William Evans.

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

. (page 64 of 104)
Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 64 of 104)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook




aged Friends said, they had never before seen
so large a meeting at that place. It was re-
markably solid, and the people dispersed in a
quiet and orderly manner. We dined with
James Graham, an aged minister, who seemed
to rejoice in thankfulness for the favour, and
said he believed an increase in the Truth
would be witnessed, and the' minds of some
be brought nearer, through the mercy of the
Lord thus continued to them. He rode to
Whitehaven with us, where we had a crowded
meeting the same evening; several hundreds
of the people not being aole to get into the
house. After this we had two meetings at
Cockermouth, and on fourth-day, the 2nd of
tenth month, we led Cumberland and went to
Kendal, in Westmoreland, to attend the Quar-
terly Meeting ; the several sittings of which
were solid good seasons, in which the renewed
extension of heavenly love united us together
in harmonious labour for th& prosperity of the
Lord's cause in the earth. Seventh-day we
rested and wrote letters, and next day being the
general meeting at Windermere, we attended
it. In the evening we had a large public meet-
ing at Kendal, which, through the condescen-
sion of our holy Helper, was a season of fa-
vour. On second-day evening, we had a
meeting at Hawkshead, which I trust ended
well. We proceeded to Ulverstone, and took
a walk to see the meeting-house at Swarth-
more, and also Swarthmore-hall, where George
Fox resided aAer his marriage with the widow
of Judge Fell. The estate is not now in pos-
session of the descendants of Judge Fell, and
is much out of order, making probably a very
different appearance from what it did when
George Fox and his cotemporaries found a
comfortable asylum there. The house he leA
for a meeting place, is in good order, and a
few articles of furniture given with it, also re-
main there. Friends were never very nume-
rous in these parts ; but there is at present a
goodly number of hopeful young Friends, for
whose encouragement I was concerned to la-
bour. We had a large public meeting with
the inhabitants, held in an assembly room at
Ulverstone, then to Haight, Kendal and Gray-
rigg. At this place, Rachel Wilson, a de-
voted servant of Christ, formerly lived, and it
was then a large meeting, while that at Ken-
dal was small. Now, many Friends reside at
Kendal, and but few here — though some re-
vival has of late taken place. The meeting-
house, which is situated in a dreary place,
was formerly occupied by Jonah Thompson,
as a school-house ; and here the late Samuel
Fothergill and his brother, doctor John Foth-
ergill, with several other eminent Friends, re-
ceived part of their education* In the even-
ing we returned to Kendal, and next morning

proceeded to Preston Patrick, near Camsgill,
where we had a large and good meeting; then
to Yelland, a very neat village, and were at
an evening meeting, from whence we rode
next day to Lancaster. We attended the
usual morning meeting, and in the evening
one appointed for the townVpeople, which
was large. On second-day I set out to attend
a meeting appointed to be held at Wearsdale,
at two oVlock, but our guide missing the way,
and it raining and blowing very heavily, and
our road bad and laying over a moor, it ap-
peared doubtful whether we could reach it in
time. A young man of whom we inquired
the road, perceiving our tried situation, kindly
o6ered lo conduct us, which we gladly accept-
ed, and by his assistance reached the meeting
in time; a considerable number of persons
were assembled, and although we got no din-
ner, we were thankful that we had been en-
abled to reach the meeting. AAer a meeting
at Wray, where there are but few Friends,
we rode to Bentbam, and put up at Charles
Parker's, who is concerned in a manufactory.
Here more regard is paid to the welfare of the
children employed, than in some other places;
they are careful to preserve good order among
them, and employ a man to instruct them in
reading, &c., during certain Jiours, for which
no deduction is made from their wages. I
have oAen been afllected with tenderness and
pity, when I have beheld large numbers of
poor little children, put to labour at so early
an age, 9nd lefl to grow up in ignorance and
a prey to immoral examples and conduct; and
it was a satisfaction to see some of them cared
for as these are; indeed, there seems a grow-
ing concern for the education of the children of
the poor, and many benevolent persons of both
sexes devote a few hours on the first-day of
the week for this laudable purpose. We had
two meetings at Bentham^one for Friends and
another for the town's-people. The children
of the factory being discharged an hour ear-
lier for the purpose, many of them came to
the meeting, looking very clean and neat, and
in good clothing, which is oflen not the case
with the poor in this country. If men of
wealth, who are concerned in manufactories,
had the good of those they employ more in
view, than mere profit, there would not be so
much cause for complaint that those estab-
lishments are nurseries of vice ; but so long
as pecuniary gain is a primary object, this
must continue to be the case. How excellent
is the precept laid down by our blessed Lord,
'' Whatsoever ye would that men should do
unto you, do ye even so unto them.'' When
looking over the children in these manufacto-
ries, I have oflen been brought to consider
them as my own, or to place my own in their

Digitized by




situation ; and O ! how consoling it must be

to parents who wish well to their dear chil-
dren, to see them cared for in best things by

their employers. And on the other hand,
how pleasant must be the reflections of the
employers, when they endeavour to do justly
and act with Christian kindness toward those
who are in their service; — if their profits
should not be so great, yet there is more sat-
isfaction in seeing the employed happy and
comfortable, than there can be in the increase
of riches and living in sumptuousness and
grandeur, whilst those who labour for them,
and the poor generally around them, are mise-
rable and destitute. O ye professing Chris-
tians ! go ye and consider what this meaneth,
" I will have mercy and not sacrifice !"

We passed on to Settle and Thornton in
the Clay, and then crossed the moor to Lo-
thersdale, where we had two meetings. The
renewed extendings of Divine love, raised in

• the heart grateful acknowledgments- to the
loving kindness and forgiveness of our merci-
ful Creator, still oflTered to the acceptance of
his revolting children, many of whom are
situated hereaway. Mixed marriages and the
consequences arising out of these, furnished
cause of lamentation over the children of
some who had stood faithfully in their day
for the cause and testimony of Truth. O,
praise ye the Lord, for his mercies endure
forever !

The following day we had an unusually
large meeting in Skipton castle, which was to
good satisfaction. How different this from
the days when Truth first broke forth, after a
long night of apostacy, when our predecessors
in religious profession were shut up in castles
and prison houses, secured with bolts and
bars ; now the doors of castles, court-houses,
assembly rooms, and other public buildings,
are freely thrown open to accommodate our
meetings, and ttiere seems an almost general
willingness to attend them. May the profess-
ors of Truth be deeply humbled, and brought
to an earnest engagement to let their light so
shine before men, that others seeing their good
works, may glorify our Father who is in hea-

Our next meetings were at. a town near
Fairfield, Wethersdale and Otley. On the
way to the latter, one of the springs of our
carriage broke, and the road being bad, and
rain falling heavily, we had considerable diffi-
culty in reaching it in time, having to take
turns in walking ; but it proved a satisfactory
season, which more than compensated for our
trouble. We next went to Rawden, where we
were met by Sarah Hustler, and went home
with her to Undercliff, the late residence of
her valuable mother, Christiana Hustler, who

had been deceased about four months. Their
house had long been a place of rest and re-
freshment to the messengers of the Gospel,
and now proved so to us, though the remem-
brance of the removal of its late worthy pos-
sessor was some alloy. Dear Sarah, however,
is no less a succourer of the Lord's servants
than was her precious mother, and is also a
public advocate for the dignified cause of
Truth and righteousness; — ^peace be within
her dwelling.

Friends' meeting-house at Bradford being
under repair, the Methodist chapel was hired,
and we had a large public meeting, about two
thousand persons attending. We then took
meetings at Gildersome and Leeds, and had
one in the evening at Brighouse, where the
power of the Highest raised me up to bear
testimony to the purity of the Gospel ministry,
and to that upright walking which dignifies
the profession of Christianity. I have seldom
been sensible of a more stripped state, than
when I took my seat in the meeting; and
afler I felt an engagement to stand up, I had
to proceed in much simplicity ; but by degrees,
the waters arose until they became a river to
swim in, " a place of broad rivers, wherein
goeth no galley with oars, neither shall gal-
lant ship pass thereby."

Next day we had a meeting in the Method-
ist chapel, at the same hour at which their
minister was to have preached them a sermon,
and which he informed the people at the com-
mencement of our meeting " should be preach-
ed on the following tuesday evening." I soon
afler stood up and informed the people, that
our views pf^ Divine worship and of Gospel
ministry, did not admit of our concluding
beforehand, that we would preach, or on what
subject we would speak, and that I had taken
my seat among them without even a thought
of what might be the subject of communica-
tion, believing that both the preparation of the
heart and the answer of the tongue, were from
the Lord, the consideration of which had deep-
ly impressed my mind since I had taken my
seat, with desires that the professors of Chris-
tianity might consider that our Lord Jesus
Christ has declared, "Without me ye can do
nothing ;" — that an humble dependence upon
the assistance he might be graciously pleased
to vouchsafe, when he condescended to meet
with those who met in his name, would stay
their minds in reverent waiting upon him, so
that they would not be found warming them-
selves with a fire of their own kindling, lest
in the end they should have to lie down in
sorrow. The nature of Divine worship, and
the qualification necessary to enabb a minis-
ter to preach the Gospel aright, opened with
much clearness on my mina, and I had to

Digitized by




speak largely upon them ; — the aforesaid min-
ister was very attentive and expressed his as-
sent to the doctrines delivered, though bis
practice seems so contrary.

Accompanied by dear Sarah Hustler, we
had meetings at Leeds, Gildersome and Hali-
fax, Huddersfield, Wooldale, Highflats and
Burton. At this place John and Elizabeth
Hoy land met us, and brought letters from my
beloved family, which afibrded me much sat-
isfhction. Here I also met Thomas Shillitoe,
who had recently returned from his arduous
labours in visiting the drinking houses in some
parts of Ireland; and our meeting was to mu-
tual satisfaction. In the evening we had a
large meeting with the townVpeople in Barns-
ley, and the following day rode to Sheffield,
where I rested and wrote letters home.

On third-day rode over the hills to Bake-
well, in Derbyshire, where only two families
of Friends reside; we had a meeting in a
house belonging to the Methodists, and pro-
ceeded to Monyash, Furniss, Breach and Der-
by, a town noted for the sufferings of George
Fox, soon a(\er he came forth as a preacher
of the Gospel. Until lately. Friends had not
a meeting settled at this place, but several
being convinced, have joined the Society, and
a good meeting-house is now erected, in which
we had two meetings, the last very crowded,
several hundreds not being able to get in.
Our next meetings were Castle Donnington,
Loughborough, Leicester, Hinckley, Hartshill
and Tinmouth ; some of which were highly
favoured seasons, others trying, from a sense
of the want of greater dedication to the cause
of Truth, in consequence of which a lifeless
formality too much prevailed amongst the
professors of Truth in our Society, as well as
under other denominations.

At Litchfield there is no meeting, but a few
convinced persons live there, and I was com-
forted in the prospect that a meeting would
be settled there in time to come. We had a
satisfactory one in the court-bouse, and then
rode to Birmingham ; attended their meeting
on first-day morning, and had a public one in
the evening, and visited some under affliction.
We then proceeded to Coventry, Warwick
and Radway; the last a poor little village, in
a low, marshy situation, the houses mostly
covered with straw, and the inhabitants in low
circumstances. Our accommodations were in
the humble cottage of the widow Somerfield ;
and though far from elegant, it was a mansion
of contentment, and kept with neatness and
cleanliness. She received us with true affec-
tion and openness, as the servants of the
church, and entertained us with hospitality.
Her occupation is that of a stay-lace maker ;
and in reflecting on her situation, and the

sweet content that was apparent, I thought
her happier than the queen on the throne,
being free from the fears and cares of royalty.
In the meeting at this place, I had to urge the
necessity of parents being concerned to train
up their children in the way they should go,
they being placed as delegated shepherds over
them during their minority, and as such must
give an account. Whilst I was speaking,
some lads who were not the children of
Friends, behaved in an unbecoming manner,
whispering and laughing; which caused roe
to stop and direct the attention of parents to
the fruits of their neglect, and also to admon*
ish the boys for their unmannerly conduct;
a(\er which they were quiet.

Afler spending a few days with my kind
friend John Hull, who has been my compan-
ion for nearly four months, he accompanied
me to the house of Joseph Fry, at Plashet,
which I considered my English home, from
whence, on fourth-day, I went to Gracechurch
street Monthly Meeting, in London, where I
found no command to engage in vocal service,
but felt a comfortable degree of solemnity
spread over my mind, and was glad to see
the faces of many of my dear friends. In
the meeting for discipline, I was engaged to
bear testimony to the necessity of moving in
the management of the affairs of the church,
under the impressions of religious duty. On
6rst-day, I attended meeting at Croydon, and
next morning visited the widow Low and her
children, who had buried her son Richard the
day before. Afler attending the morning
meeting in London I went to visit dear Wil-
liam Dillwyn and his family; who, having
numerous correspondents in America, gave
me more recent intelligence respecting my
native country, than I had received. He ap-
pears glad to receive his friends from our
land ; and though his health is declining, yet
his mind, which has long been usefully en-
gaged for the good of his fellow men,, is still
alive to the cause of humianity. Having lived
to see the labours for the abolition of the
slave trade, in which he bore a considei^able
share, crowned with success, he is now ex-
erting himself with others for bettering the
condition of the slaves in the West India Is^
lands, and for ameliorating the sanguinary
laws of Great Britain, by which the lives of
so many human beings are annually taken,
for stealing — in which effort, I hope they may ,
be as successful as in the former.

I was next at Winchmore-hill and Hartford
meetings, and visited John Prior, whose wife
made an acceptable visit, in Gospel love, to
America. On the voyage thither, she met
with a remarkable deliverance, their vessel
proving so leaky, that with all the efforts the

Digitized by




crew could make, they were unable to prevent
her from sinking; and shortly before she wenl
down, a vessel hove in sight, and came up in
time to rescue them from a watery grave. At
Baldock we had an evening meeting, and the
Friends being generally from home, a young
woman undertook to have notice spread, and
despatching her brothers in different directions,
the work was completed with much cheerful-
ness and alacrity. On first-day, I was at
Hitchin meeting in the forenoon ; in the after-
noon the ministers and elders of the county
met; and next day, being the 16th of the
twelfth month, the Quarterly Meeting was
held. The situation of Friends, as professors
of the Christian name, and engaged for the
maintenance of the discipline of the church,
excited my tender sympathy; much weakness
being apparent, particularly on the men's side
of the house. A sense of this among them-
selves, produced a willingness to receive the
counsel imparted to them in Gospel love ; and
I trust the season was one of some profit, at
least there seemed an increase of tender love
one for another, and a renewed desire that
they might be enabled to arise and put on
strength in the name of the Lord. In the
evening we had a large and comfortable meet-
ings with the town's-people, and next day rode
to Ampthill, in Bedfordshire, and had a large
meeting with Friends and others ; and next
day being the usual mid-week meeting, we
sat with the few Friends and those from Ash-
well. In the evening had a meeting at Luton,
where there is but a small company of Friends ;
and having been much stripped lately by death,
they appeared in a humble and tender state,
and I felt much sympathy for them. We had
an evening meeting at Royston, where there
are but two members of our Society, who are
engaged to keep up their week-day meeting,
although several others live in the town; then
went to Buntingford, where there rs no mid-
week meeting. Alas I the Truth is at a low
ebb in most places in Hertfordshire ; and yet
there is much room for labour by the Lord's
servants, if they are entirely devoted to his
service, for we found an open door set before
us in the minds of many who are not mem-
bers, and much labour was bestowed ; but the
Lord only can give the increase.

The Quarterly Meeting for London and
Middlesex drawing near, we set our faces
toward Tottenham, in order to attend it, and
were at the first-day meeting there. On se-
cond-day the meeting of ministers and elders
was held in London, which was largely at-
tended, and 1 had some observations to make
on the advantages resulting to the church,
from the ministers and elders keeping their
stations and places in true dedication and sin-

gleness of heart, so as to be ready to obey
the call of the Lord, in visiting the dispersed
up and down in the nation; for want of which
godly concern, in the watchmen and watch-
women, it is to be feared many have gone
astray, and the waste places of Zion have been
enlarged. Having been very unwell for some
time past and my strength gradually declining,
I felt very poorly after meeting ; but through
the kind attention of my dear friend and sister
Elizabeth Fry, I was refreshed and recruited,
so as to be able to attend the Quarterly Meet-
ing. During that part of it appropriated par-
ticularly to Divine worship, the power of Truth
was in dominion, and several Friends were
engaged in the line of the ministry. In the
meeting for discipline, there appeared a want
of solidity in transacting the business. There
are, however, many dear Friends in and about
London, with whom my spirit is nearly anited,
and I prefer them to myself, for their greater
experience; but, alasl others give evidence,
that they are not baptized for the work,
though they may keep very strictly to the
letter of the discipline. O! that it was other-
wise with them, that the visited youth might
be encouraged by their example, to come for-
ward in the right line.

A meeting being proposed by Mary Dudley,
to be held on third-day morning, I attended
it, though very weak in body, and it proved
a favoured season — several Friends being en-
gaged in testimony and supplication. Some
time before the meeting concluded, I was un-
der great concern, lest the work of the imagi-
nation should be substituted for the putting
forth of the heavenly Shepherd. There needs
a care on this account, when seasons of Di-
vine favour are experienced, and the waters
are up. The Lord is a God of order, and
deliberation and care are necessary, that we
do not move too soon one after another ; and
an abrupt breaking up of a iheeting immedi-
ately on a Friend's sitting down, is not of
good report. I found my seat rather a trying
one, not being willing that any rightly con-
cerned Friend should be deprived of an op-
portunity of expressing what was upon their
minds ; yet very desirous we should be pre-
served from unnecessary speaking. The
meeting was large and ended solidly. After
this I went with my kind friends Joseph and
Elizabeth Fry, to their house at Plasfaet, and
rested some days, and was favoured with an
increase of health and strength.

First-day, 1st of first month, 1812. Two
days ago, I set out from London with my be-
loved friends Elizabeth Fry and her sister,
Priscilla Grurney, to visit the meetings in Sur-
ry and Sussex. We had an evening meeting
at Dorking, which was satisfactory, although

Digitized by




the people were loog in assembling. Next
day we were at Ryegate, where the number
of Friends is small, and but few other persons
coming in, as I took my seat discouragements
seemed to crowd into my mind; but I was
soon turned from them, by the spreading of a
holy solemnity over us ; the Master of our
assemblies graciously condescending to mani-
fest himself among us, which was reverently
acknowledged in supplication, returning thanks
for the goodness of Israel's Shepherd, and
humbly interceding for the continuance of his
fatherly care. The meeting ended sweetly,
and proposing another to be held in the even-
ing, we were employed in visiting several fam-
ilies of Friends, some of whom were under
affliction. The evening meeting was favoured
with the renewings of heavenly goodness and
love, and in the ability given, we laboured for
the encouragement of those who were hun-
gering and thirsting aHer righteousness.

The meeting at Ifield, held the first day of
the new year, proved a favoured time ; next
day we were at Brightelmstone, and the day
following at Lewes, from whence we rode to
our friend John Glazier's, who, though indis-
posed in body, appeared alive in the Truth,
and his company was truly pleasant. In the
early part of their married life, he and his
wife had been members of the Methodist soci-
ety; but John being dissatisfied with the
forms and activity on which they so much
depended, sought the Lord in retirement, en-
deavouring to draw near unto him in spirit.
This resulted in his joining himself to Friends,
a people who depended on the immediate ope-
rations of the Lord's power revealed in the
soul of man ; in consequence of which, he
endured the reproaches of his former associ-
ates, and his wife also expressed her dislike
to his change, saying to him, as she herself
told me, " I wonder you should go with so
silly a people as the Quakers! — what good
can there be among them?" He very calmly
replied, *' Thou dost not know what I have
found amongst them, or t^ou wouldst not
wonder at me ;" — which reply so wrought
upon her mind, that she could not rest satis-
fied without seeking to know what he had met
with ; when Infinite Goodness was pleased to
manifest himself to her, with the conviction,
that they who worship the Father aright, must
worship him in spirit and in truth — that the
Lord is not pleased with feigned homage,
which it is to be feared is of\en the situation
of those who sing psalms, the mind being
more intent on the harmony of the sounds,
than engaged in fervent concern to express
only the words of truth and soberness, from
a living experimental knowledge of the good-
ness of God, through which they have been

delivered from their spiritual enemies, so as to
be enabled to praise Him on the banks of de-

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 64 of 104)