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to preach freely as he had given them freely. And when
them were met together, they talked much then of hanging me. But I told them, if that was it they desired, and it was permitted them, I was ready; for I never feared death nor sufferings in my life, but I was known to be an innocent peaceable man, free from all stirrings and plottings, and one that sought the good of all men. But afterwards the governor growing kinder, I spake to him when he was to go to London to the parliament, and desired him to speak to bim that was called esquire Marsh, and to sir Francis Cob (so called), and to some others, and let them know how long I had lain in prison, and for what; and he
And when he came down again, he told me that esquire Marsh said he would go an hundred miles barefoot for my liberty, he knew me so well; and several others he said spake well of me. From which time the governor was very loving to me.
There were amongst the prisoners that were there, two very bad men, that would often sit drinking with the officers and soldiers, and because I would not sit and drink with them too, that made them the worse lagainst me. One time when these two prisoners were drunk, one of them (whose name was William Wilkinson, who was a presbyterian, and had been a captain) came to me and challenged me to fight with him. I seeing what condition he was in, got out of his way, and next morning, when he was grown more sober, told him, how unmanly a thing it was in him to challenge a man to fight whose principle he knew it was not to strike, but if he was stricken on one ear to turn the other. And I told him, if he had a mind to fight, he should have challenged some of the soldiers, that could have answered him in his own way. But however I told him, seeing he had challenged me, I was now come to answer him with my hands in my pockets ; and (reaching my head towards him) here, said I, here is my hair, here are my cheeks, here is my back. With that he skipped away from me, and went into another room ; at which the soldiers fell a laughing, and one of the officers said, you are a happy man, that can bear such things. Thus he was conquered without a blow; but after a while he took the oath and gave bond, and got out of prison, and pot long after the Lord cut him off.
There were great imprisonments in this and the former years, while I was prisoner at Lancaster and Scarborough, At London many friends were crowded into Newgate and other prisons, where the sickness was, and many friends died in prison; many friends also were banished, and seyeral sent' on ship-board by the king's order. Some
masters of ships would not carry them, but set them on shore again, yet some were sent to Barbadoes, and to Jamaica, and to Nevis, and the Lord blessed them there. There was one master of a ship was very wicked and cruel to friends that were put on board his ship; for he kept the friends down under decks, though the sickness was amongst them, so that many died of it. But the Lord plagued him for his wickedness; for he lost most of his seamen by the plague, and lay several months crossed with contrary winds, though other ships went out and made their voyages. At last he came before Plymouth, and there the governor and magistrates would not suffer him nor any of his men to come ashore, though he wanted many necessaries for his voyage; but Thomas Lower, and Arthur Cotton, and John Light, and some other friends, went to the ship's side and carried necessaries for the friends that were prisoners on board. The master being thus crossed, and plagued, and vexed, he cursed them that put him upon this freight, and said, he hoped he should not go far before he was taken. And the vessel was but a little while gone out of sight of Plymouth, but she was, taken by a Dutch man of war and carried into Holland. When they came into Holland, the States there sent the banished friends back to England with a letter of passport and a certificate, that they had not made an escape, but were sent back by them. But in time the Lord's power wrought over this storm, and many of our persecutors were confounded and put to shame.
After I had lain prisoner above a year in Scarboroughcastle, I sent a letter to the king, in which I gave him a account of my imprisonment and the bad usage I had had in prison, and also that I was informed no man could dea Jiver me but he. After this John Whitehead being at London, and having acquaintance also with him that was called esquire Marsh, he went to visit him, and spake to him about me; and he undertook, if John Whitehead would get the state of my case drawn up, to deliver it to the master of requests, whom he called sir John Birken, head, he would endeavour to get a release for me. So John Whitehead and Ellis Hookes drew up a relation of my imprisonment and sufferings, and carried it to Marsh, and he went with it to the master of requests, who procured an order from the king for my release. The sub
. stance of the order was, that the king being certainly in, formed that I was a man principled against plotting and fighting, and had been ready at all times to discover plots rather than to make any, &c. that therefore his royal pleasure was, that I should be discharged from my imprisonment, &c. As soon as this order was obtained, John Whitehead came down to Scarborough with it and delivered it to the governor; who, upon receipt thereof, gathered the officers together, and without requiring bond or sureties for my peaceable living, being satisfied that I was a man of a peaceable life, he discharged me freely, and gave me the following passport:
"Permit the bearer hereof, George Fox, late a prisoner here, and now discharged by his majesty's order, quietly to pass about his lawful occasions, without any molestation. Given under my band at Scarborough-castle, this first day of September, 1666.'
JORDAN CROSLANDS, Governor of Scarborough-castle.
After I was released, I would have given the governor gomething for the civility and kindness he had of late shewed me, but he would not receive any thing; but said, whatever good he could do for me and my friends he would do it, and never do them any hurt. And afterwards if at any time the mayor of the town sent to him for soldiers to break
up friends' meetings, if he sent any down he would privately give them a charge not to meddle; and so he continued loving to his dying day. The officers also and the soldiers were mightily changed, and grown very, respectful to me, and when they had occasion to speak of me, they would say, he is as stiff as a tree, and as pure as a bell, for we could never bow him.
The very next day after I was released from Scarborough-prison, the fire brake out at London, and the report of it came quickly down into the country. Then I saw the Lord God was true and just in his word, which he had shewed me before in Lancaster jail, when I saw the angel of the Lord with a glittering drawn sword southward, as is before expressed. And the people of London were forewarned of this fire; yet few laid it to heart or believed it, but rather grew more wicked, and higher in pride. For we had a friend that was moved t? come out of Huntingdonshire a little before the fire, and to scatter his money up and down the streets, and to turn his horse loose in the streets, and to untie the knees of his breeches, and let his stockings fall down, and to unbutton his doublet, and told the people so should they run up and down, scattering their money and their goods, half undressed, like mad people, as he was a sign to them; and so they did, when the fire brake out, and the city was burning. Thus hath the Lord exercised his prophets and servants by his power, and shewed them signs of his judgments, and sent them to forewarn the people; but instead of repenting, they have beaten and cruelly entreated some, and some they have imprisoned, both in the former power's days and since. But the Lord is just, and happy are they that obey his word. Some have been moved to go naked in their streets in the other power's days and since, as signs of their nakedness, and have declared amongst them, that God would strip them out of their hypocritical professions, and make them as bare and naked as they were. But instead of considering it, they have many times whipped, or otherwise abused them, and sometimes imprisoned them. Others have been moved to go in sack, cloth, and to denounce the woes and vengeance of God against the pride and haughtiness of the people; but few regarded it. And in the other power's days, the wicked, envious, professing priests, put up several petitions both to Oliver and Richard, called protectors, and to the par. liaments, judges, and justices, against us, stuffed full of lies, and vilifying words and slanders; but we got copies of them, and through the Lord's assistance answered them all, and cleared the Lord's truth and ourselves of them. But oh! the body of darkness that rose against the truth in them, that made lies their refuge. But the Lord swept them away, and in and with his power, truth, light, and life, hedged his lambs about, and did preserve them as on eagle's wings. Therefore we all had and have great encouragement to trust the Lord, whom we did see by his power and spirit, how he did overturn and bring to nought all the confederacies and counsels that were hatched in the darkness against his truth and people, and by the same truth gave his people dominion, that in it they might serve him.
And indeed I could not but take notice how the band of the Lord turned against those my persecutors, who had been the cause of my imprisonment, or had been abusive or cruel to me in it; for the officer that fetched me to Houlker hall wasted his estate, and soon after fled into Ireland : and most of the justices that were upon the bench at the sessions when I was sent to prison, died in awhile after; as old Thomas Preston, Rawlinson, and Porter, and Matthew West of Borwick. And though justice Fleming did not die, yet his wife died, and left thirteen or fourteen mother, less children to him, who had imprisoned two friends to