The TESTIMONY of MARGARET FOX, concerning her late Husband GEORGE FOX: together with a brief Account of some of his Travels, Suffer∣ings, and Hardships endured for the Truth's Sake.
IT having pleased Almighty God to take away my dear husband out of this troublesome world, who was not a man thereof, being chosen out of it, and had his life and being in another region, and his testimony was against the world that the deeds thereof were evil, and therefore the world hated him; so I am now to give in my account and testimony for my dear husband, whom the Lord hath taken unto his blessed kingdom and glory: and it is before me from the Lord, and in my view, to give a relation and leave upon record the dealings of the Lord with us from the beginning.
He was the instrument in the hand of the Lord in this present age, which he made use of to send forth into the world to preach the everlasting gospel, which had been hid from many ages and generations; the Lord revealed it unto him, and made him open that new and living way that leads to life eternal, when he was but a youth and a stripling. And when he declared it in his own country of Leicester∣shire, and in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and Warwick∣shire, and his declaration being against the hireling-priests and their practices, it raised a great fury and opposition amongst the priests and people against him; yet there was always some that owned him in several places, but very few that stood firm to him when persecution came on him. There was he and one other put in prison at Derby, but the other declined and left him in prison there; where he con∣tinued almost a whole year, and then he was released out of prison, and went on with his testimony abroad, and was put in prison again at Nottingham; and there he continued awhile, and after was released again.
And then he travelled on into Yorkshire, and passed up and down that great county, and several received him; as William Dewsbury, Richard Farnsworth, Thomas Aldam, and others, who all came to be faithful ministers of the Spi∣rit for the Lord. And he continued in that country, and travelled through Holderness and the Woulds, and abun∣dance were convinced; and several were brought to prison at York for their testimony to the truth, both men and wo∣men: Page lviiiso that we heard of such a people that were risen, and we did, very much inquire after them. And after awhile he travelled up farther towards the dales in Yorkshire, as Wensdale and Sedbur; and amongst the hills, dales and mountains he came on, and convinced many of the eternal truth.
In the year 1652 it pleased the Lord to draw him towards us; so he came on from Sedbur into Westmoreland, to Fir∣bank-Chapel, where John Blaykling came with him; and so on to Preston, Grarig. Kendal, Under-barrow, Poobank, Cartmel, and Staveley, and so on to Swarthmore, my dwel∣ling-house, whither he brought the blessed tidings of the everlasting gospel, which I and many hundreds in these parts have cause to praise the Lord for. My then husband, Thomas Fell, was not at home at that time, but gone the Welsh circuit, being one of the judges of assize; and our house being a place open to entertain ministers and religious people at, one of GEORGE FOX's friends brought him thi∣ther, where he staid all night: and the next day, being a lecture or a fast-day, he went to Ulverston steeple-house, but came not in till people were gathered; I and my chil∣dren had been a long time there before. And when they were singing before the sermon he came in, and when they had done singing he stood up upon a seat or form, and de∣sired "that he might have liberty to speak;" and he that was in the pulpit said he might. And the first words that he spoke were as followeth:
He went on to Dalton, Aldingham, Dendrum, an • Ramsyde chapels and steeple-houses, and several places up and down, and the people followed him mightily: and abundance were convinced, and saw that which he spoke was truth, but the priests were all in a rage. And about two weeks after James Naylor and Richard Farnsworth fol∣lowed him and enquired him out till they came to Swarth∣more, and there staid awhile with me at our house, and did me much good; for I was under great heaviness and judgment. But the power of the Lord entered upon me within about three weeks that he came, and about three weeks end my husband came home; and many were in a mighty rage, and a deal of the captains and great ones of the country went to meet my then husband as he was coming home, and informed him,
So my husband came home greatly offended; and any Page lxmay think what a condition I was like to be in, that either I must displease my husband or offend God; for he was very much troubled with us all in the house and family, they had so prepossessed him against us. But James Nay∣lor and Richard Farnsworth were both then at our house, and I desired them to come and speak to him; and so they did very moderately and wisely: but he was at first dis∣pleased with them, till they told him "they came in love and good-will to his house." And after that he had heard them speak awhile he was better satisfied, and they offered as if they would go away; but I desired them to stay, and not to go away yet, for GEORGE FOX will come this evening. And I would have had my husband to have heard them all, and satisfied himself farther about them, because they had so prepossessed him against them of such dangerous fearful things in his coming first home. And then he was pretty moderate and quiet, and his dinner being ready he went to it, and I went in and sate me down by him. And whilst I was sitting the power of the Lord seized upon me, and he was struck with amazement, and knew not what to think; but was quiet and still. And the children were all quiet and still, and grown sober, and could not play on their musick that they were learning; and all these things made him quiet and still.
At night GEORGE FOX came: and after supper my husband was sitting in the parlour, and I asked him, If GEORGE FOX might come in? And he said, Yes. So GEORGE came in without any compliment, and walked into the room, and began to speak presently; and the fa∣mily, and James Naylor and Richard Farnsworth came all in: and he spoke very excellently as ever I heard him, and opened Christ's and the apostles practices, which they were in, in their day. And he opened the night of apostacy since the apostles days, and laid open the priests and their practices in the apostacy; that if all in England had been there, I thought they could not have denied the truth of those things. And so my husband came to sec clearly the truth of what he spoke, and was very quiet that night, said no more, and went to bed. The next morning came Lam∣pit, priest of Ulverston, and got my husband into the gar∣den, and spoke much to him there; but my husband had seen so much the night before, that the priest got little entrance upon him. And when the priest, Lampit, was come into the house, GEORGE spoke sharpy to him, and Page lxiasked him,
After a few weeks GEORGE went to Ulverston steeple-house again, and the said justice Sawrey, with others, set the rude rabble upon him, and they beat him so that he fell down as in a swoon, and was sore bruised and blackened in his body, and on his head and arms. Then my husband was not at home; but when he came home, he was dis∣pleased that they should do so, and spoke to justice Sawrey, and said, "It was against law to make riots." After that he was sore beat and stoned at Walney till he fell down, and also at Dalton was he sore beat and abused; so that he had very hard usage in divers places in these parts. And then when a meeting was settled here, he went again into Westmoreland, and settled meetings there; and there was a great convincement, and abundance of brave ministers came out there-aways; as John Camm, John Audland, Francis Howgil, Edward Burrough, Miles Halhead, and John Blaykling, with divers others. He also went over the sands to Lancaster, and Yelland, and Kellet, where Robert Wid∣ders, Richard Hubberthorn, and John Lawson, with many others, were convinced. And about that time he was in those parts, many priests and professors rose up, and falsely accused him for blasphemy, and did endeavour to take away his life, and got people to swear at a sessions at Lancaster that he had spoken blasphemy. But my then husband and colonel West, having had some sight and knowledge of the truth, withstood the two persecuting justices, John Sawrey Page lxiiand Thompson, and brought him off, and cleared him; for indeed he was innocent. And after the sessions there was a great meeting in the town of Lancaster; and many of the town's people came in, and many were convinced, And thus he was up and down about Lancaster, Yelland, Westmoreland, and some parts of Yorkshire, and our parts above one year; in which time there were above twenty-four ministers brought forth, that were ready to go with their testimony of the eternal truth unto the world: and soon after Francis Howgil and John Camm went to speak to Oliver Cromwel.
In the year 1653 GEORGE's drawings were into Cumber∣land by Milholm, Lampley, Embleton and Brigham, Pard∣sey and Cockermouth, where at or near Embleton he had a dispute with some priests, as Larkham and Benson, but chiefly with John Wilkinson, a preacher at Embleton and Brigham; who was afterwards convinced, and owned the truth, and was a serviceable minister both in England, Ire∣land and Scotland. And then he went to Coldbeck and several places, till he came to Carlisle, and went to their steeple-house: and they beat and abused him, and had him before the magistrates; who examined him, and put him in prison there in the common gaol among the thieves. And at the assizes was one Anthony Pearson, who had been a justice of peace, and was convinced at Appleby, when he was upon the bench, by James Naylor and Francis How∣gil, who were then prisoners there, and brought before him; so Anthony Pearson spake to the justices at Carlisle, he be∣ing acquainted with them, having married his wife out of Cumberland; and after awhile they released him. After∣wards he went into several other parts of Cumberland, and many were convinced, and owned the truth: and he gather∣ed and settled meetings there amongst them, and up and down in several parts there in the north.
In the year 1654 he went southward to his own country of Leicestershire, visiting friends. And then colonel Hack∣er sent him to Oliver Cromwel: and after his being kept prisoner a while, he was brought before Oliver, and was released. And then he stayed a while, visiting friends in London, and the meetings therein; and so passed westward to Bristol, and visited friends there: and after went into Cornwall, where they put him in prison at Launceston, and one Edward Pyot with him; where he had a bad, long imprisonment. When he was released, he passed into ma∣ny Page lxiiiparts in that county of Cornwall, and settled meetings there. And then he travelled through many counties, visit∣ing friends and settling meetings all along: and so came into the north, and to Swarthmore, and to Cumberland.
And so for Scotland he passed in the year 1657, and there went with him Robert Widders, James Lancaster, John Grave, and others. And he travelled through many places in that nation, as Douglas, Heads, Hamilton, Glasgow, and to Edinburgh, where they took him, and car∣ried him before general Monk and the council, and examin∣ed him, and asked him his business into that nation; who answered, He came to visit the seed of God. And after they had threatened him, and charged him to depart their nation of Scotland, they let him go. And then he went to Linlithgow, and Stirling, and Johnstons, and many pla∣ces, visiting the people: and several were convinced. And after he had staid a pretty while, and settled some meetings, he returned into Northumberland, and into the bishoprick of Durham, visiting friends and settling meetings as he went; and then returned back again to Swarthmore, and staid amongst friends awhile, and so returned south again. [In 1658 judge Fell died.]
And in 1660 he came out of the south into the north, and had a great general meeting about Balby in Yorkshire; and so came on visiting friends in many places, till he came to Swarthmore again. And king Charles being then come in, the justices sent out warrants, and took him at Swarth∣more, charging him in their warrants, that he drew away the king's liege people, to the endangering the embruing the nation in blood, and sent him prisoner to Lancaster castle. And I having a great family, and he being taken in my house, I was moved of the Lord to go to the •ing •t Whitehall; and took with me a declaration, and an in∣formation of our principles; and a long time, and much ado I had, to get to him. But at last, when I got to him, I told him, If he was guilty of those things, I was guilty, for he was taken in my house: and I gave him the paper of our principles, and desired that he would set him at liberty, as he had promised that none should suffer for ten∣der consciences, and we were of tender consciences, and desired nothing but the liberty of our consciences. And then with much ado, after he had been kept prisoner near half a year at Lancaster, we got a habeas corpus, and re∣moved him to the King's Bench, where he was released. Page lxivAnd then would I gladly have come home to my great fa∣mily; but was bound in my spirit, and could not have freedom to get away for a whole year. And the king had promised me several times, that we should have our liberty: and then the monarchy-men rose; and then came the great and general imprisonment of friends the nation through: And 〈◊〉 could I not have freedom nor liberty to come home, till we had got a general proclamation for all our friends liberty; and then I had freedom and peace to come home.
In 1663 he came north again, and to Swarthmore: and then they sent out warrants, and took him again, and had him to Holcrof before the justices, and tendered him the oath of allegiance, and sent him prisoner to Lancaster castle. And about a month after, the justices sent for me also out of my house, and tendered me the oath; and sent me pri∣soner to Lancaster. And the next assizes they tendered the oath of allegiance and supremacy again to us both, and pre∣munired me: but they had missed the date and other things in his indictment, and so it was quashed; but they tendered him the oath again, and kept him prisoner a year and a half at Lancaster castle. And then they sent him to Scarborough castle in Yorkshire, where they kept him prisoner close un∣der the soldiers most of a year and a half; so that a friend could scarcely have spoken to him; yet after that, it pleased the Lord that he was released. But I continued in prison, and a prisoner four years at that time; and an order was pro∣cured from the council, whereby I was set at liberty. And in that time I went down into Cornwall with my son and daughter Lower, and came back by London to the yearly meeting; and there I met with him again: And then he told me, The time was drawing towards our marriage, but he might first go into Ireland. And a little before this time was he prisoner in his own country at Leicester for awhile; and then released. And so into Ireland he went: and I went into Kent and Sussex; and came back to London again; and afterward I went to the west, towards Bristol, in 1669, and there I staid till he came over from Ireland, which was eleven years after my former husband's decease. In Ireland he had had a great service for the Lord and his eternal truth amongst friends and many people there, but escaped many dangers, and times of being taken prisoner, they having lain in wait aforehand for him in many places; and being returned, at Bristol he declared his intentions of Page lxvmarriage; and there accordingly our marriage was solemni∣zed: and then within ten days after I came homewards; and my husband staid up and down in the countries amongst friends, visiting them.
Soon after I came home, there came another order from the council to cast me into prison again; and the sheriff of Lancashire sent his bailiff, and pulled me out of my own house, and had me prisoner to Lancaster castle, upon the old premunire; where I continued a whole year: and most part of all that time I was sick and weakly, and also my husband was weak and sickly at that time. After awhile he recovered, and went about to get me out of prison; and a discharge at last was got under the great seal, and so I was set at liberty: and then I was to go up to London again, for my husband was intending for America; and he was full two years away before he came back again to En∣gland: and arriving at Bristol, he came thence to London, and intended to have come to the middle of the nation with me. But when we came into some parts of Worcestershire, they got there information of him; and one justice Parker by his warrant sent him and my son Lower to Worcester gaol; and the justices there tendered him the oath, and pre∣munired him, but released my son Lower; who staid with him most of the time he was prisoner there.
And after some time he fell sick in a long lingering sick∣ness, and many times was very ill; so they wrote to me from London, that if I would see him alive, I might go to him; which accordingly I did. And after I had tarried seventeen weeks with him at Worcester, and no discharge like to be obtained for him, I went up to London, and wrote to the king an account of his long imprisonment, and that he was taken in his travel homewards; and that he was sick and weak, and not like to live, if they kept him long there. And I went with it to Whitehall myself; and I met with the king, and gave him the paper: and he said, I must go to the chancellor, he could do nothing in it. Then I writ also to the lord chancellor, and went to his house, and gave him my paper, and spoke to him, That the king had left it wholly to him; and if he did not take pity, and release him out of that prison. I feared he would end his days there. And the lord chancellor Finch was a very tender man, and spoke to the judge, who gave out an habeas corpus present∣ly. And when we got it, we sent it down to Worcester; and they would not part with him at first, but said, he was Page lxvipremunired, and was not to go out on that manner. And then we were forced to go to judge North, and to the attor∣ney-general, and we got another order, and sent down from them; and with much ado, and great labour and industry of William Mead, and other friends, we got him up to London, where he appeared at Westminster Hall at the King's Bench, before judge Hales, who was a very honest, tender man; and he knew they had imprisoned him but in envy. So that which they had against him was read; and our counsel pleaded, that he was taken up in his travel and journey; and there was but little said till he was acquitted. And this was the last prison that he was in, being freed by the court of King's Bench.
When he was at liberty, he recovered again; and then I was very desirous to go home with him, which we did; and this was the first time that he came to Swarthmore after we were married, and he staid here about two years, and then went to London again to the yearly meeting; and after a∣while went into Holland, and some parts of Germany, where he staid a pretty while, and then returned to London again at the next yearly meeting. And after he had staid awhile in and about London, he came into the north to Swarth∣more again, and staid that time nigh two years; and then he grew weakly, being troubled with pains and aches, hav∣ing had many sore and long travels, beatings, and hard im∣prisonments. But after some time he rode to York, and so passed on through Nottinghamshire and several counties, visiting friends till he came to London to the yearly meet∣ing, and staid there and thereabouts till he finished his course, and laid down his head in peace.
And though the Lord had provided an outward habita∣tion for him, yet he was not willing to stay at it, because it was so remote and far from London, where his service most lay. And my concern for God and his holy eternal truth was then in the north, where God had placed and set me; and likewise for the ordering and governing of my children and family; so that we were willing both of us to live apart some years upon God's account and his truth's service, and to deny ourselves of that comfort which we might have had in being together, for the sake and service of the Lord and his truth. And if any took occasion, or judged hard of us because of that, the Lord will judge them; for we were in∣nocent. And for my own part, I was willing to make many long journeys, for taking away all occasion of evil thoughts: Page lxviiand though I lived two hundred miles from London, yet have I been nine times there, upon the Lord's and his truth's account; and of all the times that I was at London, this last time was most comfortable, that the Lord was pleased to give me strength and ability to travel that great journey, being seventy-six years of age, to see my dear husband, who was better in his health and strength than many times I had seen him before. I look upon it that the Lord's special hand was in it that I should go then, for he lived but about half a year after I left him; which makes me admire the wisdom and goodness of God in ordering my journey at that time.
And now he hath finished his course and his testimony, and is entered into his eternal rest and felicity. I trust in the same powerful God, that his holy arm and power will carry me through, whatever he hath yet for me to do; and that he will be my strength and support, and the bearer-up of my head unto the end and in the end. For I know his faithfulness and goodness, and I have experience of his love; to whom be glory and powerful dominion for ever. Amen.