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thereupon been sent for to her, I had not prevented the time of my appearance, but had appeared on the day appointed. And as I afterwards understood, that was the day appointed for the appearance of a great many persons of the dissenting party, in that side of the county, who were to be taken up and secured, on the account of the afore-mentioned plot, which had been cast upon the Presbyterians. So that if I had then appeared, with and amongst them, I had, in all likelihood, been sent to gaol with them for company, and that under the imputation of a plotter ; than which, nothing was more contrary to my profession and inclination.
But though I came off so easy, it fared not so well with others; for the storm increasing, many Friends in divers parts, both of city and country, suffered greatly ; the sense whereof did deeply affect me; and the more, for that I observed the magistrates, not thinking the laws which had been made against us severe enough, perverted the law in order to punish
For calling our peaceable meetings riots, (which in the legal notion of the word riot, is a contradiction in terms) they indicted our Friends as rioters for only sitting in a meeting, though nothing was there either said or done by them; and then set fines on them at plea
This I knew to be not only against right and justice, but even against law; and it troubled me to think that we should be made to
suffer not only by laws made directly against us, but even by laws that did not at all concern us. Nor was it long before I had occasion offered, more thoroughly to consider this matter.
For a justice of the peace in this county, who was called Sir Dennis Hampson, of Taplow, breaking in with a party of horse upon a little 'meeting near Wooburn, in his neighbourhood, the 1st of the fifth month, 1683, sent most of the men, to the number of twenty-three, whom he found there, to Alesbury prison, though most of them were poor men, who lived by their labour; and not going himself to the next quarter-sessions at Buckingham, on the 12th of the same month, sent his clerk with direction, that they should be indicted for a riot. Whither the prisoners were carried and indicted accordingly; and being pressed by the court to traverse and give bail, they moved to be tried forthwith, but that was denied them. And they giving in writing the reason of their refusing bail and fees, were remanded to prison till next quarter.sessions; but William Woodhouse was again bailed, (as he had been before) and William Mason and John Reeve, who not being Friends but casu: ally taken at that meeting, entered recogni. zance as the court desired; and so were released till next sessions. Before which time Mason died, and Reeve being sick appeared not, but got himself taken off. And in the eighth month following, the twenty-one pri
indicted to traverse and But that was
soners that remained were brought to trial ; a jury was found who brought in a pretended verdict, that they were guilty of a riot, for only sitting peaceably together without word or action, though there was no proclamation made, nor they required to depart; but one of the jury-men afterwards did confess he knew not what a riot was, yet the prisoners were fined a noble à piece, and re-committed to prison during life (a hard sentence) or the king's pleasure, or until they should pay the said fines. William Woodhouse was forthwith discharge ed, by his kinsman's paying the fine and fees for him. Thomas Dell and Edward Moor also, by other people of the world, paying their fines and fees for them; and shortly after Stephen Pewsey, by the town and parish where he lived, for fear his wife and children should become a charge upon them. The other seventeen remained prisoners, till king James' proclamation of pardon, whose names were Thomas and William Sexton, Timothy Child, Robert Moor, Richard James, Wil. liam and Robert Aldridge, John Ellis, George Salter, John Smith, William Tanner, William Batchelor, John Dolbin, Andrew Bro. thers, Richard Baldwin, John Jennings and Robert Austin.
HISTORY OF THE LIFE
OUR dear friend Thomas Ellwood, for whom we cannot but have an honourable esteem, for his service in the church, having written an historical account of part of his life, well worth the knowledge of posterity, so far as it goes, viz. to the year 1683, and there left off. Whether he writ any further, or whether ever he designed it, or for what reason he did not proceed, is uncertain ; but so it is, that no more of it can be found at present, which is to be lamented, he being a man so, eminent many ways, that any part of it should be lost. In consideration whereof, it rose in my heart to write something in order to supply the deficiency thereof; many things occurring to my mind
which it is a pity should have been omitted. Therefore for the respect I bore him, and owe to his memory (being acquainted with him for more than the last twenty years of his life) I shall endeavour to make up that defect as far as I am capable of, though far short of what himself might have done, by giving an account of some of the most material passages of the remaining part