CHAPTER 2
THE FOUNDER OF QUAKERISM

GEORGE FOX, the founder of Quakerism, was born in 1624 in Fenny Drayton, a Midland English village in Leicestershire. His mother, Mary Lago, came of a good family, "of the stock of the martyrs," and was an upright woman. His father, Christopher Fox, called by the neighbors "Righteous Christer," was a weaver, a substantial citizen and church warden of the parish church. His nickname shows both his Puritan environment and his character. Fox was a serious and delicate child, little given to play. He "knew pureness and righteousness" after a preadolescent religious experience at eleven; and was scrupulous, truthful in his speech, and abstemious in his way of living. His parents thought at first of educating him for the ministry; but he was finally apprenticed to a shoemaker who was also a grazier and wool-dealer. During part of his apprenticeship he was a keeper of sheep, which occupation left an indelible stamp upon his thought and speech.1 Probably aided by his outdoor life, he grew into robust physical manhood, which later enabled him to withstand the hardships of travel and imprisonment.

He was firm and scrupulously honest in his dealings as an apprentice; men learned that when he said "verily," he could not be moved. He had little or no schooling; but his keen and open mind acquired, largely by his own efforts, an extensive education. He attended the parish

____________________
1
See Bicent. Jour., Pref. I, xliv. Brayshaw, Personality, pp. 8-13.

-18-

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