Chapter 19 » 19.35

A guided people

The testimonies


In Bristol in 1682:

On the 7th of the month called July, they dispersed the meeting which then consisted chiefly of children; for the men and women being generally in prison, the children kept up their meetings regularly, and with a remarkable gravity and composure: it was surprising to see the manly courage and constancy with which some of the boys behaved on this occasion, keeping close to meetings in the absence of their parents, and undergoing on that account many abuses with patience… On the 30th, in the afternoon, about fifty-five were at the meeting, when Helliar, with a twisted whalebone-stock, beat many of them unmercifully, striking them violent blows on their heads, necks and faces, few of them escaping without some marks of his fury…

He also [on 13 August] sent eleven boys and four girls to Bridewell, till a Friend engaged for their appearance next day before the deputy mayor, who endeavoured both by persuasions and threats to make them promise to come at no more meetings; but the children in that respect were unmoveable: wherefore they were sent to Bridewell again, Helliar, to terrify them, charging the keeper to provide a new cat of ninetails against next morning. Next day at the Tolzey he urged the justices to have them corrected, but could not prevail. The boys and girls were mostly from ten to twelve years of age. Their names were Samuel Gibbon, William Miller, Joseph James, Elias Osborne, Tabitha Jones, Jonathan Jones, William Fry, Joseph Watkins, Rachel Mears, William Day, Samuel Watkins, James Randy, Martha Watkins, Martha James and James Wheeler.

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