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did not mean to have a meeting in the town; but I had to inform them, except I felt differently to what I had yet done on that subject, I must pass quietly away to-morrow on my journey: my answer produced this query, Why were they to be passed by ? From my own feelings, I might have replied, -perhaps they had more of a desire to hear than to practise, for this felt to me to be much the case : in the evening, we had a very relieving opportunity with the only member of Society here, and his motherless children.
I was glad the way clearly opened for us to quit York the next morning, it being the time when the session of parliament was about closing, and a great deal of party spirit, we understood, at work in the minds of the people, whereby the town was kept in continual bustle, and much appearance of gaiety and dissipation: we were favoured to reach Joseph Pierson's, at Yongestreet, before dark.
Fourth-day, attended the select monthly meeting, which was very small; after the close of it, I was favoured to return to my quarters with a peaceful mind ; thankful for the strength that had been mercifully vouchsafed to me, whereby I felt comforted in a hope that faithfulness had marked my movements. We were much importuned to divide our time amongst Friends hereaway, and dine at one place, take tea at another, sup at another, and go on from day to day ; but being afresh warned by the good Remembrancer, if I expected to escape that danger whieh awaited me, I must attend to the salutary caution I had received, before I left my own home, of,—" Go not from house to house," I with feelings of gratitude yielded to the warning, leaving my kind companions at liberty to accept or reject such invitations as they pleased; but I kept close to my quarters: and in doing which, I afterwards had clearly to see my safety was, from the sorrowful manner in which unsoundness of principle had developed itself, having spread nearly over the whole of this meeting.
Fifth-day morning (18th of lst. mo.), my inward plungings for a time felt hard to the creature to bear; yet, as patience was laboured after, they proved the means in the Divine hand of preserving me from joining in that very wide field of conversation which took place at our quarters before the meeting, and which I have ever found has had a tendency to unsettle and scatter the mind, and divert it from the true centre and entire dependence on that Omnipotent arm, which alone is able to prepare us for the performance of Divine worship, or for rightly taking an active part in the affairs of the Society. The meeting for worship was disturbed by the unseasonable manner of its gathering. I was constrained to stand up, and utter nearly the following expressions :-“ God is a God of order, and by him actions are weighed in a just and equal balance, who will not condemn the innocent, veither will he acquit the guilty; and therefore the Almighty can have no fellowship with those who had occasioned the disorder that had taken place this day, if the cause for so unseasonable coming into the meeting had not been produced by unavoidable circumstances, but was for want of proper care and forecast, on the part of those who were the cause of it, who ought so to leave their outward concerns and home as to allow of their being able to reach the meeting-place by the time appointed.” The meeting for discipline lasted six hours ; the spirit of disaffection and of party was evidently to be felt at work in the minds of not a few of the members of the meeting, which in due time was fully manifested to be the case.
We next rode to Pickering. The way opening with clearness in my own mind, I ventured to call upon two families of Friends in the neighbourhood, natives of Ireland, and a young couple; in all of which there was a call for religious service; the day closed peacefully.
First-day morning, attended the usual meeting held at this place; at least one hour had elapsed before the meeting could come at any degree of settlement from the members of the meeting being so unseasonable in their attendance, some not coming in until near the time the meeting closed. I sat and mourned under a sorrowful sense of the prevalency of this evil practice amongst the members of our religious Society in this wilderness part of
We the next morning left Pickering, intending, if possible, to reach Alderman to-night, a journey of fifty-two miles: stopping on the road to take our dinner at an inn, we had the company of our kind friend Peter Jones, the Indian of the Messasa.. gua tribe. Our thus meeting again appeared to be mutually consoling to our minds ; on inquiry, he informed us he was on a religious visit to a settlement of Indians in the neighbourhood : it appeared he was known to our landlady and her family, and from their conduct towards him was held in esteem. They urged him to stay and have a meeting with them, adding, perhaps, he might do as much good thereby as going to the Indian settlement ; to which he replied, with very great apparent diffidence, perhaps, he might take a meeting with them on his return; his countenance and whole deportment bespoke the gathered state of his mind to the one only qualifying power for religious usefulness amongst mankind: we parted under feelings of much affection, and proceeded on our journey, and were favoured before it was quite dark to reach Freeman Clark's.
Fourth-day morning, we attended the usual meeting held at Ameliasburg, which was small. I felt satisfied in our sitting with this little company, and left the meeting under a fresh occasion of gratitude on my part, for the help that had been given me to acquit myself faithfully amongst these Friends. Before we sepa
rated, a Friend stood up under much apparent exercise of mind, exhorting Friends not to try to put away from them the truths that had been declared that day,—the state of the meeting, he said, having been so clearly laid down ; for if there was not a willingness to receive that which had been thus offered, it would redound to their own great loss in a future day. Thus Divine goodness at times condescends to permit the poor, weary, disconsolate traveller to receive a word of encouragement, it feeling like a cordial to my mind. We rode to Westlake, and were kindly cared for by Jonathan Boardman and his family.
We intended to go to Grass-point meeting next morning, which we had been informed was only eleven miles distant,
we were informed, that we were at the distance of eighteen or twenty miles from it. The frost being more severe than had been known for several years, the days short, and the snow in places very deep on the ground, all combined together to discourage our proceeding; some Friends also expressed their doubts about its being meeting-day in course at Grass-point, which involved my mind in yet greater difficulty : but, after all, I found nothing would do for me, but to labour to surmount it, and proceed. This being concluded upon, a kind Friend offered to drive our horses, and we gladly accepted his services.
Fifth-day morning, we proceeded on our way before sun-rise : I had passed a sleepless night, and found myself in a very feeble state as to the body, and not much otherwise in my mind : we rode about six miles to breakfast at the house of a Friend, where we found some promising young people, and a man advanced in life, a visitor, who was so talkative it seemed almost impossible to come at any quiet. I felt something stirring in my mind towards the young people, but as our time was so circumscribed, and this man continuing so intrusive in conversation. I saw no way for me but to burst out with a few words in the midst of his conversation ; on which silence took place, and my mind being favoured to obtain relief. We proceeded on our way, and reached Grass-point in time for meeting, which fell in due course this day. The meeting was very small, but I felt well satisfied we had pressed through these difficulties to sit down with the little number we found gathered there.
26th of 1st mo. 1827. Understanding there was a large settlement of the Mohawk Indians in this neighbourhood, and feeling drawings in my mind to have a meeting amongst them, I opened my prospect on this subject to Friends, who informed us, a Friend had recently had a meeting amongst them : this led me to hope they were not so much under the controul of the Episcopal clergy as I found was in some instances the case with the Mohawks, with whom we had obtained a meeting. Some Friends kindly offered to proceed to the settlement, and inquire whcther a meeting
could be obtained; but feeling as I apprehended that it would be most likely to afford peace to my own mind if I accompanied them, I made the proposal; to which one of the Friends replied, there was the Bay of Quinton to cross upon the ice, about a mile and a quarter over : at the hearing of this, I was at the first not a little dismayed, but I found I must yield and proceed with them. On our first coming upon the ice, I involuntarily exclaimed aloud, “ Into thy careful keeping, O thou Preserver of men, I commit this poor body of mine!” the prospect of this undertaking appearing, as it did to me, awful; for we had not travelled far on the bay before our horses were up to their knees in snow and water, our sledge plunging first on one side and then on the other, as if we should be upset : although I never lost my confidence in the sufficiency of Divine power to preserve from harm amidst the greatest dangers, yet my arms, shoulders, legs, and thighs contracted a soreness I cannot describe. We were favoured to land safe at the settlement; but then we had to return the same way, and were informed, we must expect to find the places we had thus travelled through worse on our return. We proceeded to the school-house, at which we found the schoolmaster, with his scholars: on our informing him of our business at the settlement, he told us, with apparent regret on his part, that the archdeacon of the Episcopalian clergy had recently written to him a letter, forbidding any dissenters having meetings in that settlement, and that their place of worship was wholly under his control. On inquiry, I found they had not been visited by the archdeacon, (who was the only person in attendance upon them,) for now two months; and that the Indians stood so much in awe of him, that if a meeting were appointed anywhere in the settlement they would be afraid to attend. The probability of the cause is this, that the archdeacon has the controul, we were informed, of what is called their presents when they are handed out to them, which is the interest due for land purchased of them by the English nation, and paid them in articles of clothing, blankets, &c. My mind was affected with feelings of horror on reflecting upon this conduct of the archdeacon, who had taken upon himself, as he had done, the religious care of this portion of our fellow-creatures, and yet was in such an almost total neglect of them; and would not suffer such as might feel their minds interested in their best welfare, to attempt to do their part towards their improvement. We found about twenty Indian children under the care of a schoolmaster, who appeared to be a well-conducted man: two of his scholars were full-grown lads, and pretty good English scholars. I observed the copy that one of them was writing contained the word. Godliness ;' feeling it laid upon me to query with the lad, if he correctly understood the meaning of the word "godliness,' I found him very diffident in giving his reply, yet, it was evident
the question thus put to him produced some serious sensibility in his mind : whilst I was engaged in explaining to him my views on this all-important word, others of the scholars, as well as himself, appeared to give attention. I endeavoured to impress on his mind the great need there was for him, now in early life, to aim to be found daily living a life of godliness, which he would be enabled to do, if he was willing to accept of God's offered help; and that this would be the way for him to be fitted for heaven and happiness, when he came to die. The tears fell from his eyes, and a degree of solemnity manifested itself on the countenances of others of the children. I felt well satisfied with the time we had thus spent with the master and the scholars, and that it was well worth encountering the danger I thought we had been carried through, and yet had to encounter. I could but hope our labour would not be all lost on the lad, and some others of the scholars ; and that our visit to them, although so short, would at times come up in their remembrance. We left the school again, and proceeded towards the bay: on our return, the snow and water was considerably above our hcrse's knees, and we so rocked from side to side, that our driver, who was well acquainted with the pass, told us, he expected no other but that we should have been upset in the deepest of it; the water flowing up through the cracks in the ice occasioning this difficulty. After I had endured no little trepidation of mind, yet, without loss of confidence in the outstretched-arm of Omnipotence, I felt truly thankful, not only for our safe arrival on land again, but increasingly so for having been preserved from giving way to discouragement, or declining to accompany the Friends across the bay to the settlement.
First-day morning, attended meeting at Adolphus Town, which was small: I felt well satisfied in sitting with Friends of this meeting: in the afternoon we proceeded towards Westlake again, and reached Holloway, and took up our residence with Joshua Waring and wife.
Third-day morning, we were favoured to reach Westlake, after having much difficulty to encounter from the snow and severe cold; attended the half-year's select meeting, which was very small, considering this half-year's meeting is composed of four monthly meetings: the travelling being so very difficult had, no doubt, in degree, contributed to prevent a more general attendance of its members. The state of this part of the body, from the answers to the queries brought up from the select monthly meetings, was very discouraging; and to look for an improvement from the existing circumstances under which the Society is labouring in this half-year's meeting,—the prevalency of unsoundness of principle, a disposition to undervalue the sacred writings and the wholesome discipline established, felt to me like hoping