The Missing Cross to Purity

The Journal of George Fox - 1657 - 1661 - Back in England - End of Volume 1 <page 3 >

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After this meeting, I visited Friends' meetings until I came to Lancaster; from there I went to Robert Withers', and so to Arnside, where I had a general meeting for all the Friends in the counties of Westmoreland, Cumberland, and Lancashire. This meeting was quiet and peaceable, and the living presence of the Lord was among us. I went back with Robert Withers, and Friends passed away, fresh in the life and power of Christ, in which they had dominion, being settled upon him the heavenly rock and foundation. Several rude fellows, servants of a nearby justice named Sir George Middleton, came to have made some disturbance, as it was thought; but the meeting was ended, and they did nothing there; but they did intercept three women Friends going homeward, impudently scoffing them, and one of them behaved very abusively and immodestly towards them. The same man had also abused other Friends, and was so outrageous that he tried to cut some with an axe, but he was restrained by some of his companions. At another time the same man set upon six Friends that were going to a meeting at Yelland, and beat and abused them so that he 'bruised their faces and shed much of their blood,' wounding them very sorely, one of them in several parts of his body; yet they lifted not a hand against him, but gave him their backs and cheeks to beat.

From Robert Withers' the next day I went to Swarthmore with Francis Howgill and Thomas Curtis accompanying me. <This was the third time I had been through most of the nation.>

{When I had stayed about a month at Swarthmoor and nearby, after King Charles had come into England, a man called Justice Porter with four or five more of the magistrates gave forth a warrant to the chief constable to apprehend me. I felt something of darkness in the house before they came, something of a great darkness.} So the next day after I had felt that, the chief constable with three or four more petty constables came to Swarthmoor pretending to search the house for arms, and they went up into some of the chambers. I was in the parlour and Richard Richardson was with me. And Margaret Fell, unto whom some of her servants had brought word, came in and told me, and I said, 'It is a plot.' And it came upon me to go out. And I called for a friend but he did not come, so I went back again to call him and so met the constables coming down the stairs; and as I was going by them, I spoke some words to them; and the chief constable stepped to me, and asked me my name, and I told him freely, and then they laid hold of me and said I was the man they looked for. And I desired to see their order, and they would not show it, though after a time they did show it, with five or six names and seals at it.

Then they led me away to Ulverston and there kept me all night at a constable's house, and set a guard of fifteen or sixteen men to watch me. And some of them sat in the chimney; they were afraid I would go up the chimney, the Lord's power so terrified them. I told them I could have escaped them if I had wanted. I sat up all night. They were very rude and uncivil to me and to Friends, scarcely letting any come in to me and not allowing them to bring me necessities, but with violence thrust the Friends out.

At about six in the morning, I was putting on my boots and spurs to go with them before some justice. They pulled off my spurs and took my knife out of my pocket and took me along the town with a crowd of people, thirty on horse and foot; and they would not allow me to stay until my horse had arrived.

When I had gone about a quarter of a mile with them, some Friends with Margaret Fell and her children came towards me, and then a great party of horse gathered around me in a mad rage and fury, crying out, 'will they rescue him! will they rescue him!' At which point I said, 'here is my hair, here is my back, here are my cheeks, strike on!' This cooled them down a little. Then they brought a little horse, and two of them took up one of my legs and put my foot in the stirrup; and two or three lifting over my other leg, set me upon the little horse, behind the saddle, and so led the horse by the halter, but I had nothing to hold by. When they had gone a pretty way out of the town, they beat the little horse, and made him kick and gallop; whereupon I slipped off him, and told them, 'they should not abuse the creature.' They were much enraged at my getting off, and took me by the legs and feet, and set me upon the same horse behind the saddle again, and led the horse about two miles; until we came to a great water called Carter-ford. By this time my own horse had caught up with us; and since the water was so deep that their little horse was scarcely able to carry me through, they let me get upon my own horse, being persuaded by some of their own company; and they led my horse through the water. They pulled off the bridle and led my horse by the halter for fourteen miles until I came to Lancaster.

They were very rude and wicked making a great noise. One of the constables named Ashburnbam said, 'he did not think a thousand men could have taken me.' Mount, a very wicked constable, said he would have served Judge Fell also if he had a warrant for him, and if he had been alive. One wicked fellow ‘kneeled down, and lifting up his hands, blessed God that I had been taken.' They expected to have had a great triumph; but as they led me, I was moved to 'sing praises to the Lord, in his triumphing power over all.'

When I had come over the Sands, I told them I had heard that I had liberty to choose what justice I would go before; but Mount and the other constables raged and said, ‘no, I should not.' They led me to Lancaster, about fourteen miles.

When I arrived in Lancaster, the spirits of the people were mightily up; I stood and looked earnestly upon them, and they cried, ‘look at his eyes!' After awhile I spoke to them, and they were pretty sober. Then came a young man who took me to his house, and after a little while the officers took me to major Porter's, the justice who had sent the warrant against me; he had several others with him. When I came in, I said, 'Peace be among you.' Porter asked me, 'why I came into the country in that troublesome time?' I told him, 'to visit my brethren.' But said he, 'you have great meetings up and down.' I told him though we had, our meetings were known throughout the nation to be peaceable, and we were a peaceable people. He said, 'we saw the devil in people's faces.' I told him, 'if I saw a drunkard, or a swearer, or a peevish heady man, I could not say I saw the spirit of God in him.' And I asked him, 'if he could see the spirit of God?' He said, ‘we cried against their ministers. ‘I told him, while we were as Saul, sitting under the priests, and running up and down with their packets of letters, we were never called pestilent fellows nor makers of sects; but when we were decided to exercise our consciences towards God and man, we were called pestilent fellows, as Paul was. He said, we could express ourselves well enough, and he would not dispute with me; but he would restrain me. I desired to know, 'for what, and by whose order he sent his warrant for me;' and complained to him of the abuse of the constables and other officers after they had taken me, and in their bringing me there. He would not take notice of that, but told me, ‘he had an order, but would not let me see it; for he would not reveal the king's secrets;' and besides, ‘a prisoner,' he said, 'was not to see why he was committed.' I told him that was not reasonable; for how could any defend themselves then? I said I ought to have a copy of it. But he said, there was a judge once, ‘that fined one for letting a prisoner have a copy of his mittimus; and,' he said, ‘I have an old clerk, though I am a young justice.' Then he called to his clerk, saying, 'is it not ready yet? Bring it;' meaning the mittimus. But since it was not, he told me I was a disturber of the nation. I told him, I had been a blessing to the nation, in and through the Lord's power and truth, and the spirit of God in all consciences would answer it. Then he charged me as an ‘enemy to the king, that I endeavored to raise a new war, and imbrue the nation in blood again.' I told him, I had never learned the postures of war, but was clear and innocent as a child concerning those things; and therefore was fictitious. Then came the clerk with the mittimus, and the jailer was sent for and commanded to take me, put me into the Dark-house, and let none come to see me, but kept me there close prisoner until I should be delivered by the king or parliament. Then the justice asked the constables where my horse was? 'For I hear,' said he, 'he has a good horse; have you brought his horse?' I told him where my horse was, but he did not meddle with him. As they had me to the jail the constable gave me my knife again, and then asked me to give it him. I told him, no; he had not been so civil to me. So they put me into the jail, and the under jailer was a very wicked man named Hardy, who was exceedingly rude and cruel; and many times he would not let me have food brought in except what I could pass under the door. Many came to look at me, some in a rage, and very uncivil and rude. One time two young priests came, and they were very abusive. The meanest people could not be worse. Among those who came in this manner was old Preston's wife of Howke. She used many abusive words to me, telling me that my 'tongue should be cut out,' and that 'I should be hanged;' showing me the gallows. But the Lord cut her off, and she died in a miserable condition.

Being now close prisoner in the common jail at Lancaster, I desired Thomas Cummins and Thomas Green to go to the jailer, who asked for a copy of my mittimus so that I might know for what I stood committed. They went, and the jailer answered, 'He could not give a copy of it, for once someone else had been fined for doing so;' but he gave them liberty to read it over. To the best of their remembrance, the matters there charged against me were, 'That I was a person generally suspected to be a common disturber of the peace of the nation, an enemy to the king, and a chief upholder of the Quakers' sect; and that I, together with many of my fanatic opinion, had of late tried to raise insurrections in these parts of the country, and embroil the whole country in blood. For which reason the jailer was commanded to keep me in safe custody, until I should be released by order from the king or parliament.

When I had gotten the main points of the charge contained in the mittimus, I wrote a plain, straightforward answer, in vindication of my innocence to each particular point, as follows:

I am a prisoner at Lancaster, committed by justice Porter. I cannot get a copy of the mittimus; but I am told that such expressions in it are very untrue. As that I am "generally suspected to be a common disturber of the nation's peace, an enemy to the king, and that I, with others, should endeavor to raise insurrections, to embroil the nation in blood." All which is utterly false; and in every part of that, I do deny it. For I am not a person generally suspected to be a disturber of the nation's peace, nor have I given any cause for such suspicion; for formerly throughout the nation I have been tried for these things. In the days of Oliver I was taken up on pretense of raising arms against him, which was also false; for I had nothing to do with raising arms. Yet I was then taken prisoner to London, and brought before him; where I cleared myself and denied the drawing of any carnal weapon against him, or any man upon the earth; for my weapons are spiritual, which take away the occasion of war, and lead into peace. Upon my declaring this to Oliver, I was set at liberty by him. After this I was taken, and sent to prison by major Ceely, in Cornwall; when I was brought before the judge, Ceely informed against me, "That I took him aside, and told him, that I could raise forty thousand men in an hour's time to involve the nation in blood, and bring in king Charles." This also was utterly false, a lie of his own invention, as was then proved upon him; for I never spoke any such word to him. I never was in any plot. I never took any engagement or oath, nor ever learned war-postures. As those were false charges against me then, so are these now which come from major Porter, who is lately appointed to be justice, but wanted power formerly to exercise his cruelty against us; which is but the wickedness of the old enemy. For I am not a disturber of the peace of the nation, nor ever was; but seek the peace of the nation, and of all men, and stand for all nations' peace, and men's peace upon the earth, and wish that all nations and men knew my innocence in these things.

And whereas Major Porter said, I am an "enemy to the king," this is false; for my love is to "him and to all men," even though they be enemies to God, to themselves, and me. And I can say, it is of the Lord that he has been brought in, to bring down many who had been unrighteously placed in positions of power; of which I prophesied three years before he came in. It is a large error that he should say I am an enemy to the king; for I have no reason so to be, he having done nothing against me. But I have been often imprisoned and persecuted these eleven or twelve years by those that have been against both the king and his father, even the party that Porter was made a major by and bore arms for; but not by them that were for the king. I was never an enemy to the king, nor to any man's person upon the earth. I am in the love that fulfils the law, which thinks no evil, but loves even enemies; and would have the king saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth, and be brought into the fear of the Lord, to receive his wisdom from above, by which all things were made and created; that with that wisdom he may order all things to the glory of God.

Where he calls me, "A chief upholder of the Quakers' sect," I answer: the Quakers are not a sect,' but are in the power of God, which was before sects were, and witness the election before the world began, and are come to live in the life which the prophets and apostles lived in who gave forth the scriptures; therefore are we hated by envious, wrathful, wicked, and persecuting men. But God is the upholder of us all by his mighty power, and preserves us from the wrath of the wicked that would swallow us up.

And whereas he said, "That I, together with others of my fanatic opinion," as he calls it, "have of late endeavored to raise insurrections, and to embroil the whole kingdom in blood." This is altogether false; to these things I am as a child, and know nothing of them. The postures of war I never learned; my weapons are spiritual, and not carnal, for with carnal weapons I do not fight. I am a follower of him who said, "My kingdom is not of this world." And though these lies and slanders are raised upon me, I deny drawing of any carnal weapon against the king or parliament, or any man upon the earth; for I am come to the end of the law, “to love enemies, and wrestle not with flesh and blood;" but am in what saves men's lives. I am a witness against all murderers, plotters, and any who would do such things to "imbrue the nation in blood;" for it is not in my heart to have any man's life destroyed. And as for the word fanatic, which signifies furious, foolish, mad, etc. he might have considered himself before he had used that word, and have learned the humility which goes before honor. We are not furious, foolish, or mad; but through patience and meekness have borne lies, slanders, and persecutions many years, and have undergone great sufferings. The spiritual man, that wrestles not with flesh and blood, and the spirit that rebukes sin in the gate, which is the spirit of truth, wisdom, and sound judgment, is not mad, foolish, furious, which fanatic signifies; but all are of a mad, furious, foolish spirit, that wrestle with flesh and blood, with carnal weapons, in their furiousness, foolishness, and rage. This is not the spirit of God, but of error, that persecutes in a mad, blind zeal, like Nebuchadnezzar and Saul.

Since I am ordered to be kept prisoner until I am delivered by order from the king or parliament, therefore I have written these things to be laid before you, the king and parliament, that you may consider them before you act anything therein. That you may weigh, in the wisdom of God, the intent and end of men's spirits, for fear that you act the thing that will bring the hand of the Lord upon you and against you, as many have done before you who have been in authority, whom God has overthrown. In him we trust whom we fear and cry to day and night, who has heard us, does hear us, and will hear us, and avenge our cause. Much innocent blood has been shed. Many have been persecuted to death by such as were in authority before you, whom God has vomited out because they turned against the just. Therefore consider your standing now that you have the day, and receive this as a warning of love to you.

From an innocent sufferer in bonds, and close prisoner in Lancaster castle, called

George Fox

Upon my being taken, and forcibly carried away from Margaret Fell's, and charged with things of so high a nature, she was concerned, looking upon it to be an injury offered to her. Upon which she wrote the following lines, and sent them abroad, directed thus:

To all magistrates concerning the wrong taking up and imprisoning of George Fox at Lancaster.

I do inform the governors of this nation, that Henry Porter, mayor of Lancaster, sent a warrant with four constables to my house, for which he had no authority nor order. They searched my house, and apprehended George Fox in it, who was not guilty of the breach of any law, or of any offence against any in the nation. After they had taken him and brought him before the said Henry Porter, we offered to pay bail as he would demand for his appearance, to answer what could be laid to his charge; but the official (contrary to law, if he had taken him lawfully) denied to accept any bail, and clapped him up in close prison. After he was in prison a copy of his mittimus was demanded, which ought not to be denied to any prisoner, that he may see what is laid to his charge; but it was denied him; a copy he could not have, only they were suffered to read it over. And everything there charged against him was utterly false; he was not guilty of any charge in it, as will be proved and manifested to the nation. Let the governors consider it. I am concerned in this thing, inasmuch as he was apprehended in my house, and if he be guilty, I am so too. I desire to have this searched out.

Margaret Fell

After this Margaret Fell determined to go to London to speak with the king about my being taken, to show him the manner of it, and the unjust dealing and evil usage I had received. Which when justice Porter heard of, he boasted that he would go and intercept her. But when he came before the king, he having been a zealous man for the parliament against the king, several courtiers spoke to him concerning his plundering their houses; so he quickly had enough of the court, and returned into the country. Meanwhile the jailer seemed very fearful, and said, he was afraid major Porter would hang him because he had not put me in the dark-house. But when the jailer went to wait on him, after he was come from London, he was very blank and down, and asked 'how I did?' pretending he would find a way to set me at liberty. But having overshot himself in his mittimus, by ordering me 'to be kept prisoner until I should be delivered by the king or parliament,' he had put it out of his power to release me if he would. He was the more dejected also upon reading a letter which I sent him; for when he was in the height of his rage and threats against me, and thought to ingratiate himself into the king's favor by imprisoning me, I was moved to write to him, and put him in mind, 'how fierce he had been against the king and his party, though now he would be thought zealous for the king.' Among other passages in my letter, I called to his remembrance, that when he held Lancaster castle for the parliament against the king, he was so rough and fierce against those that favored the king, that he said, 'He would leave them neither dog nor cat if they did not bring him provision to his castle.' I asked him also, 'Whose great buck's horns those were that were in his house? And where he had obtained both them and the wainscot that he built into his house? Had he not taken them from Hornby castle?'

About this time Ann Curtis, of Reading, came to see me; and understanding how I stood committed, it was upon her also to go to the king about it. Her father, who had been sheriff of Bristol, was hanged near his own door for trying to bring the king in; upon consideration of which she had some hopes the king might hear her on my behalf. Accordingly, when she returned to London, she and Margaret Fell went to the king together; who, when he understood whose daughter she was, received her kindly. And her request to him being, ‘to send for me and hear the cause himself,' he promised her he would, and commanded his secretary to send an order for bringing me up. But when they came to the secretary for the order, he said, ‘It was not in his power; he must go according to law; and I must be brought up by a habeas corpus before the judges.' So he wrote to the judge of the King’s Bench, signifying it was the king's pleasure I should be sent up by a habeas corpus. Accordingly a writ was sent, and delivered to the sheriff; but because it was directed to the chancellor of Lancaster, the sheriff put it off to him; on the other hand the chancellor would not make the warrant upon it, but said the sheriff must do that. At length both chancellor and sheriff got together; but being both enemies to truth they sought occasion for delay, and found they said, an error in the writ, which was, that being directed to the chancellor, it said, 'George Fox in prison under YOUR custody,' meaning, the prison I was in was not in the chancellor's custody, but the sheriff's; so the word YOUR should have been HIS. Upon this they returned the writ to London again, only to have that one word altered. When it was altered and brought down again, the sheriff refused to carry me up, unless I would seal a writing to him, and become bound to pay for the sealing and the charge of carrying me up; which I denied, telling them, I would not seal anything to them, nor be bound. So the matter rested awhile, and I continued in prison. Meanwhile the assize came on; but as there was a writ for removing me up, I was not brought before the judge. At the assize many came to see me. I was moved to speak out of the jail window to them, and show them, 'how uncertain their religion was, and that every sort, when uppermost, had persecuted the rest. When Popery was uppermost, people had been persecuted for not following the mass. And those who held it up cried, "It was the higher power, and people must be subject to the higher power." Afterwards they that held up the Common Prayer persecuted others for not following that; saying, "It was the higher power, and we must be subject to that." Since that, the Presbyterians and Independents cried each of them, "We must be subject to the higher power, and submit to the directory of the one and the church faith of the other." Thus all, like the apostate Jews, have cried, "Help, men of Israel," against the true Christians. So people might see how uncertain they are of their religions. But I directed them: to Christ Jesus that they might be built upon him the rock and foundation, that changes not.' Much on this wise I declared to them, and they were quiet and very attentive. Afterwards I gave forth a little paper concerning true religion, as follows;

True religion is the true rule and right way of serving God. And religion is a pure stream of righteousness flowing from the image of God, and is the life and power of God planted in the heart and mind by the law of life. This brings the soul, mind, spirit, and body to be conformable to God, the Father of spirits, and to Christ; so that they come to have fellowship with the Father and the son, and with all his holy angels and saints. This religion is pure from above, undefiled before God, leads to visit the fatherless, widows, and strangers, and keeps from the spots of the world. This religion is above all the defiled, spotted religions in the world, that keep not from defilements and spots, but leave their professors impure, below, and spotted; whose fatherless, widows, and strangers, beg up and down the streets.

George Fox

Soon after this I gave forth paper another against persecution, as follow:

The Papists, Common-prayer-men, Presbyterians, Independents, and Baptists persecute one another about their own inventions, their mass, their common prayer, their directory, their church faith, which they have made and framed, and not for the truth; for they know not what spirit they are of, who persecute, and would have men's lives destroyed about church worship and religion, as Christ said, who also said, "He came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them." They that know not what spirit they are of, but will persecute and destroy men's lives, and not save them, we cannot trust our bodies, souls, nor spirits in their hands; they know not what spirit they are of themselves, therefore they are not fit to be trusted with others. They would destroy by a law, as the disciples once would have done by prayer, who would have commanded "fire to come down from heaven," to destroy them that would not receive Christ. But Christ rebuked them, and told them, "They knew not what spirit they are of." If they did not know what spirit they were of; do these now know, (who have persecuted about religion since the apostles' days), who would compel men's bodies, goods, lives, souls, and estates into their hands by law, or make them suffer? Those that destroy men's lives are not the ministers of Christ, the savior; and seeing they know not what spirit they are of, the lives, bodies, and souls of men are not to be trusted in their hands. And you that persecute shall have no resurrection to life with God, except you repent. But they that know what spirit they are of themselves are in the unrebukeable zeal, and by the spirit of God they offer up their spirits, souls, and bodies to the Lord, which are his, to keep them.

George Fox

While I was kept in Lancaster jail, I was moved to give forth the following paper, ' For staying the minds of any such as might be hurried or troubled about the change of government.'

All Friends,

Let the dread and majesty of God fill you! Concerning the changing of times and governments, let not that trouble any of you; for God has a mighty work and hand there. He will change yet again, until that come up which must reign, and in vain shall powers and armies withstand the Lord; for his determined work shall come to pass. But what is now come up, it is just with the Lord that it should be so, and he will be served by it. Therefore let none murmur, nor distrust God; for he will provoke many to zeal against unrighteousness, and for righteousness, through things which are suffered now to work for a season. Yes, many, whose zeal has been dead, shall revive again, and they shall see their backslidings and bewail them bitterly. For “God shall thunder from heaven, and break forth in a mighty noise, his enemies shall be astonished, the workers of iniquity confounded, and all that have not on the garment of righteousness shall be amazed at the mighty and strange work of the Lord, which shall be certainly brought to pass." But my babes, look you not out, but be still in the light of the Lamb, and he shall fight for you. The Almighty hand, which must break and divide your enemies, and take away peace from them, preserve and keep you whole, in unity and peace with himself, and one with another. Amen.

George Fox

I was moved also to write to the king, both to exhort him to exercise mercy and forgiveness towards his enemies, and to warn him to restrain the profaneness and looseness that was up in the nation upon his return.

To the king

King Charles,

You did not come into this nation by sword, nor by victory of war, but by the power of the Lord. Now if you do not live in it, you will not prosper. If the Lord has showed you mercy and forgiven you, and you do not show mercy and forgive, the Lord God will not hear your prayers, nor them that pray for you. If you do not stop persecution and persecutors, and take away all laws that hold up persecution about religion; if you persist in them, and uphold persecution, that will make you as blind as those that have gone before you; for persecution has always blinded those that have gone into it. Such God by his power overthrows, does his valiant acts upon, and brings salvation to his oppressed ones. If you bear the sword in vain, and let drunkenness, oaths, plays, May-games, with such like abominations and vanities be encouraged or go unpunished, as setting up of May-poles, with the image of the crown atop of them, etc. the nations will quickly turn like Sodom and Gomorrah, and be as bad as the old world, who grieved the Lord until he overthrew them; and so he will you, if these things be not suppressed. Hardly ever was there s0 much wickedness at liberty as there is in this day; as though there is no terror of, or power of government; which does not grace a government, nor is it praise to them that do well. Our prayers are for them that are in authority, that under them we may live a godly life, in which we have peace, and that we may not be brought into ungodliness by them. Hear and consider, and do good in your time, while you have power; be merciful and forgive; that is the way to overcome and obtain the kingdom of Christ.

George Fox

It was a long time before the sheriff would yield to remove me to London, unless I would seal a bond to him, and bear their charges; which I still refused to do. Then they consulted how to convey me up, and first concluded to send up a party of horse with me. I told them, ‘if I were such a man as they had represented me to be, they had need send a troop or two of horse to guard me.' When they considered what a charge it would be to them to send up a party of horse with me, they altered their purpose, and concluded to send me up guarded only by the jailer and some bailiffs. But upon further consideration they found that would be a great charge to them also, and therefore sent for me to the jailer's house, and told me, if I would put in bail that I would be in London such a day of the term, I should have leave to go up with some of my own friends. I told them I would neither put in bail, nor give one piece of silver to the jailer; for I was an innocent man, and they had imprisoned me wrongfully, and laid a false charge upon me. Nevertheless I said, if they would let me go up with one or two of my Friends to bear me company, I might go up and be in London such a day, if the Lord should permit; and if they desired it, I or any of my Friends that went with me would carry up their charge against myself. When they saw they could do nothing else with me, the sheriff consented that I should come up with some of my Friends, without any other engagement than my word, to appear before the judges at London such a day of the term, if the Lord should permit. Therefore I was let out of prison, and went to Swarthmore, where I stayed two or three days; and from there went to Lancaster, and so to Preston, having meetings among Friends until I came into Cheshire, to William Gandy's, where was a large meeting out of doors, the house not being large enough to contain it. That day the Lord's everlasting seed was set over all, and Friends were turned to it, who is the heir of the promise. From there I came into Staffordshire and Warwickshire, to Anthony Bickliff's, and at Non-eaton, at a priest's widows house, we had a blessed meeting, where the everlasting word of life was powerfully declared, and many settled in it. Then traveling on, visiting Friends' meetings, in about three weeks time from my coming out of prison, I reached London, Richard Hubberthorn and Robert Withers being with me.

When we came to Charing-cross, multitudes of people were gathered together to see the burning of the bowels of some of the old king's judges, who had been hanged, drawn and quartered.

We went next morning to judge Mallet's chamber, who was putting on his red gown to go sit upon some more of the king's judgments. He was then very peevish and willful, and said, I might come another time. I went another time to his chamber when judge Foster was with him, who was called the Lord Chief Justice of England. With me was one called Squire Marsh, one of the bed chamber to the king. When we had delivered to the judges the charge against me, and they had read to those words, ‘That I and my friends were embroiling the nation in blood,' etc. they struck their hands on the table. Upon which I told them, 'I was the man whom that charge was against, but I was as innocent of any such thing as a new born child, and had brought it up myself; and some of my friends came up with me, without any guard.' As yet they had not minded my hat; but now, seeing my hat on, they said, ‘What, did I stand with my hat on?’ I told them I did not stand so in any contempt of them. Then they commanded one to take it off; and when they had called for the marshal of the King’s Bench, they said to him, you must take this man and secure him, but you must let him have a chamber, and not put him among the prisoners. My lord, said the marshal, I have no chamber to put him into; my house is so full that I cannot tell where to provide for him but among the prisoners. No, said the judges, you must not put him among the prisoners. But when he still answered, he had no other place to put me in, judge Foster said to me, 'Will you appear tomorrow, about ten of the clock, at the king's bench bar in Westminster hall?’ I said, ‘Yes, if the Lord give me strength.' Then said judge Foster to the other judge, 'If he says yes, and promises it, you may take his word.' So I was dismissed. The next day I appeared at the King’s Bench bar at the hour appointed, Robert Withers, Richard Hubberthorn, and Squire Marsh going with me. I was brought into the middle of the court, and as soon as I came in I was moved to look about, and turning to the people, said, 'Peace be among you;' and the power of the Lord sprang over the court. 'The charge against me was read openly. The people were moderate, and the judges cool and loving; and the Lord's mercy was to them. But when they came to that part of it which said, 'That I and my friends were embroiling the nation in blood and raising a new war, and that I was an enemy to the king,' etc. they lifted up their hands. Then, stretching out my arms, I said, ‘I am the man whom that charge is against, but I am as innocent as a child concerning the charge, and have never learned any war postures.' And, said I, 'do you think, that if I and my friends were such men as the charge declares, that I should have brought it up myself against myself? Or that I should be suffered to come up with one or two of my friends with me? Had I been such a man as this charge sets forth, I would have been guarded with a troop or two of horse soldiers. But the sheriff and magistrates of Lancashire thought fit to let me and my friends come up with it ourselves, almost two hundred miles, without any guard at all; which you may be sure they would not have done if they had looked upon me to be such a man.' The judge asked me, whether it should be filed, or what I would do with it? I answered, you are judges, and able, I hope, to judge in this matter; therefore do with it what you will; for I am the man these charges are against, and here you see I have brought them up myself. Do what you will with them, I leave it to you. Then judge Twisden* beginning to speak some angry words, I appealed to judge Foster and judge Mallet, who had heard me overnight. Upon which they said, 'They did not accuse me, for they had nothing against me.' Then Squire Marsh stood up and told the judges, ‘it was the king's pleasure that I should be set at liberty, seeing no accuser came up against me.' They asked me whether I would put it to the king and council?' I said, 'Yes, with a good will.' Thereupon they sent the sheriff's return, which he made to the writ of habeas corpus, containing the matter charged against me in the mittimus, to the king, that he might see for what I was committed. The return of the sheriff of Lancaster was thus:

By virtue of his majesty's writ to me directed, and hereunto annexed, I certify, that before the receipt of the said writ, George Fox, in the said writ mentioned, was committed to his majesty's jail at the castle of Lancaster, in my custody, by a warrant from Henry Porter, Esquire, one of his majesty's justices of peace within the county palatine before said, bearing date the fifth of June now last past: for he, the said George Fox, was generally suspected to be a common disturber of the peace of this nation, an enemy to our sovereign lord the king, and a chief upholder of the Quakers' sect; and that he, together with orders of his fanatic opinion, have of late endeavored to make insurrections in those parts of the country, and to embroil the whole kingdom in blood. And this is the cause of his taking and detaining. Nevertheless, the body of the said George Fox I have ready before Thomas Mallet, knight, one of his majesty's justices, assigned to hold pleas before his majesty, at his chamber in Sergeant's inn, in Fleet-street, to do and receive those things which his majesty's said justice shall determine concerning him in this behalf, as by the before said writ is required.

George Chetham, Esq. sheriff.

* This is the same judge who sentenced many Quakers, including Francis Howgill, to life imprisonment, where he died.

Upon perusal of this, and consideration of the whole matter, the king, being satisfied of my innocence, commanded his secretary to send an order to judge Mallet for my release; which the secretary did, thus:

'IT is his majesty's pleasure, that you give order for the releasing and setting at full liberty the person of George Fox, late a prisoner in Lancaster jail, and commanded there by a habeas corpus. And this signification of his majesty's pleasure shall be your sufficient warrant. Dated at Whitehall, the 24th of October, 1660.

Edward Nicholas

‘For Sir Thomas Mallet, knight,
one of the justices of the king's bench.'

When this order was delivered to judge Mallet, he sent his warrant to the marshal of the king's bench for my release; which warrant was thus worded:

By virtue of a warrant which this morning I have received from the right honorable sir Edward Nicholas, knight, one of his majesty's principal secretaries, for the releasing and setting at liberty of George Fox, late a prisoner in Lancaster jail, and from there brought here by habeas corpus, and yesterday committed unto your custody; I do hereby require you accordingly to release and set the said prisoner George Fox at liberty: for which this shall be your warrant and discharge. Given under my hand the 25th day of October, in the year of our Lord God, 1660.           

Thomas Mallet

‘To Sir John Lenthal, knight, marshal of the
King’s bench, or his deputy.'

Thus, after I had been a prisoner somewhat more than twenty weeks, I was freely set at liberty by the king's command, the Lord's power having wonderfully wrought for the clearing of my innocence, and Porter, who committed me, not daring to appear to make good the charge he had falsely suggested against me. But after it was known that I had been discharged, a company of envious, wicked spirits were troubled, and terror took hold of justice Porter; for he was afraid I would take the advantage of the law against him for my wrong imprisonment, and thereby undo him, his wife, and children. And indeed I was pressed by some in authority to have made him and the rest examples; but I said, I should leave them to the Lord; if the Lord forgave them I should not trouble myself with them.

{Though judge Porter was a major of Lancaster and a justice of the Peace, and though he entertained judges at his house, after this, the Lord cut him off; and his wife was cast into Lancaster prison for debt, where her husband had cast me. Judge Mallet was a cruel man, and not long after, he died. Judge Foster became a very bitter and cruel man, persecuting and premuniring Friends; so the Lord cut him off also. Another Lord Chief Justice came in, even worse than Foster, persecuting Friends; and the Lord cut him off also. And the Lord also cut off that wicked constable Mounts, the high constable, and the other constable's wife.

Now did I see the end of the travail which I had in my sore exercise at Reading; for the everlasting power of the Lord was over all, and his blessed truth, life, and light shined over the nation, and great and glorious meetings we had, and very quiet; and many flocked unto the truth. Richard Hubberthorn had been with the king, who said, 'None should molest us so long as we lived peaceably,' and promised this upon the word of a king; telling him, we might make use of his promise. Some Friends were also admitted in the house of lords, to declare their reasons, why they could not pay tithes, swear, nor go to the steeple-house worship, or join with others in worship; and they heard them moderately, {which in the other power's days we could never have had so much favor. Though in other power's day two women did present the testimony of 7000 women's signatures in a petition against tithes, including the reasons why they could not uphold the priests that took tithes and how Christ had ended the priesthood that took tithes and sent forth his messengers, ministers, and apostles freely and commanded that as they had received freely, they should give freely, and therefore they could support these priests and tithes that God had never commanded. This was before the King came in, and these former power had done nothing; even though Cromwell had promised before the battle of Dunbar that "if he were victorious over his enemies, he would abolish tithes, or else let him be rolled into his grave with infamy." But after the Lord had given him victory, and he became the chief of the land, he confirmed the former laws that if people did not pay tithes, they would be forced to pay triple, as executed by any two justices of the peace with two witnesses. But when the King came in, they dug up Cromwell from his grave, hung him, [cut off his head, and then displayed his head on pike at Westminster Hall],* re-burying him at Tyburn, where he was rolled into his grave with infamy. When I saw him hanging, I saw that his words had justly come upon him.}

*additional detail furnished by Sewel.

There were about seven hundred Friends in prison, who had been committed under Oliver's and Richard's government upon contempts, (so called); when the king came in, he set them all at liberty. There seemed at that time an inclination and intention in the government to have granted Friends liberty, because they were sensible we had suffered as they had suffered under the former powers. But when things were going forward in that direction, some dirty spirits or other, (that would seem to be for us), threw something in the way to stop it. It was said there was an instrument drawn up for confirming our liberty, which only wanted signing; when that wicked attempt of the fifth-monarchy people broke out, and put the city and nation in an uproar. This was on a First day night, and very glorious meetings we had had that day, wherein the Lord's truth shined over all, and his power was exalted above all; but about midnight the drums beat, and the cry was, 'Arm, arm.' I got out of bed, and in the morning took boat, and landing at Whitehall stairs, walked through Whitehall. They looked strangely at me there; but I passed through, and went to Pall mall, where various Friends came to me, though it had now grown dangerous passing through the streets. For by this time the city and suburbs were up in arms, and the people and soldiers were exceedingly rude; so much that Henry Fell, going to a Friend's house, was knocked down by the soldiers, and he would have been killed if the duke of York had not come by. Great mischief was done in the city that week; and when First day came, when Friends went to their meetings, many were taken prisoner.

I stayed at Pall Mall, intending to be at the meeting there; but on the Seventh day night a company of troopers came and knocked at the door. The maid letting them in, they immediately laid hold of me; and there being among them one who had served under the parliament, he clapped his hand to my pocket, and asked, 'Whether I had any pistols?' I told him he knew I did not use or carry pistols; why did he ask such a question of me, who he knew me to be a peaceable man? Others of the soldiers ran up into the chambers, and there found Squire Marsh in bed, who, though he was one of the king's bed chamber, out of his love to me had come and lodged where I did. When they came down again, they said, 'Why should we take this man away with us? We will let him alone. Oh! said the parliament soldier, he is one of the heads, and a chief ringleader. Upon this the soldiers were taking me away; but, Marsh hearing of it, sent for the commander of the party, and desired him to let me alone, for he would see that I came in the morning. In the morning, before they could fetch me, and before the meeting was gathered, there came a company of foot to the house, and one of them, drawing out his sword, held it over my head. I asked him, 'Why he drew his sword at a naked man?' At which his fellows being ashamed, told him to put up his sword. These soldiers took me away to Whitehall before the troopers came for me. As I was going out several Friends were coming in to the meeting, whose boldness and cheerfulness I commended, and encouraged them to persevere therein. When I was brought to Whitehall, the soldiers and people were exceedingly rude, yet I declared truth to them; but some great persons coming by, who were very full of envy, said, "What, do you let him preach? Put him into such a place where he may not stir.' So into that place they put me, and the soldiers watched over me. I told them, though they could confine my body, and shut that up; they could not stop up the word of life. Some thereupon came, and asked me, 'What I was?' I told them, I was a preacher of righteousness. After I had been kept there two or three hours, Marsh spoke to lord Gerrard, who came and told them to set me at liberty. The marshal, when I was discharged, demanded fees. I told him, I could not give him any, neither was it our practice. I asked him, how he could demand fees of me who was innocent? {Nevertheless, in my own power I offered them two pence for he and the guards to buy drink; they took this offer disdainfully and shouted. I told them that if they would not accept it cheerfully, I would give them nothing}. Then I went through the guards, the Lord's power being over them; and after I had declared truth to the soldiers, I went up the streets with two Irish colonels that came from Whitehall to an inn, where many Friends were prisoners under a guard. I asked those colonels to speak to the guard to let me go in to visit my friends who were prisoners there; but they would not. Then I approached the sentry, and desired him to let me go up; which he did. While I was there, the soldiers went to Pall Mall again to search for me; but not finding me they turned towards the inn, and told everyone to come out that were not prisoners; so they went out. But I asked the soldiers within, whether I might not stay awhile with my friends? They said, yes. I stayed and escaped their hands again. Towards night I went to Pall Mall, to see how it was with Friends there, and afterwards I went into the city. There was at that time a large number of riflings of houses to search for people. I went to a private Friend's house and Richard Hubberthorn with me. There we drew up a declaration against plots and fightings, to be presented to the king and council; but when we had finished it, and sent it to the press to be printed, it was seized and we lost it.

From Valiant for the Truth: This was the mad outbreak of the Fifth Monarchy men, a sect which arose in the time of Cromwell, claiming that the Lord Jesus was speedily coming to set up his throne upon the earth. Sir Henry Vane was one of the leaders of this party, and as he was now in prison with the judges of Charles I, it was supposed this revolt was partly caused by the desire to set him free.

On the night of the 6th of First Month, 1661, a wine cooper by the name of Venner, whose reason was unbalanced, inflamed some fifty or sixty visionaries by vehement preaching, and these men rushed from his seditious meeting in London, proclaiming King Jesus. The quiet city was hushed in sleep, but in a few moments there was a great uproar. The train bands were called out, and the instigators of the tumult fled into the country for two days, concealing themselves in the woods. On the 9th they returned in the open day, in the fanatical belief that neither bullets nor sharp steel could hurt them, broke through the city gates, routed all the train bands they met, and put even the King's guard to the run. They were finally overcome and most of them taken prisoners; the rest fell with arms in their hands, shouting that Christ was coming presently to reign upon the earth. Not withstanding the insignificant character of this outbreak, a feeling of uncertainty fell over the nation. Many high in rank were known to belong to the Fifth Monarchy men, and the Earl of Clarendon, desirous of establishing a standing army, increased the fears of people by announcing the danger of a great insurrection.

All dissenters from the official Church of England were looked upon with suspicion, and Friends, though innocent of participation in any plots, had to bear the brunt of the persecution which followed. Armed men broke up their meetings.

Upon this insurrection of the fifth-monarchy-men, great havoc was made both in city and country, so that it was dangerous for sober people to stir abroad several weeks after; men and women could hardly go up and down the streets to buy provisions for their families without being abused. In the country they dragged men and women out of their houses and some sick men out of their beds by the legs. The soldiers dragged one who was in a fever out of his bed to prison; and when he was brought there, he died. His name was Thomas Patching.

Site Editor's Comments: The king over-reacted to a plot by 50 men, but he remembered all too well his own father being beheaded by the Puritans. His advisors used this in an attempt to re-establish the Church of England [Episcopalians] as the sole religion by the below extract of a proclamation by the king:

Prohibiting all unlawful and seditious meetings and conventicles, under pretence of religious worship, etc.; the reason being: That some evil effects have already ensued, to the disturbance of the public peace, by insurrection and murder, by reason of the meetings of Anabaptists and Quakers, and Fifth-Monarchy men, and such like names.

No meeting whatever, of the persons before mentioned, under pretence of worshipping God, shall at any time forward is permitted and allowed, unless it is in some parochial church or chapel in this realm, or in private houses, by the persons there inhabiting; and that all meetings.... assemblies whatsoever, in order to any spiritual worship and serving of God, by the persons before said, unless in the places before said, shall be esteemed, and are hereby declared to be unlawful assemblies, and shall be persecuted accordingly; and the persons there assembled, shall be proceeded against, as riotously and unlawfully assembled.

And we do will and command our justices, that they cause the oath of allegiance to be tendered to every person brought before them," ..

Margaret Fell went to the king, and told him what sad work there was in the city and nation, and showed him we were an innocent, peaceable people, and that we must keep our meetings as we were accustomed to do, no matter what we suffered; but that it was his concern to see that peace was kept, that no innocent blood might be shed.

Now the prisons were filled everywhere with Friends and others in the city and country, and the posts were created to search all passers by for letters, so that none could travel without being searched. Yet we heard of several thousands of our Friends that had been cast into prison in several parts of the nation, and Margaret Fell carried an account of them to the king and council. The next week we had an account of several thousand more that had been cast into prison, and she went and laid them also before the king and council. They wondered how we could have such intelligence, seeing they had given such strict orders to intercept of all letters; but the Lord did so order it that we had an accurate count, even with all their blocks and searches. In the deep sense I had of the grievous sufferings Friends underwent, and of their innocence towards God and man, I was moved to send the following epistle to them, as a word of consolation, and to urge them to send up an account of their sufferings.

My Dear Friends,

In the immortal seed of God, which will plead its own innocence, who are inheritors of an everlasting kingdom, which is incorruptible, and of a world and riches that fade not away, peace and mercy be multiplied among you in all your sufferings. You, whose backs were not unready, but your hair and cheeks prepared; who never feared sufferings, as knowing it is your portion in the world, from the foundation of which the Lamb was slain, who reigns in his glory, which he had with his Father before the world began. He is your rock in all floods and waves upon which you can stand safe, with a cheerful countenance, beholding the Lord God of the whole earth on your side. So in the seed of God, which was before the unrighteous world in which the sufferings are, live and feed, wherein the bread of life is felt, and no cause of complaint of hunger or cold. Friends, I would have you send up an account of your sufferings, and how things are among you, that are or have been of late in prison; so that it may be delivered to the king and his council; for things are pretty well here after the storm.

George Fox
London, the 28th of the Eleventh-mo. 1660.

Having lost our former declaration in the press, we made haste and drew up another against plots and fighting, got it printed, and sent some copies to the King and council; others were sold up and down the streets, and at the Exchange. Which declaration was printed again some years later, and is as follows:

A declaration from the harmless innocent people of God, called Quakers, against all sedition, plotters, and fighters in the world; for removing the ground of jealousy and suspicion from both magistrates and people in the kingdom concerning wars and fightings.
Presented to the king the 21st day of the Eleventh month, 1660.
Our principle is, and our practices have always been to seek peace and ensue it;
to follow after righteousness and the knowledge of God;
seeking the good and welfare, and doing what tends to the peace of all.
We know that wars and fightings proceed from the lusts of men, (as James Chapter 4:1-3),
out of which lusts the Lord has redeemed us,
and so out of the occasion of war.
The occasion of war and war itself, arises from the lust,
(wherein envious men, who are lovers of themselves more than lovers of God,
lust, kill, and desire to have men's lives or estates).
All bloody principles and practices we, as to our own basics, do utterly deny,
with all outward wars, strife, and fighting with outward weapons for any end,
or under any pretence whatsoever: this is our testimony to the whole world.
And whereas if someone should object and say:
"But although you now say, that you cannot fight nor take up arms at all;
yet if the spirit move you, then you will change your principle,
you will sell your coat and buy a sword, and fight for the kingdom of Christ."
To this we answer,
Christ said to Peter, "Put up your sword in its place;"
though he had said before, he that had no sword might sell his coat and buy one,
(to the fulfilling of the law and the scripture), yet after,
when he had bid him put it up, he said,
"He that takes the sword shall perish with the sword."
And Christ said to Pilate, “do you not know that I can now pray to my Father,
and he shall presently give me more that twelve legions of angels?"
And this might satisfy Peter, after he had put up his sword,
when he said to him, "He that took it, should perish by it;"
which satisfies us. Matthew 26:52-53.
In the Revelation it is said, "He that kills with the sword shall perish with the sword;
and here is the faith and patience of the saints."
So Christ's kingdom is not of this world,
therefore his servants do not fight as he told Pilate, the magistrate who crucified him.
And did they not look upon Christ as a raiser of sedition?
And did not he pray,"Forgive them?"
But thus it is that we are numbered among transgressors,
and among fighters, that the scriptures might be fulfilled.
That the spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable,
so as once to command us from a thing, as evil, and again to move unto it.
We certainly know and testify to the world,
that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all truth,
will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons,
neither for the kingdom of Christ nor for the kingdoms of this world.
First, because the kingdom of Christ, God will exalt, according to his promise,
and cause it to grow and flourish in righteousness,
"Not by might, nor by power, (of outward sword), but by my spirit, said the Lord" Zechariah 4:6.
So those that use any weapon to fight for Christ,
or for the establishing of his kingdom or government,
their spirit, principle, and practice in that we deny.
We earnestly desire and wait,
that (by the word of God's power, and its effectual operation in the hearts of men),
the kingdoms of this world may become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ;
and that he may rule and reign in men by his spirit and truth;
that thereby all people, out of all different judgments and professions,
may be brought into love and unity with God, and one with another;
and that all may come to witness the prophet's words fulfilled,
who said, "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." Isaiah 2:4. Mich 4:3.
So we, whom the Lord has called into the obedience of his truth,
have denied wars and fightings, and cannot any more learn them.
This is a certain testimony unto all the world of the truth of our hearts in this particular,
that as God persuades every man's heart to believe, so they may receive it.
For we have not, as some others, gone about cunningly with devised fables,
nor have we ever denied in practice what we have professed in principle;
but in sincerity and truth, and by the word of God,
we have labored to be made manifest unto all men,
that both we and our ways might be witnessed in the hearts of all.
And whereas all manner of evil has been falsely spoken of us,
we hereby speak the plain truth of our hearts,
to take away the occasion of that offence,
that so we, being innocent, may not suffer for other men's offences,
nor be made a prey of by the wills of men for that of which we were never guilty;
but in the uprightness of our hearts we may,
under the power ordained of God for the punishment of evil doers,
and for the praise of them that do well,
live a peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
For although we have always suffered, and do now more abundantly suffer,
yet we know it is for righteousness' sake:
"For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our consciences,
that in simplicity and godly sincerity,
not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God,
we have had our conversation in the world." 2 Corinthians 1:2.
which for us is a witness for the convincing of our enemies.
For this we can say to all the world, we have wronged no man,
we have used no force nor violence against any man,
we have been found in no plots, nor guilty of sedition.
When we have been wronged we have not sought to revenge ourselves;
we have not made resistance against authority;
but wherein we could not obey for conscience sake,
we have suffered the most of any people in the nation.
We have been counted as sheep for the slaughter,
persecuted and despised, beaten, stoned, wounded,
stocked, whipped, imprisoned, haled out of the synagogues,
cast into dungeons and noisy prisons,
where many have died in bonds, shut up from our friends,
denied needful sustenance for many days,
together with other the like cruelties.
And the cause of all these our sufferings is not for any evil,
but for things relating to the worship of our God, and in obedience to his requirements.
For which cause we shall freely give up our bodies a sacrifice,
rather than disobey the Lord;
knowing, as the Lord has kept us innocent,
he will plead our cause when there is none in the earth to plead it.
So we, in obedience to his truth, do not love our lives unto death,
that we may do his will, and wrong no man in our generation,
but seek the good and peace of all men.
He who has commanded us, "that we shall not swear at all," Matthew 5:34.
has also commanded us, "that we shall not kill." Matthew 5:21.
So that we can neither kill men, nor swear for or against them.
This is both our principle and our practice, and has been from the beginning;
so that if we suffer, as suspected to take up arms or make war against any,
it is without any ground from us;
for it neither is, nor ever was in our hearts, since we owned the truth of God;
neither shall we ever do it,
because it is contrary to the spirit of Christ, his doctrine, and the practice of his apostles;
even contrary to him for whom we suffer all things and endure all things.
And although men come against us with clubs, staves,
drawn swords, pistols cocked, and beat, cut, and abuse us;
we never resisted them, but offered them our hair, backs, and cheeks.
It is not an honor to manhood or nobility to run upon harmless people,
who lift not a hand against them, with arms and weapons.
Therefore consider these things, you men of understanding;
for plotters, raisers of insurrections, tumultuous ones, and fighters,
running with swords, clubs, staves, and pistols, one against another;
we say, these are of the world, and have their foundation from this unrighteous world,
from the foundation of which the Lamb has been slain;
which lamb has redeemed us from this unrighteous world;
we are not of it, but are heirs of a world of which there is no end,
a kingdom where no corruptible thing enters.
Our weapons are spiritual, not carnal,
yet mighty through God to the pulling down of the strong holds of sin and satan,
who is the author of wars, fighting, murder, and plots.
Our swords are broken into plough shares,
and spears into pruning hooks, as prophesied of in Micah 4:3.
Therefore we cannot learn war any more,
neither rise up against nation or kingdom with outward weapons,
though you have numbered us among the transgressors and plotters.
The Lord knows our innocence in this,
and will plead our cause with all people upon earth at the day of their judgment,
when all men shall have a reward according to their works.
Therefore in love we warn you for your souls’ good,
not to wrong the innocent, nor the babes of Christ,
which he has in his hand, and tenders as the apple of his eye;
neither seek to destroy the heritage of God,
nor turn your swords backward upon such as the law was not made for, i.e. the righteous;
but for the sinners and transgressors, to keep them down.

For those are not peacemakers nor lovers of enemies,
neither can they overcome evil with good,
who wrong them that are friends to you and all men,
and wish your good and the good of all people upon earth.
If you oppress us as they did the children of Israel in Egypt,
if you oppress us as they did when Christ was born,
and as they did the christians in the primitive times,
we can say, "The Lord forgive you;"
and leave the Lord to deal with you, and not revenge ourselves.
If you say as the council said to Peter and John,
"You must speak no more in that name,"
and if you serve us as they served the three children spoken of in Daniel,
God is the same as he ever was, that lives for ever and ever,
who has the innocent in his arms.
Oh friends! Offend not the Lord and his little ones, neither afflict his people;
but consider and be moderate.
Run not hastily into things, but mind and consider mercy, justice, and judgment;
that is the way for you to prosper and get the favor of the Lord.
Our meetings were stopped and broken up in the days of Oliver,
under pretence of plotting against him;
in the days of the Committee of Safety,
we were looked upon as plotters to bring in king Charles;
and now our peaceable meetings are termed seditious.
Oh! that men should lose their reason, and go contrary to their own consciences;
knowing that we have suffered all things, and have been accounted plotters all along,
though we have always declared against them both by word of mouth and printing,
and are clear from any such thing!
Though we have suffered all along,
because we would not take up carnal weapons to fight against any,
and are thus made a prey upon because we are the innocent lambs of Christ,
and cannot avenge ourselves!
These things are left upon your hearts to consider;
for we are out of all those things in the patience of the saints,
and we know as Christ said, "He that takes the sword shall perish with the sword."
Matthew 26:52 and Revelation 13:10.
This is given forth from the people called Quakers,
to satisfy the king and his council,
and all that have any jealousy concerning us,
that all occasion of suspicion may be taken away, and our innocence cleared.

Postscript-Though we are numbered among transgressors,
and have been given up to rude, merciless men,
by whom our meetings are broken up,
in which we edified one another in our holy faith,
and prayed together to the Lord that lives forever,
yet he is our pleader in this day.
The Lord said, "They that feared his name spoke often together,"
as in Malachi; which were as his jewels.
For this cause, and no evil doing, are we cast into holes, dungeons,
houses of correction, prisons, (sparing neither old nor young, men nor women),
and made a prey of in the sight of all nations, under pretence of being seditious,
so that all rude people run upon us to take possession;
for which we say, the Lord forgive them that have done thus to us;
who does and will enable us to suffer;
and never shall we lift up hand against any man that does thus use us;
but that the Lord may have mercy upon them, that they may consider what they have done.
For how is it possible for them to requite us for the wrong they have done to us?
Who to all nations have sounded us abroad as seditious or plotters,
who were never plotters against any power or man upon the earth,
since we knew the life and power of Jesus Christ manifested in us,
who has redeemed us from the world and all works of darkness, and plotters therein,
by which we know the election before the world began.
So we say, the Lord have mercy upon our enemies,
and forgive them for what they have done unto us.
Oh! do as you would be done by; do unto all men as you would have them do unto you;
for this is but the law and the prophets.
All plots, insurrections, and riotous meetings, we deny,
knowing them to be of the devil, the murderer;
which we in Christ, who was before they were, triumph over.
And all wars and fightings with carnal weapons we deny, who have the sword of the spirit;
and all that wrong us, we leave to the Lord.
This is to clear our innocence from that aspersion cast upon us, "that we are seditious or plotters."

Added in the reprinting.

Courteous reader, this was our testimony above twenty years ago, and since then we have not been found acting contrary to it, nor ever shall; for the truth that is our guide is unchangeable. This is now reprinted to the men of this age, many of whom were then children, and does stand as our certain testimony against all plotting and fighting with carnal weapons. And if any, by departing from the truth, should do so, this is our testimony in the truth against them, and will stand over them, and the truth will be clear of them.

Site Editor's Comments: Today's Quakers have also changed their Peace Testimony from the early Quaker's personal submissive appeals to persecuting government policies, to become organized group opposition and protests against governmental policies of war; and from their peaceful refusal to bear arms based on their individual consciences, to become aggressive confrontation with others who do bear arms; thus their original ideals have been twisted to become the exact opposite of their origins. Forgetting the early Quakers' testimonies against lying, wasteful fashions, greed, sexual immorality, swearing, false prophets, etc., for which they were greatly persecuted, the later day Quakers rather take to the streets to oppose their government's armed services - evidently concluding the only evil of man is to bear arms; in stark contrast to the warnings and definitions of evil in the Bible. To read the real early Quaker position on a nation bearing arms, see Isaac Penington's writing, Protection of the Innocent.

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