Comments on Autobiography of George Fox

ChrisX's picture

This edition of George Fox's Journal has been sanitised

For example, according to Norman Penney's verbatim et literatim edition the original manuscript has:

I cast my eye upon an uncleane woman & told her shee was a witch: & I was moved in ye Lords power to speak sharpely to her & soe she went out of ye roome: & people tolde mee yt I had descovered a great thinge: & all ye Country lookt upon her to bee a witch.

This edition has:

I cast mine eye upon a woman, and discerned an unclean spirit in her. And I was moved of the Lord to speak sharply to her, and told her she was under the influence of an unclean spirit; [88] whereupon she went out of the room. Now, I being a stranger there, and knowing nothing of the woman outwardly, the people wondered at it, and told me afterwards that I had discovered a great thing; for all the country looked upon her to be a wicked person.
[88] It must be remembered that Fox uses here the language and the popular ideas of the time, as we should expect him to do.

The best thing I can say about writer of the footnote is that they were ignorant of the language actually used, and did not intend to compound the deception practised by the original editor.

In several other places Fox 'discerns' and denounces witches publically. Whether we should expect him to or not depends perhaps on how attached we are to the idea of religious authority.