Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

It so fell out, that my father was at that time from home, I think in London, where. upon he that commanded the party, alighted and came in. My eldest sister, hearing the noise of soldiers, came hastily up into my chamber, and told me there were soldiers be. low, who inquired for me. I forthwith went down to them, and found the commander was a barber of Thame, and one who had always been my barber till I was a Quaker. His name was Whately, a bold brisk fellow.

I asked him what his business was with me? He told me I must go with him. I demand. ed to see his warrant, he laid his hand on his sword, and said that was his warrant. I told him, though that was not a legal warrant, yet I would not dispute it, but was ready to bear injuries. He told me he could not help it, as he was commanded to bring me forth with be fore the deputy-lieutenants, and therefore de. sired me to order an horse to be got ready, because he was in haste. I let him know I had no horse of my own, and would not med. dle with any of my father's horses, in his ab. sence especially ; and that therefore, if he would have me with him, he must carry me as he could.

He thereupon taking my sister aside, told her he found I was resolute, and his orders were peremptory ; wherefore he desired that she would give order for an horse to be made ready for me, for otherwise he should be forced to mount me behind a trooper, which would

be very unsuitable for me, and which he was very unwilling to do. She thereupon ordered an horse to be got ready, upon which, when I had taken leave of my sisters, I mounted, and went off, not knowing whither he intendo ed to carry me.

He had orders, it seems, to take some others also, in a neighbouring village, whose names he had, but their houses he did not know. Wherefore, as we rode, he asked me if I knew such and such men, whom he nan. ed, and where they lived ; and when he un. derstood that I knew them, he desired me to shew him their houses. No, said I, I scorn to be an informer against my neighbours, to bring them into trouble. He thereupon riding to and fro, found, by inquiry, most of their houses, but as it happened, found none of them at home, at which I was glad.

At length he brought me to the house of one called esquire Clark, of Weston, by Thame, who being afterwards knighted, was called sir John Clark ; a jolly man, too much addicted to drinking in soberer times; but was now grown more licentious that way, as the time did now more favour debauchery. He and I had known one another for some years; though not very intimately; having met sometimes at the lord Wenman's table.

This Clark was one of the deputy-lieuten. ants, whom I was to be brought before. And he had gotten another thither, to join with him in tendering me the oaths, whom I knew only

by name and character; he was called esquire Knowls, of Grays, by Henly; and reputed a man of better morals than the other.

I was brought into the hall, and kept there. And as Quakers were not so common then, as they now are, and indeed even yet (the more is the pity) they are not common in that part of the country; I was made a spectacle, and gazing-stock to the family, and by divers I was diversely set upon. Some spake to me courteously, with appearance of compassion; others ruggedly, with evident tokens of wrath and scorn. But though I gave them hearing of what they said, which I could not well avoid, yet I said little to them ; but keeping my mind as well retired as I could, I breathed to the Lord for help and strength from him, to bear me up, and carry me through this trial; that I might not sink under it, or be prevailed on by any means, fair or foul, to do any thing that might dishonour, or displease my God,

At length came forth the justices themselves, for so they were, as well as lieutenants; and after they had saluted me, they discoursed with me pretty familiarly; and though Clark would sometimes be a little jocular and waggish, which was somewhat natural to him, yet Knowls treated me very civilly; not seeming to take any offence at my not standing bare before him. And when a young priest, who as I understood, was chaplain in the family, took upon him pragmatically to reprove me for standing with my hat on before the magistratęs,

and snatched my cap from off my head, Knowls in a pleasant manner, corrected him, telling him he mistook himself, in taking a cap for a hat; for mine was a mountier-cap, and bid him give it me again, which he, though unwilling: ly doing, I forthwith put it on my head again; and thenceforward none meddled with me about it.

Then they began to examine me ; putting divers questions to me relating to the pre. sent disturbances in the nation, occasioned by the late foolish insurrection, of those frantick fifth-monarchy men. To all which I readily answered, according to the simplicity of my heart, and innocency of my hands ; for I had neither done, nor thought any evil against the government.

But they endeavoured to affright me with threats of danger, telling me with innuendo's, that for all my pretence of innocency, there was high matter against me, which, if I would stand out, would be brought forth, and that under my own hand. I knew not what they meant by this, but I knew my innocency, and kept to it.

At length, when they saw I regarded not their threats in general, they asked me if I knew one Thomas Loe, and had written of late to him. I then remembered my letter, which till then I had not thought of, and there. upon frankly told them, that I did both know Thomas Loe, and had lately written to him, but that as I knew I had written no hurt, so I

did not fear any danger from that letter. They shook their heads, and said it was dangerous to write letters to appoint meetings in such troublesome times.

They added, that by appointing a meeting, and endeavouring to gather a concourse of peo. ple together, in such a juncture especially as this was, I had rendered myself a dangerous person. And therefore, they could do no less than tender me the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, which therefore they required me to take.

I told them if I could take any oath at all, I would take the oath of allegiance, for I owed allegiance to the king. But I durst not take any oath, because my Lord and Master Jesus Christ had commanded me not to swear at all, and if I brake his command, I should thereby both dishonour and displease him.

Hereupon they undertook to reason with me, and used many words to persuade me that that command of Christ related only to common and profanc swearing, not to swearing before a magistrate. I heard them, and saw the weakness of their arguings, but did not return them any answer; for I found my present business was not to dispute, but to suffer; and that it was not safe for me, in this my weak and childish state especially, to enter into reasonings with sharp, quick, witty and learned men, lest I might thereby hurt both the cause of Truth, which I was to bear wit. ness to, and myself; therefore I chose rather

« EdellinenJatka »