The Socialists and the Freemasons were largely responsible for the agitation, and they filled the country with stories of other priestly and coriventual immoralities, nearly all of which, except the original case at Greco, proved to be without foundation.
They were especially numerous in the Rhineland in the end of the 13th and during the 14th century; and they seem to have corrupted the originally orthodox communities of Beghards, for Beghards and Brethren of the Free Spirit are used henceforward as convertible terms, and the same immoralities are related of both.
Even if we do not accept all the stories of his murders and poisonings and immoralities as true, there is no doubt that his greed for money and his essentially vicious nature led him to commit a great number of crimes.
His immoralities, like his acts of persecution, were exaggerated by his opponents; but his private life was undoubtedly a scandal to religion, and has only the excuse that it was not worse than that of most of his order at the time.
Lord John Russell (afterwards Earl Russell), his friendly biographer, has to confess that Fox might have joined in the confession of Mirabeau: "The public cause suffers for the immoralities of my youth."
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