The Beginnings of Quakerism

By William C. Braithwaite | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
SWARTHMORE (I652)

Oh, the love which in that day abounded among us, especially in that family [at Swarthmore], and oh, the freshness of the power of the Lord God which then was amongst us, and the zeal for God and His truth, the comfort and refreshment which we had from His presence, the nearness and dearness that was amongst us one towards another, the sights, openings and revelations which we then had. . . . And hence came that worthy family to be so renowned in the nation, the fame of which spread much among Friends, and the power and presence of the Lord being so much there with us, it was as a means to induce many even from far to come thither, so that at one time there would have been Friends out of five or six counties.-- WILLIAM CATON'S Life, 1689 edn chap. iii.

WE left Fox on his way into Lancashire, going towards that remote district of Furness, which down to the last century remained insular in position and character. "A stranger was promptly detected, and without much ceremony made aware that he was regarded, in the local phraseology, as an 'outcome.'"1 Accordingly, at Staveley (Lakeside) on the Sunday (20th June) following the Underbarrow meeting, Fox was subjected to a Furness welcome when he spoke "the word of life" to the people, after the minister was done. The rough crowd, with the church- warden at their head, dragged him out of the church, gave him a beating, and threw him headlong over a stone wall. A youth in the chapel, who was taking down the sermon, John Braithwaite by name, came to be convinced, and became one of the Quaker Publishers of Truth.2

____________________
1
Paper by John Fell in Transactions of Cumberland and Weslmorland Arckaeological Society, xi. 360, cited from Dr. Thos. Hodgkin George Fox, p. 64n.
2
Journ. i. 117. The Short Journ. supplies the name of the place. Cf. Margt. Fell in Journ. ii. 512. For Braithwaite see note in Camb. Journ. i. 406.

-98-

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