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liberty, and one by his procurement from Henry Savil (who was one of the king's bed-chamber) to his brother, called the lord Windsor, to the same effect; yet seeing it related only to his enlargement, not mine, so great was his love and regard to me, that he would not seek his own liberty singly, but kept the letter by him unsent. So we were continued prisoners till the next general quartersessions of the peace; at which time divers friends from several places being in town, did speak to the justices concerning us, who spake fair to friends, and said we should be discharged: for many of the justices seemed to dislike the severity of Parker's proceedings against us, and did declare an averseness to ensnare us by the tender of the oaths. Some friends also had spoken with him that was called the lord Windsor, who likewise spake them fair, so that it was the general discourse that we should be discharged. We heard also that Dr. Lower had procured a letter from one colonel Sands at London, to some of the justices, in favour of us. Some of the justices also spake to some friends to acquaint us, that they would have us speak but little in the court, lest we should provoke any of the bench, and they would warrant we should be discharged.
We were not called till the last day of the sessions, which was the first day of the eleventh month, 1673. And when we came in they were stricken with paleness in their faces, and it was some time before any thing was spoken, insomuch that a butcher in the hall said, What, are they afraid? Dare not the justices speak to them? At length, before they spake to us, justice Parker made a long speech on the bench, much to the same effect as was contained in the mittimus; often mentioning the common laws, but not instancing any that we had broken ; adding, that he thought it a milder course to send us two to jail, than to put his neighbours to the loss of two hundred pounds, which they must have suffered if he bad put the law in execution against conventicles. But in this he was either very ignorant or very deceitful, for there being no meeting when he came, nor any to inform, he had no evidence to convict us or his neighbours by.
When Parker had ended his speech the justices spake to us, and began with Thomas Lower, whom they examined of the cause of his coming into that country, of which he gave them a full and plain account. Sometimes I put in a word while they were examining him, and then they told me they were upon his examination, but that when it came to my turn I should have free liberty to speak, for they would not hinder me, but I should have full time, and they Vol. II.
would not ensnare us. When they had done with him they asked me an account of my travel, which I gave them, ac. cording as is mentioned before, but more largely. And whereas justice Parker, to aggravate the case, had made a great noise of there being some from London, some from the north, some from Cornwall, and some from Bristol, at the house when I was taken ; I told them that this was in à manner all but one family, for there was none from London but myself, none from the north but my wife and her daughter; none from Cornwall but my son-in-law Thomas Lower; nor any from Bristol but one friend, a merchant there; who met us as it were providentially, to assist my wife and her daughter in their journey homewards, when by our imprisonment they were deprived of our company and help. When I had spoken, the chairman (whose name was Simpson, an old presbyterian) said, Your relation or account, is very innocent. Then he and Parker whispered awhile together, and after that the chairman stood
and said, You, Mr. Fox, are a famous man, and all this may be true which you have said; but, that we may be the better satisfied, will you take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy? I told them, they had said they would not ensnare us; but this was a plain snare; for they knew we could not take any oath. However they caused the bath to be read, and when they had done, I told them I never took oath in my life, but I had always been true to the government; that I was cast into the dungeon at Derby, and kept a prisoner six months there, because I would not take up arms against king Charles at Worcester fight; and for going to meetings was carried up out of Leicestershire, and brought before Oliver Cromwell as a plotter to bring in king Charles. And ye know, said I, in your own consciences, that we, the people called quakers, cannot take an oath, or swear in any case, because Christ hath forbidden it. But as to the matter or substance contained in the oaths, this I can and do say, that I do own and acknowledge the king of England to be the lawful heir and successor to the realm of England ; and do abhor all plots and plotters and contrivances against him; and I have nothing in my heart bot love and good will to him and all men, and desire his and their prosperity; the Lord knows it, before whom I stand, an innocent man.
And as to the oath of supremacy, I deny the pope, and his power, and his religion, and abhor it with my heart. While I was speaking to them they cried, Give him the book: and I said, The book saith, swear not at all. Then they cried, Take him away, jailer : and I still speaking on, they were
urgent upon the jailer, crying, Take him away, we shall have a meeting here : why do you not take him away? that fellow (meaning the jailer) loves to hear him preach. Then the jailer drew me away, and as I was turning from them, I stretched out my arm and said, The Lord forgive you, who cast me into prison for obeying the doctrine of Christ. Thus they apparently brake their promise in the face of the country; for they promised I should have free liberty to speak, but now they would not give it me, and they promised they would not ensnare us, yet now they tendered me the oaths on purpose to ensnare me.
After I was had away Thomas Lower was staid behind in the court, and they told him he was at liberty. Then he would have reasoned with them, asking them why I might not be set at liberty as well as he, seeing we were both taken together, and our case was alike? But they told him they would not hear him, saying, You may be gone about your business, for we have nothing more to say to you, seeing you are discharged. And this was all he could get from them. Wherefore after the court was risen, he went to speak with them at their chamber, desiring to know what cause they had to detain his father, seeing they had discharged him, and wishing them to consider whether this was not partiality, and would be a blemish to them. Whereupon Simpson threatened him, saying, If you be not content we will tender you the oaths also, and send you to your father. To which he replied, they might do that if they thought fit; but whether they sent him or no, he intended to go, and wait upon his father in prison, for that was now his business in that country. Then, said justice Parker to him, do you think, Mr. Lower, that I bad not cause to send your father and you to prison, when you had such a great meeting, insomuch that the parson of the parish complained to me, that he hath lost the greatest part of his parishioners, so that when he comes amongst them he hath scarce any auditors left. I have heard, replied Thomas Lower, that the priest of that parish comes so seldom to visit his flock (but once, it may be, or twice in a year, to gather up his tithes) that it was but charity in my father to visit such a forlorn and forsaken flock; and therefore thou hadst no cause to send my father to prison for visiting them, or for teaching, instructing, and directing them to Christ their true teacher, who had so little comfort or benefit from their pretended pastor, who comes amongst them only to seek for his gain from his quarter. Upon this the justices fell a laughing, for it seems Dr. Crowder (who was the priest they spake of) was then
in the room sitting among them, though Thomas Lower did not know him, and he had the wit to hold his tongue, and not undertake to vindicate himself in a matter so notoriously known to be true. But when Thomas Lower was come from them, the justices did so play upon Dr. Crowder, that he was pitifully ashamed, and so nettled with it that he threatened to sue Thomas Lower in the bishop's court, upon an action of defamation; which when Thomas Lower heard of, he sent him word that he would answer bis suit, let him begin it when he would, and would bring his whole parish in evidence against him. And this cooled the doctor. Yet some time after, he came to the prison, pretending that lie had a mind to dispute with me, and to talk with Thomas Lower about that business; and he brought another with him, he bimself being then a prebend at Worcester.
When he came in, he asked me what I was in prison for? Dost not thou know that? said I. Wast not thou
the bench when justice Simpson and Parker tendered the oath to me? and hadst not thou an hand in it? Then he said, It is lawful to swear : and Christ did not forbid swearing before a magistrate; but swearing by the sun, and the like. I bid him prove that by the scriptures, but he could not. Then he brought that saying of Paul's, “ All things are lawful unto me," I Cor. vi. 12. And if, said he, all things were lawful unto him, then swearing was lawful unto him. By this argument, said I, thou mayest also affirm, that drunkenness, adultery, and all manner of sin and wickedness is lawful also, as well as swearing. Why, said Dr. Crowder, do you hold that adultery is unlawful? Yes, said I, that I do. Why then (said he) this contradicts the saying of St. Paul. Thereupon I called to the prisoners and the jailer, to hear what doctrine Dr. Crowder had laid down for orthodox, viz. that drunkenness, swearing, adultery, and such like things, were lawful. Then he said he would give it under his hand : and took a pen, but writ another thing than he had spoken. Then turning to Thomas Lower, he asked him whether he would answer what he had there written ? who undertook it. Where. upon, when he had threatened Thomas Lower to sue him in the bishop's court, for speaking so abusively (as he called it) of him before the justices, and Thomas had bid him begin when he pleased, for he would answer him, and bring his parishioners in evidence against him, he went away in a great fret, grumbling to himself as he went. A few days after Thomas Lower sent him an answer to the paper he had writ and left with him, which answer a friend
of Worcester carried to him; and he read it, and said he would reply to it, but never did, though he often sent hini word he would do it.
Soon after the sessions were over, the term coming on, an habeas corpus was sent down to Worcester for the sheriff to bring me up to the king's-bench bar; whereupon, the under sheriff having made Thomas Lower his deputy to convey me to London, we set forth out of Worcester on the twenty-ninth of the eleventh month, 1673, and came to London the second day of the twelfth month; the ways being very deer, and the waters out. Next day, notice being given that I was brought up, the sheriff was ordered to bring me into court: I went accordingly, and did appear in court before judge Wild, and both he and the lawyers were pretty fair, so that I had time to speak, to clear my innocency, and shew my wrong imprisonment. After the return of the writ was entered, I was ordered to be brought into court again next day, the order of court being as followeth :
[Worcester. The King against George Fox.] Thursday, next after the morrow of the Purification of the
Blessed Virgin Mary, in the 26th year of king Charles the Second :
"The defendant being brought here into court, upon a writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciend, &c. under the custody of the sheriff of the county aforesaid; it is ordered, that the return unto the habeas corpus be filed; and the defendant is committed unto the marshal of this court, to be safely kept, until, &c.
By motion of Mr. G. Stroude,
By the court.' Accordingly I went in the morning and walked in the hall, till the sheriff came to me (for he trusted me to go whither I would), and it being early, we went into the court of the king's bench, and sate there among the lawyers al. most an hour, till the judges came in. When the judges came in, the sheriff took off my hat; and after a while I was called, and the Lord's presence was with me, and his power I felt was over all. I stood and heard the king's attorney, whose name was Jones, who indeed spake notably on my behalf, as did also another counsellor after him; and the judges, who were three, were all very moderate, not casting any reflecting words at me. So I stood still in the power and spirit of the Lord, seeing how the Lord was