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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seventeen thousand persons; a temple of Di-
ana, and an extraordinary fountain and castle
of the same age. Having procured a car-
riage, after dinner all our dear friends from
Congenies and Gilles's, except three, took a
most affectionate leave of us, such as I trust
will not soon be forgotten by any of us.

" 6th. Parting affectionately with our three
friends from Congenies, we passed through a
number of villages and arrived at Bagniol,
took some refreshment and proceeded to
Pierrelatte, having travelled nineteen leagues

" 7th. Leaving Pierrelatte we got to Mon-
telimar, and while we were in the auberge, a
smith without our order, put a piece of iron
round one of the wheels of our carriage under
a pretence of mending it, and demanded three
shillings sterling for his labour ; but as we had
not employed him, we endeavoured to show
him the unreasonableness of meddling with
our carriage without consulting us, and not
without a great many words we obliged him
to take it off, as we saw it would rather injure
than help the wheel. The postillion also de-
manding an unconscionable fee, we were obliged
to dispute it, but many people gathering round
we felt unpleasant, and to rid ourselves as well

as we could, paid our money for the sake of
peace. It is not uncommon to have a host of
importunate people to contend with in France
and other places where we have travelled on
the continent, which with other things, makes
it very exercising for Friends to travel ; that
we have need of a double supply of meekness
and wisdom to pass along and keep a con-
science void of offence. We got to Tain and
lodged, being twenty-three leagues.

" 8th. Passed over a mountainous country.
I alighted from the carriage and walked
through the city of Vienna, on the side of
the Rhone, with the Alps to the east. It is
very ancient and has some remarkable places
of worship, much defaced at present ; it is
about a mile long, and crowded with inhabi-
tants; after crossing a high mountain, we ar-
rived at St. Symphorien and put up at a poor
inn. The postillion seemed desirous of taking
advantage of us as we were strangers, and
with some pecuniary sacrifice, I got him

" Fourth month 9th. Arrived at Lyons
about twelve o'clock. Benjamin Johnson
being much weakened with his late sickness,
had now another attack, and having a long
journey before us, it was a time of discour-
agement and trial to us all, yet not without a
ray of faith and hope in that mercy and good-
ness, which has been our support and preser-
vation through the course of our journeying
both by sea and land. His company has
been useful, and the giving up his time and
substance to accompany one so unworthy as
I often feel myself, will I trust be recompensed
to him by the gracious Dispenser of every
blessing. We travelled but four leagues to-
day, and had to pay double the usual rates for
the last two, it being established by law that
the last post entering in, and the first going
out of Lyons, Paris, and other great cities,
travellers shall be subject to that additional
price; the fixed rate in common, being thirty
sous for each horse for two leagues. In our
circumstance the law requires us to be fur-
nished with three horses and to pay for four,
but they generally incline to go with two and
take pay for three and a half. Having ar-
rived at Lyons without deciding what auberge
to put up at, our postillion took us to a good
one opposite the grand promenade. The
Rhone and the Seine pass by this city on op-
posite sides, and meet a few miles below it.
Many of the shops were open, although it was
fii'st-day, and many booths of goods were ex-
hibited for sale. It is very thickly inhabited,
perhaps no city that we have seen, more so,
except London and Paris. We were informed
there was some. worship to-day, both Protest-
ant and Catholic, but that the priests who had



not taken the oath, performed their devotions
privately in chambers, &c. The people are
in an unsettled state respecting religion, yet
doubtless there are many pious souls all over
France, who lament the decay of religion
among the people. It appears to me that the
all-wise Ruler of the universe, is preparing a
way for the Truth to be preached in this
country. We distributed some books and left
Lyons about twelve o'clock, though my mind
and also David's, were not a little turned to-
wards Geneva, but on account of several cir-
cumstances, we were upon the whole induced
to move towards Paris. At the end of the
first stage, we were again brought to some
hesitation about going ^o Geneva, yet conclu-
ded to proceed as far as Macon ; our way is
strewed with circumstances unusual to Friends.

" 11th. Passed through fine roads and a de-
lightful country, nine leagues to Macon, lodged
at one of those immensely extensive inns which
are found in many places on this continent, ex-
ceeding in size any I have seen in England or
America. The kitchen and other offices are
so far off, that it was with difficulty we could
get what we had need of, though the waiters
seemed active and ready to oblige us when
they knew our wants. Here we were told
there were thirty priests who would not take
the oath, and remained in confinement, assist-
ed by the charity of the people ; there were
also both Protestants and Roman Catholics
who held open worship. The people had their
different opinions about us as heretofore, not
a few pleased themselves with the thoughts of
our being priests in disguise. Seeing the cas-
tle where the thirty priests were confined
about a mile distant, I took a walk in compa-
ny with a young man that way, but not being
permitted an entrance, and it being warm,
stopped at a little cottage, where was only one
person, a woman ; we asked for some water
which she got, and said she had something
better for travellers, and brought a fine bunch
of half dried grapes ; said she had lost a son
in the war, and whether her husband was
living she did not know. We observed to her
that her's was a solitary life in a place so hid-
den; she replied that she had some neighbours
who wanted her to live with them, but she had
the company of the good God, who was better
than ten husbands and all her children. Ma-
con is a considerable city, the Saone passes
through it.

" Fourth m.onth 12th. Left Macon, and
proceeded through a delightful country, which
I thought might be called the garden of France ;
got to Sennez, about nine and a half leagues;
the-women here work in the fields, and appear
to be a hardy race of people.

" 13th. Benjamin Johnson continuing very

poorly, and the people of the auberge being
agreeable, we concluded to stay here all day.

"14th. Passed on through Chalons; the
stable for the post-horses and carriages, a
large building, was formerly a magnificent
chapel, some part of its ancient grandeur still
remaining. In the evening got to St. Emilian,
a poor village, and as it was raining hard and
near night, we were obliged to stop and take
up our quarters at a very sorry inn. After
a poor supper, having occasion for something
in our saddle-bags, they were not to be found.
A number of people, apparently of bad char-
acter being at. the inn, we made our loss
known, searched in all the places we thought
it probable they were, but in vain, and we went
to bed. The rain came down on us through the
thatched roof, and the people were coming in
and going out of our room frequently, which
with the idea I had of their ill character, and
the probable loss of our bags, kept me in such
a situation as to allow of but little sleep.

" 15th. Rose early, went into several houses
and informed of our loss ; I also inquired the
character of our landlord, and found they had
little to say in his favour. I then thought of
going back to a town about two leagues off in
order to obtain advice and assistance, and had
procured a horse for the pui'pose, but a person
sitting in the house, told me my going back
would be quite useless, that I might I'est as-
sured the valise was in the village. I inquired
for a magistrate and the people of the inn de-
nied any being there, but a man somewhat
more respectable than the rest, took me aside,
assured me there was one and he would con-
duct me to him. The magistrate appeared to
be a man of integrity and offered to assist us,
I gave him a description of our property, and
promised a reward to the person who should
pi'oduce the valise; he had a drum beat round
the village to alarm the people, which suc-
ceeding, a man in half an hour came to the
auberge with the valise, said he had found it
in a stable at some distance covered with hay,
but his countenance was evidently marked
with guilt and confusion. We gave a reward
of a louis, and prepared to leave a place we
were heartily tired of. The bag, besides
clothing, contained a number of letters, pa-
pers, &c., and we did not perceive that any-
thing was missing. Passing along a fine
country, and through Autun, a handsome and
beautifully situated city, we got to Chissey,
a small village, where we had some repairs
done to our carriage, but had proceeded only
about a mile, when one of our springs break-
ing, we had to return. The inn-keeper had
taken possession of an ancient castle of some
cidevant nobleman, which he converted into
an auberse.



"First-day, fourth month 16th. Passed
through Salies, a considerable city, and it*
being what is called easter, the people were
dressed in their best clothes and collected in
large companies, amusing themselves agree-
ably to the customs of France, and appeared
all activity and vivacity. Arrived at a small
city called Avalon, great numbers of people
of both sexes were on the promenade, which
all the large towns have. David and I walk-
ed through the place among them ; they be-
haved respectfully, but gazed much at us :
there can scarcely be a more exercising ser-
vice than we are engaged in, to minds like
mine. We frequently feel as though there
were some religious people in the places we
pass through, but are at a loss how to select
them or be of much use to them, as none of us
know the language sufficiently ; we, however,
at times converse freely, and sometimes spread
books. I doubt not but the day draws nigh,
when the word of the Lord will be sounded
under his own authority to many who have
hitherto sat in darkness. At present we feel
rather a spirit of heaviness and mourning than
any pointings of Truth to gather the people
to the true standard; probably the time is not
now, and may we possess our souls in patience.

" 17th. Passed through Auxerre, Bas-
sou, &c. ; this seemed to be a high day with
the inhabitants, all the country was full of
mirth, and shall I say wantonness. Arrived
at Joigny, a large town, where also the peo-
ple were scattered like flocks all over this
beautiful country, round the city as well as in
it, dancing, &c. O ! France, how dissolute
and thoughtless are many of thy inhabitants,
who have certainly not learned the things
which belong to their peace, though their
chastisement has been heavy.

" 18th. This is a fine country of wheat,
but few people at labour, mostly engaged in
diversions and sports : at Sens, a considerable
city, we had to stop to have our carriage
mended, the rough pavements of France being
very destructive to carriages. The people in
this country seem to think it is not improper
to get all they can from travellers, and there-
fore charge for their work, about three times
as much as would be a just compensation
for their trouble. The black-smith charged us
twelve shillings and six pence sterling, for
two hours work ; these continual impositions
make our travelling amount to three and a
half guineas a day, though we have often no
full meal but supper. The charges for post-
horses are high, and we content ourselves
almost all day with bread and cheese, some
smoked herring, apples, nuts and some poor
wine. The chapel of the former bishop, in
which a priest was officiating to several hun-

dreds of the people, mostly women, was the
largest and most magnificent I have seen in
France ; the paintings, the multiplicity of or-
naments outside, &c., bespoke it to be very
ancient, and were also a testimony to the un-
necessary and inconsistent manner in which
these buildings were erected, six or nine cen-
turies past. The people go in pi'ocession, near
kindred and acquaintance, two and two, to the
chapel with an infant to be baptized, and re-
turn with a drum and music before them, and
set down to a feast. In this chapel an invita-
tion to all good Catholics was pasted on the
pillars to bring in their gifts liberally, for the
support of the priests and the altar, that their
holy religion might not fall to the ground.

" 19th. The country is thickly set with
towns and villages as we draw nearer to
Paris ; we passed through Chatelet, Melun,
Charenton and many other towns, and got to
our former lodgings in Pai'is, and were re-
ceived with pleasant countenances. In the
afternoon, went in search of the American
consul, Skipwith, but the office was shut. A
number of Americans have been in this city
near a year, seeking some indemnification for
their property taken by the nation, and have
no prospect when they shall be at liberty to

" 20th. Went again to the consul's office,
but were told to come again or Avait an hour,
we returned and after some time went back. It
is exceedingly trying to wait from time to time
on men in public stations before any business
can be accomplished ; they only think fit to
attend from about eleven o'clock to three each
day. He used us courteously and appeared
willing to oblige us, but has little in his power
at present, as there is some disagreement be-
tween the French government and ours. He
told us, that for about two months past, all
communication between England and France
had been prohibited, so that no passes could
be obtained but for Hamburg or some other
neutral port. This was an additional affliction
to us, to think of travelling six or seven hun-
dred miles from hence in our wearied state ;
apprehending it was more than we could ac-
complish in time for the Yearly Meeting in
London. Being much cast down, I quietly
reflected on the mercy and goodness of our
heavenly Shepherd, who has condescended
from time to time, to ' make darkness light
before us, and crooked things straight ;' and
then felt easy to leave the business of pro-
curing passes and forwarding them to us, to
the consul, and proceed to Dunkirk. We then
took post-horses for St. Dennis, to go on a
different road from that we came here upon.
Paris, for the licentious and men of plea-
sure, is perhaps more fully calculated than



any city in Europe ; there may be found
everything to gratify their desire, to feast
their eyes and delight their imagination ; but
for persons of our character, and engaged in
the weighty business we are, it is altogether
undesirable. France is a country in which my
mind has been much exercised and sunk, and I
think every hour long till we get out of it. Our
cabriolet needing some repair, while it was
doing at the second stage, a man arrived in
his own cabriolet from Paris, and being an
Englishman, spoke to us in that language. He
was of genteel appearance; had been in France
about ten years; told us he lived at Chantilly,
and would be glad to have us at his house to-
night, which we agreed to. When we got to
Chantilly, our carriage being badly broken,
we had to get it repaired again. Our friend,
the Englishman, whose name is Christopher
Potter, sent a young man for us, and received
us with great frankness ; he is a man of ability,
and having a genius for manufactures, has
succeeded admirably ; says, he gives bread to
about six hundred people in his different es-
tablishments ; lives on part of the estate once
belonging to the prince of Conde ; his wife and
children continuing in England.

" 21st. Having breakfasted at Potter's, he
took us to view the former seat of the prince,
which for magnificence and extent, exceeds
anything we have seen in Europe, belonging
to a subject, though at present its grandeur
is defaced : the mansion-house, stables, green-
houses and other buildings, are in their ex-
tent and style, such as I have no talent for
describing ; the gardens, fish-ponds, canals,
cascades and fountains, are said to have been,
when in their best condition, preferable to any-
thing in Europe. These ruined palaces, once
replete and surrounded with all that could
please . and gratify the voluptuous inclinations
of their inhabitants, are some of the most
striking monuments the world can exhibit,
of the instability and vanity of all earthly
enjoyments, and bring with them, to a wise,
reflecting mind, an antidote against setting
our hearts on any terrestrial thing; and cast
a melancholy shade over all human glory. —
Lord, teach us to aspire with increasing ar-
dour, after that glory which is celestial and
eternal, and those mansions of immutable feli-
city, which thou hast prepared in the riches
of thy mercy, for all those who love thee and
keep thy commandments. The prince and his
family, who, it is said, had above one thou-
sand people who wore their livery, are now
wandering emigrants in foreign parts. Pot-
ter is a very extraordinary person, as a
man of this world, and no doubt of great use
in employing the poor in his neighbourhood ;
yet one thing is lacking, worth a thousand

Vol. L— No. 11.

times more than all he can otherwise acquire;
a desire more ardent after the peace of God,
which passeth all understanding, and those
riches which will never perish. We felt a de-
sire to have a meeting among his people ; he
said, he hoped the time might come, when he
should forward such a proposal with pleasure,
but as they were a body of English people,
and were watched over with rather a jealous
eye, the object of the meeting might be mis-
construed by evil-minded persons, and bring
them into suffering. He returned with us to
our inn, and we distributed nearly all our
books among his people. We parted from
them in kindness, and he pressed us to direct
any of our friends who came that way, to call
on him, and he should always be glad to see

" 22nd. Passed on to Doulen. The sheep here
are kept pretty much under care of the shep-
herds' dogs, whose sagacity and attention is
admirable. There are veiy few hedges in
France, and no fences except a few of stone,
where there are intervals of pasture on the
sides of the road ; the dogs let the sheep feed
along the borders of the grain, continually
watching them at all quarters ; and if one or
more transgress the bounds, they immedi-
ately bring them to order. The shepherds
have so much confidence in them, that they
sit down on the side of a bank and work at
making baskets, or some other employment,
leaving the management of the flock very
much to their faithful subordinate keepers.

" 24th. Having passed through several towns
and some fine country, we arrived at Dunkirk
in the afternoon.

" 25th. Felt refreshed after a laborious jour-
ney. We find by computation, that we have
rode fourteen hundred miles in France ; about
fifty of which was over the same road twice,
so that we have had an opportunity of seeing
and feeling the state of the people in a reli-
gious sense and otherwise, and my judgment
is, that the French are an open-hearted, un-
suspicious people ; we passed through them
without any material interruption, such as we
frequently met with in Germany, as searching
our baggage, inquiring our names, characters
and business, &c. They are generally civil
and polite; the country pleasant, and in many
places fertile, abounding in corn, wine and oil.
Though not remarkable for pasturage and cat-
tle, yet the air is pure and serene, the waters
good, the necessaries and even luxuries of life
plenty ; yet strangers travel at a great ex-
pense. Their post-horses in general, are bet-
ter than I expected, and they have a great
number of asses and fine mules : many of
the public-houses are good, perhaps in size
and convenience nowhere excelled ; the beds



good and clean, and the provisions generally
excellent, but their bills are enormous. Tra-
vellers, if they use economy, and are in their
own carriage, cannot be accommodated for
much less, for three persons, than four guineas
a day. As to their religious character, I am at
a loss to describe it ; no doubt there are many
in the higher ranks of life, who are Deists; but
the great mass of the people, though at present
turned out of their old channel, remain attach-
ed and ri vetted to the religion of their education,
yet the superstition and extravagance of thai
has received so great a shock, that it is scarce-
ly probable it will ever rise again to the same
degree of influence as formerly. There are
many pious persons mourning in secret, and
desirous of seeing the depraved manners of
the people reformed ; and I dare not entertain
a doubt, but He who rules in heaven and in
the kingdoms of men, will have a people gath-
ered both from the superstitions and vanities,
that have heretofore abounded, who will be a
special and spiritual heritage unto himself —
may he cut short his work in righteousness
and hasten that day ! For my own part,
weak, feeble and unworthy as I feel of any
employment in His holy hand, I see but little
or nothing, towards the promotion of this great
work, that has been answered by my beino-
among them; yet as I came hereunder a sim-
ple apprehension of duty, not to seek mine
own things, but the things which belong to
Jesus Christ and his kingdom ; after all my
weak moments, and divers things in the course
of this deeply exercising journey, which had
better have been omitted, or might have been
better performed, I submit all into the hands
of my tender and merciful Father, and ask
nothing more than that he will spare me from
being followed by the arrows of condemna-
tion, and grant me such a portion of peace
and assurance in him, as in the riches of his
love, he may see meet, for in my best estate,
I am unworthy of the least of all his mer-
cies, and a poor, helpless, unprofitable ser-

" 26th. To be obliged to stay here much
longer, feels unpleasant, but no way yet offers to
get to England, the channel of communication
being stopped, and we shall have need of pa-
tience. Accounts arrived of the preliminaries of
peace having been signed, and great rejoicings
and an illumination took place, but no insult
was offered to our friends, which is very differ-
ent from England and America, to their great
reproach. Friends enjoy more freedom in
France, than in either of those countries.

" 27th. The people are still in a state of
rejoicing, full of tumult and confusion ; but it
appears to me that instead of this vain show,
it is matter of reverent thankfulness and secret

gladness of heart, to the merciful Author of
every good work, that he appears to be dis-
posing the powers who have stained the earth
with so much human blood, to stay their hands.
But Oh ! how can they recompense the thou-
sands of unhappy widows and orphans who
are mourning in secret places, their irretrieva-
ble loss all over the nations where we have
travelled. Oh! when will men be wise — when
will they suffer the peaceable kingdom of the
Redeemer whom they profess to adore, to come
on earth as it is in heaven. — How have the
great of this world always resisted the coming
of that glorious day, for which they pretend
to intercede in their prayers.

" First-day, 30th. Had meetings morning
and evening ; at the latter, through the conde-
scension of the good Shepherd of the sheep,
it was a time of refreshment and comfort, I
believe, to both the labourers and the auditory :
for my own part, having felt for a number of
days like a dry and withered branch, I was
rejoiced to feel again the circulation of that
life and virtue, by which alone all the branches
of Christ, the true vine, are nourished and sup-
ported to bring forth fruit to his praise. The
Truth as it is in Jesus, appeared to rise into
dominion — the erroneous and destructive opin-
ions of Deism, which are subtilely making
their way into many minds, who will be rob-
bed and spoiled, whether they be of our So-
ciety or others that indulge it, of the most
inestimable jewel, the most powerful consola-
tion to the soul, both in life and death, that

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 91 of 105)