William Evans.

The Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) online

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traint, keeps them poor and bare ; yet they
appear contented.

" 18th. After a religious opportunity with
these families, we parted in much sympathy,
the two brothers accompanying us to Ufeln :
we passed through the finest piece of wood-
land we have seen in Germany, the timber
almost as tall as in America, which it is not
common to see here. Christopher took us to



the house of a person whom John Pemberton
mentions in his Journal. This man's wife
being a religious woman, and inclined to
Friends, had provided a dinner for us : but
her husband not being united with her in reli-
gious concern, and having always treated
Friends with indifference, and there being
eight of us, we thought it best not to stay,
though the woman pressed us very kindly.
With considerable exertion we found a poor
inn, the people of the house not well disposed
to receive us, and there was no retirement or
satisfaction to be obtained. Officers, and other
light persons were crowding into the room,
and the residents of the inn cross and diso-
bliging, evidencing clearly that we were not
welcome guests, which we endeavoured to
bear with patience ; but at length they told us
what was to pay, that we must discharge it
and leave them. This excited in us some ad-
mii'ation and disgust. We went and dined at
the house of the person before mentioned, who
treated us with kindness. A young officer in the
army offering his room for a meeting, we sat
down together ; he, the woman of the house
and about five others, with eight of our compa-
ny, made up the number. Upon the whole, it
appeared to be a satisfactory season, and we
hope will have a tendency of uniting the man
of the house more fully to his tender, religious
wife, and opening the way for Friends to be
more kindly received in this town than they
have hitherto been ; the minds of both priests
and people being very dark and prejudiced.
We were nowhere so much stared at, so ill-
treated, nor so depressed in our minds. After
meeting, the affectionate woman got us a dish
of coffee, we took a kind leave of the family,
and through Divine favour left them rejoicing.
Arrived at Hereford, and on the 19th got to
Bilefield. Though the appearance of the inn
bespoke but poor accommodations, yet the
widow and her children who kept it, seemed
disposed to do as well as they knew how. This
town contains about eight thousand inhabitants,
who are chiefly employed in the linen manu-
facture, and it is filled with soldiers.

" First-day, 20th. Several religious people
stepped in to see us, with whom we had a
satisfactory time ; one of them was a soldier,
had been with the King of Prussia against the
French, and was in several battles, but had
never fired his gun. One was a general en-
gagement of the two armies ; the night before
it took place, he being upon guard on the out
pickets, and perceiving a general attack likely
to come on in the morning, felt great repug-
nance to shedding the blood of his fellow-
creatures, and kneeled down and besought the
Lord to preserve him through the coming day.

which was mercifully granted : his company
were divided into five parts, which were to fol-
low each other as they were called out, and
those who remained alive after expending their
ammunition, to return and be succeeded by
another. He was first placed in the second di-
vision, but afterward was providentially trans-
ferred to the last ; many of his comrades were
killed, and the last division being called, was
prevented from getting into action by night
coming on ; thus his prayers were answered.
There being several religious men in the regi-
ment he belonged to, and others in the same
brigade, during the campaign they frequently
met together to edify one another in the spirit-
ual life : so it appears that the Most High may
be sought even in the inidst of wars and armies.
He was a tender-spirited man and desirous of
finding the right way, though under many dis-
couragements and burdens, in consequence of
his employment as a soldier : we advised him
to patience, and encouraged him to look to the
Lord for help. In the evening we were invited
to a meeting outside of the walls, where Sarah
Grubband a company had had one to their
satisfaction : about thirty serious people at-
tended ; the Lord favoured us together, and
Truth rose highei than I remember it to have
done since we left Berlin ; so we parted and
returned to our inn refreshed.

" 21st. Things appeared rather discourag-
ing — no way opening for a meeting in the
town. David Sands, Lewis Seebohm and my-
self dined with C. Wellman, who, with his
wife and children, used us very kindly, were
very free in conversation, deeply acquainted
with the mj^stic authors, high in reasoning, and
seemed much fixed in their strong-holds. There
are several families among those that are call-
ed rich, much in the same circumstance ; they
do not attend at any public worship, and plead
that there is no necessity for meeting together,
but that each one may seek the Lord in pri-
vate ; yet they would fain attend a meeting if
it was in a private way, being afraid of the
cross. Some opportunities and close labour
being had with them, we hope the observations
made may hei'eafter be blessed.

" 22nd. William Farrer and myself visited
Charlotte Laaer at her father's house, she
having come here from Pyrmont ; her mother
appeared very friendly and pleased to see us,
but her father was not so kind, though he used
us more respectfully than we expected. This
poor young woman has much to try her faith
and patience; we felt great sympathy with
her; she is of a loving, tender disposition,
and honestly labouring to be what she ought
to be in the sight of her heavenly Father : this
leads her in a tribulated path — her family being



people of distinction in the world. Lewis See-
bohm and myself took coffee with a merchant
who had married Charlotte's sister ; she met
us there ; they were kind and appeared to be
religious people. In the evening had a meet-
ing in our inn, where about thirty or forty peo-
ple came, many of them of the first rank ; it
held about three hours. David Sands and
myself were led to preach the Gospel, during
which much solemnity prevailed ; it proved
refreshing to us, and we believe to several of

" Fourth-day, 23d. Had much conversation
with C. Wellman and his family, who appear
to be drawing nearer to the spirit of Truth in
themselves. In the afternoon had an oppor-
tunity of more free conversation with Chai'-
lotte Laaer's father and mother, in which he
seemed tender ; and we parted friendly. It
has been a day of much exercise, in which
my mind has been more tried about the way
of moving from hence, than I have ever ex-
perienced before ; and the same also with my
companions : indeed this has been a very try-
ing place to us during the whole time of our
being here. The state of things among those
called Separatists, who are ashamed of the
cross, has exercised us much ; yet there is a
little remnant who are desirous of standing
faithful, whom we hope we have been made
a means of strengthening. To the flesh it
looks pleasant to turn towards Amsterdam,
the days being very short and the roads ex-
ceedingly bad ; but our minds are not fully
settled to proceed that way.

" 24th. After a time of waiting on the Lord
under much concern to be rightly directed, it
appeared most safe to proceed to Lemgo. We
parted with several of our acquaintances and
with the people of the inn, in an affectionate
manner ; our landlady and all her household
have been very attentive and obliging, which
has been a relief to us during our stay in this
exercising place. Dear Charlotte Laaer, who
has had our sympathy in her trials, was much
affected at parting. The roads were bad, and
we did not arrive at Lemgo until afternoon ;
the landlady received us kindly, but the house
was crowded with Prussian officers. Lewis
and myself, visited an ancient man named
Buckholz, who passes here for a Quaker, has
been brought under suffering several times for
his testimony, and is very near to us in princi-
ple ; with him and a few others, we had some
religious service tending to their encourage-
ment. I was glad of the visit. There are
many precious souls scattered up and down in
this country, struggling with discouragements.
Lemgo is in the Prince la Leppes' dominions,
believed to contain five thousand inhabitants.

" 25th. Undetermined which way to turn ;
these two weeks past have been very trying,
hardly able to see a day before us ; thus there
is need to pray for patience. Being nearer to
Amsterdam now than we have been before, it
seemed as though we might be permitted to
turn that way, but after solid consideration,
all seemed closed for the present with respect
to Holland, and our minds were most easy to
proceed in faith towai'ds Hanover, directly
back. It was a trial to be thus kept in Ger-
many. Passed through several villages, and
the roads so bad that our wagon stuck fast,
though all our company were out of it, and
the horses were not able to move it; our good
driver Christopher Reckefus, was obliged to
go back about three quarters of a mile to get
a chain to draw it out, which detained us an
hour and a half in the cold.

" 26th. The roads continuing very bad, I
hired a horse and a man to bring him back
from Hameln : here we found three of the
young Friends from Pyrmont, who had come
on foot twelve miles to meet with us; showing
the love these tender young people have for
the company of Friends. We took an affec-
tionate leave of them and our attentive friend
Christopher Reckefus, who had continued with
us eighteen days, and endeared himself to us.
We took post horses and went on to Spring,
the road being a turnpike, it was a great relief
to us, but there are few such in Germany,
as the princes are not willing to spend their
money on roads, and the people are too poor
to improve them.

" 27th. Arriving at Hanover, we found our
dear friend George Dillwyn with his interpre-
ter ; they had held a meeting in the morning
and appointed another in the afternoon, which
we all attended, and it appeared a satisfactory
time ; several of the religious people having
evidently gained ground and come nearer to
Friends. There are several here who have
scruples respecting some parts of the business
on which they are dependent for a livelihood,
similar to that which was among Friends in
the beginning, and from which testimony many
under our name are now departed : and when
we think of the occupations of many who have
had an education among us, and some who
are in high stations in the church, it has a
painful influence upon our minds, while we are
endeavouring to cherish that which is of the
right birth in those who have not had the same
advantages ; but Truth is the same in all places,
and Wisdom is everywhere justified of her chil-
dren. David Sands and myself have had our
minds turned to think of a meeting in a more
general way than has yet been in this place,
but no opening has hitherto presented ; — there



wants more firmness and boldness for the
Truth among those who appear to have a love
for it and its friends.

" 30th. Had a meeting at George Diilwyn's
lodgings : about thirty attended, among whom
were two candidates for the priest's office ; it
was a humbling time, and one of these young
men was much broken, and all his former
fabric destroyed ; he seemed like a man in
amazement, that he should have found the
truth in so simple a way and so unlooked for,
and we endeavoured to strengthen his exer-
cised mind.

" Twelfth month 1st. A number of people
coming in, we had another meeting in the

" First-day, 4th. A meeting being proposed
at the house where George Dillwyn lodges,
outside of the gates, a number of people col-
lected; the landlord, who had heretofore cheer-
fully given us his commodious room, now re-
fused, being afraid of the magistrates, and he
turned away many of the people who were
collecting; some of the most zealous, however,
persevered, and about thirty being assembled,
the Lord favoured us with his presence and it
proved a solid, contriting season. The magis-
trate sent a civil officer to tell the landlord he
would be fined twenty dollars ; and his wife
being in great passion at this, I endeavoured
to pacify her by offering to go with the officer
to the magistrate, and to take all the conse-
quences upon ourselves ; but after some con-
versation with him, I found he had no orders
to take us there ; and showing him the tenor
of our passes, he went away, and afterwards
came back to the inn and said he had inform-
ed the magistrate what sort of people we were,
upon which he did not incline to send for us.
In the afternoon we held a meeting at the house
of J. Buchner, who had freely offered it; about
sixty were collected and many went away for
want of room; two civil officers came in while
we were speaking, but offered no interruption.
It was thought to be a meeting of the most
information to them of any that had been
held ; they expressed their thankfulness and
we parted with tenderness.

" 5th. The knowledge of our being in town
being much spread, many of various charac-
ters and ranks came to our lodgings through-
out the day, and a number sent their children
for books, so that all we had were presently
disposed of, and if we had had a large number
more, they would not have been sufficient for
the applications. The school-mastei's in this
place make it a practice to tell their scholars
any interesting matter that occurs, , and as
several of them had been to see us, the
children got information that we were from
America, a great way off, and come to preach

the true religion to the people of Germany,
without taking any pay for it. This news the
children communicated to their pai'ents, and it
thus spread fast, and accounted for the city
being so generally acquainted with it. In a
conference with some of the principal men
who make profession with us, we found a ne-
cessity to guard them against appearances by
way of ministry that were not duly authorised,
some instances without proper weight having
been manifested among them. Several said,
they desired rather to continue always in
silent waiting than to admit any ministry not
from the right fountain, as it would only
scatter. In half an hour after we returned
to our inn, we found ourselves surrounded by
one hundred people with whom we sat down
in silence. Emmanuel Brown being come to
Hanover was also present ; David and myself
were engaged in religious communication, and
the people were very quiet and serious, and
the meeting appeared to be owned to our hum-
bling admiration; hence we have cause to say
continually. Good is the Lord, and worthy to
be served in all things. Frederick Seebohm
and two other Friends from Pyrmont being
present, we had a short opportunity with Em-
manuel Brown, who appears like a Friend.
After a day of much labour, we retired to rest
in the enjoyment of sweet peace. The Lord
has not raised such a remarkable inquiry in
this place, but with gracious design to bless it,
if those who have now been called remain
faithful to him.

" 6th. Had another full opportunity with
Emmanuel Brown, George Dillwyn being
present; he freely acknowledged the doctrines
of Friends, with respect to Christ's baptism
being spiritual, the non-necessity for those
who had come fully to enjoy the spiritual
communion with Christ, to partake of the
ceremony of bread and wine ; and also the
benefit and duty of meeting together for Divine
worship. He favoured the doctrine of celi-
bacy, believing it right for him to continue
single, but did not think it was obligatory upon
all. This man had been the means of sowing
discord and leading off many innocent persons
in this land with his vain imaginations, and
his professions of love and attachment ai-e not
to be relied upon. Many came and took an
affectionate leave of us, and we were renew-
edly convinced that the Lord has a precious
seed in Hanover ; to him we must leave them
at present, feeling now clear in our minds, and
humbly thankful to our great and gracious
Lord, who has been with us and granted
strength to go through the various and almost
continual labours and exercises in this place
to our own comfort, the encouragement of the
little honest hearted flock, and we hope not to



the dishonour of the blessed cause we are en-
gaged to promote. Flei'e we parted with dear
George Dillvvyn and his wife in near unity,
he proposing to stay a few days longer, and
then to proceed towards Berlin : as we now
are likely to travel in contrary directions,
there is little prospect of meeting again on the
continent, Berlin and Amsterdam being near
five hundred miles apart. Our landlord and
servants were very respectful and affected at
parting ; a number of gay women having
come to get a sight of us, they waved their
hands and wished us a happy journey, as did
also the people in the streets. There appears
great encouragement for Friends to visit this
place who may be rightly called to such a
service. We rode on about ten miles, and our
postillion having taken up a man and woman
without our consent, when we came to the
house where the horses were to stop, they
called for drink and victuals which the land-
lord charged to us. As it was an imposition
we were not disposed to submit to, being of
violent passions, he stormed and swore we
should pay it, that it was the practice to
charge all to the herrschaft and let the poor
go free ; so for peace-sake we were obliged to
submit ; he was in such a rage I heard him
tell the postillion he would do right to overset
us on the road, which he fully executed about
one and a half miles from the stopping place.
it was extremely cold, windy and snowing,
and near night when we were overset; my
companions were bruised and much injured,
I escaped with little damage, but it was with
great difficulty we could get the wagon up,
and were kept in the snow and wet a conside-
rable time. It being now dark, William Far-
rer and myself walked to the village, not being
easy to trust ourselves to this bad man again,
who we believe was in league with the inn-
keeper; the conduct and appearance of whom,
and of the people in his house and other cir-
cumstances, convinced us that satan reigned
there. The inn where we now arrived, was
a decent house, the wounds of my friends
were dressed as well as we could, and the
people being of more kind and accommodating
nianners than is common in the villages in
Germany, we felt tolerably comfortable and
retired to bed in thankfulness to a gracious
and ever watchful Providence, who so pre-
served us that no limbs were broken nor last-
ing damage sustained ; thus we have daily
fresh occasion to sing of his mei'cies.

" 7th. Our wagon being much damaged, it
was near mid-day before we could get it re-
paired so as to be fit to px'oceed : rode on to a
village eighteen miles, when it was near dark.
The place was very dii'ty and the houses
crowded with soldiers ; and though we offered

high pay, yet no beds could be obtained fit to
lie on, and the rooms were so filthy as to be
quite unsuitable to spread straw upon ; we
were therefore obliged to go on to Minden,
twelve miles in the night, and where we were
in great danger of being overset again. We
however got to our former quarters, and were
received by the landlord and family gladly.

" 9th. Had a meeting in the evening, which
proved to be a tendering season, several re-
turned with us to our lodgings and appeared

"First-day, 11th. Attended the meeting of
those professing with us, held at Frederick
Smith's ; about fifteen persons were present,
and though it was mostly silent, yet it ended
to our satisfaction. In the evening we had a
meeting in a chamber at the orphan-house,
where two hundred at least attended and be-
haved well. Among them were people of
note and officers of the army ; it was a solemn
season and we parted in much tenderness,
returning thanks to our gracious heavenly
Helper, who thus in an unlocked for manner
made way for us. It is not likely that such
meetings were ever before held in Germany,
and we humbly hope that the cause of Truth
has been promoted by them. There Avas
much expression of unity with us and thank-
fulness for the opportunity. O! what occasion
we have to say, ' Good is the Lord and wor-
thy to be served.'

" 12th. Not feeling ourselves at liberty to
go forward, we were visited by several who
wei'e at meeting last evening, and informed us
that many who had not been there expressed
a desire they might have such an opportunity ;
after weighing it, we concluded to put off' the
appointment of another meeting until to-mor-
row. The little company of Friends in this
place seemed much relieved by the public
meeting, and said they felt as though a great
burden was taken off their shoulders. We
dined at counsellor Borges's ; his house and
heart seemed to be opened in an unexpected
manner, and we had much religious conversa-
tion with him and his two daughters, we hope
to profit. This is the same man whom Sarah
Grubb mentions, and who being involved in a
multitude of business pertaining to his office,
and much looked up to by the people, had not
ventured to avow openly, what no doubt he
had been convinced of, and so appeared to
have fallen back, and not inclined to see us
at our first visit to Minden. He attended the
meeting at the orphan-house, but stood in the
entry. It was said by his son-in-law, Lewis
Seebohm, that he never received Friends with
so much openness before, and manifested great
attachment to us.

" 13th. We were informed that the Con-



sistoi'ial Rath, who is a director of things re-
lating to the church within his precincts, as
well as a priest of the first dignity, had forbid
any more meetings being held in the orphan-
house, and had said things which reflected
upon us and our Society. We felt most easy
to appoint another meeting for this evening,
at such place as our Friends thought best ;
and with respect to the priest's reflections, we
thought we should not be clear in leaving
Minden without paying him a visit, lest it
might tend to the discouragement of the little
flock here. David Sands and myself went
and found him at home ; and on inquiring
the cause of our being forbid the orphan-
house, he affected to be friendly, and said we
might freely have held meetings there as to
his own particular sentiment, but that the
edict of the king of Prussia admitted of no
public religious assemblies in his Westphalian
dominions, but Lutherans, Calvinists, Roman
Catholics, Moravians, Jews and Menonists ;
and therefore as the king's servant, he was
obliged to forbid our public meeting ; but that
we might meet more privately at our inn or
any private house, without interruption, for
the edification of the people ; to which he was
not at all opposed, but said we might do so in
the Lord's name. We told him we could not
resort to secret places as some did, to hide
their testimony, or for fear of suffering ; and
that we held our meetings open for all in the
city of Berlin. We also asked him, if he did
not believe liberty of conscience was the com-
mon right of all men? To which he answered
in the affirmative ; but thought it was not
abridged in this place. We conceived it was;
but not finding it necessary to go into much
controversy with him, turned to the other
subject. This confirms me in the expediency
of encouraging those upon whom it may be
laid, to visit the king of Prussia ; perhaps it
may fall upon dear George Dillvvyn. For
my own part, I feel my mind relieved from it
at present. With respect to the other subject,
(reflections upon the Society,) he appeared
startled that it had come to our knowledge ;
but was not able to tell his author, and said it
was a matter of little consequence, that we
ought rather to rejoice when evil was falsely
spoken against us — it was what every true
Christian might expect ; but for his own part,
he did not believe there was the least founda-
tion for it. We replied, that the character of
ourselves and the Society was dearer to us
than our lives, and that we were bound to de-
fend it ; which he acknowledged was right,
and that if it was possible to find his author,
he would inform us before we left the city.
After making some general observations, and

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 87 of 105)