A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Fox, George

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Fox, George (1624-1691).—Religious enthusiast, and founder of the Society of Friends, b. at Drayton, Leicestershire, was in youth the subject of peculiar religious impressions and trances, and adopted a wandering life. The protests which he conceived himself bound to make against the prevailing beliefs and manners, and which sometimes took the form of interrupting Divine service, and the use of uncomplimentary forms of address to the clergy, involved him in frequent trouble. The clergy, the magistrates, and the mob alike treated him with harshness amounting to persecution. None of these things, however, moved him, and friends, many of them influential, among them Oliver Cromwell, extended favour towards him. From 1659 onwards he made various missionary journeys in Scotland, Ireland, America, and Holland. Later he was repeatedly imprisoned, again visited the Continent, and d. in 1691. F.'s literary works are his Journal, Epistles, and Doctrinal Pieces. He was not a man of strong intellect, and the defence of his doctrines was undertaken by the far more competent hand of his follower, Barclay (q.v.). The Journal, however, is full of interest as a sincere transcript of the singular experiences, religious and others, of a spiritual enthusiast and mystic.

The best Life is that by Hodgkin, 1896. Journal (reprint, 1885).