William Evans.

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

. (page 92 of 105)
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 92 of 105)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ever a Being, infinite in mercy and boundless
in his compassion, conferred on mankind.
Oh ! that he may protect and preserve our
Society from drinking in this deadly poison to
the soul — that the watchmen on the walls may
be enabled faithfully to sound an alarm to the
careless, to whom it may be offered as a gilded
bait, and the poor wounded receivers of it, be
left to lament their folly in that day when its
fatal consequences will be forever irretrievable.

" Fifth month 1st. This day is foolishly
observed in France, and spent in a riotous
manner ; troops of young women and girls,
were in different places, dancing under gar-
lands hung in the streets. Feeling no call
of duty resting upon my mind, to detain me
in this place, the time .passes vei'y heavily.

"First-day, 7th. The meeting this morning
was attended by about twenty persons, and I
hope it was profitable. In the evening about
fifty attended, mostly very respectable looking
people, who behaved well, and the opportunity
ended in solemn supplication to the Father of
mercies. We were refreshed, our hopes of
his continued care over us, revived ; and we
humbly trust it was an edifying season to
most present: may the praise of all be ren-




dered unto the Fountain of every blessing, to
whom alone it is due.

" 9th. The markets here are supplied with
plenty of vegetables — sound, good apples, at
this season of the year, are sold three for less
than a cent ; eggs, twelve sous for a quarter
of a hundred ; butter, about twelve cents a
pound ; very good beef and veal, about eight
cents a pound. As we cannot leave here
without our passes but by some deception,
which we cannot practice, though many others
make use of this means, we have to bear our
detention with patience, desiring that after la-
bouring and travelling so much for the promo-
tion of Truth, we may do nothing on leaving
the continent, that wdl bring it into reproach —
the eyes of the people being upon us. Oh !
that we may be preserved wise and harmless.
A proposal being made for our accepting a
mode of passing under a deceptive cover, we
dare not receive it. May we be kept wise and
patient, so that no blemish may be brought
upon our holy profession ; the snares that are
laid for our feet are many, and some very

"13th. Having endeavoured to keep a con-
science void of offence, I feel my mind free
from condemnation ; though I am weak, poor,
and liable to err, and may not, in some instan-
ces have kept in- the straight path of duty,
yet the Lord speaks peace to my soul."

After waiting in this place, from the 24th of
fourth month, to this day, the mayor and mu-
nicipality granted them passports.

"First-day, 14th of fifth month, 1797.
The meeting this morning was a solid fa-
voured time ; the people took leave of us
affectionately, and we embarked in the after-

" 15th. Being on the English coasts a thick
fog obscured the land, and it was thought
we might get ashore, and proceed to London
by land, without being asked any questions,
but we were determined not to be smuggled
into England ; and having travelled so far
without wounding our testimony, we hoped to
continue so to the end. A fishing-boat coming
along side, we agreed with them for four guin-
eas, to take us to Dover, about five leagues ;
there being a penalty upon any captain that
lands passengers from an enemy's country, at
any port except Dover, Southampton, Graves-
end and two others, but being detained by the
fog, we concluded to give them three guineas
to land us at Margate. When we got to the
place, some young Friends came down and
wanted us to land, but the officer of the port
coming and inquiring whence we came, we
honestly told him, from Dunkirk ; he said it
was not in his power to suffer us to land, and
that the fisherman was liable to a fine of two

hundred pounds for bringing us, but as we
had not landed, the penalty could not be ex-
acted. The officer seemed disposed to be
kind, and if we could have assumed the char-
acter of alien merchants, we might have had
the privilege, but we could not make use of
such a plea. Several Friends came, and ap-
peared to regret our not being suffered to come
ashore; we however thought it best to push off,
and accordingly anchored a quarter of a mile
distant. Here several Friends came to us in
a boat, and thought no one would molest us if
we landed, but we chose to proceed up the
Thames to Gravesend; the Friends were very
kind, and went on shore and brought us some
acceptable refreshments.

" 16th. Having got up to Gravesend, the
officers came on board, and after making a
search, permitted us to land. We went on
board a packet-boat for London ; there were
several respectable people in the vessel, but
also some sailors and wicked women, who
soon began to be troublesome. An old man
checked them for their discourse, at which
one of the women pertly said, she hoped we
had no Quakers on board. I told her, I had
the honour to be a Quaker, and David Sands
united in the same acknowledgment : after
some time, the passengers mostly collecting in
a large room below deck, these women came
down also, and David Sands began to speak
to them ; the people behaved soberly, and the
two women became much broken. A young
man, a Baptist, seconded him in a feeling man-
ner ; and I made some- addition. One of the
women in particular, was bathed in teai's, and
I cannot but hope it may produce some good
effect. When we landed, I went to seek for
a coach, and was met by two of my dear
friends, making ready to meet us. In London,
we met with our dear friend, George Dillwyn,
he having got here about eight weeks past.

" 17th. I attended week-day meeting, at
Grace-church street, and was permitted to
pass it in silence, in thankful remembrance of
the Lord's mercies, and secretly to praise his
great and worthy name.

" First-day, 21st. Was at the Park-meetino-,
and in the evening, at Westminster.

" 28th. Deborah Darby, Rebecca Young
and myself appointed a meeting at Wands-
worth in the evening, which was large, and
proved, through renewed mercy, a favoured

"Sixth month 1st. The public-meeting be-
gan to collect in the women's meeting-house,
but Friends apprehending it would not hold
the people, the men's house was opened, and
it was supposed twelve hundred people assem-
bled in it, and through Divine condescension,
was a time of renewed encouragement. De-



borah Darby, Mary Dudley, Samuel Alexan-
der and myself, were engaged in the ministry.

"Sixth month 6th. We appointed a meeting
at Deptford, for this evening, and as the meet-
ing-house was too small, it was held in a part
of a malster's buildings and yard; it was very
large, and dear Deborah Darby was singular-
ly favoured : we left the people with much
sweetness, many of them soliciting another

" 9th. Had an appointed public-meeting
this evening, at Tottenham, in which we
were permitted again to rejoice in the Lord,
our helper. At the house of a Friend, I found
three books said to be sermons preached by
me last year; and on looking over them, ob-
served they were full of errors, both in lan-
guage and doctrine, with which I was greatly
exercised, and visited the man who had under-
taken to publish them. I found he was a poor
shoemaker, who had got some knowledge of
short-hand, but was very illiterate, and if he
had taken them down correctly, could hardly
put them into common sense ; the erroneous
language and doctrines, were such as I never
uttered, nor even conceived ; and there were,
also, many gross absurdities.

"First-day, sixth month 11th. At six o'clock
in the evening, under as much discourage-
ment as ever I remember, attended a meet-
ing appointed for other professors : it was
large and crowded ; through renewed mercy,
I felt my mind much enlarged, and have never
felt more sweet peace in my labour, since
leaving home. Going out of the meeting-
house, a Turk, who had been at a meeting
before, waited for me, and said he felt his
heart made better ; that God was good to all
nations, and that those who served him, were
the saiTie in Turkey as in England ; he took
my hands in both his, and pressed them to his
breast affectionately. I now felt my mind re-
lieved, and at liberty to leave London shortly.

" 17th. Left London, and rode to Ports-
mouth, and thence proceeded in an open boat,
to Newport, on the isle of Wight, and got a
person to clean the meeting-house, formerly
occupied by Friends.

" First-day, 18th. As we gave no notice
of any meeting, the gathering in the morning
was small ; at the close of if, I felt strength
to appoint a public-meeting, at six o'clock this
evening ; which was crowded, and I hope sat-
isfactory ; the people behaved becomingly, and
appeared glad at our being there.

"19th. The town is full of soldiers, and
the pious inhabitants lament the great change
taking place, from the simplicity and innocent
manners which formerly distinguished the peo-
ple, to more luxury, dress and licentious con-
duct. I went to the meeting at six o'clock

this evening, though much oppressed with a
cold and hoarseness ; the house was soon
crowded, and the people being still, I was en-
abled to extend my voice sufficiently to be
heard ; and Friends thought it a profitable
time, for which favour the Lord alone be

" 20th. Went three miles to have a meet-
ing at a farm-house ; the man of the house,
being necessarily from home, his wife had no-
tified the few scattering neighbours, and about
thirt)^ simple-hearted, honest people came, and
I thought it was a time of as much love and
favour, as I had experienced in England. The
young man, the master of the house, arrived
just at the breaking up of the meeting, and
expressed his sorrow at not being at it.

" 21st. A Methodist minister, at the close
of their meeting, had given notice of our
meeting to be held this evening, at the house
of some pious people of the Methodist con-
nection : the woman of the house seemed to
be universally esteemed, she held meetings in
their cottage and frequently preached to the
people. More persons came to our meeting,
than the house would hold ; and it was owned
by our gracious Head and High Priest — the
language of encouragement flowed freely to
an honest, simple-hearted people, such as I
have rarely met with. This woman preach-
ing with such general acceptance, seems to be
an advance towards Friends, both in her and
others, who approve of her ministry, which is
uncommon among people of other societies.
I felt easy to appoint a meeting a few miles
off, for to-morrow evening. The bishop of
Winchester, came here to confirm the people
of their church, who had not undergone that
ceremony ; it was said, he had not been to
visit this part of his flock for fourteen years.
None under the age of fourteen, were admit-
ted, and not then, without a certificate granted
by their pastor, certifying that the party had
undergone an examination and was approved
by him, for confirmation; but it appeared that
some had not even seen him on the occasion,
and had only sent for their tickets. Our land-
lady's daughter was much affected when she
understood the weakness and absurdity that
appeared in this pretence of religion ; having
never been examined, and knowing little of
their confession of faith, she went heavily
to the chapel. Some of the clergy have
brought themselves into contempt, not only
here, but in many parts of the kingdom, by
their irregular lives; and my mind was afTect-
ed on account of the young people who were
training up in such formality, and under such
miserable shepherds.

" 22nd. This afternoon, I went to the place
where the meeting was to be held in a Metho-



dist meeting-house ; which, though it rained
much, was filled ; the people conducted to our
satisfaction, many were humbled into tears,
and we parted with their desires for another.
May the Lord be praised for his goodness, and
we humbled in the dust, for no good thing
dwelleth with us, except it be given of God,

" First-day, 25th. The meeting this morning
was very large, and remarkably solid and fa-
voured; great part of the audience much hum-
bled and in tears; for which I felt thankful to
the Author of all our mercies, to whom alone
all praise is due. Feeling comfortably relieved,
and at liberty, I took an affectionate leave of
them. Had a pai'ting sitting with the family,
who had shown us groat kindness, and went
to Cowes. The minister of the dissenting
congregation offering his meeting-house, we
had a very crowded gathering at six o'clock
in the evening; he standing at the door all the
time, directing the people to seats and keeping
order. The people were light and gay, and
the labour was hard, but towards the close
great solemnity appeai'ed, and it ended to
much satisfaction, the people acknowledging
the truth of what was delivered ; and the min-
ister also said, he should pray for me, that
the Lord might continue to strengthen me for
the work. Several who had attended our
meetings accompanied us to the water edge,
and parted in great brokenness, especially our
kind hostess. We left, through mercy, an
open door for any who may hereafter be sent
to this island, where there is a considerable
number almost, if not altogether, convinced
of the doctrines of Friends. I had nine meet-
ings among them, and they were made very
near to me. We were rowed in an open boat
over to Southampton, about thirteen miles, and
it was about eleven o'clock at night when we
got on shore.

" 27th. Appointed a public -meeting at Ring-
wood, for this evening, which was large and

" Seventh month 1st. Have had satisfactory
meetings at Pool, Lymington and Wareham ;
went to Weymouth, and thence by the packet,
to Guernsey, and had a very trying passage.

" 4th. Had an appointed meeting this even-
ing, in the upper part of a spacious store ; a
large number attended, and through the kind-
ness of our heavenly Shepherd, it was solid ;
the people expressing their satisfaction, and as
we went to our lodgings several inquii'ed of
us when there would be another meeting.

" 6th. Took passage for the island of Jersey ;
the wind was so high that we could not make
a landing where we intended, but were driven
many miles, and there being two ships of war
near, they obliged our captain to come on
board. The wind continued very boisterous,

and the shore all round was rocky. While the
captain was absent our vessel dragged her
anchor and our people became much alarmed,
as we must have been driven by the violence
of the wind on to the French coast, if we
were not permitted to go into harbour, which
the captain of the man-of-war gave us liberty
to do, but required us to stay on board for the
orders of the prince, before we landed. These
delays, and the serious danger we were in,
were very trying, having taken no refresh-
ment all day. After much toil and difficulty,
the wind blowing directly towards the coast
of France, we anchored within two hundred
yards of land ; our letters and my passport,
were sent on shore to the prince, and after
considerable detention, we were permitted to
land, and sent under guard five miles to the
principal town, St. Helier, where we arrived
about eight o'clock in the evening, very weary
and almost sick, for want of proper refresh-
ment. Being taken before several officers and
examined, we were told that this island was so
circumstanced, that it would be very improper
to preach against war at present ; the last offi-
cer manifested a kind disposition towards us,
and we were dismissed. The inn being taken
up with guests, chiefly officers, I was taken
to the house of two middle aged women, be-
tween eleven and twelve o'clock at night.
Looking back on the fatigues and dangers of
the day, my soul was made afresh thankful
for the continued mei'cies of my heavenly
Father, and deeply sensible of my own un-
worthiness to be thus cared for and preserved
from one place to another, in a strange land.
" 7th. The two women Friends who thus
provided me with accommodation, appear to
be pious persons; and though separated from
the benefits of religious society, they with their
niece, sit down together on first and other days,
in silence, for the performance of Divine wor-
ship ; they are esteemed by the people as
Friends, and well spoken of. They gave me
an account of the manner in which Claude
Gay, who formerly lived here, was treated by
the people, and at length banished the island;
whereupon he went and laid his situation be-
fore the king, who ordered his officers to re-
ceive him again and to treat Friends in a
different manner. The father of these Friends
had been deceased now for a number of years,
and they remained the only professors with us
on the island — there were a number of Method-
ists, but as they could not join in their meet-
ings, they sat down alone. At about eleven
o'clock, we sat with them, and after a time
of silence and much solemnity, I felt some
encouragement to them, and the baptizing
power of Truth uniting us, it was a season
I hope, of much comfort to us all. In the



evening, they collected a few religious peo-
ple in the house, and we had a satisfactory
meetintT. An elderly woman, who speaks at
times among the Methodists, said she thought
Friends ought not to go from this island so
quickly as they had done, none having staid
more than two days, and hoped we would
stay longer, and she believed the Lord would
bless our coming. The Methodists thought
we might- hold our meetings to-morrow, at
a time when those of other societies were not
collected, supposing we should have many
more persons. This at first appeared plau-
sible, but upon weighing it, I was most easy
to propose two meetings, one at ten, and the
other at six o'clock. Our friends, with the
man of the house, went to seek a proper place,
and a suitable room presenting, it was hired
for the purpose. Some of our Methodist ac-
quaintances thought we had better publish our
meeting through the town, by a public cryer,
or get hand-bills printed and distributed, to in-
form the people, neither of which I could be
easy to do, but let the notice spread as it
might, without taking much pains about it.
The place being filled with soldiery and ap-
pearances of war, made me feel very low in
my iTiind, with a discouraging prospect of
having meetings with them. I feel very much
at times for Friends who accompany minis-
ters in these exercising labours among other
professors, being well convinced it is often a
mortifying business to go from house to house,
with invitations to our meetings, and am there-
fore inclined to lighten their burdens whenever
I can, and at this time feel thankful for the
company of my kind and suitable companions

" First-day, seventh month 9th. The meet-
ing at ten o'clock, was attended by about two
hundred people, and the heavenly Shepherd
condescending to grant us his presence, in
which only there is life, we had a solid, open,
satisfactory meeting in the ball-room, and ap-
pointed another to be at six in the evening.
Retired to my chamber : it seems to me im-
proper, before these large public-meetings, to
continue in company and conversation until
they come on — my place at least, appears to
be to retire and endeavour to have my mind
gathered to the Divine Fountain, where strength
and qualification to hold them to the honour
of Truth, can alone be found ; and after all, I
think I always have entered them with fear
and trembling, lest the blessed cause should
by any means suffer. At six in the evening,
many people collected and thronged the
house; a rude drunken man coming in, tended
to unsettle the meeting; many showed great
displeasure at his conduct, and though he was

a man of property, the soldiers present at-
tempted to turn him out, all which, with the con-
tinual thronging of the people, and the room
being exceedingly warm, made it trying to us,
and the more sober part of the company. My
friends and some of the respectable inhabitants,
spoke to the people to bring about some order.
I stood up, and for a time hoped that stillness
might have come over us, but the heat and
throng was so great, that I found it best to tell
them, I did not conceive the meeting could be
held so as to answer my concern, and wished
them quietly to withdraw ; which but few seem-
ed inclined to do, and said it was very hard
they should be deprived of the meeting, by the
restless behaviour of a few ; — however, it still
appearing best to Friends, we passed through
the ci'owd, and the rest followed. We went
to the house of our women Friends, where
about twenty or thirty serious people follow-
ing us, we were favoured with a precious re-
ligious opportunity. One thing which probably
added to the unsettlement in the large gather-
ing was, that many of the people did not un-
derstand what was said in English, to induce
them to more quiet.

" 10th. Went to St. Owen's bay, about
eight miles from St. Helier, and had a meet-
ing with the people ; a large collection of
whom attended, but scarcely any understood
Enghsh ; much quiet prevailing, and what I
said being interpreted, it was a solid, com-
fortable meeting, the people being as remarka-
ble for their simple rural manners, as in any
place I have been at. Had religious conver-
sation afterwards with a number, gave them
some books, and parted in much tenderness.
Appointed another meeting in the evening at
St. Aubins. A sergeant in one of the regi-
ments sat with us and had some serious con-
versation ; he appeared to be a religious minded
man, weary of his situation as a soldier, and
said there were a number of religious men in
that regiment, and in another then on the
island : his situation excited our sympathy.
An elderly woman, whose two daughters had
been at the meeting at St. Helier, desiring to
see us, we went to the house ; she said she
was grand-daughter to Mary Dyer, who was
put to death at Boston, and that there were
several other of her descendants on the island.
The meeting was not large, for a time it felt
very heavy, but at length it proved through
I'enewed mercy, a strengthening time to a
number present. Afi;er meeting, a pious man,
who sometimes exhorts among the Method-
ists, came and took me in his arms, and was
very tender ; he was soon to leave the island,
beino- banished for twelve months for refusing
to bear arms, and would have to leave a wife



and two children behind, who kept a little
shop for their maintenance, which occasioned
us to feel much sympathy for him.

"Returned to St. Helier, and on the 11th
had a meeting at the Assembly-room, which
through mercy, was satisfactory; but my mind
not being yet relieved, I appointed another
to be at six o'clock in the evening, which was
large, and several of the officers of the regi-
ment came in, one of whom did not seem in-
clined to behave well, nor to suffer others to
be so ; but after some time, being more quiet,
I was, through Divine assistance, favoured to
relieve my mind and take an affectionate
leave of the people. Our elderly women
Friends, who have so kindly accommodated
us, feel their lonely situation as Friends, on
this island ; but have been mercifully pre-
served and helped.

"13th. Returned to Guernsey, and attended
a meeting there in the evening, which ended
to satisfaction ; but my mind was not relieved
without having a more general public-meeting.

"First-day, 16th. The meeting this fore-
noon was to good satisfaction ; and in the
afternoon, went to one appointed at a place
called the Forest ; where about one hundred
and fifty people attended, and through Divine
help, it was an open time ; many of those
present were Methodists, and were tender and

" 17th. Having obtained from the trustees
and the principal members of the Episcopal
place of worship, called Bethel, the liberty of
holding a meeting in it this evening, notice
was accordingly given ; but about the time
appointed the parson sent for the key : the
Friend who had it would not give it up. He
then met the Friend on the way to the house,
and insisted upon our declining holding the
meeting, which we were not disposed to do,
neither would his own people consent to it,
saying, he was only their servant whom they
paid, and they would do what they pleased
with the house. He then went off, and we

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 92 of 105)