by George Fox

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V.--Encounters with Cromwell

When I came to Leicester I was carried up a prisoner by Captain Drury, one of the Protector's life-guards, who brought me to London and lodged me at the Mermaid, over against the Mews at Charing Cross. And I was moved of the Lord to write a paper to Oliver Cromwell, wherein I declared against all violence, and that I was sent of God to bring the people from the causes of war and fighting to a peaceable gospel. After some time Captain Drury brought me before the Protector himself at Whitehall, and I spoke much to him of truth and religion, wherein he carried himself very moderately; and as I spoke he several times said it was very good and it was truth, and he wished me no more ill than he did his own soul.

When I went into Cornwall I was seized and brought to Launceston to be tried, and being settled in prison upon such a commitment that we were not likely to be soon released, we were put down into Doomsdale, a nasty, stinking place where they put murderers after they were condemned; and we were fain to stand all night, for we could not sit down, the place was so filthy. We sent a copy of our sufferings to the Protector, who sent down General Desborough to offer us liberty if we would go home and preach no more; but we could not promise him. At last he freely set us at liberty, and in Cornwall, Devonshire, Dorsetshire, and Somersetshire, the truth began to spread mightily.

After a little while Edward Pyot and I were moved to speak to Oliver Cromwell again concerning the sufferings of Friends, and we laid them before him, and directed him to the light of Christ. Afterwards we passed on through the counties to Wales, and by Manchester to Scotland; but the Scots, being a dark, carnal people, gave little heed, and hardly took notice of what was said.

And when I had returned to London I was moved to write again to Oliver Cromwell. There was a rumour about this time of making Cromwell king, whereupon I warned him against it, and he seemed to take well what I said to him, and thanked me. Taking boat to Kingston, and thence to Hampton Court, to speak with him about the sufferings of Friends, I met him riding into Hampton Court Park before I came to him. As he rode at the head of his life-guards, I felt a waft of death go forth against him, and he looked like a dead man. After I had warned him, as I was moved, he bid me come to his house. But when I came he was sick, so I passed away, and never saw him more.

After, I was imprisoned in Lancaster, but when I had been in gaol twenty weeks was released on King Charles being satisfied of my innocency. Then I was tried at Leicester and found guilty, but was set at liberty suddenly. And at Lancaster I was tried because when they tendered me the oaths of allegiance and supremacy I would not take any oath at all, and there I was a prisoner in the castle for Christ's sake, but was never called to hear sentence given, but was removed by an order from the king and council. And afterwards I lay a year in Scarborough gaol, but was discharged by order of the king as a man of peaceable life.

And on the 2nd of the second month of the year 1674 I was brought to trial at Worcester, and during my imprisonment there I wrote several books for the press, and this imprisonment so much weakened me that I was long before I recovered my natural strength again, and in later years my body was never able to bear the closeness of cities long.


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