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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examination by the officers and also a search,
but all ended without long interruption. The
dampness of the vessel, and scarcely anything
comfortable, kept David Sands unwell most of
the voyage, which was about one hundred
miles ; I was also taken poorly, having got a
heavy cold. The merchants to whom we
were recommended, visited us. Many exer-
cises crowded in, so that it was a trying time.

" 6th. David Sands and myself both very
unwell ; the prospect of proceeding to Dun-
kirk, is from a variety of circumstances, very
discouraging, it was indeed a gloomy day,
faith and hope very low. The two merchants
to whom we had letters, coming to see us, did
not encourage us to proceed to France, sup-
posing it to be impracticable without a na-
tional cockade, which was also the sentiment
of others.

" 7th. Weighing seriously what was best
to be done in our trying situation, and the
various reports of difficulties that would in-
terrupt our journey, our minds being calm
and composed, we concluded to pursue our
journey to Dunkirk, in humble confidence on
the Divine Arm, that is alone the defence and
preservation of them that love the Lord in
sincerity. We left Sluys in the afternoon,
and arrived at Bruges before dark, having
passed through a poor country. This city is
thought to contain sixty thousand people, but
has a dark uncomfortable appearance, the
houses like prisons with iron bars across the

" 8th.. Hired a post-chaise to take us to Dun-
kirk, thirty-seven miles, and passed through a
flat fertile country ; met with the American
consul on this station, an agreeable young
man, who told us that with our passes we
might go all over France ; this relieved us
much from the anxiety we felt, both for our
testimony and our safety, and our hearts were
lifted up with praises to our heavenly Bene-
factor, who can at his pleasure dispel the
clouds and darkness that at times surround.
Riding on the side of the sea, we arrived at
Dunkirk in the afternoon. I put up at Judith
Gardiner's, a friend from Nantucket, whose
husband died at sea since their settling here,
and she keeps a boarding house.

" 9th. Unwell, the consequence of travel-
ling so long in this damp foggy climate, where
we have not seen the sun for fourteen days,
and but very little for six weeks. Our land-
lady, who is a motherly woman, attended me

" 10th. This town is supposed to contain
forty thousand inhabitants, has a gloomy ap-
pearance, the houses being closely stowed ;
the people here, as well as in Flanders, are
mostly Roman Catholics. The harbour, which
is about a mile from the sea, is narrow, walled
at the sides, and almost bare at low water —
two men, who supped at the house being
Deists, I had to contend against them till near
eleven o'clock, yet we parted friendly.

" 11th. The poultry market is pretty good,
and fifty per cent, cheaper than in Philadel-
phia. Though this place is in France, the
people speak Flemish and French alternately;
their markets, as well as at almost every
place where we have been in Europe, are in
the open air, without any shelter ; the buyers
and sellei's are for the most part women; the
articles are brought to market on the smallest
species of asses that I have seen; their loads
being so very large that the poor animal is
scarcely seen.

"First-day, 12th. Had a good meeting at
B. Hussey's, where about thirty attended,
among whom were some American captains,
and several citizens of Dunkirk. In the
evening attended a large meeting, consisting
of Americans, French, and a number of
Scotch and English. The company were re-
markably quiet, the doctrine delivered was
much opposed to Deism, with which it was
believed some present were tinctured ; the
labour was with tenderness in Christian love,
and we hoped it had an effect on some.
Prayer and thanksgiving was offered to the
Author of all our mercies; the people parted
in much kindness, and we felt an evidence
that we are in our places, though it was
through many exercises we got here.

" 13th. The iew Friends who remain here
are respected by the inhabitants, the magis-
trates, &c., through whose kindness they
have been exempted from bearing arms, and
at the times of general illuminations they
have been signally protected, which must be
esteemed a favour from Him who rules and
disposes the hearts of men to be kind to such
as keep his testimonies.

" 14th. Owing to great industry and exer-
tion in cultivating the land, which is naturally
poor and sandy, vegetables are abundant
and very cheap ; potatoes and turnips may be
bought for about twenty cents a bushel ;
apples are good, and in greater plenty than
in America at this season of the year. The



people ai-e civil and respectful, especially to
Americans. In the evening the meeting was
as large as the room could hold, and the
people very orderly, none appeared restless
or went out until it concluded. It was a fa-
voured time, much tenderness being evident
in those assembled. It is indeed cause of ad-
miration to me, that in passing from one nation
to another, we find a tender-hearted people
everywhere: the Lord has a precious people
in this city.

" 15th. It appears as though we might
soon be at liberty to leave Dunkirk for the
present. The people go to their chapels at
any time of the day and perform their devo-
tions, thus at all hours they are going in and
coming out ; I could not help feeling a love
for them, though I cannot own their super-
stition, believing they will be accepted accord-
ing to the sincerity of their hearts, when many
who think themselves wise philosophers, will
have nothing to yield them consolation. Got
our passes endorsed by the American consul,
who went with us to the municipality, and at
his request they gave us new passes, inserting
in them that we were Friends, called Quakers.
" 17th. Leaving Dunkirk, we passed through
the city of Burgh, and before dark arrived at
Lille, where, with difficulty we procured a
passage for PaT-is, one hundred and fifty miles
distant. Lille is a large city, and may con-
tain seventy thousand inhabitants.

" 18th. Proceeded in a cabriolet, which is
a very heavy carriage, takes a great deal of
goods and has eight horses, two postillions
and a director ; we had four passengers be-
sides ourselves.

" 19th. Passed through a number of towns
and villages, and saw many of the people going
to their mass-houses, over the doors of which
is painted ' The French nation acknowledge
the Supreme Being and the immortality of the
soul.' Arrived at Paris.

" 20th. The country is populous, but we
see much less travelling than about London.
The city of Paris is crowded with inhabitants,
the houses are of white stone like the plaster
of paris ; the streets are not kept clean, and
have no paved side-walks for foot passengers.

" 22nd. We rode to the municipality, where
they endorsed our passes; and going into an-
other apartment to have them sealed, one of
the principal men ordered us to take off our
hats. We told him we were of the people
called Quakers, who did not use that compli-
ment to any ; he appeared warm, and said it
was no matter what we were, no person could
be admitted before them with their hats on,
and came towards us, as we supposed, to take
them off, but one of his companions in office,
■observing to him, that we made a religious

scruple of it, he withdrew, and growing more
mild, said he always paid respect to religion,
and had no more to say if that was the case.
He sealed and signed our passes and we parted
friendly. A law of France, which obliges
all others to appear uncovered before the
National Convention, exempts Friends by a
special clause — there were a number of per-
sons present waiting to do business with the
municipality, who appeared surprised at our
thus bearing our testimony ; perhaps some
may reflect on it to profit.

" 23d. There seems no probabilit)'- of much
religious service in Paris, except in conversa-
tion and distributing books ; and our minds
have been much exercised both before and
since arriving here, under a sense of the dif-
ficulty of passing through this country at this
time ; and labouring to keep to our righteous
testimony among a gay and dissipated people,
many of whom make light of all religion.
Over their chapel doors is placed the inscrip-
tion before mentioned. These places are fre-
quented by many pious people, and mass is
performed by a priest who has taken an oath
to the nation, none else being allowed. I do
not doubt that with all the vices and infidelity
which reigns in Paris, there are many of Sion's
true mourners there; with such I was favoured
frequently to feel a secret sympathy. May the
great and universal Shepherd of the heavenly
fold, stretch forth his arm to this nation, and
gather many thousands to the standard of
truth and righteousness, where their tossed
souls may lie down in safety and none be
able to make them afraid. In the evening,
David Sands and myself fell in with Thomas
Paine, and spent about an hour and a half in
conversation about his opinions and writings.
He made many assertions against Moses, the
prophets, Jesus Christ, &c., which had much
more the appearance of passionate railing
than argument; to all which we replied. I
felt zealously opposed to him, and believe
that nothing was said by my companion or
myself that gave him the least occasion to
exult : we bore our testimony against him

" Our path on this continent has been
through many trials of faith, and contentions
for the faith ; may they all end to the glory
of the great Head of the church, whom I
honestly desire above all other things, to
serve with my time, talents and substance.
This city contains almost everything to gratify
the eyes of the curious, the desires of the vo-
luptuous, the talents of the learned, and the
dissipation of the gay and fashionable world ;
but has httle to satisfy the soul longing after
celestial riches, and but few in appearance
are seeking after it. The street called the



Boulevards, is about two hundred feet wide,
encircles the whole of the city, and is, per-
haps, the most extraordinary street in Europe.
It contains a great number of shops and stalls
for the sale of every species of goods, many
places of vain amusement, and handsome
walks with seats, and is almost constantly
crowded with passengers. It is a great in-
convenience to persons walking that there are
no foot-ways, or very few in any part of the
city, so that at the approach of carriages they
run in crowds into the houses, shops, &c. ad-
jacent. There are many objects in this great
city which excite astonishment, but the mind
grows weary with the iniquity which abounds,
and desires rather some quiet retreat even
in the interior of America than to dwell in
such a city ; it made me feel sad and dis-
gusted at the ever-lying vanities of a delusive,
uncertain world. A passage offering to pro-
ceed towards the south, we concluded to em-
brace it and leave Paris in the morning.

" 2.5th. Arrived at Fontainbleau, which
has but few manufactures and little trade,
and may contain ten thousand inhabitants.
This morning for two leagues before we got
here, there were neither houses nor farms,
but the road bordered by uncultivable moun-
tains, consisting almost entirely of rocks, or
else by wood-land ; the towns and villages on
the road looked as poor as the country around

" First-day, 26th. The weather has been
very fine and serene, the country though not
rich was beautiful ; the villagers dressed in
their best clothes appeared lively, walking
about in their wooden shoes, which they al-
most universally wear. Some were attending
their places of worship, but more diverting
themselves in the fields, and appear not to be
deeply impressed with trouble for the miseries
of war. The people have many conjectures
about us, sometimes supposing we are Span-
iards, Hollanders, Swiss, British or Germans,
sometimes Italians, &c. ; we generally inform
them soon after our arrival to quiet their
minds, that we are not in any of the charac-
ters they suppose us to be, but Americans
and of the people called Quakers, travelling
to see our brethren in the south of France;
this with a present of a hw books sets them
right, and they use us respectfully. We en-
deavour to maintain a conduct void of offence;
but are often much tried, and it frequently ap-
pears to me as though I was travelling in the
midst of darkness and could see no light; yet
I greatly desire to be preserved from murmur-
ing, having had hitherto to acknowledge the
mei'cy and goodness of God, who has ex-
tended his care and protection in the course

of the present arduous journey, in many a
trying hour.

" 27th. At Nogent. It is the time of the
carnival, an occasion of feasting and rejoicing
all over France, but the Catholic religion
being at present at a low ebb, this festival is
not celebrated with as much pomp as it used
to be.

" 28th. Passed through a handsome country,
but many of the people live very hard. The
weather being raw and cold to-day, I pitied
the poor shepherdesses, who sit on the sides
of the rocks and mountains, tending per-
haps a {ew sheep, hogs, asses and goats, on
very barren pasture. They spin all day long
and follow their flocks ; and sometimes ride
about the country on very small asses, two
women on one, one of the women looking one
way, and the other another way ; but the
habits and manners of this people baffle my
powers of description. The country appears
to abound in wine and little else is drank, it
being generally a very light claret.

" 1st of third month. Being a remarkably
fine morning I set off alone before the carriage,
and after walking six miles along the side of
the Loire and passing two villages, stopped for
the voiture ; the country was pleasant and
hilly. Passing on, we met about two hundred
German prisoners, who had been taken at
Mantua and were in a most deplorable situa-
tion, almost exhausted in every respect, many
of them having neither shoes, stockings, hats
nor shirts ; the miseries of war were very
affectingly painted in this spectacle of wretch-

" 2nd. Arrived at ?4oulin in the afternoon ;
a considerable but not a handsome city, prin-
cipally occupied in making muslins, which the
women spin while walking in the streets. Our
cabriolet leaving us, we were obliged to take
what they call a chariot de post, which is
nothing more than a small cart without sides,
at each end a basket, and in the middle a
straw bed for the passengers to sit on, back
to back, with their legs in the basket ; they
carry four persons, have a little horse or
mule and a postillion, and these appear to be
the only carriages that travellers can obtain
in France, except they travel in the national
cabriolets with eight horses ; or have their
own carriages, when they may obtain post-
horses. This was a very trying day to my
mind ; darkness seemed to cover mv spirit.

" 3d. Left Moulin in the disagreeable chariot
de post or potache ; passed through a moun-
tainous country mostly covered with vines,
and got to Pallisee in the evening. Thei'e are
but two inns in this place, kept by father and
son, who were the only persons from whom



we could obtain a convenience for travel-
ling, and they did not fail to take advantage
of us, charging at least fifty per cent, higher
than the best inns and carriages in America.

" 4th. Finding no other way of travelling, we
resumed our potache, passed over a country
more mountainous than any heretofore, until
we arrived at Rouen, situate on the side of
the Loire, a city that may contain twenty
thousand inhabitants. At the Table d'Hote,
were a number of Frenchmen who treated us
politely, and finding they had a desire for re-
ligious information we gave them some books.

" 5th. The country as yesterday, is covered
with vines and mulberry trees ; arrived about
dusk at a large town closely environed by
mountains, the inhabitants employed in manu-
factories of muslin and silk. They were dif-
ferently dressed from any we had yet seen,
and remarkably friendly; indeed the frank-
ness of this nation does not suffer us to re-
main strangers more than an hour; seeing but
few strangers especially from other nations,
they are curious in their inquiries. We passed
a very disagreeable night, and as soon as it
was light were glad to rise and proceed on
our journey.

" 6th. Arrived at Lyons in the afternoon
and put up at an Auberge, perhaps the largest
we have seen in Europe, forming a hollow
square about two hundred feet on each side :
this city contains about one hundred and forty
thousand inhabitants, one third is built on a
very steep mountain on the side of the Rhone ;
many parts, however, now lay in ruins, being
battered during a long siege. We are a spec-
tacle to many; my mind is heavy and discon-
solate: the ways of the Lord are a great deep,
but I dare not murmur, he is good and worthy
to be adored both in suffering and reigning.

" 7th. Finding a boat that was to go off at
eleven o'clock for Avignon, one hundred and
thirty miles, we took our passage, there being
about twenty of us in all, and sailed down the
stream eight leagues. The country on each
side is very beautiful ; arrived at a village in
the evening, where the keepers of the inns
rushed down to the shore and almost com-
pelled us to enter their houses, and perhaps
twenty girls and boys were waiting to take
our baggage and earn a few sous. A genteel
man, a merchant, who had a coach on board,
took us under his protection, and we got to
tolerable lodgings.

" 8th. Proceeded early down the river and
met a number of boats going up to Lyons,
loaded with wine, &c. Three or four of these
being fastened together are drawn by horses,
as many as twenty being necessary to draw
them up against the stream, which in some
places is rapid — the mountains are planted

with vines to the tops, but in some places in-
terspersed with olive, almond and mulberry
trees. The Alps about eight miles distant,
are covered with snow. It being uncommonly
low water in the Rhone, our boat got aground
twice, but having four stout horses in a smaller
boat which they tow after them, for the purpose
of relieving them when aground, after an hour's
labour we got afloat again and arrived at Val-
ence in the evening, which like most of the
cities in the south of France, is very ancient
and may contain eighteen thousand inhabi-

" 9th. Embarked early, but having a strong
head wind could not proceed far. We went
on shore and walked to a city about a mile
distant, said to be built and fortified by Julius
Csesar, and called Montlemar ; it has high
strong walls, and bears all the marks of great
antiquity, has little riches or trade. No au-
berges or taverns, within the walls, being per-
mitted to lodge travellers, we went to several
outside but could find no lodgings; it being on
the main road from the south to Lyons, they
were filled with guests ; at last we got to a
poor inn where they took five of us : my state
of body and mind rendered me more unfit to
endure hardships than at other times. Most
of these ancient cities have more or less of
Roman monuments yet remaining.

" 10th. The wind continuing very high and
right ahead, and the waters so low that our
captain thought with such a wind it would be
impossible to proceed ; we accepted the kind
invitation of our friend, the merchant of Cir-
casson, who had a coach that would take four
and offered us places in it as far as Nismes ;
so taking post-horses at Montlemar, we ar-
riced at Point Esprit before dark. This city
is a very ancient, dark looking place, may
contain eight thousand inhabitants, and was
built by the Romans ; the streets are so nar-
row generally, that no wheel carriages can
pass ; their faggots and other things are car-
ried upon asses. These ancient cities generally
have a melancholy appearance, so as to damp
the spirits of the most animated stranger ; the
bridge at St. Esprit, which crosses the Rhone,
is a very ancient and handsome structure,
more than a mile long.

" 11th. Went on about seven miles : there
is great danger in travelling on account of
robbers and assassins who infest the roads, so
that none care to travel after night. The mail
was robbed on a mountain which we crossed
to-day, and some travellers have been robbed
and murdered lately in this vicinity, which
makes it a very trying time to travel in
France. We went to the municipality, who
endorsed our passes and behaved friendly ;
and some persons being desirous of informa-



tion, we gave them several books. Our kind
friend, the merchant, inclining to stay here a
few days, we were obliged to take a potache
for Nismes ; the people of the auberge taking
us for priests, behaved respectfully.

"First-day, 12th. I was very unwell, and
the weather being misty and cold, and the
chariot de post open, with only a little straw to
set on, and there being two women passengers
besides us three, we were uncomfortably situa-
ted and travelled very slowly, having only a
little horse and a mule to carry us and our
baggage. The country is highly cultivated,
covered with vines, almond, olive and mul-
berry trees. We passed several crucifixes
and images on the road, but most of all within
six miles of Nismes. As we travelled only
about three miles an hour, we did not get to
Nismes until candle-light, not quite thirty

" 13th. Nismes contains about forty thou-
sand inhabitants, chiefly employed in silk
manufacture ; it was the first place in France
where we wei'e questioned about the national
cockade, but our reasons satisfied them. We
hired a voiture to take us to Congenies, about
three and a half leagues. The country be-
tween Nismes and Congenies, though some-
what mountainous, is fine ; the people seemed
pleased at seeing us, and immediately judged
-we were Friends, having seen those who were
here eight or nine years ago. We went to
Louis Majolier's to lodge, and several of the
Friends being there, they received us with
strong marks of affection and joy.

" 14th. Our friends flocked to see us, and
saluted us with tears of joy ; much mutual
consolation was felt, and they furnished us
with the best provisions the village afforded.
In the evening about thirty-five of them being
with us, we desired them to retire into silence,
for which they appeared prepared : mercy and
goodness were evident in covering us with a
precious solemnity, a few sentences being
offered in much brokenness, they received it
like the thirsty ground ; after which, our
friends Pierre Robinel and Magdalene Bene-
zet, both bore testimony to the continued
goodness of the great Shepherd, towards the
few scattered sheep in this remote corner of
France. Our valued friend, Louis Majolier,
also added his grateful acknowledgments and
confession of unwoi'thiness of Divine mercy,
in much tenderness and with many tears.

" 15th. The weather is very fine, the almond
and peach trees are in blossom, and the olive,
figs, &c., out in leaf I never was in a country
where there was more unaffected simplicity
than here. Shepherds and shepherdesses, are
scattered about tending their flocks, and knit-
ting or spinning at the same time; having very

Vol. I.— No. 11.

few cows or goats, they milk the ewes, which
affoi'ds them a sufficiency, and they think the
milk richer than cow's milk. In the evening
we had some conversation with them on their
present state as to religion, and from the

information of Robinel, an ancient

man, it appears that for sixty years at least,
there has been a number of religious people
in this neighbourhood, who had separated
from the common ways of worship, and were
by some called Inspirants. Their attention
was first turned to Friends by information in
the public papers, of a young man who came
to Paris and advertised that the owners of a
vessel and cargo, which was taken by the
British in the war with America and France,
were requested to come forward and claim
their several proportions of the said vessel
and cargo ; and that his father, who was pai't
owner of the ship which took the French ves-
sel, was a Quaker, and did not desire to hold
their property, as it was inconsistent with his
conscientious scruples. They then made in-
quiry respecting the principles of Friends,
and found them much the same as their own.

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 89 of 105)