William Evans.

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

. (page 99 of 105)
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was a Divine person, but it was not clear what
his ideas of the Divinity were. After we
had sat about three hours, those who were not
of the committee withdrew, and Friends then
spending another hour in considering the sub-
jects, appointed three men to bring in a report.
On attending the committee in the afternoon, a
report was brought in, but before there was
time to go through it, adjourned until to-mor-

" Fifth month 3d. The committee on the
Holy Scriptures and on the unsound doctrines
held by some members of Society, having
met, a report drawn up by the sub-committee
to be presented to the Yearly Meeting, was
read, setting forth that there was reason to
believe, that some members of Society held
the Scriptures, particularly some parts of them,
in very light estimation, and were also tinc-
tured with unsound doctrines, and proposing
it to be recommended, that such should be
tenderly treated with by the Monthly Meet-
ings, and if they could not be brought to
condemn their errors, the Monthly Meetings
should request the assistance of the Quarters
to labour further with them, and if they still
persisted to hold those pernicious opinions.
Friends were then to declare their disunity
with them.* The meeting again assembling at
five o'clock, the report of the committee, with
some small alteration, was adopted and sent
into the women's meeting. Some Friends
having obtained the freedom of cities, by
taking an affirmation to keep a gun and

*Most of the persons who had unhappily imbibed
these unsound and pernicious opinions, which were
the cause of so much sorrow and concern to the
Society, soon after relinquished their membership
or were disowned.



bayonet in their houses, and a few others
being at present contractors for the army,
this very serious subject took up much time
at this sitting of the meeting, and it was
ordered that a minute should be brought to
the next sitting, directing Monthly Meetings to
deal with such delinquents. The first is a pi-ac-
tice of many years standing, and but lately
taken notice of in a Society capacity. Some
who were so circumstanced, sent to the cor-
porations a resignation of their freedoms.

" 4th. Attended the meeting at Sycamore
alley, and had to mention the expressions
' the memory of the just is blessed,' bringing
to the remembrance of the company present,
the worthies of our Society who had been
formerly raised up in Ireland; the youth were
tendered, and through Divine mercy and fa-
vour, it appeared to be a profitable, good
meeting. In one hour after this, the meeting
of ministers and elders met again, when my
certificates being read, some Friends were ap-
pointed to draw a returning one from this

meeting. J. B sent in a note, desiring to

be admitted into the meeting to relieve his
mind ; Friends sent out a committee to hear
him, but did not admit him — he was one of
those persons who thought lightly of some
part of the Scriptures. Attended the Meeting
for Discipline, which recommended its repre-
sentatives not to urge in the Yearly Meeting
of London, the request for a distinct Yearly
Meeting in Ireland; all who spoke to the busi-
ness, thought it was no time to break up the
connection, in which I much united.

" 5th. The meeting was brought under the
consideration of appointing a committee to
visit Quarterly and Monthly Meetings in this
nation, as it appeared to be a trying time to
Friends, from circumstances both within and
without the Society, which subject I had felt
impressed on my mind for several sittings.
Three or four of those members who had given
the meeting much exercise and trouble, opposed
the motion, but a solemn calm coming over
the meeting, many Fi'iends expressed their
unity with the concern, and six men Friends
were appointed. The meeting adjourned until
afternoon, when it sat till eight o'clock at
night, and closed in a solid and comfortable
manner. Though it had been a painful, exer-
cising week to many, it was thought to be
as profitable a meeting as had been held for
a number of years.

" First-day, 6th of the month. Attended
their meetings for worship and appointed a
public meeting for the evening, which was
very large, more than the house would hold ;
there were many people of high rank, some
officers, and several of those called clergymen
present. I was led to combat the Deistical

opinions, and through the continued mercy of
our heavenly Father, it was one of the most
solid, satisfactory meetings I ever sat in Dublin.

" 7th. Meeting of ministers and elders : a
lively zeal was manifest to stir up Friends to
attend to their several gifts, and to be watch-
ful in keeping down those who may attempt
to introduce unsound doctrines among Friends.
Our certificates were signed by all except three
members who are leaning, it is to be feared,
to the new opinions — the meeting concluded
in a serious, satisfactory manner, after having
agreed to print Robert Barclay's diapter on
the Scriptures.

" 8th. At meeting at Meath street, I men-
tioned the passage in which it is said, that
our Lord passed through certain cities without
doing many miracles, because of their unbelief.
Mary Ridgway then took up the subject, and
had a lively testimony ; David Sands closed
the service on the same, and it was thought to
be a profitable meeting — Friends took leave
of each other in much tenderness. In the
afternoon there being many Friends at the
house where I was, I took an affectionate
leave of them all, several expressing they be-
lieved I was right in coming again to Dublin,
for which I was thankful and felt encouraged.

" 9th. Went on board the packet with a
number of Friends who are going with us to
England. Arrived in the evening at Holy-
head, and our baggage being taken to the
Custom-house, I searched in vain for my
trunk, which could not be found, and was
very uneasy at the loss, as many valuable ar-
ticles were in it. I determined to stay at
Holyhead until I could learn something about
my trunk; it was rather a dreary time to my
cousin A. Savory and myself The town is
small, and a dull place, except when the pack-
ets are either going out or arriving from Ire-
land ; there are perhaps about one hundred
houses in it, and as to trade it seems very dead.

" 12th. Early in the morning the bar-keeper
came into my room and said, your portman-
teau is in my possession. It had been found
after we sailed from Dublin, and sent on by
my friend Joseph Wilson. Rode to Bangor
ferry — most of the towns in Wales are very
dull, both as to navigation and inland trade.
Got to Aberconway, one of the most ancient
little cities I have seen, particularly its walls
and towers : being a thorough-fare from Dub-
lin to London, draws travellers to it, and the
money thus disbursed, furnishes the inhabi-
tants with their principal support. Rode in
sight of the Irish channel, and ci'ossed several
mountains, one very high, the road being cut
into the side of it with the sea almost perpen-
dicularly under it. From this height there is a
very agreeable view of the ships sailing in the



channel; of the verdant, beautiful valleys, and
humble cottages, with their inhabitants, between
the mountains ; the horses, cattle, ploughs and
people, so far below us, that they appeared very
diminutive. Men and women seem to take an
equal share of labour in the fields. Got to St.
Asaph, which is but a small town, having rode
sixty miles to-day.

" First-day, 1 3th. Passed through a well cul-
tivated country, and one of the finest vallies in
Great Britain, the fields and meadows luxu-
riant, timber trees in the hedges, &c. ; much
rural simplicity prevails. Arrived at Wrex-
ham. Several hundreds of soldiers having
come into the town on their way to Ireland,
the people seemed in a bustle and no proba-
bility of a meeting among them to advantage,
so we sat down quietly to our bibles. In the
evening it plainly appeared, that a meeting
could not have been held to satisfaction, as
the people began to be very noisy and much
taken up with the soldiery.

" 14th. Put on through Elsemere and
Shrewsbury, to Shefnal ; saw a great num-
ber of furnaces and forges at Ketly, which
with the coal pits and smoke from numerous
steam engines, made the country appear black
for many miles, covering the trees, shrubs,
houses, &c., and with the blackness of the
people and many fires burning, formed alto-
gether an extraordinary scene. With much
diligence we got to Birmingham and staid a
little while among our Friends. Went to a house
where they were delivering a quart of soup and
a half-penny worth of bread to each poor per-
sons, for a penny. Friends are the chief sup-
porters of this benevolent institution, from which
the London associations took their rise ; they
brought each of us a little of the soup, which
was well relished and good. They serve
about one thousand per day, the applicants
looked poor but far removed from the filthy,
degraded and wretched condition of the poor
in Ireland ; it did my heart good to see this
mode of relief promoted and patronised by
Friends. They sell the soup very low rather
than give it, which in great measure prevents
those from partaking of it, who would sell it if
given gratis, and apply the money to get
strong drink. I had a public meeting in the
evening, which was very large, the crowd and
heat being great, several young women faint-
ed, which occasioned some disturbance. After-
wards the people sat in great quietness, and
Friends hoped that the testimony of Truth
was owned by many in the meeting not of
our religious profession. After meeting, one
of the ordained ministers, a man of pious
character, endeavoured to encourage me, ap-
parently with much sincerity.

" 16th. Went through a fertile country,

abounding in rich pastures, fine sheep, large
cows, &c. Got to Coventry, and it being
their meeting day, we went to it : the house
was nearly full, and it appeared to end with
solidity. In company with Friends going to the
Yearly Meeting, went to Towcester. My mind
very low about entering London again, which I
had left comfortably, with a hope that it would
not be my lot to see it again in this visit, yet
could see no other way for me. My friends en-
deavoux'ed to cheer me, as some of them thought
when I left it I should not get away peacefully
without attending the Yearly Meeting; and I
endeavoured after resignation. The people
knowing it is the time of the Yearly Meeting,
look pleasantly on Friends as they pass along
the roads, especially the inn-keepers, as Friends
have to stop at their houses — they were very
obliging, but were hard set to provide all with

" 18th. Attended the usual morning meet-
ing preceding the Yearly Meeting. Thomas
Scattergood appeared in prayer, and also Eliza-
beth Usher from Ireland ; Friends kept their
seats a considerable time after she kneeled, not
knowing her, for which I was sorry. I stood
up, and Friends followed my example ; much
solemnity appeared to cover the meeting, and
it so ended. Dear Deborah Darby, Rebecca
Young and myself, agreed to be at the meeting
at Wandsworth on first-day, the 20th, and to
have an evening meeting at Stockwell.

" 20th. The meeting at Wandsworth was
large, many of the rich gentry having seats
thereabouts, were present, and several Friends
from London. Deborah Darby and Rebecca
Young were favoured with living testimonies,
and through renewed mercy we were com-
forted in believing it was a good meeting. The
meeting at Stockwell was held in a corn store,
which being large and well seated, it was
thought that five hundred persons were present,
yet great numbers did not get in. The people
were quiet, but the ceiling being low and the
windows and doors much stopped up by the
crowd, it became very warm, yet the company
kept very still. After I had relieved my mind,
Deborah Darby had a powerful testimony, and
the opportunity ended in prayer ; the people
withdrew in an orderly manner, desiring an-
other meeting." These complimentary no-
tices had little or no weight with him, having
in himself the indubitable sense and feeling,
that if any good was done it was of the Lord's
mercy, to whom alone all praise is due.

" 21st. In the meeting for business, much
was said by several Friends to keep the mem-
bers to plainness and simplicity without form-
ality, there being much room for better exam-
ple in the families of some in high stations.

" 23d. A Friend of Lancashire spoke a few



words in the ministry, with which I had unity.
He was formerly sailing master of a frigate, in
the time of the American war, but was now
an acknowledged minister, keeps a school for
a livelihood, and he and his wife walked up to
the Yearly Meeting, nearly three hundred
miles, as did also another minister of Cum-
berland, who is in the station of a servant —
several others walked from fifty to one hun-
dred and fifty miles.

" 24th. I thought it my place to go into the
womens' meeting, which being united with, I
was favoured to relieve my mind respecting
the departures from Gospel simplicity in some
of the rich and great. Deborah Darby in
much sweetness offered up a solemn prayer.
With the great wealth that is among Friends,
there are many generous hearts who are dis-
posed to apply it for approved and religious

" First-day, 27th. Attended an appointed
meeting this evening at Islington, which was
held in Friends school and work-house, called
Clerkenwell; it was much crowded and oppres-
sively warm, and many out in the yard — the
people still and attentive. Deborah Darby
was preciously drawn forth in prayer and
praises, and through renewed mercy we parted
solemnly. Lodged at a Friend's house at
Hempstead ; the grounds, garden, &c. were
in high style, I thought much beyond true
simplicity. Being on one side of Hemp-
stead heath, it is a fine, open situation, and
seems to combine almost everything this world
could afford ; and the owner gives a welcome
reception to Friends; but more conformity to
the simplicity and ways of Truth would have
made it still pleasanter to me — his taxes, chari-
ties and other expenses, amount to near four
thousand pounds sterling, per annum.

" 30th. The Yearly Meeting closed, having
held thirteen days.

" Sixth month 1st. Was at the Meeting for
Sufferings, wherein Friends were encouraged
to keep in remembrance the professors with
us in Germany and France. Attended a pub-
lic meeting at Westminster this evening, in
which Deborah Darby was largely engaged,
and Rebecca Young also lively and perti-
nent, and it ended in thanks to Him who is
ever worthy.

" First-day, 3d. Was at a public meeting
this evening held at the Park meeting-house,
which was so crowded that the young people
of our Society were requested to go out to
give room for others, which many of them did
and staid in the yai'd. Through Divine fa-
vour and mercy I was enabled to relieve my
mind far beyond my expectation, for I entered
the house in great fear. This is often my
situation before these large, important meet-

ings, and the prayer of my heart in secret is
' Lord preserve me from wounding thy holy
cause ;' and blessed be his name, he has often
manifested himself to be strength in weakness
and a present helper in the needful time ; for
which, under a present sense of my own great
unworthiness, I desire in the depth of humility
to render unto him the praise of his own works.

" 4th. For several days past my mind has
been much turned to think of the poor prison-
ers in Newgate ; four men and one woman
were executed last week, and several more in-
tended for this week. It is truly an afflicting
circumstance, that numbers are continually
sent out of the world in that way, in this
country ; many for small cx'imes. The wo-
man now under sentence, had passed a bank
note of only twenty shillings value, knowing
it to be counterfeit ; her master gave her an
excellent character except in that one instance,
yet no pardon could be obtained. Believing
it right to make the attempt, though it was
very trying to irie again to enter those dismal
abodes of the wretched, and having the com-
pany of a few Friends, we were readily ad-
mitted. Had an interview with a young man
of a respectable family, condemned for a spe-
cies of forgery, though it was believed by most
people that no fraud was designed. We had
a humbling time — such another baptizing sea-
son I never remember on a like occasion ; he
was greatly contrited and bathed in tears, and
his wife being present was very thankful, and
it was with difficulty we retired from this most
extraordinary, affecting scene, which I have
no language to describe, but trust I shall never
forget it : in the midst of judgment, the Lord
eminently remembered mercy. The poor man
continued calm, and died in reverent hope in
the mercy of God through Christ Jesus. Much
interest had been made for him, but to no
purpose, so sanguinary are the laws of this
country. Visited two others and had a quiet,
solid time with them. Oh, when will these
legal murders cease. We went out of these
abodes of human wretchedness, thankful to
our ever gracious Helper, and peaceful in
having submitted to such a trying service.

" Sixth month 6th. Went on board several
American ships, but could determine upon no-
thing respecting taking passage; most of them
have guns or go under protection of armed
vessels. The thought of being detained here
as a prisoner after my business is over, and
the difficulty of procuring a passage, sunk
me very low.

" 13th. Went to meet with the captain of
the William Penn, and to my great disappoint-
ment, found all his berths for cabin passengers
were engaged, though he had not yet taken in
a bale of goods — having set my mind much



on going in this ship, I became quite dis-

"16th. Was again on board the WilUam
Penn, her cabin berths being all engaged I
looked at the steerage, and thought it might
be worthy of consideration whether I should
go in that, but determined upon nothing ; re-
turned to my lodgings in much heaviness, on
account of the difficulties that seem to at-
tend an attempt to return to my beloved

" 17th. At Devonshire-house meeting which
was large; Christiana Hustler, though very
weak in body, had a lively testimony. I pro-
posed a public meeting there at six o'clock in
the evening, which I went to in much fear;
the people collecting in multitudes, several of
high rank, and conducted with stillness and
much solidity. I thought it a more laborious
meeting than some I had been at in that house,
yet it closed with much comfort to my mind in
prayer and praises.

" 18th. Went again on board the William
Penn and found the captain ; there being still
room in the steerage, concluded to keep it
under consideration. By a letter from Ross
in Ireland, we were informed that all the
Friends in that town, of which there are about
six families ; were preserved from injury in
person or property, during the great slaughter
and burning lately perpetrated there : the
Friend writes, that he could count two hun-
dred and fifty dead bodies at once in the
streets, from his own window. It is a special
mercy from the Lord, that Friends have been
so preserved.

" First-day, 24th. Was at Devonshire-house
meeting this afternoon ; my mind was led into
sympathy with some not of our Society, who
were looking for some great thing to be done
to convince them of our faith ; and I was led
forth much more largely into labour than I
expected, and hope the Lord was pleased to
favour with his help and presence — the oppor-
tunity closed solemnly.

" 27th. Went in company with three
Friends to visit William Wilberforce, to lay
before him the distressed state of the people
in Ireland, as we had been informed of it by a
recent letter from a Friend there. We had a
private interview with him and freely ex-
pressed our sentiments, which seemed to give
him much satisfaction ; then returned to Lon-
don, having reason to believe our visit would
not be wholly lost.

" 29th. Visited the school and work-house
at Clerkenwell ; most Friends speak of the
comfort and sweetness they find in attending
this institution, which has been abundantly
blessed ; several who have been educated there
have become valuable ministers, and also many

are useful and promising young people in
Friends' families. On my return to my lodg-
ings, observed a man who I believe was first
awakened to religious concern in a meeting at
Horselydown, about a year past, preaching to
a great crowd of people in Moorfields : his
expression and looks betrayed much wildness,
and I was afraid the ardour of his mind would
land him in insanity, the people were generally
civil. I had much conversation with him ; his
weakness is an apprehension of great and ex-
traordinary revelations. At first his state of
mind was calm and quiet, but by associating
with some men of warm imaginations and
high opinions of themselves, he seemed now
likely to lose even his understanding.

" First-day, seventh month 1st. Went to
Staines to attend a burial — many people came
to the meeting, the greater part of whom were
not members of our Society ; some of the
young people were much affected and it proved
a solid opportunity. Appointed an evening
meeting for people of other societies, which
was very large, it being thought that as many
stood out of the house as were in it. I arose
with a concern which the apostle had clearly
expressed for me, and I think it best in a gene-
ral way for ministers to make use of Scripture
expressions in their testimonies: the words were
these, ' Take heed brethren, lest there be in any
of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing
from the living God ;' and I was led to speak
on the danger of an unbelieving heart. The
fore part of the time seemed very laborious, but
afterwards, as the Lord opened the way for it, I
had to address a different class, and through
great condescension it was a season of much
brokenness and favour, and the meeting ended
in thanksgiving to the everlasting Fountain of
all spiritual help. I was afterwards informed
there were some at the meeting who held
Deistical opinions."

Seventh month 7th. Being detained by not
finding a suitable vessel to take his passage
for America, he spent the time in attending
meetings and visiting the sick, aged and in-
firm, yet under much depression at being so
long prevented from returning home.

" First-day, 8th. Went to Deptford, where
some of the most sober of the people attended
the meeting; and though not so large as was
expected, it was through mercy a comfortable
season. Dined at a young woman's named
Jane Jefferys, in company with several Friends.
She was convinced of our religious principles
about two years since, received into member-
ship and sometimes speaks a few words ac-
ceptably in meetings. Her parents being dis-
pleased at her change turned her out of doors ;
she commenced a little mercer's shop and
mending of umbrellas — her business is now



increased, and she appeal's to be blessed for
her integrity. A person who had been at our
meeting here last year and then accommodated
us, sent to know if he should fit up a place for
a public meeting in the evening, which being
my prospect, he took much pains in putting
the place in order. It was a large hop and
malt house, and notice being given, though a
wet evening, it was supposed that seven or
eight hundred attended, were very quiet and
well behaved, and through Divine mercy and
goodness it proved a tendering, favoured op-
portunity, ending in praises to our ever gra-
cious Helper and Preserver ; many appeared
thankful for it, and one well dressed woman
with tears, expressed her gladness at having
been present.

" 10th. Set off for Bristol to seek for a
passage, and arrived there about half past
ten o'clock at night, it being one hundred and
sixteen miles.

" 11th. Went on board a vessel which was
small and her accommodations but poor — then
to another, but it being uncertain when she
would be ready, and also taking guns on boai'd
for defence, I could not agree to take passage
in her. Visited several Friends, and in the
evening had another interview with the man
who is before noticed as speaking in Moor-
fields : he had been convinced in Guernsey,
was filled with an opinion that he was called
to some great work in this nation, and abound-

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 99 of 105)