« PreviousContinue »
for ever! After this the cold grew so exceedingly sharp, the frost and snow so extreme, beyond what was usual in that country, that we could hardly endure it. Neither was it easy or safe to stir out; yet we got, with some difficulty, six miles through the snow to John Mayor's, where we met with some Friends come from New England, whom we had left there when we came away; and glad we were to see each other, after so long and tedious travels. By these Friends we understood, that William Edmundson, having been at Rhode Island and New England, was returned to Ireland; that Solomon Eccles, coming from Jamaica and landing at Boston in New England, was taken at a meeting there, and banished to Barbadoes; that John Stubbs and another Friend were gone into New Jersey, and several other Friends to Barbadoes, Jamaica, and the Leeward Islands. It was matter of joy to us, to understand that the work of the Lord went on and prospered, and that Friends were unwearied and diligent in the service. . On the 27th we had a very precious meeting in a tobacco-house; and next day returned to James Preston's, about eighteen miles distant. When we came there, we found his house was burnt to the ground the night before, through the carelessness of a servant; so we lay three nights on the ground by the fire, the weather being very cold. We made an observation, which was somewhat strange, but certainly true; that one day in the midst of this cold weather, the wind turning into the South, it grew so hot that we could hardly bear it; and the next day and night, the wind changing back into the North, we could hardly endure the cold.
The 2nd of 12th month we had a glorious meeting at Patuxent; and after it went to John Geary's again, where we waited for a boat to carry us to the monthly meeting at the CLIFFS, and a living one it was; praised be the Lord! This was on the 6th : another meeting we had on the 9th, wherein the glory of the Lord shone over all; blessed and magnified be his holy name for ever!
On the 12th month we set forward in our boat; and, travelling by night, ran aground in a creek near Manaco RIVER. There we were fain to stay till morning, when the tide came and lifted her off. In the meantime sitting in an open boat, and the weather being bitter cold, some of us had like to have lost the use of our hands, they were so frozen and benumbed with cold. In the morning, when the tide had set us afloat again, we got to land, and made a good fire, at which we warmed ourselves well. Then returning to our boat, we passed on about ten miles further to a Friend's house; where next day we had a very precious meeting, at which some of the chief of the place were. I went after it to a Friend's house, about four miles off, at the head of AnAMESSY RIVER, where, on the day following, the judge of the country and the justice with him came to me, and were very loving, and much satisfied with Friends' order. The next day we had a large meeting in the justice's barn, for his house could not hold the company. There were several of the great folks of that country, and among the rest an opposer; but all was preserved quiet and well; a precious meeting it was, and the people were much affected with the truth; blessed be the Lord! We went next day to see Captain Colburu, who was
also a justice, and there we had some service; then returning again, we had a very glorious meeting at the same justice's, where we met before ; to which came many people of account in the world, magistrates, officers, and others. It was large, and the power of the Lord was much felt, so that the people were generally well satisfied, and taken with the truth; and there being several merchants and masters of ships from New England, the truth was spread abroad; blessed be the Lord !
A day or two after, we travelled about sixteen miles through the woods and bogs, heading AnaMESSY RIVER and AMOROCA RIVER, part of which last we went over in a canoe, and came to MANAOKE, to a friendly woman's house; where, on the 24th, we had a large meeting in a barn. The Lord's living presence was with us, and among the people; blessed be his holy name for evermore! Friends had never had a meeting in those parts before. After this we passed over the River Wicocomaco, through many bad and watery swamps and marshy ways, and came to James Jones's, a Friend, and a justice of the peace; where we had a large and very glori. ous meeting; praised be the Lord God! Then passing over the water in a boat, we took horse and travelled about twenty-four miles through woods and troublesome swamps, and came to another justice's house, where we had a very large meeting, much people, and many of considerable account being present; and the living presence of the Lord was amongst us, praised for ever be his holy name! This was on the 3d of the 1st month, 1672-3 ;* and on the 5th we had another living and heavenly meeting, at which divers of the justices, with their wives, and many other people, were; amongst whom we had very good service for the Lord; blessed be his holy name! At this meeting was a woman that lived at Anamessy, who had been many years in trouble of mind, and sometimes would sit moping near two months together, and hardly speak or mind anything. When I heard of her, I was moved of the Lord to go to her, and tell lier, " that salvation was come to her house." After I had spoken the word of life to her, and entreated the Lord for her, she mended, went up and down with us to meetings, and is since well, blessed be the Lord !
Being now clear of these parts, we left Anamessy on the 7th, and passing by water about fifty miles, came to a friendly woman's house at HUNGER RIVER. We had very rough weather in our passage to this place, and were in great danger, for the boat had nearly been turned over; but through the good providence of God we got safe thither; praised be his name! At this place we had a meeting; and amongst the people were two Papists, a man and a woman; he was very tender, and she confessed to the truth. This meeting was not so large as it would have been, if many, who had intended, could have got to it; but the weather was so foul, and the water, by reason of high winds, so rough, that it was not safe
* The difference implied here and elsewhere in the date is between the old style and the new. The above may be read either, the 3d of the 11th month, 1672 ; or the 3d of the 1st month, 1673. It would appear that an alteration in the mode of reckoning did not take place generally till made by Act of Parliament in 1752, when the Friends also adopted a change in the mode of reckoning the months, which is explained at large in the Book of Discipline, p. 73.
to pass over it. I had no Friend now with me but Robert Widders, the rest having dispersed themselves into several parts of the country in the service of truth.
As soon as the wind would permit, we passed hence about forty miles by water, rowing most part of the way, and came to the head of LITTLE CHOPTANK RIVER, to Dr. Winsmore's, who was a justice, lately convinced. Here we met with some Friends, with whom we stayed a while; and then went on by land and water, and had a large meeting out of doors, for the house we were at could not receive the people. Divers of the magistrates and their wives were present, and a good meeting it was; blessed be the Lord, who is making his name known in that wilderness country! We returned thence to a Friend's house, named William Stephens, where we met the Friends that had been travelling in other parts; and were much refreshed in the Lord together, imparting to each other the good success we had had in the Lord's work, and the prosperity and spreading of truth in the places where we travelled. John Cartwright and another Friend had been in Virginia, where there were great desires in people after truth; and being now returned, they stayed a little with us here, and then set forward for Barbadoes. Before we left this place we had a very glorious meeting, at which were very many people; amongst others, the judge of that country, three justices, and the high-sheriff, with their wives. Of the Indians was one called their emperor, an Indian king and their speaker, who all sat very attentive, and carried themselves very lovingly. An establishing, settling meeting it was. This was on the 23d of 1st month.
On the 24th we went by water ten miles to the Indian town where this emperor dwelt, whom I had acquainted before of my coming, and desired him to get their kings and councils together. In the morning the emperor came himself, and had me to the town; and they were generally come together, and had their speaker and other officers with them, and the old empress sat among them. They sat very grave and sober, and were all very attentive, beyond many called Christians. I had some with me that could interpret to them, and we had a very good meeting with them, and of very great service it was; for it gave them a good esteem for truth and Friends ; blessed be the Lord.
After this we had many meetings in several parts of that country, one at William Stephens's, which was a general meeting once a month; others at Tredhaven Creek, Wye, Reconow Creek, and at Thomas Taylor's in the Island of Kent. Most of these were large, there being many people at them, divers of them of the most considerable account. The Lord's power and living presence were with us, and plenteously manifested amongst the people; by which their hearts were tendered and opened to receive the truth, which had a good savour amongst them ; blessed be the Lord God over all for ever. Being clear of that side, we passed over the bay about fourteen miles to a Friend's house, where we met with several Friends. I sent for Thomas Thurston thither, and had a meeting with him, to bring the truth over his bad actions.
Having travelled through most parts of that country, and visited
most of the plantations, having sounded the alarm to all people where we came, and proclaimed the day of God's salvation amongst them, we found our spirits began to be clear of these parts of the world, and draw towards Old England again. Yet we were desirous, and felt freedom from the Lord, to stay over the general meeting for the province of Maryland (which drew nigh) that we might see Friends generally together before we departed. Wherefore spending our time, in the interim, in visiting Friends and friendly people, in attending meetings about the Cliffs and Patuxent, and in writing answers to cavilling objections, which some of truth's adversaries had raised and spread abroad, to hinder people from receiving the truth, we were not idle, but laboured in the work of the Lord, until that general provincial meeting came on, which began on the 17th of the 3rd inonth, and lasted four days. On the first of these, the men and women had their meetings for business, wherein the affairs of the church were taken care of, and many things relating thereto were opened unto them, to their edification and comfort. The other three days were spent in public meetings for the worship of God, at which divers of considerable account in the govern. ment, and many others, were present, who were generally satisfied, and many of them reached; for it was a wonderful, glorious meeting, and the mighty presence of the Lord was seen and felt over all; blessed and praised be his holy name for ever, who over all giveth dominion!
After this meeting we took our leave of Friends, parting in great tenderness, in the sense of the heavenly life and virtuous power of the Lord, that was livingly felt amongst us; and went by water to the place where we were to take shipping, many Friends accompanying us thither and tarrying with us that night. Next day, the 21st of the 3rd month, 1073, we set sail for England; the same day Richard Covell came on board our ship, having had his own taken from him by the Dutch. We had foul weather and contrary winds, which caused us to cast anchor often, so that we were till the 31st ere we could get past the capes of Virginia and come out into the main sea. But after this we made good speed, and on the 28th of the 4th month cast anchor at King's Road, which is the harbour for BRISTOL. We had on our passage very high winds and tempestuous weather, which made the sea exceedingly rough, the waves rising like mountains; so that the masters and sailors wondered at it, and said they never saw the like before. But though the wind was strong, it set for the most part with us, so that we sailed before it; and the great God who commands the winds, who is Lord of heaven, of earth, and the seas, and whose wonders are seen in the deep, steered our course and preserved us from many imminent dangers. The same good hand of Providence that went with us, and carried us safely over, watched over us in our return, and brought us safely back again; thanksgiving and praises be to his holy name for ever ! Many sweet and precious meetings we had on board the ship during this voyage (commonly two a week), wherein the blessed presence of the Lord did greatly refresh us, and often break in upon and tender the company. ;
1073–1675.-George Tox writes to his wife from Bristol-has a glorious powerful
mecting there, in which he declares of three estates and three teachers-at Slat. tenford meets with much opposition to the settlement of women's meetings—the chief opposer, struck by the Lord's power, condemns his error-at Armscott is arrested by Justice Parker, and sent to Worcester jail with Thomas Lowerwrites to his wife-he and T. Lower write to Lord Windsor and other magistrates, with a statement of their case--they are examined at the sessions, but George Fox is ensnared with the oath, and re-committed for refusing to take it-Thomas Lower is discharged, and afterwards visits Justice Parker, and gives the priest of the parish (who instigated their imprisonment) a severe rebuke in his presence, though unknown-George Fox disputes with Dr. Crowder on swearing-he is removed to London by Habeas Corpus-but ultimately remanded to Worcesteris examined at the assizes by Judge Turner, but the case is referred to the sessionsdisputes with a priest ou perfection-brought up at the sessions and re-committed. but has liberty till the next sessions—is again removed by Habeas Corpus, and tenders in court a declaration instead of the oath-attends the Yearly Meeting in London-appears again at the sessions of Worcester, and points out the flaws in his indictment-yet he is brought in guilty and premunired-writes to the king respecting the principle of Friends-is seized with illness, and his life almost despaired of Justice Parker writes to the jailer to relax the rigour of his imprisonment-his wife intercedes with the king for his release, which he is willing to grant by a pardon-this George Fox could not accept, as it implied guilt-he is once more removed by Habeas Corpus—the under-sheriff quarrels with him for calling their ministers priests—he is brought before the judges, and Counsellor Corbet starts a new plea, that the Court cannot imprison on a premunire-The indictment is quashed for error, and he is freed by proclamation after nearly fourteen months' imprisonment-he writes many papers and pam. phlets in Worcester jail.
WHEN we came into Bristol Harbour, there lay a man-of-war, and the press-master came on board us to press our men. We had a meeting at that time in the ship with the seamen before we went to shore, and the press-master sat down with us and stayed the meeting, and was very well satisfied with it. I spoke to him to leave two of the men he had pressed in our ship (for he had pressed four), one of whom was a lame man; and he said, “at my request, he would.”
We went on shore that afternoon, and got to SHIREHAMPTON, where we obtained horses, and rode to BRISTOL that night, where Friends received us with great joy. In the evening I wrote a letter to my wife, to give her notice of my landing; as follows:
- DEAR HEART, “This day we came into Bristol near night, from the sea; glory to the Lord God over all for ever, who was our convoy, and steered our course ! the God of the whole earth, of the seas and winds, who made the clouds his chariot, beyond all words, blessed be his name for ever! He is over all in his great power and wisdom, Amen. Robert Widders and James