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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in a consumption, and a son in another way,
within a twelvemonth ; her father at this time
lying a corpse, and her fourth and last daugh-
ter likely very soon to follow her sisters in the
same disease. Her state of mind, as well as
that of her dear remaining daughter, was truly
instructive to me. Her son, who had not pi'o-
fessed with Friends, came a few hours before
Judith's death, to take leave of her; she looked
at him with much serenity of countenance, bid
him farewell, and said with a voice louder
than she had for some time, 'All is peace,
sweet peace,' and so departed, praising God
in joyful hope of a blessed change approach-
ing. Her corpse was carried to the meeting-
house, but not brought in where the meeting
was held, but left in the women's meeting
room, which is their custom ; for as they are
surrounded by Roman Catholics, they might
take up the opinion that Friends brought the
corpse into the meeting, with the idea that it
would be profitable to the departed spirit to pray
over it. Through the renewed mercy of our
heavenly Father, it was a precious parting
meeting ; many of the dear youth wei'e much
affected, as also others. The corpse being put
in a plain oak coffin, and placed upon a hearse,
was led slowly through the streets to the bury-
ing-ground ; friends, relations, &c. following
promiscuously : — all business seemed to cease
as we passed along, and much stillness ap-
peared among the people, many of whom
knew the familj^ they being of high rank ;
the grand-father who lay a corpse, was the
eldest alderman of the city. At the grave-
yard, a multitude were collected, both Friends
and others, high and low, and I believed it my
duty to say a ^ew words, and rehearse the
comforting expressions of the deceased ; after
which there was a further communication from
another Friend, and many not of our Society
were much broken. The Lord be praised for
his goodness.

"Feeling my mind much comforted and re-
lieved of going to Ross, or anywhere else in
Ireland, I took an affectionate leave of many
Friends in the grave-yard, at which divers
expressed their surprise, and wishes to detain
me over first-day ; but believing it Avas a good
time to leave them, I got into a post-chaise and
went about seven English miles, where the
packets for Wales lay. After dinner we sailed,



there being no cabin passengers but William
Farrer and myself; we passed down the river
Suir, and were out at sea soon after the light
appeared at the light-house.

" 13th. Arriving at Milford, in Wales,
we set off for Haverfordwest ; the road and
country very hilly, yet exhibiting some plea-
sant prospects of well cultivated farms, but
the soil much inferior to that we had left in

" Fii'st-day, 14th. The meeting at Haver-
fordwest consisted of about sixt)'^ persons, and
was a solid, tendering time to myself and
others : there are about five families of those
professing with us at this place. Had an ap-
pointed meeting in the evening, but the house
was not half filled, owing as was believed to
the person who undertook to give the notice
being in low repute, and had done the business
very imperfectly. The people in the street
hearing my voice, kept coming in, which
rather unsettled the meeting ; but near the
close we had a little quiet, and it ended quite
as well as I expected.

" 15th. Proceeded through a hilly country
as before, the vallies pleasant and fertile,
though the land is generally poor, except
where it is made otherwise by lime and other
manure. Pembrokeshire exhibits a pleasant
picture ; the houses of the farmers, scattered
among the hills, appear neat and comfortable,
the people warmly clad, and few barefoot or
ragged, as we have lately been accustomed to
see in Ireland ; — the houses are mostly thatch-
ed, and all are white-washed outside, which
gives them an agreeable appearance at a dis-
tance. The women all wear hats, like men —
we met many of the farmers daughters, well
mounted on horseback, with great coats and
hats on ; — riding on horseback is preferred in
this hilly country. Much simplicity of manners
was obvious in the people of our inn, and they
accommodated us with kindness and good

" 16th. Got to breakfast at Carmarthen,
which is a decent town, perhaps ten thousand
inhabitants, beautifully situated on the side of
a small river, which empties into the Bristol
channel ; it is surrounded with high hills,
well improved and cultivated to the tops ; the
country much more fertile than that we passed
through yesterday ; the vallies and hills covered
with beautiful verdure, look as green as ours
in the fourth month. The weather is more
serene and clear than in Ireland, and the peo-
ple very respectful, industrious, and not fond
of show and finery — they work hard for a
little money ; a woman with one or two pack
horses or asses, will travel on foot eight or
nine miles, with about one and a half bushels
of coats, which brings them about fourteen

pence more than they cost ; and in summer
not more than nine pence. Labourers have
six pence a day and their provision.

" 17th. Had a meeting appointed at Swan-
sea, which was pretty well attended ; the peo-
ple were quiet and attentive ; I thought it was,
through Divine mercy, a good meeting and
I left it peacefully.

" 19th. In passing through the country, I
saw several large ancient castles, the parks
and fields beautifully green, surrounded with
hills ; and hundreds of sheep, deer, goats and
cattle feeding — an attractive spot of earth in-
deed. Got on to Marlborough : the inn we
stopped at had formerly been a seat of the
duke of Marlborough ; it was the lai-gest and
most splendidly furnished I have seen in
England ; the gardens, park, forest, &c.,
make it a great resort of gentry to spend a
few days. Arrived at Bristol in the evening,
and on the 20th visited a number of Friends,
and had some thought of moving on in the
morning ; but upon considering it more fully,
I concluded to stay at Bristol.

"First-day, 21st. The meeting was large,
many not professing with us coming in. Some
of our Society here make an appearance un-
becoming our religious profession. Through
heavenly goodness a solemnity soon spi'ead
over us, and it was a satisfactory meeting,
for which I felt thankful. That held in
the evening was very crowded, but still and
orderly; there were several ministers of other
societies present, and the opportunity appeared
to be favoured with the presence of the great
and good Master of assemblies, and ended in
thankfulness to him for this additional mercy.

" 22nd. My good friend and companion
William Farrer having received a letter from
home, informing of the illness of his nephew
and partner, thought it his place to return
there, which was some trial to me, having
travelled in true fellowship on the continent
and on these islands, ten months together;
and we parted in the same, both being affected
at the separation. Several Friends accompa-
nied me to Bath, at which we arrived befoi'e
noon. The public meeting this evening was
large, a considerable number of other profes-
sors attended, and many could not get in ;
they behaved with great propriety, and I felt
my mind relieved to my own satisfaction.
Very few of the members of our Society here
have the appearance of Friends, and some
said they were sorry they could not attend,
but they were engaged on parties at that hour.
Having paid a visit in the forenoon to the fa-
mous Hannah More and her four sisters,
some of them being present at the meeting,
came and invited us to their house again ;
there came also a middle-aged well dressed



woman, who shook hands with me, and asked
when it would suit me to receive a visit, as
she wanted to have some conversation with
me. I told her this evening, and while at
supper she came ; she stayed about half an
hour, appeared to be a singular and extraor-
dinary character, had been bred a Roman
Catholic in London, but growing uneasy with
the practices of that people, she went off to
Rome, expecting her mind would be relieved
at that fountain head of religion, but was
greatly deceived ,• and after residing there
three years, protesting against their errors,
for which she had several times been likely
to lose her life, she returned through France.
Not finding true religion there, she had come
to Bath about nine months since, disgusted
with all professions and separated from them,
yet seeking the Truth ; she was overjoyed at
being at the meeting, having never thought of
inquiring among Friends for religion : after
expressing a little to her we parted.

" 23d. This being the season for drinking
the waters, the town is crowded with gentry,
who make a splendid appearance, and live in
great dissipation, to the disgrace of religion
and morality — it is said that one thousand
persons attended the concert last night. Be-
lieving it right to have another meeting, one
was accordingly appointed at a meeting-house
of the dissenters, which was thought would
hold twelve hundred persons or more ; and it
was presently filled, and proved through the
adorable mercy of our heavenly Father, to
whom be all the praise, a precious season,
ending in solemn prayer and praises. Han-
nah More having desired a Friend to bring
me to their house again, I there found the
celebrated William Wilberforce, who had been
at the meeting, which I knew not of; but it
was somewhat remarkable and unusual, that
I should be led to touch upon the enormity of
the slave trade ; we soon became quite famil-
iar, and he asked me many questions about
the state of religion in the different parts of
the continent where I had been, and aj)peared
much pleased that I had had an interview with
Thomas Paine. Hannah More and her sis-
ters are all unmarried, live in good style, and
do a great deal of good — they have written
and compiled many excellent works, some for
the use of charity schools, &c. They are a
band of sisters, desirous of employing their
time in doing what may be beneficial in the
world, and avoid all the gay and dissipating
amusements of Bath. We did not retire to
bed till near twelve o'clock, and after the fa-
tigue of the day I was favoured to lie down
rejoicing in the goodness and mercy of God.

" 24th. On leaving Bath, I was persuaded,
that notwithstanding the great dissipation

abounding in the place, the Lord hath a con-
siderable number of sincere hearted, seeking
children there, though our Society is indeed
at a vei'y low ebb. Looking back at my visit
among the people, thankfulness covered my
mind, that the Lord had preserved me, as I
humbly hope, from wounding the blessed cause
of Truth, which is at times above all things
dear to me. I had dreaded going there, but
was convinced that the Lord is sufficient for
his own work. Got on to Melksham, and had
a meeting in the evening ; the house was not
large enough to hold the people, but though
crowded, they soon became quiet and solid, and
it appeared to me to be an open, tendering time,
ending with much solemnity — praised be the
great name of Him, whose is the power and
the glory. Passed on to Devizes, but felt no
necessity to make much stay there : walking
through the market, I took notice of a monu-
ment in the middle of the street, erected to
commemorate the sudden death of a woman,
who told a deliberate lie, in order to defraud.
The inscription is a solemn warning, to deter
people from frauds and lies in making bargains.

" 26th. Went through Windsor, where the
royal family were : the enormous pile of build-
ings, called Windsor castle, is near a mile in
circumference, standing on very high ground,
and commanding an extensive view. As we
I'ode through the forest, I saw many servants
and some of the nobility, who were attending
on a hunting excursion. At Staines, I thought
it right to appoint a meeting for this evening,
and Friends being active in giving notice,
though it was now late in the afternoon, the
meeting-house was soon filled — many stood,
and some could not get in ; the people were
still and attentive. I believed there were many
religious persons present, but also some Deists ;
many were much tendered, and through re-
newed mercy it was a time of favour.

" 27th. Got to London, and was kindly re-
ceived by my beloved friends J. Savory and
others, after a sepai'ation of near eight months.

" 28th. Attended two meetings and two
burials. Had an appointed meeting in the
evening, which was much crowded with peo-
ple of other religious professions ; my mind
was solemnly covered, and I was favoured
with much openness, to the praise of Him,
who is the Author of all good, and to my own
abasement, as unworthy of so great and re-
peated mercy : dear George Dillwyn made a
solid and pertinent addition, and the meeting
closed in prayer and praises — returned to my
lodgings wearied, but comforted in looking
back on the labours of the day.

" Second month 3d. Went in a post-chaise
for Norwich, and reached a Friend's house
about half a mile out of the town.



" First-day, 4th of the month. Attended
their meeting ; some not members stepped in,
and there were about two hundred under our
name ; very few middle aged, or young per-
sons who had a consistent appearance in their
dress ; indeed, I thought it the gayest meeting
of Friends 1 ever sat in, and was grieved to
see it. I expected to pass the meeting in si-
lent suffering, but at length believed it most
for my peace to express a little, and through
gracious condescension was favoured to relieve
my mind, and many were tendered. Had a
meeting in the evening in a large meeting-
house in another part of the town : there
seems to be but few upright standard bearers
left among the members in this place, yet they
are not entirely removed. — Attended the pub-
lic meeting, and the house, though very large,
could not contain the people by several hun-
dreds ; but considering their crowded situa-
tion, many being obliged to stand, they soon
became settled, and through mercy it proved
a remarkably open, satisfactory meeting, end-
ing in prayer and praise to the Author of
every blessing. The marks of wealth and
grandeur are too obvious in several families
of Friends in this place, which made me sor-
rowful, yet saw but little opening to I'elieve
my mind ; several of the younger branches,
though they are enabled, through Divine gi*ace,
to see what the Truth leads to, yet it is un-
certain whether, with all the alluring things
of this world around them, they will choose
the simple, safe path of self-denial. This city
is supposed to contain about sixty thousand
inhabitants, which perhaps is too high an esti-
mate : it is pleasantly situated, but has many
poor, and numerous beggars in the streets.

" 6th. Attended the Monthly Meeting at
Ipswich, in which they read my certificate,
and in the women's meeting I had a little to
communicate: in the evening had an appointed
meeting for other professoi's, which appeared
to be heavy ; yet I believe, that through the
preservation of the heavenly Shepherd, there
was nothing lost.

"8th. Was at Bury: this town is not large,
but bears the marks of great antiquity — has
many singular ruins in and about it, and is
considered one of the handsomest small towns
in England. King Edmund is said to have
died and been buried hei'e. The public meet-
ing this evening was crowded, but still, and
through the regard of our heavenly Father, a
good opportunity.

" 11th. At meeting at Hitchen ; and visited
the boarding school, where my mind was
drawn towards the children in much affection,
and they wei'e all broken into tears ; it was
indeed a time of special favour. The ap-
pointed public meeting this evening was large,

many went away for v/ant of room, and many
stood outside in the yard all the time ; and
through infinite mercy it proved a favoui*ed
time — closing in prayer and praises to God.

12th. Visited several elderly Friends, and
then went to Hartford, which is a large county
town ; and not feeling easy to pass it without
a meeting with the inhabitants, one was ac-
cordingly appointed for this evening ; — the
house was not quite filled, and for some time
the meeting seemed rather heavy ; but through
the condescension of our heavenly Father,
it proved at length a good and comfortable

" 13th. Passed on through many villages,
and arrived at my usual lodgings in London
before noon. In this last turn was out eleven
days, and felt peace and quietness to attend
me in the close.

" Second month 14th. A publication ap-
peared in one of the public papers approving
of what was delivered at Norwich and Bath ;
but I thank my God, who has yet preserved
me from being elated or much depressed, by
the well or ill-done of the world. If I can
but obtain the answer of a conscience void of
offence to God and man, that is the great ob-
ject of my concern and will be enough.

" After having visited a number of Friends,
and attended several meetings, I went to
Horselydown on first-day, the 18th ; was at
their meeting, and appointed a public meeting
for the evening, which was very crowded ;
some of the most respectable people being
present — a great solemnity seemed to spread
over us in the time of silence, and though I
felt remarkably poor and tried at entering it,
yet through the gracious condescension of our
heavenly Father, it was one of the most com-
fortable meetings to myself, I remember to
have sat in London : praises to the Author of
every blessing.

" First-day, 25th. Visited a number of
Friends last week ; to-day attended the meet-
ings at Westminster, and appointed one for
other people this evening, which proved a
good meeting, to the praise of Him, whose is
the power and the glory of all.

" 27th. From a particular impression on
my mind, I visited a man in prison, who was
under sentence of death. His cell being
small, damp and dark, the gaoler invited us,
with the criminal, into a better room. He
was about fifty years of age, and his wife
was staying with him to see his end. After
his condemnation, he was at first much dis-
tressed on account of his condition ; but hav-
ing been favoured to find a place of repentance,
he had hope in the mercy of God and was not
afraid to die : — he seemed in a calm, quiet
state of mind, but not boasting. Some advice



was communicated to him, and we left him
thankful for our visit.

" Third month 5th. Visited the soup-house
which is principally under the care of Friends;
there are several of these charities in and
about London. The soup is made very good
and nourishing, and the poor give a penny a
quart for it ; this one is in Brick-lane, and
makes about fifteen hundred quarts a day — is
a great relief to the poor, for which they ex-
press many blessings to Friends as they pass
through the streets.

" 7th. Having appointed a public meeting,
I went to it this evening in much fear: it soon
became exceedingly crowded, and the passages
being filled, some hundreds stood round the
doors ; many respectable people attended, and
much solemnity prevailed in the time of silence.
I was led to speak of the awful signs of the
times, and on some passages in the Revela-
tions ; the Lord was good to us, and the way
was opened in a remarkable manner to de-
clare the Truth ; and He condescended to
tender my own heart, and also most of the
congregation, for which there was an offering
of thanksgiving to Him ; after which I was
much humbled, saw and felt myself unworthy
of his many mercies, and retired to rest with
much thankfulness.

" 1 0th. Dined at Benjamin West's, in com-
pany with George Dillwyn ; and he having
concerted the necessary measures preparatory
to a visit to the royal family, George Dillwyn,
Mary Knowles and myself, went with him in
his carriage to Buckingham-house, where we
arrived about six o'clock. The queen ordered
the pages to shoAV us into one of the apart-
ments, where we waited about five minutes,
when one of the lords came to conduct us to
the drawing-room. The king, queen and
three of the princesses, with prince Ernest
Augustus, met us with pleasant countenances.
Being informed of my late journey on the
continent, the prince asked me many ques-
tions, but with rather too much rapidity. He
particularly wished to be informed of the
present state of Lyons, which gave me an
opportunity of expressing my feelings on the
horrors and miseries of war, and that it must
be devoutly wished by every good Christian,
that a total cessation of that dreadful practice
should take place ; and which every one, ac-
cording to his rank and station in the world,
ought to labour to promote : to this the queen
and princesses, who stood close round us in a
groupe, gave an emphatic assent. The king
and queen asked questions on several subjects,
to which I gave answers as I was qualified.
The king engaging in conversation with
George Dillwyn, I turned to the queen and
princesses, who all appeared highly pleased

with the interview. She gave me the names
of the children and their ages, and told Mary
to bring her sister Amelia, who was unwell,
but she came in; — she is a tall girl of fourteen.
We conversed with the king, queen and chil-
dren, like old acquaintances ; and I told them
I was grateful for their condescension in re-
ceiving us in this social manner — for there
was not a single person with us in the room
all the time. The king asking me about the
situation of things between France and Ameri-
ca, I told him I seldom meddled at all with
politics, as it was not my business. No, no,
no, said he, I understand ; but as a people you
can never form so natural an attachment with
any nation of Europe as England ; we are
united by religion, relationship, commerce,
disposition, &c. I replied, that I valued the
connection, and hoped the family compact
would never be broken ; — and the queen, who
had caught a part of the conversation, desired
I would repeat it ; was much pleased with the
idea, and spoke of it to her daughters with
satisfaction. The king spoke of the Theo-
philanthropists in France, but had not a right
idea of them. I told him I desired to embrace
the good, as my brethren, under every differ-
ent modification of outward form and profes-
sion in the world ; — to which he and the queen
replied, ' a good Christian must do so, for he
has the same regard for good people of differ-
ent professions.' After much free conversa-
tion, I could hardly take leave of them without
tears. Benjamin West made a motion, the
king and queen, with the children, drew a little
back, and with gestures of respect, bid us a
'good evening.' I said a {e\v words at parting;
George Dillwyn also expressed a little. After
we retired, Benjamin West staying a little,
heard the king say to the queen, ' Charlotte,
how satisfactory this has been.'

"First-day, 11th. Attended meetings at
Ratcliff and appointed one for this evening,
which was held in a malt store — above one
thousand people attended ; and though all
could not get seats, they behaved remarkably
well. It was thought to be a solid, favoured
time, but my mind was very much stripped at
the close ; surely the Lord is good to sustain
and support so poor a creature as I am, under
these weighty engagements.

" 16th. Concluded to hold a meeting this
evening with the people, in the king's dock
yards, at Chatham. I admired the quiet and
order of the workmen, a great number of
whom are Methodists ; the meeting was full,
mostly from the dock yard, and it appeai-ed
to be a solid comfortable season.

" 18th. At London and attended their meet-
ing at Gracechurch street. A public meeting
being appointed for this evening, great num-



bers came together — many of the gay families
in and round London were present, with a
muhitude of other professions, supposed to be
upwards of two thousand, yet they were very
quiet and attentive, and the Lord was pleased
to be with me, so that I rejoiced in a hope,
that Truth had risen as high as in any of the
public meetings I had had about London ; it
ended in thanksgiving, and I took leave of the
people, not doubting I should now depart from
this city soon.

"19th. I mentioned my prospect of ap-
pointing a meeting for Friends only ; and
though I felt weak and fearful about it, yet
was most easy to appoint one for to-morrow
evening. Walked to the soup-house in Spittal

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 97 of 105)