Chapter 19 » 19.53

An ordered people

The sense of responsibility for one another might lead to unexpected paths, as is shown by the letter of 1662 to the mayor and sheriffs of London, signed by thirty Friends concerned for the seven-score Quakers then imprisoned in Newgate:

And if no other way can be found for their relief, if they may not have the liberty to follow their occasions for some weeks, or until such time as you shall call for them, which we desire on their behalfs, and are here already to give our words, that they shall become prisoners again as you shall appoint them: And if no other way can be found, then we, a certain number of us, do present our bodies to you, offering them freely to relieve our afflicted and oppressed brethren, and are ready to go into their places, and to suffer, as prisoners in their room, for your security, that so many of the poorest of them, as we are here, may have their liberty to go about their needful occasions, whether it be for some weeks, or until you shall call for them, as you see meet in your wisdom. All which we do in humility of heart, and sincerity of our minds, and in the fear of God, and love to our brethren, that they may not perish in prison, and in love to you, that innocent blood and oppression may not come upon you, but be prevented from ever being charged against you.

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