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Walking in the Way of PeaceQuaker Pacifism in the Seventeenth Century$

Meredith Baldwin Weddle

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195131383

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019513138X.001.0001

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(p.245) Appendix 4 “The Taste of the World in Our Own Mouths”: Problems of Historical Interpretation

(p.245) Appendix 4 “The Taste of the World in Our Own Mouths”: Problems of Historical Interpretation

Walking in the Way of Peace
Oxford University Press

W. Alan Cole, Barry Reay, and Christopher Hill, in their studies of English Quakerism, transformed the understanding of the origins of the peace testimony.1 They concluded that the Quaker peace testimony arose from strategic considerations surrounding the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and their evidence and arguments have proved so persuasive that their emphases have become a new orthodoxy. But their work and that of those they have influenced, while adding greatly to the knowledge of some aspects of the peace testimony, has somewhat obscured the complexity of Quaker experience and the pertinence of the persistent moral issues. As piety once smoothed the wrinkles from pre‐1660 pacifism, so politics has smoothed the other side of that historical divide; where once pacifism was taken for granted “from the beginning,” now scholarship is in danger of minimizing peace principles before 1660 and taking them for granted thereafter. In what ways has the new consensus enriched the understanding of Quaker pacifism, and in what respects is it problematical?

The Politics of Peace: A New Consensus

W. Alan Cole's succinct and stunning assertion in 1956 stimulated the new thinking about the peace testimony: “Pacifism was not a characteristic of the early Quakers: it was forced upon them by the hostility of the outside world.”2 In Cole's view, pacifism was a defensive response to persecution, an attempt to diffuse the fears of those powerful enough to punish. Moreover, having seen the failure of a particular army, the army of “God's Commonwealth,” Quakers transmuted and generalized this failure of force in experience into a principle that force itself was wrong.3 (p.246) Whether self‐conscious or not, then, Cole argued, the development of peace principles was a reactive process. Cole tended to associate pacifism with a realistic awareness of the lack of Quaker power and to confuse pacifism with quietism and retreat. He equated pacifism with the abandonment of active political involvement; quoting Burrough's statement that the Quakers were not “entangled concerning the things of this world,” Cole concluded: “Thus the majority of Quakers had now come round to a pacifist position.”4

Reay's distinguished scholarship, in The Quakers and the English Revolution, expanded and refined Cole's groundbreaking political study, persuasively documenting pre‐1660 Quaker willingness to be associated with the use of violence. He established the symbiosis between the New Model Army and Quakers—the army as prior profession for many Quakers, as fertile recruiting territory for new adherents, and as protector of Quakers—often a congenial alliance.5 “Frends is made soe bould that they goe and Reeds [books]. . . in the marketts. . .& some souldiers is made to goe Alonge with them & stand by them,” reported Richard Farnworth to Margaret Fell in 1652. Two years later, he described how “the Lord stirred up souldiers to Restraine the Cruelty” when Quaker Thomas Goodaire “had Like to have beene murdered” for disturbing the priest.6

By carefully illustrating the reaction to Quakers among the elite and common people alike, Reay laid the foundation for his argument that the collective fears of a fractured society during the frantic political maneuvering of 1659 coalesced into a conviction that Quakers were immediately threatening. Pointing out that the fears were to a degree justified, Reay attributed the Restoration itself more to inchoate fear than love of the monarchy: “fear. . . shaped events.”7 Meanwhile, in 1659, many Quakers energetically enlisted in Rump militias, submitted lists of suitable candidates for office, and otherwise struggled to achieve political ends so long deferred. Interpreted as menace, this activity led to increased suppression and imprisonment.

Charles II returned as monarch in May 1660; the following January, the Fifth Monarchy rising exacerbated anti‐Quaker feeling. In response, twelve Quakers issued the Declaration of 1660, designed to defuse the sense of threat they inspired. Reay concurred with Cole's judgment that the leadership's statement was reactive and self‐defensive; the peace testimony was codified out of defeat, a tepid triumph of political realism. “The restoration of monarchy in 1660 almost forced pacifism upon the sect, partly through disillusionment, partly because of the simple need to survive; the first declarations of pacifism came with the assault on Quakerism in 1660 and 1661.”8 Moreover, political disappointment in the lack of realization of the Cromwellian promise and the ordeal of persecution were compounded by the death of many Quaker leaders by 1670. Survival demanded organization, which in turn promoted conservatism.9 For Reay, then, pacifism was reactive to danger, defeat, disappointment; it was essentially conservative.

Christopher Hill has patterned his interpretation of early pacifism on that of Reay and Cole, concentrating on the politics of pacifism.10 Hill emphasized the heterogeneity of the Quakers before the Declaration of 1660, referring to early Quakers in one study as “pre‐pacifist” and describing any Quakers manifesting pacifist tendencies before 1660 on another occasion as “premature pacifists.”11 He has acknowledged, too, that it took time after the “official” declaration in 1660 for (p.247) pacifism to erase “bellicosity” entirely. His argument rests on a definition of pacifism as a disavowal of war and the military and on pacifism as a collective phenomenon, not on nonviolence as an individual response. Limited in this way, evidence is abundant that many Quakers during the 1650s were indeed not pacifists; they served in the military even after convincement and supported the activities of the army, especially when the army adhered to the righteous values of the Good Old Cause. Hill plausibly postulates that when George Fox explained his refusal of a military commission in 1652 in pacifist terms, it was a retroactive explanation, more compatible with his views at the time he actually prepared his Journal many years later. Similarly, he dismissed Fox's 1654 letter to Cromwell denying the use of the carnal sword because Fox had good reasons, other than pacifism, not “to commit himself publicly” either to the army or to Cromwell.12 Yet Fox in that letter described himself as a “witness against all violence,” unwilling to carry a sword against anyone, for an explicit spiritual reason: “my weapons are. . . spirituall & my kingedom is not of this world.” This statement, unlike his refusal in the Journal, was not a later addition and cannot be as easily dismissed.13 Hill's restricted definition of pacifism as a phenomenon referring to collective political actions shields him from having to address such individual protestations of nonviolence. After all, even Fox, in addressing Cromwell, was speaking only for himself about his individual intentions.

Like Reay, Hill saw pacifism as arising from profound disillusionment with the Good Old Cause—the oppression and unrighteousness of its leaders, the failure of reform, and the postponement of God's Kingdom—but Hill discerned Quaker disillusionment as far back as the early fifties.14 He documented many Quaker jeremiads against the betrayal of the Cause during the Commonwealth and Protectorate years, and he described the resurgeance of hope during the turbulent year 1659 and the subsequent, final dashing of Quaker aspirations upon the Restoration. He attributed even instances of “premature pacifism” during the fifties to growing disillusionment, citing, among others, the case of Thomas Lurting, who became a pacifist in 1657. (Lurting, however, was a curious example for one linking politics and pacifism as enthusiastically as Hill, for Lurting's account of his conversion to pacifist ways gives no hint of a political agenda and is almost wholly spiritual.)15

The Politics of Peace: Problems of Interpretation

The new orthodoxy, exemplified in The Quakers and the English Revolution, has by its very originality and persuasive documentation nevertheless inadvertently contributed to a sometimes uncritical, overstated, and oversimplified understanding of the early peace principles. Reay acknowledged freely that pacifism among individuals had been present before the Restoration and that it “was slower in developing and less universally accepted after 1660 than most historians have assumed.”16 Hill, too, was careful to recognize anomalies, complexities, and speculation. But the central political theme is so assertive that the implications of these acknowledgments are left unexamined; others have been led to a coarsening of the argument. In the course of making more general observations, others, sometimes in an offhand manner, have exaggerated what was only an unfolding trend into fixed doctrine. (p.248) Thus, T. Canby Jones, noting that by 1659 the Quakers saw there was no hope for the Commonwealth, overstated the issue: “The Friends peace testimony became an anti‐government attitude which hardened into monolithic consistency with the Restoration.” Characterizing the peace testimony as reactive, “a defense against the suspicions and hostile legislation of the Cavalier Parliament,” he observed that henceforth the peace testimony became a “uniform witness supported by all Friends in opposition to the government.” After the Declaration of 1660, “no Quaker would knowingly engage in any livelihood or action which involved war or violence.”17 Many have suspended detailed critical consideration of Quaker belief and behavior during much of the succeeding century, assuming that the matter was essentially settled after the early 1660s. The uncritical assessment has appeared in phrases such as “the Quaker peace testimony became indelible only in 1660.”18 Some have acknowledged only political manifestations of the testimony, as expressed by Quaker leaders, ignoring more spiritual experiences of individuals just finding their way. A failure to define terms or a too narrow definition of the peace testimony as a testimony against war alone, ignoring its application in the personal realm, has rendered the peace testimony indistinct. Thus, Richard Vann could write of Quakerism: “None of the ‘testimonies’ with which it has come to be publicly identified. . . [such as] pacificism itself—were typical concerns of the earliest Friends.”19

While undeniably true in part, and a crucial antidote to the tendency to analyze religious movements in exclusively religious terms, Reay's thesis—and by extension, Cole's and Hill's—is incomplete. It suffers from a lack of distinction between the individual and the group, private and public; the spiritual and the political, belief and method. It confuses pacifism and quietism and finds invalid causal connections between pacifism, discipline, and organization. It overgeneralizes the English Quaker experience and by default subsumes the colonial experience. Finally, it mis‐characterizes aspects of pacifism itself.

The Individual, the Group: Private, Public

By concentrating on the collective expression and slighting the individual expression of pacifism, the political interpretation fails to account for some manifestations and abrogations of peace principles, some central to the testimony and others more peripheral; fails to address some pertinant issues; and leads to inadequate conclusions. Hill, for example, understood pacifism within a context of war and peace, organized violence, and the military—in short, he considered pacifism as a reaction to group behavior, to societal forces. Because he defined pacifism in this truncated way and because there had been no official endorsement of pacifism during the 1650s, he called it a “new principle” when it took a collective form in 1660. Since it had not taken the form of a group phenomenon, it was as if it did not exist. Pacifism was, for him, a political phenomenon, bounded within the social milieu. Thus, he was able to say, “There can, I think, be no doubt that Fox had not committed himself to pacifism before the Restoration.”20 While there appears little doubt that Fox did not commit others to pacifism before the Restoration, there is (p.249) much evidence that he committed himself to some pacifist principles. Hill thus bypassed pacifist belief that might be personal, inspired by spiritual revelation, derived from reasoned observation, or emergent from secular moral struggle. He admitted that spirituality may be political but not that politics may also be spiritual.

The argument fails to distinguish between the individual responding to physical abuse and a collection of people plotting to overthrow government—between one person considering her obligations to God's will and a politically sophisticated leadership constructing a national image. By confusing the individual with the collective, the local farmer with the London lobbyist, Reay too cannot evaluate many features of the Quaker witness. It is not credible, for example, that most early Quakers would be calculating how their actions would impact on the Quaker national agenda, to the extent that one existed. They would be concentrating on defusing trouble staring them in the face, not defusing diffuse fears of Quaker subversion. While the Quaker leaders indeed addressed such larger concerns, they cannot explain the motives behind countless small restraints of individual Quakers.21 The argument ignores, too, the possibility that one individual might come to different conclusions about his religious obligations toward another person in a private capacity and his religious obligations toward others while acting in his capacity as a citizen. When confronted with personal violence, he might react nonviolently; when ordered to serve in the militia, he might comply. Thus, it would have been more accurate to postulate that it was the collective expression of a collective position that was a self‐defensive maneuver in 1660, not pacifism itself.

We have seen again and again how central is the need for individual commitment to the peace testimony, how it is the individual heart that must be transformed. Not until well into the eighteenth century did Quakers focus more on earthly justice than the “lusts of the heart” removing the cause of war. For the earliest Quakers it was the immediate power of God that was crucial, for he had dominion over that which each person cannot control. George Bishop saw broken links in a great chain: “Here is the ground of all, the spirit that is in man lusteth to envy, boylings are in his heart, revenge is in his breast, he cannot bear an indignity . . . he would have, and he kills to have; he cannot rule his inordinate desires.” Without each person seeking the Light within, “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” pacifism is impossible; it was the lack of obedience “which hath been wanting. . . and the want of this hath been the cause why there hath been such Wars.” Bishop made it absolutely clear that he was not speaking of people in groups; each person must overcome himself, “which is greater prowess than to overcome strong Cities.” For Quakers, the locus of the cause of war and the occasion of fighting and weapons was ultimately within the individual, not in impersonal societal forces. And the power of God was to be found in the one who subdues and destroys the spirit of wickedness, not in he who “fights with mens persons, and kills, and slayes.”22

The Spiritual, the Political: Belief, Method

The current argument about the origins of the peace testimony does not draw a crucial distinction between belief and method. Granting that the collective expression of the peace principles was a useful strategy in 1660 and that several groups (p.250) have used nonviolence as a method, divorced from ideology, ever since, it is not true that Quaker pacifism has not also been an intrinsic part of belief itself. Freedom of conscience seemed to be the highest good for early Quakers. For the Quaker leadership in 1660, the peace testimony was also a collective strategy to best secure liberty of conscience. But the peace testimony, even before 1660, was, for some, an inherent substantive impulse demanding to be expressed as part of conscience. We need only recall such examples as Lurting and Coxere. Neither aspect need be dismissed.

In slighting belief in favor of strategy, historians overlook several other pertinent issues that are components of belief. These issues concern persuading others to pacifism, working out how to act as a pacifist, and pacifism as a process, rhetoric, and providentialism. Because Quaker peace principles were not in essence a political policy subject to being abandoned if unsuccessful but rather were based on obeying God's injunctions about loving one's enemies, the early Quakers made little effort to urge these principles on others. The principles were not to be adopted as a belief system but rather could only proceed from a genuine soul transformation; vigorous persuasion would result in hypocrisy. Had it been otherwise, perhaps those who were developing them within their own lives would have seen a reason to express them earlier. Lurting, as already noted, made a point of his reticence in this matter.

Quakers, then, could be tolerant even of other Quakers serving as soldiers. Reay and Hill relied heavily on Quaker encouragement of military activities in the 1650s to question the consistency of pacifism and even the existence of pacifism. Quoting, for example, Fox's “Let thy soldiers go forth. . . that thou may rock nations as a cradle” and Burrough's “there is some greate worke to doe by them, in ye nations, wth their outward sword,” Reay and Hill suggest ambivalence, if not outright bellicosity.23 But it is possible that Fox and Burrough were free to encourage the army as an arm of the magistracy, and/or because they were not in it themselves. Moreover, the Quaker view of magistracy did not change in 1660; they continued to reconcile the measure of violence allotted to magistrates with peace principles under the restored monarchy. When the Declaration of 1660 renounced weapons “for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever,” it failed to envision a Quaker magistrate, an oversight that would not go away.

Developing and interpreting the requirements of the peace testimony remained a process, both for the individual Quaker and the movement itself. If consistency is to be the measure of whether or not pacifism exists, there is little difference between Quaker pacifism in the 1650s and at any time thereafter. Because early expressions of pacifism were personal and therefore often appeared inconsistent, as Quakers advocated activities on the part of others they did not feel free to engage in themselves; because then, as thereafter, there was a continuum of responses to pacifism within the Quaker body; and because pacifism was essentially irrational did not mean that it did not exist. Just as belief in millinarianism itself was bifurcated—it encompassed at once a political, collective aspect of a redeemed society and the individualized aspect of the Christ within—so, too, both aspects of pacifism existed from the beginning in the beliefs of individual Quakers and persist as well today. It was not necessarily that they were inconsistent in their pacifism or that pacifism did not exist before 1660 but rather that some newly came to feel that (p.251) pacifism demanded collective expression, still just applicable within the sect itself. Whether this change was due to strategic considerations, to disappointment, or to a developing sense that peace principles were fundamental to Quakerism undoubtedly varied with the individual.

Some who argue that pacifism during the 1650s was essentially nonexistent rely substantially on a core of evidence derived from providentialist interpretations of immediate past history. Hill, for instance, quoted Fox telling the Protector that had Oliver remained faithful to the Lord's work, “the Hollander had been thy subject and tributary, Germany had given up to have done thy will. . . the King of France should have bowed his neck under thee, the Pope should have withered.”24 God would have rewarded faithfulness, as he had previously in the Civil War battles at Worcester and Dunbar. Fox was not necessarily recommending a crusade; rather, he was describing the logical consequences of obedience to God. Whether Cromwell was to have been a violent agent is left unexamined. Such rhetoric reveals little about pacifism.

Pacifism, Quietism

The political argument also finds inappropriate causal connections between pacifism and other developments within Quakerism. Too often the political argument carelessly associates pacifism with political quietism. “The cause of liberty,” Reay wrote, “would not be advanced by militant, political means. Thus we get the first clear declarations of Quaker pacifism.”25 H. Larry Ingle has written that the peace testimony as declared in 1660 embodied a “retreat from politics.”26 “The major rethinking,” Hill wrote, “led to the peace principle. . . and to withdrawal from political action.”27 He implied erroneously that Fox after 1661 “came to reject all political action.” The overstatement comes from concentrating on Quaker experience in England, and slighting the experience in the colonies, where Fox himself greeted political opportunity with gusto.28

Pacifism and political involvement are, of course, not mutually exclusive. Quakers could harmonize some use of violence with their peace principles because of their attitude toward magistracy and because they distinguished between what they did themselves and what others might do. Many activities could be justified as duties of government, including police actions, military activities, and even war itself; again, such justifications were a matter of individual definition. To imply that pacifism necessarily requires opposition to the army, then, is inaccurate. Many early Quakers saw the army as a legitimate instrument to bring in liberty of conscience, for example, or to hasten the arrival of God's Kingdom on earth. Because militias often functioned as civil police, many unequivocably felt justified in being soldiers, or accepting office, because magistracy itself was ordained of God. Fox, for example, when addressing officers and soldiers in 1659, used the explicit biblical vocabulary associated with the magistrate's function:

And you Souldiers. . . for not doing violence to any man, nor accusing any man falsly, that differs you from violent doers, and false accusers, whereby your sword is turned against violent doers, and false accusers, and a terror to the evil doer; and to them that do well, the sword is a praise, and such bear not the sword in vain.29

(p.252) Obviously, the line between such legitimizations and the familiar and traditional “just war” argument is blurry. Of these same individuals, however, many would not have borne weapons themselves. They were able to envision a righteous agenda for others to carry out, even though, as Quakers, they felt themselves redeemed out of those activities. By so removing themselves, they were, in a measure, pacifists. To insist that in order to be deemed pacifists these early Quakers had to conform to modern ideas of pacifism is to impose an entirely different set of assumptions on the past and to dishonor and misunderstand the foundations of other beliefs.

Pacifism, Organization, Discipline

Those stressing the importance of the 1660 trauma for the introduction of the peace testimony implied too much cause and effect, too, between pacifism and the need for discipline and organization within the movement. “Imposing the peace principle meant organizing, distinguishing, purging,” wrote Hill.30 The evidence does not support his too‐close identification of “the Peace Principle and the discipline necessary to enforce it.” Organization and discipline had already begun—especially after the Nayler affair when James Nayler, in 1656, succumbed to the temptation of an extravagant bit of street theater and rode into Bristol on the back of a horse, his followers strewing garments in his path and singing hosannah. Organization and discipline were the natural consequences of several factors, the least of which was probably pacifism, which received little disciplinary attention for years, probably because it was so little settled in definition. Rudimentary meeting structure had appeared by 1657; Margaret Fell's Swarthmore Hall had long served as a correspondence clearing house for Quaker ministers, a means of both organization and a certain discipline; and the careful gathering and recording of “sufferings” could not help but define Quaker norms. Christopher Atkinson's 1655 letter to Margaret Fell gives a glimpse of her prior discipline: “Deare sister thy lines I have Received from thy pure love though they sticke in my hart as darts yea ye are sharpe.”31 Thomas Holme took great care to assure Fell in 1656 that he was in “subjection” to Fox and Fell and that he and his wife were keeping asunder.32 Some leaders were more interested in unity than others. Josiah Coale set people to watch one another in the love of God “and in the Spirit of Love and Meekness exhort and beseech one another.”33 Isaac Penington, in contrast, warned that the spirit of Christ alone must teach, “nothing else exhort, nothing else admonish and reprove, nothing else cut off and cast out.”34 As discipline became more formalized, for the remainder of the century Quakers formulated lists for themselves, reminders of Quaker principles for “walking in the Light.”35 Almost never did these disciplinary lists include reminders about peace principles. Fox set forth a list of “Antient Principles of Truth,” a list of thirteen principles. Most were those things Quakers must oppose or resist: the world's fashion, the world's marriages, tithes, priests, repairing of “mass houses,” taking oaths, the world's “worships” and religions, defaming others, and “looseness.” The rest of the principles were those things Quakers must remember: honesty, to keep to “thou” instead of “you,” to make amends to anyone wronged, to make up differences quickly, and to “judge” all bad things immediately so they would not spread. Nowhere on the list was a peace testimony or mention of violence, although some of the principles were obviously directed toward maintaining harmony.36

(p.253) Pacifism, Passivism

Pacifism is all too readily mistaken for passivism. The new consensus, in stressing that pacifism was born in reaction to events, unwittingly reinforces this confusion.

The Colonies

Finally, the colonial experience, as we have seen, does not fit the analysis of the new orthodoxy. The political interpretation, however valid in England, does not explain the behavior and beliefs of Quakers in America. Thus the American experience serves to cast doubt on the validity of the explanation even in England itself. Lest one become overconfident, however, it is well to remember that local records have been barely touched; the study is barely begun; our current understandings are as vulnerable to revision as the old, and new thoughts are eagerly anticipated. (p.254)


(1.) Christopher Hill, in World Turned Upside Down, generously acknowledged his scholarly debt to Alan Cole's analysis of the early peace testimony. Hill's accounts of the testimony (p.306) have remained essentially unchanged since. In his subsequent work, he has continued to attribute his understanding to Cole, as well as to Barry Reay. In the forward to Reay's Quakers and the English Revolution, for example, he wrote: “Thanks especially to theses and articles by Alan Cole and Barry Reay, we now know that for the first decade of their existence Quakers. . . were by no means pacifists.” In 1992 he introduced an article on the peace testimony with: “Most of what I shall say derives from the work of Barry Reay.” Taking his modesty at face value, it is appropriate, then, to credit Cole and Reay with establishing the new direction of scholarship in this area. Hill, World Turned Upside Down, 241, n. 49. Reay, Quakers and English Revolution, foreword by Christopher Hill, vii. Hill, “Quakers and the English Revolution,” JFHS 56 (3) (1992): 165.

(2.) Cole, “Quakers and the English Revolution,”42.

(3.) Sanders has argued, with Cole, that the peace testimony was an outgrowth of dissatisfaction; Protestant Concepts, 128.

(4.) Cole, “Quakers and the English Revolution,” 48.

(5.) See especially Reay, Quakers and English Revolution, 18–9; 49–51.

(6.) Richard Farnworth to Margaret Fell, Swarthmore Transcripts, vol. 2, reel 2, 18; 55.

(7.) Reay, Quakers and English Revolution, 100.

(8.) Ibid., 121.

(9.) Ibid.

(10.) See chap. 5, Experience of Defeat, for his full argument. Hill, “Quakers and the English Revolution,” 165–79, reproduces a summary lecture based on this chapter.

(11.) Hill, quoted in Steven Marx, “Prophet Disarmed,” 113; Hill, Experience of Defeat, 130.

(12.) Hill, Experience of Defeat, 160–1.

(13.) The original letter still exists. Of course, the fact that Fox explained himself in spiritual terms does not assure that he had no other motives. But such speculations do not advance the argument.

(14.) Quakers had “long foreseen” defeat. Hill, Experience of Defeat, 18–9.

(15.) Lurting's account, although written many years later and therefore subject to retrospective coloring as well, is nevertheless replete with exact details suggesting authentic recollection. He did not write in pious generalities. See [Lurting], Fighting Sailor.

(16.) Reay, Quakers and English Revolution, 108.

(17.) Jones, George Fox's Attitude, 19; 8.

(18.) Frost, “Religious Liberty,” 441.

(19.) Richard T. Vann, The Social Development of English Quakerism: 1655–1755 (Cambridge, MA, 1969), 208.

(20.) Hill, Experience of Defeat, 160.

(21.) Individual Quakers were distinguished far more for principle than pragmatism. Consider the imprisoned Alexander Parker, offered one month's liberty if he engaged to remain peaceful. He undertook the engagement: “my words and actions shall be good and peacable & not by any force of Armes or Carnall weapons of warre to Act any thing prejudiciall to the king.” But because he refused to pay prison fees, on principle, he was not released. Parker to Margaret Fell, Swarthmore Transcripts, vol. 3, reel 3, 60.

(22.) George Bishop, “The Third General Head Concerning Bearing of Arms,” Looking‐Glass, 204–5.

(23.) Reay, Quakers and English Revolution, 42. Hill, “Quakers and the English Revolution,” 170.

(24.) George Fox, in Burrough, Good Counsel, 1659, quoted in Hill, Experience of Defeat, 157.

(25.) Reay warned against exaggerating Quaker political passivity, however, pointing especially to colonial experience. Reay, Quakers and English Revolution, 107.

(26.) Ingle, “Richard Hubberthorne and History: The Crisis of 1659,” JFHS 56 (3) (1992): 197.

(27.) Hill, Experience of Defeat, 130. Cole, however, consistently distinguished clearly between pacifism and quietism.


(28.) Hill, in comparing one William Sedgewick to Fox, ibid., 115. To illustrate this withdrawal from political action, Hill then quoted Sedgewick's renunciation of war.

(29.) Emphasis added. George Fox, To the Councill of Officers of the Armie, and the Heads of the Nation; And for the Inferior Officers and Souldiers to read ([London?], 1659), 8. See also “governors. . . that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” 1 Pet. 2:14. “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil . . . he beareth not the sword in vain.” Rom. 13:3–4.

(30.) Hill, Experience of Defeat, 165.

(31.) Christopher Atkinson to Margaret Fell, 15/1M/1655, Swarthmore Transcripts, vol. 2, reel 2, 582.

(32.) Thomas Holme to Margaret Fell, 2M/1656, Swarthmore Transcripts, vol. 2, reel 2, 362. Why this had been ordered is not clear. Holme had precipitously married his wife upon his release from prison. “I was emedeatly comanded of thee lord to take hir to wife that day . . . contrary to my will”; Holme to Fell, “abought 1654,” 345–6.

(33.) Coale, “An Epistle to Friends in New‐England,” London, 21/1M/1665, Books and Divers Epistles (no p., 1671), 55.

(34.) Penington, Examination, 1660, 85. One suspects that this predilection is a matter of temperament. See Philip Greven, The Protestant Temperament (New York, 1977), for the crucial influence of temperament on belief.

(35.) In the present day the practice persists, in the form of “advices” and “queries,” reminders read and pondered at Quaker business meetings.

(36.) Fox (no date), recorded in Dartmouth (Plymouth Colony) Monthly Meeting Women's Minutes, 1699–1782, Swarthmore College Library, Swarthmore, PA, microfilm, 8.