William Dewsbury (1621-1688) was an eminent minister and elder in the early Society of Friends whose role in the formation and oversight of the Society was comparable to that of George Fox. Like many others in his day, Dewsbury suffered great persecution for the testimony of Jesus Christ, but never played the coward in the face of adversity. Speaking of his nineteen years of wrongful imprisonment, he declared, “I joyfully entered prisons as palaces and sang praises to my God, esteeming the bolts and locks put upon me as jewels.” After visiting William Dewsbury in 1676, John Whiting described him as “an extraordinary man in many ways, and I thought, as exact a pattern of a perfect man as I ever knew.”
William Dewsbury then dwelt in his own hired house, with whom I had pretty much discourse in his garden of many things to my great comfort and satisfaction; for he was very free and open to me beyond what I could expect, being a young man and a stranger outwardly to him. He told me some things I shall never forget. He was an extraordinary man in many ways, and I thought, as exact a pattern of a perfect man as I ever knew.- John Whiting
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The life of that early and eminent minister of the gospel in the Society of Friends, William Dewsbury, containing selections from his own writings and epistles, his final sermon on the necessity of the new birth, and other biographical and historical information added by Edward Smith.
“I joyfully entered prisons as palaces and sang praises to my God, esteeming the bolts and locks put upon me as jewels.”— William Dewsbury