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Barbara Blaugdone’s An Account Of The Travels Sufferings & persecutions

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Women and Quakerism in the 17th century.
    1. Quakerism: A break with the traditional image of women in religion.
    2. Barbara Blaugdone and the Inner Light.
    3. The Blasphemy Act of 1650.
  3. Barbara's devotion to Quakerism.
    1. Barbara Blaugdone's journal as a travel narrative.
    2. Courage and determination of a female Quaker prophetess.
    3. The legislation on vagrancy from 1597 to 1601.
  4. Conclusion.
  5. Bibliography.

Barbara Blaugdone was born in England in 1609. Her journal entitled An Account OF THE TRAVELS; Sufferings & Persecutions was published in 1691. It is an autobiographical work where she relates her personal and perilous adventures, as a testimony of what she endured when she traveled both in England and Ireland to spread the word of God as a female Quaker preacher. Her journal began with the day she decided that it was her duty to ?take up the cross and advocate for her belief.? Her account is a good example of the courage and independence which characterised female Quakers in the mid of the 17th century England. Barbara Blaugdone died in 1704 at a very old age. To what extent can we say that An Account OF THE TRAVELS Sufferings & Persecutions is a testimony of a female Quakers' courage and determination to convert people to her faith thus confronting the harshness and intolerance of the 17th century English society? Our study will be divided into two parts; firstly we will focus on women and Quakerism in the 17th century. Then we will analyse Barbara Blaugdone's devotion to Quakerism through her travels.

[...] But in her An Account OF THE TRAVELS Sufferings& Persecutions, Barbara Blaugdone did not consider herself as God's weaker vessel but as his fit vessel: I soon took up the Cross and came into the Obedience, and the Lord cleansed me by his Power, and made me a fit Vessel for his Use?.(p2) In her journal, Barbara Blaugdone by criticising the traditional established Church of England gives one of the most important aspects of Quakers' doctrine that made this sect different from the others: men of Corrupt Minds did pervert the Scriptures, by putting their own Imaginations, and Conceiving, and Apprehensions upon it, and so deceived the People: but holy men of God spake the Scriptures, and gave them forth a they were Inspired by the Holy Ghost, and they are of no private Interpretation Here, she is denouncing the Uniformity Act of 1662 which sought to restore the dominance of the Church of England by establishing a set form of worship. [...]

[...] Her determination is very impressive indeed, knowing all the sufferings she had to go through and the risks she had to take, but as she reminds it in her narrative, her journal is also meant to inform future Quaker prophets and prophetesses on what they would have to face: speak my experience and Dealings of the Lord with me, in my travels and passings through my spiritual journey, for the benefit of those Travel rightly after.? Moreover, they don't have to dread persecutions because God never abandoned her and helped her to cope with pain: I have written these Things that Friends may be encouraged, and go in the Faith, in the Work of the Lord: For many have been the Tryals, Tribulations and Afflictions which I have passed through, but the Lord hath delivered me out of them (P13) Her travel narrative can thus be considered not only as an encouragement but as a reassuring comment on the fact that whatever happened, whatever prices she paid both physically and mentally, God was there to protect or help her. [...]

[...] Law is undeniably an obstacle Barbara constantly faced during her travels: ) The priest was very eager, and said, I was to be whipt for a vagabond.? A person charged with vagrancy could be sentenced to two years enslavement and even to life enslavement if he or she tried to escape, banishment was also one of the punishments as well as death (after a third offence). In 1656 other vagrancy acts were issued aiming at dissuading travelling Quaker ministers. Conclusion In conclusion we can say that Quakerism was a very modern religion which put men and women on an equal footing at a time when women were silenced and submitted to their father and later their husbands' authority. [...]

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