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PHILADELPHIA, FIRST MONTH 1, 1898.
Volume LV. Number I.
The Journal, 1873.
THERE has very lately come from the press a story of the life of the people of Philadelphia in a former day of such a character that it challenges the attention of Friends. Concerning ourselves somewhat with current literature, we cannot well ignore this book, for it deals with principles, doctrines, persons and events with which we are historically connected, and in which we continue to be intimately concerned. Though called a historical novel, it is, in fact, more than an ordinary narrative of adventure and experience—it is also a study of life, in which questions social, ethical, and religious, regarded as highly important by the Society of Friends, are definitely involved. The whole force and weight of the novel, it may be candidly said, bears upon testimonies held by Friends. We are referring, of course, to the book, “Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker.” The author, Dr. Weir Mitchell, one of the most eminent of Philadelphia's many distinguished specialists in medical science, is a writer, also, whose fame as such may perhaps outshine that which he has acquired as a physician. Dr. Mitchell lmas written previously short stories in which there were Quaker characters; he now writes a two-volume book in which the principal figure is a Friend by birthright and education, around whom there are grouped half a score perhaps of other Friends, and whose career, in which we are invited to be interested, is not only influenced in the most definite and important manner by the views, the usages, and the habits of the Friends, but is rounded out and perfected by his departure from them. Here is a thesis, which, as we have said, challenges attention. Here is the system which to us seems good employed with much literary art as an essential feature of a widely-read book, and so presented—to a multitude of readers, of course—that the climax of the story necessarily leaves the system disapproved and condemned. We live in the great Commonwealth which William Penn founded, and in the City—the “Quaker City "-where his statue rises high above all else; nevertheless, it is true that this study of the people with whom he fellowshipped, and of the religious system which he in no small measure established, tends to the conclusion that his order of life is good only to be shaken off and abandoned. The hero of this story, Hugh Wynne, himself gives us the narrative. It is told mainly “in the first person,” and told quite simply, with much animation, and with a good reproduction of the time, the atmosphere, in which the events occur. Hugh is the son of a plain Friend of Philadelphia, and was born here about 1753. They are Welsh by descent—which blood, very rightly, Dr. Mitchell highly estimates—and there is in the
possession of kinspeople still resident in Wales an old estate, “Wyncote,” which has an important part in the plot. Hugh’s experience at school is sketched— at David Dove's, and at the old Academy, on Fourth Street below Arch, progenitor in a sense of the present University. He finds his childhood clouded by the severity and coldness of his father, but relieved somewhat by the lively affection of his mother. He reaches manhood just before the Revolution. He does not share the Friends’ view concerning war. He sympathizes with the revolutionary movement, and is drawn into it. He is dealt with and disowned by the Friends. After the war has been two years and a half in progress, and the British have possession of Philadelphia, in the autumn of 1777, he escapes from the city, joins General Washington’s army, is in the battle at Germantown, is made prisoner there, narrowly escapes death in the vile provost-prison at Sixth and Walnut Streets, escapes again, and in the later course of the war becomes an officer on Washington's staff. In the end he triumphantly secures the object of his affections, the much-courted heroine of the story, Darthea, and they are married, down at Christ Church, by Bishop White, on nearly the last page of the book. This outline, though brief, and necessarily bare of detail, discloses the import of the story. It is the relation of Hugh Wynne's Quaker boyhood, his revolt against the conditions of his home, his enjoyment of a greater liberty of life, and his willing severance of the tie of the Friends’ membership. That this severance occurs in the face of the Revolutionary events is, so far as the book is a study of Quakerism, an incident only; another epoch would have served as well to bring about Hugh's break with his father's people— which, from the first, is seen to be inevitable. Having thus devised the structure of his story, Dr. Mitchell is committed to the thesis that the Friends' system did not, in 1775,-and by implication does not at all,—serve the needs of human experience and social organization. The position he assumes as to this is final. He presents us a candid, earnest, generous boy, who finds that the conditions into which he is born depress and discontent him, and so makes his way into those which afford him more happiness. The book thus becomes a polemic. It is Ilot merely a novel; it is an argument. We cannot pause here to refute the argument, to set forth the reasons which have induced men and women of great and undenied excellence to assert that self-control is better than indulgence, simplicity higher than luxury, and a clean life more to be admired than playing cards, drinking wine, and fighting duels or battles. We must, for the present content ourselves with the remark that such views have been, and are, extensively and firmly held. We have not overestimated the dominance which the plan of the story exerts upon its development. The author may have been, and perhaps was, unconscious of prejudice against the Friends, and he has civilly endeavored to dispense a commending word here and there, in passing, as for example, when he calls Ar. thur Howell an “able and tender-minded man,” and describes James Pemberton as pleading with him in
a way “gentle and considerate.” But the theory of his story is that the Quaker system is one not to be enjoyed or endured. The lesson of his hero's experience is nearly as obvious as that laid out by John Bunyan, for the Pilgrim whose Progress he saw in his dream, a progression from the undesirable to the desirable, from a dismal to a delightful condition. The consequence is plain. Employing an expressive if inelegant phrase of current vernacular, the book has no use for the Friends. The requirements of the plot, the ever-present sense of the story's tendency, exclude them from being either justified or rewarded, as the surviving good characters in the story all ultimately are. Though they appear to be placed on trial, yet really, as in the ancient Inquisition, judgment has gone against them from the beginning. The allusions to the Friends, throughout the book, but especially in the first volume, the second is chiefly concerned with military operations,—are generally. consistent with the main thesis, and there are some, which we cannot here pause to point out in detail, very unpleasing. But above all unsatisfactory is the character assigned to Hugh's father. Here, indeed, is the crucial point in the study of the Friends. The plot requires that John Wynne shall show forth in his qualities that unendurable system which Hugh is to revolt against, and thus he is presented as the type, the typical character, of the Friends. James Pemberton, Arthur Howell—all others—simply gather about him in the dramatic grouping. However endurable they may be, not they, but he represents the spirit of Quakerism. Now John Wynne is a repellent man. In line and tint he is portrayed unpleasingly. Though the description is put into the mouth of his son, and only child, in a professed memoir for the latter's children, John Wynne is shown as one gloomy, passionate, hard, and narrow. Standing in view of his father's grave, Hugh is made to utter the bitter reproach that they “were all through life as completely apart as if no tie of a common blood had pledged them to a common affection.” To emphasize the father's defects, Hugh's mother is depicted with many charms— as a person affectionate, impulsive, and attractive, and to further deepen the contrast she is shown as one not holding seriously or sympathetically the views of the Friends, but connected with them in slight measure except through the circumstance of her marriage. Apart from the general condemnation of the Friends which the character of John Wynne implies, and which we have declined to consider here, is it fair or true to present him as a type of the Quaker father? Unquestionably not. It is most unfair, most untrue. No one is likely to pretend that in any class of society, under any form of religion, in any time, the domestic relations have been more often beautiful than among Friends, or that as between parents and children there has been, as a rule, more recognition of the ties of natural affection. The Friends, withdrawn from many indulgences and exposures of life, have been especially a people of the home, and they have not failed to make the home endurable. No doubt, there have been Quaker fathers, no doubt there were some in the Revolution, and before and since,—who were harsh and hard, and who could not or would not permit their affection for a son to be seen and felt, but if such have been, we dare to say that their qualities were less distinctive and typical than in the world at large.
It has been said that the book does not caricature the Friends. We will say that it does not baldly or grossly do so, unless in the character of John Wynne, though there are places in which the misapprehension of simple facts concerning them assumes nearly the proportion of caricature. In the main, the book is dignified, and proceeds with the gravity becoming a serious theme. It would have been an artistic fault to have made Hugh Wynne harsh or embittered in his story, and we have him presented, instead, as one who has brought from his Quaker parentage and training a thoughtful mind and a kindly temper. There are some places where the language he is made to use seems true to nature. One of these is where he describes an interview with his aunt, and he remarks of the religious gatherings of his father's family, “at times in total silence,” that this “was spoken of by the Friends as ‘religious retirement.’” There seems here—does there not?—the appearance of a sneer. If so, it is a false note. Hugh Wynne would have known, of course, the spiritual import of the Friends’ gathering in silence, and unless he differed from nearly everyone who was ever reared a Friend, he would not have spoken of it offensively. Of those who have gone, at one time or another, from among the Friends into other fields, it is rare that one is found who does not retain and cherish in large measure that rootprinciple which George Fox taught, and which the “religious retirement’’ in Hugh Wynne's father's house signified.
But we must proceed. The plan of the book, as has been sufficiently said, fixes the course the story must take. Let us look at some details. Among the errors and misconceptions as to the Friends, some, no doubt, should have been avoided. First and foremost, the sub-title of the book appears a misnomer, even in the light of Hugh Wynne's own explanations, at two places in the first volume. “Free Quaker’ is a definite name, meaning a distinct organization of persons; it was adopted by, and has been fully yielded to certain Friends, disowned in the Revolution for military activity, who formed their own Society, and built the house at Fifth and Arch Streets. Hugh says explicitly that he never joined them. He adds to his explanation, however, what we are bound to remark here, a few words implying that Owen Biddle remained with Samuel Wetherell, Clement Biddle, and others, in the “Free Quakers,” as late as the writing of the narrative, which must have been well on into the 19th century. Owen Biddle made acknowledgment to the Friends as early as 1783, was received back, and remained with them, an exemplary member, to his death.
The account of the evening meeting at the Bank meeting-house is a chapter of errors in detail, so far awry that the most grave amongst us must smile. It is described as being one of some “ occasional night meetings in the middle of the week; ” both men and women are present; without any mark of transition from the meeting for worship, the business begins, and “ offenders ” are dealt with, and disownments practically decided upon. It hardly needs be said here that the mid-week meeting was then held in the forenoon; that such a disciplinary procedure would occur, not in an ordinary meeting, but in a monthly meeting, the times of whose assembling were stated and fixed, and never in the evening; that there would be a distinct break btween the religious and business meetings; and that in the latter the men and women would sit separately. The whole affair is hopelessly “out of drawing,” as described. The speeches put into the mouths of the Friends—mostly prominent and well-known persons—are unlike anything, probably, which any of them ever delivered, and Nicholas Waln is especially ill-used, for the remarkable prayer of renunciation, which he is said to have offered, upon giving up his professional career, and entering upon a serious life, is here put in a mutilated, but still recognizable form, into the mouth of the uncouth imaginary person called Israel Sharpless, who “prayed at ” Hugh. Nicholas Waln, as is well-known, was a cultivated and graceful man, who would not have spoken in the way he is represented. Daniel Offley, the blacksmith, is represented as a mature man, active in the meeting. He was, in fact, a youth, twenty years old, at the time described, and his prominence in business in the meeting, as represented, is highly improbable. James Pemberton is made to act as Clerk, but he did not belong to the Northern District, but the Middle, while Nicholas Waln belonged to the Southern. Neither of them would have been engaged in monthly meeting business at the Bank meeting-house. One person in the meeting, when Samuel Wetherell speaks, makes the remark that “it is not usual for disowned persons to openly protest!” Decidedly, we may say not. When it is considered that a person under dealing could not attend the meeting for discipline during the pendency of his case, and that after disownment he would not be admitted any more than any other non-member, the observation seems just. Lastly, in this connection, the house itself is miscalled the “Bank Hill; ” it was simply the “Bank,” and the “Hill” meeting was that on Pine Street.
A few more points, in reference to the Friends, require notice. John Wynne calls Hugh into his room and tells him that his case, coming from the overseers, will “be laid before the quarterly meeting for discipline.” The quarterly meeting would have nothing to do with the case, of course, except on an appeal. The slaves of Hugh's father are repeatedly mentioned. But the movement among the Philadelphia Friends. for the emancipation of their slaves, begun in 1758,
(Continued on page 9.)
MIND, SOUL, SPIRIT.
Inquiry having been made by a reader of the INTELLIGENCER as to the distinction between the use of the names above, a friend has prepared for us the following notes, representing his view : MIND. “The intellectual or rational faculty in man; the understanding; the power that conceives, judges or reasons; also the entire spiritual nature; the soul.” Soul. “The spiritual, rational and immortal part in man; that part of man which enables him to think, and which renders him a subject of moral government.” Spirit. “Life, or living substance considered independently of corporeal existence; an intelligence considered apart from any physical organization or embodiment.” Thus Webster defines the three words, and we find but a slight shade of difference in them; each in its order being an evolution of the other. Turning to the Scriptures we find a similar blending of meaning in the use of these words. Thus the word mind is used in its restricted sense in Mark 14: 72: “Peter called to mind the words of Jesus.” In Genesis 26:35: Esau’s marriage is aid to have been “a grief of mind unto Isaac and Rebecca.” Many instances might be cited of this use of the word mind to indicate simply an emotion of the intellect. Mind in the sense of soul is not so generally used, though it is evidently implied in the declarations, “Serve Him with a willing mind,” “With the mind I serve the law of God.” Soul is used in the sense of mind in Deuteronomy II: 18: “Ye shall lay up these words in your heart and in your soul.” Psalms 57: 18: “Their soul abhorreth all maner of meat"; Proverbs 16:24 : “Pleasant words are sweet to the soul”; Proverbs 19 : 2: “That the soul be without knowledge is not good.” In the following passages Paul uses mind in the sense of spirit: I Corinthians 2: 16: “ For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” Jesus, in his memorable interview with the woman of Samaria (John 4), clearly sets forth the purest meaning of spirit in his explanation that “ God is spirit,” and must be worshipped in spirit. And Paul, who uses the word almost as often as do all the rest of the Bible writers together, in almost every instance designates by it the power and will of God. This he plainly sets forth in I Corinthians 2: 9 and Io, where he speaks of “Things which eye saw not and ear heard not. And which entered not into the heart of man. Whatsoever things that God prepared for them that love him. Unto us God revealed them through the spirit; for the spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God.” Yet in close connection with this he uses the word spirit for mind: “For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man which is in him.” Paul thus clearly distinguishes the significance of the word in the one sense as the intellect of man, in the other as the mind of God overruling the intellect. In this sense Friends recognize the spirit as an ever
present monitor in the human mind. As Jesus Christ declared: “I came from heaven not to do mine own will, but the "will of him that sent me,” we use the phrases “the mind of Christ,” or simply “the Christ,” to mean the spirit of God, active in the human mind as distinguished from the same operative Power active in the physical universe. I use the term human mind here advisedly, because the mind is the supreme faculty in man. Th mind is not a machine capable of only one expression, and when the phrase “intellectual religion * is used in an opprobrious sense it is a misnomer. That which is often so-called is not religion at all, but is speculation about, or theory of, religion. All true religion is highly intellectual, since it is the
conforming of the human mind to the Divine mind.
Scientifically this only is intelligence.
W. M. J.
For Friends' Intelligencer and Journal. VISITS IN INDIANA YEARLY MEETING. (Conclusion.) TENTH MontPI 19th.-We attended an appointed meeting in Friends' Meeting-house. The W. M. minister was with us, and also others not of our fold. We had a deep searching time, and all appeared willing to be faithful. The silent waiting, and earnest secret prayers were not in vain. The rich blessing came. Lips were opened both in testimony and prayer. The gospel has not lost its force; it is just as powerful as ever it has been. It is not new doctrine we want and need, but the Holy Ghost power. We must lift the stnadard instead of pulling it down; and pray God to lift us all up into a higher and holier life; then the fear of the Lord will come upon the people around us. It was when Jacob put away strange gods and set his face towards Bethel, that the fear of God fell upon the nations around. * 20th.-Attended Fourth-day meeting. of other branches of the church were with us. also was a meeting of great favor and power. praise to the great Head of the church In the afternoon at Levi Cook's, we met two of the Quarterly Meeting's Visiting Committee, who had been at Camden. They gave an interesting account of their visit, and also of friends we had met there. On account of my husband's health at this time, it was a question what we had better do. Levi Wood had kindly offered to take us to the Monthly Meeting at Milton; and I had contemplated visiting all the meetings in the Quarter; so it was with deep thought and earnest desires to be rightly led that we turned our faces towards home. This last evening, before we left the friends here, many of them came in and spent it with us. We had a precious time together. I have no power to express our gratitude for the manifold favors they so cheerfully bestowed, at various times and in different ways. . 21st.—We bade adieu to Margaret and her kind and helpful granddaughter, Lolo. Levi took us to the station. After parting with him, and sitting wait
Members This All
ing for the train that was late, the different fields of
labor we had been in came before us. It is a comfort to know that there are many who, both by example and precept, can encourage and invite others to the impressive language of the prophet Isaiah: “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths, for out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” 22d.-This evening arrived at Harveysburg; found friends and relatives generally well. It was a favor to see mother almost as well as ever, and to have a short rest, and visit with our loved ones previous to our return home. Some unfinished work I found awaited me here. As I was brought into deep exercise, I said in the lines of the poet, “Lord, what can I do but hope in thee, And leaving all the rest,
Listen for thy directing word And know thy will is best ?”
24th.-Sister Matilda's son, Joseph, took me to Waynesville. O the preciousness of obedient faith, the sweet peace it brings! We went from meeting to Friend Kelly's; had a short but pleasant visit with them. Called at Cousin David Underwood’s. Was sorry to find their son John in poor health. We sympathized with each other, and were tendered together; leaving, felt it was good to be there. 26th.-I accompanied Sister M. on a mission which she thought was nearly finished, but unexpectedly found one in need of sympathy and assistance. We returned with grateful hearts, first that we had been enabled to help in a needy way, and second because we had been saved from what looked at one time as though we must have a serious accident. O the gratitude that is due to Him who marvelously led, and wonderfully preserved us! 28th.-Attended Monthly Meeting at Springboro’. My husband still feeling that it was not prudent to go on these lengthy drives, I again had the company and kind attention of my nephew, Joseph O. Underwood, which I greatly enjoyed. The meeting was felt to be a time of favor and blessing. Among the many kind invitations, I accepted that of Jesse Wright, and enjoyed a short visit with these congenial friends, but soon started for the long drive home. 29th.-We parted with mother and other dear ones, and went as far as Xenia to brother Joseph’s. We greatly enjoyed our stay with him and his wife, and our hearts were gladdened by the cordial greeting of our young nieces, Della and Ada. 30th.--This morning we left our brothers, and reached St. Clairville in the evening of the same day; were kindly welcomed by friends there. The next morning drove to Plainfield, our home meeting. We felt it was good to be among these friends again, and to receive their warm greetings, after an absence of over two months. We had traveled by private conveyance 480 miles. Throughout our entire journey we realized, from day to day, that the timely and cheerful assistance received enabled us to extend our visit
much beyond what our unaided strength could have accomplished. In the haste of preparing these notes no doubt there have been omitted many things worthy of mention, but the memory of them will return in days to come and brighten our lives.
I am thankful to be able to say my dear husband's health is some better at this writing, Twelfth month 21st, than it was two months ago.
I close the account of our visit with reverent gratitude to the Father of all for his continued care and blessing. Remembering the conflicts and victories of an almost vanished year, I humbly acknowledge “ Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.”
REBECCA S. MERRITT.
CoNTENTMENT ON MoDERATE MEANS.—Writing of the Brownings, the poets, T. W. Higginson says : In this time and place it is worth while to call the attention of young people to the thoroughly poetic simplicity of life which marked the Brownings from first to last. A few years before Mrs. Browning's death, they received from their life-long friend and benefactor, Mr. Kenyon, a bequest of eleven thousand pounds, and she writes to a friend : “I do not doubt but that, if he had not known our preference of a simple mode of life and a freedom from worldly responsibilities (born artists as we both are) the bequest would have been greater still. As it is, we shall be removed from pecuniary pressure.” The fact, so often unrecognized by literary persons, that literature is its own sufficient reward, and is a pursuit only embarrassed by the cares and duties of wealth—this was fully recognized by the Brownings. So far did they carry this, that she writes to an unmarried friend in England : “For the rest, I would marry (if I was a woman, I was going to say) though the whole world spouted fire in my face. If you can make up £200 [$1,000] a year between you, or less even, there is no pecuniary obstacle in my eyes. People may live very cheaply and very happy if they are happy otherwise. All pecuniary reasons against love are both ineffectual and stupid.”
So wide the sky
So small am I
So great thou art,
O Loving Heart |
No life can be
Outside of thee
SOME QUERIES WELL ANSWERED.—“What is gratitude P” “Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” “What is hope P’’ “Hope is the blossom of happiness.” “What is the difference between hope and desire?” “Desire is a tree in leaf; hope is a tree in flower; and enjoyment is a tree in fruit.” “What is eternity P’’ “A day without yesterday or to-morrow ; a line that has no end.”