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The Spirit of the Scottish South River Quakers, as experienced in our time:
Published on Thursday, January 9, 2003 by the Guardian/UK
Anti-War Train Drivers Refuse to Move Arms Freight
by Kevin Maguire
Train drivers yesterday refused to move a freight train carrying ammunition believed to be destined for British forces being deployed in the Gulf.
Railway managers cancelled the Ministry of Defense service after the crewmen, described as "conscientious objectors" by a supporter, said they opposed Tony Blair's threat to attack Iraq.
The anti-war revolt is the first such industrial action by workers for decades.
The two Motherwell-based drivers declined to operate the train between the Glasgow area and the Glen Douglas base on Scotland's west coast, Europe's largest NATO weapons store.
English Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS), which transports munitions for the MoD as well as commercial goods, yesterday attempted to persuade the drivers to move the disputed load by tomorrow.
Leaders of the Aslef rail union were pressed at a meeting with EWS executives to ask the drivers to relent. But the officials of a union opposed to any attack on Iraq are unlikely to comply.
The two drivers are understood to be the only pair at the Motherwell freight depot trained on the route of the West Highland Line.
An EWS spokesman declined to confirm the train had been halted, although he insisted no drivers had refused to take out the trains.
"We don't discuss commercial issues," he said.
"The point about the two drivers is untrue and we don't discuss issues about meetings we have."
Yet his claim was flatly contradicted by a well-placed rail industry source who supplied the Guardian with the train's reference number.
The MoD later said it had been informed by EWS that mechanical problems, caused by the cold winter weather, had resulted in the train's cancellation.
One solution under discussion yesterday between the MoD and EWS was to transport the shipment by road to avoid what rail managers hoped would be an isolated confrontation.
Dockers went on strike rather than load British-made arms on to ships destined for Chile after the assassination of leftwing leader Salvador Allende in 1973.
In 1920 stevedores on London's East India Docks refused to move guns on to the Jolly George, a ship chartered to take weapons to anti-Bolsheviks after the Russian revolution.
Trade unions supporting workers who refuse to handle weapons could risk legal action and possible fines for contempt of court.
Lindsey German, convener of the Stop the War Coalition, said: "We fully support the action that has been taken to impede an unjust and aggressive war. We hope that other people around the country will be able to do likewise."
The anti-war group is organizing a second national demonstration in central London on Saturday February 15. Organizers claimed more than 400,000 people attended a protest in September.
© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003
||38 Elmbank Crescent, Glasgow G2 4PS
"There has been a Quaker Meeting in Glasgow since 1660. The present Meeting House was opened in 1993 and is home to Glasgow Quaker Meeting."
Glasgow Meeting House
||Barclay of Ury, Charles II, East Jersey
Robert Barclay of Ury, b. 1642 d. 1690, was the eldest son of Colonel David Barclay who was the first Laird of Ury. While in University at the Scot University of Paris where his uncle was a professor, Robert became involved with the Society of Friends called Quakers. Included were the other founders, George Fox and William Penn. At age 28, Robert Barclay wrote down the Quaker beliefs that came to be known by historians as Barclay's Apology. The Apology was presented to Charles II, the king of England and Scotland with whom the Barclays were in favor. The Apology is composed of 15 principles. It has been in continuous print by the Quakers to this day. It was mentioned in the witings of; Voltaire, John Wesley, William Penn, Fox, Benjamin Franklin, Dally and many family papers. The statement used by Barclay to Charles II was repeated to George III in the closing argument of Common Sense by Thomas Paine.
Charles II accepted the Quaker Apology and the persecution of the Society of Friends by the crown ceased in Scotland. Robert Barclay, his father David and a brother-in-law, along with about eight other Scotsmen of means, became proprietors of a grant from Charles II for the land in America called East Jersey. Robert and David promoted East Jersey in the Aberdeenshire area to nearby lowland Scots. Four shiploads of friends and neighbors went from the geographic area north of Edinburgh of Alberdeenshire to East Jersey to colonize and put in plantations. Many of them were Quakers. Later, Robert was appointed as the Governor of East Jersey for his lifetime. This governorship was performed by proxy, as Robert resided in Scotland. Robert's brother John did live in east Jersey and so did Robert's overseer, John Hampton. The Barclays of Ury had other business endeavors including a shipping business in Dublin. David Barclay, Robert's father, died in 1688. Robert Barclay, the second Laird of Ury, Quaker Apologist and Governor of East Jersey, died young at the age 42 of unknown causes to us now at this time.[ref: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~barclay/BarclayRobertUry2.html]
"With Swarthmoor Hall as a base, a group of Friends, the "First Publishers of Truth", took their Quaker message throughout Britain and Ireland, and overseas."Let all nations hear the word by sound or writing" wrote George Fox from Launceston Gaol in 1656. This panel commemorates those "First Publishers of Truth" and those of later generations, like the saintly American Friends John Woolman and Job Scott, who wrote tracts or books in their lifetimes or whose journals were published after their deaths. It also commemorates Quaker printers such as Mary Westwood, who was printing as early as 1658, and Benjamin Clark, whose imprint is on Jacob Caus's edition of Barclay's Apologia. http://www.ackworth.w-yorks.sch.uk/tap/tapb4.htmlRobert Barclay 1648-1690) of Ury Scotland, became a Friend in the 1650s. Educated in Paris, he had a rigorous theological training, and at twenty-seven wrote his famous Apology, the first major work to expound Quakerism in theological language."
||THE POLITICS OF DESPAIR:
As the lnterregnum came to an end, the slogan of not a few Quakers seems to have been, "Peaceful if we can, Forceful if we must." The year 1659 was a darkening period that sobered the Children of the Light. Their movement seemed such a threat in the deteriorating political situation that those previously committed to fundamental change began to tighten up. Talk of a restoration of the monarch increased; military commanders, like George Monck in Scotland, clamped down on Quaker activity in the army; rumors of conspiracies floated freely around the capital and fed demands for greater law and order; soldiers, their pay long since in arrears, refused to carry out customary orders; and the Rump parliament proved so unpopular that street urchins shouted "Kiss my Parliament" to replace their usual "Kiss my arse" when they wanted to insult their betters.
More pertinent for Fox and his followers, Parliament spurned his long letter outlining "Fifty-nine Particulars for the Regulation of Things"; this document, the most radical ever to flow from his pen, went so far as to propose confiscation of the lands of all "great" houses, churches, and abbeys. The charged atmosphere of 1659 did not win Quakers another hearing but rather fed popular distrust of the Children of the Light.
No wonder that for ten weeks, from October through December, Fox was immobilized by one of his periodic depressions...Meanwhile Richard Hubberthorne, galvanized by the impending crisis, proclaimed that Gods power would take off the peoples bondage, "to make his creature a free creature and his people a free people."11
After his recovery, Fox headed for his home base in the north, where rumors of an armed uprising echoed across the countryside to alert the forces of General Monck. On May 29, 1660, Charles II, son of the beheaded king, entered London to the cheers of relieved and happy crowds of people. Grousing about evil days and perilous times, Friends glumly watched these events and bemoaned the perfidy and fickleness of people who had scorned their chance.
Within a month Fox had been picked up at Swarthmoor Hall and jailed in the dungeon in Lancaster castle, labeled a "Common Enemy to his Majesty." He remained there, in that dark, dank, and dreary place, with more time than he needed to ponder where he and the Children had missed their chance to mold events and change history.
"If I or my Friends," he ruefully remembered, "had been moved to go into a steeple house and look in any of the priests faces, their mouths would have been stopped, they would have gone away. . and they would have come down out of the pulpit.. . . The power of God would have gone so over them, they being so full of deceit, that it would have choked them."12
....But Fox rallied himself and composed an epistle warning that what had now come to be was Gods doing; to murmur against it would only provoke thunder from heaven. In the same breath, though, he promised that the divine hand would began to work its mysterious will and confound the saints enemies.
Clearly, he was trying to recapture the essence of the faith that had gripped him early on and empowered him--his belief that the Day of the Lord, despite secular ups and downs, was still possible. He began to search for a way out, one that would at once preserve the Children from what was bound to be the days of persecution that lay ahead, yet hold out hope that they might resurrect the Good Old Days. He groped toward what we would call a pacifist position.
In 1660, probably about the same time that Charles mounted his newly proffered throne, Fox buried in a broadside on why Quakers did not swear oaths a sentence explaining that they rejected force except for a "war with the devil and his works." Friends denied, he went on, "to plot and confederate or to raise insurrections,... or taking up arms outwardly," but they would not swear even to this.13
It only remained for him to define more precisely a war with the devil and his works. On another occasion, he yet again embraced the view that the sword might be used to pursue Gods will. He admonished the new king that permitting plays and maygames would only indicate that he carried his sword in vain. It might be used, he implied, for worthwhile purposes, such as, for example, keeping the peace and protecting peoples estates. Fox seemed to be searching for the right balance, one allowing him and his followers to hold on to their past commitments to broad societal justice, yet one that would not bring down on them the kind of persecution likely to inhibit their growth, especially among people whose property, as they saw it, needed protecting.
Freed from jail in September, Fox arrived in London during the third week in October. If he needed evidence of the change in mood, he did not have far to look: that very week royal vengeance was gruesomely evident when the regicides were hanged before giddily happy crowds at Charing Cross. For a reason not altogether clear, however, the king adopted a conciliatory tone toward Foxs Children, dismissing all charges against him and ordering others released from jail or not incarcerated for wearing hats in court or failing to attend church.
On January 6, 1661, an event occurred that threatened to overwhelm whatever friendship King Charles harbored toward these sectarian subjects of his. A London congregation of Fifth Monarchists, a Baptist-derived group of millenarians who held that Jesus intended to return physically to sit upon Englands throne, staged an abortive uprising under the slogan, "King Jesus." Although occupying St. Pauls cathedral for a brief time, they were quickly subdued; fourteen, including their leader, were executed, their heads stuck up on London Bridge as grisly warnings to others with similar ideas.
In a city traumatized by fear, shops were hastily shuttered, and armed militiamen nervously patrolled the streets. The government, ignoring the kings own personal friendliness toward Foxs followers, issued a proclamation for Scotland lumping together Quakers with Anabaptists and Fifth Monarchists because of their "cruel tenets and bloody practices"ö and allowing magistrates to seek out their meetings and arrest those taking part; soon reports came in from Yorkshire, just south of the Scottish border, that detentions had taken place there also.
In this tense atmosphere the Quaker peace testimony emerged. Stating formally that Friends were "against all plotters and fighters in the world," that is, people like the Fifth Monarchists, it was designed "that all occasion of suspicion may be taken away and our innocency cleared."
"Fifth Monarchist" Thomas Harrison (1606-1660). See biography, with links to other "regicides" : http://www.skyhook.co.uk/civwar/biog/harrison.htm