Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

then rode by the coach side, and spoke 10 bim, neither eat of his bread nor drink of his • Declaring,' as he says, “what the Lord gave me drink;” let the reader ask what was Fox's to say to him, of the condition and of the suffer- opinion, founded on dear-bought experience, ings of Friends in the nation ; showing him how of this sincere and straight-forward monarch. contrary this persecution was to Christ and his Apostles, and to Christianity. At the park gate For what crime was Fox imprisoned ? of St. James' they parted, and Cromwell invited Alas! does not the termination of each imhim to come to his house."--p. 137.

prisonment show ? We have it recorded “ In the course of a few days he had an inter: again and again—" At length he was freed view with the Protector at Whitehall, accompanied without a trial, without a hearing, without by Edward Pyott. George Fox was very urgent a charge of any kind being brought against on behalf of the Friends, stating how unjustly him." We doubt whether the annals of they were persecuted, and how great were their sufferings throughout his dominions, for con any nation under the sun can produce a science sake alone; he pleaded their right, in match for the unrighteous persecutions common with all peaceable subjects, to Cromwell's borne for conscience' sake under that liberal protection.”—p. 137.

government, the Commonwealth of Eng" A report was also spread of his (Cromwell's) land. Immediately before Cromwell's death intention to assume the crown. George Fox went Fox bad a final interview with him, in the to him and warned him against accepting it, and capacity of intercessor for the sect which he also of other dangers, such as his suffering the innocent 10 be oppressed by the unjust, and that if

had founded. What impression he made he did not put a stop to this evil, he would bring is unknown; for the Protector's days were shame and ruin upon himself and his posterity. numbered—he was on the eve of that sumCromwell appeared to take his advice very well,” mons which the weak and the powerful &c.-p. 163.

alike obey. We give our author's brief acAppeared to take his advice very well;" count of the meeting :but his course remained unaltered. The priests of all denominations, and the rabble

George Fox went again to see the Protector, whom they incited, continued their persecu- to act with justice and impartiality to all his sub

to try once more how far he could influence him tions : procured the arrest and ill-usage of jects, and thus put a stop 10 the sufferings of the Fox and all the leaders of his sect; and injured Friends, who were now unjustly deprived Cromwell remained as before a passive if of the liberties and privileges secured to all freenot approving spectator.

men by the great charter of England. He had Since the publication of Mr. Carlyle's often before warned him of his unjust neglect of very able “Life of Cromwell” it has become this portion of his unoffending and innocent subrather a fashion to suppose that powerful jects, and had told him, that if he persisted in re

fusing any interference on their behalf, God would man greatly injured by the charge of hypo- soon rend the power out of his hands; and that crisy formerly preferred against him, and to a day of reverse and thick darkness was coming hold him up as a pattern of straight forward-over those high professions, even a day of dark. ness and sincerity. Now, the elements of ness that should be felt. Cromwell was at straight-forwardness and sincerity do not ap- Hampton Court. George Fox says, 'I met him pear to us to consist in conduct like that of riding in the park, and before I came to him, as he Cromwell, a sovereign prince, towards Fox, wait (or apparition) of death go forth

against him;

rode at the head of his life guard, I saw and felt a a peaceful and inoffensive subject.

Since

and when I came to him be looked like a dead rity does not, in our view, consist in wring- After I had laid the sufferings of Friends ing a man's hand, and, with tears in one's before him, and had warned him, according as I eyes, begging him to come again, when he was moved to speak to him, he bid me come to his had just permitted him to suffer the grossest house. So I returned to Kingston; and the next indignities; neither in providing sumptuous day went up to Hampton Court

, to speak further dinners for him one day, and seeing him with him. But when I came he was sick; and cast into a loathsome dungeon the next tors were not willing that I should speak to him.

one Harvey, who waited on him, told me the docwithout raising so much as a finger to assist So I passed away, and never saw him more."" him. And be it recollected that dungeons p. 168. and fair words were continually alternated with some regularity, not merely on one oc- After the Restoration the persecution of casion, but times and oft ; and the ruler the Quakers still continued ; but, as before, knew the sterling worth of his subject, and it appears to have proceeded entirely from lamented that he was not to be bought with the Roundheads, especially those who had a bribe. Let the reader repeat, again and turned renegades to their old faith, and put again, Fox's answer to this powerful and on the more fashionable religion established crafty potentate—“Tell the Protector I will by law, in order to conciliate those in power,

man.

and obtain a share of the temporalities of character they had represented him to be, they the church.

liberated hiin upon his parole, to appear of bis Fox was arrested at Swarthmore, on a

own accord, and deliver up his own accusation charge of “having great meetings up and before the proper authorities in London ; by this down," and was kept a close prisoner in the own proceedings, and the falsity of their charges

act tacitly acknowledging the injustice of their “ Dark House” in Lancaster Castle. He against him; because, if they had been true only was committed by one Porter, a violent and in part, nothing could justify their setting such a bitter Roundhead, but one who had just person at large upon parole. Thus he left Lanrenegaded to the faith now uppermost. caster Castle, without the payment of a single fee, While in Lancaster Castle numbers of rude travelled at his leisure, visited his friends, and held people were admitted to see him, merely for many great meetings on his journey; committing the purpose of abusing and insulting him. had been imprisoned, and in which offences his

over and over again the very offences for which he “ One time,” he says,

16 there came two

persecutors now silently acquiesced, since, by young priests, and very abusive they were ; liberating him upon his bare word to surrender the worst of people could not be worse.” himself, they consented to that which they well But perhaps the climax of abuse came from knew would be his only line of conduct. a woman whom he terms “old Justice “ Upon his arrival in London be found a great Preston's wife, of Howker Hall.” She concourse of people assembled at Charing Cross, told him his tongue should be cut out, and to witness the burning of the bowels of the late that he should be hanged ; at the saine time quartered. The next day he went before the Lord

king's judges, who had been hanged, drawn, and showing him a gallows, which we may ima- Chief Justice Foster, and Judge Mallett

, and pregine she had brought in her pocket in order senting them his own accusation, they read it to illustrate and point her invective. Hav- through till they came to the words, ' that he and ing applied for a copy of his mittimus, it was his friends were embroiling the nation in blood," refused him; but he appears to have gained &c. Upon which they struck their hands upon a knowledge of its contents by two of his the table

. George Fox told them, I am the man fellow-professors, who had perused it. He of any such thing as a new-born child, and had

whom that charge is against, but I am as innocent owed his liberation on this occasion to the brought it up myself; and some of my friends intercession of Margaret Fell, the lady at came with me, without any guard.' They then whose house he was staying, and whom he observed that he stood with his hat on, and said afterwards married. This excellent person to him, What, do you stand with your hat on!' went

up

to London, and appealed personally He replied, ' that he did not stand so in any conto the king on behalf of her ill-used friend.

tempt of them. In consequence of the King's She met with a most gracious reception ; . Will you appear to-morrow, about ten o'clock,

Bench prison being full, Judge Foster asked him, and the application resulted in the liberation at the King's Bench bar in Westminster Hall? of Fox. There is in the narrative matter of He said, “Yes, if the Lord give me strength.' the highest interest.

Then Judge Foster remarked to the other Judge, Reverting to Margaret Fell's application to If he says, yes, and promises it, you may take the king, it appeared from the nature of his com- his word; and then he was dismissed. The next. mitment that the king could not release him; he morning, he says, I was brought into the middle therefore ordered a writ of habeas corpus to be is of the court; and as soon as I came in I was sued for his removal 10 London, in order that his moved to look about, and, turning to the people, case might be referred to the judges. The trouble said, 'Peace be among you ;' and the power of now was how to get him removed to town; for the Lord sprung over the court. if he was only sent under the care of iwo bailiffs, against me was then read openly. The people the charge would be considerable; but to send him were moderate, and the judges cool and loving ; under the guard of a troop of horse was quite out and the Lord's mercy was to them. of the question; therefore, to save their pockets, “ But when they came to that part which said the magistrates told him, that if he would put in that I and my friends were embroiling the nation bail that he would be in London hy such a day of in blood, and raising a new war, that I was an term, he might go up with some of his friends.' enemy to the king, &c.,' they listed up their hands. George Fox told thein, he would neither put in | Then stretching out my arms, I said, 'I am the bail, nor give one piece of silver to the gaoler, for man whom that charge is against, but I am as inhe was an innocent man, upon whom they had nocent as a child concerning the charge, and have Jaid a false charge, and imprisoned wrongfully. never learned any war postures; and do ye Nevertheless, if they would let him go up with think, that if I and my friends had been such men one or two of his friends, he would be in London as the charge declares, that I would have brought such a day, if the Lord should permit, and would it up myself against myself? or that I should have carry up the charge against himself: So incon been suffered to come up with only one or two of sistent was the conduct of his persecutors, that, to my friends with me ? Had I been such a man as save themselves the charge of conveying him up this charge sets forth, 1 had need to have been to town under an escort, suitable for the dangerous guarded up with a troop or two of horse!' Then

[ocr errors]

The charge

P. 187.

the judge asked me whether it should be filed, or, blished Church. He well knew that this what I would do with it? I answered, “Ye are

was the readiest way of retaining that judges, and able, I hope, to judge in this matter; iherefore

do ye what ye will with it; I leave it to sceptre which he had seen forcibly wrested you.' Then stood up Esquire Marsh, who was

from his father's grasp, and which might, at of the king's bed-chamber, and told the judges, it a moment's notice, be required at his hand. was the king's pleasure that I should be set at He took no kind of interest in the religious liberty, seeing no accuser came up against me.' squabbles of the day; and no greater misThey then asked me, "whether I would put it to take could have been made than that of those the king and council ? I said, Yes, with a good factious Roundheads who, renegading to will. The writ of habeas corpus and the mitti Episcopalianism, persecuted their brother mus were thereupon sent to the king.”—p. 185.

Dissenters, in the vain hope of ingratiating The king being satisfied of his innocence, themselves with this ease-loving monarch. commanded his secretary to send the follow- Charles was not deficient in personal ing order to Judge Mallet for his release :- courage; sufficient evidence on this point

“It is his Majesty's pleasure, that you give had been given years previously, at Wororder for releasing and setting at full liberty the cester; but the desire of peaceably enjoying person of George Fox, late a prisoner in Lancaster those luxuries and immoralities to which his Gaol, and commanded hither by an habeas-corpus. inclinations led, and of which his position And this signification of his Majesty's pleasure gave him the key, rendered him, in every shall be your sufficient warrant. Dated at White- respect, the very antipodes of his predecessor. hall, the 24th of October, 1660. " EDWARD NICHOLAS,”

Thus would he eschew as wearisome those “ For Sir Thomas Mallet, Knight,

very squabbles which his predecessor would “One of the Justices of the King's Bench.”- take under his own peculiar care, to foment,

inflame, discourage, or quash, as might be

most expedient. It seems impossible, in this case, to avoid In 1663, Fox once more visited his exa comparison between the gay, volatile, and cellent friend' at Swarthmore. As soon as licentious Charles, and the rigid, austere, his arrival was known among his old Presand sanctiinonious Cromwell, a comparison byterian enemies, a meeting was called, and which certainly results to the prejudice of it was resolved again to put him under arrest. the latter; not that we would palliate the It was, however, difficult to decide what excesses of Charles, or blame the austerity charge was to be preferred against himof Cromwell; but merely observe that the the old one, of holding a large meetings," simple aim at justice, the germ of that first would scarcely be sufficient, seeing that he Christian principle of doing as we would be had been liberated from his imprisonment done by, may exist amid all manner of indul- on that charge, by the king himself, and that gence and excess, though it must expire most unconditionally, and was allowed to go when religion is inade the bone of conten- wherever he pleased, and to hold meetings, tion for ascetics and bigots to snarl and large or small, without let or hindrance. It quarrel over. The feeling of the monarch, however happened that about this time there in both cases, was shared by those in author- was a great talk of a projected rising in the ity under him.

north, and Fox, ever on the alert in the Cromwell owed no less to his tact than to cause of peace and good-will, had issued an his sterling talent; brave, cool, far-sighted, address to the poorer country people, cauand fitted to command, he might have made tioning them against taking any part in the an efficient leader and ruler under any affair, and pointing out not only its unlaw. circumstances; but he had the tact to fulness, but the certain ruin that it would mount that religious night-mare with which bring on themselves. This truly benevothe nation was then oppressed; to ride it lent and patriotic document was agreed on not only with invincible courage and con- as the ground of arrest—by what ingenious summate skill, but to ride it as a hobby of his perversion we have never learned—but for own, and to sit identified with the creature, this was he thrown into prison, and subjectas man and horse are combined in the cen- ed to a series of persecutions and cruelties, taur; for from the moment he was in the the history of which might equal the saddle no one could distinguish the horse choicest records of the Inquisition. During from the rider.

Charles was a Roman this persecution, he underwent several mock Catholic in heart, although, yielding to that examinations and trials, the recital of which love of indolence for which his reign was so has been graphically given by himself, and pre-eminently distinguished, he professed sets forth, in so lucid a manner, the characacquiescence in the supremacy of the Esta-Iter of the man, and the nature of the perse

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

cution, that we shall make no apology for offends you. That is a low thing, that is not the extracting it at considerable length from the honor that I give to magistrales, for the true pages of his historian. At the first exami- honor is from above; which I have received, nation, one of the magistrates was a Roman

and I hope it is not the hat which ye look upon to

be the honor.' Catholic, and he began by accusing George

Chairman. · We look for the hat too. Fox of denying God, the church, and the Wherein do you show your respect to magistrales, faith. The following colloquy resulted. if

yon do not put off your hat?'

“G. Fox. In coming when they call me.' “ G. Fox. · Nay, I own God, and the true “ An officer of the court was then ordered to church, and the true faith. But what church dost take off his hat; and he was questioned again thou own ?

about the plot already alluded to; but finding they “ George Fox was aware of his religion, and had no grounds on which to substantiate this Middleton, feeling irritated by this retort, turned charge against him, they tendered to him the round angrily, and said, “You are a rebel and a oaths of allegiance and supremacy; and one of the traitor.'

justices asked him, · Whether he held it was unGeorge Fox. • To whom dost thou speak, or lawful to swear?" an unwarrantable question, whoin dost thou call rebel ?

because the act imposed either banishment or a “Middleton was now so enraged, that it was heavy fine upon any one who declared it to be unsome time before he could find utterance, but at lawful. last he said, he spoke it to him.'

“G. Fox. In the time of the law amongst the G. Fox, striking his hand upon the table. I Jews, before Christ came, the law commanded have suffered more in the royal cause than twenty them 10 swear; but Christ, who doth fulfil the like thee, or any that are here; for I have been law in his gospel-time, commands, “Swear not at cast into Derby prison for six months together, all;' and the apostle James forbids swearing, even and have suffered much because I would not take to them that were Jews, and who had the law of up arms against the late king, before Worcester God.' fight. I have been sent up prisoner out of my • He then produced the paper which he had own county, by Colonel Hacker, to Oliver Crom- written, and distributed it as a testimony against well, as a plotter to bring in King Charles, in the plots, and requested that it might be real ont in year 1654; and I have nothing but love and good open court, as it would show, of itself, whether it will to the king, and desire the eternal good and contained anything of a treasonable nature. This welfare of him and all his subjects.'

proposition was rejected, and he was not permitted « Justice Middleton. Did you ever hear the io make any other defence, but was committed to like ?'

prison for refusing to swear. And addressing the “G. Fox. Nay, ye may hear it again if ye court, he said, “All people take notice that I suffer will. For ye talk of the king, a company of you; for the doctrine of Christ, and for obedience to his but where were ye in Oliver's days ? and what did command.'—-p. 221. ye do for him? I have more love to the king, for his eternal good and welfare, than any of

you

The gaol at Lancaster was literally have.'

crainmed with Quakers, principally poor “ Justice Middleton. Bring the book, and put laboring men and small farmers, who had the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to him.' refused to pay tithes. Many of them had

“ This was the usual snare to entiap the Qua- been zealous royalists, and, before their kers when other charges against them failed. George Fox shrewdly asked him, · Whether he adoption of the peaceable doctrines of Quahad taken the oath of supremacy, who was a

kerism, had fought and bled for the late Catholic and a swearer? as for us, we cannot king, and had remained true to him to the swear at all, because Christ and his apostles have last. Their persecutors were fierce Roundforbidden it. This pointed query for the present heads, who had opposed them in former warded off the blow, the oaths were dispensed days, and who were overjoyed in the opwith, and he was dismissed upon his bare promise portunity of wreaking their vengeance on to appear at the next Lancaster sessions.”

5."-p. 220.

them

now, under the apparent sanction of

the law. Many of these poor people died And he kept his word. He presented himself at the winter assizes held at Lan-trials of Fox.

in prison. But we must proceed with the caster. When called for, he entered, as usual, with his hat on, a matter in which he

“ 1664. The assizes for this year commenced was very particular, never removing it on in prison ever since the last quarter-sessions, held

on the 14th of March, and G. Fox, who had lain any occasion for the purpose of paying re

upon

the 12th of January, was now brought up spect to men.

The court invariably objected before Judge Twisden: 'bis own account is as to a proceeding so entirely at variance with follows: when I was set at the bar, I said, custom.

“ Peace be amongst you all.”

“ Judge, looking at him. What ! do you come “Chairman. Do you know where you are ?' into court with your hat on?' Upon wbich the G. Fox. “Yes, I do; but it may be my hat I gaoler then took it off.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ G. Fox. The hat is not the honour that “ G. Fox. •1 say as I said before, “ whether comes from God.'

ought I to obey God or man, judge thou ?" If I Judge. “Will you take the oath of allegi. could take any oath at all, I could take this ; for ance, George Fox?"

I do not deny some oaths only, or on some occa“G. Fox. I never took any oath in my life, sious, but all oaths, according to Christ's doctrine, nor any covenant or engagement.'

who haih commanded his followers, “Not to swear • Judge. Well, will you swear or no?"

at all.”

Now, if thou, or any of you, or any “G. Fox. • I am a Christian, and Christ com- of your ministers or priests here, will prove that mands me “not to swear;" so does the apostie ever Christ or his apostles, after they had forbidJames; and whether I should obey God or man, den all swearing, commanded Christians to swear, do thou judge.

then I will swear.' “ Judge. I ask you again, whether you will “ Several priests were there, but none of them swear or no?

offered to speak. “G. Fox. I am neither Turk, Jew, nor “ Judge. “I am a servant of the king, and the Heathen, but a Christian, and should show forth king sent me not to dispute with you, but to put Christianity. Dost thou not know that Chris- the law into execution, therefore tender him the tians, in the primitive times, under the persecu- oath of allegiance.' tions, and some also of the martyrs in Queen Ma. G. Fox. If thou love the king, why dost ry's days, refused swearing, because Christ and thou break his word, and not keep his declarahis apostles had forbidden it? Ye bave had ex- tions and speeches, wherein he promised liberty perience enough, how many have first sworn for to tender consciences ? I am a man of tender the king, and then against him. But as for me I conscience, and in obedience to Christ's command, have never taken an oath in my life. My alle. I cannot swear.' giance does not lie in swearing, but in truth and “ Judge. Then you will not swear; take faithfulness ; for I honor all men, much more the him away, gaoler.'. king. But Christ, who is the Great Prophet, the “ G. Fox. It is for Christ's sake that I canKing of Kings, the Saviour and Judge of the not swear, and for obedience to his command I whole world, saith, “I must not swear.” Now, suffer; and so the Lord forgive you all.' whether must I obey Christ or thee? For it is “ He was now re-conducted to prison, and on tenderness of conscience, and in obedience to the the 16th of March, iwo days alierwards, was command of Christ, that I do not swear : and we again called into court. have the word of the king for tender consciences.* " The judge asked him, whether he would Dost thou own the king ?

traverse, stand mute, or submit.' He desired he “ Judge. “I do own the king.'

might have liberty to traverse the indictment, and “G. Fox. Why then dost thou not observe try it. his declaration from Breda, and his promises made Judge. • Take him away, I will have since he came to England, “ That no man should nothing to do with bim, take him away.' be called in question for matters of religion so long G. Fox. · Well, live in the fear of God, and as he lived peaceably?" If thou ownest the do justice.' king, wby dost thou call me in question, and .. Judge. Why, have I not done you justice ?' put me upon taking an oath, which is a matter of "G. Fox. That which thou hast done hath religion, seeing thou or none else can charge me been against the command of Christ.' Upon this with unpeaceable living ?

he was again consigned to prison to await ihe next Judge, irritated, and looking at him. Sirrah, assizes.”—p. 223. will you swear?'

G. Fox. “I am none of thy sirrahs, I am Fox appears to have felt himself much a Christian ; and for thee, an old man and a judge, aggrieved by the word “sirrah,” used on to sit there and give nicknames to prisoners, it this occasion : so much so indeed that shortdoes not become either thy grey hairs or thy office.' ly afterwards he wrote and published a pa

“ Judge. Well, I am a Christian too. “ G. Fox. Then do Christian works.'

per on the subject, addressed to “all judges “Judge.

• Sirrah! Thou thinkest to frighten whatsoever," and showing that the use of me with thy words.' Then checking himself, such epithets was not in accordance with and looking aside, he said, · Hark! I am using the usages of Heathens, Jews, or Christians. the word sirrah again,' and so checked himself. He cites a number of instances in support of

“G. Fox. “I spoke to thee in love; for that this assertion. language did not become thee, a judge. Thou oughtest to instruct a prisoner in the law, if he month of June, in the same year, and the same

“ The next Lancaster assizes were held in the were ignorant and out of the way.' “ Judge. “And I speak in love to thee too.'

judges, Twisden and Turner, came the circuit ; but G. Fox. • But love gives no nick-names'

ihis time Judge Turner sat on the crown-bench, “Judge. Well, George Fox, say, whether where George Fox was brought before him. He thou wilt take the oath, yea, or nay?

says “ Before I was called to the bar, I was put

among murderers and felons for about the space * Charles II. had pledged his word to the Qua. of two hours, the people, the justices, and judge, kers, that they should not be molested for their pe- also gazing upon me. After they had tried several culiar scruples, provided their conduct was peace others they called me to the bar, and empannelled able.

ajury; then the judge asked the justices “ Whether

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

.

« VorigeDoorgaan »