The Missing Cross to Purity

The Journal of George Fox - 1661 - 1666 - Scarborough Castle Prison <page 2 >

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Leaving Tenterden, we went to Newick in Sussex where we visited some Friends. From there we passed through the country, visiting Friends and having large meetings; all were quiet and free from disturbance (except by some arguing Baptists), until we came into Hampshire. Here, after having a good meeting at Southampton, we went to Pulner in the parish of Ringwood where there was to be a monthly meeting the next day. Many Friends came from Southampton, Pool, and other places; and the since the weather was very hot, some came pretty early in the morning. I took a Friend and walked with him out into the orchard, inquiring of him how the affairs of truth stood among them? (for many of them had been convinced by me before I was prisoner in Cornwall). While we were conversing a young man came and told us that trained bands were rising, and he heard they were to come and break up the meeting. It was about three hours until meeting time, and since there were other Friends walking in the orchard, the before mentioned Friend with whom I was conversion with before asked me to walk into a cornfield adjoining it, which we did. After awhile the young man that spoke of the trained bands left us, and when he was gone a little way, he stood and waved his hat. I spoke to the other young man that was with me and asked him to go see what waving the hat meant. He went, but he did not come back again, for the soldiers had come into the orchard. As I kept walking, I could see the soldiers; and as I heard afterwards, some of them saw me, but had no mind to interfere. So the soldiers came long before meeting-time; and they did not delay in arresting the Friends they found at the house or those they met in the lane; they took them all away. After they were gone, around 11 am, Friends began to arrive; we had a large and glorious meeting! The everlasting seed of God was set over all, and the people were settled in the new covenant of life, upon the foundation Christ Jesus. Towards the latter end of the meeting, a man in celebrant apparel came and looked in while I was declaring; and presently he went away again . This man came with an evil intent; for he went to Ringwood and told the magistrates ‘that they had taken two or three men at Pulner, and had left George Fox there preaching to two or three hundred.' Upon hearing this the magistrates sent the officers and soldiers to the meeting again; but since the meeting was near to ending when the man looked in, and he had about a mile and a half to travel with his information to fetch the soldiers, and the soldiers had as far to come after they had received their orders, our meeting was over before they came; ending at about three in the afternoon, peaceably and orderly. After the meeting, I spoke to the Friends of the house where this meeting was held, (the woman of the house then lying dead in the house), and then some Friends led me to another Friend's at a little distance; where, after we had refreshed ourselves, I left on my horse, having about twenty miles to ride that afternoon to the home of a man named Frye in Wiltshire, where a meeting was appointed to be held the next day.

After we had gone, the officers and soldiers came in a great heat, and finding they had missed their prey, were much enraged. The officers were angry with the soldiers because they had not seized my horse in the stable the first time they came. But the Lord, by his good providence, delivered me and prevented their mischievous design. For the officers were envious men, and had an evil mind against Friends. But the Lord brought his judgments upon them, so that it was taken notice of by their neighbors. For, where before they were wealthy men, after this their estates wasted away. And John Line, the constable, who was not only very forceful in ordering the soldiers to take Friends, but also took those that had been arrested to prison; and he took a false oath against them at the assize, upon which they were fined and continued prisoners. John Line was a sad spectacle to see because his flesh was rotting away while he lived, and he died in a very miserable condition, wishing he had never interfered with the Quakers, and confessing he had never prospered since he had a hand in persecuting them; and that he thought the hand of the Lord was against him for it.'

At Frye's in Wiltshire we had a very blessed, quiet meeting, though the officers planned to break it up and were on their way in order to do so. But before they got to the meeting, word was brought to them that ,' there was a house newly broken up by thieves, and they were required to go back again with speed to search after and pursue them;' by which means our meeting escaped disturbance, and we were preserved out of their hands.

We passed through Wiltshire into Dorsetshire and had large and good meetings. The Lord's everlasting power was with us and carried us over all; in which we sounded forth his saving truth and word of life, which many gladly received. Thus we visited Friends until we came to Topsham, in Devonshire, traveling some weeks one hundred eighty to one hundred ninety miles a week; and we had meetings every day. At Topsham we met with Margaret Fell and two of her daughters, Sarah and Mary, and with Leonard Fell and Thomas Salthouse. From there we passed to Totness, where we visited some Friends, and then to Kingsbridge, and to Henry Pollexfen's, who had been an ancient justice of peace. There we had a large meeting. This old justice accompanied us to Plymouth, and into Cornwall, to Justice Porter's, and from there to Thomas Mount's, where we had a large meeting. After which we went to Humphrey Lower's where also we had a large meeting; and from there to Loveday Hambley's, where we had a general meeting for the whole country; and all was quiet.

A little before this Joseph Hellen and G. Bewley had been at Loo to visit Blanch Pope, a ranting woman, under pretence to convince and convert her; but before they left her, she had so darkened them with her principles that they seemed to be like her disciples, especially Joseph Hellen. For she had asked them, ‘who made the devil, did not God?' This idle question so puzzled them, they could not answer her. They afterwards asked me the question. I told them no; for all that God made was good and was blessed, so he did not make the devil. He was called a serpent before he was called a devil and an adversary, and then he had the title of devil given to him. And afterwards he was called a dragon, because he was a destroyer. The devil abode not in the truth; by departing from the truth he became a devil. So the Jews, when they went out of the truth, were said to be of the devil, and were called serpents. There is no promise of God to the devil that he shall ever return into truth again; but the promise was to man and woman, who had been deceived by him. The promise of God is, that ‘the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head;' and shall break his power and strength to pieces. When these things were opened more at large to the satisfaction of Friends, those two, who had let up the spirit of that ranting woman, were judged by the truth; and one of them, Joseph Hellen, ran quite out from the truth, and was denied by Friends; but George Bewley was recovered, and afterwards became serviceable to truth.

We passed from Loveday Hambley's to Francis Hodges', near Falmouth and Penryn, where we had a large meeting. From there we went to Helstone that night, where some Friends came to visit us, and next day passed to Thomas Teage's, where we had a large meeting, at which many were convinced. I was led to 'open the state of the church in the primitive times, the state of the church in the wilderness, the state of the false church that had  gotten up since; and to show that now the everlasting gospel was preached again over the head of the whore, beast, false prophets, and antichrists, which had risen up since the apostles' days; and now the everlasting gospel was received and receiving, which brought life and immortality to light, that they might see over the devil who had darkened them.' The people received the gospel and the word of life gladly, and a we had glorious blessed meeting for the exalting the Lord's everlasting truth and his name. After it was done, I walked out; and coming in again, I heard a noise in the court. Approaching nearer, I found the man of the house speaking to the tin miners and others, and telling them that the ‘everlasting truth that had been declared there that day;' and the people generally confessed to it.

From there we passed to the Land's-end to John Ellis', where we had a precious meeting. Here was a fisherman, Nicholas Jose, was convinced. He spoke in meetings, and declared the truth among the people; and the Lord's power was over all. I was glad the Lord raised up his standard in those dark parts of the nation, where since there is a fine meeting of honest hearted Friends; and many there have come to sit under Christ's teaching, and the Lord will have a great people in that country.

From there we returned to Redruth, and the next day to Truro, where we had a meeting. Next morning, some of the chief men of the town desired to speak with me, among who was colonel Rouse. I went, and had a great deal of discourse with them concerning the things of God. In their reasoning they said, 'the gospel was the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke., and John;' and they called it natural. But I told them, the gospel was the power of God, which was preached before Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John were written; and it was preached to every creature, (of which a great part might never see nor hear of those four books), so that every creature was to obey the power of God; for Christ the spiritual man, would judge the world according to the gospel, that is according to his invisible power. When they heard this, they could not dispute; for the truth came over them. So I directed them to their teacher, the grace of God, and showed them the sufficiency of it, which would teach them how to live, and what to deny; and being obeyed would bring them salvation. So to that grace I recommended them, and left them.

Then we returned through the country, visiting Friends, and had meetings at Humphrey Lower's again, and at Thomas Mount's. Afterwards at George Hawkins' at Stoke we had a large meeting, to which Friends came from Lanceston and several other places. A living, precious meeting it was, in which the Lord's presence and power were richly manifested among us, and I left Friends there under the Lord Jesus Christ's teaching.

{The priests and professor of all the sects were very much against Friends' silent meetings, and sometimes the priests and professors would come to our meetings; and when they saw 100-200 people all silently waiting on the Lord, they would be amazed and hateful. Some of them would say, look how these people sit mumming and dumming; what possible edification is there here without words. The would say, lets leave; why should we stay here to watch people sit in this manner. They said they had never seen anything like it in their life. Then, if a Friend had been moved [by the Spirit] to speak to them, and say, 'did you say you had never seen anything like this in your life? Look in you own parish and go see there how your people sit mumming and dumming and sleeping under your priests their entire lifetime, while the priests keep people under their teachings so that they may always be paid. Why should we not sit under Christ Jesus, out teacher, who said: "Learn of me;" who teaches freely; who laid down his life for us; who bought us with his blood, who is our shepherd that freely feeds us; who is our prophet that God has raised up that does freely open to us; who is our counselor, leader, and Captain of our salvation that freely leads us; who is our priest, made higher than the heavens, that has offered up himself for us and sanctifies us and offers us up to God; who is the head of the Church and all principalities and powers, to order them?

Now we say, why should we not sit under Christ Jesus' free teachings; feeding, overseeing, and counseling us? For the hearers of the priests must sit under them; yet they say they never heard the voice of God or Christ, nor do they have the same power and spirit that the prophets and apostles had. Therefore, what edification can there possibly be among you that are not in the same power and spirit that the apostles were in? Can there be any more edification among you that the Turks, Jews, and heathen, who are not in the same power and spirit as the apostles were in? So you are out of the power and spirit that the apostles were in; you know nothing but to follow your own spirits, like the false prophets of old.

Those who are in Christ Jesus are new creatures. In Christ, all flesh is silent; but they who have the word of the Lord and from the Lord may speak it freely as they are commanded by God and Christ. They that have the gospel, the power of God from heaven, and not from man or by man, but sent from heaven by the Holy Ghost, let them freely preach it as they have freely received it. For the scriptures were not given forth so that men could make a trade of reading them, even getting them in 3 or 4 languages [Hebrew, Greek, Latin, etc.], calling them the original, orthodox, and divine; which is only natural. To call them the original ignores the original which began at Babel; the true original is the word by which all things were made and created, which was before Babel was, in the beginning. This word lives and abides and endures forever, after Babel and Babylon with all their tongues and languages are gone; this word is divine, and makes divine beings. He that has this word, [in his heart and mouth], is to preach it freely.

Those that say they are made holy by the natural tongue and languages, which they call themselves, are only natural men made by other natural men. These natural men, pretending to be holy, call the life in Christ, the word by which all things were made and created, which is the true holy light that enlightens every man that comes into the world. They call this light natural and of the devil, the Quakers idol, and antichrist therefore the people may see what holiness these natural men and tongues make.}

In Cornwall I was informed there was one colonel Robinson, a very wicked man, who after the king came in was made a justice of peace and became a cruel persecutor of Friends; of whom he had sent many to prison. When he heard that Friends had a little liberty through the favor of the jailer to sometimes go home sometimes to visit their wives and children, he made a great complaint to the judge at the assize against the jailer. Because of this the jailer was fined a hundred marks, and Friends were kept very strictly held for awhile. After colonel Robinson came home from the assize, he sent to a neighboring justice to desire him to go fanatic hunting* with him. So on the day that he intended and was prepared to go a fanatic-hunting, he sent his man about with his horses, and walked himself on foot from his dwelling house to a tenement where his cows and dairy were kept, and where his servants were then milking. When he came there, he asked for his bull. The servant-maids said, they had shut him into the field because he was unruly and hindered their milking. Then he went into the field to the bull; and formerly being accustomed to playing with him he began to fence at him with his staff as he used to do. But the bull snuffed at him, and passed a little back; then turned upon him again, ran fiercely at him, and struck his horn into his thigh, and heaving him upon his horn, threw him over his back, and tore up his thigh to his belly. 'When he came to the ground again he gored him with his horns, ran them into the ground in his rage and violence, and roared, and licked up his master's blood. The maidservant, hearing her master cry out, ran into the field, and took the bull by the horns to pull him off from her master. The bull, without hurting her, put her gently by with his horns, but still fell to goring him, and licking up his blood. Then she ran and got some men that were at work not far off to come and rescue her master; but they could not at all beat off the bull, until they brought mastiff dogs to set on him; and then he fled in great rage and fury. Upon notice of it his sister came and said to him, "Alack! Brother, what a heavy judgment is this that is befallen you!" He answered, "Ah! Sister, it is a heavy judgment indeed. Pray let the bull be killed, and the flesh given to the poor." They carried him home, but he died soon after. The bull had grown so fierce that they were forced to shoot him with guns; for no man dared come near to kill him. Thus does the Lord sometimes make examples of his just judgment upon the persecutors of his people, so that others may fear, and learn to beware.'

*Fanatic hunting - the sport of disturbing religious meetings.

After I had cleared myself of Cornwall, we parted company with Thomas Lower, who had ridden with us from meeting to meeting through that country and had brought us over Horse-bridge into Devonshire again. Thomas Briggs, Robert Widders, and I came to Tiverton. It was their fair time, and many Friends there. We had a meeting among them, and the magistrates gathered in the street, but the Lord's power stopped them. I saw them over against the door, but they did not have the power to come in to meddle with us; though they were eager to have done it.

After the meeting we passed to Collumpton and Wellington. We had appointed a meeting five miles from there, where we had a large one at a butcher's house; and it was a blessed meeting. The people were directed to their teacher, the grace of God, which would bring them salvation; and many were settled under its teaching. The Lord's presence was among us, and we were refreshed in him, in whom we labored and travailed; and the meeting was quiet. Shortly before there had been very great persecutions in that country and in that town, so much so that some Friends questioned the peacefulness of our meeting; but the Lord's power chained all, and his glory shined over all. Friends told us how they had broken up their meetings by warrants from the justices, and how by their warrants they were required 'to carry' Friends before the justices. The Friends told them 'to carry' them then. The officers told them that they must go; but they said, no, that was not according to their warrants, which required them to 'be carried.' Thus they were forced to hire carts, wagons, and horses, and to lift them into their wagons and carts to carry them before a justice. When they came to a justice's house, sometimes he happened to be away from home, or if he was a moderate man he would get out of the way, and then they were obliged to carry them before another; so that they were many days carting and carrying Friends up and down from place to place. And when afterwards the officers came to lay their charges for this upon the town, the town's people would not pay it, but made them bear it themselves, which broke the neck of their persecution there for that time. Similar things were done in several other places, until the officers had shamed and tired themselves, and were ready to stop.

At one place they warned Friends to come to the steeple-house. Friends met to consider it, and finding freedom to go, they met together there. Accordingly, when they came there they sat down together to wait upon the Lord in his power and spirit, and minded the Lord Jesus Christ, their teacher and Savior; but did not mind the priest. When the officers saw that, they came to put them out of the steeple-house again; but the Friends told them, it was not time for them to break up their meeting yet. Awhile after, when the priest had done his stuff, they approached the Friends again and asked them go home to dinner; but the Friends told them that they did not choose to go to dinner because they were feeding upon the bread of life. So there they sat, waiting upon the Lord, and enjoying his power and presence, until they found freedom in themselves to depart. Thus the priest's people were offended because they could not get them to the steeple-house, and when they were there, they were offended because they could not get them out again.

From the meeting near Collumpton we went to Taunton, where we had a large meeting. The next day we came to a general meeting in Somersetshire, which was very large; and the Lord's everlasting word of life and truth was largely declared. The people were refreshed , and settled upon Christ, their rock and foundation, and brought to sit under his teaching; and the meeting was peaceable. At about 2 AM that night a company of men, knocked at the door and told them open it or they would break it open; for they wanted a man that they came to search the house for. I heard the noise, and got up, and at the window saw a man at the door with his sword by his side. When they had let him in, he came into the chamber where I was, and looked on me, and said, ‘You are not the man I looked for;' and went his way.

We went from there to Street and to William Beaton's at Puddi-more, where we had a very large general meeting; where the Lord's everlasting truth was declared, the people refreshed, and all was quiet. From there we went to John Dandy's, where we had another large and very precious meeting; and then passed to Bristol, where we had good service for the Lord, and all was quiet. Here we met with Margaret Fell and her daughters again. After some time we went to Slattenford in Wiltshire, where there was a very large meeting in a great barn. Good service we had there; for the truth, as it is in Jesus, was published among them, and many were gathered by it into the name of the Lord.

After this I passed into Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, having large meetings in each. In Hereford I had a meeting in the inn; and after I was gone, the magistrates hearing of it, came to search the inn for me and were vexed they had missed me. But the Lord so ordered it, that I escaped their hands, and Friends were established upon Christ, their foundation, the rock of ages.

Then I went into Radnorshire, in Wales, where I had several precious meetings. The Lord's name and standard was set up, many were gathered to it, and settled under the teaching of Christ Jesus, their Savior, who had bought them.

After I was clear of Wales, I came to a market-town between England and Wales, where there was a great fair that day; and since several Friends were at the fair, we went to an inn where they came to us. After a fine opportunity with Friends, we parted and went our way. It seems the officers of the town took notice of our being there and of Friends gathering to us. Although it was fair time, they began to get together to consult how to ensnare us; but before they could do anything, we were gone and so escaped them.

From there we came into Shropshire, where we had a large and precious meeting. After many meetings in those parts, we came into Warwickshire, visited Friends there, and so into Derbyshire and Staffordshire, visiting meetings as we went. At White-haugh we had a large blessed meeting, and it was quiet; after which we took horse, and rode about twenty miles that night to a captain Lingard's. We heard afterwards, that when we had gone, the officers came to seize us, and they were very upset that they missed us; but the Lord disappointed them, and Friends were joyful in the Lord that we had escaped them.

At captain Lingard's we had a blessed meeting, the Lord's presence being wonderfully among us. After which we passed through the Peak country in Derbyshire, and went to Synderhill-green, where we had a large meeting. {Here Margaret Fell and her daughters met me again. From there we went past Balby, where we had another meeting. Margaret left us and went into Bishopirck}. Here John Whitehead and several Friends came to me. Then I passed through the country, visiting Friends until I came to the farther end of Holderness, and by Scarborough, Whitby, and Malton, to York, having many meetings on the way, and the Lord's everlasting power was over all.

We went from York to Boroughbridge, where I had a glorious meeting. From there we passed into the Bishoprick to one Richmond's, where was a general meeting; and the Lord's power was over all, though people were exceedingly rude about this time. After the meeting we went to Henry Draper's where we stayed all night. The next morning as I was leaving a Friend came and told me, 'If the priests and justices (for many priests were made justices in that country at that time) could find me, they would destroy me.'

Being clear of the Bishoprick, I went over Stainmore into Yorkshire, and to Sedberg; where having visited Friends, I went into Westmoreland, visiting Friends there also. From there I passed into Lancashire, and came to Swarthmore, where I stayed but a little while before I went over the Sands to Arnside; where I had a general meeting. After it had ended some men came hoping to have broken it up, but before they got there, they realized that the meeting was over, and so they turned back. I went to Robert Widders' and from there to Underbarrow, where I had a glorious meeting; and the Lord's power was set over all. From there I passed to Grayrigg, visited Friends, and then to Ann Audland's where they wanted me to stay for their meeting the next day; but I felt a stop in my spirit. It was upon me to go to John Blaykling's in Sedberg to be at the meeting there; which meeting is large, and a precious people are there. We had a very good meeting the next day; but the constables went to Ann Audland's meeting to look for me. Thus, by the good hand and disposing providence of the Lord, I escaped their snare.

I went from John Blaylding's with Leonard Fell to Strickland-head, where on first-day we had a very precious meeting on the common. That night we stayed among our Friends there, and the next day passed into Northumberland. After the justices heard of this meeting, they searched for me; but by the good hand of the Lord I escaped them; though there were some very wicked justices. We went to Northumberland at Hugh Hutchinson's, a Friend in the ministry, and here we visited Friends in the area; and then to Derwent-water, where we had a very glorious meeting. There came an ancient woman came to us there, and told me that her husband remembered his love to me; she said I might call him to mind by the token that I used to call him, ‘the tall white old man.' She said that he was one hundred twenty two years old, and that he would have come to the meeting, but that his horses were all employed upon some urgent occasion. I heard he lived some years after.

When I had visited Friends in those parts, and they were settled upon Christ, their foundation, their rock, and their teacher, I passed through Northumberland, and came to old Thomas Bewley's, in Cumberland. Friends came and asked, ‘Did I come there to go to prison?' For there was great persecution in that country at that time; yet I had a general meeting at Thomas Bewleys', which was large and precious; and the Lord's power was over all.

At that time deputy-governor of Carlisle was named Musgrave, and as was I passing along that country, I came to a man's house that had been convinced, whose name was Fletcher; and he told me, 'If Musgrave knew I was there, he would be sure to send me to prison, he was such a severe man.’ But I did not stay, having been only called on the way to see this man; so then I went on to William Pearson's near Wigton, where the meeting was very large and precious. Some Friends were then prisoners at Carlisle, whom I visited by a letter, which Leonard Fell carried. From William Pearson's I visited Friends until I came to Pardsey-crag, where we had a general meeting, which was large, quiet, and peaceable; and the glorious, powerful presence of the everlasting God was with us.

About this time the magistrates were so eager to stir up persecution in those parts, that some offered five shillings, some a noble a day, to any that could apprehend the speakers among Quakers. But it being the time of the quarter-sessions in that county, the men who had been hired to apprehend us were gone to the sessions to get their wages, so all our meetings were at that time quiet.

From Pardsey-crag we went into Westmoreland, calling in the way upon Hugh Tickell, near Keswick, and upon Thomas Laythes, where Friends came to visit us; and we had a fine opportunity to be refreshed together. We went that night to Francis Benson's, in Westmoreland, near Justice Fleming's. This justice was at that time in a great rage against Friends, and me in particular; so much that in the open sessions at Kendal, just before, he had offered five pounds to any man that should take me,' as Francis Benson told me. And it seems, as I went to this Friend's house, I met one man coming from the sessions that had this five pounds offered him to take me, and he knew me; for as I passed by him, he said to his companion, 'that is George Fox;' yet he had not power to touch me; for the Lord's power preserved me over them all. Since the justices were so eager to have me, and even though I was so often near them, yet they kept missing me, and this tormented them even the more.

I went from there to James Taylor's at Cartmel in Lancashire, where I stayed first-day, and had a precious meeting. After which I came over the Sands to Swarthmore. There they told me colonel Kirby had sent his lieutenant, who had searched trunks and chests for me. That night as I was in bed, I was moved of the Lord to go next day to Kirby-hall, which was colonel Kirby's house about five miles off, to speak with him. When I came there, I found the Flemings and several others of the so called gentry of the country, who were there to send off colonel Kirby, was preparing to go up to London to the parliament. I was brought into the parlor among them; but colonel Kirby was not there, being gone out a little way. They said little to me, nor I much to them. But after a little while colonel Kirby came in, and then I told him, 'understanding he wished to see me, I had come to visit him to know what he had to say to me, and whether he had anything against me?' Before all the company He said, ' as he was a gentleman, he had nothing against me.’ But,' he said, 'mistress Fell must not keep large meetings at her house, for they met contrary to the act.' I told him, ‘that act was not meant for us, but for those who met to plot and contrive, and raise insurrections against the king; whereas we were not such a people: for he knew those who met at Margaret Fell's were his neighbors, and a peaceable people.' After many words had passed, he shook me by the hand, and said again, ‘he had nothing against me;' and others of them said, ‘I was a deserving man.' So we parted, and I returned to Swarthmore.

Shortly after, when colonel Kirby had gone to London, there was a private meeting of the justices and deputy-lieutenants at Houlker-hall, where justice Preston lived; where they granted a warrant to apprehend me. I heard overnight about their meeting and of the warrant, and I could have gotten out of their reach if I had wanted; for I had not appointed any meeting at that time, and I had cleared myself of the north, and the Lord's power was over all. But I considered, (there being a rumor of a plot in the north), that if I went away they might fall upon Friends; but if I gave myself up to be taken, it might prevent them, and Friends should escape; so I gave myself up to be taken, and prepared for when they came. Next day an officer came with his sword and pistols to take me. I told him, ‘I knew his errand before, and had given up myself to be taken; for if I wanted to have escaped their imprisonment, I could have been forty miles away before he came; but since I was an innocent man, it did not matter what they did to me.' He asked me, 'how I heard of it, since the order was made privately in a parlor?' I said it did not matter, it was sufficient that I heard of it. I asked him to let me see his order; at which time he laid his hand on his sword, and said' I must go with him before the lieutenants, to answer such questions as they should propose to me.' I told him that it was only civil and reasonable for him to let me see his order; but he would not. Then I sad, I am ready. So I went along with him, and Margaret Fell accompanied us to Houlker-hall. When we came there, there was a justice Rawlinson and one called Sir George Middleton, and many more that I did not know, besides old justice Preston, who lived there. They brought Thomas Atkinson, a Friend, of Cartnell, as a witness against me; for some words which he had told to one Knipe, who had informed them; which words were, ' that I had written against the plotters, and had knocked them down.' These words they could not make much of; for I told them I had heard of a plot and had written against it. Then old Preston asked me, ' whether I had a hand in that script?' I asked him what he meant. He said, in the Battledore. I answered, yes. Then he asked me, 'if I understood languages?' I said, sufficient for myself; and that I knew no law that was transgressed by it. I told them also, ‘that to understand those outward languages, was no matter of salvation; for the many tongues began at the confusion of Babel: and if I did understand anything of them, I judged and knocked them down again for any matter of salvation that was in them.' Therefore he turned away, and said, 'George Fox knocks down all the languages. Come,' said he, 'we will examine you of higher matters.'

Then George Middleton said, ‘you deny God, and the church, and the faith.' I replied, ‘no: I own (to acknowledge) God , and the true church, and the true faith. But what church do you own?' I said, (for I understood he was a Papist). Then he turned again, and said, 'you are a rebel and a traitor.' I asked him, whom he spoke to? or whom did he call a rebel? He was so full of envy that for awhile he could not speak; but at last he said, ‘he spoke it to me.' With that I struck my hand on the table, and told him that I had suffered more than twenty such as he, or than any that were there; 'for I had been cast into Derby prison for six months together, and had suffered much because I would not take up arms against this king before the Worcester fight. I had been sent up as a prisoner out of my own country, by colonel Hacker, to Oliver Cromwell, as a plotter to bring in king Charles, in the year 1654; and I had nothing but love and good will to the king, and desired the eternal good and welfare of him and all his subjects.' 'Did you ever hear the like?' said Middleton. 'No,' I said, 'you may hear it again, if you will. For you talk of the king, a company of you; but where were you in Oliver's days? And what did you do then for him? But I have more love to the king for his eternal good and welfare than any of you have.'

Then they asked me, ‘whether I had heard of the plot?' I said, ‘yes, I had heard of it.' They asked me, 'how I had heard of it? And whom I knew in it?' I told them, I had heard of it through the high-sheriff of Yorkshire, who had told Dr. Hodgson  “there was a plot in the north;" that was the way I heard of it; but I never heard of any such thing in the south, until I came into the north. And as for knowing any in the plot, I was as a child in that, for I knew none of them.' Then they said, ‘why would you write against it, if you had not known some that were in it?' I said, ‘my reason was, because you are so forward to place the innocent and guilty together; therefore I wrote against it to clear the truth from such things, and to stop all forward foolish spirits from running into such things. I sent copies of it into Westmoreland, Cumberland, Bishoprick, Yorkshire, and to you here. I sent another copy of it to the king and his council, and it is likely it may be in print by this time.' One of them said, 'Oh! this man has great power!' I said, 'yes, I had power to write against plotters.' Then one of them said, ‘you are against the laws of the land.' I answered, 'no; for I and my friends direct all people to the spirit of God in them to put to death the deeds of the flesh, this brings them into well-doing, and from what the magistrates' sword is against, which eases the magistrates, who are for the punishment of evil doers. So people being turned to the spirit of God, which brings them to mortify the deeds of the flesh; this brings them from under the occasion of the magistrates' sword. This must be one with the magistracy, and one with the law, which was added because of transgression, and is for the praise of them that do well. In this we establish the law, are an ease to the magistrates, and are not against, but stand for all good government.'

Then George Middleton cried, 'bring the book, and put the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to him.’ Since he was a Papist and therefore able to swear, I asked him, 'whether he had taken the oath of supremacy?’ But as for us, we could not swear at all, because Christ and his apostle had forbidden it.' Some of them would not have had the oath put to me, but have set me at liberty. The rest would not agree to it; for this was their last snare, and they had no other way to get me into prison, as all other things had been cleared to them. This was like the Papists' sacrament of the altar, by which they ensnared the martyrs. So they  tried to require me to take the oath, which I could not take; whereupon they were about to make my mittimus to send me to Lancaster jail; but reconsidering it, they only engaged me to appear at the sessions, and for that time dismissed me. I went back with Margaret Fell to Swarthmore, and soon after colonel West came to see me, who was at that time a justice of the peace. He told us, ' he told some of the rest of the justices, that he would come and see Margaret Fell and me; but it may be,' he said, ‘some of you will take offence at it.' I asked him, what be thought they would do with me at the sessions? He said they would present the oath to me again.'

While I was at Swarthmore, William Kirby came into the Swarthmore meeting and brought the constables with him. I was sitting with Friends in the meeting, and he said to me, ‘How now, Mr. Fox! You have a fine company here.' ‘Yes,'I said, 'we meet to wait upon the Lord.' So he began to take the names of Friends, and those that did not readily tell him their names, he committed to the constables' hands, and sent some to prison. The constables were unwilling to take them without a warrant, at which time he threatened to arrest them; but the constable told him, ‘he could keep them in his presence, but after he was gone he could not keep them without a warrant.'

The sessions coming on, I went to Lancaster, and appeared according to my engagement. Upon the bench was justice Fleming, who had bid five pounds in Westmoreland to any man that would apprehend me; for he was a justice both in Westmoreland and Lancashire. There were also justice Spencer, colonel West, and old justice Rawlinson, the lawyer, who gave the charge, and was very sharp against truth and Friends; but the Lord's power stopped them. The session was large with a great many people, and the way being made for me, I came up to the bar and stood with my hat on; there they were looking earnestly upon me and I upon them for a pretty good time. Then proclamation was made for all to keep silence upon pain of imprisonment; and all being quiet, I said twice, ‘Peace be among you.' The chairman asked, 'if I knew where I was?' I said, ‘Yes, I do; but it may be,' I said, 'my hat offends you. That is not the honor that I give to magistrates, for the true honor is from above;' which I said, 'I have received, and I hope it is not the hat which you look upon to be the honor.' The chairman said, 'They looked for the hat too,' and asked, 'how I showed my respect to magistrates, if I did not take off my hat?' I replied, ‘in coming when they called me.' Then they asked someone to, 'take off my hat.' After which it was some time before they spoke to me, and I felt the power of the Lord to arise. After some pause, old justice Rawlinson (the chairman), asked me, 'If I had known of the plot?' I told him, 'I heard of it in Yorkshire by a Friend, who had heard it from the high-sheriff.' They asked me, 'Whether I had declared it to the magistrates?' I said, ‘I had sent papers abroad against plots and plotters, and also to you, as soon as I came into the country, to take all jealousies out of your minds concerning me and my friends; for it is our principle to declare against such things.' They asked me then, 'If I did not know of an act against meetings' I said, 'I knew there was an act that forbids people who met to the terrifying of the king's subjects, were enemies to the king, and held dangerous principles; but I hoped they did not look upon us to he such men, for our meetings were not to terrify the king's subjects, neither were we enemies to him or any man.' Then they presented me the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. I told them, 'I could not take any oath at all, because Christ and his apostle had forbidden it; and they had had sufficient experience of swearers, who swore first one way, and then another; but I had never taken any oath in my life.' Rawlinson asked me, 'Whether I held it was unlawful to swear?' This question he put on purpose to ensnare me; for by an act that was made, a person was liable to banishment or a great fine, who should say, it was unlawful to swear.’ But I, seeing the snare, avoided it, and told him, 'That in the time of the law among the Jews, before Christ came, the law commanded them to swear; but Christ, who fulfils the law in his gospel time, commands, "not to swear at all;" and the apostle James forbids swearing, even to those who were Jews, and who had the law of God.' After much discourse they called for the jailer, and committed me to prison. I had the paper with me which I had written as a testimony against plots, which I desired they would read, or allow to be read in open court; but they would not. So being committed for refusing to swear, 'I bid them and all the people to take notice that I suffered for the doctrine of Christ and for my obedience to his command.' Afterwards I understood the justices had said that they had private instructions from colonel Kirby to prosecute me, regardless of his fair carriage and seeming kindness to me before, when he declared before many of them, ‘that he had nothing against me.' Several other Friends were committed to prison, some for meeting to worship God, and some for not swearing; so that the prison was very full. Many of them were poor men, without any way to support their families but by their labor, which was now taken from them. Several of their wives went to the justices who committed their husbands, and told them, 'if they kept their husbands in jail for nothing but the truth of Christ and for good conscience sake, they would bring their children to them to be maintained.' A mighty power of the Lord rose in Friends, and gave them great boldness, so that they spoke much to the justices. Friends who were prisoners also wrote to the justices, laying the weight of their sufferings upon them, and showing them both their injustice and their want of compassion towards their poor neighbors; ‘they knew them to be honest, conscientious, and peaceable people, that in tenderness of conscience could not take any oath; yet they sent them to prison for refusing to take the oath of allegiance. Several of those imprisoned on that account were known to be men who had served the king in his wars, had hazarded their lives in the field in his cause, had suffered great hardships, with the loss of much blood for him, and always stood faithful to him from first to last, yet never received any pay for their service; and to be thus requited for all their faithful services and sufferings by those that pretended to be the king's friends, was hard, unkind, and ungrateful dealing.' At length the justices, being continually assaulted with complaints of grievances, released some of the Friends, but still kept many in prison.

There were four Friends in prison for not paying tithes, (sent to prison by a lawsuit of the countess of Derby), who had been there nearly two and a half years. One of these was Oliver Atherton, who had a weak constitution because of long and hard imprisonment in a cold, raw, unwholesome place. He was brought so low and weak in his body, that there appeared no hope he would live unless he was released. Therefore, a letter was written on his behalf to the countess, and sent by his son Godfrey Atherton, where he told her the reasons why he and the rest could not pay tithes: ‘because if they did, they should deny Christ come in the flesh, who by his coming had put an end to tithes, and to the priesthood to which they had been given, and to the commandment by which they had been paid under the law. He also told her of his weak condition, and the apparent likelihood of his death, if she continued to hold him there; hoping that she might be moved to pity and compassion. He also warned her not to draw the guilt of innocent blood upon herself.' But when his son went to her with his father's letter, one of her servants abused him, plucked off his cap and threw it away, and put him out of the gate. Nevertheless, the letter was delivered into her own hand, but she shut out all pity and tenderness, and kept him in prison until death. When his son returned to his father in prison, and told him as he lay on his dying bed, that the countess denied his liberty, he only said, ‘She has been the cause of shedding much blood, but this will be the heaviest blood that ever she spilt,' and soon after he died. Friends having his body delivered to them to bury, as they carried it from the prison to Ormskirk, the parish where he had lived. They stuck up papers upon the market crosses, (a place for public notices), at Garstang, Preston, and other towns through which they passed, with this inscription:

'This is Oliver Atherton, of Ormskirk parish, persecuted to death by the countess of Derby for good conscience sake towards God and Christ, because he could not give her tithes.

These papers explained the reasons he could not pay tithes, the length of his imprisonment, the hardships he underwent, her hard heartedness towards him, and the manner of his death.

After his death, Richard Cubban, another of her prisoners for tithes, wrote a long letter to her, on behalf of himself and his fellow prisoners, laying their innocence before her. ‘That it was not out of willfulness, stubbornness, or covetousness, that they refused to pay her tithes, but purely in good conscience towards God and Christ; letting her know, if she should be suffered to keep them there until they everyone died, as she had done their fellow-sufferer, Oliver Atherton, they could still not yield to pay her. And therefore asked her to consider their case in a christian spirit, and not bring their blood upon herself also.' Yet she would not show any pity or compassion to them, who had now suffered hard imprisonment about two years and a half under her. Instead she sent to the town of Garstang, and threatened to complain to the king and council, and bring them into trouble, for allowing the paper concerning Oliver Atherton's death to be stuck upon the town’s market cross. The rage she expressed made the people take even more notice of it, and some of them said, 'the Quakers had given her a bone to pick.' But she, who regarded not the life of an innocent sufferer for Christ, lived not long after herself. Three weeks to the day after Oliver Atherton's body was carried through Ormskirk to be buried, she died; and her body was carried through the same town to her burying place. Thus the Lord pursued the hard hearted persecutor.

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