Gibson, William (1629-1684) (DNB00)

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GIBSON, WILLIAM (1629–1684), quaker, was born at Caton in Lancashire in 1629. During his early life he was a puritan, and a soldier in the parliamentary forces. While forming part of the garrison at Carlisle he joined a party to insult a quaker meeting, but was so attracted by the preacher's words that he attended other meetings, and finally left the army. In 1654 he was committed to Lancaster gaol for ‘public testimony.’ In 1655 and 1656 he was several times imprisoned for short periods for the same offence, and is believed to have been recognised as a quaker minister about this time. In 1660 he was again imprisoned at Lancaster for some months on account of his refusal to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and in 1661 at Shrewsbury for some unknown cause. During the same year he was seized on the road to a meeting in Denbighshire by a party of soldiers, and sent to gaol with a number of other quakers. They were all liberated at the assizes except Gibson, who was kept in prison and cruelly treated by the gaolers. They once threw him down a flight of stone stairs, and caused a six months' illness. On his discharge he married in 1662, and settled at Warrington in Lancashire, where he is believed to have engaged in trade. Subsequently he seems to have removed to London, and in 1672 his name appears in a list of quakers discharged from the king's bench under the general proclamation of Charles II. During 1676 and 1677, while living in Fenchurch Street, his goods were several times distrained on account of his not paying tithes. From a letter protesting against the eviction of the Friends from Danzig, dated 8 Aug. 1679, Gibson appears to have been engaged in ministerial work in Holland during that year. He died in London, aged 55, on 23 Nov. 1684, and was buried from a meeting in White Hart Court at the Friends' burial-ground, near Bunhill Fields, his funeral being attended by upwards of a thousand quakers. His published writings are: 1. ‘A Salutation of the Father's Love unto the Young Men and Virgins, who are in the Openings of the Prophesies in Visions and in Revelations,’ &c., 1663, written in 1661 in Shrewsbury gaol. 2. ‘The Everlasting Rule born witness unto … in words,’ 1667. 3. ‘Universal Love, being an Epistle given forth by the Spirit of God through His Suffering Servant, William Gibson,’ 1671; republished 1672; written in Maidstone gaol. 4. ‘Tythes ended by Christ with the Levitical Priesthood,’ &c., 1673. Part by T. Rudyard and George Watt. 5. ‘A False Witness examin'd and rebuk'd,’ &c., 1674. 6. ‘The Life of God which is the Light and Salvation of Men Exalted: or an Answer to six Books or particular Treatises given forth by John Cheyney …’ 1677. 7. ‘Election and Reprobation Scripturally and Experimentally Witnessed unto, &c.,’ 1678. 8. ‘A Christian Testimony born by the People of God, in scorn call'd Quakers, in London …’ 1679. Part by Thomas Rudyard. 9. ‘A General Epistle given forth in obedience to the God of Peace …’ &c., 1682.

[Neal's Hist. of the Puritans, ed. 1822, v. 267; Gough's Hist. of the Quakers, iv. 3; Besse's Sufferings, i. 255, &c.; Smith's Catalogue of Friends' Books.]

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