The Missing Cross to Purity


The Journal of George Fox - 1661 - 1666 - Scarborough Castle Prison <page 4 >


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 In the afternoon I was brought up again, and put among the thieves, where I stood with my hat on until the jailer took it off. Then the jury having found this new indictment against me, 'for not taking the oath,' I was called to the bar, and the judge asked me, 'what I would say for myself?' I asked them to read the indictment, for I would not answer to what I has not heard. The clerk read it, and as he read, the judge said, 'take heed it be not false again;' but he read it in such a manner, that I could hardly understand what he read. When he had done, the judge asked me, 'what I said to the indictment?' I told him, ‘hearing so large a document read, and that at such a distance, I could not distinctly hear all the parts of it, I could not well tell what to say to it. But if he would let me have a copy of it, and give me time to consider it, I should answer it.' This put them to a little standstill; but after awhile the judge asked me, 'how much time I would have?' I said, 'until the next assize.' 'But,' said he, 'what plea will you now make? Are you guilty, or not guilty?' I said, 'I am not guilty at all of denying to swear obstinately and willfully; and as for those things mentioned in the oath, as Jesuitical plots and foreign powers, I utterly deny them in my heart. If I could take any oath I would take that; but I never took any oath in my life.' The judge answered, 'I said well; but, 'he said, 'the king is sworn, the parliament is sworn, I am sworn, and the justices are sworn, and the law is preserved by oaths.' I told him, 'they had had sufficient experience of men's swearing, and he had seen how the justices and jury had sworn wrong the other day; and if he had read in the book of martyrs how many of them had refused to swear, both in the time of the ten persecutions and in Bishop Bonner's days, he might see, that to deny swearing in obedience to Christ's command was no new thing.' He said, ‘he wished the laws were otherwise.' I said, 'our yes is yes, and our no is no; and if we transgress our yes or our no, let us suffer as they do, or should do, that swear falsely. This, I told him, we had offered to the king, and the king had said ‘it was reasonable.'

After some further discourse, they committed me to prison again, there to stay until the next assize; and colonel Kirby gave orders to the jailer, to keep me close, and suffer no flesh alive to come to me; for 'I was not fit,' he said, 'to be in conversation with men.' I was put into a tower, where the smoke of the other prisoners came up so thick, it stood as dew upon the walls, and sometimes it was so thick that I could hardly see the candle when it burned. I was locked under three locks; and when the smoke was great, the under-jailer could hardly be persuaded to come up to unlock one of the uppermost doors because he feared the smoke; so that I was almost smothered. Besides it rained in upon my bed; and many times, when I went to try and keep out the rain in the cold winter season, my shirt would be as wet as muck with the rain that came in upon me while I was laboring to keep it out. And since the place was high and open to the wind, sometimes as fast as I stopped the hole, the wind would blow it out again. In this manner I lay all that long cold winter until the next assize; in which time I was so starved with cold and rain, that my body was greatly swelled, and my limbs much benumbed.

The assize began on the sixteenth of the month called March, 1664-5. The same judges, Twisden and Turner, being on that circuit again, judge Twisden sat this time on the crown-bench, and I was brought before him. I had informed myself of the errors in this indictment also. For though at the assize before, judge Turner said to the officers in court, ‘pray, see that all the oath be in the indictment, and that the word subject be in, and that the day of the month and year of the king be put in right; for it is a shame that so many errors should be seen and found in the face of the country;' yet many errors, and those great ones, were in this indictment as well as in the former. Surely the hand of the Lord was in it, to confound their mischievous work against me, and to blind them to the errors. So that although, after the indictment was drawn at the former assize, the judge examined it himself, and tried it with the clerks, yet the word subject was left out of this indictment also, the day of the month was put in wrong, and several material words of the oath were left out; yet they went on confidently against me, thinking all was safe and well. When I was brought to the bar, and the jury called over to be sworn, the clerk asked me, first, 'whether I had any objection to make about any on the jury?' I told him, ‘I knew none of them.' Then, having sworn the jury, they swore three of the officers of the court, to prove, 'that the oath was tendered to me at the last assizes, according to the indictment.' 'Come, come,' said the judge, ‘it was not done in a corner.' Then he asked me, ‘what I had to say to it; or whether I had taken the oath at the last assize?' I told him what I had formerly said to them, as it now came to my remembrance. Upon which the judge said, 'I will not dispute with you but in point of law.' 'Then,' said I, 'I have something to say to the jury concerning the indictment.' He told me, 'I must not speak to the jury; but if I had anything to say, I must speak to him.' Then I asked him, 'whether the oath was to be tendered to the king's subjects only, or to the subjects of foreign princes?' He replied, 'to the subjects of this realm; for I will speak nothing to you,' he said, ‘but in point of law.' 'Then,' I said, ‘look in the indictment and you may see the word subject is left out of this indictment also. Therefore, seeing the oath is not to be tendered to any but the subjects of this realm and you have not put me in as a subject, the court is to take no notice of this indictment.' I had no sooner spoken thus, but the judge cried, 'take him away, jailer, take him away.' So I was presently hurried away. The jailer and people asked when I would be called for again; but I was never brought to the court again, though I had many other great errors to assign in the indictment. After I was gone, the judge asked the jury, 'if they were agreed?' They said, 'yes;' and found for the king against me, as I was told. But I was never called to hear sentence given, nor was any given against me of which I could hear. I understand, when they looked narrowly into the indictment, they saw it was not good. The judge had sworn the officers of the court to say that the oath was tendered me at the original assize on a certain day, as was set in the indictment and that was the wrong day. If the judge had allowed me to go on to plead to the indictment, I could have proved the officers of the court perjured men again, which was thought to be the reason why he hurried me away so soon. The judge had passed sentence of premunire upon Margaret Fell before I was brought in; and it seems, when I was hurried away, the court ordered me as a premunired person again, though I was never brought to hear the sentence, nor knew of it; which was very illegal. They should not only have had me present to hear the sentence given, but also to have asked me first, 'if I could say why sentence should not be passed against me?' But they knew I had so much to say they could not pass sentence if they heard me.

While I was prisoner in Lancaster castle, there was great noise and talk of the Turk's overspreading Christendom, and great fears entered many. But one day, as I was walking in my prison chamber, I saw the Lord's Power turn against him, and that he was turning back again. I declared to some what the Lord had let me see, when there were such fears of his overrunning Christendom; and within a month after this the news came down, where it was reported, 'that they had defeated him.'

(Note: The Turkish army had surrounded Vienna, threatening the whole of Christian Europe. An urgent call for help was sent to the Cossacks of the Ukraine, famous for their fighting ability against Turks and Tartars. Several thousand responded, and with the Austrian and Polish armies, launched a coordinated attack that defeated the Turks. The Cossacks then pursued the retreating Turkish army, to destroy it close to Budapest.)

From Valiant for the Truth:

As the year 1664 drew to a close persecution continued to increase, and the new year opened gloomily. The King declared he neither wished to see the Quakers, or to hear from them, as he could do nothing more for them; and so the Friends went on First-day morning to attend their place of worship, none of them knew whether he would ever again see his home and his loved ones. Yet while these severe measures were exacted for forcing uniformity in religious matters, true religion was never more neglected. The manners and habits of the age were corrupt and immoral. The profligacy of the court was repeated among the common people, and "drunkenness, profane swearing, and debauchery abounded in the nation."

Many remonstrances and prophetic warnings were sent to the King and Parliament, by earnest Friends who felt constrained of the Lord to warn them of His judgments.

One was written by George Fox "the Younger," as he was called, to distinguish him from the veteran now lying in Scarborough Castle. As early as 1661 he mourns over the judgments that are coming upon England, saying the Lord had spoken to him concerning the inhabitants. "An overflowing scourge, yea, even a great scourge, yea, even a great and terrible judgment, will come upon the land, and many in it will fall and be taken away."

Another Friend wrote the following laconic epistle, addressed to the King and both Houses of Parliament.

Meddle not with my people, because of their conscience to me, and banish them not out of the nation because of their conscience, for if you do, I will send my plagues upon you, and you shall know that I am the Lord.

Written in obedience to the Lord by His servant,

"GEORGE BISHOP."

In the early part of the year 1665 two great evils fell upon the English nation, in which it was scarcely surprising Friends should see the hand of the Lord, in chastisement, upon a sinful and persecuting people. The war with Holland, wantonly commenced by the English court, and promoted by the selfishness of France, brought with it the inevitable results of broken hearts, the sacrifice of valuable lives, and money worse than wasted.

Another time, as I was walking in my chamber, with my eye to the Lord, 'I saw the angel of the Lord, with a glittering drawn sword stretched southward, as though the court had been all on a fire.' Not long after the wars broke out with Holland, and the sickness broke forth, and afterwards the fire of London; so the Lord's sword was drawn indeed.

From Valiant for the Truth:

As the early months of the year passed, there came from city and hamlet a deep cry of terror, "The plague has broken out." Amid the festivities of the court there walked an unbidden guest, carrying fear and anguish into many hearts. Ruthlessly laying his hand alike on rich and poor, young and old, his path was strewn with his victims, which in five months were estimated at one hundred thousand.

Business in London was neglected, the merchant left his store and went home to die, the artisan ceased his work, the King and his courtiers fled to Oxford, and half the houses in the city were marked with the ominous tablet, ".The Lord have mercy on us." Grass grew in the populous streets except on those which led to the grave-yards, and the busy hum of life and pleasure gave place to the mournful trappings of death and woe. At first the interments were only at night, but the number of deaths increased so rapidly, that the hoarse call was heard at all hours, " Bring out your dead."

"How sunk the inmost heart of all,
As rolled the dead-cart slowly by,
With creaking wheel, and harsh hoof fall,
The dying turned him to the wall
To hear it, and to die."

But notwithstanding this fearful visitation the persecution of the non-conformists proceeded with unrelenting vigor, and the Five Mile Act was introduced and passed at Oxford. In the preamble to this bill it was declared, that "the non-conformist ministers instilled principles of schism and rebellion into the people." The bill enacted that it should be penal for "any non-conformist minister to teach in a school, or come within five miles (except as a traveler in passing) of any city, borough, or corporate town, or any place whatever, in which he had preached or taught, since the passing of the Act of Uniformity, before he has subscribed to the aforementioned oath, before a magistrate, etc., under a penalty of £40." One third of this sum was to be paid to the informer. Though this law was ostensibly aimed at the clergy of the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Independents, it was nevertheless principally made use of in distressing Friends.

The committals to Newgate continued until the plague broke out within its walls, when the King, urged by the physicians, ordered that no more persons should be sent there. Within those dreary walls there was much suffering endured, however, with a truly christian spirit. The following testimony is borne by George Whitehead, who remained in London during this terrible season to minister to the comfort of his imprisoned brethren: "When sorrow and sadness have seized upon my spirit, at their sad sufferings, this has refreshed me, that Christ their salvation and redemption was manifest to and in them. With such to live was Christ, even in this state, and to die was gain, it being through death, that the Lord had appointed the final deliverance of many from the cruelties and rod of their oppressors."

The King one day inquired whether, “ any Quakers had died of the distemper?" An affirmative reply induced him to say, "Then they can't say that the plague is a punishment sent for their enemies, because of having imprisoned them, when they are dying of it themselves." But the Puritan idea of the national punishment for national sins was not extinct in England, and many besides Friends, mourning over the sins and corruption of the day, saw in this calamity the visitation of an offended God.

The widows and orphans whose homes were rendered desolate by the plague, now claimed the attention of the Society always ready to assist their suffering companions. A number of Friends, both men and women, devoted themselves to the work of administering relief, holding regular meetings once a week, and devising means of meeting the need of the cases presented. Those residing in the country contributed of their substance, and also gave their personal service.

Now by reason of my long and close imprisonment in so bad a place, I had become very weak of body; but the Lord's power was over all, supported me through all, and enabled me to do service for him, and for his truth and people, as the place would allow. For while I was in Lancaster prison, I refuted several books, as the Mass, the Common Prayer, the Directory and the Church Faith; which are the four chief religions that have arisen since the apostles' days. And since there were several Friends in prison at Lancaster and other prisons for not paying tithes, I was moved to give forth the following lines concerning tithes:

In the time of the law, those who did not bring their tithes into the storehouse robbed God; then there was not meat in their house. Therefore the Lord commanded, "To bring them into his house, that there might be meat in the storehouse, which was to feed the fatherless stranger, and widow." But these priests who are counterfeits, who take people's tithes now by a law, are from the beast; and if any will not pay them, they prison them, or make them pay triple. These rob the poor, rob the fatherless, and do not feed the stranger and widow; so the cry of the robbed goes up to heaven against these counterfeit priests. Many have been made almost beggars by these oppressing priests, their cattle and corn have been taken away from them; and they have been cast into prison. Others have been sued at law by the priests, and have had triple damages taken from them; yet such priests are supposed to be ministers of the gospel. Though since the unchangeable priest (Christ) has come, the priesthood that was changeable has been denied by him, as we now deny these priests. But if any are moved now to cry against them, they are stocked, beaten, or imprisoned. Many are now in prison at Lancaster and other places by a national law, which is not in agreement with the law of God delivered to Moses. We do not read that under Moses' law any suffered imprisonment, or seizures of property for not paying tithes, or a requirement to pay triple damages. Surely, surely, the cry for vengeance will be heard, which arises from the oppressed souls that lie under the altar. There are many prisoners at Kendal, because they cannot pay tithes, such as Captain Ward, Thomas Robertson, and the widow Garland, who have many small children; these suffer because they cannot pay tithes. Others are in Kendal prison, who were moved of the Lord to speak to the priests; one was moved to go in sackcloth, and of late with ashes upon her head. Others have been moved to go in sackcloth, as a lamentation for the miserable state of this nation, since so many are preaching the gospel, and yet there is so much strife, debate, oaths, and dissension among people. But where the gospel is indeed received, strife and contention are ended, and oppression is lifted off. Oh! The land mourns because of the oppression of those called 'ministers!' And though the cry of the oppressed has not entered into the ears of the magistrates, yet the cry of the poor oppressed people of God has entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabbath, who will now be avenged on all his adversaries. You unjust lawgivers and unjust judges, to that in all your consciences I speak; to be cleared, whether you will hear or refuse, when you are judged by the just Judge of heaven and earth, whose terror is gone forth against all the ungodly, and all the oppressors of God's people. 

George Fox

After the assize, colonel Kirby and other justices were very uneasy with my being at Lancaster for I had annoyed them bitterly at my trials there, and they labored to get me removed from there to some remote place. Colonel Kirby threatened I should be sent far away, and sometimes he said,  'I should be sent beyond the sea.' About six weeks after the assizes, they got an order from the king and council to remove me from Lancaster; and with it they brought a letter from the earl or Anglesey, where he had written, 'that if those things were found true against me, which I was charged with, I deserved no clemency nor mercy;' yet the greatest matter they had against me was that I could not disobey the command of Christ and swear.

When they had prepared for my removal, the under-sheriff and the head-sheriff's man, with some bailiffs, came and brought me out of the castle. I was so weak with lying in that cold, wet, and smoky prison, that I could hardly go or stand. They brought me into the jailer’s house, where William Kirby and several others were, and they called for wine to give me. I told them, 'I would have none of their wine.' Then they cried, ‘bring out the horses.' I desired them first to show me their order, or a copy of it, if they intended to remove me; but they would show me nothing but their swords. I told them, 'There was no sentence passed upon me, nor was I premunired, that I knew of; and therefore I was not made the king's prisoner, but was the sheriff's. They and all the country knew, that I was not fully heard at the last assize, nor allowed to show the errors in the indictment, which were sufficient to quash it, though they had kept me from one assize to another, so that they might try me. But they all knew there was no sentence of premunire passed upon me, therefore I, not being the king's prisoner but the sheriff's, did desire to see their order.' Instead of showing me their order, they took me out, and lifted me upon one of the sheriff's horses. When I was on horseback in the street, the town's people being gathered to gaze upon me, I told the officers I had received neither Christianity, civility, nor humanity from them. They hurried me away about fourteen miles to Bentham, though I was so very weak that I was hardly able to sit on horseback, and my clothes smelt so of smoke they were loathsome to myself. The wicked jailer, one Hunter, a young fellow, would come behind and give the horse a lash with his whip, and make him skip and leap; so that I, being weak, had much trouble to sit on him; then he would come and look me in the face, and say, 'How do you do, Mr. Fox? 'I told him, 'It was not civil in him to do so.' But the Lord cut him off soon after.

When we were come to Bentham in Yorkshire, we were met by many troopers and a marshal; and many of the gentry of the country were there, and a mass of people to stare at me. I being very weak and weary, desired them to let me lie down on a bed, which the soldiers permitted; for those who brought me there gave their order to the marshal, and he set a guard of his soldiers upon me. When they had stayed awhile, they took horses, raised the bailiff of the hundred, the constables, and others, and took me to Giggleswick that night; but I was exceedingly weak. There they awakened the constables with their clogshoes, who sat drinking all the night in the room by me, so that I could not get much rest. Next day we came to a market town, where several Friends came to see me. Robert Widders and various Friends came to me upon the road. The next night I asked the soldiers, 'Where they intended to carry me, and where I was to be sent? Some of them said, 'Beyond the sea,' others said, 'To Tinmouth castle.' And there was great fear among them, that someone should rescue me out of their hands; but that fear was needless. Next night we came to York, where the marshal put me up in a great chamber, where most of two troops of soldiers came to see me. One of those troopers, an envious man, hearing I was premunired, asked me, 'What estate I had, and whether it was copyhold or free-land?' I took no notice of his question; but was moved to declare the word of life to the soldiers, and many of them were very loving. At night lord Frecheville, so called, who commanded those horse soldiers, came to me and was very civil and loving. I gave him an account of my imprisonment and declared many things to him relating to truth. They kept me at York two days, and then the marshal and four or five soldiers were sent to convey me to Scarborough castle. Indeed these were very civil men, and carried themselves civilly and lovingly to me. On the way we waited at Malton, and they permitted Friends to come and visit me. When we came to Scarborough, they brought me in that night. Next day they conducted me to the castle, put me into a room, and set a sentry to an inn, and gave notice to the governor, who sent half a dozen soldiers to be my guard. I was very weak and subject to fainting, so they let me go out sometimes into the air with a sentry. They soon removed me out of this room and put me into an open room, where the rain came in; and the room smoked exceedingly, which was very offensive to me. One day the governor, who was called Sir Jordan Crosland, came to see me and brought with him one called Sir Francis Cobb. I desired the governor to go into my room and see what a place I had. I had made a little fire in it, and the room was so filled with smoke, that after they entered, they could hardly find their way out again. Since he was a Papist, I told him that was his purgatory which they had put me into. I was forced to pay about fifty shillings to keep out the rain and to keep the room from smoking so much. When I had been at that place and made it somewhat tolerable, they removed me into a worse room, where I had neither chimney nor fire-hearth. This room was to the sea-side; and since it was lying much open, the wind drove in the rain forcibly so that the water came over my bed, and ran about the room; so much so that I was glad to be able to skim it up with a platter. And when my clothes were wet, I had no fire to dry them; so my body was numbed with cold, and my fingers swelled, so that one was grew as big as two. Though I had some expense on this room also, yet I could not keep out the wind and rain. Besides they would allow few Friends to visit me, and many times not any, not even to bring me a little food; but I was forced for the first quarter to hire one of the world to bring me the necessities. Sometimes the Soldiers would take it from her, and she would scuffle with them for it. Afterwards I hired a soldier to fetch me water and bread, and something to make a fire with when I was in a room where a fire could be made. Commonly a three penny loaf served me three weeks, and sometimes longer, and most of my drink was water, with wormwood steeped or bruised in it. One time, when the weather was very harsh, and I had taken a great cold, I got a little herbal beer; and I heard one of the soldiers say to the other, 'they would play me a pretty trick, for they would send me up to the deputy-governor, and in the mean time drink all my strong herbal beer;' and so they did. When I returned, one of the soldiers came to me in a jeer, and asked me for some strong beer. I told him, they had played their pretty trick, and I took no farther notice of it. But since they kept me so very closely confined, not giving liberty for Friends to visit me, I spoke to the keepers of the castle to this effect: 'I did not know until I was removed from Lancaster castle, and brought prisoner to this castle of Scarborough, that I was convicted of a premunire; for the judge did not give sentence upon me at the assizes in open court. But since I am now a prisoner here, if I may not have my liberty, let my Friends and acquaintances have their liberty to come and visit me; as Paul's friends had among the Romans, who were not Christians but Heathens. For Paul's friends had their liberty, and all that would might visit him, and he had his liberty to preach to them in his hired house. But I do not have liberty to go into the town, nor for my Friends to come to me here. So you, that go under the name of christians, are worse in this respect than those Heathens were.'

But though they would not let Friends come to me, they would often bring others, either to gaze upon me or to contend with me.

One time there came a great company of Papists to discourse with me, who affirmed, 'the pope was infallible, and had stood infallible ever since Peter's time.' I showed them the contrary by history: 'for one of the bishops of Rome, Marcellinus by name, denied the faith, and sacrificed to idols; therefore he was not infallible. I told them, if they were in the infallible spirit, they need not have jails, swords, and staves, racks and tortures, fires and faggots, whips and gallows, to hold up their religion, and to destroy men's lives about religion. For if they were in the infallible spirit, they would preserve men's lives, and use only spiritual weapons about religion. I told them also what one who was of their society had told me. A woman lived in Kent, who had not only been a Papist herself, but had brought over several to that religion; but coming to be convinced of God's truth, and being turned by it to Christ, her Savior, she exhorted the Papists to the same. When she tried to explain the falseness of the popish religion, and endeavored to persuade a tailor who was working at her house to the truth, he drew his knife on her, and got between her and the door. But she spoke boldly to him, and told him to him put up his knife, for she knew his motivation. I asked the woman, what she thought he would have done with his knife? She said, “he would have stabbed her." "Stab you!" I said , "what would he have stabbed you for? Your religion?" "Yes” she said, "it is the principle of the Papists, if any turn from their religion, to kill them if they can." This story I told those Papists, and that I had it from a person who had been one of them, but had forsaken their principles and discovered their practices. They did not deny this to be their principle, but said what! Would I declare this publicly? I told them, ‘yes, such things should be declared publicly, that it might be known how contrary their religion was to true christianity;' at which time they went away in a great rage.

Another Papist came to discuss with me, who said, 'all the patriarchs were in hell from the creation until Christ came, and that when Christ suffered he went into hell, and the devil said to him, why are you here, to break open our strong holds? And Christ said, to bring the patriarchs out. So,' he said, 'Christ was in hell three days and three nights to bring them out.' I told him that was false; for Christ said to the thief, "this day you shall be with me in paradise." And Enoch and Elijah were translated into heaven. And Abraham was in heaven; for the scripture said, 'Lazarus was in his bosom; and Moses and Elias were with Christ upon the mount before he suffered.' These instances stopped the Papist's mouth, and put him to a stand.

Another time came one called Dr. Witty, who was esteemed a great physician, came with lord Falconbridge, the governor of Tinmouth castle, and several knights. I was called to them, and Witty undertook to discuss with me, and asked me, 'What I was in prison for? 'I told him, 'Because I would not disobey the command of Christ, and swear.' He said, 'I ought to swear my allegiance to the king.' He being a great Presbyterian, I asked him, 'whether he had not sworn against the king and House of Lords, and taken the Scotch covenant? And had he not since sworn to the king? What then was his swearing good for? But my allegiance, (I told him), did not consist in swearing, but in truth and faithfulness.' After some further discourse, I was taken away to my prison again; and afterwards this Dr. Witty boasted in the town among his patients, that he had conquered me. When I heard of it, I told the governor, ‘It was a small boast in him to say, he had conquered a bondman.' I desired to ask him come to me again when he came to the castle. After awhile he came again with about sixteen or seventeen great persons, and then he got caught in even worse errors. For in discussion he affirmed before them all, ‘That Christ had not enlightened every man that comes into the world;' and 'that the grace of God, that brought salvation, had not appeared to all men, and that Christ had not died for all men.' I asked him, what sort of men those were which Christ had not enlightened? And whom his grace had not appeared to? And whom he had not died for? He said, 'Christ did not die for adulterers, and idolaters, and wicked men. Then I asked him, 'whether adulterers and wicked men were not sinners?' he said, 'Yes.' 'And did not Christ die for sinners? (I said), Did he not come to call sinners to repentance?' ‘Yes,' he said. ‘Then (I said), ‘you have stopped your own mouth.' So I proved, that the grace of God had appeared to all men, though some turned from it into wantonness and walked despitefully against it; and that Christ had enlightened all men, though some hated the light. Several of the people that were present confessed it was true; but he went away in a great rage, and came no more.

Another time the governor brought a priest, but his mouth was soon stopped. Not long after he brought two or three members of parliament, who asked me, 'whether I did acknowledge ministers and bishops?' I told them, 'yes, such as Christ sent, such as had freely received, and would freely give, such as were qualified, and were in the same power and spirit the apostles were in. But such bishops and teachers who would go no farther than a great benefice (position receiving revenue), I did not acknowledge; for they were not like the apostles. For Christ said to his ministers, "Go you into all nations, and preach the gospel;" but you members of parliament, who keep your priests and bishops in such great fat benefices, have spoiled them all. For do you think they will go into all nations to preach? Or will go any farther than a great fat benefice? Judge yourselves whether they will or not.'

At another time, the widow of old lord Fairfax with a great company came; one of whom was a priest. I was moved to declare the truth to them, and the priest asked me, 'Why we said thou and thee to people? For he counted us fools and idiots for speaking so.' I asked him, 'Whether those who translated the scriptures and made the grammar books were fools and idiots, since they translated the scriptures, and made the grammar like this, (thou to one, and you to more than one)? If they were fools and idiots, why had not he and such as he, who looked upon themselves as wise men and could I not bear thee and thou to a singular, altered the grammar and bible to put the plural instead of the singular? But if they were wise men, who translated the bible and had made the grammar books, then I wished him to consider whether they were not fools and idiots themselves, who did not speak as their grammars and bibles taught them; but were offended with us, and called us fools and idiots for speaking so!' Thus the priest's mouth was stopped, and many of the company acknowledged the truth, and were pretty loving and tender. Some would have given me money but I would not receive it.

After this came one called Dr. Cradock, with three priests, the governor and his lady, (so called), and another who was called a lady, with a great company. Dr. Cradock asked me, ‘what I was in prison for? 'I told him,'for obeying the command of Christ and the apostle, in not swearing. But if he, being both a doctor and a justice, could convince me that after Christ and the apostle had forbidden swearing, they had commanded christians to swear, then I would swear. Here was the bible, I told him, and he might if he could show me any such command.' He said, 'it is written you shall swear in truth and righteousness.' 'Yes,' I said, 'it was written so in Jeremiah's time; but that was many ages before Christ commanded not to swear at all; but where is it written so since Christ had forbidden all swearing? I could bring as many instances out of the Old Testament for swearing as you and maybe more; but of what good are they to prove swearing lawful in the New Testament since Christ and the apostle had forbidden it? ‘Besides,' I said, 'in that text where it is written, "you shall swear," what you was this that should swear? Was it you Gentiles, or you Jews?' To this he would not answer; but one of the priests that were with him answered, 'it was to the Jews that this was spoken.' 'Then Dr. Cradock confessed it was so.' 'Very well,' I said, ‘but where did God ever give a command to the Gentiles to swear? For you know that we are Gentiles by nature.' 'Indeed,' he said, ‘in the gospel times everything was to be established out of the mouths of two or three witnesses; but there was to be no swearing then.' 'Why, then,' I said, 'do you force oaths upon christians, contrary to your own knowledge in the gospel times? And why,' I said, 'do you excommunicate my friends?' (For he had excommunicated many both in Yorkshire and Lancashire). He said, 'For not coming to church.' 'Why,' I said, 'you left us more than twenty years ago, when we were but young lads and lasses, to the Presbyterians, Independents, and Baptists, many of whom seized our property and persecuted us because we would not follow them. We were young, knew little then of your principles, and the old men that did know them, if you had intended to have kept them to you, and have kept your principles alive, that we might have known them, you should either not have fled from us as you did, or you should have sent us your epistles, collects, homilies, and evening songs; for Paul wrote epistles to the saints, though he was in prison. But they and we might have turned to the Turks or Jews for all you knew, and for any collects, homilies, or epistles we had from you all this while. And now you have excommunicated us, both young and old, and so have others of you done; that is, "you have put us out of your church, before you have got us into it," and before you have brought us to know your principles. Is not this madness in you, to put us out before we were brought in? Indeed, if you had brought us into your church, and when we had been in, if we had done some bad thing, that had been something like a ground for excommunication or putting out again. But,' I said, 'what do you call the church?' 'Why,' he said, 'what you call the steeple-house.' Then I asked him, 'whether Christ shed his blood for the steeple-house? And purchased and sanctified the steeple-house with his blood? And since the church is Christ's bride and wife, and that he is the head of the church, did he think the steeple-house was Christ's wife and bride, and was he the head of that old house, or of his people? 'No,' he said, Christ is the head of his people, and they are the church.' 'But,' I said, 'you have given the title church to an old house which belongs to the people; and you have taught them to believe so.' I asked him also, ‘Why he persecuted Friends for not paying tithes? And whether God ever commanded the Gentiles to pay tithes? And whether Christ had not ended tithes when he ended the Levitical priesthood that took tithes? And whether Christ, when he sent his disciples to preach, had not commanded them to preach freely as he had given them freely? And whether all the ministers of Christ are not bound to observe this command of Christ?' He said, 'he would not dispute that.' Neither did I find he was willing to stay on that subject; for he presently turned to another matter, and said, 'you marry, but I know not how.' I replied, ‘it may be so, but why do you not come and see?' Then he threatened that he would use his power against us, as he had done.' I told him, ‘take heed; for he was an old man.' I asked him also, 'where he read, from Genesis to Revelation, that ever any priest did marry any? I wished him to show me an example, if he would have us come to them to be married; for, I said, you excommunicated one of my friends about his marriage two years after he was dead. And why did you not excommunicate Isaac, and Jacob, and Boaz, and Ruth? For we do not read they were ever married by the priests; but they took one another in the assemblies of the righteous, in the presence of God and his people; and so do we. So all the holy men and women, which the scripture speaks of in this practice, we have on our side.' We had much discussion; but when he found he could get no advantage on me, he went away with his company.

With such people I was much exercised while I was there; for most people who came to the castle would desire to speak with me, and I had great disputes and reasonings with them. But as to Friends, I was as a man buried alive; for though many came far to see me, few were allowed to come to me; and when any Friend came into the castle about business, if he only looked in my direction, they would rage at him. At last the governor came under trouble himself; for having sent out a privateer to sea. They took some ships that were not enemies' ships, but their friends' ships; whereupon he was brought into trouble; after which he grew somewhat friendlier to me. Before this I had a marshal set over me to get money from me, but I would not to give him a farthing; and when they found they could get nothing from me, he was taken off again. The officers often threatened me that I would be hanged over the wall. No, the deputy-governor told me once, that the king, knowing I had great interest in the people, had sent me there; and if there should be any stirring in the nation, they would hang me over the wall to keep the people down. Awhile after this there was a marriage at a Papist's house, upon which occasion a great many of them met together and talked much of hanging me. But I told them, 'if that was what they desired, and it was permitted them, I was ready; for I never feared death or sufferings in my life; but I was known to be an innocent, peaceable man, free from all stirrings and plottings, and one that sought the good of all men.' Afterwards, the governor having grown kinder, I spoke to him, when he was to go to London to the parliament, and desired him to speak to him that was called Squire Marsh, Sir Francis Cobb, and some others; and let them know how long I had laid in prison, and for what; which he did. When he came back again, he told me that Squire Marsh said, ‘he would go a hundred miles barefoot for my liberty, he knew me so well;' and several others, he said, spoke well of me. From this time forward the governor was very loving to me.

Among the prisoners were two very bad men, who often sat drinking with the officers and soldiers; and because I would not sit and drink with them, it made them more against me. Once when these two prisoners were drunk, one of them (whose name was William Wilkinson, a Presbyterian, who had been a captain), came and challenged me to fight with him. Seeing what condition he was in, I got out of his way; and the next morning, when he was more sober, I showed him 'how unmanly a thing it was for him to challenge a man to fight, whose principle, he knew, was not to strike; but if he were stricken on one ear, he was to turn the other. I told him that if he had a mind to fight, he should have challenged some of the soldiers that could have answered him in his own way. However, since he had challenged me, I had now come to answer him with my hands in my pockets; and (reaching my head towards him) here, I said, here is my hair, here are my cheeks, here is my back.' With that he skipped away from me, and went into another room; at which point the soldiers fell laughing; and one of the officers said, 'you are a happy man that can bear such things.' Thus he was conquered without a blow. But after awhile he took the oath, gave bond, and got out of prison; and not long after the Lord cut him off.

While I was prisoner at Lancaster and Scarborough, there were great imprisonments in that year and the former years. At London many Friends were crowded into Newgate and other prisons, where there was sickness; and many died in prison. Many also were banished, and several were sent on shipboard by the king's order. Some masters of ships would not carry them, but set them on shore again; yet some were sent to Barbados, Jamaica, and Nevis, and the Lord blessed them there. One master of a ship was very wicked and cruel to Friends that were put on board his ship; for he kept them down under decks, though the sickness was among them; so that many died of it. But the Lord visited him for his wickedness; for he lost most of his seamen by the plague, and lay several months crossed with contrary winds, though other ships went out and made their voyages. At last he came before Plymouth, where the governor and magistrates would not allow him nor any of his men to come ashore, though he had need of many provisions for his voyage; but Thomas Lower, Arthur Cotton, John Light, and some other Friends went to the ship's side and carried necessities for the Friends that were prisoners on board. The master, being thus crossed and vexed, cursed those that had put freight upon his ship; and said, 'he hoped he should not go far before he was taken.' And when the vessel had gone only a little while gone out of sight of Plymouth, she was captured by a Dutch man of war and carried into Holland. When they came into Holland, the states sent the banished Friends back to England, with a letter of passport, and a certificate, 'that they had not made an escape, but were sent back by them.' But in time the Lord's power wrought over this storm, and many of our persecutors were confounded and put to shame.

After I had lain prisoner above a year in Scarborough castle, I sent a letter to the king, in which I gave him 'an account of my imprisonment, and the bad usage I had received in prison; and also that I was informed no man could deliver me but he.' After this, John Whitehead being at London, and having acquaintance also with him that was called Squire Marsh, he went to visit him and spoke to him about me; and he undertook, if John Whitehead would get the state of my case drawn up, to deliver it to the master of requests, whom he called Sir John Birkenhead, who would endeavor to get a release for me. So John Whitehead and Ellis Hookes drew up a relation of my imprisonment and sufferings, and carried it to Marsh; and he went with it to the master of requests, who procured an order from the king for my release. The substance of the order was, ‘that the king being certainly informed that I was a man principled against plotting and fighting, and had been ready at all times to discover plots, rather than to make any, therefore his royal pleasure was, that I should be discharged from my imprisonment.' As soon as this order was obtained, John Whitehead came to Scarborough with it, and delivered it to the governor; who, upon receipt of that, gathered the officers together, and, without requiring bond or sureties for my peaceable living, being satisfied that I was a man of a peaceable life, he discharged me freely, and gave me the following passport:

Permit the bearer hereof, George Fox, late a prisoner here, and now discharged by his majesty's order, quietly to pass about his lawful occasions, without any molestation. Given under my hand at Scarborough castle, this first day of September, 1666.


JORDAN CROSLANDS, Governor of Scarborough castle.


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