Several imprisonments, including that of George Fox at Derby in 1650-1651, were brought about under the Blasphemy Act of 1650, which inflicted penalties on any one who asserted himself to be very God or equal with God, a charge to which the Friends were peculiarly liable owing to their doctrine of perfection.
In an interview in 1654 the sincerity and enthusiasm of George Fox had greatly moved Cromwell and had convinced him of their freedom from dangerous political schemes.
The history of Quakerism in England may be divided into three periods: - (1) from the first preaching of George Fox in 1647 to the Toleration Act 1689; (2) from 1689 to the evangelical movement in 18 35; (3) from 1835 to the present time.
In 1656 George Fox the Quaker was imprisoned in the north-east tower for disturbing the peace at St Ives by distributing tracts.
The dwelling was built in the 17th century by his ancestor, the sturdy immigrant, Thomas Whittier, notable through his efforts to secure toleration for the disciples of George Fox in New England.
At Adrianople; Alexander Parker (1628-1689) went to Africa; others made their way to Rome; two women were imprisoned by the Inquisition at Malta; two men passed into Austria and Hungary; and William Penn, George Fox and several others preached in Holland and Germany.
As early as 1671 George Fox when in Barbados counselled kind treatment of slaves and ultimate liberation of them.
From early times George Fox and many others had taken a keen interest in education, and in 1779 there was founded at Ackworth, near Pontefract, a school for boys and girls; this was followed by the reconstitution, in 1808, of a school at Sidcot in the Mendips, and in 1811, of one in Islington Road, London; it was afterwards removed to Croydon, and, later, to Saffron Walden.
The Socinians embodied their tenets in the larger and smaller works drawn up by Fausto Sozzini and Schmalz, and published at Rakow in Poland in 1605; 2 modern Unitarians have modern catechisms. The Quakers or Friends possess a kind of catechism said to have been written by George Fox in 1660, in which father and son are respectively questioner and answerer, and an interesting work by Robert Barclay, in which texts of Scripture form the replies.
There the dispute was finally submitted for arbitration to George Fox and other Quakers, and they decided that, as the government of the province was legally vested in Byllynge by the duke's conveyance to him, he had the right to name the deputy governor.