Изображения страниц

Friend to make up, who wished me to give directions how the suit was to be made. I told him I had not freedom, but would leave it with 'him. He made the clothes so plain, I was much ashamed to put them on. I thought to have sold several of the books I once leaned upon, but I considered I had been deceived by them, and to prevent their doing further mischief, I cast them into the fire.

Being now out of business, I spent most of my time in going to meeting, and walking in the fields retired, where the Lord showed me I was wanting in many things, concerning plainness of speech, which is the language of Truth; the keeping on of my hat, and refusing the customary salutations. These crosses to my natural inclinations brought me under much exercise many days and nights before I could submit. But I knew the Lord to be a swift witness against the evil nature that was in me; and many times when my hand was on my hat to pull it off, I felt in myself condemned, so that I durst not do it; so likewise in speech and such things as by many are accounted little matters.

I now began to consider what business I must commence for the maintenance of myself and my wife. ' My capital not exceeding sixty pounds, I feared to enter upon my own trade. In a little while I heard of a Friend who wanted a foreman in that line. On speaking to him, I found the work was very different to what I had been accustomed, and I thought it much too mean for me to accept. I therefore felt unwilling to engage. Friends were very loving to me in this matter, and they desired me to make trial of the occupation; which I did, and discovered that the greatest hindrance to it had been the pride of my own heart. I was made willing to submit, this being the day of the Lord's power. I made no positive bargain with my employer; he was to give me what he thought I deserved. After I had been about six months in this situation, the Lord brought down that lofty domineering spirit, so that I was made submissive even to the boys of the place, and willing to do the meanest work, although I had two or three men under me, and was capable of managing the highest department. My mistress did not profess with Friends, but was loving towards them. I was mindful never to go from business without her permission, except I went to Meetings; and so particular was I on this point, that I durst not go home before my usual time, even though I had nothing to do. I was as much concerned for the interests of my employer, as if the business had been my own; which often made me admire the excellence of Truth, so truly (as kept to) does it teach all of us our duties in every station of life, and make us a comfort and happiness to each other—a qualification which is too much lacking in the world. The Lord showed me that justice was a first lesson of piety; and by degrees I saw that He required

I should practise it, by paying my creditors what I owed, notwithstanding they had severally given me a discharge when I relinquished housekeeping. The sum owing was nearly forty pounds; and many were the reasonings I had against paying it out of my small stock, thinking I should be better able at a future day—that doing so now would leave me pennyless—and much more of this nature; so that whilst I had clearly seen my duty, I had nearly so far neglected it, as to persuade myself it was not required of me. But in a little time, I began to want that sweetness, comfort, and satisfaction I had inwardly enjoyed when found in the way of well-doing; and instead thereof, trouble was upon me. The Lord led me to look into myself, and there to inquire the reason; when He was pleased to condescend to show me clearly it was His will I should pay these creditors at this time; and for the rest I should trust in Him, casting my care upon His goodness. In His strength I was enabled to put this into execution. I got the money out of my wife's hands, and appointed my creditors to meet me at a house, near where the debts were contracted. There they brought their accounts, and I paid them in full, by which means I almost emptied my bag.

My master having but little business, I did not feel freedom to receive his money, my service becoming no more than what his apprentice could do without me. I had no other way of getting a penny for my support, yet in strict justice to him I could not remain. Hence we parted, and it was nearly seven months beforo I received a shilling, during which period 1 went to see my mother, in whom I perceived the Lord had begotten an honest concern for her soul's salvation.

After returning from my visit, I had much peace and satisfaction. I had not been long in London, however, before the consideration arose, of "What must I do to obtain a livelihood?" and this became my hourly concern, and great was my trouble respecting it. My friends and acquaintance began to despise me; my wife grew uneasy at the prospect before her. When the Lord had tried my faith and patience, way was made for business according to my desire : and although I have had much exercise, temptations, and provocations, I have received more than I could have asked.

Aud now I may give some account of what I met with from a spirit of deceit and self-righteousness. Muny were the transformations—the subtle operations—the cunning appearances of this pretended Angel of Light, and various the bad fruits which were produced in me :—spiritual pride, zeal without true knowledge, want of charity, errors in judgment respecting the real states of other vineyards, to the neglect of my own ; whereby I was in frequent danger of falling into those very temptations and snares concerning which I so much and so readily condemned others. But through all, the Lord preserved that sincerity he had begotten in *my heart.

In meetings, I was made to be content to fast, and feel thankful for the least crumb I could gather from the Holy Table, learning to stand still till the Lord had gained me the victory over all my carnal willings, runnings, and impatience. Many were my exercises, until the Lord measurably gave the victory; and as my enemies grew weaker, my faith grew stronger.

I shall now return to give further account of my friend, who came to London about six or seven weeks after me, having continued in a course of drunkenness most of that time, and unhappily fallen in with his associates in wickedness in London, so that for some weeks, though I endeavored, I could not find him. At length I accidentally met him in the street, and his very outward appearance discovered his inward man. He could scarcely speak without swearing—a practice to which he was not formerly addicted. In short he was the very revese of any thing that looked like good. Notwithstanding it was Bo with him, I loved him, and am satisfied my love proceeded from the love of God in my heart; so true it is, that Christ loved us when we were yet sinners and enemies to Him; and His love was extended towards my friend. After being with each other awhile, he gave me an account of his proceedings since we parted, which brought inexpressible sorrow on my spirit; but I had relief, in that the Lord followed him with judgments, and I sometimes got him to meeting, where I was desirous that the Lord would open something in His servants that might be serviceable to him. I had my prayer answered by a Friend speaking directly to his state, so that it affected him, and he began to think of being obedient; but then he would run back again, and had many afflictions, with signs and wonders from the Lord upon Pharaoh's nature in him; still that hard taskmaster would not let him go to serve his God. He came and told me that if he did not give up in obedience, he believed the Lord would cut bim off; which so affected him, that he began to go to meetings; and the Lord was pleased to afford him strength to come up in obedience, and confess Christ before men—causing him to grow in the Truth. But the enemies did not fail to pursue, and many battles they had; but the Lord hitherto in mercy kept him, giving him more than ever he could expect, even in the things of this world—goods, and a wife to his mind,—I am a witness, for God, of His great kindness to him every way. And now I desire for him, and all the visited of the Lord, that we may be preserved in His fear, never forgetting His mercy, and especially His loving kindness, for I cannot but say our visitation has been large. If we should serve idols of our own making, and love any thing

better than Him, I acknowledge we deserve double punishment. And I do believe it will be more tolerable in the judgment for the worst of men than for us, should we go back again into Egypt, and thus miss of obtaining the good land.

N. B.—as John Davis's account of himself concludes with some deficiency of information, it may not be amiss to supply the best we can, by subjoining the testimony his surviving friends gave of him, as prefixed to the original memoir, viz:—

"The following pages are the memoir of our worthy friend John Davis, late of London, who, we believe, through various trials, and much experience, gained an establishment in the blessed Truth.

"He was esteemed a valuable Elder in the Church; lived, beloved by his friends, to a good old age; and was gathered to rest as a shock of corn fully ripe.

"He died at Winchmore Hill, and was buried in Friends' burial-ground there, in or near the Fourth Month, in the year 174i, aged about seventy-seven years."

For Friends Intelligencer.

"Lord Baltimore and his lady, with their retinue, attended a meeting for worship at Treddhaven, in Maryland, in the year 1700, to which, being the Yearly Meeting, William Penn accompanied them; but it being late when they came, and the strength and glory of the heavenly power of the Lord going off from the meeting, the lady was much disappointed, and told Wm. Penn she did not want to hear him, and such as he, for he was a scholar, and a wise man, and she did not question but he could preach; but she wanted to hear some of our mechanics pEeach, as husbandmen, shoemakers, and such like rustics —for she thought they could not preach to any purpose. William told her, some of them, on the contrary, were the best preaohers they had amongst us."

The foregoing circumstance, taken from Barclay's Anecdotes, has brought to mind another of the same character, related by a friend who visited England more than half a century ago, and to whom it was told as a fact, viz.:

That there was a Friend who lived in the neighborhood of a nobleman, with whom he became acquainted; and the nobleman being interested in this Friend, desired to know more about the Society, and said he wished to attend the meeting held in that vicinity. But as there was no preacher esteemed great belonging to it, the Friend wished to defer the visit until some such a one should come that way, and promised to notify his neighbor of a suitable time, without giving the true reason. The nobleman waited for some time, when finding he was not called upon, he concluded to go alone, which was done accordingly. There was a Friend there, who was a little preacher, in the common acceptation of the term, but whose concern it was " to minister (only) in Divine ability."

After a time of silence, he arose, and expressed a very few sentences. He then made a pause. After which he informed the meeting that before he arose, he had considerable on his mind, which he thought he should be called upon to deliver to them. "But friends, it has all been taken from me, and I cannot proceed any further." He then sat down. The Friend who had been so anxious to have a good meeting and good preaching when the nobleman was there, was now greatly mortified. He thought this little Friend made out very well sometimes, in a small way; but this was worse than ever; and after meeting he attempted to slip away. But his friend (the nobleman) followed, and expressed his great satisfaction with the meeting, saying he was now convinced of the truth of what he had heard, relative to Quaker preaching, that they had no prepared sermons, but spoke from the impressions made on their minds at the present time.

Thus it was made evident, that along sermon from a great preacher would not have had so powerful an effect upon this stranger, as the simple obedience of the little Friend. W.

Philadelphia, 3d Mo., 1857.



We commence in the present number a sketch of the sufferings of Friends under the Conventicle Act, which was passed by Parliament, and rigorously enforced in the reign of Charles the Second, of England. The history of the people called Quakers, as recorded by those faithful historians, Sewel and Gough, and the biographical memoirs of the men and women by whose sufferings many of the privileges we now enjoy were purchased, are not excelled in interest by any that have been written in modern times, and we think our young members cannot fail to be instructed in making themselves acquainted with this remarkable history.

It is difficult for those who are in the enjoyment of civil and religious freedom to appreciate the sacrifices which were made by our predecessors in the maintenance of those Christian testimonies which they were raised up to maintain. These testimonies were in direct conflict with the prevailing opinions of the religious world, and their promulgation by a simple and earnest

people, did not fail to draw down the anathemas and persecutions of those who held the power in Church and State. In 1661, about fourteen years after the rise of the Society, an act of Parliament was passed, imposing heavy fines and penalties upon those who refused to take an oath before a lawful magistrate; and three years later, the Conventicle Act was passed, which prohibited the meeting together of five or more persons for the exercise of religion in any other manner than is allowed by the liturgy or practice of the Church of England, under pain of being committed to prison for the first offence, and transported beyond the seas for the second. This act was intended to operate against all dissenters, and many eluded its penalties by meeting together in private, or giving up their meetings altogether; but as Friends could not flinch from their religious obligations, the persecution fell very heavily upon them.

Public religious worship they esteemed a solemn duty, which no laws or suffering would justify them in abandoning. The whole power of the government, aided by magistrates and clergy, with a band of infamous informers, were all engaged in the attempt to crush a harmless and unresisting people, and Sewell, the faithful historian, records that more than 4,200 of those called Quakers, both men and women, were imprisoned at one time in the jails of England.

In some instances their meeting houses were torn down by the populace, and they were driven into the streets, where they continued to meet in the rains, and where, the historian remarks, exhortations, thanksgiving and prayer were frequently offered. The damp and filthy condition of those prisons, and the large number of faithful Friends who were crowded into them, greatly aggravated their sufferings, and many died in consequence of the infection which spread through them. In some cases, it is stated, they were so closely packed, that they had to take it by turns to stand up, while others sat or laid down. Notwithstanding these grievous persecutions, their constancy in suffering and their i exemplary conduct were the means of bringing j many to the adoption of their principles, and the infant Society increased. Nor did they cease to protest, and remonstrate with the government against the iniquitous laws which imposed fines and penalties for religious opinions and practices. "Nothing," says Wm. Penn,' in one of his admirable protests directed to those in power, "can be more unreasonable, than to compel men to believe against their belief, or to trouble them for preaching what they believe, when it thwarts not the moral law of God. Conscience is God's throne in man, and the power of it bis prerogative; it is to usurp his authority and boldly ascend his throne, to set lords over it."

After an experience of twelve years, it was evident that persecution could not affect the object contemplated by the framers of this iniquitous law; and in 1672 the King, by a declaration, suspended the penal laws in matters ecclesiastical, which released many from long and severe imprisonment.

Married, at the residence of her father, on 5th day, the 22nd of l3t mo. last, according to the order of the religious society of Friends, Jacob Swayne to Sabah H. Stcbbs, both of York County, Pa., and members of Deer Creek Monthly Meeting.

On 5th day, the 12th of 3d mo., 1857, with the

approbation of Middletown Monthly Meeting of Friends. Edward Wildman, to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Elisua Newbold, all of Middletown, Bucks County, Pa.

On 2d day the Pth inst., with the approbation of

the Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia, held at Spruce St., Mark Wright, of Falls Meeting, Bucks Co., Pa., to Louisa. A. Ward, of Philadelphia.

Died, At his residence, Gloucester Co., N. J., on the 6th inst., Jacob Howey, at an advanced age, a member of Woodstown meeting.


This sanguinary statute, so atrocious in its character, wantonly invading the liberties and torturing the feelings of British subjects was not made merely in (errorcm, but was intended to be, and was, to the ultermost of the power of our persecutors, put in execution, and that without loss of time. At the assizes at Hartford, says Gough, in the very next month, the following eight persons of this profession, viz.: Francis Pryor, Nicholas Lucus, Henry Feast, Henry Marshall, Jeremy Hern, Thomas Wood, John Blendale, and Samuel Trahera, were brought to their trial before Judge Bridgeman, and indicted for the third offence against the conventicle act. This is a remarkable instance of the precipitant eagerness of the persecutors: for this was not in force till the month called July, and these persons were arraigned for the third offence on the 12th and 13th of the succeeding month. Now as the penalty for the first offence was imprisonment for a term not exceeding three

months, and for the second not exceeding six, at the arbitrary discretion of two justices, it was usual for these justices to commit them for a few days for the first and second offence, not out of tenderness, but in order to subject them more speedily to the penalty of transportation for the third offence.

For, from their long approved constancy, they promised themselves an assurance of finding them again at their religious assemblies, as soon as at liberty. An indictment was drawn up against the aforesaid eight persons, expressing that they had been at an unlawful meeting three sundry times, at such times and places; and this being delivered to the grand jury, they eould not agree upon their verdict; for there were some among them whose consciences would not allow them to be accessory to the condemnation of the innocent, and therefore they returned the bill, ignoramus.

Now, although this was a legal verdict, and the court by law had no power to reject it, yet the privileges of the subject were held by so precarious a tenure at this time, and the judges were so inured to go over every barrier of the constitution to gratify the partial views of themselves or others, that instead of accepting this return of the grand jury, Bridgeman addressed them with this angry speech: "My masters, what do you mean to do? Will you make a nose of wax of the laws, and suffer the law to be baffled? Those that think to deceive the law, the law will deceive them. Why don't you find the bill?" With this menace, and fresh instructions, he sent them out again :—they then found a bill with which the court seemed well pleased. Four of the prisoners were then Drought to the bar, who pleaded not guilty, and added: "We have transgressed no just law," but,'replied the judge, you have transgressed this law, (holding the conventicle act in his hand,) and you have been twice convicted already. If you be now found guilty, I must pass sentence of transportation against you; but if you will promise to have no more such meetings, I will acquit you of what is past. This favor you may receive, before the jury is charged with you, but not afterward. What say you; will you meet no more? They answered with one accord, " We can make no such promise;" upon which the jury was sworn, and witnesses examined, who deposed that they found those persons assembled above five together, at certain times and places, but that they neither heard any of them speak, nor saw them do any thing. The judge then summed up the evidence and gave his charge to the jury, in which he told them: "You are not to expect plain, punctual evidence of every thing said or done; abase proof of their having met for worship in their manner, not being according to the liturgy and practice of the church of England, is sufficient for their conviction. It is not your business to enter into the meaning of the law, but simply determine the fact." The jury with these instructions went out, and soon brought them in guilty, and the judge forthwith passed sentence upon them, viz.: "You shall be transported beyond the seas to the Island of Barbadoes, there to remain for seven years." Then the other four were set to the bar, and tried in like manner, and condemned to be transported to Jamaica; and a fifth, *Tohn Reynolds, was tried among them, but the witnesses deposing that they had not seen him in the meeting, but within a yard of the door, with his face from it, he was brought in not guilty, and accordingly acquitted. The eight persons convicted were informed by the judge of that clause in the act, which provides that by paying £100 each, before the rising of the court, they might be discharged. The court adjourned, and when they met again, sent to the prisoners to know whether they would pay the £100, to which they unanimously answering no, the court broke up.

Pursuant to the sentence, the jailor, by the sheriffs order, as he said, applied to one Thomas May, master of a ship, called the Anne, and contracted with him to carry them to Barbadoes, at Jc5 a head, and those to Jamaica at 6/., telling him they were freemen, and that six of them would carry goods.

When they were brought to the master, and he found they were under compulsion, he refused to receive them, as his contract was to carry freemen and not slaves The jailor, vexed at the disappointment, betook himself to the Secretary of State, and made oath, that he had contracted with Thomas May for the prisoners' passage as persons convicted by the act.

May being sent for, took with him witnesses of his contract; but the Secretary "told, oath having been already made for the King, his witnesses could be of no use; he mnst carry the prisoners. lJuring this time they were closely confined, and but few of their friends admitted to see them. The master being thus compelled to transport them, against his will, they were put aboard; but put on shore by the master, and taken on again sundry times, between London and Gravescnd, it being very remarkable, that although many other vessels passed them down the river, this ship could make no way, nor with the utmost application of the seamen make sail to any purpose. Having, by the master's orders, followed him from place to place, at last he met them altogether at Deal, and before several witnesses declared that though they had followed the ship so long, yet he was resolved not to carry them.

Here he finally dismissed them, with a certificate to show that they did not make their escape, but were freely put ashore by him, assigning for his reasons, that seeing adversities and various

disappointments, he had hitherto met with, he concluded the hand of the Lord was against him —that therefore he durst not proceed on his voyage with those prisoners, they being innocent persons, and charged with no crime worthy of banishment—that there is a law in force that no Englishman shall be carried out of his native country against his will—that his men refused to proceed on the voyage, if he carried them.

There was on board one Manning, a man of a different disposition from the rest, who had been very officious in getting them aboard, and desirous of detaining them there, with design, as teas thovght, of making a market of them beyond the sea. This Manning, disappointed in his views, carried a complaint to the deputy or prinicipal officer at Deal, that the prisoners had made their escape from the ship; but they producing the master's certificate, he refused to concern himself in the matter. Then Manning, with two others, forced four of them into a boat which he found on the beach, to put them again on shipboard; but as no one would assist him to row it, he was forced to let them go. The master sailed that night, aud so left them behind. The relation of the manner in which the ship left there, was attested by eleven persons, who were eye-witnesses thereof. Being thus set at liberty, they returned home, and by letter acquainted the King and council thereof; which letter being read before the council board, under pretence that their liberation was effected by a collusion concerted between the master and them, by order of the council they were again committed to prison until means of transporting them by some ship to those parts cou Id be found; and were continued in prison until released by the King's letters patent, more than seven years after. On their return to prison, they found twenty-one more of their friends lying there under the like sentence, who at the quarter sessions held at Hartford, the 3d, 4th and 5th of 10th month this year, were condemned to banishment; under which sentence most of them lay there, till released by the same letters patent in 1672.

(To bo continued.)


Balmy spring, weeks later than we expacted and months later than we longed for her, comes at last to revive the moss on the roof aud walls of our old mansion. She peeps brightly into my study window, inviting me to throw it open and create a summer atmosphere by the intermixture of her genial breath with the black and cheerless comfort of the stove. As the casement ascends, forth into infinite space fly the innumerable forms of thought or fancy that have kept me company in the retirement of this little chamber during the sluggish lapse of wintry weather; visious, gay, grotesque, and sad; pic

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »