Bugg, Francis (DNB00)

BUGG, FRANCIS (1640–1724?), writer against quakerism, of whose life no authentic account remains, is only known from his own writings or those of his opponents. His father was a wool-comber at Mildenhall in Suffolk, who died when his son was about fifteen, leaving him the business and some property, which Francis declares was worth 30l. per annum, but which his aunt, Anne Docwra, estimates at only 7l. While quite a young man he joined the Society of Friends, among whom he soon obtained an unenviable notoriety.

About 1675 Bugg was persuaded to go to a meeting which was interrupted by soldiers, and, together with several other quakers, was arrested and fined 15l.; in default of payment his goods were distrained. Rumours soon began to circulate among the Suffolk Friends that Bugg had given information of the meeting and had received money for his treason, and it is certain that a third of his fine was returned to him. He insisted on holding the preacher, Samuel Cater, who had persuaded him to attend the meeting, liable for the fine, and dunned him till Cater referred the matter to twelve arbitrators, who unanimously held that he was not liable. In 1677 Bugg attended the yearly meeting of the sect in London, and complained to William Penn that the Friends in the country refused him justice. He did not, however, cease to take an active interest in the affairs of the society, for in the same year he, with two other Friends, covenanted to support a quaker family in case they should require it (see manuscript in Sion College Library). Dissatisfied with the result of a second arbitration during 1679–80, Bugg continued to agitate for the repayment of his fines, and a quaker named George Smith attempted to settle the matter, which was fast becoming a scandal, by offering to pay half. Bugg insisted upon Smith's proving his good faith by depositing ten pounds, which the man, not possessing, borrowed for half an hour, on condition that Bugg should not put it in his pocket. This he did, nevertheless, and refused to return it, alleging that he would use it to pay Smith's debts with. As this was not done, the matter was brought under the notice of the quaker meeting, which decided that Smith's ‘simplicity’ had been imposed upon and that Bugg should refund the money. Bugg declined to comply, and, disgusted at the lack of appreciation the quakers exhibited, left the body (in 1680) and immediately began to write against it. Almost the first to take up cudgels with him was his aunt, Anne Docwra, a quaker minister of some standing, who, if her nephew is to be believed, was a most notorious liar; and the bitter recriminations which passed between them bring out the few events in his life which are certainly known. For some years he continued to write philippics against quakers and quakerism, which, if they rendered him notorious, forced him to neglect his business and almost reduced him to penury. In one of his works he allows that he received pecuniary aid from the clergy. His strictures were bitterly resented, and his aunt, Anne Docwra (who denies the relationship), attacked his character with such success that in 1703 he was compelled to publish a certificate to the effect ‘that Mr. Francis Bugg of Mildenhall in the county of Suffolk, senior, is a man of an honest, sober life, and that he neither is nor ever was … given to any vice or immorallity,’ which certificate was signed by a number of his friends, including his own son! In 1713 he was imprisoned for some unknown cause at Ely, and for the rest of his life appears to have resided at Mildenhall. In the preface to his tract, ‘Strong Motives for an Impartial Examination of the Principles, Doctrines, and Practices of the Quakers,’ &c. (published 1724), he records that he was in the eighty-fourth year of his age, and from this time nothing whatever is known about him. A portrait of Bugg is prefixed to ‘The Pilgrim's Progress from Quakerism to Christianity,’ and manuscripts of his are preserved in the libraries at Sion College and the ‘Meeting for Sufferings,’ Devonshire House, Bishopsgate. Having once been a quaker, Bugg was necessarily well acquainted with all the weak places in the organisation of the sect, as well as the blots on the characters of some of its adherents. Of the knowledge he possessed he made unsparing use, and his allegations were the more difficult to refute, as they often retained, however distorted and exaggerated, a substratum of truth. Though his scholarship was small and his literary style poor, his works are worth study as affording good specimens of the controversial spirit of the age, as well as from their quaint vivacity.

The following is a list of the most important of his works: 1. ‘De Christiana Libertate, or Liberty of Conscience, upon its true and proper grounds Asserted and Vindicated. And the Mischief of Impositions, amongst the People called Quakers, made Manifest,’ &c. 1682. 2. ‘The Painted Harlot both Stript and Whipt, or the second part of Naked Truth,’ &c., 1683 (second part of the foregoing). 3. ‘Reason against Railing; and Truth against Falsehood. Being a conclusive Postscript to be Annexed to a Book entituled The Painted Harlot both Stript and Whipt,’ &c., 1683. 4. ‘The Quakers Detected, their Errours Confuted, and their Hypocrisie Disavered,’ 1686. In this book Bugg gives an account of the reasons why he joined the Society of Friends. 5. ‘Battering Rams against New Rome,’ &c., 1690–1. 6. ‘New Rome Unmask'd, and Her Foundation Shaken,’ &c., 1692. 7. ‘New Rome Arraigned, and out of her own mouth Condemned,’ &c., 1693. 8. ‘Quakerism Withering and Christianity Reviving; or a Brief Reply to the Quakers' Pretended Vindication,’ &c., 1694. 9. ‘The Quakers set in their True Light, in order to give the Nations a clear sight of what they hold,’ &c., 1696. 10. ‘A Brief History of the Rise, Growth, and Progress of Quakerism,’ &c., 1697. 11. ‘The Picture of Quakerism, drawn to the Life,’ in two parts, &c., 1697. 12. ‘The Pilgrim's Progress from Quakerism to Christianity,’ &c., 1698. To this is attached his portrait. 13. ‘Quakerism Exposed to Publick Censure,’ &c., 1699. 14. ‘A Modest Defence of my Book, entituled “Quakerism Exposed,”’ &c., 1700. 15. ‘News from New Rome, occasioned by the Quakers' challenging of Francis Bugg, whereby their Errors are further Exposed,’ 1701. 16. ‘A Seasonable Caveat against the Prevalency of Quakerism. Containing a List of one of their Parliaments and Forty-four of their Canon Laws,’ 1701. 17. ‘A Narrative of the Conference at Sleeford in Lincolnshire between Francis Bugg and Henry Pickworth, 25 Aug. 1701,’ &c., 1702. 18. ‘Quakerism Drooping, and its Cause Sinking,’ &c., 1703. 19. ‘A Finishing Stroke; or some Gleanings collected out of the Quakers' Books, by way of Prologue, never before Published (with directions to the Bookbinders who bind up this folio with the seven following parts), whereby the Great Mystery of the Little Whore is farther exposed,’ folio, 1712, containing (1) ‘The Great Mystery of the Little Whore unfolded and her Witchcrafts discovered,’ 1705. (2) ‘Quakerism struck Speechless,’ &c., 1706. (3) ‘Hidden Things brought to Light, whereby the Fox is unkennelled,’ &c., 1707. (4) ‘Goliah's Head cut off with his own Sword, and the Quakers routed by their own Weapons,’ 1708. (5) ‘Quakerism Anatomised and finally Dissected,’ &c., 1709. (6) ‘A Retrospective Glass for Misled Quakers,’ &c., 1710. (7) ‘The Quakers' Infallibility shaken all to Pieces,’ &c., 1711. 20. ‘The Picture of Quakerism once more drawn to the Life; with Quakerism a Grand Imposture,’ in eight parts, 1714–17. 21. ‘A New Frame for the Picture of Quakerism,’ in eight parts, 1719. 22. ‘Strong Motives for an Impartial Examination of the Principles, Doctrines, and Practices of the Quakers,’ &c., 1724.

[Bugg's works.]

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