History of the Baptist Churches in the North of England, From 1648 to 1845
By David Douglas, 1846
SECOND PERIOD - FROM 1656 to 1685
Effects of the Act of Uniformity - Baptist Ministers excluded - Gabriel Camelford - George Larkham - Henry Blacket's rescue - Hexham - Plague of London - Persecutions - England - Scotland - Pentland Hills Mackail - Clarendon - Tottiebank - Conventicle Act - Hexham - Hawkshead Hill Torver - Death of Charles II. - James II. - Review of the reign of the Stuarts - Sedgemoor - Executions.
The remark is trite, that great effects often proceed from very small causes; but no remark is more truly verified in the history of the world and the church of God. The passing of the Act of Uniformity,* May 19, 1662, and which was carried into execution August 24, the same year, was a circumstance which, however little it might be noticed by the politicians of Europe at the time, has had a material effect on the destinies of Britain, and, we may add, on those of America, and even of the world. It had an especial and immediate effect on the state of religion in England. If it did not lay the foundation of Dissent, it, at least, deepened and greatly widened that foundation, and has, at length, erected a stately fabric, in harmony with which, its later, but not less splendid edifice Methodism is diffusing its influence and its
* The terms of this act were, "All ministers shall be ejected from the Established Church who cannot declare unfeigned assent and consent to the Articles of the Church of England, and of every thing contained in the Book of Common Prayer; and also, that will not declare on oath, that it is not lawful on any pretence to take arms against the King, &c." Some of those who framed this act, were among the first to break the latter part of it, at least when their own views and salaries were concerned, only twenty-six years afterwards, on the expulsion of King James II., in 1688.
blessings, not only throughout Britain, hut even to the utmost limits of the habitable world. "The wrath of man shall praise him."
It is rather remarkable, that among the two thousand and upwards that left the established church at this time, there were nearly thirty Baptists, and, among these, we find the names of four persons, referred to in the letters of the church-book at Hexham: - Mr. Henry Jessey, Mr. John Tombes, Mr. John Skinner, and Mr. Paul Hobson. The labours of these, however, were confined to the south, and we are only acquainted with one individual, among the ejected, whose labours blessed the north. This was Mr. Gabriel Camelford, of Stavely, in Westmoreland, who, in 1669, became pastor of the church at Tottlebank.
There was, however, another of the Nonconformist ministers, who, if not a Baptist, was yet closely connected with them; and who tended, in a great degree, to originate one of their churches, and discovered much brotherly kindness to others. This was Mr. George Larkham, of Cockermouth, already referred to, from whose memoranda we have taken the only authentic information of the origin of the church at Broughton, to which his own labours had greatly conduced. Both Mr. Larkham and his father at Tavistock were among the ejected ministers of 1662.* We shall have occasion to
* It is worthy our notice, that, generally speaking, in most secessions from established churches, till of late years, there have been few that have seceded from an establishment as such. This was evidently the case with the majority of those who left the church in 1662. It appears that had they been allowed to carry on divine worship, according to their different views, as regards prayer, baptism, &c., they would have remained in the church. This was the case even with some of the Baptists. It has only been in consequence of the prevalence of right views of the spiritual character of the Saviour's kingdom, that, among almost all parties, the sentiment is progressing that ecclesiastical establishments
mention Mr. George Larkhain, of Coekermouth, afterwards; but, in the meantime, we are led to notice a few interesting circumstances respecting an individual, who for nearly half a century, from about this time, became an eminent instrument, in assisting Mr. Ward on the Derwent, and of extending the cause to his own residence, on the banks of the Wear.
Mr. Henry Blacket of Bitchburn, near to Bishop-Auckland, County of Durham, was born at Dublin, October 23rd, 1639. Who his father was, - whether he was a native of Ireland, or only a sojourner there, we are not informed. The only thing we know with certainty, is, that he left Dublin, with his family, on the eve of what is usually called the Irish Massacre, 23rd October, 1641, when Henry had completed his second year, and that he then came to England.
The circumstances connected with the escape of Mr. Blacket and his family, are rather interesting. The servant in the family was a catholic, and had become acquainted with the design of her party, to attack the Castle of Dublin, on the day referred to. Being thus made alive to all the horrors that were likely to ensue, she felt distressed on account of the pious people with whom she lived, and particularly on account of the in- fant Henry; with whom she had usually slept, and to whom she was, in consequence, warmly attached. In putting him to bed on the evening of the 22nd of October,
are much more detrimental to real religion than favourable to it that they have been the fruitful source, in all ages, of religious, and, in many instances, of civil persecution and bloodshed that pecuniary support, and superiority of civil privilege, being given to one favourite party, among the many into which religion is divided, is the most efficient way, to make one portion of society injure another; cause disaffection to the government; and promote alienation of feeling, in the mass of the community; instead of that endearment that ought to blend together the various links of society.
she was seen to weep over him, and overheard to say to him, as she most tenderly embraced him, "My dear Henry, farewell, I shall never sleep with thee again." Henry's parents being informed of this, by those who had overheard the unusual and bitter wailing of the girl, called her, and affectionately and anxiously enquired the reason of her grief. She hesitated. Fear for her, own life, fidelity to the party she was connected with, affection for the family she served, and warm attachment to her little charge, all these combined, wrought powerfully within her throbbing bosom, and, at length, humanity and endearment triumphing over her religious scruples and bloody fidelity, she divulged the Roman Catholic secret of the intended attack on the Protestants of Dublin next day. On hearing this awful disclosure, Henry's parents determined to leave the Irish capital forthwith, and to embark, as soon as possible, for England.* They did so; but where they landed, or settled, is not known. It is probable it was the North of England. The name is borne by several families that live in the neighbourhood of the residence of Henry in his advanced years, when he became known as a minister of the gospel. Some, also, of his descendants, in the same vicinity, have, intermingled in their veins, both his blood and that of the Scottish fugitive, Angus, that left his home from the persecuting fury of Cardinal Beaton, in 1546.
1663 - At the time when Elrington lodged his infor- mation against the church under the care of Mr. Ward, Mr. Henry Blacket was in his twenty-fourth year. He is said, when he died, in 1705, to have been pastor of the church on the Derwent and the Wear, upwards of forty years. Such being the case, it must have been
* This circumstance is narrated by Mr. Charles Whitfield, in his printed circular letter of the Northern Association, to the different churches, in 1801.
about the present period of our history that he would be ordained as co-pastor with Mr. Ward. When he was converted to God, or by what means, or when, or how, he became a Baptist, and acquainted and connec- ted with Mr. Ward, neither history nor tradition informs us. His name is scarcely ever mentioned, in the records of the church over which he was bishop, the entries of which are few, after the period of the Restoration. But though his name is rarely mentioned, in any of the old documents of the church, he still performed an important part, in sustaining and handing down the cause to future generations. We shall have occasion to notice him again, at the termination of his useful career, at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
1664. During the five following years, we have few entries, as just now intimated, in the church-book of Hexham, and little information from any other quarter. The years themselves were, however, very eventful, in the history of Nonconformity, in the country. In the year 1664, an act was passed for suppressing seditious conventicles. It enacted banishment for not going to church, and death, without benefit of clergy, on return; and any one going to a place, where there were five or more persons, on pretence of worship, distinct from the Church of England, should suffer, for the first offence, three months imprisonment, and be fined five pounds; for the second offence, six months, and pay ten. pounds; and for the third offence, banishment for seven years. The working of this act was intrusted to single magistrates, without a jury, the oath of the informer being deemed quite suf[fi]cient.* Such is one of the awful benefits of an established church, when its power, to enforce uniformity, is equal to its disposition.
* Ivimey's History, Vol. i., pages 335-355. Crosby, Vol. ii, pages 185-204.
This year, at Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire, two houses were converted into a gaol [jail] the prison-house being too small. Sentence of death was passed, likewise, on ten men and two women, and would have been carried into execution, had it not been for the interposition of Mr. William Kiffen, of London.* Mr. Benjamin Keach, a Baptist minister, was pilloried in two different towns, for his having written a child's primer, or first book, in which were asserted believers' baptism, and a belief of the millenium. The people met now at midnight; but even then they were disturbed, but never made any resistance. This was the case, generally speaking, with the Independents, Quakers, Baptists, and others, at this woeful period of the history of our beloved country.
1665. In 1665, came to London, that awful scourge, the plague. Eight or ten thousand persons died in a week; the grass grew in the streets; the rich and the clergy fled; the middle classes, the poor, and the Nonconformist ministers were left behind; and, to improve matters, the head of the church, the profligate Charles, and the able, but, as it happened in the end, unwise Clarendon, imposed on the Nonconformists, the Oxford, or Five Mile Act. This act prohibited any minister, coming within five miles of any city or corporation. The sufferings of the Dissenters were now extreme; but they remained true to their principles.
1666. - In 1666, Scotland suffered severely, in resisting conscientiously the imposition of Prelacy. Goaded
* Mr. Wm. Kiffen was a Baptist minister in London, aiid a rich merchant. He was, on account of his wealth and liberality to the king, rather a favourite at court. It is said, the king sent to him one day for a loan of 40,000. Mr. Kiffen, knowing he would have to lose it all, if advanced, sent to his majesty a cheque for 10,000, saying, as it was not convenient to send the loan of the whole sum, he had sent this as a present; and thus, said Mr. Kiffen, I saved 30,000. - Ivimey's Life of Kiffen, p. 54.
to madness, the people rose against their oppressors; hut though, in some instances, successful, they were routed on the Pentland Hills, and found the truth of the saying, "they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword." Among the prisoners taken, was the distinguished Hugh Mackail, who died iu a manner so triumphant, as was perhaps never exceeded by mortal.* The sad calamity of the fire in London look place this year, and in the following year the great, but revengeful Clarendon, was banished. The day of calamity came to him, which he had brought to thousands.
The removal of Clarendon, and some influential prelates, from the councils of the king, tended to the granting
* The battle of Pentland Hills was fought 28th November, 1666, between the Scotch Covenanters, under Colonel Wallace, and the king's troops, under General Dalziel. About fifty of the Covenanters were killed in the engagement, and as many were taken prisoners. Hugh Mackail was not in the fight, though with the Covenanters' army a short time before. He had, however, previously to this, given offence to Archbishop Sharp, and his death was determined on. His leg was put in the boot, and seven or eight successive blows had crushed the flesh and sinews to the very bone. Thrice more the wedge was driven in, till the bone itself was shattered, and a heavy swoon succeeded. He was afterwards condemned to die. His last speech is inexpressibly sublime in its conclusion. "And now I leave off to speak any more to creatures, and turn my speech to thee, O Lord. And now I begin my intercourse with God, that will never be broken off. Farewell father and mother, friends and relations; farewell the world and all delights; farewell meat and drink; farewell sun, moon, and stars; welcome God and Father; welcome sweet Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant; welcome blessed Spirit of grace, and God of all consolation; welcome glory; welcome eternal life; welcome death. O Lord, into thy hands I commit my spirit, for thou hast redeemed my soul, Lord God of truth." "Till the records of time shall have melted into those of eternity," says the historian, "the name of that young Christian martyr will be held in most affectionate remembrance and fervent admiration." Hetherington's History of the Church of Scotland, page 137.
of some degree of indulgence to the Nonconformists, which they endeavoured to improve, by increased diligence in their high and holy vocation as Christians. This was the case in the north of the kingdom, as well as elsewhere, and several churches, at this time, appear to have sprung into existence.
1667-1670. - Amongst other churches, dating their commencement about this time, was one at Tottlebank, near Ulverstone, in the North of Lancashire, which was formed, August 18th, 1669, probably under the preaching of the gospel, by Mr. Gabriel Camelford, late of Stavely, Westmoreland, already mentioned. The following is the account giving of him by Palmer. "Stavely chapel, in Westmoreland, on the borders of Lancashire, Mr. Gabriel Camelford." After his ejectment, he was a very useful preacher in the parts adjacent, and was an instrument in converting many, particularly in Furness-Fells, beyond the Sands, who afterwards formed themselves into a dissenting church, upon the plan of mixed communion (being partly Independents and partly Baptists), on this remarkably catholic principle, "We declare ourselves willing and ready to receive into our communion all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity," &c.
That this was the church at Tottlebank, appears not only from the situation described, but from the farther remark, "Of this church Mr. Sedgefield was pastor, for upwards of forty years; and it continued upon the same catholic plan." "This account," he adds, "was communicated by a son of his, Mr. John Sedgefield of Frome, who was himself a member of this church, and had personally known some of the aged members, that were converted, by the ministry of Mr. Camelford."* Mr. Sedgefield was minister of Tottlebank, from 1725 to 1765.
* Palmer's Nonconformists' Memorial, Vol. ii.
The account given of the formation of this church, is the following: "The 18th day of the 6th month, called August, 1669, a church of Christ was formed in order, and sat down together, in the fellowship and order of the gospel of Jesus Christ, at the house of William Rawlinson, of Tottlebank, in Coulton, in Furness. There were present, and assisted, Mr. George Larkham,* pastor of a church of Christ in Cumberland, (Cockermouth) and Mr. Roger Sawrey of Broughton, a member of that particular church of Christ in London, of which Mr. George Coakine is teaching elder. The persons joining themselves, at this time, (were) Gabriel Camelford, Hugh Towers, William Towers, James Towers, Joseph Towers, Jaines Fisher, Henry. Jackson." The above named Gabriel Camelford, appears to have been the first pastor, as he is termed, "the teaching elder." In 1670, two deacons were elected, William and James Towers. Such was the basis of the church at Tottlebank, but the cause in the neighbourhood did not stop here, it extended farther to the north, and, in a few years, the nucleus of another church was formed, at Hawksheadhill and the vicinity; but we must now review the progress of the cause on the banks of the Tyne.
1671-1674. - We are thus led onwards to the year 1674. At that time the section of the church under the care of Mr. Richard Ord, appears to have sunk into a very low condition, having much neglected the assembling them- selves together for mutual edification. This might, in part, have arisen from the persecutions which, at that time, prevailed throughout Britain, owing to the
* This evinces the interest these two good men, Mr. Larkham and Mr. Camelford, took in each other. They had, probably, known and loved each other when ministers in the Establishment, and now, seven years after their ejectment, they meet the one at the ordination of the other.
inreased stringency of the Conventicle Act,* by a hew bill on the subject, llth April, 1670, wherein it was enacted as follows: "The preachers or teachers in any Conventicle, shall forfeit twenty pounds for the first, and forty for the second oflence; and all, who knowingly shall suffer any Conventicles in their houses, barns, &c., shall forfeit twenty pounds," &c. The justices of the peace, on the oath of two witnesses, had power to distrain for the fines; and, by some of them, this was done with the utmost rigour, although such doings were as much opposed, by the popular feelings, then, as, in more modern times, when similar distraints have been imposed for church rates.+
* In addition to this act, and that of the Act of Uniformity, there were other three acts passed this reign, which tended much to annoy and deeply to irritate the Nonconformists the men whose honesty would not allow them to be hypocrites these were, 1st, The Corporation Act, passed in 1661, that no person should be elected to hold an office in any Corporation that had not taken the sacrament according ito the rites of he Church of England. 2nd, The Oxford Act, in 1665, prohibiting any ejected minister from preaching within five miles of a corporate town, or his former benefice. 3rd, The Test Act, in 1673, by which heavy penalties were levied upon any that should accept of any office of trust or profit, without receiving the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England. The act of Uniformity. still remains. The act of Toleration removed the Conventicle and Oxford acts, and the Corporation and Tests acts were removed in 1828.
+ Mr. Ivimey has preserved a document printed at the time, in which are detailed several very affecting accounts of the doings of certain magistrates, arising from this and other acts at this time. "Many person were fined for assembling in the house of John Fen, and some constables were fined L5 each for not assisting Mr. Foster, the justice of the peace. One Battison fined John Burdolf L10. The common people interposed, and the distraint was prevented. He then went to Edwd Covington's shop, to fine his wife 5s. for being at a meeting. The officers would not distrain, and Battison took away a brass kettle. Then he went to John
Whether this act had any influence on the Baptists in Hexham, or its neighbourhood, in causing them to relax in their religious profession, we have not the direct means of affirming; but we know who has said, that when persecution arises because of the word, there are some at least, who become offended; and when iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold. It requires principle of no common order to take joyfully the spoiling of our goods.* There might be some of this description at
Spencer's for a fine of 40s., and his shop being locked, the soldiers and other constables were now called in, and bars and hammers were wanted to break open a malt house door, but none of the people would lend any to do so. Fourteen quarters of malt being distrained, no porters would carry it off, saying they would be hanged, drawn, and quartered, before they would assist in that work. Next Lord's day, the fines were doubled on the meeters, as they were called. The first distraint was made on Nicholas Hawkins of 40s., but the officers would not enter, the small-pox being in the house. Michael Shepherd was fined 5s., for not being at church, and 1s. more, for asking who could swear it. The next, Thomas Honeylove, a journeyman shoe-maker, fined 40s., his children being under small-pox, the officers would not enter, Thomas Cowper, a heel-maker, was distrained of wood, three cart loads for a 40s. fine. A poor man, Daniel Rich, was fined 5s., on account of his wife; he had his best wearing coat distrained. John Spencer, a grocer, had his goods distrained for 40s. William Jay, a baker, 5s. Edward Isaac, a blacksmith, was distrained in locks, shovels, and his very anvil, for 40s. Thomas Arthur, a pipe maker, for L5. His door being locked, it was broken open, and goods distrained for L11. Arthur said, 'What shall my children do?' Mr. Foster replied, 'So long as he continued a rebel, his children must starve.' Mrs. Tilney, a somewhat wealthy widow, was distrained for about L40 or L50, for a fine of twenty," &c. - Ivimey's History of the Baptists, vol. i. p. 365-376.
* It has been supposed that if 150,000 families of Nonconformists had lost L4 each annually, by fines, &c., the amount would be 14,000,000 extracted from them from 1660 to 1688, besides 60,000 lives that perished, either by imprisonment, banishment,
Hexham, but they appear to have been few; and, whatever were the causes, it is the melancholy fact, that in 1674, there was a sad falling away. They declined, it is said, from their meetings and duties. "They forgot their ROCK, whereon miserable effects ensued."
The good people on the Derwent, however, in the main, preserved their stedfastness, and used every means to reprove and rectify their friends on the Tyne. Their ministers, Messrs. Ward and Blenkinsop, went to Dotland Park, within four miles of Hexham, to meet them, and endeavour to animate them in the good ways of the Lord. The interview had the desired effect. The Hexham people were humbled on account of their condition, lamented their feebleness, owing to the scantiness of their number, and their distance from one another, which prevented their meeting so often as they should. It was agreed, that they should hold another meeting, to carry into effect a more thorough revival.
About this time, they were visited by Mr. Turner of Newcastle, who strenuously urged them to proceed in these measures, and to make all the use they could of the Derwent friends, to raise them from their low state. They did so; and Messrs. Ward, Blenkinsop, and Orde, visiting the distant portion of the members, were well received, and a day was appointed for a general meeting, that they might begin anew to serve the Lord. This meeting took place 27th December, the same year,
or death. About 20,000 Covenanters, in one way or another, were put to death in Scotland. On such a review as this (were we even to deduct the half of the above statements) how can the Church of England raise the cry of persecution against the Homanists? The five years of the reign of bloody Mary and Catholic persecution, were short compared with Ihe twenty-eight years of the persecution of black Prelacy, under the reigns of the bloody Charles and James, to which are to be added about other ninety years, from Henry VIII. to the commencement of the eivil wars, in 1642.
and it is said they gave themselves afresh to the Lord, and to one another. Their number was only thirteen, but Messrs. Ward and Blenkinsop declared their satisfaction with them, and pronounced them an orderly church. They all then partook of the Lord's Supper, which was administered by Mr. Ward.
1675 1676. - In the year 1675 two members were added to the above thirteen, and other two in 1676.
In the beginning of the year 1676 one of the members was dismissed to the church at Newcastle. The following is the letter that was written on the occasion: it is the only one of Mr. Orde's that we are acquainted with, which has been preserved from the destroying hand of time.
"To the church of Christ, walking in the order of the gospel, at Newcastle, the poor, late degenerate, and now through grace, revived plant, in and about Hexham, sends greeting,
"Beloved of God and of us, for his sake, we salute you in the name of our King Jesus, praying that, as you and we have received Christ Jesus, so we may walk in him, and may abound more and more to the praise of his rich grace, whereby he hath called us to his kingdom and glory for ever.
Brethren, we thereby recommend to your care and guarde, our beloved sister Margrett Atcheson, who became one with us, in ye year (53); and our sister (to our knowedge) hath walked as becomes the gospel. Sometimes living at Newcastle, and sometimes at Hexham, and this last time also whilst she lived with us, hath had communion with us in the prtious [precious] ordinances of our Father's house. Her, therefore, (tho' weak) receive, as Christ, hath received us, to the glory of God. Ro[mans]. xv. 7. "Watching over her, with all tenderness, as becometh saints. So will you answer the law of your relation, and engage us, who are
Your brethren in ye faith and
fellowship of ye gospel,
Signed in ye name of yt little whole ye 23d of ye llth mo., (75) (23d Jany. 1676.)
Rich. Orde, Michael Adon, Humphrey Hughes, Adam Stevenson, Robert Ellwood, John Ellwood."
One was added in ]677, but in 1678 several were excommunicated; one, for deserting the meetings of the church, another, for joining the Quakers, and a third, for becominga Papist. A fourth was excluded and restored.
In 1678, June 15, a church was formed at Torver, and afterwards known as the church at Hawkshead-hill, in Furness-fells, Lancashire, by the joint efforts of Messrs. Ward and Blenkinsop.* Mr. Ward, it seems, had to visit this district once in eight weeks. This was owing, in all probability, to his having to superintend the mines in that district as wel] as in his own neighbourhood of Muggleswick. Mr. Blenkinsop is said to have been minister of great Broughton, but as his name is mentioned in connexion with Mr. Ward's, in 1774, in the revival of the church at Hexham, it is likely, that he supplied frequently at Broughton at this time. Mr. Gamelford's name is not mentioned in the incorporation of the church, nor yet that of Mr. Larkham. The reasons are not stated, and we know of no satisfactory conjecture.
The following is the account given of the formation of this church, from an old copy of its original formation in the possession of Mr. Harbottle of Accrington, Lancashire, whose father, Mr. Thomas Harbottle, was long pastor at Hawksheadhill: "In the year of our Lord 1678, and on the 15th day of the 4th month, it having pleased God, by his special grace, to call a people, and raise them up for himself, in measure out of the world, and put them into his holy fear and service, in and about Torver, in Lancashire, who have, the day and year above written, in the presence of and before John
* Torver lies six or seven miles south-west of Hawksheadhill. The latter, would, probably, become the principal station for the church, on the settlement of Mr. George Braithwaite, in 1707, the endowment, which he gave, being in that place.
Ward and Robert Blenkinsop, messengers and elders, from the church of Christ, in Derwentwater-side, in and about Muggleswick park; first giving up ourselves to the Lord and to one another, according to the will of God, promising by help of divine grace, to walk as becometh saints, in the order of the gospel, testifying the same by subscribing their names, - John Dickeson, John Rawlinson, Thomas Braithwaite," &c., up to thirty-one, including not only the original members, but all those added till Feb. 10th, 1723.
In 1680 the name of the last person baptized at Hexham, under the pastorate of Mr. Richard Orde, is enrolled; and the last entry in the church-book, apparently in his hand, is in 1682, 2d. 5mo., and contains the exclusion of one, who was the fifth baptized by Mr. Tillam, but who had given the society much grief and trouble, by a tendency to occasional but excessive inebriation.* How long Mr. Orde lived after this we have no means of knowing, but it seems probable, that after his decease, the Baptists on the Tyneside would enjoy the teaching of Messrs. Ward, Blacket, and others, under the auspices of the Angus family, at the Raw House, or Hindley farms, and at the Juniper Dye House, near Hexham. 1683-1688. - From the year 1682 to 1696 there are no written documents existing, so far as we know, of any of the churches; but, in the meantime, some mighty events were transpiring in the nation, which materially affected the state of religion, from the one end of the island to the other. On the 6th February, 1685, Charles the Second was called to his final account. The event was deprecated by the nation, not from any
* In connexion with two names we have two later entries, namely, Ann Ellwood, died 14th 5th mo.; and Adam Stevenson, mort 26th llth mo., 1682. (26 Jany. 1683.)
affection to this profligate, indolent, base, and cruel-hearted man, but from the fear of a still worse person; filling the throne, namely, his infatuated and popish, brother, the Duke of York. The Duke, however, suc- ceeded, notwithstanding all opposition, by the style of James the Second, and during the five years of his reign, by craft and cruelty, sought to accomplish fhs object of his heart, the re-establishment of Popery in Britain. He failed, and was forced to leave the king- dom in 1688, and died an exile in France, in 1701.
We can here scarcely avoid adverting to the lesson taught us, by the working of the Church and State principle, in Britain, under the reign of the Stuart family, during the 85 years they held the sceptre on the British throne. During this period, the operation of the two principles, arising out of the union of Church and State, namely, persecution and resistance, already alluded to, were seen in all their horrors. Persecution, in the star chamber and high court of commission, became so terrific, that resistance became national, and rose to such a pitch as to prostrate both monarchy and prelacy in the dust. The reign of the saints, as the time of the Commonwealth was sneeringly called, with all its good and all its evil, part of which was still a share of Church and State persecution, gave way to the reign of "strumpets" a reign the most heartless and cruel in the. annals of civilized mankind, from its levying of heavy fines on the poor Nonconformist, for worshipping his God, according to his conscience, either in a house, or barn, a hill, or a dale; and from the bloody but pitiable triumphs it gained over the poor, pious, and deeply persecuted Covenanters, by the battles of Pentland Hills, Bothwell Bridge, Airdsmoss, &c.,* triumphs these
* Airdsmoss was the place where Richard Cameron, from whom the Scottish sect of Presbyterians, called Cameronians, take their
that deepen the blush on the face of one that wears the name of Briton, when he thinks of the Dutch fleet riding, at this very period, triumphant in the Thames, - the French pension of which both king and parliament partook the suggestion, in the House of Commons, that Milton should be hanged* the spilling, on the scaffold, of some of the best blood in the nation+ unjustly robbing the poor Nonconformists of their money, and making their dungeons their graves:x This reign - this execrable British reign, gave way, in its turn, to the reign of Popery, with its splendid battle of Sedgmoor, and its brilliant results.t And let us be grateful that
name, fell, July 22, 1681. His head and hands were brought to his father in prison, who was asked if he knew them. Bedewing the faded relies - with his tears, he said, "I know them, - I know them, they are my son's - my dear son's. It is the Lord; good is the will of the Lord." Bothwell Bridge engagement had taken place 22nd June, 1679. Hetherington's History of the Church of Scotland, - pages 154-155.
+ This suggestion to hang Milton, was made by Sir Heneage Finch, who said, "He deserved to be hanged for being Latin Secretary to Cromwell." Continuation of Sir J. Macintosh's History of England, Vol. vi., p. 327.
t This was the case with Lord William Bussel, who was beheaded, July 21, 1683; and Algernon Sidney, who perished Dec. 8, the same year.
x Such was the fate of Messrs. Delaune, Bampfield, and Balpson. They all died in Newgate prison. Delaune's wife and two children perished there likewise. Delaune's plea for Nonconformity, is reckoned by De Foe, as a perfect book on the subject. He was the Chillingworth of Nonconformity. It is affirmed by their historian, Sowle, that the Quakers were confined by thousands, and that at one time, the whole, or nearly the whole, of their male members were in this condition.
# The battle of Sedgmoor took place 5th July, 1685. It was a co-ordinate movement of the Duke of Monmouth, with that of the Duke of Argyle, in Scotland, "for the purpose, as they said, of recovering the religion, rights, and liberties, of the kingdom, from
that weak and wicked Popish reign soon gave way, in its turn, to all the glories of the Revolution, the sagacity of William prince of Orange, the magnanimity of the great bulk of the British people, contrasted with the despicable meanness of the kindred, the courtiers, and the divine-right clergy of the poor, deposed, and despised monarch.
All these circumstances considered, we think, had we no farther evidence from any other quarter, that Church and State, however helpful they may be, and should be to each other, are always most so, when each pru- dently refrains from all political interference with thead
the usurpation of James Duke of York, and a Popish faction;" in short, the very purpose for which the Prince of Orange descended on the shores of England, with his Dutch warriors, afterwards in the end of 1688. Argyle and Monmouth both failed, and were beheaded. Their followers were treated with the greatest possible brutality, both in Scotland and England. In the West of England particularly, the butchery under Colonel Kirk and Judge Jefferies was fearful. A number of very pious Dissenters, as well as Church people, had joined the standard of Monmouth. Among others, there were Messrs. Benjamin and William Hewling, sons of a Turkish Merchant, in London, and grandsons of Mr. William Kiffin, Baptist minister, of Devonshire-square, London, already referred to. The narrative of their connection with the Duke, and their executions, is given by their grandfather Mr. Kiffin. They were but young. One scarcely 22, and the other little more than 20 years of age. They were both pious, and much intent on the civil and religious liberties of their country. They died rejoicing in God, and in the goodness of their cause. Lady Lisle also was beheaded for harbouring two persons engaged with the Duke; and Mrs. Elizabeth Gaunt, a Baptist, distinguished, according to the testimony of Bishop Burnet, for her benevolent disposition, was burned at the stake, for giving food and lodgings to one of the insurgents, who afterwards informed of her to save himself. Penn, the Quaker, saw her die. She said, she "died a martyr for that religion which was all love." She laid the straw about her, for burning her the more speedily. The spectators were melted to tears. - Ivimey, Vol. i., pages 431-463.
distinct province of the other. This point was, in some degree, gained at the close of the reign of the Stuarts, at the period of the Revolution, and at the accession of the Brunswick family to the throne of these kingdoms. It has been growing, as a principle and an usage, in the British mind and legislature ever since; and that, we assuredly believe, will be one of the brightest days for Britain's welfare, and the world's good, when, by the united voice of the nation, the councils of the imperial senate, and the concurrence of the monarch, its triumphs, shall be fully consummated.
[From David Douglas, History of the Baptist Churches in the North of England, From 1648 to 1845, London, 1846, SECOND PERIOD - From 1656 to 1717, Chapter IIb, pp. 87-105. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
More British History
Baptist History Homepage