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

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to a very weak state, but favoured with his understand-
ing, and very calm and patient.

" First day, Third Month 1st ; After our afternoon
meeting broke up, our banished friends being more select,
we again dropped into silence, and I had to press my
beloved brethren to continue watchful and steady, and
not to look too much outward, nor be attracted too
much homeward, so as to bring them into danger of
joining with things that might not prove peaceful to
their minds, or to the honour of the cause and testimony
of truth, for which we suffered. Our friend Thomas
Gilpin continued calm, resigned and sensible, and quietly
departed between twelve and one o'clock. In his sickness,
he was disposed to be retired and quiet, and several times
towards his close, requested to be kept very still ; and I
doubt not he was inwardly exercised in a preparation

" This day is six months since I was first arbitrarily
deprived of my liberty; but I have been hitherto upheld


by an invincible Divine power. Oh 1 may I thereby be
kept still, under all trials, so that the Lord's name may
be magnified.

" Fourth day, John Hunt seemed better, though he
had but little sleep last night. He expressed to my
brother Israel and me, that he had thought much of some
expressions of John Woolman's, in a time of great exer-
cise and affliction, respecting true prayer ; that it was
deep, and the place thereof was a precious habitation ;
that it was not to be truly come at in the commotions of
the mind, but in pure stillness ; adding, that at times
he had been troubled with strange imaginations and
unsettlement, but that he had laboured after a state of
resignation, and he thought he could at times say, ' not
my will, Lord ! but thine be done.'

" 22nd ; Our friend John Hunt, had his leg amputated,
which he bore with Christian fortitude and patience. I
spent some hours with him, and found him calm and easy.

" 27th ; I visited two persons, both on beds of languish-
ing ; one with a pleuritic disorder, and the other with the
same fever that has attacked several of our captive

" Fourth Month 1st ; My worthy friend John Hunt,
departed about ten o'clock last evening. On Fifth day,
a large number of Friends attended the funeral, and
some not professing with us, who appeared much affected ;
his religious labours having had a place in the minds of
many. During his illness, he was preserved in great
patience and resignation, and favoured with his under-
standing, except that during two or three days before
his departure, he appeared somewhat at a loss at inter-
vals ; but sensible at the close. He was a wise and expe-


rienced minister and elder, who will be greatly missed
in the church.

" 14th j A messenger arrived from Lancaster, to inform
us that the congress had ordered the board of war to
deliver us up to Pennsylvania, and that two men were on
their way hither, to conduct us to Lancaster. And on
the 18th, our escort having arrived, we engaged in pre-
paring for our journey homewards.

" On the 19th, after spending a short time in solemn
retirement, we set out ; and on Fifth day crossed the
Potomac at Rowland's ferry. The wind being very
high, and two poles breaking, our passage was somewhat
difficult and dangerous ; but through the Lord's good
providence, we got safely over and reached our friend
Richard Richardson's, near Frederick-town, about twelve
o'clock. The next day we arrived at York- town much
wearied, but were cordially received and entertained^

" Seventh day, Henry Drinker and myself visited a
young man confined in gaol for his religious testimony
against war, who appeared in a tender disposition. We
found that our persecutors had not yet quite relaxed
in their enmity. James Pemberton and Henry Drinker
waited on the president of the council, informed him
of our being here, and desired that we might be restored
to our families ; he replied that the council would meet
and consider our case.

" Second day ; council met, and after spending some
hours, came to the following result, which was delivered
to us :

' In Council, Lancaster A'pril 27 th, 1778.

' The case of the prisoners brought from Virginia,
and now in this borough, being considered, — thereupon



ordered — that they be immediately sent to Pottsgrove,
in the county of Philadelphia, and there discharged
from confinement ; and that they be furnished with a
copy of this order, which shall be deemed a discharge.
' Extract from the minutes,
Signed ' T. Matlack, Secretary.'

" This was far short of what we demanded ; Avhich
was, to be reinstated in our families in the manner in
which we had been wrested from them ; but Timothy
Matlack gave us to understand that the council would
not do more, and said they were determined to do no act
that should frustrate the operation of a law the assembly
had made, to confiscate the estates of those who went
into the city.

" 30th ; We reached the city without molestation, to
the joy of our friends, and I hope with thankfulness to
the great Preserver of men. May I ever remember the
gracious dealings of the Lord with me during my exile.
He was indeed my preserver through various conflicts
and trials, the lifter up of my head, and my merciful
sustainer, in affording me peace and the softening virtue
of his Divine presence, which settled my mind in
resignation to his holy will. I found my dear wife as
well as I could expect; blessed be the great name, saith
my spirit.

" First day. Fifth Month 24th ; It became my concern
this morning at our meeting in High-street, to advise
Friends to give attention to the voice of Divine Wisdom
communicated to the mind, as a more sure intelligence
than outward counsel ; that our reliance being on the
Lord alone, his interposing mercy might yet be towards


US. It was a favoured meetings and Samuel Emlen
being there, corroborated what I said.

" Sixth Month 17th ; The British army remaining in
the city, were ordered to be ready by six o'clock in the
evening, and lay along the redoubts, &c,, all night.
Early in the morning of the 18th, they marched to
Gloucester point, and went over to New Jersey. Some
of the American light-horse then entered the city, and
large numbers of soldiery and of the former inhabitants,
came in by the 20th. The English went away without
suffering the inhabitants to be pillaged, or any further
destruction of property to be made, and the Americans
came in quietly.

" 28th j Near Monmouth court-house, was a battle
between the contending armies, and it being very hot
weather, many fell through the excessive heat, as well as
by sword and gun.

" Seventh Month 18th ; I visited Christopher Sower,
who had been taken prisoner by the Americans, stripped
naked, and painted in different colours ; confined at the
camp for some time, and at length released with a few
rags given him. The man that painted him and had
part of his clothes, was a few days afterwards seized with
a violent pain, and died in great misery, desiring that
those clothes which he had taken from Christopher
might be taken from his body ; which being done, he

" Eleventh Month 2nd ; I visited two persons in
prison, and found them in a thoughtful disposition, and

" Fourth day ; Friends in the city were sorrowfully
affected with the melancholy scene enacted, in putting



to deatli the two persons above mentioned. They ap-
peared resigned, and died without a struggle. Their
countenances when deceased, looked like those of persons
in an easy sweet sleep. The burials were very large, and
their execution alarmed and affected the inhabitants, as
neither of them had committed anything worthy of such
treatment. But their friends were comforted with a
belief that they were gone well, and they were strength-
ened to forgive their persecutors.

" Third Month 22nd, 1779 ; An English transport
vessel, mth soldiers from Halifax for New York, ran
ashore and bilged, off Egg-harbour, The people on shore
observed their distress, and got ready with boats, to go
off to their assistance ; but a privateer, lying near the
vessel in distress, would not suffer it. At length, how-
ever, one man, captain Job Carr, whose heart yearned
with compassion for them, said that let the conse-
quences be what they might, he would go to their relief.
Accordingly, with a son of Joseph Maps', he went in
his boat, and saved about forty-two ; but about one
hundred and forty perished, who might generally, if not
all, have been saved. The people on shore saw the poor
creatures falling from the shrouds, as death, through the
severity of the cold, seized them. A woman was after-
wards found with a child tied to her, both drowned.
Oh ! cruel and sad effects of the spirit of enmity, hard
heartedness and war ! May the Lord, in his infinite
mercy, soften and take away the stony heart, and pro-
mote a more Christian spirit than is now generally

" Fourth Month 11th; At our meeting in High-street,
were divers libertines, and such as had been disowned


hj Friends, and some not professing with us. Our
beloved friend Samuel Emlen, jun., was zealously con-
cerned in public testimony, beginning with the words of
Jeremiah : ' Mine eye affecteth mine heart, because of all
the daughters of my city / and after some expressions
to the dissipated daughters, he called upon the women,
in the words of the same prophet : ' Yet hear the word
of the Lord, ! ye women, and let your ear receive
the word of his mouth ; and teach your daughters
wailing, and every one her neighbour lamentation /
repeating these words several times, and proclaiming a
day of wailing and bitter lamentation, that he that rideth
on the pale horse, whose name is death, would invade
the habitations of some, and that calamity and distress
would attend many parts of this once peaceful land ;
even this once peaceful and joyous city, the place of his
birth, if humiliation and turning to the Lord did not
take place. He was favoured with energy and power,
and was very close against the workers of iniquity, but
comfortable to the true seekers after God.

" On the 22nd of this month, my dearly beloved bro-
ther, Israel Pemberton, departed this life, aged nearly
sixty-four years. He had been much broken in his con-
stitution, for about three years. In his banishment to
Virginia, with others of us, in 1777, in which he remained
a prisoner nearly eight months, separated from an aged
and endeared wife, beloved children and grandchildren,
and hurried in a violent manner from home, among
spirits exasperated by misrepresentations, he was endued
with constancy, and a good share of fortitude and
patience. The separation, however, nearly affected him,
being a man of tender feeling and sympathy. On his


return he found his wife in a poor state of health, and
from the time of her departure he visibly declined ; and
spent his time among his friends, as one sensible that his
own departure drew near. He appeared in a very tender
frame of mind, and in the fore part of his illness, ex-
pressed that he was much favoured in spirit. For some
hours before his departure, he seemed to be free from
pain, and quietly departed without sigh or struggle.
At this awful season, a great solemnity and sweet calm
attended : and I doubt not he is gone to join the spirits
of the just made perfect, where the wicked cease from
troubling, and the weary are at rest. He was a man
of good natural endowments, of a large understanding,
which was sanctified and rendered useful, both with
respect to temporal matters and those of greater moment.
He was very weighty on all occasions that affected the
reputation and testimony of truth ; a true friend to the
poor and needy in their distress, a great advocate of the
negroes, and a promoter of various public institutions,
particularly of the Pennsylvania hospital, of which he
was a manager from the beginning. All ranks of people
appeared affected with his death, and a very great con-
course attended the funeral.

" On the 8th of Fifth Month, I left home with the
unity of my friends, weak in body, yet under a solid
covering of truth, accompanied by my father-in-law,
Isaac Zane, and taking meetings in the way, reached the
Quarterly Meeting at Salem, which was very large, and
attended by some well-concerned Friends ; though a
more general godly zeal and true religious concern are
much wanting. Notwithstanding we have experienced
the rod, and much affliction has attended our land, yet


greater purity and refinement, and more redemption
from the spirit of the Avorld, are still needed. We M^ent
from thence to Glreenwich, Cape May and Egg-harbour,
and reached home on the 31st. In this journey, I was
sustained through abundant mercy, and favoured with
a steady mind. We had to observe the pernicious effects
of war and strife, by which many are involved in great
calamity. On the coast of Cape May and Egg-harbour,
several vessels have lately been cast ashore, and become
a prey to the people, many of w^hom, by the booty of
spirituous liquors, corrupt themselves, and are led fur-
ther distant from God and the teachings of his Spirit ;
which, if regarded, would lead to compassion, meekness,
and purity, and would destroy the spirit in man which
delights in another's overthrow. Friends appeared to
keep clear of being defiled with the spoils of war, either
by purchasing the goods or otherwise.

" Eleventh Month 4th ; at our Meeting for Sufferings,
after weighty consideration, a memorial was agreed upon
to the assembly of Pennsylvania, to express our sense of
the grievous laws they have passed, oppressive to tender
consciences ; particularly respecting our schoolmasters in
this city being discouraged from continuing their schools,
in consequence of a further supplement to the test law.
Friends were received favourably, and such a weight
and solemnity attended, that an awe prevailed over the
members during the reading of the memorial, and on
the observations made by some of the Friends.

" Twelfth Month 7th ; At Wilmington, I heard of
the death of a colonel in the American army, who had
been a schoolmaster in that town, and very active in
distressing Friends. On the 27th ultimo, being at the


liouse of a Friend, he used, as it is said, some endeavours
to ensnare liim ; and at length queried of the Friend,
what he thought of General Washington ? He replied
that he had heard he was a good soldier. This raised
the colonel, who compared him to Christ Jesus our
Lord ; and mounting soon after, rode a little distance ;
but his horse threw him and broke his skull, and pre-
sently he died. He had, but a few days before, taken
possession of a confiscated estate ; and it is said, obliged
the man's wife to leave the place. His sudden death,
after such blasphemous expressions, was very affecting.

" 30th ; Hearing that a master of a vessel, Jonathan
Esthill, a Friend, had lain in prison about three weeks,
I went and had an opportunity to see him, and obtained
liberty to bring him to my house. He was owner as
well as master, and had been taken between Augustine
and Antigua, by an armed ship, called the Jay fitted
out from this place ; and thus lost nearly all for which
he had been working hard for many years. He is a
steady, sober Friend, of the north of England.

"First Month 28th, 1780 ; Our friends John Pariish
and Samuel Hopkins, returned from a religious visit in
North Carolina ; they gave an account of a Friend vrho
has suffered greatly for his religious testimony against war.
Being drafted to stand guard over part of Burgoyne's
army, prisoners in Virginia, he could not comply, and
was therefore tried at a court-martial, composed of
young ofiicers ; who sentenced him to have thirty-nine
lashes, which was executed in the presence of some
hundred spectators. Forty stripes were very heavily
laid on, by three different persons, with a whip having
nine cords ; but the Friend, though much torn, was sup-



ported ; and persuasions and threats were afterwards
offered in vain, to prevail on him to yield to service.
It was thought that the faithfulness of this Friend, and
the severe suffering he underwent, spread the testimony
of truth. The procedure gave great disgust, and one
captain, it was said, laid down his commission, declaring
that if innocent conscientious men were thus treated, he
would not serve any longer.

" Seventh Month 20 th ; At the Meeting for Sufferings
this day, a number of Friends were appointed to labour
for the bringing back of Benjamin Gilbert and family,
taken captive among the Indians. We met in the even-
ing to confer on the subject, and concluded to apply to
the president and council, for liberty to send a person
by laud to Niagara, or to obtain conveyance of a letter
from New York to Canada, round by Quebec. The
next morning, we applied to the president, but he put
difficulties in the way. At length, after saying that it
would look partial, to send for one family, and not for
others who were captives, he promised to lay our state-
ment of their case before the council. In the afternoon,
he referred us to a committee of council, on whom we
waited. They represented the partiality of the proposal.
We reminded them, that these were our brethren, that
if every religious society were to exercise the same care,
the thing would be general ; that it was our wish that
all captives might be released, and it was well known
that we had ever manifested a benevolent disposition to
those under trials, and had in former wars been at much
expense, and used great endeavours to relieve many who
were in captivity, and obtained their release. After we
left them we conferred together, and the next day repre-


sented the matter to council, who concluded not to allow
of our sending. On the 28th, we obtained the endorse-
ment of a letter, by Timothy Matlack, to send to New
York, to forward some supplies to this afflicted family,
and the letter containing an anxious desire for their
relief, we hope it may open some way for them.

"Eighth Month 12th; The several testimonies and
epistles issued by Friends, which were published by our
persecutors in 1777, to justify the proceedings of the
congress and council, against those Friends who were
then sent into banishment, now appeared again in the
newspapers, having a little piece prefixed to them, to
excite fresh enmity against Friends. May the Lord
disappoint the evil machinations of the wicked, and
afford faith and patience to his people to bear reviling
and reproach, for the name of Christ and his truth.

" On the 24th, Friends published ' A short vindi-
cation of the religious Society called Quakers, against
the aspersions of a nameless writer,' in the Pennsylvania
Packet, of the 12th instant.*

" Ninth Month 23rd ; Our Yearly Meeting began and
continued until the 29th. It was a season of favour,
and held in solemn quiet, great peace and brotherly
love. The city, during this time was quiet ; but the
last day there was a stir made, and it appeared as though
evil was designed against Friends. The effigy of Arnold
was carted about with men on horseback, and a great
rabble following. They advanced towards Friends'
Meeting House in Pine Street ; but on the way, it is

* This Vindication was published in the Pennsylvania Packet^
September 2nd, 1780.



said, hearing that the meeting was broken up, they
turned down Spruce Street. Having occasion after
meeting, to pass along Front Street and by the coffee-
house, where a number of people were collected, some
of them appeared very wrathful, and cursed us as we
passed, Henry Drinker being with me. But the Lord,
whose interpositions, in many instances, have been
marvellous, disappointed the evil designs of bad men,
which might have been manifested, had not the meeting

" Having felt of late an increasing concern to cross
the great deep, on a visit to my friends in Europe,
though I had been for some days very poor and low in
mind, and did not know that I should have life and
strength to open it to Friends ; yet at our Monthly
Meeting, on the 29th of Twelfth Month, some time after
the business was entered upon, I felt as though it would
be safest for me to make the attempt, and was strength-
ened to do it in a solid manner ; beginning with the
words of Christ ; * He that seeketh to save his life, shall
lose it ; but he that layeth down his life for my sake
and the gospel's, the same shall save it.' A solemnity
spread over the meeting, and after a time of solid
waiting, several expressed their unity, and a committee
was appointed to prepare a certificate. This was what I
scarcely looked for, considering the smallness of my gift,
but the Lord is able to prepare the way for his own work.

" Second Month 3rd, 1781 ; Jacob Lindley, who
lately returned from Carolina, relates that some Friends,
about ten in number, were forced by the soldiery along
with them, when about to combat the British army in
that country; and when they approached, and were


likely to fire at each other, these Friends, who refused
to bear arms, were put in the front, both parties being-
near, with their guns presented. One of the Friends
desired his brethren to do as he should, and he fell flat
to the ground, as did the rest. A fire immediately
ensued, and the Americans were routed and many slain
near these Friends, yet they escaped. I thought this
worthy of notice.

" 5th ; At our Quarterly Meeting, I had to remark to
Friends the necessity there was to labour to have the
eye single, and to be truly devoted in heart. I spread
my concern before the meeting ; much sympathy with
me was expressed, and my certificate endorsed. My
mind was favoured with a solid covering, and I was very
desirous that the meeting might not give way through
a regard for me, but that a single eye might be kept, as
the matter was deeply interesting to Friends, as well as
to myself.

"21st; Having been thoughtful about some Friends
at Deer-creek, accompanied by David Sands, Samuel
Emlen, jun., and some others, I set out ; and on Fifth
day attended the meeting there, which was an exercising,
suffering time. Here are divers valuable Friends, but
much oppressed with a wrong spirit, which is prevalent
in some there.

" Third Month 15th ; Feeling some engagement of
mind to attend the Quarterly Meeting at Warrington,
on the west side of the Susquehanna, I set out ; and on
the 16th, called at Lancaster, to see our friends Moses
Roberts and John Hughes, who have been prisoners
upwards of eleven months, without conviction or trial.
They were supported in patience.


" On the 17tli, I crossed the river Susquehanna, and
attended the Quarterly Meeting at Warrington on Second
day ; where William Mathews laid before his brethren
his concern for visiting Friends in Europe. I reached
home on Fifth day evening, having cause to be humbly
thankful to the Father of mercies."





" Having had the concurrence and unity of the Monthly,
Quarterly, and Yearly Meetings of Friends, to which
I belonged, in the religious exercise of mind, which the
Lord, as I apprehended, begot in me, to resign to his
will in visiting my friends in Europe ; I used diligent
endeavours to settle my worldly concerns ; in which I
reverently acknowledge the Lord made way for me ;
and in the Fourth Month, 1782, it appeared tome best
to join our dear friend, William Mathews, under a like
religious engagement. x\t our Quarterly Meeting of
ministers and elders, held on the 4th of Fifth Month, I
was free to let my dear friends know, that the time for
me to leave them appeared near ; which quickened my
attention to do everything that appeared necessary,
previous thereto. This kept me busily engaged, visiting-
divers Friends ; with some of whom I had seasonable
opportunities, in which the softening virtue of Truth
prevailed, and I hope, made profitable impressions.

" Second day. Sixth Month 10th, 1782; Many Friends
came to take their leave of me in much aifection, and
we had some solid opportunities in retirement that
evening and next morning. My heart was humbled

Online LibraryWilliam HodgsonThe life and travels of John Pemberton, a minister of the Gospel of Christ → online text (page 8 of 25)