The Missing Cross to Purity


LETTERS AND WRITINGS OF EARLY QUAKERS
(continued)

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No. XXXVI

MARGARET FELL TO HER CHILDREN

London, 25th of Eighth month, [tenth mo.] 1660

MY dearly beloved lambs and babes,—my love is to you all; and my prayer to the Lord  who married is for you all, that in his arm and power you may be kept in the bosom of his love, there to be nursed and cherished up to eternal life. George Fox is now freed, blessed be the Lord God, 'whose arm and power alone has done it,— after he had appeared before the judge who sent for him up; then he appeared before the Lord Chief Justice of England in his chamber; and the next day he appeared before them all in open court, in the King's Bench; and all this after the King had granted out an order to set him free; but they would not set him free, until he had appeared in all these places, to see if anything would come against him. It was of great service for the Truth. I cannot write at present punctually the time of my return for I do feel that I am not yet clear of this place; but still do wait for the Lord's will and pleasure and his time to be manifested to me. May you rest satisfied in that; for there is everlasting peace, and there you will enjoy me. I do not know how suddenly the Lord may give me my freedom to come home; but when it is, I shall embrace it lovingly. Let me hear of the little ones, how it is with them all, (you mention little of them when you write); and my desire is to hear of you all, and of your well-being in the Lord. It may be you have heard before this, that James Nayler has finished his natural life, and has laid down his body of earth about three-score miles off London.* So no more, but my love in the Lord Jesus is with you; and as soon as the Lord gives me leave, I shall return. The eternal arm of the Almighty be with you.

*James Nayler died in Huntingdonshire; the following is a copy of the burial register of Friends in Huntingdonshire: "James Nayler, buried 21st of eighth month, 1660, at Ripton Regis, in Huntingdonshire."

Margaret Fell

From the Original

The judge's warrant for George Fox's discharge, is dated on the day of the date of this letter, and it is addressed to the marshal of the King's Bench. He was thus set at liberty, after having been a prisoner more than twenty weeks in Lancaster Castle. He states in his Journal, that terror took hold of the justice of Lancashire (Porter), by whom he had been committed, though innocent of any just charge : " he was afraid I would take the advantage of the law against him for my wrong imprisonment; and indeed I was pressed by some in authority to make him and the rest examples; but I said I should leave them to the Lord; if the Lord forgave them, I should not trouble myself with them."—Journal, 1660.

At the time of this writing, Margaret Fell was a widow, and had one son, also seven daughters; whose names were Margaret, married John Rouse; Bridget, married to John Draper; Isabel; Sarah, who married William Meade; Мarу, married to Thomas Lower; Susanna, by marriage afterwards Ingram; and Rachel, who married Daniel Abraham.

No. XXXVII

 [TOWARDS the latter part of this year, (1660), Friends in London wore very assiduous in interceding with the King on behalf of their suffering brethren, so many of whom were enduring grievous confinement in the prisons of the country. George Whitehead informs us: Their innocence was pleaded before him as being a peaceable people, and not having forfeited their interest in his promise of liberty to tender consciences in matters of religion. Some Friends at London reminded him thereof; and by solicitations and frequent complaints of their persecutions and hardships, he [the King] was induced to issue his proclamation of grace, for the release of the prisons. However, the [said proclamation] also contained a menace or threat in it, that impunity was not intended, if the Quakers continued to practice as we had done, i.e. upon the score of religion. A Christian Progress, p. 260.]

The following is a copy of the minute of the Council Board respecting Friends' complaints :

Friday, Nov. 23rd t1660)—[ninth mo.]

WHITEHALL, COUNCIL BOARD

It is this day ordered, [the king] being present, that the Lord Steward, [with six other members of the Board] or any three of them, be a committee to consider of the papers and addresses of the Quakers; and to prepare such a proclamation or declaration thereupon, as they shall think fit to be offered to [the king] concerning them; as also to examine, where any of the said persons are imprisoned, for what causes they were committed, what times they have been under restraint, and what will be fit to be done for their enlargement; and hereof to make report to the Board." The business being followed up, a Royal Proclamation was prepared and issued; from which the following is an extract:

January 25th, 1661. [eleventh mo. 1660.]

Whereas very many persons, commonly known by the name and appellation of Quakers, have been lately taken and imprisoned, as persons opposite to [the king's] government; [the king] was graciously pleased to order in Council, that the Lord Mayor of the City of London should release all, or so many of them, now prisoners within his liberties, as are not ringleaders or preachers among them, or have not any particular charge against them; they, the said Quakers engaging themselves in the future to live obediently according to law." — Kennet’s Chronicle, p. 318 and 364.

It should be stated, that about this period endeavors appear to have been used to reconcile ecclesiastical differences in the State generally; for a Royal declaration was issued from the Council, dated 25th of October, 1660, "concerning ecclesiastical affairs," in which the King expresses his desire to compose those differences, and to remove abuses. In this document, he again renews what he formerly proclaimed in his " Declaration from Breda" for the liberty of tender consciences,— "that no man should be disquieted or called in question for differences of opinion in matters of religion, which do not disturb the peace of the Kingdom." — Royal Declaration concerning Ecclesiastical Affairs.(Lord Somers' Tracts, vol. xi. p. 16) So far did matters appear about this time to turn in favor of general liberty of conscience, that the above Royal declaration was even embodied into a Bill, which was brought into the House of Commons the 28th of November of this year 1660; but it was defeated on the second reading, being opposed by one of the King's Secretaries of State; such was the uncertainty or vacillation—if no worse —displayed in this important object. But plots arose soon after, and most especially that of the Fifth Monarchy men, which put an end to all further proceedings or professions for general liberty of conscience; and most probably those plots were made the pretext for the adoption, in the course of the next year, of the severe measures against non-conformists, and chiefly against Quakers. In Sewel’s History will be found some interesting particulars of what passed during an interview, which Richard Hubberthorne had with the King about this time. George Fox also mentions in his Journal, that Thomas Moore and Margaret Fell were often engaged to intercede with the King on the same account. Among the Swarthmore Collection of Manuscripts has been found the following narrative of an interview had by Thomas Moore, (a former justice of peace), with the King, which it is believed has not been before printed : it is endorsed by G. Fox as:

"What the King said to Thomas Moore. 1660, 14th of tenth month."

Something that passed between the king and me, Thomas Moore of Hartswood, in the county of Surrey.'

14th of Tenth month [twelfth mo.] 1660

 AFTER that I, with other Friends, had presented our sufferings to the king and several particular members of his council, and after several days waiting upon them for answer, the king was pleased, with a great part of his council, to grant us an order; and chose a committee to examine our papers and sufferings. After some weeks that we had waited and solicited those members who were chosen to hear our business, we had many promises from those who we should be heard, and likewise have relief. So upon the before said day of the tenth month, we being, as our manner was, waiting in the lobby at the council chamber door, the king and his whole council being there sat, (as we have heard since, by some of those who were of the council ); there was a debate among them whether I should be called in with my hat on, for they said I would not take it off myself; others said it might be taken off gently by the doorkeeper, or the clerk: but the king said, by no means, it should not be taken off, except I took it off myself; none other should take it off. Whereupon after some time I was called in; and when I was within the room a pretty way, and saw the king at the head of the table with the rest of the council, I made a stop, not knowing but that I might give offence: when one of the council spoke to me and said, "you may go up; it is the king's pleasure that you may come to him with your hat on." So I went up near to the king, and said, " Is this the king?" And they said, "Yes." I looked upon him, and he upon me; and I spoke the word of the Lord to him as it rose in me,—concerning the goodness and the mercy of the Lord to him,—for the space of a quarter of an hour, and was not interrupted; but they were all silent, until I was clear.

When I had done speaking, the king asked me what I would have of him. I said, "О king, our meetings, which are kept in God's fear, are by the will of evil rulers and rude people, many times broken up,—we are drug, beaten, bruised, and trod upon by the said people; who are countenanced by such magistrates, who in their wills cause us many times to be drug out, sent to prison, and kept there contrary to law and your Declaration sent from Breda, and since revived; in which you promised we should not be disturbed, nor called in question, for things pertaining to our consciences."

Then the king answered me; "God forbid, you, living in God's fear, should be wronged, and that your meetings should be disturbed; for it is my mind that you should enjoy your meetings peaceably, and be protected, living peaceably and quietly in the kingdom." Then I said, "Some of us are indicted for not coming to the steeple house." The king answered, "You shall not be indicted for not coming to the church." Then I said, "What you speak here within these walls, may not relieve us; for the magistrates in the kingdom may not take notice what your mind is here, and so possibly we may not enjoy what is in your heart towards us, except your pleasure be signified to the kingdom by proclamation, or declaration." To which the king answered, "You shall enjoy your meetings without disturbance, you shall see it, so long as you live peaceably; leave it to me."

By what the king said there, we do expect that something may be done for us; for he bade us stay awhile, and we should see.

Thomas Moore

[George Fox, in his Journal under date about this period, says, "There seemed at [this] time an inclination and intention in the government to grant Friends liberty; because they were sensible that we had suffered, as well as they, under the former powers. But still, when anything was going forward in order thereto, some dirty spirit or other, that would seem to be for us, threw something in the way to stop it. It was said, there was an instrument drawn up for confirming our liberty, and that it only wanted signing; when on a sudden, that wicked attempt of the Fifth Monarchy people broke out, and put the city and nation in an uproar."

After this event, George Fox and his Friends drew up "A Declaration from the harmless and innocent people of God called Quakers, against all sedition, plotters and fighters in the world," which was presented to the king on the 21st of the eleventh month, 1660 (called January 1661.)—His Journal may be consulted further for this eventful period.

{Curiously Fox's Declaration against sedition, plotters, and fighters - in which Fox denies that Quakers were fighters, was later twisted by later day Quakers to become the basis for confronting government about war - their peace testimony and the justification for their mass protests - exactly the opposite of the letters intention. To see the letter, click here.}

No. XXXVIII

ON THE PROCEEDINGS IN PARLIAMENT RESPECTING THE BILL AGAINST FRIENDS IN 1661

[Despite the earnest solicitations of Friends with the king, in the early part of this year, (soon after the Fifth Monarchy plot), a Royal proclamation was issued forth against "all unlawful meetings under pretence of religious worship;" in which "Quakers" were expressly named; setting forth that "they do meet in great numbers, at unusual times, by reason whereof they begin to boast of their multitudes, and to increase in their confidences," — all such persons are to be bound over or imprisoned, and the oath of allegiance tendered to them. — Kennet, p. 357.

On the 11th of the month, called May, of this year, on the occasion of the king's coronation, another royal proclamation was however issued, to discharge such Friends who had been imprisoned under an Act of James 1st, as well as for refusing the oath, or for meeting contrary to the late proclamation, without the payment of fees. But in five days only from the date of this proclamation, (proving that there existed a strong party in the State in favor of persecution), a committee was appointed in the House of Commons "to prepare and bring in a Bill to prevent the ill consequences to the government, by Quakers and others refusing to take oaths, and numerously and unlawfully convening together; with such penalties as may be suitable to the nature of those offences, and may be profitable to work upon the humors of such fanatics." — Kennet, p. 448, quoting from the Commons' Journals.

{Thus began a series persecutions, including three Parliamentary acts naming the hated Quakers, to deliberately destroy them. The King's father had been beheaded by a dissenting Puritan revolutionary Parliament. The King's allies were the upper class Royalists, primarily from the established Church of England. Now there had just occurred an abortive revolution of dissenting religious fanatics, which put fear of all dissenting religious groups into the King. He turned to the only support around, the Church of England, whose members would support him financially and fight for him again, as they did to restore him; fearing the possibility of another war. The Quakers were no help, they wouldn't fight if necessary. Neither were the Quakers even able to help vote in a favorable Parliament's House of Commons, because to qualify as a voter, it was necessary to swear. So the Quakers were sacrificed in favor of temporal interests, with no fear of consequences - at least from earthly powers. The Church of England was losing paying members by the droves to the Quakers - some churches were empty of listeners and payers - so they were eager to destroy the Quakers. Further this national Episcopal church was accustomed to persecuting dissenters, having taken revenge on the Puritans at the restoration of the king replacing the Puritan Cromwell. The King, to secure his own throne, allied himself with the Church of England's radical desire to destroy the Quakers by imprisonment, financial ruin, and eventual banishment out of the land to the tropical colonies - aiming particularly at the ministers and leaders who were convincing their paying members to abandon their church.}

George Whitehead writes as follows on the subject of this cruel Bill, which may be said to be the first attempt to crush the Society by all the force of legislative enactment : —

"It was but a short time after we were set at liberty, that we could enjoy our religious meetings quietly; the irreligious persecuting spirit was at work in the nation among priests and magistrates, who would have all compelled to go to church and conform, (as the pretence was), for all to be of one religion; when there was but little of the life, substance, or purity of religion designed in the case. So hasty and precipitant was the persecuting spirit, and eager to be at work, and that too under some excuse or pretence of law, that in the first Parliament chosen after the king's restoration, they soon contrived a Bill for suppressing our meetings; and several of the persons chosen to be members of that Parliament, being known to be persecutors, that party swayed and carried it by vote; in so much that the Bill was committed, and at last passed into an Act, which is entitled : "An Act for preventing mischiefs and dangers that may arise by certain persons called Quakers and others refusing to take lawful oaths." After setting forth that certain persons named Quakers, and others, "have taken up and maintained sundry dangerous opinions and tenets; and, among others, that the taking of an oath in any case whatsoever, although before a lawful magistrate, is altogether unlawful, and contrary to the word of God," the act proceeds to state further, that "the said persons, under a pretence of religious worship, do often assemble themselves in great numbers in several parts of this realm, to the great endangering of the public peace and safety, and to the terror of the people, by maintaining a secret and strict correspondence among themselves, and in the meantime separating and dividing themselves from the rest of his Majesty's good and lawful subjects, and from the public congregations and usual places of divine worship;"— it then enacts, that if five or more Quakers, above sixteen years of age, assemble under pretence of joining in religious worship not authorized by law, "the party convicted shall forfeit, for the first offence, not exceeding £5, for the second £10, and in default of payment or seizure of property in the value of the fine, for the first offence to be imprisoned three months, for the second six months, and for the third, transportation to any of the king's plantations." Edward Burrough, Richard Hubberthorne, and George Whitehead appeared before a Parliament committee to speak against the bill; they were unsuccessful. Below is Edward Burrough’s letter describing Parliament’s actions:

A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF PARLIAMENT CONCERNING THE PEOPLE of GOD CALLED QUAKERS. ACCORDING to the policy of the men of this world which works in this generation against the righteous seed of God, to subdue it, as ever it did in ages past against the same seed;—thus it came to pass.

The 26th day of the third month last, called May,—which was not many days after the Parliament came together—it was moved by a certain member of the House of Commons,—whose name I shall not now mention,—that whereas the Quakers, as he called them, were a numerous people, and growing more numerous daily,—and upon the king's indulgence and fair promises towards them, especially that proclamation for their release out of all prisons,—which was about three days before that time come forth and published,—were very high and confident; and they met together in great numbers, and were of dangerous consequence, and prevailed much to the seducing of the king's subjects, or to this effect; that therefore that House would be pleased to take into consideration, by what way and means to proceed for to check and restrain such their confidence; and to enact somewhat concerning their refusing to take oaths, and their great meetings; or to this effect. Whereupon it was put to the question in the House, and resolved upon the same, that it should be referred to such persons—whom I shall not now nominate—as a committee, to prepare and bring in a Bill to prevent the ill consequence in government, by the Quakers, Anabaptists and other schisms, refusing to take oaths, and numerously and unlawfully convening together,—with such penalties as may be suitable to the nature of those offences, and profitable to work upon the humors of such fanatics. These be the very words of the order.

Accordingly in about six weeks, a Bill was prepared and brought into the House, and read the first and second time; and—as the manner of the House is, in such cases of finishing Bills —was committed to a certain number of persons—whose names may not now be nominated,—as a committee to correct and finish the said Bill, and to report concerning the same to the House, in order to its passing into an Act. And accordingly the said committee met together about the 20th day of the fifth month— if I mistake not,—to read and debate the said Bill. And we being not clear in our hearts towards God and to his people, to allow this wickedness to be carried on without giving our testimony against it, as it passed;—that we might be clear from such their proceedings against the innocent, and that they might be better informed concerning us, and also reproved in their works; therefore we were moved in our hearts, in the wisdom of God to endeavor [to gain] admittance to come before them; showing the equity of it unto them, that we might better inform them, and show them our reasons against the said Bill. Having made some provisions thereunto, by reasoning beforehand with many of the members, — according to our desire, three of us were permitted to come in, and were conducted by one of the members of the said committee, and before them we appeared in the name and authority of the Lord God:—and after some obstructions as about our hats, which at last were taken off by one of them, some interrogations were made by them, as what we were, and where we lived, and why, and on what accounts we there appeared, which we gave answers unto. We then had liberty from them to present a manuscript to them, which was received and read; and also we had the liberty to speak something concerning the said Bill, and of the unreasonableness of it, and of the woeful consequences, which would follow, if it passed; in brief, we gave our testimony by the Spirit of the Lord against their proceedings, and so we were dismissed their presence, and withdrew; and they proceeded in the business, an exact account of which cannot yet be given.

The next day—as I take it,—the report by the chairman of the said committee was made to the House; thereupon it was thought fit by those who the said Bill should be recommitted for some amendments; and accordingly the committee met again about the 13th of the month before said,—as I remember; before whom we again obtained the opportunity to appear by some kindness of some of the members of the committee; and that day we gave full testimony against the said Bill,—that it was unrighteous and unreasonable, - showing our reasons for the same. We had much reasoning with them, yet not by way of any capitulation, but by full denial of the whole matter in that case. They were more moderate towards us than the first time of those sitting; and the presence of the Lord was much with us, and some spirits were subjected under the power of the Truth, which at that time was declared in much authority and wisdom, though some of them had much ado to bear what was then said. The last thing that was said by one of us was, that if ever this Bill now under debate was finished into an Act to be executed, he was so far from yielding conformity thereunto, that he should— through the strength of Christ—meet among the people of God to worship Him; and not only so, but should make it his business to exhort all God's people everywhere, to meet together for the worship of God, notwithstanding that law and all its penalties’ and he desired this saying might be reported to the House.

So we, having cleared our consciences to them, and left a good witness for Truth upon their spirits, left them and withdrew; and they proceeded in their work that day, and amended the Bill, or rather made it far worse, and more unreasonable than ever, and that against some of their own consciences and reasonable conviction,—as I do believe; for they formed it that day into this mode, to wit—" That for the third offence of refusing to take oaths being lawfully tendered, and meeting together upon pretence of religion, above the number of five persons out of our own habitations, we were referred to be proceeded against by the statute of 35 Elizabeth which is, to abjure the realm, or in case of denial to be proceeded against as felons, without benefit of clergy." About two days after, the Bill with its said new amendments was presented to the House again; upon which a very great debate arose among them, so that the Bill was altered again into a new and more moderate temper, being concluded by many of them to be too severe against us as it was brought in. So the matter was sorely debated in the House, and the Bill was framed and passed as follows: "for the first offence of refusing to take an oath lawfully tendered, and for meeting together as before said, being legally convicted by twelve men, or the confession of the party, a certain sum should be imposed on us, by them before whom such conviction was made, not exceeding five pounds; and this to be taken by distress, or the person to be committed to the House of Correction or common jail for three months; for the second offence being convicted as before said, the sum imposed should not exceed ten pounds, to be taken in like manner by distress, or the person imprisoned for six months and for the third offence being convicted as before said, it should be lawful for the king to transplant any such person or persons to any of his plantations beyond the seas; and this [Act] to be commenced from the first of the seventh month next. This was the form of the Bill as it last passed in the House, being altered three or four times before. So it was ordered to be engrossed, and to be brought into the House by such a time for final determination and to be sent to the upper House. But it came into our hearts with much zeal for God and his truth, and against this unrighteous thing, and the Lord stirred up the hearts of some of us by his eternal power [again] to give our witness against it, that we might be clear in our consciences concerning this matter. So for the very cause of God and his truth, we were given up to do and suffer all things; and we did boldly attempt to appear a the bar of their House, that we might give our reasons and clear our hearts against the said Bill, and why it ought not to pass into an Act.

To obtain this our appearance before them, we used several arguments to many of the members of the House, to procure our admittance; and according to our desire, through the very providence and wisdom of God, when the Bill was read in the House the last time to be finished, we had admittance, by the vote of the House; and after some little debate at the door by some of the members about our hats, the sergeant came and told us, we might come in with our hats on or off, which we would; so into the house we were conducted by him with our hats on, and within the House near the bar he took hem off. Thus at the bar we appeared, in God's fear and authority; and after some queries put to us by the Speaker, to which we answered, and confessed to that favor of admittance to that place, we presented a manuscript to them, which we desired might be received and read by them; and they did receive it by the hands of their sergeant; and also liberty was given us by the Speaker to say what we had upon us.

Accordingly the Lord opened our mouths, and we showed several sound reasons unto the House against the before said Bill, and why it ought not to pass into an Act: 1st, because of the falsity and unsoundness of it in its ground; 2ndly, because of the unreasonableness and unjustness of it in itself; and 3rdly, because of the evil effects of it, which must needs follow if it passed. Many other things were spoken in the name and authority of the God of heaven, as concerning our peacefulness,  and of the absolute proper right that belongs to us, both from God and men, to enjoy the liberty of our consciences in the exercise of our religion. And we had plenty of  time to clear our consciences to them about that Bill, showing how it was contrary to the law of Christ, and to the King's promises, and destructive to many thousands of good people. They were in much moderation and patience to hear us; and the word of the Lord through us had an effect upon many, to qualify their spirits into sobriety through good information. So having cleared ourselves and left it upon them, we were ordered by the House to withdraw, which we did; and they fell into a very great debate upon the matter; some spoke for us, and many against us, and some were neuters; and the debate continued about an hour, before the vote of the House determined the thing. But at last through difficulty among themselves it was finished, and the Bill sent to the upper House there to be read, and passed fit for the King to sign.

[Extract from Journals of the House of Commons, under date of 19th of sixth month, 1661 :—

"A Bill for preventing the mischief and dangers that may arise by certain persons called Quakers and others refusing to take lawful oaths, being engrossed, was this day read a third time. A Petition being tendered on the behalf of certain persons called Quakers by some at the door who go under that notion, who desired to be heard before the said Bill do pass—Resolved, That the persons at the door be called in. And the said four persons, namely, Edward Burrough, Richard Hubberthorne, George Whitehead, and Edward Pyot, being thereupon permitted to come to the bar of this House, did severally offer what they had to say against the passing of the said Bill; and tendered a printed paper which they desired might be read. After which, they being caused to withdraw, and the House resuming the debate of the said Bill; Resolved, That the said Bill do pass: and that the title of the said Bill be, "An Act for preventing the mischiefs and dangers that may arise by certain persons called Quakers and others refusing to take lawful oaths."]

Well, but still the Spirit of the Lord, and a zeal for his truth was upon us, to pursue it with faithful evidence against it, wherever it came; and we gave in some manuscripts among the members of the upper House, and several reasons in writing, and we had hopes to have been heard by them, if they had proceeded. The Lord made our endeavors effectual in clearing of our consciences, and informing them concerning the innocence of our cause, and the unjust destructiveness of the said Bill. But the God of our peace and happiness by his power put a stop to it in that House, so that the Lords—so called—only read it once in their House, and so laid it by, and proceeded not any further in it then; this was through the goodness of the Lord, to cross and stop the will of many of our adversaries, that seek our destruction. The glory of this present deliverance belongs to the God of heaven, and to him it is given. The Parliament is now adjourned until the 20th of the ninth month, and nothing effected by them against us, though the before said Bill is still in being against us; and whether they may have power to bring it forth at their next Sessions, I leave that to the Lord; who does and allows to be done whatsoever he will. Let us therefore [have] respect [to] him only, and walk humbly before him; and be in perfect patience to do or suffer anything for his name sake, and the blessed Truth which he has given us to profess and practice.

Thus I have in brief given the substance of a relation as to the manner—though not fully as to the matter—of proceedings in the case before said, a particular account as of the many manuscripts given to them, and verbal speeches and discourses with them, and of the orders of the House, and other things relating to this business.

Let all Friends walk in meekness and humility, and in faithfulness towards God, and in wisdom and patience and good will towards all men; that so you may all be preserved in a clear conscience, and may deserve a repute for inoffensiveness in all matters among your neighbors; that so no just occasion may be taken against us by our adversaries; but that in their consciences they may be forced to confess to our harmless conversations. If at any time they will act against us, and cause us to suffer, it may be on their part against knowledge, and on our part for the cause of God only, and for his Truth's sake, and not for evil doing. Keep your meetings in all wisdom and in the fear of the Lord, to the edifying of your souls. And God Almighty preserve you all.

Your friend known to you in the invisible life of righteousness.  

Edward Burrough

7th mo, 1661

[Along with the foregoing "Brief account," was found—in the same handwriting—a copy of Edward Burrough's " Reasons and considerations against the said Bill, presented to the Lords assembled in Parliament :"—the reasons are drawn up in very forcible language, and are somewhat similar to those presented to the House of Commons; they conclude with the following noble and memorable declaration.]

This is the perfect state of our case, and an absolute extremity is put upon us, either to disobey the law of God and to deny Christ before men, and so to destroy our souls, and be ourselves under the wrath of God, or to disobey your intended law, and so to expose our persons, estates, lives, and families to utter destruction in this world. For the law of God and this law, in the cases mentioned, are plainly opposite one to another; for Christ said, "Swear not at all," Mat 5:34; and the Apostle James said, "But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” for fear that you fall into judgment, James 5:12 " But this law enjoins to swear; and everyone that refuses to swear, shall undergo such forfeitures, penalties, and banishments. Whether it is better to obey God's law or this, and to undergo God's displeasure or yours for disobedience, you be the judge. Also, God has commanded us to meet together to worship him in spirit and in truth; and the apostle has exhorted, (Heb 10:25) not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but to exhort one another; and not to sin in neglect of our duty, upon the penalty of a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation from God; and it was the practice of the primitive Christians to meet together, and sit sometime in private houses; but this law prohibits our meeting together, upon such forfeitures and penalties, even unto banishment. Which of these two laws are the more just and to be obeyed, let the God of heaven and your own consciences bear witness; if we disobey the one, we gain the wrath of God to the destruction of our souls; and if we disobey the other, we gain the wrath of men to the utter destruction of our families, estates, and lives in this world. This is our present case, and our sad extreme! But we are resolved in the name of the Lord to obey God and his righteous laws and commands, though we suffer absolute destruction in this world; and we will trust the God of heaven with our cause, which is the cause of a good conscience, which is the Lord's and not our own, of Him and not of ourselves. We will walk in the ways of His Truth and commandments, and will meet together to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, and exhort one another thereunto for our comfort and edification in the Holy Spirit, notwithstanding any law of man to the contrary; and if, for so doing, we perish,—we perish! Our blood will be upon our persecutors; and the reward of our destruction will come upon you, if you go on passing laws against the law of God, for the persecution and ruin of us his people. We heartily desire you to take this into your consideration, and that the fear and wisdom of God may be among you.

Edward Burrough

In the Journals of the House of Lords occurs the following entries relative to this Bill :—

May 28th. A petition was presented to this House by some Quakers, which was commanded to be read, and after a long debate it is ordered, that this petition be committed to these Lords following, to consider of a proper remedy to cure the afflictions of these people, and to report the same to this House : the Lord Privy Seal, [and many others, in all thirty-seven peers, among them were the Earls of Pembroke and Anglesey (names mentioned in these letters); also the Earl of Bridgewater, a noted persecutor named in Isaac Penington's writings.]

May 31st. The Earl of Pembroke reported from the committee that were appointed to consider of the Quakers' petition, That the committee after long debate, were of opinion, that the second proposition in the paper put in by the Quakers concerning 'yes' and 'no,' to be taken in lieu of oaths, should be rejected. That the committee having rejected it, thought fit to offer it is as their opinion, that a promissory oath should be tendered to the Quakers, such a one as no good subject can or ought to refuse. That the third proposition concerning respects and putting off of hats, be rejected. That the fourth clause, concerning "their not coming to the public worship, and the first being dependent upon it—as to their private meetings,—being too weighty for the determination of the committee, they thought fit to be reported to this House, to be debated by the House. The committee also is of opinion, that the fifth clause concerning not paying of tithes, be rejected. That the sixth clause concerning their not observing days, meats, having dependence on the fourth concerning public worship, is fit also to be debated by the whole House. That the committee will consider of the second part of the order [of the House] for a remedy of the distempers of these people, when they have received the resolution of the House concerning the third clause offered to their resolution by the committee."

July 23rd." The Bill is read a first time; but an adjournment of the House takes place. " Nov. 26th," it is read a second time, and is committed; on the committee, are six bishops —York, London, &c.—The Bill is reported under date of " Nov. 29th," with alterations; is again committed; is reported once more with amendments " Dec. 17th," and again re-committed. — " 1662, Jan. 16th," the Earl of Bridgewater reports upon the Bill; it is again re-committed and ordered to be made to extend to Quakers only; " the committee are to meet tomorrow morning at eight of the clock."— " Jan. 28th," the Bill is again reported, and alterations agreed to; is read a third time and passed; and is sent down to the Commons to desire their concurrence in the alterations.— "Feb. 18th, a message from the Commons was brought up to desire a conference upon the Bill touching the Quakers next morning—at eleven of the clock,—in the Painted chamber." The Lord Chancellor reports the result, that the Commons disagree in some points, namely: " they adhere to the word ‘others' in the title of the Bill, to meet with all others who refuse oaths besides Quakers; such are some Anabaptists; to leave out the word ' others,' would frustrate the end of the Bill; and besides it is not easy to define what a Quaker is, if so restrained; and it is not possible to enumerate all the names by which several sects would call themselves to evade this Bill; and it were great partiality to single out the Quakers, and exclude others as dangerous, if not more."—" They likewise disagree with the amendment ' any ten or more persons:' because the mischief may be great when five meet, but the remedy is not so easy when ten meet,"—The House of Lords again refers the whole matter to the same committee before appointed; they order the word ' others' to be added in; also to extend the Bill to all others who maintain that all oaths are unlawful. Further alterations are brought forward, and another conference between the two Houses takes place on " March 1st, 1662."—On " May 2nd, 1662." the Royal assent to the Bill is reported.

[The following letter refers to the progress of this said Bill.]

EDWARD BURROUGH AND ELLIS HOOKES TO FRIENDS

London, 24th of Tenth month [twelfth mo.] 1661

DEARLY BELOVED FRIENDS,—In the life and power and spirit of our heavenly Father, do our souls salute you all; heartily praying for you, that peace and blessings and assurance forever may be continued and increased to you. Dwell and walk in the grace of God, which will keep you pure and perfect: and keep your meetings in the name and spirit of Christ, and the Lord will be among you. As for things here with us in relation to the Truth, they are very well; and the Truth of God is in esteem among the upright and grows daily into dominion over the evil spirits of the world; and Friends are bold and faithful to the Lord, to be, or do, or suffer anything for the name of Christ. They are, in the Father's will, patiently waiting upon Him to receive more and more of his life and wisdom and fullness.

As for the proceedings in Parliament, it is thus: since their last assembling, they have had us in several debates among them in both Houses; and it was supposed by many, and desired by all our enemies, that the Bill prepared against us by the Commons, and sent to the upper House at their last sessions—of which you have had a former account—would have been finished against us by the higher House this sitting. It was several times under consideration, both in the House and by the committee appointed for that end, of which committee were six bishops; and there lacked not zeal in many to effect the carrying of it on and finishing it; but, however, the last third-day of the week, they fell upon it as the last time; and by course of proceeding, it should then have been determined against us, [but] it was carried among them in the negative; so it is put off for the present until their next meeting. What will then be done we must leave to the Lord. Last sixth-day, they adjourned until the seventh of next month. This is the sum of the present proceedings in relation to us. There is a certain hand of the Lord in ordering these matters, and yet has until now prevented the purpose of our adversaries, and brought to naught the counsel of such as desired our destruction long ere this day.

But let Friends walk in the fear and in the wisdom and counsel of the Most High; and let all the world have nothing against you of evil in the things of this world, nor anything, saving the matters of God, and for his worship sake; and if we are persecuted, and suffer as such only, and for this cause, the Lord will be our peace and everlasting reward.

Edward Burrough

Ellis Hookes

From an ancient copy

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HENRY FELL TO THOMAS SALTHOUSE

London, 3rd of Twelfth mo. 1661. [second mo.] 1662

HERE in London, meetings are very quiet as ever they were, and large; and Friends are well in the general. We hear the Act against meetings is passed both Houses, but the King has not yet signed it. There were some of the Lords and the Bishop of Exeter that did speak against it; yet notwithstanding, the Chancellor and the greatest part carried it. There was a Friend told me this day, he had been with Marsh,—one of the bedchamber,—to deliver to him a paper of Friends' sufferings in the plantations abroad, for him to deliver them to the King; and he told the Friend that he heard the King say, there should be liberty of conscience granted to our Friends in the plantations abroad, and that he intended it; and he did not question but to get an order to that effect. I am, your dear brother, in the labor and travels of the Gospel,

Henry Fell

 From the Original

No. XXXIX

[This next letter describes some of the consequences of the cruel Act of Parliament against Friends, which we have just left; but for a detailed account of the continued persecutions and cruelties inflicted upon Friends in consequence of this Act, see the record of them in Besse's Account of the Sufferings of Friends, 2 vols, fol.]

ELLIS HOOKES TO MARGARET FELL

London, 28th of Eighth month, [tenth mo.] 1662

DEAR M. F. The remembrance of your love is very refreshing to me; and for passages here, the news is sad indeed; yet I think to acquaint you how it is with us. The last first-day, as innocently as ever, Friends kept their usual meetings; and about the tenth hour came the life-guard with their headpieces and breast-pieces, and in Cheapside they remained; and the trained band-men then came to the Bull, [Bull and Mouth meeting-house,] and laid hold of all the Friends they could, which were very many; some were carried on their muskets to prison, and some very much beaten and abused, as bad as formerly ;—the same man commanding the soldiers, as did that day the Friend was wounded who died. What passed at other meetings as to the abusing and beating I cannot here relate; but at several meetings that day there were taken and imprisoned about eight score,—ninety-six being put in the common jail , all men except three women. That day they took an abundance of Baptists; seven score I hear are to be brought from Westminster to Newgate, where they were taken after examination. What the reason is of this sudden calamity that is come upon us so undeservedly, I am not certain; but there are several reports concerning the cause of their so afflicting us. The main thing that is alleged is, that there was a plot found out; and I hear that the Baptists did meet that morning by the third hour at one of their meeting-places; Major- General Brown* heard of it, and was at Whitehall by four in the morning; but whether they met to any ill, and to plot or such like, I know not.

*Brown was formerly in Cromwell's army, but afterwards Alderman and Lord Mayor of London.—{See Sewel's account Brown's terribly inhumane cruelties upon the early Quakers in London.}

The King and Council would have Friends promise, that they will not take up arms against the King; but other answer we have not yet returned. But you know our principle is to live in peace and quietness, and that is our delight; and what leads us to suffer, rather than to lose the peace with God in our consciences, does also lead us to live in peace with all men, seeking their good and eternal happiness. So with my dear love to all your children and to all Friends. I remain, your dear friend.

Ellis Hookes

I heard lately from George, he was in Northamptonshire, and was very well. I desire to hear from you. Since my writing the above, I have been at Newgate, and they brought in seven score more Baptists and eight Friends to Newgate; the cry is, that they must all be banished.

From the Original

It is somewhat remarkable, that soon after the passing of the Act against Friends, another Royal Proclamation "of grace" was issued in their favor; it is indeed stated to be put forth on the occasion of the coming into the country of a Queen consort. The following extract from Rennet's Chronicle describes the Proclamation :—

"August 22nd, 1662

 [The King's] Letter of Grace and Indulgence to the Quakers and other separatists, directed to the Lord Mayor of London.

Charles R. We are informed that there are several persons who go under the name of Quakers and other names of separation, now in the jails of London and Middlesex, for being at unlawful assemblies; who yet profess all obedience and allegiance unto us. We would be glad that all our subjects could be brought to agree in an uniform worship of God; and we hope that the foresight of the dangers which they run into by a willful contempt of the laws, and our present indulgence, may prevail with some of these persons, to reduce them to a better conformity. And therefore we do willingly lay hold of this time and occasion of public joy for the first coming in of our dear consort the Queen, to our Royal Palace at Westminster, to declare this our Royal pleasure unto you, that you cause all such of the said persons in our jails for London and Middlesex, who have not been indicted for refusing the oath of allegiance, nor shall appear to you to have been ringleaders or preachers at their assemblies, to be enlarged.

Given at Hampton Court, August 22nd, 1662."

Kennet, p. 746.

No. XL

[!N this year 1662, the work of persecution against Friends was carried on with increased earnestness and cruelty, under the Act against their meetings. George Whitehead says, "our meetings in and about London were broken up by force and violence, by the trained bands and officers, especially on the first-days of the week; such work they commonly wrought on that day, which they pretend to be their Christian sabbath and the Lord's day, and to be kept holy."

It was not long before George Whitehead himself, with his friends R. Hubberthorne and Edward Burrough, became victims to this severe persecution; being drug out of a meeting, and committed to Newgate. In this prison the Friends were so unmercifully thronged together, that a violent fever broke out among them, of which some died. Before the time of their imprisonment was expired, G. W. informs us, his dear brethren and fellow-laborers in the gospel, R. H. and Edward Burrough fell sick, and the Lord was pleased to release them from their sufferings by death.

{See the account of Edward Burrough's imprisonment and noble death on this site's Memoir to Edward Burrough.}

The Burial record concerning R. Hubberthorne has already been given.

The following extract from an interesting letter of Edward Burrough, written not long before his decease, is taken from Besse's Sufferings, vol. i. p. 390 : he died when about twenty-eight years of age, ten of which he had devoted to the work of the ministry.]

EDWARD BURROUGH TO FRIENDS

 From Newgate, 1662

Friends here are generally well in the inward and outward man; and the presence of the Lord is manifest with us, through great trials and sore afflictions, and grievous persecutions, which we have met with this last half-year. It would be too large to relate, and piercing of your hearts to hear, the violence and cruelty which Friends have suffered in this city in their meetings and in prisons; it has been my hard lot to bear the persecution inflicted every way; though the Lord has given strength and boldness, and his power alone has carried through, else many would have fainted and not been able to stand. Many have given up their lives in faithfulness, in this place; and their faithfulness in keeping meetings, and in patiently enduring many tribulations and cruel exercises, is a crown upon Friends in this city. Here are now near 250 of us prisoners in Newgate, Bridewell, Southwark, and the New Prison. In Newgate, we are extremely thronged, that if the mercy of the Lord had not preserved us, we could not have endured; there is near an hundred in one room on the common side among the felons, and their sufferings are great; but the Lord supports. For about six weeks time the meetings were generally quiet in the city; but these last three weeks they were fallen on more violently than ever, and many Friends were imprisoned. But through all this, Truth is of good report, and the nobility of it gains place in many hearts, which are opened in pity and compassion towards the innocent sufferers; and Truth is increased through all trials. Our trust is in the Lord and not in man; and we desire the same spirit may dwell and abide in you also, that ye may be like minded with us, and be all of the mind of Christ; who seeks men's salvation, and not their destruction.

Edward Burrough

No. XLI

ALEXANDER PARKER TO GEORGE FOX

London, 7th of Fifth month, [seventh mo.] 1663

DEAR GEORGE, since my coming here we have had much good service for the Lord; meetings are very large, and of late time very peaceable, except that at the Spittlefields; Friends have been kept forth there, and have met in the streets for three first-days; and the last first-day Jo. Higgins being there and standing up to speak a few words, was taken away by the constables and soldiers, and brought before one of the Aldermen; who after examination, did commit him to the Poultry-Compter, where he yet remains; I was with him today; he was in health. I was likewise down at Westminster, but cannot hear that the Bill for Conformity (suppressing Quaker meetings) has passed the higher House as yet. Friends have had their meetings within the Bull and Mouth for the three last first-days. I was there last first-day, and we had a good, favored, weighty meeting, and much larger than ever formerly, insomuch that many were constrained to go back because they had not room. Morgan Watkins was at Pell Mell last first-day, very quiet. Josiah Coale at Peele; John Shield at Horsleydown W. Brown and Gerard Roberts, at Myle-end; all very peaceable.

Alexander Parker

From the Original

"When kept out of their meeting-house by the soldiers," Sewel writes, "they used not to go away, but stood before the place, and so their number increased; and then one or other of their ministers generally stepped upon a bench or some high place, and so preached boldly. Thus he sometimes got more listeners than otherwise he might have had. When one minister was pulled down, then another stood up and preached; and thus often four or five were taken away one after another, and carried to prison. This keeping of meetings in the street, now became a customary thing.— Friends were persuaded that the exercise of their public worship, was a duty no man could discharge them from, and they believed that God required the performing of this service from their hands. Thus they attracted many listeners, and among these, sometimes eminent men, who passing by in their coaches, made their coachmen stop. At this rate they found there was a great harvest, and thus their church increased under sufferings."—Sewel, vol. ii. pp. 4, 5.

No. XLII

[In regard to the writer of the following letter, Josiah Coale, our historian Sewel has left this testimony :—

"It was his life and joy to declare the gospel, and to proclaim the word of God; for which he had an excellent ability. When he spoke to the ungodly world, an awful gravity appeared in his countenance, and his words were like a hammer and a sharp sword. But though he was a son of thunder, yet his agreeable speech flowed from his mouth like a pleasant stream, to the consolation and comfort of pious souls. Oh! how pathetically have I heard him pray; when he, as transported and ravished, humbly beseeched God, that it might please him to reach to the hard hearted, to support the godly, and to preserve them steadfast. No, with what a charming and melodious voice did he sound forth the praises of the most High in his public prayers! He had traveled much in the West Indies, sustained great hardships, and labored in the ministry at his own charge, being freely given up to spend his substance in the service of the Lord. Though he went through many persecutions, imprisonments, and other adversities, yet he was not afraid of danger, but was always valiant; and he continued in an unmarried state, that so he might the more freely labor in the heavenly harvest; and many were converted by his ministry." He died in 1668.—History of Friends, vol. ii. under 1668.]

The following is a copy of the record of his decease in the Register of Deaths in London and Middlesex Quarterly Meeting : "

Josiah Coale, aged about thirty-five years, departed this life the 15th day of the eleventh month, 1668, at Mary Forster's in John-street, having weakened and worn out his outward man in the work and service of the Lord in the ministry of the everlasting gospel, and was interred in the burying-ground in Checker Alley."

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JOSIAH COALE TO GEORGE FOX

22nd of Seventh month [ninth mo.] 1663

DEAR GEORGE,—With fervent, hearty, sincere, and true love, which is of God, and wherewith my heart is at this time filled, do I in the fear of the Lord dearly salute you, as beloved of my soul. I do give you to understand, that in uprightness of heart to the Lord, my life is still given up to his service; and his precious presence and almighty power is still continued with me, by which I bless God I am still for his service as ever. My heart is filled with fervency of zeal for his name and glory, more and more from day to day. The full content and desire of my soul is with me, —he enlarges my heart by his power; so that indeed nothing is too dear to me to part withal, or to suffer the loss of, for his sake.

Dear George, it is now near six weeks since I left the city of London; and I have been visiting Friends about the country in Surrey, Oxfordshire, and Bedfordshire; I expect to visit Friends also in Hertfordshire, before I return to the city, for indeed I am not clear of it; but dear A. P. and Morgan Watkins being there, takes it at present off me. I believe you have heard of the disturbances and imprisonings that have been of late; but last first-day I hear all was quiet and well.

J. Audland and J. Story are about Bristol; Joseph Coale has gone westward.

I have little more to signify to you at present, only having this opportunity, it was in my heart to signify my unfeigned love to you, which I believe you well knows; who am yours in the Lord.

Josiah Coale

From the Original

{Here is another letter (No. 228) from George Fox's 410 Letters, inserted in chronological sequence.

GEORGE FOX TO CONVINCED, BUT NOT YET REGENERATED, FRIENDS,
Concerning Judging in the Flesh

From Lancaster prison the 6th day, 1663

Dear friends,

Who have tasted of that which is precious, and have felt the truth convincing of you; and also felt the power of the Lord God. I feel something among some of you that is not right; and how that such get up into the wise part, but are out of the power, and out of the life, and with that judge, and are beholding the specks in others eyes, while the beam is in their own eyes. Oh! abuse not the power, in which is the gospel fellowship, which will keep all in unity, and grieve not the spirit, in which is the true fellowship, and the bond of peace. Keep down high mindedness, despise not prophecies, and quench not the spirit in the least; for that is flesh and not spirit in yourselves that does so. Judge not before the time that the Lord does come, who brings to light all the hidden things of darkness in you; run not into outward things, that is the fleshly mind, that will run from one thing, and so be restless, and will not know what seat to sit in; after it has been in one outward thing it will run into another, and call it, his growth in the truth, and fall to judging others; but that judgment is after the flesh, and their growth is in the flesh; for the fruits of it is strife, back bitings, whisperings, and leads to idleness, busy-bodies from house to house, slandering, scandalizing, vilifying, and are in lightness, out of the fear of God, in variance and sowing dissension, and these are the seeds men of the flesh, and not of the spirit; and so feed one another with that which burdens the seed, and quenches the spirit, and destroys the love and unity, which love you should grow in. So the fruits of every birth manifests itself; the fruits of the spirit are love, and peace, and truth, and plainness, and righteousness, and godliness. But the fruits of the flesh are back bitings, whisperings, lyings, slanderings, scandalizings. And therefore mind what this birth has brought forth, (and shame it), that has cried up outward things, and what it has run into, and what it has drawn you into, that are in it, and what it has rent you from, and whether you are not come to a loss, and whether you have not gone into the flesh, and into the air, and lost your first habitations of tenderness and compassion; for every birth knows its own, and is grieved when its own is judged, and that will never love plain dealing and righteous judgment, which are honest and true; but will have the false prophet's cushion and pillow; and can neither endure sound doctrine nor judgment. And therefore mind your first habitation and first love, and that which did convince you, that you may all come into life and power, to sit down in the habitation of it; in love, and life, and unity, and let there not be a backbiter nor slanderous tongue, nor liar, nor whisperer, reproacher, nor a busy body found among you; for if there is, it will leaven one another, and bring darkness and death upon you.

Therefore, as I said before, dwell in the power of God, in which you may keep unity, life, love, and peace; and in which power of God you may be drawn up out of satan's power, into the power of God, in which is my life, and in it is my habitation and dwelling, where I know the unspotted garment hid from all the unclean beasts' tongues, lips, hands, and eyes; and blessed are all you that keep in the power, and have kept your first habitation; for you grow up as calves in the stall; and such gad not abroad to change their ways; for the birth of the flesh would have some outward thing to feed upon, but the birth of the spirit reigns over it, farewell.

George Fox
}

No. XLIII

ELLIS HOOKES TO MARGARET FELL

 London, 9th of First month [third mo.] 1664

DEAR M. F.—My dear and true love is to you and to George Fox Hearing of your imprisonment [in Lancaster Castle] I write to you, and I would have George Fox see the enclosed. Concerning the sufferings of Friends I have drawn them up in three copies, one for the King, and the other two for the Speakers, and then I intend to print it. There were forty Friends taken last first-day at Reading, which will make up about 650 in prison. There were last week three Friends carried out dead together in one day out of Northampton jail ,—John Samm was one of them; Daniel Wills and several others are very sick in the prison, and not likely to live; there being twenty-seven in that jail. I have much more that I could write, but at this time have not a convenient opportunity. So with my dear love, I rest your friend,

Ellis Hookes

From the Original

["John Samm was a faithful minister of the Gospel, an incessant laborer in the work of the ministry, and of an exemplary life and conversation." A violent fever had broken out in this prison, and "seized first some of the felons; to whom as fellow creatures and fellow prisoners (though in a cause vastly different), the Friends thought it their duty to be assistant in their extreme weakness, and accordingly did what they could for them; until at length the air being exceedingly corrupted with the breath of the distempered, a kind of contagion spread among the prisoners, and the Friends so generally fell sick, that when called over at the assizes, only four (of twenty-two) were able to appear before the Judge," who, hearing of their condition, gave a private order for them to be let out for air. The next year, 1664, some of them died. "These all finished their course in peace and full assurance of faith; being enabled in the midst of their afflictions to sing praises unto the Lord, and bless his name, to the edification and comfort one of another, and to the astonishment of others who beheld their piety and patience."—Besse’s Sufferings, Fol. vol. i. 533.]

No. XLIV

ALEXANDER PARKER TO GEORGE FOX

[Fox was imprisoned in Lancaster Castle]

 London, 12th of Second month [fourth mo.] 1661

 DEAR GEORGE, the service is very great and weighty here, and we are but few to perform it. Our meetings of late have been very large, and peaceable for the most part, I have not known the like since I saw London; [there is] little disturbance at all, only sometimes they keep Friends out of the Bull on the first-days, and at Spittlefields; but the last first-day Friends were within doors, and all the meetings in and about the city were very quiet. At Reading most of men Friends are in prison; and I heard to-day that they drag and pull the women Friends out of the meeting-house to prison, I heard also that Thomas Curtis was sick. From Bristol I heard lately, and in Kendall all things are well; but the mayor's officers come constantly to meetings, and take Friends' names, but do not send any more to prison.

The Parliament is adjourned until the 18th day of this month, (as I hear). They have not yet completed anything against nonconformists; but it is reported there is a Bill in the House that is likely to be very severe. How far they may proceed, a little time will manifest. I hope the Lord will arm his people with boldness and strength suitable to the trial.

 Dear George, let your prayers be still for us, that we may persevere unto the end in our testimony for God, that in the end we may be crowned with life.

None at present are here in the public service but J. Coale and Jo. Gibson (who came in the last week), and myself.

Dearly beloved, I have not much more to signify to you at present, but very true love to you and M. F. and the rest. Farewell, your brother in the gospel fellowship,

Alexander Parker

From the Original

 No. XLV

GEORGE WHITEHEAD TO GEORGE FOX

London, 4th of Third month, [fifth mo.] 1664

DEAR George Fox—Having this opportunity to send to you, I thought meet to acquaint you somewhat of affairs here, since my last letter to you. As to meetings in the city, they are well and generally quiet, only on first-days [Friends are] kept out of the Mouth [Bull and Mouth.] The last first-day I was there in the street, and had a very good service, and a great resort there was; and in the afternoon had a very good meeting in Horsleydown. The Bill against the Sectaries I do not understand that it is passed in the Upper House, but in the Lower it is; and [is] expected to be in both.

M. F.'s address about your sufferings there, was last week delivered to the King, by Elizabeth Bell and another Friend, who were ordered by the King to go up to the Secretary yesterday for an answer; which accordingly they did. His answer was to this effect,—that nothing could be done about it by the King, for he had left it to the Council and the Parliament.

Since I came to this city, I have been somewhat troubled that the books of sufferings have not been delivered sooner; I do not know how Ellis Hookes has prioritized the business. Yesterday I spent a great part of the day around the city getting them delivered ;—today I expect a good quantity of them will be given, and this morning Gilbert Latey is arranging for the women that are to deliver them.

R. Farnsworth and Thomas Killam are newly arrived into the city; and John Higgins, Robert Lodge, Jo. Moone, and John Gibson, I think, are all in the city presently. I know of no requirement for me now, except staying a considerable time here, for there is some necessity on me. If the Friends that came from London are there, [probably at Lancaster,] remember me to them, and to your fellow prisoners, Margaret Fell and the rest.

Your dear brother,

George Whitehead

Rebecca Travers has gone towards Ipswich to the prisoners. Let me know to whom, to direct, when I send by the post; and I direct you to send your post to W. Travers at the Three Feathers in Watling-street.

From the Original

A curious circumstance occurred in Parliament respecting this Bill against Conventicles; a clause concerning Friends, intended to stand as part of the Bill, and which had passed as such in the House of Peers, was lost, before it reached the Commons. A conference was accordingly had between the two Houses on the third reading, upon which the Earl of Anglesey reported to the House of Peers: [Lords' Journals under date "May 16,1664."] "That the House of Commons acquainted their lordships at this conference, that since the last free conference, they, looking into the said Bill against seditious conventicles, find the proviso concerning the Quakers missing, which they conceive to be a material part of the Bill; therefore, they desire this House to supply the defect." It was avowed by some Peers that the Bill, with the said proviso, was delivered to Sergeant Charleton. A committee of Peers then searched for the original draft of the pro viso, which was found, and agreed to be the same. The lost clause was then returned to the Commons, and the Bill was only just in time to receive the royal assent.

This Act against Conventicles came into force the 1st of the month called July of this year, and it was to continue for three years. "It may not be improper (writes G. Whitehead) to give some account of this second Act of Parliament, designed not only for our imprisonment, but also for our banishment out of the land of our nativity; and that with more expedition than could be effected by the first Act [against Quakers ;] though the Lord our God would not allow that design of banishment, to take any such general effect against us, as was desired by our invidious persecutors; for by his judgments He in a great measure frustrated our adversaries. However many of our innocent Friends were sentenced to banishment; yet but few (in comparison) were actually shipped away, or banished out of the land." This Act provided that if any person above sixteen years of age were convicted of being present at any meeting, conventicle, under guise or pretence of any exercise of religion, in other manner than is allowed by the liturgy of the Church of England, he should be fined £5* or be imprisoned three months; for the second offence £10; or six months imprisonment; and for the third offence to be transported for seven years; the offender's goods to be seized upon for expenses of transportation. "Under the power of this Act, our religious assemblies were often disturbed and broken, by the persecuting agents, officers, and soldiers, and many of us apprehended and brought before magistrates ;—and no matter of evil fact proved against any of us, but for worshipping the Lord Almighty according to their consciences. Great were the sufferings of Friends in consequence of this cruel Act;— many were made widows and fatherless, and honest industrious Friends and their families grievously distressed, fined, and spoiled of their property."

*{The pound then is the equivalent of at least 500£ today.}

No. XLVI

MARY FELL TO HER MOTHER, MARGARET FELL

Mile-end Green, near London, 27th of Fourth month [sixth mo.] 1164

ENDEARED and tender-hearted mother,—My duty and very dear love is freely given and remembered unto you, as also my very dear love is to dear George Fox.

This is chiefly to let you understand, that yesterday sister and I were at Whitehall!; where we spoke to the King, and told him that if he would please to signify something to the Judges, before they went their circuit, to release you; otherwise it would be past, for the time drew very near of the Assizes. He said he would release you, if we would promise you would not go to meetings. Sister said, we could make no such engagement; for the meeting has been kept many years, and never has done any harm. He said, 'Cannot your mother keep within her own family, as she may have five [persons present;]—but she must have such tumultuous meetings.' We said, she has no such meetings; they are only her neighbors that come. The King said, there were some Quakers in the last plot. Sister said, that could not be proved. He said, he had letters [about] it, and their names. So Chifines [close keeper] bid us come on the fourth-day; [and] we do intend to go to-morrow. I was there about a week since, and told the King that now the Assizes drew very near, if he did not do something for you, they would run you into a premunire,* and get your estate from you and your children; and I desired him to take it into consideration. He was then very loving to me, and said he would take it into consideration; and he said, ' they shall not have her estate from her:' he took me by the hand as soon as he came near me. I also spoke to Prince Rupert, and desired him to put the King in mind of it; and he said, he would do what he could in it; and went then to the King; and spoke to him. Prince [Rupert] has always been very loving to Friends, and has often spoke to the King about you.

*{Premunire was a sentence passed by the courts which consisted of: 1) the permanent loss of all property, only real estate property could revert to heirs on death, and 2) imprisonment for the rest of their life at the pleasure of the king. The supposed crime was their Biblical based refusal to swear a loyalty oath to the King; which refusal was presumed to show the loyalty of the person to a foreign power, specifically the Pope. The law was ancient, created in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and was designed to flush out Popish recusants; but with it still on the books, it was unfairly applied many years later to the Quakers; because, with malice, the courts knew the Quakers would not swear, obeying the commands of Christ and the apostle James that forbid swearing; thus the courts entrapped Quaker brought before them, enjoying the sure-to-result in life imprisonment. The courts were influenced by the Protestant clerical hierarchy that was committed to stamping out the Quakers, who were emptying their churches of tithe-paying listeners. When life imprisonment was not a sufficient threat to stop the Quaker increase, they passed laws allowing the Quakers to be banished from their homeland, without family accompanying, deported to the remote Caribbean colonies.

The irony of this loyalty oath, passed in the time of Elizabeth I, after burnings of many Protestants by her Catholic sister predecessor, Mary, was: the Pope had issued a bulletin which stated it was permissible for a Catholic to lie under oath, if such lies were to the benefit of the Catholic church. So the law completely missed its purpose; but since it was left on the books unrepealed, it was quickly applied to entrap the innocent, loyal-to-the-King, Quakers.}

Sister gives the renewed remembrance of her entire love to you and dear George Fox, as also does my brother. I suppose sisters Isabel and Sarah will be gone; remember me to sisters Susanna and Rachel

I am your dutiful and obedient daughter,

Mary Fell

 Year endorsed by George Fox 1664

From the original apparently, which is addressed to Margaret Fell at Lancaster, as usual, to the care of Thomas Green, grocer, there.

No. XLVII

GEORGE WHITEHEAD TO GEORGE FOX AND MARGARET FELL

White Lion Prison in Southwark, the 12th of Fifth month [seventh mo.] 1664

DEAR GEORGE FOX AND MARGARET,—My dear and upright love is to you both, and to the rest of Friends with you. Since the writing of the enclosed, I thought it right to send it you, not having freedom at present to write much into the north by post. Alexander Parker and Richard Farnsworth are in the city, and still at liberty.

George, I had your paper to Friends printed, as you desired, and disposed of several more. Samuel Fisher and Joseph Fuce are prisoners still, but have liberty from the keeper for a little time; but we are to be kept without bail. I have met with some hard usage since I came here; the first night we came, we were put into the common felon's ward, because we could not agree to uphold the jailer's oppression; and then the felons took our money from us out of our pockets, for their drunken custom called "garnish." The place was so noisome, that we had no place to lay our head to rest. But I doubt not but the Lord will work through all these things for us. It is the Lord's will that I am in this prison, and I am satisfied in it.

Farewell, your dear brother,

George Whitehead

When any of you write to me, direct and enclose it to some Friends in the city for safety. These magistrates that have such a prejudice against me, (that would incense the Court against me), are such chiefly as have turned with the times. I know not whether I may not be sent to Whitehall again; but the Lord will plead my innocence. When you have done with the enclosed, send it to Kendall. I hear there are nearly 200 Friends lately imprisoned at Bristol.

Dear M. F. you are often in my remembrance, and my dear love you may feel. John Rouse and your daughters Margaret and Mary were here yesterday, and are well.

George Whitehead

From the original, addressed to Lancaster, where they were both imprisoned - Fox in a solitary cell - Fell in a common room.

A few days after his commitment to this prison, George Whitehead was accused of having been a participant in a plot in the north, and that his name was disguised. Therefore he was carried in a boat to Whitehall, guarded with musketeers and the jailer with them, where he was examined. But one man "stepped in on the occasion, who seemed to be an ancient gentleman, and hearing my accusers tell me my name was not Whitehead, contradicted them, saying, that I had written several books, to which the name of George Whitehead was in print. This stopped my accusers, and prevented further examination." Afterwards George Whitehead wrote to the Secretary of State to clear himself of those false insinuations, and the matter was dropped. He was released out of prison, when the three months had expired for which he had been committed.—G. W.'s Christian Progress, p. 282.

The above letter speaks of Samuel Fisher and Joseph Fuce, respecting whom Besse gives the following account :—

"About the end of this summer, 1663, Samuel Fisher, Joseph Fuce, George Brigstock, and Thomas Moore, were taken together in a meeting at Charlewood, and committed to the White Lion Prison in Southwark, where they lay until two of them, namely, Samuel Fisher and Joseph Fuce died.

Samuel Fisher was a man of great parts and literature, formerly a parish preacher at Lydd in Kent, but voluntarily relinquished his benefice of about £400 per annum, and joined in society with the people called Baptists for some time. In the year 1655, he became convinced of the Truth as professed by the people called Quakers; and through obedience thereto, he became a faithful minister of the same, and traveled much in the work and service of the Lord, not only in England, but in other countries. At Dunkirk in Flanders he had good service, in testifying against the idolatry of the priests and friars, and in declaring Truth to the English garrison there. He afterwards traveled on foot over the Alps to Rome, and bore a faithful testimony against the Papists in that city. After his return to England, in the four last years of his life, his sufferings were very great; for in 1661 he was several months a prisoner in the Gate-house in Westminster. Soon after his release thence, he was apprehended passing the streets, and sent to Wood-street Compter, [jail] and after some time had to Guildhall, where, refusing to take the oaths, he was committed to Newgate, and lay there about twelve months; and in a short time after his discharge, he was taken again at Charlewood, and sent to prison in Southwark, as before related; where after two years continuance, he rested from his labors in perfect peace with the Lord, and was well beloved both by the brotherhood and others; for as he excelled in natural parts and acquired abilities, so was he exemplary for his Christian humility and condescension, in meekness instructing those who opposed him, and incessantly laboring, cither by word or writing, to spread and promote the doctrine of Truth among the children of men. He died on the last day of the month called August, 1665. "

Joseph Fuce traveled in many countries in the work of the ministry, and had an excellent gift for the convincing of opposers, being frequently exercised in disputes with Independent, Baptists, and other preachers. He was a man of a patient, meek spirit, and very laborious in the work of the ministry, wherever God had called him.—Besse’s Sufferings, vol. i. p. 691 & 693.

No. XLVIII

JOSIAH COALE TO GEORGE FOX

Newgate, London, 22nd of Sixth month [eighth mo.] 1664.

DEAR GEORGE,—My love in the Lord does dearly reach forth and extend itself to you; and therewith do I most dearly salute you, even in the bond of love and covenant of peace and life; into which the Lord by his eternal power and arm of strength has gathered many in this day of his appearance and loving-kindness unto the sons of men; in which we are daily made partakers of his endless riches and mercies, which he multiplies unto us, and renews in us through Christ our Lord and life; by and through which we live, and are kept alive unto Him, and enabled to do his will and to answer his requirements, in whatsoever he makes known and reveals unto us to be our duty to do.

Truly, dear George, the Lord is not slack concerning the promises of His blessings unto his own seed, now in its suffering condition; neither is He lacking unto us in this our time of trial. Indeed I may say in truth, that He causes his love and kindness to abound in us, and our cups to overflow. What may I say of his endless love,—it is indeed beyond declaring; for I know not what more can be desired than the Lord has done for us or given unto us, as concerning the present enjoyment of his rich love and blessings; for which blessings, glory and praise be unto his name forever and ever! Amen.

And now dear George, to give you an account of things here, and how it has been of late, it is in my heart at this time to do. Yesterday was a week, after I had been speaking the Truth to the people in the Bull and Mouth about one hour and a-half, the sheriff came, with (I judge) near half a hundred of the city officers, to break our meeting; and after they had made a proclamation in the street for the multitude to depart (for they feared the multitude, which was great, that came to see what became of us), they rushed in violently to the meeting and commanded me down; but I was not free at their command. Then they drew their swords, and one of them laid on me with a hanger, but struck with the flat side of it; and the rest laid on Friends with swords and staves, and so pulled me down and out to the sheriff in the yard. Then I spoke to them of the unmanliness of their proceedings, to come in such a posture among an innocent peaceable people that would not resist them,—that it was far below the spirit of a man; and they were ashamed, and commanded the swords to be put up. So afterwards they fetched out the rest of the meeting more quietly; and two or three of the officers took me and led me alone to the Guildhall; and afterwards brought Friends, two, three, four, and six at a time to me, until they had brought near two hundred. And I drew them together about the judgment seat, and had there a very precious meeting; for the power and presence of the Lord was plentifully manifested among us. So after a while the Mayor and Aldermen, came, but were so employed with Baptists and Independents, that they meddled not with us; but kept us there under strong guards until midnight, not permitting Friends to come to us; but they had one way or another turned out near half our company. Then about midnight they brought us to Newgate, (that people might not see); and the next day they sent for about twenty to the Guildhall, and committed about sixteen, and let the rest go. The fourth-day they sent for me and eleven more, saying, we must go before the Mayor and Bishop at Guildhall; but when we came there no Bishop appeared, I asked of the Mayor for the Bishop, telling him it had been more honorable to have sent him to the Bull and Mouth with his spiritual weapons, and thereby to have overcome us if he could. But he would say little to that, but appeared very moderate to me. I had fine talk with him, and he told me he had rather set us at liberty than commit us, but he could not avert it; for I must either pay five shillings fine, or go to prison for fourteen days. I told him if he would prove that I was in meeting in other manner than is allowed by the Liturgy of the Church of England, I would then pay him 5s.; but he would not say more, but left the bench, and I was sent away. Then they called in the rest, one at a time, and committed them in like manner. They did it in an inner room, where none but themselves might hear, though many hundreds of people were without, murmuring to get in; and they sent us to Newgate again. On sixth-day they sent the rest, about sixty in all, to the Old Bailey, and committed them for about nine days a piece.

On third-day last, as I was speaking in our meeting on the chapel side [in Newgate,] one of the keeper's men came and fetched me away, and put me in the hole where condemned men used to be put; but they kept me not there an hour. On fifth-day as I was speaking, he came again; and because Friends stood around about me, that he could not reach me, he fell laying on both men and women with a great staff; and the felons fell on with their fists beating Friends; and some of the women thieves with a knife or knives, threatened to stab Friends, and did attempt so to do, but were prevented. At last they brought me away and put me to dear Alexander Parker in Justice's hall; and I wrote to the Mayor and sent a Friend with it. He seemed to be angry with them for so abusing us, and said we should not be so abused; but he would take a speedy course to have it otherwise. Since that he [the keeper's man] would let me go over to them sometimes, but not be always with them. I have very quiet precious meetings with them when I go; and indeed the glorious and mighty power of God [is felt,] to the admiration of many. But last first-day, the Mayor and wicked Brown came to the Bull meeting themselves; and Friends were fetched out before them in the porch, where they fined them and committed them, upwards of 200, and sent them to Newgate. But those who brought them, turned many free along the way; and some of the halberd men [carriers of a spear with an axe head] would run away from them, and leave them in the street. At that I think but about 120 only were brought in. But Brown showed himself very cruel, and pinched the women sorely, and pulled the hair of the men's heads; and would take them by the hats, and bring their heads near the ground, and then cast their hats in the dirt. James Parker was taken there; and from the Peele about thirty were brought to Newgate, and about twelve from Mile-end; but we do not know yet how long they are committed. We estimate that there are in all in this Newgate about 300 of us. But the Lord is with us of a truth, and does bear up our hearts far above all sufferings,—blessed be his name forever! John Higgins and one more are in upon the third account; and at Hertford, eight are sentenced to be banished, four to Barbados and four to Jamaica; and some more are in on the third account.

Dear George, pray for us, that we may be kept faithful in the power and authority of God, and that his presence and love may be always continued with us. Dear A. P. [Alexander Parker] dearly salutes you; and my love salutes M. F. and the rest with you. I would be glad to hear from you, who am yours in the Lord.

Josiah Coale

From the original

No. XLIX

GILBERT LATEY TO GEORGE FOX AND MARGARET FELL

London, 1st of Seventh month, [ninth mo.] 1664

DEAR George Fox AND M. F.—Whom I unfeigned love and dearly salute, these are to let you know that I have received your letter; and George Whitehead (who has been released) drew me up the main points of it in a very good manner, and I carried it to the Lord Obeny  as you directed me; who had been sick of late, and not very well when I came to him. I told him my business, and from whom it came; so when he had heard me what I had to say, this to me was his answer,—That all was shut up, and nothing could be done; and that neither the King nor Chancellor would do anything at all for us. Neither could any man be heard to speak for us. Then I told him of the unjustness of your imprisonment, and of the badness of the jury, and its being contrary to law; and that you desired nothing but a free prison, and that the thieves and murderers had more liberty than you, and that you was locked up in a bad room, and Friends not allowed to come to speak to you; and I told him I had a paper of it, and desired him that he would hand it.— He told me he was sorry with all his heart, but he would tell me no lie; he was sure nothing could be done, and he believed they did [it] on purpose to vex us; and so I parted with him. For he said, he could do nothing, for all the clergy were against us, and nothing could be done at all, neither did he care to meddle with the paper at all. So I was willing to leave him. George Whitehead was saying it might be well, if we knew the judge who promised you more liberty than before, that some might speak to him of it, to see if he would do anything in it. So with my dear love to you, and dear M. F., John Stubbs, and the rest of Friends in prison. I remain your assured friend in what I may,

Gilbert Latey

From the original, addressed to  Margaret Fell, Lancaster

No. L

GEORGE WHITEHEAD TO GEORGE FOX

London, 17th of Eighth month, [tenth mo.] 1664

DEAR George Fox—My dear and upright love in the Lord salutes you, and the rest of our dear Friends with you in that prison [Lancaster Castle,]* and particularly dear M. F. The sessions have been here at the Old Bailey and Hicks's Hall the last week, and are not yet over at the Old Bailey. Judges Hide and Keeling were on the bench, who have much manifested their enmity against Friends, both in the city and country, where they have been in their circuits. Though they were eager against Friends; yet the jury, being some of them moderate, both took exception to some of the witnesses, (some of them were Newgate jailers or retainers to the jailers); as also, after they were sent out to bring in their sentence upon Friends, they did not agree upon a verdict, but several of them refused to agree. [ —— Then follows a similar report of what passed, to that contained in Ellis Hookes' letter next following.'] The last first-day it was much on [me] to go to the Bull and Mouth meeting, where many of the halbert bearers came to take us; but they were made to hear me minister near about an hour. Afterwards, the Mayor and Brown came. I was permitted to speak a little while after the Mayor came, but was then was pulled down. They sent me and about forty more to Newgate, and nine or ten to Bridewell.

As for what was done about your sufferings, I suppose Gilbert Latey will give you an account; for I abstracted two of your letters; one was shown to Albany another to Marsh, and another to Anglesca, and they all seem to dislike the cruelty that has been  exercised against you.

Your dear brother,

George Whitehead

From the Original

{*As described by an independent writer from Margaret Fox's Memoir:

Fox's room was in the dungeon, and the window of what was his residence during many long, dreary months is conspicuous over the greater part of the ancient town. It was evidently, at one period, a room of considerable size, but in Fox's day it was old and ruinous. He could scarcely walk across his apartment, because of the dilapidated state of the floor. The smoke that came from the other prisons was so dense, that sometimes a burning candle was scarcely visible, and he was in imminent danger of being choked; and the jailer was with difficulty persuaded to unlock one of the upper doors, in order to let out the smoke. In wet weather [winter included] it rained upon his bed. The inconveniences of his prison affected Fox to such a degree, during a cold and prolonged winter, that his body became swollen, and his limbs benumbed. When he was brought up at the March assizes, 1665, he was so weak that he could scarcely stand or move."

As further described by an independent writer in the same memoir of Margaret Fox, Margaret was imprisoned in a collective room along with other Quakers, called the Quaker's room.

"Nor were Fox's friends in this neighborhood allowed to escape. Many of his followers, and among them Margaret Fell, at whose house he had been apprehended, were also confined in the castle, [Lancaster], where an apartment exists, still called the Quaker's room, because it was the scene of the sufferings of many of these oppressed and unresisting Christians."}

 

No. LI

ELLIS HOOKES TO MARGARET FELL

London, 18th of Eighth month [tenth mo.] 1664.

DEAR M. F.—My dear love is to you in the unchangeable Truth

 I think it has been two weeks since I last wrote to you; therefore I could not but write this, and give you an account of what passed at the Sessions- house this last week. Yesterday, at Hicks's Hall, four women, having husbands, were sentenced to eleven months' imprisonment or £40 fines; about twelve or thirteen men and women were sentenced to be transported to any of the foreign plantations:—and at the Old Bailey about forty-six Friends were called, and sixteen of them would not answer them (not guilty) according to their form, and so yesterday were sentenced by the Recorder ;—those who had husbands, to Bridewell for twelve months or £20 fine, and the men were sentenced to Barbados, and the women-maids lo Jamaica. About sixteen last seventh-day pleaded, and were tried by a jury, which jury were twice sent out, not agreeing in their verdict: the judges (Hide and Keeling) talked much to them; but at last they could not agree, six of them standing very much for Friends. Some of them pleaded notably on the behalf of Friends, and said, they did not deny but that they were guilty of meeting at the Bull and Mouth; but they said, they were not guilty of the fact charged against them, namely, that it was a seditious meeting; and one of the jury said, the witnesses were not competent persons (being common drunkards) to swear against honest men. So the judges were very angry with them, and bound them in £100 bond a-piece to answer it at the King's Bench bar. The four jailers at Newgate were all the witnesses that came in against Friends, [also] one of the marshal's men. The Friends at Hertford, that were first sentenced to be banished, have now come back from Gravesend again, and all their goods are set on shore; and I hear the owners intend to send their ship another way. They have sentenced twenty-one to prison in Hertford since. So dear Margaret, my dear love is unto you, and to George Fox, and J. Stubbs and L. Fell.— George W. and about three score more were taken at the Bull last first-day, but everywhere else meetings were quiet.

Your loving friend,

Ellis Hookes

From the Original

Regarding the Friends "coming back from Gravesend," as stated above, the following particulars concerning them, from Besse's Sufferings, are too remarkable to be omitted in this place. Pursuant to the sentence of banishment passed on these Friends (seven in number), the jailer acting, it seems, under the order of the Sheriff of Hertfordshire, proceeded to contract with a master of a vessel bound to the West Indies, to carry out the Friends accordingly. Various difficulties occurred previous to their being delivered on board the vessel; and when at length they were brought to the ship, the master gave them permission under his hand to go ashore, and to return again when he should require them. On the 1st of October, [Eighth month—the month in which the above letter is dated,] the master sent for them to come on board, which they did; and the ship sailed down the river as far as the Red-house near Deptford; when a sudden turn of the wind drove her back to Limehouse, where the prisoners were again set ashore. On the 6th, the ship again weighed anchor with wind and tide fair ;—yet the seamen could not, with their utmost application, make this ship sail but they were obliged to anchor again about a stone's cast from the place they lay at before, so that some of the mariners were amazed, and said, 'we shall never get out of England, while these men are on board!' So they set them ashore the third time. On the 8th, they sailed again, and went down to Greenwich; when a sudden storm obliged them to cast anchor again to secure the ship, and the prisoners were sent on shore the fourth time. On the 10th, they were ordered on board the fifth time, and sailed again; when the ship was with much ado kept from running aground: they [however] set the prisoners ashore again at Blackwall, and she went down the same tide to Gravesend. The then prisoners followed, and by the master's order some tarried there, and others came back to London, until the 28th; when they were ordered aboard a sixth time, and the ship sailed that night to Leigh road, where they cast anchor; but before morning the wind turned strong against them, so that they lay there two days and three nights. On the 31st, they sailed to the North Foreland, and cast anchor again until the next day. At night the master set them ashore, and directed them to Deal, where he met them altogether; and before several witnesses declared, that though they had followed the ship so long, yet he was resolved not to carry them, and gave them a certificate in writing as follows :

"Whereas, there were seven men, called Quakers, brought on board my ship, called the Anne, of London, by William Edmonds, jailer of Hertford, namely: Nich. Lucas, Henry Feast, Henry Marshall, Francis Pryor, John Blendall, Jeremiah Herne, and Samuel Traherne, all which have continued waiting upon my ship from London to Deal, from the 14th day of September last until this day; and I seeing Providence has much crossed me until now, whereby I perceive that the hand of the Lord is against me, that I dare not proceed on my voyage to carry them, they being innocent persons, and no crime signified against them worthy of banishment; and that there is a law in force that no Englishman shall be carried out of his native country against his will. Also my men refuse to go the voyage, if I carry them, which will be much to my hindrance, men being very scarce by reason of the long press.

For these reasons, therefore, and many more, I will not carry them. These are, therefore, to certify any person or persons that shall question them: that they did not make an escape, but I put them on shore again to go wherever they please. All this is certified under my hand, this 10th of November, 1664."

[Witnessed by four persons.]

Thomas May

Being thus set at liberty, they returned to London, and then to their own homes; and they sent a letter to the King and Council, stating the circumstance, and accompanied it with a copy of the ship-master's certificate. This letter being read at the Council board produced an order; which, after setting forth the fact of their having been put on board the before said ship, pursuant to their sentence of transportation, and having been by the master set ashore at the Downs, ' leaving them at liberty to go where they pleased; and it appearing to be matter of contrivance and design between the said master and the persons before mentioned ;' it was ordered that the High Sheriff to again apprehend and secure them, 'until means of transporting them can be made by some shipping bound unto those parts.'

By this order they were again committed to prison, and remained there seven years, until discharged by the King's proclamation.—Besse's Sufferings, vol. i. p. 246—248.

 

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