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Fourth-day morning, attended Little River meeting, and the next day, attended Symond's Creek meeting; we had the company of many not of our religious Society, in whose minds I was led to fear there was not much openness to receive what was offered ; and yet the necessity being felt to labour as ability was afforded, I found there would be no way for me to secure that peace which only can sustain the soul, but by being faithful, and leaving all to the Divine disposal.
Seventh-day, attended Sutton's Creek monthly meeting; the weather was severely cold, and the meeting-house being a cold comfortless place, occasioned me much suffering during the meetings, the doors being obliged to be opened the whole of the time to give sufficient light.
First-day, attended Wells meeting; the weather continuing very severe, here I also had a suffering meeting,-daylight appearing through the roof in at least twenty places, and the doors obliged to be open for light; this meeting, from a large one, is now so reduced, partly by Friends moving into the free states of Ohio and Indiana, and partly by deaths, that it is expected it must be discontinued.
Fourth-day, accompanied by my kind friend Aaron White, we had a meeting at Rich Square, notice having been given of my desire to see the members and attenders generally, the meeting was large; and Friends kept their seats more than is often the case during the time of the meeting. Here I met with a number of solid Friends, in sitting with whom I felt good satisfaction.
Fifth-day, (15th of 1st mo. 1829), we proceeded towards Virginia; and on Seventh-day attended monthly meeting at Gravelly Run, which is greatly reduced by Friends moving into the western country, and it is likely to be more so: I felt well satisfied in sitting with Friends of this monthly meeting, some of whom are to be felt for, as they have to come forty miles to attend their monthly meeting
First-day, attended meeting here : some not in profession with Friends gave us their company; it proved to me an exercising, trying meeting. In the evening we had a quiet religious opportunity in a Friend's family: after which, taking a retrospect of the proceedings of this day, before I retired to rest, feelings of gratitude and praise to the great Author of all that is truly good, were in mercy the clothing of my mind.
Third-day, attended Stanton's meeting: a considerable body of Friends, I was informed, once composed this meeting, but now it consists of only two families; these have since that time removed into the western country, and the meeting-house is shut up.
The next day, attended meeting at Black Creek; many not of our Society gave us their company.
Fifth-day, attended Johnson's meeting: and on Seventh-day, the monthly meeting for the western branch; it was long in gathering, which greatly interrupted the quiet settling of the meeting: at the close of the monthly meeting the select meeting was held, consisting of six, in the station of elders; there are now only two acknowledged ministers left in the compass of this Yearly Meeting
First-day, attended Summerton meeting, which was large, and I humbly hope a profitable one to some of us, a season in which the lukewarm and indifferent were laboured with.
Second-day morning, we set out on our journey to Lynchborough, a distance of about two hundred miles, and chiefly away from Friends.
Fourth-day, we took up our abode at a tavern for the night; this has been to me as trying a day as any I have had to pass through for some time; my short-coming relative to Wainsville coming before me, this thorn in the flesh goaded me sorely : this messenger of Satan was permitted to buffet me severely, and yet I durst not ask for it to be removed until my Divine Master pleased, believing it is one of the means he sees meet I should be tried with, in answer to my secret petitions to him, to humble me, and keep me in the low valley of self-nothingness, and in that entire dependence on Divine aid for the performance of every religious engagement. From the quantity of snow that had fallen, and bad roads, our poor horses were greatly fatigued; we were truly thankful when on Seventh-day night, about dark, we reached Lynchborough.
First-day, Ist of 2nd mo. 1829, attended the meeting of Friends of Lynchborough, about three miles from the town, a cold comfortless meeting-house ; the meeting was long in gathering, which caused it to hold beyond its usual time, but the people remained quiet to the last; I felt well satisfied in having given up to travel thus far, at this inclement season of the year, to sit with Friends of this place, although the prospect of a succession of faithful standard-bearers was discouraging.
Second day morning, we left Lynchborough: it rained and froze, which made the prospect of our journey discouraging ; but we were favoured to reach the neighbourhood of Wick's meeting, on Seventh-day evening.
First-day, the meeting was held in a Friend's house: after meeting, our kind friend Richard Jordan piloted us through the swamp, the water being very deep.
Sixth-day, attended the select quarterly meeting at Blackwater: it was to me a low trying meeting ; I was led into near sympathy with the little number I met with, endeavouring to press upon them the necessity there was to keep near to the spring of Divine life in themselves, as the only way to experience preservation in their low seasons, when led to take a view of the stripped state of the church within their borders.
Seventh-day, we attended the quarterly meeting at Black River; and on First-day attended meeting for worship there; a more disorderly meeting I never attended; a great crowd of persons assembled not professing with Friends, many of whom remained outside the house during the meeting in conversation, where they made up a fire and regaled themselves. A considerable number of people of colour made a part of our company, whose good behaviour must, I think, have shamed many of the white people who were in the meeting : in the evening we had a quiet religious opportunity at our quarters.
Fourth-day, we attended meeting at Burleigh: a few not members attended.
Fifth-day, we rode to Richmond, and were kindly received by our friend Thomas Lad.
First-day, attended meeting there, which was very long in its gathering; but in time it settled down in outward quiet, and I was led humbly to hope the silence of all flesh was in degree known by not a few of our company. A visit to the penitentiary had a little exercised my mind, but the way had not yet opened with clearness to speak to my friends on the subject. I returned to my quarters. Fearing the result of my giving way to unnecessary discouragement, and not doing my part towards the discharge of this apprehension of religious duty, I opened my prospects to my kind friend Thomas Lad: matters were arranged for my proceeding to the house of the superintendent of the prison, who kindly granted my request; the prisoners, about one hundred and fifty in number, were assembled. Great quietness was manifested on the part of the prisoners, and I was favoured to leave the prison with feelings of gratitude to my great Almighty Master, who had in mercy been a present help to me in the needful time.
Second-day morning, we rode to Cedar Creek, and on Fourthday, attended the select quarterly meeting: if my feelings were correct, there is yet left in this meeting those who are preferring the cause of truth and righteousness to every other thing.
Fifth-day, attended the quarterly meeting for discipline, which is reduced to a very few.
Sixth-day, we returned to Richmond.
Seventh-day morning, being brought under apprehensions of duty to attempt to hold a meeting in the place of religious worship, built on the ground where the theatre had stood, which was destroyed by fire some years ago; on informing my friend Thomas Lád thereof, as the place was the property of the Episcopalians, it appeared best to apply to the bishop; therefore, accompanied by my companion and a son of my landlord's, we proceeded to the house of the bishop, by whom we were kindly
received. After he had made a few inquiries relative to the time I left England, and other indifferent matters, I prefaced my business with him by presenting him my certificates, and when he returned them, I said to him nearly as follows; Whenever my mind has been turned towards Richmond, it has been accompanied with a belief, that if I reached this city it would be required of me to be willing to apply for leave, to hold a meeting in the place of worship built on the ground where that theatre stood which was destroyed by fire, not then knowing to what religious sect it belonged; but understanding it was the property of the Episcopalians, I am come to throw myself upon the kindness of the bishop for his aid in the matter.'
To which he answered, “I am but an individual ; it is the vestry in whom the power rests to grant such a request; I will consult the vestry to-morrow: if they should not be willing to grant the use of the church, there is a large school-room in the grave-yard, with which perhaps they would be willing to accommodate you; or there is a large room at the capitol,* which I expect you might have for the purpose, if applied for.” I paused for awhile and found no way open in my mind that would justify me in accepting either of the two last-mentioned places, but that I must keep firm to my first prospect of religious duty, if I had any such meeting in Richmond; I therefore informed the bishop to this effect: “ I have believed it was right for me thus to cast myself upon thee for help, and having now done as far as in me lies, in order that this part of my religious duty should be carried into effect, if the way does not open for my request being granted, I believe, as respects myself, the will will be accepted for the deed :" I then requested him to be so kind as to send me a note when the mind of the vestry was known.
On which the bishop queried with me, “had I any prospect, if liberty should be granted me, of referring to the theatre ?” I told him, if way opened for my request being granted, I was not prepared with any thing in prospect to offer there. He said his reason of putting this question to me was, that a friend of his engaged to preach for him on a Sunday afternoon, whose mind having been previously occupied with the consideration of theatrical amusements, introduced the subject in the course of his sermon; his so doing gave great offence to some who held pews, many of whom instantly leaving their seats, went out of the church, and this circumstance appeared to lay the foundation for a new theatre's being built; for some of those who thus withdrew at that time began a subscription for the purpose, and followed it up until money was raised for the completing of one: until this circumstance occurred, they had no theatre in Richmond after the former one was consumed.
* The capitol contains the general court-houses or offices of the State. VOL. II.
First-day, attended meeting there, which was small; the prospect of a succession of rightly qualified members to maintain that wholesome discipline established amongst us, is as discouraging as in any meeting I have yet attended on this continent, both as it respects male and female, very much owing I believe to the sad effects of a too free intercourse with those out of our own religious Society. I left the meeting under a hope that what I had to offer amongst them would not all be lost; I had not daubed as with untempered mortar, but had given faithfully that which appeared to me to be the counsel of my Divine Master, whom, I hope I may say, I desire to serve with a perfect heart and a willing mind. I passed a few silent moments at the monument erected over the depository of the few mangled remains of the sufferers, when the theatre was consumed; from the various inscriptions, it appeared that seventy-three souls, including two children, were, by this disastrous circumstance, plunged into eternity, comparatively speaking, as in a moment; the consideration of which produced awful feelings in my mind, more easily felt than described; especially when I recalled to mind the manner in which they were spending their precious time, and the gaiety of disposition excited in most, if not all, by the vain pleasures that were set before their eyes, when the curtain of the night of death was thus awfully drawn over them.
Third-day, attended meeting at Wain Oak; the meeting suffered greatly owing to the disorderly manner of its gathering ; the prospect here of some of the young men becoming useful members in the Society was more encouraging than is generally the case in this Yearly Meeting.
Seventh-day, attended the monthly meeting at Wain Oak; this meeting suffered from a lack of that religious energy, which is in degree the life of our meetings for discipline, and for want of which, in those who should help forward the business, more is imposed upon the clerk than meetings are at all warranted in doing
First-day, our meeting was small, but I hope it proved to some of us a time of renewing covenant: that we may be as careful to be found keeping our covenants as we are to renew them, is the frequent fervent breathing of my soul.
Second-day, rode back to Richmond, where I found a note from the bishop, saying, he had conversed with a few of his friends, who considered it inexpedient to grant my request, but if I would use the capitol for a public meeting, he would with great pleasure attend the service. I gave the capitol a further consideration, which I found could be easily obtained, but the way not opening for me to move further in it than I had
gone, the matter rested there.
Third-day, having still in my possession a few printed sheets