George Bishop: Seventeenth-century Soldier Turned Quaker
During the English Civil Wars, George Bishop entered public service as a Parliamentary soldier and intelligence agent. He was among those who recommended harsh measures in reckoning with King Charles I.
Bishop spoke out against the high-handed tactics Cromwell used in his struggles with the Lord Protector's policy towards religious liberty. After his duties were curtailed, Bishop left public service for local politics, but soon became disenchanted by what he regarded as an abandonment of the issues which had cost "seas of blood" during the wars.
By 1655 he worked closely with the early Quakers, including George Fox and Margaret Fell. In response to the violence and arrests the Quakers incited, Bishop became a spokesperson for religious liberty and, eventually, for passive resistance.