Howgill, Francis

Howgill, Francis a noted preacher of "the Friends," was born about 1638 in Westmoreland, England. He was brought up and educated in the Church of England, but withdrew from the national Church after graduation in the university, and joined the Independents, among whom he held an eminent position as minister. In 1652 he became an adherent to the doctrines of George Fox, the Quaker. Two years later, he set out with two others of the Society of Friends to preach their doctrines for the first time at London. He even went before the protector Cromwell, to seek his influence in aid of the Quakers, who were then greatly persecuted, both in the country and at London; but he does not seem to have been successful in his effort. He escaped, however, after this interview, all personal molestation as long as he continued preaching in London. He and his friends next went to Bristol, where they met with much better success. "Multitudes flocked to hear them, and many embraced their doctrine." The clergy became alarmed, and Howgill and his co laborers were summoned before the magistrates, and commanded to leave the city immediately. Considering themselves entitled to remain, as "free-born Englishmen," they tarried in the city, and continued to meet with success. In 1663 we find Howgill at Kendal, again summoned before the justices of the place, who tendered him the oath of allegiance, and on his conscientious refusal of it committed him to prison, in which he remained until his death, Jan. 20,1688. Howgill wrote a copious treatise against oaths while in prison. He also published The Dawnings of the Gospel Day, and its Light and Glory discovered (London 1676, fol.). See Neale, History of the Puritans (Harper's edit.), 2, 413 420; Gough, Hist. of the Quakers, 1, 112, 126, 144, etc.; 2:31, 96 sq., 236 sq. (J. H. W.)

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