The Missing Cross to Purity


Text in Light Blue or bold Light Blue can be "clicked" for backup in scripture or detail in writings.



London, 19th day of Second month, [fourth mo.] 1665

DEAR MARGARET, -Last first-day our meetings were quiet in all places in and about this city, the Bull excepted; where they took twelve, who were committed. Since I wrote last to you, there were three Friends shipped in order to be transported, of whom I think T, S. gave you an account : the ship is gone (for what I hear) from the Downs. Last seventh- day T. S. [Thomas Salthouse] with J. Moore went to Kingston, where they were taken at a meeting, and several others; and are committed, some for not giving bond, (as I hear,)—the rest for a month. Things in relation to Truth here are as well as can be, considering how the power of darkness is set against us; and Friends remain still in prison. There is great fear that we shall lose the Bull and Mouth; they go to trial this term about it, and it is to be tried in the King's Bench. The Truth is likely to suffer much, by the loss of it; for it is and has been so noted and public [a meeting place,] that it has been very serviceable.

Ellis Hookes

From the Original

From A Christian Progress by George Whitehead, writing of the death of Robert Hayes, as he was taken on board ship to be transported to Jamaica:

In the year 1665, that very summer in which the plague and mortality were so great, the persecutors in London were busy sending away our friends whom they had sentenced for banishment, and closely detained in prison for that purpose; they accordingly began early in the year to force our friends on ship-board.

The first Friends they shipped were Edward Brush, Robert Hayes, and James Barding:* who, on the 24th day of the first month, 1665, early in the morning, without any timely warning given them, were hurried down from Newgate to Black Friars' stairs, by some of Newgate turnkeys, and from there to Gravesend, and there forced on ship-board. Edward Brush, a very aged man, and a citizen of good repute among his neighbors and many persons of quality, was thus sent away and banished from his dear wife and child. But a more lamentable instance of the persecutors' cruelty in this undertaking was that Robert Hayes had been fasting and was weak in body, having been under a course of medicines. He was taken from prison and was carried forth upon the water to Gravesend; the season was very cold, and having no outward refreshment or relief afforded him by the way of the water, within a very short time after he was put on board ship he died there, and his body was brought up to London and buried in our friends' burying place.

I knew this Robert Hayes, [writes George Whitehead,] he was a very innocent, loving man, a good person, had a fresh comely countenance, seemed healthy, and in his prime and strength when first imprisoned. I was very sorrowfully affected, when I heard how quickly he was dispatched out of the world, by the shameful cruelty and inhuman usage inflicted upon him by those merciless persecutors."—



London, 22nd of Third month, [fifth mo.] 1665

DEAR MARGARET,—I received your letter, and I have spoken to Gilbert Latey who says, he believes it has been Kirby's own procuring from the Secretary; for the judge cannot remove them but by order of law. The governor of Scarboro Castle is here in Town; which is the place, it was reported here, he [George Fox] was to be removed to.

Last first-day our meetings here were quiet, only at the Bull they pulled them out, and let them go. I hear the King sent an order, that there should be no more sent to Newgate by reason of the plague, which increases here very much, thirty dying of it last week as I hear. Friends are kept close in Newgate,— now about seven score. There is a report of sending away eight more shortly. [Doubtless to the ship for banishment.] From your loving friend,

Ellis Hookes

From the Original



The Gate-house, 18th of Seventh month, 1655

[The Gate-house was a prison, where Morgan Watkins has been committed.]

DEAR MARY, In the fellowship of life I dearly salute you; in which you may feel me, if you should never more see me; for I have received my mortal life several times of late from the hand of the Lord, and through faith in his power; for when the messenger of death would have entered, it has been driven back. Blessed be His name, who has kept me, and nineteen more here in this close place, all in health, above these five weeks; notwithstanding three have been buried out of this prison of the sickness. But dreadful and terrible is the hand of the Lord upon all flesh in this wicked city; and which is the same upon the nation in general; and although it has previously fallen heavily upon the poorer sort of people, yet the dregs of the cup are reserved for the fat ones, and the high ones, and the proud ones, and the very oppressors. Good is the hand of the Lord to his own, whose death is gain.—Blessed are they, who in the day time have labored diligently; now night comes, they lie down in rest and peace; but for the idle, night has surprised them as a snare, before they have arrived at Salem, the city of peace.

There is a terrible cry ;—and indeed the miseries that are upon many here, are hardly to be uttered; and yet wickedness is little abated in the persecutors, but they are rather worse in cruelty; for they have found out a new way to murder the innocent and others that they account enemies, by thronging them into infected prisons; and so their cruelty executes them in a short time. Two captains and a lieutenant died there; and several more are here, and nothing is laid to their charge. Many are deceased aboard the ship of the banished Friends. Six of them taken within the Peel and sent to Newgate have left the body, and about thirty more out of both prisons. I suppose you heard Turner is dead; S. Fisher and John Shield are deceased, and very many Friends. Many doctors of physic, who make a great ado about stopping the disease, are dead, and several priests. Several Friends are deceased out of the White Lion [Prison.]

Friends are kept out of the Bull, and the Mayor caused the door to be boarded up close with thick boards; but I think the other meetings are quiet.

The sickness breaks out exceedingly hot in the city, and thousands more die than are in the printed Bills [of mortality,] as I am certainly informed. Fugge the wicked master of the ship is yet in the Compter, [having been arrested and imprisoned for debt before he could sail]. Exceeding great is the exercise of Friends here, that none knows but those who are in it. My dear love salutes your husband. Your true friend and brother,

M. W.

From the Penington Collection

{The London plague of 1665 was the first of three calamities to strike England. Over 100,000 people died. Grass grew in the streets. A wagon came through the streets daily, beckoning people to bring out their dead. The details are found in George Whitehead’s journal, in this site, A Christian Progress. Many Quakers also died in this plague, and George Whitehead has a wonderful, dear letter to the remnant that survived, explaining how God had punished their enemies, as well as removed many Quakers from further suffering; found in in Whitehead’s A Christian Progress.

George Whitehead, without freedom to leave the city, served the dying Quakers with great courage and remarkable effort, remaining free from the disease. If you have not already read his account of this calamity, you should.}

No. LV


London, 7th of Ninth month, [eleventh mo.] 1665

DEAR M. F.—My dear love is to you and to all you dear children.

[The state of London during this dreadful visitation, seems to have been most deplorable. The following striking description is taken from Ellis's Original Letters in the British Museum; the letter is addressed to Dr. Sancroft from J. Tillison, and is dated Sept. 14th, 1665, four days previous to the date of the above letter from Morgan Watkins :

"The desolation of the city is very great. That heart is either of steel or stone, that will not lament this sad visitation, and will not bleed for those unutterable woes !—What eye would not weep, to see so many habitations uninhabited,—the poor sick not visited,—the hungry not fed,—the grave not satisfied! Death stares us continually in the face, in every infected person that passes by us,—in every coffin which is daily and hourly carried along the streets. The custom was in the beginning, to bury the dead in the night only; but now both night and day will hardly be time enough to do it.——The Quakers (as we are informed) have buried in their piece of ground a thousand for some weeks together last past."

No. LV


London, 7th of Ninth month, [eleventh mo.] 1665

DEAR M. F.—My dear love is to you and to all your dear children. I have been preserved well, but as a brand is plucked out of the fire, so has the Lord delivered me; for I have often laid down my head in sorrow, and rose as I went to bed, and not slept a wink, for the groans of those who lay dying; and every morning I counted it a great mercy that the Lord gave me another day.

They keep us out of the meeting at the Bull on the first and fourth-days, but on the fifth-days we meet therein. Last first-day, they carried Esther Biddle and another woman to prison, for speaking in the street, and struck Esther over the face with their axe-head spears. Our meetings are quiet everywhere else. Friends are generally well, both in prison, in the ship, and at Newgate, and those who are at liberty. No more that one a-day is buried ; whereas there used to be sixteen or eighteen, and sometimes twenty a-day buried; for several weeks together it was so. These are a list of the names of those who died in Newgate and in the ship; which yet remains where it did.

[Then follows the names, making up the following totals.] Died, that were sentenced for banishment, 22 names. Dead, that came from Peale, 5 names. Dead, that came from Mile-end, 25 names. Died in the ship, 27 names.

Ellis Hookes

From the Original



London, 5th of Tenth month, [twelfth mo.] 1665

I SUPPOSE you heard of our release awhile ago. I have been fairly weak, since I have come out into the air from prison; but through the great love of my God I am wonderfully preserved, to the praise of his name. But the two imprisonments in Newgate and the one at the Gatehouse, have much weakened my body, in which I have had several battles with death; but the power of my God arose and gave me dominion over the distemper and weakness of the flesh. The day was dreadful to all flesh, and few were able to abide it, and stand in the judgment; but the Lord was very merciful to the remnant of his people, and his blessed seed is arising in many vessels. Our meetings are quiet, save only the Bull and Mouth, which is locked out. They is beginning to appear a large number of strange faces and good honest countenances, who with exceeding hungers, have receive the Truth. Gilbert Latey is in health, and so is Amos Stoddart, but he has buried his wife. Alexander Parker is at Bristol. There is no stranger Friend here at present but myself, and the work is very great. George Whitehead is in Essex.— William Caton* is out of the body, [deceased,] as was so I was informed to me two days since.

*{This would be particularly bad news to Margaret, for Will Caton was the live-in childhood companion of her son. He become as second son to her. They were both convinced with George Fox’s first visit, and grew up in the Lord together; Margaret serving as a mother in the flesh and spirit to Will.}

The city is beginning to fill again. I have account of 920 Friends and Friends' children and servants that were buried in our burial place, since the 25th of the 1st month 1665; but I think not much above half were Friends. The ship with Friends aboard are still in the river; and all in Newgate are pretty well, and have much liberty.—The Bishop of Salisbury is dead; and this day I heard that Canterbury was dead, but I am not certain ; and also another, but his name I know not. So at present I rest your truly loving friend and brother, in the fellowship of the everlasting Gospel.

Morgan Watkins

From the Original

The next letters deal with the Great Fire of London, 1666; God’s second calamity delivered to the English nation for their persecutions of God’s people.



London, 2nd of Eighth month, [tenth mo.] 1666

DEAR M. F.—My dear love in the Truth is to you. I have lately been in the country, which is the cause of my not writing to you.

People are in a great confusion here, by reason of the fire which happened in this city, to the great destruction and ruin of the same; which has not been without a just cause of provocation of the Lord by this generation; who have lifted up themselves against the Lord and their hearts have been given up to pride and vanity, and not to seek the Lord; but rather to persecute those who were true seekers of Him, and who delighted in his ways.

There was a young man that came out of Huntingdonshire, to warn the King to set Friends at liberty; or else, within two days, destruction would occur.* He went to Whitehall the day before the fire; but they would not admit him to come to the King: but the next morning he went again, and was admitted to speak to him in the presence-chamber. Here was last week another man Friend, who came out of Staffordshire to speak with the King, and to deliver a paper; and indeed a very plain and honest man he is, and he had a great weight upon him. Going towards Whitehall last sixth-day morning, he soon met the King in his coach, (as it was supposed) going hunting. And he stepped to the coach side, and laid his hand upon it, and said: "King Charles, my message this day is to you, in the behalf of God's poor, afflicted, suffering people ;" and gave him his paper, which indeed were weighty words, and pressed him on to read it. The King said, "How do you think I can read it now? So he told the King that his message was unto him,—"that the people of God might have their liberty from under the great bondage, that you and your laws have laid upon them." Then the King replied and said, that he and his Parliament were to consider of it. The Friend told him, "if they were to consider setting the afflicted people of the Lord at liberty, it might be a means to stop the judgments of the Lord; but if they did continued their bonds, the Lord God would multiply his judgments the more upon them." Then the Friend moved the sufferings of Friends at Reading, and told him that their sufferings cried very much in the ears of the Lord against him; and unless he set them at liberty from under the cruel law of premunire, their cries would not be stopped, but would be turned double upon his head. Then the King said, that they had not obeyed the law of the nation. Then the Friend told him, that if the laws he and Parliament made were compatible with the law of God, then he could fairly try whether they walked contrary to that; and so pressed him to set Friends at liberty, or else the Lord would bring worse judgments upon him. And he told him, that the Lord had pleaded with this city, with plagues, sword, and with fire; and so left him. When he came to the coach side, the footman took off his hat; but the King told him to give the man his hat again, and was very mild and moderate.

So this is the most at present.—His name is Adam Barfoote.

I saved your book from the fire, and last seventh-day I gave it to W. Warwick.

Ellis Hookes

*{George Whitehead has a completely different account of this prophecy with strange circumstances around the man who delivered it. He was named Thomas Ibbott of Ibbit in Sewel’s and Whitehead’s account. Both men were from Huntingdonshire, but their names are so different, this account being Adam Barfotte, that it is possible there were two different men, with similar prophecies to warn the King. In Sewel’s and Whitehead’s account, we do not know if Ibbott ever warned the King or not.}

From the Original

[The narratives given in the Diaries of Evelyn and Pepys, (who were eye witnesses), of the great fire of London, are sad indeed. Evelyn writes;

Sept. 3. The fire continued all this night (if I may call that night, which was light as day for ten miles round about), after a dreadful manner—when conspiring with a fierce eastern wind in a very dry season. I went on foot to the (Bank side in Southwark), and saw the whole south part of the city burning from Cheapside to the Thames, and all along Cornhill, Tower Street, Fenchurch Street, Gracious Street, and so along to Bainard's Castle, and was now taking hold of St. Paul's Church. The conflagration was so universal, and the people so astonished, that from the beginning, (I know not by what despondency or fate), they hardly stirred to quench it; so that there was nothing heard or seen but crying out and lamentation, and running about like distracted creatures. Oh! the miserable and calamitous spectacle! such as haply the world had not seen the like since the foundation of it, nor to be outdone until the universal conflagration. All the sky was of a fiery aspect-like the top of a burning oven; the light [being] seen above forty miles round about for many nights. The poor inhabitants were dispersed about St. George's Fields and Moorfields, as far as Highgate, and several miles in circle; some under tents, some under miserable huts and hovels, many without a rag or necessary utensils, bed or board; who, from delicateness, riches, and easy accommodations in stately and well furnished houses, were now reduced to the most extreme misery and poverty," vol. i. p. 372—374.]



London, 13th of Ninth month, [eleventh mo.] 1666

DEAR M. F.—Though for some time I have been silent in this manner of speaking to you by writing, yet my love is not in any measure diminished, but rather increased to you; and I often remember you in your sufferings; and you (with all the faithful in Christ) are dear and near unto me. I hope you are, as formerly, sensible of the integrity and innocent true simplicity of my heart, both towards God and all his people; for Truth is my delight, and in the work and service of God I labor; it is my meat and drink to do the will of God, and therein I am fully resolved to continue, even to the end.

I have for some time been in and about Bristol, where the work of God is still very precious, as dear T. Salthouse can inform you. Since my departure from thence, I have had good service on the Lord's behalf in several parts of Wiltshire and at Reading, where Friends are generally well, but kept prisoners as formerly. Ann Curtis is at liberty, but Thomas Curtis, and G. Lamboll, and J. Cole with his two brothers, and about thirty-two or thirty-three more, are prisoners. I was also at Wycomb, where Friends at present are in good health. John Raunce has been much exercised in his family; five died out of it of the sickness, and his two daughters were near death, but are recovered. At present he and his family are well, and are going abroad again. I was at Aylesburyto visit Isaac Penington and the prisoners there, four in all, who were well; from there I passed to Amersham, and so to Kingston, where I was taken prisoner and committed for seven days.

On fourth-day last, I came to this sad ruined city, the sight whereof did sadden my spirit; considering that the end of woes are not yet come; but in the will of God I am satisfied, knowing assuredly, that in, through, and over all these things, Truth shall arise and prosper, and shall be exalted forever and ever. Great fears has surprised the hearts of thousands here, and great talk there has been of a bloody massacre intended by the papists, which has raised great contests in the Houses of Parliament; and this day is a proclamation come forth against them; it is likely that it will not be long before you see the contents of it.

Friends here are generally well, and meetings thronging full and very peaceable. George Fox is not yet come into the city; last sixth-day at night he lay at Aylesbury, and on the seventh-day intended to pass to William Barber's, four miles from Albans : he was expected here this night; we hope he will be here very shortly. We are pretty many of the laboring brethren in the city, namely: George Whiteheat, John Whitehead, Thomas Loe, Josiah Coale, Thomas Rolfe, and myself. I this day received a letter from Thomas Salthouse; if with you, remember my dear love to him, and to John and Margaret Rouse, Sarah, Mary, Susan, and Rachel Fell, with all the rest of your family and friends, who love and obey the Truth. My heart in the true love of God is knit unto you all; in which I bid you farewell; and rest,

Your brother in the Truth that lives forever.

Alexander Parker

From the Original



London, 6th of First month, [third mo.] 1668

DEARLY BELOVED, All Friends here are well in general, and our meetings very full and peaceable at present.

As concerning Friends' proceedings at the Court, at present I need not say anything of it, for E. Stubbs, it is likely, will inform you. What may be done, I do not know; but the Lord's will be done, into whose will and living power, I, with many more, are wholly and freely given up, and to what He sees good for us; knowing by good experience to our great comfort, that He will allow no more to be laid on us, than what he will also enable us to bear. We hear that George Fox has gone to Berkshire and is expected to be here this week. There are but few Friends in the ministry here now, except John Burnyeat and J. Coale, who came last seventh-day.

With my dear love,

William Callow

From the original apparently, bearing the post mark.

In Besse's Sufferings, Chapter XX, under "Isle of Man," is a long and sad narrative of the cruel persecutions, to which this Friend, William Callow, his wife and family, were subjected. Repeated attempts were made, at the instigation chiefly of the Bishop of the Island and the Governor, to banish this Friend and others; but they were again and again sent back to the Island by order of magistrates of the districts in England and Ireland, where they had been sent. In 1666, W. Callow came to London, and obtained from the Prince Rupert a letter to the Earl of Derby, interceding on his behalf; in which W. C. is described as an ancient tenant of the Earl in the Isle of Man, and who "is now, it seems, turned Quaker, and for that reason banished the country." "If (adds the Prince) there is no more in it than being a Quaker, I do presume your Lordship may be inclined to restore him and his family to their ancient possessions; and that you may please to do so, is the reason of my giving your Lordship this trouble."

The Earl's reply is conclusive against the application,—briefly stating that he would not have the island infected with schism; it being then clear, as he said, of Quakers and Dissenters. The account of the severe persecutions against this Friend and the few others in that island, occupy several folio pages of Besse; who concludes the same with the following paragraph :—" Thus have we traversed an almost unparalleled series of persecutions, carried on many years together, by the arbitrary power of an inexorable prelate, against a Christian and harmless people, for no other cause than the exercise of pure religion, and keeping of a conscience void of offence both toward God and man."

[The letter of W. Callow has upon it a seal with this motto, " 1660. God above Keep us in his light and love," —the rest broken off. One of Richard Farnsworth's letters had a seal with a skull, and the superscription "Memento mori:"—very generally the initials of the writers' names are contained on the seals :—" a flaming sword," with his initials, was upon one of George fox's seals, which he left specially with other articles in his will.]

No. LX


London, 19th of Third month, [fifth mo.] 1668

I perceive that you have been informed that the Parliament is adjourned until the 11th day of sixth month; and nothing is done as regards the renewing of the bill for transportation. (The three-year Conventicle Act had expired). Meetings here and in all parts are peaceable, and like to be, as far as we can perceive. Friends here determine now to press the King and Council to consider of the returns out of all the counties, concerning the prisoners in the jails of England; and to that end Thomas Moore was this last week sent for, who is now come up to move the King to the prosecution of so good a work. Doctor Lower has improved his interest of late with some Lords of the Royal Society, to plead with the King on your behalf for liberty; but Pharaoh's heart is so hard. There is at present at this place, of those who labor in the work of the ministry, George Whitehead, Josiah Coale, John Grave, James Batt, Samuel Thornton, John Stubbs, and Samuel Hooten, son of old Elizabeth Hooten. We had very large and precious meetings here last first-day. Your faithful friend in Truth.

Thomas Salthouse

From the original, addressed to Lancaster (where Margaret was prisoner)



London, 22nd of Seventh month, [ninth mo.] 1668


I received your letter dated 15th of the sixth month; and I have been most of the time with George Fox in Hampshire and that way, so that I could not well write an answer. This last week Thomas Moore has been twice with the King on two Council days, and spoke to him concerning the prisoners. The King told him they were too occupied with other business; and so he has been put off, and nothing is likely to be done.

If you write to me, direct your letters to John Staples, a grocer, near the Three Cups, Aldersgate street, London. The Parliament is again adjourned.

Ellis Hookes

From the Original



Newington, the 15th of Eleventh month, 1668 [first mo., 1669.]

DEAR SISTER, We have had several precious meetings, since the General Meeting, for the gathering of those who have gone astray; in which the power and glory so irresistibly broke in upon them, that many of them were very much broken, and gave open testimonies against that spirit which had seduced them from the unity of Friends, very much to the satisfaction of the faithful. The power wrought so effectively among them, that Friends had little need to set forth the evil of the courses they had followed; for they themselves gave sufficient testimony of the evil of it. The bowels of Friends were so enlarged towards them, that I believe there will be meetings appointed for the gathering of them, so long as any, that are honest among them, are left unreturned to the body. Your dearly loving brother.

John Rouse

From the original apparently.

[John Rouse also mentions in the letter of the above extract, his mother and Rachel being there, and of Rachel going to Shacklewell school. G. Fox had advised the establishment of this school the year before, “for instructing girls and young maidens in whatever things were civil and useful in the creation."—Journal (1667.) The Quakers were the first to educate women in a means to earn a living.]

{Regarding those who went astray; this was the first serious split of the early Quakers, and was started by John Perrot. The issue was the men’s removal of hats during prayer. Perrot claimed this custom was a violation of conscience, and led many immature Quakers into a separation over this issue. See Ellwood's account of Perrot and his joining him out of immature ignorance. Fox and the mature Quaker leadership worked very hard to successfully bring most of those back into the body. See George Fox’s Letter 214 for a complete discussion of this deceitful spirit.}

George Fox in his Journal, under date of this year, writes: "We had great service at London this year, and the Lord's Truth came over all; and many that had been out from Truth, came in again this year, confessing and condemning their former outgoings." … we had several meetings with them, and the Lord's everlasting power was over all, and set judgment on the head of what had run out. In these meetings, which lasted whole days, several who had run out with John Perrot and others, came in again; and condemned that spirit which led them [with him] to keep on their hats when Friends prayed, and when they themselves prayed. Some of them said, that—if Friends had not stood, they had been gone, and had fallen into perdition."

Thomas Ellwood, one of those deceived into following this false freedom, also mentions the "memorable meeting appointed to be held in London, through a Divine opening in the motion of life, in that eminent servant and prophet of God, George Fox; for the restoring and bringing in again those who had gone out from Truth, and the holy unity of Friends therein, by the means and ministry of John Perrot; a self-appointed minister.

The brief allusion to the subject of this General Meeting in the foregoing letter, comprehends much that is striking and instructive:— further extracts from Thomas Ellwood on the same subject, well deserve to be here added. After giving some information respecting John Perrot and his notions, Thomas Ellwood proceeds to confess, that in the time of his own infancy and weakness of judgment as to Truth, he was himself caught

"in that snare:—but the Lord in tender compassion to my soul, was graciously pleased to open my understanding, and give me a clear sight of the enemy's design in this work; and drew me off from it. But when that solemn meeting was appointed at London, for a travail of spirit in behalf of those who had thus gone out, that they might rightly return, and be sensibly received into the unity of the body again,—my spirit rejoiced, and with gladness of heart I went to it; as did many more of both city and country; and with great simplicity and humility of mind, did honestly and openly acknowledge our outgoing, and take condemnation and shame to ourselves. Thus in the motion of life were the healing waters stirred; and many, through the virtuous power thereof, were restored to soundness; and indeed, not many were lost. And though most of those who thus returned, were such as, with myself, had before renounced the error and forsaken the practice; yet did we sensibly find, that forsaking without confessing, (in case of public scandal), was not sufficient; but that an open acknowledgment (of open offences), as well as forsaking them, was necessary to the obtaining complete remission."

{This entire account is available for reading on this web site.}



London, 10th of Eighth month, [tenth mo.] 1669.

DEAR George Fox—My dear love in the everlasting Truth is unto you and to M. F. This is to let you know, that yesterday morning our dear friend Joseph Fuce laid down the body at Kingston.

This day week the Parliament comes to sit, (begin their legislative session). I thought we might have seen you here about that time. An account of Friends sufferings printed and given them, might be very serviceable at their first coming [together.] I hear the Bishops intend to have a new Act made against us, if they can, at the Parliament ;— the first offence to be imprisonment, and the second offence confiscation of goods.

Ellis Hookes

From the Original

[Both Houses of Parliament, in the spring this year, addressed the King to suppress Conventicles in and near London and Westminster. The next year, 1670, they proceeded to renew the Act against Conventicles, after a lapse of three years from its expiration. It is remarkable how earnestly both Houses of Parliament pressed on this work of persecution. The King; however once more issued his declaration of indulgence in 1672; and at the meeting of Parliament in 1673, the House of Commons again took into consideration the King's declaration of indulgence, and presented another address or rather a reproof against it; after which the King, desiring to please the House, again revoked it in 1673-4.]



*{Margaret, a widow for 11 years, married George Fox on 8-27-1669.}

London, 16th of Eleventh month 1669 [first mo. 1670.]

DEAR M. F.—My dear love to you in the everlasting Truth, which is much in my heart that I cannot express.

I received your letter from Bristol, and shall be as ready to answer your desire to write to you sometimes as ever ; for I honor you,— you are as ever very dear to me in the precious Truth. I parted with George Fox, but now I have been with him all this day; he is very well. I received a letter yesterday from Arthur Cotton at Plymouth, and he informs me that there lately arrived at that place, several Friends from beyond sea, namely: Robert Hodgson, Christopher Bacon, Christopher Holder, Ann Clayton, and two other women Friends. Ann, the other women, and C. Holder are gone towards Bristol.

Yesterday there was a Friend named Richard Carver with the King; he had been John Grove's [a ship master] mate. He was the man that was mate to the master of the fisher-boat that carried the King away, when he fled England after the battle with Cromwell at Worcester; and only this Friend and the master knew of it in the ship. The had carried him [the King] ashore on his shoulders. The King recognized him again, and was very friendly to him; and told him he remembered him, and of several things that were done in the ship at the same time. The Friend told him, the reason why he had not come [forward] all this while was, — that he was satisfied, in that he had peace and satisfaction in himself, that he did what he did to relieve a man in distress; and now he desired nothing from him, except that he would set Friends at liberty, who were great sufferers, (or to that purpose). He told the King he had a paper of 110 persons that had been premunired and had laid in prison about six years; and no one can release them but the King. So the King took the paper,—and said, there were too many names on the list; and should he release them, they would be back in jail within a month. The King also said that the country gentlemen complained to him, that they were so troubled with the Quakers. So he said, he would release six for him; but the Friend thinks he will go to him again, for he had not fully relieved himself.

All things are well and quiet here in relation to the Truth. I am in haste, and cannot write so large as I may when I have more time, it being late; but rest your loving friend,

Ellis Hookes

From the original

[the letter bears the post-mark, and is addressed "For Thomas Greene, shopkeeper in Lancaster, for M. F." It is endorsed by George Fox, thus: " e hookes to m ff of paseges consarning richard carver that carred the king of his backe. 1669.]

The particulars described in the foregoing letter, of what passed at this interview with the King, are curious and interesting, and, it might be said, full of character. On the restoration of the King, many and intense were the applications for favors and pensions, by those who had hopes of making out any case of personal service towards the monarch in his distress, at a time when a large Parliamentary premium was set upon his head, and during his extraordinary escape from this country in 1654. This accounts for the remark of Richard Carver why he had not come forward earlier, (nine years had elapsed since his assisting the King). The honest simplicity of his answer, and his unselfish appeal to the King on behalf of his suffering brethren in the jails are a testimony to the Richard Carver’s measure of Christ.



London, 15th of Twelfth month, 1669, [second mo. 1670.]

DEAR George Fox,

As for the Friend that was with the king, his love is to you; he has been with the king lately, and Thomas Moore was with him; and the king was very loving to them. He had a fair and free opportunity to open his mind to the king. The king has promised to do for him, but willed him to wait a month or two longer.

I rest your faithful friend to serve you,

Ellis Hookes

From the Original



London, 27th of Third mo. [fifth mo.] 1670.

DEAR M. F.—My dear love is unto you in the unchangeable Truth, even the same as it was from the beginning; the Truth is my life and delight above all things in this world. I have the most cause of any man to remember the Lord's love to me, because I have partaken of so many mercies both inwardly and outwardly, blessed be his name forever! My heart is every day engaged more and more unto him; and the more I taste, the more I desire of his love and kindness. The chief cause of my writing is, to give you an account how it is with us. I do judge that you have heard about this, how George Fox was taken on the first-day after the Act came forth, at Gracious street, for speaking in the court to the people. The mayor was very civil to him.* The last first-day the meetings were very quiet everywhere, except at Gracious street; they took W. Warwick, and had him before the mayor, who fined him. All else was quiet within doors, and very full meetings; and every day else this week all was very quiet, and within doors in all places in and about the city. Last first-day they broke up Watson's meeting the Presbyterian, at Devonshire House. I stood by, and saw them take three away before the mayor; one of them seemed to be a young non-conforming priest. George Fox is about Waltham, and I think may not come to town while next week. The king has been at Dover two weeks; he is expected in again this day; and then, they talk about the town we shall have toleration. This is the sum of what I have to write at present, from your loving friend,

Ellis Hookes

From the Original

*See George Fox's Journal for a detailed account of his arrest on this occasion.

This was a period of renewed severities and persecutions against Friends, and also other dissenters. The Act against Conventicles of 1664, continued in force for about three years. The sufferings of the early Quakers were many under the operation of this cruel law. "The execution of it," (G. Whitehead remarks) "tended to the great oppression and ruin of many of the king's innocent peaceable subjects and families, especially of the people called Quakers, whom the persecutors in that three years’ time, (while the said Act was in force), furiously endeavored to rid the nation of by banishment, or to force them to conform to the church of England, the church of the persecutors."

In the year 1670, this Act was again renewed. There were clauses added to this renewed Act, of yet greater rigor than before; it was to be "construed most largely and beneficially for the suppressing of Conventicles, (riotous or seditious meetings, threatening the peace of the land), and for the justification and encouragement of all persons to be employed in the execution of it." [Extract from the Act.]

The agents chiefly employed for that work, were generally a company of idle, profligate, and mercenary informers, who received one-third of the fines imposed by the Act for any meeting on which they informed and which resulted in a conviction. "Thus were we exposed and laid open by a law, to be devoured by beasts of prey," (writes Wm. Crouch), "and neither our own innocence, nor our own houses (according to the old maxim in law, a man's house being his castle) could defend us, or preserve us from being ruined by unreasonable and wicked men."

Neale does not appear an unprejudiced writer, when speaking of the Friends of that day; the foregoing testimony coming from him, may therefore be deemed the more worthy of notice. Neale, in his History of the Puritans, speaking of the cruel consequences of this Act against Conventicles, thus expresses himself: " Great numbers were prosecuted under this Act, and many industrious families reduced to poverty."—" The Act was executed with such severity in Starling's Mayoralty [in London,] that many of the trading men of the city were removing with their effects to Holland, until the king put a stop to it. Informers were everywhere at work, and having crept into religious assemblies in disguise, they levied great sums of money upon ministers and people." In an Archbishop's letter to his Bishops in this day, (quoted by Neale), he thus writes, in allusion to the Act and its effects: "I have confidence under God, that if we do our parts now at first seriously, by the assistance of the civil power, considering the abundant care and provision the Act contains for our advantage, we shall in a few months see so great an alteration in the distraction of these times,"—" as that the seduced people would be returning from their seditious and self-seeking teachers, to the unity of the Church," ….

*{Note the ends justifies the means with the Episcopalians. What matter that people are reduced to poverty, stripped of their property, stripped of their furniture, stripped of the tools, stripped of their food - after all they are seduced people, being returned to the unity of the Church. And so the Whore was drunk on the blood of the saints.}

After alluding to the various contrivances of the non-conformist ministers to evade the effects of this Act, Neale proceeds to describe the conduct of Friends under it. "

The behavior of the Quakers was very extraordinary, and had something in it that looked like the spirit of martyrdom. They met at the same place and hour as in times of liberty; and when the officers came to seize them, none of them would stir; they went all together to prison; they staid there until they were dismissed, for they would not petition to be set at liberty, nor pay the fines set upon them, nor so much as the prison fees. When they were discharged, they went to their meeting-house again as before; and when the doors were shut by order, they assembled in great numbers in the street before the doors; saying, they would not be ashamed, nor afraid, to own their meeting together in a peaceable manner to worship God; but in imitation of the prophet Daniel, they would do it the more publicly, because they were forbidden. Some called this obstinacy, others firmness; but by it they carried their point, the Government being weary of contending against so much resolution."—p. 073—676. vol. ii. History of the Puritans. No.



Wansworth, 15th of Sixth month [eighth mo.] 1670

DEAR SISTER, Meetings yesterday were pretty quiet, to what they have been sometimes. I was yesterday at Gracious-street meeting, which was in the street;—and as near as I could judge several thousands [were] at it; but by reason of the multitude of rude people who came mostly to gaze, it was more like a tumult than a solid assembly; which was no small grief to me to see. William Penn was there, and spoke most that was spoken. There were some watchmen with axe-head spears, and musketeers came to take him down while he was speaking; but the multitude crowded so close about him, that they could not come to him; but to prevent further disturbance,He promised, when the meeting was done, to come to them; and so he and one Mead [William] who is lately convinced, went to them. They carried them before the mayor, and he committed them for a riot. I hear the mayor was very rough with William Perm.

{See a complete record of William Penn's and William Mead's incredible trial at Old Bailey, and the remarkable results that still influence our court system today.}

Thomas Beedle was committed from Horsleydown meeting for speaking. Many of the professors'* meetings were broken up, and some committed; but they skulk very much up and down in holes and corners, and when they are discovered, fly away. I have not much to add for you, but that we are all well; and remember our dear love to my mother, thyself, our sisters, our little ones, and the rest. Your dearly loving brother,

*{The act affected Puritans, Baptists, Presbyterians, as well as Quakers. But the other sects were very devious in their trying to hide their meetings. Presbyterians frequently met with everyone ready to eat food, should the authorities break in on them, pretending they had met only to eat together, not worship. This practice was strongly forbidden by Fox, and being out of the Truth and a shame to the people of God.}

John Rouse

From the Original



London, the 5th of the First month, [thin! mo.] 1671

DEAR M. F.—My dear love in the everlasting Truth is unto you and to all your family. My soul is bound up with you in the covenant of love and life; and I hope I shall never give you occasion to forget me, but that I may be still in your remembrance when you call upon the Lord for my trials and exercises are many, and my bodily weakness is a great exercise to me; but I have left off all my employment in printing books, by reason of my weakness.

Dear Margaret, all my care is, that I may lay my head down in peace and rest with the Lord Jesus, whom I have loved from a child, and in whom my trust is forevermore; who has still supported me in all my trials, troubles, and exercises, that I have met with,— blessed be the Lord ! who is a present help to all that trust in Him in the time of their need.

Here is a ship lately arrived from Barbados; and I suppose you will receive some account from some others concerning your dear husband, (very sick in Barbados), who, I understand, is very well again. I saw a letter from John Hull, who intends to come over again in William Baily's or J. Freeman's ship. It seems the council there have been very busy, in endeavoring to make an Act, in imitation of the Act here, against conventicles; but they find some opposition against it, so that, it may be, it may come to little. There is great pressing of seamen, and beating up for volunteers to send to France; so that it is likely to be a dismal summer. Here are two ambassadors from Holland, and very fair offers, as I hear, for an accommodation, and from Spain likewise; which makes a rumor as if our king would stand neutral, and not assist either France or Holland; but this is much doubted by many.

Things are pretty well and quiet here, in relation to Friends and Truth; only [we are] kept out of our meetings at Ratcliff and Wheeler street still, but not by soldiers; and sometimes we are let in, when the constable is moderate. Things are pretty quiet generally in the counties also; and the good seed grows up and increases, in the midst of the troubles that are in the world.

I rest your loving friend.

Ellis Hookes

From the Original



London, 3rd of Eighth month [tenth mo.] 1671

DEAR M. F.—My dear love is unto you, in what is beyond expression; and though I am outwardly but weak, still the Lord knows that my heart is fervent unto him, and he lifts up my head, else I should faint and fall under.

Ann Travers and her daughter's dear love is to you. Things are pretty quiet and well here at present. The parliament is prorogued until the 20th of October, 1672. There is likely to be war again, some talk, between Holland and England; but France and Holland go certainly to war. There has been a great deal of hurt done by the last great storm; above 100 sail cast were away. Samuel Ellis is judged to be lost, also two more Friends' vessels, men and all. William Baily and J. Tiplady were in the storm, but were preserved. It has broken down the banks in Lincolnshire, and drowned the country for twelve miles, and carried away their corn and cattle and goods, and some were drowned. A storm of this magnitude has not been heard of for many years. This is the most from your loving friend.

Ellis Hookes

From the Original


{This release from prison of 500 Quakers, some imprisoned for ten to fifteen years, was a great accomplishment and a significant achievement.} In George Whiteheads, A Christian Progress, a complete account of successful meeting with the King, and subsequent release efforts, is given and available on the site for reading.


AFTER our hearty commendations—Where as request has been made unto his Majesty, in behalf of the Quakers, who remain at present in several jails and prisons of this kingdom that his Majesty would be pleased to extend his mercy towards them, and give order for their relief; which his Majesty taking into consideration, has thought fit, in order to his clearer information, before he resolve anything therein, to command us to write these our letters unto you: And, accordingly we do hereby will and require you to procure a perfect list or calendar of the names, times, and causes of commitment of all such persons called Quakers, as are remaining in any jail or prison within this county, and to return the same forthwith to this Board. And so nothing doubting of your ready performance of this his Majesty's command, we bid you heartily farewell. From the Court at Whitehall, the — day of March, 1672.

Your loving friends."



London, 3rd of First month, [third mo.] 1672

DEAR S. C.—Before your letter came to my hand, I had drawn up a paper containing the substance of yours, which (before I had yours) Thomas Moore had given to the king, together with a list of the premunired Friends, and of those sentenced for banishment, which hitherto has been effectual, in order to a further inquiry about Friends, &c. How far the king and Council have proceeded, in answer to the request, I leave it to William Crouch to inform you. Your paper is kept for a further occasion, if need be, if our end is not answered by them. But we are encouraged to hope well for several reasons. I could not well send to write to you before, being much exercised for the sufferers. The Council yesterday signed the letters to the sheriffs for a return of Friends' commitments, to the Board; so that they are likely to be received with expedition into the several counties.

My very dear love to you, your wife, R. Crouch, and Friends.

In haste, your dear brother,

George Whitehead

From the Original No



London, 4th of Second month [fourth mo.] 1672

DEAR MOTHER— Last sixth-day the two women took the grant out of the Attorney General's office, and he gave them his fee, which should have been £5; his clerk took but 20s, whereas his fee was 40s. -Yesterday they went with it to the king, who signed it in the Council; and Arlington also signed it, but would take no fees, whereas his foes would have been £12 or £20; neither would Williamson's man take anything,—saying, that if any religion were true, it was ours. Tomorrow it is to pass the signet, and on sixth-day the privy seal, and afterwards the broad seal, which may be done on any day. The power of the Lord has wrought mightily in the accomplishment of it; and the Lord has bowed their hearts wonderfully in it,—blessed be his name for ever!

Your dear son in the Lord,

John Rouse



London, 13th of Sixth month [eighth mo.] 1672

DEAR M. F.—My dear love in the pure Truth, in which is my stay and trust in all exercises, and over all fading things whatsoever. Oh ! the Lord keep me in his power, that I may answer his requirements at all times. I received your letter, dated the first of this month, wherein I was much refreshed. The weakness of my body is such, that it makes the exercises I meet with much more hard; [so that] I am often ready to fall under, by reason thereof.

George Whitehead and I have been much employed this summer in the business of the prisoners' liberty; and it is such a troublesome business to go through, as I have not met with the like. It lies now in the Secretary's hands, ready signed by the king, and wants only dating. I have engrossed it once already, and it contains six of the largest skins of parchment I could get; and I must engross it once more for the Signet Office; and from there it is to go to the Crown Office, or Patent Office, and to be engrossed in Chancery hand, when I suppose it will make at least twelve skins. If we could once get it passed the Signet and Privy Seal, I hope it would soon be done; in the meantime, we must attend in patience. Our meetings here and in most or all parts are very quiet, so far as I know. I have not much more to acquaint you of. My dear love is to your daughters and to all Friends.

I rest your loving friend,

Ellis Hookes

From the Original



London, 1st of Eighth month, [tenth mo.] 1672

DEAR M. F.—My dear love in the precious Truth is unto you and to all your family.

This is chiefly to acquaint you, that now our business, which George Whitehead and myself have taken so much pains and care about this summer, is accomplished, and under the great seal, and two duplicates of the same under the great seal also; the original contains eleven skins of parchment. There were about 500 persons contained in it. How we shall dispense it to the several counties, as yet we are not fully resolved; but expect that a letter from the king's principal Secretary to the respective sheriffs, signifying the pardon, may be effectual to discharge them; but of this you may hear more in the next. I suppose you heard that the Parliament is prorogued. Things are very quiet here, and a great openness there is in the nation, blessed be the Lord; who is establishing his Truth in the earth, and makes use of weak and contemned instruments in his hand, to confound the great and mighty things of the world. I hear that John Stubbs and Solomon Eccles are prisoners in Boston, New England. Friends here did at the Quarterly Meeting take into consideration my pains and care in the service of Truth, and are willing to allow me a man to assist, which is some encouragement to me;—and I hope, through the Lord's assistance, to perform my office in faithfulness to the end. So this is the most at present.

From your loving friend,

Ellis Hookes

From the Original

{Whitehead’s efforts to complete the release of prisoners before the winter cold killed more were incredible, (detailed in his A Christian Progress) not only freed Quakers, but other dissenters as well:} From A Christian Progress:

So that there are a few names of other dissenters, who were prisoners in Bedfordshire, Kent, and Wiltshire, in the same instrument with our friends, and thereby released. I was very glad that they partook of the same benefit, through our industry; for when we had made way, it was easy for them to follow. Indeed I was never hesitant to give any of them advice, if I could, for their help, when any of them have been in straits, and come to me for help. Just because we were of different judgments and societies, that did not diminish my compassion or charity, even towards those who have been my opposers in some cases. (Among these were John Bunyan, the author of the Pilgrim’s Progress, an a explicit opponent of the Quakers and Whitehead, who had published very critical books about Quakers). Blessed be the Lord my God, who is the Father and Fountain of mercies, whose love and mercies in Christ Jesus to us, should oblige us to be merciful and kind one to another, as being required to love mercy, yes, to be merciful, as well as to do justly, and to walk humbly with the Lord our God.}



London, 10th of Tenth month, [twelfth mo.] 1672

DEAR M. F.—My dear love is unto you. I received your letter, and am always glad to hear from you and of your welfare; and am glad to hear you are well returned to your home. We have had no letters lately from your dear husband, [then in the West Indies,] nor from any with him : the last was sent from John Stubbs out of New England. I suppose he is now in Virginia or Maryland. As concerning the business of Friends' liberty, it is fully executed in all counties, except Durham, Cumberland, Lancashire, and Monmouth in Wales, which are still to do; all the rest of the counties are discharged. For Cumberland I sent down a liberate to the sheriff about three weeks since; but it seems by a letter I received from Thomas Stordy, the sheriff was discharged his office the day before; so this night by the post I dispatched another liberate to the new sheriff, which I hope will do effectually. For Durham we have waited until Gilbert Gerrard came, who came last fourth-day; and I expect a liberate to discharge those Friends in a few days. In Lancaster there are but two Friends in that jail inserted in the patent. G. W. and I have been many times to seek the sheriff of that county, but cannot meet with him; but his deputy said, that it is a county palatinate, and he has no power over the prisoners, but the jailer has it by patent; so I think we must be forced to send down one of the patents which must be showed to him, by the first opportunity we can. I have been concerned this week or two with the Council, concerning Thomas Hutson and James Strutt, whose ships, and two more, are stopped by order of the Duke; for they have made an order in Council, that from that day forward not any vessel, little or great, shall go to sea out of any port in England, without guns; great guns, if great ships, and small guns and granadoes, if small ships; and must give bond to fight, if occasion be. This order is procured by the envious petition of some Barbados merchant in this city; which will tend to the great damage of many Friends, whose whole maintenance depends upon the sea trade. Your loving friend,

Ellis Hookes

From the Original

Extract from a Letter of Ellis Hookes to M. F.

Dated London, 24th of Tenth month, [12th mo.] 1672

DEAR M. F. I wrote to you this day two weeks; and I have not much now to write, only to acquaint you, that after much solicitation I have been instrumental to get an order for Thomas Hutson and James Strutt to pass to Barbados, who are gone to the Downs; which was a great satisfaction to many Friends; for nobody would believe they should be allowed to go. I have drawn up another pay [list] of about fifty more [Friends,] still left in prison through omissions and oversights of the clerks [of the peace (?)] and of sheriffs in their returns; which I intend to present, when the Council sits again after the idle days are over.

I have not much more at present, but my love to your children Sarah, Susan and Rachel. I rest your loving friend,

Ellis Hookes

G. W. is out of town at present.

From the Original



London, 9th of Eleventh month, 1673, [first mo. 1674.]

DEAR M. F.—My dear love is unto you, and to all your children.

I received your letter, and I am glad to hear of your safe arrival at your home. And as concerning your husband, and Thomas Lower, (both imprisoned in Worcester Jail), George Whitehead, Thomas Moore, and myself have been much concerned about it. Thomas Moore read your paper to the king in his chamber, and had an hour's time with him. It will be too large to relate all that passed between them; only thus, he was very kind to Thomas, and told him he was not willing to do any such thing of himself; but wished him to come to the Council, (which was last sixth-day was a week); where we attended, and the paper was read in the Council, and the matter debated. And Thomas spoke to the king after the Council; and he told him the result of the Council, which was to this effect,—that there being no law broken by them, he could do nothing; but they were left to the law to right them; so no relief we could have in the case then. The king is very timorous (it being just at the pinch of the Parliament's coming on), of doing anything to displease them, his occasions being so great for money, which might something impede the business. This day week we sent down a letter from Wm. Penn's mother to the Lord Windsor, who is Lord Lieutenant for the county, which is received, as we do understand by George Fox. We hope that the Lord Lieutenant will be wrought upon by the letter of L. Penn, who is well acquainted with him; that the old snare of the oath may be waived at the Sessions.—G. W. and myself have not been deficient in turning every stone that might be advantageous for obtaining their liberty, nor yet shall we desist in the matter; but I fear there is nothing can be done until the term; except they should premunire at the Sessions, and then we must apply ourselves again to the king.

I was this day at the Lord Treasurer's, and I have a grant to have orders for each County, to remit the King's part of the fines (levied by force of the last Act) . If Friends in Lancashire will have one, send me word, they will cost about forty shillings a piece.

The House of Commons sat last fourth-day, and the King was there, and made a speech to them; and the Lord Keeper [and Speaker of the House] made an eloquent one, pressed them earnestly for a speedy supply of money to carry on the war, showing the danger if delayed, and of the ill consequence the disaffection of his people would be to him in this juncture, and that he had never more need of their concurrence; and that whatever was wanting to secure religion or property more than what he had done, let them propose what reasonably they would, and he was ready to receive it.

So, dear Margaret, I have given you an account of things as they stand at present, and in that true and sincere love, which was always in my heart to you, I remain your friend,

Ellis Hookes

From the Original


London, 27th of Eleventh month 1673 [first mo. 1674.]

DEAR M. F.—Our dear love in the truth and sincerity of our hearts, salutes you and your family. E. H. having given you an account before, of our endeavors and labors for your husband's liberty before the Sessions, it is our business now to mention what has passed since. At Sessions they tendered him the oath, through the instigation of Parker,* after some discourse, and fair carriage from the Justices; but they released Thomas Lower, pretending that he had good friends as before. We suspected that Doctor Lower's** soliciting only on his brother's behalf, and procuring a letter to the Lord Lieutenant only for him, might be some impediment to George’s liberty. But now at the beginning of the term, we have procured Habeas Corpus, and sent down to Worcester last seventh-day, to remove G. and his cause to the King's Bench, within ten days' time; since which we could not as yet hear, but expect shortly to hear whether the Sheriff allows of it; if not, we think to proceed on for another. We have done in this, according to George Fox's desire; not doubting if he come up, his bonds will be easier here; for in all likelihood they intend to run him to a premunire at the Assizes at Worcester. We are in haste; so with our love to all your children and Friends that way. Your dear friends and brethren,

George Whitehead

Ellis Hookes

*Justice Parker, who was so severe with them and had them committed. From Fox's Journal, here is the crux of all the Quaker's problems, as confessed by Justice Parker: (follow the money)

Then said justice Parker to him, 'Do you think, Mr. Lower, that I did not have cause to send your father [Fox] and you to prison, when you had such a great meeting that the parson of the parish complained to me that he has lost the greatest part of his parishioners so that when he comes among them, he has scarce any left in his congregation?'

**George Fox states that the brother of his son-in-law, Thomas Lower, was Dr. Lower one of the King's physicians, and had solicited the King for the release of Thomas. The King had granted it, and sent a paper declaring it; but Thomas secluded it because it only provided for his release and not his father-in-law, George.



London, 6th of First month, [third mo.] 1674.

DEAR LOVE,—To whom is my love, and to Thomas Lower and his Mary, and Sarah, Rachel, and Isabel, [daughters of M. F.] and the rest of Friends, in what is over all, and changes not.

There has been a book* given to the King and Council, and both the Houses of Parliament; and they do generally acknowledge the reason of the thing. Friends attended the Parliament, and they were so taken with the thing, that they had intended to have done something, had they sat longer. Friends gave some of them to the Mayor and Aldermen and Common Council; and they called them into the Mayor's Court, and were very civil, and did generally confess the reason of the thing. I have sent to Barbados, and Scotland, and Ireland, and Virginia, for Friends to take the substance, and give to their parliaments, assemblies and governors. They sing them about the streets. I desire that you at your monthly and quarterly meetings would send for some of them, and give them on [the] assizes [to] all the justices, and those who be in power, and bailiffs, or mayors for they do give a great light to dark people. It was given to the judges and the men of the jury, and Friends have distributed many of them to under officers.

*This book is thought to have been; "The Case of the People Called Quakers Relating to Oaths or Swearing," 1673.— Whiting's Catalogue

That which Sarah writes, of some of the family coming up to me, I can say little how I may be ordered; for they moved the Court to have me down to Worcester, and have gotten a habeas corpus and a warrant for the same purpose. A great jumble and work there has been about it; but the Truth is over all, and I am in the Lord's hands. The King can do nothing, since it is in the judges' and the sheriffs' hands; so they suppose that I must go to Worcester assizes or sessions. The salmon you speak of has not yet come, neither do they know by what carrier, nor where he inns.

I had written to you before, but there has been a great jumble about me, and is still; but the Lord is at work among them, and it will be well; blessed be the Lord.* So in haste, my love to you all.

George Fox

*See George Fox's Journal, for the satisfactory termination of his imprisonment and trial.

London, mo:1, day 6, 1674.

From the original, the whole being in George Fox's handwriting, with post-mark.


Southwark, 5th of Third month [fifth mo.] 1674

DEAR M. F.—My dear and tender love is unto you in the Truth, which is pure forever. Blessed be the Lord, whose mercies endure for ever, and who has always had regard to his tender seed; which the enemy has always sought to root out, and to hinder the growth of, inwardly and outwardly; but the Lord has been the stay and strength of his in all their exercises.

Dear Margaret, I suppose you will hear by other hands that your dear husband is discharged of his imprisonment at the Sessions;* so I need not write much. He is coming for London I hear. My dear love is to all your children. I hope we shall see you here at the General Meeting.

From your loving friend and brother,

Ellis Hookes

From the Original. No


[This next letter refers to G. Fox's further imprisonment in Worcester jail under sentence of premunire:*—while laying in this prison he was taken very ill, so that his life was despaired of. His wife, however, interceded with the King for his release, which he was willing to grant by a pardon; this George Fox could not accept, as it implied guilt. He was then a second time brought up to the King's Bench bar on habeas corpus, the eleventh day of twelfth month, for the trial of the errors in his indictment, which were found so many and so gross, that it was quashed; he was then freed by proclamation, after about fourteen months' restraint in or out of the jail .]

*{Premunire was a severe legal sentence, in which all property was lost, and imprisonment was for life. Real property could be restored to the heirs, on the death of the prisoner. Banishment had recently been added to the penalty.}


London, 1st of Tenth month [twelfth mo.] 1674

DEAR George Fox—My fervent upright love salutes you. Your letter per post and [by] E. M., I have. For your business it becomes me not to say what I have endeavored; but I have with much diligence attempted to get all done as I should desire. I am yet resolved to make one push more about it; so that I cannot write a positive and conclusive account until next seventh or second-day; by which time I hope to have an answer of this great man. His uncle lately died, and left him £3000 per annum, and [he] just married, which did divert the matter. I wrote concerning the writ of error, that it must be received in open session, and the record of the judgment certified by the clerk to the judges of the King's Bench; and if then it appear that there is error, to bear a habeas corpus, you shall have one. The King does not know that you have refused a pardon, only that we choose rather a more clear and suitable way to your innocence. I am in London, and intend to say, to do my utmost to secure your release. The Lord God knows I would take your place in prison to release you; but the Lord's will be done.

Dear George, things are pretty quiet, and meetings very full, and precious, and living; blessed be the Lord God forever!

As for the sufferings [printing of the records of Quaker sufferings], I have spoken to George Whitehead; they say there is not stock for such a work; that they have neither press nor materials for such a considerable work; and that £1500 will scarcely do it.

The name of the everlasting Lord God be blessed and praised, for His goodness and mercies, forever, said my soul.—He is our blessed rock,—the life, joy, and length of our days,—the blessed portion of those who believe and obey.

My unchangeable love flows to you, dear George, and in it I salute you, your dear wife, and Thomas Lower, and Mary Lower, with Friends.

I am, your true and respectful friend,

William Penn

From the original: addressed lo Edward Bourne, Physician, in Worcester. For G. F.

From an original letter of William Penn to George Fox, (which came to hand while this sheet was in type), "dated 20th of ninth 1674," the following extract is made :—

"A Lord, a man of noble mind, did as good as put himself in a loving way to get your liberty. He prevailed with the King for a pardon; but that we rejected. Then he pressed for a more noble release, that better answered Truth. He prevailed, and got the King's hand to a release. It is held up with the Lord Keeper; and we have and do use what interest we can. The King is angry with him, and promised very largely and lovingly; so that if we have been deceived, you can understand why. Things are magnificent as to Truth in these parts,—and great conviction upon people."



London, 27th of Tenth month [twelfth mo.] 1675

DEAR George Fox—My very dear and sincere love in Christ Jesus, is hereby manifested to you; even that pure unchangeable love, which the God of my life did shed abroad in my heart in the dawning of his blessed day; and which lives in my heart, and flows to you; in which I dearly salute you, and M. F. with T. and M. Lower, I. [Isabel], Sara, Susan and R. [Rachel] Fell, with all in that family, whose hearts are sincere and upright to God. * Dear George, by this you may know that Friends here are generally well, and our meetings [are] very full and peaceable; and the power and presence of the Lord is in the midst of our assemblies.

We have of late been exercised with Pennyman, Boyce, and Chadwel [opponents]; but the power of the Lord is over them, and of late we have been quiet. Yesterday, Boyce and Chadwel were at the Gratia street [Gracechurch street] meeting; but there was very little disturbance, and the meeting ended in peace; and all the rest throughout the city were peaceable. That which at present is weighty upon our spirits is, the division between the two Johns [John Wilkinson and John Story,] and Friends of the North; and though there has been much writing to and fro, and endeavors used, yet little is yet brought forth to put an end to these sad rents. It has been some time in my mind to write to you, concerning the choice of the six Friends to go down into the North, to have a rehearsing of matters and things now in difference; of which number I am chosen one, whom the Friends in the Second-day's meeting did nominate; though I was not present at the beginning of the meeting, for I came that morning from Rickmansworth. When I understood how things had been in the meeting that day, and that I was chosen, the thing fell as a weight upon me; and I told Friends my mind, that I could not then consent, and desired time to weigh the thing. And truly, George, to this very day I have a straitness in my mind, seeing very little likelihood of a reconciliation; for the former judges I understand are satisfied in their judgment, and are resolved to stand by it, as some have said. Now if we should come and join with them, and if it should so fall out that they and we should differ in some things, my fear and godly jealousy is, that instead of making up breaches, more may be made;— for which God knows I would not be an instrument; for I have loved peace from my youth, and hated strife.

*{Story and Wilkinson led a separation, under the excuse of opposing women's meetings. According to George Fox, they really objected to the Discipline Meeting being able to censure their conduct in the world; they claimed their conduct was a matter of individual conscience, and the Meeting had no right to censure or dismiss them from meetings. Many struggled with these separatists, trying to get them to return. They were obstinate and the Quaker elders finally had to deny them as Quakers. They remained outside, but soon withered away, being out of the gospel truth and order. See Fox's answer to their cries.}

In the first appearance and work of God in our souls, there was a reconciliation to God in our souls and spirits, before we were reconciled and cemented in heart and mind one to another. Also something is further to be minded, whether in this juncture of time, such a meeting can be borne in the country, without disturbance; for it will be hard to have such meeting so private, (Friends coming from here, and from Bristol), but it will betaken notice of. These with other things are straits and difficulties in my way; though I stand resigned, and could be willing to travel hundreds of miles be serviceable for the good and peace of the church.

Dear George, I desire to have a few words from you. I shall not add further at present but leave all things to the Lord, desiring to be guided by His wisdom in all things; that so long as I have a being in this world, I may live to his glory, who gives me life and being.

I rest your brother in my measure of grace received from God.

Alexander Parker

From the Original



London, 3rd of Fifth month [seventh mo.] 1676

Dear Stephen Crisp. – I know that you are glad to hear of Truth's prosperity in these parts. I have notice from some that have lately been with the Princess Elizabeth, that she speaks much to Friends' advantage, and said that the Friends have been falsely reported of.

I have at last, after long and tedious attendance, near finished my business; for the Duke of Lauderdale told me yesterday, he had received order to give me a letter to the Council for Scotland, in order to grant Friends their liberty ; which he has promised to give me tomorrow : so that I purpose in two or three days to be going homewards. My love is with you and your wife. I rest your brother in the Truth,

Robert Barclay



London, 21st of Eleventh month 1680, [first mo 1681]

DEAR FRIENDS,—As we ought not to be discouraged in our endeavors for the relief of the oppressed by any present disappointments, so we desire that all Friends who are in capacity, (as they have freedom and clearness), may appear and make what good interest they can, in this election of Parliament men, for sober, discreet and moderate men; such as live in love with their neighbors, that are against persecution and popery, and that deport themselves tenderly towards our Friends. Be very cautious of giving any just occasion of offence. We desire God's wisdom may be with you, in the discharge of your duty and conscience in these things.

And whereas this vote was passed by this Parliament, the day they last prorogued, viz. " Lunœ, 10-ma. die, January, 1680. Resolved, That it is the opinion of this House, that the persecution of Protestant-Dissenters upon the penal laws, is at this time grievous to the subject, a weakening of the Protestant interest, an encouragement to popery, and dangerous to the peace of the kingdom :"we desire that Friends may take a special account of all persecutions and sufferings, which any Friends in your country undergo, contrary to this resolve of Parliament, since the passing thereof, or since the beginning of this last Session of Parliament; and send up an exact and plain account thereof, in order to present it to the next Parliament.

(Signed) on the behalf of our Meeting for Sufferings,

Ellis Hookes

(Ellis Hookes died about ten months after the date of this letter, having been clerk to the Society for about twenty-four years.)


[ТHЕ first of these two Letters relative to the decease of George Fox, is probably known tо Friends; but the latter it is believed has not been before in print.]

London, the 15th of Eleventh month, 1690

To Henry Coward, Thomas Green, Thomas Dockrey, Richard Barrow, William Higginson, and Thomas Widders.

MY dear Friends and well-beloved brethren, with whom my life is bound up in the covenant of God's gracious, glorious light, in which consists our life and peace. As we keep our habitations and dwelling places therein, we shall be preserved near unto the ocean of all love and life, and know the fountain unsealed, and the springings of it to bubble up in our own particular bosoms; in which we may drink together into the one Spirit, by which we are sealed, in the enjoyment of the heavenly power that sanctifies; in the living sense and consoling virtue of which, according to measure, I do dearly value you all.

Well, dear Friends, before this comes to your hands, I [conclude] you have an account of the departure of our ancient Friend and honorable elder in the church of God, George Fox; who was this day buried, in the presence of a large and living assembly of God's people, who did accompany him to the ground, and was supposed to be above 4000 Friends. The meeting-house at Gracechurch-street could not contain them, nor the court before the door,— many could not get to within hearing of the testimonies. Many living, open, powerful testimonies were published in the meeting-house, and many in the grave-yard, among many tender hearts, watery eyes, and contrite spirits. The London Friends were very discreet, to order all passages and concerns relating thereto with great wisdom every way: there being six monthly meetings belonging to this city, six chosen Friends were nominated and appointed out of every monthly meeting, who were to carry the corpse, and none else; and that his relations should all go next the corpse; that all Friends should go on one side of the street, three and three in a rank, as close together as they could go,—that the other side might be left clear for the citizens and coaches, that were going about their business. The grave-yard is a large plot of ground, yet it was quite full, and some of the people of the world were there.

The last week George Fox was at the Quarterly meeting, the Second-day morning meeting, the Meeting for Sufferings, and at two meetings for worship; besides the first-day morning meeting, which was at Gracechurch-street meeting-house. On the seventh-day, he came to lodge at Henry Gouldney's, [in White Hart Court,] to be near on the first-day where he kept the meeting; and said he was as well in that meeting as he had been a long time before. Yet he began to be ill in the evening, about the fifth hour that first-day; and departed before the tenth hour in the evening of the third-day following. I was with him most of the time; where he spoke many living powerful sentences, to the tendering of the company present. There was no sign of any great pain upon him, neither did he ever complain. Robert Widders' manner of departure and his were much alike, for I saw them both; only George shut up his eyes himself, and his chin never fell, nor needed any binding up, but lay as if he had been fallen asleep,—one would have thought he had smiled. He was the most pleasant corpse that I ever looked upon, and many hundreds of Friends came to see his face, having the most part of three days' time to behold him, before the coffin was nailed up. Friends carried the coffin on their shoulders, without any bier, cloth, or cover, but the natural wood; yet the coffin was very smooth and comely.

Well Friends, about two hours or less before he died, he took me by the hand, and told me to remember his love to Friends where I traveled. I intended to go out of the city on the morrow after he began to be sick; but seeing him ill, it was Friends' mind I should stay, and see how it might be with him; and I had more freedom to stay than to go. I was glad to see such a heavenly and harmonious conclusion as dear George Fox made; the sense and sweetness of it, will, I believe, never depart from me; in the heavenly virtue of which, I desire to rest; and remain your brother.

Robert Barrow

P. S.—I go towards Oxfordshire tomorrow. I shall now give you an account of the Friends that declared, and as they spoke, one after another, namely: James Parke, Robert Barrow, Ambrose Rigge, Joseph Batt, William Penn, Francis Camfield, Charles Marshall, John Taylor of York, Francis Stamper, George Whitehead, Stephen Crisp; and Thomas Green ended in prayer.

The Friends who spoke at the grave [were] as follows:—William Penn, Joseph Batt, George W'hitehead, John Vaughton, and William Bingley. I would have a copy of this go to Yallows, and another to Kendal.

Robert Barrow was born in Lancashire. He was a zealous laborer in the gospel for twenty- six years, and a faithful sufferer for the same in London. On his voyage from Jamaica to Pennsylvania he suffered shipwreck on the coast of Florida, and with his companions was forced to land among the savage cannibals of the country. There he underwent very grievous sufferings, being often in great danger of death from them. He at length reached Carolina, and from there got to Philadelphia. Here his health having been so impaired by the severe treatment and trials he had endured in Florida, gave way, and he shortly after peacefully departed; testifying that the Lord had been very good to him all along to that very day. From Piety Promoted, vol. i.



London, 15th of Eleventh month, 1690, [first mo. 1691 ]

LOVING FRIEND JOHN AIREY,—This comes to acquaint you, that that ancient, honorable, and worthy man, George Fox, is departed this life. He was at Gracechurch-street meeting on first-day last, and gave in his testimony among others: after meeting he fell into cold shivering fits, and grew worse and worse, and weaker until third-day last at night, between nine and ten, he died. In his weakness he desired to be remembered to all Friends, and advised and admonished Friends to flee to the power of God. He died sweetly and quietly, and was sensible to the last. After the meeting on fourth-day at Gracechurch-street, all or most of the Friends of the ministry there, went into a chamber close by; as well to console on the loss and death of that good man, as also to take care about his burial, which is ordered from this meeting-house tomorrow, [sixth-day,] about four in the afternoon. In the chamber was William Penn, Stephen Crisp, George Whitehead, John Taylor of York, William Bingley, John Vaughton, Francis Stamper, John Field, Samuel Waldenfield, John Boucher, and others; and only, as I remember, three of us not preachers.

While we sat together under the deep consideration of the loss of that good man, the wonderful power of God fell upon all in the room; insomuch that not one could contain themselves, but was broken down by the weight of that glory; so that for a considerable time there was nothing but deep sighs, groans, and tears. And after that all had settled and grew quiet in their minds, several of them, under that great sense, gave testimonies concerning him, too large here to insert. One said, "a valiant is fallen in Israel this day, and his place there would be vacant, if some faithful ones did not supply that glorious station he was in." Another, "that it was his faith, and that it was with him, that that Spirit and power which [had] in so large a measure, dwelled in that body, should extend itself into thousands." Another repeated the antiquity of his standing, service, and faithfulness to the end. Another, that he was a fixed star in the firmament of God's glory, and there he should shine forever. I hope I shall never forget that day; the remembrance of it is sweet. It is ordered that the elders and ancients of Friends take up the corpse first, and six are chosen and matched out of each of the six monthly meetings about London to carry, of which I am one for our quarter, and J. Beliam.

This letter is without signature, and is staled to be recorded in a Register Book of Friends at North Shields



DEAR FRIENDS,—Our dear love in the Lord Jesus Christ salutes you. Being sensible of your suffering condition under that public calamity,* we cannot but sympathize with you, and pray God to relieve and ease you; your distressed condition being often in our remembrance before the Lord : to whom we desire you may daily apply your hearts, in fervent prayer with supplication for relief and support; and He will be near to strengthen and comfort you, who is a God that hears prayer, and a present help in times of need; and [who] will hear and answer the cries of his elect, who cry to him day and night; and in his own time will plead their cause, and arise in their defense.

*{the war of King William of Orange against the deposed James II, who had returned from exile with the French army to land in Ireland and lead a revolution in an abortive attempt to regain the crown. His army was defeated by William.}

Dear Friends, hereby we give you to understand, that the day after the date of this annexed Epistle to you from our dear brother George Fox, being the 11th day of the month, he was enabled to preach the Truth in our public meeting in White Hart Court, near Gratia's street (London); and the same day he was taken with some indisposition of body, more than usual. On the 13th day of the month, (Jan. 13, 1691) being two days after, a little after the ninth hour in the night, it pleased God to take him out of the body, to himself, whom he had so long faithfully served. On the 16th his body was buried from our meeting-house, in White Hart Court before said; being attended with a vast concourse of Friends and people. A very heavenly and blessed solemnity [was] held, both at the meeting and burying ground. His great love and care was for Friends and the spreading of Truth; and he particularly mentioned you, the very day of his departure. He was sensible to the last, and ended his days in his faithful testimony, as our God in his wisdom ordered. Unto whose divine power and care we recommend you; and in his tender love in Christ Jesus, we remain

Your faithful friends and brothers,

George Whitehead, Stephen Crisp

James Parke, John Elson

Peter Price, William Bingley


[THE last letter to be brought forward under this division of the work, is from Thomas Ellwood; it relates to the preparation by him for the press, of The Journal of George Fox, which was published in 1694. His other works, that is his Epistles, and his Doctrinal Collection of Writings, followed—the former in 1698, the latter in 1706. It is believed that much diligence and exertion were used to collect together from various quarters the writings of George Fox, for the compilation of these works.]


Hunger Hill, 16th of Second month, 1693

DEAR FRIEND,—Your letter of the 11th, I received today; and I desire you to acquaint the Friends, that dear George Fox's Journal is (I hope) well near transcribed; for though some years remain still to be digested, yet being the latter part of his time, they will yield less matter than the former years have done. I am now in the year 1684, and am just bringing him over out of Holland, from his second and last voyage there. I wish I could have dispatched it with more expedition; but can assure Friends and you, I have not neglected it, nor been lazy at it. I have much other public business lying upon me, and some private, which may not be wholly neglected; but the main of my time has been spent on this service. As to hastening it to the press, Friends may do as they please; but if I may take leave to offer my advice, I think it were well that the whole were deliberately and carefully read over again, before it is committed to the press; that nothing may be omitted, which is fit to be inserted, nor anything inserted, fit to be left out. I left above two hundred sheets with William Mead last summer, which I hope he has looked over since, at more leisure than we did then. So that, if Friends are urgent to set the press to work, I dare engage, (if God is pleased to give me life and health) ,there shall be no lack of copy, when the printing is decided; yet in a work of this kind, I would choose exactness rather than speed. I am scheduled to attend the Yearly Meeting, and I hope that by that time to be able to give a more detailed account of what remains to be done. Meanwhile, in the very hearty love to the Friends, to yourself and wife.

I remain your true friends,

Thomas Ellwood

From the Original

Addressed to John Field, Haberdasher, at the sign of the Harrow, George Yard, Lumbard Street in London.

<Historical Letters Continued>>>>>>>