' Thomas Brewer was a zealous minister of the baptist persuasion, who suffered the most cruel usage under the ecclesiastical oppressions of Bishop Laud. It docs not appear whether he was ever beneficed in the established church. The first account of him we meet with, is, that, in the year 1626, he wns :i preacher among the separatists in and about Ashford in Kent. In that year, through the instigation of Laud, he was prosecuted and censured in the high commission court, and committed to prison, where he remained no less than fourteen years. The archbishop, afterwards speaking of the mischief done by the nonconformity of Mr. Brewer and Mr. Turner, says, " The hurt which they have done is so deeply rooted, that it is impossible to be plucked up on a sudden; but I must crave time to work it off by little and little." His grace, however, certainly fixed upon the most direct and effectual method of doing this. For, in his account of his province addressed to the king, in the year 1637, he says, " I must give your majesty to understand, that at and about Ash lord in Kent, the separatists continue to hold their con vehicles, notwithstanding the ex com mu i ication of so many of them as have been discovered. Two or three of their principal ringleaders, Brewer, Fenner, and Turner, have long been kept in prison, and it was once thought tit to proceed against them by the statute of abjuration.t Not long since Brewer slipt out of prison, and went to Rochester and other parts of Kent, and held conventicles, and put a great many people into great distempers against the church. He is taken again, and was called before the high commission, w here he stood silent, but in such a jeering scornful manner, as I scarcely
* This work indicates much reflection, nn experimental acquaintance with the powers of the soul, and the workings of sin and grace.— WiUiami't Christian Preacher, p. 455.
+ Upon this part of the archbishop's account, his majesty inserted the following recommendation: " Keep those persons fast, until you think " what to do with the rest."— Wbarton's Troubles of Laud, vol. I. p. 546.
ever saw the like. So in prison he remains."* This was a short and certain method of stopping their mouths. Mr. Brewer having been confined in prison fourteen years, even till the meeting of the long parliament, he was then set at liberty by an order from the house of commons, November 28, 1640, upon his promise to be forthcoming when called; and this is all we know of him.t