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A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 1 by Clarkson

Judge Glynn upon this grew angry


The

customs of this sort, which obtained in the time of George Fox, were similar to those, which are now in use on similar occasions. People pulled off their hats, and bowed, and scraped with their feet. And these things they did, as marks of civility, friendship, or respect to one another.

George Fox was greatly grieved about these idle ceremonies. He lamented that men should degrade themselves by the use of them, and that they should encourage habits, that were abhorrent of the truth. His feelings were so strong upon this subject, that he felt himself called upon to bear his testimony against them. Accordingly he never submitted to them himself, and those, who received his religious doctrines, followed his example.

The omission of these ceremonies, however, procured both for him and his followers, as had been the case in the change of thou for you, much ill-will, and harsh treatment. The Quakers were derided and abused. Their hats were taken forcibly from their heads, and thrown away. They were beaten and imprisoned on this sole account. And so far did the world carry their resentment towards them for the omission of these little ceremonies, that they refused for some time to deal with them as tradesmen, or to buy things at their shops, so that some Quakers could hardly get money enough to buy themselves bread.

George Fox, however, and his associates, persevered, notwithstanding

this ill usage, in the disuse of all honours, either by the moving of the hat, or the usual bendings of the body; and as that, which was a right custom for one, was a right one for another, they made no exception even in favour of the chief magistrate of the land. George Fox, when he visited Oliver Cromwell as protector, never pulled off his hat; and it is remarkable that the protector was not angry with him for it.

Neither did he pull off his hat to the judges at any time, notwithstanding he was so often brought before them. Controversies sometimes took place between him and them in the public court, upon these occasions, one of which I shall notice, as it marks the manner of conducting the jurisprudence of those times.

When George Fox, and two other friends, were brought out of Launceston gaol, to be tried before judge Glynn, who was then chief justice of England, they came into court with their hats on. The judge asked them the reason of this, but they said nothing. He then told them, that the court commanded them to pull off their hats. Upon this George Fox addressed them in the following manner. "Where, says he, did ever any magistrate, king or judge, from Moses to Daniel, command any to put off their hats, when they came before them in their courts, either amongst the Jews, who were God's people, or among the heathen? And if the law of England doth command any such thing, shew me that law, either written or printed." Judge Glynn upon this grew angry, and replied, that "he did not carry his law-books upon his back." But says George Fox, "tell me where it is printed in any statute-book, that I may read it" The judge, in a vulgar manner, ordered him away, and he was accordingly taken away, and put among thieves. The judge, however, in a short time afterwards ordered him up again, and, on his return put to him the following question, "Come, says he, where had they hats from Moses to Daniel? Come, answer me. I have you fast now." George. Fox replied, that "he might read in the third chapter of Daniel, that the three children were cast into the fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar's command, with their coats, their hose, and their hats on." The repetition of this apposite text stopped the judge from any farther comments on the custom, and he ordered him and his companions to be taken away again. And they were accordingly taken away and they were thrust again among thieves. In process of time, however, this custom of the Quakers began to be known among the judges, who so far respected their scruples, as to take care that their hats should be taken off in future in the courts.


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