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William Evans.

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

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870



LIFE OF JOHN WOOLMAN.



humbly desiring to learn what his will was
concerning ine» I was made quiet and content.

Our guide's horse, though hoppled, went
away in the night; and after finding our own,
and searching some time for him, his foot-
steps were discovered in the path going back
again, whereupon my kind companion went
off in the rain, and afler about seven hours
returned with him: we lodged here again;
tying up our horses before we went to bed,
and loosing them to feed about break of day.

On the 13th day of the sixth month, the
sun appearing, we set forward ; and as I rode
over the barren hills, my meditations were on
the alteration in the circumstances of the na-
tives of this land since the coming in of the
English. The lands near the see, are con-
veniently situated for fishing ; the lands near
the rivers where the tides flow, and some
above, are in many places fertile, and not
mountainous ; while the running of the tides,
makes passing up and down easy with any
kind of traffic. Those natives have in some
places, for trifling considerations, sold their
inheritance so favourably situated ; and in
other places been driven back by superior
force. As their way of clothing themselves
is now altered from what it was, and they are
far remote from us, they have to pass over
mountains, swamps and barren deserts, where
travelling is very troublesome, in bringing
their skins and furs to trade with us.

By the extending of English settlements,
and partly by English hunters, the wild
beasts they chiefly depend on for a subsist-
ence, are not so plenty as they were; and
people too often for the sake of gain, open a
door for the Indians to waste their skins and
furs, in purchasing a liquor which tends to the
ruin of them and their families.

My own will and desires being now very
much broken, my heart with much earnest-
ness turned to the Lord^ to whom alone I
looked for help in the dangers before me. I
had a prospect of the English along the coast,
for upwards of nine hundred miles, where I
have travelled ; and their favourable situation
and the difficulties attending the natives in
many places, and also the negroes, were open
before me ; and a weighty and heavenly care
came over my mind, and love filled my heart
toward all mankind, in which I felt a strong
engagement that we might be obedient to the
Lord, while in tender mercies he is yet calling
to us ; and so attend to pure universal rlghte*
ousness, as to give no just cause of ofience to
the Gentiles who do not profess Christianity,
whether the blacks from Africa or the native
inhabitants of this continent. I was led into
a close, laborious inquiry, whether as an in-



dividual, I kept clear from all things which
tended to stir up, or were connected with
wars, either in this land or Africa ; and my
heart was deeply concerned, that in future I
might in all things keep steadily to the pure
Truth, and live and walk in the plainness and
simplicity of a sincere follower of Christ. In
this lonely journey this day, I greatly bewailed
the spreading of a wrong spirit, believing that
the prosperous, convenient situation of the
English, requires a constant attention to Di-
vine love and wisdom to guide and support
us in a way answerable to the will of that
good, gracious and Almighty Being, who hath
an equal regard to all mankind. Here, luxury
and covetousness, with the numerous oppres-
sions and other evils attending them, appeared
very afflicting to me ; and I felt in that which
is immutable, that the seeds of great calamity
and desolation are sown and growing fast on
this continent : nor have I words sufficient to
set forth the longing I then felt, that we who
are placed along the coast, and have tasted
the love and goodness of God, might arise in
his strength ; and like faithful messengers, la-
bour to check the growth of these se^s, that
they may not ripen to the ruin of our pos-
terity.

We reached the Indian settlement at Wyo-
ming, and were told that an Indian runner
had been at that place a day or two before us,
and brought news of the Indians taking an
English fort westward and destroying the
people, and that they were endeavouring to
take another; and also that another Indian
runner came there about the middle of the
night before we got there, who came from a
town about ten miles above Wehaloosing, and
brought news that some Indian warriors from
distant parts, came to that town with two
English scalps; and told the people that it-
was war with the English.

Our guides took us to the house of a very
ancient man ; and soon after we had put in
our baggage, there came a man from another
Indian bouse some distance off; and I per-
ceiving there was a man near the door, went
out; and he having a tomahawk under his
matchcoat out of sight, as I approached him
he took it in his hand. I however went for-
ward, and speaking to him in a friendly way
perceived he understood some English: my
companion then coming out, we had some
talk with him concerning the nature of our
visit in these parts ; and then he going into
the house with us, and talking with our guides,
soon appeared friendly, and sat down and
smoked his pipe. Though his taking his
hatchet in his hand at the instant I drew near
to him, had a disagreeable appearance, I be-



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LIFE OF JOHN WOOLMAN.



871



lieve he had no other intent than to he in
readiness in case any violence was offered to
him.

Hearing the news brought by these Indian
runners, and being told by the Indians where
we lodged, that the Indians living about Wy*
oming, expected in a few days to move to
some larger towns, I thought that to all out-
ward appearance, it was dangerous travelling
at this time. AAer a hard day's journey, I
was brought into a painful exercise at night,
in which I had to trace back and view over
the steps I had taken from my first moving in
the visit ; and though I had to bewail some
weakness which at times had attended me,
yet I could not find that I had ever given way
to a wilful disobedience. As I believed I had
under a sense of duty come thus far, I was
now earnest in spirit beseeching the Lord to
show me what I ought to do. In this great
distress I grew jealous of myself, lest the de*
sire of reputation, as a man firmly settled to
persevere through dangers, or the fear of dis-
grace arising on my returning without per-
forming the visit, might have some place in
me. Thus I lay full of thoughts during a
great part of the night, while my beloved
companion lajr and slept by me; until the
Lord, my gracious Father, who saw the con-
flicts of my soul, was pleased to give me
quietness. I was again strengthened to com-
mit my life and all things relating thereto,
into his heavenly hands ; and getting a little
sleep toward day, when morning came we
arose.

On the 14th day of the sixth month, we
sought out and visited all the Indians here-
abouts that we could meet with ; they being
chiefly in one place, about a mile from where
we lodged, in all perhaps twenty. I expressed
' the care I had on my mind for their good; and
told them that true love had made me willing
to leave my family to come and see the Indi-
ans, and speak with them in their houses.
Some of them appeared kind and friendly.
We took our leave of these Indians, and went
up the river Susquehanna about three miles,
to the house of an Indian called Jacob Janua-
ry, who had killed his hog ; and the women
were making a store of bread, and preparing
to move up the river. Here our pilots left
their canoe when they came down in the
spring, which lying dry, was leaky ; and
being detained some hours, we 4iad a good
deal of friendly conversation with the family,
and after eating dinner with them, made them
some small presents. Then putting our bag-
gage in the canoe, some of them pushed slowly
up the stream, and the rest of us rode our
horses; and swimming them over a creek



called Lahawahamunk, we pitched our tent a
little above it, there being a shower in the
evening: and in a sense of God's goodness
in helping me in my distress, sustaining me
under trials and inclining my heart to trust
in him, I lay down in an humble bowed frame
of mind, and had a comfortable night's lodg-
ing.

On the 15th day of the sixth month, we
proceeded until the afternoon ; when a storm
appearing, we met our canoe at an appointed
place and staid there all night ; the rain con-
tinuing so heavy, that it beat through our tent
and wet us and our baggage.

On the 16th day, we found on our way
abundance of trees blown down with the
storm yesterday ; and had occasion reverently
to consider the kind dealings of the Lord, who
provided a safe place for us in a valley, while
this storm continued. By the fallins of trees
across our path we were much hin&red,.and
in some swamps our way was so stopped* that
we got through with extreme difficulty.

I had this day often to consider myself as
a sojourner in the world ; and a belief in the
all-sufficiency of God to support his people in
their pilgrimage felt comfortable to me ; and
I was industriously employed to get to a state
of perfect resignation.

We seldom saw our canoe but at appointed
places, by reason of the path going off from
the river : and this afternoon, Job Chilaway,
an Indian from Wehaloosing, who talks good
English, and is acquainted with several people
in and about Philadelphia, met our people on
the river; and understanding where we ex*
pected to lodge, pushed back about six miles,
and came to us after night ; and in a while
our own canoe came, it being hard work
pushing up stream. Job told us that an In-
dian came in haste to their town yesterday,
and told them that three warriors, coming
from some distance, lodged in a town above
Wehaloosing a few nights past; and that
these three men were going against the Eng-
lish at Juniata. Job was going down the
river to the province store at Shamokin.
Though I was so far favoured with health as
to continue travelling, yet through the various
difficulties in our journey, and the diflbrent
way of living from what I had been used to,
I grew sick : and the news of these warriors
being on their march so near us, and not
knowing whether we might not fall in with
them, was a fresh trial of my faith ; and
though through the strength of Divine love, I
had several times been enabled to commit mv-
sdf to the Divine disposal, I still found the
want of my strength being renewed, that I
might persevere therein; and my cries for



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LIFE OF JOHN WOOLMAN;



help were put up to the Lord, who in great
mercy gave roe a resigned heart, in which I
found quietness.

On the 17th day, parting from Joh Chiia*
way, we went on and reached Wehaloosing
about the middle of the afternoon ; and the
first Indian we saw was a woman of a mo
dest countenance, with a Bible, who first spoke
to our guide; and then with a harmonious
Toice expressed her gladness at seeing us,
having before heard of our coming. By the
direction of our guide we sat down on a log,
and he went to the town to tell the people we
were come. My companion and I sitting thus
together, in a deep inward stillness, the poor
woman came and sat near us ; and great aw-
fulness coming over us, we rejoiced in a sense
of God's love manifested to our poor souls.
After awhile we heard a conk-shell blow se-
veral times, and then came John Curtis and
another Indian man, who kindly invited us
into a house near the town, where we found,
I suppose, about sixty people sitting in silence.
After sitting a short time, I stood up and in
some tenderness of spirit acquainted them
with the nature of my visit, and that a con-
cern for their good had made me willing to
come thus far to see them ; all in a few short
sentences, which some of them understand'
ing, interpreted to the others, and there ap-
peared gladness amongst them. Then I
showed them my certificate, which was ex-
plained to them ; and the Moravian who over
took us on the way, being now here, bade me
welcome.

On the 18th day we rested ourselves in the
forenoon ; and the Indians knowing that the
Moravian and I were of different religious
societies, and that some of their people had
encouraged him to come and stay awhile with
them, were I believe concerned, that no jarr-
ing or discord might be in their meetings:
and they I suppose, having conferred together,
acquainted me that the people at my request,
would at any time come together and hold
meetings; and also told me, that they expected
the Moravian would speak in their settled
meetings, which are commonly held morning
and near evening. I found a liberty in my
heart to speak to the Moravian, and told him
of the care I felt on my mind for the good of
these people ; and that I believed no ill e^cts
would follow, if I sometimes spoke in their
meetings when love engaged me thereto, with-
out calling them together at times when they
did not meet of course: whereupon he ex-
pressed his good-will toward my speaking at
any time, all that I found in my heart to say.
Near evening I was at their meeting, where
the pure Gospel love was felt, to the tendering
some of our hearts; and the interpreters en-



deavouring to acquaint the people with what
I said in short sentences, found some diffi-
culty, as none of them were quite perfect in
the English and Delaware tongues, so they
helped one another, and we laboured along,
Divine love attending. Afterwards, feeling
my mind covered with the spirit of prayer, I
told the interpreters that I found it in my
heart to pray to God, and believed if I prayed
aright, he would hear me, and expressed my
willingness for them to omit interpreting ; so
our meeting ended with a degree of Divine
love. Before the people went out, I observed
Papunehang, a man who had been zealous in
labouring for a reformation in that town, being
then very tender, spoke to one of the inter-
preters; and I was afterwards told that he
said in substance; *'I love to feel where words
come from."

On the 19th day and first of the week, this
morning in the meeting the Indian who came
with the Moravian, being also a member of
that society, prayed ; and then the Moravian
spoke a short time to the people. In the af-
ternoon they coming together, and my heart
being filled with a heavenly care for their
good, I spoke to them awhile by interpreters ;
but none of them being perfect in the work,
and I feeling the current of love run strong,
told the interpreters that I believed some of
the people would understand me, and so I
proceeded. In which exercise, I believe the
Holy Ghost wrought on some hearts to edifi-
cation, where all the Words were not under-
stood. I looked upon it as a time of Divine
favour, and my heart was tendered and truly
thankful before the Lord; and after I sat
down, one of the interpreters seemed spirited
to give the Indians the substance of what I
had said.

Before our first meeting this morning, I was
led to meditate on the manifold difiiculties of
these Indians; who, by the permission of the
Six Nations, dwell in these parts ; and a near
sympathy with them was raised in me ; and
my heart being enlarged in the love of Christ,
I thought that the afifectionate care of a good
man for his only brother in affliction, did
not exceed what I then felt for that people.

I came to this place through moch trouble ;
and though through, the mercies -of God, I
believed that if I died in the journey, it would
be well with me ; yet the thoughts of fiiUing
into the hands of Indian warriors, were in
times of weakness afflicting to me; and being
of a tender constitution, the thoughts of cap-
tivity amongst them, were at times grievous ;
supposing that they being strong and hardy,
might demand service of me Iwyond what I
could well bear ; but the Lord alone was my
keeper ; and I believed if I went into captivity,



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LIFE OP JOHN WOOLMAN.



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it would be for flome good end ; and thus from
time to time, my mind was centered in resig-
nation, in which I always found quietness.
And now, this day, though I had the same
dangerous wilderness between me and home,
I was inwardly joyful that the Lord had
strengthened me to come on this visit, and
manifested a fatherly care over me in my

rior lowly condition, when in mine own eyes
appeared inferior to mnny amongst the In-
dians.

When the last mentioned meeting was ended,
it being night) Papunehang went to bed ; and
one of the interpreters sitting by me, I ob-
served Papunehang spoke with an harmoni-
ous voice, I suppose, a minute or two: and
asking the interpreter, was told that ^' he was
expressing his thankfulness to God for the
favours he had received that day; and prayed
that he would continue to favour him with
the same which he had experienced in that
meeting." That though Papunehang had be-
fore agreed to receive the Moravians, and join
with them, he still appeared kind and loving
tons.

On the 20th day I was at two meetings,
and silent in them.

The 31 St day. This rooming in meeting
my heart was enlarged in pure love amongst
them, and in short plain sentences expressed
several things that rested upon me, which one
of the interpreters save the people pretty rea-
dily; af\er which the meeting ended in sup-
plication, and I had cause humbly to acknow-
ledge the loving-kindness of the Lord toward
us ; and believed that a door remained open
for the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, to
labour amongst these people.

Feeling my mind at liberty to return, I took
my leave of them in general, at the conclu-
sion of what I said in meeting ; and so we
prepared to go homeward : but some of their
most active men told us, that when we were
ready to move, the people would choose to
come and shake hands with us ; which those
who usually came to meeting did ; and from
a secret draught in my mind, I went amongst
some who did not use to go to meeting, and
took my leave of them also : the Moravian
and his Indiafn interpreter, appeared respectful
to us at parting. This town stands on the
bank of Susquehanna, and consists, I believe,
of about forty houses, mostly compact to-
gether; some about thirty feet long, and
eighteen wide ; some larger, some less ; most-
ly built of split plank, one end set in the
ground, and the other pinned to a plate, on
which lay rafters covered with bark. I un-
derstand a great flood last winter overflowed
the chief part of the ground where the town



stands, and some were now about moving
their houses to higher ground.

We expected only two Indians to be our
company ; but when we were ready to go, we
found many of them were going to Bethlehem
with skins and furs, who chose to go in com-
pany with us; so they loaded two canoes,
which they desired us to go in, telling us, the
waters were so raised with the rains, that the
horses should be taken by persons who were
better acquainted with the fording places : so
we with several Indians went in the canoes,
and others went on horses, there being seven
besides ours. We met with the horsemen
once on the way by appointment, a little be-
low a stream called Tankhannah : we lodged
there, and some of the young men going out
a little before dusk with their guns, brought
in a deer.

On the 22nd day, through diligence we
reached Wyoming before night, and under-
stood the Indians were mostly gone from this
place: here we went up a small creek into
the woods with our canoes, and pitching our
tent, carried out our baggage; and before
dark our horses came to us.

On the 28d day in the morning, the horses
were loaded, and we prepared our baggage
and set forward, being in all fourteen ; and
with diligent travelling were favoured to get
nearly halfway to Fort Allen. The land on
this road from Wyoming to our frontier being
mostly poor, and good grass scarce, they chose
a piece of low ground to lodge on, as the best
for grassing; and I having sweat much in
travelling, and being weary, slept sound. I
perceived in the night that I had taken cold,
of which Lwas favoured to get better soon.

On the 24th day we passed Fort Allen, and
lodged near it in the woods.

We forded the westerly branch of the Dela-
ware three times, and thereby had a shorter
way, and missed going over the top of the
Blue mountains, called the Second Ridge. In
the second time fording, where the river cuts
through the mountain, the waters being rapid
and pretty deep, and my companion's mare
being a tall tractable animal, he sundry times
drove her through the river, and they loaded
her with the burthens of some' small horses,
which they thought not sufficient to come
through with their loads.

The troubles westward, and the difficulty
for Indians to pass through our frontier, I ap-
prehend was one reason why so many came ;
expecting that our being in company, would
prevent the frontier inhabitants from being
surprised.

On the 25th day we reached Bethlehem,
taking care on the way to keep foremost, and



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LIFE OF JOHN WOOLMAN-



to acquaint people on and near the road who
these Indians were : this we found very need-
ful; for the frontier inhabitants were oAen
alarmed at the report of English being killed
by Indians westward.

Amongst our company were some who I
did not remember to have seen at meeting,
and some of these at first were very reserved ;
but we being several days together, and be-
having friendly toward them, and making
them suitable returns for the services they
did us, they became more free and sociable.

On the 26th day and first of the week,
having carefully endeavoured to settle all
affairs with the Indians relative to our jour-
ney, we took leave of them, and I thought
they generally parted with us afiectionately.
We got to Richland, and had a very com-
fortable meeting amonsst our friends : here I
Mtrted with my kind friend and companion
Benjamin Parvin; and accompanied by my
friend Samuel Foulk, we rode to John Cad-
wallader's, from whence I reached home the
next day, where I found my family middling
well ; and they and my friends all along ap»
peared glad to see me return from a journey
which they apprehended dangerous. My mind
while I was out, had been so employed in
striving for a perfect resignation, and I had
so oflen been confirmed in a belief, that what-
ever the Lord might be pleased to allot for
me, would work for good, that I was careful
lest I should admit any degree of selfishness
in being glad overmuch, and laboured to im-
prove by those trials in such a manner as ray
gracious Father and protecter intends for me.
Between the English settlements and Weha-
loosing, we had only a narrow path, which in
many places is much grown up with bushes,
and interrupted by abundance of trees lying
across it ; these, together with the mountains,
swamps and rough stones, make it a difficult
road to travel ; and the more so, for that rat-
tlesnakes abound there, of which we killed
four. People who have never been in such
places, have but an imperfect idea of them ;
but I was not only taught patience, but also
made thankful to God, who thus led me about
and instructed me, that I might have a quick
and lively feeling of the afflictions of my fel-
low-creatures, whose situation in life is diffi-
cult.



CHAPTER IX.

His religious conversation with a company met
to see the tricks of a juggler—John Smithes
advice; proceedings of a committee at the
Yearly Meeting in l76i - ^Contemplations on
the nature of true wisdom, occasioned by hear- 1



ing of the cruelly of the Indians td their emp-
tives— Visits the families of Friends at Mount
Holly, Mansfiild and Burlington^ in 1764, and
the meetings on the sea coast from Cape May
toward Squan in 1765 — visit to the lower
counties on Delaware and the Eastern Shore
of Maryland in 1766, in company unth John
Sleeper ; some account of Joseph Nichols and
his followers; and observations on the different
state of the first settlers in Pennsylvania who
depended on their own labour, and those of the
Southern provinces who kept negroes^^vioU to
the northern parts qf New Jersey the same
year, and the western parts of Maryland and
Pennsylvania in 1767, and afterwards other
parts of Pennsylvania and the famiHes of
Friends at Mount Holly; and again several
parts of Maryland in V7^S— further conside-
rations on keeping slaves ; his concern for
having formerly, as an executor, been party to
the sale of one; and what he did in conse^
quence of it — thoughts on Friends exercising



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 81 of 104)