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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entered the house, which was soon filled ;
many of the audience being the principal peo-
ple of the island. After some time, they be-
came still, and though it did not appear to be
as much favoured as some meetings, yet I was
helped to open several important doctrines,
and passages of Holy Scripture readily and
pertinently presented for their support. Mj'
mind became relieved, and I hope the cause
of Truth lost nothing ; the people parted
with us respectfully, not at all pleased with
the attempt of the parson to prevent the meet-
ing. One of the principal contributors was
much displeased with his conduct, and said
the doctrine he had heard was true and very

" 18th. A number of the people desired to
know when we would have another meeting,
but we not inclining to stir up contention be-
tween them and their minister, did not think
proper to hold any more in that house. In
the afternoon, I went out about five miles, and
had a meeting at the house of a person who
is a member with the Methodists ; at which,
about eighty of his neighbours attended — an
honest, simple-hearted people ; it was thought
by Friends to be as favoured as any we had
in Guernsey, for which I was thankful ; all
praise is due to the heavenly Shepherd. In
the evening the meeting-house was full, and
it proved, through mercy, a solid, relieving
time to my mind ; the people took leave of us
in much affection. The captain of the packet
telling us we must be on board by ten o'clock;
on full consideration, I felt now quite easy
and concluded to go — had some disagreeable
company on boai'd.

" 20th. A French vessel bearing down
upon us, our captain hoisted more sail and
getting on faster than the other, though she
was "within three quarters of a mile of us, we
providentially escaped going to France, and
arrived at Weymouth in the afternoon. Went
to Bristol ; and on first-day, the 2.3d, attended
their meeting in the morning, and appointed
one for other professors in the evening. The
meeting-house is said to contain fourteen hun-
dred persons, but it was not sufficient for the
people that came. I was, through renewed
mercy, favoured to relieve my mind and we
separated in a tender frame.

" 26th. Got to Ackworth ; attended the
meeting with the children, which, through
Divine condescension, proved a solid, satisfac-
tory season. At the close, I believed it right
to appoint a meeting at six o'clock the next
evening, for the neighbours.

" 27th. The meeting was large and solid ;
to the Lord be the praise and glory of his
own works.

" 29th. At York ; visited several places,
and went to the castle where seven Friends
are confined for their religious testimony
against tithes. The buildings are airy and
handsome ; those Friends have a large room
to themselves in the day time, where they
employ their time in handicraft laboui*. In a
religious oppoi'tunity with them, the good
Master favoured with his presence ; they were
much tendered and we parted affectionately.
The poor curate, who belonged to the parish
they mostly came from, about ten days past
came to York to enter a complaint to the arch-
bishop, against the priest who put Friends into
prison, because he would not pay him for
preaching ; he made three visits to those im-
prisoned Friends, and they said he was more



affected at seeing them, than any who had
visited their apartment since they were con-
fined. The curates, who do the drudgery for
the priests, for about thirty or forty pounds
a year, in many parts of England, are badly
paid by their profligate superiors.

"First-day, 30th. At Ackworth; and notice
having been given to the neighbours not pro-
fessing with us, the meeting was large, and
through the continued mercy of our heavenly
Father, was a very contriting season, remark-
ably so to the dear children. A meeting being
appointed at Leeds, for six o'clock in the
evening, the house was well filled, and I hope
it was a profitable season.

" Eighth month 2nd. Got to Liverpool, and
on the 3d, appointed a public-meeting for to-
morrow evening.

" 4th. The meeting was large and satisfac-
tory. Had a meeting at Warrington, in the
evening of the 6th, which was crowded, and
Friends thought Truth rose over all, though to
myself it felt more laborious than any I had
attended for some time.

" 7th. Friends proposed that another might
be held this evening, as many of the people
were desirous of it, but after weighing the
matter, I was most easy to return to Liverpool.

"First-day, the 13th. Meeting in the morn-
ing at Chester, with the few Friends who live
there, and about sixty others ; it was a time
of much brokenness, and another was ap-
pointed for the evening, which was large, and
held to good satisfaction ; the people express-
ing their approbation of the doctrines they
heard. This city has many marks of great
antiquity, and is built on a plan diflxsrent from
any other I have ever seen. — Went back to
Liverpool, satisfied with my visit to Chester.

" 15th. Was at the Monthly Meeting of
Hardshaw, and a number of the neighbours
coming in, it was large ; my mind more than
at any other time in England, was exercised
for our own professors, and through renewed
mercy, I was favoured to relieve it to my

" 16th. Was at a marriage ; many other
professors attended the meeting, and some of
considerable note ; one who had written much
and was intimate with the prime minister,
Pitt, said after meeting, he did not know
how it would be taken by Friends, but he
could scarcely refrain fi'om standing up, and
enforcing by his testimony, to those of his own
profession present, the excellent and charitable
doctrines they had heard.

" First-day, 20th of eighth month. The
meeting appointed for this evening was large,
several ministers of different congregations
attending ; my gracious heavenly Helper did
not forsake me, and I was favoured to relieve

my mind and feel more clear of Liverpool than
ever before ; many came up after meeting, ex-
pressing desires for my preservation by sea
and by land. My daily feeling of incapacity
for any good word or work of myself, through
the power of Divine grace, keeps me from any
exaltation of spirit : may the Lord be with me
and keep me to the end from dishonouring the

" 24th. Having waited a considerable time
for a favourable wind, for the packet to go to
the isle of Man — while we were at the week-
day meeting, a messenger came and informed
us the vessel was about sailing ; I therefore
took leave of Friends in a few words, and
went on board.

" 25th. Landed on the island : there being a
large shed on the shore, and several people offer-
ing their assistance, some of our friends went
with a joiner, to fit it up for a meeting on
first-day, the 27th. We held a meeting there
in the forenoon, attended as was supposed, by
about five hundred persons, among whom
were several of the most respectable inhabi-
tants ; the people behaved well, and the op-
portunity was to much satisfaction. Appointed
another for the evening, and notwithstanding
it rained much, the place was filled ; it was
thought thei'e were about six or seven hun-
dred : this was also a satisfactory time, and
ended in pi'ayer. Appi'ehending I was not
yet quite clear, appointed another for to-mor-
row evening ; but after coming out, some of
the town's people thought that ten o'clock in
the morning, would be better ; I submitted to
their judgment, and they made it known. The
next day we went to the meeting-place, but
the people being confused about the time, only
about one hundred came ; it proved however,
through Divine goodness, a refreshing time
both to us and the people. Another was ap-
pointed for five o'clock in the evening. While
at dinner, a respectable man of the island,
brought me a letter from Alexander Shaw,
lieutenant governor, under the duke of Athol,
inviting me and my friends to Castletown,
where he resided ; and offering the use of his
chariot and servant while we staid on the
island, they being now in Douglas, (the town,)
we accordingly accepted his offer. .The in-
habitants showed us great respect, and the
poor fishermen regretted they could not be at
the meeting, as they fish all night, and put
out to sea early in the afternoon. Nearly one
hundred boats sailed out of this port, and they
said the others belonging to the island, which
were between four and five hundred in all,
would meet them at the fishing-place, for they
always fished together, under the direction of
an admiral or commander, and had strict rules
to prevent one having greater advantages than



another. When they were drawn out a little
way from the pier into the sea, they all took
off their hats and said a short prayer : con-
sidering their occupation, they generally ap-
pear to be sober, considerate men. In the
evening, the meeting assembled ; most of the
respectable inhabitants came, and in the whole,
six or seven hundred ; it was the most solid
and satisfactory of any we have had here, for
which I was truly thankful to the Blather of
mercies. An officer, who sat by me, kneeled
down with me at the time of prayer, and
seemed much affected, as was also major
Wallop, brother of the earl of Portsmouth,
who had sat by me in every meeting. The
people were tender, end hoped we would have
more meetings before we left the island. A
serious soldier followed me in the street, and
expi'essed with much tenderness, his satisfac-
tion, and told me it was a great grievance to
him and several of his comrades, that their
captain drew them out on parade, on first-day
mornings, and hindered them from attending
public-worship as they desired. Next day,
left Douglas — conveyed to Castletown in the
governor's carriage ; he was walking on the
parade, and invited us to dine with him at
three o'clock. We took up our lodgings at
the hotel, and in the afternoon went to the
governor's, and several of his acquaintance
being present, we dined with them in the castle.
The room we sat in, had walls nine feet thick,
and was a very ancient fabric ; the governor
and his wife treated us with great friendship,
and on our mentioning the desire of having
a meeting to-morrow, he proposed twelve

" Eighth month 30th. Held our meeting in
the ball-room, which was very much crowded.
The governor and family, and most of the
principal people of Castletown attended ; it
was to good satisfaction, and at the close I
signified my intention of another at six o'clock
in the evening. The governor stood up and told
the audience that the church would be opened
for the purpose, as it was evident no other
place would contain the people ; he also sent
his servant round the town, to give notice.
Castletown may contain three or four hundred
houses. In the evening, the assembly gathered
in the place mentioned, and was supposed to be
seven hundred. I felt low and poor at enter-
ing it; the people's expectations seemed raised,
which always depresses me. I was, however,
made truly thankful to the Author of mercies,
who condescended to cover the assembly with
his presence, and it ended in prayer and
praises to him, our heavenly Father. The
governor, and a man of high rank in the
island, going with us to our lodgings, I showed

VoL.^I.— No. 11.

them my certificate, which they seemed pleased
with, and expressed unity with me, &c.

" 31st. Took the governor's carriage and
servant, and arrived at Peel, another consider-
able town of about four hundred houses ; the
majority of the people, fishermen. We de-
livered the governor's letter to the high bailiff,
who said he would exert himself to forward
our views, and offered a school-house or the
guard-house, for a meeting.

" Ninth month 1st. At meeting in the
guard-room, the soldiers having seated it with
planks. The high bailiff, and several others
who had interested themselves for us, attended.
After I had been on my feet about half an hour,
the people crowded the house and round it so,
those without striving to get in, and it raining,
that I perceived it would not do to continue
the meeting. The high bailiff remonstrated
with them, and I sat down a few minutes, but
the throng was too great to hold the meeting
through, in that solemnity which had at first
attended ; not that the people were inclined to
be rude, but quite otherwise ; yet so many
being anxious to get in and hear, kept the
meeting in an uneasy state ; so after sitting a
short time, we broke up, the people regretting
it. We told them if we could have a more
convenient place, we inclined to hold another
meeting at five o'clock, and left it to them to
provide for us. In about a quarter of an
hour, a person came to tell us that the Meth-
odists would be obliged to us if we would
accept their meeting-house, which we accord-
ingly did. It was near the sea-side, and
the weather very stormy with hard rain, ye*
as many came as filled the house, being
about five hundred ; and a good meeting it
was : thanks be to Him, who is ever wor-
thy. After the meeting was over, the fish-
ermen who had been out to sea, finding the
storm increasing, were returning into har-
bour, but through the violence of the tem-
pest, sevei'al of their boats were dashed to
pieces on the rocks, but no lives lost. This
disaster, added to their continued disappoint-
ment of catching fish this season, made the
people seem much distressed. Having a sum
of money from a benevolent friend for the
poor, I distributed some of it among them, for
which they were thankful ; they generally ap-
pear to be a very civil quiet people, and reli-
gious in their way, live poor and are now
much discouraged.

" Ninth month 2nd. Proceeded to Ramsey,
eighteen miles from Peel. This island being
exposed to high winds from the sea, trees do
not thrive in it, yet in some spots they do
better. A person who had lived in Philadel-
phia came to see us, and also the cui'ate,



who kindly offered us a large school-house
for a meeting, which we accepted ; — the judge,
and high bailiff, also offered their service.

"First-day, 3d of ninth month. At meeting
this morning, two priests and the curate at-
tended ; the house held about three hundred,
but it was thought many more were crowded
into it, and many others could not get in ; it
was a satisfactory season, and another was
appointed at five o'clock this evening, in the
same place ; the garden was also opened and
many stood there, it was estimated that inside
and out, there were more than five hundred per-
sons ; a great number for so small a town. It felt
to me as much owned, and as great solem-
nity prevailed, as at any we had on the island,
and concluded with much brokenness among
the people ; thanks be to Him that is forever
worthy, and nothing to us but abasement.
The people pressed for another meeting to-
morrow, and the judge thought if I would sub-
mit to have another, as many as could afford
it, would be there, and inclined to make a
very handsome collection, and as he knew I
would not receive it, he was sure it would
be a gratification to me, to see it distributed
among the poor who were distressed by the
failure of the fishery. I assured him I could
never admit of anything of that kind, but was
willing to subscribe myself to their necessities,
out of meeting; he heard my reasons and was
satisfied. Went on second-day to Kirkmi-
chael, and found that a meeting would be
agreeable, but the landord undertaking to give
notice, and making it to be in the afternoon,
and we having fixed to be at Peel, at a meet-
ing at five o'clock, we could not stay their
time, at which some of the people were sorry
and blamed him: I left the place rather heavy
at the disappointment. Had a meeting at Peel
at the time mentioned ; the house was filled,
and it proved a solid, relieving time : thanks
to the Author of all good.

" Ninth month 5th. Went to Douglas,
twelve miles ; and it being a stormy evening,
and the fishermen not disposed to go out, I
appointed a meeting principally on their ac-
count. About three hundred of them attend-
ed, and many of the other inhabitants, and
through mercy, it was a solid, favoured op-
portunity : I was then easy to leave the
island. We were informed, the governor had
expressed his sorrow that we should be at
any expense on the island, saying it was
a reproach to the isle of Man, to let us be
at expense, while we were engaged for the
people's good. Major Wallop came and took
a kind leave of us ; and all things being
ready for leaving in the morning, I wrote a
letter to the governor in acknowledgment of
his kindness, and retired to rest under a

thankful sense of the manifold mercies of my
heavenly Father, who had condescended to
conduct me peacefully through my concern
for this island ; which, and all his kindness to
me, ought ever to be remembered with grati-
tude. ' The Lord is good unto all ; his mer-
cies are over all his works — his works shall
praise him, and all his saints shall bless him ;
they shall speak of the greatness of his power,
they shall talk of his kingdom, for his king-
dom is an everlasting kingdom, and his do-
minion throughout all generations.'

" Ninth month 7th. Arrived at Whitehaven
in the afternoon, and went to the widow Jane
Pearson's, who took us in kindly; most of the
ground on which the town stands, is on rent
payable to lord Lonsdale.

" First-day, 10th. The meeting was large
and to good satisfaction ; the evening meeting
was soon exceedingly crowded, and great num-
bers out of doors, supposed in the whole to be
one thousand people ; the house having small
windows, was so warm and oppressive, that it
was very trying and exhausted me much. I
did not think it as open a time as in the morn-
ing, but it closed well ; and I proposed another
for to-morrow evening, not feeling easy to
leave the place without it.

" 11th. The meeting this evening, appeared
to be solid from the first sitting down, and was,
through renewed condescension, a precious
relieving time to me : on retiring to bed and
looking back upon the day, I felt as much
sweet peace as I remember to have experienced
for a long time past : thanks be to Him who is
ever worthy. Some time back I had a desire
to get home this autumn, but my prospect of
Ireland and Scotland not admitting of it, I was
now favoured with a good degree of resigna-
tion to bear the disappointment.

" 13th. Attended the week-day meeting at
Swarthmore, one mile from Ulverstone, where
the members of society chiefly reside ; about
forty Friends came to it, and perhaps twelve
of other societies ; and it was held in com-
fortable and refreshing silence. I mentioned
my prospect of a meeting with the inhabitants
at five o'clock in the evening, and a Methodist
minister who was present, stood up and offered
their meeting-house, which he thought would
suit us better, as it was in the town : Friends
acknowledged his kindness, but after he and
the others were gone, they seemed to have
some strait about it, and at length concluded
that it should be at Swarthmore ; thinking the
people would come out, which I doubted, and
had no scruple of accepting the offer. The
meeting-house at Swarthmore, is now in good
repair, and may hold when the chamber and
back part is open, about five hundred persons ;
at the entrance next the moor, is a covered door-



way of stone, with an inscription, signifying
the time of its building, and G. F. at the end
of it; there are also two large arm-chairs very
heavily made, altogether of wood, and carved
on the back ; one was for George Fox, and the
other for his wife to set in : there is also an
ebony bedstead, which George Fox left for
Friends who were travelling, to lodge on. The
meeting-house stands high, and commands a
beautiful prospect of the country and town of
Ulverstone. S war th more Hall is a large pile of
antique building, with an avenue into the yard,
where Margaret Fox's carriage used to enter
by a gate-way of rough stone arched on the top.
The house as well as the farm, is at present
the property of some person not a Friend, and
rented : the rooms are large, particularly that
where the meeting used to be held: it is paved
with stone down stairs ; up staii's, the wain-
scotting round the room is carved,* as well as
the wood-work over the chimnies, with some
representations of Scripture passages. Mar-
garet Fox lies buried about a mile from thence,
where Friends buried their dead at that time.
We walked to town by the paved way on
which the family used to walk, which is mostly
shaded with trees. There are about twelve
families of Fi'iends, who keep up the meeting.
Going over these grounds caused me to feel
serious, but not superstitious. At Elijah Salt-
house's, he showed me their ancient Monthly
Meeting book in the days of George Fox,
which was curious, and also an old folio bible
printed in 1541, in old EngHsh text, with rough
plates ; it has a chain and small padlock to it,
by which it was formerly chained to the wall
in the meeting-house ; it is in pretty good keep-
ing for its age. The reason alleged for its beins
chained in the meeting-house is, that in that
day, cavillers at the doctrine delivered were
sometimes present, and Friends referred to the
text to satisfy them, and also to show to the
world that the calumny thrown on Friends of
rejecting the bible, was false. It was likewise
made use of by poor Friends who came from a
distance to meeting, and would be there before
the time, who employed themselves in reading
it; — a far more consistent and becoming em-
ployment than many now are in the practice
of before meetings begin, such as conversing
about news, trade, politics, &c. The weather be-
ing stormy, and the meeting so far from Ulver-
stone, only about two hundred attended, many
of whom l)eing religious people, it was held to
satisfaction, yet I did not feel myself relieved.
" 14th. The minister of the Independent
congregation, sent to know if we inclined to
accept of their house this evening, which he

* This ornamental work was no doubt performed
in judge Fell's time.

should cheerfully make ready for us if we
thought proper. Believing I should not feel
clear without his oticr was accepted, we did
so, and the meeting was large ; the people
conducted well, and through the condescen-
sion of our heavenly Father, it was a refresh-
ing time to me, believing that Truth was much
in dominion ; and I retired to rest, easy to
proceed in the morning.

" 16th. Got to Kendall, to George Stew-
ardson's; was much oppressed with a cold : —
the weather so wet, they said there had not
been a dry day for a month past, which had
much injured the harvest, the wheat growing
in the shock, and a great deal of hay being
nearly rotten.

" First-day, 17th. The meeting was larger
than any I have seen, except London and
Bristol ; and an appointed one this evening
was very large and crowded; it was supposed
there were fourteen hundred persons within
doors and many out ; the Author of all good
was mercifully pleased to be with us, and it
concluded in thanksgiving.

" 19th. Attended their week-day meeting,
wherein I was silent: appointed one to be held
at six o'clock this evening, for all who inclined
to attend ; which, though it rained very hard,
was large, consisting of about one thousand
people, who behaved becomingly. My cold
and hoarseness made it trying to me to speak,
yet it closed comfortably : the minister of a
dissenting congregation was much affected,
and took leave of me with expressions of
unity, and prayers for my preservation and
return to my friends in peace. A number of
our female ministers are travelling in Scotland
and these northern parts of England ; but no
man Friend, except Thomas Scattergood and
myself; David Sands is in Wales. What hath
or doth hinder them, but the too great attach-
ment to the pursuits of this world. O ! what
a pity, in such an abundant field of labour
as this country affords ! Lord, loosen our So-
ciety more and more, that they may be ready
to enter the field thou art opening in Europe.

" 21st. At Cockermouth ; where there are
about twenty families of Friends, who keep
up the meeting. The wages of labouring peo-
ple here are very low; men twenty-one pence
per day, and find themselves ; — most of the
people, men, women and children, wear clogs,
made of leather above and wood and iron for
the soles, which seems to be general in the
north of England, except for such as are of

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 93 of 105)