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He appears, in 1653, to have gone into Ireland with the army under the command of general Fleetwood and lieutenant Ludlow. He lived till after the Restoration, and signed the apology of the baptists in 1660, declaring against Venner's insurrection.
Another, who was reckoned among the worthies of this denomination at this period was Mr. Benjamin Cox, who made no mean figure in his time. He was the son of a bishop, was a man of great learning, and a graduate in one of the universities. He was, for some time, a minister in the established church, had a parochial charge in the county of Devon, and was very zealous for the superstitious ceremonies that prevailed in bishop Laud's time. But when the affairs of state led men to think more freely in matters of religion, Mr. Cox was among the first in promoting a reformation, and had before him flattering prospects of eminence and preferment in this kingdom, when he rejected the baptism of infants, as it appeared to him not founded in the scriptures; but this obstructed his advancement in the established church, and prejudiced against him the divines who were at the head of ecclesiastical affairs. He preserved, however, the character of a man of abilities and great learning. After episcopacy and the commonprayer were laid aside, he was, for some time, minister at Bedford. In 1645 he came to London, and was one of the principal managers on the part of the baptists in a public dispute concerning infant-baptism, at Aldermanbury church, to which a stop was afterwards put by the government. In the year 1646, when seven churches in London, called Anabaptists, published a confession of their faith, and presented it to parliament, his name, in behalf of one of those congregations, was subscribed to it. Though, when the act of uniformity, in 1662, took place, he at first conformed; yet his conscience soon after upbraiding him for that step, he obeyed its dictates by throwing up his living, and died a non-conformist and a baptist, in a very advanced age; for Mr. Baxter, with whom he had a dispute by word of mouth and by writing, called him at the begin
It seems more probable that he was the grandson of one, as Dr. Richard Cox, bishop of Ely, who filled that see twenty years, died in 1580, Richardson de Præsulibus.
ning of the civil wars, an ancient minister. He suffered imprisonment for his opinions concerning baptism, in the city of Coventry.*
Here is a proper place for observing, that at the Restoration several parishes were found to have baptist ministers fixed in them. The cause of this was, that in the year 1653, when a certain number of men called tryers were authorised to examine and approve candidates for the ministry, Mr. Tombes, notwithstanding his difference in opinion from the rest, such was the estimation in which his character was held, was appointed to be one of them.Among other good effects that followed upon this, one was, that the commissioners agreed to own the baptists as their brethren; and that if any such appled to them for probation, and appeared in other respects duly qualified, they should not be rejected for holding their sentiments.†
* Crosby, vol. i. p. 353, 54. See also our Third Volume, p. 549, in the Supplement.
† Crosby, vol. i. p. 289.
The History of the Quakers.
WHEN the king published his declaration of indulgence, the Quakers, who did not rank with any political party, merely to enjoy the ease and liberty to which peaceable and virtuous subjects have a right, accepted the protection it afforded. But those who were at liberty, from that spirit of sympathy and brotherly concern which prevades the society, could not enjoy their own exemption from penal statutes without exerting themselves for the relief of their brethren who had been, for several years, kept immured in uncomfortable prisons. George Whitehead, Thomas Moor, and Thomas Green, invited by the present disposition of government, waited on the king and council to solicit the discharge of their friends, who, convicted on transportation, or on præmunire, or for fines, confiscations or fees, were still in prison: and they were so successful as to obtain the king's letters patent, under the great seal, for their pardon and discharge. In the accomplishing of this business, a difficulty arose from the amount of the fees to be paid in the sundry offices through which the letters patent would pass, as upwards of four hundred persons would be included in them. But when the lord keeper, Sir Orlando Bridgeman, generously and voluntarily remitted his fees, they applied to the king to moderate the rest, who accordingly issued his order, "that the pardon, though comprehending a great number of persons, do yet pass as one pardon, and pay but as one."
Their success gave them an opportunity to shew the universality of their charity to other dissenters, many of whom were confined in prison, and whose solicitors, observing the happy issue of the quakers' suit, applied to Whitehead, for his advice and assistance, to have the names of their own friends inserted in the same instrument. In
• The patent, when made out, contained eleven skins of vellum.
consequence of his advice they petitioned the king, and obtained his warrant for that purpose. "This I was glad of," says Whitehead, that they partook of the benefit through our industry. And indeed I was never backward to give any of them my advice for their help, when any of them in straits have applied for it; our being of different judgments and societies did not abate my sympathy or charity, even towards them who, in some cases, had been our opposers. The quakers were thus freed, for a time, from the severities of persecution. The public testimony which they continued, in the severest times, to bear to the principles they received as truth, and the firmness with which they held their meetings at the appointed times and places, or, when kept out of their places of worship by force, assembled in the streets, baffled the scheme of establishing uniformity, countenanced and assisted by the temporising conduct of other dissenters, and abated the heat of persecution, and blunted the edge of the sword before it reached the other sects; the more ingenuous of whom, therefore, esteemed their intrepidity, regarded them with gratitude as the bulwark that kept off the force of the stroke from themselves, and prayed that they might be preserved stedfast, and enabled to break the strength of the enemy. Some of the baptists, especially, expressed an high opinion both of the people and their principles, which sustained them in undergoing sufferings that others thought of with terror.*
When the revocation of the indulgence, and the displeasure of the court against the dissenters, let loose the whole tribe of informers, and gave fresh spirit to persecuting magistrates; prosecutions, in every mode of distress, were renewed against this people, at the capricious will of every justice. Severe proceedings against them were grounded on the statute of præmunire of James I. for refusing to swear; on the obsolete statute of twenty pounds per month, for absence from the parish church, which penalty, or twothirds of a person's estate, were seized by exchequer process; and for tithes, to excommunication and procuring writs de excommunicato capiendo to be issued, to throw them into prison. They became a prey to idle and proffi
* Gough's History of the Quakers, vol. ii. p. 364-68.
gate informers, encouraged and instigated by their superiors. And, instead of obtaining durable and effectual relief, their sufferings became heavier and more aggravated during the remainder of this reign to the end of it.*
In 1675, William Hall of Congleton, being fined 201. for a meeting at his house, had his house broken open, and two cart-loads of goods to the worth of 401. besides a mare, were carried away. About the same time cattle and goods to the value of 1001. were taken from sundry persons in and about Nantwick; and from one person the bed on which he lay, and even the dunghill in his yard.†
In the next year, prosecutions on the conventicle act subsided in London, but the rigorous enforcing of the ecclesiastical laws was rarely or never suspended. The number plundered, excommunicated, imprisoned, and of those who died in prison, was too large to be recited. But while the penal laws were suffered to lie dormant in London, they were enforced with rigorous severity in other parts of the nation. In one instance a poor man, with a wife and five children, had little to pay the fine for being at a meeting, but his bed, which the compassion of the officers would not permit them to seize: but the obdurate magistrate commanded them to take it. The wife, endeavoring afterwards to maintain her children by baking a little bread, and selling it in the market, it was seized at one time to the value of nineteen-pence, and at another to the value of fourteenpence. From another person for a fine of 71. goods to the worth of near 181. were taken. The distresses made this year in Nottinghamshire, upon the members of this society, for their religious assemblies only, amounted to 7121. and upwards. In the city of Hereford, as prosecutions on the law were ineffectual to suppress their meetings, lawless violence and gross abuse were offered by the populace; the windows of their meeting-houses were broken by stones, and sometimes the roof was untiled, their assemblies were interrupted by the sound of the horn, shouting and casting stones and filth, and their persons assaulted. The mob, instead of being restrained and punished for these outrages, were, if not stimulated to them, abetted and encour*Gough, vol. ii. p. 392-97. + Ibid. p. 406. P. 414. S Vol. ii. p. 416-17.