1 "But of 'prophets' there are very few. The good God does not seem to need many. Centuries pass, as He orders history, in which there are none. So we call them Dark Ages. Then comes some John in the desert, and the world is wakened, some Wesley in the Church of England, and there is a revival of religion. "For our English races, since there were English races, I count three or four such prophets; for the world of Europe I count perhaps eleven worthy of our gratitude to-day. I mean the gratitude of all mankind. Saint Paul and Saint John are two; Augustine of Hippo is three; Dante and Francis of Assisi are two more; Thomas à Kempis and Jacob Böhme, two more; and, coming across to England, Wiclif, John Milton, George Fox, and John Wesley." - Edward Everett Hale, in an Address at the Wesley Bicentennial Celebration in People's Temple, Boston. "The three most influential Englishmen of the last three centuries were George Fox, John Wesley and John Henry Newman. Those who wish really to understand those three centuries must read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest Fox's Journal, Wesley's Journal, and Newman's Apologia. The entire future of England and the English Empire depends upon the answer to this question: Will Newman defeat Fox and Wesley, or will Fox and Wesley defeat Newman?" - Editorial in "The Methodist Times."
2 "The Quaker religion which he (George Fox) founded is something which it is impossible to overpraise. In a day of shams, it was a religion of veracity rooted in spiritual inwardness, and a return to something more like the original gospel truth than men had ever known in England. So far as our Christian sects to-day are evolving into liberality, they are simply reverting in essence to the position which Fox and the early Quakers so long ago assumed. No one can pretend for a moment that in point of spiritual sagacity and capacity, Fox's mind was unsound. Every one who confronted him personally, from Oliver Cromwell down to county magistrates and jailers, seems to have acknowledged his superior power." - James's "Varieties of Religious Experience," page 6.
3 At this epoch there were more than two hundred capital offenses.
4 "Dear friends and brethren that have gone into America and the islands thereaway, stir up the gift of God in you and improve your talents. Let your light shine among the Indians, the blacks and the whites, that ye may answer the truth in them and bring them to the standard and ensign that God hath set up, Jesus Christ. Grow in the faith and grace of Christ that ye be not like the dwarfs, for a dwarf shall not come near to offer upon God's altar." - From an Epistle of George Fox written in 1690.
5 "In 1658 there was not a Quaker living who did not believe Quakerism to be the one only true Church of the living God." - Hancock's "Peculium," page 8.
6 From William Penn's "Preface to the Journal of George Fox."
7 Now called Fenny Drayton; a little hamlet about five miles from Nuneaton, in a flat, though beautiful farming country. The house in which George Fox was born has long since vanished, and the few cottages which cluster here about the crossing of two roads are of modern structure. An obelisk with a long inscription, stands within a hundred yards or so of the site of the birthplace.
8 This martyred ancestor of Mary Lago was probably a member of the Glover family, of Mancetter, a few miles north of Drayton. (See article on Fox in Dict. of Nat. Biog., which refers to Riching's "Mancetter Martyrs." 1860.)
9 "Creatures" here and frequently means "created things."
10 "Priest" here means clergyman in the established Church, though the "priests" with whom he comes in contact in the early years of his ministry are Presbyterian. The word is usually employed for any minister who receives pay for preaching.
11 This brief connection with shoemaking has been effectively used by Carlyle in his famous characterization of George Fox. (See "Sartor Resartus," book iii., chapter 1: "An Incident in Modern History.") There is, however, no historical foundation for Carlyle's picture. Sewel denies that there was any connection between Fox's suit of leather and "his former leatherwork." Croese says the shoemaker and cattle grazer lived in Nottingham.
12 "Professor" means here and everywhere throughout this book a nominal Christian. Our modern substitute for the expression would be "a church member."
13 Until 1752 the English year began in March, so that by the calendar then in use June was the fourth month. This method of reckoning time runs through the entire book, and may be mentioned here once for all.
14 "Tender" is one of George Fox's favorite words. It will come often. It means that the persons to whom it is applied are religiously inclined, serious, and earnest in their search for spiritual realities.
15 From his return home in 1644, George Fox dates the beginning of his religious society. (See Epistles, Vol. I., p. 10. Philadelphia edition, 1831.)
16 The Civil War was at its height.
17 It was a settled custom, in fact, a matter of conscience with Fox, to avoid the names of the days and of the months. He disliked them because they commemorated heathen divinities, and he always makes a point of using numeral adjectives instead of the names. It was not an original scruple with him, but a similar position was taken by some of the leading "Separatists" before the commonwealth period. (See Barrow's "False Churches," p. 204.)
18 Richard Abell.
19 Of Atherstone.
20 It is difficult to find out where George Fox's money came from. He reports in the original MS. of the Journal, p. 17, a remark his relatives made about him when he left home: "When hee went from us hee had a greate deale of gould and sillver about him." He is always well supplied. He goes to inns, always has a good horse, wears clean linen and frequently gives to charity. In signed papers in the Spence collection he gives orders for the disposal of money invested "in ships and trade," as well as of a thousand acres of land in Pennsylvania which William Penn had assigned to him.
21 This expression "opened" has a mystical import, and will be of frequent occurrence. He means to say that it was directly revealed in his soul so that he assuredly knew it to be true. Often he uses the expression in reference to some truth which he might easily have discovered in the Scriptures or have learned from contemporary sources. But in this solemn way he announces that this truth has now at length come to be a living truth for him. It is no longer a mere statement of fact - it is a principle, the truth of which he sees.
22 That is, gave them Scripture references.
23 This was one of the many curious religious sects with which the England of the commonwealth was overrun. (See Edwards's "Gangraena.")
24 "Friends" is here used for the first time in the Journal as the name of the new denomination. It is not possible to determine when the name was adopted or why it was chosen. When the Journal was written the term had already become fixed and Fox uses it without comment or explanation, referring it back to a period before it came into use as the name of the Society. At first the word "friends" was probably used in an untechnical sense for those who were friendly, and little by little it hardened into a name. At the very beginning they called themselves "Children of the Light."
25 In the northern part of Derbyshire.
26 These were "Ranters" who will appear again and often. They claimed to be perfect and above the possibility of sinning. Some even went to the wild extreme of claiming to be Christ, or God. They went on living for the most part much as they chose, and justified their acts on the ground that it was God who was acting in them. It is clearly apparent from this autobiography that such persons were very numerous at the time. It will be noticed that George Fox believes also in the possibility of freedom from sin, but perfection as he holds it means something quite other than this doctrine of the Ranters, as the Journal will show.
27 Elizabeth Hooton was a woman of good standing. who was born in Nottingham about the year 1600. She was the first person of her sex to become a minister in the newly-gathered Society. The preaching of women at this time was not entirely novel, as it was allowed by several of the religious sects of the period. Elizabeth Hooton had her faith severely tested by persecution and long imprisonment. She performed two religious visits to America and the West Indies and died in Jamaica in 1671.
28 All profound spiritual teachers contrast wisdom and knowledge - what is here called "knowledge in the Spirit" and "knowledge in the flesh," or, what is perhaps more frequently called "knowledge of the heart" and "knowledge of the head." The latter expression means a knowledge of fact - the knowing that a thing is so by evidence which satisfies the mind. The former expression means the soul's immediate grasp of truth by the test of practical experience. The goal in one case is the establishment of some fact; the goal in the other case is the production of positive life and character by the appreciation of the truth.
29 The "Separatists" - especially here the Congregationalists and Baptists.
30 Compare this great passage where George Fox describes his conversion with Paul's account of the spiritual fiat lux in 2 Cor. 4:6, "For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness [the first fiat lux] hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
31 At the very beginning of his ministry in 1617 George Fox evidently preached the possibility of complete freedom from sin. But he was very careful to avoid presenting the mere theory or "notion" of perfection, which was common among all the types of "Ranters." He believed that Christ came to destroy sin, and he stoutly held that when He ruled in a man sin and the dominion of it were done away. Man could come into "the condition Adam was in before he fell," to use his own expression. One of his most frequent challenges was to demand that modern Christians should come into" the same life and power which those were in who gave forth the Scriptures." But George Fox's test of holiness was the practical test of daily life. No man was to be accounted holy if he were not in fact holy.
32 That is, why should I have suffered such troubles and temptations.
33 For those who are interested in the psychology of George Fox this is one of the most important passages in the Journal. These sweeping psychical and physical changes are most significant. On two other occasions of his life, which will be noted later, he underwent similar, though perhaps profounder, changes. These passages in the Journal reveal, to those who are familiar with such phenomena, the fact that George Fox was subject to deep subliminal transformations. The passage, too, throws much light back upon his long travail through distress and darkness.
34 In the year 1648.
35 William Penn gives the following testimony to Fox's power in prayer:
"But above all he excelled in prayer. The inwardness and weight of his spirit, the reverence and solemnity of his address and behaviour, and the fewness and fulness of his words, have often struck, even strangers, with admiration, as they used to reach others with consolation. The most awful, living, reverent frame I ever felt or beheld, I must say, was his in prayer. And truly it was a testimony he knew and lived nearer to the Lord than other men." - Preface to George Fox's "Journal."
36 This is a characteristic illustration of the way Fox passed beyond theories and doctrines, and demanded practical life-results.
37 That is, members of the English or Episcopal Church.
38 The Friends from the time of Fox until the present have been careful to use the word "church" only for the community of spiritual believers. The cathedrals and churches were called "steeple-houses," and their own places of worship were called "meeting-houses."
39 A beautiful valley southwest of Nottingham, near the edge of the counties of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, just west of Bardon Hills.
40 See Whittier's poem, "Revelation."
41 He means experience.
42 There is no account of the origin of this meeting, which seems to have been in existence before Fox came to Eton. There seems to have been considerable definite work done which is not detailed in the "Journal." [See "Epistles," Vol. I., page 2, "Truth sprang up (to us as to be a people of the Lord) in Derbyshire in 1647."] Eton is in Derbyshire.
43 This is an interesting illustration of Fox's sensitiveness to wrong social conditions and of the practical character of his religion.
44 This passage which records a striking personal experience is undated. It is strangely like an experience of the great German mystic, Jacob Boehme, whose works were published in England about the time Fox was beginning his missionary labors. He, too, had all nature opened to him, so that he says he saw the true significance and essence of things. See Jacob Boehme, "Signatura Rerum," which was published in English in 1649. Muggleton, in his "Looking Glass for G. Fox" (second edition, 1756, page 10), says that the writings of Boehme are the "chief books" bought by the followers of Fox.
45 The name "Friends" is apparently used as formerly in Chapter I to designate the gatherings of persons who sympathized with Fox's message and who afterwards were called "Friends."
46 One could wish that this important account of Fox's practical mission to the world were more clearly expressed than is here done in his phraseology, which needs translation into modern terms. There is, he means to say, a universal Divine principle or law of life which finds expression or voice in every soul. "That of God" in the individual "answers" or corresponds with the universal Divine principle. But, unfortunately, this Divine Light within is disobeyed, and thus men are astray - out of their true life and function. Fox's mission is to call all such to obedience to "that of God" within them.
47 This is the central teaching of George Fox. Everything else comes out of this elemental truth. It is, as he says, clearly enough taught in the Scriptures but he now saw the truth as an immediate revelation - as a primary fact of experience.
48 The soul's own assurance of salvation was well proclaimed by Luther, but the high and joyous experience was well-nigh lost in Calvinistic England. Fox reaffirms the privilege of this experience. He proclaims no man's infallibility, but rather the infallibility of the Spirit, in union with which a man may know that he pleases God.
49 By a clear spiritual insight Fox saw how large a contribution both Judaism and Paganism had made to the historic church. He went to work to carry the reformation to its logical conclusion. To re-instate primitive Christianity was his aim.
50 The real principles here involved were simplicity of life, equal respect for all men alike, and strict sincerity. It must be confessed that these principles have sometimes been lost sight of, and dress and language have sometimes become a form to those who opposed all forms.
51 That is, the testimony of the Spirit.
52 This is one of the very few instances in his entire career when Fox interrupted a minister. It was neither illegal nor contrary to custom for any one to speak after the minister was done - a privilege which Fox often used. On this particular occasion, his feeling overmastered him, and he spoke before his time.
53 This gives a glimpse at the medical practice of the time. Fox frequently showed remarkable power in dealing with cases of hysteria, such as the one here reported. He evidently did not understand the nature of the disease. But his commanding presence, his piercing eye (testified to by even his persecutors), and the absolute assurance which his voice gave that he was equal to the occasion, were worth a thousand doctors with their lancets. Those who understand the psychology of suggestion, and the effect of faith on certain diseases, will hardly question the simple accounts given here and elsewhere.
54 As everywhere, he is interested in the state of the person himself, and in the real and vital things of religion. Many of Fox's followers came from the Baptists.
55 No single sentence better sums up George Fox's whole theology than this: "I told them they were not to dispute of God and Christ, but to obey Him"
56 These answers sufficiently differentiate George Fox from the "Ranters."
57 Here begins Fox's first serious imprisonment. The charge was direct and distinct. He was committed as a blasphemer. Under the law passed by both Houses of Parliament, in 1648, Fox might easily have been condemned to suffer a death penalty. It was an offense, punishable by death, to deny that the Scriptures are the Word of God, or that the bodies of men shall rise after they are dead. It was blasphemy to say that the two sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper are not commanded by God. It was also blasphemy to declare that man has by nature free will to turn to God. It was, of course, not difficult to find a charge of the violation of this drag-net act. From Derby prison he wrote many letters, to the magistrates, to the justices, to the "priests," to the court at Derby, to the mayor, to the individual justices, and to "the ringers of bells in steeple-houses." He calls them all to obedience to the light within them. "Mind that which is eternal and invisible." "Keep in the innocency and be obedient to the faith in Him."
58 This is the whole of our data for the origin of the name "Quaker." Fox told the Justice to tremble at the word of the Lord, and the Justice thereupon fixed the name "quaker" upon him. There is probably, however, something back of this particular incident which helped give the name significance. The editors of the New English Dictionary (see the word Quaker) have discovered the fact that this name for a religious sect was not entirely new at this time. Letter No. 2,624 of the Clarendon collection, written in 1647, speaks of a sect from the continent possessed of a remarkable capacity for trembling or quaking: "I heare of a sect of woemen (they are at Southworke) come from beyond the Sea, called quakers, and these swell, shiver and shake, and when they come to themselves (for in all this fitt Mahomett's holy-ghost hath bin conversing with them) they begin to preach what hath been delivered to them by the Spirit." It seems probable that Justice Bennet merely employed a term of reproach already familiar. It is, further, evident that the Friends themselves were sometimes given to trembling, and that the name came into general use because it fitted. (See Sewel's "History of the People Called Quakers," Vol. I., p. 63. Philadelphia, 1823.) The name first appears in the records of Parliament, in the Journals of the House of Commons, in 1654.
59 This is the true ground of opposition to war, namely, that a Christian is to live a life that does away with the occasion for war.
60 He was imprisoned on a definite charge for six months, and then, without any further trial, apparently because he would not join Cromwell's army, he was held in close confinement for nearly six months more.
61 It must be remembered that this act of George Fox occurred at the close of a year of imprisonment, a part of which had been in a horrible jail. He was throughout his life restless and active to an extreme degree. For an entire year, just as his work was getting well begun, he had been forced to live in this nut-shell of a prison - day after day inactive. Now he was free again, and the old restlessness to be doing something came upon him with irresistible force. He was in no condition to inhibit suggestions. It is quite possible that some subconscious memory here gave the suggestion. In 1612 one Wightman was burned at the stake in Lichfield, and the deed was fresh in the minds of men at this time. Then the name Lichfield means "field of dead bodies," a name which doubtless had its origin in some baptism of blood, and George in his boyhood may have heard some tale of those bloody times.
62 The light of Christ working on the heart.
63 This is the foundation for the famous passage on George Fox, in Carlyle's "Sartor Resartus," Book III., Chap. 1. There is, however, no foundation for Carlyle's picture of Fox cutting and stitching his own leather suit. Sewel distinctly says that these leather breeches had no connection with "his former leather work." Croese says that his entire suit was leather. This form of dress was not very unusual at the time, and was probably chosen for its durability.
64 This remark of Justice Hotham is an observation of considerable historical significance.
66 Fox's power of endurance will be noticed in every part of this autobiography. He sleeps under hedges, fences or haystacks. He goes days without suitable food. He speaks in difficult places as often as occasion presents, and goes through the attacks of hostile crowds with an endurance which is astonishing. This iron constitution carried him through the long imprisonments which thinned the ranks of his co-laborers.
67 This James Nayler, who left his Independent church to become a Quaker had a future history of pathetic interest. He was a powerful minister, and his very success led to his downfall, which will be recorded in the proper place later on.
68 "All the country in their profession" means "all the people throughout the country who are mere nominal Christians."
69 This spring is still called "George Fox's well."
70 No part of Fox's life is more remarkable than these few months of service that follow in Westmoreland - "in and about Wensleydale and Sedbergh." Here he gathers about himself a band of preachers only slightly less gifted than himself. He wins the support of the Fells of Swarthmore Hall, which becomes henceforth a sort of headquarters to the movement, and he gains the incalculable assistance of Margaret Fell, - for many years a wise and faithful friend, and finally his wife.
71 Richard Farnsworth was "convinced" at Balby in 1601, and became one of George Fox's most valuable helpers.
72 Howgill and Audland became two of the little band of powerful ministers who gave their lives to the proclamation of the truth as Fox interpreted it.
73 Edward Burrough has been called the Whitefield of Quakerism. He possessed a trained mind and unusual original power. He was a vigorous writer, and his ministry was remarkably effective. "Son of thunder and consolation," he was named. He was one of the early martyrs to the truth, dying in a London prison in 1662. Just before his death he said: "Now my soul and spirit is entered into its own being with God, and this form of person must return whence it was taken."
74 The superstitions everywhere existent among the people should be noted.
75 In the Furness district.
76 Of no other minister has Fox spoken so harshly as of this man Lampitt. There is every reason for believing that the picture which he gives of Lampitt is correct, though in Calamy's "Ejected Ministers" he is spoken of as "a warm and lively preacher."
77 During the Commonwealth period it was no violation of law or custom for a person in the congregation to stand up and speak or object after the minister had finished his sermon. In most cases, where Fox spoke in the churches, he was exercising a right which was well-established. Occasionally he interrupted, which was contrary to good order, but he justified it by an appeal to the call of the Spirit, which he could not resist. (See Chapter III.) Justices of the Peace had authority to forbid any person to speak.
78 Most wholesome words these, for that period of endless dispute, when religion too often meant the acceptance of some verbal statement.
79 "Speaking to their conditions" meant describing their inward state.
80 Justice Fell never became an avowed Friend. He, however, had much sympathy with the movement, and used his influence and authority to protect the Friends. He put no hindrance in the way of his wife, who did join them. Swarthmore Hall was always open to travelling ministers, and there is good reason to believe that substantial assistance went from Swarthmore Hall to those who were labouring throughout the kingdom. Margaret Fell was a great-granddaughter of Anne Askew, who was burned at the stake in 1545. Judge Fell was member for Parliament in 1645. This meeting-house, erected near Swarthmore Hall in 1690, the gift of George Fox is still standing, and contains many objects of interest.
81 This Thomas Taylor was educated at Oxford, and was a man of profound insight. He became a valiant supporter of Fox and a convincing minister.
82 A writ or order from the Court setting aside or staying the execution of the original writ.
83 Cromwell ejected the "Rump" Parliament April 20th, 1653. There is no contemporary authentification of this prophecy, but there is no reason to doubt the correctness of this account. Such cases of specific fore-seeing have been common throughout the entire history of Friends. They have received some slight investigation by the London branch of the Society for Psychical Research, though they have never received the careful investigation which they deserve.
84 This case of healing belongs in the inexhaustible list of cases of healing by faith. There are many forms of mental healing and of faith healing, and the researches of modern psychology have given us a principle of explanation for all cures of this sort. All such remarkable events seemed to George Fox to partake of the miraculous and most naturally gave him the impression that he was a peculiarly-chosen instrument of the Lord.
85 In Cumberland.
86 This passage throws interesting light on the church customs of the time. After the minister has preached his hour by the hour glass there is then liberty for any one to speak. George Fox himself evidently did not observe the hour glass.
87 This indicates that he had seen besieging armies during the Civil War.
88 It must be remembered that Fox uses here the language and the popular ideas of the time, as we should expect him to do.
89 This is an interesting testimony to the power of George Fox's eyes. The same remark is made on several occasions during his life. This power of the eye undoubtedly was a considerable element in his commanding influence over others.
90 As in Derby, the charge is blasphemy, under the Act of 1618. The report, spoken of later, that he would be put to death, was not mere rumor, for it was a real possibility under this Act.
91 Justice Anthony Pearson pointed out to the judges of the Carlisle courts that there was no evidence to support the charges against the prisoner, and that he was illegally held. He was finally dismissed without formal trial. The release of Fox was, however, hastened by an urgent letter from Parliament (the famous Barebones Parliament), requesting that he be set free.
92 A kind of freebooter.
93 This is one of the saddest stories in the annals of Quaker martyrology. James Parnell was well trained mentally, and held successful discussions with the Cambridge students. The dungeon in Colchester Castle, where this brief holy life came to an end, is still visited by tourists.
94 That is, reach with the voice.
95 This record of the effect of Quaker honesty is supported by impartial contemporary testimony. A curious confirmation of the business successes of the Quaker traders is found in a satiric ballad of the times, called "Wickham Wakened; or, the Quakers Madrigall in Rime Dogerell," published in Ebsworth's "Choyce Drollery." The Rhymster tells how the Quaker is settling down to "great thrift," his period of "tipling being done," i.e., his days of ranting being over, and those who come into competition with him wish him back in the ranting stage. "O be drunk again, Quaker Take thy canniken and shake her For thou art the worse for thy mending."
96 This was the beginning of the movement in Wales. In 1657, George Fox travelled and laboured extensively in Wales, where many followers were gathered.
97 Nothing caused Friends so much trouble as their absolute refusal to take any kind of an oath.
99 At the end of six years of ministry these sixty ministers had been gathered to the work which now absorbed George Fox. It was a remarkable group of men, - young, vigorous, ready speakers, eager for the hard service, welcoming persecution and undaunted by any dangers or difficulties. They so completely caught the idea of Fox that they practically all spoke the same religious language. To them George Fox addressed a quaint, but strikingly spiritual, epistle of advice as they went out to begin their labours. Here are a few sentences from it: "All Friends everywhere, Know the Seed of God, which bruiseth the seed of the serpent, and is atop of the seed of the serpent: which Seed sins not, but bruiseth the serpent's head that doth sin, and that tempts to sin: to which Seed is God's promise and blessing; and which Seed is one in the male and in the female. . . "This is the Word of the Lord to you all: Every one in the measure of life wait, that with it all your minds may be guided up to the Father of life, the Father of spirits: to receive power from Him, and wisdom, that with it you may be ordered to His glory: to whom be all glory forever! All keep in the Light and Life, that judgeth down that which is contrary to the Light and Life. So the Lord God Almighty be with you all. . . . "All Friends that speak in public, see that it be in the life of God; for that begets to God; the fruits of that shall never wither. This sows to the Spirit which is in prison, and of the Spirit reaps life; and the other sows to the flesh, and of the flesh reaps corruption. This you may see all the world over amongst these seeds-men, - that which may be reaped in the field, that is the world. Therefore wait in the Spirit of the Lord, which cuts down and casts out all this, the root and branches of it. So in that wait to receive power, and the Lord God Almighty preserve you in it; whereby you may come to feel the Light, that comprehends time and the world, and fathoms it: which, believed in, gives you victory over the world. Here the power of the Lord is received, which subdues all the contrary, and puts off the garments that will stain and pollute."
100 This is the only indication of the extent of "Righteous Christer's" sympathy with his son's somewhat revolutionary message.
101 Colonel Hacker and his regiment superintended the execution of Charles I., and held back the threatening crowd of London citizens. He apparently now suspected that Fox and the Quakers were in a plot to bring in Charles II. Cromwell had for about six months been Lord Protector. Gerard and Vowel's plot was discovered about this time.
102 This is the minister of Drayton, who said "there was never such a plant bred in England" as George Fox.
103 This was not the famous "Mermaid" of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson.
104 Cromwell and Fox were at this period the two most striking men in England. Cromwell's greatest work was already done; Fox, now thirty years old, was only getting well under way with his earthly mission. He never comprehended the greatness of Cromwell's work, nor did he appreciate the complex tangle which the Protector had to unravel. He was so sun-clear and ingenuous himself that he could not fathom a man who skillfully zigzagged toward the ends which he could not reach by perfectly direct steps. Carlyle gives a happy paraphrase of this passage in the Journal: "'I exhorted him,' writes George, 'to keep in the fear of God,' whereby he might 'receive Wisdom from God,' which would be a useful guidance for any sovereign person. In fact, I had 'much discourse' with him; explaining what I and Friends had been led to think 'Concerning Christ and His Apostles' of old time, and His Priests and Ministers of new; concerning Life and concerning Death; concerning the Unfathomable Universe in general, and the Light in it from Above and the Darkness in it that is from Below: to all which the Protector' carried himself with much moderation.' Yes, George; this Protector has a sympathy with the Perennial; and feels it across the Temporary: no hulls, leathern or other, can entirely hide it from the sense of him." Carlyle's "Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches." (Centenary Edition.) Vol. III., p. 225.
105 This implies that the nickname was given because the Friends trembled when they spoke.
106 During this same year, 1654, a remarkable work was done in London by Edward Burrough and Francis Howgill. It is estimated that not less than 10,000 adherents were gathered in the city during these early years of Friends' ministry.
107 A cheap metal made to imitate gold.
108 This paper to the Protector was published in 1656. The paper mentioned just before was "A Warning from the Lord to the Pope and to all his Train of Idolatries." Published "at the Black-Spread Eagle" in 1656. He wrote many more letters at this period. Among them was a long letter to all professors of Christianity. Here is a characteristic passage from it: "Let us be glad, and rejoice for ever! Singleness of heart is come; pureness of heart is come; joy and gladness is come. The glorious God is exalting Himself; Truth hath been talked of, but now it is possessed. Christ hath been talked of; but now He is come and possessed. The glory hath been talked of; but now it is possessed, and the glory of man is defacing. The Son of God hath been talked of; but now He is come, and hath given us an understanding. Unity hath been talked of; but now it is come. Virgins have been talked of; but now they are come with oil in their lamps."
109 John Crook was Justice of the Peace in Bedford County. He became an eminent minister among the Friends and suffered many imprisonments.
110 The wife of this mayor of Cambridge had been to a great meeting which Fox held the day before near the Isle of Ely. James Parnell had already labored in Cambridge before this visit of George Fox. One gets here an interesting glimpse at the students of two hundred and fifty years ago. It is an interesting fact that they failed to unhorse Fox. The struggle between Fox and the students is the subject of one of Robert Spence's etchings.
111 This William Edmundson was one of the first persons to espouse and proclaim the principles of the Quakers in Ireland. He had been a soldier in Cromwell's army, and he carried the spirit and courage of an Ironside into the new service. He had strange and unspeakably difficult experiences to endure in those trying days of unsettlement in Ireland, but he was enabled to do a great work for the cause which he served. He also had large and valuable service in America.
112 These cases are further illustration of Fox's power to deal with sickness and with desperate persons. He always felt himself equal to any emergency which confronted him.
113 James Nayler's fall, which is here felt in dim forecast, became very soon only too sadly real.
114 A paper which George Fox had written to the seven parishes of Land's End.
115 Major-General Desborough was one of Cromwell's favorite generals, who received many places of honour from the Protector. In 1655 he received his commission as major-general, in charge of Wiltshire, Somersetshire, Devonshire and Cornwall, and in the main he proved an able administrator in this office.
116 Provender for their horses.
117 This was Puritan England, and an appeal to Old Testament precedents was not out of place.
118 This description of Doomsdale is far from pleasant reading, but it is a true and faithful picture of a dungeon in the seventeenth century, and because of its historic importance it is left exactly as it was written. It is no wonder the Quakers became prison reformers.
119 This has the ring of one of Luther's utterances.
120 The 14th of May, 1656, Edward Pyot, Fox's fellow prisoner, wrote a long letter to John Glyn, Chief Justice of England, in which he showed that they were suffering contrary to law. George Fox himself, as his custom was, spent much of his time of imprisonment writing letters and religious epistles. Here is a sound word of advice from his Epistle to "Friends": "Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your life and conduct may preach among all sorts of people and to them."
121 It will be found interesting to compare this brief comment on the views of the "Fifth-monarchy men" with Cromwell's treatment of them. See Speech II., in First Parliament. Carlyle's "Oliver Cromwell," Centenary Edition, Vol. III., p. 113. The modern reader will also find it interesting to compare this passage with the present-day teachings of the "Second Coming."
122 This Thomas Lower married Judge Fell's daughter, Mary.
123 This, however, was not the last of the cheese. After their release they revisited Launceston, as this extract will show: "From Thomas Mounce's we passed to Launceston again, and visited that little remnant of Friends that had been raised up there while we were in prison. The Lord's plants grew finely, and were established on Christ, their rock and foundation. As we were going out of town again, the constable of Launceston came running to us with the cheese that had been taken from Edward Pyot; which they had kept from us all this while, and were tormented with it. But being now set at liberty, we would not receive it."
124 Both Edward Pyot and George Fox had written letters to Major-General Desborough, showing that they were innocent, law-abiding men, doing the Lord's work in the world, and that they could not promise to go home, it being the free right of an Englishman to go where his duty or his business carried him.
125 Poor James Nayler proved unable to stand the strain of this strenuous work. A fanatical group got about him and in a period of evident aberration he allowed these flattering followers to give him a Triumphal Entry into Bristol, as Christ, returned in the flesh. Here is Carlyle's account: "In the month of October, 1655, there was seen a strange sight at Bristol in the West. A procession of eight persons: one a man on horseback, riding single; the others, men and women, partly riding double, partly on foot, in the muddiest highway, in the wettest weather; singing, all but the single-rider, at whose bridle splash and walk two women: 'Hosannah! Holy, holy! Lord God of Sabaoth!' . . . The single-rider is a raw-boned male figure, 'with lank hair reaching below his cheeks'; hat drawn close over his brows; of abstruse 'down look' and large, dangerous jaws, strictly closed; he sings not; sits there covered, and is sung to by the others, bare. Amid pouring deluges and mud knee-deep: 'so that the rain ran in at their necks, and they vented it at their hose and breeches,' a spectacle to the west of England and posterity! Singing as above; answering no questions except in song. At the High Cross, they are laid hold of by the Authorities; turn out to be James Nayler and Company." (Carlyle's "Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches." Vol. III., pp. 223, 224.) What he needed was mental treatment. What he received was the harshest punishment Parliament could devise. He missed the death penalty by a vote of 82 to 96. His sentence, passed by Parliament December 16th, 1656, was to be pilloried for two hours, to be whipped by the hangman through the streets from Westminster to the Old Exchange in the city, to be pilloried again after two days for two hours more, to have his tongue bored through with a red-hot iron, and to be branded in the forehead with the letter B, to be again flogged through the streets of Bristol, and then to be committed to prison with solitary confinement and hard labor during the pleasure of Parliament. Poor James Nayler! His fall did the Quakers almost irreparable injury in public estimation. Fox had already had an intimation of this trouble. As he left James Nayler in London he wrote: "As I passed him I cast my eye upon him and a fear struck me concerning him."
126 His death came not long after his awful punishment, and just before the end of life he wrote these words: "There is a spirit which I feel, which delights to do no evil, nor to revenge any wrong; but delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy its own in the end. Its hope is to outlive all wrath and contention, and to weary out all exaltation and cruelty, or whatever is of a nature contrary to itself. It sees to the end of all temptations; as it bears no evil in itself, so it conceives none in thought to any other. If it be betrayed, it bears it; for its ground and spring is the mercy and forgiveness of God. Its crown is meekness; its life is everlasting love unfeigned. It takes its kingdom with entreaty, and not with contention, and keeps it by lowliness of mind. In God alone it can rejoice, though none else regard it, or can own its life. It is conceived in sorrow, and brought forth without any to pity it; nor doth it murmur at grief and oppression. It never rejoiceth, but through sufferings; for with the world's joy it is murdered. I found it alone; being forsaken. I have fellowship therein, with those who lived in dens and desolate places in the earth; who through death obtained this resurrection, and eternal, holy life!" See also "James Nayler's answer to the Fanatick History as far as it relates to him." The wild extreme to which Nayler went had a very sobering effect on the Friends themselves.
127 In Wales.
128 A besieging army.
129 Great numbers of these Welsh Friends migrated to Pennsylvania and settled Montgomery County. Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Merion and Radnor are some of the historic townships whose names were transferred to the new world by these followers of Fox.
131 This was very characteristic of the man.
132 Beaumaris is in Anglesey, so that they were to cross Beaumaris Bay to the mainland.
133 This "curl" is two or three times mentioned. He always wore his hair long and apparently had a long curling lock behind.
134 While waiting at Swarthmore, between the labors in Wales and the visit to Scotland, George Fox wrote several epistles. Here is a beautiful little Postscript to his epistle "to Friends": "Postscript - And, Friends, be careful how ye set your feet among the tender plants, that are springing up out of God's earth; lest ye tread upon them, hurt, bruise, or crush them in God's vineyard."
135 This was a great general meeting at Langlands, in Cumberland.
136 In this discussion the Scripture arguments were gone over, and George Fox offset the proof-texts on election with passages showing man's responsibility.
137 The Friends always refused to keep the First Day as though it were a continuation of the Jewish Sabbath. For them it was a day set apart for man's high spiritual use.
138 The reference is to the logical definition of man as "an unfeathered biped," which is as old as Plato.
139 Here is more of the Luther spirit. He is reported to have said: "I would go to Leipsic if it rained Duke Georges nine days running."
140 This passage has suggested the idea which finds beautiful expression in the closing stanzas of Whittier's "Barclay of Ury ":
"Knowing this, that never yet Share of truth was vainly set. In the world's wide fallow After hands shall sow the seed, after hands from mill and mead Reap the harvests yellow.
"Thus with somewhat of the seer Must the moral pioneer From the future borrow; Clothe the waste with dreams of grain, And, on midnight's sky of rain Paint the golden morrow."
141 There were few novel experiences on the way from Scotland to Bedfordshire. At Nottingham he had a controversy with Rice Jones, an opposer of the earlier visit. He pointed out that many of Rice Jones's followers "were become the greatest foot-ball players and wrestlers in the whole country," which is an interesting comment on the ministry of Rice Jones!
142 "John Crook's House" was at Luton, in Bedfordshire. This is among the first of the great national general meetings out of which came in course of development the present London Yearly Meeting of Friends. The first general meeting was held at Swannington in Leicestershire in 1654. Isaac Penington was convinced at this meeting. He tells us that he "felt the healings drop upon his soul from under His wings."
143 The sentence means: "I felt called to set forth the significance of various religious states and the things to which they lead."
144 Here is a long extract from the letter to Lady Claypole, Cromwell's daughter, who died soon after this time:
"Keep in the fear of the Lord God; that is the Word of the Lord unto thee. For all these things happen to thee for thy good, and for the good of those concerned for thee, to make you know yourselves and your own weakness, that ye may know the Lord's strength and power, and may trust in Him. Let the time past be sufficient to every one, who in anything hath been lifted up in transgression out of the power of the Lord; for He can bring down and abase the mighty, and lay them in the dust of the earth. Therefore, all keep low in His fear, that thereby ye may receive the secrets of God and His wisdom, may know the shadow of the Almighty, and sit under it in all tempests, storms, and heats. For God is a God at hand, and the Most High rules in the children of men. This is the word of the Lord God unto you all; what the Light doth make manifest and discover, as temptations, distractions, confusions, do not look at these temptations, confusions, corruptions, but at the Light which discovers them and makes them manifest; and with the same Light you may feel over them, to receive power to stand against them. The same Light which lets you see sin and transgression, will let you see the covenant of God, which blots out your sin and transgression, which gives victory and dominion over it, and brings into covenant with God. For looking down at sin, corruption, and distraction, ye are swallowed up in it; but looking at the Light, which discovers them, ye will see over them. That will give victory, and ye will find grace and strength; there is the first step to peace. That will bring salvation; by it ye may see to the beginning, and the 'Glory that was with the Father before the world began'; and come to know the Seed of God, which is the heir of the promise of God, and of the world which hath no end; and which bruises the head of the serpent, who stops people from coming to God. That ye may feel the power of an endless life, the power of God which is immortal, which brings the immortal soul up to the immortal God, in whom it doth rejoice. So in the name and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, God Almighty strengthen thee. "G.F."
This note follows the letter: "When the foregoing paper was read to Lady Claypole, she said, it stayed her mind for the present. Afterwards many Friends got copies of it, both in England and Ireland, and read it to people that were troubled in mind; and it was made useful for the settling of the minds of several."
145 This was the persecution which called forth Milton's great sonnet: "Avenge, O Lord! thy slaughtered saints whose bones Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold."
146 This was Cromwell's Second Parliament.
147 Harvey was "groom of the bed chamber."
148 This visit of Fox to Cromwell is treated in Carlyle's Oliver Cromwell, Vol. IV., pp. 199, 200. Oliver Cromwell died September 3d, 1658. This "waft" or whiff of death which Fox felt was not the only forewarning of his end which came to Friends. A letter was delivered into Cromwell's hand a month before his death, which contained these words: "If thou continueth in thy oppression, the Lord will suddenly smite thee." See Burrough's "Good Counsel and Advice Rejected by Disobedient Men."
149 Isaac Penington was one of the finest, richest spirits that came under the influence of Fox. He was highest in social rank of all the early Friends, and after Fox himself the best exponent of the fundamental Quaker idea.
150 This "Church-faith (so-called)" was a "Declaration of the Faith and Order owned and practiced in the Congregational Churches in England: Agreed upon and consented unto by their Elders and messengers in their meeting at the Savoy, October 12th, 1658." Fox's reply has the following title: "Something in Answer to that Book called, The Church-Faith: Set forth by Independants (sic) and others; agreed upon by Divine messengers at the Savoy in London."
151 From being Cromwell's most intimate friend Sir Harry Vane had become his most fearless opposer, and an advocate of extreme republicanism. After the downfall of Richard Cromwell, Vane had a brief return to influence and power. In September, 1659, he was made President of the Council, and was in this position the executive head of the nation in civil affairs. This episode must, therefore, be dated in the autumn of 1659.
152 This epistle begins: "All Friends everywhere keep out of plots and bustling and the arm of flesh." A little later he writes again: "Stand in the fear and dread of the Lord God; His power, life, light, seed and wisdom, by which ye may take away the occasion of wars, and so know a kingdom which hath no end, and fight for that with spiritual weapons, which takes away the occasion of the carnal; and there gather men to war, as many as ye can, and set up as many as ye can with these weapons. G. F."
153 After leaving London, he had travelled extensively through the eastern and southern counties, revisiting Cornwall, where he had had such a long experience in Launceston jail in 1656.
154 These great meetings were at this period held out of doors, in fields or orchards, or on some high hill.
155 This meeting for the affairs of the Church, held at Skipton, in Yorkshire, in 1659, is generally considered to be the original yearly meeting.
156 "Naked "means naked to the waist. There are a few other instances of similar actions in England and America.
157 This is the beginning of what was later known as the "Meeting for Sufferings," which has been throughout its history a remarkable body. The minutes of the Meeting for Sufferings date from Fifth month 22d, 1675.
158 This is the second time the striking character of his eyes has been commented on.
159 This was just at the troublous time when Charles II. was coming to the throne, and the kingdom was being reorganized. Every traveller was suspected, and every gathering of people was watched.
160 George Fox never admitted that the Quakers were a sect, nor did any Friend of the first fifty years. There was but one Church, composed of those who obeyed the Light and in whom Christ dwelt, and of this Church Fox and his followers claimed to be members. This position has been ably put in Thomas Hancock's "Peculium" - a Prize Essay.
161 Margaret Fell was now the head of Swarthmore Hall, Judge Fell having died in 1658. As the arrest was made from her house she felt herself implicated in the false charge. She wrote a vigorous letter about the case to the proper magistrates.
162 Nunenton was only two miles from his home at Drayton, but he seems not to have stopped for a visit.
163 In 1658 Fox had written: "I went to Reading where I was under great exercises and sufferings and in great travail of spirit for about ten weeks." This was apparently over the disturbed political situation and he tells us that at this time he "had a sight and sense of the king's return."
164 Poor George little realized how futile this promise was to prove, or how soon the whips of Oliver were to become scorpions under the new order of affairs.
165 In this instance Fifth-monarchy men, whose insurrection brought on the new persecution.
166 Fox wrote a tender letter to the sufferers in prison, and "a Declaration from the harmless, innocent people of God called Quakers" was sent to the King.
167 These Friends, in their use of signs and striking symbolisms, were undoubtedly following in the steps of the Hebrew prophets. Both William Sympson and diehard Sale revere squeezed in Little Ease, the latter, being very stout, came to his death as a result. "Little Ease" was a hole hewed out of a rock; the breadth across seventeen inches; from the back to the inside of the great door at the top seven inches; at the shoulders, eight inches; at the breast, nine and a half inches; from the top to the bottom one yard and a half, with a device to lessen the height for purposes of torture.
168 We have already seen how frequently George Fox had what nowadays are called telepathic experiences.
169 Whittier has beautifully told the story of Samuel Shattuck's mission in his poem, "The King's Missive." Longfellow has made the sufferings of the Quakers the subject of his dramatic poem, "New England Tragedies." The story of Quaker sufferings is told in George Bishop's "New England Judged." The best modern book on the subject is Hallowell's "Quaker Invasion of Massachusetts." Four Friends were executed - William Robinson, Marmaduke Stevenson, William Ledra, and Mary Dyer.
170 Here is the title page to this curious old book which is now very rare, and is much valued by collectors: "A Battle-Door for Teachers & Professors to learn Singular and Plural; You to Many, and Thou to One: Singular One, Thou; Plural Many, You, Wherein is shewed forth by Grammar, or Scripture Examples, how several Nations and People have made a distinction between Singular and Plural, And First. In the former part of this Book, Called the English Battle-Door, may be seen how several People have spoken Singular and Plural, As the Apharsathkites The Tarpelites, The Apharsites, The Archevites, The Babylonians, The Susanchites, The Dehavites, The Elamites, The Temanites, The Naomites, The Shuites, The Buzites, The Moabites, The Hevites, The Edomites, The Philistines, The Amalekites, The Sodomites, The Hittites, The Midianites, &c. Also, in this Book is set forth Examples of the Singular and Plural About Thou, and You in several Languages divided into distinct Battle-Doors, or Forms, or Examples; English, Latine, Italian, Greek, Hebrew, Caldec, Syriack, Arabick, Persiack, Ethiopick, Samaritan, Coptick or Egyptick, Armenian, Saxon, Welch, Mence, Cornish, French, Spanish, Portugal, High-Dutch, Low Dutch, Danish, Bohemian, Slavonian, and how Emperors and others have used the Singular Word to One; and how the Word You (to one) came first from the Pope. Likewise some examples, in the Polonian, Lithvanian, Irish and East-Indian, Together with the Singular and Plural Words thou and you, in Swedish, Turkish, Muscovian and Curlandian tongues, - In the latter part of this Book are contained several bad unsavoury words gathered first for certain School Books, which have been taught Boyes in England, which is a Rod and a Whip to the School Masters in England and elsewhere who teach such Books. Geo. Fox, Jno. Stubbs, Benjamin Furley. "London: Printed for Robt. Wilson, and are to be sold at his Shop at the Signe of the Black-Spread-Eagle and Wind-Mil in Martins le Grand 1660."
171 These Friends undoubtedly believed that the principles of truth which they had discovered would ultimately prevail over the entire globe. "Prester John's country" was Abyssinia. Prester John was a legendary Christian priest, who was believed in the early Middle Ages to reign over this Eastern country. About this time Catherine Evans and Sarah Chevers, in their travels, were put in the inquisition-prison at Malta, from which Fox secured their release, through the influence of Lord D'Aubeny, a Roman Catholic.
172 Friends are married without clergyman or magistrate. The bridal couple stand up in a religious assembly, and, taking each other by the hand, promise to be husband and wife till death.
173 It is estimated that at this time there were not less than 4,500 Friends in the prisons of England and Wales. This letter to the King is strikingly direct and straightforward.
174 This was an act passed in 1662, "for preventing mischiefs and dangers that may arise by certain persons called Quakers, and others refusing to take oaths." The act declared it "altogether unlawful and contrary to the word of God" to refuse to take an oath, or to persuade another person to refuse to do so. It further made it an offense for more than five persons, "commonly called Quakers," "to assemble in any place under pretense of joining in a religious worship not authorized by the laws of this realm."
175 This letter well illustrates the difficulties of George Fox's style. The letter manifests a profound and beautiful spirit, but the phraseology is none too clear. He means: "Dear Edward is living in God, who is invisible and unchangeable; settle your own lives down into that same living God whose divine presence manifested in Edward Burrough has begotten a spiritual life in you, and you will feel yourselves united in spirit and life with the dear departed one."
177 "Truth" is used here and often in Friends' writings for the Cause which Friends represented.
178 Most of the Quakers who suffered in prison during the reign of Charles were imprisoned for refusing to take the oath.
179 This would be August of our calendar. Again the pen was busy during these weeks in jail, and many epistles and documents were written. A Baptist preacher, named Wiggan, who had been a great opponent of Fox, was brought into straits over the oath which he finally took. The episode furnishes this interesting entry: "This Wiggan was poor, and while he was prisoner at Lancaster he sent into the country, and got money gathered for relief of the poor people of God in prison; and many people gave freely, thinking it had been for us, when indeed it was for himself. But when we heard of it, we laid it upon him, and wrote into the country, that Friends might let the people know the truth of the matter, that it was not our manner to have collections made for us, and that those collections were only for Wiggan and another, a drunken preacher of his society, who was so drunk, that once he lost his breeches."
180 "A prĉmunired person" is one who has incurred the penalty of being put out of the protection of the crown, of having his lands, goods and chattels forfeited to the crown and of remaining in prison during the sovereign's pleasure.
181 These "four chief religions which have been got up since the apostles' days" are respectively the Roman Catholic, the Episcopalian, Presbyterian and Independent, i. e., Congregational.
182 Scarborough Castle is so nearly demolished that it is now impossible to locate the rooms in which Fox was confined. The room in which he was finally quartered was on the extreme seaside of the castle and has been entirely destroyed. This year of fearful imprisonment following the severe confinement at Lancaster nearly broke down his wonderful constitution. He never again had the same physical vigor and power. Note his healthy humor in the little joke with the Papist.
183 George Fox had a very keen eye for "judgments" which came upon persons who abused him or hindered his work. It accords completely with the ideas of the time, and is one of the things which he had not transcended.
184 This "sickness" was the London "plague" of 1665.
185 This was Thomas Ibbett, of Huntingdonshire. He went distracted a little later, and, standing in Cheapside during the great fire, he tried to stop its progress with his outspread arms, so that he nearly perished in the flames. For a remarkable prophecy of the "great plague" see "Writings of George Fox the Younger," 1662, pages 219-221.
186 The days of Oliver Cromwell.
187 In nothing did Fox show his originality and insight more clearly than in his work of organizing the Society which his ministry had drawn together. During his long imprisonment many internal difficulties had arisen, which showed that the Society was too loosely organized for a permanent work in the world. The rest of his life - twenty-four years - was mainly devoted to this work of perfecting the system of meetings and government, though his ministry meantime in no way slackened. The first system of Discipline, printed in 1669 by his opponents, under the title, "Canons and Institutions," was drawn up soon after the release from Scarborough Castle.
188 On this broad principle, of teaching everything useful and civil in creation, the work of Friends began in the cause of education. The subsequent history of their educational work is notable.
190 The "Bristol Register of Friends" shows the date of the marriage of George Fox to Margaret Fell to have been "Eighth month" 27th, 1669.
191 During the next four years George Fox and his wife were almost continually separated from each other. About three months after their marriage Margaret Fox was thrown into Lancaster prison, where she was kept until a few weeks before her husband sailed on his memorable trip to the West Indies and the American colonies.
192 In a very keen letter Fox told the magistrates that this act would have prevented the twelve apostles and the seventy disciples from meeting!
193 This trial at the Old Bailey is reported in full in the Preface to the Works of William Penn. It is one of the most interesting episodes in his life, and, from a legal point of view, it is one of the most important jury trials of that century. William Penn had thrown in his lot with the Quakers definitely in 1666, though he had been influenced by the preaching of Thomas Loe while he was a student in Oxford University in 1659.
194 Near Rochester.
195 This is another of the times in Fox's life when he underwent serious physical changes as a result of psychical disturbance.
196 This was in 1669, about three months after their marriage. The sentence of prĉmunire was passed against Margaret Fell in 1663, so that for about seven (Fox says ten) years she was the Binges prisoner, and her estate was in jeopardy.
197 He speaks of "the yearly meeting" as though it were a well-established institution. Norman Penney has sent me an interesting extract from Barclay's "Letters of the Early Friends," which traces the development of the yearly meeting: "There was a yearly meeting settled at Skipton in Yorkshire for all the northern and southern countries, . . . and then the yearly meeting was removed to John Crooks, . . . and afterwards the yearly meeting was kept at Balley, in Yorkshire, and likewise at Skipton, in the year 1660. And from thence it was moved to London the next year, where it hath been kept ever since," p. 312 from a document said to have been by George Fox, but only since 1672 has it been held in London without intermission. The series of yearly meeting minutes commences 23d of Third month, 1671.
198 Which would be August by the unreformed calendar.
199 A Moorish pirate ship, named from Sallee, a seaport of Morocco. This incident not only indicates Fox's simple faith in God but it also is a good illustration of the way in which he inspired confidence in others. The captain believes in him.
200 As George Fox was too ill to travel, the meetings for worship and for business were held at the house where he was staying. At these meetings he gave much valuable counsel. Here he first met with slavery and dealt with it. "I desired them also that they would cause their overseers to deal mildly and gently with their negroes, and not use cruelty towards them as the manner of some hath been and is; and that after certain years of servitude, they would make them free."
201 In order that it might he positively clear that he "exalted Christ in all His offices," he wrote an extended Letter to the Governor of Barbadoes. The Letter takes the form of a declaration of faith and is often referred to as an authoritative statement of the belief of Friends. It was, however, not written for that purpose, and it is not by any means a full statement of their belief. It does not even mention the principle which held the leading place in all Fox's teaching and preaching. The Letter to the governor was written to clear Friends from false charges and it dwells solely on the points on which Fox is rumored to be unsound, or charged with dangerous teaching. The earliest "declaration of faith" of the Quakers was issued by Christopher Holder, John Copeland and Richard Doudney, from Boston prison in 1657. The earliest statement issued in England was Richard Farnsworth's "Confession and Profession of Faith in God," London, 1658.
202 March 8th, 1672.
203 John Burnyeat travelled extensively and did much valuable work in America. See the Journal of John Burnyeat, reprinted in Volume II. of Friends' Library.
204 Eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay.
205 Local word for Indian chief or headman.
206 In Delaware.
207 That is, kindly-spirited.
208 George Bishop, in "New England Judged," p. 351, says that New England Yearly Meeting was set up in 1661. John Burnyeat, who had attended it in 1671, says in his Journal. "It begins in the ninth of the Fourth month every year, and continues for much of a week, and is a general meeting once a year for all Friends in New England." The records for several years after its origin were destroyed by fire. They are, however, complete from 1683 to date.
209 For an account of Fox's relations with Roger Williams see note in next chapter.
210 "Shelter Island" lies at the Eastern end of Long Island, between Gardiner's Bay and Little Peconic Bay. Nathaniel Sylvester was the sole proprietor of the island, and he made it a shelter for persecuted Friends from New England.
211 Point Judith.
212 Rye is now in New York State. The boundary between New York and Connecticut was long in dispute. At this time it seems Rye was in Governor Winthrop's territory.
213 Now Governor's Island.
214 In New Jersey.
215 This narrative has sometimes been questioned and sometimes been taken to prove that Fox was an instrument in working miracles. Neither solution is satisfactory, or necessary. Recent medical annals give similar cases. A dislocated neck is not necessarily fatal. The incident shows again Fox's readiness in dealing coolly and skillfully with hard situations. He endeavors to do what can be done.
216 It is not easy to follow Fox's scanty itinerary. 'There are two Tinicum islands in the Delaware (it is called "Dinidock" in the first edition of the Journal). The crossing was probably made at the upper island, which is just in front of what is now the city of Burlington, though this would be hardly ninety miles from Middletown Harbour, as he estimates. He then travels down across the very country which Friends afterwards settled under the leadership of William Penn. There is evidence to show that the idea of forming in America a colony of Friends originated with George Fox. We learn from a letter of Josiah Coale, a Friend who had travelled extensively among the Indians, that George For had commissioned him to treat with the Susquehanna Indians for the purchase of a strip of territory. Fox's letter is not preserved, but Josiah Coale's answer is among the Swarthmore MSS., and is as follows: "Dear George, - As concerning Friends buying a piece of land of the Susquehanna Indians, I have spoken of it to them and told them what thou said concerning it, but their answer was that there is no land that is habitable or fit for situation beyond Baltimore's liberty [i.e., beyond the domain of Lord Baltimore,] till they come to or near the Susquehanna fort, and besides William Fuller, who was the chief man amongst Friends with the Indians . . . is withdrawn at present, . . . so that without him little can be done at present with the Indians; and besides, these Indians are at war with another nation of Indians, who are very numerous, and it is doubted by some that in a little space they will be so destroyed that they will not be a people. Thine in the truth, JOSIAH COALE." This letter was written in 1660, twelve years before this American visit. About the same time William Penn's thoughts were turning in the same direction. Writing about Pennsylvania in 1681, he says: "This I can say that I had an opening of joy as to these parts in the year 1661, at Oxford twenty years since." By a purchase made through John Fenwick and Edward Byllynge. Friends obtained possession of a great section of New Jersey in 1674, the year after George Fox arrived in England. There can be no doubt that his thoughts were on future settlements here as he travelled through what is now Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
217 The "desperate river" was probably the Brandywine, and the Christiana "River" is Christiana Creek, formed from a junction of Red Clay and White Clay Creeks. It finds the Delaware about two miles below Wilmington. The Bohemia and Sassafras Rivers are two of the many arms of Chesapeake Bay. The "Kentish Shore" is the shore of Kent County, Maryland. Tredhaven (or Thirdhaven) is farther down the Bay, where the boats were so thick it seemed like the Thames! A meeting was established here which remains until the present time.
218 In Delaware.
219 Now St. Michael's.
220 What is now called Baltimore Yearly Meeting was established in 1672.
221 Now Somerton.
222 Now Chowan.
223 Now Roanoke.
224 The letter began as follows: "Dear heart, "This day we came into Bristol, near night, from the sea; glory to the Lord God over all for ever, who was our convoy, and steered our course! who is the God of the whole earth, of the seas and winds, and made the clouds His chariots, beyond all words, blessed be His name for ever! He is over all in His great power and wisdom. Amen."
225 When George Fox married Margaret Fell she had one son George, and seven daughters, as follows: Margaret, who married John Rous; Bridget, who married John Draper; Isabel, twice married, first to William Romans and then to Abraham Morrice; Sarah, who married William Mead (Penn's companion in the famous trial) Mary, who married Thomas Lower; Susanna, who married William Ingram, and Rachel, who married Daniel Abraham.
226 This is the beginning of a serious opposition to Fox's system of government, which finally grew to an open schism. It was headed by John Wilkinson and John Story. It was one of the most trying struggles of Fox's life.
227 That is, in reclaiming those who have gone astray.
228 Margaret Fox and her daughter were sent on under the escort of a Friend, a merchant from Bristol, who, Fox says, "seemed to have met us providentially to assist my wife and her daughter in their journey homewards, when by our imprisonment they were deprived of our company and help." Fox had just received a message that his mother was in her last illness, and it had been his intention to part from his wife in Warrickshire and have a last visit with his aged mother. This privilege never came, for Mary Fox, of Fenny Drayton, died while her son was in Worcester prison.
229 This is Chief Justice Sir Matthew Hale.
230 It will be noticed that Fox is set at liberty on the errors in his indictment, and not on a judicial decision that it is illegal to imprison on a prĉmunire.
231 George Fox was now only fifty-one years old, but he was prematurely broken by the sufferings and exposures which only such an iron constitution as he possessed could have endured for thirty years. He still had fourteen years to live, but from now on a decided change appears. There is no cessation of activity, but it is activity of a quieter sort. Only one important mission journey falls in these years - the visit to Holland and Germany. Henceforth he makes his pen speak for him. Epistles and books are the main results of these fourteen years. The Journal grows dry and devoid of dramatic interest, and our gleanings from it will be few. He is much at Swarthmore or at Kingston, near London where Margaret Rous, a daughter of his wife, lived.
234 Fox did not see Roger Williams in Providence, though the latter had a personal tilt with John Burnyeat at Newport in 1671. After George Fox had left Providence and had gone back down the Bay with his companion, Nicholas Easton, governor of Rhode Island Roger Williams rowed to Newport with a challenge to a debate. Fox, however, had already left the island, and was well on his way toward Long Island. Williams then wrote, what Fox elsewhere calls "Roger Williams's 'Book of Lyes,'" a book bearing the grimly humorous title, "George Fox digged out of his Burrows," Boston, 1676. (See Publications of the Narragansett Club, Vol. V., pp. xx.-xlv., Providence, 1872.) Fox and Burnyeat reply to this "slanderous book" in a sixty-five-page pamphlet entitled, "A New England Fire Brand Quenched." Fox seemed not to know just where the famous "apostle of soul liberty" lived as he says, "a priest of New England (or some colony thereabouts!)"
235 Whither they had gone for some religious service.
236 This Galenus Abrahams was a Mennonite and a man of considerable note. Sewell, the Quaker historian, who had himself been a disciple of Abrahams, tells us that in this discussion, which lasted five hours, the latter maintained the position that "nobody nowadays could be accepted as a messenger of God unless he confirmed the same by miracle." (See Sewell's "History of Friends," Vol. II., page 368, edition of 1823. See, also, Barclay's "Religious Societies of the Commonwealth," pages 174, 251.) During his second visit to Holland, Fox had another interview with the famous Mennonite which gives an interesting side light on the penetrating power of Fox's eyes, already noticed. "Before I left I went to visit one Galenus Abrahams, a teacher of chief note among the Mennonites, or Baptists. I had been with him when I was in Holland about seven years before and William Penn and George Keith had disputes with him. He was then very high and shy, so that he would not let me touch him, nor look upon him (by his good will) but bid me 'Keep my eyes off him, for,' he said, 'they pierced him.' But now he was very loving and tender, and confessed in some measure to truth; his wife also and daughter were tender and kind, and we parted from them very lovingly."
237 He had previously had a trying time with opponents who were "very unruly and troublesome" in some meetings held at the home of his friend Thomas Ellwood, at Hunger Hill, near London.
238 This is an interesting letter to John III. of Poland, in which are given many passages from the words of sovereigns, both ancient and modern, in behalf of liberty of conscience. The letter is an able and valuable document, written, as the writer says, "in love to thy immortal soul and for thy eternal good." It closes with this postscript: "Postscript. - 'Blessed be the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.' And remember, O king, Justin Martyr's two Apologies to the Roman emperors, in the defence of the persecuted Christians; and that notable Apology, which was written by Tertullian, upon the same subject; which are not only for the Christian religion, but against all persecution for religion."
241 Here is a beautiful letter to those who are suffering: "Dear, suffering lambs, for the name and command of Jesus; be valiant for His truth, and faithful, and ye will feel the presence of Christ with you. Look at Him who suffered for you, who hath bought you, and will feed you; who saith, 'Be of good comfort, I have overcome the world'; who destroys the devil and his works, and bruises the serpent's head. I say, look to Christ, your sanctuary, in whom ye have rest and peace. To you it is given not only to believe, but to suffer for His name's sake. They that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution by the ungodly professors of Christ Jesus, who live out of Him. Therefore be valiant for God's truth upon the earth, and look above that spirit that makes you suffer up to Christ, who was before it was, and will be when it is gone."
242 In 1683.
243 On First-day at the Savoy.
244 Spring of 1684.
245 The journal of the second visit to Holland gives little matter of fresh interest. The visit lasted from the 31st of May to the 16th of July, 1684.
246 This letter to the Duke of Holstein ends as follows: "I entreat the duke to consider these things. I entreat him to mind God's grace and truth in his heart that is come by Jesus; that by his Spirit of Grace and truth he may come to serve and worship God in his Spirit and truth; so that he may serve the living eternal God that made him, in his generation, and have his peace in Christ, that the world cannot take away. And I do desire his good, peace, and prosperity in this world, and his eternal comfort and happiness in the world that is everlasting. Amen. G. F. "London, 26th of the 8th Month, 1684."
247 The Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II., landed in Lyme, in Devonshire, hoping to secure the throne, but he was defeated at Sedgemoor and captured July 6th, 1685.
248 On the 16th of May James II. issued a warrant commanding that all Quakers who had been convicted on charges of prĉmunire, or for not swearing, or for not going to church, should be released. By the execution of this warrant about fifteen hundred Quakers were set free. Naturally the yearly meeting which followed was a happy time. This "Order of Release" is preserved in the Archives in Devonshire House in London. It is written on eleven skins of vellum, with the king's portrait at the top. In the list is the name of John Bunyan, who got included in this Royal Pardon.
249 September, 1688.
250 This letter was written October 17th, 1688. William landed in England November 5th, 1688.
251 March, 1689.
252 November, 1690.
253 This epistle, the last he ever wrote, closes with a triumphant note and an optimistic outlook on the world: "Christ the Seed reigns; and His power is over all, who bruises the serpent's head, and destroys the devil and his works, and was before he was. So all of you live and walk in Christ Jesus; that nothing may be between you and God, but Christ, in whom ye have salvation, life, rest and peace with God. "As for the affairs of truth in this land and abroad, I hear that in Holland and Germany, and thereaway, Friends are in love, unity, and peace: and in Jamaica, Barbadoes, Nevis, Antigua, Maryland, and New-England, I hear nothing, but Friends are in unity and peace. The Lord preserve them all out of the world (in which there is trouble) in Christ Jesus, in whom there is peace, life, love, and unity. Amen. My love in the Lord Jesus Christ to all Friends everywhere in your land, as though I named them. G. F. "London. the 10th of the 11th month, 1690" (January 10th, 1691).