William Evans.

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

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of dangers, and then graciously from time to
time deliver from them ; sparing our lives,
that in humility and reverence, we may walk
before him, and put our trust in him.

About noon a pilot came off from Dover ;
where my beloved friend Samuel Emlen went
on shore, and thence to London, about seven-
ty-two miles by land ; but I felt easy in stay-
ing in the ship.

The 7th day of the month, and first of the
week. A clear morning; we lay at anchor
for the tide, and had a parting meeting with
the ship's company ; in which my heart was
enlarged in a fervent concern for them, that
they may come to experience salvation through
Christ. Had a head wind up the Thames;
sometimes lay at anchor, and saw many
ships passing, and some at anchor near ; and
had large opportunity of feeling the spirit in
which the poor bewildered sailors too gene-
rally live. That lamentable d^eneracy, which
so much prevails among the people employed
on the seas, so aflfected my heart, that I may
not easily convey to another the feeling I have

The present state of a sea-faring life in
general, appears so opposite to a pious educa-
tion ; so full of corruption, and extreme alie-
nation from God; so full of examples, the
most dangerous to young people, that in look-
ing toward a young generation, I feel a care
for them, that they may have an education
different from the present education of lads at
sea : and that all of us, who are acquainted
with the pure Gospel spirit, may lay this case
to heart, may remember the lamentable cor-

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ruptions which attend the conveyance of mer-
chandise across the seas, and so abide in the
love of Christ, that being delivered from the
love of money, from the entangling expences
of a curious, delicate and luxurious life, we
may learn contentment with a little ; and pro-
mote the sea-faring life no further, than that
spirit, which leads into all truth, attends us in
our proceedings.


Attends the Yearly Meeting in Londan-^^O'
ceeds towarde Yorkshire, visiting several
Quarterly and other meetings in the counties
of Hertford, Warwick, Oxford, Nottingham,
York, and Westmoreland; and thence again
into Yorkshire, and to the city of York — some
instructive thoughts and observations — letters
on divers subjects — hears of the decease of
William Hunt; some account of him — sick-
ness at York ; and death there.

Oif the 6tb day of the sixth month, 1772,
we landed at London; and I went straight-
way to the Yearly Meeting of ministers and
elders, which had been gathered, I suppose,
about half an hour.

In this meeting, my mind was humbly con-
trite : in the afternoon, the meeting of busi-
ness opened, which by adjournments held
nearly a week. In these meetings, I oflen
felt a living concern for the establishment of
Friends in the pure life of Truth ; and my
heart was enlarged in the meeting of minis-
ters, meeting of business, and in several meet-
ings for public worship ; and I felt my mind
united in true love to the faithful labourers
now gathered at this Yearly Meeting.

On the 15th day of the month I left Lon-
don, and went to a Quarterly Meeting at Hert-

The 1st day of the seventh month. I have
been at Quarterly Meetings at Sherrington,
Northampton, Banbury and Shipton, and had
sundry meetings between. My mind has been
bowed under a sense of Divine goodness mani-
fested amongst us ; my heart being often en-
larged in true love, both amongst ministers
and elders, and in public meetings; and
through the Lord's goodness, I believe it has
been a fresh visitation to many, in particular
to the youth.

The 17th day of the month. Was this
day at Birmingham : have been at meetings
at Coventry, Warwick in Oxfordshire, and
sundry other places ; I have felt the humbling
hand of the Lord upon me, and through his
tender mercies find peace in the labours 1 have
gone through.

The 26th day of the month. I have con-

tinued travelling northward visiting meetings:
was this day at Nottingham ; which, in the
forenoon especially, was through Divine love
a heart- tendering season : next day had a
meeting with Friends' children and some
Friends ; this, through the strengthening arm
of the Lord, was a time to be thankfully re-

The 2nd day of the eighth month, and first
of the week, was this day at Sheffield, a large
inland town : I have been at sundry meetings
last week, and feel inward thankfulness for
that Divine support, which hath been graci-
ously extended to me.

The 9th day of the month, and first of the
week, was at Rushworth : have lately passed
through some painful labour; but I have been
comforted, under a^ense of that Divine visita-
tion, which I feel extended toward many young

The 16th day of the month, and first of the
week, was at Settle: it has of late been a time
of inward poverty ; under which, my mind
has been preserved in a watchful tender state,
feeling for the mind of the holy Leader, and
find peace in the labours I have passed through.

On inquiry, in many places, I find the price
of rye about five shillings, and wheat about
eight shillings, per bushel; oatmeal twelve
shillings for an hundred and twenty pounds ;
mutton from three-pence to five-pence per
pound; bacon, from seven-pence to nine-
pence ; cheese, from four-pence to sixpence ;
butter, from eight-pence to ten-pence ; house-
rent, for a poor man, from twenty-five shil-
lings to forty shillings per year, to be paid
weekly; wood for fire, very scarce and dear;
coal, in some places, two shillings and six-
pence per hundred weight ; but near the pits,
not a quarter so much. O, may the wealthy
consider the poor I

The wages of labouring men in several
counties toward London, are ten-pence per day
in common business, the employer finds small-
beer, and the labourer finds his own food;
but in harvest and hay time, wages are about
one shilling per day, and the labourer has all
his diet. In some parts of the north of Eng-
land, poor labouring men have their food where
they work 4 and appear, in common, to do ra-
ther better than nearer London. Industrious
women, who spin in the factories, get some
four-pence, some five-pence, and so on to six,
seven, eight, nine or ten-pence per day, and
find their own house-room and diet. Great
numbers of poor people live chiefly on bread
and water in the southern parts of England,
and some in the northern parts; and there are
many poor children not taught even to read.
May those who have plenty, lay these things
to heart!

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Stage-coaches frequently go upwards of an
hundred miles in twenty-four hours; and I
have heard Friends say, in several places,
that it is common for horses to be killed with
hard driving, and many others are driven un-
til they grow blind.

Post-boys pursue their business, each one
to his stage, all night through the winter: some
boys who ride long stages, suffer greatly dur-
ing winter nights; and at several places I have
heard of their being frozen to death. So great
is the hurry in the spirit of this world, that
in aiming to do business quick and to gain
wealth, the creation at this day doth loudly
groan !

As my journey has been without a horse,
I have had several offers of being assisted on
my way in stage-coaches ;.^but have not been
in them ; nor have I had freedom to send let-
ters by these posts, in the present way of their
riding ; the stages being so fixed, and one boy
dependent on another as to time, that they
commonly go upward of one hundred miles
in twenty-four hours ; and in the cold long
winter nights, the poor boys suffer much.

I heard in America of the way of these
posts ; and cautioned Friends in the General
Meeting of ministers and elders at Philadel-
phia, and in the Yearly Meeting of ministers
and elders at London, not to send letters to
me on any common occasion by post. And
though on this account, I may be likely to
hear more seldom from my family lef\ behind,
yet for righteousness sake, I am through Di-
vine favour made content.

I have felt great distress of mind, since I
came on this island, on account of the mem-
bers of our Society being mixed with the
world, in various sorts of business and traf-
fic, carried on in impure channels. Great
is the trade to Africa for slaves ! and in load-
ing these ships, abundance of people are em-
ployed in the factories; amongst whom are
many of our Society. Friends in early times
refused on a religious principle, to make or
trade in superfluities, of which we have many
large testimonies on record : but for want of
faithfulness some gave way, even some whose
examples were of note in our Society ; and
from thence others took more liberty. Mem-
bers of our Society worked in superfluities,
and bought and sold them ; and thus dimness
of sight came over many. At length, Friends
got into the use of some superfluities in dress,
and in the furniture of their houses ; and this
has spread from less to more, until superfluity
of some kinds is common amongst us.

In this declining state, many look at the
example one of another, and too much ne-
glect the pure feeling of Truth. Of late years,

a deep exercise has attended my miod, that
Friends may dig deep, may carefully cast
forth the loose matter, and get down to the
Rock, the sure foundation, and there hearken
to that Divine voice which gives a clear and
certain sound. I have felt in that which doth
not deceive, that if Friends who have known
the Truth, keep in that tenderness of heart,
where all views of outward gain are given up,
and their trust is only on the Lord, he will
graciously lead some to be patterns of deep
self-denial in things relating to trade and
handicraft labour; and that some who have
plenty of the treasures of this world, will set
an example of a plain frugal life, and pay
wages to such whom they may hire, more
liberally than is now customary in some

The 33d day of the month; was this day at
Preston-Patrick, and had a comfortable meet-
ing. I have several times been entertained
at the houses of Friends, who had sundry
things about them which had the appearance
of outward greatness ; and as I have kept in-
ward, way has opened for conversation with
such in private, in which Divine goodness has
favoured us together with heart-tendering

The 26th day of the month. Being now
at George Crosfield's, in the county of West*
moreland, I feel a concern to commit to writ*
ing, that which to me hath been a case un-

In a time of sickness with the pleurisy, a
little upward of two years and a half ago,
I was brought so near the gates of death,
that I forgot my name : being then desirous
to know who I was, I saw a mass of matter
of a dull gloomy colour, between the south
and the east; and was informed, that this
mass was human beings in as great misery
as they could be, and live; and that I was
mixed in with them, and that henceforth I
might not consider myself as a distinct or
separate being. In this state I remained se-
veral hours. I then heard a soft melodioos
voice, more pure and harnKMiious than any
I had lieard before. I believed it was the
voice of an angel, who spake to the other an-
gels, and the words were these, John Wool-
man is dead. I soon remembered that I once
was John Woolman; and being assured
that I was alive in the body, I greatly won-
dered what that heavenly voice could mean.

I believed beyond doubting that it was tbe
voice of an holy angel ; but as yet it was a
mystery to me.

I was then carried in spirit to the mines,
where poor oppressed people were digging
rich treasures for those called Christians; and

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I heard them blaspheme the name of Christ,
at which I was grieved ; for his name to roe
was precious.

Then I was informed, that these heathen
were told, that those who oppressed them were
the followers of Christ; and they said amongst
themselves, If Christ directed them to use us
in this sort, then Christ is a cruel tyrant.

All this time the song of the angel remained
a mystery; aud in the morning, my dear wife
and some others coming to my bed-side, I ask-
ed them if they knew who I was ; and they
telling me I was John Woolman, thought I
was light-headed: for I told them not what
the angel said, nor was I disposed to talk
much to any one ; but was very desirous to
get so deep, that I might understand this mys-

My tongue was often so dry, that I could
not speak till I had moved it about and ga-
thered some moisture, and as I lay still for a
time, at length I felt Divine power prepare my
mouth that I could speak; and then I said, **I
am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live ;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life
I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of
the Son of God, who loved me, and gave him-
self for me.^

Then the mystery was opened ; and I per-
ceived there was joy in heaven over a sinner
who had repented; and that that language
(John Woolman is dead) meant no more than
the death of my own will.

Soon after this I coughed, and raised much
bloody matter ; which I had not done during
this vision : and now my natural understand-
ing returned as before. Here I saw, that
people getting silver vessels to set off their ta-
bles at entertainments, was often stained with
worldly glory ; and that in the present state
of things, I should take heed how I fed my-
self out of silver vessels.

Soon afler my recovery, going to our Month-
ly Meeting, I dined at a Friend's house where
drink was brought in silver vessels, and not
in any other;' and wanting some drink, I told
him my case with weeping ; and he ordered
some drink for me in another vessel.

The like I afterwards went through in seve-
ral Friends' houses in America, and have also
in England, since I came here: and have
cause, with humble reverence, to acknowledge
the loving-kindness of my heavenly Father,
who hath preserved me in such a tender frame
of mind, that none, I believe, have ever been
ofiended at what I have said on that occasion.

Afler this sickness, I spake not in public
meetings for worship for nearly one year; but
my mind was very often in company with the
oppressed slaves, as I sat in meetings: and
though under this dispensation, I was shut up

from speaking, yet the spring of the Gospel
ministry was many times livingly opened in
me; and the Divine gift operated by abun«
dance of weeping, in feeling the oppression of
this people. It being long since I passed
through this dispensation, and the matter re-
maining fresh and livingly in my mind, I be*
lieve it safest for me to commit it to writing.

The 30th day of the month. This morning
I wrote a letter, in substance as follows ;

" Beloved friend,

" My mind is often affected as I pass along,
under a sense of the state of many poor peo-
ple, who sit under that sort of ministry which
requires much outward labour to support it ;
and the loving-kindness of our heavenly Fa-
ther, in opening a pure Gospel ministry in
this nation, hath often raised thankfulness in
my heart to him. I often remember the con-
flicts of the faithful under persecution, and
now look at the free exercise of the pure gift,
uninterrupted by outward laws, as a trust
committed to us, which requires our deepest
gratitude, and- most careful attention. I feel
a tender concern, that the work of reforma-
tion, so prosperously carried on in this land
within a few ages past, may go forward and
spread amongst the nations ; and may not go
backward, through dust gathering on our gar-
ments, who have been called to a work so
great and so precious.

'* Last evening I had a little opportunity at
thy house with some of thy family in thy
absence, in which I rejoiced; and feeling a
sweetness on my mind toward thee, I now
endeavour to open a little of the feeling I had

'*I have heard that in these parts, you
had, at certain seasons meetings of confer-
ence, in relation to Friends living up to our
principles, in which several meetings unite in
one ; with which I feel unity. I have in some
measure, felt Truth lead that way amongst
Friends in America ; and have found, my dear
friend, that in these labours, all superfluities
in our own living are against us. I feel that
pure love toward thee, in which there is free-

" I look at that precious gift bestowed on
Ihee, with awfulness before Him who gave it;
and feel a care, that we may be so separated
to the Gospel of Christ, that those things which
proceed from the spirit of this world, may have
no place amongst us.

" Thy friend,

John Woolman."

I rested a few days, in body and mind,
with our friend Jane Crosfield, who was once

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in America : was on the sixth day of the week,
at Kendal in Westmoreland ; and at Grayrig
meeting the SOlh day of the month, and first
of the week.

I have known poverty of late, and been
graciously supported to keep in the patience ;
and am thankful, under a sense of the good-
ness of the Lord toward those that are of a
contrite spirit.

The 6lh day of the ninth month and first
of the week ; was tl)is day at Counterside, a
large meeting-house and very full : and through
the opening of pure love, it was a strengthen-
ing time to me, and I believe to many more.

The 13th day of the month. Was this
day at Richmond, a small meeting ; but the
town's people coming in, the house was
crowded : it was a time of heavy labour ; and
I believe was a profitable meeting.

At this place I heard that my kinsman
William Hunt from North Carolina, who
was on a religious visit to Friends in Eng-
land, departed this life on the 9th day of the
ninth month instant, of the small-pox, at
Newcastle. He appeared in the ministry
when a youth ; and his labours therein were
of good savour. He travelled much in that
work in America. I once heard him say in
public testimony, that his concern was^ in
that visit, to be devoted to the service of
Christ so fully, that he might not spend one
minute in pleasing himself; whicfi words,
joined with his example, were a means of stir-
ring up the pure mind in me.

Having of late travelled oQen in wet wea-
ther, through narrow streets in towns and vil-
lages, where there were dirtiness under foot,
and the scent arising from that filth, which
more or less infects the air of all thickly set-
tled towns; and being but weakly, I have felt
distress both in body and mind, with that
which is impure.

In these journies I have been where much
cloth has been dyed; and sundry times walked
over ground, where much of the dye stufils
has drained away. I have felt a longing in
my mind, that people might come into clean-
ness of spirit, cleanness of person, and clean-
ness about their houses and garments.

Some who are great, carry delicacy to a
great height themselves, and yet real cleanli-
ness is not generally promoted. Dyes being
invented partly to please the eye, and partly
to hide dirt, I have felt in this weak state, tra-
velling in dirtiness and affected with unwhole-
some scents, a strong desire that the practice
of dyeing cloth to hide dirt may be more fully

To hide dirt in our garments, appears op-
posite to real cleanliness.

To wash garments and keep them sweet,
appears cleanly.

Through giving way to hiding dirt in our
garments, a spirit which would cover that
which is disagreeable, is strengthened.

Real cleanness becometh a holy people:
but hiding that which is not clean by colour-
ing our garments, appears contrary to the
sweetness of sincerity.

Through some sorts of dyes, cloth is less
useful ; and if the value of dye-stufis, the ex-
pense of dyeing, and the damage done to
cloth were all added together, and that ex-
pense applied to keep all sweet and clean,
how much more cleanly would people be.

On this visit to England I have felt some
instructions sealed on my mind, which I am
concerned to leave in writing, for the use of
such who are called to the station of a minis-
ter of Christ.

Christ being the Prince of peace, and we
being no more than ministers, I find it neces-
sary for us, not only to feel a concern in our
first going forth, but to experience the renew-
ing thereof, in the appointment of meetings.

I felt a concern in America, to prepare for
this voyage ; and being through the mercy of
God brought safely here, my heart was like a
vessel that wanted vent, and for several weeks
at first, when my mouth was opened in meet-
ings, it oflen felt like the raising of a gate in
a water course, where a weight of water lay
upon it ; and in these labours there appeared
a fresh visitation to many, especially the
youth ; but sometimes aAer this, I ielt empty
and poor, and yet felt a necessity to appoint

In this state I was exercised to abide in the
pure life of Truth, and in all my labours to
watch diligently against the motions of self
in my own mind.

I have frequently felt a necessity to stand
up, when the spring of the ministry was low,
and to speak from the necessity, in that which
subjecteth the will of the creature; and herein
I was united with the sufTering seed, and found
inward sweetness in these mortifying labours.

As I have been preserved in a watchful at-
tention to the Divine Leader under these dis-
pensations, enlargement at times hath fol-
lowed, and the power of Truth hath risen
higher in some meetings, than I ever knew it
before through me.

Thus I have been more and more instruct-
ed as to the necessity of depending, not upon
a concern which I felt in America, to oome
on a visit to England ; but upon the fresh in-
structions of Christ the Prince of peace, from
day to day.

Now of late, I felt a stop in the appoint-

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meat of meetings, not wholly but in part ;
and I do not feel liberty to appoint them so
quickly one after another as I have heretofore.

The work of the ministry being a work of
Divine love, I feel that the openings thereof
are to be waited for in all our appointments.

Oh how deep is Divine wisdom 1 Christ
puts forth his ministers, and goeth before
them ; and oh how great is the danger of de-
parting from the pure feeling of that which
leadeth safely 1

Christ knoweth the state of the people, and
in the pure feeling of the Gospel ministry,
their states are opened to his servants.

Christ knoweth when the fruit-bearing
branches themselves have need of purging.

Oh that these lessons may be remembered
by me! and that all who appoint meetings,
may proceed in the pure feeling of duty.

I have sometimes felt a necessity to stand
up, but that spirit which is of the world hath
so much prevailed in many, and the pure life
of Truth has been so pressed down, that I
have gone forward, not as one travelling in a
road cast up and well prepared, but as a man
walking through a miry place, in which are
stones here and there, safe to step on ; but so
situated that one step being taken, time is ne-
cessary to see where to step next.

I find that in the pure obedience, the mind
learns contentment in appearing weak and
foolish to that wisdom which is of the world ;
and in these lowly labours, they who stand in
a low place, rightly exercised under the cross,
will find nourishment.

The gift is pure, and while the eye is sin-
gle in attending thereto, the understanding is
preserved clear ; self is kept out ; and we re-
joice in filling up that which remains of the
afflictions of Christ, for his body's sake, which
is the church.

The natural man loveth eloquence, and
many love to hear eloquent orations ; and if
there is not a careful attention to the gift,
men who have once laboured in the pure Gos-
pel ministry, growing weary of sufiering, and
ashamed of appearing weak, may kindle a
fire, compass themselves about with sparks
and walk in the light, not of Christ who is
under suftring, but of that fire, which they
going from the gift have kindled. And that
in hearers which is gone from the meek suf-
fering state into the worldly wisdom, may be
warmed with this fire, and speak highly of
these labours. That which is of God ga-
thers to God ; and that which is of the world
is owned by the world.

In this journey a labour hath attended my
mind, that the ministers amongst us may be
preserved in the meek, feeling life of Truth,

Voh. JV.— No. 10.

where we may have no desire, but to follow
Christ and be with him ; that when he is un-

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 85 of 104)