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several hundred miles through Virginia, my very soul was bowed and afflicted within me, on beholding so much human misery among that oppressed people, the much injured Africans; and the mental breathing of my soul unto God was that he would be pleased to arise for their deliverance from under the hands of cruel men.
3nd of 11th month, and first of the week, I was at New Garden meeting—a large gathering of a mix1 ed multitude,-among whom were slave holders, and
traders in the bodies of men. Nathan Hunt attended and had a living testimony to bear against the iniquitous practice of slavery. O Lord, do thou more and more shake the minds of unprincipled men, until thy righteous government comes to be established.Next day, the Yearly Meeting began, and on the 7th it ended with solemn supplication. We then set out for Westfield, where I attended their monthly and first-day meetings. On the 13th was at a meeting on Brush mountain; and thence proceeded to the Quarterly meeting at Deep Creek. My mind since I came to Westfield and through the several sittings of this Quarterly meeting, has been enveloped in darkness and distress, so that I have been ready to cry out, Oh! wretched man, who shall deliver me from the body of this death! But thro’ the condescending love of Him who can still the waves and wind, I was given to see the use of these trials, that I might have the sentence of death in myself,—so that I might not trust in myself, but in Him who can raise the dead.
Crossing the Blue Ridge,we were at Chesnut Creek meeting. Then crossed the Iron mountain, and had a meeting at Elijah Emery's; also one at Limestone, and another at Newhope:—thence to
Westland and Lick Creek, where my soul was bowed under a sense of Divine goodness. We then went to Lost Creek, and had a favoured meeting amongst a number of different professors. Next, was at a silent meeting at the Valley, and passing on through Knoxville, were at Newberry meeting on the first of the week. During this journey through Tennessee, I have been favoured with patience and resignation to Divine disposal, although my trials, both inward and outward, have sometimes been of a nature hard to endure. We have had rough ways to pass, over rocks, hills and mountains; and also through deep muddy and swampy places. But we have met with kind friends, and plenty of such provisions as
country produces; being mercifully preserved in health.
On the 9th of 12th month, we set out for Indiana, and after a travel of sixteen days, we came to the Blue River settlement of Friends in that state. In this long travel of three hundred miles from Tennessee, through extreme rough and muddy roads, my mind was at times much tried and stripped, and I often renewed covenant with my divine Helper.Next day, the 25th, I rested at William Lindley's under a sense of the condescending love and mercy of the Almighty. The day following had a precious time at Blue River meeting. Then was at monthly meeting at Lick Creek, and attended the first-day meeting at the same place, which was a large gathering. of Friends and others. Both these meetings, through Divine help, were favoured seasons. Then set out for Ohio, and after a tedious travel came to Cincinnati on the 6th of 1st month, 1817.
Here we rested a few days, being detained in order to have 1817-imo
our carriage repaired. The kind attention of Friends was very grateful to me, being encompassed with doubts and discouragements, occasioned perhaps by my own weakness and want of a full trust in the Divine Arm that is strength in weakness: yet I felt at times a little of that precious faith which revives the drooping mind. Oh! the depth of the riches of God's mercy in these trying and deeply proving seasons of conflict: may I forever adore his name. While here, we received account of the decease of I. Dixon, which was truly affecting. As life is so uncertain here below, how needful it is that those who are on the stage of action endeavour to be in a state of readiness to meet the awful change! I now feel a satisfaction that my little affairs at home are settled; so that if it should please Providence to call me hence when absent from my family, I trust I shall not murmur at his Divine will. When I look at my dear children one by one, the tear of affection flows on my cheek, and desires are raised with solicitude for them, that they may be preserved in the paths of piety and virtue, and not bring reproach on the blessed Truth.
After attending two meetings at Cincinnati, and visiting several families, we set off for Waynesville, and were at meetings at Hopewell and Turtle Creek on the way. Reached Waynesville on the 16th, and next morning my mind was enveloped in much darkness, so that I was almost ready to give out, and 'conclude
tried one. In this state I remained until I went to meeting, when the light of the blessed Sun of righteousness was again lifted up, and we had a baptizing time with a large gathering of people, which ended in supplication. Lodged
at David Brown's. Next day left our carriage, and went on horseback to Solomon Miller's to an indulged meeting held in his house. Thence we travelled on horseback to visit most of the meetings belonging to Miami and Fairfield Quarterly meetings, which took us nearly three weeks. We then returned to Waynesville, and attended Miami Quarterly meeting held there the 8th of 2d month. The weather for some time has been exceeding cold, with snow on the ground, and our lodging in open houses at times very trying; yet my health has been preserved as well as usual, for which I cannot be too thankful. My prospect is to go on to Short Creek, about two hundred miles, visit the meetings of that Quarter, and then to Redstone, on my way homeward.”
It does not appear that Edward Brookes left any notes of the remainder of this journey, or of other shorter journeys which he took afterwards.
The following extract from a letter to his wife, dated at East Branch, New Jersey, 11th month 1st, 1820, shows the state of his mind, and some of his religious engagements, at that period. “I am enjoying the blessing of health, which I esteem a great favour. The continual exercise of mind which attends me, lest I should turn aside from my Guide, induces a daily watch, without which I find there is no safety. We have meetings almost every day, and Friends are exceeding kind where we go,—which makes it pleasant, as to the outward: but inward exercises and secret baptisms, I expect to experience. My beloved companion is very attentive to me, and I believe it was in best wisdom that he gave up to accompany me—we travel together in much harmony. Next week, I expect to get through the meetings of Burlington Quarter; and the week after, if favoured with health, I shall hope to see you again."
For several years before his decease, he was in a declining state of health. As his bodily powers became enfeebled he gave up working and passed along in quietness, waiting for his final change, which according to the course of nature seemed fast approaching. In the 6th month, 1827, he went with his wife to his son-in-law Joseph Chandler's at New Garden, Chester county, on a friendly visit. After spending some days there, and in visiting several of his old neighbours, he remarked to one of his friends that he did not know but he was there to lay his bones beside his mother's. The day before his death, he eat his dinner as usual; but was taken unwell towards evening. In the night following he was very ill, and was engaged in prayer for resignation. As the awful close approached, he gave his hand to his wife, it would seem as a farewell token,—then uttered his last words, in unison with the martyr Stephen,“ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Thus closed the life of Edward Brookes, aged near sixty-nine years.
The following extracts from some of his letters to his wife and family, while out on his religions visits, may form a supplement to the preceding brief account of his life and religious labours.
Baltimore, 10th mo. 13th, 1803. We have had a time of deep instruction; I wish we may improve thereby. The kindness of Friends here will not be easily forgotten: but it is necessary that we look to