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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placing the reflections cast upon us to the

account of the old root of bitterness in the
priests, we parted in a friendly manner, him-
self, his wife and daughters shaking hands
with us, and wishing us a good journey. One
of our Friends here not being free to bury his
wife in the manner of any of the religious
societies, buried her in his garden, for which
the priests took from him six dollars as their
fee. Thus these poor people are under suffer-
ing many ways for the testimony of a good

" Made another visit to counsellor Borges
and had some religious service, which was a
humbling time. The old man embraced us
affectionately, and said he had not words to
express the thankfulness he felt for our visits —
followed us to the gate and took a final fare-
well, recommending us to Divine protection
and care, with the tears flowing down his
cheeks. We hope our intercourse will re-
main with sweetness, and be beneficial to our
few sincere-hearted brethren who hold a meet-
ing in this place ; this counsellor being a man
of extensive influence. Had a meeting this
evening consisting of about sixty persons, be-
sides a number in the entry. A man of gen-
teel appearance came in, who was a Calvinist
minister, staid the meeting through, although
our principles respecting true Gospel ministry
and the freedom of it, were largely treated
upon. It was a confirming time to most
present, and a solemn pai'ting with our dear
Friends, who came one after another in the
most affectionate manner to take leave of us.
Some of these partings in Germany must
remain with me as long as my memory.

" 14th. A cold damp day ; the ground
covered with snow and the roads deep and
dangerous ; our wagon being too high and
top-heavy, we rode in fear ; but arrived in
safety at a town where we stopped a short
time and proceeded to Bomte, having travelled
six Dutch, or thirty-six English miles.

" 15ih. Got to Osnaburg and dined at the
Table D'Hote with about twenty persons, who
treated us respectfully; one of them expressed
his surprise that we adopted in our writings,
and otherwise, a name that was given us in
derision ; there being something inviting and
consistent with the character of our Society,
in the appellation of Friends ; but foreigners
must be at a loss for a reason why we con-
tinue the name of Quakers. Such remarks
have been frequently made in our travels ;
and if the Society had not continued it, it is
very probable the name of Quaker would
scarcely have been known at this day.

"16th. Osnaburg is subject to the king of
England, and contains about ten thousand in-
habitants. There is a convent in this town,
composed of young women of noble families.



It appears that the German nobility who
have many daughters, pei'suade some of them
to go into nunneries, to save the portions that
are expected at the time of marriage. At the
Table d'Hote, it is very unpleasant to be
obliged to hear the music which is almost
continually playing, so that we can scarcely
hear one another in conversation. We ex-
pressed to the priests and the landlord our
objections to it ; and some of the company
finding us uneasy, took up the subject, and
an elderly man told the landlord, he thought
it a great imposition upon many to please a
very few ; and although he had lodged there
for some months, if it was continued he should
be under the necessity of shifting his quar-
ters. In the evening we had a meeting at a
private house, where about ten sober people
convened, who behaved in a becoming man-
ner, and we hope the service will piove pro-
fitable. Although they are separated from the
public worship, they are more like Moravians
than Friends — they remember Sarah Grubb
with respect.

" 17th. Proceeded to Rheine, the roads
being very difficult and filled with snow and
ice, we thought it a mercy that we got on
without being overset, as our wagon is so
top-heavy. Rheine is a small Roman Catho-
lic town subject to the bishop of Munster ;
the people in these parts appear to be very
poor, and the whole seems to be a country of

"First-day, 18th. The people were crowd-
ing by day-light to matins, with their beads
and crosses : my feelings are heavy and un-
pleasant. O ! sweet liberty of conscience,
thou rcstorest men to their proper dignity, if
thy blessings be used to the glory of God.
Passing on, we halted at a village, where the
language, manners and cleanliness evidently
indicated we were drawing near the borders
of Flolland. Got to Bentheim, a considerable
town on a rocky hill, with a strong castle.
This town being Protestant, and we finding a
decent clean house kept by the post-master,
took up our abode for the remainder of
the day. The rooms, beds, furniture and
people, are much more cleanly than we have
met with for some time. Had a satisfactory
opportunity with the people of the house and
some others, in the evening, which left my
mind easy and pleasant. The Lord is good ;
and though trials inwardly and outwardly at-
tend us, yet he favours with times of refresh-
ing from his presence, which is an ample re-
ward for all our toil and suffering.

"19th. Left Bentheim, and the roads being
diflicult, did not arrive at Delden till two hours
after dark. Our expenses at inns arc extrava-
gant ; and all over this country, travellers are

Vol. I.— No. 11.

fleeced in almost every way, especially for-
eigners ; and without submitting to multiplied
impositions, there is no getting along with any
degree of comfort. It is far more expensive
travelling than in England ; their movements
are slow and tedious, generally about three
miles an hour, and make great demands
upon our patience. The country is in gene-
ral handsome and fertile ; many houses in
the villages are of good brick and look well,
though but one story high. Their fires are
made in grates, fixed in the chimnies, the fuel
being turf and some wood, which might do
very well if there was enough of it. With
considerable danger v/e arrived at Deventer,
a pretty large town ; with clean streets, many
elegant houses and open squares. A very
spacious and ancient piece of architecture
claimed our notice ; it had been used as a
worship-house for the Reformed, for centuries
past, but is now totally in ruins inside, the
French army having made a stable of it ; such
are the eftccts of war !

"Fourth-day, 21st. We travelled through
a highly cultivated country, extensive mead-
ows, fine planted woods, houses, gardens, and
all around conveying an idea of great regu-
larity and order. The city of Deventer and
its environs, the river Yssel, with a handsome
bridge upon boats, and the cleanliness of the
people, formed as agreeable a prospect as any
we have seen on the continent — the city may
contain ten thousand people. Travellers be-
come more numerous as we approach Amster-
dam : we were taken for Hanoverians, could
understand but little they say, though they
can readily comprehend us in German. The
Holland language appears to be a mixture
of bad German, French and English. The
roads being good, we made thirty miles to-day,
travelling for the first time since we have been
on the continent, at about six miles an hour.

" Sixth-day, 23d. Passing through a fine
country, we arrived at Amsterdam; the houses
in the main streets of this great commercial
city, are generally large ; and although they
ai'e built with the gable ends to the street, and
from three to five stories high, yet they have
an appearance of grandeur. The river Rhine
empties into the Zuyder sea, which a few cen-
turies past was a valley filled with towns and
villages ; but the ocean breaking the banks,
overflowed the country and drowned most of
the inhabitants. The public buildings are
magnificent, and the whole city crowded wiih
shops. This is indeed a beautiful and popu-
lous city ; neatness is conspicuous through its
borders, but the number of beggars is con-

" First-day, 25th. We were at meeting in
a room of J. Vanderwarfs house; a number



of strangers came in, and through Divine
favour it proved a good meeting.

" 26th. Held another meeting, and though
the people, as is their practice, were restless
in time of silence, yet it was thought to be a
serious opportunity. The weather was very
cold and no fire in the meeting-room, except
in foot stoves for the women. In Holland, it
is not customary for women to draw near or
set by a fire, that being a privilege for men
only ; hence the women are furnished with
wooden boxes, with a bason of coals or turf
in them to put under their feet. It is so
cold here, that the hair of the men is frozen
with their breath, as they pass along the
streets; and fuel being dear, chiefly turf, with
a few coals from Germany and England, or
a little fine wood to kindle it, they keep very
small fires, and^having few stoves, the rooms
are so cold that we had to keep on our thick
over-coats most of the day. Meat costs
from about nine to twelve cents per pound,
which is for the best kinds. In almost every
thing they are the reverse of Germany ; the
furniture, &c., being kept very clean and
nice ; they drink a great deal of tea and
coffee, but do not use much sugar.

" 27th. We were examined by the Com-
mittee de Surveillance, who treated us with
much civility, and recommended us to the
French consul for a pass to go towards
France. The Stadt-house where they sit, is
a very large and noble building, highly orna-
mented with marble sculpture. All religious
professors now have liberty of conscience,
and to meet openly for worship ; but private
meetings are forbidden. Their funerals are
attended by men only ; no bell rings, nor do
they wear mourning after the interment. Our
passes being certified by the American consul,
he advised us to go by the Hague to see the
American and French ambassadors there.

" First-day, 1st of first month, 1797. Had
two meetings ; about fifty persons attended
each, and we hope they were to some profit.

" 2nd. Our passes being endorsed, by the
French consul, we exchanged our old wagon
for a coach, which will be safer and warmer,
and we hope to travel with two, instead of
four horses. Notwithstanding the beauty and
opulence of Amsterdam in general, travellers
are beset every {c\v paces with beggars. In the
Jews' quai'ter especially, the misery, naked-
ness and dirtiness, exceed anything of the kind
I have ever seen befoi'e. In Berlin I was
never asked for charity. The neatness of
everything in Amsterdam, its shops, streets,
canals, bridges, &c., is very pleasing to
strangers ; yet the Jews' quarter is an excep-
tion. The vessels that trade up the Rhine,
are drawn by horses ; are very capacious,

being about one hundred feet long, and have
several handsome rooms upon deck, where
the families of the captains reside.

" First-day, 8th. Were at two meetings,
the largest we have had ; there were six
American captains present, and these meet-
ings were thought to be the most solid and
satisfactoiy of any since we came to this
place, many of the people were affected and
parted with us affectionately ; thanks to our
great and gracious Helper, who hath not for-
saken us in any place. If any good remains
on the minds of the people in any of the cities
and towns we have visited, let the name of
the Lord be magnified, and we humbled in
the dust.

" Qth. Sat with the few Friends in what
they call their Monthly Meeting. Their prin-
cipal business for several years, appears to
have been only to meet and make a minute
that they did so; and once a j^ear, to transmit
an account to Friends in London, of the con-
dition of the estate of Friends here ; as the
house where John Vanderwarf lives, and in
which the meeting is held, belongs in part to
Friends of England and part to Friends of
Holland; there is also some other estate under
their care. The books for one hundred and
thirty years back, the minutes of the Monthly
Meeting, records of births, burials and mar-
riages, &c., are still preserved in very neat
order. By these it appears, that from about
1676 to 1720, there was a considerable num-
ber of Friends here, sixty or seventy signing
their marriage certificates. Since the last
date, there appears to have been a gradual
decline, until it has come to what it now is ;
two ancient Friends being all that keep up the
Monthly Meeting, who appeared concerned
what might become of the property when
they should be taken away. After reading
and minuting our certificates, the meeting
concluded. In the evening we had a I'eli-
gious opportunity with 3'oung J. Vanderwarf
and his wife, which we believe was right, and
hope it may have its use.

"10th. Set out for the Hague; passed
through Haarlaem, a large town, and over a
fine country, many beautiful villages, elegant
country seats, &c., to Leyden, a large city,
containing about sixty thousand inhabitants ;
the neatness, decency and size of the houses,
makes it rank among the first cities of this
rich and popitlous country : thence travelling
through a country very pleasant and highly
cultivated, we arrived at the gates of the
Hague, and took lodgings at a good inn.

"11th. Visited the American ambassador,
who received us very courteously, endorsed
our passes, and gave us such intelligence re-
specting our journey to France, as was in his



power. We went also to the French ambas-
sador, who treated us respectfully, but said he
had no authority to give a pass to an English-
man; but thought William Farrer would meet
with no interruption while he remained in our
company, engaged in the good work of pro-
moting religion among the people ; and re-
marked, that he was satisfied we were what
we appeared to be, without deception. This
beautiful city may contain forty thousand in-
habitants, and is said to be the handsomest
town in Europe : the principal street, which
is magnificently built, and about three hundred
feet wide, has a promenade in the centre, of
about one hundred feet wide, shaded and
ornamented by five rows of stately and beau-
tiful trees ; the woods round the town, are
also laid out in fine walks with seats at pro-
per distances. All the principal streets have
trees on each side, and canals in the middle ;
the trimming of those trees in the winter,
serves for fuel for the poor. The inhabitants
appear civil, very neat in their houses and
decent in their persons.

" 12th. Got to Rotterdam, and met with
several Englishmen and some Americans : we
were received by those to whom we had let-
ters, with great openness and friendship.

"Sixth-day, 13th. Found an open reception
at Cornelius Lloyd's, who is of English descent,
and was the last person who contributed to
support a Friend's meeting at this place. Al-
though there is something pleasant in meeting
with so many who can converse in our own
language, yet the general state of my mind
for some days past has been far from joyous;
having travelled under daily exercise, though
concealed by a cheerful countenance, par-
taking in secret of copious draughts of the
bitter waters of Marah, from a consciousness
of my natural disqualification for the work of
Gospel ministry. Travelling so far, through
many outward difficulties, for the promotion
of the Redeemer's kingdom, brings me into
deep reflection on the degree of redemption
which I myself have experienced ; which
alas! I often have cause to acknowledge be-
fore the Searcher of hearts, is far short of
what I am persuaded, the power of redeeming
love is able to eflfect ; yet some consolation is
afforded by the conviction, that I most sin-
cerely desire a higher degree of attainment,
even the state of a perfect man in Christ
Jesus — that I may be thoroughly washed in
the laver of regeneration, until I am pre-
pared, through adorable mercy, to be pre-
sented faultless before the throne of his glory
with exceeding joy. In passing through these
European countries, a secret sadness has
frequently covered my soul, on viewing the
pompous palaces, the crowded cities, the vani-

ty of the great, the avidity of the merchants,
the oppression and wretchedness of the poor,
and the depravity of many in all the different
classes ; that lam ready to cry out, O ! when
shall the Son of righteousness arise with heal-
ing in his wings, to recover mankind from the
many maladies which encompass them. A
few there are, scattered over this continent,
whom he hath gathered, and is gathering
under the shadow of his wing ; who have ap-
peared to me, though many of them are hid-
den in solitary places, to be like the salt of
the earth, which prevents the whole mass
from sinking under its corruption. With these
my soul has rejoiced, and. will rejoice ; they
have been like stakes of confirmation to me,
and with all the infirmities I feel, I am satisfied
that my lot has been cast here for their sakes.
On taking a retrospect this morning of the five
preceding months of wearisome travel, labour
and exercise, I feel the reward of sweet peace ;
and the tribute of thanksgiving to the Beloved
of my soul, who hath not forsaken me in the
hour of trial, but mercifully presei'ved me,
though faint, yet pursuing the mark, for the
prize of the glory of God in Christ Jesus, my
Saviour, whose service is perfect freedom.

" 14th. Visited the ancient place of meeting
for Friends, and it being now used as a car-
penter's-shop, we requested it might be cleared
out and made ready for meeting to-morrow.
Rotterdam is about one third the size and
population of Amsterdam, lies nearer the sea,
and has fine canals running through it in dif-
ferent directions, in which the largest merchant
ships may lie conveniently. The number of
English and Scotch people, the appearance of
sociability among the inhabitants and other
advantages which it possesses, would make it
a more desirable place of residence than Am-
sterdam ; though it does not equal it in gran-
deur. Many of the houses here, as well as
all over Holland, are built with the front from
one to three feet from a perpendicular line,
the upper part of the walls having the gable-
ends to the streets, project over tJie foot-ways,
which they say, is to prevent the water that
falls, from running down the walls and win-
dows. The new houses project very little,
and some not at all. When a fire happens,
as the streets are narrow, these projections
occasion a communication of the flame to
those opposite. There are people paid to put
out fires, and the citizens trouble themselves
but little about it. Pumps are fixed in the
canals, and by means of leather pipes, convey
the water to the engines, so that they use but
few buckets. In the principal towns, the
houses are almost universally occupied by
shops below, and the family sit up stairs.

"First-day, 15th. About sixty persons at-



tended the meeting, mostly respectable peo-
ple, and it was a solid good time. Dined with
Cornelius Lloyd, a merchant of considerable
wealth : his wife was so terrified at the noise
of the cannon, and the fear of the French
army entering the city, when Dumourier was
on the opposite side of the Maase, that it de-
prived her of memory, so that she cannot re-
tain anything a minute at a time. His mother,
an ancient woman, was educated a Friend : on
visiting her, she appeai'ed glad to see us ;
her faculties are good and she remembered Wil-
liam Brown being here on a religious visit ;
her son has now the care of the meeting-
house, which he rents out, and has some
stock in his hands to pay for cleaning it,
finding candles, &c., when wanted ; but the
funds of Friends here, have sunk by the fail-
ure of one of the descendants, who held them
to a large amount. In the afternoon, about
one hundred and fifty attended the meeting,
which, through renewed mercy, proved a sat-
isfactory season ; many were tendered, and
it was a time of refreshment to ourselves.
Thanks be to the Author of every blessing.

" 16th. At the meeting in the evening, it
was thought that half the people who desired
to be present, could not get in, and the place
being so crowded and warm, they were for a
time, rather restless ,• however, through Di-
vine mercy. Truth rose into dominion; they
•became solid and parted in tenderness.

" 17th. In the evening had a meeting at
the Episcopal worship-house, built by Queen
Ann for the benefit of the English residing
here ; it is not large, but a decent plain build-
ing. — Many of the English and Scotch people
having gone away from Rotterdam in the heat
of the war, among whom was the priest, it
has been shut up for some time ; the remain-
ing part of the congregation, seeing that
Friends' house was too small, offered it free-
ly, but the construction of the room is such,
as to produce a great echo, so that we are in-
formed many who sat in the centre, heard but
partially ; however, they behaved remarkably
well, and on the whole it was thought a pro-
fitable meeting ; the Lord is good to us poor
unworthy creatures from day to day.

" 18th. The inhabitants are civil and re-
spectful ; the water here is better than in Am-
sterdam, where they drink little but rain water;
here the canals ebb and flow with fresh water,
which at this season is pretty good. The
- canals render it dangerous walking in the
evening when the weather is foggy. A few
years since, in very thick weather, there were
said to be three hundred people drowned by
faUing into them ; since which, they have in-
creased the number of lamps, and ropes are

extended from tree to tree when there is dan-
ger of the like disaster.

" First-day, 22d. The meetings both in the
fore and afternoon, were, thi'ough the mercy
of our heavenly Father, solemn seasons ; there
are doubtless, a number of seriously visited
souls in Rotterdam, and the prospect of
Friends visiting this city on a religious ac-
count, is much more promising than in Am-
sterdam. Though Friends are almost extinct
as to supporting meetings, yet I cannot but
feel a prayer in my heart, that the Lord
might be pleased to send his servants into this
part of the vineyard.

" 23d. Expected to move towards France,
but our minds not being clear of the people
in this place, we concluded to tarry some time

" First-day, 29th. Have been unwell for
several days. A pass was procured for our
going into France, except for William Farrer,
who could not obtain one on account of his
being a British subject. We had three meet-
ings to-day, and through the renewing of Di-
vine favour, they were satisfactory ; we took
leave of the people in much tenderness and
affection, believing we might soon be at liberty
to go.

" 30th. We hear many discouraging re-
ports of the difficulty of travelling in France,
and are much exercised about the right way
to proceed ; believing our I'eligious concern in
this place is now fulfilled. W^e have none to
lean upon but the Lord alone, who, blessed be
his name, has been hitherto excellent in coun-
sel and wonderful in working for us, more so
than I feel myself worthy of. We visited
several of our friends here, who advised us
to go to Sluys in Flanders, by water, and our
minds settled to turn that way.

" 31st. Went on board the packet, the
commander was an honest looking man, and
I made out to understand his half Low Dutch
and half French.

" 1st of second month. Wind ahead, stormy
and some rain; sailed about twenty miles, our
cabin having no fire, and the weather being
very damp and cold and the beds small, we
did not feel very comfortable.

" Fifth-day, 2nd. The wind was very high;
lay to all day ; very cold and no prospect
of getting on, added to which, we understood
we should be arrested on our landing if we
did not wear the national cockade, which we
could not comply with ; everything looked
m.ore gloomy than at any time since leaving
my native shore; a little hope and some confi-
dence however remained, and a humble trust
in the Almighty Arm that hath hitherto pre-
served, which settled us in calmness.



" 4th. Got on pretty well though the wind
continued nearly ahead. Passed by several
handsome villages on the islands, which are
in the province of Zealand. The wind being
very small and a thick fog, the anchor was

" 5th. Much detention on account of the
fog, but it breaking away, we sailed by the
beautiful island on which are the cities of
Middleburg and Flushing ; reached Sluys in
Flanders, about dusk ; here we underwent an

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 88 of 105)