The History of Thomas Ellwood Written by Himself
by Thomas Ellwood
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I went therefore and took myself a lodging as near to his house (which was then in Jewyn-street) as conveniently as I could, and from thenceforward went every day in the afternoon, except on the first days of the week, and sitting by him in his dining-room read to him in such books in the Latin tongue as he pleased to hear me read.

At my first sitting to read to him, observing that I used the English pronunciation, he told me, if I would have the benefit of the Latin tongue, not only to read and understand Latin authors, but to converse with foreigners, either abroad or at home, I must learn the foreign pronunciation. To this I consenting, he instructed me how to sound the vowels; so different from the common pronunciation used by the English, who speak Anglice their Latin, that—with some few other variations in sounding some consonants in particular cases, as C before E or I like CH, SC before I like SH, &c.—the Latin thus spoken seemed as different from that which was delivered, as the English generally speak it, as if it were another language.

I had before, during my retired life at my father's, by unwearied diligence and industry, so far recovered the rules of grammar, in which I had once been very ready, that I could both read a Latin author and after a sort hammer out his meaning. But this change of pronunciation proved a new difficulty to me. It was now harder to me to read than it was before to understand when read. But

Labor omnia vincit Improbus.

Incessant pains, The end obtains.

And so did I. Which made my reading the more acceptable to my master. He, on the other hand, perceiving with what earnest desire I pursued learning, gave me not only all the encouragement but all the help he could; for, having a curious ear, he understood by my tone when I understood what I read and when I did not; and accordingly would stop me, examine me, and open the most difficult passages to me.

Thus went I on for about six weeks' time, reading to him in the afternoons; and exercising myself with my own books in my chamber in the forenoons, I was sensible of an improvement.

But, alas! I had fixed my studies in a wrong place. London and I could never agree for health; my lungs, as I suppose, were too tender to bear the sulphurous air of that city, so that I soon began to droop; and in less than two months' time I was fain to leave both my studies and the city, and return into the country to preserve life; and much ado I had to get thither.

I chose to go down to Wycombe, and to John Rance's house there; both as he was a physician, and his wife an honest, hearty, discreet, and grave matron, whom I had a very good esteem of, and who I knew had a good regard for me.

There I lay ill a considerable time, and to that degree of weakness that scarce any who saw me expected my life. But the Lord was both gracious to me in my illness, and was pleased to raise me up again, that I might serve him in my generation.

As soon as I had recovered so much strength as to be fit to travel, I obtained of my father (who was then at his house in Crowell, to dispose of some things he had there, and who in my illness had come to see me) so much money as would clear all charges in the house, for both physic, food, and attendance; and having fully discharged all, I took leave of my friends in that family and in the town, and returned to my studies at London.

I was very kindly received by my master, who had conceived so good an opinion of me that my conversation, I found, was acceptable to him, and he seemed heartily glad of my recovery and return; and into our old method of study we fell again, I reading to him, and he explaining to me, as occasion required.

But as if learning had been a forbidden fruit to me, scarce was I well settled in my work before I met with another diversion, which turned me quite out of my work.

For a sudden storm arising, from I know not what surmise of a plot, and thereby danger to the government, and the meetings of Dissenters—such I mean as could be found, which perhaps were not many besides the Quakers—were broken up throughout the city, and the prisons mostly filled with our friends.

I was that morning, which was the 26th day of the eighth month, 1662, at the meeting at the Bull and Mouth, by Aldersgate, when on a sudden a party of soldiers (of the trained bands of the city) rushed in, with noise and clamour, being led by one who was called Major Rosewell, an apothecary, if I misremember not, and at that time under the ill name of a Papist.

As soon as he was come within the room, having a file or two of musketeers at his heels, he commanded his men to present their muskets at us, which they did, with intent, I suppose, to strike a terror into the people. Then he made a proclamation that all who were not Quakers might depart if they would.

It so happened that a young man, an apprentice in London, whose name was —- Dove, the son of Dr. Dove, of Chinner, near Crowell, in Oxfordshire, came that day in curiosity to see the meeting, and coming early, and finding me there (whom he knew), came and sat down by me.

As soon as he heard the noise of soldiers he was much startled, and asked me softly if I would not shift for myself, and try to get out. I told him no; I was in my place, and was willing to suffer if it was my lot. When he heard the notice given that they who were not Quakers might depart, he solicited me again to be gone. I told him I could not do so, for that would be to renounce my profession, which I would by no means do; but as for him, who was not one of us, he might do as he pleased. Whereupon, wishing me well, he turned away, and with cap in hand went out. And truly I was glad he was gone, for his master was a rigid Presbyterian, who in all likelihood would have led him a wretched life had he been taken and imprisoned among the Quakers.

The soldiers came so early that the meeting was not fully gathered when they came, and when the mixed company were gone out, we were so few, and sat so thin in that large room, that they might take a clear view of us all, and single us out as they pleased.

He that commanded the party gave us first a general charge to come out of the room. But we, who came thither at God's requirings, to worship him, like that good man of old who said, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts v. 29), stirred not, but kept our places. Whereupon he sent some of his soldiers among us, with command to drag or drive us out, which they did roughly enough.

When we came out into the street, we were received there by other soldiers, who with their pikes holden lengthways from one another encompassed us round as sheep in a pound; and there we stood a pretty time, while they were picking up more to add to our number.

In this work none seemed so eager and active as their leader, Major Rosewell; which I observing, stepped boldly to him as he was passing by me, and asked him if he intended a massacre, for of that in those days there was a great apprehension and talk. The suddenness of the question, from such a young man especially, somewhat startled him; but recollecting himself, he answered, "No; but I intend to have you all hanged by the wholesome laws of the land."

When he had gotten as many as he could or thought fit, which were in number thirty-two, whereof two were catched up in the street, who had not been at the meeting, he ordered the pikes to be opened before us; and giving the word to march, went himself at the head of us, the soldiers with their pikes making a lane to keep us from scattering.

He led us up Martin's, and so turned down to Newgate, where I expected he would have lodged us. But, to my disappointment, he went on though Newgate, and turning through the Old Bailey, brought us into Fleet Street. I was then wholly at a loss to conjecture whither he would lead us, unless it were to Whitehall, for I knew nothing then of Old Bridewell; but on a sudden he gave a short turn, and brought us before the gate of that prison, where knocking, the wicket was forthwith opened, and the master, with his porter, ready to receive us.

One of those two who were picked up in the street, being near me, and telling me his case, I stepped to the Major, and told him that this man was not at the meeting, but was taken up in the street; and showed him how hard and unjust a thing it would be to put him into prison.

I had not pleased him before in the question I had put to him about a massacre, and that, I suppose, made this solicitation less acceptable to him from me than it might have been from some other; for looking sternly on me, he said: "Who are you, that take so much upon you? Seeing you are so busy, you shall be the first man that shall go into Bridewell;" and taking me by the shoulders, he thrust me in.

As soon as I was in, the porter, pointing with his finger, directed me to a fair pair of stairs on the farther side of a large court, and bid me go up those stairs and go on till I could go no farther.

Accordingly I went up the stairs; the first flight whereof brought me to a fair chapel on my left hand, which I could look into through the iron grates, but could not have gone into if I would.

I knew that was not a place for me: wherefore, following my direction and the winding of the stairs, I went up a storey higher, which brought me into a room which I soon perceived to be a court- room or place of judicature. After I had stood a while there, and taken a view of it, observing a door on the farther side, I went to it, and opened it, with intention to go in, but I quickly drew back, being almost affrighted at the dismalness of the place; for besides that the walls quite round were laid all over, from top to bottom, in black, there stood in the middle of it a great whipping-post, which was all the furniture it had.

In one of these two rooms judgment was given, and in the other it was executed on those ill people who for their lewdness were sent to this prison, and there sentenced to be whipped; which was so contrived that the court might not only hear, but see, if they pleased, their sentence executed.

A sight so unexpected, and withal so unpleasing, gave me no encouragement either to rest or indeed to enter at all there; till looking earnestly I espied, on the opposite side, a door, which giving me hopes of a farther progress, I adventured to step hastily to it, and opened it.

This let me into one of the fairest rooms that, so far as I remember, I was ever in, and no wonder, for though it was now put to this mean use, it had for many ages past been the royal seat or palace of the kings of England, until Cardinal Wolsey built Whitehall, and offered it as a peace offering to King Henry the Eighth, who until that time had kept his court in this house, and had this, as the people in the house reported, for his dining-room, by which name it then went.

This room in length (for I lived long enough in it to have time to measure it) was threescore feet, and had breadth proportionable to it. In it, on the front side, were very large bay windows, in which stood a large table. It had other very large tables in it, with benches round; and at that time the floor was covered with rushes, against some solemn festival, which I heard it was bespoken for.

Here was my nil ultra, and here I found I might set up my pillar; for although there was a door out of it to a back pair of stairs which led to it, yet that was kept locked. So that finding I had now followed my keeper's direction to the utmost point, beyond which I could not go, I sat down and considered that rhetorical saying, "That the way to Heaven lay by the gate of Hell;" the black room, through which I passed into this, bearing some resemblance to the latter, as this comparatively and by way of allusion might in some sort be thought to bear to the former.

But I was quickly put out of these thoughts by the flocking in of the other Friends, my fellow-prisoners, amongst whom yet, when all were come together, there was but one whom I knew so much as by face, and with him I had no acquaintance; for I having been but a little while in the city, and in that time kept close to my studies, I was by that means known to very few.

Soon after we were all gotten together came up the master of the house after us, and demanded our names, which we might reasonably have refused to give till we had been legally convened before some civil magistrate who had power to examine us and demand our names; but we, who were neither guileful nor wilful, simply gave him our names, which he took down in writing.

It was, as I hinted before, a general storm which fell that day, but it lighted most, and most heavily, upon our meetings; so that most of our men Friends were made prisoners, and the prisons generally filled. And great work had the women to run about from prison to prison to find their husbands, their fathers, their brothers, or their servants; for according as they had disposed themselves to several meetings, so were they dispersed to several prisons. And no less care and pains had they, when they had found them, to furnish them with provisions and other necessary accommodations.

But an excellent order, even in those early days, was practised among the Friends of that city, by which there were certain Friends of either sex appointed to have the oversight of the prisons in every quarter, and to take care of all Friends, the poor especially, that should be committed thither.

This prison of Bridewell was under the care of two honest, grave, discreet, and motherly women, whose names were Anne Merrick (afterwards Vivers), and Anne Travers, both widows.

They, so soon as they understood that there were Friends brought into that prison, provided some hot victuals, meat, and broth, for the weather was cold; and ordering their servants to bring it them, with bread, cheese, and beer, came themselves also with it, and having placed it on a table, gave notice to us that it was provided for all those that had not others to provide for them, or were not able to provide for themselves. And there wanted not among us a competent number of such guests.

As for my part, though I had lived as frugally as possibly I could, that I might draw out the thread of my little stock to the utmost length, yet had I by this time reduced it to tenpence, which was all the money I had about me, or anywhere else at my command.

This was but a small estate to enter upon an imprisonment with, yet was I not at all discouraged at it, nor had I a murmuring thought. I had known what it was, moderately, to abound, and if I should now come to suffer want, I knew I ought to be content; and through the grace of God I was so. I had lived by Providence before, when for a long time I had no money at all, and I had always found the Lord a good provider. I made no doubt, therefore, that He who sent the ravens to feed Elijah, and who clothes the lilies, would find some means to sustain me with needful food and raiment; and I had learned by experience the truth of that saying, Natura paucis contenta—i.e. Nature is content with few things, or a little.

Although the sight and smell of hot food was sufficiently enticing to my empty stomach, for I had eaten little that morning and was hungry, yet, considering the terms of the invitation, I questioned whether I was included in it; and after some reasonings at length concluded that, while I had tenpence in my pocket, I should be but an injurious intruder to that mess, which was provided for such as perhaps had not twopence in theirs.

Being come to this resolution, I withdrew as far from the table as I could, and sat down in a quiet retirement of mind till the repast was over, which was not long; for there were hands enough at it to make light work of it.

When evening came the porter came up the backstairs, and opening the door, told us if we desired to have anything that was to be had in the house, he would bring it us; for there was in the house a chandler's shop, at which beer, bread, butter, cheese, eggs and bacon, might be had for money. Upon which many went to him, and spake for what of these things they had a mind to, giving him money to pay for them.

Among the rest went I, and intending to spin out my tenpence as far as I could, desired him to bring me a penny loaf only. When he returned we all resorted to him to receive our several provisions, which he delivered; and when he came to me he told me he could not get a penny loaf, but he had brought me two halfpenny loaves.

This suited me better; wherefore returning to my place again, I sat down and eat up one of my loaves, reserving the other for the next day.

This was to me both dinner and supper; and so well satisfied I was with it that I could willingly then have gone to bed, if I had had one to go to; but that was not to be expected there, nor had any one any bedding brought in that night.

Some of the company had been so considerate as to send for a pound of candles, that we might not sit all night in the dark, and having lighted divers of them, and placed them in several parts of that large room, we kept walking to keep us warm.

After I had warmed myself pretty thoroughly and the evening was pretty far spent, I bethought myself of a lodging; and cast mine eye on the table which stood in the bay window, the frame whereof looked, I thought, somewhat like a bedstead. Wherefore, willing to make sure of that, I gathered up a good armful of the rushes wherewith the floor was covered, and spreading them under the table, crept in upon them in my clothes, and keeping on my hat, laid my head upon one end of the table's frame, instead of a bolster.

My example was followed by the rest, who, gathering up rushes as I had done, made themselves beds in other parts of the room, and so to rest we went.

I having a quiet easy mind, was soon asleep, and slept till about the middle of the night. And then waking, finding my legs and feet very cold, I crept out of my cabin and began to walk about apace.

This waked and raised all the rest, who finding themselves cold as well as I, got up and walked about with me, till we had pretty well warmed ourselves, and then we all lay down again, and rested till morning.

Next day, all they who had families, or belonged to families, had bedding brought in of one sort or other, which they disposed at ends and sides of the room, leaving the middle void to walk in.

But I, who had nobody to look after me, kept to my rushy pallet under the table for four nights together, in which time I did not put off my clothes; yet, through the merciful goodness of God unto me, I rested and slept well, and enjoyed health, without taking cold.

In this time divers of our company, through the solicitations of some of their relations or acquaintance to Sir Richard Brown, who was at that time a great master of misrule in the city, and over Bridewell more especially, were released; and among these one William Mucklow, who lay in a hammock. He having observed that I only was unprovided with lodging, came very courteously to me, and kindly offered me the use of his hammock while I should continue a prisoner.

This was a providential accommodation to me, which I received thankfully, both from the Lord and from him; and from thenceforth I thought I lay as well as ever I had done in my life.

Amongst those that remained there were several young men who cast themselves into a club, and laying down every one an equal proportion of money, put it into the hand of our friend Anne Travers, desiring her to lay it out for them in provisions, and send them in every day a mess of hot meat; and they kindly invited me to come into their club with them. These saw my person, and judged of me by that, but they saw not my purse, nor understood the lightness of my pocket. But I, who alone understood my own condition, knew I must sit down with lower commons. Wherefore, not giving them the true reason, I as fairly as I could excused myself from entering at present into their mess, and went on, as before, to eat by myself, and that very sparingly, as my stock would bear; and before my tenpence was quite spent, Providence, on whom I relied, sent me in a fresh supply.

For William Penington, a brother of Isaac Penington's, a Friend and merchant in London, at whose house, before I came to live in the city, I was wont to lodge, having been at his brother's that day upon a visit, escaped this storm, and so was at liberty; and understanding when he came back what had been done, bethought himself of me, and upon inquiry hearing where I was, came in love to see me.

He in discourse, amongst other things, asked me how it was with me as to money, and how well I was furnished: I told him I could not boast of much, and yet I could not say I had none; though what I then had was indeed next to none. Whereupon he put twenty shillings into my hand, and desired me to accept of that for the present. I saw a Divine hand in thus opening his heart and hand in this manner to me; and though I would willingly have been excused from taking so much, and would have returned one half of it, yet he pressing it all upon me, I received it with a thankful acknowledgment as a token of love from the Lord and from him.

On the seventh day he went down again, as he usually did, to his brother's house at Chalfont, and in discourse gave them an account of my imprisonment. Whereupon, at his return on the second day of the week following, my affectionate friend Mary Penington sent me, by him, forty shillings, which he soon after brought me; out of which I would have repaid him the twenty shillings he had so kindly furnished me with, but he would not admit it, telling me I might have occasion for that and more before I got my liberty.

Not many days after this I received twenty shillings from my father, who being then at his house in Oxfordshire, and by letter from my sister understanding that I was a prisoner in Bridewell, sent this money to me for my support there, and withal a letter to my sister for her to deliver to one called Mr. Wray, who lived near Bridewell, and was a servant to Sir Richard Brown in some wharf of his, requesting him to intercede with his master, who was one of the governors of Bridewell, for my deliverance; but that letter coming to my hands, I suppressed it, and have it yet by me.

Now was my pocket from the lowest ebb risen to a full tide. I was at the brink of want, next door to nothing, yet my confidence did not fail nor my faith stagger; and now on a sudden I had plentiful supplies, shower upon shower, so that I abounded, yet was not lifted up, but in humility could say, "This is the Lord's doing." And without defrauding any of the instruments of the acknowledgments due unto them, mine eye looked over and beyond them to the Lord, who I saw was the author thereof and prime agent therein, and with a thankful heart I returned thanksgivings and praises to Him. And this great goodness of the Lord to me I thus record, to the end that all into whose hands this may come may be encouraged to trust in the Lord, whose mercy is over all His works, and who is indeed a God near at hand, to help in the needful time.

Now I durst venture myself into the club to which I had been invited, and accordingly, having by this time gained an acquaintance with them, took an opportunity to cast myself among them; and thenceforward, so long as we continued prisoners there together, I was one of their mess.

And now the chief thing I wanted was employment, which scarce any wanted but myself; for the rest of my company were generally tradesmen of such trades as could set themselves on work. Of these, divers were tailors, some masters, some journeymen, and with these I most inclined to settle. But because I was too much a novice in their art to be trusted with their work, lest I should spoil the garments, I got work from an hosier in Cheapside, which was to make night-waistcoats, of red and yellow flannel, for women and children. And with this I entered myself among the tailors, sitting cross- legged as they did, and so spent those leisure hours with innocency and pleasure which want of business would have made tedious. And indeed that was in a manner the only advantage I had by it; for my master, though a very wealthy man, and one who professed not only friendship but particular kindness to me, dealt I thought but hardly with me. For though he knew not what I had to subsist by, he never offered me a penny for my work till I had done working for him, and went, after I was released, to give him a visit; and then he would not reckon with me neither, because, as he smilingly said, he would not let me so far into his trade as to acquaint me with the prices of the work, but would be sure to give me enough. And thereupon he gave me one crown-piece and no more; though I had wrought long for him, and made him many dozens of waistcoats, and bought the thread myself; which I thought was very poor pay. But as Providence had ordered it, I wanted the work more than the wages, and therefore took what he gave me, without complaining.

About this time, while we were prisoners in our fair chamber, a Friend was brought and put in among us, who had been sent thither by Richard Brown to beat hemp; whose case was thus:

He was a very poor man, who lived by mending shoes, and on a seventh-day night, late, a carman, or some other such labouring man, brought him a pair of shoes to mend, desiring him to mend them that night, that he might have them in the morning, for he had no other to wear. The poor man sat up at work upon them till after midnight, and then finding he could not finish them, went to bed, intending to do the rest in the morning.

Accordingly, he got up betimes, and though he wrought as privately as he could in his chamber, that he might avoid giving offence to any, yet could he not do it so privately but that an ill-natured neighbour perceived it, who went and informed against him for working on the Sunday. Whereupon he was had before Richard Brown, who committed him to Bridewell for a certain time, to be kept to hard labour in beating hemp, which is labour hard enough.

It so fell out that at the same time were committed thither (for what cause I do not now remember) two lusty young men, who were called Baptists, to be kept also at the same labour.

The Friend was a poor little man, of a low condition and mean appearance; whereas these two Baptists were topping blades, that looked high and spoke big. They scorned to beat hemp, and made a pish at the whipping-post; but when they had once felt the smart of it, they soon cried peccavi, and submitting to the punishment, set their tender hands to the beetles.

The Friend, on the other hand, acting upon a principle, knowing he had done no evil for which he should undergo that punishment, refused to work, and for refusing was cruelly whipped; which he bore with wonderful constancy and resolution of mind.

The manner of whipping there is, to strip the party to the skin from the waist upwards, and having fastened him to the whipping-post, so that he can neither resist nor shun the strokes, to lash the naked body with long but slender twigs of holly, which will bend almost like thongs, and lap round the body; and these having little knots upon them, tear the skin and flesh, and give extreme pain.

With these rods they tormented the Friend most barbarously and the more for that, having mastered the two braving Baptists, they disdained to be mastered by this poor Quaker. Yet were they fain at last to yield when they saw their utmost severity could not make him yield; and then, not willing to be troubled longer with him, they turned him up among us.

When we had inquired of him how it was with him, and he had given us a brief account of both his cause and usage, it came in my mind that I had in my box (which I had sent for from my lodging, to keep some few books and other necessaries in) a little gallipot with Lucatellu's balsam in it.

Wherefore, causing a good fire to be made, and setting the Friend within a blanket before the fire, we stripped him to the waist, as if he had been to be whipped again, and found his skin so cut and torn with the knotty holly rods, both back, side, arms, and breast, that it was a dismal sight to look upon. Then melting some of the balsam, I with a feather anointed all the sores, and putting a softer cloth between his skin and his shirt, helped him on with his clothes again. This dressing gave him much ease, and I continued it till he was well; and because he was a very poor man, we took him into our mess, contriving that there should always be enough for him as well as for ourselves. Thus he lived with us until the time he was committed for was expired, and then he was released.

But we were still continued prisoners by an arbitrary power, not being committed by the civil authority, nor having seen the face of any civil magistrate from the day we were thrust in here by soldiers, which was the 26th day of the eighth month, to the 19th of the tenth month following.

On that day we were had to the Sessions at the Old Bailey; but not being called there, we were brought back to Bridewell, and continued there to the 29th of the same month, and then we were carried to the Sessions again.

I expected I should have been called the first, because my name was first taken down; but it proved otherwise, so that I was one of the last that was called; which gave me the advantage of hearing the pleas of the other prisoners, and discovering the temper of the Court.

The prisoners complained of the illegality of their imprisonment, and desired to know what they had lain so long in prison for. The Court regarded nothing of that, and did not stick to tell them so, "For," said the Recorder to them, "if you think you have been wrongfully imprisoned, you have your remedy at law, and may take it, if you think it worth your while. The Court," said he, "may send for any man out of the street and tender him the oath: so we take no notice how you came hither, but finding you here, we tender you the oath of allegiance; which if you refuse to take, we shall commit you, and at length praemunire you." Accordingly, as each one refused it, he was set aside and another called.

By this I saw it was in vain for me to insist upon false imprisonment or ask the cause of my commitment; though I had before furnished myself with some authorities and maxims of law on the subject, to have pleaded, if room had been given, and I had the book out of which I took them in my bosom; for the weather being cold, I wore a gown girt about the middle, and had put the book within it. But I now resolved to wave all that, and insist upon another plea, which just then came into my mind.

As soon therefore as I was called I stepped nimbly to the bar, and stood up upon the stepping, that I might the better both hear and be heard, and laying my hands upon the bar, stood ready, expecting what they would say to me.

I suppose they took me for a confident young man, for they looked very earnestly upon me, and we faced each other, without words, for a while. At length the Recorder, who was called Sir John Howel, asked me if I would take the oath of allegiance.

To which I answered: "I conceive this Court hath not power to tender that oath to me, in the condition wherein I stand."

This so unexpected plea seemed to startle them, so that they looked one upon another, and said some what low one to another, "What! doth he demur to the jurisdiction of the Court?" And thereupon the Recorder asked me, "Do you then demur to the jurisdiction of the Court?"—"Not absolutely," answered I, "but conditionally, with respect to my present condition, and the circumstances I am now under."

"Why, what is your present condition?" said the Recorder.—"A prisoner," replied I.—"And what is that," said he, "to your taking or not taking the oath?"—"Enough," said I, "as I conceive, to exempt me from the tender thereof while I am under this condition."- -"Pray, what is your reason for that?" said he.—"This," said I, "that if I rightly understand the words of the statute, I am required to say that I DO TAKE THIS OATH FREELY AND WITHOUT CONSTRAINT, which I cannot say, because I am not a free man, but in bonds and under constraint. Wherefore I conceive that if you would tender that oath to me, ye ought first to set me free from my present imprisonment."

"But," said the Recorder, "will you take the oath if you be set free?"—"Thou shalt see that," said I, "when I am set free. Therefore set me free first, and then ask the question."

"But," said he again, "you know your own mind sure, and can tell now what you would do if you were at liberty."—"Yes," replied I, "that I can; but I do not hold myself obliged to tell it until I am at liberty. Therefore set me at liberty, and ye shall soon hear it."

Thus we fenced a good while, till I was both weary of such trifling and doubted also lest some of the standers-by should suspect I would take it if I was set at liberty. Wherefore when the Recorder put it upon me again, I told him plainly, No; though I thought they ought not to tender it me till I had been set at liberty; yet if I was set at liberty I could not take that nor any other oath, because my Lord and Master Christ Jesus had expressly commanded his disciples NOT TO SWEAR AT ALL.

As his command was enough to me, so this confession of mine was enough to them. "Take him away, said they; and away I was taken, and thrust into the bail-dock to my other friends, who had been called before me. And as soon as the rest of our company were called, and had refused to swear, we were all committed to Newgate, and thrust into the common side.

When we came there we found that side of the prison very full of Friends, who were prisoners there before (as indeed were at that time all the other parts of that prison, and most of the other prisons about the town), and our addition caused a great throng on that side. Notwithstanding which we were kindly welcomed by our friends whom we found there, and entertained by them as well as their condition would admit, until we could get in our accommodations and provide for ourselves.

We had the liberty of the hall, which is on the first storey over the gate, and which in the daytime is common to all the prisoners on that side, felons as well as others, to walk in and to beg out of; and we had also the liberty of some other rooms over that hall, to walk or work in a-days. But in the night we all lodged in one room, which was large and round, having in the middle of it a great pillar of oaken timber, which bore up the chapel that is over it.

To this pillar we fastened our hammocks at the one end, and to the opposite wall on the other end, quite round the room, and in three degrees, or three storeys high, one over the other; so that they who lay in the upper and middle row of hammocks were obliged to go to bed first, because they were to climb up to the higher by getting into the lower. And under the lower rank of hammocks, by the wall- sides, were laid beds upon the floor, in which the sick and such weak persons as could not get into the hammocks lay. And indeed, though the room was large and pretty airy, yet the breath and steam that came from so many bodies, of different ages, conditions, and constitutions, packed up so close together, was enough to cause sickness amongst us, and I believe did so. For there were many sick and some very weak, though we were not long there, yet in that time one of our fellow-prisoners, who lay in one of those pallet-beds, died.

This caused some bustle in the house; for the body of the deceased being laid out and put into a coffin, was carried down and set in the room called the Lodge, that the coroner might inquire into the cause and manner of his death. And the manner of their doing it is thus: As soon as the coroner is come the turnkeys run out into the street under the gate, and seize upon every man that passes by, till they have got enough to make up the coroner's inquest. And so resolute these rude fellows are, that if any man resist or dispute it with them, they drag him in by main force, not regarding what condition he is of. Nay, I have been told they will not stick to stop a coach, and pluck the men out of it.

It so happened that at this time they lighted on an ancient man, a grave citizen, who was trudging through the gate in great haste, and him they laid hold on, telling him he must come in and serve upon the coroner's inquest. He pleaded hard, begged and besought them to let him go, assuring them he was going on very urgent business, and that the stopping him would be greatly to his prejudice. But they were deaf to all entreaties, and hurried him in, the poor man chafing without remedy.

When they had got their complement, and were shut in together, the rest of them said to this ancient man, "Come, father, you are the oldest among us; you shall be our foreman." And when the coroner had sworn them on the jury, the coffin was uncovered, that they might look upon the body. But the old man, disturbed in his mind at the interruption they had given him, and grown somewhat fretful upon it, said to them: "To what purpose do you show us a dead body here? You would not have us think, sure, that this man died in this room! How then shall we be able to judge how this man came by his death unless we see the place wherein he died, and wherein he hath been kept prisoner before he died? How know we but that the incommodiousness of the place wherein he was kept may have occasioned his death? Therefore show us," said he, "the place wherein this man died."

This much displeased the keepers, and they began to banter the old man, thinking to have beaten him off it. But he stood up tightly to them: "Come come," said he, "though you have made a fool of me in bringing me in hither, ye shall not find a child of me now I am here. Mistake not yourselves: I understand my place and your duty; and I require you to conduct me and my brethren to the place where this man died: refuse it at your peril."

They now wished they had let the old man go about his business, rather than by troubling him have brought this trouble on themselves. But when they saw he persisted in his resolution and was peremptory, the coroner told them they must go show him the place.

It was in the evening when they began this work, and by this time it was grown bedtime with us, so that we had taken down our hammocks, which in the day were hung up by the walls, and had made them ready to go into, and were undressing ourselves in readiness to go into them; when on a sudden we heard a great noise of tongues and of trampling of feet coming up towards us. And by and by one of the turnkeys, opening our door, said: "Hold, hold; do not undress yourselves: here is the coroner's inquest coming to see you."

As soon as they were come to the door, for within the door there was scarce room for them to come, the foreman, who led them, lifting up his hand, said: "Lord bless me! what a sight is here! I did not think there had been so much cruelty in the hearts of Englishmen to use Englishmen in this manner. We need not now question," said he to the rest of the jury, "how this man came by his death; we may rather wonder that they are not all dead, for this place is enough to breed an infection among them. Well," added he, "if it please God to lengthen my life till to-morrow, I will find means to let the King know how his subjects are dealt with."

Whether he did so or not I cannot tell; but I am apt to think that he applied himself to the Mayor or the Sheriffs of London; for the next day one of the Sheriffs, called Sir William Turner, a woollen- draper in Paul's Yard, came to the press-yard, and having ordered the porter of Bridewell to attend him there, sent up a turnkey amongst us, to bid all the Bridewell prisoners come down to him, for they knew us not, but we knew our own company.

Being come before him in the press-yard, he looked kindly on us and spoke courteously to us. "Gentlemen," said he, "I understand the prison is very full, and I am sorry for it. I wish it were in my power to release you and the rest of your friends that are in it. But since I cannot do that, I am willing to do what I can for you, and therefore I am come hither to inquire how it is; and I would have all you who came from Bridewell return thither again, which will be a better accommodation to you, and your removal will give the more room to those that are left behind; and here is the porter of Bridewell, your old keeper, to attend you thither."

We duly acknowledged the favour of the Sheriff to us and our friends above, in this removal of us, which would give them more room and us a better air. But before we parted from him I spoke particularly to him on another occasion, which was this:

When we came into Newgate we found a shabby fellow there among the Friends, who upon inquiry we understood had thrust himself among our friends when they were taken at a meeting, on purpose to be sent to prison with them, in hopes to be maintained by them. They knew nothing of him till they found him shut in with them in the prison, and then took no notice of him, as not knowing how or why he came thither. But he soon gave them cause to take notice of him, for wherever he saw any victuals brought forth for them to eat he would be sure to thrust in, with knife in hand, and make himself his own carver; and so impudent was he, that if he saw the provision was short, whoever wanted, he would be sure to take enough.

Thus lived this lazy drone upon the labours of the industrious bees, to his high content and their no small trouble, to whom his company was as offensive as his ravening was oppressive; nor could they get any relief by their complaining of him to the keepers.

This fellow hearing the notice which was given for the Bridewell men to go down in order to be removed to Bridewell again, and hoping, no doubt, that fresh quarters would produce fresh commons, and that he would fare better with us than where he was, thrust himself amongst us, and went down into the press-yard with us, which I knew not of till I saw him standing there with his hat on, and looking as demurely as he could, that the Sheriff might take him for a Quaker; at the sight of which my spirit was much stirred.

Wherefore, so soon as the Sheriff had done speaking to us and we had made our acknowledgment of his kindness, I stepped a little nearer to him, and pointing to that fellow, said: "That man is not only none of our company, for he is no Quaker, but is an idle, dissolute fellow who hath thrust himself in among our friends to be sent to prison with them, that he might live upon them; therefore I desire we may not be troubled with him at Bridewell."

At this the Sheriff smiled, and calling the fellow forth, said to him: "How came you to be in prison?"—"I was taken at a meeting," said he.—"But what business had you there?" said the Sheriff.—"I went to hear," said he.—"Aye, you went upon a worse design, it seems," replied the Sheriff; "but I'll disappoint you," said he, "for I'll change your company and send you to them that are like yourself." Then calling for the turnkey, he said: "Take this fellow, and put him among the felons, and be sure let him not trouble the Quakers any more."

Hitherto this fellow had stood with his hat on, as willing to have passed, if he could, for a Quaker, but as soon as he heard this doom passed on him, off went his hat, and to bowing and scraping he fell, with "Good your worship, have pity upon me, and set me at liberty."- -"No, no," said the Sheriff: "I will not so far disappoint you; since you had a mind to be in prison, in prison you shall be for me." Then bidding the turnkey take him away, he had him up, and put him among the felons, and so Friends had a good deliverance from him.

The Sheriff then bidding us farewell, the porter of Bridewell came to us, and told us we knew our way to Bridewell without him, and he could trust us; therefore he would not stay nor go with us, but left us to take our own time, so we were in before bedtime.

Then went we up again to our friends in Newgate, and gave them an account of what had passed, and having taken a solemn leave of them, we made up our packs to be gone. But before I pass from Newgate, I think it not amiss to give the reader some little account of what I observed while I was there.

The common side of Newgate is generally accounted, as it really is, the worst part of that prison; not so much from the place as the people, it being usually stocked with the veriest rogues and meanest sort of felons and pickpockets, who not being able to pay chamber- rent on the master's side, are thrust in there. And if they come in bad, to be sure they do no go out better; for here they have the opportunity to instruct one another in their art, and impart to each other what improvements they have made therein.

The common hall, which is the first room over the gate, is a good place to walk in when the prisoners are out of it, saving the danger of catching some cattle which they may have left in it, and there I used to walk in a morning before they were let up, and sometimes in the daytime when they have been there.

They all carried themselves respectfully towards me, which I imputed chiefly to this, that when any of our women friends came there to visit the prisoners, if they had not relations of their own there to take care of them, I, as being a young man and more at leisure than most others, for I could not play the tailor there, was forward to go down with them to the grate, and see them safe out. And sometimes they have left money in my hands for the felons, who at such times were very importunate beggars, which I forthwith distributed among them in bread, which was to be had in the place. But so troublesome an office it was, that I thought one had as good have had a pack of hungry hounds about one, as these, when they knew there was a dole to be given. Yet this, I think, made them a little the more observant to me; for they would dispose themselves to one side of the room, that they might make way for me to walk on the other.

For having, as I hinted before, made up our packs and taken our leave of our friends, whom we were to leave behind, we took our bundles on our shoulders, and walked two and two abreast through the Old Bailey into Fleet Street, and so to Old Bridewell. And it being about the middle of the afternoon, and the streets pretty full of people, both the shopkeepers at their doors and passengers in the way would stop us, and ask us what we were and whither we were going; and when we had told them we were prisoners going from one prison to another, from Newgate to Bridewell, "What!" said they, "without a keeper?"—"No," said we, "for our word, which we have given, is our keeper." Some thereupon would advise us not to go to prison, but to go home. But we told them we could not do so; we could suffer for our testimony, but could not fly from it. I do not remember we had any abuse offered us, but were generally pitied by the people.

When we were come to Bridewell, we were not put up into the great room in which we had been before, but into a low room in another fair court, which had a pump in the middle of it. And here we were not shut up as before, but had the liberty of the court to walk in, and of the pump to wash or drink at. And indeed we might easily have gone quite away if we would, there being a passage through the court into the street; but we were true and steady prisoners, and looked upon this liberty, arising from their confidence in us, to be a kind of parole upon us; so that both conscience and honour stood now engaged for our true imprisonment.

Adjoining to this room wherein we were was such another, both newly fitted up for workhouses, and accordingly furnished with very great blocks for beating hemp upon, and a lusty whipping-post there was in each. And it was said that Richard Brown had ordered those blocks to be provided for the Quakers to work on, resolving to try his strength with us in that case; but if that was his purpose, it was overruled, for we never had any work offered us, nor were we treated after the manner of those that are to be so used. Yet we set ourselves to work on them; for being very large, they served the tailors for shop-boards, and others wrought upon them as they had occasion; and they served us very well for tables to eat on.

We had also, besides this room, the use of our former chamber above, to go into when we thought fit; and thither sometimes I withdrew, when I found a desire for retirement and privacy, or had something on my mind to write, which could not so well be done in company. And indeed about this time my spirit was more than ordinarily exercised, though on very different subjects. For, on the one hand, the sense of the exceeding love and goodness of the Lord to me, in His gracious and tender dealings with me, did deeply affect my heart, and caused me to break forth in a song of thanksgiving and praise to Him; and, on the other hand, a sense of the profaneness, debaucheries, cruelties, and other horrid impieties of the age, fell heavy on me, and lay as a pressing weight upon my spirit; and I breathed forth the following hymn to God, in acknowledgment of His great goodness to me, profession of my grateful love to Him, and supplication to Him for the continuance of His kindness to me, in preserving me from the snares of the enemy, and keeping me faithful unto Himself:-

Thee, Thee alone, O God, I fear, In Thee do I confide; Thy presence is to me more dear Than all things else beside. Thy virtue, power, life, and light, Which in my heart do shine, Above all things are my delight: O make them always mine! Thy matchless love constrains my life, Thy life constrains my love, To be to Thee as chaste a wife As is the turtle-dove To her elect, espoused mate, Whom she will not forsake, Nor can be brought to violate The bond she once did make; Just so my soul doth cleave to Thee, As to her only head, With whom she longs conjoin'd to be In bond of marriage-bed. But, ah, alas! her little fort Is compassed about; Her foes about her thick resort, Within and eke without. How numerous are they now grown! How wicked their intent! O let thy mighty power be shown, Their mischief to prevent. They make assaults on every side, But Thou stand'st in the gap; Their batt'ring-rams make breaches wide, But still Thou mak'st them up. Sometimes they use alluring wiles To draw into their power; And sometimes weep like crocodiles; But all is to devour. Thus they beset my feeble heart With fraud, deceit, and guile, Alluring her from Thee to start, And Thy pure rest defile. But, oh! the breathing and the moan, The sighings of the seed, The groanings of the grieved one, Do sorrows in me breed. And that immortal, holy birth, The offspring of Thy breath (To whom Thy love brings life and mirth, As doth thy absence, death); That babe, that seed, that panting child, Which cannot Thee forsake, In fear to be again beguiled, Doth supplication make: O suffer not Thy chosen one, Who puts her trust in Thee, And hath made Thee her choice alone, Ensnared again to be.

Bridewell, London, 1662.

In this sort did I spend some leisure hours during my confinement in Bridewell, especially after our return from Newgate thither, when we had more liberty, and more opportunity and room for retirement and thought: for, as the poet said,

Carmina scribentes secessum et otia quaerunt.

They who would write in measure, Retire where they may, stillness have and pleasure.

And this privilege we enjoyed by the indulgence of our keeper, whose heart God disposed to favour us. So that both the master and his porter were very civil and kind to us, and had been so indeed all along. For when we were shut up before, the porter would readily let some of us go home in an evening, and stay at home till next morning; which was a great conveniency to men of trade and business, which I being free from, forbore asking for myself, that I might not hinder others.

This he observed, and asked me when I meant to ask to go out; I told him I had not much occasion nor desire, yet at some time or other, perhaps, I might have; but when I had I would ask him but once, and if he then denied me, I would ask him no more.

After we were come back from Newgate I had a desire to go thither again, to visit my friends who were prisoners there, more especially my dear friend and father in Christ, Edward Burrough, who was then a prisoner, with many Friends more, in that part of Newgate which was then called Justice Hall. Whereupon, the porter coming in my way, I asked him to let me go out for an hour or two, to see some friends of mine that evening.

He, to enhance the kindness, made it a matter of some difficulty, and would have me stay till another night. I told him I would be at a word with him, for, as I had told him before that if he denied me I would ask him no more, so he should find I would keep to it.

He was no sooner gone out of my sight but I espied his master crossing the court; wherefore, stepping to him, I asked him if he was willing to let me go out for a little while, to see some friends of mine that evening. "Yes," said he, "very willingly;" and thereupon away walked I to Newgate, where having spent the evening among Friends, I returned in good time.

Under this easy restraint we lay until the Court sat at the Old Bailey again; and then, whether it was that the heat of the storm was somewhat abated, or by what other means Providence wrought it, I know not, we were called to the bar, and, without further question, discharged.

Whereupon we returned to Bridewell again, and having raised some money among us, and therewith gratified both the master and his porter for their kindness to us, we spent some time in a solemn meeting, to return our thankful acknowledgment to the Lord, both for his preservation of us in prison and deliverance of us out of it; and then taking a solemn farewell of each other, we departed with bag and baggage. And I took care to return my hammock to the owner, with due acknowledgment of his great kindness in lending it me.

Being now at liberty, I visited more generally my friends that were still in prison, and more particularly my friend and benefactor William Penington, at his house, and then went to wait upon my Master Milton, with whom yet I could not propose to enter upon my intermitted studies until I had been in Buckinghamshire, to visit my worthy friends Isaac Penington and his virtuous wife, with other friends in that country.

Thither therefore I betook myself, and the weather being frosty, and the ways by that means clean and good, I walked it throughout in a day, and was received by my friends there with such demonstration of hearty kindness as made my journey very easy to me.

I had spent in my imprisonment that twenty shillings which I had received of Wm. Penington, and twenty of the forty which had been sent me from Mary Penington, and had the remainder then about me. That therefore I now returned to her, with due acknowledgment of her husband's and her great care of me, and liberality to me in the time of my need. She would have had me keep it; but I begged of her to accept it from me again, since it was the redundancy of their kindness, and the other part had answered the occasion for which it was sent: and my importunity prevailed.

I intended only a visit hither, not a continuance, and therefore purposed, after I had stayed a few days to return to my lodging and former course in London, but Providence ordered it otherwise.

Isaac Penington had at that time two sons and one daughter, all then very young; of whom the eldest son, John Penington, and the daughter, Mary, the wife of Daniel Wharley, are yet living at the writing of this. And being himself both skilful and curious in pronunciation, he was very desirous to have them well grounded in the rudiments of the English tongue, to which end he had sent for a man out of Lancashire, whom, upon inquiry, he had heard of, who was undoubtedly the most accurate English teacher that ever I met with, or have heard of. His name was Richard Bradley. But as he pretended no higher than the English tongue, and had led them, by grammar rules, to the highest improvement they were capable of in that, he had then taken his leave of them, and was gone up to London, to teach an English school of Friends' children there.

This put my friend to a fresh strait. He had sought for a new teacher to instruct his children in the Latin tongue, as the old had done in the English, but had not yet found one. Wherefore one evening, as we sat together by the fire in his bed-chamber (which for want of health he kept), he asked me, his wife being by, if I would be so kind to him as to stay a while with him till he could hear of such a man as he aimed at, and in the meantime enter his children in the rudiments of the Latin tongue.

This question was not more unexpected than surprising to me, and the more because it seemed directly to thwart my former purpose and undertaking, of endeavouring to improve myself by following my studies with my Master Milton, which this would give at least a present diversion from, and for how long I could not foresee.

But the sense I had of the manifold obligations I lay under to these worthy friends of mine shut out all reasonings, and disposed my mind to an absolute resignation of their desire that I might testify my gratitude by a willingness to do them any friendly service that I could be capable of.

And though I questioned my ability to carry on that work to its due height and proportion, yet as that was not proposed, but an initiation only by accidence into grammar, I consented to the proposal as a present expedient till a more qualified person should be found, without further treaty or mention of terms between us than that of mutual friendship. And to render this digression from my own studies the less uneasy to my mind, I recollected and often thought of that rule in Lilly:

Qui docet indoctos, licet indoctissimus esset, Ipse brevi reliquis doctior esse queat.

He that the unlearned doth teach may quickly be More learned than they, though most unlearned he.

With this consideration I undertook this province, and left it not until I married, which was not till the year 1669, near seven years from the time I came thither. In which time, having the use of my friend's books, as well as of my own, I spent my leisure hours much in reading, not without some improvement to myself in my private studies, which (with the good success of my labours bestowed on the children, and the agreeableness of conversation which I found in the family) rendered my undertaking more satisfactory, and my stay there more easy to me.

But, alas! not many days (not to say weeks) had I been there, ere we were almost overwhelmed with sorrow for the unexpected loss of Edward Burrough, who was justly very dear to us all.

This not only good, but great good man, by a long and close confinement in Newgate through the cruel malice and malicious cruelty of Richard Brown, was taken away by hasty death, to the unutterable grief of very many, and unspeakable loss to the Church of Christ in general.

The particular obligation I had to him as the immediate instrument of my convincement, and high affection for him resulting therefrom, did so deeply affect my mind that it was some pretty time before my passion could prevail to express itself in words, so true I found those of the tragedian:

Curae leves loquuntur, Ingentes stupent.

Light griefs break forth, and easily get vent, Great ones are through amazement closely pent.

At length, my muse, not bearing to be any longer mute, broke forth in the following




Who died the 14th of the Twelfth Month, 1662.

And thus she introduceth it:

How long shall Grief lie smother'd? ah! how long Shall Sorrow's signet seal my silent tongue? How long shall sighs me suffocate? and make My lips to quiver and my heart to ache? How long shall I with pain suppress my cries, And seek for holes to wipe my watery eyes? Why may not I, by sorrow thus oppressed, Pour forth my grief into another's breast? If that be true which once was said by one, That "He mourns truly who doth mourn alone:" {180} Then may I truly say, my grief is true, Since it hath yet been known to very few. Nor is it now mine aim to make it known To those to whom these verses may be shown; But to assuage my sorrow-swollen heart, Which silence caused to taste so deep of smart. This is my end, that so I may prevent The vessel's bursting by a timely vent.

Quis talia fando Temperet a lacrymis!

Who can forbear, when such things spoke he hears, His grave to water with a flood of tears?

E cho ye woods, resound ye hollow places, L et tears and paleness cover all men's faces. L et groans, like claps of thunder, pierce the air, W hile I the cause of my just grief declare, O that mine eyes could, like the streams of Nile O 'erflow their watery banks; and thou meanwhile D rink in my trickling tears, oh thirsty ground, S o might'st thou henceforth fruitfuler be found.

L ament, my soul, lament; thy loss is deep, A nd all that Sion love sit down and weep, M ourn, oh ye virgins, and let sorrow be E ach damsel's dowry, and (alas, for me!) N e'er let my sobs and sighings have an end T ill I again embrace my ascended friend; A nd till I feel the virtue of his life T o consolate me, and repress my grief: I nfuse into my heart the oil of gladness O nce more, and by its strength remove that sadness N ow pressing down my spirit, and restore

F ully that joy I had in him before; O f whom a word I fain would stammer forth, R ather to ease my heart than show his worth:

H is worth, my grief, which words too shallow are I n demonstration fully to declare, S ighs, sobs, my best interpreters now are.

E nvy begone; black Momus quit the place; N e'er more, Zoilus, show thy wrinkled face, D raw near, ye bleeding hearts, whose sorrows are E qual with mine; in him ye had like share. A dd all your losses up, and ye shall see R emainder will be nought but woe is me. E ndeared lambs, ye that have the white stone, D o know full well his name—it is your own.

E ternitized be that right worthy name; D eath hath but kill'd his body, not his fame, W hich in its brightness shall for ever dwell, A nd like a box of ointment sweetly smell. R ighteousness was his robe; bright majesty D ecked his brow; his look was heavenly.

B old was he in his Master's quarrel, and U ndaunted; faithful to his Lord's command. R equiting good for ill; directing all R ight in the way that leads out of the fall. O pen and free to ev'ry thirsty lamb; U nspotted, pure, clean, holy, without blame. G lory, light, splendour, lustre, was his crown, H appy his change to him: the loss our own.

Unica post cineres virtus veneranda beatos Efficit.

Virtue alone, which reverence ought to have, Doth make men happy, e'en beyond the grave.

While I had thus been breathing forth my grief, In hopes thereby to get me some relief, I heard, methought, his voice say, "Cease to mourn: I live; and though the veil of flesh once worn Be now stript off, dissolved, and laid aside, My spirit's with thee, and shall so abide." This satisfied me; down I shrew my quill, Willing to be resigned to God's pure will.

Having discharged this duty to the memory of my deceased friend, I went on in my new province, instructing my little pupils in the rudiments of the Latin tongue, to the mutual satisfaction of both their parents and myself. As soon as I had gotten a little money in my pocket, which as a premium without compact I received from them, I took the first opportunity to return to my friend William Penington the money which he had so kindly furnished me with in my need, at the time of my imprisonment in Bridewell, with a due acknowledgment of my obligation to him for it. He was not at all forward to receive it, so that I was fain to press it upon him.

While thus I remained in this family various suspicions arose in the minds of some concerning me with respect to Mary Penington's fair daughter Guli; for she having now arrived at a marriageable age, and being in all respects a very desirable woman—whether regard was had to her outward person, which wanted nothing to render her completely comely; or to the endowments of her mind, which were every way extraordinary and highly obliging; or to her outward fortune, which was fair, and which with some hath not the last nor the least place in consideration—she was openly and secretly sought and solicited by many, and some of them almost of every rank and condition, good and bad, rich and poor, friend and foe. To whom, in their respective turns, till he at length came for whom she was reserved, she carried herself with so much evenness of temper, such courteous freedom, guarded with the strictest modesty, that as it gave encouragement or ground of hopes to none, so neither did it administer any matter of offence or just cause of complaint to any.

But such as were thus either engaged for themselves or desirous to make themselves advocates for others, could not, I observed, but look upon me with an eye of jealousy and fear, that I would improve the opportunities I had by frequent and familiar conversation with her, to my own advantage, in working myself into her good opinion and favour, to the ruin of their pretences.

According therefore to the several kinds and degrees of their fears of me, they suggested to her parents their ill surmises against me.

Some stuck not to question the sincerity of my intentions in coming at first among the Quakers, urging with a why may it not be so, that the desire and hopes of obtaining by that means so fair a fortune might be the prime and chief inducement to me to thrust myself amongst that people? But this surmise could find no place with those worthy friends of mine, her father-in-law and her mother, who, besides the clear sense and sound judgment they had in themselves, knew very well upon what terms I came among them, how strait and hard the passage was to me, how contrary to all worldly interest, which lay fair another way, how much I had suffered from my father for it, and how regardless I had been of attempting or seeking anything of that nature in these three or four years that I had been amongst them.

Some others, measuring me by the propensity of their own inclinations, concluded I would steal her, run away with her, and marry her; which they thought I might be the more easily induced to do, from the advantageous opportunities I frequently had of riding and walking abroad with her, by night as well as by day, without any other company than her maid. For so great indeed was the confidence that her mother had in me, that she thought her daughter safe if I was with her, even from the plots and designs that others had upon her; and so honourable were the thoughts she entertained concerning me, as would not suffer her to admit a suspicion that I could be capable of so much baseness as to betray the trust she with so great freedom reposed in me.

I was not ignorant of the various fears which filled the jealous heads of some concerning me, neither was I so stupid nor so divested of all humanity as not to be sensible of the real and innate worth and virtue which adorned that excellent dame, and attracted the eyes and hearts of so many with the greatest importunity to seek and solicit her. But the force of truth and sense of honour suppressed whatever would have risen beyond the bounds of fair and virtuous friendship; for I easily foresaw that if I should have attempted anything in a dishonourable way by force or fraud upon her, I should have thereby brought a wound upon my own soul, a foul scandal upon my religious profession, and an infamous stain upon mine honour; either of which was far more dear unto me than my life. Wherefore, having observed how some others had befooled themselves by misconstruing her common kindness, expressed in an innocent, open, free, and familiar conversation, springing from the abundant affability, courtesy, and sweetness of her natural temper, to be the effect of a singular regard and peculiar affection to them, I resolved to shun the rock on which I had seen so many run and split; and remembering that saying of the poet,

Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum,

Happy's he Whom others' dangers wary make to be,

I governed myself in a free yet respectful carriage towards her, that I thereby both preserved a fair reputation with my friends and enjoyed as much of her favour and kindness in a virtuous and firm friendship as was fit for her to show or for me to seek.

Thus leading a quiet and contented life, I had leisure sometimes to write a copy of verses on one occasion or another, as the poetic vein naturally opened, without taking pains to polish them. Such was this which follows, occasioned by the sudden death of some lusty people in their full strength:


As is the fragrant flower in the field, Which in the spring a pleasant smell doth yield, And lovely sight, but soon is withered; So's Man: to-day alive, to-morrow dead. And as the silver dew-bespangled grass, Which in the morn bedecks its mother's face, But ere the scorching summer's passed looks brown, Or by the scythe is suddenly cut down. Just such is Man, who vaunts himself to-day, Decking himself in all his best array; But in the midst of all his bravery Death rounds him in the ear, "Friend, thou must die." Or like a shadow in a sunny day, Which in a moment vanishes away; Or like a smile or spark,—such is the span Of life allowed this microcosm, Man. Cease then vain man to boast; for this is true, Thy brightest glory's as the morning dew, Which disappears when first the rising sun Displays his beams above the horizon.

As the consideration of the uncertainty of human life drew the foregoing lines from me, so the sense I had of the folly of mankind, in misspending the little time allowed them in evil ways and vain sports, led me more particularly to trace the several courses wherein the generality of men run unprofitably at best, if not to their hurt and ruin, which I introduced with that axiom of the Preacher (Eccles. i. 2):


See here the state of man as in a glass, And how the fashion of this world doth pass.

Some in a tavern spend the longest day, While others hawk and hunt the time away. Here one his mistress courts; another dances; A third incites to lust by wanton glances. This wastes the day in dressing; the other seeks To set fresh colours on her with red cheeks, That, when the sun declines, some dapper spark May take her to Spring Garden or the park. Plays some frequent, and balls; others their prime Consume at dice; some bowl away their time. With cards some wholly captivated are; From tables others scarce an hour can spare. One to soft music mancipates his ear; At shovel-board another spends the year. The Pall Mall this accounts the only sport; That keeps a racket in the tennis-court. Some strain their very eyes and throats with singing, While others strip their hands and backs at ringing. Another sort with greedy eyes are waiting Either at cock-pit or some great bull-baiting. This dotes on running-horses; t'other fool Is never well but in the fencing-school. Wrestling and football, nine-pins, prison-base, Among the rural clowns find each a place. Nay, Joan unwashed will leave her milking-pail To dance at May-pole, or a Whitsun ale. Thus wallow most in sensual delight, As if their day should never have a night, Till Nature's pale-faced sergeant them surprise, And as the tree then falls, just so it lies. Now look at home, thou who these lines dost read, See which of all these paths thyself dost tread, And ere it be too late that path forsake, Which, followed, will thee miserable make.

After I had thus enumerated some of the many vanities in which the generality of men misspent their time, I sang the following ode in praise of virtue:-

Wealth, beauty, pleasures, honours, all adieu; I value virtue far, far more than you. You're all but toys For girls and boys To play withal, at best deceitful joys. She lives for ever; ye are transitory, Her honour is unstained; but your glory Is mere deceit - A painted bait, Hung out for such as sit at Folly's gate. True peace, content, and joy on her attend; You, on the contrary, your forces bend To blear men's eyes With fopperies, Which fools embrace, but wiser men despise.

About this time my father, resolving to sell his estate, and having reserved for his own use such parts of his household goods as he thought fit, not willing to take upon himself the trouble of selling the rest, gave them unto me; whereupon I went down to Crowell, and having before given notice there and thereabouts that I intended a public sale of them, I sold them, and thereby put some money into my pocket. Yet I sold such things only as I judged useful, leaving the pictures and armour, of which there was some store there, unsold.

Not long after this my father sent for me to come to him at London about some business, which, when I came there, I understood was to join with him in the sale of his estate, which the purchaser required for his own satisfaction and safety, I being then the next heir to it in law. And although I might probably have made some advantageous terms for myself by standing off, yet when I was satisfied by counsel that there was no entail upon it or right of reversion to me, but that he might lawfully dispose of it as he pleased, I readily joined with him in the sale without asking or having the least gratuity or compensation, no, not so much as the fee I had given to counsel to secure me from any danger in doing it.

There having been some time before this a very severe law made against the Quakers by name, and more particularly prohibiting our meetings under the sharpest penalties of five pounds for the first offence so called, ten pounds for the second, and banishment for the third, under pain of felony for escaping or returning without license—which law was looked upon to have been procured by the bishops in order to bring us to a conformity to their way of worship—I wrote a few lines in way of dialogue between a Bishop and a Quaker, which I called


B. What! You are one of them that do deny To yield obedience by conformity. Q. Nay: we desire conformable to be. B. But unto what? Q. The Image of the Son. {190} B. What's that to us! We'll have conformity Unto our form. Q. Then we shall ne'er have done. For, if your fickle minds should alter, we Should be to seek a new conformity. Thus, who to-day conform to Prelacy, To-morrow may conform to Popery. But take this for an answer, Bishop, we Cannot conform either to them or thee; For while to truth your forms are opposite, Whoe'er conforms thereto doth not aright. B. We'll make such knaves as you conform, or lie Confined in prisons till ye rot and die. Q. Well, gentle Bishop, I may live to see, For all thy threats, a check to cruelty; But in the meantime, I, for my defence, Betake me to my fortress, Patience.

No sooner was this cruel law made but it was put in execution with great severity; the sense whereof working strongly on my spirit, made me cry earnestly to the Lord that he would arise and set up his righteous judgment in the earth for the deliverance of his people from all their enemies, both inward and outward; and in these terms I uttered it:

Awake, awake, O arm of th' Lord, awake, Thy sword uptake; Cast what would Thine forgetful of Thee make Into the lake. Awake, I pray, O mighty Jah, awake Make all the world before Thy presence quake, Not only earth, but heaven also shake. Arise, arise, O Jacob's God, arise, And hear the cries Of ev'ry soul which in distress now lies, And to Thee flies. Arise, I pray, O Israel's hope, arise; Set free Thy seed, oppressed by enemies. Why should they over it still tyrannize? Make speed, make speed, O Israel's help, make speed, In time of need; For evil men have wickedly decreed Against Thy seed. Make speed, I pray, O mighty God, make speed; Let all Thy lambs from savage wolves be freed, That fearless on Thy mountain they may feed. Ride on, ride on, Thou Valiant Man of Might, And put to flight Those sons of Belial who do despite To the upright: Ride on, I say, Thou Champion, and smite Thine and Thy people's enemies, with such might That none may dare 'gainst Thee or Thine to fight.

Although the storm raised by the Act for banishment fell with the greatest weight and force upon some other parts, as at London, Hertford, &c., yet we were not in Buckinghamshire wholly exempted therefrom, for a part of that shower reached us also.

For a Friend of Amersham, whose name was Edward Perot or Parret, departing this life, and notice being given that his body would be buried there on such a day, which was the first day of the fifth month, 1665, the Friends of the adjacent parts of the country resorted pretty generally to the burial, so that there was a fair appearance of Friends and neighbours, the deceased having been well- beloved by both.

After we had spent some time together in the house, Morgan Watkins, who at that time happened to be at Isaac Penington's, being with us, the body was taken up and borne on Friends' shoulders along the street in order to be carried to the burying-ground, which was at the town's end, being part of an orchard belonging to the deceased, which he in his lifetime had appointed for that service.

It so happened that one Ambrose Benett, a barrister at law and a justice of the peace for that county, riding through the town that morning on his way to Aylesbury, was by some ill-disposed person or other informed that there was a Quaker to be buried there that day, and that most of the Quakers in the country were come thither to the burial.

Upon this he set up his horses and stayed, and when we, not knowing anything of his design against us, went innocently forward to perform our Christian duty for the interment of our friend, he rushed out of his inn upon us with the constables and a rabble of rude fellows whom he had gathered together, and having his drawn sword in his hand, struck one of the foremost of the bearers with it, commanding them to set down the coffin. But the Friend who was so stricken, whose name was Thomas Dell, being more concerned for the safety of the dead body than his own, lest it should fall from his shoulder, and any indecency thereupon follow, held the coffin fast; which the Justice observing, and being enraged that his word (how unjust soever) was not forthwith obeyed, set his hand to the coffin, and with a forcible thrust threw it off from the bearers' shoulders, so that it fell to the ground in the midst of the street, and there we were forced to leave it.

For immediately thereupon, the Justice giving command for the apprehending us, the constables with the rabble fell on us, and drew some and drove others into the inn, giving thereby an opportunity to the rest to walk away.

Of those that were thus taken I was one. And being, with many more, put into a room under a guard, we were kept there till another Justice, called Sir Thomas Clayton, whom Justice Benett had sent for to join with him in committing us, was come, and then being called forth severally before them, they picked out ten of us, and committed us to Aylesbury gaol, for what neither we nor they knew; for we were not convicted of having either done or said anything which the law could take hold of, for they took us up in the open street, the king's highway, not doing any unlawful act, but peaceably carrying and accompanying the corpse of our deceased friend to bury it, which they would not suffer us to do, but caused the body to lie in the open street and in the cartway, so that all the travellers that passed by, whether horsemen, coaches, carts, or waggons, were fain to break out of the way to go by it, that they might not drive over it, until it was almost night. And then having caused a grave to be made in the unconsecrated part (as it is accounted) of that which is called the churchyard, they forcibly took the body from the widow whose right and property it was, and buried it there.

When the Justices had delivered us prisoners to the constable, it being then late in the day, which was the seventh day of the week, he, not willing to go so far as Aylesbury, nine long miles, with us that night, nor to put the town to the charge of keeping us there that night, and the first day and night following, dismissed us upon our parole to come to him again at a set hour on the second day morning; whereupon we all went home to our respective habitations, and coming to him punctually according to promise, were by him, without guard, conducted to the prison.

The gaoler, whose name was Nathaniel Birch, had not long before behaved himself very wickedly, with great rudeness and cruelty, to some of our friends of the lower side of the county, whom he, combining with the Clerk of the Peace, whose name was Henry Wells, had contrived to get into his gaol; and after they were legally discharged in court, detained them in prison, using great violence, and shutting them up close in the common gaol among the felons, because they would not give him his unrighteous demand of fees, which they were the more straitened in from his treacherous dealing with them. And they having through suffering maintained their freedom and obtained their liberty, we were the more concerned to keep what they had so hardly gained, and therefore resolved not to make any contract or terms for either chamber-rent or fees, but to demand a free prison, which we did.

When we came in, the gaoler was ridden out to wait on the judges, who came in that day to begin the assize, and his wife was somewhat at a loss how to deal with us; but being a cunning woman, she treated us with great appearance of courtesy, offering us the choice of all her rooms; and when we asked upon what terms, she still referred us to her husband, telling us she did not doubt but that he would be very reasonable and civil to us. Thus she endeavoured to have drawn us to take possession of some of her chambers at a venture, and trust to her husband's kind usage. But we, who at the cost of our friends had a proof of his kindness, were too wary to be drawn in by the fair words of a woman, and therefore told her we would not settle anywhere till her husband came home, and then would have a free prison, wheresoever he put us.

Accordingly, walking all together into the court of the prison, in which was a well of very good water, and having beforehand sent to a friend in the town, a widow woman, whose name was Sarah Lambarn, to bring us some bread and cheese, we sat down upon the ground round about the well, and when we had eaten, we drank of the water out of the well.

Our great concern was for our friend Isaac Penington, because of the tenderness of his constitution; but he was so lively in his spirit, and so cheerfully given up to suffer, that he rather encouraged us than needed any encouragement from us.

In this posture the gaoler, when he came home, found us, and having before he came to us consulted his wife, and by her understood on what terms we stood, when he came to us he hid his teeth, and putting on a show of kindness, seemed much troubled that we should sit there abroad, especially his old friend Mr. Penington, and thereupon invited us to come in and take what rooms in his house we pleased. We asked upon what terms; letting him know withal that we determined to have a free prison.

He, like the sun and wind in a fable, that strove which of them should take from the traveller his cloak, having like the wind tried rough, boisterous, violent means to our friends before, but in vain, resolved now to imitate the sun, and shine as pleasantly as he could upon us; wherefore he told us we should make the terms ourselves, and be as free as we desired if we thought fit, when we were released, to give him anything, he would thank us for it, and if not, he would demand nothing.

Upon these terms we went in and disposed ourselves, some in the dwelling-house, others in the malt-house, where they chose to be.

During the assize we were brought before Judge Morton, a sour, angry man, who very rudely reviled us, but would not either hear us or the cause, but referred the matter to the two justices who had committed us.

They, when the assize was ended, sent for us to be brought before them at their inn, and fined us, as I remember, six shillings and eightpence apiece, which we not consenting to pay, they committed us to prison again for one month from that time, on the Act for banishment.

When we had lain there that month, I, with another, went to the gaoler to demand our liberty, which he readily granted, telling us the door should be opened when we pleased to go.

This answer of his I reported to the rest of my friends there, and thereupon we raised among us a small sum of money, which they put into my hand for the gaoler, whereupon I, taking another with me, went to the gaoler with the money in my hand, and reminding him of the terms upon which we accepted the use of his rooms, I told him, that although we could not pay chamber rent or fees, yet inasmuch as he had now been civil to us, we were willing to acknowledge it by a small token, and thereupon gave him the money. He, putting it into his pocket, said, "I thank you and your friends for it, and to let you see I take it as a gift, not a debt, I will not look on it to see how much it is."

The prison door being then set open for us, we went out, and departed to our respective homes.

But before I left the prison, considering one day with myself the different kinds of liberty and confinement, freedom and bondage, I took my pen, and wrote the following enigma or riddle:-

Lo! here a riddle to the wise, In which a mystery there lies; Read it, therefore, with that eye Which can discern a mystery.


Some men are free while they in prison lie; Others, who ne'er saw prison, captives die.


He that can receive it may; He that cannot, let him stay, And not be hasty, but suspend His judgment till he sees the end.


He only's free indeed that's free from sin, And he is safest bound that's bound therein.


This is the liberty I chiefly prize, The other, without this, I can despise.

Some little time before I went to Aylesbury prison I was desired by my quondam master, Milton, to take a house for him in the neighbourhood where I dwelt, that he might go out of the city, for the safety of himself and his family, the pestilence then growing hot in London. I took a pretty box for him in Giles Chalfont, a mile from me, of which I gave him notice, and intended to have waited on him, and seen him well settled in it, but was prevented by that imprisonment.

But now being released and returned home, I soon made a visit to him, to welcome him into the country.

After some common discourses had passed between us, he called for a manuscript of his; which being brought he delivered to me, bidding me take it home with me, and read it at my leisure; and when I had so done, return it to him with my judgment thereupon.

When I came home, and had set myself to read it, I found it was that excellent poem which he entitled "Paradise Lost." After I had, with the best attention, read it through, I made him another visit, and returned him his book, with due acknowledgment of the favour he had done me in communicating it to me. He asked me how I liked it and what I thought of it, which I modestly but freely told him, and after some further discourse about it, I pleasantly said to him, "'Thou hast said much here of Paradise Lost,' but what hast thou to say of 'Paradise Found?'" He made me no answer, but sat some time in a muse; then brake off that discourse, and fell upon another subject.

After the sickness was over, and the city well cleansed and become safely habitable again, he returned thither. And when afterwards I went to wait on him there, which I seldom failed of doing whenever my occasions drew me to London, he showed me his second poem, called "Paradise Regained," and in a pleasant tone said to me, "This is owing to you, for you put it into my head by the question you put to me at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of." But from this digression I return to the family I then lived in.

We had not been long at home, about a month perhaps, before Isaac Penington was taken out of his house in an arbitrary manner by military force, and carried prisoner to Aylesbury gaol again, where he lay three-quarters of a year, with great hazard of his life, it being the sickness year, and the plague being not only in the town, but in the gaol.

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