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A sketch of the life & character of John Fenwick (Volume 2) online

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ness of the doctrines of George Fox, by his
l)reachiug. He had been living apart from his wife
but was induced to receive her again and they after-
wards lived happily together. He published several
pamphlets in behalf of Friends, between Kif)!) and
\i\('h), all of which were printed in London. In
1G84, witli others, he was tried at (niildhall, London,
for attending a meeting at White Hart Court and



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creating a riot, &c. He was found guilty, and fined
four nobles, which he refused to pay, and in that
default was sent to Newgate Prison for three weeks.
He became involved in his financial affairs and to
avoid the payment of his debts procured the above-
named conveyance to be made to John Fenwick, the
purchase being with funds furnished by himself.
The number of his creditors and the amount of his
debts lead to close inquiry in regard to his estate^
and it was discovered that he was interested in this
transaction, designed to defraud them in their just
demands. The position in which Fenwick and
Byllynge found themselves was not an enviable one
and soon brought about much bitter controversy.
These criminations were not only made between
Byllynge and his creditors, but Fenwick and he
quarrelled as to the interest of each in the estate
conveyed. Much notoriety was given to it, but all
parties being Friends the contest was kept within
control of the society and settled according to the
rules of the same. John Fenwick was then a resi-
dent of Bynfield, in Berkshire, a small town near
Windsor Castle and about thirty miles from the city
of London. It is possible he had returned to his
profession and was the legal adviser of Byllynge in
the disposition of his estate to avoid the payment of
his debts.

In this originated with John Fenwick the idea
of planting a colony in America; of becoming the
head of a great enterprise, and gratifying his
ambition. Here was the conception and here it was
made to germinate and develope its attractions. How
tenaciously this idea was adhered to, and what was
accomplished, have long since become matters of



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liistory. As a means of adjusting the existing diffi-
culty AVilliam Penn was chosen as arbitrator and
discharged the duty faithfully to all concerned.

The creditors of Byllynge may be divided under
two heads: the Yorkshire and the London creditors,
and whose demands amounted to one thousand five
hundred pounds sterling. No means were apparent
to them of obtaining satisfaction unless William
Penn was convinced that Byllynge's money was
involved and which they claimed should be awarded
to satisfy their demand. John Fenwick in his
response denied the whole charge and demanded that
the deed should not be questioned; giving to him
an absolute title to the territory conveyed. Byllynge
at last admitted the truth of his creditors' assertions,
which made the disjiute more easy of solution, and
put an end to the several questions involved. The
decision was that Fenwick did not really own more
than one-tenth of the whole, and that the balance
should be used to pay Byllynge's debts. By this
Fenwick was sadly chafed, as it not only exposed
his bad advice in the plot but that he was a party
to Byllynge's dishonesty and at first refused to abide
the award. He wrote several ill-natured letters to
William Penn which were responded to, liowever, in
a calm and dispassionate manner. Two of them are
here copied:

"John Fenwick: вАФ The iircsent difference betwixt thee and
Edward Billiuge fills the hearts of Friend.s with grief, and with
a resolution to take it, in two days, into their con-sideration to
make a public denial of tlic |)ersou that ofiers violence to the
award made, or tliat will not end it without bringing it upon
the public .


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Online LibraryJohn ClementA sketch of the life & character of John Fenwick (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 7)