The Missing Cross to Purity

The Christian Progress

of George Whitehead

Part II Continued

Imprisonments Begin

A little while before I was committed, James Lancaster, and Christopher Atkinson were committed to the same prison, though they came some time after me to Norwich. James was committed for calling people to repentance in the market at Norwich; he was an ancient faithful Friend, who traveled in the area; and in several towns he preached the mighty day of the Lord to inspire people to repentance. Christopher Atkinson kept his conversation orderly while he was in prison with James and I; but after we were released, he being left alone, turned loose and scandalous in his conversation. His failure incurred great reproach on our holy profession among those who looked for any way to be critical of us and the truth, which we professed.

In the prison at Norwich, we were badly treated by Hunt, the keeper, who demanded four pence per night from all three of us to share one bed; we thought it was hard measure to demand twelve pence a night from prisoners for one poor bed. He forced three men to be crowded together in a cold room, where another prisoner had a bed to himself. Not having the freedom to gratify the jailor in his oppression and covetousness, and being afraid to ask any of our Friends to procure us better accommodation in prison, we thought it necessary to sleep on the bare boards on the floor, while wearing our clothes with little other covering. In this manner we lodged for eight weeks together in the cold winter; and though we endured much cold, we were generally preserved in health through the Lord's mercy. I would have thought a hardship like that was more than I could bear, having been tenderly brought up by my parents; and I was very young then, only about eighteen years old that winter. While we were prisoners, our dear friend Thomas Symonds was imprisoned with us for only asking a priest a question in the steeple-house after the sermon. At the next sessions for the city, James Lancaster and I were brought into court before judge Charles George Cock. He took great offense against us  for not removing off our hats in court, which we could not for conscience sake submit to, nor do such homage to mortal man.* He seemed to greatly resent this as a contempt to the court and to their authority, pleading for respect to superiors as the duty of servants to masters. I signified that servants ought to perform their duties, and to serve their own masters, not with eye-service as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart; whereas putting off the hat, and bowing to men, and thereby respecting their persons, is only an eye-service, and men pleasing, and no real service or duty to superiors or government. I further said we knew of no law broken by wearing our hats, any more than by wearing the rest of our garments, and we did not intend any contempt against authority. After a few words on this subject, I bore the judge's threats and insults patiently, standing still in silence.

*Failure to remove hats in respect - At this time in England, hats were worn in church, the clergy preached in them, they were worn at dinner, and, as a rule, more generally than in modern times. The few occasions when they were taken off were more distinctly occasions of respect. A son must always uncover before his father, every one uncovered before the king, and uncovered to anyone of class or position such as the nobility. The Quakers called this the hat-honor, which they refused to give to man, including to judges in court; resulting in their being fined or imprisoned for such failure to uncover in honor. They removed their hats only in prayer as an act of worship. Thus they reversed the hat-honor from what society was paying to man and refusing to God, to be paying to God and refusing to man.

In the court John Bolton suddenly plucked off my hat and the other Friend's hats, intending to pacify the judge to prevent our further suffering. He had come from London with a few Friends to visit us. However we were sent back to prison, that cold place of confinement. On the same day, our friend John Bolton was suddenly and sorely troubled in his conscience for having plucked off our hats; and he could not rest quiet in himself until he returned into court again and made open confession against himself, condemning what he had done in taking off our hats. As I heard, when he returned to to court, the judge stated that he thought what John had done would not hold with the Quakers' principle. Note how the greater injury then it was in him, to urge or impose that practice on us, when he was sensible that it was contrary to our principle, and consequently against our consciences.

John Bolton was sincere and conscientious in his public acknowledgment against himself for what he so suddenly did to pacify the judge; though John had not been long a professed Quaker; yet he continued in zeal and truth unto his end.

It may be observed that the judge of the court of sessions in Norwich, was tenderly cautioned beforehand by letter from us, who were prisoners, against that very course which he took against us in session. However, I was discharged by the judge; yet for some time after, I was detained in prison by Hunt the jailer, pretending he had laid actions upon us for what he claimed as a debt owed by us to him for lodging. So we were confined in prison, under the same hardships in the cold winter for eight weeks or more until the same jailer died; and then we were actually freed out of prison, so that the Lord delivered us by removing our unmerciful oppressor.

About this time a proclamation was issued by the commonwealth in which many just principles were asserted in regard to liberty of conscience.

However, it proclaimed no new favor to the Quakers, who, in company with the Ranters whose principles and practices they always disavowed, were deemed unworthy of additional liberty, as acting in a manner opposed to the freedom and liberty of others. This charge no doubt had reference to, the very active spirit that Friends displayed in the propagation of what they deemed gospel Truth, in which cause, they were frequently led to make public declarations in streets, market places, and fairs; and at the usual places of worship when the regular services were completed.

Site Editor’s Comment: This refers to Paul’s description of an orderly worship service, where if anyone has a word from the Spirit, whoever is speaking, is supposed to defer to the person requesting to speak. The Quakers usually made it a practice to wait until the speaker was finished, and then, citing the scripture supporting the right of another to speak, request permission to address the audience of the preacher of the letter.

Soon after George Whitehead’s commitment to Norwich prison, an answer to the proclamation was issued, signed by him and two of his fellow prisoners, from which the following extracts are made, and with which we resume the abstract of his own accounts.

The proclamation was against those people who openly and avowedly, by rude and unchristian practices, disturb both public and private Christian meetings in their religious exercises in the worship of God, by which the liberty of the gospel, the profession of religion, and the Name of God is much dishonored and abused. Many examples have been related of such practices, by those under the names of Quakers and Ranters; and such practices are disliked in all, and proclaimed against, which are contrary to the just liberty and freedom which the people of this Commonwealth is to be protected in, etc.

Answer. The Power which is received, immediately from God, brings into the true liberty and freedom as pertaining to conscience; - and the pure law of God which came from the same Power, takes hold upon that which oppresses the good seed, and conscience also. And though Liberty of Conscience, and Liberty of Godliness, have been long pretended and promised, yet the same is not yet performed, nor fulfilled in those who have been forced to lay down their lives, for this Liberty of Conscience so promised and professed. Now when the Lord has enlightened us by his True Light, and brought us to walk with a pure conscience toward God and man, we find more tyranny, cruelty, and plotting mischief against us, than ever those accounted enemies of the Commonwealth invented to take away our lives; though no man can lay any evil to our charge that has been done or acted, or law broken by us. But for declaring the Truth freely, as it is made manifest in us from the Lord, against all deceit and unrighteousness of men, we are shut up and kept close in holes and prisons, among thieves and murderers. This is the reward and liberty we receive from the world, for declaring unto them the eternal Truth of God, who has called us and who we cannot deny for the world's advantage. Mat 5:11-12.

For witnessing forth in life and power what this protection is promised to, many now suffer in England, and are deprived of their freedom in the exercise of godliness, though not found guilty of any of those unchristian practices the act proclaims against.

The people called Quakers do not impose upon the consciences of their brethren, or any others, anything which may enslave their just liberty or freedom in the things of God. Instead they desire all others' liberty, that all bondages and ties may be taken off the consciences of all people in matters of the worship of God. For the purchasing of this liberty, we suffer bonds and imprisonments, beatings, stonings, stocking, and other cruel usage, from those who profess themselves Christians, magistrates, and rulers in this Commonwealth. And as touching the many doctrines said to be given forth of such practices by those under the names of Quakers and Ranters; (i. e. of rude and unchristian practices which are disliked. )

We answer - We do utterly deny the principles and practices of Ranters; who, from the Light of Christ, which is pure in the conscience, are turned into the liberty of the flesh, and into all uncleanness, and to practice those things on which the plagues of God are due, and upon which the vials of the wrath of God are to be poured out.

Our unjust imprisonment in the castle and city of Norwich may plainly appear to all persons of understanding to be contrary to the liberty and protection, as universally promised and proclaimed. We are called by the Eternal Spirit of the Living God from our earthly habitations to freely declare and make manifest the Eternal Word of God, and the powers of the world to come. We declare and show by the Eternal Spirit, coveting no man's silver nor gold. Freely we declare what we have freely received from God, in love to the souls of all people, that they might also be partakers with us of the powerful Truth of God. So that their souls might live in the Truth and know the pure God, whom all the world in their first state are ignorant of, and enemies to.

Sampson Townsend, by trade a weaver, had taken upon him the habit and place of a priest in Austin's parish in Norwich. After we had been committed to prison, to make himself famous, he published a pamphlet to defame us. So in addition to our hard usage and the severity of our confinement, to add affliction to our bonds, he accused us of being in Norwich jail for errors and miscarriages, as deniers of the Word of God, and the Scriptures, etc., for which his envy and falsehood were publicly detected. As he appeared malicious and of a persecuting spirit, endeavoring to incense the magistrates and people against us, by defaming and reproaching us, thereby making himself infamous; so he appeared as ignorant and shallow in disputing against us at various meetings afterward, both in Norwich at Joseph Whitlock's, and at Repham in Norfolk. In Repham I detected and laid him open about his pleading for sprinkling infants as Christ's baptism.

After Townsend had moved to Repham, I was having a meeting in that town. He came to oppose me, but made little work of it; for he was manifestly confounded, not acknowledging the Word to have existed before the Scriptures were written. He asserted the Scriptures to he the only Word of God, or the only Word, which was his old objection against us when in Norwich prison, for our testimony that Christ is the Word, which was in the beginning. At that meeting I told him that the word of the Lord came to the prophet, saying, “and these are the words of Jeremiah to whom the word of the Lord came.” By this Scripture, the difference between the word which came to the prophets, and the sayings or words that came from the Word, are distinguished. For to say "the word of the Lord that came to the prophet saying" is not the same as to say the Scriptures came to the prophet saying; or that the Scriptures came so often unto him, and uttered those speeches, sayings and prophecies, which the living Word did, and which were not written in the Scriptures before the Word had revealed the prophecies to the prophet. The holy Scriptures or Writings contain the sayings or words of the eternal Word, that is, of God and Christ, as given and revealed unto His servants, his prophets, and ministers; holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. What John was commanded to write, were the true sayings of God. But of Christ he said, his name is called the Word of God. And I think it is not slighting, much less contempt of holy Scriptures, to acknowledge them either as the words or true sayings of God, without giving them the same name or title, which more properly belongs to Christ or God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was god. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4

After our discourse at the meeting in Repham, as I was riding out of the town, the word of the Lord came upon me, to warn the people in the street to repentance. For this warning they treated me with evil, by stoning me in a furious manner, which was go great that I could scarcely get my horse to stand or abide the place where I declared the truth to them, until they became more calm and quiet as I cleared my conscience to the people. For the Lord stood by me, and so preserved and defended me by his power and merciful providence that I was harmed very little by all them stoning me. By their stoning, they showed what fruit their minister, my opposer, had brought forth by his busy envious opposition against us.

And now to return to my narrative, when James Lancaster and myself were freed out of Norwich prison, which was in the first month called March, 1654-5, the jailor had died, and his wife had been more tender than he was. I believed the special hand of the Lord was in our deliverance, and I was very thankful to him that we were well and freed; but we left Charles Atkinson still in jail. A short time after I had been released, I went to see two prisoners there. At this visit I was apprehended, and brought before Thomas Toft, the mayor, who again committed me to prison. I was detained about three weeks, without any proof or even a hint of transgression of law against me, but only the arbitrary will and prejudice of the mayor. However, the Lord did not allow him or them then to detain me long, having other work for me to do for his name and truth’s sake.

The reason of Charles Atkinson remained in prison after the rest, was partly an action, or an attachment laid upon him by an attorney, for speaking some rash or hard words to him, which he supposed were actionable; also the priest, who then used to preach to the prisoners, took occasion to complain against him, if not to lay another action upon him, for some words spoken, by which the priest was affronted. However, Charles Atkinson was not altogether so prudent or gentle in his conduct as he ought to have been; and that was not all, but worse befell him after he was left alone in prison; for though he had more liberty, and better accommodations than when we in prison when together, yet he fell into too much familiarity and conversation with some inclined to a spirit of Ranterism. He grew loose, and waxed wanton against Christ, his light and truth. And at a certain time, having a little liberty granted him, Richard Clayton and I met him at a Friend's house in the country. Perceiving he had gotten into too much lightness and liberty, we met with him alone in the field, and seriously admonished and cautioned him, which he could scarcely bear, without showing anger and emotion. I was fearful of what might befall him, or become of him, insomuch I was secretly told to be restrained in my contacts with him, so that I had scarcely freedom afterward to visit him in jail. He had been too affected by some weak, indiscreet persons, and puffed up beyond his measure, to his own injury, and also to the injury of others.

After some time his iniquity broke out, which my dear brother Richard Hubberthorn gave me notice of, since I was at that time in High Suffolk and other places, laboring in the work of the Lord. When Richard Hubberthorn and Thomas Symonds went to Charles Atkinson’s, he told them there was no redemption for him. Thus he was tempted to despair by the enemy that had prevailed over him; yet he gave out a severe testimony in condemnation against himself. When I heard of his awful miscarriage, it brought deep sorrow upon me, even to solitary mourning and tears for his sake and for our poor innocent Friends, who had lately received the truth; being sensible that both would greatly suffer and be reproached for his failures. However, the Lord revived me after a little while, and laid it the more upon me to labor and travel about in those parts, to strengthen the weak, to help and comfort the feeble, to vindicate the blessed truth and the way. He had me exalt and set the Truth over the head of all deceit and wickedness, and backsliders, and such as turn into the temptations of the world. I well knew and reminded Friends and others that the truth is the same, and never changes, and ought not be blamed; but those who turn their backs to it are condemnable, and judgment follows them. The Lord stood by me in that service, and by his power helped and strengthened me to strengthen and help many others; so that the effects of the scandal were diminished and without hurt or mischief in those parts; glory and dominion to our God, and the Lamb forever and ever.

After my release out of prison the second time, I traveled in Norfolk and Suffolk to Ingerth, Lammas and those parts, as well as Lindbam, Wramplingham, New Bucknam, Gissing, Dysse and Sylam. My dear friend and brother Richard Clayton was with me at some meetings in Norfolk on the side of the country near Ayleshum and Lammas. An honest minded people was there, inquiring after the Lord and his living truth, whose hearts he had prepared to receive the love of the truth. I well remember the manner in which the Lord opened my heart and enlarged me in the gospel testimony toward those people. It was largely in testimony to the universal love and grace of God, the light of Christ in every man; and to turn their minds to it. I told them to wait to know God's teachings, and to come into the new covenant of dispensation, where all the Lord's people are taught of him, and know him, from the least unto the greatest, and witness his law written in their hearts, and his spirit in their inward parts, according to his blessed promises and this, his new and everlasting covenant, as prophesied of by the holy evangelical prophets.

In this new covenant, not only the house of Israel and Judah may have a share, and be partakers of Christ, but all truly believing Gentiles also, to whom Christ is given for a light and for a covenant, and to be God's salvation to the ends of the earth; for God is not only the God of the Jews, but of the Gentiles also; and they are the true Jews and Israel who are spiritually such; Jews inward, by the spiritual circumcision of the heart unto the Lord by his holy Spirit.

In order to come under this new covenant dispensation and ministry, and in it to know and experience Christ to be their minister, their teacher, their high priest and prophet, the people were persuaded to cease from man, and from all their ministers and priests, made by the will of man; and to withdraw from mercenary ministers, who preached for filthy lucre and gain, making a trade of the holy Scriptures, adding their own divinations, meanings and notions to them. Such ministers had no divine revelation or commission from Christ given them to preach, much less to make a trade of the words and testimonies of the holy prophets, Christ Jesus, or his apostles. These ministers made by man walked contrary to Christ's teachings in their steps and practices, with pride and covetousness.

The Lord often laid a requirement upon me, and others of his servants, to testify against the pride and covetousness of the priests, and their preaching for hire, for tithes, and forced maintenance, contrary to Christ's command, and his ministers' example. Because of this, the ministers were even more envious against us, and in their pulpits they exclaimed and made a great noise to incense the people and magistrates against the Quakers, so called, even to severe persecution and imprisonments. This created greater necessity laid upon me and others of the Lord's servants to testify against those proud, covetous and envious priests. Our testimony was sometimes even in their public places, improperly called churches, to undeceive the people, that they might not still be led captive, nor incensed against truth by them.

It is still a matter to me very memorable, that by Spirit-inspired preaching the light, the new covenant, the word near to people in their hearts, and yes, the gospel of the free grace and love of God in Christ to mankind, many were really and effectively convinced and persuaded of the blessed ever living truth, as it is in Christ Jesus. This occurred in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, where the Lord early on led me to travel; and He helped and prospered me in His service; blessed and praised be His name forever. When I was at Mendlesham meeting, Robert Duncan's,  in 1655, George Fox the younger,* a Suffolk man, was effectively convinced; and he received the truth, having then just resigned from Parliament's army of Scotland.

*No relation to George Fox, the founder and senior elder of the Quakers, (although only 29 year of age at the time of this writing). The younger of the two was referred to as  the Younger or Jr.

One remarkable passage I may not omit. John Lawrence had been a member of an Independent congregation or church in Norwich; and because he had left them and received us and our friends, their pastor, Timothy Armitage and their elders, called him in question and were determined to excommunicate him.

About spring time in the same year of 1655, he was summoned to their meeting in Norwich at their parish church, called George's Tombland. I went with him there along with Edmund Bedwell, his brother-in-law, who was still wearing his sword; for which I criticized him, thinking they would take occasion against him and us for it; as some them did afterward. There was a great concourse of people, men and women meeting together with their pastor and elders, and they repeated their allegations against John Lawrence to this purpose: his forsaking their communion, entertaining strangers, or dangerous persons, or holding dangerous doctrines. Yet they could not perceive any fact or error they could prove against him.

And in giving his reasons why he left their church, whereof he had been a member, he answered according to the apostle Paul's doctrine, who exhorts, to turn away from such men as have a form of godliness, but deny the power; such as are proud, heady, high minded and covetous men, though they may have a form or profession of godliness, yet denying the power, from such we are to turn away. John Lawrence gave the same for his reason, why he turned away from them; though they had a form or profession of godliness, yet they denied the power; and therefore he might justly turn away from them.

After which, in the fear and dread of the Lord, I stood up to declare a few words to them, but they quickly pulled me down, and by force held me down in the pew where we were; and some of their proud women that were near us, expressed their rage and envy against me in particular. Some of their church forcibly haled and pushed me out of the steeple-house, and exposed me to a rude multitude, who stood ready to lay violent hands on me, and they pushed and haled me away through the streets and market place of the city, sometimes throwing me down on the stones, which bruised and hurt me; though the hurt I got by this, the Lord was pleased to remove in a short time. They followed and encompassed me, pushing me along roaring and shouting, until I came near to the city gate, called Giles' gate, next to a little pasture ground; at the upper end of which I saw a great house, where the lady Hubbard dwelled, as I understood afterward. At the sight of it, I was undecided, and at a stand in my mind, the tumult being great about me, whether I should then go out of the city, in order to go toward Wramplingham to John Lawrence's, which I desired, or whether I should go to the great house, desiring the Lord to direct me at that instant. I considered that if I should turn out of the city into the highway, toward Wramplingham, I might be in danger of loosing my life in the highway or field, by that violent tumultuous company that were then about me, and it would be the less taken notice of. If I must loose my life, it would be better to die where my testimony was to be borne within the city of Norwich, and where my persecution was begun, rather than lose my life more clandestinely by the tumult without the city, or abroad in the field; for I was given up to allow what violence the Lord might permit them to do to me.

On due consideration, I immediately turned up to the lady Hubbard's house, the raging company continuing still about me, by whose noise and shouting, the lady's chaplain, Dr. Collins, as he was afterward termed, and most of the family, came out to see what was the matter, and why such a mob came before the house, and they saw that I was the person beset and persecuted.

The chaplain understanding what I was, undertook to discourse me, concerning the spirit which the apostles of Christ had. He asked if I had the same spirit? I acknowledged that in a different measure I had of the same spirit, though I would not equal my degree of attainment to theirs. The chaplain wished me to prove I had the same spirit by some sign or miracle, as the apostles did. Or, he asked, if I could speak with tongues by a gift of the Spirit, and not by having acquired the capability through  human learning. I answered him, according to the apostle Paul's words in that case, speaking of the diversities of gifts, given by one and the same spirit; as I told him, all who had the spirit of Christ, did not have all those gifts, such as that of tongues and miracles; for to one is given the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge; to another faith; to another working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another several kinds of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues, yet all, the same spirit, the spirit and power of Christ.

It is evident that these gifts of tongues and miracles, were not common to all who had the spirit of Christ in the primitive church, but peculiar to some, as Paul’s later questions showed: Are all apostles?  Are all prophets? Are all Teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Implying that all the ministers and members of the church were not so gifted in all these respects, though they all had one and the same spirit, from which these gifts came. I may have the word of wisdom, knowledge and faith, by the same spirit, and yet not the gift of tongues and miracles. It does not mean that only those who have gifts have the spirit. I then clearly saw that the chaplain's way of reasoning in this case would not hold.

When be perceived how tumultuous and rude the company about me had been against me, he questioned why I did not quiet or quell them, or supposed I might, if I had the same spirit or power the apostles had? I answered him, that the apostle Paul himself desired the church of the Thessalonians to pray for him, that the Lord would deliver him out of the hands of unreasonable men, for not all men have the true faith. He was therefore sometimes in the hands of unreasonable men, when in tumults, and the Lord delivered him out of their hands. While we discussing this, my persecutors stood silent, as in a ring, and heard us on the subjects before related; our discussion lasted only a little while, I suppose about half an hour.

In the meantime came a soldier or trooper, with his sword by his side, and understood me to be the person persecuted and watched after by that rude company. As I withdrew he came to me, and said he would go along with me, and guard me to my quarters, or lodging ; and laying his hand upon his sword, commanded be mob to stand off, to make way. So I was quietly rescued, and he went with me to my dear friend, Thomas Symonds' house, in the city.

I saw it was the Lord that had put in my mind to go towards the lady Hubbard's, when I was in such a strait in the tumult as before related; and that a stranger should be at last stirred up to rescue me out of the hands of such unreasonable men, as had beset and abused me with violence. I have often been thankful to God for his merciful providence in that deliverance.

The soldier who took such care to rescue me, afterward became a Friend, and came into society with the people called Quakers, in which the Lord showed mercy to him. His name was Robert Turner, of Lynn, in Norfolk. I did not know he was the man that rescued me until twenty-five years after, when I was again prisoner in Norwich castle, with many more Friends, in the year 1680.

In those days prisons and jails were made sanctuaries, and places of refuge and safety to us, from the fury of the tumultuous mob, although we met with severe treatment and hard usage in those places of cruel confinement, many times among notorious criminals. Although I suffered both in tumults and imprisonments, by hard usage in them, the Lord helped and sustained me by his divine power and goodness, so that I was not weary of his service, nor did my spirit faint in suffering. The grateful remembrance of his goodness, and the living sense of his love to my soul in those days, still lives and remains upon my spirit; praised be our God forever and evermore,

My dear friend and brother, Richard Hubberthorn, being somewhat longer detained prisoner at Norwich castle than I had been in the city prison, in the year 1654-5, I did not have his company at meetings, which I had both in Norfolk and Suffolk, until after he was at liberty. So for some time I lacked a suitable companion to travel with me in the work of the gospel ministry in those parts, except as before related, Richard Clayton traveled with me in some ports of Norfolk, and Thomas Bond for a short space, at a few meetings, where I labored in the Lord's work and service.

The Lord greatly assisted me, and gave me a living encouragement and comfort, when I was much alone, in his gospel ministry. I was comforted, enlivened and animated in spirit by his divine power and presence, in feeling and perceiving his blessed work to prosper. Sp that the truth of the gospel of Christ took effect upon the hearts and spirits of many, both old and young; tendering them, opening their understandings, convincing and converting them to Christ the true light. Thus many were turned from darkness, and the work thereof, to light, and from Satan's power to God; to know his divine power to make them his dear children and people, as many were in those early days. And how diligent were many, in going many miles to Friends' meetings, both ancient and young men and women, maidens and children. And what love, what brokenness and tenderness, would appear in meetings in those days of their first love and espousals, wherein many, as chaste virgins, were espoused unto Christ Jesus, in his light, life and spirit, and in which many of those loving and tender Friends who were of the first fruits among us, continued and ended their days.

After Richard Hubberthorn was released out of Norwich castle prison, we had some comfortable meetings together at Sylam, at Joseph Lawrence's, near Hoxen in Suffolk; at Gissing, at William Barber's; and some other places in Norfolk. We were  comforted together in the work and fellowship of the gospel of Christ Jesus; and particularly at Pulham, at William Grudfield's in Norfolk. Grudfield was an ancient, honest-hearted man, who received the truth and Friends in much love and tenderness. We also had fellowship at Matthew Elmy's and at Margaret's of Ilkisson, in the Nine Parishes, not far from Beccles, in Suffolk. He, his wife, and family received the love of the truth, and were very honest, loving people.

On that side the country a few Friends were gathered, who were truly convinced and turned to the Lord, and to his light and spirit in their hearts; among whom was William Bennet, whom the Lord endued with his heavenly power, so that he became a living minister of the gospel of life and salvation. He also had an innocent and holy conversation; and afterward, for his faithful testimony, he was a great sufferer in Edmundsbury jail. Many other Friends also suffered there, after king Charles the second came to the crown.

Richard Hubberthorn and I had a considerable public meeting at Beccles in Suffolk outdoors in an orchard, where several sorts of professing people came, and some of them opposed us; others questioned our testimony, concerning the light of Christ in men, or his enlightening every man that come into the world. Our doctrine of the light within was chiefly questioned and stumbled at in those times, even by many great and noted professors and teachers, as if it had been some new doctrine, though it is both as ancient and Scriptural as any other divinity taught by the holy prophets or ministers of God or Christ.

Among the opposers and questioners of our doctrine of the light at that meeting was Richard Townsend, who behaved himself more mildly and gently than some of the company, seeming to be have more sincere questions than otherwise prepossessed with prejudice. Though he stumbled about the light, we proceeded to demonstrate the truth and how the light shows to man, and reproves him for sin, and would instruct him to repentance, and lead him out or sin and evil, if obeyed and followed. We further showed that when the gospel is truly preached with life to men, this light in them answers and bears witness to it. The light convinces them of the truth of what he has heard preached and declared in the demonstration of the Spirit; and by this light in them, they are truly made capable to receive what has preached and testified unto them, which otherwise they could not do themselves, through only their mere natural capacities. Based on this message of the light within, and the doctrine of the light, being argued for by us, Richard Townsend confessed that there is an echo in a man's conscience, answering to the ministry of the gospel; and this echo he somewhat insisted upon, but could not absolutely oppose the principle of light in men being spiritual.

Our Christian instructions were given to him and others present in a meek and gentle discussion. When concluded, he took these things into further and deeper consideration; so that truth took arose in him with such force that he later joined into society with our Friends, not only to profess the truth he had questioned, but also to bear witness to it in conversation and public testimony.

In the first part of the summer, in the year 1655, I had a very memorable meeting in High Suffolk, at Charsfield, a few miles from Woodbridge, where George Fox Jr then lived with his father. It was the first meeting of Friends on that side or the country, and the largest that I had before that in High Suffolk. I had no companion then in the ministry with me, but some Friends from Mendlesham side came also. A very great concourse of people of several sorts came to that meeting; and many of their hearts, having been prepared by the Lord to seek after and receive the truth, they came to the meeting with good intentions and desires.

We had the meeting in an orchard, and it began about the eleventh hour [5 PM]; I had waited upon the Lord a little time for his power to arise and give me strength to stand up in testimony. The people were in great expectation to hear what might be declared. The Lord was graciously pleased by his immediate power to give me strength in his name to bear a living and faithful testimony, according to the openings and discoveries of his free spirit, and the gift received of him to preach the everlasting gospel in the love and power or our Lord Jesus Christ. My inspired preachings were also agreeable to the Scriptures of truth, and to the testimonies of the holy prophets, Christ Jesus, and his apostles. His living, divine presence was with me. I was wonderfully assisted and enlarged in my testimony for Him and His blessed gospel truth, so much that I was enabled to stand nearly five hours* that day, (as many reckoned,) preaching the truth, and opening those things which concerned the kingdom of Christ and or God, and men's everlasting salvation. Many were touched with life in their hearts, and effectively convinced in their consciences of the truth then declared unto them, in power and demonstration of the plain evidence of the holy Spirit.

*Five hours is a very long time. No one would be able to listen to someone for five hours, unless the Spirit of God was speaking through the speaker, and unless the Spirit of God had chained down the hearts of the listeners to be attentive that long. Certainly this is further evidence of the authenticity of the early Quaker's claims to be speaking from the Spirit of Christ; and as George Fox said, the Spirit of God would tie and fetter their listeners so they had to hear the Spirit speaking. Whitehead said above the same thing, just different words: "The light convinces them of the truth of what he has heard preached and declared in the demonstration of the Spirit; and by this light in them, they are truly made capable to receive what has preached and testified unto them, which otherwise they could not do themselves."

After I had declared for some time, John Burch, a preacher among the Baptists, appeared to make some objections about their ordinances of water baptism and also the coming of Christ in person. I had been called to a spiritual ministry in order to bring people out of shadows to the substance to know Christ in spirit and not after the flesh, nor to rest only in a literal knowledge of Christ, but that they might know him to be alive and inwardly after the spirit. So I answered his objections in the spirit of meekness for his better information and instruction in the way of God more perfectly than either John's baptism, outward shadows, or mere literal knowledge could bring anyone to. In a little while John was silent and seemed somewhat satisfied, and after further and serious consideration, came to receive the truth in an inward sight and sense of the power. He laid down his former preaching and profession, and became willing to wait upon the Lord among Friends in silence. After some years, he was raised up to bear testimony to the light, the spirit and power of Christ Jesus, and to be a minister in order to bring people to the knowledge of Christ, and his spiritual baptism in them. In his ministry John Burch was very serviceable, especially in his latter days; he kept the faith, and in the faith of Christ, love and unity ended his days in peace.

But to return to this memorable meeting; in the latter part several noted pastors and teachers among the Independents arrived. Francis Woodell, one named Habergham, with some others had both objections and questions. Both the people and John Burch and company were very attentive and observant to see what they would make against us, being wrongfully prepossessed and prejudiced against us, that we denied the holy Scriptures, Christ, ordinances, church and ministry, etc. But in a little discourse with them, I perceived they were ignorant of our Christian principles and doctrines. What they had against us seemed to proceed chiefly from the false reports of our adversaries, by which we had been rendered so anti-christian and anti-scriptural in religion and profession that they thought they might easily run us down. Such prejudging and condemning persons before hearing or due examination, caused those opposers, and many others to be ineffective in their opposition to us. When such opposers have come to us, face to face, to make their trials of us, our clear confession of Christian faith and support of the scriptures often daunted such opposers and dampened their spirits. This occurred with those accusing Independent ministers. In the many disputes with opposers adversaries in which I have participated, their charges have been quickly quashed because they have appeared against us based on false reports and hearsays of envious adversaries. They gain no credit with those whom they have credibility, making preposterous claims, especially when they judge or condemn others upon such reports and misrepresentations. In religious controversies I have often observed that my opponent could give me no greater advantage against him than by making use of false reports; or by relying on the authority of malicious persons or their books; or giving way to passion, which blinds men's minds and clouds their reason and understanding.

But those ministers, however prepossessed, carried themselves moderately towards me and our friends, and soon departed after they had been clearly and plainly answered, but frustrated in their inability to expose errors against us or our doctrine. They went quietly from our meeting, the truth greatly gained ground that day, and many were truly convinced and their hearts turned to God, his grace and truth.

That was the first and foundation meeting that the Quakers had on that side of High Suffolk. The meeting has continued ever since in those parts, for a long time after that at Robert Mann's in Dalingoo, at John Bennet's at Bradfield, at William Feddeman's, and sometimes at Arthur Goddard's; all locations of meetings were on that side the country, a few miles from Woodbridge. These who had meetings at their houses, were honest, loving Friends, who thus early received the blessed truth and Friends, and continued so to the end of their days. Some years later the meeting was settled at Woodbridge, where it has continued many years.

A little while after, in the same year, Richard Hubberthorn met me in High Suffolk, and we had a good, large, and quiet meeting at the same place. Some of the ministers and other professors came, but we met with no great opposition from them. Some were more inquisitive than others, but they were puzzled at our preaching about the light within, the immortal seed in man, and our doctrine, though scriptural; yet in those days these Independent ministers were held in high esteem, and several of them were parish priests.

Things then were quietly managed to the end of the meeting, and the truth still gained ground. Many people grew weary of the priests, and more and more left them and their formal worships and resorted to our meeting, both in that county as well as in Norfolk, and many meetings of our Friends were settled in those places.

After considerable labor and service in testimony for the truth and gospel of Christ Jesus, in Norfolk and Suffolk, in the years 1654 and 1655, besides the imprisonment in Norwich before related, my dear friend Richard Clayton and I, meeting again in High Suffolk, in the fifth month 1655, traveled together into Essex to Colchester. Here is where James Parnell,* that early servant of Christ, was a prisoner in the castle. He had been committed a short time earlier. We visited him in prison and he was comforted by our visit. We were glad to see him so well under that confinement at that time. But, he later died from harsh imprisonment for his faithful testimony.

*James Parnell, made by Christ's personal teachings a minister at 16, was the first Quaker to die in prison at 19, and his faithfulness to death is a wonderful story in itself, related in his memoir on this site. Following him, were 868 Quakers to later die from harsh imprisonment.

We traveled forward on the road towards London, wanting to see our brethren and friends in that city, if the Lord would be pleased to allow. We went that day from the White Elm, near Ipswich, to near Chelmsford on foot, being near forty miles;* and on the road we met with our dear friend and brother George Fox, and Amos Stoddard, coming from London into Essex. We were very glad to see them. Our desires of going forward were in part answered for that time, and we were willing to stay with them at some meetings in Essex, which we did, as at Great Coggeshall and Lexden, near Colchester, where George Fox gave large testimony to the truth of Christ, and against the world's corruptions. On the first-day of the week following, being the 20th day of the fifth month 1655, we had a very good meeting at South Halsted, at John Isaac's, in his barn, Richard Clayton being with me; and John Harwood, a Yorkshire man, having met us in Essex, decided to travel a little with us. At that meeting in Halsted the Lord greatly enlarged my heart in his gospel testimony toward that people; for the hearts of many of them were well disposed and inclined toward God and his blessed truth. By his invisible power he had opened a door of entrance among them, as well as a door of utterance unto them. Before his imprisonment at Colchester, James Parnell had been instrumental to convince many in those parts that summer. By Parnell's testimony and living ministry, various believers were shaken and at a loss in their professions and notions, which they had only in their carnal minds, without the experience of a true working in their heart by the power of Christ. For profession and talk of religion and church, did greatly abound in those days among many, as self pride and self conceit, which the Lord was about to abase; as he manifestly did in a short time after, for those summer shows of religion would not endure a stormy winter.

*To travel on foot for forty mile in one day is beyond most men's ability.

I must confess to the glory of God in my own self abasement, and with his bearing sway over my will and affection by his own power, wisdom and providence, I was at that time prevented from going to London to visit my brethren and friends there, according to my own desire and affection. Before I could go to London, the Lord had more work and service, as well as suffering for me to go through, in the country, and particularly in the county of Suffolk. Having been blessed and effectual service by the special assistance of the Lord's power in Norfolk and in High Suffolk, I must now be a sufferer in Low Suffolk and bear my testimony for him in a hard confinement and inhuman treatment in prison. In those days, varied requirements were placed by the Lord upon several of us, whom the Lord so early called and sent forth to preach the gospel of repentance unto life and salvation. For a time we were moved to go about the country preaching, so that knowledge might increase among people in the ways and dealings of the Lord. At another times, it pleased the Lord, that we were taken and imprisoned, strictly confined, and severely used, being many times inhumanly and barbarously treated. The subsequent accounts may in part show this along with what manner of spirit ruled and actuated some men under high professions and pretensions of religion and Christianity, and how unchristian they were in practice.

The case of those called Quakers, who were sufferers in Edmundsbury jail in Suffolk; one of which was myself.

Upon the 30th day of the fifth month, 1655, being the second-day of the week, George Whitehead and John Harwood, with Richard Clayton, passing through a town called Bures, in Suffolk, Richard Clayton was moved to set a paper upon the steeple house door in that town. There was nothing in the paper except what was supported in the holy Scriptures. We two, having gone inside a little before while he placed the paper, and looking back and seeing some people about him, were moved to speak a few words to the people, exhorting them in the name and fear of the Lord, to fear God and to return from the evil of their ways. While we were speaking, a constable, Richard Humm, came in and arrested George Whitehead and John Harwood, taking them before Herbert Pelham, called a justice of peace, being then in Bures, though his office of justice was not of the county of Suffolk, but of Essex. Nevertheless he examined us, one after the other, and in the meanwhile Richard Clayton was kept from us, and not examined there. When he had examined us, he could not lay the least breach of any law to our charge, nor show anything contrary to the Scriptures in the paper which Richard Clayton had set upon the steeple house door. But shortly he sent us with the constable and some others to Thomas Waldgrave, a justice of peace at Smallbridge, near Bures, who also when we came before him, examined us in some few particulars. When he had done so, he found nothing to our charge to merit suffering, nor show us any law that we had transgressed, though we demanded it. He threatened us and would scarcely allow us to speak for ourselves, but caused us to be turned out of his house until he and Pelham had consulted together against us, (as it appeared). On that same day Richard Clayton was whipped in Bures, though not severely, by command from Waldgrave, based on the pretension of a crime for the paper that he had placed on the steeple house door; and he was kept out of the town the same day by a posse. The next day Waldgrave sent John Harwood to Edmundsbury jail, and the day following he also sent George Whitehead to the same jail.

On the 2nd day of the seventh month, 1655, George Rose was also taken and sent to the same prison the 4th day of the same month by John Gurden, a justice of peace for the county of Suffolk. The cause of George Rose's commitment to prison was for asking a question of a minister of Stonk after he had ended his sermon and exercise.

We three, who were committed to prison, were kept prisoners until the next general quarter sessions, [trial court] held at Edmundsbury, the 9th day of the eighth month following; and then were called before William Blumfield, one of their justices of the peace for the county, who sat judge of that sessions. However, we were to receive no more justice than before, for John Gurden and Thomas Waldgrave were both on the bench; and as our adversaries and accusers they informed the judge against us, and he would scarcely allow us to speak. Thomas Waldgrave threatened the jailer to fine him forty shillings, if he did not silence us when we desired to answer an indictment, which was preferred against George Whitehead and John Harwood; which indictment was groundless and false. For in it we were termed laborers of Bures and accused of several times disturbing the magistrates and ministers, and with having been several days at Bures before we were taken prisoners. When in fact John Harwood was never in that town or county before that day we were taken prisoners. Neither did we disturb a magistrate or minister, as falsely charged. Neither did we speak to any magistrate or minister in that town before they took us prisoners. Neither did Thomas Waldgrave bring any witnesses to prove the indictment, or anything in it; the only evidence being the paper for which he caused Richard Clayton to be whipped, which we publicly read and acknowledged having written and posted it in the open sessions. So without any proof of the indictment, the jury, which they had prepossessed and caused to pass upon us, brought in their pretended verdict against us, - that we were guilty according to the manner and form of the indictment; both of which were false, as well as without substance or proof.

A false indictment was likewise preferred against George Rose, also without any appearance of proof; in which they accused him for a common disturber of the peace, and that he had been several times before and after at Stonk, though he had never been there before the day he was taken prisoner; and so unjustly proceeded against him as they had against us, whom the jury had given their judgment against. The judge complied with the enmity and injustice of the rest of our adversaries there present, and imposed a fine of twenty nobles (a coin of six shillings and eight pence, 1/3 of a pound), upon each of us, namely: George Whitehead, George Rose and John Harwood, for which we were detained in prison under great hardships, for above twelve months after sessions.

Upon the same day before mentioned, when John Gurden had gotten his envious design against us three, as he came out of the sessions house door, George Fox Jr, was stirred in spirit to speak a few words to him on this wise, namely; “Repent of your unjust actions this day for otherwise you cannot escape the just judgments of God." For which John Gurden took hold of him and caused him to be haled before the bench; and accusing him, said he would go to prison unless he would find sureties [property or money as a guarantee] to appear the next sessions, but showed no law transgressed by him; nevertheless he quickly caused him to be sent to prison, where he remained with the rest of us, and partook of the same hardships in the common jail, for above twelve months after, until we were released together.

Upon the 22nd day of the ninth month, 1655, Henry Marshall, a Cambridgeshire Friend, was sent to prison by John Gurden, for speaking a few words to one called a minister, at Boxford, after he had ended his sermon, or devotion; but before he was sent to prison, John Gurden caused him to be put in the stocks, and there kept about an hour. At the next general quarter sessions held at Edmundsbury, the 14th day of the eleventh month, George Fox and Henry Marshall were called to be tried. Justice Colthrop sat as judge for the county of Suffolk. He followed the same course of persecution against them, which had been taken against the three of us before mentioned; a false indictment, according to the form of the other, was also preferred against Henry Marshall without any proof thereof. He was fined twenty marks; for which he was kept in bonds with the rest of us. So for one pretended offence there were punishments laid upon one person, namely, the stocks, the prison, and the fine.

But there was no indictment brought in against George Fox Jr. Neither did John Gurden, who caused him to be imprisoned, appear there, nor any witnesses appear against him; so that according to the national law, he ought to have been cleared and set free. Nevertheless he was sent back again to prison; and in the court calendar it was noted that he must remain in jail until the next quarter sessions, unless he found sureties for his appearance then and there. And though he was detained until that time, he was then neither called back to court, or set free. Though he demanded the reason for his detainment, the jailer would neither show any order or warrant for his detention in jail.

Our persecutors were very arbitrary against us without law in their proceedings, though they professed both to the Christian religion and justice. They pretended to act, what they did against us, in the name and behalf of his highness, the Lord Protector, (as they then styled him). Thus their imprisoning, narrow confining, and fining, were done in his name and under pretence of his power. But the power of the Lord our God sustained and supported us patiently and innocently to bear all those persecutions and severities inflicted upon us, knowing that it was for his sake and for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ that we suffered in those days; and that the cause was His, which we were engaged in. He alone would plead and defend His cause, as he has done; blessed be His worthy name and power forever.

The foregoing case, as to matter of fact, was fully written and dated in Edmundsbury common jail, the 31st day of the third month, 1656, and subscribed by us who were then prisoners; in which we declared ourselves willing to seal to the truth with our blood, if required.

John Watteridge, an honest friend of ours in Edmundsbury, was sent to prison from their quarter sessions held for that town, the 12th day of the second month, 1656, for refusing to swear to the office of constable, though he refused not the office, but the oath, for conscience-sake to Christ’s command, "Swear not at all;" for which he was fined forty shillings, and then committed. Thomas Smith, John Clark, and some others were his judges; the first said he punished him for swearing, and then for not swearing.

John Watteridge, when sent to prison, was put in a nasty room, full of fleas, and lodged on the floor without a bed. By his own account he was detained prisoner about fourteen days. His cloak was taken from him at the jailer's command because he refused the jailer's demand for jail fees of four shillings and four pence; but there was no law to justify the fees, nor a law to justify their robbing him of his coat.

The paper for which Richard Clayton was whipped at Bures, reads like this:

"If you set up such ministers as seek for their gain from their quarters, who are greedy and covetous, you set up such as the prophet Isaiah cried against, Isa 56:11.

"If you set up such priests as preach for hire, and divine for money, you set up such as the prophet Micah cried against, Micah 3:11.

There were other Scriptures to show the evil fruits, covetousness, and corruptions of false teachers, and leaders, etc. Thomas Waldgrave produced this paper against us at the sessions, but he could not produce or show any law broken by it; any more than he did against me for my addressing him with the title of T. Waldgrave in my letter to him, according to his own subscription to his warrant of commitment, as is later shown below to be a poor excuse for detaining me fifteen months in prison!

The substance of a letter which I sent to Thomas Waldgrave, after he committed me to Bury jail.


To you who are called a justice of peace, I am moved by the Lord to write against your unjust dealings. Before you sent me to prison, you told me I might stay under the constable's custody at Bures that week, until another justice returned home, that I might be tried before him. Instead within two days time you sent me to prison, where I and my fellow-prisoners are put among the thieves without the same privileges they have. Our friends are not allowed to come in to speak to us, and they are violently driven away from the inner door of the jail.

We are confined here as if we were not worthy to breathe in the common air. The jailer rants in rage and tyranny against us, worse than against thieves and murderers. To excuse his conduct, he alleges that you surely would not have sent us here, unless you could have proved us transgressors; though you could not charge us with the breach of any law at the time.

Know, that although you may be at ease in your unrighteousness, and do not lay to heart the sufferings of the innocent, who suffer by you, yet remember that the judgments of God for your cruelty, slumber not. Remember the end of the persecutors of the true prophets, Christ, and his apostles; of whose sufferings and testimony against all unrighteousness, we are in measure partakers. When we demanded you to show us the law that we had transgressed, you caused us to be haled out of doors, and you consulted with Justice Pelham against us; though his office is for another county. When did ever any godly magistrates punish transgressors without showing them their offense? But you have not convinced us of the validity of your warrant. I am unduly charged to be a common disturber of the public peace, but such disturbance has not been proved. Therefore, you should be ashamed of your injustice against the innocent, and of making these lies your refuge against us; for know that the righteous God, judges righteously, and will be avenged of such unjust dealings.

We are free that all the world should know the cause of our suffering, in which we are innocent and at peace; and that the truth, which we profess and own, shall not cease by our suffering for the name of Christ; for there exists a cloud of witnesses of the truth for which we suffer. But as you are found in the steps of those who persecuted and imprisoned the saints, and among those who conspire and take counsel together against the Lord and his anointed, unto such the Lord will speak in his wrath, and vex with his extreme displeasure. Therefore repent of your cruelty, for fear the Lord cuts you off and gives you your portion among the persecutors and uncircumcised.

Remember that now you have been warned, while as yet the Lord does not speedily execute his judgments upon you. To the light in your conscience I appeal, which bears witness against all these practices that are contrary to it, and the condemnation of such who live in them. I demand from you a speedy answer to these things, and of the cause of our detainment in these unjust and cruel bonds, you having caused them to be laid upon us. From an innocent sufferer for the Truth,

George Whitehead
Edmundsbury Jail, the 15th of the Sixth mo., 1655

Thomas Waldgrave produced the above letter in court at the quarter sessions, and the only charge he made against me was my giving him the title of T. Waldgrave. I told him I followed his own subscription to his mittimus, by which he committed me, having in it so subscribed himself, T. Waldgrave; but he concluded it was not for me to do as he had done; by which he proved no crime at all against me.

Copy of the mittimus. To the constable of Bures, and to the keeper of the Jail of Bury.

"I have sent you herewithal the body of George Whitehead, of Orton, in the county of Westmoreland being an idle wandering fellow, and a common disturber of the peace of this nation; requiring you, in the name of his highness the Lord Protector, et. al., to receive him into your jail, and him there safely to keep that he may be forthcoming before the justices at the next sessions for the peace, to be held for this county at Bury, then and there to be proceeded withal according to law and hereof I require you not to fail this 1st day of August 1655"

Observe, an idle wandering fellow; this is false in fact, as well as scurrilous and disdainful; for,

1. I am well known to be no such person; for after my parents took me away from that noted school at Blencoe, in Cumberland, at the request of some Friends, I taught first a private, then a public school.

2. After that I was at my father's house part of a summer. I was not then idle, but industrious in what was proper for me. I had not been raised to either be in idleness or be willing to eat the bread of idleness, to prevent zero reflection and reproach against me on that account.

3. And when it pleased God to call me by his Word from my father's house and out of my native country to preach the everlasting gospel, in that I labored faithfully and traveled in the service of it, according to the grace and ability given me of God, in his dear Son Christ Jesus.

4. I am also charged with being a common disturber of the public peace of this nation. I have been, and still am, a man of a peaceful conversation, since I am also a minister of the gospel of peace.

5. In the indictment of quarter sessions I was called a common laborer, so how could I also be termed an idle wandering fellow in the warrant of commitment? Thus our prosecutor was self-contradictory in his charges; for where envy exists, there is confusion. Could he reasonably think himself more dishonored by my giving him his own title of T. Waldgrave, than he did by his injurious and illegal proceedings against us?

And that it may further appear what kind or warrants these justices made against us, here follows also a copy of John Gurden's warrant of commitment against George Rose.

SUFFOLK-To the keeper of the Common jail, at Bury, St. Edmunds, and to his deputy, and deputies there.

"Forasmuch as upon examination of George Rose, late of Halsted, in the county of Essex, glazier, and upon examination taken upon oath before us, against the said Rose, sufficient cause appears unto us, by which to enforce Rose to find two able and sufficient sureties for his personal appearance at the next sessions of the peace, to be held for the Franchess of Bury, St. Edmunds, and then not to depart without license of the court. And forasmuch as the said George Rose refused to find sureties, we therefore herewithal send you the body of the said George Rose, requiring you in the name of his highness the Lord Protector of the commonwealth of England, to receive him into the said jail, and him there safely to keep until the next sessions; if in the meantime, he, the said George, being by his own confession, one now usually called a Quaker, shall not in the meantime find such able and sufficient sureties for his appearance as before said. Dated at Affington, the third day of September, 1655."

Observe. 1. What legal precedent could they have for such a warrant of commitment, when they neither assign cause to require such sureties, nor any matter of fact, as a breach of law deserving imprisonment?

2. Though his confessing himself one called a Quaker, seems to be made the reason of his commitment, which we cannot think it was either a legal or valid reason, or cause of such severity, as these persons were determined to impose against us. Therefore how evident is it that their own prejudiced wills were their only laws considered?

The substance of a letter to William Blumfield who sat for judge at the Quarter Sessions before mentioned.

"To you who are called a justice, I am moved by the Lord God to write; therefore in moderation read and consider that you may be informed for whom you have acted. Friend, in the judgment seat at sessions you were set to judge of causes, according to justice; but the cause of the oppressed, who suffer for righteousness, you have not regarded, in joining with the persecutors against us who so allow. They preferred a lying indictment against us without evidence of fact, and caused a company of poor ignorant men, who knew us not (i. e. the jury,) to give a verdict, (so termed), upon oath, which was, that we were guilty according to the manner and form of the indictment, which in neither charge was true, in which they did forswear themselves. And then by your fining us, you have joined with our persecutors who imprisoned us, namely, those called Justice Waldgrave and Justice Gurden, whose injustice many took notice of in their acting as both our accusers and judges. In consenting to act according to their wills, which are cruel and envious, you have acted contrary to the just witness of God in you; and in lending an ear to them and their council, you have not taken counsel of God: and woe unto those who take counsel, but not of me, said the Lord; that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin unto sin.

The swift witness of God will pursue you, and judge you for participating with the wicked. Your conscience is defiled, and your profession held in unrighteousness and is stained. All your profession of God and Christ will not cover or hide you from the righteous judgment that will come upon all those who join in iniquity; and though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished.

"Therefore consider what, and for whom, you have acted. Own the light of Christ in your conscience, and it will let you see how you cannot have peace with God in these things, and how forwardly and unadvisedly you have acted against us, as you would not have done to yourself. Consider, would you be arrested passing on the highway about your lawful business, examined and imprisoned, contrary to the law of God, and of the nations, and in prison suffer ten weeks, and then be fined and sent back to prison again; as we were, contrary to the laws of justice equity? Honestly deal with yourself, and see if you have done to us as you would have others do to you?

“When has any godly magistrate ever done such things?" Let the witness of God in your conscience judge whether these things are of God or not; whether persecution and cruelty become those who profess Christianity and godliness; yes or no?

"Consider your ways, and come out from among the persecutors, and repent of these unjust actions, that your hands may he washed from the guilt of their blood, who suffer for righteousness' sake; for fear that you will have your portion among them who are in the offenses against Christ's flock, who suffered persecution by the seed of evil doers; for he that rends one of the least of them who believe in him, 'It would be better that he had never been born, or that a millstone were hung about his neck and he cast into the sea.'

Therefore, now from the Lord you are warned, before whom you cannot excuse yourself in these things before mentioned, and declared in love to your soul. Whether you will lay them to heart or not, I am clear. For I have peace and consolation by Christ Jesus for my sufferings for righteousness' sake; not being convinced of the breach of any known law. Glory to the Lord God forever.

George Whitehead

Edmundbury common jail,
the 20th day of the, Eighth month, 1655

Since our persecutors sentenced five of us to prison by these referenced warrants, and since they passed judgment and fines upon most of us in their quarter sessions, it is appropriate that some account should be given of our treatment and sufferings in prison.

Sufferings In Prison

After two of us were first sent to prison, we had a lodging in an upper room for the first two or three weeks. We understood that the jailer intended to charge us for rent, and expecting our confinement might be of long duration, we asked for a free prison room; upon which we were turned into the common ward among felons. After staying there a few weeks, Friend Samuel Duncan, in compassion to us, privately gave the jailer some money to pay for our lodging away from the felons. When that money was exhausted, the jailer insisted upon his old charging a pence a night from each of us, which we were neither free to yield payment, nor to allow any of our friends to be charged. Replying we wanted a free prison room, and we were again turned into the common ward. While we had been lodged above through the Friend's money given to the jailer, the notorious robbers, who were of that company that had robbed sir George Wyninif’s house, and who had been condemned at the assizes before, broke out of prison and made their escape, leaving their irons and shackles behind them.

We were glad that we were not present in the common ward at the time they broke out, for they were desperate fellows when they made their escape for their lives. We considered it and act of Providence that our Friend had procured our lodging apart from the felons for that little time.

Now we were settled in the common ward among felons in a low, dungeon-like place under a market house. Our bedding was upon rye straw on a damp earthen floor; though we were content with it, and the place was sanctified to us. The jailer kept a tap house [to serve beer from a keg], and many of his prisoners were often drunk. Because we were not willing to contribute to the jailer's extortion, nor were we free to buy any of his beer, his rage often arose very much against us. There were five of us, all sent to prison successively; and we were all in the common ward, in the time of our confinement drinking only water. He appeared most enraged against us because we frequently testified and cried against the foul and horrid sins of drunkenness, swearing, and other disorders and abuses among the prisoners. The jailer's servants encouraged these behaviors by allowing their excessive drinking of strong beer, for his ungodly financial gain from the sale of the drink to them.

But the Lord stirred us up to zealously cry even louder against the wickedness of the jailer, his servants, and prisoners for these gross evils and disorders; because the jailer made a profession of religion and piety. He was a member of a Presbyterian church in Bury, and he called in the prisoners on first-days toward evening to teach them and lead them in his sort of devotion. Because I told him of his hypocrisy in that, his fruits being so much the contrary, his daughter was offended, saying, " What! Call my father a hypocrite, who has been a saint forty years?" Now to evidence some of his fruits, and of our treatment by him and his agents, consider the following incidents.

On the 21st day of the tenth month, 1655, the jailer struck George Rose on the face until he drew blood; and on the 28th, he struck George Fox Jr and John Harwood on their faces before several witnesses. On the 21st of the eleventh month, he struck George Whitehead on his face until the blood came out at his mouth, only for detecting and expressing disapproval of some falsehoods he had uttered against us, which some present heard; at which point a woman of his own society or profession, seeing his fury and violence, told him he dishonored the gospel. It seems she was more tender and conscientious than he.

He shamefully abused us many other times both in words and actions, by which his servants, the tapster [the beer server], and the turnkey [guard], and some of his drunken prisoners were encouraged to follow his example. His tapster often grossly abused us, and not only threatened us, but violently threw a stone hitting one of us; and in his rage he took up a stool to strike of or throw at some of us, being prevented by one of us holding on to it. He often slandered and beat some of us on the face; and he also violently assaulted us with his fists for no other cause than expressing our disapproval for his and the others' wickedness.

Some of the prisoners had also often abused us by taking away our food, alleging the jailer gave them permission to do so. By this same permission they injured us, several times beating, stoning, despitefully using some of us. They also threatened to kill us and to knock some of us on the head.

Once said if he killed us, he would not be hanged for it, and that there was no law for us if he did kill us. Being drunk with the jailer's strong beer, he kicked and wounded some of us on the legs, and greatly abused us, knowing it was against our principle and practice to fight back or strike him in return. We were five, mostly able, young men; and we could have easily fought back against him and the rest of the jailer's drunkards that abused us, if our principle would have allowed. But we considered it greater valor and more Christian to patiently suffer such injuries for Christ, than to fight for him, or avenge ourselves; and rather, when struck on one check, to turn the other, than to strike again. When the drunken prisoner, who had abused us so much, sobered up a little, he confessed that the jailer made him worse than he would have been against us. Despite the jailer's inhuman treatment of us, he could not force our compliance with his covetous designs, or corrupt practices for gain.

On the 19th day of the second month, 1656, he came into the common ward, and asked if we would pay him for keeping us there? We asked him what we owed him. He said, "Fourteen pence a week, each of you." Some of us had been in that common jail for thirty-one weeks, but none of us had used any bedding of his. When some straw had been brought us to lie on, which was allowed by the county for the prisoners' use there, we had paid for bringing it, or we might not have had it. We told the jailer that when we had demanded a free prison room, he turned us into this place; where he next commanded the turnkey to take away our bed clothes, saying, “Take away their clothes, and leave them nothing but the straw to lie on, and take away their boxes." So the turnkey and tapster took them all away, and did not even leave us our night cape, which had been hung up in a basket by the wall.

Moreover, the jailer threatened to away our coats from off our backs. We told him he might as well take them too, for he had already taken our other goods; namely, our bed clothes, a coat and a cloak, and our boxes of food, i. e., bread and cheese, linen and other things. "Then," said he, “I will not take your coats until warmer weather." We told him he would shame his profession. He said, "'That's no matter, you are all heretics." After the above mentioned goods had been taken away, the jailer's daughter said, “They have robbed you of all." Those goods were detained from us about twenty-four weeks, in which time we were forced to sleep on the straw in our clothes; yet the Lord gave us patience and comfort in our sufferings, as he did his servants of old, who suffered the spoiling of their goods joyfully; being also made willing not only to suffer such spoil, but to lay down our lives for Christ's sake. Glory to his name forever, who thus supported and comforted us in our tribulations.

On the 28th, Mary Petche, an honest, poor Friend, who was employed to bring us necessities, came to prison with some linen far us, namely: two shirts, two caps, two bands and four handkerchiefs. We had been robbed of the rest before. The jailer took everything from her, and would not allow her to deliver them to us. The same day the turnkey took away George Rose's coat, which he usually wore. At other times, he did not allow our provisions to be delivered to us until he had stopped the woman that brought them and searched into her basket, to see what she had brought for us.

Not complying to take lodgings of the jailer, at 2s. 4d.* a week each of us, nor to pay him 1s. 2d. each, demanded by him, for the time we had been in the free prison, (the common ward), he proposed to offer us some privileges if we would submit to his terms. When we refused, his anger still continued against us, so much that on the 3rd day of the third month, he commanded his tapster to take away George Fox's hat, which the tapster took from his head. The same day the jailer's wife, being more compassionate than her husband, brought him his hat again, and said she did not know that her husband commanded the tapster to take it from him.

*Prior to 1971, the pound (derived from the Latin word libra) was divided into twenty shillings, with each shilling equal to twelve pence, making a total of 240 pence to the pound. The symbol for the shilling was "s" — not from the first letter of the word, but rather from the Latin word solidus. The symbol for the penny was "d", from the French word denier, which in turn was from the Latin word denarius (the solidus and denarius were Roman coins). In this time, a penny would buy a loaf of bread. There were also half penny coins and quarter penny coins (farthings).

Having shown such examples of malice and abuse to us, some of the prisoners when almost drunk, still were encouraged to repeat their violence against us, especially one, who was often most base and abusive, beating and kicking us, and striking some or us on the face, without reprehension by turnkey or tapster, when they have been present and known us to be abused; but instead of that, the tapster then also beat one of us in the face, though when they were out of drink, and not incensed by the jailer, we had them generally under and quiet.

But on the 19th of the third month, two of the prisoners struck George Fox Jr. so violently in the face that the blood came out at his mouth and nose. Following in the 21st one of them shamefully spit in the faces of George Rose and George Fox, and then they grabbed and pulled them by their noses, which they have done to us several times. On 22nd day of the same month, while George Fox was standing at the inner door, a prisoner threw a pot of coals and ashes into his face. Thus, day by day for a time we were abused, beaten, buffeted, kicked, spurned at, and despitefully used, for no other reason than testifying against the frequent drunkenness, swearing, wickedness, and ill government in that prison; and testifying against the tyranny, cruelty, and had example of the jailer, his turnkey, and tap room server. It is too tedious to enumerate all their abuses and acts of violence and cruelties against us. As they became conscious and aware that they might be exposed, in fear of us writing to expose them, turnkey threatened to take away our writing materials. He actually did take away some, along with several papers, saying we should write no more; and then he often watched us to hinder our writing.

The jailer had often threatened to lock us up in the women's ward, (a low, filthy room), because of our constant testimony against their gross disorders, allowing the tapster to let the prisoners have so much strong drink as to drink to excess, thereby abusing themselves and others around them. Instead of reforming, the jailer proceeded in his unwarranted permission of such excess, and in punishing us for our righteous testimony.

On the 26th day of the third month, he caused George Rose to be put into the woman’s ward; upon which George Whitehead told the jailer to take notice, that it was for declaring against drunkenness and swearing, which he himself connived at, that he caused him to be put there. For which words the jailer caused him also to be soon shut up in the same ward; and likewise George Fox Jr. and Henry Marshall, we being one in our testimony; so we four were there locked up and confined near two hours; and when we only asked for a stool of our own to sit upon, they would not allow us to have it.

After they had let us all out, they put George Rose into the same ward again, and confined him there about four hours. While George was there, stones were cast in at the window, some of them striking him; and the tapster took strong drink in his mouth and spit it in his face as he looked out at the window. But our punishment from the jailer did not end there. While George Rose was shut up in the women's ward, the jailer came to George Whitehead and George Fox saying, “If you will persuade George Rose to be quiet, he may come out.” George Whitehead told him that he would not persuade him from crying against wickedness. At which point in his rage he threatened to put us three into the dungeon, and caused George Rose to be brought out of the women's ward, and threatened to let us down into the dungeon with a cart rope; but he and the turnkey put us, (George Whitehead, George Fox Jr, and George Rose), down a ladder into the dungeon. They seldom put any in the dungeon unless they were very quarrelsome or murderous; for it is about four yards deep under ground, and very dark, and narrow at the bottom. In the middle of it was an iron grate, with bars separated by a one foot gap between, and under grate was a pit or hole of unknown depth. But we were warned by a woman that pitied us as she saw us put down. So we kept near the sides of the dungeon so we would not fall into the pit. There we were detained nearly four hours, singing praises to the Lord our our God, in the sweet enjoyment and living sense of his glorious presence, being not the least terrified nor dismayed at their cruelties. Instead we were cheerfully resigned in the will of the Lord to suffer for his name and truth's sake, even if they had left us to perish in that dark, dismal, and stinking dungeon; though the Lord would not allow that. Besides, if the jailer had detained us and we had died in the dungeon, he might be hung on the gallows.

When we were let out of the dungeon, the turnkey shut us up in the common ward, and allowed a malicious prisoner to come in and strike George Rose violently on the head, without expressing any disapproval of him for it; but that was a common practice among these persecutors, especially when drunk.

While we were in the dungeon, several of our friends came to visit us from Norwich, Colchester, Halsted in Essex, and other places, but they were not allowed to see us, nor could we to speak to them. At other times they have similarly dealt with us and our friends, after they have come many miles to see us. When our friends were kept out, and they had come to the prison door or window, they have had water thrown on them by some of the jailer's company, pretending that he had an order from the justices that none of our friends should visit to us; yet he and his wife told them that if they would pay the turnkey, they might come to us. The turnkey told those who if they would give him 6d. or 4d. each, he would let them visit with us; but they refused to gratify his covetousness in that. Many times our friends have been unjustly prevented from visiting us. Yes, when some Friends of Norwich have waited long outside to come in and see us, both they and we have been disappointed and prevented from seeing one another. Thus our friends have been kept outside from us, and we have been daily abused within.

The prisoner who was most abusive to us, being one of the jailer's drunkards, threw a naked knife fiercely at one of us; and when it missed, he threatened to kill some of us, saying he could be hanged, but he only had one life to lose. He also took away some of our things. We reported the theft to the jailer, and told him if there was any more blood shed by this prisoner, it would lie at his door. We told the jailer that if he did not approve of what the drunkard had done to us, we wished him to command him to restore us our things; but instead of doing that, his answer was, "Let him do what he will." He said this within hearing range of this most abusive prisoner; by which he was encouraged to abuse us further, as well as abuse the woman Friend, who brought in our necessities; on whom he laid violent hands, pushing her backward. That night the turnkey also struck two of us for refuting some of his aspersions cast upon us, and said he could not treat us bad enough.

This abusive prisoner, who had threatened to kill some of us, took encouragement from the example of the jailer, turnkey and tapster to further abuse us. One night after we were locked and bolted in the common ward, he was furiously drunk and resolved to kill one or other of us that night. With curses he threatened over and over; nothing would satisfy him unless he killed some of us. But in faith in the name and power of the Lord, we stood over him, believing he should not have power to hurt any of us, though he attempted it, taking up a fire brand; but we saw his power was limited, that he could not harm, much less kill any of us.

He had a boy in the same ward, about ten years old. As the boy was kneeling by the wall, frightened to see his father in such a rage, the father picked up a stone bottle and violently threw it at his poor boy; but it missed him, and broke it to pieces against the wall, the poor boy narrowly escaping with his life. For if it had hit him on the head, he probably would have killed his son. Still the drunken, outrageous man continued in his fury; he was determined to kill somebody that night, either his poor boy, or some other; or else he would not be pacified. Seeing him thus murderously resolved, it immediately came upon me with great weight, as I believed from the Lord, let us not see murder committed in our presence. At which point, I said to my fellow sufferers, let's seize him and hold him hand and foot, until he quiets down. We presently took hold of him, laid him gently upon his back, and held him fast, hand and foot; as I think, above an hour's time, in which he made a roaring noise, but to no purpose; for we were all closely warded up in a low, dark place, hard to be heard in other parts of the prison; no, I am persuaded, had any of us cried out murder, we would scarcely have had anyone come to relieve any of us.

However, we prevented the intended murder, by holding the drunkard's hands and feet, until he was quiet and went to sleep. We made him promise before we would let him loose, having a strict eye over him, to prevent his doing any mischief; for though we had no cords to bind him with, yet we were sensible he needed to be bound or restrained from doing mischief, as much as any outrageous mad person.

Although the Lord enabled us patiently bear and suffer gross abuses and despiteful usage, much more than here related, without any retaliation or revenge, yet murder ought to be prevented, if possible, by any lawful means or restraint. As the prophet Elisha said, concerning the king's messenger sent take him; "See how this son of a murderer has sent to take away my head; look- the messenger comes, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door," William Dewsbury in true love, came to visit us in Bury jail; and understanding something of the jailer's cruelty, wrote him a letter as follows:

"For Robert Newton, keeper or the jail in Bury.

"Your cruelty and oppression of the innocent has come up in remembrance before the pure, eternal, dreadful God. If you do not repent and speedily return to the living God and diligently attend to his pure law in your conscience, that it may guide you to cease from your cruelty, and restore to the servants of the Lord what you have taken from them and stop your violence to them – which if you so do, you may still be possible to receive the mercy of  the Lord. But if you continue in your pride and stubbornness, then it would have been better that you had never been born. The eternal, dreadful God will stretch out his hand against you, and render vengeance upon you, which will wound you in you inward parts, so that anguish and pain shall take hold of you. You shall be tormented day and night, in the presence of God and his holy angels, and your portion shall be with all the unrighteous, whose worm never dies, and fire never shall be quenched. For as you sow, you shall reap; and you shall know this is the Word of the Lord God. 'The day draws near' what is declared the Lord will bring upon you; remember you are warned in your lifetime-if you perish, your blood will be on your own head.

William Dewsbury

Site Editor's Comment: William Dewsbury was also an early Quaker minister. He suffered greatly, spending twenty years of his life in prison for failure to pay tithes and refusing to swear oaths.

The jailer was greatly tormented and enraged at this letter.

Some of the abuses were examined by the magistrates in Bury, and clearly evidenced to them before the jailer's face.

After we had suffered such hard usage by the jailer, by his turnkey and tapster, and by some of the drunken prisoners, an account was sent to some of our friends at London, which they put in print, and acquainted Oliver Cromwell the Protector, (so called) and his deputy Fleetwood with this, at which point an order was given to have the matters complained of inquired into. I was first called out and examined on the 22nd day of the third month, 1656, before John Clark and Thomas Chaplain, (called justices); the jailer was also present. On the 22nd, George Rose was also called before some of those justices with the jailer present. The jailer's and his agents' abuses were proved against him at both times, concerning his striking George Rose and George Whitehead on their faces, until the blood came out at their mouths. The jailer, to excuse and lessen his offense, would have them believe he only bucked us under the chin, and that he took me by the nose.

Upon the 6th day of the fourth month, I was again brought before the justices John Clark, Thomas Chaplain, and one called Justice Moody, and Major Sparrow, to be examined on the said complaint. John Clark, who first took upon himself to be our chief interrogator, or examiner, appeared very much to favor the jailer, tearing a note sent by a Friend to warn them to examine matters, and do justice without partiality; which when I delivered it, he quickly tore in pieces without reading, or allowing the rest concerned to read it. I told him he should have seen what was in it before he had destroyed it. He said that was all he would do with it. I then warned them to see that justice was done. But as our paper was read, and I was questioned about the abuses related in it, John Clark would not have me to answer matters particularly as read, but said, read it, and then let him answer to it. But as it was read, I answered the particulars, and gave them a clear account of matters of fact of the jailer's cruelty. Some of which he confessed when I pressed him on the specifics, particularly the taking away our goods, or necessities, which he commanded the turnkey to take from us, with other injuries and violence done to us. Some of the justices present confessed the jailer was to blame and warned him not to allow us to be abused by his servants; for if they did, they would send them to Ipswich jail, and they commended George Whitehead for a moderate man.

On the same day George Rose was also again examined, and again made it appear how the jailer had abused us, and used violence to us, such as smiting him and George Whitehead on their faces, until the blood came out at their mouths; and his tapster's smiting him more than ten times, and spitting beer in his face. The jailer confessed that all that was written by us of his taking away our things was true; but because George Rose reproved him for his cruelty, Justice Clark told the clerk to write down that it was for assaulting the jailer; partially pleading to extenuate his offence. Seeing such partiality, we could not expect a full and true account would be returned to Oliver Cromwell, Protector, but that our sufferings would be prolonged, as they were, for some time after these grievances were clearly made manifest to the justices. However, our disclosing the jailer's cruelty, had some effect upon him, though he was sorely vexed to be thus exposed. Yet it brought some fear and restraint upon him; and for some time before we were released out of prison, we enjoyed more quietness, although drunkenness and much disorder, and terrible government, was allowed and continued in that prison. When I have in the fear of God told the jailer, and testified against him, for allowing the evil practices to gain money, his answer often to me was, “Away devil, away devil, etc.” When George Rose rebuked him, the jailer would cry as he approached, “Now comes wide mouth, now comes wide mouth;” because George Rose spoke somewhat louder to him, against his permitting so much drunkenness in the jail. The jailer was a professor of religion, a member of a church, and instructor of others, and by his daughter esteemed a saint for forty years; and doubtless he was therefore more favored in the examination, by his neighbor, John Clark, because of his religion, membership and fellowship.

When the barbarous treatment and hardships that we endured in the jail were reported abroad, our Friends in London were compassionately concerned for our relief, and therefore Oliver Cromwell was several times applied to, particularly by Mary Sanders, a friend of ours, who was a servant and a waiting gentlewoman in Cromwell's family. She often took opportunities to remind him of our suffering condition, and or other Friends also being confined in prisons, as she has often told me. She was afterwards married to our beloved Friend, Henry Stout, of Hertford. She was a good example in that family of Oliver Cromwell's, while she lived there; and  she continued in her integrity in true Christian faith, and love to Friends until the end.

Anne James, of London, who afterward married our dear Friend, Robert Duncan, was tenderly concerned for us, when we were in Bury jail. She also acquainted Oliver Cromwell with our case and sought our relief, which was at last obtained; after I had suffered fifteen months, or more, in that jail, and the rest of my fellow-prisoners more than a year, except Henry Marshall, who suffered nearly a year. All of us, God knows, were under severe restraint and great hardships.

Yet I am still truly and humbly thankful to the Lord our God, in remembrance of his great kindness to us,- how wonderfully he supported and comforted us through and over all these our tribulations, strait confinements, and ill usages, and preserved us in bodily health. In the comfortable enjoyment of his glorious divine power and presence, several of us have often been made to sing aloud in praise to his glorious name; yes, his high praises have been in our mouths oftentimes, to the great amazement and astonishment of the criminals shut up in the same ward with us. When walking there, our hearts have been lifted up in living praise to the Lord, often for several hours together, with voices of melody. Oh! the sweet presence and power of the Lord our God, how precious to be enjoyed in prisons and dungeons, and strait confinements. O my soul, still blesses you the Lord, and forever praises his excellent name, for the true inward sense and experience you have often and long had, and still have, of his divine power and unspeakable goodness. Glory and dominion be to our God, and to the Lamb that sits upon the throne, forever and ever. Let the praise be unto him in whom is our help, salvation and strength.

Although we were confined to a noisy common ward, and strait, stinking yard, without any accommodation, yet the Lord by his power so sanctified the confinement to me, that I had great peace, comfort, and sweet solace, and was sometimes transported and wrapped up in spirit, as if in a pleasant field, having the fragrant scent, and sweet smell of flowers and things growing therein, though I was not in an ecstasy or trance, my senses were affected in that way. The Lord made bitter things sweet to me, and hardships easy; although we were sensible our persecutors and oppressors were so cruel toward us, that they did not care if we had all perished in that jail. But our trust and confidence was in the name of the Lord Jehovah, in whom is everlasting strength and safety: to whom be everlasting glory, dominion and praise, world without end.

I humbly hope and trust in the Lord, I shall never forget his loving kindness and mercy shown unto me, in those cloudy days of distress and affliction.


"Thursday, the 16th of  October, at the Council at Whitehall

“Ordered by his highness the Lord Protector, and the Council, that the Quakers imprisoned at Colchester, in the county of Essex, and Edmundsbury and Ipswich, in the county of Suffolk, be forthwith released and set at liberty: and it is referred to sir Francis Russell, to take care that the same be done accordingly; as also to consider how the fines set upon them, or any of them, if any, may with most conveniently be taken off and discharged: and likewise to take order that upon their being set at liberty, as before said, they be quickly sent to their respective homes.

" W. JESSOP, Clerk of the Council."

Pursuant to this order, Sir Francis Russell took special care to put it in execution. He sent his clerk to the prison to see us set at liberty, which was done accordingly; and in kindness to us, gave us an order or warrant to produce in our defense, if there should be occasion, that we might travel without molestation or interruption; not confining us to go to our respective homes. He was a considerate and tender spirited man, and showed compassion toward us and our friends, who were sufferers for conscience sake toward God; he appeared clearly against persecution. From the good character which I had of him, and the kindness he had shown us in our suffering, I went to visit him in the year 1659, as I traveled near that way, which he took kindly, and entertained me with a religious and friendly discussion. In our discussion he intimated that he had been very much against the severity of the punishments inflicted on James Naylor, when he was prosecuted before the House of Commons, in the year 1666.

<<Continued to Part III>>>>

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