Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Park, James (1636-1696)

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PARK or PARKES, JAMES (1636–1696), quaker, was either born or early settled on the borders of Wales, near Wrexham or Welshpool, where he grew up among the ‘ independents.’ Before 1663, however, he joined the quakers. He was apparently one of the band of preachers in the north of England sent out from Swarthmore Hall [see Fell, Margaret]. In March 1662–3 he returned to Wales, and wrote a paper entitled ‘A Lamentation and Warning from the Lord God, in the Love of Christ Jesus, unto all the Professors in North Wales, especially those about Wrexham in Denbighshire, and Welsh-Pool in Montgomeryshire, whom formerly I have known, and walked with, in a fellowship and worship,’ &c., dated Wrexham, 9 March 1662–3. In December and January 1664–5 Park travelled through Surrey, Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire, to Bristol, holding meetings (Letter to John Lawson, Lancaster, in Swarthmore MSS.) In 1666 and 1667 he was in the eastern counties, and in the latter year was committed to prison in Harwich by order of Thomas Garrard, the mayor, for being present at a meeting (Besse, i. 202). It is probable that he was either going to or returning from Holland. Papers in the Colchester collection of manuscripts (cf. Crisp and his Correspondents, pp. 62, 63) show that he was conversant with the Dutch language, and at least two of his works were written in it.

In 1670–1 he was preaching in Cornwall, and, in consequence, two Cornish Friends, Ambrose Grosse and Henry Constable, were fined (Besse, i. 119). In January 1682–3 he was in Hampshire, and dated an epistle thence. Since 1669, at least, he lived at Rotherhithe, and in August 1683 goods were taken from him to the value of 12l. for ‘absence from the National worship’ in the parish of St. Olave's, Southwark. He was a member of Horselydown meeting, and, in spite of fines and prohibitions, he continued holding meetings and writing pamphlets and epistles till his death. A sermon preached by him at Ratcliffe meeting, on 19 April 1694, was taken down in shorthand, and printed in ‘Unanimity and Concurrence,’ a collection of quaker sermons published in London in 1694; reprinted in London in 1775 and 1824.

He died of fever at his house in the parish of St. Olave's, Southwark, on 11 or 12 Nov. 1696, aged 60. His wife Frances, aged 62, predeceased him by a few weeks, as well as two children, James and Frances.

Park wrote: 1. ‘An Epistle to all Faithful Friends and Brethren,’ in ‘Two General Epistles, by M[argaret] F[ell] and J. P.,’ London, 1664. 2. ‘To the Flock of God everywhere gathered’ [1666]. 3. ‘Another Trumpet sounded in the Ears of the Inhabitants of England, Rulers, Priests, and People,’ London, 1667. 4. ‘Christus Jesus Verhooght,’ &c., Amsterdam, 1670, written in answer to a book by Jan Kornelisz Knoll. A portion of the English version, entitled ‘Christ Jesus Exalted, and the True Light,’ &c., exists in the Colchester collection of manuscripts (loc. cit.) 5. ‘Een Besockinge, &c. A Visitation to all the Inhabitants of Holland and the adjacent Provinces that are not reformed or restored to the Pure Worship of God,’ Dutch pamphlet, n.d. 6. ‘The Way of God, and them that walk in it. An Answer to a malicious Pamphlet … by Daniel Burges, Priest at Dublin in Ireland,’ 1673. 7. ‘A General Epistle to all the Called and Chosen of God,’ &c., 1676. 8. ‘A General Epistle to Friends who are convinced of God's Eternal Truth,’ &c., 1678–9. 9. ‘A Warning to England, with a Hand of True Pity and Compassion,’ &c., 1679. 10. ‘A Warning to London in particular,’ &c., 1679. 11. Testimony to Isaac Penington [q. v.] in the first edition of Penington's ‘Works,’ London, 1681, fol. 12. ‘A General Epistle to Friends Everywhere, written in Obedience to the Requirings of the Spirit of Life,’ &c. [1682]. 13. ‘False Fictions and Romances Rebuked,’ in answer to a book intituled ‘The Progress of Sin,’ &c., by Benjamin Keach [q. v.], London, 1684. 14. ‘A General Epistle to Friends Everywhere’ [1687]. 15. ‘The Hour of God's Judgments come and coming upon the Wicked World,’ printed and sold by A. Sowle, London, 1690. 16. ‘A General Epistle to all Friends Everywhere,’ London, 1691. 17. ‘A Call in the Universal Spirit of Christ Jesus to all the wicked and impenitent Sinners in the World. But more especially to the Inhabitants of England, with the City of London … [inspired by ‘the late earthquake’],’ London, 1692.

[Besse's Sufferings of Quakers, i. 119, 202, 484, 705; Richard Davies's Life, 7th edit. p. 47; Crisp and his Correspondents, 1892, pp. 17, 45, 47, 62, 63; Smith's Catalogue, ii. 254–7; Collectio, p. 418; Swarthmore Manuscripts and Registers at Devonshire House.]

C. F. S.