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The writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Volume 6. (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier), Old portraits and modern Sketches (search)
history of such a man as Nayler; he was of no importance to him, otherwise than as one of the disturbing influences in the government of the Lord Protector. But in our mind the story of James Nayler has always been one of interest; and in the belief that it will prove so to others, who, like Charles Lamb, can appreciate the beautiful humility of a forgiven spirit, we have taken some pains to collect and embody the facts of it. James Nayler was born in the parish of Ardesley, in Yorkshire, 1616. His father was a substantial farmer, of good repute and competent estate; and he, in consequence, received a good education. At the age of twenty-two, he married and removed to Wakefield parish, which has since been made classic ground by the pen of Goldsmith. Here, an honest, God-fearing farmer, he tilled his soil, and alternated between cattle-markets and Independent conventicles. In 1641, he obeyed the summons of my Lord Fairfax and the Parliament, and joined a troop of horse composed