George Fox and others.
Presented to the King upon the 21st day of the llth Month, 1660.
This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.
[Text from the 2 Volume 8th and Bicentenary Edition of Fox's Journal, London: Friends' Tract Association, 1891.]
"And whereas it is objected:
"But although you now say 'that you cannot fight, nor take up arms at all, yet if the Spirit move
you, then you will change your principle, and you will sell your coat, buy a sword, and fight for
the kingdom of Christ.'
"To this we answer, Christ said to Peter, ' Put up thy sword in his place;' though he had said
before, he that had no sword might sell his coat and buy one (to the fulfilling of the law and the
Scripture), yet after, when he had bid him put it up, he sai d, "he that taketh the when the sword,
shall perish with the sword. And further, Christ said to Pilate, 'Thinkest thou, that I cannot now
pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?' And this
might satisfy Peter, Luke xxii. 36, after he had put up his sword, when he said to him. 'He that
took it, should perish with it ;' which satisfieth us, Matt. xxvi. 51-53 And in the Revelation, it is
said, 'He that kills with the sword, shall perish with the sword; and here is the faith and the
patience of the saints.' And so Christ's kingdom is not of this world, therefore do not his servants
fight, as he told Pilate, the magistrate, who crucified him. And did they not look upon Christ as a
raiser of sedition? And did he pray, 'Forgive them?' But thus it is that we are numbered amongst
transgressors, and fighters, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.
"That the Spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us
from a thing as evil, and again to move unto it; and we certainly know, and testify to the world,
that the Spirit of Christ, which leads us into all truth, wi ll never move us to fight and war against
any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this
"First, Because the kingdom of Christ God will exalt, according to his promise, and cause it to
grow and flourish in righteousness; 'not by might, nor by power (of outward sword), but by my
Spirit, saith the Lord,' Zech. iv. 6. So those that use any weap on to fight for Christ, or for the
establishing of his kingdom or government, - --their spirit, principle, and practice we deny.
"Secondly, We do earnestly desire and wait, that, by the Word of God's power, and its effectual
operation in the hearts of men, the kingdoms of this world may become the kingdoms of the Lord,
and of his Christ; that he may rule and reign in men by his Sp irit and truth; that thereby all people,
out of every profession, may be brought into love and unity with God, and one with another; and
that they may all come to witness the prophet's words, who said, ' Nation shall not lift up sword
against nation, nei ther shall they learn war any more,' Isa. ii. 4., Mic. iv. 3.
"So we, whom the Lord hath called into the obedience of his truth, have denied wars and
fightings, and cannot more learn them. This is a certain testimony unto all the world, of the truth
of our hearts in this particular, that as God persuadeth every man 's heart to believe, so they may
receive it. For we have not, as some others, gone about with cunningly -devised fables, not. have
we ever denied in practice what we have professed in principle; but in sincerity and truth, and by
the word of God, have we laboured to manifest unto all men, that both we and our ways might be
witnessed in the hearts of all.
"And whereas all manner of evil hath been falsely spoken of us, we hereby speak the plain truth of
our hearts, to take away the occasion of that offense; that so being innocent, we may not suffer
for other men's offenses, nor be made a prey of by the wil ls of men for that of which we were
never guilty; but in the uprightness of our hearts we may, under the power ordained of God for
the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well, live a peaceable and godly
life, in all godliness an d honesty. For although we have always suffered, and do now more
abundantly suffer, yet we know that it is for righteousness' sake; 'for our rejoicing is this, the
testimony of our consciences, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wis dom, but
by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world,' 2 Cor. i. 12, which for us is a
witness for the convincing of our enemies. For this we can say to all the world, we have wronged
no man, we have used no force nor violence against any man: we have been found in no plots,
nor guilty of sedition. When we have been wronged, we have not sought to revenge ourselves; we
have not made resistance against authority; but wherein we could not obey for conscience' sake
we have suffered the mo st of all people in the nation. We have been counted as sheep for the
slaughter, persecuted and despised, beaten, stoned, wounded, stocked, whipped, imprisoned,
haled out of synagogues, cast into dungeons and noisome vaults, where many have died in bonds ,
shut up from our friends, denied needful sustenance for many days together, with other the like
"And the cause of all these sufferings is not for any evil, but for things relating to the worship of
our God, and in obedience to his requirings. For which cause we shall freely give up our bodies a
sacrifice, rather than disobey the Lord: for we know a s the Lord hath kept us innocent, so he will
plead our cause, when there is none in the earth to plead it. So we, in obedience unto his truth, do
not love our lives unto death, that we may do his will, and wrong no man in our generation, but
seek the goo d and peace of all men. He who hath commanded us that we shall not swear at all,
Matt. v. 31, hath also commanded us that we shall not kill, Matt. v.; so that we can neither kill
men, nor swear for or against them This is both our principle and practice, and has been from the
beginning; so that if we suffer, as suspected to take up arms, or make war against any, it is
without any ground from us; for it neither is, nor ever was in our hearts, since we owned the truth
of God; neither shall we ever do it, because it is contrary to the Spirit of Christ, his doctrine, and
the practices of his apostles; even contrary to him, for whom we suffer all things, and endure all
"And whereas men come against us with clubs, staves, drawn swords, pistols cocked, and beat,
cut, and abuse us, yet we never resisted them; but to them our hair, backs, and cheeks, have been
ready. It is not an honour, to manhood or nobility, to run upon harmless people, who lift not up a
hand against them, with arms and weapons.
"Therefore consider these things, ye men of understanding: for plotters, raisers of insurrections,
tumultuous ones, and fighters, running with swords, clubs, staves, and pistols, one against
another; these, we say, are of the world, and have their founda tion from this unrighteous world,
from the foundation of which the Lamb hath been slain; which Lamb hath redeemed us from this
unrighteous world, and we are not of it, but are heirs of a world of which there is no end, and of a
kingdom where no corruptib le thing enters. Our weapons are spiritual, and not carnal, yet mighty
through God, to the pulling down of the strongholds of sin and Satan, who is the author of wars,
fighting, murder, and plots. Our swords are broken into ploughshares, and spears into
pruning-hooks, as prophesied of in Micah iv. Therefore we cannot learn war any more, neither
rise up against nation or kingdom with outward weapons, though you have numbered us amongst
the transgressors and plotters. The Lord knows our innocency herein, and will plead our cause
with all people upon earth, at the day of their judgment, when all men shall have a reward
according to their works.
"Therefore in love we warn you for your soul's good, not to wrong the innocent, nor the babes of
Christ, which he hath in his hand, which he cares for as the apple of his eye; neither seek to
destroy the heritage of God, nor turn your swords backward upo n such as the law was not made
for, i.e., the righteous; but for sinners and transgressors, to keep them down. For those are not
peacemakers, nor lovers of enemies, neither can they overcome evil with good, who wrong them
that are friends to you and all men, and wish your good, and the good of all people on the earth.
If you oppress us, as they did the children of Israel in Egypt, and if you oppress us as they did
when Christ was born, and as they did the Christians in the primitive times; we can say, ' The Lord
forgive you;' and leave the Lord to deal with you, and not revenge ourselves. If you say, as the
council said to Peter and John, 'speak no more in that name;' and if you serve us, as they served
the three children spoken of in Daniel, God is the same that ever he was, that lives for ever and
ever, who hath the innocent in his arms.
"O, Friends! offend not the Lord and his little ones, neither afflict his people; but consider and be
moderate. Do not run on hastily, but consider mercy, justice, and judgment; that is the way for
you to prosper, and obtain favor of the Lord. Our meetin gs were stopped and broken up in the
days of Oliver, under pretense of plotting against him; in the days of the Committee of Safety we
were looked upon as plotters to bring in King Charles; and now our peaceable meetings are
termed seditious. O! that men should lose their reason, and go contrary to their own conscience;
knowing that we have suffered all things, and have been accounted plotters from the beginning,
though we have declared against them both by word of mouth and printing, and are clear from
any such thing! We have suffered all along, because we would not take up carnal weapons to
fight, and are thus made a prey, because we are the innocent lambs of Christ, and cannot avenge
ourselves! These things are left on your hearts to consider; but w e are out of all those things, in
the patience of the saints; and we know. as Christ said, 'He that takes the sword, shall perish with
the sword;' Matt. xxvi. 52; Rev. xiii. 10.
"This is given forth from the people called Quakers, to satisfy the king and his council, and all those that have any jealousy concerning us, that all occasion of suspicion may be taken away, and our innocency cleared.
"Postscript. Though we are numbered amongst transgressors, and have been given up to rude, merciless men, by whom our meetings are broken up, in which we edified one another in our holy faith, and prayed together to the Lord that lives for ever, y et he is our pleader in this day. The Lord saith, 'They that feared his name spoke often together' (as in Malachi); which were as his jewels. For this cause, and no evil-doing, are we cast into holes, dungeons, houses of correction, prisons (neither old nor young being spared men nor women), and mad a prey of in the sight of all nations, under the pretense of being seditious, etc., so that all rude people run upon us to take possession. For which we say, 'The Lord forgive them that have thus done to us; ' who doth, and will enable us to suffer; and never shall we lift up hand against any that thus use us; but desire the Lord may have mercy upon them, that they may consider what they have done. For how is it possible for them to requite us for the wrong they have done to us? Who to all nations have sounded us abroad as seditious, who were never found plotters against ally, since we knew the life and power of Jesus Christ manifested in us, who hath redeemed us from the world, all works of darkness, and p lotters therein, by which we know the election, before the world began. So we say, the Lord have mercy upon our enemies and forgive them, for what they have done unto us!
"0! do as ye would be done by ; do unto all men as you would have them do unto you; for this is the law and the prophets.
"All plots, insurrections, and riotous meetings we deny, knowing them to be of the devil, the
murderer; which we in Christ, who was before they were, triumph over. And all wars and
fightings with carnal weapons we deny, who have the sword of the Spirit; and all that wrong us,
we leave to the Lord. This is to clear our innocency from the aspersion cast upon us, that we are
seditious or plotters."
Added in the reprinting.
"This was our testimony above twenty years ago; since then we have not been found acting contrary to it, nor ever shall; for the truth, that is our guide, is unchangeable. This is now reprinted to the men of this age, many of whom were then children, and doth stand as our certain testimony against all plotting and fightings with carnal weapons. and if any by departing from the truth should do so, this is our testimony in the truth against them, and will stand over them and the truth will be clear of them.