intense labor, because the rude people had become so oppressive due to the monarchy-men's uprising a little before. But the Lord's power was over all, and in it Friends had dominion; though we had not only those sufferings without, but also sufferings within from John Perrot and his company listening to a spirit of delusion and trying to introduce among Friends that evil and uncomely practice of ‘keeping on the hat in the time of public prayers.’ Friends had spoken to him and many of his followers about it, and I had written to them concerning it; but instead, he and some others strengthened themselves in opposition to Friends in this matter. "Therefore, feeling the judgment of truth rise against it, I gave forth the following lines as a warning to all that were concerned.

Whoever is tainted with this spirit of John Perrot, it will perish. Watch their and his end, who are turned into those outward things and arguing about them, and what is not agreeable; all which is for perpetual judgment, and is to be swept and cleansed out of the camp of God's elect. This is written to that spirit that is gone into arguing about what is below, (the rotten principle of the old Ranters), gone from the invisible power of God, in which is the everlasting fellowship; so many have become like the corn on the house-top, and like the untimely figs, and now clamor and speak against those who are in the power of God. Oh! Consider! The light and power of God goes over you all, and leaves you in the fretting nature, out of the unity which is in the everlasting light, life, and power of God. Consider this before the day is gone from you, and take heed that your memorial is not rooted out from among the righteous.

George Fox

Among the exercises and troubles that Friends had from outside, one was concerning Friends' marriages, which sometimes were called into question. In this year there happened to be a case tried at the assize at Nottingham concerning a Friend's marriage. The case was thus: some years before, two Friends had been joined together in marriage among Friends, and lived together as man and wife about two years. Then the man died, leaving his wife pregnant, and leaving an estate in lands of copyhold. When the woman had given birth to their child, the jury ruled that the child was heir to its father's lands, and accordingly the child was acknowledged; afterwards another Friend married the widow. And after that, a man who was near of kin to her former husband, brought his action against the Friend who had last married her, endeavoring to dispossess them, and deprive the child of the inheritance, and to  take possession of the land himself, as next heir to the woman's first husband. To effect this, he endeavored to prove the child illegitimate, alleging, 'the marriage was not according to law.' In opening the cause, the plaintiff's counsel used unseemly words concerning Friends, saying, ‘they went together like brute beasts,' with other evil expressions. After the counsels on both sides had pleaded, the judge, (Judge Archer), took the matter in hand, and explained it to them, telling them, 'there was a marriage in paradise when Adam took Eve, and Eve took Adam, and that it was the consent of the parties that made a marriage. And for the Quakers, (he said), he did not know their opinions; but he did not believe they went together as brute beasts, as had been said of them, but as Christians; and therefore, he did believe the marriage was lawful, and the child was the lawful heir.’ And to better satisfy the jury, he brought them a case to this purpose: 'A man, who was weak in body and stayed in his bed, had a desire in that condition to marry, and declared before witnesses that he did take such a woman to be his wife, and the woman declared that she took that man to be her husband. This marriage was afterwards called in question, and (as the judge said), all the bishops concluded it to be a lawful marriage.' At this point the jury gave in their verdict for the Friend's child, and against the man that would have deprived the child of its inheritance.

About this time the oaths of allegiance and supremacy were tendered to Friends as a snare, because it was known we could not swear, and therefore many were imprisoned and many indicted. Upon that occasion Friends published in print, ‘The grounds and reasons why they refused to swear;' besides which, I was moved to give forth these few lines following, to be given to the magistrates:

The world says, ‘kiss the book;’ but the book said, ‘kiss the Son, for fear that he be angry;’ and the Son said, ‘swear not at all;’ but keep to yes and no in all your communications; for anything more than this comes from evil. Again, the world said, ‘place your hand on the book;’ but the book says, ‘handle the word;’ and the word says, ‘handle not the traditions,’ nor the inventions, nor the rudiments of the World. And God said, ‘this is my beloved Son, hear him;’ who is the life, the truth, the light, and the way to God.

George Fox

Since there were many Friends in prison in the nation, Richard Hubberthorn and I drew up a paper concerning them; and had it delivered to the king, so that he might understand how his officers dealt with us. It was stated thus:

For the King.

Friend, who are the chief ruler of these dominions, here is a list of some of the sufferings of the people of God, in scorn called Quakers, who have suffered under the changeable powers before you, by whom they have been imprisoned, and under whom they have suffered for good conscience sake, and for bearing testimony to the truth, as it is in Jesus. Three thousand one hundred and seventy-three people were imprisoned in the name of the commonwealth; seventy-three people that we know of have are still imprisoned. Thirty two people died in the time of the commonwealth, and of Oliver and Richard, the protectors, through cruel and hard imprisonments, upon nasty straw and in dungeons. There have also been three thousand sixty eight people imprisoned in your name, since your arrival, by those who thought to ingratiate themselves with you by doing this. Besides this, our meetings are daily broken up by men with clubs and arms, (though we meet peaceably, according to the practice of God's people in the primitive times), and our friends are thrown into waters, and trod upon until the  blood gushes out of them; the number of these abuses can hardly be counted. Now this we would have of you, to set them at liberty who lie in prison in the names of the commonwealth and of the two protectors; and those that lie in your own name, for speaking the truth, and for a good conscience sake, who have not lifted up any hand against you or any man; and that the meetings of our friends, who meet peaceably together in the fear of God to worship him, may not be broken up by rude people, with their clubs, swords, and staves. One of the greatest things for which we have suffered formerly was because we could not swear to the protectors and all the changeable governments; and now we are imprisoned because we cannot take the oath of allegiance. Now, if yes is not yes, and no no, to you, and to all men upon the earth, let us suffer as much for breaking of our word as others do for breaking an oath. We have suffered these many years, both in lives and estates, under these changeable governments because we would not swear, in order to obey Christ's doctrine, who commands ‘we should not swear at all,’ Mat 5:34-36, and James 5:12 and this we seal with our lives and estates, and with our yes and no, according to the doctrine of Christ. Listen to these things, and so consider them in the wisdom of your God, that by it such actions may be stopped; for you have the government, and may do it. We desire that all that are in prison may be set at liberty, and that for the time to come they may not be imprisoned for conscience and for truth's sake, And if you question the innocence of their sufferings, let them and their accusers be brought before you, and we shall produce a more detailed and full account of their sufferings, if required.

George Fox and Richard Hubberthorn

I mentioned before, that in the year 1650, I was kept prisoner six months in the house of correction at Derby, and that the keeper of the prison was a cruel man, and one who had dealt very wickedly by me; he was smitten in himself, the plagues and terrors of the Lord falling upon him because of his behavior; this man, being afterwards convinced of truth, wrote me the following letter.

Dear Friend,

Having such a convenient messenger, I could do no less than give you an account of my present condition; remembering, that in the first awakening of me to a sense of life, and of the inward principle, God was pleased to make use of you as an instrument. So that sometimes I am filled with admiration that it should have come by such a means as it did; that is to say, that Providence should order you to be my prisoner, to give me my first real sight of the truth. Many times it has made me think of the jailer’s conversion by the apostles. Oh, happy George Fox! Who first breathed the breath of life within the walls of my habitation! My outward losses since that time are such that I have become nothing in the world, yet I hope I shall find that all these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, will work for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. They have taken all from me; and now, instead of keeping a prison, I am rather waiting for the time when I shall become a prisoner myself. Pray for me, that my faith fail not, but that I may hold out to the death, that I may receive a crown of life. I earnestly desire to hear from you, and of your condition, which would be a cause for very much rejoicing. Not having anything else at present, but my kind love to you, and all Christian friends with you, in haste, I rest yours in Christ Jesus.  

Thomas Sharman
Derby, the 22d of the 4th month, 1662.

There were two of our friends in prison in the inquisition at Malta, both women: Catharine Evans and Sarah Cheevers. I was told that one called the Lord D' Aubeny could obtain their liberty; therefore I went to him; and having informed him concerning their imprisonment, I asked him to write to the magistrates there for their release. He readily promised me that he would and said, 'if I would come again within a month he would tell me of their discharge.' I went again about that time, and he said, 'he thought his letters had miscarried, because he had received no answer.' But he promised he would write again, and did so; and they were set at liberty.

With this great man I had a great deal of reasoning about religion, and he confessed that ‘Christ has enlightened every man that comes into the world with his spiritual light; that he had tasted death for every man; that the grace of God, which brings salvation, has appeared to all men; and that it would teach them, and bring their salvation, if they obeyed it.' Then I asked him, what would they (the papists), do with all their relics and images, if they should own and believe in this light, and receive the grace to teach them and bring their salvation? He said, ‘those things were but policies to keep people in subjection.' He was very free in his discourse. I never heard a papist confess as much as he did. Now, though several about the court began to grow loving to Friends, the persecution was very intense, and several Friends died in prison. I wrote a little paper concerning the grounds and rise of persecution, which was thus:

All the sufferings of the people of God in all ages were because they could not join to the national religions and worships which men had made and set up, and because they would not forsake God's religion and his worship which he had set up. And you may see through all chronicles and histories that the priests joined with the powers of the nations; the magistrates, and soothsayers, and fortunetellers, all these joined against the people of God, and did imagine vain things against them in their councils. When the Jews acted wickedly, they turned against Moses. When the Jewish kings transgressed the law of God, they persecuted the prophets; as may be seen in the prophets' writings. And when Christ the substance came, then the Jews persecuted Christ, his apostles, and disciples. And when the Jews did not have enough power themselves to persecute according to their wills, then they got the heathen Gentiles to help them against Christ, and against his apostles and his disciples, who were in the spirit and power of Christ.

George Fox

After I had stayed some time in London, and had cleared myself of what lay upon me there, I went into the country, having with me Alexander Parker and John Stubbs, who had lately come back from Alexandria, Egypt, as was mentioned before. We traveled through the country, visiting Friends’ meetings until we came to Bristol. There we understood that the officers were likely to come and break up the meeting. However, on first-day we went to the meeting at Broad-mead as we had planned. Alexander Parker stood up first, and while he was speaking, the officers came and took him away. After he was gone, I stood up in the eternal power of God, and declared the everlasting truth of the Lord God; and the heavenly power came over all, and the meeting was quiet the rest of the time and broke up peaceably. I stayed until first-day following, visiting Friends and being visited by Friends. On first-day morning, several Friends came to Edward Pyot's, (where I had stayed the night before), and tried to persuade me not to go to the meeting that day; for the magistrates, they said, had threatened to take me, and had raised checkpoints on the roads. I wished them to go their way to the meeting, not telling them what I intended to do; but I told Edward Pyot I intended to go, and he sent his son to show me the way from his house by the fields. As I went, I met several Friends, who did what they could to stop me. 'What,' said one, 'will you go into the mouth of the beast?' 'Will you go into the mouth of the dragon?' said another. But I put them aside and went on. When I came to the meeting, Margaret Thomas was speaking. When she had done, I stood up. I saw a concern and fear upon Friends for me; but the power of the Lord, in which I declared, soon struck the fear out of them. Life sprang, and a heavenly glorious meeting we had. After I had cleared myself of what was upon me from the Lord to the meeting, I was moved to pray, and after prayer to stand up again, and tell Friends, ‘now they might see there was a God in Israel that could deliver.' This was a very large, full meeting, and very hot; but truth was over all, and the life was up which carried through all, and the meeting broke up in peace. The officers and soldiers had been breaking up another meeting, which had taken up their time; so that our meeting was ended before they came. But I understood afterwards that they were in a great rage, because they had missed me; for they were heard to have said to one another before, 'I'll warrant we shall have him;' but the Lord prevented them. I went to Joan Hily's, where many Friends came to see me; rejoicing and blessing God for our deliverance. In the evening I had a fine fresh meeting at a Friend's house over the water, where we were much refreshed in the Lord. After this I stayed most part of that week in Bristol, and at Edward Pyot's. Edward was brought so low and weak with an illness, that when I first arrived, he was thought to be a dying man; but it pleased the Lord to raise him up again, so that, before I went away, his illness left him, and he was very well.

Having been two first-days at the meeting at Broad-mead, and feeling my spirit clear of Bristol, I went next first-day to a meeting in the country not far distant. And after the meeting, (some Friends from Bristol told me), the soldiers had surrounded the meeting-house at Bristol, and then went in saying, 'they would be sure to have me now;' but when they did not find me there, they were in a great rage, and kept Friends in the meeting-house most of the day before they would let them go home; and asked them, 'Which way I had gone, and how they might proceed after me? For the mayor, (they said), would have liked to have spoken with me.' I had a vision of a great mastiff dog that would have bitten me; but I put one hand above his jaws, and the other hand below, and tore his jaws in pieces. So the Lord by his power tore their power to pieces and made way for me to escape them. Then I passed through the country, visiting Friends in Wiltshire and Berkshire, until I came to London, having great meetings among Friends as I went. The Lord's power was over all, and a blessed time it was for the spreading of his glorious truth. It was indeed the immediate power of the Lord that preserved me out of their hands at Bristol and over the heads of all our persecutors; and the Lord alone is worthy of all the glory, who did uphold and preserve me for his name and truth's sake.

I did not stay in London long, being drawn in spirit to visit Friends northward as far as Leicestershire. John Stubbs was with me. We traveled to there, having meetings among Friends as we went; and at Skegby we had a great meeting. We came to Barnet-hills where a captain Brown lived, who was a Baptist, but whose wife was convinced of truth. After the act for 'breaking up meetings' passed Parliament, captain Brown was afraid his wife would go to meetings and be cast into prison; so he left his house at Barrow, and took a place in these hills to hide, saying 'His wife would not go to prison.' And since this was a free place, many others fled there as well as him, including priests. Even though this man was in a safe place, because he would neither stand to the truth nor allow his convinced wife to stand, the Lord knowing, His hand fell heavy upon him for his unfaithfulness; so that he was sorely plagued, and grievously judged in himself for fleeing and drawing his wife into that private place. We went to see his wife, and coming into the house, I asked him how he was? 'How am I? (he said), the plagues and vengeance of God are upon me. I am an outcast, a Cain. God may look for a witness from me, and such as me; for if all were no more faithful than I, God would have no witness left in the earth.' In this condition he lived there on bread and water, and thought it was too good for him. At length he went home again with his wife to his own house at Barrow, where afterwards he was convinced of God's eternal truth, in which he died. A little before his death he said, 'though he had not borne a testimony for truth in his life, he would bear a testimony in his death, and would be buried in his orchard;' and so he was. He was an example to all the fleeing Baptists in the time of persecution, who could not bear persecution themselves, yet persecuted us when they had power.

From Barnet-hills we came to Swanington, in Leicestershire, where William Smith and some other Friends came to me; but went away towards night, leaving me at a Friend's house in Swanington. At night as I was sitting in the hall speaking to a widow-woman and her daughter, lord Beaumont came with a company of soldiers, who slapped their swords on the door and rushed into the house with swords and pistols in their hands crying, 'Put out the candles, and close the doors.' Then they seized the Friends in the house and asked, 'If there were any others in the house?' The Friends told them that there was one man more in the hall.' One of the Friends there for Derbyshire was named Thomas Fauks. After this so called lord Beaumont had asked all their names, he told one of his men write down that man's name as Thomas Fox. The Friend said, no, his name was not Fox, but Fauks. In the meantime some of the soldiers came and brought me out of the hall to Beaumont. He asked my name. I told him my name was George Fox, and that I was well known by that name. 'Yes, (he said) you are known all over the entire world.' I said, I was not known for evil, but for good. Then he put his hands into my pockets to search them, and plucked out my comb case; and afterwards commanded one of his officers to search further for letters, as he pretended. I told him that I was no letter carrier and asked him why he came among a peaceable people with swords and pistols, without a constable, contrary to the king's proclamation and to the late act? For he could not say, there was a meeting, since I was only talking with a poor widow woman and her daughter. By reasoning thus with him, he calmed down somewhat; yet sending for the constables, he gave them charge of us that night, and told him to bring us before him next morning. Accordingly the constables set a watch of the town's people upon us that night, and brought us next morning to his house about a mile from Swanington. When we came before him, he told us, ‘we met contrary to the act.' I desired him to show us the act. 'Why, (says he), you have it in your pocket.' I told him, he did not find us in a meeting. Then he asked, 'Whether we would take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy?' I told him that I never took any oath in my life, or engagement, or the covenant. Yet he still tried to force the oath upon us. Then I asked him to show us the oath so that we might see whether we were the persons it was to be tendered to, and whether it was not for the discovery of popish dissidents. At length he brought a little book, but we called for the statute book. He would not show us that, but caused a mittimus to be made, which mentioned, 'that we were to have had a meeting.' With this mittimus he delivered us to the constables to convey us to Leicester jail. But when the constables had brought us back to Swanington, being harvest time, it was hard to get anybody to go with us. The people were hesitant to take their neighbors to prison, especially in such a busy time. They would have given us our mittimus to have carried ourselves to the jail; for it had been usual for constables to give Friends their own mittimuses, and they taken them with themselves to the jailer. But we told them that though our friends had sometimes done so in the past, we would not take this mittimus; but we would be escorted to the jail. At last they hired a poor laboring man, who despite being hired to do so, did not want to go. So the five of us rode through the country to Leicester; some carried their bibles open in their hands, declaring truth to the people as we rode in the fields and through the towns, and telling them, ‘We were prisoners of the Lord Jesus Christ, going to suffer bonds for his name and truth's sake.' One woman Friend carried her spinning wheel on her lap to spin on in prison, and the people were greatly affected. At Leicester we went to an inn. The master of the inn seemed to be troubled that we were going to prison; and being himself in commission, he sent for lawyers in the town to advise him. He wanted to take up the mittimus and keep us in his inn, and not have let us gone into the jail. But I told Friends that it would cost a large sum to stay at the inn. And since many Friends and people would come to visit us, it might be hard for him to bear our having meetings in his house. I said besides that, we had many Friends in the prison already, and we would rather be with them. So we let the man know we were appreciative of his kindness, and we continued to prison; the poor man that brought us there delivering both the mittimus and us to the jailer. This jailer had been a very wicked, cruel man. On one past occasion he had quarreled with six or seven Friends, who had been in prison before us, and had thrust them into the dungeon among the felons, where they were so crowded that there was hardly room for them to lie down. We stayed all that day in the prison yard, and asked the jailer to let us have some straw. He was surly and answered, ‘you do not look like men that would lie on straw.' After awhile William Smith came to me, and since he was acquainted in the prison house, I asked him what rooms there were in the house, and what room Friends had been usually put in before they were put into the dungeon? I asked him also whether the jailer or his wife was the master in the house? He said the wife was master; and although she was lame and unable to walk without crutches, she sat mostly in her chair where she would beat her husband when he came within her reach, if he had not done as she wanted. I considered that many Friends would probably come to visit us, and if we had a room to ourselves, it would be better for them to speak to me and for me to speak to them, as there should be occasion. Therefore, I asked William Smith to speak with the woman, and advise her that if she would let us have a room and allow our Friends to come out of the dungeon, leaving it to us to give her what we would, it might be better for her. He went, and after some reasoning with her, she consented; and we were taken into a room. Then we were told that the jailer would not allow us to have any drink brought out of the town into the prison, but the beer we drank we must procure from him. I told them that I would remedy that if they agreed; for we would get a pail of water and a little wormwood once a day, and that would be sufficient for us; so we would have none of his beer, and he could not deny us the water.

Before we came those few Friends that were prisoners met together on first-days; and if any of them were moved to pray to the Lord, the jailer would come up with his great quarter staff in his hand with his mastiff dog at his heels, and pull them down by the hair of the head, and strike them with his staff; but when he struck Friends, the mastiff dog, instead of falling upon them, would take the staff out of his hand. After we arrived when the next first-day came, I asked one of my fellow prisoners to carry down a stool, set it in the yard, give notice to the debtors and felons that there would be a meeting in the yard, and say that anyone who wanted to hear the word of the Lord declared was welcome to come there. So the prisoners gathered in the yard, and we went down and had a very precious meeting in which the jailer did not interfere. Thus every first-day we had a meeting as long as we stayed in prison, and several people from the town and country also attended. Many were convinced, and some received the Lord's truth there, who have stood faithful witnesses for it ever since.

When the sessions came, we were brought up before the justices along with other Friends that had been sent to prison while we were there, numbering about twenty. Being brought into the court, the jailer put us into the place where the thieves were, and then some of the justices began to tender the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to us. I told them that I never took any oath in my life; and they knew we could not swear, because Christ and his apostle James had forbidden swearing; therefore, they put it to us only as a snare. We told them, if they could prove that after Christ and the apostle had forbidden swearing, had they ever commanded Christians to swear, we would take these oaths; otherwise we were resolved to obey Christ's command and the apostle's exhortation. They said, 'We must take the oath, that we might exhibit our allegiance to the king.' I told them that I had been formerly sent prisoner by Colonel Hacker from that town to London under pretense that I held meetings to plot to bring in King Charles. I also asked them to read our mittimus, which set forth the cause of our pending commitment to prison; specifically that 'we were to have a meeting.' I said that he, who was called lord Beaumont, by that act could not send us to jail, unless we had been taken at a meeting, and found to be such persons as the act speaks of; therefore, we asked that they read the mittimus, and see how wrongfully we were imprisoned. They would not take notice of the mittimus; but called a jury, and indicted us 'for refusing to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy.' When the jury was sworn and instructed, as they were going out, one who had been an alderman of the city told them, 'have a good conscience;' and one of the jury, being a peevish man, told the justices that this alderman had affronted the jury; so they called him up, and tendered him the oath also, which he took.

While we were standing where the thieves usually stood, a pick pocket thief had his hand in several Friends' pockets. Friends declared it to the justices and showed them the man. The justices called him up before them, and upon examination he could not deny it; yet they set him at liberty.

It was not long before the jury returned and brought in a guilty verdict; and after some words, the justices whispered together and told the jailer take us to prison again; but the Lord's power was over them, as was his everlasting truth, which we declared boldly among them. There was a great group of people outside the court, and most of them supported us so that the crier and bailiffs were reluctant to call the people back again to the court. We declared the truth as we went along the streets until we came to the jail, because the streets were full of people. 'Some time after we had gone back into our chamber in the prison again, the jailer came to us and wanted all who were not prisoners to leave. When they were gone, he said, 'Gentlemen, it is the court's pleasure that you should all be set at liberty, except those that are in for not paying tithes; and you know there are fees due to me; but I shall leave it to you to give me what you will.'

Thus, suddenly we were all set at liberty, and we passed everyone into our services. Leonard Fell had come there to see us, so he went with me to Swanington again. I received a letter from him that was addressed to the justices at the sessions; Friends had called upon lord Hastings, who upon hearing of my imprisonment, had written from London to the justices at the sessions instructing them to set me at liberty. I had not yet delivered this letter to the justices; but whether they had any knowledge of his mind from any other hand, which made them discharge us so suddenly, I do not know. But this letter I carried to the man called the lord Beaumont, (he who sent us to prison); and when he had broken it open and read it, he seemed very troubled and at last became a little more humble. But he still threatened us, that if we had any more meetings at Swanington, he would break them up and send us to prison again. Despite his threats we went to Swanington, and had a meeting with Friends there, and he neither came or sent men to break it up.
 
From Swanington we came to Twy-cross, where that great man lived whom the Lord God had raised up from his sickness in the year 1649, (whose servant-man came at me with a drawn sword to have done me a mischief). He and his wife came to see me. From there we traveled through Warwickshire, where we had magnificent meetings; and  then we went into Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, visiting Friends until we came to London.

I did not stay long in London, but went into Essex and on to Norfolk, having great meetings. When I came to captain Lawrence's at Norwich, there was a great threat of disturbance; but the meeting was quiet. Passing from there to Sutton and on into Cambridgeshire, I heard of Edward Burrough's death. And being aware of how great a grief and distress it would be to Friends to part with him, I wrote the following lines for the staying and settling of their minds.

Friends,

Be still and quiet in your own conditions, and settled in the seed of God, that does not change; that in that you may feel dear Edward Burrough among you in the seed, in which and by which he fathered you to God, with whom he is. And that in the seed you may all see and feel him in which is the unity with him in the life; and so enjoy him in the life that does not change, which is invisible.

George Fox

(Note: When Burrough was sick and dying in prison with jail fever, [probably by typhus, spread by lice in cold, unsanitary conditions]. He said, {'If he had been but an hour with me, he should have been well.'}. Burrough was so effective as a preacher, he was nicknamed "Boanerges," the same name Jesus gave to John and his brother James, meaning Sons of Thunder. Valiant. A short portion of his wonderful ministry, including his death is available on this site.)

From there I passed to Little-port and the Isle of Ely; where a former mayor and his wife along with the wife of the present mayor of Cambridge, came to the meeting. Traveling into Lincolnshire and Huntingdonshire, I came to Thomas Parnel's, where the mayor of Huntingdon came to see me; he was very loving. From there I came into the Fen-country, where we had large and quiet meetings. While I was in that country, such a great a flood occurred there that it was dangerous to go out; yet we did get out and went to Lynn, where we had a blessed meeting. Next morning I went to visit some prisoners there; then back to the inn, and left on my horse. As I was riding out of the yard, it seems the officers came to search the inn for me. I knew nothing of it then, only that I felt a great burden come upon me as I rode out of the town until I was outside the gates. Some Friends came after me, and when they overtook me, they told me that as soon as I was out of the yard of the inn, the officers came and had been searched the inn for me. So by the good hand of the Lord I escaped their cruel hands. After this, we passed through the countryside, visiting Friends in their meetings. The Lord's power carried us over the persecuting spirits, and through many dangers; and his truth spread and grew, and Friends were established in it, praises, and glory to his name forever!

Having passed through Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Hertfordshire, we came to London again; where I stayed a while, visiting Friends in their meetings, which were very large, and the Lord's power was over all. After some time I left the city again, and traveled into Kent, having Thomas Briggs with me. We went to Ashfold, where we had a quiet and a very blessed meeting. On first-day we had a very good and peaceable meeting at Cranbrook. Then we went to Tenterden, and had a meeting there, to which Friends came from several parts; and many other people came in and were reached by the truth. When the meeting was over, I walked with Thomas Briggs into a narrow street, while our horses were getting ready; and turning my head, I saw a captain coming with and a great company of soldiers with lighted matches and muskets. Some of the soldiers came to Thomas and me and said, 'We must go to their captain.' When they had brought us before him, he asked, 'Where was George Fox? Which one was he?' I said, 'I am the man.' Then he came to me, and was somewhat struck, and said, 'I will secure you among the soldiers.' So he called for the soldiers to take me. Then he took Thomas Briggs and the man of the house with many more; but the power of the Lord was mightily over them all. Then he came to me again, and said, 'I must go along with him to the town;' and he carried himself pretty civilly, bidding the soldiers bring the others after us. As we walked, I asked him, ‘Why they did thus? For I had not seen so much excitement in a great while;' and I asked him to be civil to his peaceable neighbors. When we had come to the town, they took us to an inn that was the jailer’s house. After awhile the mayor of the town, this captain, and the lieutenant, who were justices, came together and asked me, 'Why I came there to make a disturbance?' I told them, I did not come to make a disturbance, and had not made any disturbance since I came. They said, 'There was a law against the Quakers' meetings, which had been legislated only against them.' I told them that I knew no such law. Then they brought the act made against Quakers and others. I told them, that was against such as 'were a terror to the king's subjects, who were enemies, and held principles dangerous to the government;' and therefore, it was not against us. For we held the truth, and our principles were not dangerous to the government, and our meetings were peaceable, as they knew, who knew their neighbors were a peaceable people. They told me 'I was an enemy to the king.' I answered, we loved all people, were enemies to none, and that I for my own part had been cast into Derby dungeon about the time of the Worcester fight, because I would not take up arms against him. Afterwards I was brought by Colonel Hacker to London, as a plotter to bring in King Charles, and was kept prisoner at London until I was set at liberty by Oliver. They asked me, 'Whether I was imprisoned in the time of the insurrection?' I said, yes; I had been imprisoned then and since, and had been set at liberty by the king's own command. I opened the act to them, showed them the king's late declaration, gave them the examples of other justices, and told them also what the House of Lords had said of it. I spoke also to them concerning their own conditions, exhorting them in the fear of God, to be tender towards their neighbors that feared God, and to mind God's wisdom by which all things were made and created, that they might come to receive it, be ordered by it, and by it order all things to God's glory. They demanded bond of us for our appearance at the sessions; but we pleading our innocence, refused to give bond. Then they would have us promise to come no more there; but we kept clear of that also. When they saw they could not bring us to their terms, they told us, 'We should see they were civil to us, for it was the mayor's pleasure we should all be set at liberty.' I told them, their civility was noble! And so we parted.

 

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