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[Fox's Ill-treatment at Ulverstone.]

propensity for musing and solitude. When about nineteen years of age, he was one day vexed by a disposition to intemperance which he observed in two professedly religious friends whom he met at a fair. I went away,' says he in his Journal, and, when I had done my business, returned home; but I did not go to bed that night, nor could I sleep; but sometimes walked up and down, and sometimes prayed, and cried to the Lord, who said unto me, Thou seest how young people go together into vanity, and old people into the earth; thou must forsake all, young and old, keep out of all, and be a stranger to all." This divine communication, as in the warmth of his imagination he considered it to be, was scrupulously obeyed. Leaving his relations and master, he betook himself for several years to a wandering life, which was interrupted only for a few months, during which he was prevailed upon to reside at home. At this time he seems to have been completely insane. In the course of his melancholy wanderings, he sometimes, for weeks together, passed the night in the open air, and used to spend entire days without sustenance. 'My troubles,' says he, continued, and I was often under great temptations. I fasted much, walked abroad in solitary places many days, and often took my Bible and sat in hollow trees and lonesome places until night came on; and frequently in the night walked mournfully about by myself; for I was a man of sorrows in the first workings of the Lord in me.' On another | occasion, I was in a fast for about ten days, my spirit being greatly exercised on truth's behalf.' At this period, as well as during the remainder of his life, Fox had many dreams and visions, and supposed himself to receive supernatural messages from above. In his Journal he gives an account of a particular movement of his mind in singularly beautiful and impressive language: One morning, as I was sitting by the fire, a great cloud came over me, and a temptation beset me, and I sate still. And it was said, All things come by nature; and the Ele-stakes, holin or holly-bushes, fell upon me, and beat ments and Stars came over me, so that I was in a


the steeple-house before his [Justice Sawrey's] face,
The people were in a rage, and fell upon me in
knocked me down, kicked me, and trampled upon
So great was the uproar, that some tumbled
At last he came and took
over their seats for fear.
and put me into the hands of the constables and
me from the people, led me out of the steeple-house,
other officers, bidding them whip me, and put me out
of the town. Many friendly people being come to the
divers of these they knocked down also, and broke
market, and some to the steeple-house to hear me,
their heads, so that the blood ran down several; and
would do with me, they threw him into a ditch of
Judge Fell's son running after, to see what they
water, some of them crying, Knock the teeth out of
his head.' When they had haled me to the common
moss side, a multitude following, the constables and
other officers gave me some blows over my back with
willow-rods, and thrust me among the rude multitude,
who, having furnished themselves with staves, hedge-


me upon the head, arms, and shoulders, till they had deprived me of sense; so that I fell down upon the wet common. When I recovered again, and saw myself lying in a watery common, and the people standing about me, I lay still a little while, and the power of the Lord sprang through me, and the eternal refreshings revived me, so that I stood up again in the strengthening power of the eternal God, and stretching out my arms amongst them, I said with a loud voice, Strike again! here are my arms, my head, and cheeks! Then they began to fall out among themselves.

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moment quite clouded with it; but, inasmuch as I sate still and said nothing, the people of the house perceived nothing. And as I sate still under it and let it alone, a living hope rose in me, and a true voice arose in me which cried, There is a living God who made all things. And immediately the cloud and temptation vanished away, and the life rose over it all, and my heart was glad, and I praised the living God.' Afterwards, he tells us, the Lord's power broke forth, and I had great openings and prophecies, and spoke unto the people of the things of God, which they heard with attention and silence, and went away and spread the fame thereof.' Conceiving himself to be divinely commissioned to convert his countrymen from their sins, he began, about the year 1647, to teach publicly in the vicinity of Duckenfield and Manchester, whence he travelled through several neighbouring counties, haranguing at the market-places against the vices of the age. He had now formed the opinions, that a learned education is unnecessary to a minister; that the existence of a separate clerical profession is unwarranted by the Bible; that the Creator of the world is not a dweller in temples made with hands; and that the Scriptures are not the rule either of conduct or judgment, but that man should follow 'the light of Christ within.' He believed, moreover, that he was divinely commanded to abstain from taking off his hat to any one, of whatever rank; to use the words thee and thou in addressing all persons with whom he communicated; to bid nobody goodmorrow or good-night; and never to bend his knee to any one in authority, or take an oath, even on

the most solemn occasion. Acting upon these views, he sometimes went into churches while service was going on, and interrupted the clergymen by loudly contradicting their statements of doctrine. By these breaches of order, and the employment of such unceremonious fashions of address, as, 'Come down, thou deceiver!' he naturally gave great offence, which led sometimes to his imprisonment, and sometimes to severe treatment from the hands of the populace. At Derby he was imprisoned in a loathsome dungeon for a year, and afterwards in a still more disgusting cell at Carlisle for half that period. To this ill-treatment he submitted with meekness and resignation; and out of prison, also, there was ample opportunity for the exercise of the same qualities. As an illustration of the rough usage which he frequently brought upon himself, we extract this affecting narrative from his Journal :

In 1635, Fox returned to his native town, where he continued to preach, dispute, and hold conferences, till he was sent by Colonel Hacker to Cromwell, under the charge of Captain Drury. Of what followed, his Journal contains the subjoined particulars.

[Interview with Oliver Cromwell.]

After Captain Drury had lodged me at the Mermaid, over against the Mews at Charing-Cross, he went to give the Protector an account of me. When he came to me again, he told me the Protector required that I should promise not to take up a carnal sword or weapon against him or the government, as it then was; and that I should write it in what words I saw good, and set my hand to it. I said little in reply to Captain Drury, but the next morning I was moved of the Lord to write a paper to the Protector, by the name of Oliver Cromwell, wherein I did, in the presence of the Lord God, declare, that I did deny the wearing or drawing of a 'carnal sword, or any

answering objections both verbally and by the publication of controversial pamphlets. In the course of his peregrinations he still suffered frequent imprisonment, sometimes as a disturber of the peace, and sometimes because he refused to uncover his


other outward weapon, against him or any man; and that I was sent of God to stand a witness against all violence, and against the works of darkness, and to turn people from darkness to light; to bring them from the occasion of war and fighting to the peaceable Gospel, and from being evil-doers, which the magis-head in the presence of magistrates, or to do violence trates' sword should be a terror to.' When I had to his principles by taking the oath of allegiance. written what the Lord had given me to write, I set After reducing (with the assistance of his educated my name to it, and gave it to Captain Drury to hand disciples Robert Barclay, Samuel Fisher, and George to Oliver Cromwell, which he did. After some time, Keith) the doctrine and discipline of his sect to a Captain Drury brought me before the Protector him- more systematic and permanent form than that in self at Whitehall. It was in a morning, before he which it had hitherto existed, he visited Ireland and was dressed; and one Harvey, who had come a little the American plantations, employing in the latter among friends, but was disobedient, waited upon nearly two years in confirming and increasing his him. When I came in, I was moved to say, 'Peace followers. He afterwards repeatedly visited Holland, be in this house; and I exhorted him to keep in the and other parts of the continent, for similar purposes. fear of God, that he might receive wisdom from him; He died in London in 1690, aged sixty-six. that by it he might be ordered, and with it might order all things under his hand unto God's glory. spoke much to him of truth; and a great deal of discourse I had with him about religion, wherein he carried himself very moderately. But he said we quarrelled with the priests, whom he called ministers. I told him, 'I did not quarrel with them, they quarrelled with me and my friends. But, said I, if we own the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, we cannot hold up such teachers, prophets, and shepherds, as the prophets Christ and the apostles declared against; but we must declare against them by the same power and spirit.' Then I showed him that the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, declared freely, and declared against them that did not declare freely; such as preached for filthy lucre, divined for money, and preached for hire, and were covetous and greedy, like the dumb dogs that could never have enough; and that they who have the same spirit that Christ, and the prophets, and the apostles had, could not but declare against all such now, as they did then. As I spoke, he several times said it was very good, and it was truth. I told him, That all Christendom called) had the Scriptures, but they wanted the power and spirit that those had who gave forth the Scriptures, and that was the reason they were not in fellowship with the Son, nor with the Father, nor with the Scriptures, nor one with another.' Many more words I had with him, but people coming in, I drew a little back. As I was turning, he catched me by the hand, and with tears in his eyes said, 'Come again to my house, for if thou and I were but an hour of a day together, we should be nearer one to the other;' adding, that he wished me no more ill than he did to his own soul. I told him, if he did, he wronged his own soul, and admonished him to hearken to God's voice, that he might stand in his counsel, and obey it; and if he did so, that would keep him from hardness of heart; but if he did not hear God's voice, his heart would be hardened. He said it was true. Then I went out; and when Captain Drury came out after ine, he told me the lord Protector said I was at liberty, and might go whither I would. Then I was brought into a great hall, where the Protector's gentlemen were to dine. I asked them what they brought me thither for. They said it was by the Protector's order, that I might dine with them. I bid them let the Protector know I would not eat of his bread, nor drink of his drink. When he heard this, he said, 'Now I see there is a people risen that I cannot win, either with gifts, honours, offices, or places; but all other sects and people I can.' It was told him again, "That we had forsook our own, and were not like to look for such things from him.'


The sect headed by Fox was now becoming numerous, and attracted much opposition from the pulpit and press. He therefore continued to travel through the kingdom, expounding his views, and

That Fox was a sincere believer of what he

preached, no rational doubt can be entertained; and that he was of a meek and forgiving disposition || towards his persecutors, is equally unquestionable. His integrity, also, was so remarkable, that his word was taken as of equal value with his oath. Religious enthusiasm, however, amounting to madness in the earlier stage of his career, led him into many extravagances, in which few members of the The severities so liberally inflicted on him were orirespectable society which he founded have partaken. ginally occasioned by those breaches of the peace already spoken of, and no doubt also by what in his speeches must have appeared blasphemous to many of his hearers. His public addresses were usually prefaced by such phrases as, "The Lord hath opened to me;' 'I am moved of the Lord;' 'I am sent of the Lord God of heaven and earth.' In a warning to magistrates, he says, All ye powers of the earth, Christ is come to reign, and is among you, and ye know him not.' Addressing the seven parishes at Christ,' he tells them, 'is come to teach his people the Land's End,' his language is equally strong: himself; and every one that will not hear this prophet, which God hath raised up, and which Moses spake of, when he said, "Like unto me will God raise you up a prophet, him shall you hear;" every one, I say, that will not hear this prophet, is to be cut off." And stronger still is what we find in this passage in his Journal: From Coventry I went to Atherstone, and, it being their lecture-day, I was moved to go to their chapel, to speak to the priest and the people. They were generally pretty quiet; only some few raged, and would have had my relations to have bound me. I declared largely to them, that God was come to teach his people himself, and to bring them from all their man-made teachers, to hear his Son; and some were convinced there.' In conformity with these high pretensions, Fox not only acted as a prophet, but assumed the power of working miracles-in the exercise of which he claims to have cured various individuals, including a man whose arm had long been disabled, and a woman troubled with King's Evil. On one occasion he ran with bare feet through Lichfield, exclaiming, Wo to the bloody city of Lichfield!' and, when no calamity followed this denouncement as expected, found no better mode of accounting for the failure than discovering that some Christians had once been slain there. Of his power of discerning witches, the following examples are given in his Journal:- As I was sitting in a house full of people, declaring the word of life to them, I cast mine eyes upon a woman, and I discerned an unclean spirit in her; and I was moved of the Lord to speak sharply to her, and told her she was a witch; whereupon the woman went out of the room. Now, I being a stranger there, and knowing nothing of the woman outwardly, the

people wondered at it, and told me afterwards I had discovered a great thing, for all the country looked upon her as a witch. The Lord had given me a spirit of discerning, by which I many times saw the states and conditions of people, and could try their spirits. For, not long before, as I was going to a meeting, I saw women in a field, and I discerned them to be witches; and I was moved to go out of my way into the field to them, and to declare unto them their conditions, telling them plainly they were in the spirit of witchcraft. At another time, there came such an one into Swarthmore Hall, in the meeting time, and I was moved to speak sharply to her, and told her she was a witch; and the people said afterwards, she was generally accounted so.'

of people of other persuasions than it had previously occupied. His father, who was a colonel in the army, had been converted to Quakerism in 1666, and he himself was soon after induced to embrace the same views. In taking this step, he is said to have acted chiefly from the dictates of his understanding; though, it must be added, the existence of considerable enthusiasm in his disposition was indicated by a remarkable circumstance mentioned by himself-namely, that, feeling a strong impulse to pass through the streets of Aberdeen clothed in sackcloth and ashes, he could not be easy till he obeyed what he supposed to be a divine command. His most celebrated production is entitled An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, as the Same is held forth and Preached by the People in Scorn called Quakers. This work, which appeared in Latin in 1676, and in English two years after, is a learned and methodical treatise, very different from what the world expected on such a subject, and it was therefore read with avidity both in Britain and on the continent. Its most remarkable theological feature is the attempt to prove that there is an internal light in man, which is better fitted to guide him aright in religious matters than even the Scriptures themselves; the genuine doctrines of which he asserts to be rendered uncertain by various readings in different manuscripts, and the fallibility of translators and interpreters. These circumstances, says he, and much more which might be alleged, puts the minds, even of the learned, into infinite doubts, scruples, and inextricable difficulties; whence we may very safely conclude, that Jesus Christ, who promised to

The writings of George Fox are comprised in three folio volumes, printed respectively in 1694, 1698, and 1706. The first contains his Journal, largely quoted from above; the second, a collection of his Epistles; and the third, his Doctrinal Pieces.


Ury House, Kincardineshire, the seat of Robert Barclay.

ROBERT BARCLAY (1648-1690), a country gentleman of Kincardineshire, has already been mentioned as one of those educated Quakers who aided Fox in systematising the doctrines and discipline of the sect. By the publication of various able works in defence of those doctrines, he gave the Society of Friends a much more respectable station in the eyes

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be always with his children, to lead them into all truth, to guard them against the devices of the enemy, and to establish their faith upon an unmoveable rock, left them not to be principally ruled by that which was subject, in itself, to many uncertainties; and therefore he gave them his Spirit as their principal guide, which neither moths nor time can wear out, nor transcribers nor translators corrupt; which none are so young, none so illiterate, none in so remote a place, but they may come to be reached and rightly informed by it.' It would be erroneous, however, to regard this work of Barclay as an exposition of all the doctrines which have been or are prevalent among the Quakers, or, indeed, to consider it as anything more than the vehicle of such of his own views, as in his character of an apologist he thought it desirable to state. This ingenious man,' says Mosheim, appeared as a patron and defender of Quakerism, and not as a professed teacher or expositor of its various doctrines; and he interpreted and modified the opinions of this sect after the manner of a champion or advocate, who undertakes the defence of an odious cause. How, then, does he go to work? In the first place, he observes an entire silence in relation to those fundamental principles of Christianity, concerning which it is of great consequence to know the real opinions of the Quakers; and thus he exhibits a system of theology that is evidently lame and imperfect. For it is the peculiar business of a prudent apologist to pass over in silence points that are scarcely susceptible of a plausible defence, and to enlarge upon those only which the powers of genius and eloquence

may be able to embellish and exhibit in an advantageous point of view. It is observable, in the second place, that Barclay touches in a slight, superficial, and hasty manner, some tenets, which, when amply explained, had exposed the Quakers to severe censure; and in this he discovers plainly the weakness of his cause. Lastly, to omit many other observations that might be made here, this writer employs the greatest dexterity and art in softening and modifying those invidious doctrines which he cannot conceal, and dare not disavow; for which purpose he carefully avoids all those phrases and terms that are made use of by the Quakers, and are peculiar to their sect, and expresses their tenets in ordinary language, in terms of a vague and indefinite nature, and in a style that casts a sort of mask over their natural aspect. At this rate, the most enormous errors may be held with impunity; for there is no doctrine, however absurd, to which a plausible air may not be given by following the insidious method of Barclay; and it is well known that even the doctrine of Spinoza was, with a like artifice, dressed out and disguised by some of his disciples. The other writers of this sect have declared their sentiments with more freedom, perspicuity, and candour, particularly the famous William Penn and George Whitehead, whose writings deserve an attentive perusal preferably to all the other productions of that community." 7 The dedication of Barclay's Apology' to King Charles II. has always been particularly admired for its respectful yet manly freedom of style, and for the pathos of its allusion to his majesty's own early troubles, as a reason for his extending mercy and favour to the persecuted Quakers. Thou hast tasted,' says he, of prosperity and adversity; thou knowest what it is to be banished thy native country, to be overruled, as well as to rule and sit upon the throne;


and, being oppressed, thou hast reason to know how
hateful the oppressor is to both God and man: if,
after all these warnings and advertisements, thou
dost not turn unto the Lord with all thy heart, but
forget him, who remembered thee in thy distress,
and give up thyself to follow lust and vanity, surely
great will be thy condemnation.' But this appeal
had no effect in stopping persecution; for after his
return from Holland and Germany, which he had
visited in company with Fox and Penn, he was, in
1677, imprisoned along with many other Quakers,
at Aberdeen, through the instrumentality of Arch-
bishop Sharp. He was soon liberated, however, and
subsequently gained favour at court. Both Penn
and he were on terms of intimacy with James II.;
and just before the sailing of the Prince of Orange
for England in 1688, Barclay, in a private conference
with his majesty, urged him to make some conces-
sions to the people. The death of this respectable
and amiable person took place about two years after

that event.
We extract from the Apology for the Quakers'
what he says

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[Against Titles of Honour.]

We affirm positively, that it is not lawful for Christians either to give or receive these titles of honour, as, Your Holiness, Your Majesty, Your Excellency, Your Eminency, &c.

First, because these titles are no part of that obedience which is due to magistrates or superiors; neither doth the giving them add to or diminish from that subjection we owe to them, which consists in obeying

* Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History. Cent. xvii., chap. iv.,

sec. 6.

their just and lawful commands, not in titles and designations.

Secondly, we find not that in the Scripture any such titles are used, either under the law or the gospel; but that, in speaking to kings, princes, or nobles, they used only a simple compellation, as, O King! and that without any further designation, save, perhaps, the name of the person, as, O King Agrippa,' &c.


Thirdly, it lays a necessity upon Christians most frequently to lie; because the persons obtaining these titles, either by election or hereditarily, may frequently be found to have nothing really in them deserving them, or answering to them: as some, to whom it is said, Your Excellency,' having nothing of excellency in them; and who is called, Your Grace,' appear to be an enemy to grace; and he who is called Your Honour,' is known to be base and ignoble. I wonder what law of man, or what patent, ought to oblige me to make a lie, in calling good evil, and evil good. I wonder what law of man can secure me, in so doing, from the just judgment of God, that will make me count for every idle word. And to lie is something more. Surely Christians should be ashamed that such laws, manifestly crossing the law of God, should be among them.




Fourthly, as to those titles of Holiness,' 'Eminency,' and 'Excellency,' used among the Papists to the pope and cardinals, &c.; and 'Grace,' 'Lordship,' and Worship, used to the clergy among the Protestants, it is a most blasphemous usurpation. For if they use be in a pope or in a bishop, how come they to usurp 'Holiness' and 'Grace' because these things ought to that peculiarly to themselves? Ought not holiness and grace to be in every Christian? And so every Christian should say Your Holiness' and 'Your Grace' one to another. Next, how can they in reason claim any more titles than were practised and received by the apostles and primitive Christians, whose successors they pretend they are; and as whose succonfess any honour they seek is due to them? Now, cessors (and no otherwise) themselves, I judge, will if they neither sought, received, nor admitted such honour nor titles, how came these by them? If they say they did, let them prove it if they can: we find no such thing in the Scripture. The Christians speak to the apostles without any such denomination, neither saying, If it please your Grace,' 'your Holiness, nor your Worship; they are neither called My Lord Peter, nor My Lord Paul; nor yet Master Peter, nor Master Paul; nor Doctor Peter, nor Doctor Paul; but singly Peter and Paul; and that not only in the Scripture, but for some hundreds of years after: so that this appears to be a manifest fruit of the apostacy. For if these titles arise either from the office or worth of the persons, it will not be denied but the apostles deserved them better than any now that call for them. the excellency, the grace; and because they were holy, But the case is plain; the apostles had the holiness, excellent, and gracious, they neither used nor admitted such titles; but these having neither holiness, excellency, nor grace, will needs be so called to satisfy their ambitious and ostentatious mind, which is a manifest token of their hypocrisy.


Fifthly, as to that title of Majesty' usually ascribed to princes, we do not find it given to any such in the Holy Scripture; but that it is specially and peculiarly ascribed unto God. We find in the Scrip ture the proud king Nebuchadnezzar assuming this title to himself, who at that time received a sufficient reproof, by a sudden judgment which came upon him. Therefore in all the compellations used to princes in the Old Testament, it is not to be found, nor yet in the New. Paul was very civil to Agrippa, yet he gives him no such title. Neither was this title used among Christians in the primitive times.

Besides the work already mentioned, Penn wrote Reflections and Maxims relating to the Conduct of Life, and A Key, &c., to discern the Difference between the Religion professed by the Quakers, and the Misrepresentations of their Adversaries. To George Fox's Journal, which was published in 1694, he prefixed A Brief Account of the Rise and Progress of the People called Quakers. The first of the subjoined specimens of his composition is extracted from his No Cross, no Crown,' where he thus argues.


WILLIAM PENN (1644-1718), the son of an English admiral, is celebrated not only as a distinguished writer on Quakerism, but as the founder of the state of Pennsylvania in North America. The principles which he adopted gave much offence to his father, who repeatedly banished him from his house; but at length, when it appeared that the son's opinions were unalterable, a reconciliation took place between them. Like many other members of the Society of Friends, Penn suffered much persecution, and was repeatedly thrown into prison. During a confinement in the Tower of London, he wrote the most celebrated of his works, entitled No Cross, no Crown, in which the views of the Quakers are powerfully maintained, and which continues in high esteem among persons of that denomination. After his liberation, he spent much time in defending his principles against various opponents-among others, Richard Baxter, with whom he held a public disputation, which lasted for six or seven hours, not, as it appears, without considerable asperity, especially on the part of Baxter. In 1681, Charles II., in consideration of some unliquidated claims of the deceased Admiral Penn upon the crown, granted to William, the son, a district in North America, which was named Pennsylvania by his majesty's desire, and of which Penn was constituted sole proprietor and governor. He immediately took measures for the settlement of the province, and drew up articles of government, among which the following is one of the most remarkable:-That all persons in this province, who confess and acknowledge the one almighty and eternal God to be the creator, upholder, and ruler of the world, and that hold themselves obliged in conscience to live peaceably and justly in society, shall in no ways be molested or prejudiced for their religious persuasion, or practice in matters of faith and worship; nor shall they be compelled, at any time, to frequent, or maintain, any religious worship, place, or ministry whatever.' Having gone out to his colony in 1682, he proceeded to buy land from the natives, with whom he entered into a treaty of peace and friendship, which was observed while the power of the Quakers predominated in the colony, and which for many years after his death caused his memory to be affectionately cherished by the Indians. He then fixed on the site of his capital, Philadelphia, the building of which, on a regular plan, was immediately commenced. After spending two years in America, he returned to England in 1684, and was enabled, by his intimacy with James II., to procure the release of his Quaker brethren, of whom fourteen hundred and eighty were in prison at the accession of that monarch. When James, in order, no doubt, to facilitate the re-esta blishment of the Catholic religion, proclaimed liberty of conscience to his subjects, the Quakers sent, up an address of thanks, which was delivered to his majesty by Penn. This brought a suspicion of popery upon the latter, between whom and Dr be noble by means of his predecessor, and yet the preTillotson a correspondence took place on the sub-decessor less noble than he, because he was the acject. Tillotson, in his concluding letter, acknow-quirer; which is a paradox that will puzzle all their ledged himself convinced of the falsity of the accu- heraldry to explain. Strange! that they should be sation, and asked pardon for having lent an ear to more noble than their ancestor, that got their nobility it. After the Revolution, Penn's former intimacy for them! But if this be absurd, as it is, then the with James caused him to be regarded as a dis- upstart is the noble man; the man that got it by his affected person, and led to various troubles; but he virtue and those only are entitled to his honour still continued to preach and write in support of his that are imitators of his virtue; the rest may bear his favourite doctrines. Having once more gone out to name from his blood, but that is all. If virtue, then, America in 1699, he there exerted himself for the give nobility, which heathens themselves agree, then improvement of his colony till 1701, when he finally families are no longer truly noble than they are virreturned to England. This excellent and philan- tuous. And if virtue go not by blood, but by the thropic man survived till 1718. qualifications of the descendants, it follows, blood is


'O,' says the person proud of blood, it was never a good world since we have had so many upstart gentlemen! But what should others have said of that man's ancestor, when he started first up into the knowledge of the world? For he, and all men and families, ay, and all states and kingdoms too, have had their upstarts, that is, their beginnings. This is like being the True Church, because old, not because good; for families to be noble by being old, and not by being virtuous. No such matter: it must be age in virtue, or else virtue before age; for otherwise, a man should

[Against the Pride of Noble Birth.]

That people are generally proud of their persons, is too visible and troublesome, especially if they have any pretence either to blood or beauty; the one has raised many quarrels among men, and the other among women, and men too often, for their sakes, and at their excitements. But to the first: what a pother has this noble blood made in the world, antiquity of name or family, whose father or mother, great grandfather or great-grandmother, was best descended or allied? what stock or what clan they came of? what coat of arms they gave? which had, of right, the precedence? But, methinks, nothing of man's folly has less show of reason to palliate it.

For, first, what matter is it of whom any one is descended, that is not of ill fame; since 'tis his own virtue that must raise, or vice depress him? An ancestor's character is no excuse to a man's ill actions, but an aggravation of his degeneracy; and since virtue comes not by generation, I neither am the better nor the worse for my forefather: to be sure, not in God's account; nor should it be in man's. Nobody would endure injuries the easier, or reject favours the more, for coming by the hand of a man well or ill descended. I confess it were greater honour to have had no blots, and with an hereditary estate to have had a lineal descent of worth: but that was never found; no, not in the most blessed of families upon earth; I mean Abraham's. To be descended of wealth and titles, fills no man's head with brains, or heart with truth; those qualities come from a higher cause. 'Tis vanity, then, and most condemnable pride, for a man of bulk and character to despise another of less size in the world, and of meaner alliance, for want of because the latter may have the merit, where the former has only the effects of it in an ancestor : and though the one be great by means of a forefather, the other is so too, but 'tis by his own; then, pray, which is the bravest man of the two?


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