Canne, John (DNB00)

CANNE, JOHN (d. 1667?), divine and printer, may have been connected with the important family of the name at Bristol, where Sir Thomas Canne was knighted by James I, his son William was mayor, and his grandson Robert was made a knight and baronet by Charles II, and was complained of as a 'favourer of sectaries.' That John had some tie with Bristol is probable from his connection with the Broadmead baptists. He has been supposed to have received episcopal ordination, but this is not certain. There was a congregation of independents and paedo-baptists meeting in Deadman's Place, London, the majority of whom, in consequence of persecution, followed their minister, John Hubbard, to Ireland, about 1621. On his death the church returned to London and chose Canne as teacher. After a year or two he went to Amsterdam, and there became the successor of Henry Ainsworth as pastor of the congregation of English independents there. At one time some of Ainsworth's posthumous manuscripts were in his hands. Canne retained his position for seventeen years, and to his pulpit labours added those of an author and printer. An allusion to the troubles of the church is found in the title of his first book, 'The Way to Peace, or Good Counsel for it; preached upon the 15th day of the second month 1632, at the reconciliation of certain brethren between whom there had been former differences,' Amsterdam, 1632. His most important book appeared two years later, and is called 'A Necessitie of Separation from the Church of England, proved by the Non-conformists' Principles. Specially opposed unto Dr. Ames, his Fresh Suit against humane ceremonies in the point of separation only. . . . By John Canne, pastor of the ancient English Church in Amsterdam. Printed in the yeare 1634.' This was re-printed in 1849 by the Hanserd Knollys Society, under the editorship of the Rev. Charles Stovel. It is a work of ability. In 1639 Canne published at Amsterdam 'A Stay against Straying; wherein, in opposition to Mr. John Robinson, is proved the unlawfulness of hearing the Ministers of the Church of England.' These two treatises were answered in 1642 by John Ball, who styles Canne 'the leader of the English Brownists in Amsterdam.' Richard Baxter said: 'Till Mr. Ball wrote for the Liturgy and against Can, and Allen, &c., and Mr. Buxton published his "Protestation Pro- tested," I never thought ' (he was then twenty- five years old, and minister at Kidderminster), 'I never thought what presbytery or independency were, nor ever spake with a man that seemed to know it. And that was in 1641, when the war was brewing' (Dexter, p. 651).

In 1640 Canne visited England, and the Broadmead congregation of baptists having been formed he was called upon to preach to them. The Broadmead records contain very curious particulars as to his services. In the morning he had 'liberty to preach in the public place' (called a church), ' but in the afternoon a godly honourable woman,' learning that Canne was 'a baptized man by them called an anabaptist,' had the church closed against him, and he preached on the green, and debated with Mr. Fowler, a sympathetic minister, who was ejected at the Restoration, and was the father of Edward Fowler, bishop of Gloucester (1691-1716). Canne returned to Amsterdam in the same year and issued his 'Congregational Discipline.' This year appeared ' Syon's Prerogative Royal ; or a Treatise tending to prove that every particular congregation ... is an independent body. By a Well-wisher of the Truth.' This is attributed to Canne by John Paget in his 'Defence of Presbyterian Government.' It has, however, been thought that Ainsworth was the author [see Ainsworth, Henry]. It is supposed that Canne remained at Amsterdam until 1647, when his reference Bible with notes appeared. This was the best work of its kind that had then appeared. It was dedicated to the English parliament. It has been thought that Canne was the author of three sets of notes on the Bible, and that there was one earlier issue than that of 1647, since he there refers to additions 'to the former notes in the margin,' but no copy appears to be known. In 1653 he had an exclusive license for seven yeare 'to print a Bible with annotations, being his own work, and that no man, unless appointed by him, may print his said notes, either already printed or to be printed' (Calendar of State Papers, 9 June 1653). In the edition of 1664 he speaks of an edition with larger annotations which he proposed to publish, and on which he had spent many years. This does not appear to have been published. Canne's eyes were again set homeward, and in 1649 five of his books were published in London: 1. 'The Improvement of Time.' 2. ' The Golden Rule, or Justice advanced in justification of the legal proceedings of the High Court of Justice against Charles Steward, late king of England.' 3. 'The Snare is Broken. Wherein is proved, by Scripture, Law, and Reason, that the National Covenant and Oath was unlawfully given and taken. Published by authority,' 1649, 4to. The dedication, to the Rt. Hon. the Commons assembled in parliament, is dated from Bowe, 21 April 1649. 4. 'Emanuel, or God with us,' 4to (this is a jubilation over the victory at Dunbar). 5. 'The Discoverer . . . the Second Part,' is a vindication of Fairfax and Cromwell, to whom it is jointly dedicated. There is no internal evidence of the authorship, and the terms of a reference to Overton on page 70 rather militate against its being written by Canne, but it is attributed to him in a pamphlet, 'The Same Hand again,' 1649 (E 555/27). The first part is said to have appeared in 1643. In 1650 he was at Hull, and acted as chaplain to the governor, Colonel Robert Overton, whose curious book, 'Man's Mortalitie,' he had printed at Amsterdam in 1643. Canne was in such favour with the soldiers that they obtained leave from the council of state to have the chancel of the parish church for their meeting-place, and they walled up the arches between it and the church, where John Shawe, another famous puritan, had, as he boasts, 'constantly above 3,000 hearers.' Canne's friends obtained a grant for him from the council of state of 65l. 6s. 8d. for his chaplain's salary for 196 days; 'and for his future subsistence two soldiers are to be reduced out of each of the four companies of that garrison, which will retrench 6s. 8d., in lieu of which a chaplain is to be added.' His stay in Hull was not long, but in 1653, when he published at London 'A Voice from the Temple to the Higher Powers,' the remembrance was rankling in his mind, and he denounces Shawe as 'a most corrupt man and hitherto countenanced by men as corrupt and rotten as himself.' The book is dedicated to Cromwell, with a second dedication or epistle to Overton, from 'your Christian brother to serve you in the Gospel, John Canne,' who mentions the desire expressed by some for his notes on Daniel. These do not appear to have been published. In relation to their controversies Shawe, on the other hand, says : 'I had many contests with him before Oliver the Protector, to whom he appealed, and elsewhere. At last he printed a little pamphlet against me where are some few truths but most part lyes. I drew up an answer to it, but was over persuaded by divers discreet and learned men to let it alone and sleight it.' Like other controversialists Shawe had a mean opinion of his adversary. He quotes a biting epigram:

Is John departed ? is Canne dead and gone ?
Farewell to both, to Canne and eke to John ;
Yet being dead, take this advice from me,
Let them not both in one grave buryed be;
But lay John here, and lay Canne thereabout,
For if they both should meet, they would fall out.

In 1653 also appeared 'A Second Voice from the Temple to the Higher Powers.' He was at this time credited with the possession of great influence with the council of state. His next work, 'Time with Truth,' is dated from Hull in 1656. His daughter, whose name was Deliverance, was buried on 18 Dec. 1656, and his wife, 'Agnees,' was buried on 20 Jan. 1656-7, at the same place, Holy Trinity Church, Hull. He now appears to have imbibed some of the principles of the fifth-monarchy men, and in 1657 he published at London 'The Time of the End . . .' Christopher Feake and John Rogers both supplied prefaces. These persons with others were denounced to the government as meeting at Mr. Daforme's house in Bartholomew Lane, near the Royal Exchange, and professing themselves ready for insurrection. This was only two months after the crushing of Venner's attempted rising in the interest of the fifth monarchy. Canne complains bitterly of his banishment from Hull 'after seven-teen years' banishment before.' On 2 April 1658, when 'old brother Canne' was in the pulpit of the meeting-place in Swan Alley, Coleman Street, the marshal of the city entered and arrested him and seven of the brethren who had protested against their rough treatment of the old man. Canne was brought before the lord mayor, and acknowledged that he was not satisfied with the government, and would like an opportunity to tell the Protector so, but declined to enter upon the question with the magistrate. One of the accused, Wentworth Day, was fined 5001. and sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment. John Clark, who had been acquitted by the jury, was condemned to pay 200 marks and to be imprisoned six months. Canne and the remainder were released on 25 April 1658. A narrative of the transaction was published. This year he published ' The Time of Finding,' in which he describes himself as 'an old man,' and expecting 'every day to lay down this earthly tabernacle,' and complains of the persecutions he had endured, and to which he attributed the death of his wife and daughter. In 1659 he published 'A Seasonable Word to the Parliament Men,' and 'A Twofold Shaking of the Earth.' A tract upon tithes, entitled 'A Query to William Prynne,' was printed at the end of an ' Indictment against Tythes,' by John Osborn, London, 1659. Canne was resident in August of this year at his house 'without Bishopsgate,' and the date of his final retreat from England is not known.

. . . old Father Canne,
That reverend man,

is mentioned in the 'Psalm of Mercy,' a gross satire against the fifth-monarchy men, which is dated by Thomas Wright 8 Jan. 1660. It is partially printed in his 'Political Ballads published during the Commonwealth' (Percy Society, 1841, p. 259). He is also the object of some satirical writings of Samuel Butler, who published 'The Acts and Monuments of our late Parliament,' 1659, under the pseudonym of John Canne (B. M. E 1S|2). A John Cann, of London, gentleman, is mentioned as the husband of Elizabeth Stubbs in the Cambridgeshire pedigrees (Genealogist, iii. 311), but whether this indicates a second marriage is not known. We find him at Amsterdam in 1664, where he issued again his 'Bible with Marginal Notes.' This is his most laborious and useful work, and has gone through several editions. His book was used in the preparation of Bagster's 'Comprehensive Bible,' of which it is indeed the basis. Canne is believed to have died in Amsterdam in 1667. In the library of the British Museum, which contains many of Canne's books, the catalogue discriminates between John Canne 'the elder' and 'the younger.' Under the latter name there is only one entry : 'A New Evangelical History of the Holy Bible contained in the Old and New Testament, digested in a plain, regular, and easy narrative with twenty-four curious copper-plate cuts, by John Canne. London: P. & J. Bradshaw, in Paternoster Row, and J. Goodwin, in the Strand, 1766.' Whether this is a pseudonym assumed by some writer desirous of profiting by a name so well known in connection with the Bible, or whether it is a genuine name, is unknown. A copy of the 'Wicked Bible ' mentioned in Mr. Henry Stevens's 'Recollections of James Lennox ' is said to have come from a library in Holland founded by Canne, but details are wanting.

[Dexter's Congregationalism of last Three Hundred Years, 1880; Memoirs of Master John Shawe, written by himself, edited by the Rev. J. R. Boyle, Hull, 1882, pp. 43-6, 199-215; Some of the Life and Opinions of a Fifth-Monarchy Man, chiefly extracted from the writings of John Rogers, preacher, by the Rev. Edward Rogers, M.A., London, 1867, pp. 156, 312, 316; Calendars of State Papers (from about 1613 to 1660); Canne's Necessitie, &c. ed. Stovel, 1849; Wilson's History of Dissenting Churches, iv. 125-36; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, iii. 332; Hanbury's Memorials, i. 515; Worthington's Diary, i. 266.]

W. E. A. A.