This word is not given in the first edition of Johnson's Dictionary. The Anabaptists were a sect (the name of which is now corrupted to `Baptists') of very early origin in England. They can be traced among the Lollards and the original Independents, out of which latter church the Baptists first came forth as a distinct sect. Their numbers increased greatly during the Civil War, many of the soldiers who fought under Cromwell and Monk professing their faith. They afterwards considered that their cause had been betrayed by Cromwell; they protested against the imprisonment of Biddle (Crosby, vol. iii. p. 231), and were firm advocates of liberty of conscience.
'The Anabaptists,' says Burnet (History of his Own Time , i. p. 701), `were generally men of virtue and of an universal charity.'
Thus the English Anabaptists must not be confounded with the Anabaptists of Germany in the sixteenth century, who united Socialism, Communism, and Polygamy to their religious doctrines, possessed themselves of the city of Munster, and were only subdued after a long siege, 1536.
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