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Gandy's, where there was a large meeting out of doors, the house not being sufficient to contain it. That day the Lord's everlasting Seed was set over all, and Friends were turned to it, who is the Heir of the Promise. Thence I came into STAFFORDSHIRE and WARWICKSHIRE, to Anthony Bickliff's; and at NUN-Eaton, at the house of a priest's widow, we had a blessed meeting, wherein the everlasting Word of Life was powerfully declared, and many settled in it. Then travelling on, visiting Friends meetings, in about three weeks from my coming out of prison, I reached LONDON, Richard Hubberthorn and Robert Widders being with me.
When we came to Charing-Cross, multitudes of people were gathered together to see the burning of the bowels of some of the old king's judges, who had been hung, drawn, and quartered.
We went next morning to Judge Mallet's chamber, who was putting on his red gown, to go sit upon some more of the king's judges. He was very peevish and froward, and said I might come another time. We went again to his chamber, when Judge Foster was with him, who was called the lord chief justice of England. With me was one called Esquire Marsli, who was one of the bedchamber to the king. When we had delivered to the judges the charge that was 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
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 it on, they said, “What, did I stand with my hat on !" I told them I did not so in any contempt of them. Then they commanded it to be taken off; and when they called for the marshal of the King's Bench, they said to him, “ You must take this man, and secure him; but 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 I cannot tell where to provide a room for him but amongst the prisoners." * Nay,” said the judge, "you must not put him amongst the prisoners.” But when he still answered, he had no other place to put me in, Judge Foster said to me, “Will you appear to-morrow about ten o'clock at the King's Bench bar in Westminster-Hall?” I said, “Yes, if the Lord give me strength." Then said Judge Foster to the other judge, * If he says yes, and promises it, you may take his word;” so I was dismissed. Next day I appeared at the King's Bench bar at the hour appointed, Robert Widders, Richard Hubberthorn, and Esquire Marsh going with me. I was brought into the middle of the court; and as soon as I came in, was moved to look round, and turning to the people, said, "Peace be among you;" and the power of the Lord sprang over the court. The charge against me was read openly. The people were moderate, and the judges cool and loving; and the Lord's mercy was to them. But when they came to that part which said, “ that I and my friends were embroiling the nation in blood, and raising a new war, and that I was an enemy to the king,” &c., they lifted up their hands. Then, stretching out my arms, I said, “I am the man whom that charge is against; but I am as NOC
as a child concerning the charge, and have never learned any war-postures. And,” said I, “ do ye think that if I and my friends had been such men as the charge declares, that I would have brought it up myself against myself? Or that I should have been suffered to come up with only one or two of my friends with me? Had I been such a man as this charge sets forth, I had need to have been guarded with a troop or two of horse. But the sheriff and magistrates of Lancashire thought fit to let me and my
friends come up with it ourselves, nearly two hundred miles, without any guard at all'; which, ye may be sure, they would not have done, had they looked upon me to be such a man. Then the judge asked me, whether it should be filed, or what I would do with it. I answered, “Ye are judges, and able, I hope, to judge in this matter, therefore do with it what ye will; for I am the man these charges are against, and here ye see, I have brought them up myself; do ye what ye will with them, I leave it to you.” Then Judge Twisden beginning to speak some angry words, I appealed to Judge Foster and Judge Mallet, who had heard me over-night. Whereupon they said, “They did not accuse me, for they had nothing against me.” Then stood up Esquire Marsh, who was of the king's bedchamber, and told the judges, “It was the king's pleasure, that I should be set at liberty, seeing no accuser came up against me.” They asked me, “Whether I would put it to the king and council?” I said, “Yes, with a good will.” Thereupon they sent the sheriff's return, which he made to the writ of habeas corpus, containing the matter charged against me in the mittimus, to the king, that he might see for what I was committed. The return of the sheriff of Lancaster was thus ::
“By virtue of his Majesty's writ, to me directed, and hereunto. annexed, I certify, that before the receipt of the said writ, George Fox, in the said writ mentioned, was committed to his Majesty's jail at the castle of Lancaster, in my custody, by a warrant from Henry Porter, Esq., one of his Majesty's justices of peace within the county palatine aforesaid, bearing date the fifth of June now last past; for that he, the said George Fox, was generally suspected to be a common disturber of the peace of this nation, an enemy to our sovereign lord the king, and a chief upholder of the Quakers* sect; and that he, together with others of his fanatic opinion, have of late endeavoured to make insurrections in these parts of the country, and to embroil the whole kingdom in blood. And this is the cause of his taking and detaining. Nevertheless, the body of the said George Fox I have ready before Thomas -Mallet, knight, one of his Majesty's justices, assigned to hold pleas before his Majesty, at his chamber in Serjeant's Inn, in Fleet-street, to do and receive those things which his Majesty's said justice shall determine concerning him in this behalf, as by the aforesaid writ is required.
GEORGE CHETHAM, Esq., Sheriff.”
On perusal of this, and consideration of the whole matter, the king, being satisfied of my innocency, commanded his secretary to send an order to Judge Mallet for my release; which he did, thus :
"It is his Majesty's pleasure, that you give order for releasing, and
setting at full liberty, the person of George Fox, late a prisoner in Lancaster jail, and commanded hither by an habeas corpus. And this signification of his Majesty's pleasure shall be your sufficient warrant. Dated at Whitehall, the 24th of October, 1660.
“ EDWARD NICHOLAS." For Sir Thomas Mallet, Knight, one of the Justices of the King's Bench.
When this order was delivered, Judge Mallet forthwith sent his marrant to the marshal of the King's Bench for my release, as follows:
“By virtue of a warrant, which this morning I have received from the Right Hon. Sir Edward Nicholas, Knight, one of his Majesty's principal secretaries, for the releasing and setting at liberty of George Fox, late à prisoner in Lancaster jail, and from thence brought hither by habeas corpus, and yesterday committed unto your custody; I do hereby require you accordingly to release and set the said prisoner, George Fox, at liberty ; for which this shall be your warrant and discharge. Given under my hand, the 25th day of October, in the year of our Lord God, 1660.
“ THOMAS MALLET." To Sir John Lenthal, Knight, Marshal of the King's Bench, or his deputy.
Thus, after being a prisoner more than twenty weeks, I was freely set at liberty by the king's command, the Lord's power having wonderfully wrought for the clearing of my innocency; Porter, who committed me, not daring to appear to make good the charge he had falsely suggested against me.
1660-1662.-George Fox writes an epistle of consolation to Friends unjustly impri
soned in consequence of the insurrection of the Fifth-Monarchy Men-Friends' declaration against war and plots-John Perrot and Charles Bailey create a schism-some Friends in New England are put to death, a sense whereof is given to George Fox at the time-the King's mandamus to the Governor of New Eng. land and others, to restrain them from executing Friends—the Battledore is published, showing, by examples from thirty languages, that “ Thou” and “Thee” are proper to one person-on true worship-George Fox disputes with some Jesuits, and with all other sects-John Perrot's heresy condemned-on judicial swearing-George Fox and Richard Hubberthorn write to the King, showing the number of Friends imprisoned prior to, and during the first year of, the Restoration, and the number who died in prison during the Commonwealth-Thomas Sharman, jailer at Derby, convinced, and writes to George Fox-George Fox applies to Lord D'Aubeny on behalf of two Friends imprisoned in the Inquisition at Malta, who procures their liberation-the ground and rise of persecution set forth-great service at Bristol, where also he has a vision-visits Captain Brown and his wife; the former had fled from persecution, and was judged in himself, but afterwards convinced-George Fox and several others are arrested by Lord Beaumont, and sent to Leicester jail—they are suddenly liberated-to Friends on the death of Edward Burrough-escapes from persecutors- Friends established on Christ, the Rock of Ages.
When it was known I was discharged from Lancaster Castle, a company of envious, wicked spirits were troubled, and terror took hold of Justice Porter ; for he was afraid I would take advantage of the law against him for my wrong imprisonment, and thereby undo him, his wife, and children. Indeed I was pressed by some in authority to make him and the rest examples; but I said, “I should leave them to the Lord; if the Lord forgave them, I should not trouble myself with them.”
Now did I see the end of the travail which I had had in my sore exercise at Reading; for the everlasting power of the Lord was over all, and his blessed truth, life, and light shone over the nation, and great and glorious meetings we had, and very quiet; and many flocked in unto the truth. Richard Hubberthorn had been with the king, who said, “None should molest us, so long as we lived peaceably," and promised this to us upon the word of a king, telling him we might make use of bis promise.* Some Friends also were admitted into the House of Lords, and had liberty to declare their reasons, why they could not pay tithes, swear, or go to the steeple-house worship, or join with others in worship, and they heard them moderately. And there being about seven hundred Friends in prison in the nation, who had been committed under Oliver's and Richard's government, upon contempts (as they call them), when the king came in, he set
* Some interesting particulars of what passed during Richard Hubberthorn's interview with the king are related in Sewell's History, for which see the index of that work.
them all at liberty. There seemed at that time an inclination and intention in the government to grant Friends liberty, because they were sensible that ve had suffered as well as they under the former powers. But still, when anything was going forward in order thereto, some dirty spirits or other, that would seem to be for us, threw something in the way to stop it. It was said, there was an instrument drawn up for confirming our liberty, and that it only wanted signing; when suddenly that wicked attempt of the Fifth-monarchy-people broke out, and put the city and nation in an uproar. This was on a First-day night, and very glorious meetings we had had that day, whereiu the Lord's truth shone over all, and his power was exalted above all; but about midnight, or soon after, the drums beat, and the cry was, “Arm, Arm!”
I got up out of bed, and in the morning took boat, and landing at Whitehall-stairs, walked through Whitehall. They looked strangely at me there, but I passed through them, and went to Pall-Mall, where divers Friends came to me, though it had now become dangerous passing the streets; for by this time the city and suburbs were up in arms, and exceedingly rude the people and soldiers were; insomuch that Henry Fell,* going to a Friend's house, the soldiers knocked him down, and he would have been killed, had not the Duke of York come by. Great mischief was done in the city this week; and when the next First-day came, as Friends went to their meetings, many were taken prisoners. I stayed at Pall-Mall, intending to be at the meeting there; but on Seventh-day night, a company of troopers came and knocked at the door. The servant letting them in, they rushed into the house, and laid hold of me; and there being amongst them one that had served under the parliament, he put his hand to my pocket, and asked, "whether I had any pistols ? I told him, he knew I did not carry pistols, why therefore ask such a question of me, whom he knew to be a peaceable man ? Others of the soldiers ran into the chambers, and there found in bed Esquire Marsh, who, though he was one of the king's bedchamber, out of his love to me, came and lodged where I did. When they came down again, they said, “Why should we take this man away with us? We will let him alone.” “O," said the parliament soldier, “he is one of the heads, and a chief ringleader.” Upon this the soldiers were taking me away, but Esquire Marsh hearing of it, sent for him that commanded the party, and desired him to let me alone, for he would see me forthcoming in the morning. In the morning before they could fetch me, and before the meeting was gathered, there came a company of foot soldiers to the house, and one of them drawing his sword, held it over my head. I asked him, “why he drew his sword at an unarmed man ?” at which his fellows being ashamed, bid him put up his sword.
Henry Fell was an eminent minister in the Society. In 1656 and 1658 he visited the West India isles. During the first visit, he was absent from home about à year. From 1659 to 1662, he was mostly engaged in gospel labours in England, and from this period we lose all trace of him. He is mentioned in Whiting's Catalogue as having died in America. His home was in Lancashire, and there is reason to believe he was a near relative of Judge Fell. He appears to have received an education considerably above most of his day. Some of his letters are given in Bowden’s History of Friends in America, and in Barclay's Letters of Early Friends.