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William Evans.

The Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) online

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A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL, IN THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.



Anne Camm, the daughter of Richard
Newby, of the parish of Kendal, in West-
moreland, a family of good repute, was born
in the eighth month, 1627. Her parents gave
her a good education in those branches of
learning suitable for her sex, and endeavoured
also to imbue her mind with the love of vir-
tue and piety. In her thirteenth year she was
sent to London, to be under the care of her
aunt, and have the opportunity of further im-
provement in learning. She resided there
seven years ; and having been favoured from
early youth, with the precious visitations of
the love of God to her soul, she sought an ac-
quaintance with the most religious people, and
connected herself with the Puritans, from an
apprehension that they were the most pious

Vol. I.— No. 12.



and consistent. After her return to reside at
Kendal, her religious exercises continued; and
being desirous of finding a more perfect way,
she joined herself to a company of sincere
seekers, who often met together for Divine
worship, sometimes sitting in silence, at others
holding religious conference, and frequently
were engaged in fervent prayer. At these
meetings John Audland sometimes attended,
though he lived at a considerable distance —
his mind being attracted thither by a desire to
partake of that spiritual food, which, through
the goodness of the Lord, was at times dis-
pensed among them. Anne Newby and he
becoming acquainted, were married about the
year 1650, and in 1652 attended the memora-
ble meeting held by George Fox, at Fairbank
60



474



A SHORT ACCOUNT OF ANNE CAMM.



chapel, where his hving and powerful minis-
try was blessed to their convincement, and
they both joined the Society of Friends. John
Audland had previously been a preacher among
the dissenters, and his wife was esteemed a wo-
man of great piety ; but coming more fully
under the operation of that baptism, which is
with the Holy Ghost and fire, it wrought pow-
erfully upon them, preparing their hearts as
empty vessels, washed and sanctified, for the
reception of the Lord's gifts ; and in the fol-
lowing year they both came forth in the work
of the ministry, to the edification and comfort
of their friends, and the convincement of many
others. She Avas in all respects a valuable
help-meet, and co-labourer with her worthy
husband ; endeared to him by similarity of dis-
position and pursuits, and by the higher and
stronger tie of heavenly love. In the occu-
pancy of the gifts thus committed to them,
they were indefatigable labourers, freely sa-
crificing their time and substance, the comforts
of home and of each other's society, and en-
during many hardships and bitter sufferings,
for their testimony to the great truths of the
Christian religion.

Her first journey in the work of the minis-
try was into the county of Durham; and being
engaged in preaching to the people in the town
of Aukland, on a market day, she was arrested
and imprisoned. But that love which prompted
her to seek the salvation of souls, was not to
be restricted by the narrow walls of a prison
house. Under its constraining influence, she
continued preaching to the people from the
window of the jail, declaring the truths of the
Gospel, and inculcating the necessity of being
seriously engaged for the welfare of their im-
mortal souls. Several persons were much af-
fected by her testimony, and toward evening
she was discharged from confinement. John
Langstaff", a man of considerable eminence in
the neighbourhood, was so reached by her
ministry, that he voluntarily accompanied her
to prison, and on her release took her to his
house. His wife, however, offended at her
husband's conduct and apparent change, re-
ceived him and his guest with language which
showed her disapprobation. Unwilling to take
up her lodging where she perceived her pres-
ence was not welcomed by one of the heads
of the family, Anne withdrew into the fields,
designing to seek some covert there, where
she might be secure for the night. But it
happened providentially, that Anthony Pear-
son, a respectable person of Rampshaw, who
had formerly been a justice, hearing through
George Fox, who was then at his house, that
Anne was in Aukland, came there just at this
time", and conveyed her to his residence. After
her release, she continued her travels in the



ministry of the Gospel, to the spiritual benefit
of many ; and when she believed her allotted
service was accomplished, returned home.

In the following year, accompanied by Ma-
bel, wife of John Camm, she performed a jour-
ney through Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Leicester,
and into Oxfordshire. At Banbury they went
to the place of public worship ; but the people
dragged them out of the house in a rude and
violent manner, and abused them in the yard;
and the priest passing by, Anne Audland called
his attention to it by saying, " Behold the fruits
of thy ministry." Next morning they were
brought before the mayor, and two witnesses
procured to swear that she had spoken blas-
phemy. From the peculiar temperament of
the public mind at that time, as well as the
laws then recently enacted, it was not difficult
to procure convictions for blasphemy, and the
enemies of Friends often brought forward this
charge on the most false or insufficient ground,
in the hope of inflicting severe penalties. On
the information of these accusers, Anne Aud-
land was committed to prison, and her com-
panion dismissed. After some days, two re-
putable inhabitants of the town gave bond
ibr her appearance at the ensuing assizes, and
she was set at liberty.

Indefatigable in the performance of her
Lord's service, she employed her time in pro-
mulgating the glad tidings of life and salvation
in Banbury and its vicinity ; and through the
power and seal of the Holy Spirit attending
her ministry, numbers were convinced of the
truths she preached, and turned to the grace
of God in their own hearts, which bringeth
salvation through Christ Jesus the Lord.
Among these were her two bondsmen, who
with several othei's, joined the Society of
Friends. The estabUshment of a large meet-
ing in Banbury, and several others in the ad-
jacent country, was a part of the fruit of her
faithful labours ; and to her friends in those
places, she cherished the most affectionate re-
gard to the latest period of her life. Thus
was the malice of her enemies overruled for
good, and made subservient to the furtherance
of that blessed cause, which was dearer to her
than kindred or life.

The success which attended her labours,
provoked the persecutors, and they threatened
she should be burnt. Her enemies being
greatly exasperated, and having considerable
influence on their side, several Friends thought
it a duty to attend the assizes, and by their
sympathy and assistance, as well as their
countenance, to encourage and support her in
maintaining the cause of Truth and righteous-
ness. Her husband, John Camm, Thomas
Camm, and several others from London and
Bristol, were among the number.



A SHORT ACCOUNT OF ANNE CAMM.



475



The indictment was grounded on the asser-
tion, that she had said " God did not live."
This was entirely a perversion of her words.
In speaking to the priest of Banbury, she had
observed, that " true words might be false in
the mouths of some who spoke them," allud-
ing to the wicked ; and quoting in proof and
explanation of her meaning, the language of
the Prophet Jeremiah; "Though they say the
Lord liveth, surely they swear falsely." From
these expressions they manufactured the charge
of denying that God lived ; but when the evi-
dence came to be examined, it did not prove
what her enemies designed. During the
course of the trial, she conducted herself with
so much prudence and innocent firmness, tem-
pered with engaging modesty, and gave such
pertinent and judicious answers to the ques-
tions propounded to her, that the judge was
evidently inclined to her acquittal, notwith-
standing the power and influence of those
who sought her condemnation. Perceiving
the shortness of the evidence, and that the
facts did not support the charge, he observed,
in addressing the jury, that it was evident she
acknowledged that the Lord her God and Re-
deemer lived ; but there were gods of the
heathen also, that were dead gods, and did not
live. Some of the justices who had been ac-
tive in committing her, finding their designs
were likely to be frustrated, stepped down
from the bench among the jury, in order to
influence their minds against her, which being
observed by another of the justices, he rose
and said, he would sit there no longer, until
they showed more regard to justice; and other
officers in the court threw down their staves,
and protested against their arbitrary and un-
righteous proceedings.

On the return of the jury, they reported
her " guilty of a misdemeanour only ;" which
called forth the observation from some of her
friends, that such a verdict was not legal ; and
that being indicted for one offence, they could
not convict her of another ; but must report
simply guilty or not guilty on the indictment
by which she had been tried.

It is painful to obsei've the looseness of judi-
cial proceedings at that period, and how often
the most sacred forms of justice, which col-
stituted the safeguard and bulwarks of the
rights and liberty of the subject, and often of
life itself, were prostrated and trampled upon,
to gratify feelings of private animosity or pub-
lic hatred, or to satiate the cravings of a re-
lentless and persecuting bigotry. Though le-
gally and honourably acquitted, yet the judge,
willing to appease the disappointed rage of her
enemies, demanded bond for her good beha-
viour ; which, as an innocent woman of good
repute, she declined giving, and he remanded



her to prison. Sensible, as it would seem, of
the iniquity, as well as illegality of their pro-
ceedings, and willing to shrink from their
share of the responsibility, the justices, one
by one, stole away from the bench in confu-
sion, during this scene, without any regular
adjournment of the court, which occasioned
much remark.

Being now leff; in the hands of her oppress-
ors, she was thrust into a filthy dungeon, seve-
ral steps below the ground, on one side of which
ran the common sewer — emitting a horrible
stench, and giving admission to frogs and ver-
min, which infested her apartment. It was
also destitute of any convenience for making
a fire, to warm the inmates, or dry up the
noxious vapours which exhaled from its filthy
and disgusting contents.

Jane Waugh, who was also a minister
among Friends, actuated by feelings of sym-
pathy and affection for her imprisoned friend,
came many miles to visit her, and was re-
warded for this Christian act of love, with a
participation of her sufferings — this being the
only crime alleged against her by those merci-
less persecutors. Hard, however, as were
their outward accommodations, and cruel the
deprivations they had to endure, there was
peace and joy within. Conscious that they
were suffering for the cause of that blessed
Saviour who suffered so much for them; sup-
ported by the sense of his holy presence, they
passed the days of their imprisonment with
cheerful contentment. At the expiration of
about eight months, and about a year and a
half from her first commitment, Anne Aud-
land was discharged. After holding a number
of meetings in and about Banbury, and by her
solicitation obtaining from the mayor and
aldermen, the liberation of her friend, Jane
Waugh, she travelled through several counties
to Bristol, where she met her beloved hus-
band. She joined him in religious service,
continuing in company until they reached
their home in Westmoreland.

Subsequently to this, they were both en-
gaged in frequent journeys for the purpose of
promoting righteousness in the earth ; some-
times together, and at others separately, until
her husband was rendered incapable of further
labour, by an attack of illness, which at length
terminated his life in the year 1663, aged
about thirty-four. He died in great peace,
being often filled with praises to God, and
overcome with the sense of his love and
unspeakable joy, as a foretaste of the glory
and felicity which awaited his redeemed spirit.

This worthy couple, being nearly united to
each other in the bonds of Christian afl^ection,
enjoyed much domestic happiness, which made
the trial of their separation more severe to



476



A SHORT ACCOUNT OF ANNE CAMM.



the bereaved widow ; — yet she sustained it
with Christian fortitude and resignation to the
Divine will, and in a tribute to her husband's
memory, which she penned, thus speaks : —

" God, who by his providence joined us to-
gether in marriage in our young days, in his
blessed counsel also caused his day to spring
from on high upon us; in the marvellous light
and shining whereof, he revealed his Son in
us, and gave us faith to believe in Him, the
eternal Word of life, by which our souls came
to be quickened and made alive in Him. And
by the quickening of his holy pawer, we were
made one in a spiritual and heavenly relation —
our hearts being knit together in the unspeaka-
ble love of God, which was our joy and de-
light, and made our days together exceedingly
comfortable — our temporal enjoyments being
sanctified by it, and made a blessing to us.
How hard it was, and how great a loss to me,
to part with so dear and tender a husband, is
far beyond what I can express. My tongue
or pen is not able to set forth my sorrow ; yet
in this I content myself, that it was the will of
the Lord to take him away from the evil to
come, and that my loss, though great, is not
to be compared to his eternal gain."

After remaining a widow between two and
three years, Anne Audland was married to
Thomas Camm, son of John Camm, the inti-
mate friend and faithful companion of her
former husband. Thomas Camm was a man
of solid religious experience, and a faithful
minister of the Gospel. Their union being
grounded in religion, and entered into in the
fear of God, with a single eye to his honour
and the promotion of his cause, they experi-
enced great comfort in each other's society,
and lived in the utmost harmony and affection
for nearly forty years. Amid the various and
severe trials which attended them, they found
their religion to be an unfailing support to
their minds, and a source of peace and en-
joyment, of which the malice and cruelty of
persecutors could not deprive them, realizing
the truth of that saying of Holy Writ, " We
know that all things work together for good,
to them that love God."

Anne Camm had her share in the sufferings
of that trying day ; but being steadfast in the
faith and hope of the Gospel, and earnest in
seeking Divine support, she was enabled to
sustain them with patient resignation and
Christian fortitude.

Beside her own imprisonments, she was fre-
quently separated from her second husband,
as she had been from the former, by a suc-
cession of tedious and close imprisonments for
conscience sake. He was confined so closely
at Kendal, for three years, that he was not
permitted to see his family during all that



time ; and afterwards for nearly six years, at
Appleby. In all his sufferings and services,
she participated with him as a faithful help-
meet, sympathizing with, and encouraging him
under his sufferings for the testimony of Jesus ;
supplying his place, as far as she could, in his
family and business, and exerting a prudent
care to keep their outward concerns in com-
mendable order. When he was at liberty,
and believed himself called to go from home
in the work of the ministry, she not only
freely resigned him to the Lord's service, and
encouraged him to faithfulness therein, but
was also at times a powerful fellow-labourer
with him in the Gospel, performing several
journies in company, through different parts
of the nation, to the edification and comfort of
the church.

In one of these, she had a severe attack of
illness, at Bristol, which appeared to threaten
her dissolution ; but her mind was raised
above the fear of death, and preserved in a -
sweet and lively frame ; many of her expres-
sions being so weighty and affecting, as to
make a deep and lasting impression on the
minds of her auditors. She warned all to
prize their time and prepare for death, while
opportunity was mercifully granted ; blessing
the Lord, that he had inclined her heart to do
so in very early life, the fruit whereof she
now enjoyed, even peace unspeakable here,
with a blessed assurance of eternal rest and
felicity in the life to come.

It pleased the Lord, however, to raise her
from this bed of sickness, and enable her to
continue her zealous and fervent labours for
the promotion of righteousness — serving the
church of Christ faithfully for many years
afterward.

Although she was deservedly held in hon-
ourable esteem for her works' sake, as well as
her many virtues and endowments, natural
and spiritual, yet she was preserved in hu-
mility, not doing her works to be seen of men,
but rather seeking retirement, and desiring
that " honour which cometh from God only."
It was her practice often to retire alone into
her closet, or some other private place, and
there wait on the Lord in fervent prayer, to
seek his counsel and approbation ; and also to
set apart some time daily, for reading the
Holy Scriptures and other religious books.
In the attendance of meetings for the worship
of God, she was an example of great dili-
gence, very reverent in her waiting on him ;
and though endued with an excellent gifl in
the ministry, beyond most, yet she was not
forward to appear, either in preaching or
prayer. When she was thus engaged, her
manner was fervent and weighty, and her tes-
timony in the demonstration of the Spirit, and



A SHORT ACCOUNT OF ANNE CAMM.



477



with power, to the refreshment of the church,
and the awakening and warning of trans-
gressors.

In large public meetings, where there were
brethren well qualified for the Lord's work,
her voice was rarely heard, unless under some
extraordinary constraint ; and being gifted
with a sound understanding and discernment,
she knew when to speak, and when to be si-
lent — keeping her station and place in the
Truth. In these respects she was a good ex-
ample ; and when she saw any too hasty or
forward in their public appearances, as a wise,
nursing mother, she tenderly admonished them,
often with good efl^ct; taking care also to en-
courage those sincere and diffident ones, who
came forth in a testimony for God, as with
trembling hearts and a stammering tongue.
Thus she demeaned herself as a humble ser-
vant of her Lord and Master, Christ Jesus,
washing his disciples' feet, and helping and
serving the least and tenderest of his flock.

Her last public testimony was at the Monthly
Meeting of Kendal, the second of the ninth
month, 1705. Although far advanced in years,
and afflicted with the infirmities incident to old
age, yet the liveliness and fervency of her
spirit remained unabated, and her faculties
strong and clear to admiration. In this fare-
well address, she pressed her friends with af-
fecting earnestness, to be faithful and diligent
in the service of their Lord, that they might
receive a blessed reward with those who had
nearly filled up the work of their day, and
were about to enter their eternal rest.

On the following day she was attacked with
the disease which terminated her life ; and du-
ring the course of her illness, realized the
blessed effects of her religion, in supporting
her under bodily infirmity and pain, and en-
abling her to look forward to her approaching
change with joy, in the humble assurance that
a crown of unfading glory awaited her.

Her husband, who best knew her worth,
being affected with sorrow at the prospect of
being deprived of so valuable a companion —
with a noble fortitude she endeavoured to con-
sole and encourage him to submit with cheer-
ful resignation to the Divine will ; saying,
" My dear, if it be the good pleasure of the
Lord, who joined us together, and has blessed
us hitherto, now to separate us, I entreat thee
to be content, and give me freely up to the
Lord, for thou knowest we must part ; and
if I go first, it is only what I have desired of
the Lord many a time. I believe the conside-
ration of the desolate condition I should be left
in, if I survived thee, will induce thee more
freely to commit me to the Lord, whose I am,
and whom I have loved, feared, and served,
with an upright heart, all my days : his un-



speakable peace I now enjoy, and his saving
health is my portion forever. I pray thee, be
content with what the Lord pleases to do with
me ; whether it be life or death, his holy will
be done. Let us leave all to the Lord, and
however it be, all will be well. I have loved
thee with my soul, and God has blessed us,
and he will bless thee and be with thee, and
make up all thy losses. Death is gain to me,
though it be thy loss; and I hope, for the sake
of my gain, thou wilt bear thy loss with pa-
tience. I bless the Lord, I am prepared for
my change. I am full of assurance of eternal
salvation, and of receiving a crown of glory,
through my dear Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ, whom God the Father has sent to bless
me and many more, by turning us from the
evil of our ways into the just man's path,
which shines more and more unto the perfect
day. If God now pleases to finish my course,
and take me out of this earthly tabernacle, I
am well contented. I am clear, and have dis-
charged myself in the sight of God to all
Friends ; except that it has of late been upon
my mind to send a farewell epistle to Friends
in the South."

She said, the substance of what she wished
to communicate to them, was the remembrance
of her dear love to them all, with tender ad-
vice to the professors of Truth, to keep in the
simplicity thereof, out of all heights and ex-
altation, under the power of the cross of
Christ, which would crucify them more and
more to the world, and baptize them into
Christ. Thus they would put on Christ Jesus
the new and heavenly man, in whom they
would become new creatures, prepared to sei've
God in the Spirit, and to enjoy the unity there-
of in the bond of peace and love ; which the
god of this world is labouring to break. I
have seen him at work to make a breach and
separation among Friends ; and if he prevail,
it will be under specious pretences of a more
angelic appearance than at any time before ;
which will deceive those who live above the
cross and true self-denial. And I would warn
all to st&nd their ground in the power of God,
which only can bruise satan and preserve out
of his subtle snares.

Several Friends coming to see her, she ex-
horted them to prize their time. And after
imparting much excellent counsel, added, " I
bless my God, that I lie now in great peace
and contentment, though my body be afflicted
with pain. O ! that it may be so with vou
all, my dear friends."

Being very weak and low, inquiry was made
if she knew some Friends who were present ?
To which she replied, " Yes, — I know you
every one — I have my understanding as clear
as ever. — How should it be otherwise, since



478



A SHORT ACCOUNT OF ANNE CAMM.



my peace is made with God, through the Lord
Jesus Christ. I have no disturbance of mind,
and my understanding and judgment is clear.
It were sad, indeed, to lie under affliction of
body and of mind also; to feel pinching pangs
of body, even to death, and to want peace
with God. O ! that would be intolerable. O !
let my soul praise the Lord, for his peace and
plenteous redemption."

It being proposed to send for her son-in-law,
who was skilled in physic, and her daughter,
she seemed unwilling ; saying to her husband,
" Be not careful in the matter — the Lord my
God is near me, and I have thy company — it
is enough ; and all will be well if this lump
of clay, in which I dwell, is dissolved. I have
full assurance of a house and dwelling, of
which God is the maker, that will never wax
old or be dissolved. O ! my soul, bless thou
the Lord, and be glad in his salvation for
evermore."

Her illness increased — and many Friends
coming to see her, she was often engaged in
exhorting them respecting the work of the
soul's salvation. On one occasion she said to
some, " The cross is the only way to the
crown immortal ; shun it not, therefore, lest
you fall short of the crown. Stand up nobly



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 104 of 105)