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unbelieving, are, like the patients themselves, stubborn, heterodox, and unyielding, and we fear patient and disease would not unfrequently have been
Damn'd and interdicted
and perhaps the same heathen, babylonish rhyme returned as a “retort courteous,” to the physician. Not, indeed, that Fox would have quoted any thing so profane, if we may infer his opinion of poetry from his declared judgment of poets. “I was moved,” he says, " at Mansfield, to go and speak to one of the wickedest men in the country, one who was a common drunkard, a noted whoremaster, and a rhyme-maker, and I reproved him in the dread of the mighty God, for his evil courses.
Of the credulity of Fox we have given instances enough; not the least of which is his unquestionable faith in himself. Of bis natural shrewdness, instances are not wanting. The following receipt to lay a conjuror will, we think, be always found effective. “ While I was in Darby gaol,” he observes, “ there was a wicked ungodly man who was reputed a conjuror. And the gaoler and he falling out, he threatened to raise the devil, and break his house down; so that he made the gaoler afraid. I was moved of the Lord to go in his power and rebuke him, and to say to him, . Come, let's see what thou canst do; do thy worst. I told him, “ The devil was raised high enough in him already, but the power of God chained him down ;' so he slunk
Another time, after the Restoration, and during his confinement in Scarborough castle, he was visited by Dr. Cradock, a high-churchman. After answering many questions himself, Fox ventured to ask the doctor, why he had excommunicated so many friends ?” to which Cradock replied, “ For not coming to church.” What follows, we give in the words of the Journal. Why, said I, ye left us above twenty years ago, when we were but young lads and lasses, to the Presbyterians, Independents, and Baptists, many of whom made spoil of our goods, and persecuted us because we would not follow them. We, being but young, knew little of your principles, and the old men that did know them, if intended to have kept them to you, and have kept your princiciples alive, that we might have known them, ye should either not have fled from us as ye did, or ye should have sent us your epistles, collects, homilies, and evening songs; for Paul wrote epistles to the Saints though he was in prison. But they and we might have turned Turks or Jews for any collects, homilies, or epistles, we had from you all this while. And now
thou hast excommunicated us, young and old,—that is, 'Ye have put us out of your church, before you have got us into it,' and before ye have brought us to know your principles.” “ Another time,” he observes, “came Dr. Witty, who was esteemed a great ductor in physic, with lord Falconbridge, the governor of Tinmouth castle, with several knights. I being called to them, Witty undertook to discourse with me, and asked me, . What I was in prison for?' I told him, ' Because I would not disobey the command of Christ and swear. He said, 'I ought to swear my allegiance to the king.' He being a Presbyterian, I asked him, whether he had not sworn against the king and house of lords, and taken the Scotch covenant?
And had he not since sworn to the king ? What then was his swearing good for? But my allegiance, I told him, : did not consist in swearing, but in truth and faithfulness.'”
If we are not giving to this article so personal an interest and connection as might be expected, the reader must remember that the promulgation of doctrines was the great end of the active life of Fox, and suffering the seal with which he testified to them; but the one, when not extravagant enough to awaken attention, are much better sought for in the authorised version of his followers, and mere endurance has too little variety to enliven a narrative. There were no hair-breadth 'escapes, no daring but unsuccessful resistance, to give variety to his sufferings; it was only to know that the prison gaped for him, and he walked into it; to know that he was there by authority, and he remained. Some instances of this are really worth recording; and indeed the strict, unshaken, unquestioned veracity of Fox, which they will witness to, is the finest trait in his youthful character, and the glory of his after-life. While he was in his apprenticeship, he observes, “I used in my dealings the word, verily, and it was a common saying among those that knew me, • If George says verily, there is no altering him.'” This was so well and so generally known, that being once in prison in Lancashire, and on no less a charge than “ endeavouring to raise insurrections, and to embroil the kingdom in blood," as the warrant expressed it; and that too in the ticklish times that followed the Restoration, and just after the mad extravagance of the fifth-monarchy men; the king's warrant came down for his removal to London. Fox refused to give bail for his appearance in London--the sheriff, to avoid expenses, agreed to take his word, and delivered to him the warrant on which he had been committed. Fox, of course, did appear; but at that moment the judges were in a hurry to go and pass sentence on some of the regicides, and not perhaps understanding the serious nature of the charge, or presuming Fox was the gaoler,
and that he had his prisoner in safe custody, they desired him, father peevishly, to come the next day, which he accordingly did, accompanied by a friend. His own account continues thus: “ When we had delivered to the judges the charge against me, and they had read to those words, that I and
my friends were embroiling the nation in blood,' &c. they struck their hands on the table. Whereupon I told them, “I was the man whom that charge was against, but I was as innocent of any such thing as a new-born child, and had brought it up myself, and some of my friends came up with me, without any guard.' As yet they had not minded my hat, but now, seeing my hat on, they said, “What did I stand with my hat on! I told them I did not stand so in any contempt of them. They then commanded me to take it off; and when they had called for the marshal of the King's-bench, they said to him, you must take this man and secure him, but you must let him have a chamber, and not put him amongst the prisoners. My lord,' said the marshal, • I have no chamber to put him into; my house is so full that I cannot tell where to provide for him but amongst the prisoners.‘Nay,' said the judges, you must not put him amongst the prisoners.' But when he still answered he had no other place to put me in, judge Forster said to me, : Will you appear to-morrow, about ten of the clock, at the King's-bench bar in Westminster-hall ?' I said, “Yes, if the Lord give me strength.' Then said judge Forster to the other judge, ' If he says yes, and promises it, you may take his word.' So I was dismissed. The next day I appeared at the King'sbench bar at the hour appointed,”But, not to pursue this particular case beyond its interest, it will be enough to say he was eventually discharged by order from the king.
Another time, Fox and his son-in-law, Lower, being in prison, at Worcester, an order came down for the release of the latter, and a habeas corpus to bring up Fox to the King's Bench at Westminster. Upon which the sheriff made Lower undersheriff, and delivered Fox over to him. Fox, appearing at the appointed time, was remanded to Worcester, and returned there. Being brought to an inn the day the trial was expected to come on, he was left there all day, in custody of a child eleven years of age; and, the trial being after all deferred, he was told he must return to prison, which he did, accompanied only by a friend. At the next session, he still refusing to take the oath, and the grand jury having found a bill against him, he traversed, but refused to give bail, though many friends were present; yet he told the justices“ he would promise to appear, if the Lord gave him health and strength,” and his promise was taken. the following sessions he appeared again, and was tried, and found guilty, which subjected him to the loss of all his goods,
and imprisonment for life. On this he was necessarily confined; but, being some time after dangerously ill, he was permitted, though under this dreadful sentence, to leave his prison, and reside in a friend's house till recovered. The termination of this affair is little less extraordinary than the progress of it. Fox was offered the king's pardon, and refused it, because acceptance seemed to him an acknowledgement of guilt. He was again brought up by habeas corpus to the King's-bench, to plead to errors in the indictment; and the judges, evidently desirous of his liberty, admitted their validity; and thus, after fourteen months' imprisonment, he was liberated. This we must think is one of the most unquestionable evidences of known and acknowledged innocence and suffering, that can be brought from the entire history of persecution, and shews the monstrous injustice of laws against conscience, which bad men evade without difficulty, and which can be only operative against men who need no laws to secure them. Here was a man to whose perfect sincerity the whole country could testify, whose word was taken as a bond even in the courts of law, subjected to this grievous punishment, because he would not violate his conscience by an oath.
But this persecution, though occurring under the government of Charles, is not to be urged, exclusively, against it, for Fox and his friends suffered equally under all the changes, in those changeable times. It is, indeed, a melancholy fact, that no religion, possessing the power of law, and the power of opinion, has ever had sufficient magnanimity to forbear persecution. Those very men who, in the early part of the reign of Charles the 1st, fled, even to the “vast howling wilderness” of America, as Cromwell called it, for liberty of conscience, were no sooner warmed by their numbers, and secure by power, than they became persecutors, and in the case of the Quakers, persecutors even to death. The conduct of those men was, indeed, a disgrace to the age, and the men themselves to the religion they professed. The unhappy people who visited them, however ignorant and misguided, were, at least, disinterested; and could only reap labour, privation, and long suffering, in return for their exertion; to the civil government of every country, they were inoffensive; yet these, men, women, and children, the people of New England most cruelly imprisoned, whipped, tortured, and put to death. What a contrast to the conduct of these professing Christians was offered by the Mahometans under similar circumstances. “Mary Fisher, a maiden, being come to Smyrna, to go from thence to Adrianople, was stopt by the English consul, and sent back to Venice, from whence she came by another way to Adrianople, at the time that Sultan Mahomet the 4th was encamped with his army near the said
town. She went alone to the camp, and got somebody to go to the tent of the grand Vizier, to tell him that an English woman was come, who had something to declare from the great God to the Sultan. The Vizier sent word, that next morning he should procure her an opportunity for that purpose. Then she returned to the town, and repaired next morning to the camp again; where being come, she was brought before the Sultan, who had his great men about him, in such a manner as he was used to admit ambassadors. He asked her by his interpreter, (whereof, there were those about him,) whether it was true that had been told him, that she had something to say to him from the Lord God? She answered, Yea. Then he bad her speak on: and she not being forward, weightily pondering what she might say, and he supposing that she might be fearful to utter her mind before them all, asked her, whether she desired that any might go aside before she spoke? She answered, No. He then bad her speak the word of the Lord to them, and not to fear, for they had good hearts, and could bear it. He also charged her to speak the word she had from the Lord, neither more nor less, for they were willing to hear it, be it what it would. Then she spoke what she had upon her mind.-The Turk hearkened to her with much attention and gravity, till she had done, and then the Sultan asking her, whether she had any thing more to say? She asked him whether he understood what she said? And he answered, Yes, every word ; and further said, that what she had spoken was truth. Then he desired her to stay in that country, saying, they could not but respect such an one, as should take so much pains to come to them so far as from England with a message from the Lord God. He also proffered her a guard to bring her into Constantinople, whither she intended. But she not accepting this offer, he told her, it was dangerous travelling, especially for such an one as she; and wondered that she had passed so safe so far as she had; saying also, it was in respect to her, and kindness, that he proffered it, and that he would not for any thing she should come to the least hurt in his dominions.-And Mary having performed her message, departed from the camp to Constantinople, without a guard, whither she came without the least hurt or scoff. And so she returned safe to England.”
We have already shewn to what a state of bodily exhaustion, from labour and privation, Fox was at times reduced. Indeed, in early life, his journeys were without end, his fastings without limit, his exposure without consideration of weather or season, night or day; and his enemies were not less zealous, for his beatings were without mercy, and his imprisonments without number. For this sort of life he had well prepared him. self, both in mind and body. His mind was nerved and disci