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THE ANATOMY OF A SEPARATION: THE LYNAM CONTROVERSY By Kenneth L. Carroll* Separatist movements appeared within the Society of Friends quite early, both in England and the American colonies. Few of them have been studied in detail, and most of them have been almost completely forgotten. The latter is especially true of the Lynam Separation in seventeenth-century Maryland. The one brief account1 of this event misses the underlying reasons, the major developments, and the final solution of this controversy that so distressed George Fox and other English and American Quakers. John Lynam was a well-known Friend long before he and his wife, Margaret, came to Maryland. He suffered nine or ten weeks of imprisonment in Derby jail in 1661 and was again persecuted by the vicar of South Wingfield in 1663.2 In 1675 he was fined for attending a Friends meeting in Heanor, and in 1676 he lost goods valued at£6 10s. for attending the funeral of Samuel Roe in Ilkeston Parish.3 Margaret Lynam, whose name had been Ridge before her 1666 marriage to John Lynam, was the daughter of a clergyman at Antrim in Ireland.4 She was active in "the service of truth" in the North of Ireland before 1660 and also traveled in England quite early. According to Davidson, she was in Derbyshire in England in 1661, when she took food to forty-one Quakers who had been taken from meeting for worship and locked in one room in a barn overnight, while being marched to Derby jail. After feeding them, the next morning, Margaret marched with them as far as Fritchley.6 Extracts from sev- * Kenneth L. Carroll, Professor of Religion at Southern Methodist University , is the author of Joseph Nichols and the Nicholites (1962) and editor of TL· Creative Centre of Quakerism (1965). 1 "Records respecting John and Margaret Lynam in England and Maryland ," Journal ofttie Friends' Historical Society, V (1908), 95-103. 2 Joseph Besse, A Collection of tL· Sufferings of tL· People Called Quakers (London, 1753), I, 138-139. See also Thomas Davidson, Margaret Lynam (Derby, 1901), p. 3. 3 "Records respecting John and Margaret Lynam," p. 95. 4 Marriage Register of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Quarterly Meeting, Friends House Library, London, lists the marriage as Fourth Month 13, 1666. 6 Extracts from Letters by Margaret Lynam (n.p., n.d.), pp. 1-3. Davidson, Margaret Lynam, pp. 4-5. See Besse, Sufferings, I, 138-139, for an account of the march of these forty-one prisoners (ten of them women), where no mention of Margaret Ridge is made. 67 68Quaker History eral of her early letters show Margaret to be intelligent, literate, and persuasive. In the mid-1670's, after nearly ten years of marriage, John and Margaret Lynam produced several pamphlets. A paper submitted by them in 1675 was judged by the Second Day Morning Meeting not fit to be printed.6 Exactly a year later, on Fifth Month 24, 1676, a "book" by Margaret and John Lynam was ordered to be published .7 This probably was the brief two-part work which begins with Margaret's "The Controversie of the Lord Against the Priests of the Nations and Teachers of the People" and ends with John's "Unto all you People, under what Name or Form of Religion soever you are."8 Margaret Lynam's selection is full of biblical imagery, allusions, and quotations—showing a wide and deep acquaintance with the Bible. John's work deals largely with his convincement, the fruits of the Spirit, and a cry from the heart: "I who am made a Partaker of God's free Love do, in the same Love wherewith God hath loved me, this Testimony unto you bear, that you may be with me made Partakers of his Love and heavenly Peace."9 In 1677, the Lynams were living at Whitely in Derbyshire, where John was a wheelwright.10 They were still in England, it appears, when Margaret issued, somewhere about 1680, a one-page tract entitled "A Warning from the Lord Unto All Informers [etc.]," which is a call to come out of "Darkness" into the "Light."11 Shortly after the appearance of this last...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 67-78
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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