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 vilest scoundrels in the land set up the trade of informers and heresy-hunters. Wherever a dissenting meeting or burial took place, there was sure to be a mercenary spy, ready to bring a complaint against all in attendance. The Independents and Baptists ceased, in a great measure, to hold public meetings, yet even they did not escape prosecution Bunyan, for instance, in these days, was dreaming, like another Jacob, of angels ascending and descending, in Bedford prison. But upon the poor Quakers fell, as usual, the great force of the unjust enactment. Some of these spies or informers, men of sharp wit, close countenances, pliant tempers, and skill in dissimulation, took the guise of Quakers, Independents, or Baptists, as occasion required, thrusting themselves into the meetings of the proscribed sects, ascertaining the number who attended, their rank and condition, and then informing against them. Ellwood, in his Journal for 1670, describes several of these emissaries of evil. One of them came to a Friend's house, in Bucks, professing to be a brother in the faith, but, overdoing his counterfeit Quakerism, was detected and dismissed by his host. Betaking himself to the inn, he appeared in his true character, drank and swore roundly, and confessed over his cups that he had been sent forth on his mission by the Rev. Dr. Mew, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford. Finding little success in counterfeiting Quakerism, he turned to the Baptists, where, for a time, he met with better success. Ellwood, at this time, rendered good service to his friends, by exposing the true character of these wretches, and bringing them to justice for theft, perjury, and other misdemeanors.
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