« AnteriorContinuar »
the House with their Swords and Pistols in their hands, 1662. crying, Put out the Candles, and make fast the Doors. Then they seized upon the Friends in the House, and Swaning. asked; If there were no more about the House? The Friends told them, there was one Man more in the Hall. Now there being fome Friends, that came out of Derbyshire, one of them was named Thomas Fauks; and this Lord Beaumont (so called) after he had asked all their Names, bid his Man, set down that Man's Name Thomas Fox : but the Friend faid, Nay; his Name was not Fox, but Fauks. In the mean time fome of the Soldiers came, and fetcht me out of the Hall, and brought me to him; and he asked me my Name : I told him, my Name was George Fox, and that I was well known by that Name. Ay, said he, you are known all ihe World over : I said, I was known for no Hurt, but for Good. Then he put his Hands into my Pockets to fearch them, and pluck'd out my Comb-Cafe : and afterwards commanded one of his Officers to search further, for Letters, as he pretendu ed. I told him, I was no Letter-Carrier : and ask'd him, Why would he come amongst a Peaceable People with 'Swords and Piftols, without a Constable; which was contrary to the King's Proclamation, and to the late A&? For he could not say, there was a Meeting; I being only talking with a poor WidowWoman and her Daughter. By reasoning thus with him, he came fomewhat down : yet fending for the Constables, he gave them Charge of us that Night; and to bring us before him next Morning. Accordingly the Constables fet a Watch of the Town's People upon us that Night; and had us up next Morning to his House, about a Mile from Swanington. When we came before him, he told us, We Met contrary to the A8 : Whereupon I desired him to fhew us the Act. Why, says he, you beve it in your Pocket. I told him, he did not find us in a Meeting. Then he asked us, Whether we would take the Oaths of Allegiante, and Supremacy? I told him, I never took'any Oath in all my Life, nor Engagement, nor the Covenant : Yet
1662. ftill he would force the Oath upon us. Then I desired w him to thew us the Oath, that we might fee whether Swaning. We were the Persons the Oath was to be tendred to ;
and whether it was not for the Discovery of Popish Recufants. At length he brought forth a little Book, but we called for the Statute-Book. He would not Thew us that , but caused a Mittimus to be made, which mentioned,That we were to have had a Meeting And with this Mittimus he delivered us to the Constables to Convey us to Leicester-Jait. But when the Constables had brought us back to Swanington, it being Harvest-time, it was hard to get any body, to go with us; for the People were loth to go with their Neighbours to Prifon, especially in such a bufie time. They would have given us our Mitrimus, to have car. ried it our selves to the Fait; for it had been usual for Constables to give Friends their own Mittimus, ( for they durft trust Friends ;-) and they have gone themselves with their Mitrimus to the Jailer. But we told them, though our Friends had sometimes done so, yet we would not take this Mittimus; but some of them should go with us to the Jail. At last they hired a poor labouring Man to go with
yet was loth to have gone, though hired. So we rid through the Country to Leicester, being Five of us in number ; some carried their Bibles open in their hands, declaring the Truth to the People, as we rode, in the Fields and through the Towns, and telling them ; We were the Prisoners of the Lord Jesus Christ, going to suffer Bonds for his Name and Truth-fake and
one Woman Friend carried her Wheel on her Lap,
to Spin on in Prison : and the People were mightily Leicester affected. At Leicester we went to an Inn; and the
Master of the House seemed to be troubled, that we Thould go to Prison : and being himself in Commif. fion, he sent for Lawyers in the Town to advise with; and would have taken up the Mitrimus, and kept us in his own House, and not have let us gone into the Jail. But I told Friends, it would be great Charge to lie at an Inn, and many, Friends and People would
be coming to Visit us; and it might be hard for him 1662to bear our having Meetings in his House : and be a Sides, we had many Friends in the Prison already i bareng and we had rather be with them. So we let the Man know, that we were fenfible of his Kindness: and to Prison we went; the Poor Man that brought us thither, delivering both the Mittimus and us to the Jailer. This Jailer had been a very wicked, cruel Mans and there being Sir or Seven Friends in Prison, before we came, he had taken fome occasion to quarrel with them, and had thrust them into the Dungeon amongst the Fellons; where was hardly room for them to lie down, they were so thronged. We stay'd all that day in the Prison.Yard, and desired the Jailer to let us have some Straw: He furlily answered, Tou do nos look like Men that would lie on Straw. After a while William Smith, a Friend, came to me ; and he being acquainted in the House, I asked him, What Rooms there were in the House, and what Rooms Friends 4sually had been put into, before they were put into the Dungeon ? I asked him also, whether the Jailer or his Wife was Master He said, The Wife was Mafter; and that though she was Lame, and sate mofly in her Chair, not being able to go but on Crutches; yet she would beat her Husband, when he came within her reach, if he did not do as the would have him do. Now. I considered, that probably many Friends might come to Vifit us : and that, if we had a Room to our felves, it would be better for them to speak to me and for me to speak to them, as there should be occa. fion. Wherefore I desired William Smith to go fpeak with the Woman, and let her know, if the would let us have a Room, and let our Friends come up out of the Dungeon, and leave it to us and them to give her what we would, it might be better for her. He went : and after some reasoning with her, the consented ; and we were had into a Room. Then we were told, That the Jailer would not suffer us to fetch any Drink out of the Town into the Prison, but that what Beer we drank, we must take of him. I told them, I would
1662. remedy that, if they would : for we would get a Pale Sare of Water, and a little Wormwood once a day; and Leicester that might serve us : So we should have none of his Prison.
Beer ; and she Water he could not deny us.
Before we came there, when thofe few Friends, that were Prisoners there, did Meet together on the FirstDays, if any of them was moved to pray to the Lord; the Jayler would come up with his great Quarter-staff in his Hand, and his Mastiff-Dog at his Heels, and would pluck them down by the Hair of the Head, and strike them with his Staff : but when he struck Friends, the Mastiff-Dog , instead of falling upon Friends, would take the Staff out of his Hand. Now when the First-Day came, after we came in, I fpake to one of my Fellow-Prisoners to carry down a Stool and set it in the Yard; and give notice to the Debtors and Fellons, that there would be a Meeting in the Yard, and they that would hear the Word of the Lord declared, might come thither. So the Debtors and Prifoners went into the Yard, and we went down and had a very precious Meeting; the Jailer not medling. Thus every First-Day we had a Meeting there as long as we staid in Prifon : and several came in out of the City and Country, and many were Convinced : and some received the Lord's Truth there, who stood faithful Witnesses for it ever since.
When the Seffions came, we were had up before the Justices'; with many more Friends, that were sent to Prison whilst we were there, to the number of about Twenty. Being brought into the Court, the Jailer put us into the place where the Thieves were put; and then some of the Justices began to tender the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy to us. I told them, I never took any Oath in my Life; and they knew, we could not Swear, because Christ and his Apostle forbad it: and therefore they put it but as a Snare to us. But we told them, if they could prove, that after Chrlft and the Apostle had forbid Swearing, they did ever command Chriftians to Swear, then we would take these Oaths ; otherwise we were resolved to obey
Christ's Command, and the Apostle's Exhortation. 1662. They said, We must take the Oath, that we might mao sa nifest our Allegiance to the King. I told them, I had Leicester
Schons. been formerly sent upa Prisoner by Col. Hacker, from that Town to London , under pretence, that I held Meetings to Plot to bring in King Charles. I also desired them to read our Mittimus, which set forth the Cause of our Cominitment to be, that we were To have a Meeting ; and I said, he that was called Lord Beaumont, could not by that Ad send us to Jail, unless we had been taken at a Meeting, and found to be such Persons, as the A& speaks of : therefore we defired, they would read the Minimus, and see how wrongfully, we were Imprisoned. They would not take notice of the Mittimus, but called a Jury, and Indicted us for Refusing to take the Darbs of Allegiance and Supremacy. When the Jury was Sworn and In, structed, as they were going out, One, that had been an Alderman of the City, spake to them, and bid them Have a good Conscience : and one of the Jury, being a peevith Man, told the Justices, There was One affronted the fury: Whereupon they called him up, and tendred him the Oath allo; and he took it.
While we were standing in the place where the Thieves used to stand, there was a Cut-Purse had his Hand in several Friends Pockets; and Friends declared it to the Justices, and Thewed them the Man: They called him up before them; and upon Examination he could not deny it : yet they set him at Liberty.
It was not long before the Jury Returned, and brought us in Guilty : and then, after fome Words, the Justices whispered together, and bid the Jailer take us down to Prison again : But the Lord's Power was over them, and his Everlasting Truth, which we declared boldly amongst them. And there being a great Concourse of People, moft of them followed us ; so that the Cryer and Bailiffs were fain to call the People back again to the Court : We declared the ,