The Missing Cross to Purity


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

UNDER this heading a limited number of letters have been selected, out of a large variety:— they are placed, as before, in the order of dates.

The letters here following, in respect to religious services in the country, are necessarily of a very detached character, compared with those we have just left; and in point of historical information or illustration, must not be expected to be of equal interest with them. Much allowance should, and doubtless will by the candid reader, be made, for the style of writing in these letters of so distant a period; indeed he will expect they will wear their own peculiar character. It may be believed, that their religious value, and the devoted sentiments of brotherly love and deep piety scattered through them, will, to those readers, not be lost or passed by unappreciated.


[JOSIAH COLE in his testimony concerning the author of the following letter, writes :

—although he [Richard Farnsworth] was (before) a man of great abilities, and parts, and knowledge, and accounted of among men, even excelling many of his equals; yet he was content and willing, in obedience to the power of God, to become a fool to the world, and to be stripped and emptied of his own wisdom and knowledge, and to suffer the loss of all worldly reputation and favor, and the pleasures and delights thereof, that he might win Christ Jesus, and be found his servant, clothed with the righteousness of faith. His service was very great for the Lord in his day; for he was so furnished with heavenly wisdom and understanding through the grace of God, and so seasoned thereby, that his patience, meekness and humility exceeded many.—Josiah Cole, The Last Testimony, p. 5. 7.

[This letter gives an account of some very early services in Yorkshire.]



DEAR BRETHREN,—My dear love to you both with the rest of our dear Friends that way. I am in good health, praises be to the Lord for his everlasting mercies to me. I have gone through much, since I was with you; but I found the Lord exceedingly large to me. I was at Stanley on the first-day; the power of the Lord was much manifested, very many were wrought on [by the Holy Spirit]. There was one of Marshall's [the local priest] congregation affected, along with one of the Baptists, Captain Siddall's wife, and many others. The next day we went about sixteen miles to Wakefield, and the people followed us much. In the market place. I was drawn forth to speak, and the people listened closely, until a schoolmaster came and stirred them up. Then as we were in the crowd, Captain Siddall's wife came; and she was wrought on (affected by the power of the Holy Spirit’s conviction) in the commotion, and cried out,— "this is the power of the Lord." She was very proud, but now is humbled. Doctor Hodgson was shaken a little, and he is very loving to us. We went into his house, and the people came in, as many as could push their way in. I was drawn forth much to speak to them; they wondered at the work of the Lord. There was such confusion among the people, that I was moved to stand upon the table, and spoke with much power among item; they were all silent, and were very attentive to hear me a long time; neither did they speak anything to me afterwards. But at night when we came out of the town, the devil raged among them,—his kingdom being so struck at; so that they stoned us. Stones flew as fast as bullets in a battle; but the Lord carried every one above it, so that not even one person was harmed, but we were all made to rejoice. But if Lord's power had not been so greatly shown, none of us could have escaped with their lives. Had not the Lord been on our side, when the enemies rose up against us, we would have been swallowed up quickly. But we were all made to greatly rejoice; praise and honor be to the Lord forever.

In the morning we went to York. Friends at York are very well; all except Jane Holmes, who is something weak in body. Friends are close confined in prison, and none of us could visit them. There is one — Sikes at Knottingley, and two or three more in prison about tithes. Sikes is a great man, of £300 or £400 a year by relation; he has proclaimed against tithes. He is very loving to our Friends; he had us up into his chamber. I was brought to speak much to him, and he received it very lovingly.

We went from there to Manton, and there are many dear hearts there. Balby Friends were with me. We were two nights and a day there, many Friends came from other places, and the power of the Lord was much with us there. We came on to Selby, and stayed there until three o'clock in the morning, and came the first-day morning to Stanley; where there was a great meeting, very many from Leeds, and some from Wakefield, who had not been with us before. So I see the Lord glorifying himself every way to his own praise; but the world is all on a fire. I am much threatened of my life, but I fear not what man can do. I hear that there are warrants out against me for blasphemy. Ah! dear hearts, be valiant; the Lord rides on triumphantly; ever praised be his name!

All Friends here are well, and wished to be remembered to you, with the rest of our Friends. Thomas Killam and Mary Aldam, and all salute you in the Lord, and the God of love and power be with you.

Richard Farnsworth



Bristol, 1st of Ninth month [eleventh mo.] 1654

DEARLY beloved sister and mother to many, who shall bless you in the name of the Lord!

On the first-day after we came to this Bristol, we had a meeting in the castle of many hundreds; and afterward we went out (to get away from the multitude) to a captain's house, about a mile from the city. But many followed us all along the city to that place, so that the house was filled, and it continued late. And every day of the week, either out of the city or in it, we have had meetings. On the last first-day we had a meeting at Captain Bishop's house in the city; a large house with large rooms, but all the rooms were too small for the crowds; so in the afternoon we went to a place called the Fort. There were about 2000 people there, and many great men and women, and all kept quiet to listen; but our voices could hardly reach them because the number of people was so large. Yet all was still, and we could not get away from them; so that we were forced to go to a captain's house into a private chamber to hide ourselves.

These occurrences were the talk of the city, and the priests and magistrates went into an uproar, because they sought something against us. On the second-day of the week we came into the city, and went to a merchant's house. The Mayor and Alderman, and the Justices of the Peace, and the Priests immediately assembled together into their judgment hall. The magistrates sent a sergeant to summon us to come to the council; and we went freely, along with many captains and great men of the city accompanying us. We went into an inner room; and many great men, who were friends to us, we entered; but they did not permit them to stay. Then we opened our mouths, and said, we had come there as they [the magistrates] wished; and they questioned us if we knew who they were? We answered that we believed we were before the magistrates or rulers of the city. They were very hot in anger that we had not bowed or taken off our hats to them; but we were bold, and told them we declined not to bow or remove our hats because of conscience’s sake, not in contempt of their authority. They asked our names and country, and we declared to them; and we told them we had been in London about a quarter of a year.

They asked us, how we came to the city; and we answered them, and told them the commands and motion of the Lord,—that we had to bear witness to his name, and to declare the gospel committed to us.—And it was asked us whether our call was by authority of a secondary authority or directly from God; we answered, directly from God; we denied all other calls, for they were carnal. They said, if we had the same direct call, declare it. Then I declared what I had been, and what I was;— we declared where we had lived, and that on the command of God we had left them. We spoke about a quarter of an hour, and they listened attentively. They asked if we accused all the ministers in England. We said no; there were many ministers of Christ in England, and we had unity with them; but we denied all hirelings, [ministers tithes or salaries], and those who sought to profit from their office. They pleaded for hire; and said the light was natural, and denied that every one had the light, and the like; they also said, we dishonored the gospel. After much striving and contending, when they could not ensnare us, they huddled in conference, and said, we had tumultuous meetings; to which one of their own [number] answered, there were many godly honest people without tumult. When they could get nothing against us, they commanded us to leave the city. But we were bold and said that we were free-born men, and we knew of no law that we had transgressed, and therefore we should not be at any man's will; but when He moved us who called us, we should; and come in again as He moved. So we passed away, and all the people were silent, and the priests and magistrates were enraged. We stayed until night, and then went out of the city. The same day we were moved to return again and to walk in the streets.

Bristol has a large number of people here, and a great harvest awaits. It is likely that we will be imprisoned; but all is one, and in the will of God we stand free out of all. We have not seen John Audland and John Camm yet, but expect their arrival. This is a thirsty land; and truly, the sound of the gospel committed to us has gone through all the surrounding regions. May the living God of life preserve us in his eternal power and wisdom; in the will of the Lord we stand, and none can take away our joy. Salute us dearly to George Fox; one hour with him would be great joy to us. We lack nothing outwardly; the Lord reward you, (and you have your reward), for your care and love over all the church of Christ. Salute us in the Lord to all the saints everywhere; and pray that the living God may be honored, and his name exalted forevermore. The God of life and power be with you, and keep you and all your dear family, in his eternal love and power to himself.

Your dear brother,

Edward Burrough

F. H. From W. Caton's Collection

{Regarding this letter, Edward Burrough's Memoir states that the above letter was composed by Francis Howgill and signed by Edward Burrough. They worked in London as a team.}


[GEORGE Fox under date of 1654 writes: "About this time the Lord moved upon the spirits of many whom he had raised up, and sent forth to labor in his vineyard, to travel southwards, and spread themselves in the service of the gospel, to the eastern, southern and western parts of the nation. These were Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough to London; John Camm and John Audland to Bristol; Richard Hubberthorne and George Whitehead to Norwich; and Thomas Holmes into Wales."

The following letter is from Thomas Holmes, and is probably addressed to George Fox.]

Cardiff, 27th of Twelfth month 1654, [second mo. 1655 ]

DEAR BROTHER,—This is to let you know of my journey and service in Wales. I came out of Cheshire about five weeks ago, and I stayed two first-days in Radnorshire in the mountains, where I had several meetings, where many of the people called Baptists have been convinced of the Truth. There is a great convincement in that part; but the most are Welsh, and some cannot understand English. There are three who have the Welsh tongue, who are serviceable, and labor among them; of which three Friends came out of the north of Wales. There is one who is a Justice of peace convinced, and is very faithful and serviceable in his place; I was five nights in his house, and had a great meeting at his house; he dwells in the mountains in Montgomeryshire. After I had been two first-days in Radnorshire I passed into Monmouthshire, to a town called Abergavenny, where I got a meeting that evening in the inn where I lodged; and the next day being the market day, I was moved to speak in the market. [ drew the people into a convenient place, and spoke a pretty time to them; it cast a sound through the town and country, for not any Friend had spoken there before. The next day, I met with my wife and Alexander Birket, at a place where they had a meeting. Alexander Birket is in Monmouthshire. Two Justices of peace are convinced there. The last first-day, I had a meeting four miles from Chopstow, and another on the third-day; and this day being the fourth-day, I had a meeting six miles beyond Cardiff at the sea side. Tomorrow I pass to a general meeting in Newport at a Justice's house.

Thomas Holmes

From the Original apparently


[James Parnell, the writer of the next letter had been taught by the Light, beginning at 14 years of age. He heard of George Fox and walked 150 miles to visit him in prison at Carlisle. At 16 years of age, he became a minister, and was father to many hundreds, probably many thousands. At 19 he was imprisoned in Colchester castle, where he was cruelly treated, and courageously died; the first Quaker to die in prison. For more on James Parnell, see his memoir on this site.


Colchester Castle, 16th of Tenth month, [twelfth mo. 1655.]

DEAR and precious brother in the eternal unchangeable truth of God, I do in my measure dearly salute you. You are blessed of the Lord, dear brother; your fatherly care over me do I own, and your voice is a comfort to me. I am kept and nourished in the midst of my enemies, glory be to God in the Highest, who has counted me worthy to bear the bonds of the gospel.

Dear brother, glad am I to hear from you, and of my dear brother Thomas Stubbs with you, whom I do love in the Lord, and the rest of your fellow prisoners,—the Lord has set [you] a father over them. I know your burden is great, for the work lies upon you; but your joy is in your children.

Truly there is a great appearance in these parts, but [there is] much want of ministers, since I was cast in bonds; but a pretty liberty I had among them, before they were allowed to lay hold on me. And great was the work of the Lord, and mightily did it spread to my great comfort. And now these bonds have been very serviceable, to the piercing of the hearts of many, and the discovery of the spirits of my persecutors, and [to] the confirming of those in the Truth that were convinced ;—they have labored to make my bonds grievous, but my strength the Philistines know not. Friends are much barred from me, yet not all. Our tender sister M. S. is here in bonds in the Town prison; she was put in last evening for speaking to a priest : she has been in twice before this within a week, but they had not power to keep her in.

So [may] the same power that keeps you, keep me; and let your prayers be for me. I rest with you in the brotherly unity, your tender brother,

James Parnell

From the original apparently

{William Dewsbury was another great worthy of the Lord. He spent over twenty years in prison, but never wavered in his faith. He matured in Christ and entered the Kingdom of God, long before he heard George Fox speak, and long before there were any other Friends with which to meet. His biography and outstanding letters are on this site.}



Basingstoke in Hampshire, this 30th day of Tenth month [twelfth mo.] 1655

DEAR SISTER,—I dearly salute you, and my love reaches to you, even in that where we meet, and have sweet fellowship and unity. The everlasting Truth of our God is much spread abroad in this shire, and many have received our testimony with great gladness and joy. At this our enemies are irritated and are disturbed; and they gather together to battle against the Lord and his people. We are counted as sheep for the slaughter, even as the off-scouring of all things, fools and madmen; and are made a prey upon by this generation of evil doers. Condemnation is prepared for them,—who slight the offers and tenders of his love,—even of Him, who would gather them, as the hen gathers her chicks; yet they will not come. What could He have done more, who has sent his servants, early and late warning them, even beseeching them to be reconciled to God through his dear Son. But none of the princes of this world know Him, neither will they hearken to Him; and so He is even rejected, disallowed of men, but chosen of God, and to us precious, yes even the chief cornerstone.

Dear sister, since our last writing to you, Ambrose and I have been for the most part asunder; we have passed through part of this county, as we were moved. At Hampton there are a captain and two lieutenants,—they received the Truth gladly, and several others; and at Portsmouth there were several that owned us.

There is a large people [of the Lord’s] in this area, and there is great need of laborers; pray therefore, that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers; for many are coming in, and the Truth is of good report in several places; and the Lord will gather in a people, that was not a people. Ambrose has been serviceable, he was at some steeple houses; and I believe we shall meet together before long, and go towards George Fox.

So in what never changes, do I remain your brother in the unity of the Spirit,

Thomas Robertson

From the Original apparently

Ambrose Rigge, in the Account of his life states, that "a fellow traveler was prepared for me, which was Thomas Robertson of Westmoreland; who was made willing to leave his dear wife and tender babes, to go with me into the Lord's harvest."

{Ambrose Rigge's doctrinal letters are instructive, very clearly written, and easy to understand; available for reading on this site.}

No. XC


Plymouth, 30th of Eleventh month 1656, | first mo.] 1657

M. F.—Unto you is my heart united and joined in the everlasting covenant of light and life : receive my salutations as one of the fold and family. Let me be had in remembrance, when your soul is poured forth [to] your Father; that, over all deceit and dissembling of unrighteousness, I may be kept, in this hour of temptation and day of trial; now when the voice is heard, saying, " Yet once more will I shake, not the earth only, but the heavens also."

No formed weapon can prosper against the Captain of our salvation and Prince of our peace; none can pluck us out of the Father's hand, who delivers his out of six troubles, and out of seven. Our bread is sure, and our waters never fail; glory to the Lord forever!

I am at Plymouth at present, and the next week it is likely that I shall go into the country. John Braithwaite and Alexander Parker have gone eastward, and George Bewley, I hear, is in Cornwall. These parts lie much on me at present. This business about James Nayler has made a great tumult in the minds of many weak Friends; my work is to strengthen the weak, and press home to the foundation of God, and not to admire the persons of men.

I am your brother and companion in tribulations, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus our Head; a servant in the church,

From the Original

Thomas Salthouse



Chesterton, near Cambridge, 11th of Fifth month, [seventh mo.] 1659

DEAR George Fox—Dear brother, my dear and tender love in the Lord, does flow forth to effectual Truth; who are honorable, and had in esteem by those who fear the Lord and keep his covenant; in which I am truly sensible of your integrity and diligence for the Lord and his seed

It was upon me to acquaint you with some proceedings since I parted from you relating to Truth, chiefly about Cambridge; where I had two meetings these last two first-days, besides another two we had the last week. The first meeting I had there was very serviceable on the former first-day; where there were pretty many sober people, and several were reached. But towards the latter end of the first meeting, there came in many rude scholars,—however, they had not power to hurt any as I know; yet after we went out of the room they would scarce go out, but had a desire to make disorder. At which point the mayor of the town quickly came into our meeting room, like a lion among the wolfish scholars, whom they expected had come to have broken up our meeting. But on the contrary, he chased out the scholars, and threatened them with imprisonment for their rudeness; and then the mayor went into the college, which is right over against our meeting place, and he complained of the scholars to the master or proctors of the college; and told the master, if they would not take a course with them, to keep them in better order, (he told me this of himself, and others, for I was with him and John Crook), he must, or send them to prison. So he stood over them, and said that he must protect our meetings and their meetings. Therefore the scholars and the masters are very troubled that the mayor should offer to protect our meetings; and many of them have a great spite against him.

Yesterday, being the last first-day, we had, I think, a more serviceable meeting in Cambridge, than any we have had there yet; though towards the end of it, the scholars were rude, made noises, and tried to pull me down. One lunged at me to have done it; but there was a secret power over them, which they did not know. And many sober people were struck to see their filthiness, when I let them see what such men as these scholars were, that were to become ministers. Here is much to thunder down in this Cambridge; but there is much patience and wisdom to be exercised towards them. I intend to be there the next first-day: if the knock [knock followed by the entering] is not followed now, they will get advantage; for the Truth has already gotten a name in the town. The power of the Lord is working over them, though they don’t know it; and it is only the power, that must overcome them.

Since I came from there, I have had a precious service in the edge of Essex and Hertfordshire. I suppose you may before now have heard of my service with the priest at Rickland, at the steeple-house, on the first-day next after I parted from you. Many of his hearers were deeply reached and overcome with the Truth that day. In the time that the priest was preaching, I wrote down some of his doctrine. After he had finished his preaching, I laid open some of it before his hearers, who were most of them quiet and willing to hear, except two or three professors, and the priest's wife. John Crook was in Cambridge last week, and his presence was of service. The scholars and priests are exceedingly tormented and quashed, when any such Friends come to minister against their deceits, as they consider themselves to very knowledgeable G. Fox [doubtless George Fox, the Younger] was here the last week, and had one meeting in Cambridge and went towards Essex.

William Allen was with me in Cambridge yesterday; he only permission of the jailer at Colchester to come a little time into Cambridgeshire and the surrounding area. There are great stirrings after the Truth in many places there and other places; truly the harvest is great and the laborers are but few. These things I was free to make you acquainted with, in sincere love. Your dear brother in the work of the Lord,

George Whitehead

My dear love is to Edward Burrough and Gerrard Roberts, and the rest of the brethren there, [London]. I think this day to pass into Huntingdonshire, but I [propose] to be at Cambridge the next first-day, if the Lord will.

From the Original, addressed to George Fox in London.



Binscorabe in Surrey, Ninth month [eleventh mo.] 1659

DEAR SISTER, often are you in my remembrance, in my labor and travail in the vineyard of the Lord; which is grown sweet and pleasant to walk in, to the praise of God.

I received your lines in Hampshire, when I was in much weakness of body, by which I was much strengthened and refreshed; and truly, dear sister, I hope in the Lord, through his strength, we shall be clear of all. But our trials are many, especially among false brethren, which as for the particulars at present, I shall not commit to paper. Oh! dear sister, if it were not the living power of God, it could never abide all the blows that come against it;: but in all this we faint not, but can truly say, our strength is renewed every morning,—glory to God on high! Here is but one faithful brother with me, in all these south coasts on this side London; nevertheless the Lord makes us able to water many tender plants. The Truth does much prosper, and is an added to daily here, to the praise of God. We shall give up to spend and be spent for the precious Truth, which is more to me than all the world's glory. I have been [very weak in body of late, but the Lord has raised me up again to labor in his harvest.

Incapable of what can be written on paper is My love is dear to you, for the Truth's sake and your care over the flock of God; for which God will reward you. So with my dear love to all your dear children and servants in the Truth, I remain

Your dear brother in the labor of the gospel,

Ambrose Rigge

From the Original



Grayrigg, 29th of Seventh month, [ninth mo.] 1661

DEAR MARGARET,—In Him, who is become a place of broad rivers and streams to us, and the portion of our cup, and the lot of our inheritance,—do I most dearly salute you.

The former days are not forgotten by me, nor the years past, when we were all made to drink of one cup, and were baptized into the death and suffering of Christ; and were made to drink it willingly, knowing it was our portion allotted to us of the Lord, which we could not pass, but must drink thereof. And though it was irksome and grievous to us, when our strength was but small; yet God, out of his infinite love and mercy, strengthened us to bear, and to suffer, and to deny that which hid immortality and life from us. And He bore us up in his arms, and made us to endure with patience the sufferings and the death; that so we might obtain the resurrection of the dead, which indeed was a blessed time; though for a moment it seemed grievous. But now, having obtained the resurrection of the dead, being baptized into the resurrection and into the life, more blessedness is known, even spiritual blessings, which God has given us to enjoy in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that like as we suffered one for another and one with another, so we might be made to rejoice one with another and for another, and in Him alone. In whom all our fresh springs are, and from whom our joy and gladness and consolation spring. He has opened the springs of the great deep, and has made life spring up, whereby his little ones are refreshed, and the young men strengthened, and the ancient and honorable confirmed and established.— Holy and reverend be His name forevermore, who is exalting his glorious mountain above the top of all the earth; and making Jerusalem the praise and glory and admiration of the whole earth. And let me tell you, I am no more weary than the first day the sickle was put into the harvest; when we went out sowing the seed weeping and in tears : but seeing sheaves brought home, and full loads into the barn, and full draughts caught in the net, it has made me look beyond fainting, — blessed be the Lord!

I am glad you stay so long in that city, [London,] in which we have had many a burden and weary day : but that fruit is brought forth to God, plenteously countervails all, and makes me forget travail. I have been northward in Northumberland, Bishoprick, and upon the east sea, and back to York : truly the garden for the most part is very pleasant, and gives a goodly smell, now when the south wind blows upon it.

Dearly farewell in the holy covenant of life.

Francis Howgill

From the original



Lancaster Castle, 1st of Eighth month [tenth mo.] 1664

As I have said often to you, give up to be crossed; that is the way to please the Lord, and to follow him in his own will and way, whose way is the best. Let nothing enter your mind concerning anything [about me,] for I am very well contented in the work of the Lord. I know your care and tenderness were not wanting to Friends : and so be all satisfied in the will of the Lord God. I hope in the Lord that you are all together, before this come to you. Be all satisfied and content with the will of the Lord; and let neither murmuring nor repining enter any of your minds; and let not sorrow fill your hearts, for we have all cause to rejoice in the Lord evermore, and I most of all. Colonel Kirby causes our bonds to be renewed, and straitened more and more; and they lock up George Fox under pretence of an order that should come from London. Get this enclosed letter of George Fox's sent to Gilbert Latey, that G. Whitehead and they may draw out what they see convenient.

Margaret Fell

These are the sentiments of the mother of a large family, separated from her home by imprisonment, for her religious testimonies; she was indicted for refusing to take the oath of allegiance, and was told if she would not keep a meeting at her house, she should be set at liberty. But she answered the Judge, "I rather choose a prison for obeying God, than my liberty for obeying men contrary to my conscience." She continued a prisoner four years. From M. Fell's Works.

{She spent a total of 10 years in prison. George Fox himself spent 6 1/2 years, leading him to comment that “there had never been a greater injustice in England than Margaret's imprisonment and deprival of property,” particularly when considering that her position approached gentry nobility. It is also likely Margaret Fox's ten years total time in prison was as long as any other woman. William Dewsbury and one other male Quaker spent over twenty years each in prison.}



The Darkhouse in Launceston 12th of Eleventh month, 1664, | first mo. 1665.]

DEAR GEORGE, I hereby give you to understand that I am every way well, in the work and service of the Lord; which prospers, and the Truth gains ground daily, and flourishes in these parts; many have desires after it, and adhere to it. In this county of Cornwall, I have had fine service for the Lord; as also all the way down from London, by way of Portsmouth, Southampton, and Weymouth, and so down by the south sea. I know not that I left one meeting unvisited, between London and the Lands-end, but had every day a meeting or two for several weeks together, to the refreshing of Friends; and great comfort and satisfaction I have had in my journey hitherto. I was upon leaving this county, being returned as far as Launceston, where I had a small company together on the second-day last; at which time the Mayor of the town, with his officers and others, came in, and took us prisoners; and that night committed us to the town prison, called "the Darkhouse." The next day, they called me alone to the town hall, before the Mayor and the rest of the magistrates; and examined me of my place of residence, and of my business here; to which I gave them answer accordingly; and told them my business here was to visit my friends. They told me I was a very dangerous person, and suspicious; and caused my pockets to be searched in the open court, and found in it a paper that was written by you, "To the Ministers and Prophets," about which they made a great stir, asking me if I knew you, etc. After above an hour's discourse they set me by, and called Benjamin Lawrence, who travels with me for company, and examined him in like manner; and then called the rest of Friends, and committed them for refusing to pay 40s. a-piece fine, until they shall be delivered by due course of law. They told Benjamin and me, that they proceeded against us by the law made against Quakers; and fined us £5 a-piece for being at meeting. They intended to have taken away our horses for the fine, and to send us away with a pass; which when Friends understood, they conveyed our horses out of the town, while I was before the magistrates. When they saw our horses were gone, their rage was so kindled against Benjamin and me, that they sent us away alone to the Darkhouse without any legal mittimus; and gave strict charge that none must come at us, but only to bring in our victuals; and the keeper must hear what we say, and see that we do not write, (though way is made for this, contrary to their knowledge.) The prison we are consigned to does not afford us the benefit of a chimney, nor [other necessary convenience.] But the power of the Lord God Almighty is above it all and over all; in which we are well content, and are at peace and rest. This prison is to me as a palace of pleasure, for though we are as "having nothing, yet possessing all things" through Him that has loved us, and gave Himself for us; by whose blood we are ransomed, to serve the Lord in the new covenant of life,—glory be to the Lord God Almighty forever! And now, dear George, what they may be permitted to do further with us, I do not yet know; though this I know, the rage of some is very great, and [they] are bent to do wickedly. They talk to us of the oath; but if they can find our horses, I suppose they will take them, and send us out of the town; but if not, I cannot tell, (nor do I believe they are yet resolved), what they will do with us. But, however, much is stirring in the minds of most people, against their cruel and inhuman dealing with us, to put us so close, in such a cold smoky place, at such a season of the year; [first month by my reckoning:] for they will not allow us to be in a room where a chimney is, though it is not otherwise made use of, and lies void over our heads. I hear that one of the magistrates of the town did offer the Mayor to be bound body for body for us, that we might be at some chamber in the town fit for men, but it would not be adopted; but we are content, and well over it. I desire you to salute me kindly in the Lord to Margaret Fell and the rest of your fellow prisoners; and in the love and peace of God, I remain yours to serve you,

Josiah Coale

From the original, addressed to Lancaster


[ТHЕ Friend by whom this letter was written, is stated to have been a justice of the peace. In a letter from Alexander Parker, dated from Reading, 6th of fifth month 1655, he speaks of Captain Curtis of that place, and says, "he and his wife are very dear and precious : they have formerly lived very high, and very rich in apparel, but are stripped of all; he has ripped off his gold buttons, and his wife has stripped off all her jewels and rich attire. She was very dear to us, and oftentimes said, all they had was ours. Thus is the Lord our God exalting himself, and bringing down the loftiness of man, and laying his honor in the dust."]


Reading, 15th of Eleventh month, 1664 [first mo. 1665]

DEAR GEORGE,—With true and unfeigned love I do heartily salute you; dear and precious is the remembrance of you even to us all; and in our sufferings, a few lines from you has made our hearts right glad. Truly the rage of the wicked is not little in this place; yet has the Lord so led us by his arm, that over it all we trample; and Truth is over the heads of this ungodly generation. We were in prison about fifty odd prisoners, and now are brought this Sessions to our trial; about fifty upon the oath of allegiance; and yet the jury cleared us. But they had about fourteen of us again, and tendered the oath anew to us, and sent us to prison. We had four more, that, (as they said), were in upon their third offence, and they were likewise cleared. So that though the justices, (so called), were wicked, yet the country set the Friends free; and those bad men have sent them to prison again. We are twenty-five in all, yet left. This day our meeting was quiet, contrary to all our expectations. While we were all in prison, our little children have continued the meeting , despite what that wicked justice Armorer did, when he came and found them there; with a staff that he had with a spear in it, he would pull them out of the meeting and punch them in the back, until some of them have been black in the face. I believe his degree of wickedness cannot be matched by any other justice of the peace in England. And now we are so closely guarded, that no man can speak with me, but in the hearing of we are over all in true peace and unity. The bearer, my man, can give you a large account of things. George Lamboll and his wife, and my Ann, [his wife,] and Joseph and Benjamin, are all prisoners with me :—their dear love is to you, in the fellowship that is everlasting, and to Margaret Fell, and the rest of the prisoners in Lancaster Castle, and so is mine, who am,

Thomas Curtis



[The following letter bears no date, but it was most probably written about this period of the very severe suffering of Friends at Reading. The whole letter (which is in the possession of the editor), is written throughout in George Fox's handwriting; two other original letters of George Fox to the said Friends during their imprisonment, have also been seen by the Editor.]

To all the prisoners of the Lord, for the Truth and Christ's sake.

ОH! be valiant for the Truth upon the earth, that you may triumph in glory over the spirits of the world in the everlasting seed, that reigns and will reign, when what makes to suffer is gone, before which it was. Therefore trust in the name of the Lord, which has held and kept up your heads over all the storms and proud waves and floods, and who has been your rock of life. Therefore sit under the shadow of the Almighty, that does shade you from all heats and storms; rejoicing in all your sufferings, that you may come forth as gold seven times in the fire. Do not look at time, nor think your sufferings long; but look at Him that has all time in his hand. All to be heirs of Him, and possess Him; and then have life eternal, and so to be God's lot. He to possess you and you Him, who is from everlasting to everlasting, blessed forever! His presence be with you all. Amen.

So no more, but my love to you all in the life that changes not. Remember my love to all, as though I named them.

George Fox

Read this among the prisoners.

Addressed to brother Thomas Curtis, prisoner in Reading.



Appleby, fifth-day of the week, 1666

M. F.—Dear and well-beloved, whom I love in the Truth, and have ever so done since I knew it; being very glad to hear of you, and from you, and of your well-being.

I received your last, since the Assizes at Lancaster, which was acceptable to me;—not forgetting the days of old, when we were comforted, refreshed and rejoiced together in the Lord, when we were present personally together; and being now absent outwardly, we know wherein our union with God stands, and with all the saints in light. I do indeed often rejoice in my heart, that God has prolonged my days so long, to see so much of God's power and glory brought forth in our age. I am freely given up; and I bless the Lord I am very well content, I am in perfect joy and peace. I bless the Lord, who has been our refuge and preservation until now.

Dear heart, I thought to have written to you, when the Assize was done here; but so many Friends were here, and I was, as it were, encumbered with multitudes of people, and little room; and then, that news of the desolation of London coming in the neck of it, hindered me. Indeed people have been and are so mad and rude here, I can hardly either receive a letter or write one. I have such a bad jailer that he is very often the cause of detaining any stranger, and getting them arrested for his gain, so much that I am sometimes more troubled for them than for myself. Of late he will let no one speak to me, though they only come from Cumberland; but I must bear all this, and much more, until God orders it otherwise.

I am heartfelt glad of George Fox's liberty, though these two years I have not written a line to him, for fear of troubling him in his difficult imprisonment. I am satisfied of the righteous judgment of the Lord upon that great rebellious city, [the London fire]; and indeed I have expected great judgments to come for some years, and one woe came, that great pestilence; but I feared they had forgotten it, as though it had not occurred. Hardness of heart and wickedness continued to abound, and behold, God had determined utter desolation. Oh! that all who yet remain, might go and inquire of God the cause, and consider and repent; and cease striving against the Lord, for fear that his hand will be more and more stretched forth in judgment! Yet I cannot but rejoice, that many people were not destroyed in such a sad calamity. As for poor Friends, they have suffered many great evils and trials in it, and were imprisoned and shamefully ill-treated by most, and by them in power; and therefore, after many warnings, signs, and prophecies, God avenged himself of it; that all flesh might bow before Him, and dread his powerful name. And God that has preserved the lives of those who believe, will, I believe, sustain them, and preserve them to his glory!

I am no more weary of bonds than the first day I came in; yet if it is the will of God, I desire liberty that I might behold the faces of dear Friends again, and be comforted in them, that we might rejoice together in the Lord. I had but one companion, and he has laid down the body this last week,—a good man; he has suffered much, he was in for tithes, and made a sweet end. My wife and children are well I hear, blessed be God. Remember me dearly to all your children and fellow-prisoners and friends thereabouts; and signify if you know where George Fox is now. Not more, but that I am your truly loving friend and brother, in the fellowship of the gospel of Christ,

Francis Howgill

From the Original

{Francis Howgill died about two years after the date of this letter in Appleby jail, after near five years' imprisonment. His cruel imprisonment and death in prison are in him memoir on his site. Francis was a great prophet of the Lord, with some wonderful, inspiring words from God that he passed on to us. From his memoir, below is one of the greatest prophecies I have ever read:

In a time of great persecution in London, Francis Howgill wrote from his deep, rapturous experience in heaven:

‘The stirrings of my heart have been many, deep, and ponderous some months, weeks, and days, concerning this people which the Lord has raised to bear testimony unto his name, in this the day of his power; and intercession has been made often for them to the Lord, and a patient waiting to know his mind concerning them for the time to come; which often I received satisfaction in as to myself but yet something I was drawn by the Lord to wait for, that I might comfort and strengthen his flock by an assured testimony. And while I was waiting out of all visible things, and quite out of the world in my spirit, and my heart upon nothing but the living God, the Lord opened the springs of the great deep, and overflowed my whole heart with light and love; and my eyes were as a fountain because of tears of joy, because of his heritage, of whom he showed me, and said unto me in a full, fresh, living power, and a holy, full testimony, so that my heart was ravished there with joy unspeakable, and I was out of the body with God in his heavenly paradise, where I saw and felt things unutterable, and beyond all demonstration or speech. At last the life closed with my understanding, and my spirit listened unto him; and the everlasting God said, "Shall I hide anything from them that seek my face in righteousness? No, I will manifest it to those who fear me; I will speak, and you listen, and publish it among all my people, that they may be comforted, and you satisfied.'"

And thus said the living God of heaven and earth, upon the 28th of the Third month, 1662.

'The sun shall leave its shining brightness, and cease to give light to the world; and the moon shall be altogether darkness, and give no light unto the night; the stars shall cease to know their office or place; my covenant with day, night, times, and seasons, shall sooner come to an end, than the covenant I have made with this people, into which they are entered with me, shall end, or be broken. Yes, though the powers of darkness and hell combine against them, and the jaws of death open its mouth, yet I will deliver them, and lead them through all. I will confound their enemies as I did in Jacob, and scatter them as I did in Israel in the days of old. I will take their enemies; I will hurl them here and there, as stones hurled in a sling; and the memorial of this Nation, [the early Quakers] which is holy unto me, shall never be rooted out, but shall live through ages, as a cloud of witnesses, in generations to come. I have brought them to the birth, yes, I have brought them forth; I have swaddled them, and they are mine. I will nourish them and carry them, as on eagles' wings; and though clouds gather against them, I will make my way through them; though darkness gather together on heap, and tempests gender, I will scatter them as with an east wind; and nations shall know they are my inheritance, and they shall know I am the living God, who will plead their cause with all that rise up in opposition against them.'

These words are holy, faithful, eternal, good, and true; blessed are those who hear and believe unto the end; and because of them no strength was left in me for a while; but at last my heart was filled with joy, even as when the ark of God was brought from the house of Obed-edom, when David danced before it, and Israel shouted for joy.

Francis Howgill



Somersetshire, 21st of First month, [third mo.] 1668

THE proclamation was read last seventh-day at the High Cross, against Papists and Nonconformists; and we are preparing our minds for prisons in these parts for the justices are in consultation about it; and though the Papists are named, yet we are likely to bear the greatest part of the suffering, if it do any execution. We are resolved to meet, preach and pray, in public and private, in season and out of season, in city, town, or country, as if it had never been; well knowing that the same power by which we have been preserved and delivered out of the den, is with us, and will be 'with us to the end,' if we abide faithful.

Thomas Salthouse

No. C


T. S. Swarthmore, 2nd of Eighth month, [tenth mo.] 1676

DEAR FRIENDS,—To whom is my love, and to all the faithful who inquire after me.—The Lord God Almighty give you, in his power, dominion; that in it you may all strive to be of one mind, heart, and soul; keeping the unity in the one Spirit, which is the bond of peace; and drinking all into the one Spirit, by which you are circumcised and baptized into one body, to one heavenly and spiritual Head.

And now Friends, several ships are going out to Jamaica and New York; it would be well to send, or to see that books are sent there, or epistles. And it would be well, if some Friends did offered up themselves to the bishops and priests or magistrates, for their brethren that are in prison, to lie in prison a quarter of a year or a month or more or less, that they might that time have their liberty; so that our brethren may not perish in prison, and so that the blood of the innocent may not come upon them, [their persecutors] and the Quakers souls cry for vengeance against them, and so bring destruction upon them and others. So I shall leave it to the Spirit of God in all Friends in every country; and you may, as you pass up and down, inform Friends.

It would be well to prepare some record of the sufferings of Friends, preparing for the session of the next Parliament, and concerning oaths, and of Friends' yes and no being taken; but to gather a more complete account than what they had for the last Parliament, for it was very short. And so dear William, you may read this in the Second-day's morning meeting; and with my love to all Friends that inquire after me.

Keep your habitations in the seed of life and salvation; that will outlast all that is out of it. So with love,

George Fox

From the Original

No. CI


London, 27th of Ninth month, [eleventh mo.] 1676

DEAR George Fox—My dear and tender love is to you, even that love which the God of my life shed abroad in my heart in the dawning of the gospel day, which is living and fresh in me at this time; in which I very dearly salute you, with dear M. F. and her daughters, and all the rest of your family who love and live in the Truth. My love in Christ reaches to every individual and to all the Friends of Truth there and that area.

Dear George, having been long out of this city, it is in my heart to give you a particular account of our labors and travels, from our departure to our return to this city. The 30th of the sixth month 1676, I and my companion George Whitehead left this city and came to Hammersmith, where we had a very precious meeting; several Friends from London accompanied us there. After the meeting we passed to Kingston, called at Robert Dring's by the way, who took our visit very kindly. I inquired for Friends' letters and papers, which were written in the beginning of the spreading of Truth, but could find none because they had been destroyed in the fire of London, as Dorothy said. They inquired of you in much love. On the 31st we had a large and open meeting in Kingston; and God's presence appeared with us. On the 1st day of the seventh month, being the sixth-day of the week, accompanied by Gerrard Roberts we rode to Guildford, where there was a monthly meeting for men and women. With having notice of our coming, it was the larger than normal; and we had a good opportunity and service for God among them. After the meeting we came to Stephen Smyth's, and stayed there on seventh-day, visiting some Friends. On first-day; we rode about 10 miles, and came to a monthly meeting at Froile in Hampshire, which was large; the meeting room could not contain the people, so we met in an orchard; and God's holy and blessed presence accompanied us. On second-day, we had a good meeting in the Friends' new meeting-house at Alton. On third-day, we rode about 15 miles, and came to Swanmore, where there was a quarterly meeting. Friends were in good order, and carried on their business in love and unity. We had a good opportunity among them to our satisfaction. Friends had come there from most of the meetings in the county; and from them we had opportunity to send to Ringwood and Poole. That night we lodged at George Ernbrie's in Southampton; and on fourth-day, we had a solid weighty meeting. Ambrose Rigge was with us there. Early in the morning of the fifth-day, we left Southampton, and traveled 16 miles, and came to Ringwood, where we had a good meeting. Several Baptists and others came in, and Truth did reach them. We also we had a meeting in the evening.

On the sixth-day we came to Poole, and had a very open, fresh meeting. On seventh-day, we traveled about 22 miles and came to Weymouth, where on the first-day we had a large meeting. Friends having notice came from several parts, and God's power and presence was with us. On second-day also, we had a meeting there. On third-day, we rode about 14 miles, and came to Bridport, where we had a meeting in the Friends' rented place, where there had never a meeting before. Many people came, both professors and profane, and filled the room. And after one of us began to declare, they were all very still, and gave attention; and God's power bound and chained down the loose wild spirits, and we parted in peace. We have since heard that many gave a very good report of the meeting. Friends were glad of the opportunity. After the meeting we rode 16 miles. We were two hours within night, and came to Membury, where we found old Jean Pollexien, who had lain there 10 weeks by a fall from her horse;—poor woman, she was in some distress of mind, being a prisoner, and not knowing how to get to Exeter; but since, she has gotten to her prison chamber, which is great satisfaction to her mind, though she continues lame.

[She was evidently on leave from Exeter prison to take care of some business, and suffered a fall from her horse. Quakers were particularly trusted to return, when granted leave.]

On the fourth-day, we had a good meeting at Friends' meeting-house near Membury. On the fifth-day, we went about 22 miles to Topsham, and at the Friends' weekly meeting there, we had a fresh, awakening time. Since the meeting was small, we appointed another meeting there on the sixth-day, to which came Friends from Exeter and out of the country; and the Lord's presence was with us.

I passed over into Cornwall, and had a very full meeting at Thomas Deeble's house; and the Lord opened my heart in much love and tenderness among them. On the second-day, I visited some Friends in Liscard, and so came to Thomas Mounce's; where on the third-day we had a very great meeting, and God's blessed power was with us. old Thomas is very hearty, and was glad of our visit. On the fourth-day we came through Bodenham and visited the prisoners there; there were five imprisoned on Truth's account, mostly for non-payment of tithes. Afterwards we came to Austle, where we were kindly entertained at Thomas Salthouse's. On the fifth-day, we came to Loveday Hambly's where we had a good meeting. We rested on sixth-day, and on seventh-day George Whitehead and Thomas Salthouse rode to Truro, where they had a very good and serviceable meeting in their new meeting-house, parting in peace. I stayed at L. H.'s and had a large meeting; many strangers came in and were tender, and God's heavenly presence accompanied us. Poor old Loveday was even overcome, and gladdened in her heart to see her house, (which she had lately enlarged), so filled; she has a zeal for God, and loves the prosperity of Truth.

On the seventh-day, we rode through Totness, and came to Kingsbridge, and lodged at honest William Kingston's. On first-day, we had a good meeting at their meeting-house near Kingsbridge; several strangers were there, and we had a blessed meeting. On third-day, we came to Plymouth, and on the fourth-day we had a large and blessed meeting in the Friends new meeting place, which is large and very convenient; and the people of that town have an ear open to Truth. We stayed on fifth-day, and on sixth-day we had another heavenly and blessed meeting. And seeing such an openness, Friends were urgently requested us to stay for a first-day meeting. So George Whitehead, finding a freedom from the Lord, stayed on first-day, and we had a very large and precious meeting, with another meeting of some Friends in the evening. Early on second-day, I called on George Whitehead at Truro, and that evening we came to Marazion, where on the third-day we had a very sweet and heavenly meeting, though not very large. After the meeting we rode to Jo. Ellis's house, where on the fourth-day we had a powerful meeting,—many of the eminent professors were there, and confessed to Truth; and Friends were refreshed and comforted in our visit. After the meeting, we came to Captain Whiddon's, near Penzance, who very lovingly received us. On the fifth-day, we traveled to Falmouth, where that evening we had a meeting at John Scantlebury's house. On sixth-day, we had a meeting at the meeting-house in the country near Perin; and the Lord's presence crowned our assembly. After the meeting, we came to Truro, and lodged at Edward Hinks an old disciple and faithful servant of God. On seventh-day, we went to Penzance and called at Thomas Lower's house; his servants have looked long for him there. Afterwards we came to Loveday Hambly's, where on the first-day we had a very large, blessed, and heavenly meeting. The house would not contain the people, but several remained outside; and the Lord's power was manifest with virtue going out. In due time we hope the effect will show itself. The priests' congregations were thin, and some said if we stayed awhile, they thought we should have convinced most of the people of two parishes. We rested on the second-day, because George Whitehead had sprained his foot. On the third-day, we crossed the country to the north sea to Penvos, a farm belonging to Laurence Growdon, where we lodged, L. G. being with us. On the fourth-day, we passed through Padstow, and crossed the river, and came to a meeting at Minver, where we had good service for the Lord. After the meeting, I came to Humphrey Lower's, where I was very kindly and lovingly entertained; but none of the family came to the meeting except poor honest John Bray. On fifth-day morning, I called at John Billings' and spoke to him and his wife, who both confessed to Truth, but the way is too strait for them to walk in. I met George Whitehead at Camelford, who came from Abram Rowe's, and so we left to Launceston; we had a very wet day and got some cold. Arthur Cotton traveled with us through Cornwall. That evening we had a fresh but little meeting at Jo. Kerton's house. There are a few in that town that hold the testimony of Truth.

On the sixth-day early, we left Launceston, and came to Oakhampton and so to North Tawton, where we had a very fresh and open meeting. Many of the townspeople came in, and were very tender, and confessed to the Truth. On the sixth-day, we came to Exeter, and visited Joan Poulton, and the rest of the prisoners; and afterwards we came to Collumpton, where on the first-day we had a large and precious meeting.

On the second-day, we came to Taunton, and on the third-day we had a large meeting at John Allawaye's. On the fourth-day, we crossed the country, and came to Chard, where we had some service in the evening. On fifth-day, we had a meeting at Illlminster; and on sixth-day at Crewkerne; and God's blessed power and presence was with us. After the meeting we came to lllchester; and on seventh-day, we had good opportunities with the prisoners in the morning in the ward, where four or five are upon execution; and in the afternoon in the Friars where John Anderton is prisoner, with several other honest Friends. That evening we came to Puddimore, where on the first-day we had a large, blessed, and heavenly meeting; there were Friends from above twenty meetings, as some did estimate. On the second-day, we came to Shapton Mallet; and on third-day, we had a fresh and good meeting at Abram Clothier's. On fourth-day, we came to Hollowtrow, and had a meeting at their meeting-place. We lodged at John Dando's. On fifth-day, we came to Cainsham, and had a heavenly meeting there, where we met several Bristol Friends. That evening, we came to Bristol, and lodged at Thomas Jordan's, who lives in old Den's house.

On sixth-day, we had a meeting at the Friars, and the Lord was with us; also on the first-day in the morning at Temple Street, and in the afternoon in the new meeting in the Friars. There is a great body of people in that city, and it is great pity that any hurt should come upon them. We labored in all faithfulness among them, and the Lord was with us; and where we met with any opposition, we repelled it in the name of the Lord. We had a good meeting in the evening at our lodging. On the second-day, we visited several Friends, and in the afternoon we were at the women's meeting, which was somewhat larger than usual, because of our being there. On third-day, we had a good meeting among Friends, in the great meeting-house; on fourth-day at Frenchay; and on fifth-day at Olveston, to the great refreshment and satisfaction of Friends and others. We lodged at William Rogers,’ though very crowded, but in Truth's dominion we stood. John Story came out of Wiltshire, and George Whitehead had much discourse with him and William Rogers about many things too tedious to mention in this short relation. In the evening William Rogers was moderate, and John Story high and rough; but in the morning John Story* was very calm, and William Rogers was in a storm, not to me but to George Whitehead. We cleared our consciences to both of them, and left them. That day being sixth-day, we came again to Bristol, and had a good meeting in the Friars. On seventh-day we visited several, who have let in a sour leaven to their harm; we cleared our consciences and left them. On first-day, we were at both meetings; and God's blessed power and heavenly dominion was with us. We came to Alesbury, but finding few Friends in the town, we came on to Isaac Pennington's at a meeting at Thomas Law's where a marriage took place in the meeting, and the Lord's presence was in the midst of us. I may truly say, I have seldom been at such a marriage, and more of God's presence to my remembrance; to God alone be glory. On the sixth-day, being the 14th of the ninth month, we came to London, where we found our wives and families well; for which our souls do magnify and bless the name of God. Thus, dear George, I have given you a brief account of our travels in this our journey. In this city things are well, and our meetings are full and quiet. Many would be glad be to hear of your motion this way, which would dash and give the lie to many bad spirits, who have prophesied of your downfall; and be a great comfort to the upright in heart. George Whitehead and several of the brethren dearly and tenderly salute you. So with mine and my wife's dear love to you, and to all in your family, I rest yours in the unchangeable love of Truth.

Alexander Parker

P. S. I desire you to mention my dear love to Thomas Lower, and all.

Addressed to Sarah Fell, at Swarthmore, this with care deliver for George Fox.

From the Original.

*{John Story was a leader of the Wilkinson-Story separation, a split-off group of Quakers, who thought there should be no discipline of the membership for walking out of the Truth. They thought the Assembly should not have the power to censure them, or deny them continued membership for failure to repent of their evil behaviors, which ignored the commands of Christ and Paul.}

John Anderton, (as J. Whiting writes) continued a prisoner here until death. He was a man of repute; a good scholar and scribe, instructed to the kingdom, bringing forth of the treasury, things new and old. He was well skilled in the languages, especially Greek and Latin; and understood the law, so that many came for advice, but freely. He had good service for the Lord in meetings, not only in prison, but other places abroad. He resided at the Friary, where many Friends were prisoners. He died the 20th of first month, 1685, finishing his course about the 60th year of his age, laying down his head in peace, a little before the troubles broke out in the West.— Whiting's Memoirs, p. 278.


ROBERT BARCLAY TO SARAH FELL, (to become Sarah Meade)

Urie, 27th of Eighth month, [tenth mo.] 1678

DEAR Sarah Fell.—Some days ago I received both your letters, by William Taylor. I return you this answer, chiefly to try an expedient, whether letters put in at the post-office at Edinburgh, will come safely to your hands; for which end I order this that way; and if it arrived, let me have by the first post an answer, directing it for me to be left with David Falconer, merchant, in Edinbro. I will not enlarge by this, because uncertain of its safe conveyance. I have been a prisoner since I left your sister, but was kept only two nights. Patrick Livingstone, has been out and in again. George Keith* and Thomas Mercer were taken this day last week.

From Holland I had last night a letter that gave me much satisfaction, in which was one enclosed from Herwarden from Anna Van Horne to Lil. Skeine, very loving; and a short postscript from Elizabeth [the Princess] in these words :—" Dear friend, I love your upright intention to travail in spirit for your friends, though unknown to you; and doubt not but it will prove efficacious to them, in the Lord's due time; which is the wish of your loving friend, Elizabeth." I refer other matters to a further occasion.

My entire love to your father and mother, to Isabel my dear fellow-traveler, to Sarah and Rachael, as also your brother and sister Lower, with Leonard Fell and others my acquaintance. You will excuse this briefness at this time to your very affectionate friend

Robert Barclay

*{While students at Aberdeen University, George Keith was Robert Barclay’s debating partner, successfully defending the Quakers. Keith later immigrated to Pennsylvania, where his immature fondness of debating led him to challenge the Quaker doctrines, deny the Quaker ministers, appoint himself a minister, and lead the foolish out into a separation. He could not give up the argument, appealing his case to the Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, losing the appeal; then appealing to London to override Philadelphia, losing that appeal too; trying to created a separation of Quakers in England as he did in America; and finally joining the Church of England’s ministry to return to America to evangelize the Quakers back into the Church of England. On his deathbed, he stated it would have been better for God to have called him home while he was a Quaker. The full details of the Keith Separation are available for reading on this web site.}



Edinburgh, the last of the Tenth month, [twelfth mo.] 1679

DEAR George Fox—To whom is my dear and unfeigned love in the unchangeable Truth, of whom to hear is always refreshing to me. I know it will be acceptable to you to understand, that at last the tedious persecution at Aberdeen seems to have come to an end; for Friends have had their meetings peaceable for nearly two months, and dear Patrick Livingstone after having had several peaceable meetings, is now come away a noble conqueror from from that place, and is gone to visit Friends in the west country, and then intends homeward by way of Newcastle. I doubt not, but that God will abundantly reward his courage and patience; for his stay has been of great service to Truth and Friends in these parts. I came here at the earnest desire of William Penn and other Friends, to speak to the Duke of York concerning the New Jersey business; but fear there will be little effect in it. I doubt it has been spoiled in the managing at first.

Friends here are generally well, as George Keith and his wife, H. P., R. R. and others; and their love I know is to you. I would be very glad, if your freedom could allow of it, to see you in this country in the spring. I know it would be of great service, for there are several things that would need it; several things go cross, and are so now in many places; and I know no man's presence could so easily remedy it as yours. I heard from Holland lately, where Friends are well; but the brothers of the deceased Simon Tonson of Rotterdam, are about to pursue his widow for his estate, as not being legally married to her; but it is hoped they will not carry it, and their judgment is, that it will be of great consequence to Friends in the future, as to their marriages. My dear and entire love is to Margaret and all the family; and in the love of the unchangeable Truth, I continue.

Robert Barclay

From some correspondence which took place in 1683, between Friends in Holland and Stephen Crisp, also with the Morning Meeting in London, it appears that the widow's case was then undecided; and that some proceedings were on foot with the government of Holland, on legalizing the marriages of Friends, on their agreeing to give notice to the civil magistrate before the marriage, as well as afterwards of its solemnization. Some of the Friends in Holland scrupled as to the previous notice; and the advice of the Morning Meeting was requested. The answer was to this effect ;—that "it was not inconsistent with Truth's testimony, "to certify the magistrate both before and after the marriage, "all things having first passed with clearness through the meetings of Friends;" that "if the same were offered here, which would exempt and clear Friends' marriages from the penal laws, Friends believe it would be accepted by Friends generally." "We have been willing from the beginning," writes G. Whitehead on this occasion that our marriages should be made known to the magistrates, and published at market crosses, etc., as George Fox says."—The Morning Meeting further remarks, — "For though we cannot allow the right of marrying to the civil magistrate," yet his right to take cognizance of offenders, covenant breakers, etc. (which are but a scandal to Truth and us), as well as to punish adulterers, etc.,—magistrates being set to be a terror to evil workers, and for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of those who do well, and to defend them in their rights and properties,— has always been our testimony. Therefore, Friends being free to impart the simple knowledge of their intentions, will rather speak their innocence and clearness from all violations of contracts, clandestine proceedings, etc., than the refusal of such notice; and surely we would have our innocence appear both before marriage and after. These remarks are interesting, as being applicable to the course adopted by Friends in this country, on the late change in our marriage laws, before this correspondence turned up.

<Early Quaker Historical Letters Continued>>>