Smith, Stephen (1623-1678) (DNB00)

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SMITH, STEPHEN (1623–1678), quaker, born on 19 Sept. 1623, was a foreign merchant, and in the early part of his life lived for a time at Scanderoon, the port of Aleppo in Asia Minor. Returning to England, he married, and lived at Pirbright. There, in 1665, he became a quaker through the preaching of George Whitehead [q. v.] His brother, John Smith of Worplesdon, Surrey, was first convinced. Stephen was imprisoned at Southwark with Whitehead and others for a month in 1668 for holding a meeting at Elsted. In 1670 he was fined 24l. for preaching in the street at Guildford, the quakers being at the time barred out of their meeting-house. George Fox stayed with Smith soon after, and speaks of his losses (Journal, ed. 1891, ii. 130). A few months later, while preaching at Ratcliffe, Smith was arrested by soldiers and sent to Newgate for six months. In 1673 Fox held a meeting of several hundreds of persons at his house. Gabriel or Giles Offley, the vicar of Worplesdon, in which parish he held land, sent him to the Marshalsea prison for six months for non-payment of tithes. Offley also seized his five head of cattle in 1677, in lieu of 50s. tithe due. A few years later Smith travelled with Fox in Somerset, where they drew up ‘a breviat of sufferings’ for that county to present to the judges at Gloucester. Smith died on 22 Sept. 1678; he was buried at Worplesdon on the 26th. His wife Susanna survived him. Three or four children predeceased him. He was author of:

  1. ‘A Trumpet sounded in the Ears of Persecutors,’ 1670, 4to.
  2. ‘A Proclamation to all the Inhabitants of England concerning Fasting and Prayer,’ 1672–3, 4to.
  3. ‘The Blessed Works of the Light of God's Holy and Blessed Spirit,’ 1673, 4to.
  4. ‘Wholesome Advice and Information,’ 1676, 4to; here he contrasts the conduct of the Turks with that of some Christians.

[Whitehead's Christian Progress, pp. 291, 319, 320; Whiting's Persecution Exposed, p. 12; Marsh's Early Friends in Surrey and Sussex, p. 20; Besse's Sufferings, i. 431, 699, 700; Fox's Journal, ed. 1891, pp. 203, 264, 318; Smith's Cat. of Friends' Books, ii. 599; Registers at Devonshire House.]

C. F. S.