William Hodgson.

The life and travels of John Pemberton, a minister of the Gospel of Christ online

. (page 5 of 25)
Online LibraryWilliam HodgsonThe life and travels of John Pemberton, a minister of the Gospel of Christ → online text (page 5 of 25)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


weakness and dastardly disposition ; giving way so much



LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON. 45

to whicb, has caused many days and nights of anguish
and distress."

He was now restored in peace to his family, and a new
scene opened before him. He had been careful, on
undertaking so important a journey, to take with him a
certificate from his friends at home ; and having, since
his departure, notwithstanding his sense of many frail-
ties and short-comings, experienced his feet to be shod
with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and his
tongue enabled to declare of the mercy of God in Christ
Jesus our Lord, he presented to his brethren, at their
Monthly Meeting, held in the Fifth Month following,
testimonials of the unity of Friends in Great Britain
and Ireland, with his services.

For some years after his return home from Europe,
John Pemberton resided ^Yith. his mother, and was dili-
gently occupied in mercantile business. It appears,
however, that he was careful to avoid entanglement in
the affairs of trade, or drinking in the spirit of the
world, which would have disabled him from faithfully
pursuing that path of religious service to which he
believed himself called. He was also mindful to cherish
a deep interest in the welfare of his fellow-men of all
classes, and a peculiar sympathy for those two oppressed
races, the natives, or descendants of Africa, and the
aboriginal inhabitants of his own country.

About this time, he was instrumental, with his two
brothers and several other Friends, in the formation of
an association for the benefit of the Indians, and the
preservation of amicable relations between them and
the white inhabitants of Pennsylvania. This " Friendly
Association," as it was termed, took great pains to induce



46 LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON.

the governors of the province to adopt such measures as
would be likely to soothe the irritated feelings of these
oppressed sons of the forest ; and was useful also in per-
suading the Indians themselves to accede to the reason-
able propositions made to them. John Pemberton, on
several occasions, had some of the chiefs as guests in his
hospitable abode ; and the three brothers appear to have
possessed great influence with this people.

About the year 1757, he was united with Daniel
Stanton and Benjamin Hooton, in promoting a treaty of
peace and amity amongst the frontier Indians, at Easton,
in Pennsylvania. Some of the Indians in the neighbour-
hood of Fort Allen, having discovered a backwardness
about attending this treaty, it was deemed necessary for
the above mentioned Friends to visit them, in order to
endeavour to persuade them to join the rest in council
at Easton. They accordingly conveyed to them an invi-
tation from those Indians who had already assembled,
and also from the government of Pennsylvania. Daniel
Stanton thus speaks of it in his journal :

" It was thought some of them had been very mis-
chievous in the murders and bloodshed, and taking of
captives on the frontiers of our province. And a great
concern having fallen on the minds of a number of
worthy Friends, principally in Philadelphia, who freely
contributed their money and time, for promoting the
restoration of peace with the natives ; I have appre-
hended, and believe, they were instrumental in the
Lord's hand, to appease the revengeful nature of so
barbarous and cruel an enemy ; the hearts of the Indians
retaining a great love for the memory of our first worthy
proprietary, William Penn. Remarkable it was, that



LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON. 47

through the protection of the Almighty, which was as a
mighty rock in a weary land, few called by our name
were ill-used during all this calamity.

" Three Indian men accompanied us as far as Fort
Allen, Moses Tatamy and two others. We travelled
much in the night, and through a great rain, stormy
and cold weather, to reach that place ; to which we
came the next morning. The captain received us very
civilly, and I thought did what he could to be of ser-
vice to us, and behaved very kindly and friendly to the
Indians, which they seemed to take well. At first sight,
the Indians appeared dreadful to behold, as to anger
and revenge in their countenances, with their painted
warlike looks and weapons, and were very shy. Yet,
after some friendly conversation, and their receiving a
few small presents, which we carried with us for some of
their chiefs, they appeared in quite a different dispo-
sition before we parted. But they could not be prevailed
with to come to the treaty, because of the word and
engagement they had made among themselves, to depute
Tedyuscung, their chief man, to transact the business
with the government on their behalf. In confirmation
of their continuing in this mind, they sent a string of
wampum by Moses Tatamy. After a further time of
free conversation, they appeared still more pleased, and
as I thought, out of love to us, sent two of their young
men to accompany us back ; we parted with them in
love. Our endeavours appeared to be well taken by
them, and I hope were of service ; although none of
them, but the two young men, came with us to Easton.
We ventured our lives and went through hardships to
perform this errand ; but through the mercy and kind-



48 LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON.

ness of the Lord, we were preserved ; for which my soul
had cause to be thankful to his great and good name."

About this time also, John Pemberton united with
his friend Daniel Stanton, in a religious visit to the
families of Friends, and those making profession with
us in Philadelphia, the Northern Liberties, and the
vicinity of the city across the Schuylkill, This service,
in the course of which they visited more than five
hundred families, engaged them at various times, as
they found freedom to proceed, for upwards of two years.
It was kindly received, and believed to be, through the
goodness of the Almighty accompanying them, a time
" of tender visitation to many souls." During a part of
this period, in the spring of the year 1759, he accom-
panied William Reckitt, a minister from England, to
some meetings in Pennsylvania and New Jersey ; and
about three years after this, on the 17th of Fifth
Month, 17G2, he left home on a journey to Rhode
Island and some other parts of New England, visiting
the island of Nantucket, in company with Robert
Proud, H. Harris, and E. Wilkinson. He was out on
this occasion, upwards of two months ; and on his
return made the following memorandum : —

" I have occasion to be thankful for the fresh extend-
ings of Divine notice in this journey, and particularly
so in the latter part of it ; though many deep baptisms
attended."

For several years he remained principally at home,
being diligently occupied, not only in his temporal
business, but also in aiding the cause of the oppressed,
and promoting, by works of benevolence and Christian
love, the welfare of his fellow-creatures, without dis-



LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON. 49

tinction of tongue or colour. He also occasionally visited
neighbouring meetings in the country, as impressions of
duty, or gospel freedom and love to the brethren prompted.

On the 24th of the Second Month, 176o, he was
deprived of his mother by death, about the seventy-
fourth year of her age. She was the daughter of Charles
Read, one of the early settlers of Pennsylvania under
the grant to William Penn ; and is described by the
Monthly Meeting of Philadelphia, in their memorial
respecting her, as a " mother in Israel, having a pious
concern for the prosperity of the cause of Truth. She
usefully filled the station of an overseer and elder, being
carefully concerned to rule her own family well, and
that her offspring might have a portion of that treasure
which faileth not. She was a true sympathiser with
those under affliction of body or mind, demonstrating
her sensibility herein by her frequent visits to such,
which were weighty and comforting, her conversation
being solid and instructive. Few," they add, "have
been more zealously concerned and diligent in the
attendance of religious meetings, seldom allowing the
inclemency of weather to prevent her ; and continuing
the like concern when very feeble."

On the 8th day of the Fifth Month, 1766, he was mar-
ried to Hannah, the daughter of Isaac and Sarah Zane.

About this time a company of stage-players came to
Philadelphia, with a view to erect a theatre for the
exhibition of their pernicious and sinful diversions.
Friends were aifected with much concern on this account,
and feeling it incumbent upon them to bear their tes-
timony against it, and do what lay in their power, to
prevent the establishment in the city of a thing fraught

P



50 LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON,

with so much evil, they sent a remonstrance to the
governor, John Penn, who was then at Shrewsbury, in
'New Jersey ; requesting him to interpose his authority
to prevent the same. John Pemberton, Mordecai Yar-
nall, Joshua Emlen, and Daniel Stanton, were appointed
to present the petition. They found, hoAvever, to their
disappointment, that the governor had already given a
promise to the players, of permission to proceed. Friends
continued sorrowfully affected with this dangerous inno-
vation upon the morals of their city, and deeply con-
cerned for the preservation of the youth from the snare
thus laid for them ; and this concern resulted in the
spreading of a printed paper among their members, of
which the following is a copy :

" Advice and caution from the Monthly Meeting of Friends
in Philadelphia, the 23rd day of the Ninth Month,

1768.

" To our friends and brethren in religious profession
with us :

"Dear Friends,
" A deep exercise and fervent concern being impressed
on our minds for the preservation and w^elfare of the
members of our religious Society, and especially of the
youth under our care, we affectionately exhort and
advise all who make profession of being led and guided
by the dictates of the divine principle of light and
truth, to commemorate with reverence and thankfulness,
the manifold mercies and blessings which, by the bounty
of the Lord our God, are continued to us ; and by in-
tegrity, sobriety, and circumspection of life and conver-



LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON. 51

sation, to manifest that we are sincerely desirous of
walking answerable to so great favours.

" We are engaged the more immediately to excite
these considerations at this time, from an apprehension
that the minds of the unwatchful will be in danger of
being captivated by tTie ensnaring diversions of the
horse-races and stage-plays, which are intended to be
again exhibited in and near this city. We earnestly
entreat and beseech, you would seriously consider the
danger and destructive tendency of countenancing or
encouraging these profane amusements, by attending, or
being spectators of them, as they evidently tend to in-
troduce idleness, licentiousness and intemperance, and
are directly opposite to the precepts and example of our
Lord Jesus Christ, and to the testimony and practice of
his disciples and followers in every age.

" We, therefore, fervently desire that all Friends, to
whom the important care of youth is entrusted, would,
by admonition and persuasion, endeavour to convince
them of the hurtful consequences of being deluded by
these ensnaring temptations ; and where this labour
fails of success, that they would discharge their duty
faithfully, by proper restraints.

" And dearly beloved youth, —

^' Considering how many are drawn aside into vanity
and folly, from the holy visitation of Divine love, which
you have at times been sensibly affected with, we entreat
and beseech you to avoid these temptations ; suffer the
sincere and ardent desires of your elder brethren for your
present and eternal welfare, to have place in your minds.

" Let a due consideration of the uncertainty of the

d2



52 LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON.

time allotted you, excite you to devote it to the honour
of God. Attend to the restraints of Divine grace, and
thus you will be preserved from the evils of the world,
become serviceable in your several stations, and obtain
true peace here, and a well-grounded hope of everlasting
happiness hereafter.

" Signed in and on behalf of our said meeting, by

" John Pemberton, Clerk at this time."

On the 30th of Fifth Month, 1769, he left home with
the unity of his friends, on a religious visit to Rhode
Island and Nantucket ; during the course of which, he
attended a great number of meetings at various places,
and had religious opportunities in many families. The
following memoranda are taken from a diary which he
kept of this journey, and may serve to elucidate in some
degree, the exercise which attended him on that occasion.

" Sixth Month 2nd ; Proceeded to Bethpage, and met
with our friend Rachel Wilson and her companion.
After taking some refreshment we went to the meeting,
which was large, there being a marriage ; then pro-
ceeded to Sequetague in company with many Friends,
where we had a large and good meeting, and many de-
parted with thankfulness.

" 4th j Had a favoured meeting in the court-house
at Setawket, divers being reached by the testimony of
truth ; and then proceeded with intent to have a meet-
ing about three miles further, where was a meeting-
place of a people who had separated from the Presby-
terians, and who, we expected, might be more free from
bigotry. But we found the elders were very shy, and
not free to permit a meeting there, though their minister



LIFE OP JOHN PEMBERTON. 53

was absent. Many however gathered, and finding our
minds engaged, we held a meeting at some distance from
the house, under the trees. A number of young people
stayed, and some of their elders ; and the testimony of
truth was in a solid and free manner declared, which
had place with many. About two miles further, we
came to a meeting-house of the Presbyterians, and after
halting a short space on horseback, went a little forward ;
but not finding entire liberty, we alighted and went
back to the meeting-house, and continued without until
their service was over j when we stepped in, and our
friend Rachel Wilson, craved liberty to speak a few
words. The minister consented, and continued in his
pulpit ; but after she had gone on for some time, and
was declaring her call to the ministry in a clear manner,
he interrupted her, and said to this efi'ect ; ' that if she
asserted her being called to the ministry, as it was not
agreeable to the word of God, he should oppose her.'
She paused awhile, and I requested he would have
patience. She asked him whether he would oppose the
truth, and repeated the same words. He said, if he
heard anything contrary to ' the word,' it was his duty
to oppose it. She said, if she declared anything contrary
to the Scriptures, she was willing to hear rebuke ; adding,
that she did not desire to offend ; it was love to God and
to their souls, that she had at heart, and so went on ; and
the minister came out of his pulpit and went ofi". A sober
young man spoke softly to him, as he afterwards told us,
and desired that she might go on, for he had a mind to
hear her. The people stayed and heard with serious atten-
tion, many of them being afiected, and she had a good oppor-
tunity, the truth being declared with power and authority.



54: LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON.

" 6th ; At New London application was made to the
sheriif, who readily granted the court-house, and assisted
in placing seats. Many people gathered, and it was
early perceived that it would not accommodate them all.
One Colonel Saltonstall, stood up and proposed our going
to the meeting-house just by, for the better accommo-
dation of the people. They moved to it in an orderly
manner, and the testimony of truth was freely declared
by our friend Rachel Wilson. Some ranting people,
called by some, No-day Baptists, by others, Quakers,
were at the meeting ; and one woman, near the close,
said that if we were the children of God, there were
some of the children of God in prison, and one very sick,
and she would have us go and visit them. As these poor
deluded people were called by many, Quakers, I was
concerned to declare our disunity with them and
their practices, expressing that we were known to be an
orderly people, and did not countenance, nor had we
unity with such conduct as these people manifested.
After the meeting we had conversation with the young
man who officiated as parson, a sober courteous man, who
had appeared sensibly affected with the truth ; and we
condemned their manner of treating these deluded people,
who are severely persecuted. After dinner we went to
the prison. Parson Graves, of Providence, the young
Presbyterian, and divers others attended ; so that the
prison was crowded. Our friend Rachel Wilson, was
enabled to speak suitably to these poor creatures, some
of whom were calm, but others looked very wild. They
all appeared, with respect to their persons, cleanly, well-
looking people, but very positive in their sentiments.
The women seemed the most fiery : they used the plain



LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON. 55

language, and were full of Scripture, but argument has
little weight with them. The evil of persecution was
exposed, and endeavours used to calm them ; which I
desire may be blessed with success. We afterwards spent
a little time with Parson Grraves,who appeared a thought-
ful, sensible man, and condemned the conduct of the
Presbyterians to these ranters.

"Sixth Month 13th; This morning we visited the
prisoners at Newport ; a stinking jail, where it is a
shame that human beings should be kept. The sheriiF,
the governor's son and others, besides some Friends, were
present ; the meeting was favoured and the prisoners
thankful for the visit.

" 19th ; Went to Aponygansett, where the meeting
was exceedingly crowded, and though not so lively as
some others, yet Truth in some measure favoured, and
the gospel was preached.

" 20th ; Embarked on board the Dartmouth packet
with a number of Friends for Nantucket. We stopped
at Elizabeth Island, and some of us went ashore and
waited for a proper time of tide to pass through Wood's-
hole, a dangerous passage. We set sail again about four
o'clock, got safely through, and arrived about sunset at
Holme' s-hole, a good harbour in Martha's vineyard. We
went ashore, and collecting some of the inhabitants, had
a meeting at our friend Daniel Coffin's, being the only
family of Friends on that island. In the morning, we
went on board again, and landed at Nantucket about
eleven o'clock.

" 22nd ; I met twice with a committee of Friends,
appointed by the Yearly Meeting at Khode Island, re-
specting a division that has long unhappily subsisted
among Friends on this island.



56 LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON,

'^23rd j This morning began the Yearly Meeting on
Nantucket, and in the afternoon I again met the above
committee and some of the parties in the difference here ;
and the Lord favoured us, so that there was a willingness
wrought in all present, except one, who desired to think
more upon it, to leave the matter to arbitration ; and a
paper was drawn up accordingly. This step affected my
mind with thankfulness. Next day, in the afternoon, I
again met some of the parties, and a few more signed the
paper ; but some principally concerned not being there^
it was resulted to visit them privately.

" 27th 3 After the conclusion of the meeting for busi
ness yesterday, I acquainted our friend Rachel Wilson
with the contention which had subsisted, of which she
was unacquainted, except that there was some uneasiness.
I told her I apprehended we should need some of her
assistance ; which she was free to give ; and early this
morning we set out, and being joined by the committee,
we first visited j a divine covering and sweet-
ness almost immediately attended, and after some time

spent, he signed the paper, and we went to 's,

the former Friend accompanying us. We spent some
time in solemn silence, and suitable advice being com-
municated, we proceeded to the business ; and though at
first there was an unwillingness, yet truth prevailed, and
this family came into the agreement. After which we
collected again into silence, and the opportunity was
seasoned with divine virtue, our friend Rachel Wilson,
being concerned in fervent prayer. We then concluded
to give notice to the parties, to meet this evening to
conclude on referees ; when they met, and after a pause
proceeded to a nomination. W^e then gathered into
silence, and our friend, Rachel Wilson, was concerned



LIFE OF JOHN PEMBERTON. OV

in prayer, and the meeting concluded in peace and
thankfulness.

" 29th ; This morning we took a farewell of many
tender Friends, who seemed afresh visited. Some that
are young, and divers advanced in life are alive in the
Truth, and many of the middle aged steady and hopeful ;
and my mind was thankful that amidst such distraction,
a remnant should be preserved. We embarked about
seven o'clock, and landed at Wood's-hole about five
o'clock in the evening.

" Seventh Month 2nd ; Although very poorly, I set
out for Yarmouth. The people who attended this
meeting seemed generally very poor, and many came
who were bare-legged and bare-footed ; truth prevailed,
and it was an instructive edifying meeting.

" 8th ; Crossed Merrimack river to Amesbury, had a
meeting there, and then proceeded to Hampton. On
Second day ^vas the Quarterly Meeting for business, and
after that a meeting for worship, which was large and
laborious, by reason of a greater dependence on words
than labour to feel for the life j too many under the
profession of the truth being faulty herein.

" 14th ; Embarked on board a boat in company with
divers Friends, and had a passage of about four hours to
Mariconeague, or Hartshill, having passed many small
islands. The meeting that evening was but a dull time ;
afterwards those that profess with Friends were selected,
and some advice communicated. They are in a poor
situation, and the meeting I apprehend not properly
supported, though some appeared hopeful.

" loth ; Took boat again for Perumscot, which we
reached in about six hours and a half, and next day



58 LIFE OF JOHN PEMBEETON.

were at two large meetings in their new meeting-house.
My mind has been much stripped, and great poverty of
spirit experienced ; yet my mouth was opened in each
meeting.

" On Fifth day morning, we mounted our horses and
went to Lynn ; and here my mind continuing very
heavy respecting Mariconeague, I halted and remained
at Zaccheus Collins', and the women Friends proceeded
for Boston. After resting awhile, I wrote an epistle to
Friends at Mariconeague ; in the afternoon I took horse
towards Cambridge, intending to overtake the women
Friends ; but not finding true quiet, I returned ; and on
Seventh day morning I set out again eastward, deter-
mining that if it was the requiring of Truth that I
should go back, I would strive to perform it.

"On Third day, Samuel Collins brought his chaise,
intending to accompany me. Very dull was I for want
of divine enjoyment, yet fearful of turning back. We
proceeded to Berwick, and on Fourth day arrived at
Perumscot. On Fifth day, I had conversation with some
Friends respecting the situation of Friends at Marico-
neague, and I found them of the same sentiment with
myself respecting the danger of their declining. The
next day I set out with Friends in a boat, and after a
passage of about five hours landed on the neck, and
visited four families that evening.

" Seventh day, I rose early, visited three families and
attended their Monthly Meeting. Things here are
indeed very low, and unless the Lord interpose, the
beloved youth are likely to be scattered and lost to the
Society. 1 endeavoured with all the ability aiForded to
discharge myself, and if possible to stir up to faithful-



LIFE 0? JOHN PEMBERTON. 50

ness. After this, we again embarked, and returned to
the harbour we had left.

" On First day, I attended two meetings at Perumscot,
which were dull hard meetings, yet I was faithful to
perform what 1 apprehended my duty, and had after-
wards an opportunity of making some serious remarks
to divers Friends. On the 6th of Eighth Month, I got
to Newport, and after a few days' stay, embarked for
New York, and so home."

On the 6th of the Tenth Month, 1774, he again left
home on a visit to some parts of New England, in com-
pany with our friend Mary Leaver.

They visited the meetings generally of Rhode Island,
Nantucket, and some parts of Massachusetts, and were
accompanied on a portion of the journey by Moses



Online LibraryWilliam HodgsonThe life and travels of John Pemberton, a minister of the Gospel of Christ → online text (page 5 of 25)