William Evans.

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

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In the evening, we returned to Brightelm-
stone, and had a large public meeting in
Friends' meeting-house, and next day had one
at Arundel. On our way to this place, we
dined at the house of a Friend, whose wife
was one of a large faqpily who had joined the
Society by convincement. An elder sister
being at a meeting appointed by Sarah Harri-
son, of Philadelphia, was convinced of the
Truth as held by Friends. She became an
Qttender of the meeting at Brighton, though
her residence was nine miles distant, and her
father much opposed to her going. She pass-
ed through great difficulties, rising early in
the morning and working hard, to have her
business accomplished before it was time to
set off for meeting; and ader her return
worked very late to make up for the time she
was absent, and all this, beside walking to
and from the meeting. This was very trying
to her nature; but her diligence and constan-
cy had an eflect on her brothers and sisters,
and her younger brother soon accompanied
her to meeting ; after which the others, to the
number of eight, one afler another, went with
her, and all became respectable members of
Society, as did also their mother. I saw her
at Brighton, where she very constantly at-
tended meeting, and afterward at her own
house, where for the first time, her husband
showed a friendly disposition toward a minis-
ter of our Society, having heretofore avoided
their company. He came and sat by us, and
entered into pleasant conversation ; and when
about to part, Elisabeth Fry had to proclaim
the offers of peace and salvation to him, from
the Author of all good, which he heard pa-
tiently and quietly, and very respectfully wait-
ed on us to the carriage. His son Samuel,
who had been with us several days, seemed
pleased and surprised at this great change
which had taken place ia his father ; and we
led the family in tender love, and with earnest
desires for their preservation in the line of

Next day we sat with Friends of Chiches-
ter in the morning, and had a public meeting
in the aflernoon ; and the following day at-
tended the Quarterly Meeting of ministers and
elders, held at Horsham, where but little of
the life of true religion was to be felt; but as
the afflicted are not always forsaken, we were
not without a hope, that through the abound-
ings of heavenly Goodness, there would yet
be known among them more of an enlarge-
ment in Divine things. In the Quarterly
Meeting for discipline I laboured among them
under feelings of weakness, it being necessa-

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ry that the servants should be dipped into
sympathy with the states of those they visit-
where things are low, we cannot expect to
abound ; but blessed be the name of IsraeFs
Helper, before we separated we were blessed
with a season of Divine favour. In the even-
ing we had a large public meeting, and after-
ward a tendering time with a poor afflicted
woman, who had gone out in her marriage
with a person not in membership with Friends.
She had a large family of children, and no
helpmate in her husband to train them up in a
religious life, he being disposed to take liber-
ties not becoming his station as a parent. Ah !
how many of our dear young people, in the
days of gaiety and vanity, take their flight
and become separated from the flock of
Christ's companions I There is here and
there a solitary instance, where such are ar-
rested, and through repentance are brought
back again to know better days; but frequent-
ly we see them choosing their own ways in
marriage, in opposition to the tender advice
and concern of their parents and friends, and
thus plunging themselves into sorrow. The
apostle's advice is of great importance, " Be
ye not unequally yoked together," — and were
the youth concerned to move deliberately in
this weighty affair, in the fear and counsel of
the Lord, He who prospered Abraham's ser-
vant, would not leave them to take such steps
as would bring trouble and distress upon

Our next meetings were Godalming, Guil-
ford, Esher and Wandsworth ; aAer which
we rode to Plashet, the residence of my dear
companion, Elizabeth Fry, who was favoured
to find her family in good health. Next morn-
ing I went into London and attended the morn-
ing meeting; then Southwark Monthly Meet-
ing, where I had the company of dear William
Forster, and the day following he and I went
to the Monthly meeting held at Brentford;
af\cr which he went home to Tottenham,
and I to London, where I attended Westmin-
ster Monthly Meeting, held at Peter's CouiPt,
which was favoured with the renewed offers
of spiritual health and salvation. Ader this
I rested a few days, and wrote to my beloved,
family, from whom I had comfortable ac-
counts, and under the feelings vouchsafed, I
thought I could say in reverent thankfulness,
Hitherto the Lord hath helped me — blessed
be his sacred name. — Amen.

20th of first month ; accompanied by my
late companion, John Hull, I attended meet-
ings at High Wycomb, Maidenhead, Reading,
Henley and Wallingford. At the last meet-
ing, our friend Joseph Ashby, who had ac-
companied us from Chillingworth, was seized
with a paralytic afl^tion» and died a few days

aAer. He was a valuable Friend, given to
hospitality and benevolence, and his loss will
be much felt. After being at Warborough
meeting, and visiting the families at Abingdon,
I had public meetings at Farrington, Cirences-
ter, Nailsworth and Thornbury; from whence
I rode to Bristol, John Hull having lefl me for
a short time. I was at the meetings in Bris-
tol, and visited several persons under afflic-
tion ; then went to Laurence Weston Month-
ly Meeting, and to meetings at Portshead,
Claverham, Sidcot, Glastonbury, Somerton,
Bridgewater, Taunton, Milverton, Wellington,
Spiceland, and thence to Plymouth. Here
my mind was brought under great oppression
and sorrow, in considering the afflictions and
distress which many of my fellow creatures
endure — the port and extensive naval docks
being filled with vessels of war, and many
sick and wounded landed from them, besides
numbers of prisoners of war being brought
in. I was, however, comforted in the meet-
ing, and find that Friends here are very care-
ful to afford what assistance they can to the
poor sufferers, frequently visiting the prison
ships and endeavouring- to promote the com-
fort of the poor prisoners, and using their in-
fluence to prevent their being so closely stow-
ed together as they often are.

On second-day we set out for Liskard, in
Cornwall ; the wind blew very hard and di-
rectly ahead, so that we were more than an
hour crossing the ferry, though it was not
more than half a mile wide. It was with
great difflculty we got over, having to assist
at the oars to prevent our being driven against
the hulks anchored in the river. I think I did
not see so much danger in <3rossing the ocean.
We had a meeting at Liskard in the evening —
next day one with the lew Friends at Wade-
bridge, and on the following day were at the
Monthly Meeting at Redruth, and had one for
the inhabitants in the evening at the Methodist
meeting-house. Our next were at Falmouth,
Penzance, Marazion and Truro; and afler
two large and good meetings on first-day, we
had a precious tendering time in the evening
with several Friends, and I have seldom, if
ever, known a greater evidence of the conde-
scension of the Holy One of Israel, in vouch-
safing his living presence and power to satisfy
his humble seeking ones; — blessed be bis holy
name for ever.

Next morning we attended the Monthly
Meeting at Liskard, and then had meetings at
Looe and Tideford, which closed our visit to
Cornwall. Several of the meetings we at-
tended were highly favoured seasons, and the
people showed a great willingness to come to
them, the houses in many eases being far too
small to contain them. The number of Friends

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in the county is not large, but there appears
to be a convincement going on, and I believe
Sonne will join the Society; though as respects
my own labours I can truly say, my view was
to strengthen the good in all, without seeking
to proselyte any. Vital Christianity is what
I wish to see all pressing afler, that Chriat
Jesus may be their teacher, their guide and
provider, and that there may be less depend-
ance upon external performances.

We now turned our faces toward Plymouth
again, where we attended the funeral of an
exemplary Friend, and in the evening had
a Religious opportunity with his widow and
children ; then had meetings at Kingsbridge
and Modbury, and a select opportunity with
the few Friends at Exeter. I was comforted
in finding some honest hearted ones here;
but it was evident to my mind, that more sub-
mission to the renewing and qualifying bap-
tisms of Truth, was necessary for the solid
comfort of others, and to prevent them from
settling down at ease in lifeless forms. AAer
a comfortable religious opportunity with an
aged Friend, we rode toward Bridport, and
had a large and satisfactory meeting there;
then to Ilminster, Yeovil, Sherborn and Marn-
huH. At the latter place lives our friend Wil-
liam Byrd, who married Rebecca Young, the
latter of whom I had seen in my own country
on a religious visit with Deborah Darby.
Having for some days past felt my mind
turned toward Weymouth, where there axe
no Friends but Anna Buxton, a young wo-
man who has latterly joined Friends, and for
whom I felt a tender sympathy in her lonely
situation ; we rode there and were kindly re-
ceived at the house of her step-father. The
minister of the Independent congregation hav-
ing mentioned to Anna, that their meeting-
house should be open for any Friend who felt
a concern to hold a meeting there, it was ob-
tained for the purpose, and we held a meeting
in the evening, to which many of the town's-
people came and conducted very respectfully;
several expressing their satisfaction afler it
was over. I was comforted in observing the
general esteem in which Anna was held by
the people, and a few words which she ex-
pressed in the meeting, evidently spread a so-
lemnity over it. Afler staying two days at
her father's, she accompanied us to Poole,
where we had a large meeting, and though
some of the people seemed unsettled and noisy
for a time, yet through Divine favour it ended
well. Next day we had meetings at Ring-
wood and Southampton — the latter large and
favoured — a few well concerned Friends re-
side in the town, who have revived the meet-
ing, which had been suffered to go down for
a great length of time. From this place we

Vol. IV.— No. 8.

went to Salisbury, in Wiltshire, where we met
with Wilham and Rebecca Byrd, with several
other Friends, a committee of thd Quarterly
Meeting on a visit to the Monthly and Prepara-
tive Meetings, the society being in a low state
hereaway, and many weaknesses apparent.
Our next meeting was at Devises, on first-day,
which though small was comfortable ; several
who are under convincement being present.
In the evening had a crowded public meeting,
and 1 proceeded to Bristol. Having travelled
hard through wet and cold, and been exposed
in various ways, my health had become so
much broken as to require attention, and the
physician recommending rest as highly ne-
cessary, I accordingly laid by for a 4irae, at
the house of my kind friend George Fisher,
where I was cared for with much tenderness.
During my stay here I attended meetings as
they came in course, and also the Quarterly
Meeting of Bristol and Somerset, held here,
which was a time of Divine favour to Friends
of this city, many of whom are valuable and .
concerned labourers in the Lord's vineyard.

30th of third month, I set out for Melksham,
to attend the Quarterly Meeting for Gloucester
and Wilts, and put up with Mary Jeffereys,
whom I had seen in America, when there on
a religious visit with Sarah Stephenson.

The Quarterly Meeting was rather a low
time, although ability was given to labour in
the Gospel and to set truth above error, and
Friends appeared to unite in desires that a
more strict watch might be maintained. Here
I parted with my dear friends, George Fisher
and wife, and my heart was broken into ten-
derness, under a sense of the goodness of the
Shepherd of Israel, who had influenced their
minds to take such tender care of a poor tra-
veller ; may I ever be grateful therefor. Af-
ter Friends had mostly led the town, I ap-
pointed a meeting for those of other societies,
which was held to good satisfaction. The fol-
lowing day we went to Cain, where live our
valued Friends Joseph and William Grundy,
who with their families make up the meeting.
Joseph has a family of fine looking children,
his wife being a prudent mother, endeavouring
to bring up her children in good order and in
the fear of the Lord, which afibrds ground to
hope that a blessing will attend. O, how dif-
ferent with many mothers, who are careless,
and neglect their children's truest interest !
Afler a public meeting here, we proceeded to
the residence of my companion, William Fry,
at Hill-house : his wife is a woman of a meek
and quiet spirit, manifesting much love to the
dear Saviour, who was graciously pleased to
wean her from the gaiety and vanities of life,
in which she had besn educated, having been
brought up in the established church, and

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turned her mind to the substance of true relU
gion, and she is now an example of simplicity
and plainness. I rested at their comfortable
habitation a few days, during which time I
attended meetings at Nailsworth and Pains-
wick ; the latter has been hurl by the attention
of some of the members to a woman, who
proved a gross impostor, pretending to be a pro-
phetess, and encouraged her deluded followers
to enter into pecuniary speculations, saying she
knew they would succeed, by which they sus-
tained much loss in property, as well as in the
life of religion, and proved her to be a de-
ceiver. It is strange that sensible people
will be so credulous as to believe such im-

From Hill-house I went to Cheltenham and
Gloucester; and although there are but few
Friends, we had large meetings with the peo-
ple; then to Tewkesbury, Evesham, Chees-
borough and Burford, and to the Quarterly
Meeting held at Whitney; where the Master
of our assemblies was pleased to be with us,
encouraging the humble minded. Things ap-
peared to be much out of order in some places,
and the forwardness of some to aid in the
management of the discipline, rather marred
than mended matters, they not being under
right qualification^ I had, for several weeks
past, been very much cast down, although at
seasons favoured with power to preach the
Gospel, yet my way was now much closed
up as to appointing meetings, and my health
requiring rest, I rode to Uxbridge, and af^er
a few days rest there, at my dear friend John
Hull's, I proceeded to my English home, at
Joseph and Elizabeth Fry's, near London, and
felt well satisfied in being once more under
their hospitable roof.

As the Yearly Meeting drew near, I took a
journey into Kent, and visited the few Friends
there, whose number is rather increased lat-
terly, and a new meeting-house is built at
Maidenstone. I was at the first meeting held
in it, and had also several large public meet-
ings for those not of our Society, and returned
to London with feelings of increased love for
Friends of that county, believing there are a
few solid and seriously engaged Friends ; but
the want of more of this engagement is appa-
rent in others. May the rising generation
come forward, in humble dependence upon
the holy Helper of his people, then I believe
Truth will be more in dominion among them.

Having been anxiously awaiting the arrival
of letters from home, when I got back and
found none, my mind was deeply thoughtful
about my family, as it has often been of late.
I however felt in degree reconciled, in humble
resignation to the will of my heavenly Father,
whose love cheered my spirit, so that I was

enabled to visit my friends of Tottenham and
in London, as way opened, until the Yearly
Meeting came on, when the sight of many
Friends from different parts of the nation re-
vived my spirits, and their company and plea-
sant converse seemed to keep me from that
serious depression which at times I felt, in
consequence of not receiving letters from my
beloved connexions. My dear friend Stephen
Grellet came to attend the Yearly Meeting,
and we were truly glad to meet, he having
lefl New York one year afler I did ; and my
dear Sarah being at his house previous to his
leaving, I had an opportunity of hearing many
particulars of which my letters had not in-
formed me. Those who have not known by
experience the trial of separation from belov^
connexions and friends, can hardly estimate
the pleasure of such a meeting.

The Yearly Meeting was large and attended
by an unusual number of youth ; and although
some, trying cases came before it, yet in gene-
ral it was a solid, good meeting. I sat through
many of the meetings in perfect quietness and
serenity of mind, having as I apprehended, but
little to do, In two of the meetings for wor-
ship the spring of the ministry rose as high
as I had ever known it to do through me, a
poor feeble instrument. The state of the na-
tions, and the sufferings of the poor, led many
minds into deep feeling, and an address to the
Prince Regent of the British empire was drawn
up, in which the peaceableness of the Chris-
tian religion was held up to view.

On the morning of the day when the
Yearly Meeting closed, my mind was merci-
fully brought into a holy calmness, as a
morning without clouds — a sweet serenity and
a flow of love and good will toward my dear
friends, clothed my spirit ; and aAer having
breakfasted with a number of them at my
lodgings, about an hour before meeting time,
I walked out to see my countryman, Stephen
Grellet ; and seeing the postman, the thought
occurred to me that he might have letters for
me, and on inquiring I found he had. I took
them, and opening one, was looking for the
name of the writer, when these words caught
"jy eye, " thou hast the tears, the prayers and
the condolence of many of thy relatives and
friends.'^ A sudden trembling seized my hand,
so that I could hardly hold the paper. As the
calm serenity of a bright morning is shaded
by the approach of the portentous thunder
clouds, from which the vivid lightning bursts,
gradually approaching nearer and nearer, un-
til the passenger is impelled to seek a shelter
from the impending storm, so my feelings
hastened me to my -room, where— oh my
friends, judge ye who can, how great the
shock I experienced, instead of seeing the

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. 290

well-koowQ hand, which had so often been
employed to minister, in various ways, to my
comfort, the pen of another had to be engaged,
to convey to me the afllecting and afflicting
intelligence, that the dear partner of my life
was no more — that the hand which so often
ministered to my wants, would aid me no
more, and that I should never again hear that
voice, which to me was always as the mes-
senger of peace and gladness ; — that the be-
loved one, to whom I had fondly looked as
the earthly comforter of my last days, was
now mouldering in the silent grave, while her
peaceful ispirit had gone to the realms of end-
less light, among the redeemed and sancti6ed
ones, there to enjoy the bliss which is not to
be found below, — testifying before her de-
parture, that through infinite and unmerited
mercy, a foretaste of this felicity is vouchsafed
to those who endeavour to serve their Creator
and walk in fear before him, to strengthen
them and animate them to persevere in that
high and holy way, which leads to endless
joy and peace. She declared, that such was
her blessisd experience, even while suftering
the pains of the body, that she had not a
doubt of the goodness and mercy of God;
and was now sensible that she had not been
following cunningly devised fables, because
she reaped the blessed fruits of obedience,
even the peace of God, a sure foretaste of the
joys which awaited her.

Thus was my chiefest earthly joy taken
from me; and the letters also conveyed the
additional intelligence, that my dutiful son,
on whom I had fondly calculated, as one
who would comfort and support my declin-
ing years, and be the stay and consolation
of his mother when I was taken from her;
he too was gone — I was bereft of both,
and of my a^ and beloved mother also;
besides a number of other relatives and
friends, who had gone hence to be seen of
men no more. Ah! ye who have felt the
stroke of separation, and who have hearts
that can sympathize with a bereaved brother,
you will excuse the flood of tears that gushed
from my eyes, when I tell you, that I sought
to be preserved from saying or thinking that
the Lord had dealt hardly with me, in thus
trying me with this sore affliction, whilst sep-
arated from my home. He, the omniscient
Searcher of all hearts, knows that I left them
under a belief, that in so doing I was acting
conformably to his will, that I might stand
approved in his sight when the solemn requisi-
tion is made, " What hast thou done with thy
Lord's money f and that in thus endeavour-
ing to dedicate myself to his service, I had
been strengthened, to my humble admiration,

by his gracious living presence, often feeling
my peace flow as a river, and my attachment
to, and stability in the Truth to increase, so that
my prayers often ascended to him in sincerity
of soul, that I might do nothing which should
cause any one to think lightly of his power,
or to speak evil of his glorious holy name,
being willing to sufler for the advancement of
his cause on the earth. I had often had to re-
joice in spirit, as in the language of the Psalm-
ist, " Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the
Lord bath dealt bountifully with thee/' But
what shall I now say, O my soul ? Has the
Lord forsaken thee? Has his mercy clean
passed thee by ? Has he forgotten thee in a
foreign land, whilst he has taken from thee
thy earthly comforts in the land of thy na-
tivity ? O, no I blessed be his name — though
he slay me, yet wilM trust in him — it is the
Lord, let him do what seemeth him good —
his ways are all in wisdom ; and though I am
tried, in some respects like poor Job, yet what
am I ? Unworthy indeed of the many favours
I have received at his bountiful hand. A part
of the- intelligence I received, related to some
disarrangement of my temporal concerns,
which was an additional trial ; beside which,
the dear survivors of my little family were
in the midst of the raging pestilence, which
had proved so fatal, waiting in awful sus-
pense to see who would be the next victim for

Thus was I, as in a moment, plunged into
deep distress, my way hedged in with walls
as on every side; and though my beloved
friends, on becoming acquainted with my sit-
uation, kindly sought to administer comfort, I
had none, save in the hope, that if I died, it
would be humbly lying at the feet of Jesus,
whom I loved. I believed in the calming in-
fluence of his almighty power, and as his om-
nipotent voice once proclaimed, *' Peace be
still," to the stormy billows, for the relief of
his poor disciples, so now I felt him spread a*
degree of holy calmness and resignation over
my afflicted mind, and I was enabled to cast
my care upon him, under an humbling belief,
that he will not leave nor forsake those who
put their trust in him. I began to think it
would be better for me to leave London im-
mediately, as many Friends would probably
be calling to see nne, and I did not feel in a
state of mind to bear much company. I ac-
cordingly went out to Plashett, where I found
my dear friend, Elizabeth Fry, a true sympa-
thizer and a friend indeed. Stephen Grellet
being detained with me, so as to be late at
meeting, informed Friisnds of the sorrowful
tidings I had received, which had a very great
c^ect upon the meeting, and it was concluded

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to make a minute expressive of the feelings
produced, and of its sympathy with me, and
desires for my support; it being as follows, viz:

Yearly Meeting of London, the
dOth of Fifth month, 1812.

Stephen Grellet of New York, informed

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 65 of 104)