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things so intolerably foolish, as could not reasonably be supposed to have come into the conceit, much less to have dropped from the lip or pen of any that went under the name of a Quaker.
These dialogues (shall I call them, or rather diabologues) were answered by our friend William Penn, in two books; the first being entitled Reason against Railing, the other, The Counterfeit Christian detected; in which Hicks being charged with manifest, as well as manifold forgeries, perversions, downright lies and slanders against the people called Quakers in general, William Penn, George Whitehead, and divers others by name ; com. plaint was made, by way of an appeal, to the Baptists in and about London, for justice against Thomas Hicks.
1674. Those Baptists, who it seems were in the plot with Hicks, to defame, at any rate, right or wrong, the people called Quakers, taking the advantage of the absence of William Penn and George Whitehead, who were the persons most immediately concerned, and who were then gone a long journey on the service of truth, to be absent from the city, in all probability, for a considerable time, appoint, ed a public meeting in one of their meeting: houses, under pretence of calling Thomas Hicks to account, and hearing the charge made good against him ; but with design to give the greater stroke to the Quakers, when they,who should make good the charge against
Hicks, could not be present. For upon their sending notice to the lodgings of William Penn and George Whitehead, of their intended meeting, they were told by several Friends, that both William Penn and George Whitehead were from home, travelling in the countries, uncertain where; and therefore could not be informed of their intended meeting, either by letter or express, within the time by thein limited; for which reason they were desired to defer the meeting till they could have notice of it, and time to return, that they might be at it. But these Baptists, whose design was otherwise laid, would not be prevailed with to defer their meeting, but, glad of the advantage, gave their brother Hicks opportunity to make a colourable defence, where he had his party to help him, and none to oppose him. And having made a mock show
of examining him and his works of darkness, ; they in fine having heard one side, acquitted him.
This gave just occasion for a new complaint, and demand of justice against him and them. For as soon as William Penn returned to London, he in print exhibited his complaint of this unfair dealing, and demanded justice, by a re-hearing of the matter in a public meeting, to be appointed by joint agreement. This went hardly down with the Baptists, nor could it be obtained from them, without great importunity and hard pressing. At length, after many delays and tricks used to shift it off,
constrained by necessity, they yielded to have a meeting at their own meeting-house, in Barbican, London.
There, amongst other Friends, was I, and undertook to read our charge there against Thomas Hicks; which, not without much difficulty, I did ; they, inasmuch as the house was theirs, putting all the inconveniences they could upon us.
The particular passages and management of this meeting, as also of that other which followed soon after, (they refusing to give us any other public meeting, we were fain to appoint in our own meeting-house, by Wheeler-street, near Spittle-fields, London, and gave them timely notice of) I forbear here to mention; there being in print a narrative of each, to which, for particular information, I refer the reader.
But to this meeting Thomas Hicks would not come, but lodged himself ať an ale-house hard by; yet sent his brother Ives, with some others of the party, by clamorous noises to divert us from the prosecution of our charge against him ; which they so effectually performed, that they would not suffer the charge to be heard, though often attempted to be read.
As this rude behaviour of theirs was a cause of grief to me, so afterwards when I under. stood that they used all evasive tricks to avoid another meeting with us, and refused to do us right, my spirit was greatly stirred at their
injustice; and in the sense thereof, willing, if possible, to have provoked them to more fair and manly dealing, I let fly a broadside at them in a single sheet of paper, under the title of a Fresh Pursuit. In which, having re-stated the controversy between them and us, and reinforced our charge of forgery, &c. against Thomas Hicks and his abettors, I offered a fair challenge to them not only to Thomas Hicks himself, but to all those his conipurgators, who had before undertaken to acquit him from our charge, together with their companion Jeremy Ives, to give me a fair and public meeting; in which I would make good our charge against him, as principal, and all the rest of them as accessories. But nothing could provoke them to come fairly forth.
Yet not long after, finding themselves galled by the narrative lately published, of what had passed in the last meeting near Wheeler-street, they, to help themselves if they could, sent forth a counter account of that meeting, and of the former at Barbican, as much to the advantage of their own cause, as they, upon deliberate consideration could contrive it, This was published by Thomas Plant, a Baptistteacher, and one of Thomas Hicks’ former compurgators, and bore, but falsely, the title
of a Contest for Christianity; or, a Faithful į relation of two late meetings, &c.
To this I quickly wrote and published an answer, And, because I saw the design and whole drift of the Baptists was to shroud Tho
mas Hicks from our charge of forgery, under the specious pretence of his and their standing up, and contending for christianity, I gave my book this general title, Forgery no Chris. tianity; or a brief Examen of a late Book, &c. And having from their own book, plainly convicted that which they called a faithful re. lation, to be indeed a false relation, I, iri an expostulatory postscript to the Baptists, rein. forced our charge, and my former challenge; offering to make it good against them, before a publick and free auditory. But they were too wary to appear further, either in person or in print.
This was the end of that controversy, which was observed to have this issue : that what those dialogues were written to prevent, was, by the dialogues, and their unfair, unmanly, unchristian carriage, in endeavouring to defend them, hastened and brought to pass ; for not a few of the Baptist members, upon this occasion, left their meetings and society, and came over to the Quakers' meetings, and were joined in fellowship with them. Thanks bé to God.
Though many of the most eminent among the Baptists, in and about London, engaged themselves in this quarrel, to have defended, or at least, to have brought fairly off, if it had been possible, their brother Hicks, yet the main service lay upon Jeremy Ives. Who having been an unsuccessful trader in cheese, and therein failed more than once, had now