Fox, George

Fox, George, the first of the Quakers, born at Drayton, Leicestershire; son of a poor weaver, and till his twentieth year plied the trade of a shoemaker; conceived, as he drudged at this task, that he had a call from above to withdraw from the world and give himself up to a higher ministry; stitched for himself one day a suit of leather, and so encased wandered through the country, rapt in his thoughts and bearing witness to the truth that God had revealed to him; about 1646 began his crusade against the religion of mere formality, and calling upon men to trust to the “inner light” alone; his quaint garb won him the title of “the man with the leather breeches,” and his mode of speech with his “thou's” and “thee's” subjected him to general ridicule; but despite these eccentricities he by his earnestness gathered disciples about him who believed what he said and adopted his principles, and in the prosecution of his mission he visited Wales, Scotland, America, and various parts of Germany, not without results; he had no kindly feeling towards Cromwell, with whom he had three interviews, and who in his public conduct seemed to him to pay no regard to the claims of the “inner light” and the disciples of it (1624-1690). See “Sartor Resartus,” Book iii. chap. i.

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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