WOBO: Search for words and phrases in the texts here...

Enter either the ID of an entry, or one or more words to find. The first match in each paragraph is shown; click on the line of text to see the full paragraph.

Currently only Chalmers’ Biographical Dictionary is indexed, terms are not stemmed, and diacritical marks are retained.

founder of the society of quakers, was born at Drayton, in Leicestershire,

, founder of the society of quakers, was born at Drayton, in Leicestershire, in 1624. His father was a weaver, who seems to have taken great pains in educating his son in the principles of piety and virtue. He was, at a proper age, apprenticed to a dealer in wool, and grazier, and being also employed in keeping sheep, he had many opportunities for contemplation and reflection. When he was about nineteen years of age he experienced much trouble and anxiety on observing the intemperance of some persons, professing to be religious, with whom he had gone to an inn for refreshment; and on the following night he was persuaded that a divine communication was made to him, urging him to forsake all, and devote his life to the duties of religion. He now quitted his relations, dressed himself in a leathern doublet, and wandered about from place to place. Being discovered in the metropolis, his friends persuaded him to return, and settle in some regular employment. But he did not remain with them many months; determining to embrace an itinerant mode of life. He fasted much and often, walked abroad in retired places, with no other companion but the bibje, and sometimes sat in the hollow of a tree for a day together, and walked in the fields by night, as if in a state of deep melancholy. He occasionally attended upon public teachers, but did not derive that benefit from them that he looked for: and hearing, as he supposed, a voice exclaiming, “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that canspeak to thy condition/' he forsook the usual outward means of religion; contending, that as God did not dwell in temples made with hands, so the people should receive the inward divine teaching of the Lord, and take that for their rule of life. About 1648 he felt himself called upon to propagate the opinions which he had embraced, and commenced public teacher in Manchester, and some of the neighbouring towns and villages, insisting on the certainty and efficacy of experiencing the coming of Christ in the heart, as a light to discover error, and the knowledge of one’s duty. He now made more extensive journeys, and travelled through the counties of Derby, Leicester, and Northampton, addressing the people in the market-places, and inveighing strongly against injustice, drunkenness, and the other prevalent vices of the age. About this time he apprehended that the Lord had forbidden him to take off his hat to any one; and required him to speak to the people in the language of thou and thee; that he must not bend his knee to earthly authorities; and that he must on no account take an oath. His peculiarities exposed him to much unjustifiable treatment, although it must be allowed that he sometimes provoked harsh usage by his intemperate zeal. At Derby the followers of Fox were first denominated” quakers,“as a term of reproach, either on account of the trembling accent used in the delivery of their speeches, or, because, when brought before the higher powers, they exhorted the magistrates and other persons present” to tremble at the name of the Lord." In 1655 Fox was sent prisoner to Cromwell, who contented himself with obtaining a written promise that he would not take up arms against him or the existing government; and having discussed various topics with mildness and candour, he ordered him to be set at liberty. Fox probably now felt himself bold in the cause, re-commenced his ministerial labours at London, and spent some time in vindicating his principles by means of the press, and in answering the books circulated against the society which he had founded, and which began to attract public notice in many parts of the kingdom. Notwithstanding the moderation of Cromwell towards Fox, he was perpetually subject to abuse and insult, and was frequently imprisoned and hardly used by magistrates in the country whither he felt himself bound to travel; and more than once he was obliged to solicit the interference of the Protector, to free him from the persecutions of subordinate officers. Once he wrote to Cromwell, soliciting his attention to the sufferings of his friends; and on hearing a rumour that he was about to assume the title of king, Fox solicited an audience, and remonstrated with him very freely upon the measure, as what must bring shame and ruin on himself and his posterity. He also addressed a paper to the heads and governors of the nation, on occasion of a fast appointed on. account of the persecutions of the protestants abroad, in which he embraced the opportunity that such appointment offered, of holding up, in proper colours, the impropriety and iniquity of persecution at home. The history of Fox, for several years previously to 1666, consists of details of his missions, and accounts of his repeated imprisonments. In this last-mentioned year he was liberated by order of the king, and he immediately set about forming the people who had embraced his doctrines into a compact and united body: monthly meetings were established, and other means adopted to provide for the various exigences to which they might be liable.