Wednesday, January 13, 2010

George Fox

George Fox, who died on January 13, 1691, founded the Religious Society of Friends; the Quakers.  Fox began his career as a weaver, but began preaching around 1647, when he was approximately 23.  Fox traveled widely in his ministry, reaching the Borderlands about 1657.  There he influenced one Walter Scott of Raeburn, 2nd Great Grandfather of Sir Walter Scott of Waverly fame.

Both Walter (Raeburn) and his brother Gideon ventured into Quakerism; around 1660, according to a letter of Sir Walter Scott's published in "Friends Intelligencer: a religious and family journal, Volume 23".  This publication contains a response Scott wrote to a letter from a member of the Society of Friends who'd inquired whether Scott had come across any records relating to the Friends among his family papers.  Scott wrote back:

"I received your letter yesterday, and lose no time in replying.  I have particular family reasons for desiring to oblige the society of Friends, as two of my ancestors, one by my mother's and the other by my father's side were members of that respectable body..."

The ancestor on his mother's side was John Swinton of Swinton, who had worked with Oliver Cromwell in administering Scotland.  The two Scott brothers mentioned above were pulled back to Presbyterianism by their older brother William Scott, who took legal action with the Privy Council of Scotland against the heretic Walter Scott, having him imprisoned - first in Edinburgh, later in Jedburgh.

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