William Evans.

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

. (page 95 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 95 of 105)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

our meetings on the isle of Man, being now
here attending the medical lectures, frequently
visited us, and expressed a fear lest while en-
deavouring to obtain worldly knowledge, he
should unhappily lose rather than gain in the
knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus
Christ, which he was convinced many of his
fellow students had done ; and feelingly ex-
pressed his desire to keep, through God's
grace, free from the pollution of sentiments
and manners so unhappily prevalent among
the professors and pupils in this place.

" 25th. Attended their week-day meeting,
and appointed one for six o'clock this evening,
requesting that the notice might be particu-
larly communicated to such who were consid-
ered seeking, religious people. The evening
was remarkable for storm and rain, so that
even some women Fi'iends who attempted it,
thought they were obhged to give out and re-
tui'n home; yet from two hundred and fifty to
three hundred came, nearly one half of whom
were women, supposed to be such as I most
wanted to see : it was the most confirming and
solid meeting of any we attended in Edinburgh ;
and after taking an affectionate leave of them,
I felt perfectly clear and easy to leave the
city. On the next day we parted with several
Friends, and also with our kind, hospitable
landlady, Ann Miller and family, with much
tender feeling. Passed through a pretty
country, surrounded with high hills, and hav-
ing several handsome seats of noblemen in
sight of the road ; arrived at Glasgow in the
evening, and put up at one of the largest inns
I have seen in Europe, having about one hun-
dred rooms.

" 27th. Breakfasted and dined with a Avor-
thy man and his wife, who are convinced of
our religious principles ; they with two or
three other sober persons, sit down and hold
meetings for worship in the manner of Friends.
Appointed a meeting to be held at six o'clock
this evening ; when about four hundred at-
tended, and behaved well. I then appointed
another at the same hour to-morrow evening,
and lodged at the house of a young Fi'iend
from Manchester. Glasgow is well laid out
and built; contains many large and handsome
public buildings, and the private houses are
not inferior to any place I have seen — the
streets wide, straight, well lighted by lamps,
and has excellent footways, superior to most
we have passed through in Europe. The city
and adjacent villages are extensively in the
manufacture of fine cotton stuffs, muslins, fine
linen, &c., and is said to contain sixty thou-
sand inhabitants. The meeting in the evening
was attended by about the same number as the .
one last night, did not hold so long as common,
feeling that those I most wanted to see were



not present, and I marvelled that there were
no more than we had before; but was informed
that the Presbyterians and the seceders from
them, accounted the most rigid to their faith
of any in Scotland, had no unity with the
Methodists, and our having the meeting in
their house, kept many away. I appointed
the meeting for to-morrow forenoon at the
Tradesmen's Hall.

" 29th. The meeting in the Hall was com-
fortably filled with many people of the first
rank, and was satisfactory; appointed another
at six o'clock this evening, which was crowded
as well inside as round the door and on the
stairs. Through Divine favour, a solemnity
soon spread over us ; and though I seldom
have entered, or stood up in, these great meet-
ings with more fear and even trembling, than
in this, yet the good Shepherd and everlasting
Helper of those who put their trust in him,
was mercifully pleased to bear me through,
beyond anything I had experienced in Scot-
land, and indeed to my own revei'ent humilia-
tion. The pernicious doctrine of Deism, and
the Pharisaical righteousness of some profes-
sors of Christianity, were principally what I
had to open to the audience, who were so
still, that some afterwards said, they heard
distinctly outside the Hall ; and I have seen
but few in all my travels equal to it — it closed
in humble thankfulness to the Author of every
mercy : after which I took leave of the peo-
ple, apprehending I might now be at liberty to
leave them ; many came up very tenderly and
respectfully, and hoped we would not go away
without another meeting, which I told them
I would consider as well as I was capable of.
We endeavoured to get out, but the audience
seemed not inclined to move until we went
foremost, through an opening they made for
us ; several asking for another meeting, and
many followed us almost to our quarters. I
can scarcely express the thankfulness I feel to
the Author of all our mercies, who has been
pleased to carry me so peacefully through my
visit to Scotland.

" 30th. Notwithstanding the importunity of
the people, I did not feel the propriety of an-
other public meeting at the Hall, having reason
to hope, as it closed well last night, the way
will be open for future fellow travellers ; yet
weighing what was best to be done, was easy
to propose a meeting in the house of John
Robertson, at six o'clock, for those who ap-
peared most inclined to Friends' meetings ; and
such being accordingly invited, about sixty
came. The time of silence was solemn, and
proved a prelude to the continuance of Divine
favour throughout. Several were much hum-
bled, particularly two gay young women, sis-
ters, who had been at all the meetings and
Vol. I.— No. 11.

were of considerable rank in the world ; they
staid with us after meeting, and one of them
acknowledged she had never received so much
benefit as in the meetings of Friends. We told
them of the kw who sat down together on first
and fifth days at John Robertson's house, where
they hoped they should be strengthened to at-

" 31st. Put forward on our journey through
a country, the soil of which is naturally poor,
but being manured with lime, sea- weed, &c.,
is made to produce good crops of oats and
barley: passed through several towns, and for
a number of miles in sight of the sea; and at
night, eleventh month 1st, arrived at port Pat-
rick, and with difficulty procured lodging at a
private house, the inns being crowded. The
wind blowing hard and directly ahead, we
were obliged to stay here. There are abun-
dance of poor looking people, almost naked,
who come here from Ireland to beg. The town
contains about two hundred huts and houses,
surrounded by high barren mountains, and not
above four houses in the place that can be
called tolerably good ; the women, lads and
girls go barefoot, and some of them were slid-
ing so on the ice. Mutton costs here four
pence, and beef six pence per pound, and
much of it very poor.

" 4th. The wind coming out more fair, we
went on board the packet and arrived at Don-
agadee, in Ireland, in the evening.

" First-day, the 5th. Sat down with the
family and a few others who commonly attend
with them, and at the close of the sitting I
proposed a meeting at Newton this evening,
of which our friend T. Bradshaw gave notice
in the town. At six o'clock, though very wet
and discouraging, yet about four hundred came
together and behaved well, and through re-
newed mercy it proved an open time. — Ap-
pointed another for to-morrow evening.

" 6th. Went to Newton Ards, where a
number of otficers and soldiers attended the
meeting ; but I thought it not so open and
satisfactory as the last.

" 8th. Was at Belfast ; the streets of which
are very dirty, the poor people very much so,
and without shoes or stockings ; the women
and children go through the mud, now in the
eleventh month. Went on to Antrim, and
wei'e kindly received by the family of Gervas
Johnson, who is now on a religious visit to
Friends in America. An appointed meeting
at six o'clock in the evening, was solid and
satisfactory, as was another at the same hour
next evening — the house was filled, and the
Presbyterian minister attended both this and the
last; it was quiet and ended to our satisfaction.
" 11th. Took a post-chaise for Lisburn,
accompanied by several Friends, and passed



through a fertile country, but the huts of the
poor peasants were miserable : the town we
passed through to-day had been much injured
a few days before by some rioters, and the
windows and some doors broken ; the sufferers
were such as are called United Irishmen.
This part of Ireland has been long famous for
rioting. With the help of lanterns we walked
out to the boarding school of Friends, for the
province of Ulster, which consisted of about
fifty scholars, boys and girls ; their supper
was potatoes and milk — they looked healthy
and were decently dressed ; having some little
religious communication, many of them were
tendered, and I was glad we were there.

"First-day, 12th. Attended their meeting.
The custom of Friends in this town, is to have
a second meeting after the rising of the first,
and not to dine until after the last; but feeling
a concern to have a meeting for the people
at large in the evening, the afternoon meet-
ing was put off". The public meeting at six
o'clock was large, and except some interrup-
tion from rude boys, was held in much quiet.
Although the people behaved well in general,
I did not think it so open as many others.*
Some appeared much affected, and an elderly
man reached out his hand, and said it was the
Gospel that had been preached, and he wished
me well.

" 13th. Visited the boai'ding school again ;
the situation is fine, and commands a beautiful
prospect. Large additions have been made to
it since the decease of John Gough, who for-
merly kept it : it has forty acres of land on a
long lease. The National Meeting subscribed
four thousand pounds, and the province of
Ulster raises annually about three hundred
pounds for its support ; this with some little
income beside, enables the institution to board,
educate and clothe fifty-six children, from eight
to fifteen years of age, at three pounds per
annum ; they bringing with them one good
suit, and also a common one : — the whole ex-
pense for one scholar, is about thirteen pounds
Irish, per annum. Went to Hillsborough and
had a meeting in the evening, which was quiet
and satisfactory ; then accompanied Louisa
Conran, wife of John Conran a minister, to
their house about two miles ; he was out from
home on religious service. The poor people
in this part of the country are busily engaged

* It is not strange that our dear friend found so
little openness, as he had to treat upon that di-
vinely authorized passage of the apostle, " this is
a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation,
that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sin-
ners, &c. ;" for it is well known, that through the
subtlety of the serpent, Deism and a disregard of
the Holy Scriptures, had gained considerable hold
in many parts of that country.

in sowing wheat, digging potatoes, &c. ; the
women and children everywhere without shoes
and stockings. Potatoes, with a little oatmeal,
sometimes milk, and now and then a bit of
meat, make up their principal food. I visited
a number of the poor in their cottages, the
women spin and the men weave linen, mus-
lin, &c., but are very poorly clad, indeed al-
most naked; their houses very cold, with little
light but what comes in at the door; the walls
of mud and straw, roofs thatched, floors of
earth, and small fires of turf, for which they
pay dear to the landholders ; a straw bed
or two, with some stools, a table, a few
bowls, &c. make up their furniture. How
would a sight of these poor, oppressed people,
make many, even of the poor in Pennsylva-
nia, thankful for their blessings ! We dis-
tributed a little money among them, and they
returned many blessings.

" 15th. Attended the week-day meeting at
Ballindery, the roads were bad ; met by the
way with a blind man, who had his mother,
aged eighty-six, on his back in a sack, led by
a faithful dog. Post-chaise one shilling per
Irish mile.

" 16th. Attended the Monthly Meeting at
Lisburn : — unexpectedly to myself, and con-
trary to my usual lot in Friends' meetings,
there was a necessity laid upon me to appear
in the ministry — the labour proved hard and
more laborious than among other people; after
which I felt peaceful and easy. There was
much consistency in their appearance as to
our profession, but more weight in answering
their queries and conducting their business,
would have been proper.

" 17th. Went with our friend Louisa Con-
ran two miles to dine, after which proceeded
to Lurgan, about eight Irish miles, through a
populous country ; the people on the way-side
dwell in wretched hovels of mud and straw,
many children almost naked, and this in the
midst of a fertile country, abounding in the
produce of the earth ; but the poor live very
poorly indeed, perhaps in every way more dis-
tressed than in any country I have seen ; and
the rich lamentably oppi'essive. It being market
day when we arrived, the market people were
packing up their stockings, linen, yarn, &c, ;
many of whom were intoxicated with strong
drink, which is said to be a common case on
market days. The houses are all white, being
overcast with lime, which is much the case in
this country.

"First-day, 19th. Though unwell I went
to meeting at Moyallen, and through Infinite
condescension it was thought to be a favoured
time. Attended the evening meeting at Lur-
gan, though quite poorly with the cold I had
taken — the house was supposed to contain



seven hundred persons, and was filled: it ap-
peared as open a time as I have had in Ireland.

" 21st. Was at William Pike's, with whom
we went to Dungannon, a considerable town,
and visited T. Greers jr., and his family.
About eighteen months past they removed to
this town, having before lived at a beautiful
farm some miles off, but were obliged to leave
it, in consequence of being in much danger
from rioters. One evening, seven persons
came with their faces blacked and otherwise
disguised, armed with pistols, &c., under pre-
tence of searching for guns, but abused the
family, robbed them of two watches and above
one hundred guineas ; which had such an ef-
fect on his wife, that she has not yet got over
it. Had a public meeting, at which, though a
wet evening, there were about seven hundred
present, and it proved a favoured season —
many soldiers and officers attended, several of
whom were much affected.

" 24th. Attended a public meeting at Rich-
hill, the house pretty full; I thought it a labo-
rious time. A drunken priest who attended,
was held up to the people in such a manner,
that they thought he could not have been so
described if I had not received some previous
information; but they were satisfied their con-
jecture was wrong, and were glad he had been
so handled. I knew not that there was any in
his station present until after meeting.

" Appointed a meeting to be on first-day
morning the 26th, at Newry. The Methodists
offering their house, and we not seeing any
better, accepted it : they took much pains to
accommodate the people, and though the house
contained about seven hundred, it was too
small ; yet the meeting was very quiet, and
through renewed mercy a favoured opportu-
nity. We had a public meeting in the Pres-
byterian meeting-house at six o'clock in the
evening; the house was large, yet it was much
crowded and many did not get in. It was
said that fifteen hundred persons were pre-
sent : the meeting concluded in prayer and
praises to our heavenly Helper, who had been
mercifully with us through the day. The min-
ister of the congregation said at the close, that
we might have the house again whenever we
saw fit to use it, and thanked us for our ser-

" 27th. We left the town, but had not gone
far before we saw about one hundred and fifty
persons kneeling on the wet ground, both men
and women — found it was a Romish funeral ;
the priest dressed in his white robes, and a
corpse in the middle, over which he was
making prayers and performing some cere-
monies. We stopped, and had an opportunity
of seeing some of their gross superstitious
ceremonies, and the making a bowl of holy

water, which he did by muttering over it a
kw latin prayers, and putting in a handful of
salt ; he then sprinkled the coffin ; the people
arose, and were likewise sprinkled, which the
poor women seemed eager to catch, and re-
turned him a courtesy.

" 28th. Reached Dublin, and on the 30th
went with two Friends to visit the poor, prin-
cipally in those parts called the Liberties,
where the most distressing scenes of human
misery presented themselves in abundance,
such as my eyes had never seen before, nei-
ther is it in my power fully to describe. We
went through the different apartments of fifty
or sixty houses, with scarcely any glass in the
windows, the ground floors of^ earth, and every-
where filled with almost all kinds of filth ; —
in some rooms two, three, to nine or ten wo-
men and children, and some men, many of
them sick and with very few rags to cover
them, sitting round two or three little pieces of
turf, and many without any fire at all, lying
about on a little dirty straw in the corners of
the room — they had no bed-clothes, and were
almost perished ; complaining of having no-
thing to do and nothing to eat, some for
twenty-four hours or more. The dampness
and dirtiness of their houses, and the filthiness
of their persons, must remain undescribed : —
they greedily seized sixpences and shillings,
as if their miserable existence depended on
them, and returned us many blessings, some
in very singular language. A large number
surrounding us in the street, we went to a
baker's shop and distributed among them fifty
loaves of bread. Dined by candle-light, wet
and weary, at R. Clibborn's.

" Twelfth month 1 st. Visited a charity
school, of which Friends had been considera-
ble promoters ; it consisted of about eighty
boys and girls ; they appeared ragged, and
many without shoes or stockings, yet kept in
pretty good order. The institution is sup-
ported by subscriptions made annually. At
six o'clock attended an appointed meeting for
the people generally : although the evening
was very wet, yet the house was nearly filled,
and the people were quiet; but not feeling my
mind relieved, I appointed another at Sycamore
alley, on first-day evening. Spent much of
the 2nd in visiting the poor near Summer Hill,
particularly at a spot called Mud island, where
there may be one hundred poor houses, many
of which are of mud, and many miserable in-
habitants, some without any fire, the day cold
and damp, and the floors of earth quite wet ;
they appeared to have no other beds than
straw, and were miserably provided with that.
I distributed a number of guineas among these
almost naked people, and visited about one
hundred families. In returning to our friends



we purchased about one hundred loaves of
bread, for which we soon had numerous cus-
tomers, giving only one to each person.

" First-day, 3d. Attended the meeting in
the forenoon at Meath street, which was large.
I had a heavy cold by going so much among
the poor in the wet. Went to the appoint-
ed evening meeting, which was exceedingly
crowded, and it was said that many hundreds
went away ; the meeting was quiet and ended
well. Appointed another in the same house
to be on third-day evening: truly these en-
gagements are not desirable to the flesh. I
long for a release in the Lord's time; may
1 be enabled to keep the word of his patience.

" On the 4th, went with two young men
on another visit to the poor, and relieved many
miserable human beings. The memory of
these visits cannot soon be effaced from my
mind. May they teach me to be humble and
thankful for the blessings I enjoy. O my dear
counti-y folks ! could many of you who live
in ease and abundance, far removed from
these affecting scenes of wretchedness, behold
them, profitable impressions might be made for
life. To see a mother and daughter, the young-
est of them sixty years, almost naked, without
fire, on a damp earthen floor, lying upon a
little straw, only a few tattered rags for cover-
ing, and very little to eat, how must every
feeling heart be touched ! In another place
there were two widows with seven children,
two of them blind and nearly naked, and one
of the mothers racked with rheumatic pains ;
they had no fire, and not two ounces of bread
in the house. They have no laws here to
oblige the parishes to take care of the poor,
and more than twenty thousand in Dublin are
in deep distress, many through their own folly
and wickedness, but not a few for want of
employ. Walked a mile and a half to a
Friend's house through the wet, (for it rains
every day,) where we received shocking ac-
counts of the murders and plunder of the
United Irishmen in the south, within a few
days past.

" 5th. Went with Deborah Darby and Re-
becca Young to the public meeting this even-
ing : it was a very respectable congregation,
one Romish and several other priests present,
and I thought it the most open and favoured
opportunity I had been at in Ireland ; the peo-
ple behaved well, and at the close were very
inquisitive when there was to be another meet-
ing. I was thankful for the renewed mercies
of the day.

" 7th. Visited a blind boy about eleven
years old, who appears to be a prodigy, and
has a memory so tenacious, that he can retain
almost all he hears, and repeat a large portion

of several books, &c. ; it is so surprising, that
all who have seen him acknowledge it to be
an extraordinary gift.

" 9th. A number of invitations were sent to
me by Friends, but it was not possible for all to
be complied with ; indeed, I desire to have
much more retirement than I can obtain.
Friends do not enough consider poor travel-
lers who stop among them, or probably they
would not crowd upon them so much as they
do ; they mean it as a kindness, but it often
amounts to oppression.

"First-day, 10th. It was concluded to open
both meeting-houses, neither being capable of
containing the people that would probably
come. I attended at Sycamore alley, and
they were both thought to be favoured. In the
evening the public meeting at that place was
soon filled ; the mayor of the city and some
principal persons came, among whom there
were eight or nine priests of different congre-
gations and many officers. My mind was
opened in an unusual manner, and after speak-
ing some time, some pieces of coal were thrown
in at the end windows, which alarmed the wo-
men and many of them rose : two of the offi-
cers of the army immediately went out to find
the disturbers, and drew their swords. I sat
down for three or four minutes, when they re-
turned, and the people becoming quiet, I rose
and proceeded, and it proved to be a truly
comforting, tendering time ; thanks be unto
Him who is ever worthy of all praise : — the
meeting ending in awful prayer and praises —
the people parted from us in much love, and I
felt my mind relieved of public meetings in

"11th. Spent the forenoon in visiting the
poor, and distributed about eight guineas that
were put under my care, to a very wretched

" Dublin is certainly a very fine city; many
of the streets are wide and elegantly built, pei'-
haps Sackvill street is not excelled by many,
if any in Europe ; it is one hundred and
twenty feet wide — that and some others have
lamps before every door ; indeed, it is the best
lighted city I have seen. Many of the houses
are four or five stories high, of pretty good
brick — the best streets uniform and straight,
with good flagged foot-ways. The public
buildings are grand, exceeding those of Lon-
don, especially the custom house, college, par-
liament house, exchange, &c.

" The trade to Dublin is not great for its
size; perhaps one hundred vessels are in port,
the greater part of which are colliers. The
city may contain two hundred and fifty thou-
sand inhabitants, many of whom roll in luxury;
but there is no comparison that I have seen in



Europe for wretched habitations, in the alleys
and back streets, which are filled with human
beings, who in their present filthy mode of
living, nakedness, depravity and morals, are
really the most affecting sight to a humane,
feeling mind, that perhaps any city in the
world can exhibit : many of them are exceed-
ingly hurt by drinking the pernicious spirits

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 95 of 105)