"Fifty nine Particulars laid down for the Regulating things" was a pamphlet believed by scholars to have been published in 1659 by Restoration Quakers to make themselves respectable and non-threatening to the established authorities, who ever since the execution of Charles I were concerned about political revolution. However, despite the pamphlet not being reprinted, it was never "lost" – it was known to some Quaker and non-Quaker historians the whole time, and was only unknown to a mass Quaker audience, until 2002 when a Quaker organization called Quaker Universalist Fellowship republished it online and in print.
Some people have criticized the editorial interpretation given to the pamphlet (in its QUF reprinting) by the introductory material reprinting of the pamphlet, or even questioned the authenticity of the pamphlet. There are not, however, any known scholars who have questioned the text's authenticity, and the fact that it was not reprinted for almost 350 years is not surprising when one considers the widely-known fact that post-Restoration Quakers were seeking downplay or censor their controversial writings in order to become respectable and lessen their persecution.
The introduction by H. Larry Ingle in the QUF edition associates George Fox with the "Good Old Cause" or "revolution," which had convulsed England since the early 1640s and resulted in the execution of the king in 1649. Many early Quakers were soldiers or veterans and longed to see the fruits of their military service preserved; Fox was only articulating the goals of many of these folk. The Introduction also suggests that Fox may have been a "manic-depressive" who retreated to a state of depression for 10 weeks after Parliament failed to consider the proposals and voted to restore the monarchy.
Alleged inconsistencies with Fox's other writingsEdit
While most of the 59 articles are compatible with Fox's views as recorded elsewhere, nowhere in the Journal's many letters to government, or in his 410 Epistles, did Fox request government to aid him by legislating his views, other than to: 1) stop the persecution of Quakers, 2) simplify laws so that every citizen could carry a copy of all laws of the country in their pocket, 3) make the laws compatible with the conscience of all men, and 4) when Parliament enacted legislation reviewing the credentials of priests, he asked them not to approve any who asked for money. To the contrary, Fox frequently wrote strong criticism against religious sects that sought the aid of governments to uphold their religious doctrines. He instructed Quakers to stay out of the restless spirit of government's affairs. All of the requests to government in the "Fifty nine Particulars," other than to relieve persecution of the Quakers, are not compatible with any of Fox's hundreds of published letters, pamphlets, and books; nor the publishings of countless other early Quakers. Such incompatibilities only serve to underscore the hope and desperation he no doubt experienced and the basic radicalism contained in the document. A few examples: he was opposed to wearing of crosses, but he never instructed Quakers to remove them from their Bibles, nor did he ever suggest removing crosses from the flag, (several times in his Journal he mentions using a market cross for posting notices); nor did he ever instruct Quakers to remove images and paintings from their homes and properties; nor did he ever suggest the forbidding of speaking in an unknown tongue.
The principle "Let no man speak in an unknown tongue" highlighted one of the fundamental criticisms that radicals of the period had toward the half-hearted measures of the new regime. Dealing with legal matters often required the use of Latin, either phrases or sentences, and hence separated the mass of people from the system. When Fox called for prohibiting anyone from speaking an unknown tongue he siding with those who wanted legal affairs to be conducted in the language of the people.
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Fifty nine Particulars laid down for the Regulating things. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with QuakerWiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.|