in love.' But after these opposers had run into much contention and wrangling, the power of the Lord struck down one of the chief of them, so that his spirit sunk, and he came to be sensible of the evil he had done in opposing God's heavenly power, and confessed his error before friends; and afterwards gave forth a paper of condemnation, wherein he declared, that he did wilfully oppose, (although I often warned him to take heed,) until the fire of the Lord did burn within him; and he saw the angel of the Lord with his sword drawn in his hand, ready to cut him off, &c.

Notwithstanding the opposition was made at the meeting, yet a very good and serviceable meeting it was, for occasion was thereby administered to answer their objections and cavils, and to open the services of women in and for the church. And at this meeting the women's meetings for that county were established in the blessed power of God.

After this I went to Marlborough and had a meeting there, to which some of the magistrates came, and were civil and moderate. Then passing on to Bartholomew Maylin's, I had a very precious meeting there; and from thence went a little beyond Ore, where we had a blessed meeting, and very large, as we had also soon after upon the border of Hampshire. Then turning into Oxfordshire, we visited friends there, and then went to Reading, where we had a large meeting; and from thence passing into Buckinghamshire, had many precious meetings in that county. After which we went upwards, visiting friends till we came to Kingston-upon-Thames, where my wife and her daughter Rachel met me. · I made no long stay at Kingston, but went to London, where I found the baptists and socinians, with some old apostates, were grown very rude, having printed many books against us; so that I had a great travail in the Lord's power, before I could get clear of that city. But blessed be the Lord, his power came over them all, and all their lying, wicked, scandalous books were answered. Then after a while I made a short journey into some parts of Essex and Middlesex, visiting friends at their meetings, and their children at their schools, and returned soon again to London. And after I had had some service there among friends, I went down to Kingston, and from thence to Stephen Smith's in Surrey, where was a very large meeting, many hundreds of people being at it. I staid in those parts till I had cleared myself of the service the Lord had given me to do there, and then returned by Kingston to

London, whither I felt my spirit drawn, having heard that many friends were had before the magistrates, and divers: imprisoned, both at London and in other cities and towns in the nation, for opening their shop-windows upon holidays and fast-days, (as they were called) and for bearing testimony against all such observations of days. Which friends could not but do, knowing that the true Christians did not observe the Jews' holidays in the apostles' times, neither could we observe the heathens' and papists' holidays (so called) which have been set up amongst those that are called Christians, since the apostles' days. For we were redeemed out of days by Christ Jesus, and brought into the day which hath sprung from on high, and are come into him who is Lord of the Jewish sabbath, and the substance of the Jews' signs.

Now after I had staid some time in London, labouring for some relief and ease to friends in this case, I took leave of friends there, and went into the country with my wife and her daughter Rachel, to Hendon in Middlesex, and from thence to William Penn's at Rickmansworth, in Hertfordshire, whither Thomas Lower (who married another of my wife's daughters) came to us the next day to accompany us in our journey northward. After we had visited friends thereabouts, we passed to a friend's house near Aylesbury, and from thence to Bray Doily's at Adderbury in Oxfordshire, where on the first day we had a large and precious meeting; and truth being well spread, and friends in those parts much increased in number, two or three new, meetings were then set up thereabouts.

Now at night, as I was sitting at supper, I felt I was taken, yet I said nothing to any body of it then. But getting out next morning, we travelled through the country into Worcestershire, and went to John Halford's house at Armscot in Tredington parish, where we had a very large and precious meeting in his barn, the Lord's powerful presence being eminently with us and amongst us. After the meeting was done, and friends (most of them) gone away, as I was sitting in the parlour, discoursing with some friends that staid, there came to the house one Henry Parker, called a justice, and with him one Rowland Hains, a priest of Hunniton in Warwickshire. This justice came to know of the meeting by means of a woman friend, who being nurse to a child of his, asked leave of her mistress to go to the meeting to see me; and she speaking of it to her husband, he and the priest plotted together to come and break up the meeting and apprehend me. But by means of their sitting long at dinner (it being the day on which his child

was sprinkled) they came not till the meeting was over, and friends mostly gone. But though there was no meeting when they came, yet I being there in the house, who was the person they aimed at, the said Henry Parker took me, and Thomas Lower for company with me; and though he had nothing to lay to our charge, sent us both to Worcester jail, by a strange sort of mittimus, a copy of which here followeth:

To the Constables of Tredington, in the said county of

Worcester, and to all constables and tithing-men of the
several townships and villages within the said parish of
Tredinglon, and to the keeper of the jail for the county of

Complaint being made to me, being one of his majesty's justices of the peace for the said county of Worcester, that within the said parish of Tredington in the said county, there has of late been several meetings of divers persons, to the number of four hundred persons and upwards at a time, upon pretence of exercise of religion, otherwise than what is established by the laws of England. And many of the said persons, some of them were teachers, and came from the north, and others from the remote parts of the kingdom; which tends to the prejudice of the reformed and established religion, and may prove prejudicial to the public peace. And it appearing to me that there was this present day, such a meeting as aforesaid, to the number of two hundred or thereabouts, at Armscot in the said parish of Tredington, and that George Fox of London, and Thomas Lower of the parish of Creed, in the county of Cornwall, were present at the said meeting, and the said George Fox was teacher or speaker of the said meeting ; and no satisfactory account of their settlement or place of habitation appearing to me, and forasmuch as the said George Fox and Thomas Lower refused to give sureties to appear at the next sessions of the peace to be holden for the said county, to answer the breach of the common laws of England, and what other matters should be objected against them; these are therefore in his majesty's name to will and require you, or either of you, forthwith to convey the bodies of the said George Fox and Thomas Lower to the county jail of Worcester aforesaid, and there safely to be kept, until they shall be from thence delivered by due course of law; for which this shall be your sufficient war.

rant in that behalf. Dated the 17th day of December, in the 25th year of his majesty's reign over England, &c.'


Being thus made prisoners, without any probable appearance of being released before the quarter sessions at soonest, we got some friends to accompany my wife and her daughter into the north, and we were conveyed to Worcester jail; from whence, by that time I thought, my wife could be got home, I writ her the following letter:

Dear Heart, 'Thou seemedst to be a little grieved when I was speaking of prisons, and when I was taken; be content with the will of the Lord God. For when I was at John Rous's at Kingston, I had a sight of my being taken prisoner, and when I was at Bray Doily's in Oxfordshire, as I sate at supper, I saw I was taken; and I saw I had a suffering to undergo. But the Lord's power is over all, blessed be his holy name for ever!'

G. F.

When we had been some time in the jail, we thought fit to lay our case before him whu was called the Lord Windsor, who was the lord-lieutenant of Worcestershire, and before the deputy-lieutenants, and other magistrates; which we did by the following letter:

These are to inform you, the lord-lieutenant (so called) and the deputy-lieutenants, and the justices of the county of Worcestershire, how unchristianly and inhumanly we have been dealt withal by Henry Parker, a justice (so called) in our journey or travel towards the north. We coming to our friend John Halford's house on the seventeenth day of the tenth month, 1673, and some friends bringing us on the way, and others coming to visit us there, towards night there came the aforesaid justice, and a priest, called Rowland Hains, of Hunniton in Warwickshire, and demanded our names and places of abode. And though we were not in any meeting, but were discoursing together when they came in, yet he made a mittimus to send us to Worcester jail. Now, whereas he says in his mittimus, that complaint had been made to him of several by-past meetings of many hundreds at a time, we know nothing of that, nor do we think that concerns us. And whereas he says further, that no satisfactory account of our settlement,

or place of habitation appeared unto him. This he contradicts in his own mittimus, mentioning therein the places of our abode and habitation, the account of which we satisfactorily and fully gave him. And one of us (Tho. Lower) told him, that I was going down with my motherin-law (who is George Fox his wife) and with my sister, to fetch up my own wife and child out of the north into my own country; and the other of us (George Fox) told him, that I was bringing forward my wife on her journey towards the north (who bad been at London to visit one of her daughters, that had lately lain in.) And having received a message from my mother, an ancient woman in Leicestershire, that she earnestly desired to see me before she died, I intended, as soon as I had brought my wife on ber journey as far as Causal in Warwickshire, to turn over into Leicestershire, to have seen my mother and relations there, and then to have returned to London again. But by his interrupting of us in our journey, and taking the husband from his wife, and the son from his mother and sister, and stopping bim from visiting his wife and child so remote off, we were forced to get strangers, or whom we could, to help them on their journey, to our great damage and their hindrance. We asked the priest, whether this was his gospel, and their way of entertaining strangers ? And we desired the justice to consider, whether this was doing as he would be done by? But he said, he had said it and he would do it. And whereas he says, we refused to give sureties; he asked only George Fox for sureties, who replied, he was an innocent man, and knew no law he had broken; but he did not ask Thomas Lower for any, as if it had been crime and cause enough for his commitment, that he came out of Cornwall. And if we were at a meeting, as he says in his mittimus, he might have proceeded otherwise than by sending us to jail, to answer the breach of the common laws, though yet he shewed us no breach of any; as may be seen in the mittimus. So we thought fit to lay before you the substance of his proceedings against us, hoping there will more moderation and justice appear in you towards us, that so we may prosecute our intended journey'


But no enlargement did we receive by our application to the lord Windsor (so called.) And although Thomas Lower received several letters from his brother Dr. Lower (who was one of the king's physicians) concerning his

« VorigeDoorgaan »