Fifty nine Particulars laid down for the Regulating of things

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Fifty-nine Particulars Laid Down for the Regulating of Things
by George Fox
"Fifty nine Particulars laid down for the Regulating of things" is an English pamphlet that scholars attribute to publication in 1659 by George Fox, founding preacher of Quakerism. It calls for a long list of social reforms, and purports to have been sent to members of Parliament, which ignored it.— Excerpted from Fifty nine Particulars laid down for the Regulating of things on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

FRIENDS,

Who are the Parliament of the Common-Wealth, who are to regulate things for the taking away of oppressing Lawes, and oppressors, and to stop the oppressors.

1. Let no man be prisoned for Tithes, which have been set up by the Apostates (the Papists) since the days of the Apostles.

2. Let no man's goods be spoiled, and made Havock on Treble, by the Priests and their company though the Priest doth them no work whose goods he spoils.

3. Let no man or woman be summoned up two hundred miles or upward to the Court at London, because they cannot give the Priests Tithes, who doth no work for them, and when they appeared they will prison them, because they did not appear by an attorney, and swear their answers.

4. Let no man be prisoned for not appearing by an Attorney, who hath appeared in his own person, who is not sick or beyond Sea.

5. Let nothing be put in Bills that are more than the thing is, and let nothing be put in Writs more than the thing is, and let nothing be put in Indictments more than the thing is.

6. Let no man speak in an unknown tongue.

7. Let no man be prisoned for not doffing his hat. Let no man unable, un-man and weaken himself about that.

8. Let no man be prisoned because he swears not at all, not by Heaven, nor by earth, nor by book, nor any other oath, but abides in the Doctrine of Christ, and keeps to yea and nay, and keeps his commands who witnesses the end of all strife.

9. Let no man be fined, and his goods be spoiled, because for conscience sake towards Christ and his commands he cannot swear. Let no man be put out of place or office or service because he cannot swear, because he doth what he doth faithful to God, at yea and nay to serve in his place where he is.

10. Let no man be put out of place for saying thee to a particular, and you to many who acts in the singular and plural. Let none be put out of place or office for not doffing their hats, who take not, nor give not the honour below, but to the higher Power their soul is subject, who receive the honour that comes down from above. So let no one be persecuted for wearing their hats, for saying THOU, for not swearing, who for conscience sake towards God cannot swear.

11. Let none have their goods strained and spoiled, and made havock on, or be cast into prison for not paying Clerks wages for turning the hour-glass, and saying Amen, and such like services.

12. Let no one be put to death for chattel, for money or any outward thing. Let them restore, and minde the Law of God which is equity and measurable, agreeable to the offence, and minde the judges of Old, and Moses, and their judgement (let the thief live to restore for his theft), and minde the Apostles' doctrine: let him that stole, steale no more, but work with his hands the thing that is good. So that neither Moses nor the Apostles' faith, hang him.

13. Let none have their goods spoiled and made havoc on because they cannot pay to mend the old Steeple-houses which were the old Mass-houses, who have left their places, and their seats in those houses. For them that now be in it, they are uncharitable, though they have their seats and their house, to make them maintain it that be come out of it.

14. Let all the laws of England be brought into a known tongue, that every Countryman may plead his own cause, without Attorney or Counsellor, or for money. Let men that fear God and hate covetousness decide and end things among People in all places, and let none do it for money and reward. Let it never be had in esteem among you, and away with the cap-men, and coys-men (as they are called)1 and thirty shillings and twenty shillings, and ten groat fees, and this oppression, that makes people pay eight pence a sheet, for not above fifteen lines. So away with all these Counsellors, that will not tell men the Law, a few words, without twenty, or ten, or thirty shillings, which is a great oppression.

15. Let all these things be taken away, he that will not speak a few words to his neighbour without money, freely without end, or reward, or bribery, and so bring it to a free Nation, and so a free People by the power of God. This will be the way to take oppression off the poor people, when in every place such as fear God, and hate covetousness decide things among the people, and if they be great things, let them send them up to you the Parliament, and away with those lawyers, twenty shilling Counsellors, thirty shilling Sergeants, ten groat Attournies, that will throw men into Prison for a thing of nought, for not swearing, for not appearing by an Attorney, for not doffing their hats. If this trade were thrown away, and making Merchandize of the Law, and great soms of money for counselling, and great rewards and fees, and the Priests making a trade of the Scriptures, people would soon come to be plain, and Country people would soon decide their business, being left to all to do it freely. This would be the way to take off oppression, and if any would speak concerning law or Scripture to do it freely; this is the way to bring the Nation like a Garden, and make a free Nation, a free people.

16. Let no one that is high, proud, or lofty, envious or scornful bear Office, for he will turn the sword backward and do the Divel's work, which is to bring the world into a wilderness, and quench the spirit of God, whereby everyone should see his way. He will not be like Moses, who said, would all the Lord's People were Prophets. Moses said so who comprehended all transgressions, the first transgression, and what was transgressed, which sprung forth. For they that are hasty, proud in a mad blind zeal will turn the sword against the just, and are not a praise to them that do well. Such are not a terrour to evil-doers, but let them upon the righteous, and such God will overturn, as often as they get up. Cain, that Governour who built a City, he was called vagabond, who killed faithful Abel, and that he did so, he had not an habitation in God.

17. And let all fines and amercements [court imposed penalties] be given to the poor, and let none be prisoned, and fined, and their goods spoiled for not going to the Steeple-houses, as many have been. And let no one be imprisoned as many have been for speaking a few words to the people, bidding them to fear God, and repent, and crying up Christ among them, and speaking as they were moved, as it was revealed to them, according to the Apostles' doctrine and order, as 2 Cor, 14.30. This was the practice and order in the Church of God, that if anything was revealed to another, the first was to hold his peace, but this order is broken amongst the Christians, and they that practice it are whipt, or stocked, or prisoned till death.

18. Let no law be, but that man may ask a question, either going to or coming from a Steeple-house. If it be a free Nation, let it be free; let none have the name of a Minister, but such as are able to satisfie all doubts, and all questions, and for to convince, and stop the mouths of all gainsayers, and opposers, and not let them be such as call to the Magistrates to send to prison for asking a question, like the Jewes that cryed out, help men of Israel, for these are the men that turned the world up-side down.

19. Let all names of people be thrown down, nick-names that be given for their opinions by men, that all may be gathered into the Name of the Church.

20. Now if you say, that we call your Ministers Priests, we do so from your law, your great law book calls them so, and then their practice shewes it.

21. And let no man be whipped, or stocked, or imprisoned, as many have been, for bidding people repent in a market, and to lay aside their deceitful Merchandize, and their couzening and cheating, and swearing, and cursing, and to keep to yea and nay in all their communications.

22. Let no men be prisoned, and their money be taken away, for going to visit prisoners, and to relieve them in what they wanted.

23. Let none have their horses and goods spoiled and taken away, for meeting together in the fear of God, the first day of the week, traveling to meetings.

24. Let none that meet together in the fear of God, in several houses, waiting upon the Lord, praying, or exhorting, & edifying one another in the most holy faith, let them not have their houses broken, their windows broken, and they pulled out of their houses, and knockt down and beat, and houses unthatched, and many pulled down, and men plucked out, and knocked down, as many have been.

25. Let none be persecuted and prisoned as vagabonds who are moved of the Lord to speak abroad his Word freely and faithfully. Let them not be persecuted as vagabonds, for those are the vagabonds that be envious and wrathful, that turn against the faithful ones, and though they be Lords of the Cities, like their old brother Cain, yet they are in Cain's way that turn against the just, and God hath no respect to their sacrifice. Though they may build cities, yet they are vagabonds if they be envious, that hath not a habitation in God. But Abel, Abraham and Christ who were as strangers and had no certain dwelling house, were not vagabonds, and Christ had nowhere to lay his head:

26. And let none be Gaolers that are drunkards, or swearers or oppressors of people, but such as may be good patterns to prisoners. And let none lie long in Gaol, for that is the way to spoil people, and to make more thieves, for there they learn wickedness together. Let no peevish man bear any office, or ambitious, for he will be exalted with the rich, and a shame to the poor, and not hear their cause. The cap is on as the rich go with the rich, but the cap is off with the poor, and there is the offence, if it not be to the rich; so let not that be minded, but let every one justify his neighbor without respect.

27. Let no swearer, no curser, nor drunkard bear any office whatsoever, or be put in any place, nor drunkard nor adulterer, nor covetous Idolater.

28. Let all this money, and stipends, and Tithes, and hour-glasses for preaching by the hour be taken away from men, who make a trade of the Scripture. Let them go out to get vineyards, and plant vineyards, and thresh, and plow in hope, and then there will be little cause to call to the Magistrates to give them maintenance. They will then all have enough, and every one of them will gather into the barn, of the wheat and the crop of God. And let everyone speak freely as they have received.

29. Let all those Abbie-lands, Glebe-lands,[lands owned by priests based on their office] that are given to the Priests, be given to the poor of the Nation, and let all the great houses, Abbies, Steeple-houses, and White-Hall be for Alms-houses (or some other use than what they are) for all the blind and lame to be there, and not to go begging up and down the streets.

30. And let all that worship God, worship him in spirit & in truth & not tyed up to will-worships. Let all those Schools & Colledges down, who makes Ministers by the will of man, so that all may come to wait upon God and Christ Jesus, whereby they are made Ministers by his will that redeems people out of the earth, and let not the mouth be stopped which the Lord opens.

31. Let all those crosses upon seals be pulled off, and off the silver, and the gold, and weights, and off the Steeple-houses, and chimnies, and Ships, and signs, and Mayses, and arms, and scucheons, and flags, and Ensignes, and standards. It is the Pope's Crosse; let it be rooted out of the Nation, and the Pope and his authority.

32. Let all those Fines that belong to Lords of Mannors, be given to the poor people, for Lords have enough. Now the people of the World that come into our meetings, spit on us, throw stones at us, set and throw dogs at us, speak all matter of evil upon us, and all manner of slander. Them that be great Professors and great talkers and pluckers down practice this, yet if our friend go into the Steeple-house, and ask but a question, they will hale him out, and cast him in prison, or if he speak never a word, they will cast him in prison, and if he do not go, they will cast him in prison for asking a question.

33. Let all the poor people, blinde and lame, and creeples be provided for in the Nation, that there may not be a beggar in England nor England's Dominions, that you may say you come to be equal with the Jewes, that had the law that made provision for widows, strangers and fatherless. He that turns his ears from hearing the poor, turns his ears from the Law, which says to provide for them, for ye have read the practice of the Church, the Saints which were in the Gospel, which doth condemn this Nation's practice. Where is so many Beggars among them, both the Jews in the Law, and the Church in the Gospel? And so let all great gifts given to great men, be given to the poor. Let the receiver deny it, and the giver return it to the poor; for the rich may give to the rich, but the poor cannot give it him again, so minde Christ's Doctrine.

34. Let all those Easter-reckonings, Midsommer-dues, be taken and thrown aside, and let no one's goods be spoiled, who for conscience sake cannot give the Priest these things, and let all the Burying the dead for money, and Marrying for money, and Christening for money, and Churching of women for money, let all these things be swept away, and let the Nation be a free Nation, and what anyone doth, let them do freely. Let these twenty shilling Sermons, and ten shilling Sermons, and ten groats the grave for the Priest be laid aside, and then see whose mouth the Lord will open, for money choaks, and gifts blindes.

35. And let no man bear the sword that does violence at any man, or accuse any man falsely.

36. Let all this naming of dayes, those Sundayes, and Moonsdayes, Tuisdayes, Wodensdayes, Thorsdayes, Frydayes, Saturdayes, that is after Heathen's manner (and naming) be put out of your Almanacks, which is contrary to the Jewes' naming of days and the true Christian's both.

37. Let all this observing of holidayes, and Saint's days, (which hath been set up by them who were out of the power of God), as Michalmas, and Candlemas, and Christmas, Whitsontide, Easter, and many of the Saint's days which they were killed on, those that sottish people feast on, let this abomination be taken away.

38. Let no man who is a striker or fighter, and a wrestler with flesh and blood, and wrestles with the Creatures of God, go under the name of a Minister of Christ. Let no one go under the name of Minister, that would have Creatures to be whipt, stockt and prisoned, for they that fight with the powers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness, they must lay aside outward sword and spear, the whip, the stockings, and the prisonings, and they must come to the spiritual weapons, the Spirit of God in themselves, to bring the Creatures into the Liberty of the sons of God. Only they that fight with Creatures fight with outward weapons.

39. Let no Judge, nor Justice, nor Sherif that is ambitious, Highminded, bear rule, or bear any Government, for such are out of the fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom, with which they should order the Creation to the Glory of God the Creator. They are out of the meek state and humility, and doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly before God, and they are an ill favour in the nostrils of God, and to all sober, tender people and sincere.

40. And let the noise of this summoning people up by writs, into the courts of the Nations and the Sessions for Priests—poor people, them the Priest does not work for. Let that be taken away and stopt, and all those Courts pulled down that doth oppress and hold up oppression, that Justice maybe done without oppression, not for money. These things hath shamed the so-called Ministers of the Gospel, who sue people up and down, people they do no work for, and so do not bring glad tidings to the Nations, but trouble, as their fruits have declared. What trouble are men brought into by their Courts and Sessions whom they do no work for? Had the Apostle done so, he might have made the Gospel loathsom, troublesom, but he kept it without charge. There hath been but few such since the dayes of the Apostles, so let the Gospel be kept without charge, and let them that Minister the Gospel keep it without charge.

41. And away with all these stipend-men and glebe-land men, augmentation men, [able bodied men provided money by the state directly of by legislation entitling them to collect money] gifts, fees and reward, &c.

42. Let no man, Priest nor Lawyer, have Tithes, augmentations, stipends, glebe lands, great fees, gifts and rewards, but if any one will preach or read the Law, let him do it freely, for God is a free God, and so are his people, and Christ is a free Christ, and offered himself freely. What anyone hath freely received from him, he is to give it freely (this was Christ's Command to be obeyed). So this will be the way to set the Spirit of God free, and that the Ox's mouth shall not be muzzeled that treads out the Corn. This will be the way to stop all such that makes a trade of the Law and Scriptures: that if any one will read Law or Scriptures let him do it freely, and not by this carnal measure, the hour-glass, by which the Spirit of God is quenched in others, which reveals something to them for edification and comforting, according to the Order and Practice of the Church of God, 1 Corinthians 14.30.

43. And you that are Officers, that have great estates of your own, and Commanders, and men of Authority, do that which you do freely, and that will be the way for to gain the love of God and your Countrey, and the way to take off this oppression, and it will be the way that the poor might have the more plenty, and it will be the way whereby Justice, and the Gospel may run freely without money and without price.

44. Let all these things for money, preaching for money, and singing for money be laid aside. Let not preaching be a trade, nor the Word of God made Merchandize of, and let not the Law be sold nor bought. Let not them handle the Law that will not do justice without money; for those will not do justice, but will favour the rich for a fee, a gift or reward, which eates up the poor, and they will hold people in long suites, by which the cause of the just suffers and is often overthrown.

45. Let all Images and Pictures be taken away and plucked up, and blotted out of all Signes, Steeple-houses and Gardens, and Houses, and rooted out of the Land.

46. And let none keep Ale-houses or Taverns, but those who fear God, that are come into the Wisdom of God, that will not let the Creatures of God be destroyed by Drunkards.

47. Let all Games, Sports be taken away that please the fleshly mind. Is it not to honour a Magistrate to live in the Power of God?

48. Let all the Stage-players, May-Games, Shoffel-boards, Dice, Cards, Nineholes, Foot-balls, and Hand-balls, and Fidlings, and all these vain Musicks be taken away, which stir up the light vain minds of people that doth not know what to eat and drink, nor what to put on. Let these things be taken away that stir up the light minds of those who make no provision for the flesh, or else they will lye upon you.

49. Let all those Bul-baitings, Cock-fightings, and Horse-racings which are destructive to Creatures, and to please people's vain light minds, and are destructive to seriousness; let all these things be taken away.

50. Let no one wear a Sword, Dagger, or Pistol, or weapon, but who is in Office, or Service, or Place, and this will be the way to stop wickedness, and murderers and killers.

51. Let no man keep Ale-houses or Taverns that keeps Bowls, Shoffleboard-Tables, or Fidlers, or Dice, or Cards.

52. Let neither Beggars nor Blind people, nor Fatherless, nor Widows, nor Cripples go a Begging up and down the streets, but that a house may be provided for them all, and meat, that there be never a Beggar among you; and let those great Fees of Gaolers and Garnishmoney be taken away. Through those Fees many have layn long in Prison.

53. Let all the Gaols be in wholesom places, that the Prisoners may not lye on their own dung, and Piss, and straw like Chaffe, having never a House-of-office [restroom] in the Prison; Therefore let there be a House-of-office[restroom] in all Gaols, [jails] and let these things be mended.

54. And let all these jangling of Bells cease, which do feed people's pleasures and vain minds.

55. Let all those Ballad-singers, and Ballad-makers, and Jest-bookmakers which stir up people's vain and light minds, be taken away.

56. And let all this wearing of gold Lace, and costly attire, more like Anticks [the fool according to Shakespear] than sober men, let this be ended, and cloath the naked, and feed the hungry with the superfluity. And turn not your ear from the cry of the poor, for if you do, you turn away from the Law that provides for them.

57. Let all the Priests restore to the poor people, who have so excessively taken away their goods, treble and treble. If you be the men that will do justice, make them to restore those goods again; and that is but just.

58. And let not the Priests strike (our) Friends, nor set on their Professors and hearers; but keep the Peace.

59. Let none have their goods taken away for not paying the Priests, bread and wine, their Communion (as they call it) though they do not eat with them, nor hath not for these many years. Yet the Churchwardens (so-called) distrain the goods of our Friends, to make them pay for their bread and wine, their Communion (so-called) which they eat and drink.

Justice and Righteousness exalteth a Nation; But sin is a shame to both Rulers and people.

Be not high-minded but fear, and be meek and low, for the fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honour goeth humility, Prov. 15.33.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.