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Cheque, the son of a Navy Commissioner, wear his hat in presence of his prince? Penn asked for time to think this question over.
“Why?' exclaimed the angry Admiral; 'in order to consult the Ranters?'
“No, sir,' said the young man softly; ‘I will not see them; let me go into my room.'
Penn slipped aside, and after some time, spent in prayer, he came back to his father with his final word-he could not lift his hat to mortal man.
'Not even to the King and to the Duke of York?'
“No, sir; not even to the King and to the Duke of York?'
The indignant Admiral turned him out of doors.
To live an easy life and wear the coronet of an English peer? To pass through shadows and to dwell with the despised of men? Such was the choice now offered to the young swordsman of Paris, the modish gentleman of the Navy Gardens, and the volunteer of Carrickfergus. Was it craze of mind which led him to offend a generous father, to renounce a pleasant home, and sacrifice his prospects in the court, about some scruple as to taking off his hat? A man of sense might think so, if this lifting of the hat were all. But lifting and not lifting of the hat was very far from being all. It was a sign, and one of many signs.
With us to raise the hat is easy ; we are used to it. Our hats are made for lifting, and we raise the hat in cases where our fathers would have bent the knee. Hat-homage is our social creed. But in the reign of Charles the Second it was new and strange. A bat is made to wear, not carry in your hand. Men wore their hats in house and church, as well as in the street and park. Men sate at meals in felt, and listened at a play in felt. 'I got a strange cold in my head,' wrote Pepys, 'by flinging my hat off at dinner.' Every one ate covered. Clarendon tells us that in his younger days he always stood uncovered in the presence of his elders, save at meals, when he and other lads put on their hats. A shopman stood behind the counter in his hat; a preacher mounted to the pulpit in his hat. The audience wore their hats, and only doffed them at the name of God. But with the coming of Charles a hundred foreign follies had come in. French words, French habits, and French fashions, were the rage. Such wits as Rochester and Sedley brought in French, and fools of fashion cried at every pause of conversation, “You have reason, sir,' 'In fine, sir,' and the like. Sir Martin Marrall in Dryden's comedy is a type of this new race of courtiers, just as Moody is a type of the Elizabethan men.
Hat-lifting, therefore, was the sign of a depraved and foreign fashion, recently brought into England from abroad. All sober men put on their hats, while wits and foplings carried them in their hands. The homely citizen wore his beaver, and the lord-in-waiting wore a periwig. To wear the hat was English, and to take it off was French.
Even Cromwell had been puzzled how to act towards those who wedded such a doctrine as nonresistance to that of the inner light. What was he to do with men who would not meet him foot to foot, yet claimed to be a law unto themselves ? How could he manage men who told him they would not accept his rule, yet offered him their cheeks and necks to smite? A sword that cut a path through Naseby field was useless in the presence of this unresisting force. He tempted them with smiles, with gifts, with places, but these simple souls would have no part in him and in his rule. • Now,' said he, “I see there is a people risen whom I cannot win.' These Friends were men of peace. If what they did was wrong, they took upon their backs the burden of that sin. Such sects as Levellers and Anabaptists he could meet as sword encounters sword; but with the Quakers there was nothing he could strike. They courted stripes and chains. They bowed their heads to fine and sen
tence; taking his decrees as so much penance laid on them in love. They would not fly before his troops, and if he wished to kill them they were ready for the cross. However fixed his purpose, they were not less fixed in theirs-to weary out and overcome his strength.
The system of these Friends was one of State affairs as well as Church affairs; announcing that all men are equal before the laws; that all men have a right to express opinions; that all men have a right to worship God according to their conscience; not because such and such things were done by ancient tribes; not because it is well to have certain balances and checks; but on account of the inward, independent, indestructible light in every human soul. Each man is a separate power, and therefore has a separate right. This system met with bold denial every claim of prince and pope to curb the individual will, and every claim of prelate and inquisitor to search the individual mind. It held that every man's own light-his conscience or his reason-is the safest guide. To doff the hat, to bend the knee, to call a man by such vain names as lord and prince, was sin against the Lord and Prince of heaven. For God, the Friends declared, had made men peers, and setting up these marks of separation was dividing men without a cause, and trifling with the noblest work of God.
To a young man holding such a gospel what was a baron's coronet-what a seat in the House of Lords?
Shut out from his home in the Navy Gardens at the age of twenty-three, Ensign Penn was not left to starve in the streets. Lady Penn sent him money from her private purse. His new friends made him welcome in their homes; for this young
soldier came amongst these pious people as a brand plucked out of a burning fire. This time of exile from the Navy Gardens was a trial to bis faith. He loved his mother and bis sister Peg the merry matron and the romping girl; and for the Admiral he entertained a high, though not unreasoning, respect. On every side he had to count some loss. With his opinions he could not hold his Ensign's rank, he could not keep his Clerkship of the Cheque. These small things had to go the way of greater things.
The set-off to his loss was not so obvious to a worldly eye, and Admiral Penn could not be made to see that he had any set-off at all to count. In giving up his rank, his office, and his home, as well as sacrificing the hope of greater things to come, the young man felt he was obeying the summons to forsake his father and mother for a higher good. He found no comfort in the romps and revels in the tavern dinners and the evening plays. The creed of Fox was to him a saving creed. Such men as Fox and Loe were notable for the purity of their lives. What they professed to be they were; not so the titled people whom he met in his father's haunts. At the theatre in Drury Lane, to which his mother and sister went so often, he had seen virtue mocked, and truth abused, and female modesty put to shame. The park, where his father loved to be seen, was thronged with harlots and bravoes; with women who sold their smiles and men who were ready to sell their swords. He knew that the royal palace was a nest for every crawling thing. Look where he would upon that society from which he was shut out, he saw little beyond vanity, rottenness, and death. In the highest place of all—that chamber in which, not long ago, Cromwell had poured out his soul in prayer,