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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considerable property.

"22nd. Appointed a mccling for six o'clock
this evening ; a number of Friends came in
from the country, among whom was .lohn
Hall, of Broughton, a minister; the meeting
was large and satisfactory.



" Fivst-day, 24th. Attended their forenoon
meeting at Wigton, at which were Mary Wat-
son and Mary Sterry ; the former had good
service. I did not think myself authorized to
appear by way of ministry, as indeed I seldom
do among Friends. The members of society
in Cumberland and Westmoreland, appear to
be a plain, honest people. Arrived at Carlisle
in the evening, and a meeting being appointed
at six o'clock, it was large; several of the
clergy attended ; and through the condescen-
sion of our heavenly Father, it was a solid,
satisfactory time. Appointed another meet-
ing for to-morrow evening. There are about
thirty-two families of Friends here, and there
may be fifteen thousand inhabitants in this
city. Many Friends came in from the country
to the meeting ; and also some people of note
in the town, and some of the clergy : the peo-
ple were remarkably still, and the Lord fa-
voured us with a truly consolating meeting ;
my mind felt quite relieved, and I had an af-
fectionate parting with many of the people.

" 27th. Lodged at Hawick, forty -four miles
from Carlisle. The labourers on their farms,
live generally in a cluster of twenty or thirty
houses ; are meanly accommodated in small
mud cottages with thatched roofs, almost like
stables ; the children and most of the women
without shoes — turf is the common firing, and
their bread of oatmeal. Arrived at Kelso a
little past eleven o'clock, and finding that the
widow Margaret Anderson and two daughters
were gone to meeting, we went and sat down
with them ; they and one man, not an ac-
knowledged member, composed the whole
meeting ; some others who are descendants
of Friends join them on first-days. Their
lonely situation affected me, and I could not
but reflect on my dear native city and the
meetings there, where there are so many to
encourage and strengthen one another. Oh !
what advantages do Friends in such places
enjoy, and how thankful ought they to be !
May the sight of many poor and solitary ones
be remembered by me, if the Lord spare me
to get home, and be a perpetual incitement to
walk worthy of his manifold mercies. There
was something solid and precious attended us,
and we were glad we had sat with them. I
proposed a meeting for the people of the place ;
but it being thought the notice would be too
short for this evening, it was appointed for ten
o'clock to-morrow forenoon. The lands being
farmed out in large tracts, the poor can get
none; and the farmers who employ them, feed
them with skim, or as they call it, blue milk
and oatmeal, made into crouder or hasty-pud-
ding, potatoes, turnips, kale, &c., but very
little meat. The river is well stored with
salmon, but none are suffered to take them,

but such as purchase that privilege of the duke
of Roxborough. Notwithstanding their plenty,
they are six pence sterling per pound, so the
poor must taste them but seldom.

" 29th. Very little notice being given, the
meeting was small ; at the close of which I
appointed another at six o'clock in the evening.
I felt much discouraged at having a meeting
here ; the minds of the people not appearing
open towards Friends; but about two hundred
attended. I thought Truth did not reign, and
to me it was a low, and I feared a fruitless
season ; yet the people said they hoped we
would stay over first-day; it was however still
and quiet throughout.

" 30th. Went on — passed through a large
town called Dalkeith, and arrived at Edinburgh
in the evening.

" First-day, tenth month 1st. Friends have
built a new meeting-house in a retired place,
which will contain about five hundred persons.
There are about twelve families of respectable
Friends residing here ; and we went to the
meeting, in expectation of seeing our members
alone; but the people came in until there wei'e
three hundred, who appeared becomingly, and
it was on the whole to satisfaction. Appointed
another meeting at six o'clock in the evening,
at which about five hundred attended, among
whom were many high professors, who be-
haved well ; it was thought to be a favoured
meeting, and I left it peaceful and easy, and
appointed another for third-day evening. This
city is said to contain one hundred thousand
inhabitants, though it does not cover a great
deal of gi'ound. The houses are in general
higher than in any city in Europe, from five
to ten stories ; the ground being very costly,
it is almost covered with building, and scarcely
any yards. In the new city, the houses are
large, plain and substantial — they generally
have stone stair cases in one quarter of the
building, which ascend to the top of the house ;
and frequently the several stories are occupied
by different families, and have from four to
eight chambers each : these families may be
from six to eight or more in one house, mostly
unacquainted with each other. The space be-
tween the joists and ceilings and floors, is filled
with a composition of saw-dust, &c., which
prevents the communication of sound, and the
families ai'e more conveniently accommodated
than might be expected. At present there are
no American students north of Virginia at the
college. Our friends say, they do not desire
to see Friends' children sent here from Ameri-
ca, it being generally destructive of their morals
and religious principles.

" Tenth month 3d. The meeting this even-
ing was large and comfortable ; a number of
men of science attended, and it closed in rev-



erent thankfulness to the Author of all our
mercies. Yesterday evening our friend Phoebe
Speakman, with her companions Ann Crowley
and J. Birkbeck, came in from their journey
to the north.

" 5th. At the week-day meeting this fore-
noon, about forty Friends and a few others
attended. Phoebe Speakman had good service,
to the comfort of all ; her call seems altogether
to our own members. At the close of the
meeting, finding my mind not yet relieved, I
proposed a public meeting at six o'clock. Our
Friends here set a good example, by shutting
up their shops while they go to meeting. The
meeting in the evening was very large and
crowded, many men cf letters attending, and I
entered it in fear and trembling for the precious
cause, which is often my case. I think I can
say, I seek not mine own honour, but above all
the exaltation of Truth and its testimony. The
people behaved in a solid manner from the
beginning, and it proved, through Divine con-
descension, a relieving meeting, and I took
leave of the people with much tenderness.
After meeting, some pious persons express-
ed themselves in an affectionate manner.
I hope the kind expressions of some after
meetings, will only have a tendency to make
me more humble and sensible that to me be-
longs nothing, but all to Him, whose is the
kingdom, the power and the gloiy, and all
the praise of his own works for ever : our re-
joicing is the testimony of our consciences,
not the well-done of the people.

" 7th. Rode to Leith, and took passage in
a pinnace across the water to Kinghorn ; then
taking post-chaise, we passed through the town
of Kircaldy and several lesser towns, and got
to Dundee in the morning of the 8th. Two
respectable men, Alexander Webster and Wil-
liam Smith, visited us, who appear to be con-
vinced of our principles and very friendly.
Some notice having been given, and a large
hall well seated, we went to the meeting
with expectation of seeing very few, as it was
the time that all the different places of wor-
ship began, and the people are very exact
in this countiy, in attending their places of
worship and keeping the first-day religiously
in their way. However, about four hundred,
came, mostly men, and after a few minutes,
behaved well. It was thought to be a com-
fortable meeting, and I appointed another at
six o'clock in the evening. Having at the
meeting in the morning used some expres-
sions, inviting such as were not satisfied with
the doctrine, to call on me and express their
minds, three respectable citizens of the place,
but of Deistical principles, joined our friends
in the street, professing a desire for an inter-
view with me, which I thought had best be

deferred until after our meeting in the evening.
The convenience of the hall being enlarged
by a different arrangement of the seats, and
opening two rooms adjoining, the whole wei'e
so closely stowed, that I had very little ex-
pectation we should be able to hold the meet-
ing to satisfaction, and expressed my fears to
the people. They endeavoured however, to
be still, became very solid and attentive, and
I saw scarcely any uneasiness. The meeting
closed solemnly in prayer, after which it was
some time before we could get the people to
move, so that we could get through, and num-
bers followed us to the inn door. It was
thought there were one thousand or more as-
sembled ; and it was said many hundreds
went away who could not get in. The three
men aforementioned, came to the inn ; we
found them strong in their opinions ; one
seemed to be what is termed a Fatalist, and
thought that Judas could not have done any-
thing but what he did, nor any man else from
the beginning of the world. They appeared
to be men of good education, and the points
were argued with coolness, and they parted in
a very friendly disposition. We don't know
that much was gained ; but we all concluded
nothing was lost, as they were driven to
their shifts, and willing to drop the argument,
and said they wished there was a body of
Friends settled at Dundee. I retired to rest
thankful for the merciful preservation and help
through the day.

" 9th. The town of Dundee stands on the
river Tay, about eight miles from the sea, and
as well as almost every village and town in
England and Scotland, has many soldiers in it.
Dined at our friend Alexander Webster's, who
is under convincement ; his wife, who contin-
ues with the Baptists, was pleased with our
visit to Dundee, was very kind, and I hope
preparing to be of one mind with her husband.
Another meeting being appointed for this even-
ing, the people hired a man, as they did yes-
terday, to preserve order and keep the rude
boys out of the house. Although we went
before six o'clock, the house was nearly full
and became very crowded. I was led to speak
plainly against the doctrine of Deism — the
people behaved quietly and some were much
tendered ; and though I did not think Truth
triumphed so much as last evening, yet it was
a relieving time to me, and the meeting broke
up in solemnity. William Smith's wife was
at it, with which he was rejoiced, and she
confessed feelingly to the truths she heard.

" 10th. Parted affectionately with W^illiam
Smith and Alexander Webster, who said they
were strengthened by our visit ; but a }'ouno'
woman, who is also under convincement, and
lives with a rigid aunt, was not suffered to



come to any of our meetings, nor to see us ;
which was a grief to those two men, and to
her also. They meet together at times Hke
Friends, and I cannot but hope Truth will
one day be more prosperous in Dundee than
it is at present, though the absurd doctrine of
unconditional election and reprobation, so ri-
gidly held by many, must first be renounced.
Our landlord acknowledged he was much edi-
fied by our meetings, and parted with us with
many good wishes. Rode through a fine grain
country, pretty much in sight of the sea, and
got to Montrose, and visited a widow Milne
and daughter, the only Friends at that town,
and had a religious opportunity with them to
our satisfaction.

" 11th. Went to Urie, the place of Robert
Barclay's birth and death. The present pos-
sessor is lately come to the estate : he is a
young man of eighteen, named Robert, and
was out hunting ; — the likeness of Friends
seems quite extinguished ; the father of this
young man retained a regard for our pro-
fession, in the early part of his life, but went
off, got to be a member of parliament, and
died about two years past. The young man's
preceptor told uc, he knew Mr. Barclay would
have been glad to see us ; and asked us to stay
until he returned from hunting, and to dine
there about four o'clock, which we declined,
having determined to be at Aberdeen in the
evening. The library room, which is small, is
the place where Robert Barclay is said to have
written his works ; — there are a great many
ancient Friends' books, all Robert Barclay's
writings, and nearly all the pieces in opposition
to him, and many other books of more modern
date on different subjects. The meeting-house,
which has not been made use of for a number
of years, stands within a few yards of the
dwelling — the ministers' gallery and some
other seats remaining ; but it now appears to
be a place for broken furniture and lumber.
The preceptor took us about half a mile from
the dwelling, to the top of a little mount, the
highest land in the neighbourhood, which was
the burying-place of Friends ; the family are
buried together, and now inclosed by a house
built over them, at the expense of David
Barclay of London ; they consist of seven
graves : it is probable that several of the fa-
mily died in other places. We left the former
residence of the excellent apologist and de-
fender of our faith, with heaviness of mind,
and with reflections upon the impossibility of
the best of men conferring grace and virtue
upon their descendants. The country from
Urie to Aberdeen was very poor ; the distance
about fourteen miles.

" 12th. Passing through a poor country and
with hard riding we got to Old Meldrum —

some of the Friends had gone to their meeting ;
but our friend John Elmslie meeting us in the
street, took us to his house ; and after a little
refreshment, we also went to meeting, where
there were only two men and eight women —
it was held in silence ; and at the close I ap-
pointed one for the people of the town, at six
o'clock in the evening ; which, though not
large was thought satisfactory. The town is
small, and the people generally in low circum-

" 13th. Went on to our ancient friend
George Cruikshank's, who lives with his son
John, who married a daughter of John Wig-
ham's. This family appear exemplary in their
house and manner of living, and may be gifted
for service in the church. Our friend George
Cruikshank's daughter was very ill; she bears
her lingering painful disorder with great pa-
tience and resignation, and we had a comforta-
ble religious opportunity in her room. At
six o'clock went to a meeting appointed at In-
verary, a village about two miles off; the
house held about three hundred people, was
well filled, the people quiet in the time of si-
lence, serious, tender and attentive. I thought
them more like thirsty ground than in any other
place we had been at in Scotland, and the
Lord favoured us with a memorable time, to
our great comfort ; the praise of all was ren-
dered to him, whose due it is : the people were
very thankful, and expressed much desire for
another meeting. O I my dear friends of
Philadelphia — how gladly would these, and
many more in desolate places as to vital reli-
gion, receive the crumbs that fall from your
spiritual tables almost untasted.

" 14th. Our ancient Friend went with us to
Kinmuck, four miles, to the family of John
Wigham, who are settled on land which
they have improved, being managed by his
eldest son, a hopeful young man. The village
of Kinmuck is about half a mile distant, quite
small, but has several families of Friends and
a meeting-house. Rode to Aberdeen about
fourteen miles. A letter being received from
Philadelphia, mentioning that symptoms of the
yellow fever had again appeared there, it was
affecting to me ; but having left all in obedi-
ence to my apprehended duty, I commit all to
Him whose power is sufficient to control and
stay the hand of disease, when and where he

" First-day, 15th. Notice having been
given to other professors, the meeting was
held in Friends meeting-house, which was
comfortably filled: there are but six families
of Friends belonging to it. After a little time
the people behaved orderly and were very at-
tentive ; it grew more and more solid, and
ended to satisfaction. Appointed another for



six o'clock to-morrow evening. Tliis town
stands upon the river Dee ; the land round it
is not rich, and the people are employed in
knitting worsted, AvooUen, cotton and raw silk
stockings ; also spinning the yarn for them
and for linens : there are many rows of good
houses, the streets well paved, and in general
more cleanly than the other towns we have
passed through in Scotland ; the city is sup-
posed to contain twenty-five thousand inhabi-

" 16th. The meeting this evening was very
crowded ; it was thought that four hundred
got in, and a vast many went away for want
of room — all the avenues for air being stopped,
it became very warm and trying. Although
many had to stand, they presently got quiet,
and a solemnity prevailing, the people con-
tinued attentive and were tendered. We
believed it was a season not soon to be
forgotten ; the Lord's good presence having
been thankfully witnessed, all the praise was
rendered to him, who is now and for ever
worthy. After meeting, a sensible man came
to our lodgings, and told us he had for several
years been a seeker after Truth — was thank-
ful for what he had now heard, and wished us
to stay longer in Aberdeen, having no doubt
he could obtain a place for a meeting that
would hold one thousand or fifteen hundred
people, who he thought would come if we had
another ; but feeling my mind clear, I did not
think it laid upon me. Agreed to breakfast
with this man to-morrow, and I retired to bed,
thankful for the help and preservation through
the day.

" 17th. Went accordingly to see John Mel-
les and his wife and children ; who appeared to
be people of good circumstances, and were very
open and friendly. They said many people
marvelled that I spoke as I did last night, with-
out notes, as all the preachers in Scotland use
them, and supposed I had been bred to the
ministry, &c. ; so little idea have many in the
present day, of the nature of our ministry.
We left Aberdeen, and after passing through
much poor country, chiefly in oats, arrived at
a village called Lawrence Kirk in the evening.

"18th. Rainy and cold; instead of pro-
ceeding direct for Glasgow, as I was in hopes
of doing, I found my mind turned to go by
Dundee again. We were well accommodated
at the inn, and had good wheat bread on the
table as well as oat cakes; but the latter is the
bread of the poor. The people in the country
appear to be poor, many of the women and
children were without shoe or stocking, though
it was quite cold, and the highland mountains
on our right covered with snow on the tops.
Considerable oats and barley yet to cut, and
much more to get in and stack. They have

little fuel, and the bleakness and exposure of
the country to cold winds, require a hardy
I'ace of people to endure ; which they cer-
tainly are. My two travelling companions,
George Miller and William Farrer, made
some remarks on Americans using the word
' thee' instead of ' thou,' where the latter
would be most proper ; they were of the mind
that it was a departure from our testimony,
and had crept in from a desire of pleasing
others by a soft accommodating form of
speech, and was inconsistent with the prac-
tice of our ancient Friends. I never thought
it proceeded from a desire to evade our testi-
mony, but through custom had prevailed in
many from ignorance of grammar rules ; —
we are, however, recommended by an apostle,
to hold fast the form of sound words. Arrived
at Dundee in the evening. Our two con-
vinced friends, Alexander Webster and Wil-
liam Smith, called upon us, and appear to
have gained strength to avow the principles of
Friends more openly than heretofore, and to
sit down together on first-days in silence, with
such who incline to sit with them. The ac-
counts they gave us, and the comfortable feel-
ing of our minds, induced us f'^ believe we had
been rightly directed to visit this town again.
" 19th. The Tradesmen's Hall was again
seated, though not so conveniently as before,
we being placed in the middle, and the people
not inclining to go to the far end, they blocked
up the door way, and prevented many from
getting in ; had it been otherwise arranged,
we believed it would have been filled. About
five hundred attended, chiefly of the most
respectable inhabitants. My mind was in a
remarkable manner tenderly affected towards
them, and through the gracious condescen-
sion of our heavenly Father, the opportu-
nity was to our gi'eat comfort and thankful-
ness. After meeting, two religious men and a
woman who had an uncommon knowledge in
the Scriptures, and were of a tender spirit, vi-
sited us. They expressed their convictions in all
the foregoing meetings, as well as this, though
they had never heard a Friend before, and
were united with the doctrines they had heard,
and were only come to have fiirther informa-
tion as to some points in which they still had
doubts, particularly whether water baptism
and the sacrament so called, were not en-
joined for Christians to observe as a standing
ordinance of Christ. We had much freedom
in exchanging sentiments with these tender
pco[)le, who had I'cad some parts of Barclay's
x\pology, lent to them by Alexander Webster
since we were first there ; tliey said they had
never heard those matters so clearly stated
as in this opportunity, and could say they
now thought there was not anything essential



in them : we parted in much affection. A man
also came into our room while we were thus
conversing, and opened his mind to us : he
said he had been at all our meetings, and ever
since the first, was under strong convictions
for his past bad conduct, but was comforted in
hope, by the doctrines we held, of the univer-
sal grace and free pardoning mercy of the
Almighty to returning and repenting sinners,
which was very contrary to what he had been
used to hear, of absolute and unconditional
election and reprobation. He appeared like
a prodigal son returning to the arms of the
Father of mercies — was much broken, and
thought that through Divine grace he should
renounce all his former evil practices : I en-
deavoured to encourage and strengthen him
in his good resolutions, and he left us in tears ;
his state affected me much and remained on
my mind, with strong desire for his preserva-
tion. Retired to rest with a comfortable evi-
dence of being in our places — the Lord be

" 20th. Our two friends, Alexander Web-
ster and William Smith, with several othei's,
were disappointed and affected on hearing we
proposed leaving them without another meet-
ing ; — the people appeared to draw hard to de-
tain us longer, but feeling that things were
comfortably left, and the minds of many stir-
red up to further inquiry, we concluded to send
them some books from Edinburgh ; and the
two Friends crossing the i-iver with us, we
had a tender parting from them, and rode
on to the county town, (Cooper,) where we

" 21st. Set off in the rain and cold, rode
through the towns of Kircaldy, Kinghorn,
&c., and arrived at the ferry opposite Leith :
it blew very hard, yet thirty of us passengers
went in a sloop, and had a rough, wet time
and poor accommodations, but arrived safely.
A young man under convincement, and An-
thony Wigham, were waiting for us on the
quay; we took a seat in the coach which goes
every half hour for Edinburgh, and soon got
to George Miller's, where we were kindly re-

" First-day, 22nd. The meeting-house was
nearly filled in the morning, and the people
solid and attentive. At six o'clock in the
evening it was much crowded, and the Lord
was rich in mercy to us ; the people parted
in a kind and tender frame, and I was in hopes
I might now pass away from this city, so fa-
mous for its learning and science, that it is
said there are seldom fewer than one thousand
young men attending the University from Eng-
land, Ireland and foreign parts ; more than forty
Americans being here at present.

" 24th. A young man who was at some 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 94 of 105)