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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Lord's assistance, to take up his cross and
despise the shame, accounting all things but
as dross that he might win Christ.

There being few now left who came so
early into the vineyard of the Lord, he was
willing, as near as he could remember, to give
some account to the present and succeeding
age, how the truth prevailed, and also the
names of the ministering Friends, who in those
early days first visited this city, and parts ad-
jacent, and were made instruments in the
Lord's hand for turning many from darkness
to light. Though they are now all gone to
their rest, their faithfulness to the Lord, and
great labours, are still fresh in memory, and
the jeopardies and sufferings they passed
through, in their obedience to the Lord, can-
not be forgotten by such as were eye-witnesses.
The Lord's power, being still the same, hath
plentifully raised up more witnesses, bearing a
faithful testimony to the same truth and power
of God that the ancients came forth in ; and
the Lord's work prospers.

The first who brought the glad tidings to
this city were, Francis Howgill, Edward Bur-
rough, Thomas Aldam, George Fox, Richard
Hubberthorn, John Audland, Ambrose Rigge,
James Nayler, and othei's ; by whom many
were turned to the Lord; and by his everlast-
ing power their hearts were opened to receive
his messengers into their houses, and to offer
up the same, to have meetings therein for the
service of the Lord. Among these was Simon
Bring, who then lived in Watling-street, but
some time after removed into Moorfields, where
he continued to have a meeting in his house on
the first-days of the week in the afternoon.
About this time also, as before related, Sarah
Matthews, a widow, in Whitecross-street, had
a meeting at her house, which was continued
on the first-days in the morning for some time.
Another meeting was at Humphrey Bates's
house, at the sign of the Snail, in Tower-
street ; another at Samuel Vasse's, at the
Helmet in Basinghall-street ; another at Gla-
ziers' Hall in Thames-street, where Gerard
Roberts was convinced, and gave way to have
a meeting at his house, which was in the street
called Thomas-Apostle's ; where ministering
Friends generally met till the year 1666.
Another meeting was at William Woodcock's
house, who lived in the Strand, between the
great gate of Somerset-house and the water-
gate belonging thereto. There were divers
other meetings in the suburbs, and in South-
wark ; at William Shewen's in Bermondsey-
street; Daniel Flemming's in Blackman-street ;
Henry Clark's on the Bank-side; and at Wor-
cester-house in the Strand. The work of the
Lord prospering, many were convinced and



made help-meets in the Gospel ; among whom
Anne Downer came forth in a public testi-
mony. She was afterwards the wife of our
honourable Friend George Whitehead ; who
at this time also had a public testimony to bear
for the Lord, but had his service in other parts ;
so that he came not to this city till about the
year 1656. About the time of Anne Downer's
thus coming forth, Ruth Brown received the
truth, and was afterwards married to our
Friend William Crouch ; who are both still
living. The Lord raised up his servants,
Sarah Blackbury, Ann Gould, and Elizabeth
Peacock, who came forth in public testimony
for the Lord, his name and truth. It being
now about the year 1655, Friends found a
concern upon them to have some settled meet-
ings, for the sake of those who yet sat in
darkness, that they ixiight come and hear the
truth declared, and be turned to the Lord ;
whereupon a meeting was settled, and the
place is still continued for a meeting, being
known by the name of the meeting at Sarah
Sawyer's. The next public meeting was about
the same year settled at the Bull and Mouth in
Martin's-le-Grand, near Aldersgate, which is
still continued. There were also about this
time several other meetings at Friends' houses ;
one at the widow Webb's, in Jacob-street in
Southwark, which growing large was removed
to a public meeting-house provided at Horsley-
down, and is still continued ; and another in
Spitalfields, which was removed, and a public
place opened for a meeting in Wheeler-street,
which hath also continued there ever since ;
and soon after, another at Stepney, near Mile-
end, which grew large, and was afterwards
removed, and a new meeting-house built at
Ratcliff, and is continued in the same place to
this day. Another meeting also was settled
at the sign of the Peel, near Hicks's-hall, which
is likewise continued in the same place.

Gilbert, being one among the first fruits to
the Lord in this great city, and through the
light of Chi'ist, furnished with a quick discern-
ing, and sound judgment, was made service-
able in settling the church in Discipline and
good order, and long continued a pillar in the
house of our God, retaining his integrity to
the last. Truth having gained upon many in
divers parts of the city, suburbs, and country
adjacent, they offered up themselves and their
houses for its sake, in these times of hardship
and trial, among whom were those worthy
servants of the Lord, John Fielder, and Ann
his wife, who were convinced at Kingston-
upon-Thames ; and as faithful followers of the
Lamb, not only received the Lord's ministers,
who laboured in his work and service, but also
gave up their house for a meeting-place ; and
accordingly a meeting was there settled. Oliver

Cromwell, then called Protector, residing much
at Hampton-court, this meeting became of great
service, and many were there convinced and
turned to the Lord, and directed to wait in
silence, for the arising of the pure gift in them-
selves. Several who then belonged to Oliver's
houshold, were also convinced at this meeting,
and continued faithful ; of wnom there are
some yet (viz. in 1706) alive. About the year
1658 there were several other meetings in parts
about the city, as one at Mitcham for some
time, where Friends suffered much ; another
in like manner at Croydon, another at Wal-
worth, another also at Lambeth-marsh, an-
other at Thomas Hackleton's, at the Bankside,
near the Falcon ; another at the Bankside, near
Southwark, at Henry Clark's; these being all
in the county of Surrey. The Lord's work
prospered, who according to the prophecy of
the prophet Joel, that in the latter times he
would pour out his spirit upon sons and
daughters, servants and handmaids, and they
should prophesy, hath in these times measura-
bly made good his promise by sending forth
his servants and handmaids, to make known
his truth, and declare his name, in the demon-
stration of his mighty power. Among others
who were thus called in this Gospel-day, Sarah
Blackbury came to the town of Hammersmith,
in Middlesex, being five or six miles out of the
city to the westward, and there desired to have
a meeting; and the Lord wrought so on Hester
Matson, who lived there, that she received this
servant of the Lord into her house, and ac-
quainted her husband therewith, at his coming
home, (he then belonging to a brew-house in
Westminster, rarely came to his wife and
family above once a week ;) and desired he
would give leave that a meeting might be ap-
pointed at their house, to which he consented.
But it being at this time, according to the
saying of old, " They shall say all manner of
evil against you falsely for my sake," (the evil-
doers, even to this day, hating the light,) when
the second meeting was to have been held,
he being a man of a high spirit, and having
given ear to the calumnies and bad reports
with which his fellow-servants and others had
possessed him, would not permit the meeting
to be at his house, notwithstanding his former
promise ; whereupon his wife and some few
more went to Chiswick, a town to the westward
by the water-side, hardly a mile further, and
for some time had a meeting there, at William
Bond's house. It being pretty quickly thought
fit to remove nearer Hammersmith, a place
was accordingly provided near the Lime-kilns,
by the water-side ; called the Hope, being
about mid-way between the two towns ; at
which Gilbert Latey was a frequent visiter.
In a while after, the meeting was brought back



to Hammersmith, and there continued forty-
nine years, and still remains a meeting ; during
which time, he was a frequent attender, and
in measure the supporter thereof, being as a
nursing father thereto ; and the Lord blessed
his unwearied love.

About this year there was a meeting opened
at Barking in Essex, which is still continued ;
and another at Greenwich, in the house which
was the king's, of which Gilbert was a fre-
quent visiter, often going in great hazard from
the rude people, by whom both he and other
Friends were often sorely stoned ; and when
Friends were met, they would throw stones
through the windows, and sometimes injured
several; in all which the Lord upheld and
supported Friends ; so that, notwithstanding
the rage of the enemy, they kept up the meet-
ing till the coming of King Charles, who took
possession of the house. About the year 1658,
George Bayle, an apprentice in the New-Ex-
change in the Strand, was convinced, and was
a very hopeful young man ; and some time
after went for France, and being never more
heard of, was supposed to be privately mur-
dered there for his zeal for the Lord and his
truth, in bearing testimony against their idola-
try and superstition. Gilbert in these days
was not only made helpful to the Lord's ser-
vants under sufferings, but by taking heed to
the light of Christ, was endued with such an
understanding, that he saw the spirit of the
world began to prevail again on some who
had received the truth, and now through the
enemy's subtle workings began again to draw
back from the way of the Lord, letting self
up to get a party ; against which he bore his
testimony. He also withstood John Perrot, and
gave his judgment against that exalted spirit,
whereby he was entangled, and brought at last
into bondage.

Gilbert having enlisted himself under the
banner of the Lord, made profession of his
blessed truth, and taken up the cross, despising
the shame, bearing scorn and reproach, it
pleased the Lord to bring a trial upon him,
like the cutting off the right hand, or pulling
out the right eye. For being still in great
business in the world, and concerned with
persons of considerable rank, who would have
their apparel set off* with much cost and su-
perfluities of lace and ribbons, he came under
a conscientious concern not to meddle there-
with, nor suflfer his servants to put it on; which
made some say he was mad. Upon his re-
fusing to be concerned in this superfluous part,
the great people left him and his trade decayed
so, that having a great many servants, he was
forced to part with them ; not knowing but he,
who lately had such a great business and so
many servants, might now himself be a ser-

vant to some of the trade, and work at day
labour for his bread. This was a close trial;
but he patiently waited the Lord's season ;
though despised even of his own mother's
children, and as it were banished from his
father's house, yet he chose to leave all rather
than to lose his peace with the Lord. And
He who never forsakes those who trust in him
was his support, bore up his spii'it through all
his exercises, and enabled him to be resigned
and contented in his will. Soon after this the
Lord opened his mouth in the ministry, to make
known the truth to others. Having conside-
rable interest and acquaintance with great per-
sons, the Lord wrought on his heart to solicit
them in behalf of some of his poor brethren
and sisters, who were sufferers for their testi-
mony, and keeping their consciences clear in
the sight of the Lord ; for which divers were
cast into prisons, and loathsome holes and
dungeons. This was in the time when the
government was carried on in the name of
Oliver Cromwell, the Protector, wherein the
people had a great seeming zeal, but not ac-
cording to knowledge, and the Lord laid it
upon many of his servants to go to and fro in
the nation, both into markets and steeple-
houses, that knowledge might be increased,
the blind guides detected, and truth declared.
In the year 1659, he found a necessity upon
him from the Lord, to go to sevei'al of their
steeple-houses, which they called churches,
and bear testimony against those who had set
themselves up over the people as ministers of
Christ, and yet were such as the Lord com-
plained of by his prophets of old, " who
preached for hire, and divined for money,
running when the Lord never sent them,
teaching for doctrines the commandments of
men, and seeking their gain from their quarter,
and crying peace to the people in their sins."
At Dunstan's in the west in Fleet-street, after
the preacher had ended his sermon, Gilbert
warned the people to take heed to their ways,
adding, that while people are workers of in-
iquity, they are, according to the saying of our
blessed Lord, " of their father the devil," and
doing his work, and an abomination in the
sight of God ; and while they regard iniquity
in their hearts, the Lord will not hear their
pi'ayers. Upon this, the people in the steeple-
house seemed all in a ferment ; the constable
was called for, who with others took hold of
Gilbert, and haled him away out of their place
of worship, and afterwards carried him before
a justice, who lived near the Grange, in Little
Lincoln's-inn-fields. He desired the justice
would be pleased to hear him patiently, for at
this time people were so far strayed from the
way of truth, that they were in a great mea-
sure strangers thereto, and the Lord's people



were as speckled birds, and all manner of evil
was spoken against them falsely for Christ's
sake. Whereupon the justice, like king
Agrippa, permitting him to speak for himself,
he said, that he was moved of the Lord, as
some of the Lord's servants had been of old
to go into the synagogues, to go that day to
Dunstan's steeple-house, where finding one
called Doctor Manton preaching, and holding
forth false doctrine to the people, he staid till
he had finished his sermon, and then, befoi'e
he entered into his prayer, charged him to
prove his doctrine, for that he was ^conscienti-
ously dissatisfied therewith, as being erroneous.
The justice seemed to admire at what he
had related, and said that Doctor Manton was
a very learned man, and doubtless could make
out by Scripture what he had preached that
day. Gilbert replied, all he desired was, that
according to Scripture, he would make good
what he had preached to the people, but
could not obtain it : upon which the justice
asked the constable whether, what Gilbert had
thus alleged, was true, and whether that was
the only matter for which he had brought the
man before him? To which the constable an-
swered. That was the whole matter. Then the
justice replied, that he had heard those people
called Quakers were a sort of mad, whimsical
folks ; but, this man talks very rationally, and
I think, for my part, you should not have
brought him before me; to which the con-
stable replied. Sir, I think so too. Gilbert
had a few words in his heart to the justice,
concerning the way of the Lord ; whereupon
the justice desired the constable to take him
away, saying, he was come there to preach to
him also. Then the constable and Gilbert
went away together, and he was left at his
liberty to go where he pleased. After this he
several times accidentally met with Manton,
and still challenged him to prove his doctrine,
which he never could ; and at last meeting him
in Westminster Abbey, he followed him close,
and asked him again to prove his doctrine ; to
which Manton said, he was not able to prove
it as Gilbert would have it ; to which Gilbert
replied, " If thou hadst told me so sooner, I
had been better satisfied," and so left him.
After the breaking forth of the truth, Gilbert
was committed to the Gate-house prison in
Westminster, together with about fifteen or
sixteen of his friends, for meeting together in
the fear of God to worship him. They were
all put into a dungeon, or hole, which was
about ten feet wide and eleven feet long, and
so dark that they could see no more light at
mid-day than at mid-night. The walls of it
were wet, and they being pressed in so narrow
a compass, had room only to lie down by
turns ; so that while some lay down to rest,

others were forced to stand. The keeper was
so cruel as to command the turnkey not to
admit a little straw to be brought in, to be put
on the ground for them to lie on ; but the Lord
was with them, and supported them under all
the cruelty that was inflicted upon them, for
the trial of their faith and patience ; and de-
livered them from their sufferings.

The spirit of persecution raged in divers
pai'ts of the nation, and many hundred Friends
being put into prisons, houses of correction
and dungeons, a paper was drawn up and
presented to a meeting of persons called a
Parliament, or Committee of Safety, to whom
one Glanvil was speaker, or chairman. The
paper being delivered to him, was read, and
was to this effect, That Gilbert, and the Fi'iends
present, desired their friends who were under
these severe sufferings and confinement, might
be set at liberty ; and that they were willing
to go into prison in their steads. This was
not accepted. Towards the latter part of
Cromwell's time. Friends were under great
sufferings ; and many were committed to prison
in divers places; and among the rest, some to
the Gate-house and Bridewell in Westminster,
where they met with severe and hard usage
from the master of the Gate-house, whose
name was Wickes. He demanded a noble
from each person, besides seven shillings a
week a piece for their bed (although there
were three beds in a room, and two persons
lay in a bed,) besides garnish-money ; for
which they suffered the taking away of their
clothes, which were disposed of for the de-
mand; and as for bread or beer, they could
only have it according to the prison rates.
Gilbert seeing all this, was very much trou-
bled not only at his severity, but that many
who were cleared, lay after this miserable
manner for their fees, some of whom died in
prison. He therefore delivered to the justices
of peace for Westminster, a paper which he
had drawn up, setting forth these grievances.
It was received and read by Sir William Wheel-
er, who was in commission for the peace, but
not being then well, he promised, that if it
should please the Lord to enable him to go
abroad again, he would call to account the
matter complained of. In some short time, God
in his mercy having restored him and enabled
him to get abroad, he opened the matter on the
bench of justices, and an order was made, that
Gilbert should bring witnesses to prove his
allegations. The witnesses being two prison-
ers then in custody, the master of the prison
made it his business as much as in him lay,
to hinder Gilbert from producing such evidence
as the bench of justices directed, and therefore
turned out of prison all such as lay for their
fees. The day appointed for hearing the mat-



ter being at hand, he hoped by that means to
frustrate Gilbert from producing evidence to
prove his charge ; but notwithstanding Wickes's
cruelty and subtlety, it pleased God to order
things to be so brought to light, that the very
morning the matter was to come to a hearing,
two women in good habit, having by some
means heard of this business, came from the
post-house, at the White-hart, Charing-cross,
and informed Gilbert, that their husbands were
kept in the Gate-house prison for fees till they
both died. Upon this, Gilbert and another
Friend, having got the evidence drawn up, and
signed by the women, approached the court ;
and the matter being called, Wickes, the mas-
ter of the prison, appeared, and Gilbert's charge
against him was read. He having a couple
of Friends there with him who were prisoners,
to attest the charge, as well as the evidence
under the two women's hands, the justices
asked the two Friends if they were witnesses;
to which they replied, they were, and that the
matter there read and complained of was true ;
whereupon the justices told Wickes they would
call all these things to account. Wickes re-
turned home, and the Friends who were in the
court, not being wholly cleared of the prison,
followed him, and asked him what they had
to pay for their lodging. He, like one who
had received a mortal blow, answered faintly,
' What they pleased,' and so went into his house,
and continued ill about three or four days, and
in that time cried out, and said, " God will cut
me off in the midst of my iniquity," and so
died. Notwithstanding all this his widow re-
pented not, but grew more hardened; and some
time after was married to one Major Brough-
ton, and was more wicked if possible than

Friends were now under sufferings for their
consciences in Maryland, notwithstanding they
were some of the first planters there, and had
large promises of liberty and freedom made to
them, upon their going to settle there. The old
adversary stirred up some to inflict hard-
ship upon them on account of their tender con-
sciences ; and Gilbert often attended the lord
Baltimore, who was chief proprietor of that
country, on the behalf of these sufferers, for
their relief; and God blessed his attendance
and solicitation, and it had a place with him,
so that he was prevailed upon for the ease of
Friends there.

In the year 1660, it having pleased the Lord
to lay a necessity on two of his servants and
handmaids, viz. Catharine Evans and Sarah
Cheevers, to visit divers parts beyond the seas,
warning the people to turn to the Lord ; after
having passed through several countries, they
arrived at the island of Malta, where, for bear-
ing testimony to the power of God revealed in

and through our Lord Jesus Christ by his spir-
itual appearance, they were taken up and con-
fined. The tidings of this, some time after,
came to London, and Gilbert being often en-
gaged in soliciting ease for the suffering, made
it his business to find out who had an interest
in those parts ; and after some time and pains
spent in this affair, he got information, that
one lord D'Aubigny who came over with the
queen-mother, and was lord almoner to her,
had both interest and command in the island
of Malta. When Gilbert had obtained this
knowledge, he soon got access to him, and
found him to be a well-tempered man ; and
notwithstanding the way of the Lord was evilly
spoken of, and his people were looked upon by
many as speckled birds, and went as with their
lives in their hands, the power of God so
wrought on this lord D'Aubigny, although he
was a priest in orders, that he was very kind
and free to Gilbert, and reasoned with him like
Felix with Paul, about the principles of truth
and way of the Lord ; and being informed
concerning the power of God and the manner
of the spirit's working, answered, that some of
their people thought our friends were mad ; but,
said he, I do not think so of them.

In discourse with him at another time, he
said, Let me talk with you ever so long,
you will still tell me of the spirit of God, and
the grace of God, and the work and operation
thereof, and the love of God you are made
witnesses of through Jesus Christ, which I be-
lieve may in a measure be true ; but do you
not think it is well to have something to repre-
sent that which you so much love ? To which
Gilbert answered, that the substance of all
things is come, Christ in us the hope of glory,
and all the outward types, representations and
shadows must come to an end, and be swal-
lowed up in our blessed Lord ; who told his
disciples it was expedient for them he should
go away ; but, said he, I will not leave you
comfortless. If I go not away, the Comforter
will not come ; but if I depart, I will send him
unto you, even the spirit of truth, which shall
guide you into all truth ; and also that He who
was with them should be in them. This being
witnessed, there needed nothing outwardly to re-
present or put them in mind , for He being so near,
was himself the saints' daily remembrance!'.
Upon this they parted ; but Gilbert often visited
him, to desire and remind him to show kind-
ness to the Friends that were under confine-
ment in a strange place, and at so great a
distance from their friends and their native

Coming another time to wait on him, he bid

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 38 of 105)