by Samuel Bownas
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: [Beginnings]
- Chapter 2: An account of my journey into Scotland
- Chapter 3: An account of my travels in America the first time
- Chapter 4: I was now at liberty
- Chapter 5: An account of my visiting Devonshire & Cornwall
- Chapter 6: An account of my travels in America the second time
- Chapter 7: An account of my travels into the North of England & Ireland the 2nd time
- Chapter 8: An account of my travels since the decease of my wife
The following sheets exhibit a plain man’s undisguised account of his own progress in religion: an artless narrative of his sincere and hearty endeavours, as much as in him lay, to promote the doctrine of the Gospel of Christ in the earth.
The motives inducing him to undertake the office of a preacher, appear to have been perfectly consonant to the precepts of Holy Scripture, and to the practice of Christ and his apostles, namely:
1st. A clear, cogent, and convincing evidence of a Divine call, and heavenly impulse thereunto.
2nd. An indispensable sense of his duty necessarily obliging him to yield obedience to that call. And
3rd. The sweet returns of inward peace and Divine consolation accompanying his obedience therein, greatly conduced to his confirmation and perseverance in the way of his duty.
To the performance of this he found himself measurably prepared and qualified; for his own experience of the love of God, and of the operations of his holy Spirit, in gradually purging out the corruptions of his own heart, did excite and augment in him a Christian love to his fellow creatures, attended with an ardent zeal, and an incessant desire for their conversion.
An inward purgation from sin is a necessary and essential qualification of a Gospel minister; and no man can be such without it; for God does not send unclean messengers on his errand:
It is the constant method of his Divine wisdom, under this Gospel dispensation, through the purging of his holy Spirit, to cleanse and purify the inside of every vessel which he permits to be made use of in the service of his sanctuary.
Every unsanctified person who pretends to preach the Gospel of Christ, should consider that unanswerable query of our blessed Saviour to the Pharisees of old; “O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
A practice of this nature is condemned, even in the time of the Mosaic Law, by the royal psalmist, in these words: “Unto the wicked, God says, What right have you to do to declare my statutes, or that you should take my covenant in your mouth?”
But alas! self-interest prompts men to turn a deaf ear even to Divine expostulations, and unholy persons, in despite of the most express prohibitions, continue to intrude themselves into holy things; and to be busying themselves about external circumstances and ceremonies, while the life, spirit, and substance of true religion is unattainable by them, until it shall please God, in the exceeding riches of his grace, to cleanse their hearts from all unrighteousness; for which conversion we heartily wish.
The author of the ensuing narrative was another sort of preacher; a free giver of what himself had freely received, a liberal and openhearted communicator of his religious experiences, without respect to persons.
He directed the sheep of Christ to follow the voice of Christ himself, the good Shepherd, whose omnipresence renders his voice audible to every one of his sheep, however separate or dispersed throughout the world.
His conversation was free, generous and affable; neither did he shun the society of those whom he was sent to convert; his mission being somewhat correspondent to that of his Lord and Master, who declared concerning himself; “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
He was of a grave deportment, and of a tall, comely and manly aspect. His public preaching was attended with Divine authority and innocence, which commanded the attention of the hearers; and his voice being clear, strong and distinct, was capable of conveying his exhortations to the ears and understandings of a very numerous auditory; of which a remarkable instance appears in his preaching at Jedburg, in Scotland, mentioned in his account.
His literary accomplishments were but small, extending little further than to enable him to read the Scriptures in his mother tongue; yet by constant use and application, he became thoroughly versed therein, and was enabled by the force of their testimony, to confront and confute the gainsayers of his doctrine, which was in all points strictly agreeable to and consonant therewith.
In the religious Society to which he was joined, he conducted himself as a man of peace and prudence, choosing to walk in the plain and middle path, without declining to any extreme: so that he neither idolized forms, nor contemned good order.
His estimation and repute among his friends and neighbours, will appear by the testimony of the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings of Bridport, in Dorsetshire, to which he belonged, given forth since his decease, wherein they say, that “It pleased the Lord to endue him with a large gift in the ministry, in which he was a faithful labourer, and gave himself up for that service; that he had a gift of utterance superior to many, sound in judgment and doctrine, and very convincing to the understandings of those who heard him.”
This testimony concerning him is true, and a man of his penetration and capacity could not but discern his own improvement in the gift he had received. He therefore stood upon his guard, lest through self-love and conceit, he should depart from that humility, which is the ornament of every Gospel minister.
This Christian virtue was generally his concomitant, during the course of his pilgrimage; and is remarkable in this account, keeping it clear from any tincture of self-applause.
In preaching, his declarations proceeded from his heart; and in writing, his relations of his services and his exhortations, spring from the same fountain.
Wherefore we recommend to your serious consideration what he has written, as comprehended in that excellent description of a good man, given by Christ himself: “A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth that which is good.”
May the good brought forth out of this good man’s heart effectually reach unto yours, and through the Divine blessing operate to your spiritual benefit and improvement in that which is good.
So shall the design of the deceased author, in leaving behind him this account of his life and travels, be in some degree answered, and the writer of this preface shall have the end he aims at; who with sincere desires for the saving health and welfare of all mankind, takes his leave, and bids them heartily farewell.
Signed, J. Besse
I was born in Westmoreland, within the compass of Great Strickland Monthly Meeting, about the year 1676, and was entered in that register. My father died before I was one month old; but I have been informed that he was very honest and zealous for truth in his time, having been a considerable sufferer for the cause of religion, both in loss of goods and liberty, the meeting being kept in his house in some of the hottest times of persecution in King Charles the second’s reign. Being left so young, and my mother having but a scanty subsistence of about four pounds and ten shillings a year, with a dwelling for herself and two children, at about thirteen years of age I was put to learn the trade of a blacksmith, with an uncle who used me unkindly. I was afterwards placed apprentice to a very honest Friend belonging to Brigflatts Meeting, near Sedbergh in Yorkshire, whose name was Samuel Parrot. All this time I had no taste of religion, but devoted myself to pleasure, as much as my circumstances would permit, though my mother had kept me very strictly while I was under her care. She would frequently in winter evenings take opportunities to tell me passages of my dear father’s sufferings, admonishing me so to live, that I might be worthy to bear the name of so good a man’s son, and not bring a reproach on myself and parents: also putting me in mind, that if she should be taken away, I should greatly miss her both for advice and other ways to assist me; and advised me to fear the Lord now in my youth, that I might be favoured with his blessing. These admonitions at times brought me into great tenderness, being afraid that she would die before I was capable to live in the world; and she took me frequently to meetings with her, where she often had some words in testimony. Persecution being still very hot, and Friends locked out of their meetinghouse at Strickland, we met at the door, and I remember when I was a child, and went to meeting with my mother, the informers came twice; the first time the meeting had been over about half an hour, the second time not quite so long, so that we escaped their hands both times. Many Friends were in prison at Appleby for attending that meeting, whom my dear mother went to visit, taking me along with her, and we had a meeting with the prisoners, several Friends from other places being likewise there by appointment. I observed, though very young, how tender and broken they were; and I was very inquisitive of my mother, why they cried so much, and you too, said I, why did you? She told me that I could not understand the reason of it then, but when I grew up more to man’s state I might.
To return to my apprenticeship; I had a very kind loving master and mistress, but who had little consideration about religion, nor any taste thereof. On first-days I frequented meetings, and the greater part of my time I slept, but took no account of preaching, nor received any other benefit, than that being there kept me out of bad company, which indeed is a very great service to youth. I took much liberty in discourse, and was taken notice of as a witty, sensible young man: but often on my bed I reflected on my way of life with sorrow, yet frequently fell into the same way again. I never was given to swearing, nor to any very gross vice, but what I gave way to most, was jesting, and turns of wit to provoke mirth, which gave me often, after it was over, a heavy heart. Thus I went on for nearly three years; but one first-day, being at meeting, a young woman named Anne Wilson, was there and preached. She was very zealous, and I fixing my eye upon her, she, with a great zeal, pointed her finger at me, uttering these words with much power; “A Quaker by tradition, you come to meeting as you went from it the last time, and go from it as you came to it, but are no better for your coming; what will you do in the end?” This was so suited to my condition, that, like Saul, I was smitten to the ground, but turning my thoughts inward, in secret I cried, Lord, what shall I do to help it? And a voice as it were spoke in my heart, saying. Look unto me, and I will help you; and I found much comfort, which made me shed abundance of tears. Then I remembered what my mother told me some years before, that when I grew up more to man’s state, I should know the reason of that tenderness and weeping, which I now did to purpose. I went home with a heavy heart, and could neither eat nor sleep as I used to do, but my work never succeeded better in my hands than it did at this time, nor was my mind ever less in it.
My conduct, as well as countenance, was much altered, so that several in the family were fearful that I should fall into a kind of melancholy; but I longed for the meeting day, and thought it a very long week. When the time of meeting came, my mind was soon fixed and stayed upon God, and I found an uncommon enjoyment that gave me great satisfaction, my understanding being opened, and all the faculties of my mind so quick, that I seemed another man. A divine and spiritual sweetness abiding with me night and day, for some time, I began to see and understand the Scriptures, and the nature of preaching the doctrine of the Gospel in the power and spirit, plainly seeing a difference between a preacher of the letter and of the spirit, which till then I was wholly ignorant of, not having before that, the least degree that I could perceive of Divine understanding. But upon looking back and considering what I had heard such and such Friends preach, which at that time I did not understand, I now understood it clearly, which was a plain demonstration to me, that all saving knowledge is from Divine light, which we cannot comprehend, until we are assisted so to do by a visitation from heaven.
Now the Scriptures and ministry from the openings of the Spirit, seemed so clear and plain to my understanding, that I wondered any body remained unconvinced, supposing them to see the truths of the Gospel in the same light that I did. That saying of the apostle, wherein he asserts his knowledge of the Son of God being come, to be by “receiving an understanding from him,” was clearly discovered to me, so that I plainly saw a distinction between the children of light, and the children of this world—the spiritual and the natural man; and that the natural man could not receive the things of the Spirit of God, being foolishness to him; he cannot know them, because they are known “only by the Spirit,” as the apostle asserts; and I found myself much improved in Divine wisdom and saving knowledge. As I was going to meeting, walking alone, it came very livingly into my mind, that if I was but faithful and obedient to the heavenly vision, I should soon be qualified to teach others, and more especially, as I saw by experience wherein my shortness had been, in being contented and easy with a form of truth and religion, which I had only by education, being brought up in plainness of both habit and speech; but all this, though very good in its place, did not make me a true Christian; I was but a Quaker by tradition, and that by education only, and not from the Scriptures, because they were a book sealed to me. And I now saw plainly, that education, though ever so carefully administered, would not do the work; although a pious education ought by no means to be neglected, but all parents and guardians ought to be stirred up to their duty in that respect; yet we must consider, that it is not in the power of parents, or the most pious tutors, to confer grace, which is the gift of God alone; nor can any come into the true fold but by this door, as said our Saviour concerning himself.
It plainly appeared to me, there was no other way but this: by the “Spirit of Christ alone,” to attain to true faith, which works by love, and gives victory over our infirmities and evil deeds, working such a change in us, that we can in truth, from experience, say, “we are born from above;” and by virtue of that birth only, is the true knowledge of the kingdom, and the things of God attained, and by no other way or means, although ever so well contrived by human art. Being experimentally sensible of this change wrought in my mind, it looked the more likely that I might, in time, be qualified to speak to others of my own experience of the operation of the spirit in my mind, not thinking the time so near at hand, as it appeared when I came to the meeting; for I had not sat long therein, when a great weight fell upon me, with some words to speak; but I considered, being willing to be my own carver, that it was too soon to undertake such a task, being but an infant in religion; not remembering the small time between Paul’s conversion and his preaching the Gospel: Acts 9:20. My former conduct with my companions, many of whom were in the meeting at the same time, also stood much in my way, for my reformation was but three weeks old that very day, so that I concluded, so sudden a change would hardly be borne.
I did not at that time, for these reasons, give up, and the burden was taken from me. But after meeting it came upon me again with double weight, and affected me so very greatly, that I was much alone, and my countenance so altered with weeping, that my master took occasion to inquire how it was with me. I gave him as plain an account as I was capable of, with which he was much affected and broken into tears. I feared that I had by disobedience so much offended, that I should be cast off forever: but, with exhortations from Scripture and otherwise, he endeavoured to pacify me, not doubting but that I should again have the like offer made me, putting me in mind of Gideon’s fleece, etc. Judges 6. When next meeting day came, I went in great weakness and fear, and would rather have gone elsewhere, than to meeting. Sometime after I was in the meeting, I felt the same concern as before, and sat under the weight of it until the meeting was almost over, and then hardly knew how I got upon my feet, but did, and broke out with a loud voice in these words: “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. I say, fear you Him who will terribly shake the earth, that all which is moveable may be shaken and removed out of the way, that that which is immovable may stand.” This was all I had to say at that time. But oh! the joy and sweetness I felt afterward, I cannot express, and the pleasure of my mind appeared in my countenance, so that my master took notice of it, and spoke so feelingly, as plainly demonstrated he was a partaker with me of the same rejoicing: this was about the year 1696, on that called Christmas day, it falling that year upon the first-day of the week.
Having as it may be said, thus broken the ice, the next time was not quite so hard, but I said very little, and seldom appeared for a year or two, having about three years of my apprenticeship to serve, which I did with fidelity and truth. The last year of my time, I found a concern in my mind to visit Scotland, being very rarely without some degree of Divine virtue, either by night or day; therefore I thought, if it was so with me then, it would be much more so when I had nothing to mind but Divine things; but I found it otherwise, of which in its place. I may not omit to mention that about two years after I first spoke in meeting, I opened the New Testament at that passage spoken by our Saviour, Matt. 10:28. to the same effect with what was first opened on my mind, as mentioned above, which then I knew not to be the saying of Christ to warn them against the fear of men; although no doubt I had read it, but had taken so little notice of what I read, that it was to me as if it had never been written. But it was a great comfort to me, that I was thus opened in a material point of doctrine of our blessed Lord at my first setting out.
About the same time I had a desire to visit a neighbouring meeting called Yelland [about 27 miles SW of Brigflatts], it being the first that I ever had a concern to visit, and desired my dear friend Isaac Alexander to go with me. Agreeing upon the time, I went to Isaac’s brother’s house the seventh-day evening before, where Isaac lived; and he and I went to visit James Wilson and his parents that evening: James was under convincement, but not his parents. We had some conference, but being called to supper, left off abruptly. After supper I could not be easy without repeating my visit, and James’s mother being very quick in the Scriptures, she desired my judgment on those texts in Isaiah and Peter: “Behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.” And my understanding was opened to preach unto her the new birth so effectually, that she was thoroughly convinced, and continued an honest Friend to her dying day, going to meeting the very next day, and so held on while able to attend meetings.
My time of servitude being at an end, my master was very willing to keep me in his service, and spoke to me about it, which gave me an opportunity to open my mind to him about my visit to Scotland. He then told me to acquaint some of the elders in the meeting therewith, for it was necessary I should have a certificate, to show the unity of the brethren with my journey; which accordingly I did, and had a certificate; Isaac Alexander being my companion, had a certificate likewise.
We went to Kendal, being the first meeting, and then to Preston, Yelland, Height, Hawkeshead, and visited part of Lancashire and Yorkshire, in about three or four weeks. But the poverty of my spirit was so exceedingly great and bitter, that I could scarcely bear it, but cried out aloud, which so surprised my companion, that being on foot, he feared it would be too hard for me, for I complained that I was deceived or mistaken; because, while I was in my master’s work, I rarely by night or day was without some degree of Divine virtue on my mind, but now I could feel nothing but the bitterness of death and darkness; all comfort was hid from me for a time, and I was baptized into death indeed. As we went along, I said to Isaac with a vehemence of spirit: “Oh! that I was in my master’s work again, and favoured with my former enjoyments of Divine life, how acceptable it would be!” We came at our journey’s end, to one Miles Birket’s, who was more than usually kind to us; but alas, he did not know my state and poverty. Next day we went to another meeting at Hawkeshead, it was a little better with me, but very poor; and so we performed our journey in about a month, and he returned to his father’s house, and I to my master Parrot’s.
I was very reluctant to go to Scotland, having been proved with so much poverty of spirit, the cup was so bitter I could hardly bear it; however, I kept my mind to myself, and we set forward on foot, visiting part of Cumberland in our way, and I thought Isaac had fine service, so much superior to mine, that after him I was afraid to lessen or hurt what good he had done; and before him I was afraid to stand in his way. He was much admired indeed, and some were convinced by his ministry: we accomplished that journey in about two months time. At our return hay harvest came on, and I went to mowing, and on meeting days went just where my mind led me, and grew in my ministry very much, and the Lord let me see his kindness to lead me through that state of poverty, which was of great service to qualify me to speak to others in the like condition, and that trials of sundry kinds were for my improvement and good, tending to my establishment in the true root of a Divine and spiritual ministry; and the doctrine of our Saviour and his apostle did much comfort me, so that I became, in the opinion of several, an able minister, although but short, seldom standing a quarter of an hour. But alas! I have seen since that I was but a mere babe in the work.
This summer passed over, and by my harvest work at hay and corn I got a little money, being just pennyless before, so that I travelled to a meeting, fourteen or fifteen miles, three times forth and back on foot all alone, with three halfpence, being all the money I had, and thinking to refresh myself in the way, when I came near the house of entertainment, I found myself so strong and cheerful, that I thought I might need it more at another time, and so kept it.
Towards the fall I bought a horse, and put myself in a condition for another journey with my old companion again. We thought either of us pretty sufficient to hold a meeting; however, I was to go with him through Bishopric and Yorkshire, and he was to go with me into the west, as to Wilts, Somersetshire, Devonshire, etc. We had not proceeded far, before I was very much shut up, and had no satisfaction at all in going further with him. I told him how it was with me, and we were both willing to part; and I went to be at York on first-day, and meeting with dear John Richardson, I laid my concern before him, and as a nursing father he spoke very encouragingly to me, and he got meetings appointed for me at Wetherby, and so forward towards Doncaster. I went on in great fear, and after meeting at Wetherby, Benjamin Brown spoke very encouragingly, that “the Lord would enlarge my gift; and when you find it so,” said he, “do not value yourself upon it, but give the honour of it where it is due, and keep humble, and God will bless you, and make you a useful member in his hand.”
My next meeting was at Wakefield, which was very much to my comfort and encouragement. Then to Pontefract, where I had no cause to complain; a Friend after meeting cavilled and found fault with what I had said, which brought some uneasiness upon me: but being afterwards told he used to do so, and that he was not in unity, it brought me off pretty light and easy. I went from there to Doncaster on seventh-day, it being market day there: I was conducted to Thomas Aldam’s quarters, he being in town, who soon came and looked at me, I thought austerely, first inquiring from where I came, and if I had a certificate? To all which I gave proper answers, and showed him my certificate; all this seemed agreeable, and he undertook to appoint meetings forward, and sent me home with his son. Not having ever been so closely examined before, I feared how I should come off, Thomas Aldam being a noted minister; but at last he came home, and was very tender and kind indeed. Next day, being first-day, we repaired to meeting, and I came off much beyond what I expected, and preached almost an hour, so that I was very cheerful in my spirit after it, and we had a little opportunity in the evening, and all ended brave and well.
The week following I went to Blithe, and took meetings in course as they lay by Maplebeck to Nottingham. At Maplebeck there was a brave old living Friend, with whom I had great comfort, his name was John Camm. At this place I had the best meeting that I had ever had, and it produced a remarkable effect upon me. I thought the bitterness and anguish of death, which I had gone through before, might now be over in a great degree, and I should go on smoother and with more ease for time to come, for the Friends showed me much respect, and I was visited in the evening and morning before I left them, by several who lived nigh: in short, I thought more of myself than I had done before, that I remember. Two or three of them went with me to Nottingham, seeming much pleased with my company. It being seventh-day, I was there on first-day at two meetings, and came off tolerably well, but not as at Maplebeck.
The third-day following I was at Castle Dunnington, where was a fine collection of Friends; I preached some time among them, but found not authority and life, as I thought, to attend me as before; however, I desired another meeting with them in the evening, which was readily assented to, which was very large, considering that place. I seemed very poor and low, and blamed myself much for appointing another meeting in so poor and weak a frame of mind. The meeting came on, and proved better than I expected; but I was very low, and it being a clear moonlight night, I walked into the Friend’s orchard behind his house, bemoaning myself very much, as having lost my guide, and fallen from that happy condition I was in the week before. The Friend of the house finding I tarried, came out to me, having a sense of my low state and condition, and inquiring how I did, he began to speak in praise of those two meetings, and of the service I had in them. All this did not raise my spirits; we went in, but he perceived I was very low, and he and his wife endeavoured to comfort me. His wife had a fine gift in the ministry, and she told me some experiences she had gone through, but all did not do, nor come near my condition.
Next day I went to Swannington in Leicestershire, and there was a fine body of Friends again, and I had not sat long, before I felt, as I thought, as good an authority to preach as ever, and stood up, not doubting an open, satisfactory meeting. I had not stood above fifteen minutes if so many, until all was shut up and it seemed as though both the sun and air were darkened. I sat down under a great cloud, to think what I should do, appealing to God, that I had no ill design, but much otherwise, and in secret earnestly desiring help; and immediately it was said in me, as though a voice had spoken intelligibly, “You run and God has not sent you; you speak but God does not speak by you; therefore you shall not profit the people.” It may be thought if I was bad before, I was much worse now. I was under the very hour and power of death and darkness, being at my wits end what to do; and under this great temptation several ways presented; such as my turning myself out of the line of Friends, which I found would be somewhat hard to do, as I always had a guide from one place to another: then it presented to turn home again, and by that method I might get rid of Friends as guides, and make the best of my way to some part of Ireland, sell my horse, and get work, where I was not known, at my trade. But then the honour of the Monthly Meeting, that had given me so good a certificate, would be affected by my so doing: and having considered of several ways to take, at last this presented, to make away with myself in some river or pond, as though it had been an accident, and this would cover all. Thus for a time I was bewildered, not seeing where I was; but since, it plainly appeared I was under the influence of the spirit of antichrist. Begging heartily for help, I fell on my knees, and prayed with such fervency, that there were but few under the roof who were not melted into tears, and it was such a time as I never had before nor since in prayer, as I remember; and thus that meeting ended.
Next I went to a town called Hinckley, and there was a considerable number of Friends and other people; I was extremely low and poor, but had a comfortable meeting, which much healed me, and set me to rights again.
I visited Leicestershire pretty generally, and a woman of some account, whose name was Jemima Mountney, was convinced, and was with me at sundry meetings, and was exceedingly tender and loving, being thoroughly reached and satisfied. When we parted, she was so open-hearted that I was called aside by her, and after having said something to me about her inward condition, she offered me some pieces of gold, which I told her I dared not touch. She very courteously, and with a becoming, genteel mien, told me she was both able and willing, and as she had no other way that she could show her gratitude for that spiritual good she had received from my ministry, she could do no less, beseeching that I would receive it, as the true token of her love and respect. In answer, I said, it was what I never had done, nor could I now do it; but all the reward I desired and expected was, that she might carefully, with a sincere heart, endeavour that her obedience did keep pace with her knowledge, the hearing of which would rejoice my soul: we parted in great love and tenderness. I heard that sundry others were convinced in that neighbourhood. A very honest Friend, whose name was Brooks, took great pains to get the seeking people to meeting, and I was very much enlarged in pertinent matter, suitable to the states of such seeking souls.
Out of Leicestershire, being well rewarded for the bitterness I suffered before I came into it, which was as much as I could bear, I passed into Warwickshire, and had some good opportunities in that county at Warwick and other places. I found I often hurt myself by speaking too fast and too loud; against which I endeavoured to guard as much as I could; but when I felt my heart filled with the power of Divine love, I was apt to forget myself and break out. I found it proper therefore to stop, and make a short pause, with secret prayer for preservation, and that I would be supplied with matter and power, that might do the hearers good. Thus I went on, and grew sensibly in experience and judgment, and became in some small degree skillful in dividing the word. I had been straitened in my mind respecting searching the Scriptures, lest I should thereby be tempted to lean upon them, and by gathering either manna or sticks on the sabbath-day, death would ensue. But at last I had freedom to examine the text, and to consider where the strength of the argument lay, both before and after the words I had repeated. By this I saw I was often very defective, in not laying hold of the most suitable part to confirm the subject or matter I was upon, and this conduct did me great service.
Another difficulty stood in my way, which was this; some former openings would come up, which I dared not meddle with, lest by so doing I should become formal, and lose that Divine spring which I had always depended upon; but the Lord was pleased to show me, that old matter, opened in new life, was always new, and that it was the renewings of the spirit alone which made it new; and that the principal thing I was to guard against was, not to endeavour to bring in old openings in my own will, without the aid of the spirit; and that if I stood single and resigned to the Divine will, I should be preserved from errors of this nature.
Out of Warwickshire I travelled into Worcestershire, visiting sundry meetings in that county, and found a fresh supply every day. I was at Worcester on first-day, and after the meeting in the forenoon, an ancient Friend examined me very closely, from where I came, and for a certificate; to all which I gave him answers. My certificate being at my quarters in my saddle-bag, he could not then see it; but I had a very good meeting as I thought, and my landlord William Pardee, a brave, sensible elder, advised me not to be uneasy at the old Friend’s examining me, for, said he, he does so to every stranger.
We went to meeting in the afternoon, which was very large, and I was largely opened, and had very good service; but the old Friend, after the meeting, was upon me in the same strain to see my certificate, but I had it not about me, at which he seemed much displeased. I made no reply, but told him I was very willing he should see it; but my landlord took him up, and told him, he thought the young man had already shown us his best certificate, in both the meetings; but nevertheless, said he, come to my house in the evening, and you shall see it: so we parted. My landlord thought he had showed himself disagreeable in his conduct, and fearing it would be an uneasiness to me, spoke very tenderly, and like a nursing father encouraged me, saying, “I could not show him a better confirmation that I was anointed for the ministry, than I had already done.” In the evening, after it was dark, he and many other Friends came; but my landlord, the old Friend and I, went aside, and I showed him what he so much desired to see; he read it, being much pleased with it, and knowing several Friends that had signed it, inquired after them. We went to our friends again, who were much increased in number, and we had a heavenly season, being thoroughly baptized together; we parted in great love and sweetness, and the old Friend was exceedingly kind.
From there I went into Gloucestershire, and visited part of that county, and by Tewkesbury to Cheltenham, Gloucester, Painswick, Nailsworth and Tedbury. I had several good opportunities; and one young woman was convinced at Tedbury, who became a very good Friend.
From there I went into Wiltshire and Hampshire, as far as Ringwood, and to Pool and Weymouth; called at Wareham and Corfe, and had a meeting at each place, but nothing worthy noting at either of them: so I travelled to Bridport, Lyme, Membury, Chard and Crewkern, and back to Somerton, Puddimore, Masson to a funeral, and to Yeovil on first-day; thus having visited Somersetshire, I went into Devonshire as far as Exeter; then turned up towards Taunton, taking meetings in my way towards Bristol.
I stayed in Bristol, and visited meetings about the city nearly five weeks, and from there I found my mind drawn to visit Wales. I took the Quarterly Meeting of Plereford in my way, which was held annually at Amelly, and there I met with my dear friend Isaac Alexander. We were glad to see each other, as well as to hear each other, which when we did, it appeared to me that Isaac was improved considerably, and he said the same of me, observing that I preached the practical doctrine of the Gospel he thought, more than he did; for his preaching was very much in comparisons and allegories, which he apprehended were not so plain and easy to the understandings of the vulgar, as what I had to say. We had now an opportunity of opening our minds to each other, which was of great service to us both, having several meetings together, and we had drawings for the Yearly Meeting at Llanidlos in Wales. This opportunity seemed very agreeable to us; there were sundry Friends of note, Benjamin Bangs and others out of Cheshire; the people came in abundance, and at times were very rude, but in the main it was a serviceable meeting. After that I visited Wales, appointing from the Yearly Meeting several meetings, as far as was thought proper at once; and a good old Friend, Philip Leonard, offered to be my companion, which was of great service to me. I was very poor and low at most meetings in that journey, as but few of the people could understand what I said in some places: but Philip stood up after I had done, and in part interpreted what I had said, but I did not feel quite easy in my mind.
Isaac went to Bristol Yearly Meeting, and was very zealous against unnecessary fashions and superfluities in both sexes, insomuch that some thought, in his words against them, he exceeded the bounds of modesty: but he might plead the example of the prophet Isaiah in that respect. The chief objection to him was, concerning his prophesying a great mortality, which the Lord was about to bring as a judgment upon the people, for their pride and wickedness; which he thought it his duty to deliver in their Yearly Meeting, as a warning for all to mind their ways, lest, being taken unprepared, their loss should be irreparable. This he did in such strong and positive terms, that Friends were afraid he was too much exalted in himself: upon which some of the elders thought proper to converse with and examine him, concerning this extraordinary message which he had delivered: but what he said to them not being satisfactory, they advised him to proceed no further on his journey, but to return home; which he did under great trouble, and was there received in much love and tenderness, and appeared in his gift very excellently, and grew in Divine wisdom and power, being of great service in the ministry wherever he came. Having a concern to visit the churches abroad, and acquainting some of our elders therewith, they thought it not proper for him to go, until something was done to satisfy Friends at Bristol, and upon their inquiry of Isaac, he gave them a single and honest account how it was with him at that time, respecting his concern: so Friends took it in hand, and wrote to Bristol, neither justifying nor condemning him, but recommended charity and tenderness towards him. And from Bristol, Friends answered, that “with open arms they could receive him, believing him to be a sincere young man, who intended very well: and they were glad he took their admonition right, and had owned it had been of service to him.” Thus ended this affair, and Isaac said, “he could not think hardly of his brethren in doing what they did, though he could not then see that he had missed his way in delivering that prophecy. Thus showing forth a lively instance of a warm zeal, tempered with a due regard to the sense and advice of his brethren and elders, and the unity of the church, which doubtless tended to his own comfort and preservation.
When I heard of it, I took it so much to heart, it was almost too much for me, and a concern came upon me to go to London with the like message, but with this caution; first to advise with some faithful brethren before I delivered it: and I wrote to Isaac, to let him know it, which gave him great ease. Accordingly I went to London, and got several brethren together, namely: James Dickinson, James Bowstead, Peter Fearon, Benjamin Bangs, Robert Haydock, and some others, and gave them a plain and honest account how it came upon me, which was not till after I heard my dear companion was returned home from Bristol; adding, that I had acquainted Isaac how it was with me, that he might know my sympathy with him. The Friends seeing what he had written, found there was a strong sympathy between us, and very justly supposed that to be the moving, if not only, cause of the concern I was under, and very tenderly advised me to keep it in my own breast, till I found how the Lord would order it; for, if he was the author, I should find more of it; if not, it would die. But if I found it grew upon me, I should let any of them know it, and they would consider what steps to take in a matter of so great consequence, as going forth in a prophecy of that nature. The fatherly kindness they showed me was very affecting to me, one or other of them making it their business to visit me every day; and as they said, I found the concern went off, and I became easy without publishing it.
I had several very acceptable opportunities in London, during the time of the Yearly Meeting, and afterwards visited Friends towards Leeds in Yorkshire, and in my way there had very agreeable service in the counties of Leicester and Nottingham, and at other places.
From Leeds I went to the Yearly Meeting at York, which was very large, and many public Friends; but I was hid, as it were, and made very little appearance at that meeting.
From there I travelled homeward, visiting Friends as I went, and was gladly received by them. I found my ministry very acceptable; and as it increased upon me, I was very humble and low in mind, knowing my strength and safety from temptation consisted therein.
I was now in a strait what course to take to get a little money, my linen and woollen clothes both needing to be repaired. I met with a young man newly set up in his trade, with whom I proposed to work, and he was ready to comply with my offer, supposing it would be a means to improve him. So we agreed, and I began with him, and found it answered much better than harvest-work, so that I soon stored myself with a little cash, and worked hard all that summer, and in the fall of the year prepared myself for a journey with my good old friend Joseph Baines.
We set out the latter end of the sixth month, and visited some parts of Yorkshire, and so into Lincolnshire, Suffolk and Norfolk, and we did very well together; only I was afraid that Friends took so much notice of me, he would be uneasy; but he was so entirely innocent, and had so much of the Lamb in him, that he never did, that I could find, show any uneasiness, more than to give me a caution with a smile; “Sammy,” said he, for I was mostly called so, “Friends admire you so much you have need to take care you do not grow proud;” and indeed the caution was very seasonable, as well as serviceable to me; which I saw and acknowledged. This Joseph was, it might be said, an Israelite indeed, as meek as a lamb, not great in the ministry, but very acceptable, especially among other people, having a meek, quiet, easy delivery, mostly in Scripture phrases, with which he was well furnished, repeating them with very little or no comment upon them, which some admired very much; and he had great service at funerals, being in a peculiar manner qualified for such occasions: but receiving an account of some troubles in his family, it brought a very great uneasiness upon him, and he returned home.
I visited most of the meetings over again, and returned into Huntingtonshire, Northamptonshire, and so towards Dorsetshire, and Somersetshire, visiting as I went through part of Oxfordshire. I had many meetings, sometimes fourteen in a week, and generally to satisfaction. In almost every parish where a Friend lived, we had a meeting, besides which some offered their houses, who were not Friends, which we embraced.
I came through part of Hampshire and Warwickshire, and back again to Hampshire, visiting Friends, and had many meetings in places where none had been, and the people, who were not Friends, were much inclined to have meetings at their houses in many places, and would desire Friends to conduct me to their houses. Although I was entirely unknown to most, yet there was a very great willingness to receive the doctrine of Christ; and I found afterwards, by accounts I received from Friends some were convinced. The teachers of the national way, and dissenters also, were much disturbed, and threatened what they would do, and that they would come and dispute; some of them came several times, and got out of sight, where they could hear and not be seen; but never any gave me the least disturbance; though some would say I was a cheat, a Jesuit in disguise; others, that I was brought up for the pulpit, and for some misdemeanour suspended; and so they varied, according to their imaginations. But I was very easy in my service, and found my heart very much enlarged; some of the people took me to have a good share of learning, which, although it was false, served for a defence against some busy fellows, who thought they could dispute about religion and doctrine; which I always endeavoured to avoid as much as possible, seldom finding any advantage by such work, but that it mostly ended in cavilling and a strife of words.
I went through part of Dorsetshire, and at Sherborne an old Friend was sick, and not expected to get over that illness, and it came into my mind he would die of that sickness, and that I must be at his funeral, and preach with my Bible in my hand. This made me shrink, fearing it was the fruit of imagination, but I kept it to myself, and had many meetings about those parts. A young woman, who afterwards became my wife, had strong hold of my affections and I acquainted her parents therewith, and had liberty from them to lay it before their daughter, which I did. At the same time a concern was upon me to visit America before I entered into the state of wedlock, which I also gave her to understand; for I had reasoned in my own mind, that it might be better to let it rest until my return, if I lived. But in answer to that, it appeared, that I might have some prospects there that would be a snare to me, and by this prior engagement I might be freed from all temptations of that kind. For if it was known there that I was already engaged, it would command silence on that account. On this consideration I made suit to her, and she received it with such modesty and sweetness as were very engaging. She had an uncle, on whom she had some dependance, who seemed much averse to it, and would have his niece left at liberty, that if any suitable offer was made in my absence she might embrace it; which I very readily complied with. He was then pleased, only he would have me leave it under my hand, which I was very ready to do; and to stand bound myself, and leave her at liberty. To this she objected, as unreasonable on her part to desire such a thing from me. We parted, and I went to Street, Glastonbury, Burnham, Sidcot, Clareham and Bristol, having let slip out of my memory the old Friend’s sickness at Sherborne. I had not been many hours in Bristol before a messenger came to desire Benjamin Coole to attend the funeral, and Benjamin came to me to Brice Webb’s, where I lodged, and told me how it was, and desired me to go. I pleaded many excuses; first, my horse was not fit, with other objections, which were all removed.
I went to Bruton next day, being the seventh-day of the week, and was at that small meeting on first-day. The funeral was on second-day, which was exceedingly large, John Beere from Weymouth being there, had something to say, but not much. Then as it was with me, I pulled my Bible out of my pocket, and opened it; upon which the people gave more attention than they had done before, and I had a very acceptable time, often in the course of my matter referring to the text for proof, and giving an ample testimony of the value we put upon the Scriptures; earnestly pressing the careful reading of them, and advising to consider what they read, and to seek the Lord by prayer, for assistance and power, that they might practice what they read, which was the ultimate end of reading, as well as of hearing preaching, for without practice, it would avail but little; with other advice to the same effect. There being sundry teachers of several societies, one of them, a Baptist, took hold of me after meeting was ended, and desired some conversation with me. I looked at him earnestly, and desired to know if he had an objection against any part of what I had said? “If you do,” said I, speaking with an audible voice, that stopped many of the company, “this is the most proper place,” the people being present; for they thronged about us very much. This made him confess, that what he had heard was sound, and according to Scripture, being very well proved from the text; but he desired some private discourse between ourselves at my quarters, if I would permit it. I told him he might; I quartered at Richard Fry’s; and Richard being present, told him he should be welcome to come to his house, and so we parted. When I came to Richard’s, he said we should hear no more of him, for that in his discourses among his hearers, he had spoken many very unhandsome things against the Quakers, endeavouring to unchristian them, and prove them heathens in denying the ordinances, a common plea used by all our adversaries. But this man carried the matter farther than some others did, by adding, that we denied the Scriptures, and also would not allow of a Bible in any of our meetings, nor did our preachers use a Bible to prove anything therefrom that we preached to the people, with more to the same purport; and as many of his hearers were there, my appearing with a Bible, and referring to the text for proof, no doubt, put him and them upon a thought what had been preached by him, among them, concerning the Quakers, which now appeared to be a manifest untruth by what they had both seen and heard that day. As Richard Fry thought, so it proved; he did not come near me, and Truth was exalted above lies and falsehood.
I returned to Bristol well contented, being filled with peace and consolation. At my return I gave my friends Benjamin Coole and some others, a relation of my conduct, and Benjamin was much pleased that I went there, and repeated what he had said before to persuade me to go, adding, he was pretty much assured it was my place to go; but that if he had known that it was in my mind to preach with the book in my hand, although in the sequel it proved right, he should have been afraid there was more of imagination than revelation in it. It would rather have backened him, than been any argument for him to press my going, as he had found some mistakes committed from such sights, which proved to be but imaginations. He gave me very suitable advice, to take care how I too easily embraced such things for truth, without a due trial, and that it was not displeasing to heaven to try the spirit from which such things proceeded.
I stayed in and about Bristol three weeks, visiting the meetings round the city, but on first-days I was mostly in the city, and it being the winter fair, meetings were very large. At the third-day meeting in the fair week, there was a man out of Wiltshire, a Separate, named Arthur Ismead, who stood up to preach, and was speaking of the light: he put forth a question about bringing our deeds to the light; adding, “do I bring my deeds to the light?” A worthy elder, named Charles Harford, answered, “No, you do not: if you did, you would not do as you do.” I sat all this time under a very great concern, and the word was in me like fire; so I stood up, and with a strong and powerful voice began to preach, he crying out, that he had not done. I took no account of that, but went on, and he soon sat down and fell asleep, and we had a blessed, edifying meeting that day, and Truth was exalted above error. After this meeting I was clear of the city, and visited some parts of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Derbyshire, Cheshire and Lancashire.
In many places I had very large, open, quiet meetings, and when I found myself high and full, I expected low times again, for I very seldom was drawn forth in doctrine, and enlarged more than common, but Maplebeck would come in my way, and the uncommon temptation and trial I underwent after that meeting. I reached home about the latter end of the first month, and stayed with my dear friend Robert Chambers part of that summer, helping him and his brother-in-law, John Moore, at Gale, mowing more days this year than I ever did in one before. John Bowstead and Peter Fearon had a meeting appointed for them at a place called Goose-green, between Kendal and Milthrop; to which meeting there was a very great resort; and being desired to attend it, I did, and in the beginning of the meeting, I spoke something of the universal love of God to mankind. After which a Friend went on with the same subject, and inferred from the text something more than it would bear. A young man who taught a school at Beatham, a small parish in that neighbourhood, took him up after the meeting was over; and having the advantage of the argument, endeavoured to bear the Friend down. I was gone to see the horses got ready for our return, but being called got with difficulty into the house, which was much crowded, the meeting being held in the open ground without the house; and when I got in and heard them, I soon found where the pinch was; the Friend had said what the text would not bear him out in, in quoting Obadiah the tenth verse, compared with Romans the ninth chapter and eleventh verse. I observed that he went too far in expression when I first heard it; and repeating the words more than twice, the young man had them very plain. I waited some time, and then desired liberty of the young man to ask him a question, the answering of which might bring the argument to a point; adding, not that I thought myself so capable to maintain that argument as my friend was. He gave me leave, and my question was, “Whether he believed it consistent with Divine wisdom and mercy, to punish men for such faults, as by his argument they were ordained to be guilty of, and which because of that ordination they could not avoid?” He soon very frankly gave answer, “he did not believe it.” I then asked him, “Why he argued against his own faith and judgment?” For although he took advantage of my friend’s words, not being so well guarded as they should have been, yet that was no just ground to argue against his own judgment. Thus this argument dropped, and then he took up baptism; but soon finding himself not able to support what he undertook to prove by the text, namely: infant baptism, he confessed that he was not qualified to maintain his argument, and therefore requested that we would favour him to confer on that subject on Wednesday next, in the room where he taught school, with the minister of their parish; adding, it might be of service both to him and others. My friends were very much for it, and I was not against it, provided they would go and assist: for I looked on myself very unequal to such a task as this was likely to be. However, after some discourse between ourselves, I consented, on condition that John Jepson, the schoolmaster of Kendal, would be my second; he being well acquainted with, and understanding both the Greek and Latin Testament, might help me against being imposed upon by any false gloss or interpretation put upon the text to prove their arguments.
We told the young man we would endeavour to answer his request, by being with him on fourth-day by nine in the morning: he was glad to be discharged for the present, for I had not seen one sweat more freely than he did, being in a very great agony, he could not forbear shaking as he stood by the table: we parted for this time very good friends. But I grew uneasy, fearing how it would end, and blamed my friends for bringing me into this scrape, and not assisting me in it, but leaving me to dispute with I knew not who; but all I got was, that they doubted not but I should be assisted to come off well, of which I was very doubtful, and it hindered me of some hours sleep.
When the time came, my friend John Jepson and two more went with me. We came pretty early, rather before than after the time appointed; and the young man had got his room, and two elbow chairs ready, for the parson and myself. I was not willing to sit in either, being younger than friend Jepson; but to avoid words about it, I sat down in one. The young man acquainted the parson we were come, and he came to us, scraping and bowing, and the more we supposed, because he saw we did not answer him in the same way. After he sat down, previous to entering on what we met about, he would needs have it, that I challenged a dispute with him; to which I could not agree. But referring myself to the young man, I desired that he would inform his neighbour of the true cause of our coming there, which he did very handsomely, to the following effect: “Sir, meeting last sabbath-day with this gentleman, we fell into a conference about infant baptism, supposing that I was able from Scripture to prove that practice; but on trial, finding myself not able to hold the argument, I shut it up. Therefore, believing you, sir, to be more able to defend the practice of our church, than I am, I desired this gentleman to favour me so much as to come and confer with you on this subject, in my hearing, that I might have this matter set in a true light. I beg your pardon, sir, hoping that this modest request to the gentleman is not offensive to you, and I will assure you, it is a great pleasure to me.”
Thus having made his apology, the priest being a hasty, passionate man, began; “You Quakers are not fit to be disputed with, because you deny the Scriptures, the ordinances of baptism and the Supper of our Lord.”
I addressed myself to the young man, to inform the parson that infant baptism, so called, was the present point to be considered; which he did in a few words, and very well, but it was to no purpose. The priest would go on in his own way, calling us heretics, schismatics, heathens, and what not, bestowing freely such reflections upon us as came into his head; and having gone on in this rambling way for some time, with unbecoming language, I requested that he would hear me without interruption, as I had him. I then put him in mind of his old age, he having a comely personage, and fine white locks, and that he had more experience, it might with reason be supposed, than we young men had; and supposing that you may be right, and that we may be in an error, yet for all this, in my opinion, you must be wrong in your conduct towards us, in being so liberal to give us hard names, and yet show no reason for doing so. Here I was broken in upon with a kind of violence, “That all the disciples and apostles had a commission to teach all nations, ‘baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.’ Do you confute this or own it?” I urged, “no water is named in the text; and besides, that text should be rendered, ‘into the name’ of the Father, Son,” etc.
Here the young man, and my friend Jepson, searched both the Latin and Greek, agreeing that it was more proper to render it “into the name,” than “in the name,” etc. Then if that was right, as it was my opinion it was, it was plain to me, that the materials of that baptism could not be elementary water, therefore, I could see nothing in this text to prove the practice of sprinkling infants, or infant baptism. Here I was interrupted with great warmth again: the parson urging, that “the disciples, primitive ministers, and apostles, all had a commission in Matthew xxviii., which by succession was to continue to the end of the world: and this baptism was with water, for the apostles could not baptize with the Holy Spirit.” In answer I said, “When Peter, at the house of Cornelius, began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning,” said Peter; from which it is plain, that teaching by direction of the Spirit being prior to baptism, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was the consequence of such teaching. But this did not please the parson; but he in answer said, “That undoubtedly the commission in Matthew 28 was water, it could be nothing else: What, are you wiser than all our forefathers, who have understood, ever since the first ministers, this text to mean no other than water, and accordingly have so practised?” I queried, if he thought the text meant outward, elementary water? He said he did. I desired to know his reason for so believing. He answered, “The practice of the apostles in pursuance of that commission which all had.” I then queried, if he thought Paul was included in that commission? He granted that he was, “and by virtue of his commission he baptized many.” But I desired they would turn to the text, 1 Cor. 1:17, where the apostle plainly says, “Christ sent him not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel;” and in the foregoing verses he thanks God, “he baptized no more,” etc. Besides, allowing that they did baptize with, or more properly in, water, yet this argues nothing in proof of sprinkling, nor is there any precept or precedent for it in all the Bible. At this the parson stood up in a passion, told us we were no Christians, nor fit to be conversed with as such, and left us in a rage without any ceremony.
The young man acknowledged that the minister, as he styled him, was not able to defend his own practice from Scripture, and desired we would lend him some books treating on that subject and others, in which we differed from them and other dissenters in point of religion. We agreed to let him have William Penn’s Key, Robert Barclay’s Apology, and some others, upon applying himself for them to John Jepson, his brother schoolmaster. He was thoroughly convinced, and likely to make a good man; he had several enemies, among whom the parson was not the least: but he shortly after this sickened and died.
I was very diligent in following harvest work, both at mowing and reaping, and diligently observing my gift, to attend such meetings as I was inclined to; and I found that I grew in my gift, as I could discern myself. But I would check myself for such thoughts, seeing them by no means proper to have a place in my heart, lest that humility, which is the ornament of every Gospel minister, should be departed from through self-love and conceit, by which I might be brought to have a better opinion of myself than any of my neighbours had; which, if given way to, would eat out all that respect my brethren and the church had for me; and by this foolish pride and conceit, the hearts of Friends would be shut against me, and I should lose my place and interest in them.
I had one journey more to make into Scotland, before my going, or at least intending to go, into America, of which in its place.
An account of my journey into Scotland, in the work of the ministry, begun the 11th of the eighth month, 1701.
I had for my companion in this journey, Isaac Thompson, a young man who had a good gift in the ministry. We visited meetings in our way to Carlisle, finding our understandings much enlarged in the opening of Divine truths, and our service grew upon us, and we went on with boldness and cheerful minds, meeting in our way, with our dear and worthy friend James Dickinson, who was intending a visit into Ireland. In our journey from the border to Dumfries, we had very profitable conversation of good service to us both, because we, by reason of youth and lack of experience, were often very weak, and doubting whether we were right or not in the work; so that this dear friend, by his tender and fatherly care and advice to us, was of great encouragement, in letting us know how weak and poor he often found himself; which so answered my condition, that it was as marrow to my bones.
When we came to Dumfries, after we had taken some refreshment at our inn, James said to us, “Lads, I find a concern to go into the street, will you go with me? For he thought it might only be to show himself, and was desirous that we might all go together, being five in number. So we walked forth, and the inhabitants gazed upon us, for the Quakers were seldom seen in that town; and several came after us, and James lifted up his voice like a trumpet among the people, who were very quiet and attentive. When he was clear, we retired back to our inn, and several followed us, who were very rude and wicked, but were not permitted to hurt us. We had sweet comfort and refreshment one in another at our quarters. Next morning we took leave and parted, he went for Portpatrick, and we visited the meetings, though very small, until we came to Hamilton, where we were finely refreshed with a small handful of living Friends; and so to Glasgow, where the people were rude, but something better than in times past, not being so uncivil to us in the streets.
We went from there to Kinneel, Lithgow, and so over the water on our journey northward, taking Boroughstowness and Ury in our way to Aberdeen Quarterly Meeting, where we found Friends in a sweet frame of spirit, being in dear unity one with another. We had meetings with them to good satisfaction, and had some also further north, as at Inverary, Killmuck, etc. We then came back to Ury by Aberdeen, taking our journey to Edinburgh, visiting the small meetings, and some other places which we inclined to visit in our way there. We had but one little meeting there, and then went to Kelso, where we stayed two meetings on the first-day of the week, and in the evening Friends laid before us the desire they had for our going to Jedburg, a town about seven miles from them, and not much out of our way to England. We considered the matter, but not the exercise that might attend us in going there; so next morning we went, and when we came to the town, Samuel Robinson being our guide, the landlord at the inn would not give us entertainment.
We went to another inn, and the landlord took us in, telling us how indecently the minister had railed against the Quakers the day before, asserting they were the devil’s servants, and that by his assistance they did in their preaching what was done; with very many vile words; but observing one of his hearers taking what he had said in short-hand, he called out, charging him not to write what he spoke at random against the Quakers; with much more to the same effect. We called for some refreshment, but my mind was under so much concern, I could neither eat nor drink. We desired to pay for what we had, and gave the landlord charge of our horses and bags, whereby he suspected that we were going to preach: he took me by the hand, and begged that we would not go into the street, but preach in his house, and he would have his family together, and they would hear us. I looked steadily upon the poor man, who trembled very much, telling him, “we thought it our place and duty to preach to the inhabitants of the town; and do you think,” said I to him, “we shall be clear in the sight of God, whom we both fear and serve, by preaching to you and your family, what we are required to preach to the people in the town?” The poor man I found was smitten in himself, and his countenance altered greatly, but he made this reply, “Is this the case, sir?” I said it was. “Then,” said he, “go, and God preserve and bless you, but I fear the mob will pull down my house for letting you have entertainment, and kill you for your good will.” I bid him not fear, for he whom we served was above the devil, and that not a hair of our heads should be hurt without his permission. He then seemed willing to let us go, and followed at a distance to see our treatment.
The chief street was very broad, with a considerable ascent, and near the top of the ascent was a place made to cry things on, to which we walked, where we paused a little, but I had nothing to do there at that time. Returning back to the market-cross, which was at the foot of the hill, and had an ascent of three or four steps, and a place to sit on at the top, we sat down; but we had not sat long before a man came to us with a bunch of large keys in his hand, and took me by the hand and said, I must go into the Tolbooth, meaning the prison; I asked him for what? He said for preaching. I told him we had not preached. “Ay! but” quoth he, “the provost,” meaning the mayor, “has ordered me to put you in the Tolbooth.” “For what? “I again replied. “I tell you for preaching.” I told him, I did not know whether we should preach or not; but it was soon enough to make prisoners of us when we did preach. “Ay!” says he, “I ken very weel that you will preach by your looks.” Thus we argued the matter, he endeavouring to pull me up, and I to keep my place; and when he found I was not easily moved, he turned to my companion, who likewise was unwilling to be confined, and then he went to Samuel Robinson, our guide, who was easily prevailed on to go, and the easier, for that he had been there but the week before with two Friends, namely: John Thompson and Thomas Braithwaite, both of our county of Westmoreland.
By this time we had a large assembly, and Samuel Robinson supposing we should have a better conveniency to preach to them in the prison, as the Friends afore-named had the week before, we were conducted there, just by the cross where we held the parley, and put in at the door. But Samuel Robinson soon saw his mistake, for the week before the windows of the prison were all open, nothing but the iron grates in the way, the windows being very large for the sake of air, but now all were made dark, and strongly fastened up with boards. We had been but a short time there, before a messenger came to offer us liberty, on condition we would depart the town without preaching; but we could make no such agreement with them, and so we told the messenger. A little after he was gone, I wrote the following lines to the provost:
It is in my mind to write these few lines to you, the provost of this town of Jedburg, to let you understand that our coming within your liberties is not to disturb the peace of your town, nor to preach false doctrine or heresy, as is by your teachers maliciously suggested, whose interest it is, as they suppose, to make the people believe it, but in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ, whose servants we are, for he has bought us with his most precious blood; and we are no more our own, but his who has bought us, whose power is an unlimited power, and all other power is limited by him. His power is not to be limited by any other power; therefore we his servants dare not limit ourselves, or promise any man we will do this, or we will do that, but commit our cause to him, as the Lord’s servants did of old, knowing, that if we please him he can deliver us, but if not, we can make no promise to any man on this account, because we ourselves know not what he has for us to do; and therefore we endeavour to stand clear from all engagements, ready to do what he requires at our hands.
I must tell you, that the manner of our imprisonment looks very rigid and uncommon in these times of liberty, so far below a Christian that it is hardly humane, that we should be here detained as evil doers, before we are examined, or any breach of law appears against us. Does your Scotch law judge a man before it hears him? If so it is very unjust indeed, and looks very hard, that the king’s subjects may not have the liberty to walk in your streets as elsewhere, which was all we did, besides sitting down on the market-cross in a thoughtful sense of our duty to God, not opening our mouths but to him who violently forced us into confinement; nor do we know that we should have spoken to the people in the way of preaching at all. This is the work of our Master, and we must wait his will and time, to know both when and how to do it; therefore if you think to keep us until we promise you or any of your officers, not to preach in your streets, it will be long that we must abide here.
I desire you to take the matter into Christian consideration, to do as you desire to be done unto, and give yourself liberty to think for what end the magistrate’s sword is put into your hand, that you may use it right, lest you should be found one of those who turn justice backwards, so that equity cannot enter.
This is from one that wishes your welfare and salvation.
Jedburg Tollbooth, 18th of Ninth month, 170
When I had written this, it was very hard to persuade anyone to carry it to the provost, for now they were so affrighted about having anything to say or do with us, that they dared not appear to talk with us; and whether he had it or not, I cannot be certain.
The next day there was a country gentleman came into the town, and sent his servant to invite us to his house, to which we replied, “We knew not yet when we should have our liberty; but desired our thanks might be returned to his master, for that kind invitation.” He replied, we should soon be at liberty, for his master was gone to the provost; knowing they had no pretence to keep us there. Accordingly in less than two hours after, we were set at liberty, and went to our inn to refresh ourselves. The town was very full of country people, it being market day, and we went to the market cross, which was so much surrounded with people selling their ware, that there was no room for us, without great damage to them. We therefore, after a short pause, walked up the street to the place before named, and the street and balconies were filled with people, with the sashes and casements open, and crowded with spectators, some computed the number to be above five thousand, but such guesses at numbers are uncertain.
There I stood up, being above the people, both by the advantage of the ground, and the place where I stood, and opened my mouth, being full of the power and spirit of grace, saying, “Fear the Lord, and keep his commandments,” who by his servants said, “I will put my law in their minds, and write it in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” Now if you are obedient to this law, you will do well, and thereby become the people of God; but if disobedient, you will lie under his wrath and judgments. With more, distinguishing between the happiness of those that obey, and the unhappiness of the disobedient.
I stepped down, in expectation that my companion might say somewhat, but he was willing to be gone; and I was concerned to step up again, and kneeling down, was fervently drawn forth in prayer; but after I had begun, two men came and took me by my arms, and led me down the street praying, and by the time we came at the foot of the ascent, I had done praying. After this I took a view of the people, who showed great respect indeed; but I was conveyed to the prison door, where was a sentry of two soldiers, who heard what I said to the officers that brought me there, to this effect: “That the day before I was forced there against my will, and contrary to law, but that I would not go there again, without being first examined by the provost, or by their priest and elders of their church, or other chief officers in their town, and if then it appeared that I had broken any law, or done aught worthy of imprisonment, having a court order setting forth my crime, I would willingly suffer, and not refuse going there; but without such an examination I refused to go there again, unless forced to it by violence, and that I hoped they would not be guilty of.”
At this one of the soldiers, taking his musket by the small end, and advancing the butt said, “his countryman had spoken right, and what he said was according to law and justice, and ought to be observed as such; and therefore if you will take him before the provost for examination, you may; but if not, touch him that dare. At this bold speech they both left me, and I was advanced above the people about six or seven steps, and turning about to them, there being a little square before the door, surrounded with the guard chamber on one side, the Tolbooth on the other, and a wall facing the street about four feet high, I had a very good opportunity to speak to them, which I did, about a quarter or near half an hour, and they were very quiet and civil. When I had done, and acknowledged the soldier’s kindness and civility towards me, who said “It was his duty to do it,” I came down the steps, the people crowding very close to see as well as hear me, but they divided soon, making a lane for my passage, showing me considerable respect in their way. Some said, “You have done them, sir, you have done them, sir;” meaning thereby I had got the victory. All was very quiet, save that one or more would have forced a horse over us, but was prevented by the rest. Not the least unhandsomeness appeared among them save that. Retiring to our inn, I was full of peace and comfort.
By this time the day was much spent, and concluding to stay that night, we ordered some refreshment to be got for us, for I found myself in need of it. It was soon got ready, and we invited our host to share with us, who willingly did so, showing his good liking to what had been said; adding, he never saw the people so struck and give so good attention; nor did ever he see so large a multitude who heard so intelligibly down to the very foot of the hill, which was, as he supposed, not much less than two hundred yards in length, and, by computation, I took the street to be upwards of thirty yards wide, and all that space much crowded. I gave him a hint of his fear, putting him in mind that our duty in preaching to that multitude, could not possibly be discharged by preaching to him and his family, and he acknowledged it was right in us to do as we did.
By this time the evening closed in, and some gentlemen sent word that they would gladly pay us a visit, if we would permit it, and the landlord, I saw, earnestly desired we would. He had a very large room, into which we went, and they soon came to us, and quickly fell into conversation, for they are very full of talk about religion, and very tenacious in their opinions upon it. The first article of dispute was, about “the rule of faith and practice;” and this was argued, pro and con, nearly half an hour, between them and our guide, Samuel Robinson, who was a very sensible religious young man, and had a good share of learning also; but I found they made nothing of it. Our opponents would endeavour, in their way, to make out the Scriptures to be the only rule of faith, and the Spirit we professed to be guided by, to be subordinate to the text. I hitherto had said nothing, but now desired a few words by way of question, the answering of which might bring this dispute to a point. I said I thought not to take the argument from my friend Robinson, whom I took to be more capable to support it than I. All were very willing to hear me; and I began to state the difference between us thus; “We all agree, that the Scriptures are a rule of faith and practice; do we not?” This was granted. “The difference lies here, if I take it right, we say it is a rule; you say, it is the only rule; this is the point in dispute, is it not?” this was likewise granted. Then I proceeded thus; “allowing what you say to be true, it must be considered that all instrumental rules are made, whether they relate to spiritual or temporal affairs, and must be contrived and adapted to answer the end for which they are made.” This was allowed also. “And as the text is a rule made, contrived and adapted for spiritual affairs, who made it so? since the text could not make itself.” Here was a long pause; at last one replied, “Holy men wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Here was a long pause again; “and,” said I, “is this your mind?” “It is the plain words of the text,” said another: “Granting this, then it must by your concession be allowed, that the Spirit gave forth or made the Scriptures, by the medium of holy men; therefore the Spirit gave forth the text: now judge you, whether a rule made, or the author who made that rule, be subordinate?” There was a pause for a little while, and one of the company said, “You are done, you are done,” meaning they had lost the victory, “the Scriptures must be subordinate to the Spirit that gave them forth.” I replied thus, “We believe concerning the text, that it is a rule, and the best external rule we have; but that the Spirit, which gave it us by the medium of holy men, is the principal rule of faith and practice.”
Thus this debate ended, and they started another about baptism; but that was soon ended. Our friend Robinson, was an over match for them by far about it. Then they had a few words about the bread and wine; which held but little time, for they allowed these ceremonies to be external parts of religion. Then they came to preaching, and stated the question thus; “We know how our own teachers come by their ministry, and by what authority they preach,” meaning their learning, and laying on the hands of the presbytery at their ordination, etc., “but we want to know, how your preachers come by their ministry, and by what authority they preach?” Here our friend reasoned with them some time, but they either could not, or would not be convinced with his words; so he told the company plainly, “that he never did preach, and therefore would leave it to those who did, to give account how they came by it.” I was, all the time that they bandied this affair, under a great concern, fearing how we might come off; but when Samuel Robinson laid the matter so justly and fairly at our door, there was so considerable a space of silence, that they expected nothing from us, but began other discourse, till I could no longer withhold; and bespeaking their silence and attention, was willing to relate to them, how I came by my ministry; to which they listened with close attention. Then I premised, as an introduction before I came to the matter itself, that “although in the thread of my discourse, something might appear liable to an objection, I entreated the favour of them all to hear me out, as what I might say afterwards would perhaps solve their objections, without giving me or themselves any interruption;” to which, with one voice, they all assented, as a reasonable and just request, and I proceeded as follows:
My father was a cordwainer, who lived by his trade of making shoes, and died before I was a month old, leaving my mother a small patrimony of about four pounds a year, to keep herself, me, and one son more, who was about seven years old when my father died. My mother gave me a religious education in this same way. When I was fit to go to school, I was sent there until I was ten or eleven years old, and then was taken from school and put to keep sheep: my earnings, though very small, giving some assistance to my mother, who had bound my brother an apprentice. I was kept close to attend the flock when needed, and afterwards put an apprentice to a blacksmith, still going to our own meetings, but did not understand the rudiments of the religion I was trained up in, but was addicted to the pleasures of the times. When I went to meeting, I knew not how to employ my thoughts, and often, yes, very often, the greatest part of the meeting, for lack of a proper employment of thought, I spent in sleeping; for the preaching, which was pretty much, I did not understand. Thus two or three years of my apprenticeship I spent with very little sense of God or religion.
But so it fell out, that a young woman came to visit our meeting, and in her preaching, seemed to direct her words to me, which were to this effect; “A Quaker by tradition—you go from the meeting as you come to it; and come to it as you went from it, having no profit by doing so; but what will you do in the end thereof?” [ed. This is probably the best known quotation from Bownas’ Journal.] These words were so suited to my then state, that I was pricked to the very heart, crying out in secret, “Lord! How shall I do to mend it? I would willingly do it if I knew how:” A voice in my breast replied, “Look unto me, and you shall find help.” From that time forward I found it true, that what is to be known of God and of true religion, is revealed within; and relying on the Lord, who began thus to reveal his power in me and let me see that I must depend on him for strength and salvation, the Scriptures seemed to be unsealed, and made clear to my understanding; such as, “being born from above,” and that which is to be known of God is made manifest in us; and also that text which says, “The kingdom of God is within.” The Lord opened my understanding by his Spirit, to see the proper qualification and call of true ministers, that it was not external but internal, and the heart must first be sanctified, before the Divine anointing could be expected. Thus for some time I went on in my religious duties with great success, and I found I gained much in spiritual and Divine knowledge.
As I was going to meeting on that day commonly called Sunday, it came into my mind, that if I was watchful and obedient, carefully minding to keep my place, and to follow that guide I was now acquainted with, I should be made a teacher of others. I proceeded on my way to meeting, and being sat down therein, in a short time I felt the power of the Spirit very strong upon me, to speak a few sentences. But oh! the reasoning and excuses I formed in my weak mind, that I might be spared from this work some time longer; and the weight seemed to be taken from me for that time. The trouble and uneasiness which I afterwards went through, made me enter into covenant, that if ever the like offer was made me, I would give up to the heavenly vision. The trouble of my mind affected my countenance so much, that it gave my master reason to examine me, how it was: I gave him a candid account, adding my fear that my offence was so great, I should be rejected as a cast-away. But he comforted me, with urging various examples of the like kind, for my encouragement, no way doubting but that at the next meeting the same concern would come upon me, to which he advised me to give up, with a sympathizing spirit of love, in comfortable exhortations confirmed by Scripture examples: and as he had said, before I had sat in the next meeting an hour and a half, the same concern came upon me, and I had now to deliver the same words with the same authority as I did when in that meeting, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.—I say fear him, who will terribly shake the earth, that all which is movable may be shaken and removed out of the way; and that which is immovable may stand.” This was the first appearance I made in public, as a preacher. By this time I found, that the power of the Gospel was over them, by their wiping of their eyes; and I was assisted to go on with strength of argument and demonstration; adding, that then I had nearly three years of my time to serve, which I did with great faithfulness to my master; preaching a little at times, but not very frequently, yet to the great satisfaction of my brethren.
Before my time was expired I found a concern upon me to travel abroad as a minister; and I acquainted my master therewith, who had been as a father to me. He told me, before I went on that errand, I must acquaint the elders therewith, and lay it before the Monthly Meeting, setting forth the service thereof, to take care of our poor, and to deal with offenders, who were a scandal by their ill conduct to their profession, and sundry other matters cognizable in those meetings, that they might judge, whether my concern was right, and give me a letter of recommendation or certificate, to signify their unity and satisfaction therein; which I did accordingly: and with some very suitable advice to my then present infant state as a minister, they gave me a certificate or a letter of recommendation, and signed it in the meeting, as is usual in such cases. I accomplished that journey, and was, at my return, called upon to give account thereof, and to deliver up my certificate.
After which, in a short time, I had another journey before me, and by our discipline, or church government, was obliged to go to the same meeting for a fresh certificate, which was readily granted; and the brethren rejoiced at my improvement, advising me to render the honour thereof where due. At my return, I was obliged to attend the said meeting, and give account of my travels as before. This practice among us is judged needful, lest anyone should swerve from their first foundation, and undertake to preach without a right commission, and so impose upon Friends who know them not.
In a little time I was concerned to take another journey, and laid before the said meeting my concern, as above said, and had a certificate. At my return, I gave account as before, and delivered my certificate: after which I had a concern to visit this nation in this very journey, and laid my concern before the said meeting, had a certificate readily granted me, and pulling it out of my pocket-book, said, here it is. At which, one of them took it, and, at the desire of the rest read it; and it was returned me with a profound silence. I proceeded to add, that I had visited all that kingdom, where I found drawings in my spirit to go, and this, so far as I yet see, is the last place; and now I must leave you to judge, whether it is not reasonable for you to conclude, at least that I think myself constrained by an Almighty power, else how could I have exposed myself to such an unruly mob as I have preached to this day? Here I stopped; and one in the company asked, if all our preachers came by their ministry this same way? To which I replied, I could not give account how another man might receive his ministry, but I have given you a faithful and candid account how I received mine.
My companion was full of matter to relate, by giving them an account how he came by his ministry, but let in a fear, that what he might add, would hurt the cause. One of the company said, it is enough that we have heard, and so he was very handsomely excused.
The night, by the time this was over, being far spent, it being some time past the middle, a reckoning was called, and they would not allow us to pay any part thereof, but took leave of us with great affection; and the country gentleman, who was assisting to our liberty, gave us a very kind invitation to his house, which we received very thankfully; but being engaged in our minds for England, had not freedom to go with him: so we parted in a very loving and friendly manner. We being now left to ourselves, I had an opportunity to reflect on what had passed, and to examine my whole conduct all that day; a practice I frequently used, after a more than common day’s service; and indeed after every opportunity of an enlargement in my gift, by experience finding the best instructor in my own bosom, to show where I hit the matter or missed it. In considering why I began so low as my father, setting forth my manner of education and trade, which seemed to have no relation to my call to the ministry, I saw the reason thereof to be, that they might not think my ministry to have, in the least, any dependance upon literature; a qualification much depended on for the work of the ministry among them, and some of them will not take any notice of any other sort: if a man, for they will not admit a woman to have any part in this work, be never so Divinely fitted by the Spirit, yet if he lack human learning, it is all nothing with them. Thus the wisdom of truth, which I did not see so plainly at first, appeared to my understanding very clearly: and on a close and narrow inspection into this day’s work, I found inward peace, a joy spring in my heart that I could not set forth by words. My companion had more ease and true content than I feared he could have, by reason of his not coming up in his service, to let the company know how he came by his ministry, and by what authority he preached.
I have been more particular in the relation of this day’s work than I otherwise should have been, as containing in it such signal marks of Providence; first, that we should be detained in hold, just till the people from the country were come in; and then set at liberty to say what the Lord gave us. And thirdly, that we had so seasonable an opportunity to explain our practice as to the ministry, namely: the conduct of the Society towards them; and likewise the service of our Monthly Meetings respecting the poor, marriages, admonishing offenders, making up differences, granting of certificates to such as saw cause to remove themselves from one Monthly Meeting to another, as well as to ministers. Their showing so much kindness, and raising no objection to anything said on these heads, plainly demonstrated their good liking and satisfaction therewith.
The next morning we set out for England, and by the evening got among Friends in the border, within the compass of Sowport meeting, and had some meetings, as at the border, Scotby, Carlisle, and some others. I came to my old master Samuel Parrot’s, having no place to retire to as home, but sometimes I was at Sedgwick, and sometimes quartered with my friend Robert Chambers, and sometimes at Kendal, and at Gateside, at honest William Simpson’s, where I occasionally helped them in their business, he being a blacksmith. I was now preparing myself for a journey into America, and was nearly ready; and I had an opportunity to take my leave of the neighbouring meetings, as Dent, Garsdale, Sedbergh, Grayrigg, Kendal, Preston, with several others thereabouts. That at Preston was the most memorable and solid, the sense whereof continued with me all over America, at times.
I went from there to Yelland, and many Friends came to that meeting from other places to take leave of me, so that it was a very large and living meeting; and I parted with my brethren in great love and unity. I then came by Wray, Bentham, Settle and Airton; that great and good man William Ellis being then living, and full of power, having great and solid experience concerning the work of the ministry, he was very edifying to me, by the wholesome counsel he gave. James Wilson was with me, who was not at that time a public minister, yet of great service in visiting families, being closely engaged in spirit for maintaining good order and discipline; and we being both very young in these things, this worthy friend gave such advice to us both, with respect to a faithful coming up in our services, that we could with good reason say, that his words were like apples of gold in pictures of silver; for a long time after the sense and virtue of them dwelt on my mind, to my great advantage. We stayed with him one night, and had a small meeting, in which the preference and value I had for him, together with an awe that was upon my spirit concerning his great services and experience as a minister, took such a place in my mind, that I was silent before him. Next day we took our leave, and he brought us on our way a little, heartily praying at parting, that I might be preserved in my place, and return with safety.
James Wilson came with me as far as Leeds, where we parted, and I went through Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, visiting meetings, where some time before I met with great trials and afflictions, and some were convinced: my mind was strongly engaged to see them in my way, and I had good satisfaction in that visit.
Having done this, I went by the way of Bitchin and Hertford, visiting meetings, finding encouragement to go on: but I still expected that I should be stopped by the Morning Meeting, for lack of a companion. I came to London the latter end of the tenth month, 1701, being by letters advised that the ships would sail in a week’s time, or very shortly; but a war breaking out between England and France, an embargo was laid on all shipping for two months, so that there was no expectation of getting off. I stayed in London about three weeks, visiting all the meetings in and about the city, which gave the brethren a thorough taste of my service. Some of my best friends advised, that I should not lay my concern for America before the meeting, until the General or Monthly Meeting of ministers did come round, and in that time my service as a minister would be generally known. I readily complied; and when the time came, I went in great fear to lay my concern before that meeting, being still apprehensive I should not be permitted to proceed, for lack of a suitable companion; but as no objection arose, they perused the certificates I had from the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings, and did well approve thereof; and a minute was made, appointing some Friends to prepare a certificate against the next meeting; which was accordingly done, brought there, and signed.
All things now being clear for my going by the first opportunity, it was thought proper to look for a ship, which by the assistance of some Friends was done, but no likelihood of going quickly, by reason of the embargo.
I had a desire to visit the west, in particular Dorset, Somerset, Bristol and Wilts, but was at a loss for a horse, having sold my own soon after I came to London. The Friend to whom I sold him, offered that I should have him for that journey, which I accepted, and set out, having in company a young man who had been bred at college, whose name was Samuel Crisp; [footnote: See Letters and Extracts from a Treatise Written By Samuel Crisp. –returning to text.] a meek spirited youth, and rightly convinced. When we got forty or fifty miles from London, he had strong inclinations to go back. I made a kind of a running visit; and when I was at Bristol, my friends there were exceedingly kind, and would willingly have had me gone from there; but my prior engagement at London would not permit it.
I stayed there two weeks at least, and taking my leave, Friends brought me on my way to Bath, Bradford, etc. They returned, and I went on for London, and quartering at an inn at Hungerford, not being easy to take any more meetings till I came to London, I fell in company with a couple of tradesmen, who, when we sat down to supper, complimented each other about which should crave a blessing. At last they pulled off their hats, and one of them did it in some sort; but my sitting with my hat on was such an offence, that they began to reprove me very sharply. I said but very little for some time until they had spent their reproach upon me, and then I spoke to this effect, “That the appearance they made, just before supper was brought to the table, was so very void of grace in their hearts, that I could not think it my place to pull off my hat to their formal prayer: and besides, as soon as the words were out of their mouths and over, it appeared to me that they were the same, and I saw by their conduct that they did not understand the nature of true prayer, which is to be performed both with the spirit and understanding; and if you had not lacked both, you could not pass such silly compliments on each other about it.” I was now very quiet, and they said no more to me. But as soon as supper was over, and the reckoning paid, they left me with free consent, for our company was unsuitable.
Next day I went towards London by Newbury, where I stopped at a funeral, and so to Reading, and by Maidenhead to the city, but found the embargo not yet taken off. It being now pretty near the middle of the first month, I visited some parts of Hertfordshire, having my dear friend John Tompkins part of the time, and Samuel Crisp, who was a sweet companion, having received the knowledge of the truth the right way.
About a week or two in the second month, orders were given the merchants to get ready, and a convoy was to go with them: but for all this, it was the latter end of the third month before we got off; so I had an opportunity to visit the greatest part of Kent. After we sailed from the Downs, we were put into Portsmouth harbour by contrary winds, and lay there two or three weeks, which was very tiresome. But all this time I never considered the danger of being taken by the French; it did not so much as enter into my mind, until I came into Philadelphia, where hearing that Thomas Story, Richard Groves and others, were taken some time before, and carried into Martinico, a French island, I thought of it more closely.
I left England in the third month, 1702, about the time of the Yearly Meeting, with peace of mind, and wrote a few lines to be sent to the meeting of ministers in Kendal, or elsewhere, in Westmoreland, my native place; which I here insert, being the first fruits of that kind to my brethren.
To the Meeting of Ministers at Kendal, in Westmoreland.
My dearly beloved brethren and sisters,
In that love which in time past we have enjoyed together, do I heartily salute you, having in mind some few things to impart, as counsel and caution to us all, including myself therein.
We who apprehend ourselves called into this public station of preaching, ought closely to wait on our guide, to put us forth in the work. And dear friends, I see great need for us carefully to mind our openings, and go on as we are led by the Spirit; for if we over-run our guide, we shall be confused, not knowing where, or how to conclude: but if we begin and go on with the Spirit, we shall conclude so, that all who are truly spiritual will sensibly feel that we are right: then will our ministry edify those who hear it.
Dear friends, let us be singly and in sincerity devoted to the will of God, whether to preach or be silent; for if we are not sensible of such a resignation, we may set ourselves at work, when we should be quiet, and so bring an uneasiness upon our friends, and a burden upon ourselves. This conduct will shut up Friends’ hearts against our service and ministry. And my dear friends, every time you appear in the ministry, when it is over, examine yourselves narrowly, whether you have kept in your places, and to your guide; and consider, whether you have not used superfluous words, that render the matter disagreeable, or such tones or gestures as do not become the work we are about, always remembering, that the true ministers preach not themselves, but Christ Jesus our Lord. Let us bear this in mind, that neither arts, parts, strength of memory, nor former experiences will, without the sanctification of the Spirit, do for us to depend upon. Let us therefore, I entreat you, keep to the living fountain, the spring of eternal life, opened by our Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts.
I also desire that you would not neglect your day’s work, in visiting the dark corners of the counties about you: but be mindful of your service therein, as the Lord shall make way for it.
The things above written have been on my mind to communicate to you, my dear friends, with desires that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ may be with your spirits. Amen. Hoping also, that I shall not be forgotten by you, in your nearest approaches to the throne of grace, in your supplications to the God of the spirits of all flesh; remembering me that I may be preserved by sea, and in the wilderness, through the many and various exercises and baptisms, that I may be permitted to undergo for the service sake; and that I may be preserved in humility and self-denial, under the power of the cross, the most beautiful ornaments a minister can ever be clothed with; that if it please Him we should meet again, our joy may be full in the Holy Spirit, which is the fervent prayer of your exercised friend and brother,
This was written in the second month, 1702, and left with my friend John Tompkins, not to send it until he heard I was gone off.
An account of my travels in America the first time.
As advised by the Friends appointed to assist me, I took my passage on board the Josiah, John Sowden master, bound for West river in Maryland, and left England about the 24th of the third month, 1702, and landed in the river Patuxent in Maryland, about the 29th of the fifth month following.
I visited some meetings in that province; but George Keith being there, and challenging disputes wherever he came, gave both me and Friends some exercise: to me, by challenging a dispute without my previous knowledge, in the following terms:
To the preacher lately arrived from England.
Sir, I intend to give notice after sermon, that you and myself are to dispute tomorrow, and would have you give notice thereof accordingly.
Sir, I am your humble servant,
Dated the first Sunday in August, 1702
He wrote this on occasion of an honest Friend’s speaking sharply to him, and giving him the title of an apostate; adding, she could not pretend to dispute with him, but a Friend who was to be at their meeting on first-day next, meaning me, she did not doubt would talk with him. “Well then,” said Keith, “next monday let him come, and I will prove him and all the Quakers, unsound in faith and principle.” With more of that kind. The honest woman being warm and zealous for the cause, replied, “He will not be afraid of you, I am sure.”
The messenger who brought the letter, delivered it in haste, as he was ordered, to John Faulkner, a young man from Scotland, who was then storekeeper in B. Bains and Co’s. employ. A considerable number of us in company were just then going to a meeting at Chester in the woods, some distance from any house, and John insisted for me to write an answer, adding, “Keith would call the country together, and make much noise about it, as if we were afraid, etc., and it was best to nip his expectation in the bud.” As we knew nothing of the conference Keith had with the woman Friend two days before, I wrote to the following effect, being dated the same day:
I have received yours, and think myself no way obliged to take notice of one who has been so very mutable in his pretences to religion; besides, as you have long since been disowned, after due admonition given you by our Yearly Meeting in London, for your quarrelsome and irregular practices, you are not worthy of my notice, being no more to me than a heathen man and a publican; is the needful from
John Faulkner carried our answer, and we went to our meeting, being at Chester in Maryland, as aforesaid. By the time the meeting was fully gathered, John Faulkner came back, and we had a comfortable meeting: afterwards John Faulkner told us, George Keith read my letter publicly among his company, appearing very angry at the contents of it; and the company laughed very heartily, many of them being much pleased with it. John Faulkner came out of the company, and a substantial planter followed him, and told him, he had much rather go with him to our meeting, than to hear George Keith rail and abuse the Quakers; but being in the commission of the peace, he must, as Keith was recommended by the bishop of London, show him some respect; adding, that John Faulkner should bring me to his house to dine the next day; from which John would have been excused, urging, that as they had a value for me, Friends would be for bringing me on my way further; adding, we should incommode his house. He urged it the more, saying, we should all be welcome. Accordingly several went with me there, and he was very kind, giving us an account of George Keith’s railing against us the day before, and how disagreeable it was to the assembly. Keith left a broad sheet printed, wherein he pretended to prove the Quakers no Christians, out of their own books; I had an answer thereto in print, which Friends were glad of, and I left with them several to spread where he left his.
After we had dined, we took our leave and a Friend, my guide, went with me to a people called Labadies, where we were civilly entertained in their way. When supper came in, it was placed upon a long table in a large room, where, when all things were ready, about twenty men or upwards, came in, at a call, but no woman: we all sat down, they placing me and my companion near the head of the table, and having paused a short space, one pulled off his hat, but not the rest till a short space after, and then one after another, they all pulled their hats off and in that uncovered posture sat silent, uttering no words that we could hear, nearly half a quarter of an hour; and as they did not uncover at once, so neither did they cover themselves again at once; but as they put on their hats fell to eating, not regarding those who were still uncovered, so that it might be about two minutes time or more between the first and last putting off their hats. I afterwards queried with my companion concerning the reason of their conduct, and he gave this for answer, that they held it unlawful to pray till they felt some inward motion for the same; and that secret prayer was more acceptable than to utter words; and that it was most proper for every one to pray, as moved thereto by the spirit in their own minds.
I likewise queried, if they had no women among them? He told me they had, but the women eat by themselves, and the men by themselves, having all things in common, respecting their household affairs, so that none could claim any more right than another to any part of their stock, whether in trade or husbandry; and if any had a mind to join with them, whether rich or poor they must put what they had in the common stock, and if they had a mind to leave the society, they must likewise leave what they brought, and go out empty handed.
They frequently expounded the Scriptures among themselves, and being a very large family, in all upwards of a hundred men, women and children, carried on something of the manufactory of linen, and had a very large plantation of corn, tobacco, flax and hemp, together with cattle of several kinds. But at my last going there, these people were all scattered and gone, nothing remaining of a religious community in that shape.
I left this place and travelled through the country to Philadelphia, and was there seized with a fever and ague, which held me about thirteen weeks. I stayed there till the Yearly Meeting came on, which was very large, but my disorder of the ague would not admit of my being at one meeting. George Keith with his companions came, but the disturbance they gave was a considerable advantage to Friends, and the meeting ended to great satisfaction.
Being recovered and pretty strong, I left Pennsylvania, and travelled through the Jerseys east and west. I had given expectation to a Friend, one James Miller in Scotland, who had a sister married to one of the Barclay family, that if I came near where she dwelt, I would visit her at his request. She was a very zealous honest Friend, but her husband joined with Keith, and left his friends; and on inquiring about her, where she dwelt, I was told it would be very little out of my way. A young man offered to be my guide, to pay her a visit; and when we came to the house, there were sundry priests, with others, met to sprinkle an infant, the said Barclay’s grandchild. The ceremony was over before we got there, we coming from Shrewsbury Yearly Meeting, where Keith also had been, but gave us no disturbance, nor did he come to our meeting at all, but held a meeting at a small distance from us for two days, and then went off. Our meeting held three days, and was thought to be larger by much, in expectation that George Keith would be there. It ended well, and it was said some were convinced.
But to return to my friend Barclay; she was in an apartment by herself, and gave me a short account of what they had been doing; saying, “they have sprinkled the babe, my grandchild, and the ceremony is over, but they have not yet been to dinner;” to which she added, “my husband will be earnest for your company: if you have freedom to go, I shall leave you at liberty, but if you refuse to go, they will be ready to report that you dared not face them;” adding, “I would be pleased with your company,” meaning me and my companion, “to dine with me, but it will be best, I think, for you to dine with them, and I hope,” said she, “the Lord will give you wisdom so to conduct yourselves, that they may have no just cause to reproach the principle on your account,” She had no sooner ended, than her husband came, and after some compliments, and inquiry about his brother-in-law, James Miller, and relations at Ury, we were called to dinner, and by no means would he excuse me: we went in, and the mistress of the feast, the mother of the babe then sprinkled, would have me sit at her right hand, and George Keith at her left.
We sat all down, and after a short pause, George Keith stood up, with all the rest of his company except me and my companion; we kept our places and hats on, while he repeated a long prayer for the church and state, bishops, and all the inferior clergy, the queen, and dutchess dowager of Hanover, etc. The grace being ended, the mistress carved, and would serve me first. I would have refused, and put it to George Keith, but he refused it likewise: when she had done helping us and herself, she began to catechise me in the following manner:
After inquiring about her relations at Ury, in Scotland, and her uncle Miller, she then desired to know my business in Scotland, pretending to suppose me a merchant that dealt in linen to sell in England. I saw her design was to lead me to some unwary answer, for Keith and the rest to find matter of objection to. This put me upon my guard, to make reply cautiously. I freely owned I had no concern in buying or selling any sort of goods. “Pray then, sir, what was your call there?” I replied, that I thought it my place sometimes to advise my friends and others, to endeavour so to live, that death, when it comes, might not be a terror to them; and doubt not but you will count this a good work, and needful to be done. She readily allowed that it was very needful, and the more so, as the age was very wicked. Then she proceeded to query the reason of my coming into these parts, pretending to suppose it was on account of trade, as being a supercargo, with many trifling and impertinent questions, as when I was in such and such places? To all which I gave her answers to the same effect as before, that my business was the same in this country as in Scotland. Then she proceeded to more trifling questions, as when I landed? and where, and which way I was going? All the company at the table gave ear to our dialogue, which appeared to me very weak in such a learned company as they thought themselves to be, and none so much as put in a word between us. Dinner being ended, I desired to be excused, for that time called me away, and my friends would wait for me at the ferry, which we had to pass that evening. Thus Keith and I met and parted.
Then taking leave, I went to see my worthy friend in her own apartment, with whom we had a short, but very agreeable opportunity: we took our leave and went to Woodbridge, where the next day we had a meeting; George Keith preached at Amboy the same day, which places are not far apart. We often interfered one with the other, but he no more gave any challenge to dispute, but took another method to put a stop to my travelling, as will appear afterwards. We came to Long Island, and a meeting was appointed for him to preach within our hearing, and between the two appointments, there was a very large gathering. I being young and strong, my voice was plainly heard by the people who were with Keith, so that they all left his meeting and came to ours, except he that officiated as clerk, and one William Bradford, who had been a printer for Friends at Philadelphia, but deserting the Society, Friends took the business from him, and we had room enough for both meetings, it being in a very large barn.
Some time after, Keith and the said Bradford agreed that Bradford should come and try if no advantage could be taken of my doctrine; accordingly he came, and pulled out of his pocket a small book, with pen and ink, and steadfastly stared in my face, to put me out of countenance if he could; but I was above being daunted at that time, though at other times very incident to it. He opened his book, and wrote about two lines in it, then shut it again, continuing his staring, to try, as some thought, whether he could not daunt me. But it was past his skill, for I felt both inward and outward strength, and Divine power to fill my heart, and my face was like brass to all opposition; he opened his book, wrote about two lines more, and a little after about two more, in the whole about six lines on a small octavo leaf; and after I had done he stood up and said, “Will you stand by these doctrines in public that have been now preached?” meaning by public dispute. A worthy Friend, John Rodman by name, desired him to be quiet, and after meeting was ended he should be answered. Accordingly the meeting concluded, and he waited for his answer. To which friend Rodman said, “William, you know that what our friend has been concerned to speak about this day, are such points as have been by the press argued over and over; and as the controversy has been some years in the press, it is therefore needless at this time of day to reduce it to a verbal dispute.” But he wanted to hear what I would say to the matter; and I told him, his questions being more for contention than edification, I therefore did not think myself obliged to answer them; more especially, since for his contentions and disorderly walking, he had been dealt with and advised in a brotherly and Christian spirit to repent, but his persisting in the same, had obliged his friends to disown him, and for this reason, I said, I have no more to say to you on that head. He turned from me, and in a very angry manner said, “I should hear of it another way.” But I called him back, having something to say on another subject: which was to deliver some tokens of gold sent his wife, by her sister from London: this softened him somewhat, he finding the pieces to agree with the letter, which I requested might be opened before my friends there, and brought him to confess, that he believed I was a very honest man, and he was sorry I should be under such a delusion, as to be in communion with that erroneous people. But at his return to Keith, they laid their heads together, and trumped up the following deposition from what he had written:
I William Bradford, of the city of New York, aged about forty years, depose upon the holy evangelists. The 21st of November, 1702, going into the Quakers’ meeting at Nathaniel Pearsal’s, deceased, in Hempstead, I heard one Bown, that is lately come out of England, preach, and the first words I heard him say were “the Sign of the Cross;” and thus; Friends, having gone through the Papist baptism, let us examine the church of England. Well, what do they do? Why the bishop lays his hands upon those that have learned the languages, and ordains them to be ministers. Well, and what do they do? Why they baptize the children, the young children, and sprinkle a little water in their faces, and by this they make the child a Christian, as they say, and for so doing the children’s’ parents must give the priest four pence or a groat: indeed this is an easy way of making Christians for a groat! And how do they do this? Their own catechism tells us the priest says to the child. What is your name? The child answers Thomas, James, Mary, etc. Well! and who gave you this name? The child answers, my godfathers and godmothers in my baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ. This is a brave way to be a member of Christ! Who would not have a little water sprinkled in their faces? And what did your godfathers and godmothers then for you? Answer. They did promise and vow three things in my name; first, That I should renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh. Ay! did they so! this is brave. Well! what did they promise more? secondly. That I should keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life. And yet in contradiction to this, they plead for sin during the term of life, and say they cannot keep God’s commandments in this life. Why! this is strange, that the godfathers and godmothers should promise what they believe they cannot perform. And do the godfathers and godmothers thus promise? Yes, they do. But this is strange, that their God should need a godfather and godmother. But Friends, our God is the true and living God; in the first of John it is said, ‘in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.’ But this God had no need of a godfather or godmother.
Well, and what do the Presbyterians do? Why they baptize their infants also; but they do not make use of godfathers or godmothers, nor the cross. They have thrown away that piece of popery.
Next, as to the Lord’s supper, I shall speak very brief. Christ says, ‘that which goes in at the mouth defiles not.’ So I shall make this application: The bread and wine which they receive, and call the Lord’s supper, goes in at the mouth, and into the draught, and profits not. They call it a sign; yes, and an empty sign it is. But by these ways and forms the hirelings deceive the people. But we have had sufficient proof of these hirelings in our day; for they will turn with every wind, and every turn that will answer their priests’ ends, as we have seen fulfilled largely in our day.
—Coram nobis Edward Burrows, Joseph Smith, Justices
A true copy by Thomas Cardall, High Sheriff
Having patched up the above deposition in their own way and manner, and form of expression, Keith informs, and Bradford was his evidence; and being at a loss for lack of another evidence to confirm Bradford’s, without which they could not proceed, they met with a young man who was there, and Keith got some words out of him, which he said he heard spoken. They threatened what they would do to him, if he did not come in for evidence to what he had heard; therefore he was prevailed on, through fear, to give his evidence on oath, in the words George Keith had got from him by guile, before the said two justices, which he did as follows, although to no purpose.
Richard Smith, aged about twenty-eight years, deposes upon the four evangelists; that on Sunday last, he, this deponent, was at a Quakers’ meeting in Hempstead, where he heard a man preach, whose name he since understands is Samuel Bowne: in his preaching, he, this deponent, remembers to have heard him speak these words, or words to the like effect, namely: That the church of England in baptism made use of godfathers and godmothers; but our God is the ever living God, and has no need of a godfather or a godmother: and further this deponent says not.
—Joseph Smith, Edward Burrows, Justices
Jurat 24th Decembris 1702, coram nobis
Having thus laid a foundation for a prosecution, a warrant was issued; a copy of which is as under:
Queen’s County, ss.
Joseph Smith, Esq.; E. Burrows, Esq.; justices of the peace for Queen’s County, to the high sheriff of the county, greeting:
You are hereby, in her majesty’s name, strictly charged and commanded, immediately on the receipt hereof, to attach the body of Samuel Bowne, a Quaker, if he can be found in your bailiwick, and to bring his body before us, to answer for such matters of misdemeanour, as shall on her majesty’s behalf be objected against him. And hereof fail not at your peril. Dated under our hands and seals this 24th November, 1702.
—Vera Copia Ex. p. Joseph Smith,
—Thos. Cardall, vic. Ed. Burrows, Justices
Thus all things were ready to be put in execution and several substantial people, not Friends, would have had me gone off, but that I could not do. On the 29th of the same month, I was at Flushing in Long Island, it being the Half-yearly Meeting, which was very large, Keith being expected there. When the meeting was fully set, the high sheriff came with a very large company, who were all armed; some with guns, others pitchforks, others swords, clubs, halberts, etc. as if they should meet with great opposition in taking a poor harmless sheep out of the flock. The sheriff stepping up into the gallery, took me by the hand, and told me I was his prisoner. “By what authority?” said I; he pulled out his warrant, and showed it me. I told him that warrant was to take up Samuel Bowne, and my name was not Samuel Bowne, but that Friend’s name is so, pointing at the Friend by me. “We know him,” said he, “this is not the man, but you are the man: pray then, what is your name?” “That is a question which requires consideration, whether proper to answer or not, for no man is bound to answer to his own prejudice; the law forces none to accuse himself.” Thus we pro’d and con’d a little time, and I got up from my seat, and John Rodman, Samuel Bowne, and sundry other Friends, walked out of the meeting, it not being proper to discourse there at that time; and they, on conversing with the sheriff, who in his nature was a very moderate man, having known Friends in England, easily prevailed on him to stay the meeting, with all his retinue, and afterwards they would consider what was best to be done. They willingly laid down their arms on the outside of the door, and came in, which increased the throng very much: the meeting was silent a considerable time, and the sheriff’s company queried of each other privately, so that I heard it, Why I did not preach; others concluding I should preach no more, being now a prisoner; that is enough to silence him, said they. But finding the word like a fire, I could no longer contain, but standing up, I had a very agreeable service, both to myself and Friends, with the rest of the company; the sheriff himself, and his company also, spoke well of it: it was the first day of the meeting, and the seventh of the week. After meeting was ended, several Friends went to Samuel Bowne’s, to consult with the sheriff, and he being very moderate, and in a very good humour, spoke very mildly and courteously, blaming Keith and Bradford, and gave liberty that I should stay with my friends until the fifth-day following, there being two days of the meeting yet to come, and the funeral of a noted Friend to be the day after it ended. The meeting increased, and the last was the largest and most open: it was supposed there might be nearly two thousand people the last day, but Keith did not come there.
The time for my appearing before the justices being come, several substantial Friends went with me, and a great crowd of other people came to hear; but for lack of the conveniency of a large hall, which they might have had, but by the coldness of the season, as was pretended, the justices would not go there, they were deprived of the opportunity, for lack of room, to hear my examination.
There were four justices, namely: Joseph Smith, Edward Burrows, John Smith and Jonathan Whitehead. The last was a very moderate man, and endeavoured much to have me set at liberty; but they had a priest with them, who tried to put the worst construction on everything I said. They had shut a man up in a closet, to take in short hand the examination, that they might peruse the same to their own advantage: but the man was so drunk, that he lost his papers going home, and a Friend providentially found them, to their great disappointment and shame: great inquiry was made about them among the people.
Having done what they thought fit in examining me, they turned me and my friends out of the room, to consult what was to be further done; and after a little time, we were all called in, I to receive my doom, and my friends to hear it. The clerk, as mouth to the court, said, “These honourable justices have agreed, that you must enter into two thousand pounds bail; yourself in one thousand, and two of your friends in five hundred each, or else be committed to the common jail.” I answered, I could enter into no bond on that account. Here one of the justices queried, if the sum was too large? I answered, that was nothing to the matter, if as small a sum as three half-pence would do, I should not do it, it being a matter of such a nature as I could by no means comply with. Then the last justice offered to be bound for me, in what sum they required. But not only I, but all my friends opposed it with all our might giving them, as well as him, the reason for it. I went with my kind friend the young justice to his house, and found very good and kind entertainment, his wife being a very religious, tender-hearted Friend, and took great care of me. Next morning we met again, the court order was brought in, executed, and was as under:
Queen’s County, ss.
Joseph Smith, Esq.; E. Burrows, Esq.; justices of the peace for Queen’s County, etc., to the high sheriff of Queen’s County, greeting:
We send you herewithal the body of Samuel Bownas, a Quaker, brought before us this day, and charged with speaking scandalous lies of, and reflections against, the church of England as by law established, and other misdemeanours by him done and spoken at a public assembly in Hempstead, in this county, on the 21st day of this instant November. And therefore these are in behalf of her majesty to command you, that immediately you receive the said Samuel Bownas, and him safely keep in the common jail of this county, until that he shall be from there delivered, by the due course of her majesty’s laws. Dated under our hands and seals at Jamaica, this 30th of November, in the second year of the reign of our sovereign lady Queen Anne, of England, etc. Annoq. Dom. 1702.
—A true copy, by Thomas Cardall
—Joseph Smith, Edward Burrows, John Smith, Jonathan Whitehead
I was delivered up a prisoner, and my friends left me, having first got me a good wholesome room, and a very good bed, taking care that I should be without anything necessary for life. This continued for three months; at the end of which a special commission of Oyer and Terminer, and general jail delivery was given to John Bridges, Esq., chief justice of the province; Robert Miller, Esq., second; Thomas Willet, John Jackson, and Edward Burrows; and on the 26th day of the twelfth month. Bridges and Miller came, attended with much company, in great pomp, with trumpets and other music before them, to hold the said court; and about the fourth hour in the afternoon, they in the same order went to court, which was held in the hall, read their commission, and called over the jury, to whom they gave an uncommon charge, adjourning till monday the 28th, at ten o’clock in the morning.
At the same time the court met and called over the grand jury, consisting of twenty-two men, and charged them to retire to their chamber, and the attorney general should send them business.—The court then adjourned.
The grand jury retired, and had a bill of indictment sent them against me, but I could never get a copy of it first nor last. I had prepared sundry reasons to set Bradford’s evidence aside, which the grand jury had before them, and they were of considerable weight with them. On the 29th the court met, and the clerk ordered to call over the jury.
Then it was demanded, what business the jury had to lay before the court; and they presented two bills, one against a woman for some misdemeanour, and the bill against me, both endorsed ignoramus, upon which the judge was very angry. The other justices on the bench being mostly Presbyterians, said little or nothing to the matter, but he addressing himself to the jury, said, “Gentlemen, surely you have forgotten your oaths, and for so doing I could give you some hard names, but at present shall forbear: is this your verdict touching the Quaker?” for they mattered not the other bill, if they could have their ends on me.
The foreman said, “It is Sir.”
Judge.—I demand your reasons, why you have not found the bill against him?
One, whose name was James Clement, a bold man, well skilled in the law, answered, we are sworn to keep the queen’s secrets, our fellows and our own; and for that reason we declare no reasons.
Judge.—Now Mr. Wiseman speaks, but I tell you, you are not so sworn, and I could find in my heart to lay you by the heels, and a fine upon your brethren.
Clement replied, he might if he pleased, but when it was done, it should be exposed with as much expedition as the case would admit in Westminster-hall; for, adds he, juries, neither grand nor petty are to be menaced with threats of stocks or fines, but they are to act freely, according to the best of their judgments on the evidence before them.
The judge finding he had not children to deal with, altered his manner of address, and began to flatter, and requested that they would take back both bills, and resume their considerations upon them. On this the jury was in judgment divided, but at last they all consented, and then the court adjourned till nine o’clock the next day.
The court met according to adjournment, and the jury being called over, the judge said, “Foreman, how find you the bills?”
Foreman.—As we did yesterday.
On which the judge, in great wrath, charged them with obstructing the course of justice.
“Why,” says Clement! “because we cannot be of the same mind as the court? We would have you to know, that we desire no other but that justice may take place.”
The judge now threatened to lay Clement by the heels again. But Clement, no way daunted, told him he might if he pleased; but if he did, he should hear of it in another place.
The clerk was now ordered to call over the jury by name singly, to show their reasons, why they could or could not find the bills. Sundry of them refused to say any more than, “That is our verdict.” Others again, said, “How unreasonable, and against law it is, that the court should endeavour to perjure the jury, by revealing their secrets in the face of the country.” It appeared after the examination of the jury, that seven were for finding the bill, and fifteen stood firm for the verdict, as signed by the foreman. This angered the judge to that degree, that he gave strict orders to keep me more close than before; threatening, “As justice cannot be here come at, I will send him to London, chained to a man of war’s deck, like other vile criminals, with his crimes and misdemeanours along with him, which are of the highest nature, and most dangerous consequence, as tending to subvert both church and state.”
When an account of this was brought me, I was under a great cloud, and the power of darkness so very strong upon me, that I desired death rather than life, fearing that if I was so served, I should be an object of derision to all on board; and greatly doubting that I should not be able to bear the suffering which I must undergo in such a case, with that decency and honour that were requisite in so good a cause.
The Friends left me alone, and I having lost all my faith, which was still worse than being alone, I thought myself the most wretched among men, and scarcely able to live under it. At which time, an honest old man, Thomas Hicks, who had been chief justice in the province some years, and well versed in the law, came to visit me, and on my standing up to show my respects to him, he took me in his arms, saluting me with tears; and thus expressed himself; “Dear Samuel, the Lord has made use of you, as an instrument, to put a stop to our arbitrary courts of justice, which have met with great encouragement since his lordship came here for governor;” meaning the lord Cornbury, who oppressed the people sorely. “But there never has been so successful a stand made against it as at this time: and now, they threaten to send you to England chained to the man of war’s deck. Fear not, Samuel, they can no more send you there than they can send me; for the law both here and in England is such, that every criminal must be tried where the cause of action is; else, why in England do they remove criminals from one county to another to take their trials where the offence was committed? But, after the judgment of the court is given, you may bring your appeal against that judgment; and securing the payment of such fees as are commonly allowed in the like case, they dare not deny your appeal. The judge frets because he cannot have his end against you; and the governor is disgusted also, he expecting to have made considerable advantage by it. But the eyes of the country are now opened, and you are not now alone, but it is the case of every subject; and they will never be able to get a jury to answer their end. Had the Presbyterians stood as you have done, they had not so tamely left their meetinghouses to the church; but that people had never so good a hand at suffering in the case of conscience, as they have had in persecuting others who differed from them.” Here he blamed that people very much, for being so compliant to all the claims of the governor, although ever so unreasonable and against law. This honest man, as if he had been sent by Divine commission, by his discourse raised my drooping spirits, renewed my faith, and I was quite another man: and as he said, so it proved. They could not get the next jury to find the bill against me.
I could never get a copy of the court order or indictment against me, but the judge gave the sheriff orders to keep me more close. I was accordingly put up in a small room made of logs, which had been protested against as an unlawful prison two years before; but that made no difference: I was locked up there, and my friends denied coming to me. I was now advised to demand my liberty, as a right due by law, and I did so: but it was denied me, without showing any other reason, than that I might thank the grand jury for my then confinement. It was likewise thought proper to lay the case before the governor by petition, and demand my liberty of him also; which petition is omitted for brevity’s sake. But all was in vain, for they said they were resolved not to be so baffled by the country, but would bring me to justice. Keith printed some sheets, pretending to open the eyes of the people, saying, that I had reproached the church, the ordinances and government; aggravating the case to the highest. But what he printed with a design to make my case appear the worse, had quite the contrary effect upon the people, it being looked upon as no other than envy and revenge against the Quakers in general, and me in particular.
The court was adjourned for six weeks; and finding myself more closely confined than before, and not knowing when or how it would end, I began to be very thoughtful what method to take, not to be chargeable to my friends. As I was full of thought on my pillow about the matter, it came into my mind to try if I could learn to make shoes; and applying myself to a Scotch churchman in the neighbourhood, one Charles Williams, a good natured man, I made a proposal to buy a pair of shoes of him, cut out for me to make up, and to give him the same price as if made, desiring him to let me have materials and tools to go on with the work, and requesting that he would be so kind as to show me how to begin and proceed in it. I acquainted him with my reason for so doing. He replied, “It is very honest and honourable in you: but,” added he, “if one of our ministers were in the like state, they would think it too mean for them to take up such a practice, though it were for bread; and your friends perhaps will not like it.” However he readily fell in with me, that if I could get my bread with my own hands, it was most agreeable with Paul’s practice; and accordingly next morning he brought me leather cut out, with materials and tools to work with, and with his direction I closed one of the upper leathers before he left me, and he put it on the last for me, and by night I finished that shoe; which when he came to see, he admired it was so well done, showing me how to mend the faults in the next, which I finished the next day. He then supposed I had done something at the trade before, but was mistaken: and when I would have paid him, he refused it, and told me he would not take any money of me; so I proposed, that if he would give the leather, I would give my work; and so we gave the shoes to a poor honest man who went on errands for us both. I had then more work of him, and he was so pleased with it, that he would allow me half pay for making it up, and was so forward to advance my wages in a few weeks, that unless I would take full pay, he cheerfully told me, I must look out for another master. I as pleasantly replied, I did not desire to change. “Well then,” said he, “I sell the shoes you make, for as much as any of the like sizes made in my shop.”
I made such improvement in this business, that I could in a little time earn fifteen shillings per week, being three shillings of their money for making a pair of large man’s shoes, which was my chief work. Their shilling was about nine pence sterling. This new trade was of very great service to me, by diverting both body and mind; and finding I now could supply my own needs with my own hands, it gave me great ease indeed: but some Friends were uneasy that I should do it, supposing it would be to their dishonour; but others were glad, and thought it an honour to the cause of the Gospel, and rejoiced with thankful hearts that I succeeded so well.
Going on thus some weeks my kind master came one morning, and did not bring so much work as before. I asked him the reason; adding pleasantly, “Does my credit sink, that I have no more work brought?” He smiling said? “It is not best to trust jail birds too far, and I am now resolved you shall work no more for me after this I have now brought.” “Why! what is the matter?” said I. He added, “you shall be a master as well as I.” “How can that be?” said I. He replied, “you shall have leather of your own, and by doing that you may get eight-pence, ten-pence, or a shilling a pair, more profit than you do now.” But I told him I had rather work journey-work for him than to do so: for I knew not how to get leather or other materials, and when I had, then I was a stranger to cutting out. “Trouble not yourself about that,” said he, “for I will do all this for you:” and so he did with much cheerfulness, delighting to serve me effectually.
I went on thus for several months, and he came to me every day once or twice, and was a very cheerful pleasant tempered man, but too much addicted to take delight in some of his neighbours’ company, who were disguised with strong liquor, and he would often say, if you were to continue here, I should overcome it, and I verily believe should be a sober Quaker. I told him he must leave the company he frequented; which he not observing, I heard afterward they proved very hurtful to him. We had very often serious conversation about religion, and it appeared to me, he had been favoured with an enlightened understanding, and would confess, if there was any such thing as preaching Christ truly, it was among the Quakers; for Churchmen, Presbyterians, Independents and others, all preach themselves, and for their own advantage in this world; so that if there was no pay, there would be no preaching. He frequently attended our meetings for a time.
But, to return to the proceedings of the court, which adjourned from the 4th day of the first month, 1702-3, for about six weeks, and so continued by adjournments to the last day of the eighth month following. The occasion of these adjournments was this: Judge Bridges was ill, and had been for some time declining, but was expected to be able to attend the service of the court, and take vengeance on me and the Quakers, none being thought so fit for that work as he; yet he never did, but died some months before I was set at liberty.
In this time of confinement I had several visits, two of which were more remarkable than the rest. The first was by an Indian king, with three of his chief men; and the other by one John Rogers from New London, who stayed with me about six days. An abstract of both conferences follows:
I shall first take notice of the conference with the Indian king, as he styled himself; but his nation was much wasted and almost extinct, so that he had but a small people to rule. However, there were some marks of superiority above the other three who attended him, who showed some regard to him as their sovereign.
This Indian, with his attendants, stayed some time, inquiring the cause of my confinement: an account of which I gave them as intelligibly as I could, finding they understood English better than they could speak it. The conference was mostly between the king and me, the rest but very seldom putting in a word.
The king asked, “if I was a Christian?” I told him I was. “And are they,” said he, “Christians too that keep you here?” I said they professed themselves to be so. Then he and the company showed their admiration, that one Christian could do thus to another. Then he inquired concerning the difference between me and them. I replied, it consisted of sundry particulars; first my adversaries hold with sprinkling a little water on the face of an infant, using a form of words, and the ceremony of making the sign of a cross with their finger on the babe’s forehead, calling this baptism, and urging it as essential to future happiness: and I, with my brethren, can see no good in this ceremony.—Here they talked one with another again, but I understood them not. After which they asked me, “If I thought there was nothing in this ceremony, of good to secure our future happiness?” I said, I see nothing of good in it. I was right, they said, “neither do we;” asking, “wherein do you further differ from them?” I proceeded, that they held it needful to take, at certain times, a piece of bread to eat, with a small quantity of wine to drink after it is consecrated, as they call it, which they pretend to do in remembrance of Christ our Saviour, urging this as necessary to our future happiness, as the former, calling this the Lord’s supper. He told me, they had seen both these ceremonies put in practice by the Presbyterians, but could not understand, that if it was a supper, why they used it in the middle of the day; but they looked upon them both as very insignificant to the end proposed; saying, “The Great Spirit looked at the heart, how it was devoted, and not at these childish things.” Asking, “wherein do you differ further from them?” I proceeded, that they held it lawful to kill and destroy their enemies; but we cannot think that good and right in us; but rather endeavour to overcome our enemies with courteous and friendly offices and kindness, and to assuage their wrath by mildness and persuasion, and bring them to consider the injury they are doing to such as cannot in conscience revenge themselves again. He assented that this was good, “but who can do it,” said he; “when my enemies seek my life, how can I do other than use my endeavour to destroy them in my own defence?” My answer was, that unless we were under the government of a better spirit than our enemies, we could not do it; but if we are under the government of the good Spirit, which seeks not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them, and teaches us to do good for evil, and to forgive injuries, then we can submit to Providence, putting our trust in the great God to save us from the violence and wrath of our enemies. The king said, “Indeed this is very good; but do you thus when provoked by your enemies?” I said, many of our friends had done so, and been saved from the rage of their enemies, who have confessed Friends to be good men. “Ay,” said he, “they are good indeed; for if all came into this way, there would then be no more need of war, nor killing one another to enlarge their kingdoms, nor one nation need to overcome another.”
I then asked him if this was not a right principle; and what would much add to the happiness of mankind? They all four said, “it was very good indeed; but feared few would embrace this doctrine.” I said all things have their beginning, and it is now our duty to embrace this truth, hoping that others by this example may do the same. They lifted up their eyes as a token of their assent, showing by their words their desire that this good spirit might prevail in the world: “Then,” said they, “things will go well. But wherein,” added he, “do you differ more from them?” I said we held it unlawful to swear in any case; but our adversaries did not. I found they had not any notion about oaths, and so they dropped it, being desirous of introducing another subject; for having observed our friends’ behaviour in not pulling off their hats as others did, they wanted to know our reasons for it. I said uncovering our heads was a token of honour which we paid to the great God in our prayers to him; and we thought any homage equal to it ought not to be given to any of his creatures. They said, “It is all very good.” Then we sat silent some time; and I asked them what they thought of the great God? One of them took a piece of wood coal from the hearth, like charcoal half burnt, and made a black circle therewith on the hearth-stone, and said, “they believed the great God,” or Monettay, as they then called him, “to be all eye, that he saw everything at once; and all ear, that he heard everything in like manner; and all mind, that he knew all things, and nothing could be hid from his sight, hearing, or knowledge.”
I asked what they thought of the devil? or bad Monettay, as they called him. They said they did not look upon his power independent of the good Monettay, but that what he did was by permission; nor indeed did they think he had any power at all but what he was allowed to exercise over Indians, to bring about some good designs of the good Monettay for their advantage, to reclaim them when they were bad, and had displeased the good Monettay. They believed the good Monettay had all power, and employed his servants or angels, as we term them, to execute his will. The Indian who made the circle, described four small circles on the edge of the great one, and showed their opinion how the little gods were employed to chastise the Indians when bad, and to comfort and encourage them in good: they likewise supposed the four small circles to answer to the four quarters of the world; that they had inferiors under them again to execute their will when they received a commission from that great Mind; but that all derived their power from the Supreme eye, ear, and mind; demonstrating their meaning thus: Supposing the Indians bad, the good Monettay sees it, and gives orders to that in the north, and by him to them under him, and by hard frosts, great snows, and cold winds in the winter, we are very much afflicted with lack of food, and cold; and in the summer, either extreme heat or wet prevents the fruits of the earth from coming to perfection, until we are made humble and good. Then we pray for relief, and commission is given to the Monettay in the south, and by him to them under him, whereby we have warm winds, and pleasant rains in the spring, that makes deer easy to be taken, and fat, etc. And in the summer, fruitful good weather, neither too wet nor too dry. Thus they account for all distempers, and common calamities by sickness or famine; and on the other side, health and plenty, etc. In like manner, when two nations are both wicked, they are stirred up to destroy each other, either by the devil, or by some of these Monettays by him employed, etc.
I then proceeded to query, what thoughts they had of a future state after this life: first desiring to have their opinion, whether they did not think they had a part in them that would never die? which they readily granted, and gave me their opinion, what both the state of the good and bad Indians would be in the other world; that the good Indians would go into the south and south west, where it was very warm and pleasant, and plenty of all things both for pleasure and profit. Supposing that they should have the delight of enjoying the comforts of eating, drinking, hunting, and all other pleasures they enjoyed here, in a more agreeable way to please their desires, than ever they could in this world. They described heaven as best suited their natural senses, endeavouring to Instil into their youth, as they said, principles of virtue and justice, that when they die, as to this world, they may be fit and worthy of this good country or heaven, where it always is serene and quiet, no night nor winter in this pleasant country; but all things are plenty, very good, well and comfortable. But then, the wicked and bad Indians, when they die, go into the north and north west, a country extremely cold, dark, and unpleasant; with no sunshine. They endeavour to get something to satisfy their hunger, but cannot, for the deer are very poor, and they cannot catch them. In this extremity they desire to die, but cannot; nor can they find any means to put an end to this miserable and wretched life, but they must continue in sorrow and trouble without any hopes of end. Thus they described their thoughts of a future state, either in heaven or in hell, according to their notions of both.
I then turned my discourse and asked them, what they thought of a good Spirit who was present with them in their minds? finding they had no notion of Christ, as to his bodily appearance. They readily acknowledged that a good Spirit attended them, and did reprove, or make them sorrowful when they did badly. They likewise believed the bad Monettay, or devil, persuaded them in their minds to evil, and the more they strove against the devil, and prayed for strength, by and from the good and great Monettay, the more they prevailed over these wicked temptations of the devil in their own minds, which had, they said, no power to lead them into evil, but by their own consent; nor could do them any hurt if they did not yield to his alluring and deceitful temptations. I further inquired, if all the Indians were much of the same mind in these matters? But they could not answer me.
I inquired whether any among them were looked upon as instructors, more than others? They said no, but the head of every family ought to do his best endeavours to instruct his family, but it was neglected; yet they retained the practice of all coming together once in a year, and the elder advised the younger, what their parents and elders had told them, and thus they transmitted the knowledge of former things from one generation to another, by having them repeated in these assemblies.
Here our conference ended: and I treated them with some refreshment, which they thankfully received; and we parted in great friendship and love, after a stay of one night and almost two days.
Some weeks after this, John Rogers, a seventh-day Baptist, from New London, in New England, came nearly two hundred miles on purpose to visit me. He was the chief elder of that society, called by other people Quaker Baptists, as imagining, though falsely, that in their principles and doctrines they seemed one with us; whereas they differed from us in these material particulars, namely: about the seventh-day sabbath, and in making use of baptism in water to grown persons, after the manner of other Baptists, and using the ceremony of bread and wine as a communion, and also of anointing the sick with oil: nor did they admit of the light of Christ, or manifestation of the spirit, only to believers; alleging Scripture for the whole. They bore a noble testimony against fighting, swearing, vain compliments, and the superstitious observation of days, for which John Rogers had endured sundry long imprisonments, and other very great sufferings besides, both of body and goods. He was a prisoner when William Edmundson was in that country, see his journal page ninety, and had by sufferings obtained so complete a victory over his opposers, that now they took no notice of him, he might do and say what he pleased. He thought himself, that he had carried his opposition to the observation of the first-day as a sabbath, a little too far at times, so that he would do all sorts of work, yes, drive goods or merchandize of sundry sorts in a wheelbarrow, and expose them to sale before the pulpit, when the priest was about the middle of his discourse, if he was not hindered, which some times, though but seldom, happened; and would do any other kind of labour, letting the people know his reason for so doing, was, to expose their ignorance and superstition in observing that day, which had more of law than Gospel in it, for Christ was the true sabbath of believers; adding, that he was raised up for that very end. They admitted women to speak at their meetings, believing some qualified by the gift of the Spirit for that work, and sometimes they had but very little said in their meetings, and sometimes were wholly silent, though not often; for they admitted anyone, who wanted information concerning the meaning of any text, to put the question, and it was then expounded and spoken to, as they understood it, anyone being admitted to show his dissent, with his reasons for it: “thus,” said he, “we improve our youth in Scripture knowledge.” I asked him if they did not sometimes carry their difference in sentiment too far, to their hurt? He acknowledged there was danger in doing so, but they guarded against it as much as they could.
He gave me a large account of the conference he had with William Edmundson, and told me, that nothing ever gave him so much trouble and close uneasiness, as his opposing William Edmundson at that time, desiring me, if I lived to see William Edmundson, to acquaint him with the sincere sorrow he had upon his mind for that night’s work.
At my return, I acquainted William Edmundson therewith, who desired me, if I lived to see him again, to let him know that it was the truth to which William Edmundson bore testimony, and therefore it was no wonder that he was so much troubled for his foolish attempt to oppose it.
He gave me an account of his convincement and conversion, which was very large, and although at first it was agreeable and very entertaining, yet his spinning it out so long, made it disagreeable, for he stayed with me five or six days, and it was the greatest part of his discourse all that time, although I several times started other subjects, which he would soon get off, and go on about his own experiences.
I queried why he was so very stiff about the seventh-day, and whether, upon a mild consideration of the opposition he gave about their sabbath, it was not by him carried too far? He acknowledged, that he did not at first see clearly into the true meaning of the sabbath, but that the provocations he met with from the priests, who stirred up the people and mob against him, might sometimes urge him further than he was afterwards easy with, in opposing them; but when he kept his place, he had inexpressible comfort and peace in what he did; adding, “that the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.”
I queried with him, why they kept to the use of bread and wine, and plunging or dipping into water, since he taught his people to put no confidence in those ceremonies, by supposing any virtue or holiness in them? He replied that they did it for the sake of those who were weak in faith; adding, that if our friends had taken those two sacraments along with them, they would have driven all before them. This led us into a long conference, the substance of which was to the effect following.
He spoke much of his satisfaction and unity with George Fox, John Stubbs, John Burnyeat, and William Edmundson, as the Lord’s servants, with others of the first visitors of that country, whom he knew to be sent of God, and that they had carried the reformation further than any of the Protestants did before them, since the general apostacy from the purity both of faith and doctrine. The church of England did nothing in the end but made an English translation of the Latin service used before; the Presbyterians dissented, and the Independents also, but came not to the root of the matter; the Baptists dissented from all the other three, but went not through.
Though I could not wholly agree with him in his assertions, I queried if he thought that all these several steps, as of the English church from popery, the Presbyterians and Independents from the English church, and the Baptists from all three of them, had not something of good in them? I mean whether the first concerned in dissenting from popery, though they afterwards rested too much in the form of worship in the Episcopal way, had not the aid of Christ’s spirit to assist them in their dissent? And so for all the rest. This he readily granted to be a great truth; and also allowed that the first reformers, actuated by Divine light, and being faithful to what was made known to them, had their reward; and their successors sat down in the form in which their predecessors left them, but did not regard that power and life by which they were actuated, and so became zealots for the form, but opposed the power. This, said he, is the true cause of the several steps of dissent one from another; and the reason why there is so little Christian love, and so much bitterness and envy one against another, is their sitting down contented, each in their own form, without the power, so that they are all in the same spirit, acting their part in the several forms of worship in their own wills and time, not only opposing the Spirit of Truth, but making it the object of their scorn, and those who adhere to it the subject of their reproach, contempt and envy; and this is the foundation of persecution. But we shall, said I, digress too far from what we had in view: you allow the aforementioned Friends to be servants of Christ, and guided by his word, and that they advanced the reformation higher than any had done before them; and it is plain they had a concern to lay aside fighting, swearing, vain compliments, as well as baptism and bread and wine, these two sacraments, as you call them; and as you continue in the practice of them, it must be in your own will, and not in the will of God, by your own confession. “How do you,” said he, “make that out?” Thus, said I; first, you allow those Friends to be true ministers, and declare your unity with them as such, and they had a concern to draw people’s minds from depending upon these shadows to trust in the substance: now how could this be so effectually done, as by persuading the people to discontinue the use of those shadows? For while they used them, though at the same time they were told there was nothing in them, yet weak minds would still retain some regard, as though they had some real good in them, when in truth there was none. But if our friends had a concern from the Lord to do this, how can you in reason suppose, that by the same spirit you had a concern from the Lord to continue in the performance of them, unless you will suppose contradictory principles and doctrines proceed from that good Spirit; which I hope is far from your thoughts. “Yes,” said he, “so that is indeed.” Adding, “we do not act so, for we say as you do, that there is nothing in these ceremonies but a sign; it is the power of an endless life that we persuade them to seek for in themselves, and not to look on these as any advantage in a spiritual sense at all.” Then, said I, you had better do as we do, wholly lay them aside; remember the brazen serpent that proved a snare to Israel: but he would not yield to this. I asked him, if he thought either of these ceremonies of more use than the other? “No,” replied he; “set one aside and set both, for there is no more virtue in one than the other.” I then queried with him, if ever he had seen a small treatise entitled the “Doctrine of Baptisms,” written in Cromwell’s time by William Dell? He said he had never heard of such a book. I had it by me, and turned to the last paragraph in the preface, where the author in a prophetic way has these words, “But because I see this present generation so rooted and built up in the doctrines of men, I have the less hope that this truth will prevail with them; and therefore I appeal to the next generation, which will be further removed from these evils, and will be brought nearer to the word; but especially to that people whom God has and shall form by his Spirit for himself, for these only will be able to make just and righteous judgment in this matter, seeing they have the Anointing to be their teacher, and the Lamb to be their light.”
Having read this paragraph, he took the book and read it to himself, and was silent till I observed to him that the author plainly pointed at our people. He allowed there was reason so to think. By this time it was late, and I desired him to take the book, read and consider it, and let me have his thoughts the next day. So for that time we parted, and he came not till late in the afternoon the next day, although he lodged hard by the place of my confinement. When he came, he told me he had read it carefully and considered it closely, confessing that it was the language of the Spirit, and true doctrine. I told him, now I hoped he was satisfied that it was most safe for them to lay these shadows aside, and labour to bring their people to the substance. He allowed that it might be proper to do so. “But,” added he, “it must be done with great care and tenderness, lest some should be hurt by it.” To which I replied, they would be more in danger of being hurt by following those shadowy observations, in which they could have no benefit, and continuing in them might be a means to lead them into superstition and idolatry, and make them sit down and take their rest in shadows, and seek no further.
Having said what we could, both of us dropped it by consent; and after some short pause, for he could not long be silent, we fell on the subject of election and reprobation, he asserting that saving light and grace was only given to the elect, or true believers, and the rest were blinded. I alleged the contrary; that an offer of Divine love was made to all, but all did not make good use of it: so to argument we went, and I requested the reason for his belief in this doctrine; desiring him first to explain whether he thought that reprobates were from their cradles or births so fixed that no means ordained could alter them? He paused some time, and at last said, “All things with God are possible; but from the doctrine of Paul, Romans 9 it plainly appears,” says he, “to be so, and that God is glorified by both, as in the case of Pharaoh.” I replied, Pharaoh’s case could not properly be adapted to this doctrine, because it was in itself peculiarly intended for the convincing of the Egyptians, as well as the rest of mankind; that he (God) was the only all powerful God, worthy of obedience, and that the life and power of kings was with him; and to confirm that weak people the Jews, that if they leaned upon God who had done all this before their eyes, they need not fear the wrath of kings, though accompanied with strong and numerous armies; for God, who had chosen them, could soon overthrow their enemies, and save them by a mighty deliverance from their rage and wrath. But how this can be brought to support election and reprobation as it is now understood, and preached up by some pretended teachers, I see not; I therefore desire that you would explain it as you understand it.
He then proceeded as follows; first calling for the book, and turning to the text, Rom. ix. he began at the tenth verse, and went on, expounding very strongly and undeniably, in his own view, to the twenty-first verse, continuing his exposition to an uncommon length. I heard with a profound silence, and he became silent too at last, and we sat in silence some time, and then I spoke to the effect following: that it appeared to me the twenty-second verse took off much of the edge of what he had said with respect to reprobation; which I read, and he confessed it did pretty much so. I further added, that the doctrine of election and reprobation, in the way it is now expounded by you, is very injurious, in reflecting on the infinite mercy of God, and directly opposing the chief end of the Gospel, and of the coming of our Saviour, “who tasted death for every man,” and offers life by his good Spirit and grace to all. Besides your way of expounding the apostle in this epistle, makes him quite contradict himself in other places, where he clearly sets forth the love of God by and through Christ, to be universally offered to both Jews and Gentiles, in order to salvation.
And last of all, as you have explained yourself now upon this doctrine, you render that great duty of prayer almost impertinent, if not quite useless, with all other religious endeavours, etc.; so that if you can not make it out otherwise than this, I may, I think, without any breach of charity, conclude you unsound in your faith and doctrine of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who died for all men, and was by his apostle preached as the Saviour of the world to both Jews and Greeks. We must expound Paul in Rom. ix. after another manner, so as to reconcile Paul with himself, where he plainly shows, God wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the Truth, as in the second of the first of Timothy, and abundantly elsewhere, that we have already touched upon: but if you will give me leave, without interruption, I will give you my thoughts on this subject, which in short are these: It is beyond all doubt or question with me, that God wills all men to be saved: and to complete his will and offers of salvation to all, he has ordained the means to procure the end by his own Son, “who tasted death for every man,” whereby all have it put into their power, as free agents, to make choice for themselves, by applying to the means ordained by God, through his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, for obtaining that which he has willed for them, namely: salvation. If this is true, as the Scriptures assert, and our own experience confirms it to ourselves, then it follows, that all who are diligent, through the obedience of faith, endeavouring to make their calling and election sure, by applying to the means ordained of God, namely: the grace and truth that come by Jesus Christ, for obtaining that which he has willed for them, we may safely conclude all in this state, to be the elect of God in Christ. But all who, contrary to this, neglect and slight, no, rebel against the inward convictions of grace and truth in their own minds, which is the only guide and rule for doing better, and continue therein until they are hardened in their sins and wickedness, being given up to a reprobate mind, having their consciences seared as with a hot iron, are past feeling any remorse for their ungodly deeds. These I take to be in a reprobate condition, and this reprobation is of themselves, they having chosen it; for they had the offers of the same grace and truth to assist them to do better, as the elect had, but would not apply themselves thereto, but did willfully reject it. All this you know may be fairly proved by the Scriptures, and you can, I think, do no otherwise than allow it to be conclusive to decide this point; for it is plain, the first are the children of God, made so by their co-working with the Spirit of Christ; and the other are reprobates and children of antichrist, made so by their rebellion against the Spirit of Truth, and obedience to the spirit of error: and here I conclude with the apostle’s words, “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath,” by their own rebellion, “fitted to destruction? Here we closed the discourse; and now I shall go on with my imprisonment and clearing from the same.
About the beginning of the eighth month, 1703, the sheriff had an order to call eighteen men for a jury, to try their success a second time: but whether they went upon the old indictment or a new one, I could not understand, though it was thought by some of the last jury, to be the same indictment that the first jury went upon; but I never was admitted to see it. The sheriff had private instructions to get such men put into the jury, as they thought would answer their end, which he showed me with abhorrence, assuring me, he would never do it; so the jury was fairly named, and they made no great matter about it, but in a short time, as their predecessors had done, came in with their bill, signed ignoramus; which gave some of the lawyers cause to say, in a jocular way, they were got into an ignoramus country.
This was on the 2nd day of the ninth month, and the court adjourned to the next day, at which time I was had into court; which I was told, was not regular or lawful to bring a man to the bar who had nothing laid to his charge by his peers, the grand inquest. I was asked, if I had anything to offer to the court? I desired my liberty and reparation for the wrong done me in taking it from me, etc. The judge told me, I might have my liberty, paying my fees. I replied, that I was informed there were no fees due, as the case then was, according to law; but if there had been, I should not pay any, it being to me a matter of conscience. The judge said, he believed so, and smiled, speaking something to those near him, that was not heard by me: however I was set at liberty by proclamation; and a large body of my dear friends, from all parts of the island, came to see me cleared, and had me away with them in a kind of triumph, being not a little glad that I came off so honourably; and even the country people who were not Friends were there in abundance, and rejoiced exceedingly at my enlargement.
I was now at liberty, after having been a prisoner three-hundred and forty-two days; but not having freedom to go away, I stayed sometime, visiting every corner of the island, and had very large and open meetings. The people were thoroughly alarmed, and I found by experience, that my long imprisonment had made me more known and regarded, so that they flocked in great numbers where I was, and Friends were careful that they should have notice. They appointed a meeting for me at a place called Cowneck, at one Jacob Doughty’s, there not having been any at that place before; and as I lay in bed at my dear friend John Rodman’s, at the bay side, the night before, I dreamed that an honest Friend was fishing in a large stone cistern, with a crooked pin for his hook, a small switch stick for his rod, and a piece of thread for his line; and George Fox came and told me, that there were three fishes in that place, and desired me to take the tackling of the Friend, for that he lacked skill to handle the matter: accordingly, I thought the Friend gave me the rod, and the first time I threw in I caught a fish: George Fox bid me try again, for there were two more in that place; I did, and took up another: he bid me cast in my hook once more; I did, and took the third: now, said George, there is no more there. This dream was taken from me as if I had not dreamed at all. The next day we went to the meeting, and were a little late, as the tide and high fresh-water obliged us to ride the furthest way, and when we came into meeting a Friend was preaching on universal grace; but in a little time he left off, and my heart being full of the matter, I look it up, and we had a blessed powerful meeting, and all ended well.
I returned with my friend Rodman to his house, and in our way my dream came fresh into my memory, and that evening I told it to my friend Rodman, and gave him a description of George Fox’s features and bulk, as he appeared to me; and he said I had a very just and right apprehension of him. He had been much with George Fox when he was in Barbados, and was well acquainted with him; adding, this remarkable dream shows some good done there this day.
After I was clear of Long Island, it being with me as if I had just set out from home, I found a necessity to convene the elders, and lay before them my concern, as I did when I came from home; and in a tender and fatherly way they took care to examine what I might be in need of, both with respect to linen, woollen, pocket money and a horse; for as yet I had not bought one, never finding freedom so to do; but Friends, to their praise be it spoken, assisted me from stage to stage. When I was in prison I saw I had no need of a horse, and admired the kindness of Providence in restraining me from having one till needed; and I had money plenty by the trade of shoe making, so that I needed none, nor did I lack any necessaries for the journey but a companion. Several Friends offered themselves very freely to travel with me: but my dear friend Samuel Bowne had a concern to visit the eastern parts of New England, who had a fine gift, but not very large; and I was very glad of his company. We set forward in the beginning of the twelfth month, and the winter not being broken up, we rode on the ice into Connecticut colony, over some broad rivers, New London being the largest, but we had no meetings for nearly two hundred miles. The people being mostly rigid Presbyterians, counted it a great crime to be at a Quaker’s meeting, especially on the sabbath-day, as they term the first-day of the week. But coming into Narraganset, we were among Friends again. We went for Rhode Island, and there Friends were very numerous, and we had large meetings. There was a marriage of a young man, whose name was Richardson, with a daughter of Thomas Rodman, a man of the first rank in the island, so that we had the governor, Samuel Cranston, and most of the chief men in the government at the marriage, and we had a precious living time, which gave me great encouragement. The governor was very kind, and queried with me about my imprisonment, he being a great lover of Friends, but not a professed one himself.
From Rhode Island we went towards Hampton and Dover, having but few meetings, as we purposed to return to the Yearly Meeting in Rhode Island.
When we came to Dover we had a pretty large meeting, but were both silent; at which I was somewhat amazed, it being new to me. Another meeting was appointed next day, some little distance from Dover, which was much larger; my companion said something, but very little, and was uneasy that he said anything. I was quite shut up; and after meeting I was exceedingly comforted, being filled with Divine sweetness and heavenly joy, that I was preserved and did not force myself to offer. They appointed another meeting the day following, some distance off, at which I found myself quite shut up, and held back as it were from saying anything, and my companion was also silent, who after meeting looked upon me very innocently, saying, “Samuel, what do you think these people will say, that we should come so far to appoint meetings among them, and have nothing to say?” It just then came livingly into my mind to reply, Fear not, have faith, nothing doubting but we shall have enough to say before we leave them.
Our next meeting was to be in the centre of the meetings which we had attended before, in a large house, but not big enough for the company by far, and the country was all alarmed, so that it was a very large meeting indeed; and it being a time of war with the Indians, the people brought such weapons as they had to meeting, so that when we came to the meetinghouse, I was surprised to see so many fire-arms, and other instruments of war, standing against the meetinghouse wall. However, I was before told, that it was the custom of other people to do so; and I found that those fire-arms and warlike weapons, belonged to other people, not to Friends who were come to meeting. The meeting was very quiet; and we sat a long time in silence, which put me on examining my conduct, and looking back to see how it was with me; but finding no uneasiness for anything I had done before, to cause me to be thus shut up, I came to this conclusion and resignation, that I was but a servant, and could of myself do nothing; secretly praying that the Lord would give me patience not to be uneasy, if he had nothing for me to do, and if he had, there I was, ready and willing to do it. Thus I settled down diligently waiting for Divine direction. In a little time a word came with life, and I stood up with it, to the effect following; “The Lord’s time is the best time, and let us not grow uneasy to wait for it; for when he opens none can shut, and when he shuts none can open;” enlarging on this subject a little more. We had a very glorious meeting, in which I was largely opened in sundry branches of the doctrine of Christ; and I had not seen very often greater tenderness than was at that time among the people; for the war with the Indians had humbled them to such a degree, that truth had a very great reach upon them indeed, and the meeting ended well.
Immediately I found an uncommon and weighty concern to request the ministers to come together, which they very readily complied with, and they were a considerable number, but not all thoroughly baptized into the work. My companion was very prettily opened, and we had a very suitable service among them, and saw clearly the reason why we were so shut up in silence; some of them were got into an extreme in preaching and praying, and would continue meetings to an unseasonable length, likewise preaching and praying at table; which gave great uneasiness to some sensible Friends among them, but they could not redress it till after this opportunity. They themselves saw they were wrong in doing as they had done, and got out of this extreme, which was a degree of ranterism, being attended with a spirit of opposition against the order of Friends in Monthly and Quarterly Meetings.
Having finished our service, we returned back to Hampton, and had several meetings, and so to Rhode Island Yearly Meeting, which was very large and to good satisfaction.
From there I went by sea to several islands, as Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and some others. In Nantucket I had great satisfaction, for the people, not joined with Friends, were moderate Baptists, and came generally to meetings, their preacher also with them, who after meeting raised some objections against us, which he had gathered from our adversaries’ books, and that which he pitched upon chiefly, was about prayer, that we did not pray to God in the name of Christ, but in our own names. I told him we looked upon it to be our duty to pray to God in Christ’s name, and as his name is understood to be his power, we dared not presume to pray to the Father, but as the wisdom and Spirit of Christ gave us utterance. He said it was Gospel truth in its primitive purity.
The governor sent for me, and we had an opportunity to confer about our principles, and he seemed much pleased with what I had to say. Having finished my service I returned to Rhode Island, and found some were contriving to have me taken up, by informing the governor against me, as though I was a transgressor, by preaching, as they said, against baptism and the supper of the Lord, as they call the bread and wine. But the governor being at the meeting himself where this supposed offence was given, quickly saw that the arguments used against the present practice of the English church, as well as of Presbyterians and Baptists, had so much Scripture and reason on their side, that it was vain to attempt to confute them; he therefore thought it their wisest way to let the matter alone.
After this I made another trip to the eastward, my dear companion being returned, and in my way back to Dover, visited meetings as they came in course; and also the meetings where I had been before, and had sat in silence in some of them, but I had now large and good service and great satisfaction among them, the more so, as they now saw it their places not to preach in every meeting, but to wait for the constraint of the Divine word before they spoke.
From there I went to Strawberry Bank, a haven where much shipping resort for masts; and when clear of those parts returned to Hampton, Haverhill, Exeter, and other towns where meetings had not been kept, and among them to Newbury. A man who lived in that place, being newly convinced, was very desirous of a meeting at his house, which I consented to; and when the time came, his wife not being pleased that we came to hold a meeting, would not permit us to enter the house, but kept the doors locked against us, being, as was said, advised to it by some of their teachers. I took a turn round the house, and happened to have some conference with her at the window, first assuring her, that we had no design to put her husband to any charge, but only to let us have house-room for about two hours to hold a meeting, adding, that it illy became a wife to keep her husband out of his house at such a time; promising her, that if she would let her husband in, not one of our people should come in with him. By reasoning the case with her, after a little while, she opened the door and would have us to go in, but I had not freedom.
A place to hold the meeting was then got ready, being a large building like a barn, where the Friend and his men built boats for shipping, that being his calling, and we sat down, being a few Friends, and in a little time many people came, among whom, as it was said, were six preachers. After some time a young woman stood up who had a good gift, but the people behaved very rudely, so that it put her out of countenance, and she sat down. Then stood up Lydia Norton, a famous minister, none more so of that country, who had an excellent gift, and knew how to conduct herself in it; but all this did not avail, the people grew worse and worse in their behaviour. Lydia having a very strong manly voice, extended it very loud, but to no purpose, for the people were as loud as she, calling for a dram, and sporting themselves in their folly, so she sat down. A young man, called Joshua Puddington, then stood up; and the people behaved worse, raking up his former faults, and calling for a can of flip, for he could drink as well as they; he having been a companion with them in fishing, they made very free with him, so he shut up. By this time the meeting was exceedingly numerous, and continued enlarging very much. It came into my mind, to stand up and take out my Bible, which I did, for I always travelled with one in those days, finding a considerable service in it at times. I opened it, and put my finger in it, as though I would take my text, but I said nothing for some considerable time, till all was quiet. The people continued in great confusion for a while, till some of them observed my book; then they began to quiet and to still one another, urging as a reason for it, that I had the word of God in my hand, such a great regard they paid to my Bible.
In a little time all was quiet and still: then I opened my mouth and said, I am an Englishman; and enumerated the many lands and places I had travelled in, but had never met with any people of such a behaviour as these were; referring to them to advise me what account I must give of the people of Newbury at my return into England. A comely, gentleman-like man said, in excuse for the behaviour of the people, “As for women’s preaching we hold it unlawful, because St. Paul has forbid it, therefore we think it not proper to give them a hearing: and as for the man, we know him perhaps better than you, and cannot think him qualified for that undertaking; but you seem to be a gentleman of sense, and we will hear you.” I replied, that as for women’s preaching, it is a disputable point from Paul’s words, yet nevertheless, if any of you, after this meeting is over, are willing to hear what I have to say in favour of it, I shall be willing to give you the best account I can, why I think it is lawful; and if any of you can show better reasons against it, I shall as willingly hear them. And as for the young man, I grant you may, as he is a neighbour, have had a better knowledge of his former conduct in life, than I can pretend to; but allowing that he may, in time past, have been loose, that argues not against giving him a hearing: for how know you, but that as Saul did, he might condemn his past life and give you an example, by his present conduct, to reform, for which reasons you ought to have heard with patience what he had to say to you. The same gentleman replied, “I said very right, they ought to have heard him: but I pray you speak what you have to say freely; and I charge all present to make no disturbance or interruption; if they do, in the queen’s name I will commit them.” By these words I found he was in the commission of the peace; and then I began, with saying, that religion without righteousness was useless, and could not profit those who possessed it.
And going on, I came in the course of my service to recite the great improvement true religion made in the minds of those who lived in it, by giving them power over their lusts and passions; repeating that text in James 1:26, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” One out of the throng said, “Sir, you impose upon us, there is no such text.” I made a full stop, and turned to it; and many Bibles then appeared. I repeated chapter and verse, and they turned to it. Then I asked them, if they had it? They replied, they had. Then I read both the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh verses, and asked if it was so in their Bibles; they answered it was. I then desired them to consider, whether I that repeated the text, or he that said there was no such text, was most in the right. I went on with my opening, carefully minding my guide; and in the course of the doctrine I had in my view, I came to treat of faith, and distinguished between true and false faith, showing, that notwithstanding we might give our assent to the truth of what was called the apostle’s creed, or any other made and drawn up by men, and might be zealous to dispute and contend for the truth of these creeds, in the wording of them; yet for all that, if we did not lead Christian lives, we were still but unbelievers; “for faith without works is dead,” as the text tells us. At these last words one cried out, “you impose upon us, there is no such text.” I immediately stopped and turned to it, and quoted it, and all who had Bibles made search. There being a profound silence, I read the text, asking, if it was so in their books? They all replied, it was. I made the same remark as before; and then I went on, distinguishing between true and false faith, plainly demonstrating from Scripture, that faith was very different from what many took it to be. Truth was eminently preached that day, and there was a considerable tenderness among the people, and the meeting ended well.
When I came out, the gentleman came to me, and I acknowledged his kindness towards us; and it suddenly came before me to speak with a loud voice in the street, and to desire, that if anyone was at a loss, and did not understand any part of what I had said, or thought I had spoken anything not agreeing to Scripture, I would then desire them to let me know it, and not misrepresent anything I had said when I was gone. The gentleman made answer on behalf of the people thus; “None can have any objection, for I never heard the word better preached in my time.” I told them I was ready to let them know my reasons, why I thought women, who were properly and duly qualified, might preach lawfully, on condition I might have their reasons to the contrary.
The gentleman, who undertook still to speak on behalf of the company, who stayed to hear and see, said, “There is none here will undertake to dispute with you upon this, or any other point of religion: but I desire you will favour me with a promise to have another meeting here, and I will get some of the best writers the country will afford, to take down your sermon.” But he little knew that this was no great inducement to my coming there again: however, he pressed it very close, which I excused in the best manner I could; as not knowing that I should or should not: and after earnestly pressing me to go to his house to refresh myself, which I likewise desired to be excused in, as we had given expectation to go to our inn, and could not stay much longer, because night would come upon us, we parted in good respect and harmony to all appearance; and my heart was filled with thankfulness, and comfort that we got over that day’s work so well.
Being clear of these parts I returned, visiting the meetings of Friends, and other places; in particular Cape Ann, where I met with great opposition; the case was thus:
At Cape Ann sundry Friends were desirous of a meeting, and more so, because several young men, who were Friends, resided there while they built a ship. Accordingly I went and several Friends with me. We got there early on a seventh-day, and gave notice of a meeting, which was to good satisfaction, and being a new thing, it was very large. The people desired another, which was granted; and between meetings, some gave their preacher notice, who had but a small congregation that day, advising him to look after his flock, it being his duty. Accordingly he came before the meeting ended, with several of his elders, and was very noisy. First, he would prove water baptism, from the text, to be an ordinance of Christ. I replied; what form of water baptism would he prove so? To which he answered evasively, not being willing to be tied to one more than another. But after some further pros and cons, he was by his own people pressed to vindicate his own practice, which was sprinkling. Then he said, that was plainly proved by our Saviour’s words, “Let the little children come unto me,” etc. I showed him his mistake; and that without perverting the text, it could not be applied to sprinkling infants, but referred to the state of innocency that such should experience, to be like little children in their minds, free from all vice and wickedness, before they were prepared for the kingdom of heaven, which sprinkling with elementary water could not do for them. I opened more at large the state of the new birth and regeneration; in doing which he would often break in upon me, but his own people cried shame, for the interruption he gave, adding, when I had done he should be heard. But he was so much out about the proof of sprinkling infants by our Saviour’s words, that I found he was very weary of the dispute, and willing to drop it, and would go upon perfection. I urged him to clear up baptism first, as we were upon it, but he urged that both he and his people were satisfied about it. I then asked why he began upon it? To show us our errors, he replied. So finding nothing was like to come of it, but tumult and noise, we pressed it no further.
Then he charged us with being in an error about perfection. I desired to know wherein, which he was very unwilling to show. One of his hearers reproved him very sharply, for making so many charges of supposed errors, and proving nothing; adding, that it did not suit his station as a minister, whose work it was, or ought to be, to set people light, and to show them wherein they were wrong, and not to heap up charges of errors, without showing any proof that they were so, which could by no means be the way to convince and inform those in error. At this pertinent rebuke he left us, some, though very few, going with him. I then desired the people to sit down, and be still; with which they readily complied; and after a short pause, it was with me briefly to speak to each point, explaining, as well as I could, in so short a time, the doctrine of outward baptism to be but a figure of the inward, as outward circumcision was of the inward, that is, of the heart; and likewise setting forth the new birth and regeneration in as clear a light as time would permit; with perfection and election and reprobation; all which, though but very briefly touched upon, took up a considerable time, so that the night was considerably above half spent. When I had done, the people were exceedingly quiet and civil, and declared their satisfaction, wishing their minister had stayed, for he could not have gainsayed what was spoken to each point. A few of them stayed a short time after, desiring they might have more such meetings, and we parted in much love and sweetness; in particular the elder who reprehended the minister, as he called him, said, “Religion could never prosper, so long as it was made a trade to get bread by;” and he seemed convinced, that both the doctrine and practice of their people were inconsistent with primitive religion and our Saviour’s doctrine. Thus we closed our conference and took leave.
From there I returned towards Rhode Island, taking my leave, not expecting to see them again this journey.
I went from Rhode Island to Block Island, where were a few Friends, but much hurt by lewd company, such as privateers-men and the like, but all the inhabitants came to meeting, and were very sober and willing to hear. One Ebenezer Slocum, a fine minister, was with me in this island, and we had three or four meetings among them. I returned to Rhode Island again, and was at two large meetings with Friends, and took my solemn leave. I had a meeting in Conanicut, at which were many Friends from both Rhode Island and Narraganset; a fine solid meeting it was. Then I went to Narraganset, and had two or three meetings, and took my leave and came to New London, and so for Long Island, and at the east end of it had some meetings, where both Friends and others were glad of my coming. I had many meetings in several places, and there was great flocking to meetings, and very great openness among the people in those parts. A Friend told me that George Keith had proposed, as a means to prevent the growth of Quakerism, as he called it, the making of a law to restrain Friends from travelling, save to their own meetings; for he said, it was the travelling preachers that kept the Quakers so strongly in countenance. This was thought by some hot bigots to be a likely way to put a stop to the increase of the Quakers, who had infected almost the whole country; but by people of moderation and sense it was hissed at. There was a very large meeting at Westbury on the plain, called a Yearly Meeting, to which most of the Friends of the island, and many of the better sort of the west end of it came, it being known that I should take my leave there; and I was very much opened, in setting forth the difference between the true and false ministers, and the true and false worship; and there being some of Keith’s friends, they threatened to have me taken up again; but I found that Truth was over them, and they could do no more than show their teeth—they could not bite.
After this meeting I left the island, and went into the Jerseys by Staten Island to Woodbridge, Shrewsbury, Crosswicks, and to Egg-harbour, visiting Friends, and so back to Philadelphia to the Yearly Meeting, which was very large, and I had good satisfaction in being there. Here sundry of my dear friends from Long Island met me, in particular, my dear friend Samuel Bowne and his worthy wife, who was a mother in Israel; with this good woman I left fifteen pounds to defray some charges my good friends had been at about my imprisonment, for chamber rent, and a present they made the keeper, which I was unwilling to have them pay, having money plenty, that I earned in prison by shoe-making. But my dear friends would not permit it, but returned it to me by Samuel Bowne, who used many arguments, that it did not look well for them to allow it, and would be a reproach on them, and look as though I did not count them worthy to treat me as a minister; so rather than bring an uneasiness upon my brethren, I took it again.
From Philadelphia I accompanied my friends on their way home, about thirty miles, as far as Crosswicks, visiting that meeting and Burlington, took my leave there and came to the Falls meeting, and visited all the meetings on that side of the river, down through the Welsh towns to Philadelphia. Taking my leave there also, I went to Concord and Chester, visiting meetings towards Maryland: a Welsh Friend, named Ellis Pugh, who proposed to go over sea with me to visit his friends in Wales, was now with me, and we came into Maryland, and took our passage home with a Friend, whose name was Daniel Maud, but he could not be ready to sail under two months; so my companion returned to his family, and I visited Virginia and Carolina, and had good satisfaction.
I took my leave and returned to the ship, and found my dear friend Ellis Pugh, labouring among Friends in Maryland. In a little time the ship fell down the bay, where the fleet made up, waiting for convoy, and in a few weeks the fleet came together, being very large; but many ships had taken so great damage by staying so long in the country, that they could not bear the sea, and several foundered, and some put back to unload, and have their ships repaired. We had a long passage, but arrived safe, landing at Portsmouth, in the tenth month, 1706, visited a small meeting at Portsmouth, and took coach for London, where I stayed to visit the meetings in the city, and afterwards went down to Wiltshire Quarterly Meeting, where was some uneasiness among Friends, but happily reconciled.
I then went into Somersetshire to visit my friend, to whom I was under an engagement of marriage as before hinted, where I remained a few weeks, and visited meetings in that neighbourhood, and so went for Bristol, where I stayed a week or ten days, then went pretty directly into the north, which I called my home, and glad I was to be among my old friends again.
Having visited the meetings in our own county, and delivered up my certificate, giving an account of my travels, at the next Monthly Meeting I acquainted Friends with my intended marriage, having a few lines from under my intended wife’s hand, as likewise from her parents, showing all their consent. And I desired a certificate from the meeting, and persons were appointed, as is usual in the like case, to make inquiry of my clearness. In the interim the Quarterly Meeting for Cumberland happened to be at Carlisle, where I went. The meeting was exceedingly large, and I had great satisfaction in being there. I visited a few meetings in Cumberland, but was limited for time, being obliged to be at the next Monthly Meeting to have my certificate to present in Somersetshire, in order to proceed towards my marriage.
By this time the spring was advanced, and my worthy friend James Wilson offered his company to go to my marriage; accordingly we set forward, and took in our way the Yearly Meeting at Middlewich, which was very large, and several weighty Friends were there: I had great satisfaction and comfort in being there. We took meetings as they suited, in our way; and I found my companion under a great concern to speak something in meetings, but very backward and reluctant to give up to it. I gave him what encouragement I could; and in Tewksbury meeting, after some struggle in himself, he stood up, and appeared very much to his own, and Friends’ comfort, and so in every meeting after till we came to Bristol; and indeed he appeared more like an elder in the work than a babe. At Bristol he did not get through what he had before him to his liking, and sat down under great discouragement, but I cheered him up as well as I could, by giving him an account of my experiences; and when we came to the little country meetings again, he did finely, and gathered strength and experience in the work.
We came to my intended father-in-law’s house, and went to their Monthly Meeting, where I and my friend proposed our intended marriage, which was taken notice of. Bristol Yearly Meeting coming on, we went there, and met our worthy friend Thomas Camm, who intended to be at our marriage. After the Yearly Meeting was over at Bristol, Thomas Camm took a meeting or two in the way, but my friend James and I returned back, in order for me to get clear of the Monthly Meeting, and likewise to provide ourselves necessaries for the wedding, which was to be accomplished the week following, at a meeting on purpose at Puddimore, and it was a very large meeting, several public Friends besides Thomas Camm being there.
The Yearly Meeting at London coming on, I stayed but a few days with my wife; I would have had her gone with me, but her mother was taken ill of a feverish disorder, and was very weak, for which reason she was not easy to go; so I was obliged to leave her to nurse her mother, who in a few days grew much better. I had a sweet opportunity with the family, and one or two other Friends in her chamber, and the spirit of prayer came on James, and he was drawn forth very largely, and very devoutly. After which, not without considerable reluctance, we parted for a short time, and James and I set out for London, and that meeting was very large, and Friends there were willing I should give some account of my travels, which I was much afraid of; but being called upon in the meeting, I did it, and came off better than I expected; Friends expressing their approbation of it.
As soon as the meeting was over, dear James and I had a heavy parting; but as I was going to my wife, that helped to cheer my heart a little. I came directly home without taking any meeting, having my dear friend James Salter, and others who had been at the Yearly Meeting, in company. I stayed with my dear wife, and went very little abroad for more than twelve months, having very great comfort and satisfaction in my married state, my wife being a true sympathizer with me in the exercises which I often was under, of one kind or another. Sometimes I feared how we should go on in the world, and she would often say, if we get but little, we will spend less; and if we save a little out of our gettings, we shall do well enough, I am not at all fearful of it, neither would I have you to be. I was jealous that my ministry was not so living as it had been before I was married; and making my trouble and uneasiness about it known to my wife, she would endeavour to dissuade me from such thoughts, adding, there was no reason for it; so that I found her to be a help-mate indeed.
Finding a concern to visit Ireland, I acquainted her therewith, and she gave me up so freely and cheerfully, that it was like a cordial to me; saying she expected I would often leave her, and that she had resolved in herself before marriage, she would never hinder my ministry if she could possibly avoid it, and she hoped the Lord would strengthen her, and make that easy to her.
About the fifth month, 1708, I applied to the Monthly Meeting for a certificate, which I obtained, and then took shipping at Minehead, and landed at Cork, where I stayed two or three meetings to good satisfaction. I then went to Charleville and Limerick, visiting the meetings along that side of the nation to Coleraine, and I found very hard work in many places, and in some meetings was quite shut up; but where the people who did not profess with us came in plentifully, it was not so, there being an open door. That worthy Friend, and heavenly-minded, meek, and divine preacher, Gilbert Thompson, was there at the same time; and when we conversed about it, I found he was much as I was, shut up and found it very hard work in some places to get forward; and as he was in experience and age much my superior, I asked what he thought might be the reason, why it seemed more dead among Friends in this nation now, than in some other places? He gave this as a reason, “That the professors of truth in that nation were very strict and exact in some things, and placed much in outward appearance, but too much neglected the reformation and change of the mind, and having the inside thoroughly cleansed from pride and iniquity; for you know,” said he, “the leaven of the Pharisees was always hurtful to the life of religion in all shapes.” Yet nevertheless we found a brave living people in that nation, and great encouragement to visit fresh places.
I came from Coleraine to Lurgan, Mount-Allen, and sundry small meetings thereabout, as Hillsborough, Lisbon, Raffer Island, and so to Drogheda, Friends having a meetinghouse in that town, but few came to meeting, there being no Friends in the town except two men.
From there I went for Dublin, then visited the meetings towards Wicklow, Waterford, and so to Cork, and had a large meeting at Kinsale, it being the first meeting in the meetinghouse that Friends had built there. Friends in that kingdom are highly to be commended, in not sparing charge for accommodating meetings, either by building or hiring places for that service.
By this time the Half-yearly Meeting at Dublin came on, but nothing very remarkable happened there. I took my leave of Friends, and when clear, I left the city, and my dear friend Joseph Gill, accompanied me about three weeks. He did not then appear as a minister in meetings, but was under great exercise and the influence of Divine goodness, which I was satisfied would be manifested by his coming forth in the ministry in due time, which accordingly came to pass; for in a few weeks after his return, he appeared very acceptably in the ministry, and became a serviceable man in the work.
After we parted I went for Cork, and took shipping for home, but the wind not favouring us for almost three weeks, gave me some uneasiness, because I had written to my wife, that I intended coming sooner. I heard afterwards that some of our neighbours had reported, that I with the ship was taken into France; but my poor wife bore up bravely under it. When the wind sprung up fair, the master set sail, and we were but just got clear of the river before it veered against us; so the master proposed to fetch Waterford, and thought it would be better to do so than go back to Cork. We all agreed, and got there by the close of the evening, being seventh-day; I stayed the first-day meeting, which was very much to satisfaction, and I was opened in the excellency of the Gospel. On second-day we set sail again, and got into Minehead in about forty-eight hours, and I posted home by Bridgewater, and met with a hearty and kind welcome from all our family, more especially my dear wife, having spent in Ireland somewhat more than eighteen weeks. It soon got abroad that I was come home, and many Friends, from several neighbouring meetings, came to visit me, and we had great comfort in one another.
I had now nothing to do but visit the meetings around me, which were pretty numerous: yet one thing came closely upon me, which was, to put myself into some business to get bread. Some proposed one way, some another. London and Bristol were both mentioned, but I could not see my way to either of them; and what I should do in the country, being ignorant of farming, I saw not yet. At last it was proposed that I might with a little charge put up a conveniency to make a little malt, in which, when an apprentice, I had some experience, being then used to it. I accordingly did, but my stock was very small, and some kind friends lent me some money. I found it to answer better than I expected, so that I was encouraged to proceed; and in about three years time I found it answered very well, so that I went on with pleasure, and took great care, and was very diligent in my business, and in attending all meetings that I could reach in a morning’s ride, as I found a concern so to do. The comfort and happiness I enjoyed was great, for I could entertain my friends with a lodging and other necessaries in a plain way, which was very agreeable to us both; and most Friends who came, took a bed with me one or two nights, as best suited their conveniency in their journey.
In a little time a storm arose: the parson of the parish having had nothing from our family for thirteen years and upwards, for his small tithes, and other church dues, as he styled them, got a summons for me to meet him before the justice; but before the time came I wrote him a few lines to know his demand, and he wrote me a long letter in answer, to which I replied. All which are annexed.
The time came, and some other Friends were convened by other priests from other parishes at the same time. When I was called, there were two justices, Edward Phillips, Esq., of Montague, and Harben, Esq., of Newton. Phillips was very rough and boisterous in words, and Harben altogether as mild, using many arguments to persuade me to pay the demand myself, or allow some other person to pay it, being very earnest that I should allow him to pay it for me, and he would not desire to have it all together; supposing I might not so well spare what the parson demanded at once. I told him I was very much obliged to him for his kind offer, believing his intention was to serve me, but I could by no means accept it, without injury to my own mind, it being a matter that concerned my conscience, which I desired to keep void of offence towards God. He took me into another room, and was very earnest to have it made up; urging, “it was so much in arrears, that it was beyond their power to end it, and it must be put into the exchequer, and that would be very chargeable, which,” says he, “must fall upon you at last.” I told him that I could do nothing to make it up; and having conferred some time, we went in again, and he spoke to the effect following, “That he was very sorry he could not serve us, as we were both his neighbours and friends,” meaning the parson and me, and told the parson “it would be uneasy to us both; and would have us end it between ourselves. I said, if it were a matter of just debt that I was satisfied was my neighbour’s due, I should soon end it with neighbour Ray, and be as willing to pay as he was to receive it; but as it was not of that nature, I could by no means do it. So I was dismissed, and in a little time served with an exchequer process; and in a few months after, in the next term, I was taken up in my way for Bristol, where I was going about my business, and put into jail. But when the parson had got me there he was very uneasy indeed, so that he could not take his rest, and told his attorney, “If he lost all his claim, he could by no means keep me there, for he had no rest or quietness of mind night nor day.” Accordingly the attorney came to the keeper in less than ten days time, desiring him to let me go home to look after my business; which I did, and in a few days went my journey to Bristol; and when I had done my business there, took a little turn into Wiltshire, and spent about two weeks in visiting meetings, and so returned home.
I informed my friends at the Meeting for Sufferings in London, how it stood; who advised me, that the parson could not proceed further, as he had taken me up and put me into jail: so I heard no more of it all that winter; but in the spring a distant relation of our family came to my wife when I was from home, and desired her to lend him ten pounds, for he was going to a fair, being a considerable grazier. She had no thoughts about the parson’s demands, that being a much larger sum, and he being a dissenter, and having done me the like favour, she lent it him, and he gave her his note accordingly. My wife, when I came home, told me what she had done, and I said it was very well, mistrusting nothing of any trick in the matter; but as he came in my absence to borrow it, so in like manner he came in pretence to pay it, addressing himself to my wife to this effect; “Dear cousin, if you can help me to that note, I had best pay it; you know I borrowed it of you, and shall pay it to you.” So she very innocently brought his note, and he tore it immediately; and putting his hand into his pocket, took out and threw down to her, the parson’s receipt for the fen pounds, in full of all demands for tithes to that time. My poor wife was under a very great surprise, urging, it would be a very great uneasiness to me. “Your husband,” said he, “is we allow, a man of sense, but in this he is a stubborn fool; and I would have paid it out of my own pocket, rather than he should have ruined you and himself, which this exchequer suit would soon have done, if it had gone on; for his original demand is fourteen pounds and upwards, and he has been at forty or fifty shillings charge already, and you must have paid that and ten times more if it had gone on, which now I have cleared for ten pounds; I think you are exceedingly well off.” “Ay but,” said she, “we look at inward peace more than all that, and I shall be blamed for being privy to the contrivance, and beget a jealousy in my husband about other affairs.” “Oh! my dear cousin, trouble not yourself about that,” said he, “for I can clear you, that you are as innocent of it as a new born babe: and I know I could not have brought it about with your husband, for he would have started so many questions, that I could not possibly have brought it about any other way, than by ploughing with his heifer.”
When my wife told me of it, which was not presently, it troubled me, to have my testimony thus evaded by this undermining trick, which was, in the man who did it, designed for our good no doubt, and the note that he gave for the money being destroyed, I had nothing to show under his hand for the money, and what to do in it I was at a loss. I thought it best to convene the elders, and let them know how it stood, and to be advised how I might clear my testimony, and my dear wife and self, from having any hand in this deceitful trick; which I accordingly did, and they were satisfied we were clear of the contrivance, but did not know what to do to satisfy others about it; one Friend was for suing him who had thus tricked me for the ten pounds. But others thought such an act would do more hurt than good, and thought it by no means advisable to act any further, than to go to my kinsman and let him know, that what he had done in the case, though by him intended for a kindness, yet it had the contrary effect on our minds, so that although he intended to serve us, it proved a disservice, and to request that he would never serve us so again. In due time my wife and I took an opportunity, and discoursed the matter over with him; and he to excuse it, said, he little thought we would take it so much amiss as we had, having, as he thought, no reason for it, and wondered our friends should be so stubborn as to contend against law; and he could not bear to think we should be served as Mr. Bantom and Mr. Tilley were; and indeed, if it were again to do, I should do the same, said he.—Robert Bantom and William Tilley were two very great sufferers by exchequer process, both very honest sincere Friends. Thus was this affair ended. The first letter I wrote the parson, with the parson’s answer, and my reply, are annexed:
Samuel Bownas to William Ray
Lymington, the 15th of the Fourth month, June, 1712.
Since you are pleased to proceed against me by justice’s warrant, I desire you would be pleased to let me know what you demand; else, how shall I be able to make my defence? I think your people this year and last were very unreasonable in their taking, having both years, modestly computed, taken above one eighth part of my hay: and Brook’s never, as I am informed, paid any in kind till you came into the parish; but now for nine pence the three acres, you have taken every year hay worth eight or nine shillings per annum at least. As for arguments between us, for or against, I suppose them needless, but I take it very hard to be so treated from a man of your pretensions. I believe you would not, if in my case, like such treatment. Not that I murmur or repine because my goods are taken away on this account, being persuaded that it is my duty actively to refuse a compliance with the laws that command tithes; and if I must, as I have already done, suffer the spoiling of my goods, I hope passively to submit and bear it. This I conclude with desires of good for you and yours every way.
William Ray to Samuel Bownas
At the Parsonage-house, July 24th, 1712
I have been above thirteen years in the parish, and have not given the family any disturbance, though the arrears which are due to me are considerable; so that you have no reason to complain of hard usage from me, but rather to thank me for my kindness, in bearing this injustice so long.
You do not think, when you go to law with one another, or with some of those who differ from you, that you spoil their goods, when you put them to charges, that you may force them to do you justice. And why, pray you, should it be thought a spoiling of your goods, when we do nothing more than you do yourselves, when you think you are wronged; that is, endeavour to recover our own? For I demand nothing of you but what I know to be mine before I receive it.
You might as well make an entry upon our glebe lands, or upon anything else we possess, as to seize upon the tithes, to which you have no more title than to the other, unless you have bought them, as I am sure you have not.
For every body who understands these things will tell you, that when such lands as are tithe free, are sold or let, they are for that reason valued at a higher price, and the lord or seller makes the tenant or purchaser pay for the tithe, as well as for the rest of the estate: and that on the other hand, there is a proportionable abatement made to the purchasers and tenants of such lands as are liable to the payment of tithes. And there is very good reason for it, because in that case the tithes being no part of the landlord’s property, he cannot make them over to another, or demand a price for that which he has not sold; and those who rent or purchase his estate, can claim no title by virtue of any conveyance or grant of his, but only to what he had a right to dispose of himself; so that if you will needs, in this matter, pretend conscience, you ought not to occupy any land but what is tithe-free.
But if you think that this would be very grievous and inconvenient, you ought, when you occupy tithe-land, to permit us quietly to enjoy our tithes, which are a part of our freehold; and to which we have the same title as we have to our glebe, wherein you claim no propriety, as indeed you have no manner of title to the tithe. If you have, be pleased to show it, and let us know from whom you had it. And if you have none, as I know you have not, do not go to pretend conscience for invading your neighbour’s property.
For my part I do not see any reason why you should not actively comply with the law for payment of tithes, as well as with that for taxes, as your friends have done over all the kingdom ever since the revolution; and some of them have been collectors, though the title of the act of parliament did plainly show, that the tax was for carrying on a war against France with vigour: and yet your friends, even those who have been of greatest reputation among you, and the champions of your cause, have declared as much against the lawfulness of all war, as they have done against the payment of tithes, and sometimes have carried the matter so high, as to refuse the payment of money demanded of them for that purpose; as Robert Barclay in his Apology tells us, “they suffered because they would not pay for drums and colours, and other military furniture.” And this they did in the time of peace, when the militia met only to make a raree-show, and had at the place of rendezvous no other enemies to skirmish with but butterflies. Nevertheless, since the war against France began, your friends have given the same active obedience to the laws for payment of taxes, as their fellow subjects have done; and I hope you, for the future, will do for the payment of tithes, which, according to your avowed principles, is as lawful as the payment of taxes for carrying on a war with vigour.
It is a vain thing to pretend conscience to excuse oppression or covetousness, for it must be one or other of these which makes any man take possession of what is not his own, but his neighbour’s.
If we lived by the alms-basket and could claim nothing but what we might expect from the benevolence of those from whom we make any demand of this nature, we could not blame you so much: but the case is otherwise; for we desire none of your benevolence, and we know the tithe is no part of your estate, and that you can claim no right to it, either by donation or purchase. Therefore do not go to call that your own which is not; and being you disclaim all violence against, or oppression of, men upon the account of their conscience, we may reasonably expect so much tenderness from you, that you would not oppress us, because we differ from you, and that you would not, under a pretence of conscience, seize upon our estates, and then make an outcry against us, when we desire the assistance of the civil magistrate, for recovering any part of our properties or freeholds, as often as you unjustly invade them. Surely we might look for more equity from you, being we are members of that church, which in other respects permits you the free exercise of your religion, and has confirmed the same by the late act of indulgence, agreed upon by the bishops, lords, and commons of our communion. An instance of such moderation as was never shown to our church by any other sect who had us under their power, whether Papists, or some violent and fierce Protestant dissenters, who perhaps would handle us as roughly as our predecessors were by them, if God should again permit us to fall under their merciless hands.
You say, you take it hard to be so treated by a man of my pretensions, and if it was from some of the same cloth, you would think it was like themselves. But why should it be thought inconsistent with my pretensions, to demand what I know to be my own? And why may I not say the same to you, that I take it hard to be so treated by a man of your pretensions, who profess, that violence against those who differ from you, merely upon the account of their conscience, is unwarrantable; and yet, contrary to this your profession, you seize upon that which is mine, mine by as good a right as you have to your own estate; for you cannot say that you have purchased the tithes, or that any who had a title to dispose of them did make them over to you; and yet for all that, you pretend conscience for the disturbance you give me, for no other reason, but because I am of a different communion from you. If this was done by some who maintain that violence against men of another persuasion is meritorious, and that heretics ought not to be allowed to live, I should think it was like themselves; though from you I might expect other things. But let that be as it will, I desire nothing from you but the profits of my own estate, which you unjustly withhold from me; and I am resolved, whatever you think or say about the matter, that I will have my right. However, if you are willing to live peaceably, I shall be as moderate as you can expect, and for that reason have referred this business to Mr. Smith, whom I have authorised to do as he thinks fit; and am, sir,
Your friend and well-wisher,
Samuel Bownas to William Ray
Lymington, the 10th of the Sixth month, August, 1712.
Since you have advanced some arguments for your taking tithes, I have somewhat to offer in answer thereto, for my refusal.
1st. You are pleased to write, “I ought to thank you for bearing with this injustice so long;” but I take the refusal of paying tithes to be no injustice. Therefore, etc.
2nd. You say, “when I go to law with another, or some that differ from me, I do not think it spoiling of their goods;” which I do not take to be a parallel case with this; for, first, if I go to law with any man, it shall be for some just debt owing to me, for which he, whom I so go to law with, shall have received some valuable consideration; but from you I have received none for the tithe of my increase; therefore it is not a parallel case.
3rd. He with whom I go to law shall have no just plea of conscience, because if I can have no plain demonstration that he had of me a valuable consideration for which I make my demands upon him, I will not go to law at all; therefore it is not a parallel case.
4th. If on such a foundation I go to law, and force my adverse party to justice by law, I conclude with you, it is not spoiling of his goods. But to go to law, and by it take away people’s goods, without such a valuable consideration as above, is spoiling of goods in my opinion, with a witness.
You write me, “I may as well seize of the glebe-lands, or upon anything else we possess, as upon the tithes.” Under favour, I am of another mind; because I have no title to show for your glebe lands, or anything else you enjoy: but for my land, the whole I take to be mine, without any reserve or exception whatsoever, as the writings that give me my title to it, do sufficiently set forth and declare; and I have given for it a valuable consideration, which you never did for the tenth part thereof: therefore, I am sure I have more right to it than you can pretend to, in justice, equity and reason; because I have bought, without reserve, the whole, and manured the same at my own cost and charge; but you have bought no part thereof, nor been at any charge about improving it, that I know of.
You further write, “that every body that understands these things, will tell me, when such lands as are tithe-free are sold, for that reason they are valued higher.” What argument is that for the lawfulness of tithes, according to the Gospel? I conceive none at all.
The next is, that “if I occupy tithe-lands, I ought quietly to permit you to enjoy the tithes:” that is the matter in dispute, which shall in its place be spoken to.
Now I am come to your argument about taxes, wherein you endeavour to make us inconsistent with ourselves, in actively complying with the law for taxes, but refusing a compliance with the law for tithes, endeavouring thereby to lay tithes and taxes upon one foundation. In this also I differ from you; for I understand taxes to be paid as a civil debt, tribute or custom, to Caesar: but tithes are paid as a religious act to God and holy church, as in its place shall be further shown.
Indeed our Saviour said, “Render unto Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God, the things that are God’s.” Now if we must render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s, then it remains to be proved, that tithes are Caesar’s due, before they be demanded as his right.
But here is the grand objection of inconsistency; that because we have suffered for refusing to pay towards the militia for drums, and colours, etc., and yet actively comply with the law of taxes, which is to carry on a war with vigor, etc., insisting on R. Barclay’s words to strengthen the objection. We are still of the same mind with R. Barclay, that “wars and fightings are inconsistent with Gospel principles; and when it is brought so near to us, that by law we are obliged to act both in person and estate, we in this case choose rather passively to suffer, than actively to comply, for conscience-sake.” And this is still our case, and a suffering we lie under, with respect to the militia, in many places, being careful to walk by the rule of Christ’s doctrine. Yet we do not hereby think ourselves inconsistent in actively complying with the law of taxes, in rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and he may do therewith what pleases him, we may not direct him; therefore, to use your own familiar simile, I take this argument of taxes to have no more weight in it, in relation to tithes, it being no parallel case, than the enemies that the militia met with in their rendezvous, at their raree-show.
You write, that “it is a vain thing to pretend conscience to excuse oppression or covetousness.” I am entirely of your mind; so that where any man pretends to refuse the payment of tithes out of covetousness, believing at the same time in his conscience they are justly due; it is a pity, if that be his only excuse, that he should not pay smartly for it: but beware of mistaking, by supposing the refusal to be from covetousness, when it is really conscience.
You add, “if you lived by the alms-basket,” etc., which indeed I think you ought to do, if your own hands cannot sufficiently administer to your own needs; for a forced maintenance is not consistent with the Gospel ministry; and that you know right well, having often confessed it in my house. You add, “tithes is no part of my estate, either by donation or purchase.” But I say as above, I have purchased the whole, without any reserve or exception of tithes. But in your own country, North Britain, I have been informed, tithes are excepted in deeds and conveyances, so that they have some colour to use such an argument, but I can see no foundation for such an argument in this country. You advises me not to call that my own, which is not; I say, it is my own, because I have, without reserve, purchased the whole, as witness my writings: besides all that, at my own charge I have manured and improved it.
Your next paragraph is already answered.
I acknowledge you a member of that church, or society, who have granted us the indulgence we now enjoy in the exercise of our religion; for which, I with the rest of my brethren ought to be truly thankful to God and the government. But I must tell you, some of your brethren, not of the meanest rank in your church, have, like battering rams, endeavoured to break that chain of indulgence, we now enjoy, but Providence has hitherto prevented them, and I hope ever will, unless God should see fit to try his church, to discover thereby the truly religious from the hypocrites.
You seems angry, and to resent it, that I should take it ill or hard, to be so treated by a man of your pretensions; but the reason why I wrote so, is this; because I have more than once heard, that my neighbour Ray has said in our house, that it was a matter of conscience to him, to force a maintenance from such as for the sake of conscience could not pay him, using that text, “Whose ox have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Which I have sometimes spoken of to others, and it gained great credit and good thoughts concerning my neighbour Ray, and for that reason, and no other, I took such treatment hard. But however, if your conscience be altered, it will give reason for my thoughts concerning you also to change.
I shall give you my reasons, why I cannot actively comply with the law for paying tithes, and answer your last paragraph in the conclusion of this.
I was in my youth very thoughtful, touching the nature and design of religion, and conscious to myself, that an implicit faith, with a blind obedience, might not be sufficient to bring me to the end intended by it. I observed many under great sufferings for refusing to pay tithes, and that their plea for it was conscience; but many more I found did pay, and they thought they did right, at least made no scruple of conscience in doing it. This contradiction in practice made me willing to look into it myself, that what I did herein might not be for imitation’s sake on either side, but that I might act on a principle of faith, knowing, “what is not of faith is sin.” These reasons put me on examining and trying for myself.
I now assure you, that it is not out of stubbornness, ill-humour, or covetousness, but purely on a principle of conscience, for these reasons following, that I can neither pay nor receive tithes.
1st. The dedication of them is grossly superstitious, and I think protested against by most, unless such as love to suck the sweets of other men’s labour, being dedicated and given by king Ethelwolf, about 855, to God and St. Mary, for the redemption of his own soul, with the souls of his ancestors; in the consideration whereof, the clergy were to sing a certain number of masses for the king and his nobles.
2nd. It is already granted by me, that we must render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. And I promise you, I shall be both ready and willing to pay the tenth of my increase unto God, when I am satisfied he requires it of me; or unto them he shall appoint, when I am satisfied he has appointed them, as he did the tribe of Levi; but for me to pay tithe to a man, claiming it as a minister of God, when I know that no such thing is required of me, tithe being no Gospel maintenance that I can understand, it might justly be said unto me, “Who has required this of your hands?” Yet, if tithe be compelled from me by a human law, I cannot help that, nor resist the force of that demand by argument from Scripture; therefore, being persuaded that God requires of me no such thing as the payment of tithes, but that I am called to protest against all superstition and idolatry, and the law of tithes plainly appearing to me to be such, I cannot, with a safe conscience, actively comply therewith, but choose rather to please God than man, although it may be to my disadvantage in this world, yet by so doing I hope for future gain.
3rd. And again, tithes are required to be paid as a religious act: “to God and holy church;” and I am persuaded that God requires no such thing, therefore I cannot pay them with a safe conscience, being a Protestant against that which I call popery, not in word and tongue only, but in deed and truth also.
Lastly. Tithes are not required by the Gospel, that I can understand. If you can make it out, please to do it, for it is clear to me, that Christ came to finish and put an end to that law which required tithes, as well as to the priesthood supported by them; therefore to continue in the practice of tithing, is in effect, “denying that Christ is come in the flesh to put an end to them,” according to Scripture and the practice of former times; for which reason I think an active compliance with the law for tithes is sin, and in my opinion, he that pays and he that receives, are equally culpable in God’s sight; for which cause we can neither receive nor pay, as this deed of settlement will prove, and more instances of the like kind might be produced from sundry parts of the nation; a plain demonstration, that as we cannot pay tithes, neither can we receive them, when they are as legal a property to us as they are to you.
I could say more, but what is said may perhaps be tedious, and thought impertinent, therefore for the present this shall suffice.
To conclude you are pleased to give me your resolution, namely: to have what you call your right; and if I could think it was so too, we should soon reconcile this matter.
You add, “If I am willing to live peaceably,” (I desire no other than a peaceable living,) “you will be as moderate as I can expect.” But it seems an odd way of showing your moderation, to employ an attorney; for you add, “for that purpose you have referred the matter to Mr. Smith, to do as he thinks fit,” and that may not perhaps be the best way to show your moderation; however, be that as it will, I must tell you, that what I cannot directly pay, for the reasons aforesaid, I cannot order or allow another indirectly to pay for me; for although I might bribe my conscience, as the chief priests did the soldiers, and lull it asleep in such hypocrisy, yet an awakening time will come, when every thought, with every secret thing, will be brought to light, and appear as it is.
This with due respects from him who shall always be ready and willing to serve you and yours, in anything I can with a safe conscience, and in any office of love may command
Your friend and neighbour,
These letters were exchanged between us some weeks before I was made a prisoner, and whether they might soften him or not, I dare not say; but he was very uneasy while I was in prison, and, as I was informed, told his attorney and his wife, if he lost his debt, he could not keep me there.
This storm being blown over I enjoyed quietness, save that I was persecuted for church-rates, small tithes, etc., for the parson would not let his dues, as he called them, run on again in arrears, but would take it in kind every year, so he never had me before a justice again, but if he could not have it in one thing, would take another. I now had nothing but my business that lay upon me, save the attendance of meetings for worship and discipline, with marriages and burials, which took up pretty much of my time, there being but few to attend such services in the country: so that I had sometimes long journeys on those occasions.
An account of my visiting Devonshire & Cornwall
On the 21st of the eighth month, 1715, I set out from home, and visited Taunton, Wellington, Milverton, Spiceland, Collumpton, and Topsham, where the Quarterly Meeting for Devonshire was held at that time: I was at three meetings there to good satisfaction, and then at Sticklepath, and Launceston, where I had a very large and good meeting. From there to Port Isaac and Falmouth, visiting Friends to Penryn. The Quarterly Meeting was held at Falmouth, and I had very agreeable service. Then to Penryn, Market-Jew and Penzance, and back to Falmouth. From there to Austel, Tregony, Looe and Liscard, Germains, Plymouth, Kingsbridge and Totness; and had meetings at all these places, some of which were very large and well; at Exeter likewise; and from that to Chard, and so home. In this small journey I had about thirty-eight meetings, and travelled about three hundred and fifty miles.
In a year or two after this, my wife was taken with a lingering disorder, for recovering her out of which, I applied myself to several doctors, but all in vain, for she continued wasting more than two years and eight months, growing weaker quickly a few weeks before she died, which was in the eighth month, 1719. She died in a sweet frame, often saying nothing troubled her, but that she was so easily deceived about the parson’s tithe, which being done in ignorance, not designedly, she was the more easy about it.
I was now in a strait what course to take, being in considerable business, which I kept on that winter, and in the spring put it off to my servant, and let what little estate I had to him, putting off all business, and went the next summer into the north, to visit my friends. I went to the Yearly Meetings at Bristol and London, as they came in course, and travelled from London through Hertfordshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to Leeds, visiting the meetings of Friends as I passed along. I was at several very large, open meetings in my way to the Yearly Meeting at York, which was large, and attended by a great number of ministers of both sexes. I had no time till the last meeting, and that was far spent before I began, but then I took my time pretty thoroughly, being opened very largely in the distinguishing between true and false religion, setting them as it were side by side, that they might judge for themselves of both the worship and the ministry, with their different effects upon the minds of men and women in regulating our passions, and reforming our minds. I opened pretty fully the danger that ministers were in, to preach from the letter instead of the Spirit; and that our former openings and experiences alone were not to be depended upon, but our safest and best support in that work, was the immediate ability of the Spirit, opening our understandings in matter suitable to every state, that our words might be fitly spoken, then they would carry their own evidence, and be serviceable to the hearers. I was very large and particular on these heads; there being several clergymen, and teachers of other societies, but I did not hear of any objection made to the doctrine. Some of our friends thought, what I had to say about the ministry would have been better delivered in the meeting of ministers; but that could not have answered so well, as to the teachers of other societies, who might need instruction in these things, perhaps more than our own people did. This was a high day, and I found in myself afterwards great satisfaction and peace.
I now visited Friends towards Kendal, and through part of Cumberland and Northumberland, into Scotland, having for my companion a young man from Sedbergh, whose name was John Blamore. I found Friends in that nation very much decreased in number, above one half, and some meetings quite dropped, unless when a Friend came to visit them.
I spent about six weeks in that nation, but nothing extraordinary happened: I then returned into Cumberland, visiting most of the meetings in that county. Our friends at Cockermouth had appointed a meeting to be the day after the fair, at the time called Michaelmas, and it being in the hottest time of the opposition the Parsons gave to Friends; Job Parsons and his brother being at that fair on their business, gave out that they would be at the meeting the next day, which gave an alarm to both town and country people, so that it was a very large meeting. Job and I had been very friendly before he fell into these ranting fits, and some Friends thought he would show me more respect than he had done to some others, having been heard at times to speak in my favour. But James Dickenson being present, whom they had abused very much, said, “I should be pleased to see a friendly meeting between Job and my friend, but I little expect it.” The meeting came on, and was very large, and very open and quiet, neither Job nor his brother came, being otherwise employed, having business with some country men in the fair, they went to an alehouse to settle their affairs, and differed so much about them, that from words they proceeded to blows, and this fray held the time of the meeting, so that we were free from their disturbance, and a sweet, comfortable, quiet meeting we had, to great satisfaction.
I visited the rest of the meetings in that part of the county, and so into Westmoreland again, visiting all the meetings in that county, and through the Dales to Richmond, and York Quarterly Meeting in the winter, which was very large, considering the season of the year. I had many satisfactory times among Friends, both in meetings of business and among the ministers, in very freely showing my dear brethren and sisters, in the openings of Divine life, the experience and knowledge I had attained to in the work of the Gospel, finding my spirit much enlarged in setting it forth. The last meeting I was at in York, was on the first-day in the evening by candle light, and the crowd in the house was so great, that the candles would hardly burn, and some went quite out. The lack of room was very troublesome, and made the meeting not so edifying as if the company had been less.
From there I went to Bridlington, Oustwick and Northcave, visiting meetings till I came to Bradford and Leeds: I had some very large open meetings in those parts, as at Brighouse, Highfiats, Sheffield, etc.
I travelled to Nottingham, and had some meetings in that county, and so on to Leicester, and had several small meetings thereabout, and some who were convinced in my first travelling there, were glad to see me, and I them, as we claimed kindred in the truth.
I now made a short visit in my way to London, which I visited thoroughly, stayed in the city four weeks, and had very good satisfaction. Returning through part of Berkshire, I had two very large meetings at Reading, and so into Dorsetshire, having no meetings after Reading till I came there, and so to the Quarterly Meeting in Somersetshire, which was held at Glastonbury, and very large indeed. Then visited meetings to and fro, and attended several funerals, both before and after the Yearly Meeting at Bristol, which was very large. From that meeting I went towards London, visiting Friends in my way there, and after Yearly Meeting was over I returned to Ringwood to the Quarterly Meeting for Hampshire, and to Pool Yearly Meeting. This summer, before the Yearly Meeting at London, I had made my addresses to the widow Nichols, leaving the matter to her consideration, and now I renewed the suit.
In the eighth month, in company with other Friends, I went to solicit the parliament for an amendment of the affirmation, in which undertaking we were favoured with success, which was of very great advantage to the Society, and the good effects of it soon appeared.
I returned home in the spring, and then proceeded in my addresses, and we were married in the second month, 1722, and went to London Yearly Meeting together, which was held to very great comfort. I returned directly home with my wife, and being in a coach, had no opportunity of visiting meetings either going or coming. On my return home, I applied myself to assist my wife in her business, attending General, Monthly and other meetings on public occasions, for three years. I had a concern to visit America once more, which my poor wife could not at first with ease consent to, although I had laid it before her when I first made my addresses to her, yet when it came to be put in practice, was not easily got over. But afterwards she gave me freely up to go with my son-in-law; and I got ready and went off, before it was thought of by almost any body but the Friends of our own neighbourhood. However, that it might not look like stealing away, I wrote to some of my chosen friends at London, in the north, Bristol, and elsewhere through this nation, and to some few in Ireland, being willing to advise them where to meet me with letters in that country. My wife brought me on my way to Pool, at which place, before I went off, I received answers to some of my letters.
An account of my travels in America the second time, being in 1726, and in the fiftieth year of my age.
I left my home the 22nd day of the tenth month, 1726, being accompanied by my dear wife, a kinsman, and a son-in-law, to Pool, to take shipping there with my son-in-law, Josiah Nicholson, but the ship was not quite ready; and when it was ready, the wind being against us, were obliged to stay there about five weeks, during which I had several satisfactory opportunities among Friends and others.
All being ready, and the wind fair, we set sail out of Stutland bay, the 24th of the eleventh month, with a fair wind and pleasant weather, which carried us a considerable distance off the land; but it held only three days, and we had very contrary hard winds after that, which made me very sick, and other ways out of order, so that I almost despaired of my life for a few days, but had great comfort and peace of mind, being satisfied I was in my place, and the way of my duty. I recovered as the weather grew better, and the sea quieter, but we had a very long and tedious passage, being eleven weeks and two days upon the sea; and on the 14th of the second month, 1727, we landed at Hampton, in Virginia. That evening I got a passage in a Pool ship up to Sleepy-hole, and about the eleventh hour arrived at Robert Jordan’s, being very weary, yet glad that I was got to so good a place, where I had a hearty welcome, and felt great peace and comfort. This was on the seventh-day of the week, and next morning I went to a funeral about twenty miles, which was a long journey on my first arrival; and considering the inhabitants are but thin, there was a great concourse of people on the occasion, and I had a pretty open time, although not quite recovered from my weakness; as the motion of the sea was very much in my head, so that I had a great dizziness and swimming, which caused me to reel like a drunkard; as is common in the like case.
That night I went with my friend Robert Jordan to an inn, near the place where his son Robert was a prisoner, who was a goodly youth, and had a very serviceable ministry. His father and I stayed with him all the next day, and in the evening went to lodge at his house, his poor wife being alone; and although her husband was confined, she was cheerful. We had a meeting in the prison to good satisfaction, many people came to it and were orderly.
I then had a meeting at the western branch of Nansemond river, and was at the funeral of a young man who was very much lamented.
I went that night towards Chuckatuck, where I had a fine, comfortable opportunity, and on the road I had some discourse with an ancient Friend, concerning the health of the country, we supposing people did not live so long in Virginia as in Europe. This Friend told me, the first man-child born in the province, of English parents, lived eighty years, and that many since had lived considerably longer; so that it is not the climate, but the intemperance of the people that shortens their days, for experience made it appear, that temperate people lived much the same time as they do in Europe. This first-born son of the province was a remarkable man, it was said that he was disaffected to the then government, and had uttered some treasonable expressions against it, and for that cause was tried, and found guilty, being condemned to die for that crime: but when it was made appear, that he was the first male-child born in the province, of the English nation, it was resolved that he should be pardoned. Thus he was preserved from that untimely end, to run out nature’s race, which was eighty years.
I went after this meeting to visit Robert Jordan, Jr., the prisoner, and the next day was at a funeral, the people being very humble, by reason of a great mortality, so that preaching the Gospel had a very great reach upon them, and several were convinced. Next day I went to Levy-neck, had a meeting, and went to Surrey meetinghouse to a funeral, having been at four in about two weeks. After this I took a turn round again to Levy-neck, otherwise Pagan Creek, and had a meeting. From there to a meeting at Raskers-neck, and so round till the Quarterly Meeting was at hand; and then came to Robert Jordan’s, to lodge. Next day at the meeting I met Joshua Fielding, a Friend of London, who had visited the islands and South Carolina, and had travelled by land to North Carolina, about five hundred miles, in about three weeks, mostly alone, which was a difficult and hazardous attempt. Some thought it too great an undertaking, and seemed to blame him for it, but he got safely through, though he had no provision but what he carried with him, and met with about four or five houses or plantations in all that five hundred miles travel, which obliged him to lodge in the woods frequently; but having a small pocket compass, that was his guide, when the sun and stars were hid from him. I have since heard, that some others have travelled over this same ground, with less hardship, plantations and settlements being placed at proper distances, and a road marked out by the government; and now they may accomplish this journey without so frequently lying in the woods, as when this Friend came from there. I was at the Quarterly Meeting, which held the seventh and firstday, and the weather being very hot, made it a little tedious to bear, there being a great crowd of people, but the meetings ended well, and were of good service.
From there I went to Levy-neck, and visited all the meetings up to Curl’s on the banks of James’ river, and had an open good meeting there, though small, then to Gerard Ellison’s, and had a large and open meeting; from there to Rappahannock Ferry, travelling sixty miles that day: I lodged at a poor widow’s house, not a Friend by profession, but exceedingly kind. I had something to say in prayer before the meal, with which she was greatly affected, and broken into tears, with some others of the family. When we left her in the morning, she would not take anything for our entertainment, but desired that she might be favoured with such guests often. I gave her children something, and we left her in much love and tenderness. I travelled towards Maryland, about seventy miles, and had but one meeting on the way, where William Duff lived, who was at that time a very tender and serviceable man. The Yearly Meeting in Maryland now came on, which held four days, namely: three for worship, and one for business. Many people resort to it, and transact a deal of trade one with another, so that it is a kind of market, or change, where the captains of ships and the planters meet and settle their affairs; and this draws abundance of people of the best rank to it; being in that called the Whitsunweek.
After this meeting I visited the province on that side of the bay, and was at some places where meetings had not been, missing no place till I came up to the head of the bay. Then I ferried over the Susquehanna to Nottingham in Pennsylvania. Some Friends came from there into Maryland to meet me, and conduct me over that large ferry, which was attended with much danger, it being a wide and very rough sea, and I seemed in more danger than I was upon the ocean in the greatest storm we met with, but through mercy we all got safe over, although with hard labour and great care and difficulty.
The first meeting I had in that province was at Nottingham, and I had two in that township. Then visited the meetings as they came in course, at New-Garden, London Grove, Kennet, Concord, Chester, Springfield, and so to Philadelphia. A great number of Friends came out of Philadelphia to meet me, which gave me great uneasiness, fearing I should never be enabled to answer the high expectations raised by such conduct; and it were better to forbear such doings, for it is rather a hurt than a help. Those meetings were very large, several of them amounting to fifteen hundred, and some more, and mostly of a young generation. Very few of the elders who twenty years before were serviceable, zealous men, were now living; and many of the rising youth came up in the form more than in the power and life, that their predecessors were in; nevertheless, there was a fine living people among them, and they were in a thriving good way, several young ministers being very hopeful, both men and women.
I was at three meetings in Philadelphia, exceedingly large, more like Yearly Meetings than common first-day meetings; after which I stayed but two nights, being in haste to reach a Yearly or Quarterly Meeting, near three hundred miles further north, at Newport on Rhode Island. I travelled from there to Burlington, Crosswicks, Stonybrook and Woodbridge, and had meetings at all those places. I attended a Yearly Meeting, as they called it, at Newtown, Long Island, on the first-day of the week; it was very large of both Friends and other people. There I found several of my former friends, John Rodman, Hugh Cowperthwaite, Samuel Bowne, and others, who had been of great comfort and support to me in my imprisonment on the island, and we were truly glad to see and enjoy each other in the truth of the Gospel.
From there I took my journey through Connecticut, nearly two hundred miles, to Rhode Island, and visited the meetings at Seconnet, Acoakset, Dartmouth, and back to the island, and so to the Quarterly Meeting at Newport, which was very large and continued three days. I was largely drawn forth to the elders and ministers, there being many of them, and had very good satisfaction in all their meetings. I went back to a Monthly Meeting at Dartmouth, which was very large; but a narrowness of spirit did hurt among them, and produced some uneasiness, which I endeavoured to remove. It was chiefly occasioned by a young man being too much in the fashion, although plain, compared with some others; yet some thought this reason sufficient to refuse his proposal of marriage among them, although well recommended from the Monthly Meeting where he was a member. I showed them, that as he was so well recommended by certificate, they could not reject his proposal according to our discipline. The meeting, after we had some further conference about it, let the young people proceed, and matters grew easy, and that cloud of difference dispersed which was likely to hurt both Monthly Meetings.
I went about five miles to Joseph Russel’s, in order to take shipping for the island of Nantucket. We met with some difficulty in the passage, and were obliged to put into the island called Martha’s Vineyard, but had no meeting there. We landed at Nantucket on the sixth-day of the week, and notice being given, the next day we had a very large meeting in the forenoon, and on the first-day it was much greater, especially in the afternoon, the inhabitants generally inclining to Friends, and there was great love and unity among them. I desired a select meeting of the elders, to whom I had something in particular relating to discipline and the ministry, which was of good service and well accepted. I stayed two meetings more, and visited some families, and then took shipping back again, was two nights on board, and being in an open boat, and the weather very hot, it was tedious.
Several persons of the island came with us, and we landed at John Russel’s; and from there, having Nathaniel Starbuck with me, went to a small meeting called Seepecan, and so to Suckenaset. Here a man gave some uneasiness, by raising objections about the Divine light, as not being universal, rendering the doctrine, as he would expound it, against reason, urging that the natural consequence of it was to hold forth as many Christs as people who were enlightened by him. To which I answered, by alluding to the natural sun, which enlightens the earth and every dwelling, so that we frequently say, when the rays of light from the sun come into the room, the sun shines into it; yet the sun is not therefore divided, but it is the same sun that enlightens the house here, that does another elsewhere: Even so is the light of Christ: he is the true light that enlightens every man coming into the world. Thus expounding and illustrating the doctrine of the Divine light, the people, who were but a few, seemed much affected therewith. I had also in my doctrine that day shown the kingdom of God or of heaven to be within, and that it was equally universal with the light of Christ. At this he cavilled likewise, but made nothing of it, for I set forth what the kingdom in this place meant, and how it ought to be understood; plainly showing, that by the kingdom of heaven was meant the Divine Seed in the heart, otherwise called the grace of God, which, as every one makes it the rule of their actions, in both moral and religious conduct, teaches us our duty to God and one another, by which we are brought under the government of Christ, and thereby made partakers of that peace which may be justly termed the kingdom of heaven within. The objections made by this forward man, though weak and impertinent, gave opportunity to explain the doctrine of the Gospel more clearly, and although such objectors seldom end in any good to themselves, yet good often comes out of their objections.
From there I travelled to Sandwich, Yarmouth, Scituate, and then to a meeting where Michael Wanton lived, and so for Boston, visiting the meetings to Lynn, Marblehead and Salem. I came to Newbury, the town which I mentioned in my first journey, but there were very few Friends here now, not above nine or ten in all. The people had notice, but the room was very small, and the priest came, and did all he could to hinder the people from coming in, and made a very great noise concerning the danger of our principles and doctrines. I endeavoured to press him to show wherein; but he evaded that as much as he could, and charged in general; but being closely pressed, at last he pitched upon our denying the Scriptures, baptism and the supper, and the resurrection of the body. I bid him hold, and first prove that we denied the Scriptures, and so the rest in order, as they came in course. I asserted that we owned the Scripture; and he said we did not: and I demanded proof of him, otherwise he must be concluded a false accuser. He went about it, but could make nothing of it. When he had said what he could, I told him, his accusation relating to the Scriptures must be false, for it was publicly known, that both in our preaching, and also in our writings, frequent recourse was had to the text, to prove our doctrine, and this must be a plain demonstration and proof, that we owned the Scriptures. The people allowed this to be right: and he coming off so lame at first, would proceed no further in that public manner, but would have me go to his house, and talk these matters over in his closet. I told him his meetinghouse was more proper for such a conference than his closet, and there I would meet him when he pleased. I had heard he treated the doctrines held by us, very unhandsomely in his pulpit, where he knew none dare to oppose him, and if he would clear these things up, I should be pleased with an opportunity to hear him do it in as public a way as he had defamed us, either to make proof of his charges, or retract them; but he would not permit any such things. He had charged Friends with denying the Scriptures, Christ, the resurrection of the body, and that we pretended to revelation now, although, as he said, it was ceased some generations since. He being a hot, weak man, just set up in his trade, endeavoured to ingratiate himself in this way into the minds of the people, but he lost ground by it, so that he could make nothing but noise and tumult; and I was told that some of his own people blamed him much for the interruption he gave me, and for endeavouring to hinder the people from coming to hear for themselves.
From there I went to Amesbury, etc., and to Hampton Monthly Meeting, which held but one day. I was concerned to stir up Friends to keep a faithful record of all their sufferings, to be made use of as occasion might require, the priests’ hearers making spoil of Friends’ goods to support their false ministry, with which some people were so uneasy and oppressed, that complaints in almost every township appeared against them.
From there I came to Dover Monthly Meeting: they were very raw, and managed their affairs but indifferently, chiefly occasioned by the lack of some better hands to write and keep their books in order. I was likewise concerned here to put them upon recording their sufferings, and in a way to do it; for they were sufferers not only on account of the hireling preachers, to maintain them in their pride and idleness, but also for not bearing arms, which was likewise pretty heavy upon them in some towns; in others their neighbours were moderate, and made not much ado about them. Some complied so far as to pay their quota about bearing arms, who would not pay a doit to the parson, they seeing very clearly that they were wrong and preached themselves and for themselves. We had an agreeable time in conference, and there was great sincerity and innocency among them. I was at their first-day meeting, which was very large, and to great satisfaction.
After meeting, finding that some misunderstanding was among them about the building of a meetinghouse, we persuaded them to peace and love, in which we were successful. We appointed a meeting to be held there, which was attended by all, or the greatest part, of Friends of that Monthly Meeting, and a comfortable opportunity we had, and they seemed all very easy and reconciled one to another.
From there I went to Strawberry-bank, other wise Portsmouth, but it proved an unsuitable time, because all the country was come together, the military part especially, with all their arms and accoutrements of war, to proclaim king George the II., news being come there three weeks before, that his father died on his way to Hanover, and also on account of the peace that was concluded with the Indians. Notwithstanding the vast crowd and hurry, we had a very quiet, though but small meeting; and notice being whispered that there was to be a marriage at Dover, on a day appointed, many in curiosity came to it, and the people seemed much pleased with our way of marrying, few of them having been at any before. All ended quietly, without any dispute.
We had another meeting at the new meetinghouse, after which I found a concern to desire an opportunity with the ministers and elders, which was very readily granted; and I was engaged to request and advise both the ministers and elders, to endeavour to keep in the unity of the spirit among themselves, that they might be good examples to the flock, over which they were to watch, and to be ready and willing to administer good counsel, which the apostle calls “feeding of the flock;” and recommends to the elders as their business: also that ministers look well to their gifts, carefully avoiding either to abridge or enlarge in their ministry beyond the true opening of life in themselves, labouring with diligence and humility to evince the truth of their words by their own conduct, that no blemish or spot might appear among them, nor any just ground to reproach them with teaching others what they did not practice themselves, being careful that their words and actions might be agreeable; which would give authority to their ministry, and attract respect from their hearers.
From there I went to visit the widow Hanson, who had been taken into captivity by the Indians, an account of which I took from her own mouth, being in substance as follows:
“Eleven naked Indians came with violence upon the family, and killed two of the children just as they entered the house, two other little boys being at play behind the house, when they heard the noise; came running in great surprise, the younger of whom could not be prevailed with to moderate his grief, whereupon one of the Indians with a tomahawk struck him on the head and killed the poor child, to rid themselves of the noise, and to prevent their being discovered, and to strike the greater terror upon those in the house. Then they rifled the house of what they thought proper to carry away. They took the poor woman, who had lain in but two weeks, along with them by force and violence, with her little infant, and two daughters, one son, and a servant maid. It being in the afternoon, the Indians were in a great hurry to force them away as far as they could that night, for fear of being pursued and the prisoners retaken. Thus they travelled for twenty days, passing through many lakes and rivers; notwithstanding which they took no cold, but their health was preserved.” The incredible and severe trials which the poor captives went through, during their captivity, I cannot here describe to the full, in all which they were remarkably favoured by Providence, enduring hard labour, though they were driven to very great straits for lack of provisions, being necessitated to eat old bear and beaver skin match-coats, first singeing the hair off. After my return to Europe, I saw at Dublin a relation of this extraordinary affair in a printed narrative, which was brought over by a Friend from America.
Being easy to leave these parts for the present, I returned towards Hampton, but in the way had a comfortable meeting at a town called Stratham, and to Newbury, the place where the priest had given us so much disturbance; but although he had notice of the meeting, he came not, and but a very few of his people; it was a small meeting, yet peaceable. I returned to Lynn, where was a Yearly Meeting, which was very large, and I had good service in it. Then to Salem, it being their Yearly Meeting for worship, and Quarterly Meeting for discipline, which was exceedingly large; they had a meeting of ministers and elders, in which I was much enlarged in advice to both. Then came on the Quarterly Meeting, in which, for lack of better writers and method, they were somewhat deficient in their business, whereby it became tedious to themselves. I endeavoured to put them in a better method, which they took very kindly. After this was ended, a parting-meeting of worship came on, which was very large, and was attended by abundance of Presbyterians and other people. I was very much drawn forth into various branches of doctrine, and the meeting ended well; no cavil or dispute arising, to which they are liable. I was informed, that what I had delivered was taken down in writing, but I never saw it, though a Friend had sight of it, and the writer said he did it with a view to have it printed by subscription and get something by it.
Not finding myself clear, I returned back with Friends to Haverhill, and next day had a comfortable little meeting; from there to Hampton and Dover, where was a Yearly Meeting: they having in almost every place once a year a General Meeting, which they call a Yearly Meeting, and by this popular title abundance more people come together, in expectation of something extraordinary to be met with; it held two days, and was to very good content. Next day I had a meeting at Kitteryside, in an old meetinghouse that the Presbyterians had erected, but not being in a convenient place for them, had left it. Many people, both Friends and others came, and before it was quite gathered, the priest with a large company came in, and immediately began to pray, continuing a long time: but as soon as he had done, I spoke to the people with some authority, which seemed to daunt the priest, who it was thought intended to have taken up all the time himself, and to have put us by; if he had succeeded, they would have gloried and triumphed much, but they were disappointed. In the course of my ministry, I insisted on the danger of neglecting the work of our salvation, speaking cautiously, that such an omission might be irreparable. The priest replying, said, “that should be expressed will be irreparable. I desired him not to disturb us, for we did not him; and repeating my words over again, with this addition, I dare not speak conclusively of the mercy of God, who is able by Christ to save us at the hour of death. After this he was silent, only writing when he thought he had any room to cavil, but he was soon weary, for I was very strong both in power and doctrine, and great tenderness was among the people, which was strange to him, and Scripture came very aptly to confirm my doctrine. The priest growing weary would stay no longer, but walked off, inviting the people to go with him, but very few went. We had a very good, serviceable opportunity, and the meeting ended very quietly and well.
Next day I went to Portsmouth, having been there before at an improper time, but now we had an excellent meeting. I was at the new meetinghouse, about which they had had some uneasiness; we had a meeting to very good satisfaction, and Friends appeared well reconciled. I went once more to visit the widow Hanson at Knox-marsh, and from there to Stratham, having had a meeting there two or three weeks before, and the people were then very much affected. But the priest hearing of it, was very uneasy, and went among his hearers, begging and praying them not to converse with the Quakers, if they could avoid it, so that but few came. Among them was a man in drink, who cavilled and would pretend to a disputation, but he was so much in liquor that he rambled in his discourse, and knew not what he said; he went away in a rage, cursing as he went along. I came to Hampton and Amesbury and had meetings at both places; from there to Newbury, and had a meeting; to which the priest was again invited, but he did not come near us.
Next day I was at their Monthly Meeting, which was but dull, and then went up in the woods, to a new place, where there were many people, and we had a good meeting. Next day I was at a marriage, which was held in a Presbyterian meeting place, a very commodious, handsome house, and would contain nearly two thousand people, as some said. It was as full as it could well contain, and the meeting was very easy and quiet: several teachers from the neighbouring towns were there, and I was doubtful of some jangling and dispute, but all went off very well. I was largely opened to set forth the service of our Monthly Meetings, with respect to taking care of the poor, deciding differences, and taking cognizance of marriages; at which the people seemed pleased, wondering that they had no such order among them; this was a high day, and ended well.
Next day I went to Lynn, had meetings at fresh places about Lynn, Marblehead, Salem, and in several little villages towards Boston, and taking my leave of Friends in that part of the country, I came to Boston, and had two meetings there. Then I went to Mendam, Providence and Swansey, or Wickapinsett, and had meetings; and then to Scituate Yearly Meeting, which held two days, but nothing happened uncommon, save that the parting meeting at Pembroke was very large, open, and to good satisfaction. I had a small meeting at Hanover and Freetown, and so back to Wickapinsett again, and then to Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting. On the first day I had something to say to the ministers and elders about the discipline of the church, warning them to look diligently to the flock; and letting them know, that the apostacy was partly occasioned through the ministers and elders neglecting their duty, etc. Next day was the meeting of ministers and elders, and I was very much drawn forth to both. Then I had a meeting at Providence middle meetinghouse, which was small, but pretty well.
Then I went to Leicester, and had a sweet good time with a few seeking people, and in the evening I had a long conference with a young woman about the sabbath, the sacraments, so called, and some other points; in all which she seemed very tender, and in a good frame. I told her, I would not treat her as a disputant, in an adverse temper, but as a sister and friend in the same faith in degree; but she complained much of the bondage of her education, and lamented her case.
From there I went to Oxford, where was no meeting settled, nor any Friend in that place; the priests did all that in them lay to hinder the people from coming to hear Friends, when any came among them, if they knew it; however, we had a good opportunity. From there to a meeting in a great house, not far from Seth Aldrich’s, which was a fine, full, and comfortable meeting. Then to the upper meetinghouse, and so to Moshantatuck, and to Warwick, and had meetings in those places. I was desired to stay to attend a dispute. One Hugh Adams, a priest, had challenged Friends, he having undertaken to prove infant-sprinkling from Scripture, to be an ordinance of Christ. But in the proof he came off very lamely, Samuel Aldrich, an excellent and ingenious disputant, was by appointment to manage the argument on Friends’ side, and none else: but such arguments as the priest brought for their sprinkling were entirely new to the audience; one was, the spray of the Red Sea, when the children of Israel went through it, by the strength of the wind, sprinkled the children—infants, as well as old people; and as the apostle said, “They were all baptized in the cloud, and in the sea.” This was full proof of the point for infant-sprinkling, he said. But Samuel made an excellent short discourse on the text, very much to the purpose, and he had so much the ascendant in the argument on every branch, that the priest lost ground, and several of his brethren being there, were much ashamed of him.
I returned back to Rhode Island, and to Acoakset Yearly Meeting; and then to Dartmouth Yearly Meeting, both which were very large, and that evening was a meeting of ministers, wherein I had much to say on several subjects proper to them. Next day being the Yearly Meeting, it was very large, there being a great resort of people many miles round. It held three days, and ended to the satisfaction of most. This evening, as I was going to bed, about ten at night, there was an earthquake, which made a noise like the driving of carts or wagons on an uneven causeway; it continued about two minutes, to the great surprise of the people. It was felt about fifteen hundred miles, as was after computed, and was thought by calculation to be not quite three hours in going that space.
From there I went into the island, and took a last farewell of my friends in that part of the country, having made a thorough visit among them. The weather by this time grew very cold, it being the beginning of the ninth month; however, I proceeded through Connecticut, to Greenwich Monthly Meeting.
From there Seth Aldrich, John Casey, John Earle and Peleg Spencer, accompanied me, and we travelled into the Presbyterian country. At a town called Preston, we had a small meeting, and hearing of a funeral about three miles off, went there. The people, who, as we apprehended were Baptists, seemed much surprised, and our not joining a young man who prayed among them, made them look more shyly on us. The poor man seemed in confusion, but when he had done, we had a fine opportunity to good satisfaction. Then we took our journey towards New London, and on the way had a small opportunity with some Presbyterians; such of them who were bigotted, were hard to speak to about the inward work, they could not receive it. From there to New London on Gratton side, to one James Smith’s, who was one of Rogers’ Baptists, but his wife was convinced, and they were under great persecution both of body and goods. I had a meeting at John Rogers’ on New London side, and he objected against the universality of the light that saves, and about baptism. He had much to say for the continuance of water baptism, but at the same time would allow, that there was no real spiritual benefit in it; and he asserted, that that Divine light which condemns for evil, was but the tree of knowledge, and not saving; but Christ’s light which saves, was another thing; endeavouring hereby to divide between the light that condemns, and that which saves, making them different from each other. I took the Bible, and turning to the first chapter of John the evangelist, showed him, that the light there spoken of, as the divinity of Christ the Saviour of the world, was the same that condemned the disobedient, and justified the righteous; it was not divided in itself, nor was it two, but one and the same in all: and though the operation of this Divine light differed, that difference, it was plain, was not in the light itself, but in the different objects on which it operated; for example, the same heat of the sun that softens wax, will harden clay; but this argues not two different qualities in the heat of the sun, though the effect of its heat is different on wax and clay. Although this, and but few other allegories will hold throughout, yet the people saw, that his notion of two different lights, one saving, the other condemning, has no foundation in the text. Then as to baptism, he divided the institution of it into three parts; first, from John; secondly, from the apostles practising it; and thirdly, from Matt. 28:19. I told him, as he had already allowed that there was no real spiritual advantage in outward water baptism, his imaginary division of the institution fell of course; for it was against reason to suppose, that anything ordained or instituted by Christ, to be used in his church by believers, could be of no real service. But you allow that baptism with water is of no real service, therefore it is no institution of Christ: to conclude this head, we may with the apostle say, that the outward ceremonies, as baptism, etc., will do no good to believers, but he only is a Christian, who is one inwardly, and baptism is that of the heart, which is really serviceable and saving. Thus we ended this conference: he was full of words, and confused in his notions.
I had then another meeting at Gratton; after which we had an evening meeting at John Wood’s, which was the best we had among that people, where some objections were made against public prayer, but were soon removed. Afterwards at Colchester and Hebron we had good meetings among the people, though it was very difficult to get a place to meet in at the former: but a man of resolution offered a place, and there being a town-meeting that day, we had a large company, who were very sober, no cavilling or disputes. We came to Seabrook and Killingsworth and had meetings among the people who had separated themselves from the Presbyterians and inclined to the Baptists, who were getting into a lifeless form of singing, and expounding in their own way and carnal manner, which was likely to be a snare to their hurt. We appointed another meeting among them, which was but small: all my friends, save John Casey and John Earle, had left me. We now set out for New York, but had no meeting till we came to Rye, which was about eighty-one miles. I was glad and comforted to be among Friends again, having been so long from them, they being much more agreeable to me than other people. From there I went to Mamaroneck, and over the ferry to Flushing, it being their Quarterly Meeting, which held three days.
The meeting of ministers and elders was of good service, among them were some young ministers; and at this Quarterly Meeting we had a solid time, a large appearance of young Friends of both sexes being there. After this I went with Joshua Fielding on his way to the eastward; and on returning, I went to visit a Friend who was much afflicted with lowness of spirits, and in a despairing way. Although he had from his youth been a very sober and orderly man; but Providence having favoured him with considerable substance, he imagined he transgressed in having everything too fashionable and too rich, and did not serve his Maker with his substance as he ought to do; which was a great load upon him.
From there I visited Westbury on the plain: from there to Sequalogue, Huntington, and Oyster bay, and had good and very full meetings. At Matinicock and Hempstead, I had but middling times, though very large meetings. I was rather more shut up than I had been for some time before, and being desired to go and give the poor despairing Friend another visit, I went, and found him much out of order, which made it unpleasant to be with him. At Hempstead and Jamaica, the place where I had been so long a prisoner twenty years before, I had meetings but the latter was very small for lack of due notice. Then to Flushing Monthly Meeting, which was much to my comfort, not having had so good a meeting for some weeks before. I here received some letters from Friends at the eastward, which gave me agreeable accounts of the effects my labours had had, by inclining some to come to our meetings, who did not before. In several places where I had meetings, there was a prospect of some coming nearer to the truth and joining the Society; informing me also of the great earthquake before noted, which at Newbury, Haverhill, Amesbury, and places adjacent, continued at times for fourteen days and was felt a long way on the banks of the Merrimack river. The account was confirmed by many who declared themselves afraid to remain in their houses during the several shocks, which returned every twenty-four hours, and continued about three minutes. The inhabitants blamed themselves much for their pride and luxury, taking this to be a judgment upon them for those things.
I then went back to visit Westbury, Hempstead, Rockway, and had meetings in all those places, and to Jamaica again, where we had a large open meeting, and my old neighbours, among whom I had been a prisoner in my first journey, came generally and were glad to see me, as I was to see them, and we had a comfortable opportunity together. After this I visited Newtown, Flushing, and the Kilns by Newtown, having a large meeting; and so to New York, where I had an evening meeting, not very large. From there to the Narrows over Staten Island, and to Woodbridge, where I had a meeting, and about three miles distant an evening meeting. Then to Shrewsbury to their week-day meeting, which was very serviceable. I then went to Middletown, where the Baptists lent us their meetinghouse to meet in, although they had given the priest leave to preach there that same day, so that the priest and his hearers came some time before our meeting was ended, and enlarged it very much, no cavil or dispute happened, but all ended quiet and well. At Freehold, we had a meeting in the courthouse to good purpose; although the people were of an ignorant sort, who made no profession of any religion, yet some of them were very well pleased with that opportunity.
I was next at meetings at Allentown and Crosswicks, and went to visit a Friend who sometimes appeared in public, and respecting whose ministry there was a difference in sentiment, some approving and others disapproving; and the young man had taken offence at those who did not like him. We got some of the most disaffected together, and by conferring with them, the young man and those who were dissatisfied came to a better understanding, which was to satisfaction. From there I went to Stonybrook, and Allentown, and Crosswicks again, to the new meetinghouse, and to Mountholly, and had meetings at them all to content. I was also at Haddonfield meeting, Woodbury-creek, Pilesgrove, Alloway’s-creek, and Cohansey; but the weather being excessively sharp with the extremity of frost, the meetings were small.
From there to Salem, and had a very large open meeting there, and to Haddonfield, and Philadelphia, travelling over Delaware river upon the ice above a mile, and came to their week-day meeting, which was very small, by reason of the exceeding sharpness of the weather. The hardness of the frost in those parts is almost incredible: a man could scarcely bear any part of his skin uncovered, for fear of being frozen. I stayed in town over first-day, and from there to Frankford, Germantown, Abington and Horsham, and so back to Philadelphia, and stayed their meeting of ministers, and was at three meetings on first-day, which were very large and good, especially the first and last. Then I visited Haverford, Radnor, Newtown, Goshen, and the Quarterly Meeting for the county of Chester, held at Providence, which was very large, especially the meeting of ministers and elders, the greatest part of the ministers in the province, and several from Jersey being there; and I was very much enlarged in counsel and advice to them. In the meeting of business I was drawn to show the qualifications of a true elder, and the excellency of right government in the church, which must first be known in our own minds; for such who have not the government of their own spirits, are not fit to undertake the government of others. After this I had a meeting at Middletown, and so to Providence General Meeting, but I had very little to say in either of these. I went to Darby, and had a small meeting, and so to Philadelphia, and had a brave meeting, insomuch that I was filled with admiration at so uncommon a supply of new doctrine every day, which gave me cause to be more and more humble; and when some Friends would speak in favour of such an opportunity, or branch of doctrine, it would give me a shock, lest by any of these unwary commendations, I should take to myself that honour which was due to the Father of spirits, and so fall into robbery unaware.
I went to Plymouth, North Wales, Buckingham, Wrightstown, the Falls, Neshamony and Bristol, and had a satisfactory opportunity at each place, though some were more agreeable than others, and they were very full meetings, the season considered. From Bristol I went to Burlington, and was at their meeting of ministers and elders, but had nothing to say. I stayed the first-day meeting, which was very large and serviceable; it was the Quarterly Meeting time, and the meeting of ministers and elders, and I having had such remarkable times among the ministers occasioned these meetings to be very large. At this meeting I was divinely opened with fresh matter, setting forth the service of a spiritual ministry, which was free from all contrivance and forecast of the creature, in preparing itself either with former openings, or beautiful collections of texts, or sayings from books or writings, all which gatherings would bring death, and could be no other in the best and most favourable construction, though well looked on by some, than the ministry of the letter, under pretence of the ministry of the spirit, which is a deception of the highest nature.
Then I came into Pennsylvania to Wrightstown, was at their meeting of ministers, and had a very agreeable time with them, wherein was shown the danger of murmuring at the seeming weakness of our gifts and giving way to a degree of dejection, and neglect to exercise ourselves in them, showing that every gift of the ministry was of service, though but small in comparison of others, and had a great beauty in it, and that we ought by no means to slight and neglect it, but to be thankful that the Father of spirits has given us a gift, though but small. And on the other hand, to exhort such as had a more elegant ministry, not to value themselves upon their gifts, but in humility and with thankful hearts, to render the honour and praise where due, not looking with an eye of contempt on their supposed inferior brethren and sisters, but in love preferring each other to themselves, considering, that plain diet, handled by persons who have clean hands and clean garments, though it be but mean to look at, yet the cleanliness of their hands and garments, as also of the diet, renders it very agreeable and acceptable to the hungry, and for others we need not be careful. A Friend pleasantly said, after meeting, at his table, “I might freely eat, his wife was a cleanly house-wife,” being willing to improve the simile to her advantage, she having something to say, though but little, as a minister, and her husband thought she did not give way to her gift as she ought.
Next day the Quarterly Meeting was held in the same place, which was pretty large, and I was drawn to set the degrees of elders, as well as their different services, in a proper light, under the similitude of the various instruments made use of in erecting a building, and that every instrument or tool had its proper service, and every builder was to use them at a proper time, and not otherwise. From there I went over the river to the Jersey side to a meeting, which was large, and back to Neshamony again, and to Byberry, Abington, Horsham, North Wales, and the great Swamp, and had some service and satisfaction in all these places. I went to North Wales to a funeral, and to Perkiomen, where I had a small meeting, and in coming from there had an evening meeting at a Friend’s house, whose name was John Jacobs, and from there to a funeral at Plymouth, where was a great company, and a very good meeting.
I was at the Half-yearly meting of ministers and elders at Philadelphia, to which sundry Friends came from Long Island. I was largely opened to recommend a steadfast conduct with justice and a single eye to Truth and its honour at all times; and to set forth the service of elders and pillars in the church, showing how a pillar standing upright would bear a great weight, but if it leaned to either side, it would bend, and perhaps break before it was set upright again; warning both ministers and elders against party taking, and party making, advising them as careful watchmen to guard the flock, as those who must be accountable for their trust; in particular not to dip into differences, the ministers especially, either in the church or private families, but to stand clear, that they might have a place with both parties, to advise and counsel, and so they might be of service in reconciling those who were at variance. I had a concern to caution the ministers, in their travels, not to meddle with differences, so as rashly to say, this is right, or that is wrong, but to mind their own service, guarding against receiving any complaints of Friends’ unfaithfulness before a meeting, which I had found very hurtful to me; for such information without a careful watch, may influence the mind to follow it rather than the true gift. I had also to caution the ministers, in their travels, not to be hard to please with their entertainment, but to show themselves easy and contented with such as poor Friends could let them have, and to guard against carrying stories and tales from one place to another; and that as soon as their service was done, to retire home again; for some by staying too long after their service was ended, had hurt themselves, and been an uneasiness to the church. I had likewise to caution against appearing too often or too long in our own meetings, but that the ministers should wait in their gifts for the Spirit to put them forth; and carefully mind their openings, and not go beyond bounds, for if we do, we shall lose our interest in the minds of Friends, and our service will be lost: always guarding against seeking after praise, or saying anything in commendation of our own doings, neither to be uneasy when we have nothing to say. Likewise to take care at large meetings, not to be forward or too long, because a mistake committed in such a meeting did much more hurt than it might do in smaller meetings. I also touched upon the great duty of prayer, requesting all to guard against running into many words without understanding, but carefully to mind the spirit, that they might pray with it, and with understanding also.
Next day the Half-yearly Meeting began, being the first-day of the week: I was largely opened to show the difference between the true and false church, setting them side by side, that they might judge for themselves. I stayed all that week in town, the meeting not ending till fourth-day. I was at the first and third-day meetings following, and so took my leave.
From there I came to Darby, Springfield, Merion, Chester, Chichester, Christiana-creek and Newcastle, and had tolerably good meetings. Friends being acquainted that I was now taking my leave of the country, the meetings were very large, and several of them to good satisfaction, much openness and brokenness appearing. From there I went to George’s creek. Duck-creek, Motherkill, Hoarkill, Coldspring, and so back to Motherkill and Duckcreek: and had pretty good satisfaction in these meetings. The Friends in these parts were seldom visited, and but very few ministers among them. The priests, both Church and Presbyterians, attempted to do something, but the people being poor and the pension small, they gave out for lack of payment.
I was at the Half-yearly Meeting at Chester in Maryland, but the weather being very unseasonable, made it small; it continued two days, and the last meeting was the largest and best. From there to Cecil, and to Gilbert Faulkner’s, and John Tibbet’s, and Duck-creek, where I had good opportunities, and took my leave after having one small meeting about nine miles distant, and so went for the Quarterly Meeting in Maryland, at Third-havencreek, which was held in the great house; a good meeting, but I found some difficulties and misunderstandings among them which did much hurt. Next was at a Monthly Meeting in the same place, where the uneasiness appeared more plain, but endeavours were used to reconcile matters, and put a stop to the uneasiness.
From there to the bay-side, Tuckahoe, Marshy-creek, Choptank, and had meetings in all these places, also to Francequaking, Chickcomaco, Nanticoke, and over Vienna ferry to Mulberry-grove, where I had small but comfortable meetings, and at the widow Gale’s at Monay, at Annuamessicks, at John Curtis’, and at Thomas Crippin’s, there being no meetinghouses in these places. One captain Drummond desired a meeting in his house, which I assented to, and it was to good content. He was a judge of the court, and a very sensible man. I went from there and had a very good meeting at Edward Mifflin’s, who was a fine, zealous elder. He carried me over the bay in his boat, about twenty leagues, to Nansemond; we landed at old Robert Jordan’s, and were at their week-day meeting. From there I went towards Carolina, Joseph Jordan accompanying me on my way to Nathan Newby’s.
Next day I went to Pascotank, and had a fine open meeting, which was very large, for the inhabitants mostly came to meetings when they expected a preacher, and often at other times. I visited a young man in the neighbourhood, a valuable minister, but in declining health; we had a comfortable time with him, he being in a good frame of mind to die. From there to Little river and to Perquiman’s booth, to the upper and lower meetinghouse, and had very large meetings. Gabriel Newby accompanied me towards Virginia back again; the first meetings we had were at the Westernbranch, Pagan-creek, and at Samuel Savory’s; we had a comfortable time at the last place. Then to Swan’s-point, and over James’river to Williamsburg, and had a small meeting at each of these last places: Joseph Jordan being with me, we paid the governor a visit, and interceded for his favour on the behalf of some Friends put in prison on account of refusing to bear arms; he was very kind, promising to do what lay in his power for them and our people in general, and in a little time the Friends were set at liberty.
We then went to Skimino to the widow Bates’s, and were at a Yearly Meeting at her house, which was pretty large and open. From there to Black-creek, and to Curl’s, and had tolerably good meetings. We had a meeting of ministers and elders; though there were but few ministers in those parts, but we had a suitable opportunity to good satisfaction; and indeed it not often fell out, that in such meetings I was without matter adapted to their states. Next day was the public-meeting, and the following day I was at Wainoak, which were large and well, and Joseph Jordan had excellent service in the last, but I had very little to say. Then to the Swamp, and to Grassy-swamp, Cedar-creek and Dover, and had fine meetings, people being very ready to attend them. I went back over the river to Robert Hunnicutt’s, Lemuel Hargrave’s, Somerton, and to Nathan Newby’s; in all which places I had meetings, and some of them very large and open. From there into Carolina to their Quarterly Meeting, and had a meeting at James Griffith’s house. From there to Little river on the seventh-day of the week, and first of the Quarterly Meeting: the meeting was very large; I took my leave of Friends, and we had a baptizing time together. I returned back to Virginia, and was at Nansemond meeting, and had a large edifying meeting at a Friend’s house. Then I came to the Branch, and Chuckatuck, to their Monthly Meeting, but Robert Jordan had all the time, that being his last meeting, he being about to embark for England, in the same ship with me to visit Friends. A meeting was appointed at Arnold Wilkinson’s, which was small, after which I went to Robert Jordan’s, having been made exceedingly welcome, and had several good opportunities in the family. I went to but two or three meetings more, getting myself ready to return home, and accordingly we took leave, and came down the river to Hampton Roads, but missing the channel, were forced to lie aground by Newport’s-Nose, near twenty-four hours before we could get to Hampton, and when there, stayed about a week and four days. George Walker was very kind, invited us to lodge at his house, where we stayed about four nights, and had a meeting or two, his wife being more loving than I expected: she was George Keith’s daughter, and in her younger days showed great dissatisfaction with Friends, but after her father’s death that bitterness abated, and her husband was very loving and hearty to Friends, frequently having meetings at his house.
We laid wind bound a week and four days, when the wind sprung up fair, and we weighed anchor the 29th of the fifth month, 1728, with a fresh and fine gale. Robert Jordan seemed much pleased that we were on our way, and a secret joy filled my heart, being thankful that I had been preserved so well in health, and assisted with strength both of body and mind to accomplish this long and tedious journey, through the severe extremes of heat and cold, in about eighteen months, and missed but seven meetings which were far back in the woods, namely: one in the government of New York, two in the Jerseys, and four in Pennsylvania. I was not easy to miss them, but my friends thought the weather and season of the year, together with the great scarcity of provision both for man and horse, and the deep snow, with the extremity of the frost, rendered the journey hazardous, if not impracticable, and I could not see it my place to stay till the winter broke up; besides which, by staying so long I should have lost my passage by the homeward-bound ships. I should have been willing to take those meetings, if I could have saved my passage, and accomplished the journey so as to waste no time, but go on diligently as I had done before. There were but very few meetings I had not visited two, three, and some of them four, five, or six times, being situated in my way in passing to and fro. I was not hindered one hour in all this time by any disorder or sickness, or any accident, I think I may safely say. Friends had sent word to appoint a meeting for me about thirty miles on my way, but the weather was so extremely tempestuous, that when we came there, no meeting was appointed, for it was concluded I could not possibly come; so I was under a necessity to stay one day longer in that place, which was the greatest hindrance I met with in all the journey that I remember.
To return to our voyage. About two hundred and fifty leagues from land, as we thought, the water seemed like a river after a hasty storm of thunder; on seeing which, our people were surprised, and tried with the lead for ground, but could find none. It was so uncommon a thing that the sailors could not tell what to think of it: this was about the 15th of the sixth month. We had fine pleasant weather, and a great plenty of dolphins and other fish, for which providence I was very thankful.
On the 22nd of the same month, about three in the afternoon, a gust of wind came from the north; such a hurricane as our sailors said they never knew, which bore so unexpectedly without any warning upon us, that to all appearance our ship would be in a moment swallowed up in the sea, the waves running over us, and the water coming into the great cabin windows and the forecastle, so that from five or six inches of water in the hold, it so increased, that we had more than as many feet in a few minutes. The decks seemed as though they would break down, being so very heavy with the waves breaking in upon them; which staved above a ton and a half of water in casks fastened upon deck, washed some hogs overboard, and several dozen turkeys, geese, and other fowls were drowned, which afterwards were much missed by us. Besides all this, the wind tore our sails like paper, broke our foretop-mast, and several of the yards, like rotten sticks, and the round foretop; the ship by the violence of the tempest lying on one side, as though she would not right up again, so that they were for cutting away her masts and rigging. I begged the master not to do it, but to trust to Providence, for I was satisfied she would rise again as soon as the wind abated: the wind began to abate in a little time, and the ship righted up, but the tiller of the rudder being broken, it was very dangerous until they got the rudder fastened, which, in a little time before it was dark, was effected with great difficulty and danger. The sea running high, tossed the ship very much, and came in with such violence, that for some time there was no other appearance but of foundering and sinking immediately, especially until the rudder was put to rights. When they had gotten the command of the rudder, there were some hopes of relief, but while the rudder was at liberty there was no commanding the vessel, but she lay at the mercy of the sea, and it seemed as though that would carry away her stern. When we had got in the dead lights, and secured ourselves in the best manner we could, all hands began to pump, for we found between seven and eight feet of water in the hold, but the tossing of the ship made it so difficult to guess right, that it might be more or less. Having a good ship, new and firm, our hope increased, but we were all very wet and fatigued, and it was a dark and troublesome night. We longed much for the day, but the wind abated, not lasting above two hours so very strong. When day-light came we were glad, but that was soon turned into mourning, by discovering the mean state of our ship, especially the rigging and sails, and finding our great loss of water and fresh provision, things of value, next to life itself. These losses were cause of trouble, but by grieving we could not help ourselves, but in turning the mind to that Divine Power and Providence who is present everywhere, ruling both by sea and land, and whom the winds obey, I found comfort in meditating on his promises to care for those who put their trust in him.
Our men, who were all preserved from any other damage, than the taking of cold, of which we all felt the effect to a great degree, went about putting the rigging to rights again, which took up a week before we could make sail, the wind blowing strong and variable. When they had got things in a good condition, the wind was against us for several days, which made us thoughtful to take care of what water and provision we had, that we might not be surprised with a shortage, when we had not power to provide against it. The men were all called up to hear our proposal, which was to give every man three pints of water for twenty-four hours, and five pounds of bread for a week, having other provisions, both fresh and salt, a good stock, to the full allowance. At this there was some uneasiness; but at this rate our provision would hold out by our calculation for about four weeks, so that if we saw not some hopes of getting in, in two weeks, we must come to less allowance again.
The wind continued against us until the 7th of the seventh month, and then veered a little to the southward, and apprehending ourselves to be too much to the north, we were not willing if we could avoid it, to put into Ireland; but in about three days after we had a fair wind, which lasted for some days, and gave us hopes of seeing land, which we much longed for, being threatened with lack of bread and water, if Providence did not interpose. Our hearts were cheerful, and gladness appeared in every countenance, but alas! it was a short-lived joy, for in the forenoon on the 13th the wind died away again, and about five in the afternoon we sounded for ground, but found none. This made us all look pale, and sadness appeared in every countenance; and our ship being a dull sailer, added to our trouble, fearing that we were further from land than we thought by our reckoning. The greatest comfort we had, was a good ship under us, though a heavy sailer, therefore we cheered each other with the hope of gaining our port in due time with safety and comfort. Thus I moralized to myself, considering the resemblance of our voyage to a Christian’s progress through this life, sometimes in a degree of prosperity, encouraged to press forward with a fair wind, and anon under as great adversity and discouragement by temptations, persecutions and afflictions.
In two days more we sounded, and found ground at eighty-two fathom, judging ourselves from the Lizard sixty leagues, but the wind veered and blew seven days so strong against us that we were driven from land as we thought, a hundred leagues. This made us talk of shortening our allowance again, but that night, about twelve o’clock, the wind veered in our favour, and the sailors cried, a large wind, a large allowance; nothing being more disagreeable in its kind than a large wind and short allowance. The wind being fair, we went on with cheerfulness, and upon the credit of this fair wind some of the men had not a morsel of bread left by night, nor a spoonful of water, and had near thirty-six hours of their week to come. However, we went along so agreeably that every body looked pleasant; but this lasted only about sixteen hours before it came right in our teeth again, and blew very strong. Such ups and downs we had that the sailors grew very uneasy, and cursed and swore, no did not stick to blaspheme in a way that was very unpleasant to hear. This did not last long before it was calm, and the wind came up fair again, and we speaking with a ship outward bound, they gave us new heart, by advising us that Scilly bore from us north-east about twenty-two leagues distance. This day we spoke one of the king’s ships called the Dragon, from Jamaica, and in the evening saw several ships coming in; which was very pleasant, besides a fine gale in our favour, so that on the 27th we saw the land about five in the evening and a ship to windward bore down to us, and told us it was the Lizard, and we judged that it bore E. N. E. from us about six leagues distance.
Next day the wind was against us, turning in the night E. N. E. so that we lost sight of the land again, but tacking and standing the other way we soon saw it, and having the tide, though but a scant wind, we shot in a considerable way. After the tide was spent we thought we lost ground, but the wind veering to our advantage, and a better gale, helped us much, so that on the 28th we shot pretty near in, thinking to have put into Falmouth, but the wind being still more favourable, we stood for the Ramshead; then it grew almost calm, so that what we got by the flood we lost by the ebb, and we could but just discern the Eddystone like the mast of a ship, through a glass, and scarcely at all with the naked eye.
On the 29th, it being the first-day of the week, having a fine tide and good wind in our favour, gave us some hopes to get into Plymouth by meeting time, the very thought of which was agreeable; but by eight in the morning we found, to our sorrow, the tide against us, and the wind dying away. We lost ground, but shortly after the wind blew pretty strong and fair; and we found we stemmed the tide and got a little forward, and when the ebb was spent, the flood with the wind came in very strong, though a neap tide, so that we raised the land very fast, and about two in the afternoon came abreast the Eddystone, about a musket-shot from it, and had a full view thereof. In about a quarter of an hour after this, pilots came off, several ships wanting safe conduct, and about nine we got safe to anchor, just by the passage against Edgcombe house. On the 30th I landed at Plymouth, and stayed in town that day, and was very thankful I was safe on shore again, I having been just nine weeks on our passage, and the last five of it a very trying and afflicting time, but the four first were pleasant and comfortable.
I took horse the 1st of the eighth month, 1728, and came to Exeter that night. Next morning being the 2nd of the month and fourth of the week, I came home, and as I entered my own house, the inward comfort and pleasure which I felt, ravished my heart, that I could scarcely forbear to cry out, God! that God who judges men, is just in all his ways, and rewards peace into the bosom of those who fear and obey him. And being by all my family and friends kindly received, my return was exceedingly delightful.
In about twenty-two months and some days I finished this journey, and in that time I travelled by land and over rivers about five thousand three hundred and twenty-two miles, besides passing and repassing the great ocean.
I had been out of that country somewhat more than twenty-one years, and found so great an increase of the professors of truth, that I had a curiosity to examine a little into it, finding most of the old meetinghouses very much enlarged, some-to hold double, and some triple, and some four times the people that the old ones would, and even now some needed to be enlarged, or new ones built at proper distances. Besides these, new houses were built in that time in places where none had been, nor any meetings but what were kept in private houses, which grew so numerous, that necessity put Friends upon erecting houses to accommodate themselves. In New England and Rhode Island there are twelve: in the government of New York are six: in both East and West Jersey are nine: in Pennsylvania thirteen: in Maryland four: in Virginia nine: in North Carolina three. In all there have been fifty-six new meetinghouses built within these twenty-two or three years past, and in these provinces there are about ten places where they need houses, and many old ones ought to be enlarged, not having room for half the people. This extraordinary increase of professors is much to be attributed to the youth retaining the profession of their parents, and marrying such: for most of the people in Pennsylvania are of this profession, as well as in the Jerseys and Rhode Island, so that young people are not under the temptation to marry those of different judgments in religion, as in some parts. Being safely returned home, I was diligent in minding my business, and attended public meetings, funerals, etc. until the year 1740, at which time I found a concern to visit some parts of the North, and Ireland, which comes next in course, with respect to both time and place.
An account of my travels into the North of England and Ireland the second time, in the year 1740.
After having acquainted my friends with what I had in view, requesting as is usual in the like cases, a certificate from the Monthly Meeting, which was readily granted, I left my house the 1st of the third month, 1740, and went to the funeral of my intimate friend, Thomas Gary, of Long Sutton, where the meeting was very large and well. From there I went to Street, and so for Bristol to the Yearly Meeting, which was attended by many Friends, and was very much to satisfaction. I was largely opened both in the public and select meetings of ministers and elders. Leaving that place I went to Bath, Bradford, Melksham, Chippenham, and Cain in Wiltshire, and in all these places had meetings to good satisfaction, though in some more than others. At Newbury, Reading, Wickham, and Uxbridge, I had meetings, which were satisfactory. And then to London to the Yearly Meeting, where I was more particularly enlarged among the ministers than ever I had been before in England, which gave me some apprehension it was to be my last visit, and when I was taken sick, it seemed to confirm it. I had likewise a very good time in the parting meeting, which confirmed me that I was in my place. From there I went to Hertford, to their Monthly Meeting, and stayed three meetings in that town; then to Ware and Royston, and had considerable meetings in both places. Then into Essex to Saffron Walden, Thaxsted and Coggeshall, and had tolerably good times; so to Colchester Yearly Meeting, which was very large, and I had the company of John Gurney and Joshua Toft, who both had very eminent service in that meeting.
I was taken ill with a cold, yet had so good a time among the ministers, that I thought myself almost cured; but after meeting riding to Bury, it brought such a fever upon me, that I thought I could not survive it, and this seemed to confirm my former apprehension, from that uncommon enlargement I had among the ministers in London, that I should never have another, and this notion grew upon me, adding much to my lowness of spirits. I was obliged to tarry a week with my friend John Drewett, at Bury, and his kindness and tenderness over me in that low, weak condition, was very comfortable; he conveyed me to Mildenhall in his chair, but I was very weak, and obliged to stay at Joseph Ellington’s one week longer, who was also very kind and tender over me.
From there I went to Brand, and through some part of Norfolk into Lincolnshire, and had very large meetings at Lynn, and at Gainsborough, at a funeral, and meetings at several other places, which were large. I met my dear friend Joshua Toft at Lynn, and he was with me at Gedney, and other meetings between that and Gainsborough, and then we parted, and I went into Yorkshire, and had several large meetings, as at Leeds, Rawdon, Bradford, Skipton, Settle and Sedbergh; at which last place my mouth was first opened in ministry, and on first-day to Kendal, and had two large meetings, and then went directly for Whitehaven by Cockermouth, but had no meeting till I came to Dublin, staying in Whitehaven but about two hours.
I took shipping the 1st of the sixth month, 1740, and landed safely at Dublin the 4th. I stayed there two first-days, being under some disorder, and then went to Drogheda and Monallen, where I was very particular about the call and qualifications of true Gospel ministers, showing that wicked men could not be such; and from there to Lurgan, and had satisfactory opportunities, Michael Lightfoot being there at the same time. I was at one meeting between that and Lisburn, and went to the north as far as Ballimurry, and then returned to Toberhead, Old Castle and Coothill, visiting meetings on that side to Limerick, and so to Clonmel, Youghal, and to the province meeting at Cork, back by Waterford to a province Quarterly Meeting at Mountmellick, visiting the meetings as I went to Montrath and Edenderry. Then I went to Dubhn to a marriage, where for some time I had hard work, but it ended very well; and from there I went into the country to Wicklow and Carlow, visiting the meetings until the national Half-yearly Meeting at Dublin, about the 11th of the ninth month.
I found in that nation a brave, zealous and living people in the root of true religion and discipline, or church government, well qualified with experience in Divine wisdom; but there were also some who seemed very perfect in the form, and appeared to the outward very exact and zealous against pride and worldly customs, but for all that, the inside was not right, so that I found often very close exercise among them, in warning them against the leaven of the pharisees, which was equally, if not more hurtful to religion than that of the publicans. In some places, I was led to show that it was needful to be good examples in plainness of speech, as well as apparel, which many had deviated from; but nevertheless such there were, who though plain, and otherwise strict, were too much taken up with the world and the riches of it, making haste to increase their substance, which was a very great hindrance to their growth in the life of religion, and made them dwarfish therein; setting forth, that a form, without life, whether by education or otherwise, would not avail. I also warned the ministers, in the exercise of their gifts, to keep to the Spirit, and mind carefully their openings, and not to preach the letter under a pretence of the Spirit, and so instead of ministering life, minister death to the people. In the main I had great comfort and many very good opportunities.
I left that nation full of peace in my own mind, being glad that I went there: I was at eighty-two or eighty-three meetings in it, and took shipping the 19th of the ninth month, 1740, in company with my dear friend Michael Lightfoot, for Workington, and was but twenty-four hours on the water; it was a rough though very quick passage; my friend was very sick, and I was also, but not to the degree he was. We hired horses to go to Whitehaven, it being about six or seven miles, and stayed there till next day, it being first-day, and had two meetings, the last very large. I visited meetings in and about Cockermouth and Pardsay, many of which were very large, and then by Keswick to Hawkshead, where I was much comforted, being at a friend Lancaster’s house at Colthouse, and had two meetings there, which were very full.
I went to Kendal, but had no meeting, and next morning to Sedbergh to the General Meeting, which was small by reason of a deep snow and very hard weather. From there to Preston Patrick, and to Crook, and had a small meeting, then back to Kendal to their week-day meeting, where was a funeral. It was very bad travelling by reason of the snow and frost, but I went to Cumberland Quarterly Meeting, by Carlisle and Moorhouse to Wigton, where it was held; and considering the season, it was very large; holding two days.
At a meeting of ministers and elders held in the evening, I was much enlarged, as well as at the other meetings. I returned back to Penrith, accompanied in this Journey by my friend Rowland Wilson, who was of great service to me at Penrith we had a very large evening meeting, to good satisfaction; the dissenting teacher, with many of his hearers were there, and it ended well. From there to Teril, and to the Monthly Meeting at Great Strickland, and so by Shap to Kendal, where I was at three meetings besides the Quarterly Meeting and the meeting of ministers, all very large and satisfactory. I took my friend John Wilson’s house for home at Kendal, and James Wilson’s at Sedbergh, stayed their first-day meeting, and had an exceeding large meeting in the evening. That meeting, with Cockermouth and Whitehaven, were the largest meetings I had in the north during that journey. From there to my old friend Robert Chambers, and to Preston General Meeting, which was pretty large, but I was much shut up in it; and after meeting James and John Wilson, with Robert Chambers, and sundry others, accompanied me to the Quarterly Meeting at Lancaster, which began next day, and was very large. These Quarterly Meetings of Cumberland, “Westmoreland and Lancashire, were three of the largest that I remember to have been at, one after the other, in so short a time, and they had an excellent economy in the management of their affairs; but there was no meeting of ministers at Lancaster at this time. It may be justly said, I think, that these three counties are in a thriving way in the life of religion and true godliness.
Having received information from my dear wife, that she was weakly and wanted me to return, I was prevented from visiting the North as I had in view, so that from Lancaster I had no meeting till I came to Manchester, where I had two good meetings. From there to Stockport, Macclesfield and Leek, and had small meetings at each place. At Birmingham I had two meetings, the last a funeral, pretty large, but not so edifying as I could have desired. From there to Worcester, Gloucester and Bristol, and had meetings to very good satisfaction, especially at Worcester and Bristol.
In this journey I travelled, exclusive of the sea, sixteen hundred and eight miles, and save my illness at Bury, had my health as well as I could expect, being humbly thankful, that I was strengthened both inwardly and outwardly to accomplish my journey so well, not having that I remember, left anything undone in that nation, save something I had to say in the men’s meeting at Dublin, but their hasty breaking up prevented it, which gave me uneasiness for some weeks after, and I remark it here for a caution to others; for I missed such an opportunity as I could nevermore expect to have, and this added to my uneasiness. I saw that my fear of breaking in upon the meeting, and hindering their business, made me lose my time, so that I came off with a burden upon my mind.
An account of my travels since the decease of my wife, who after a lingering illness departed this life, the 6th of the third month, 1746.
I set out from home the 27th of the fourth month, 1746, towards the Quarterly Meeting at Liskard in Cornwall, which in that county and Devonshire, are usually called Yearly Meetings, and had two small meetings in the way, at Collumpton and Oakhampton; then to Launceston, where we had a very large meeting, the place considered, the people being very sober and attentive; the Gospel flowed freely to them, and I was much comforted. I went to Liskard to the Quarterly Meeting, which owing to the unseasonableness of the weather, was smaller than usual, there being few besides Friends, but things were tolerably well; and from there to Plymouth; Friends of both counties attend these two meetings. After which I had a good meeting in the evening at the Parish, where I think but one family of Friends dwelt, though many people came to it; then to Kingsbridge, and so for Exeter, and was at their week-day meeting but had nothing to say; and going by Collumpton to Chard, returned home, where I stayed until it was time to set out for the Yearly Meeting in Gloucestershire, held at Hampton Road, which being well supplied by able ministers, was thought to be of good service.
I returned by Bath, Froome and Shipton Mallet, had three meetings at Bath, one at Froome, and one at Shipton, all to very good satisfaction, and then home, where I stayed some time; but finding the constraint of love to visit London, I waited to be clearly satisfied in the undertaking, and was not easy to go till the 20th of the eleventh month.
I went by Bristol, where the meetings were very large; I stayed two first-days, and had very good satisfaction in being there, then to London through Wiltshire, and had a tolerably satisfactory opportunity in the evening at Chippenham, where many strangers came in; next to Cain, and had a meeting, but not quite so satisfactory; to Marlborough, and had a very open time, many neighbours coming who were very sober and attentive; to Newbury, and had a small meeting; to Reading, and was there on first-day both morning and afternoon, and had good satisfaction. From there I went to Maidenhead, where several Friends from London met me; and I went to a meeting at Uxbridge, appointed for Hannah Harris; and so to London, and was in town four weeks. I visited all the meetings, and some of them sundry times over, and had sometimes great satisfaction and comfort, but at other times I was very low, and under great poverty of spirit. The first-days were hard service; the evening meetings at Grace-church street were very open, and the Gospel flowed very plentifully, at which a variety of hearers frequented, of different states and professions, but the fountain being opened, there was a supply suitable to their conditions.
After I was clear of the city, some Friends accompanied me to Esher, where we had a small but pretty open meeting; from there to Guildford, where we had a very small and poor meeting. I queried, why they did not give their neighbours notice? To which they answered, they did not use to do it. There is a very great remissness among some Friends in this respect; if they were diligent, and desirous to have the company of their neighbours, where the minister is so concerned, it might be of great service to them. I went from there to Godalming, where we had a very large and open meeting; to Alton, and had two very agreeable meetings; and to Winchester, where were but a few Friends; then to Rumsey, and had a small meeting; so to Ringvvood week-day meeting, which was small, but pretty well; to Pool, and had a meeting or two there, and then home, being very glad that I succeeded so well, both as to health and ability of mind, getting home about the middle of the second month, 1747.
I visited the meetings in my neighbourhood, until the 9th of the third month, 1747, and on that day took my journey for Bristol Yearly Meeting, which was very large and well. From there to the Quarterly Meeting for Gloucestershire, held at Thornbury, where I had a very satisfactory time. I went to Nailsworth, and was taken unwell in the night, but went to meeting, although not very fit for it; my dear friend Richard Champion came there, and I went with him to his house. The respect and kindness he showed, proved that he was an excellent sympathizing friend in affliction for my encouragement, he went to Worcester with me, the meetings being appointed so far.
I was bravely recovered by the time I got to Worcester, was at three meetings there on first-day, and had good satisfaction and peace in them. I went from there to Broomsgrove, and had a small but comfortable meeting; and to Birmingham, where I stayed seventh-day, and went to Coventry on firstday, and was at two meetings there, which were both open and well; but the latter more so than the first. Then to Hinkley, Leicester, Castle-dunnington, and to Nottingham on first-day, where I was at two meetings, but few besides our own professors were there; the meetings were tolerably well. I had not very agreeable service, to my own apprehension, in some of the above meetings, though some Friends thought my doctrine suitable to their states, and that is the chief end which we ought to aim at. I went to Mansfield, and had a very full meeting at a funeral, with which I had great comfort and peace: then to Chesterfield, Sheffield and Warnsworth, and had tolerably good opportunities; and to York Quarterly Meeting, where I had good service.
From York I went into Holderness, taking meetings to Beverly, where was a Monthly Meeting, which was I hope serviceable, being a large gathering of Friends and other people of different persuasions; then to Hull, Wehvick, Oustwick, Hornsey and Burlington. Oustvvick was a very large meeting, the others but small, but not to complain of; from there to Scarborough, where I was at two first-day meetings, which were large and comfortable. I had seven meetings in that place to good satisfaction; then I had a small meeting at Staten-dale, and so to Whitby, and had three meetings there, but they were laborious, being pretty hard to get through. At Moorsam and Castleton, I had a small meeting; it being harvest-time many Friends could not attend. From there to Kirby Moorside, and lodged with my dear and worthy friend John Richardson, at Hutton in the Hole, and was at a very large meeting at Pickering, called a Yearly Meeting, but it did not answer expectations, many of the people who were not Friends, coming to it as to a revel, and would afterwards get drunk before they went home, which gave Friends much uneasiness, and room to consider whether it was best to continue it or not.
I returned to my old worthy friend John Richardson’s, whose conversation and company were very agreeable and profitable; then to Kirby, and had a very comfortable meeting; then to several small meetings, which were pretty open and edifying. At Yarm my friend Thomas Couldwell, of Darlington, met me; who had a few words in meetings to good satisfaction; and was an innocent reputable man, both in ministry and conduct.
James Wilson went with me through the county of Durham, where we visited most of the meetings. From there we went to Allendale, and had a pretty large gathering of Friends, the Monthly Meeting being there; their business was well conducted, and the affairs carried on to edification and comfort. At Allenstone Moor, I had a pretty large meeting, and a comfortable opportunity, it being Monthly Meeting also: from there to Cornwood, which was pretty full, and I had an agreeable time. There being here some convincement, I was opened to show the difference between a true and false ministry, demonstrating the qualifications of each, that they might judge whether a spiritual qualification, which sanctifies and purifies the conscience, fitting it for receiving the knowledge of the Divine will, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit; or a human qualification by literature and books, with what they call ordination, too often without the sanctification of the heart by the word of Truth, was most likely to advance the work of true religion.
From this place we went into Cumberland, but after the first meeting James Wilson went home. I visited Cumberland pretty thoroughly, and at Coldbeck was taken so ill, that I could not attend that meeting. From there I went to Isel and Cockermouth, Pardsay and Whitehaven, but I was very weak and low in my spirit, which rendered me very unfit for service. I was at Workington on first-day, and had a very large and open meeting, so that I was finely recruited, and gathered strength both inwardly and outwardly. I went to Broughton, Allonby and to Holm, where was a troublesome woman, in whom an opposing spirit was very strong. She gave some disturbance, especially to John Urwin, but no body said anything to her; and after I had spoken some time, and concluded, she stood up and expressed something to this effect; “Here are a great many fine words put well together, but where is the life?” And in meetings she would often cast forth reproaches and reflections on ministers, both of the same county and also strangers. From Holm we went to Wigton, and I stayed there over first-day, and had two very edifying meetings; then went to Moorhouse, and had a tolerably good meeting, and so to the Quarterly Meeting at Carlisle, which was very large, and I had good satisfaction both in meetings of business, and the meetings of ministers, to my great comfort. These meetings very much restored me, for I had been very low and weak with the disorder I took at Coldbeck, but my friend John Urwin was of singular good service to me.
In the visit from Carlisle to Penrith, I went with my friend John Wilson and his brother Crewdson, who were so kind as to meet me at Carlisle, and we had a very large, good open meeting, and I doubt not the power of Truth was eminently felt that day by some. I went to Great Strickland Monthly Meeting for discipline, and to Shap, and had some service, although I was dejected and low; and always when I was in that condition, I endeavoured in secret to be still, waiting in patience, with fervent prayer that I might be preserved in the simplicity of the Gospel, to appear just as the Truth assisted, carefully guarding against forming any image or likeness, from a wrong root, lest I should offend my Master as Israel did in Moses’ absence, by forming to themselves that dumb, lifeless idol the calf, to worship after the manner of the Egyptians.
From Shap I went to Kendal, to the Quarterly Meeting for Westmoreland, which was very large, and I was much opened in it, having very satisfactory service both to myself and Friends. I went to Lancaster to the Quarterly Meeting for that county, and had there very agreeable service. The Quarterly Meetings of Cumberland, Westmoreland and Lancashire succeed one another, and are the largest of any I know in this nation. I stayed at Lancaster over first-day, and had some service at their two meetings, both pretty large. From Lancaster I went to Yelland, and had a small hard meeting, and to Preston meeting next day, which was small and heavy; my friend Sarah Wilson, James’ wife, and some other Friends from that side, met me there, with whom I went to Brigflats meeting, which was a fine gathering, and I had a comfortable time. Then to Dent’s town, to a General Meeting, which was pretty large and well: from there to Garsdale and Ravenstonedale, and had two small meetings which were edifying, although not without some mixture of uneasiness and trouble, chiefly occasioned by unfaithfulness and indolence prevailing on some of the professors, from whom one might expect much better by their appearances, and the places they aimed to fill in the church.
I was at Brigflats meeting on first-day; and their Monthly Meeting for discipline being on the fourth-day following, I stayed there, and all was conducted to edification and comfort; from there to Grayrig, a small meeting; and to Crook, where some Friends from Windermeer met me; it was but a small meeting, and we had a low poor time. I came back to Kendal, and was at the first-day meetings; that in the afternoon was large, and I opened pretty clearly the difference between a natural and a spiritual state, showing the necessity of the last, in order to qualify for the knowledge of Divine things, as that knowledge is not to be attained by the natural man; we had an edifying and good time.
I went from Kendal to Bentham, and had a large meeting to satisfaction; then to Settle, and was at their Monthly Meeting for discipline; to Skipton, and had a small meeting there; and so to Bradford, where I was on first-day, and had pretty good satisfaction. This week’s labour gave me a good degree of ease and cheerfulness of mind. I was also at Rawden, Leeds, Gildersome and Bradford Monthly Meeting, which was very small, chiefly occasioned by the inclemency of the weather, the rains being very heavy and a great flood. I returned to Leeds, and so back to Rawden, and to the Monthly Meeting at Asquith, where I met with dear Benjamin Kidd; the meeting was pretty large, and I think to good purpose. I returned to Leeds on first-day, it being my last and farewell meeting. The widow Horner’s house was my home, and in it I had great peace of mind and consolation, though she was at that time under a very trying exercise, which gave her some uneasy thoughts; but considering the close trials she had undergone, she bore it with great patience, plainly demonstrating, that she was favoured to dwell near the Truth; to the comfort of her family and sensible Friends who had the opportunity of her desirable and edifying conversation.
I left Leeds, and went to Wakefield to a funeral, on which account the meeting was somewhat larger, though it was a very stormy day, and much snow fell. John Scott was with me, and we had a good opportunity: from there I went to Pontefract, and had a small meeting; it was a deep snow, and very hard frost, which made it very bad travelling; then to Warnsworth to their Monthly Meeting, and to Blith in Nottinghamshire, to the funeral of a worthy elder and minister, where we had a very large company, who were orderly and sober in their behaviour. At Hansworth Woodhouse, I had a small meeting; and then to Sheffield, and had two large meetings to pretty good satisfaction; then I went to Chesterfield, and had a small meeting, and at Mansfield; to Nottingham week-day meeting, and to Leicester on first-day; here John Scott left me. The morning meeting was but small, but that in the afternoon was larger, and both were to pretty good satisfaction. I was at two or three small meetings in the county, and then came back to the Quarterly Meeting at Leicester, where I had a satisfactory time before the business came on, which was conducted with prudence and love.
From Leicester I went to a general Monthly Meeting, in a parish called Wigston-two-Steeples on first-day, where the meeting was pretty large, and to good satisfaction; and that evening came back to a meeting at Leicester, Benjamin Holme being there also; the meeting was well and comfortable: then to Hinkley, and had a comfortable time, and to Nuneaton, and had a very large meeting, which I hope was to good purpose. I was also at Coventry week-day meeting, and at Atherston; these meetings were of some service, but not large. At Warwick on first-day, and had an evening meeting the third-day following, which were comfortable opportunities: from there to Henley and had a small evening meeting; but Friends were too negligent in acquainting their neighbours, for which I had cause to blame them in several places. I went to Birmingham, and was at their sixth-day meeting, which was small; stayed over first-day, and had two meetings to pretty good satisfaction, with which I was comforted.
On fourth-day following I was at their Monthly Meeting, which was well conducted, and I had an edifying time, advising the elders to keep their places as watchmen over the youth, and to be good examples, and to take care the poor were not neglected, but assisted in due season. At Stourbridge we had a large meeting, sundry people came in besides Friends, and it was of good service: from Bewdley I went to Worcester on first-day, where the morning meeting was small and heavy, but that in the afternoon was large and more open. At Tewksbury I had a very open, edifying opportunity, though but a small meeting; from there to Cheltenham, where, although I requested notice might be given, it was neglected, and the meeting was very small. At Painswick I much pressed that notice might be given to their neighbours; I likewise gave several notice of the meeting myself, desiring them to acquaint others of it, and by this means we had a large and open meeting; I hope it was of good service to some, and the people were very sober and attentive. From there to Nailsworth, and although it is a considerable meeting, if not the largest meeting in the county, it was very small, yet we had a comfortable time together.
I went to Thornbury on first-day to a funeral, which was very large and open; from there to Bristol, and was at the third and sixth-day meetings, and on first-day at two meetings, which were all well and comfortable. Then back to Thornbury to the funeral of a worthy elder, Thomas Ally: he was much respected, which his neighbours manifested by giving their attendance at the meeting; and many Divine truths were opened, which appeared to be to satisfaction, there being teachers of sundry professions present, who were very attentive.
Then to Frenchay, a small meeting, and so to Bristol. I was at the sixth-day meeting, and at a funeral in Temple street, where many of the people called Methodists came; I stayed over first-day, and had two meetings, being edified in both, but the last in Temple street rather exceeded. I came to Dassil near Shipton Mallet, and had a very satisfactory meeting at Roscombe, about a mile off, where Baptists, Methodists and other dissenters came, being all very sober and attentive; and what much contributed to enlarge the number was, that the Baptist teacher gave notice both to his own people and the inhabitants of the place, and gave his attendance himself. After meeting he came to the Friend’s house where we dined, and desired a little conversation, which was readily complied with; this gave some reason to think he intended to object, but it proved the contrary, for he was rather too much abounding in praise, commending what he had heard more than I approved of, wanting to know whether I had not studied that sermon, as he called it, before I came there. My answer to him was, I knew not, when I came there, whether I should have anything to say or not, so far was I from having anything provided beforehand. He said it was a very good sermon, and very suitable for those who heard it. He was very loving, and so we parted.
From Roscombe I came to Long Sutton and had a small meeting; then to Sherborne meeting, the smallest I ever was at, or had in that place, and to but little satisfaction; the smallness of the number was much owing to the lack of notice to the town’s people; then to a funeral at Yeovill, of an ancient woman upwards of ninety-five years of age. A large company of the neighbours attended the corpse, and we had a good time, the people were very serious, and seemed edified with what was spoken; from there I came home, on the 16th of the twelfth month, 1747.
I stayed at home and visited the neighbouring meetings until the 2nd of the third month, 1748, and then went towards Bristol Yearly Meeting, but had no meeting till I came there, except the Monthly Meeting for the north division of Somerset, and though it was very small, the affairs thereof were conducted with prudence and judgment. Bristol Yearly Meeting was to general satisfaction.
From Bristol I went to Bath, and had a small meeting, and so to Pickwick. I had a small meeting at Corsham, and then went to Bradford on first-day; the morning meeting was small, but pretty open; that in the afternoon was very large, and I was concerned to distinguish between the theory and the practical part of true religion, and many of the people called Methodists being there, were very attentive; all was quiet and ended well. I went back to Pickwick to the men’s Monthly Meeting, and the adjourned Quarterly Meeting for the county, it was very small, which manifested too much neglect among the elders of the Society for the service of these meetings.
From there I came to the Devizes, Melksham and Market Lavington, and had a meeting at each place, which were pretty comfortable; and to Salisbury on first-day, and had two large meetings there: a great many Methodists came to both meetings, and were in their appearance and behaviour very agreeable several were partly convinced, and constantly attended meetings; I had very suitable doctrine to their unsettled states, and seeking conditions, for they seemed to be inquiring the way to the kingdom, with their faces thitherwards; and I hope there will be an increase of our Society in that place.
From Salisbury I went to Alton, and had a small meeting there, and then to the Yearly Meeting at London, which was very large; and many hopeful young people of both sexes attended it, who seemed likely to come up in the places of the faithful already gone, and of those who are going to their long homes. My heart rejoiced to find in them a right concern for the cause of the Gospel, and zeal to keep up the testimony for which their parents joyfully suffered.
We had several acceptable and edifying times, and the affairs of the meeting were conducted in great love and condescension, and ended well. The concluding meeting was very large, and the only one for which I had a particular concern before I left home, but I was almost shut out, being so narrowed up for time by those who appeared before me, that it seemed quite unseasonable to hold the meeting longer, and not likely to comport with the health of the people. But yet my age and infirmity considered, and it appearing doubtful whether I might have the like opportunity, and being pressed in spirit thereto, I stood up under great fear and weakness; but I was immediately strengthened by the good word of life, through which I was helped, and came off beyond my expectation, being afterwards filled with Divine peace and consolation, which confirmed me that I was in my place and duty.
I stayed in London over first-day, but had no service in public ministry, except at the morning meeting of ministers on second-day, where I was much drawn forth to the ministers, the meeting being very large with country Friends, and I was much comforted. Next morning I went with my worthy friend Samuel Waring, by Esher to Alton, to their first-day meeting, had a meeting at Great Fraile, and stayed the Monthly Meeting at Alton, which was comfortable and well, though not much appearance of service. I went to Rumsey, but was taken ill on the road, and was very much fatigued, yet next day was bravely recovered, and had a small meeting with the two families, which was very comfortable. Then to Ringwood on first-day, and had two open meetings; next day was their Quarterly Meeting, where their affairs were well conducted; and the day following was the Yearly Meeting of the two counties of Southampton and Dorset, pretty large both in the forenoon and afternoon, and of good service. Then to Pool to the Quarterly Meeting of Dorsetshire, and I stayed there over first-day, and had two pretty full meetings, especially the last, which was very large and open; many Divine truths were clearly and plainly declared to the people, who by their stillness and attention, manifested a good disposition to hear and be informed; I came home the last day of the fifth month, 1748.
An account of my journey to Bristol Yearly Meeting, and to London, Norwich, etc.
I left home the 17th of the second month, 1749, and had a meeting near Shipton Mallet, to good satisfaction; then to Bristol, and stayed the Yearly Meeting, where I had some very agreeable opportunities, both in the select and public meetings. Being clear of that place, I proceeded by Chippenham, Cain and Marlborough, and had a meeting in each place; then to Newbury, and had two meetings on first-day, the last pretty large and agreeable; to Reading, Henley, Wickham and Uxbridge, and had but small meetings, though satisfactory at each place. From Uxbridge I went to London, and had some very acceptable times in the select meetings of ministers, and was largely opened in the public meetings, and I found my concern to grow upon me.
When I was clear I left London in company with John Wilson of Kendal, and went to Colchester the 27th of the third month, the Yearly Meeting beginning next day, and the Quarterly Meeting for the county the day following, and the select meeting of ministers on the morning of the third-day of the week, which appeared to me but of little advantage, but the public meetings were very large and edifying, and ended to good satisfaction. From there to Manningtree, and had a small meeting, and so to Ipswich, and was at their weekly meeting, in company with Jane Hoskins, formerly Fenn, and Elizabeth Hudson, both from Pennsylvania, who had agreeable service among Friends. I stayed in Ipswich over the first-day, and the last meeting was very large, being appointed about the fourth hour in the afternoon, and many of other professions were there, and were very attentive and sober, and some very much affected and broken into tears, so that I hope that meeting was of service to many: I was largely opened on the subject of working out our own salvation, and the means whereby it is attainable.
From Ipswich I went to Woodbridge, it being the Quarterly Meeting for the county of Suffolk, and there being some uneasiness among them. Friends were concerned to advise them to a reconciliation, lest they should be wounded by a breach of union and affection. The meeting, by adjournment, held all day, and Friends seemed in a good degree of sweetness and condescension one to another, though a contentious party spirit had got in among them. Next morning was a meeting of ministers, to good satisfaction; and then the Yearly Meetings for worship followed, which were exceedingly large, and with the parting meeting the day following, were all very much to satisfaction. In the parting meeting I was enlarged on the progressive advancement in a living and saving faith, which is the very life of true religion. We had a small meeting the day following, being their weekly meeting; then I went to Brand, Edmund Peckover being with me; he had very good service, and the meeting ended well. I went back to Woodbridge, and stayed over first-day, but there were very few besides Friends, though it was expected the last meeting would have been large, but for lack of notice it was not. From there to Layston, Peason-hall and Beccles, and had a small meeting at each place to tolerable satisfaction; then to Mutford and Pakefield, and had as large meetings as the accommodation would permit; what was chiefly lacking, was room for the people in both places. At Yarmouth, I had a pretty large meeting to edification; one at North Walsham; and then to Norwich Yearly Meeting, which was very large. I was enlarged on the qualification of true ministers, showing, that without the Divine aid of the Spirit of Truth, that work could not be rightly performed to the edification of the hearers.
From Norwich I went to Lamas General Meeting, which was very large, too much for the house to contain, but the people were very quiet; then back to Norwich, and stayed the week-day and first-day meetings following. I had ten meetings, though in two of them I had nothing to say, and they were mostly very large and to good purpose, being full enough for my natural strength to go through with; but I was thankful and glad in finding inward strength and assistance every day to help me through, to my own comfort and his praise who is God, blessed forever; and he has given me faith to believe, that so long as he engages my mind in the work of the ministry, he will give a fresh supply of strength, both inward and outward, adequate to his requirings. From Norwich I came to Mattishal, Windham and Teasborough, and had a meeting at each place, the last was enlarged considerably with Friends from Norwich, but I was under great poverty of spirit in these small meetings. I went to Diss to a General Meeting; Friends from Norwich and other distant places came in and attended, which laid me very low indeed, but I saw in the opening of Divine virtue, that as the blessing of Christ my master, upon a small quantity of but plain and low food, gave satisfaction to a multitude, more than we were likely to be, so I found it best to retire to my gift, and be still. The meeting was very large, quiet and well, and I was concerned to set forth the folly and emptiness of all forms of religion, without the virtue and power of the Spirit of Christ, and was opened on this subject very largely, much to my own satisfaction, all being quiet and well. At Bardwell I had a small meeting, which was pretty well; then had three meetings at Bury, and one at Rattlesdon, all to pretty good satisfaction.
From Rattlesdon I went to Walden, Royston and Baldock, and so to Hitchin; had but low times in all these last meetings; from there to Hartford and Ware, and had tolerably good satisfaction; to Bishop Stortford and Dunmow, and had a small meeting at each place; and so to Chelmsford on first-day; things were well and comfortable. At Billerica I had a small meeting, and then went with my friend Samuel Arnold to his house, in a parish called Stock, stayed some days, and came with him to London, being the 20th of the sixth month, 1749. I was in town several weeks, and my concern grew upon me, and being filled with Gospel virtue, I had some very agreeable service, visiting all the meetings in the city, some three or four times, and the first-day meetings were very full, but week-day meetings were small.
Finding myself easy and clear of the city, I left it in great peace on the 3d of the eighth month, 1749, and came to Esher to a small meeting, so to Guildford, Godalming and Alton, Basingstoke, Baghurst and Andover, and had some very agreeable times, and in the main was pretty well satisfied. From there to Salisbury, and had a very full meeting; and to Fording-bridge, and was at a funeral, where many people attended. I had good satisfaction in being there, and left the place in much comfort and inward peace; from there to Ringwood, and had a pretty large evening meeting to good satisfaction; to Pool, and so to Weymouth, and had opportunities in both places; and from there I came home the 2nd of the ninth month, 1749.
From this time it does not appear that our dear friend kept any account of the meetings he attended, but upon application to his Monthly Meeting, they sent us the following brief testimony of his service, from the time he finished his journal to his decease:
FROM OUR MONTHLY MEETING HELD AT BRIDPORT, THE 21ST OF THE NINTH MONTH, 1755, TO FRIENDS AT THEIR SECOND-DAY’S MORNING MEETING IN LONDON.
Dear friends and brethren.
The journal of our dear and worthy friend, Samuel Bownas, seems to break off somewhat abruptly, ending the second of the ninth month, 1749, and we cannot find that he kept any account of his travels, labours and services in the ministry, from that time to the time of his decease, which was on the 2nd day of the fourth month, 1753. During this time he took no long journeys, for being advanced in years, his hands shook, and his eye-sight failed him much, but he was very diligent in attending meetings both at home and in the neighbourhood, for twenty or thirty miles round, as long as his health and strength continued; and his ministry was lively and powerful to the last, to the edification and comfort of those who were favoured with it. His removal was a great loss to Friends, in these parts, but we have reason to believe it was his great gain, for in his last illness, which was very short, he seemed quite sensible of his approaching change, saying that he could not stay long with us, and hoped that kind Providence would be pleased to take him to himself.
Signed in and on behalf of the said meeting, by
—Joseph Curtis, William Kenway, Robert Curtis, Joseph Hutchins, Tho. Westcombe.
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