Sufferings & Persecutions
Given forth as a Testimony to
The Lordís Power, and for
the Encouragement of
Printed, and Sold by T.S. at the Crooked-
Billet in Holywell-Lane, Shoreditch, 1691.
An Account of the Travels, Sufferings and
Persecutions of B.B., &c.
In my Youth and Tender Years, I feared the Lord, and was afraid to offend him; and was zealous and diligent in the Profession I was in, and sought the Lord earnestly, although I knew not where to find him, until I was directed by Friends that came from the North, John Audland and John Camm by Name, whose Behaviour and Deportments were such, that it preached before ever they opened their Mouths; and It was then revealed to me, That they had the Everlasting Gospel to Preach in this City: And when they did open their Mouths, I was made to bless God that I had lived to hear the everlasting Gospel preached; and they directed my Mind unto the Light of Christ, therein to wait, which I was diligent to do, and found the Vertue of it; and as the Evil was made manifest, I departed from it, and willingly took up the Cross, and yielded Obedience unto it, in plainness of Speech and in my Habit: & the People were so offended with it, when I went into their Publick Places and Steeple-houses to speak, that they took away their Children from me, so that I lost almost all my Imployment; and they kept me in Prison a quarter of a Year at a time: And great was my Sufferings in that Day, but the Lord so filled me with his Power, that I was preserved through it all: And the Diligent and Faithful did prosper then, and so they do now.
And therefore my Counsel to Friends, is, that they keep in Godís Power; for there is no other way to be preserved, nor to receive Life and Salvation; its my Testimony for God: For whosoever shuns the Cross, and goes out of the Power, they lose their way, and dishonour God; but I have had living Experience of it, therefore I mention it, and it has been with me a pretty while to publish it, for the benefit of those that are passing through, and are yet to pass through the Sufferings, and therefore I do declare my Experience.
And so, dear Friends, the Cross is the Way to the Crown of Life, and to the Crown of Glory; and they that continue Faithful and Obedient, they obtain the Eternal Crown, which they that are disobedient, lose. I speak my Experience of the Dealings of the Lord with me, in my Travels and passings through my Spiritual Journey, for the benefit of those that Travel rightly after. And I can speak it to the glory of God, he never moved me to any thing, but that he gave me Power to perform it, and made it effectual, although I past through much Exercise in the performance of it. And the Power of God wrought in me long before I knew what it was; and when Friends came, that my understanding was opened, I soon took up the Cross and came into the Obedience, and the Lord cleansed me by his Power, and made me a fit Vessel for his Use.
And when I had laboured pretty much at home, he called me forth to labour abroad, and I stood so in the dread, awe and fear of the Lord, that his Spirit strove much with me, before I could open my Mouth; and the Word of the Lord came unto me in a Meeting, That the Lord would have War with Amalek from Generation to Generation: And the Power and Spirit of the Lord was so strong in me, that it set me upon my Feet, and constrained me to speak the words; for I was never hasty nor forward. And then the Lord caused me to abstain from all Flesh, Wine and Beer whatsoever, and I drank only Water for the space of a whole Year; and in that time the Lord caused me to grow and to prosper in the Truth: And then I was made to go and to call the People forth from among the dumb Idols, and suffered much Imprisonment for it; but yet I was made to go till the Lord gave me dominion, so that I could go into their Places, and say what I had to say, and come forth again quietly. And as Mary Prince I was coming Arm in Arm from a Meeting, that was at George Bishopís House, there was a Rude Man came and abused us, and struck off Mary Prince her Hat, and run some sharp Knife or Instrument through all my Clothes, into the side of my Belly, which if it had gone a little farther, it might have killed me; but my Soul was so in love with the Truth, that I could have given up my Life for it at that day.
And then I was moved to go to Marlborough, to the Marketplace and Steeple-house, where I had pretty much Service, where they put me in Prison for six Weeks, where I Fasted six Days and six Nights, and neither eat Bread nor drank Water, nor no earthly thing; then I came to a feeding upon the Word, and had experience that man doth not live by Bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the Mouth of the Lord. And when I was released, I went to Isaac Burges, the man that committed me, and discoursed with him; and he was really Convinced of the Truth, but could not take up the Cross; but was afterwards very loving to Friends, and stood by them upon all occasions, and never Persecuted a Friend any more: and when he came unto this City, he came unto my House to see me, and confest, That he could not take up the Cross, although he knew it was the Truth.
And a while after I was made to go into Devonshire, to Molton, and Bastable, and Bediford, where I had a Prison in all those Places: and I went to the Earl of Bathes, where I had formerly spent much time in Vanity, to call unto them to come out of their Vanity; and I asked to speak with the Countess, and they refused to let me in, but one of the Servants that knew me, bid me go to the Back-Door, and their Lady would come forth that way to go into the Garden; and they sent forth a great Wolf-Dog upon me, which came fiercely at me to devour me, and just as he came unto me, the Power of the Lord smote the Dog, so that he whined, and ran in crying, and very Lame; so that I saw clearly the Hand of the Lord in it for my Preservation, blessed be his Name: and then the Lady came forth, and stood still and heard me all that I had to say unto her; and when I had done she gave me Thanks, but never asked me to go into her House, although I had eat and drank at her Table and lodged there many a time.
And then I was moved to go to Great-Torrington in Devonshire, unto the Steeple-house there, where was a very bad Priest indeed, though I had little to him, but to the People; and when I had spoken in the Morning, I went to my Lodging, and what I had not room to my self of, I went to Writing, and the Constables came and took away my Writing, and commanded me to go along with them to their Worship; and I answered them, That they would not suffer me to speak there, and that I knew no Law would compel me to go twice in a day, and they all knew that I was there in the Morning; and so I would not go. So the next day the Mayor sent for me, and when I came the Priest was there, and the Mayor was moderate, and loath to send me to Prison, but the Priest was very eager, and said, I ought to be Whipt for a Vagabond. And I bid him prove where ever I askt any one for a bit of Bread; but he said, I had broken the Law by speaking in their Church. So he was so eager with the Mayor, that he made him make a Mittimus, and send me to Exeter-Prison, which was Twenty Miles distant, where I remained for some time, and was commanded of the Lord to Fact fourteen Days and fourteen Nights, without tasting Bread or Water, or any earthly thing, which I performed for a Witness against that dark professing People; and there I was until the Assizes, and was not called forth to a Tryal: but after the Assizes was over, a petty Fellow sent for me forth, and read a Law, which was quite wrong, and did not belong to me at all, and put me to lodge one Night among a great company of Gypsies, that were then in the Prison; and the next day the Sheriff came with a Beadle, and had me into a Room, and Whipt me till the Blood ran down my Back, and I never startled at a blow; but the Lord made me rejoyce, that I was counted Worthy to Suffer for his Nameís sake, and I Sung aloud; and the Beadle said, Do ye Sing; I shall make ye cry by and by: and with that he laid more Stripes, and laid them on very hard. I shall never forget the large Experience of the Love and Power of God which I had in my Travels, and therefore I can speak to his Praise, and glorifie his Name: for if he had Whipt me to Death in that state which then I was in, I should not have been terrified or dismayed at it; Ann Speed was an Eye Witness of it, and she stood and lookt in at the Window, and wept bitterly. And then the Sheriff, when he saw that the envy of the man could not move me, he bid him forbear, for he had gone beyond his Orders already. So when he had left me, Ann Speed came in and drest my Wounds; and the next day they turned me out with all the Gypsies, and the Beadle followed us two Miles out of the City; and as soon as he left us, I returned back again, and went up into the Prison to see my Friends that were Prisoners there at the same time: So I took myleave of them, and went to Topsom, where there was a fine Meeting of Friends, among whom I was sweetly refreshed, and staid there one Night, and then I came home to Bristoll; and in my Travels I went several Miles upon long Downs, and knew nothing of the way, but as the Lord was with me, and did direct me; and in all this I have experience of the Love and Power of the Lord to me wards, blessed be his Name for ever: I cannot forget his Loving-kindness to me in my Distress.
And in my Travels near Bridgewater, I went to speak to a Priest that I had formerly known, one Edward Piggot; and when I came back to the Inn, where I had bespoke my Lodging, they would not let me come in; so I lookt about for shelter to keep me from the fierceness of the Frost, and I found the Pig-stye swept very clean, and the Trough turned up, and never a Pig in it, and I sate me down on the Trough, and that was my Lodging all that Night: and the next Night I could get no lodging, but was fain to lodge in a Barn: and in all this the Lord exercised me in the Patience.
Then I went to Bediford, and there I was put into the Town-Hall, and they searched me to see whether I had Knife or Scissers about me; and the next day they brought me before the Mayor for speaking in a private Meeting, and he discoursed much with me, and had a sence of what I said unto him, and received it; and at last he set open two Doors, one right against the other, and said, He would give me my choice which I could go forth at? whether I would go to Prison again, or go home? And I told him that I should choose Liberty rather than Bonds: So I went homeward, and then he took his Horse and came and followed me, for there was some tenderness in him; and he would have had me Rid behind him, but I found that when any Body which he knew did meet us, then he would draw back and lag behind, and as soon as they were gone, he would come up to me again; so therefore I would not ride behind him, but he rode three or four Miles with me, and discoursed me all the way; and when we parted, I was made to kneel down and pray for him, in which time he was very serious; and afterwards he grew very solid and sober, and in a little time he dyed, but I writ to him once before he dyed, a little after I came home.
And then I was moved of the Lord to go to Bazing-stoke, to endeavour the Liberty of two Friends, (viz.) Thomas Robison and Ambrose Riggs, which were taken up at the first Meeting that Friends had there; and when I came, they would not let me come in to them; and I having a Letter from John Camm unto them, put it in at a Chink of the Door to them; and then I went to the Mayor to desire their Liberty, and he told me, That if he should see the Letter which I brought them, they should have their Liberty; and I told him he should, so I went and fetcht it to him, and he read it, and could see no hurt in it: So he told me, I should have my Brethren out but he would not let them out presently. Nevertheless we had a fine Meeting the next day, being First Day, and coming from the Meeting, I met with the Priest, and told him his portion, and in a few days the Friends had their Liberty: and thus the Lord made my Journey prosperous.
And then the Lord moved me to go for Ireland, and I went in a Vessel bound for Corke, and the Lord so ordered it, that the Ship was carried about to Dublin, and we had much foul Weather, so that the Sea-men said, That I was the cause of it, because I was a Quaker; and they conspired to fling me over-board; but it being made known to me, I went to the Master and told him what his Men had designed to do, and told him, that if he did suffer them to do it, my Blood would be required at his Hands. So he charged them not to meddle with me: And afterwards we were in a Storm upon a First Day, and I was moved to go upon Deck, and speak among them, and Pray for them; and they were all made very quiet, and said, They were more beholding to me then they were to their Priest, because I did Pray for them, and he could not open his Mouth to say any thing amongst them. We were six Days and six Nights at Sea, and the Master himself did not know where he was, nor which way he was gong, until we were put into the Harbour at Dublin; and although we had abundance of very Stormy Weather, yet we sustained no manner of loss nor dammage; so that the Master said, He could never say before that he was in so much foul weather, and received no hurt: And we were put into Dublin the very same day that Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough were Banisht from thence. And then I saw my Service there, and was moved to go to the Deputy, and when I came there, the People said, their was no speaking with him for me; for did I not know that he had Banisht two of our Friends out of the Nation but yesterday. But in the Faith I went, and the Power of the Lord had great weight upon me, and I met with the Secretary, and I desired him to help me to the Speech of the Deputy. And he answered me, That he did think he could not. And I told him, if he would be so civil, as to go up and tell the Deputy, that there was a Woman below that would speak with him; and then if he refused, I was answered. So he went up, and their came a man to fetch me up into the with-drawing Room; and after I had been there a while, their came a Man out of the Deputyís Chamber and they all stood bare-headed before him, because they knew I never saw the Deputy; but I had a sence it was a Priest; and there was almost a whole Room full of People, and they askt me, Why did not I do my Message to their Lord. And I answered, When I do see your Lord, then I shall do my Message to him. So in a little while he came forth, and sate down on a Couch, and I stood up and spake to him that which the Lord did give me to speak, and bid him beware, that he was not found fighting against God, in opposing the Truth, and Persecuting the Innocent, but he like Wise Gamaliel, To let it alone, and if it be of God, it will stand; but if it be of Man, it will fall; and the Enmity did not lie so much in himself, as he was stirred up to it by Evil Magistrates and bad Priests; and that Godís People are as dear to him now as ever, and they that toucht them, toucht the Apple of his Eye. But in his Name, and by his Power their was much hurt done to the People of God all the Nation over, and it would lie heavy upon him at the last; and that the Teachers of the People did cause them to Err, and he knew the Priests portion; and when I toucht upon that, he would say, Thereís for you Mr. Harrison, to the Priest that stood there. And the Power and Presence of the Lord was so with me, that it made the Man to be much concerned. And when I had done, he asked the Priest, What he had to say to that which I spake: And the Priest said, It was all very true and very good, and he had nothing to say against it, if we did speak as we meant. Then I told the Priest, that the Spirit of God was true, and did speak as it meant, and meant as it spoke; but men of Corrupt Minds did pervert the Scriptures, by putting their own Imaginations, and Conceivings, and Apprehensions upon it, and so did deceive the People: but holy men of God spake the Scriptures, and gave them forth as they were Inspired by the Holy Ghost, and they are of no private Interpretation; but none understood them, but those that read them by the same Spirit that gave them forth. So I returned to my Lodging, which was at one Captain Rich his House, and he came home, and said, That the Deputy was so Sad and Melancholy, after I had beed with him, that he would not come forth to Bowls nor no Pastime at all.
This my Service for God was great, and he made it to prosper; And then I went to Corke, where my Motion was at first, and great were my Sufferings there, for I had a Prison almost where-ever I came; and I was made to call to my Relations and Acquaintance, by the Word of the Lord, and was made to follow them into several Steeple-houses; and great were my Sufferings amongst them, but where-ever the Lord opened my Mouth, there were some that received me, and would plead my Cause against my Persecutors; and I was in Jeopardy of my Life several times, but the Lord prevented it. And I was made to speak in a Market-place, and there was a Butcher swore he would cleave my Head in twain; and had his Cleaver up ready to do it, but their came a Woman behind him and caught back his Arms, and staid them till the Souldiers came and rescued me. And those that were my former Acquaintance, with whom I had formerly been very conversant, and spent much time, and lodged at their Houses several times, even those now were afraid of me, and would not come near me, but the dread of God was upon me, and it made some of them to Tremble; and some said, I was a Witch: and when I would go to their Houses to reprove them, they were so mad that they would run away, and then their Servants would come and hale me out; and when I would go to sit down, they would drag me along upon the Stones, and hale me out and shut the Doors: So I came to witness that a Prophet is not without Honour, save in his own Country. So when I found my self pretty clear there, I returned home to Bristoll.
And in a while after I was moved to go for Ireland again, and then I was in great Perils by Sea, where I saw the Wonders of the Lord in the Deep; and there was one man Friend, and one woman Friend then in the Ship besides me, and the Ship was broken near Dungarvan, and it foundred in the Sea, something near the Shore, and we were all like to be cast away; and I was ordered of the Lord to stay in the Ship, until they were all gone out of her, and the Master and the Passengers got into the Boat, (all save one Man and one Woman, which were cast away) and they got to Shore, and stood there to see what would become of me, who was still in the Cabbin, and the Waves beat in upon me in abundance, almost ready to stifle me: And so when I found freedom I went and stood upon a piece of the Deck that was left, and then the Master of the Vessel & the Man Friend called to me, and told me, If I would venture to leap down, they would venture to come into the Water to save me: So they came into the Water up so far as their Necks, and I leaped down to them, and they caught hold of me, but I being intangled in the Ropes in leaping down, was drawn from them again; but as the Lord ordered it, a Wave came and beat the Ship out, where as if it had beat in, it would have killed up all three, but beating out, they recovered me again and drew me to Shore: So the Lordís Power and Mercy was wonderfully shown at that time for my preservation; I cannot but bless his Name for it.
So then I went to Dublin, where I spake in the High-Court of Justice amongst the Judges; and then they put me in Prison, where I lay upon the Straw, on the Ground and when it Rained, the Wet and Filth of the House-of-Office ran in under my Back: And they Arraigned me at the Bar, and bid me plead Guilty, or Not Guilty: And I answered, that there was no guilt upon any ones Conscience for what they did in Obedience unto the Lord God: And the Judge could not speak to me, but spoke to another Man that stood by him, to speak to me. So I could not say as they bid me, and they returned me to Prison again, where I had very hard Exercise. And there was a Man that could not injoy some Land, except he could prove that his Brother was dead; and he brought a Man into Prison, that said, he would prove that he was killed at such an Inn, and buried under a Wall. He accused the Inn-keeper and his Wife, and their Man, and Maid, and a Smith, to be guilty of this Murther. So I went to him and sate down by him, and spake a few Words to him, and askt him, how he could conceal this Murther so long, when he was as guilty of it as either of them, if it were true. He trembled, and shook exceedingly, and his Knees smote one against another, and he confest, That he never saw the People with his Eyes, nor never was at the place in his Life, nor knew nothing of it, but only he was drawn in by the Man that was to have the Land, and was perswaded to Witness it. And the Prisoners heard this his Confession to me; so I sent to the Deputy, to send down his Priest, that he might hear his Confession: So he came, and he confest the same to him as he had done to me: and the five Persons which he accused was then in Prison, but only the Maid in the Prison with me; and the Man confest the same once before the Judge: But the Man that brought him in, came to him every day, and filled his Head with Drink, and caused the Goaler to lock me up, that I might not come at him: So I writ to the Inn-keeper and his Wife, and the Coach-man; and I writ to the Judge also, and told him the Day of his Death did draw nigh, wherein he must give an Account of his Actions; and bid him take heed how he did condemn so many Innocent People, having but one Witness, in whose Mouth their were so many Lyes found; (and they all said they were Innocent.) They called him Judge Pepes who condemned them all. Then a Priest came to speak with the Maid that was Condemned, which was with me in the Prison; but she would not see him, but said, Nay, he can do me no good; I have done with Man for ever. But God, thou knowest that I am Innocent of what they lay to my Charge. So they were all Hanged, and the Man that accused them was hanged up first, for fear he should confess when he saw the rest hanged: And a heavy day it was, and I bore and suffered much that day. Then there were some Friends of mine, namely Sr. William King, Colonel Fare, and the Lady Browne, these hearing I was in Prison, came to see me, and they would needs go to this Judge, to get me released; so when they came, he told them, that he was afraid of his Life. And they laughed, and told him, they had known me from a Child, and there was no harm in me at all. And they were all very earnest to get my Liberty, and at last they did obtain it. And then I was moved to go to the Steeple-house, where this Judge was, and the Lord was with me, and I Cleared my self of him; and he went to Bed and Died that Night: And one of the Prisoners had writ the Letter which I sent to him, and when they heard he was dead, they all said, That I was a true Prophetess unto him.
And thus as an Instrument in the Hand of the Lord, to do his Work, I was faithful and obedient unto his Power, and he caused me to grow and prosper through my great Sufferings; blessed be his Name for ever, that I had great experience of his love and power. Elizabeth Gardiner, and Rebecca Rich, and Samuel Clareges Wife knew all this to be true.
And then I went to Limrick, where I had some Service, and they put me in Prison. So in a while I was released, and then I took Shipping for England again, and then there was a great Storm took us at Sea, and the Lord moved me to go to Prayer; and I went to Prayer, and in a little time the Storm ceased, and we were preserved; And coming towards Mineyard, we met a Pirate, which had abundance of men on board, and I began to consider, whether there was any Service for me to do among those Rude People, but I found little to them: so they came on Board us, and took away all that I had, and one of my Coats from off my Back; but they were not suffered to do me any further harm. So they took away the Master with them, until he should pay them a sum of Money for the Ship and Goods. And so we came home to England.
But in all my Travels, I Travelled still on my own purse, and was never chargeable to any, but paid for what I had. And much more could I declare of my Sufferings which I passed through, which I forbear to mention, being not willing to be over-tedious.
And I have written these Things that Friends may be encouraged, and go in the Faith, in the Work of the Lord: For many have been the Tryals, Tribulations and Afflictions the which I have passed through, but the Lord hath delivered me out of them all; Glory be given to him, and blessed be his Name for ever, and evermore.