Richard Jordan.

A journal of the life and religious labours of Richard Jordan ... late of Newton, in Gloucester County, New Jersey .. online

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peared to be wellsatisfied, and the meeting concluded
in solemn prayer and supplication. This was the first
time I was ever, engaged in this awful service through
an interpreter ; he kneeled down beside me, and seem-
ed nearly united with me in spirit, as he translated my
words, with which the people seemed also to unite.
Many of them came forward at the conclusion of the
meeting, and took me by the hand, in a^very solid, af-
fectionate manner ; indeed I felt a stream of gospel
love in my heart towards the people as I walked
the streets, the countenances of many seemed to me to
bespeak the sadness of their hearts, and a desire to be
relieved from the yoke of spiritual bondage ; my soul
secretly prayed, May the Lord Almighty help them !


A dear, seeking woman, having heard of my intention
of being at Minden at this time, came fifteen miles in
the morning on foot, to be at the meeting, but being de-
tained in crossing a river, did not reach Minden in time
for the first meeting: she attended that in the after-
noon, which was also a blessed time, through the re-
newing of holy help. She came and supped with us
in the evening, and on being asked, if she was not wea-
ry with her walk, replied, " Nay," seeming rejoiced
that she had been at the meeting. Many of these dear
people would stand, and look me in the face with tears
in their eyes, regretting that they were not able to speak
to me, telling my interpreter that the language of their
hearts towards me was love, and truly, mine often over-
flowed with love to them.

Second-day, seventeenth, I requested a meeting for
friends only, which was held at the house where' we
lodged, a httle out of the town : the aforementioned
woman, and another sober person or two, also attended
it. At this meeting I was permitted, to dip my foot
afresh, as it were, into oil, as rejoicingly so perhaps, as
I ever experienced ; and O, saith my soul, what shall
we render unto the Lord for all his benefits, which we
cannot merit, and especially such eminent condescend-
ings of his love and goodness as he was pleased to vouch-
safe to us this day, under a humbling sense of which,
our souls seemed melted down together as wax before
the sun, so that there were few, if any, dry cheeks in
the meeting ; may the Lord sanctify this favour to our
lasting benefit, and take all the honour to himself, unto
whom it is due, now and forever, amen.

Third-day. Early in the morning we left Minden and
returned to Pyrmont, and next day attended the week
day meeting there, which was a comfortable time in si-

100 JOTJRNAI, or [1801.

lence, and I had to believe that many were made to feel
that which is preferable to words ; may they grow and
prosper therein.

First-day, twenty-third, I attended the two meetings
here for the last time : in the morning I was pretty,
largely opened in testimony, and it was a precious time :
in the afternoon I was silent, but my interpreter had
some communication, which appeared to afford satisfac-
tion, and to command stillness in the meeting, which
had been somewhat interrupted by a man in liquor, but
ended quietly.

I. not feeling quite easy to leave Pyrmont without
seeing friends together by themselves, proposed such a
meeting this evening, and in order to effect it, they met
at Peacedale, and a few others under convincement
also attended. The forepart of this meeting was ra-
ther hard and laborious, requiring great deliberation
in delivering what I had to say, looking well for the
stepping stones, which seemed to lay in such an in-
tricate situation, that it brought discouragement over
me, and I -began to look for a stopping place, when,
blessed be the Lord, his power broke in upon us, and
was so eminently manifested, that it proved like a plen-
tiful shower upon the thirsty ground, and we were ge-
n&rally broken and melted down before the Lord, and
his great name was praised, who alone is worthy, now
and forevermore.

After this memorable meeting, I felt, as I apprehend-
ed, fully released, and next day, being the twenty-fourth,
Lewis Seebohm having agreed^ to accompany me as in-
terpreter, I took my solemn leave of friends, and set out
for Amsterdam in Holland, about two hundred and forty
miles distant. We travelled about six German miles to
Bielfeldt, where we got a pretty comfortable lodging.

1801.] KICHARD JORDAN. 101

Twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth. We travelled most of
these two days among Roman Catholics, and along the
way side there were abundance of crosses and images,
particularly at the parting of roads : at the most noted
places was the pretended image of our Saviour, which
appeared to be made of a kind of alabaster, and was
nailed to the cross in the attitude of expiring ; on some
of them was also represented the crown of thorns. At
other places were images of Mary and the child Jesus,
placed on stone pillars, and also likenesses of several of
the saints. O, how my soul secretly mourned over the
great superstition manifested among them in these and
other respects ; yet notwithstanding their ignorance,
they received and entertained us kindly for our money,
and seemed to look respectfully on us, though probably
by them accounted heretics. Many of them had goodly
countenances, and I did believe were sighing under their
burdens ; may the Lord look down in mercy on these,
and hasten the day of their deliverance.

Twenty-seventh. We entered Holland, and making
a little halt at the first town we passed through, I felt
my mind so strongly drawn in gospel love towards the
inhabitants, that I could not help thinking of a meeting
among them, and mentioned it to my interpreter, but
no way seeming to open then, to bring it about, I heavi-
ly passed on, and most of this day felt rather uncomfor-
table. May the Lord do more for them than such an
opportunity could have effected.

Sixth-day, twenty-eighth. We got to Utretcht, a
neat, well built town, on the Rhine, where we lodged,
and on seventh-day we had a very agreeable ride of
about twenty-four English miles, into Amsterdam, the
road lying along a great canal, on the banks of which, .
for a considerable part of the distance, were beautiful
I 2


JOtJKNAl OF [1801.

country houses set off with delightful walks, groves of
trees, beautiful arbours, and the most extravagant tem-
ples of pleasure I had ever seen in any country ; these
were surrounded with extensive level fields of grass,
like a plain, over which were dispersed herds of fine
cattle feeding. In viewing these delightful improve-
ments, which were like a pleasant garden, I concluded
within myself, that if these people were but gathered in
spirit to the alone source of all true and permanent hap-
piness, and to an humble dependence thereon, this
place would approach the nearest to a paradisa below,
of any situation I had ever seen. But alas, a disposi-
tion quite different from this seemed to me to prevail in
this country, that is, to say soul eat, drink and enjoy the
good of all thy labour, for thou hast goods laid up for
many years.

Having heard of a few religious people in Amster-
dam who had forsaken the national worship, and for
some time had met together, and sat in silence, pretty
much in the way of Friends, we sought them out this
afternoon, and proposed sitting with them on the mor-
row, of which they seemed glad.

First-day, thirtieth. We went near half a mile from
our inn to meet these people, and sat down with them.
I soon felt, as I apprehended, -that although their out-
ward appearance- was not much like friends, their be-
ginning was under a right dispensation, and their dispo-
sition like that of children who were wilhng to be in-
structed. The truths of the gospel ran forth like pre-
cious oil amongst them, and a blessed watering time we
had, both in the morning and again in the afternoon ;
may the Lord send them help out of Zion, saith my


Second-day. According to the custom of this place,

1801.] RICHAKD JORDAN. 103

we gave in our names, places of abode and business,
and waited on the Burgher's office with our passports ;
they refused at first to admit us into the office with our
hats on, though my interpreter informed them that w-e
we were of the people called Quakers, and it was a re-
ligious scruple we had, and not from contempt or disre-
spect to any, that we refused that honour to men ; one
of them said, in a scoffing manner, that the spirit had
not told him so. We were turned into a long entry,
until they had taken counsel of their committee, as they
said ; and after we had waited without, a considerable
time, which we were favoured to do patiently, we were
called in, and respectfully received with our hats on.
They then executed our business and discharged us in
a friendly manner, without any fees, and we went on
our way rejoicing that we had been enabled to bear
this little testimony on behalf of Truth and Friends.
We then went and spent a little time with some of
those friendly people aforementioned, and they seemed
to rejoice in our faithful testimony before the magis-
trates, so that we hoped it would tend to their encour-
agement under similar trials.

Fourth-day, second of ninth month. We attended an-
other meeting with the aforementioned friendly people
to satisfaction. There are now no members of our re-
ligious society in Amsterdam, though formerly there
was a considerable number, the remains of a fine meet-
ing-house are still there, which with a considerable pri-
vilege attached to it, belong to the society, and are un-
der the care of friends in England. We went to see
the house, and I having been requested by the meetiiig
for sufferings in London, to attend to some business res-
pecting the estate belonging to friends as aforesaid, they
not having opportunity to do it, during the late troubles

104 JOURNAL OF [1801.

in Europe, we undertook to examine into it for them,
and settle it as well as we could, which occupied part
of two days, it having laid a considerable time neglect-
ed, so that our attention appeared to be very season-
able, and gave friends in England good satisfaction, and
we were glad that it was in our power to assist them
herein. This week I also waited on our American
consul, in order to procure a passport to travel in France;
he treated me with much kindness and civility, gave
me a good passport, and would not take any fee for it,
■though entitled to it in virtue of his office. I also called
at the French consul's office the same day, where I like-
wise met with civility and attention, and got my pass-
port endorsed under the seal of the French Republic.
We went to see several religiously disposed people in
the city, not those we first met with ; staid over first-
day, and attended two more meetings with those first
mentioned serious people, several others also coming
in, these were both favoured opportunities and the
evening closed peacefully, blessed be the Lord.

Fourth-day, Lewis Seebohm having after some diffi-
culty obtained passports to travel in France, this morn-
ing we left Amsterdam and took our journey towards
Antwerp in French Flanders. We went about twenty-
four miles this day in a treckschute, along a large canal
to a town called Gouda, where we lodged, and next
day took the mail for Antwerp : we travelled until
about nine o'clock at night, when my interpreter was
taken so ill that we were obliged to stop at an inn until
morning, when finding himself better we proceeded
and reached Antwerp about ten o'clock. After taking
some refreshment we went to the town-house, and pre-
sented our passports for examination, they received us
with much civility, and put off the examination for a

1801.] BICHAED JORDAN. 105

few hours on account of the press of business, fixing an
hour for us to come again.

We went accordingly about the time appointed, and
got our passports endorsed under the seal of the French
Republic, and delivered to us very respectfully, so much
so, that I told the principal secretary, if I lived to re-
turn to my country again, I should take pleasure in
speaking well of French civility and kindness; beseem-
ed somewhat affected, and said it was but their duty
to do so, and took his leave of us in a very friendly
manner. Thus, way has been made for us hitherto,
even in the minds of those in authority. Our endorse-
ments recommended us to the Prefect's office in Paris,
and we journied on through a fine, well cultivated
country, and lodged in a neat and well built town call-
ed Ghent. First-day, twelfth, travelled in a very heavy
carriage called the Diligence, carrying many passen-
gers, I think at one time we had fifteen, and the roads
so broken up in- some places that we were obliged to
get out and walk. One of these carriages broke down
just behind us in the evening, but we were favoured to
get to our intended lodging place, a fine town called
Lille, where we were put into a room the most extra-
vagantly furnished of any that I ever lodged in, and be-
ing very weary I soon got to sleep. On second-day we
could get no stage, and were therefore obliged to re-
main at Ijille ; but on third-day we proceeded, though
the roads in some places were so bad and the carriage
heavy, that at one place the horses stopped, and we
all got out to walk, but my interpreter having observed
that walking fatigued me, persuaded me that I had
better get in again, and I at length consented, though I
did not feel easy with it, which seems as though the
mind sometimes receives a presentiment of approaching

106 JOURNAL OF [1801.

• distress. I believe I had not been in the carriage five
minutes before the horses ran off the causeway, and
overset it down a precipice perhaps twelve or fourteen
feet. The fall was very great, and the postillion seeing
the danger jumpfed from his seat, before the carriage
went down, leaving all to me who was shut up alone,
.and .had no chance of escape. Ah ! surely it is of the
Lord's mercy that 1 am left to give this account, the
passengers who saw the carriage go down thought I was
killed, and ran back as quickly as they could. I opened
the door, and begged some one to help me out, when
they found not even a bone broken, only my right hand
was strained, and my leg and shoulder on the same side
much bruised. The French passengers were all verv
kind in assisting me, especially a lawyer of Paris, who
had travelled with us from Gouda, and when I became
so ill that I could not go on in the stage, staid with us
until we arrived in his native city of Paris, which was
on (he eighteenth, his name was Alexander Moyanat.
He continued his kindness as long as we staid in Paris,
coming frequently nearly a mile to see us, and several
times invited us to dine with him. Had I not been in
so much pain from my hurt, I think I should have en-
joyed the fine prospects in this beautiful country ; and
I may safely say from general observation, that it rather
exceeds any country I have ever' before travelled in.
At Paris we met with Abraham Barker, a friend from
New Bedford in North America, and no way opening
foi" any religious meeting at this place, when first-day
came, we sat down together in our hired room in si-
lence, and a sweet time it was to me. It may not per-
haps be amiss to mention how we were treated at the
municipality, when we attended to present 'our pass-
ports. We were stopped by the guards, who had strict

1801.] RICHARD JORDAN. 107

orders, it seems, not to suffer any man to pass, unless he .
had what is called a cockade in his hat, but on our desir-
ing our guide to step forward and inform the officers, that
we were of the people called Quakers, and that our not
observing those signs of the times was not in contempt
of authority, or disrespect to any in office, but from a
religious scruple in our own minds, it being the same
with us in our own country, they readily accepted" our
reasons, and one of the officers came and took us by
the guards and so up into the chamber, where we were
suffered to remain quietly with our hats on until our
passports were examined by two officers, and again en-
dorsed under the seal of the republic, permitting us to
go to Calvisson in Languedoc. Thus it often appears
to me that we make our way better in the minds of the
people, when we keep strictly to our religious profes-
sion, in all countries and amongst all sorts of persons.
I not being well able to travel, we staid here for several
days, and though no way seemed to open for a religious
meeting, we spread several books which we had taken
with us for that purpose, and found considerable open-
ness in the minds of the people to receive them, they
treated us with much civility and respect. We also
went to Versailles about twelve miles from Paris, where
we met with some friendly people who seemed glad to
see us, we only staid here one day, and returned to
Paris. Twenty-third was what the French call their
Decade, or the anniversary of their revolution, which
seemed to be kept with great joy, and such a concourse
of people as were collected on the occasion, I never
before saw. The friend aforementioned and myself
took a walk in what are called the Elysian fields, and
were not a little surprised to observe the order that
prevailed throughout this vast concourse. I think we

108 JOTJRNAl OF [1801.

did not observe one drunken man, or the least sign of
wrangling and scarcely one loud sentence spoken among
them, neither do I know that we met with so much as.
a sneer from one of them, or any kind of insult, notwith-
standing the singularity which our appearance must
have been to them.

I walked out a few other times during our stay in
Paris for the. benefit of fresh air, but being poorly and
sometimes low in mind, and not having the advantage
of the language to converse with the people, I staid
much in my chamber, reading in my bible, which 1 had
taken along with me, to my great satisfaction.

Sixth-day, second of tenth month. We left Paris and
bad a pretty agreeable journey through a ftne, well
cultivated country to Lyons, upwards of three hundred
miles, where we staid only one day. Being desirous of
getting on to Congenies, where we understood there
were a considerable number of professors with us ; we
'concluded to take boat and go down the Rhone, a very
rapid river, as being more agreeable than going by land ;
the southern parts of France being much more hilly
than those we had passed over. On fifth-day we got
our carriage on board a boat, set out early from Lyons,
and had a pretty fine run that day, bat it came on so
rainy that the Rhone became dangerous for 'our little
boat. Next day in the afternoon we got out our car-
riage and went on again by land, which proved a mer-
ciful deliverance as we afterwards understood ; for the
day after we left the Rhone a boat was lost with a con-
siderable number of people on board, who were all

First-day, eleventh. Through considerable fatigue
and diflSculty, we arrived at Congenies, where we were
kindly received by Lewis Majolier and his wife, with

1800.] BIOHASD JORDAN. 109

whom we put up. Third-day, had an appointed meet-
ing at this place with those under our name, and al-
though we found them in a very weak state, and not
much appearance of the friend about them, yet it proved
through the renewal of holy help one of the most water-
ing seasons I ever experienced in a meeting. We found
it necessary to use great deliberation in our communi-
cations in order to be at all understood, so general a
weeping prevailed at hearing the sound of the gospel in
plain, simple truths dehvered among them. Next day we
went to Nismes about ten miles distant, and visited one
or two under our name there, and the day following
we went to a place called St. Giles about fifteen miles
from Nismes, close on the Mediterranean Sea, and said
to be noted formerly for containing many protestants,
who suffered much, especially in the reign of Lewis
XIV. for their religious principles, which occasioned
a great dispersion of the inhabitants from that place, and
it has never recovered, being now only a small to^^n,
but the remains of a large city. There are, however,
at this time, a number who make some profession of
our principles with whom we had a meeting, of which
they seemed glad, though it was not so open as the
aforementioned one at Congenies. We only staid one
day, and then returned to Congenies. On first-day
morning, attended meeting again at this place, which
was considerably larger than the first, and was also a
time of favour. After this meeting, feeling my mind
much exercised for the right advancement of friends
here, I proposed a meeting to be held at some suitable
time, which was acceded to, and held this afternoon.
My mind was opened and enlarged in laying their weak
and disordered state before them, and the consequences
of having no rule or order of discipline to unite them

110 JOURNAL OP [1801.

in supporting and holding up the testimonies of friends ;
many seemed fully sensible of it, and confessed in much
brokenness that their deviations had been such, that
they had been only usurpers of the name of friends.
This was truly an affecting opportunity, and after much
time had been spent, in which many with weeping la-
mented their situation, it was proposed to hold a meet-
ing next day, to try if they could get into some order,
which was agreed to, and in the evening several ar-
ticles were drawn up in order to lay before them.
Second-day, a meeting for business was accordingly
held, when the aforementioned articles were laid be-
fore them. They consisted of sundry heads of testimo-
nies from the book of Extracts of London Yearly Meet-
ing, accommodated as much as might be to their local
and weak situation, and it was proposed that all such
among them, as were willing and desirous of support-
ing these rules and testimonies, should subscribe them
and become united in the work. This proved also a
time of general weeping and brokenness, and I could
not forbear weeping with them. I think about thirty
of them stood up, and declared their willingness and de-
sire to support and maintain these rules of discipline as
proposed, and subscribed thereto. Others confessed
with tears that they felt too weak to engage at present,
and desired to know whether a door would be left open
for them hereafter, in case they should be better able
to come in at a future day. After a considerable time
had been thus spent, and they had appointed some of
their number as overseers, &c. the meeting concluded,
and I believe many minds with ours, were greatly re-
lieved: may the Lord prosper the work in their hands
to his own glory — ^for 1 did believe in our passing along
in this country that there was a precious seed in many


places, that would at some future day be gathered.
May the Father of mercies bow down his gracious ear
to the groanings thereof, and hasten the day of its deli-

Fourth-day, twenty-first. Apprehending myself clear
of any further labour among these people, Lewis See-
bohm and I parted; he concluded to stay a few days
longer about Congenies, and then take his journey
homewards through Switzerland, and I proceeded to-
wards Bordeaux, in order to look for a passage to some
port in England. This proved to be a very trying jour-
ney, it being between two and three hundred miles,
and I had only the company of a young man who had
lately been an officer in the French army, and did not
understand a word of English ; but as he was so kind
as to offer himself, and it being the best shift I could
then make for a pilot, I accepted his kind offer, and
very attentive and assisting he was to me, so far as we
could understand each other, which was chiefly by the
help of a dictionary. This was my tried situation for
about eight days, for meeting with some accident bj the
way, by getting one of the axletrees of our carriage bro-
ken, and also having some very stormy weather, we did
not reach Bordeaux until the twenty-eighth. I hap-
pened to get lodgings with pretty orderly people near
the Quay, where I met with some who could speak En-
glish : I enquired for a passage to England, but none
seemed immediately tooffer, and as it was now growing
late in the fall season, when a passage through the Bay
of Biscay is reckoned dangerous, I was under the neces-
sity of taking one as soon as it offered, or else to travel
through the country six or seven hundred miles, to Ca-
lais or Dunkirk, and this without an interpreter, the
young man aforementioned having left me and returned

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Online LibraryRichard JordanA journal of the life and religious labours of Richard Jordan ... late of Newton, in Gloucester County, New Jersey .. → online text (page 8 of 13)