William Evans.

The Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds online

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war, oaths, &c., with the Christian religion,
and they consequently refused to swear or
fight They had their ^oods and possessions
in common, and lived m families of several
hundreds together.

To encounter the perils of such a journey,
among a people of a strange language, of
habits and manners widely different from
their own, and professing another religion, in
the exercise of which they were known to be
intolerant, was an undertaking attended with
so many discouragements, that nothing short
of a clear conviction of its being a Divine
requisition, and a firm trust in the protecting
care of an omnipresent Providence, could have
supported them under the prospect. Afler
being refreshed with the overflowings of the
love of God under the baptizing ministry of
William Caton, they took leave of their breth-
ren in Germany and set out on their journey
the 29th of the first month, 1662.

The information they obtained respecting
the settlements, and the best route to be taken
to reach it, as well as further directions as they
passed along, enabled them to make a pretty
direct course, and through Divine favour they
reached Cushart, a village about a days jour-
ney from Presburg, the capital of Lower Hun-
gary, on the 16& of second month. Some
of the people they wished to see, resided at
this place, by whom they were kindly enter-
tained and had some religious service among
them, also distributed some books, illustrative
of those spiritual views of the Gospel dispen-
sation, which the Society of Friends hold.

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On the following day William went alone
to visit another family of the Brethren, and
on the way experienced a remarkable preser-
vation from a wicked man, who seemed dis-
posed to lay violent hands on him, or to knock
him in the head, in order to obtain his money ;
but the Lord restrained him so that he was not
permitted to do him any harm. The Brethren
wondered at his preservation, saying they
could not go so far as the next village, with-
out being in great danger.

AAer having had considerable service in
preaching to these communities, and endea-
vouring to promote their growth in the life
and power of the Christian religion, they pro-
cured the names and ascertained the situations
of some more of their families, one of which
was distant about three hundred miles, at a
town called Pattuck, in Upper Hungary. The
Brethren endeavoured to dissuade them from
attempting so long and perilous a journey,
and wished them to be contented with visiting
such of their establishments as were situated
in the vicinity of Cushart. With this propo-
sal William appeared to be satisfied, but John
Philly being pressed in spirit to proceed to the
more distant settlements, and not being ac-
quainted with the Dutch language, which Wil-
liam was, the latter was not easy to leave him,
and they accordingly set out together.

Returning to Presburg they pursued their
journey towards Comorra, and finding a boat
laden with meal going to the garrison at New
Hausell, which was in the road to Pattuck,
they joined the crew ; and when they came
near the place, the boatmen asked them if
they had any acquaintance there, and whe-
ther they had a pass — to both which they re-
plied in the negative. On hearing this, the
boatmen told them it would be dangerous to
proceed further, as the people were very sus-
picious of strangers, and either they or the
Turks, to whom the country was tributary,
would be likely to put them to death. They
also informed them that the people at the gar-
rison of New Hausell were no less cruel and
severe, and had put to death some strangers
whom they found without licenses on the tri-
butary ground. This was very discouraging
and no doubt brought our friends under very
close exercise of mind, to know what was best
to be done. John Philly being still desirous
of going to the village, which was near, they
concluded to proceed; but the boatmen re-
marked, " He will not take our counsel now,
but you will remember it and repent when
you cannot help it.'' These words had con-
siderable efiect on the mind of William Moore,
who a night or two before had been warned in
a dream of those things which soon after befell
them at Comorra.

On reaching this place, they were directed
to the house of a Hungarian to lodge, but
could not understand his language, and the
desire to converse being mutual, they sent for
a student from the college, with whom Wil-
liam conversed in Latin. He inquired whence
they came and whither they were going : and
then entered into a discourse on religious sub-
jects. On parting, he appeared friendly, and
said he wished them well, though there was a
wide difierence in their sentiments.

The next day they endeavoured to get
across the river, and made signs to a coun-
tryman to take them over in a boat, ofiering
him money. He accordingly began to make
ready, but a Dutch woman coming up, called
out, "What are you about? The governor
will cause that man to be hanged directly, if
he ferries you over." This put a stop to their
proceeding; they gave it up for the present and
returned to their lodgings. On the following
day William crossed the water on the south
side of the town ; having heard there were
many Dutch people and soldiers there, he
hoped to find some with whom he could con-
verse, and to whom he might distribute some
of the religious books he had brought with
him, and which he would gladly have found
an opportunity to send to Pattuck. Coming
up with some soldiers, he inquired of them
after the country people, but could not meet
with any. He then asked leave of the guard
to walk out into the fields, where he met with
a sentinel, had some discourse with him, and
passed on to where some people were plough-
ing. As he returned to the town he was met
by three soldiers, and having a book in his
hand, showing the reasons why Friends dis-
owned the ministry of the hireling priests,
one of the soldiers, who belonged to a com-
pany commanded by Captain Fusch, looked
at the title of it, and then spoke of some place
in Turkey as being a desirable residence. —
William replied, that he should return from
whence he came, intending to go back to his
companion, who had remained on the other
side of the river. While waiting at the river
for a passage, the soldier above alluded to,
came to him and said he must go before Cap-
tain Fusch, where he was accordingly taken.
The captain demanded the book, and looking
at the title, asked if he was a Quaker, to
which William, nothing daunted, replied in
the affirmative. This enraged the captain,
who exclaimed, " These rougues show no re-
spect"— calling William "a young Huss, who
had come forth to seduce the people and make
uproars." He then caused the soldiers to
strip him of his clothes and search him for
letters, papers, &c., and took away his nnoiiey.
William meekly remonstrated with them, say-

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log they would not like to be done so by ; the
captain replied, "When you get clear you
shall have your money, but I do not think
that will be the cade." He was then sent to
the guard-house, and in a little while brought
before the captain and searched again more
strictly than before, when some papers were
found between the lining of his clothes. After
this examination he was remanded to the
guard-house, and iron shackles and a chain put
upon his hands and feet, and the officers en-
deavoured to terrify him by threatening that
he should be roasted alive on a wooden spit,
a punishment which had recently been inflict-
ed on some who had travelled without a li-

Far from friends and his country, in the
hands of merciless men, whose occupation fa-
miliarized them to injustice and cruelty, desti-
tute of any human being who could plead his
cause or afibrd him protection, his situation
would have been forlorn indeed, had he not
been enabled to cast himself upon the good-
ness and care of that Grod whom he loved and
served, and who is able to deliver his ser-
vants out of every danger. Conscious that he
had committed no crime, that his being there
was in obedience to the Divine will, and that
his only aim had been to spread the Gospel
of Jesus Christ and to promote the everlast-
ing welfare of his fellow-men, he was enabled
to stay his mind upon the Lord, in humble re-
signation to his holy will.

Word was soon conveyed to the chief offi-
cer of the garrison that such a prisoner was
taken, and shortly after, two soldiers carrying
burning matches, were despatched to bring
him before him. Expecting little less than
immediate death, his thoughts naturally turn-
ed toward his beloved fellow-labourer in this
perilous journey, and he told some of the sol-
diers that he had a companion at the inn on
the other side of the river, who would wonder
what had become of him if he did not hear
from him. This information soon led to the
arrest of John Philly, although he was inno-
cent of the crime alleged against William, of
coming into the garrison without a license.
They were committed to separate prisons,
William to the stock-house, and John to a
room called the Hungarian's vault, appropri-
ated to the inhuman purposes of examining
prisoners by torture, and of private execu-
tions, there being a rack, stocks, and a gal-
lows in it.

When WilHam was brought before the
commanding officer, he evinced a disposition
even more fierce and barbarous than Captain
Fusch, calling him a rogue, and saying, " If I
had the power I would at once drown you in
that water.*' Their portmanteau falling into

his hands, he gave it to the marshal, who
took from it what he liked, including their
Bible and papers, and then handed it over to
another subaltern, who pretended to be much
troubled that they had no food — and finding
no money in their portmanteau, asked Wil-
liam if John had not some in his possession.
This he could not deny, on which the man
demanded some of John with a threat if he
did not comply. John gave him a ducat»
(worth, if silver, one dollar, if gold, two dol-
lars) which the man got changed and brought
to him, asking for some of it, which he pro-
mised to account for to them. Expecting that
they would search him for more and take it
away, and aware that if liberated they should
have need of some to defray their expenses
home, he contrived to conceal some from

The people among whom they had fallen
were Roman Catholics, and the next day after
John Philly was apprehended, these innocent
sufiTerers were brought before the Inquisitor to
be examined. He inquired whence they came
— whither they were going — their ages — who
sent them out — what money they had taken
up — who had spoken to them at their lodg-
ings, and many other questions. John was
searched, and what money he had remaining
about him, was found. William was particu-
larly examined about the books, and informed
that he had committed a capital crime, and
that it would cost him his life — he replied,
that what he had done therein, was in sim-

After this examination Captain Fusch had
William brought before him and asked him
several questions respecting the books, and
who was the first bringer up of these doc-
trines. William told him that George Fox
was the first who preached it in these latter
days — ^the captain seemed very bitter, asking
many cunning questions in order to ensnare
him, and said he should cause all the books
and papers to be copied and sent to the prince
at Mentz, and when he could spare them, the
Inquisitor should have them. He was after-
ward examined by the deputy governor, a
cruel old man, who said he had done worse
than if he had killed an hundred men, and
that he would send him with a message to
the Devil. William appearing before him
with his hat on, he pronounced it a Turkish
practice, as well as some other of Wil-
liam's conscientious conduct. The governor
sent for the student who conversed with our
friends at Comorra, and commanded him to
tell in Latin all that passed between them. —
This was taken down in writing and handed
to the Inquisitor to read at a subsequent ex-
amination, but he would not read it openly,

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probably lest the sitters by should have heard
and owned the truth of the sentiments ad-
vanced by William in that conversation. It
does not appear that the student's information
furnished any pretext for convicting them of
the charge of coming as spies into the gar-
rison or with treacherous intentions. They
then brought up one of the soldiers whom
William met with soon aAer crossing the
river, and endeavoured to extort something
from hrm which would criminate William,
This man speaking falsely as to what passed
between them, William boldly withstood him,
and said to the Inquisitor, who was evidently
eager to substantiate some accusation which
might furnish a ground for punishment, " Be-
ware what thou dost; for if thou shouldst
cause my blood to be shed under such a pre-
tence, it will cry to the Lord for vengeance,
and thereby thou mayest draw down the wrath
of God upon thyself and others."

The proceedings of the Popish Inquisito-
rial courts, have ever been disgraced by the
nnost infamous injustice and diabolical cruelty,
cloaked under a pretended sanctity and a
mysterious concealment, which adds greatly
to their terrors and their wickedness. Their
object in this, as in other cases, appears to
have been to conceal from the prisoners the
nature of the evidence against them, and then
by threats and tortures, to extort some ac-
cusation from their unhappy victims, though
conscious at the same time that they are
innocent. Afler hearing the false testimony
of the soldier, William demanded that the
other soldiers should be examined, they also
having heard what he said. Afler some de-
mur this was acceded to, and one of them
was brought, but William was put out of the
room while he was giving in his testimony.
During this interval William's mind was under
great concern, lest this man also should testify
falsely; and he thought within himself, <' Sure-
ly now if the Lord doth not help me, they
may persuade him to speak the same thing as
the other has done." When the soldier came
out he told him he did not say what the other
had, for he had affirmed what was untrue.-*-*
Thus their artifices against these innocent men
were defeated for the present, and they lefl
without any pretext for the cruelties which
they wished to practice upon them ; for which
says William, «< I thanked the Lord."

Failing in the wicked attempt to convict
them on the pretence of treasonable entry into
the garrison, the Inquisitor then told William
that the books were enough to condemn them
if there was nothing more, — and asked whe-
ther he did not know the Catholics had laws
to torment and bum heretics and such as car-
ried books about with them; to which William

warily replied that he should not have expected
such things among Christians. He then opened
a book which he pretented contained Popish
laws, and read, or feigned to read, out of it a
paragraph, which said that such persons as
carried books and papers should be racked.

About this time the Inquisitor commanded
John Philly to be searched again for more
gold, and the officer having nearly stripped
him, John was slow in taking off his r^xiain-
ing shoe and stocking, where he had concealed
some, and the marshal weary of the business
and thinking there was none, bid him put
them on again. Thus what little they had
left was saved, and some days after be (bund
an opportunity to hand it to William in a roll
of bread, while they were standing among the
soldiers waiting to be called for examination.
These examinations were often repeated dur-
ing the first eight days after their arrest, and
many ensnaring questions put to them in order
to entrap them, but through Divine help they
were preserved from saying any thing that
would answer the purposes of their intolerant
persecutors. One morning the Inquisitor sent
for a priest, and handed him a paper of George
Fox's on the Apostacy of Christendom— on
reading which, the priest became enraged, and
angrily demanded ^<How are we (Papists)
apostatized, and how can it be proved 1"
William, instead of entering into a contro-
versy which might have proved worse than
useless, gently reproved him for his wrath,
saying, "Friend it becometh not a spiritual
man to be so furious, but meek, peaceable and
gentle;" at which the countenance of the
priest fell and he had little more to say. The
Inquisitor then demanded of William what his
opinion was of what they called the sacra-
ment, to which he wisely answered, that
"Christ said the flesh profiteth little. It is
the spirit that quickeneth." So ignorant of
the holy Scriptures was this Inquisitor, that
he seemed quite surprised and at a loss about
the words, and turning to the priest, asked,
"How is that?" The priest, but little more
knowing than his superior, studied awhile and
then said he remembered there was such a
saying. Much more passed, of which no ac-
count has been preserved ; and then the In-
quisitor plainly asked William if he would
turn Catholic ? To which he made this sensi-
ble reply — " If I should do so for fear or fa-
vour of you, the Lord not requiring it of me,
I should not have peace in my conscience, and
the displeasure of the Lord would be more
intolerable than yours. Compelling people
does but make them hypocrites, and caDoot
truly change the heart."

Thus were they sifMl and tempted from
day to day, for a week, when their perse-

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cutors beiDg unable to find any thtn^ on which
to ground their accusation, determined to re-
sort to the cruel expedient of the rack, in the
hope of making them accuse themselves. Of
this, William Moore, who appears to have
been chiefly under examination, and the prin*
cipal sufferer, gives the following narrative; —

'* Notwithstanding our innocence, the gover-
nor would have us racked, which from the
relation I had heard of it, seemed a cruel
torture; and in those days I oAen poured
forth my supplication3 to the Lord with tears.
On the eighth day they made ready benches
to sit on, lighted the candle and put John out
of his room, and sent for me, the Inquisitor
sitting there with two other officers, and ihe
marshal and hangman.

"The Inquisitor b^an by saying, * William,
that you may not think we deal with you as
tyrants, we will now lay the matter before
you, that you may tell what you know in
time, for if you be racked you will be but a
miserable man, and must have your head cut
ofi* besides.' I told him, * I had done no
evil that I knew of, nor had I any such thing
in my heart against them.' Then he read a
few lines, which were to this import, * We,
Leopold, &c., Emperor, <Sz«., having been
informed that two impeached persons, John
Philly and William Moore, have been found
by our frontier garrisons, our desire is that
they should be racked, to know their intent.' "

It is more than probable that this pretended
order of the emperor for the torture of these
harmless Friends, was a mere forgery, got up
by the Inquisitor and his abetters to answer
their evil designs — the narrative proceeds;
"The hangman according to order, put an
iron screw upon my thumbs and screwed them
hard, and bade me tell out. Then he slacked
it a little and again screwed them harder than
before ; but this not answering their purpose,
he was commanded to proceed further. Ac-
cordingly he tied a small cord about my wrists
behind my back, and another cord around my
ancles with a block of wood between my feet
Then he drew me up on the ladder and tied
my hands to it, and then forced my body quite
from the ladder. At the first pull my led arm
was put out of joint with a loud crack, being
tied up shorter than the other; and the execu-
tioner was ordered to put it in again. He ac-
cordingly slacked the cords, and then they
proceeded to question me, having three things
especially to ask. First, Why I asked the
student if one should come and say he in-
tended to buy something of them, would they
kill him? Second : Why we had desired to be
set over the water at the town, and who was
the author of it? Third: Why I had written

Vol. IV.— No. 12.

down some of the names of the garrisons and
other places, notwithstanding I had them in
the maps ?

" The Inquisitor would also force me to tell
whether John Philly was an engineer, a gun-
ner or a minister. This suspicion of his being
a minister was put into their heads by an Irish-
man who acted as interpreter between me and
them, and who had an implacable hatred to
Englishmen, and especially to ministers, as I
aderwards plainly understood from his own
mouth. I answered, and kept to it, that he
was a husbandman and a maltman, and that I
knew him not until he came to Amsterdam.
The Inquisitor then asked me if I had a mind
to go to the Turks and become one of them ?
I said I had rather die than be one.

" In the mean time my body was so racked,
that my chin was close to my breast, and my
mouth so closed that I was almost choked and
could not well speak, and I should not wish
anyone to experience the painful torture I en-
dured; and when the cords were slacked my
sufferings were almost as great ae when they
pulled them. Yet still they would be ques-
tioning me, so that I asked them where was
their Christian love, and whether they were
doing to me, as they would wish to be done
unto. The doors being shut and guarded, I
spoke and cried aloud in order that the peo-
ple might hear, and bear witness what they
were doing to me. They seemed determined
to force something out of me, and I told them
that by such means they might compel persons
to say more than they knew, as I believed
many had done, in order to be out of their
pain. I had rather they had beheaded me at
once, as they threatened to do, than to torture
me in the manner they did — but they would
not do that then, for the Inquisitor would have
me to confess myself guilty, which I suppose
would have satisfied them, even though they
had known I confessed to a lie. At length I
told them it was for the love of our religion,
that we came to these places; and then they
left off, thinking this was crime enough,
though the Inquisitor threatened that I should
be racked again on the third day.

They then brought in John Philly, who not
seeing me and having heard me cry out a
little before, supposed I had been hanged on
the private gallows and put out of the way.
But he was resigned and steadfast, being con-
fident in the Lord, who had sealed it upon his
mind, before he came forth, that he should
have his life for a prey. They put four ques-
tions to him to answer, and his thumbs were
screwed and he was twice drawn upon the
ladder, when he cried out. Innocent. They
asked the interpreter what that was; and when
he told them, they were smitten in their con-

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sciences and left off. Probably they gave over
tormenting John the sooner, because if there
had been any evil design in us they would
have been more likely to get it out of me,
whom they appeared to take more pleasure in
torturing, as they could understand me and I

"When they had got through with all this,
and could find no contradiction in what we
said, they invented a falsehood, and the mar-
shal came to me and said, John had told him
I had no money of my own, but what I had
was his, and then bade me tell him how it was.
I knew this to be false, and that they did but
seek some occasion against us, but we kept to
the truth and their expectation failed them.
They then told me that there would be twenty
or thirty men of note, out of the neighbouring
quarters, appointed to hold a court of justice
upon us, and to determine what deaths we
should die. In the mean time the Inquisitor
came and desired me first to write some of the
heads of my religion, which I did, and he
raged very much at some of them."

John Philly being much impressed with a
sense of the wickedness of the Inquisitor and
priests, and how they were plotting to take
away their lives, was desirous to bring their
case before the governor, and seeing him pass

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 102 of 104)