A BRIEF MANIFESTATION OR The STATE and CASE of the Quakers presented to all people, but especially to Merchants, Owners (and Masters) of Ships, and Mariners; also to all Planters or Occupiers of Lands in the English and Forreign Plantations.

Shewing the (causless) Cause of their present and cruel Sufferings, from the hands of their own Countrymen and Fellow-Citizens of London.

Hereby warning them all, not to joyn hands against the Inno­cent, nor willingly suffer their Ships (to be imployed) to Transport (nor to buy) any of them (for Slaves) to the se­parating of Husband from Wife, Parents from Children, &c. to the Ruine and Desolation of many Families, and to the provoking the Anger of the Lord against you and your Fa­milies, and to smite the Land with a Curse.

But do ye unto all men as you would they should do unto you, &c.

Written on the behalf of the Suffering-People of God (called Quakers) and of the Testimony which they hold.

The First day of the Eighth Month, 1664. T. D.

Printed at London, in the year 1664.

A Brief MANIFESTATION to Merchants, Seamen, and Planters, &c.

KNow ye then, that that God who created the Heavens and the Earth, the Omipotent and Almighty JEHOVAH, and Lord of Hosts, whose all things are, and for whose Service they were created; who giveth breath and being to all, and in whose hands and at whose dispose is your Life and the Lives of all Mankind; who numbereth your dayes, which are as a span, and pass away swifter than a Weavers shuttle, or as a Post that tarrieth not; who saith to man, Return to thy dust, and he is no more: And this is He we own to be our God, whom we serve and worship in the Spirit of his Son, the Light of the VVorld, to whom all Judg­ment is committed, that men might honour the Son, as they honour the Father who is God over all, blessed for evermore.

And this is he whom we have waited for, and his Light hath shone into our hearts, to give us the knowledge of the Light of the Gospel in the face of Christ Jesus, and by believing in his Light we come to a true sight of our states, and our hearts were ript open, and our iniquities were made manifest unto us, and the Books were opened, and the Earth disclosed, and the Dead appeared, and the Judgment was set up, and we were then judged, every man according to his works, and the things that were written in those Books; And then we knew him to be dreadful indeed (in his just Judgments) against that nature which had transgressed; and his flame was kindled in our hearts, and began to take hold of that which was for the fire, and his Sword was drawn to cut down that which stood in the way, and turned every way to keep the Tree of Life; so that we in this unclean state could not come unto it, though fain would we have lived here, and loth we were to part with that which was so near and dear unto us, to wit, the wisdom, honour, and glory of this present world, which was as so many deaths to us to part with, and we would fain have been Heirs of two Kingdoms: but the Light let us see that we must deny our selves in all that so nearly concerned us, and take up our Cross daily, and follow him our Guide and Leader, though to the [Page 3] loss of all. O what thoughts of heart, tumblings of mind, noise of wars and rumours of wars (which is not to be expressed) was then in our hearts!

At last to the Light and Power of God our hearts did bow, and became obedient; then a separation began to be made between the Good and the Evil, and we became judged according to men in the flesh, that we might be saved according to God in the Spirit.

Now the Separation being thus made, and the true Judgment set up in our hearts, we could not, as in times past, run with the wicked into vanity and excess, neither could we joyn with the Superstitious and Idolaters in their false wayes, worships and customs, but have been and are still made willing to bear our Testimony publickly a­gainst them all, both by word and conversation, &c.

And though we have been obedient to the Powers that have been (and to these that now are) in all just and righteous things, keeping a good Conscience void of offence both to God and man; and for this cause we labour diligently and painfully in our Callings, that we may be serviceable in our Native Country, where our God hath placed us, having something (and being ready) to minister to them that stand in need of our help, that thereby we might be a good savour to all.

For which cause also, we pay Tribute to whom Tribute is due, and have so done to all the Powers (since we were a People) declaring thereby our owning of Magistracy, being willing to support it in all just and right things, though some have aspersed and accused us of the contrary.

And thus in all things that pertain to Life and Godliness, we have endeavoured to live peaceably and honestly with all men; and this we declare unto you, that neither the former Powers, nor these pre­sent in Power, neither could, nor can they now, justly accuse us of plotting or contriving against them, neither of any Sedition or seditious Practices towards any of them, as hereby we do call to record the Lord God Almighty, to whom we appeal for Righteous Judgment in the case between us. Notwithstanding we have so behaved our selves, and that our Adversaries can lay nothing (justly) to our charge; yet behold and see how we have been persecuted and cruel­ly intreated by them all, but especially at this day: O how are we beaten in the streets and places of our Meetings! how is our hair plucked off our heads! how are we kick'd and pinch'd on the arms, [Page 4] and some women pinched and smitten on their tender brests, to their great harm! how are we packed into close and nasty Prisons, near three hundred at one time in one Prison! and how have some of our Friends been beaten, & Felons suffered to abuse them there! how have some of us been taken forcibly from our Brethren, where we have been met together in our Prison-house, and threatned, and put in­to the Hole or Dungeon! how have some of us been taken out of one Prison-room, and cast into deep and dismal Holes, where we have been in danger of our lives, by reason of a corrupt unclean Prisoner who lay there, even worse and more nauseous than any filthy Car­rion or Excrement whatsoever, a place not fit for Swine! O how are we prosecuted with violence at their Sessions, and the Jurors and Peoples Understandings endeavoured to be poisoned, and They in­censed against us, by Speeches made to render us even as the worst of men, as see the Book entituled, The Innocency and Conscientiousness of the Quakers asserted and cleared, in answer to Judge Keeling's Speech! How are the Jurors that served for Felons and Murderers changed, and others impanelled which may serve for their purpose! how are others brow-beaten and threatned, which cannot in good conscience (the Evidence not being clear) answer that spirit of Cruelty in our Persecutors, to bring us in Guilty! how are many of us, thorow un­just proceedings, sentenced to Transportation and Exilement from our Native Country, Wives, Children, and dearest Relations, into Forreign Parts and Places of the World, there to seek our bread amongst strangers! Much more might we say of the Cruelty and Oppressions we meet with from some fierce and forward spirits, who are Ministers of the Laws both Civil and Ecclesiastical (as they are called) who summon us to their Courts for not coming to their Pa­rish Worships, fining and imprisoning us in many parts of this Na­tion, endeavouring thereby to vex us and to weary us out, and force us to conform to that which our God hath shewed us he ab­hors.

And now Friends, what is the cause of all this Cruelty that's thus daily exercised upon us, even for no other cause but for keeping a good Conscience towards God, who hath loved and purchased us with a great price, even with his own Blood, that we should be no longer our own, but the Lord's, who hath endeared us to him, and en­gaged our hearts to bow to and worship him, and in whose Fear we [Page 5] cannot but meet together to wait upon him, and to seek his Face more and more, whose Presence hath so often refreshed and gladded our hearts in our Assemblings and Meetings together: And by this our meeting together we bear our Testimony for the Lord and his Truth, thereby declaring to all men that we own him alone to be our Law-giver, our King and Guide (in all matters that concern his Worship) and he doth and will come and save us.

And also, by this our meeting together we exhort one another, strengthen and build up one another in our most holy Faith, praying in the holy Ghost with all prayers and supplications for Magistrates and for all men, that they with us may come to know (& be obedient to) Christ Jesus the Light, that lightneth every man that cometh into the world, and by his Blood (which is his Life) may come to re­ceive remission of sins, and an Inheritance among the Saints in Light.

And likewise by this our meeting together, we find an Increase in the pure Love (which thinketh no evil) one to another, and to all men, yea to our very enemies (desiring from the bottom of our hearts they may repent them of all their Sins, and of all the Blood, Cruel­ties and Persecutions they have unjustly committed upon and against us) of all which things we are justified of the Lord, and have an assurance that it's well-pleasing and acceptable to him, as we abide in the Fear of his most holy Name.

Which holy practice of meeting together was required of, and found in the People of God of old, as in Mal. 3. 16. Then those that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a Book of Remembrance was written before him, for them that feared the Lord, and thought upon his Name. And so was the Apostle's Pra­ctice and Exhortation to the Saints, Not to forsake the assembling of themselves together, as the manner of some (then was, and now) is, but so much the more (to exhort one another) as you see the Day approaching. Which holy Practices we own and do witness, and that as the Day ap­proaches (to wit) the Light ariseth, and draweth nearer and nearer to us by its heat, vertue and splendor, Even so much the more are we enclined and engaged in our hearts to meet and assemble together, to wait upon the Lord, till he causeth it to arise, and shine, and over­spread the whole Earth.

And for these Causes, as aforesaid, and for such holy Ends, do we meet together, and for no other; God Almighty is our Record that [Page 6] we speak the truth unfeignedly from our hearts, and not as we have been falsly accused and reported of (by time-servers and men-plea­sers) for meeting seditiously to plot, or wickedly to contrive Insurrections, in contempt of the King and his Laws, and to the breach of the Publick Peace; and that we are an Obstinate People, and will not be subject to Authority.

All these and many more the like slanders and false accusations do we daily undergo, by some that are fierce and cruel in their spirits a­gainst us, endeavouring to incense the King against us, and to pro­cure Laws to be made to destroy us, and that all people may even deliver us up to the spoil, as a people not fit to live amongst them: But we believe the King hath a Witness in his Conscience, which (oft-times) speaks for us (viz.) that we are not such a People as re­ported of; and he hath not approved of some Cruelties that have been of late exercised upon us. And as for the People which are our Neighbours, and know us (with whom we do converse) will justi­fie us, and say we are a very diligent and peaceable People, and do much pitty us; saying, We deserve no such thing at their hands.

Yet notwithstanding all the Cruelties that are exercised upon us, if our own persons were only concerned, we could hold our peace; but in as much as the spreading of the Everlasting Truth, and honourable Name of the Lord God Everlasting, is deeply concerned; and that the Blood-guiltiness of many cries so loud for Vengeance (which is rea­dy to be poured forth;) And also, that all who have yet had no hand in such Cruelties, might hereby be warned; WE from these deep and weighty Considerations, are moved in our hearts to lay these things before you, that if it may be, a stop might be put to any further exer­cise thereof; and that neither ye who are Merchants, or Marriners, or any other, might have any hand in the execution thereof in any measure, either by permitting your Ships, or Seamen, to be the Trans­porters of the Innocent, or any other wayes of Cruelty whatsoever.

Now Friends, having thus laid our Case before you, and opened our hearts thus unto you concerning our Principles, Practices and Profes­sions towards God, and our Demeanours and Behaviours towards the King and his Government, with our Deportment and Conversation to­wards all men; also something of our Sufferings, and the Innocent Causes thereof, all which will certainly plead for us; and therefore to God's Witness in all your Consciences do we appeal for true [Page 7] Judgment in this case; that is to say, whether we have deserved such Cruelties to be inflicted upon us, who are an Innocent People, and guilty of the breach of no Just Law.

Neither are we guilty of the breach of this Act upon pretence of which we now suffer; which Act is to suppress Seditious Conventicles, and therefore not Innocent Meetings, and to prevent the growth of such Sectaries, who at their Meetings contrive Insurrections, &c. as by the Title and Preamble (which is the Reason or Key) thereof, ap­pears; none of which things yet to this day have been proved against us, nor the least shew of any such thing, though it hath been put up­on them to prove, and their VVitnesses have been asked what we were doing in our Meetings, and whether they either saw or heard any thing tending to Sedition? they have testified for us, and answered, Nay, we were peaceable, and so could not be guilty of the breach of this very Act, under pretence of which we now suffer. Yet notwith­standing, by the brow-beating and threatning both of the Grand and Petty Jurors, some Jurors have been over-awed, and have bowed to their wills so far as to find the Bills against us, and others, to find us guilty; though some other Jurors, that were more wise and valiant for the Truth, not finding sufficient Evidence to prove their Indict­ments, and also nothing appearing to them to make us Transgressors, by any thing we either did or said in our Meetings that tended to Se­dition or Insurrection (against which the Act was only made) and false witness being also born, they could not in good conscience find us guilty of the Indictment, though some of them therefore received frowns and threats, and are bound over to give an account at the Kings-Bench Bar the next Term: but some of the Prisoners not finding freedom in themselves to answer their form of pleading, Guilty or not guilty, (their Indictments being indirect) and questions being put to ensnare them, as also some not being acquainted with their way of pleading) they readily pronounced their unjust Sentence of Trans­portation against them, save only the VVomen that have Husbands are committed to the House of Correction, some for the space of eleven months, and others for twelve months. Now seeing their Actings are so contrary to Justice and Right, and also to the late Act, for you or any of you to put this Illegal and Unjust Sentence in Execution, by Transporting any of us, would be very hard measure, and not safe for you, nor to the Kings honour.

And further, If any man amongst you, through a wicked covetous­ness should transport any of us at his own charge, with intent to sell us for Slaves or Labourers for his unrighteous gain, let such know that Gods wrath will smoke against that person; for we are the Lords Free-men, and in his Fear and Dread we tell that man, we cannot answer his spirit nor satisfie his lusts, in stooping to that slavery he intends us for, many of us not being educated in such a way of drud­gery and slavery, so that his evil ends will be crossed, who would think to make a gain of us by Servitude or Labour, who are God's Free-men, to whom we have and shall commit our Cause, and the care of our Bodies, as our Souls, whatever we may suffer from or by such wicked person, assuredly knowing that our God whom we serve is able to deliver us, from this Oppression and Bondage also; but if he doth not, yet know, to that spirit we cannot bow.

And of this our causless (though cruel) Sufferings (with our Resolution herein) we do purpose to acquaint, and do hereby inform and acquaint all the Plantations (where this may come) to the end they may be forewarned and thereby fore-armed, and not to be surprised or deceived (as the late Master of a Ship was in a case of transporting some of us) by buying any of us for their Servants, which will not be for their profit; and we hope they will be advised by us, especially seeing their own interest is so nearly concerned: And it is the desire of our hearts they may consider our Case and Condition herein declared, and be warned by us, who in­tend this our Manifestation for them as well as for any others, in that wherein they may be concerned.

And so having in the uprightness and honesty of our hearts, as before the Lord, cleared our selves, in thus clearly stating our Case, and the (causless) Cause of our Sufferings, with our holy and firm Resolution to continue in our duty to follow the Lord, and not (at all) to bow to the spirit of Wickedness, Cruelty and Oppression in any whatsoever.

Our desires therefore are renewed unto you again, that you would seriously weigh, ponder and consider what is here declared in this our Manifestation, and be warned thereby not to joyn hands with Oppression under any colour or pretence whatsoever; for why should ye be found persecuting the Innocent, and fighting against the Lord, who is too strong for you?


And moreover, It will endanger the Lives of many tender people, to be trans­ported into other Countries beyond the Seas, from Relations, Families and Native Country, besides the great sufferings that such a thing may bring upon their ten­der Wives, Children and Families, who may outwardly be exposed to Ruine, if their Husbands and Fathers should be thus forced from them, who would have taken care to maintain them; and this is the way to make many Widows and Fa­therless, whose Cryes will enter into the Ears of the Lord against this Cruelty and Opprestion.


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