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[51] No disappointment can befall
     Us, having Him who's all in all!
What can of pleasure him prevent
     Who hath the Fountain of Content?

In the year 1663 a severe law was enacted against the ‘sect called Quakers,’ prohibiting their meetings, with the penalty of banishment for the third offence! The burden of the prosecution which followed fell upon the Quakers of the metropolis, large numbers of whom were heavily fined, imprisoned, and sentenced to be banished from their native land. Yet, in time, our worthy friend Ellwood came in for his own share of trouble, in consequence of attending the funeral of one of his friends. An evil-disposed justice of the county obtained information of the Quaker gathering; and, while the body of the dead was ‘borne on Friends' shoulders through the street, in order to be carried to the burying-ground, which was at the town's end,’ says Ellwood, ‘he rushed out upon us with the constables and a rabble of rude fellows whom he had gathered together, and, having his drawn sword in his hand, struck one of the foremost of the bearers with it, commanding them to set down the coffin. But the Friend who was so stricken, being more concerned for the safety of the dead body than for his own, lest it should fall, and any indecency thereupon follow, held the coffin fast; which the justice observing, and being enraged that his word was not forthwith obeyed, set his hand to the coffin, and with a forcible thrust threw it off from the bearers' shoulders, so that it fell to the ground in the middle of the street, and there ’

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Thomas Ellwood (2)
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1663 AD (1)
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