This perceived threat to the religious and political establishments of his time led to 6,000 Quakers being imprisoned during the 1660s. Fox himself was imprisoned eight times and Quakers were persecuted in Britain on a large scale until 1689.
The origins of Christian abolitionism can be traced to the late 17th Century and the Quakers. Several of the Quaker leading lights, including George Fox and Benjamin Lay, encouraged fellow congregants to stop owning slaves.
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According to the autobiography of George Fox, the principal founder of the movement, it was a magistrate “who was the first that called us Quakers, because I bade them tremble at the word of the Lord”. Fox had been brought before the magistrates in 1650 on a charge of blasphemy.