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Chapter 8

1761, 1762

His Visits to Pennsylvania, Shrewsbury, and Squan
His publishing the second Part of Considerations on keeping Negroes
His visiting the Families of Friends of Ancocas and Mount-Holly Meetings
His Visits to the Indians at Wehaloosing on the River Susquehannah

Having felt my Mind drawn toward a Visit to a few Meetings in Pennsylvania, I was very desirous to be rightly instructed as to the Time of setting off: And, on the tenth Day of the fifth Month, 1761, being the first Day of the Week, I went to Haddonfield Meeting, concluding to seek for heavenly Instruction, and come Home, or go on, as I might then believe best for me; and there, through the springing up of pure Love, I felt Encouragement, and so crossed the River. In this Visit I was at two Quarterly and three Monthly-meetings; and, in the Love of Truth, felt my Way open to labor with some noted Friends, who kept Negroes: And, as I was favored to keep to the Root, and endeavored to discharge what I believed was required of me, I found inward Peace therein, from Time to Time, and Thankfulness of Heart to the Lord, who was graciously pleased to be a Guide to me.

In the eighth Month, 1761, having felt Drawings in my Mind to visit Friends in and about Shrewsbury, I went there, and was at their Monthly-meeting, and their First-day-meeting; and had a Meeting at Squan, and another at Squankum; and, as Way opened, had Conversation with some noted Friends concerning their Slaves: And I returned Home in a thankful Sense of the Goodness of the Lord.

From the Care I felt growing in me some Years, I wrote Considerations on keeping Negroes, Part the Second; which was printed this Year, 1762. When the Overseers of the Press had done with it, they offered to get a Number printed, to be paid for out of the Yearly-meeting Stock, and to be given away; but I being most easy to publish them at my own Expense, and, offering my Reasons, they appeared satisfied.

This Stock is the Contribution of the Members of our religious Society in general; amongst whom are some who keep Negroes; and, being inclined to continue them in Slavery, are not likely to be satisfied with those Books being spread amongst a People where many of the Slaves are taught to read, and especially not at their Expense; and such often, receiving them as a Gift, conceal them: But as they, who make a Purchase, generally buy that which they have a Mind for, I believe it best to sell them; expecting, by that Means, they would more generally be read with Attention. Advertisements being signed by Order of the Overseers of the Press, directed to be read in Monthly-meetings of Business within our own Yearly-meeting, informing where the Books were, and that the Price was no more than the Cost of printing and binding them, many were taken off in our Parts; some I sent to Virginia, some to New-York, and some to Newport, to my Acquaintance there; and some I kept, expecting to give Part of them away, where there appeared a Prospect of Service.

In my Youth I was used to hard Labor; and, though I was middling healthy, yet my Nature was not fitted to endure so much as many others: So that, being often weary, I was prepared to sympathize with those whose Circumstances in Life, as free Men, required constant Labor to answer the Demands of their Creditors, and with others under Oppression. In the Uneasiness of Body, which I have many Times felt by too much Labor, not as a forced but as a voluntary Oppression, I have often been excited to think on the original Cause of that Oppression, which is imposed on many in the World: And, the latter Part of the Time wherein I labored on our Plantation, my Heart, through the fresh Visitations of heavenly Love, being often tender, and my leisure Time frequently spent in reading the Life and Doctrines of our blessed Redeemer, the Account of the Sufferings of Martyrs, and the History of the first Rise of our Society, a Belief was gradually settled in my Mind, that if such, as had great Estates, generally lived in that Humility and Plainness which belongs to a Christian Life, and laid much easier Rents and Interests on their Lands and Monies, and thus led the Way to a right Use of Things, so great a Number of People might be employed in Things useful, that Labor, both for Men and other Creatures, would need to be no more than an agreeable Employ; and divers Branches of Business, which serve chiefly to please the natural Inclinations of our Minds, and which, at present, seem necessary to circulate that Wealth which some gather, might, in this Way of pure Wisdom, be discontinued. And, as I have thus considered these Things, a Query, at Times, hath arisen: Do I, in all my Proceedings, keep to that Use of Things which is agreeable to universal Righteousness? And then there hath some Degree of Sadness, at Times, come over me, for that I accustomed myself to some Things, which occasioned more Labor than I believe divine Wisdom intends for us.

From my early Acquaintance with Truth I have often felt an inward Distress, occasioned by the striving of a Spirit in me against the Operation of the heavenly Principle; and in this Circumstance have been affected with a Sense of my own Wretchedness, and in a mourning Condition felt earnest Longing for that divine Help, which brings the Soul into true Liberty; and sometimes, in this State, retiring into private Places, the Spirit of Supplication hath been given me; and, under a heavenly Covering, I have asked my gracious Father to give me a Heart in all Things resigned to the Direction of his Wisdom.

In visiting People of Note in the Society who had Slaves, and laboring with them in brotherly Love on that Account, I have seen, and the Sight hath affected me, that a Conformity to some Customs, distinguishable from pure Wisdom, has entangled many; and the Desire of Gain, to support these Customs, greatly opposed the Work of Truth: And sometimes, when the Prospect of the Work before me has been such, that in Bowedness of Spirit, I have been drawn into retired Places, and besought the Lord with Tears that he would take me wholly under his Direction, and shew me the Way in which I ought to walk, it hath revived, with Strength of Conviction, that, if I would be his faithful Servant, I must, in all Things, attend to his Wisdom, and be teachable; and so cease from all Customs contrary thereto, however used amongst religious People.

As he is the Perfection of Power, of Wisdom, and of Goodness, so, I believe, he hath provided, that so much Labor shall be necessary for Men's Support, in this World, as would, being rightly divided, be a suitable Employment of their Time; and that we cannot go into Superfluities, or grasp after Wealth in a Way contrary to his Wisdom, without having Connection with some Degree of Oppression, and with that Spirit which leads to Self-exaltation and Strife, and which frequently brings Calamities on Countries, by Parties contending about their Claims.

In the eleventh Month of the Year 1762, feeling an Engagement of Mind to visit some Families in Mansfield. I joined my beloved Friend, Benjamin Jones, and we spent a few Days together in that Service. In the second Month, 1763, I joined in Company with Elizabeth Smith and Mary Noble on a Visit to the Families of Friends at Ancocas; in both which Visits, through the baptizing Power of Truth, the sincere Laborers were often comforted, and the Hearts of Friends opened to receive us. And, in the fourth Month following, I accompanied some Friends in a Visit to the Families of Friends in Mount-Holly, in which my Mind was often drawn into an inward Awfulness, wherein strong Desires were raised for the everlasting Welfare of my Fellow-creatures; and, through the Kindness of our heavenly Father, our Hearts were, at Times, enlarged, and Friends invited, in the Flowings of divine Love, to attend to that which would settle them on the sure Foundation.

Having many Years felt Love in my Heart towards the Natives of this Land, who dwell far back in the Wilderness, whose Ancestors were the Owners and Possessors of the Land where we dwell; and who, for a very small Consideration, assigned their Inheritance to us; and, being at Philadelphia, in the eighth Month, 1761, in a Visit to some Friends who had Slaves, I fell in Company with some of those Natives who lived on the East Branch of the River Susquehannah, at an Indian Town called Wehaloosing, two hundred Miles from Philadelphia, and, in Conversation with them by an Interpreter, as also by Observations on their Countenances and Conduct, I believed some of them were measurably acquainted with that divine Power which subjects the rough and forward Will of the Creature: And, at Times, I felt inward Drawings toward a Visit to that Place, of which I told none except my dear Wife, until it came to some Ripeness; and, then, in the Winter, 1762, I laid it before Friends at our Monthly and Quarterly, and afterwards at our general Spring-meeting; and, having the Unity of Friends, and being thoughtful about an Indian Pilot, there came a Man and three Women from a little beyond that Town to Philadelphia on Business: And I, being informed thereof by Letter, met them in Town in the fifth Month, 1763; and, after some Conversation, finding they were sober People, I, by the Concurrence of Friends in that Place, agreed to join with them as Companions in their Return; and, on the seventh Day of the sixth Month following, we appointed to meet at Samuel Foulk's, at Richland in Bucks County. Now, as this Visit felt weighty, and was performed at a Time when Travelling appeared perilous, so the Dispensations of divine Providence, in preparing my Mind for it, have been memorable; and I believe it good for me to give some Hints thereof.

After I had given up to go, the Thoughts of the Journey were often attended with unusual Sadness; in which Times my Heart was frequently turned to the Lord with inward Breathings for his heavenly Support, that I might not fail to follow him wheresoever he might lead me: And, being at our Youths Meeting at Chesterfield, about a Week before the Time I expected to set off, I was there led to speak on that Prayer of our Redeemer to his Father: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the World, but that thou shouldest keep them from the Evil." And, in attending to the pure Openings of Truth, I had to mention what he elsewhere said to his Father; "I know that thou hearest me at all Times:" So that, as some of his Followers kept their Places, and as his Prayer was granted, it followed necessarily that they were kept from Evil: And, as some of those met with great Hardships and Afflictions in this World, and at last suffered Death by cruel Men, it appears, that whatsoever befalls Men while they live in pure Obedience to God, as it certainly works for their Good, so it may not be considered an Evil as if relates to them. As I spake on this Subject, my Heart was much tendered, and great Awfulness came over me; and then, on the first Day of the next Week, being at our own Afternoon-meeting, and my Heart being enlarged in Love, I was led to speak on the Care and Protection of the Lord over his People, and to make mention of that Passage, where a Band of Assyrians endeavoring to take captive the Prophet, were disappointed; and how the Psalmist said, "The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him." And thus, in true Love and Tenderness, I parted from Friends, expecting the next Morning, to proceed on my Journey, and, being weary, went early to Bed; and, after I had been asleep a short Time, I was awaked by a Man calling at my Door; and, arising, was invited to meet some Friends at a Public-house in our Town, who came from Philadelphia so late, that Friends were generally gone to Bed: These Friends informed me, that an Express arrived the last Morning from Pittsburgh, and brought News that the Indians had taken a Fort from the English Westward, and slain and scalped English People in divers Places, some near the said Pittsburgh; and that some elderly Friends in Philadelphia, knowing the Time of my expecting to set off, had conferred together, and thought good to inform me of these Things, before I left Home, that I might consider them, and proceed as I believed best; so I, going again to Bed, told not my Wife till Morning. My Heart was turned to the Lord for his heavenly Instruction; and it was an humbling Time to me. When I told my dear Wife, she appeared to be deeply concerned about it; but, in a few Hours Time, my Mind became settled in a Belief, that it was my Duty to proceed on my Journey; and she bore it with a good Degree of Resignation. In this Conflict of Spirit, there were great Searchings of Heart, and strong Cries to the Lord, that no Motion might be, in the least Degree, attended to, but that of the pure Spirit of Truth.

The Subjects before-mentioned, on which I had so lately spoken in public, were now very fresh before me; and I was brought inwardly to commit myself to the Lord, to be disposed of as he saw best. So I took Leave of my Family and Neighbors, in much Bowedness of Spirit, and went to our Monthly-meeting at Burlington; and, after taking Leave of Friends there, I crossed the River, accompanied by my Friends, Israel and John Pemberton; and, parting the next Morning with Israel, John bore me Company to Samuel Foulk's, where I met the before-mentioned Indians, and we were glad to see each other: Here my Friend, Benjamin Parvin, met me, and proposed joining as a Companion, we having passed some Letters before on the Subject; and now, on his Account, I had a sharp Trial; for, as the Journey appeared perilous, I thought, if he went chiefly to bear me Company, and we should be taken Captive, my having been the Means of drawing him into these Difficulties would add to my own Afflictions: So I told him my Mind freely, and let him know that I was resigned to go alone; but, after all, if he really believed it to be his Duty to go on, I believed his Company would be very comfortable to me: It was indeed a Time of deep Exercise, and Benjamin appeared to be so fastened to the Visit, that he could not be easy to leave me; so we went on, accompanied by our Friends, John Pemberton, and William Lightfoot of Pikeland, and lodged at Bethlehem; and there, parting with John, William and we went forward on the ninth Day of the sixth Month, and got Lodging on the Floor of a House, about five Miles from Fort-Allen: Here we parted with William; and at this Place we met with an Indian Trader, lately come from Wioming; and, in Conversation with him, I perceived that many white People do often sell Rum to the Indians, which, I believe, is a great Evil; first, they being thereby deprived of the Use of their Reason, and their Spirits violently agitated, Quarrels often arise, which end in Mischief; and the Bitterness and Resentments, occasioned hereby, are frequently of long Continuance; Again, their Skins and Furs, gotten through much Fatigue and hard Travels in Hunting, with which they intended to buy Clothing, when they become intoxicated, they often sell at a low Rate for more Rum; and afterward, when they suffer for want of the Necessaries of Life, are angry with those who, for the Sake of Gain, took the Advantage of their Weakness: Of this their Chiefs have often complained, at their Treaties with the English. Where cunning People pass Counterfeits, and impose that on others which is good for nothing, it is considered as a Wickedness; but, to sell that to People which we know does them Harm, and which often works their Ruin, for the Sake of Gain, manifests a hardened and corrupt Heart, and is an Evil, which demands the Care of all true Lovers of Virtue to suppress: And while my Mind, this Evening, was thus employed, I also remembered, that the People on the Frontiers, among whom this Evil is too common, are often poor; who venture to the Outside of a Colony, that they may live more independent on such as are wealthy, who often set high Rents on their Land: Being renewedly confirmed in a Belief, that, if all our Inhabitants lived according to sound Wisdom, laboring to promote universal Love and Righteousness, and ceased from every inordinate Desire after Wealth, and from all Customs which are tinctured with Luxury, the Way would be easy for our Inhabitants, though much more numerous than at present, to live comfortably on honest Employments, without having that Temptation they are often under of being drawn into Schemes to make Settlements on Lands which have not been purchased of the Indians, or of applying to that wicked Practice of selling Rum to them.

On the tenth Day of the Month we set out early in the Morning, and crossed the Western Branch of Delaware, called the Great Lehie, near Fort-Allen; the Water being high, we went over in a Canoe: Here we met an Indian, and had some friendly Conversation with him, and gave him some Biscuit; and he having killed a Deer, gave the Indians with us some of it: Then, after travelling some Miles, we met several Indian Men and Women with a Cow and Horse, and some Household Goods, who were lately come from their Dwelling at Wyoming, and going to settle at another Place; we made them some small Presents, and, some of them understanding English, I told them my Motive in coming into their Country, with which they appeared satisfied: And, one of our Guides talking a While with an ancient Woman concerning us, the poor old Woman came to my Companion and me, and took her Leave of us with an Appearance of sincere Affection. So, going on, we pitched our Tent near the Banks of the same River, having labored hard in crossing some of those Mountains called the Blue-Ridge; and, by the Roughness of the Stones, and the Cavities between them, and the Steepness of the Hills, it appeared dangerous; but we were preserved in Safety, through the Kindness of him, whose Works in those mountainous Deserts appeared awful: Toward whom my Heart was turned during this Day's Travel.

Near our Tent, on the Sides of large Trees peeled for that Purpose, were various Representations of Men going to, and returning from the Wars, and of some killed in Battle; this being a Path heretofore used by Warriors: And, as I walked about viewing those Indian Histories, which were painted mostly in red, but some in black; and thinking on the innumerable Afflictions which the proud, fierce, Spirit produceth in the World; thinking on the Toils and Fatigues of Warriors, travelling over Mountains and Deserts; thinking on their Miseries and Distresses when wounded far from Home by their Enemies; and of their Bruises and great Weariness in chasing one another over the Rocks and Mountains; and of their restless, unquiet, State of Mind, who live in this Spirit; and of the Hatred which mutually grows up in the Minds of the Children of those Nations engaged in War with each other: During these Meditations, the Desire to cherish the Spirit of Love and Peace amongst these People arose very fresh in me. This was the first Night that we lodged in the Woods; and, being wet with travelling in the Rain, the Ground, our Tent, and the Bushes, which we proposed to lay under our Blankets, being also wet, all looked discouraging; but I believed, that it was the Lord who had thus far brought me forward, and that he would dispose of me as he saw good; and therein I felt easy: So we kindled a Fire, with our Tent open to it; and, with some Bushes next the Ground, and then our Blankets, we made our Bed, and, lying down, got some Sleep; and, in the Morning, feeling a little unwell, I went into the River; the Water was cold, but soon after I felt fresh and well.

The eleventh Day of the sixth Month, the Bushes being wet, we tarried in our Tent till about eight o'Clock; when, going on, we crossed a high Mountain supposed to be upwards of four Miles over; the Steepness on the North Side exceeding all the others. We also crossed two Swamps, and, it raining near Night, we pitched our Tent and lodged.

About Noon, on our Way, we were overtaken by one of the Moravian Brethren, going to Wehaloosing, and an Indian Man with him, who could talk English; and we, being together while our Horses ate Grass, had some friendly Conversation; but they, travelling faster than we, soon left us. This Moravian, I understood, had spent some Time this Spring at Wehaloosing, and was, by some of the Indians, invited to come again.

The twelfth Day of the sixth Month, and first of the Week, it being a rainy Day, we continued in our Tent; and here I was led to think on the Nature of the Exercise which hath attended me: Love was the first Motion, and thence a Concern arose to spend some Time with the Indians, that I might feel and understand their Life, and the Spirit they live in, if haply I might receive some Instruction from them, or they be in any Degree helped forward by my following the Leadings of Truth amongst them: And, as it pleased the Lord to make Way for my going at a Time when the Troubles of War were increasing, and when, by Reason of much wet Weather, Travelling was more difficult than usual at that Season, I looked upon it as a more favorable Opportunity to season my Mind, and bring me into a nearer Sympathy with them: And, as mine Eye was to the great Father of Mercies, humbly desiring to learn what his Will was concerning me, I was made quiet and content.

Our Guide's Horse, though hoppled, went away in the Night; after finding our own, and searching some Time for him, his Footsteps were discovered in the Path going back again, whereupon my kind Companion went off in the Rain, and, about seven Hours after, returned with him: And here we lodged again; tying up our Horses before we went to Bed, and loosing them to feed about Break of Day.

On the thirteenth Day of the sixth Month, the Sun appearing, we set forward; and, as I rode over the barren Hills, my Meditations were on the Alterations of the Circumstances of the Natives of this Land since the Coming in of the English. The Lands near the Sea are conveniently situated for fishing; the Lands near the Rivers, where the Tides flow, and some above, are in many Places fertile, and not mountainous; while the Running of the Tides makes passing up and down easy with any Kind of Traffic. Those Natives have, in some Places, for trifling Considerations, sold their Inheritance so favorably situated; and, in other Places, been driven back by superior Force: So that in many Places, as their Way of clothing themselves is now altered from what it was, and they, far remote from us, have to pass over Mountains, Swamps, and barren Deserts, Travelling is very troublesome, in bringing their Skins and Furs to trade with us.

By the extending of English Settlements, and partly by English Hunters, the wild Beasts, they chiefly depend on for a Subsistence, are not so plenty as they were; and People too often, for the Sake of Gain, open a Door for them to waste their Skins and Furs, in purchasing a Liquor which tends to the Ruin of them and their Families.

My own Will and Desires were now very much broken, and my Heart, with much Earnestness, turned to the Lord, to whom alone I looked for Help in the Dangers before me. I had a Prospect of the English along the Coast, for upwards of nine hundred Miles, where I had traveled; and the favorable Situation of the English, and the Difficulties attending the Natives in many Places, and the Negroes, were open before me; and a weighty and heavenly Care came over my Mind, and Love filled my Heart toward all Mankind, in which I felt a strong Engagement, that we might be obedient to the Lord, while, in tender Mercies, he is yet calling to us; and so attend to pure universal Righteousness, as to give no just Cause of Offence to the Gentiles, who do not profess Christianity, whether the Blacks from Africa, or the native Inhabitants of this Continent: And here I was led into a close laborious Inquiry, whether I, as an Individual, kept clear from all Things which tended to stir up, or were connected with Wars, either in this Land or Africa; and my Heart was deeply concerned, that, in future, I might in all Things keep steadily to the pure Truth, and live and walk in the Plainness and Simplicity of a sincere Follower of Christ. And, in this lonely Journey, I did, this Day, greatly bewail the Spreading of a wrong Spirit, believing, that the prosperous, convenient, Situation of the English, requires a constant Attention to divine Love and Wisdom to guide and support us in a Way answerable to the Will of that good, gracious, and almighty Being, who hath an equal Regard to all Mankind: And, here, Luxury and Covetousness, with the numerous Oppressions, and other Evils attending them, appeared very afflicting to me; and I felt in that which is immutable, that the Seeds of great Calamity and Desolation are sown and growing fast on this Continent: Nor have I Words sufficient to set forth that Longing I then felt, that we, who are placed along the Coast, and have tasted the Love and Goodness of God, might arise in his Strength; and, like faithful Messengers, labor to check the Growth of these Seeds, that they may not ripen to the Ruin of our Posterity.

We reached the Indian Settlement at Wyoming; and here we were told, that an Indian Runner had been at that Place a Day or two before us, and brought News of the Indians taking an English Fort westward, and destroying the People, and that they were endeavouring to take another; and also, that another Indian Runner came there about the Middle of the Night before we got there, who came from a Town about ten Miles above Wehaloosing, and brought News, that some Indian Warriors, from distant Parts, came to that Town with two English Scalps, and told the People, that it was War with the English.

Our Guides took us to the House of a very ancient Man; and, soon after we had put in our Baggage, there came a Man from another Indian House some Distance off; and I, perceiving there was a Man near the Door, went out; and, having a Tomahawk wrapped under his Matchcoat out of Sight, as I approached him, he took it in his Hand; I, however, went forward, and, speaking to him in a friendly Way, perceived he understood some English: My Companion then coming out, we had some Talk with him concerning the Nature of our Visit in these Parts; and then he going into the House with us, and talking with our Guides, soon appeared friendly, and sat down and smoked his Pipe. Though his taking his Hatchet in his Hand, at the Instant I drew near to him, had a disagreeable Appearance, I believe he had no other Intent than to be in Readiness in case any Violence was offered to him.

Hearing the News brought by these Indian Runners, and being told by the Indians where we lodged, that what Indians were about Wyoming expected, in a few Days, to move to some larger Towns, I thought that, to all outward Appearance, it was dangerous Travelling at this Time; and was, after a hard Day's Journey, brought into a painful Exercise at Night, in which I had to trace back, and view over the Steps I had taken from my first Moving in the Visit; and though I had to bewail some Weakness which, at Times, had attended me, yet I could not find that I had ever given way to a willful Disobedience: And then, as I believed I had, under a Sense of Duty, come thus far, I was now earnest in Spirit, beseeching the Lord to shew me what I ought to do. In this great Distress I grew jealous of myself, lest the Desire of Reputation, as a Man firmly settled to persevere through Dangers, or the Fear of Disgrace arising on my returning without performing the Visit, might have some Place in me: Thus I lay, full of Thoughts, great Part of the Night, while my beloved Companion lay and slept by me; till the Lord, my gracious Father, who saw the Conflicts of my Soul, was pleased to give Quietness: Then I was again strengthened to commit my Life, and all Things relating thereto, into his heavenly Hands; and, getting a little Sleep toward Day, when Morning came we arose.

On the fourteenth Day of the sixth Month, we sought out and visited all the Indians hereabout that we could meet with; they being chiefly in one Place, about a Mile from where we lodged, in all perhaps twenty. Here I expressed the Care I had on my Mind for their Good; and told them, that true Love had made me willing thus to leave my Family to come and see the Indians, and speak with them in their Houses. Some of them appeared kind and friendly. So we took our Leave of these Indians, and went up the River Susquehannah, about three Miles, to the House of an Indian, called Jacob January, who had killed his Hog; and the Women were making store of Bread, and preparing to move up the River. Here our Pilots left their Canoe when they came down in the Spring, which lying dry, was leaky; so that we, being detained some Hours, had a good deal of friendly Conversation with the Family; and, eating Dinner with them, we made them some small Presents. Then, putting our Baggage in the Canoe, some of them pushed slowly up the Stream, and the rest of us rode our Horses; and swimming them over a Creek, called Lahawahamunk, we pitched our Tent a little above it, there being a Shower in the Evening: And, in a Sense of God's Goodness in helping me in my Distress, sustaining me under Trials, and inclining my Heart to trust in him, I lay down in an humble bowed Frame of Mind, and had a comfortable Night's Lodging.

On the fifteenth Day of the sixth Month, we proceeded forward till the Afternoon; when, a Storm appearing, we met our Canoe at an appointed Place; and, the Rain continuing, we stayed all Night, which was so heavy, that it beat through our Tent, and wet us and our Baggage.

On the sixteenth Day, we found, on our Way, abundance of Trees blown down with the Storm the Day before; and had Occasion reverently to consider the kind Dealings of the Lord, who provided a safe Place for us in a Valley, while this Storm continued. By the falling of abundance of Trees across our Path, we were much hindered, and in some Swamps our Way was so stopped, that we got through with extreme Difficulty.

I had this Day often to consider myself as a Sojourner in this World; and a Belief in the All-sufficiency of God to support his People in their Pilgrimage felt comfortable to me; and I was industriously employed to get to a State of perfect Resignation.

We seldom saw our Canoe but at appointed Places, by reason of the Path going off from the River; and, this Afternoon, Job Chilaway, an Indian from Wehaloosing, who talks good English, and is acquainted with several People in and about Philadelphia, met our People on the River; and, understanding where we expected to lodge, pushed back about six Miles, and came to us after Night; and in a While our own Canoe came, it being hard Work pushing up Stream. Job told us, that an Indian came in Haste to their Town yesterday, and told them, that three Warriors, coming from some Distance, lodged in a Town above Wehaloosing a few Nights past; and that these three Men were going against the English at Juniata. Job was going down the River to the Province-store at Shamokin. Though I was so far favored with Health as to continue travelling, yet, through the various Difficulties in our Journey, and the different Way of living from what I had been used to, I grew sick; and the News of these Warriors being on their March so near us, and not knowing whether we might not fall in with them, was a fresh Trial of my Faith; and though, through the Strength of divine Love, I had several Times been enabled to commit myself to the divine Disposal, I still found the Want of my Strength to be renewed, that I might persevere therein; and my Cries for Help were put up to the Lord, who, in great Mercy, gave me a resigned Heart, in which I found Quietness.

On the seventeenth Day, parting from Job Chilaway, we went on, and reached Wehaloosing about the Middle of the Afternoon, and the first Indian that we saw was a Woman of a modest Countenance, with a Bible, who first spake to our Guide; and then, with a harmonious Voice, expressed her Gladness at seeing us, having before heard of our Coming: Then, by the Direction of our Guide, we sat down on a Log; and he went to the Town, to tell the People we were come. My Companion and I sitting thus together, in a deep inward Stillness, the poor Woman came and sat near us; and, great Awfulness coming over us, we rejoiced in a Sense of God's Love manifested to our poor Souls. After a While, we heard a Conkshell blow several Times, and then came John Curtis, and another Indian Man, who kindly invited us into a House near the Town, where we found, I suppose, about sixty People sitting in Silence; and, after sitting a short Time, I stood up, and in some Tenderness of Spirit acquainted them with the Nature of my Visit, and that a Concern for their Good had made me willing to come thus far to see them; all in a few short Sentences, which some of them understanding interpreted to the others, and there appeared Gladness amongst them. Then I shewed them my Certificate, which was explained to them; and the Moravian, who overtook us on the Way, being now here, bade me welcome.

On the eighteenth Day: We rested ourselves this Forenoon; and the Indians, knowing that the Moravian and I were of different religious Societies, and as some of their People had encouraged him to come and stay a While with them, were, I believe, concerned that no Jarring or Discord might be in their Meetings: And they, I suppose, having conferred together, acquainted me, that the People, at my Request, would, at any Time, come together, and hold Meetings; and also told me, that they expected the Moravian would speak in their settled Meetings, which are commonly held Morning and near Evening. So I found Liberty in my Heart to speak to the Moravian, and told him of the Care I felt on my Mind for the Good of these People; and that I believed no ill Effects would follow it, if I sometimes spake in their Meetings when Love engaged me thereto, without calling them together at Times when they did not meet of course: Whereupon he expressed his Good-will toward my speaking, at any Time, all that I found in my Heart to say: So, near Evening, I was at their Meeting, where the pure Gospel-love was felt, to the tendering some of our Hearts; and the Interpreters, endeavoring to acquaint the People with what I said in short Sentences, found some Difficulty, as none of them were quite perfect in the English and Delaware Tongues; so they helped one another, and we labored along, divine Love attending: And afterwards, feeling my Mind covered with the Spirit of Prayer, I told the Interpreters that I found it in my Heart to pray to God, and believed, if I prayed aright, he would hear me, and expressed my Willingness for them to omit interpreting; so our Meeting ended with a Degree of divine Love: And, before the People went out, I observed Papunehang (the Man who had been zealous in laboring for a Reformation in that Town, being then very tender) spoke to one of the Interpreters; and I was afterwards told that he said in Substance as follows: "I love to feel where Words come from."

On the nineteenth Day, and first of the Week: This Morning, in the Meeting, the Indian, who came with the Moravian, being also a Member of that Society, prayed; and then the Moravian spake a short Time to the People: And, in the Afternoon, they coming together, and my Heart being filled with a heavenly Care for their Good, I spake to them a While by Interpreters; but none of them being perfect in the Work, and I, feeling the Current of Love run strong, told the Interpreters, that I believed some of the People would understand me, and so I proceeded: In which Exercise I believe the Holy Ghost wrought on some Hearts to Edification, where all the Words were not understood, I looked upon it as a Time of divine Favor, and my Heart was tendered and truly thankful before the Lord; and, after I sat down, one of the Interpreters seemed spirited to give the Indians the Substance of what I had said.

Before our first Meeting, this Morning, I was led to meditate on the manifold Difficulties of these Indians, who, by the Permission of the six Nations, dwell in these Parts; and a near Sympathy with them was raised in me; and, my Heart being enlarged in the Love of Christ, I thought that the affectionate Care of a good Man for his only Brother in Affliction does not exceed what I then felt for that People.

I came to this Place through much Trouble; and though, through the Mercies of God, I believed, that if I died in the Journey, it would be well with me; yet the Thoughts of falling into the Hands of Indian Warriors were, in Times of Weakness, afflicting to me; and, being of a tender Constitution of Body, the Thoughts of Captivity amongst them were, at Times, grievous; as supposing, that they being strong and hardy, might demand Service of me beyond what I could well bear; but the Lord alone was my Keeper; and I believed, if I went into Captivity, it would be for some good End: And thus, from Time to Time, my Mind was centered in Resignation, in which I always found Quietness. And now, this Day, though I had the same dangerous Wilderness between me and Home, I was inwardly joyful that the Lord had strengthened me to come on this Visit, and manifested a fatherly Care over me in my poor lowly Condition, when in mine own Eyes I appeared inferior to many amongst the Indians.

When the last-mentioned Meeting was ended, it being Night, Papunehang went to Bed; and, one of the Interpreters sitting by me, I observed Papunehang spoke with an harmonious Voice, I suppose a Minute or two; and, asking the Interpreter, I was told, that "He was expressing his Thankfulness to God for the Favors he had received that Day; and prayed that he would continue to favor him with that same, which he had experienced in that Meeting." And though Papunehang had before agreed to receive the Moravian, and join with them, he still appeared kind and loving to us.

On the twentieth Day I was at two Meetings, and silent in them.

The twenty-first Day: This Morning, in Meeting, my Heart was enlarged in pure Love amongst them, and, in short plain Sentences, I expressed several Things that rested upon me, which one of the Interpreters gave the People pretty readily; after which, the Meeting ended in Supplication, and I had Cause humbly to acknowledge the Loving-kindness of the Lord towards us; and then I believed that a Door remained open for the faithful Disciples of Jesus Christ to labor amongst these People.

I now feeling my Mind at Liberty to return, took my Leave of them in general, at the Conclusion of what I said in Meeting; and so we prepared to go homeward: But some of their most active Men told us, that, when we were ready to move, the People would choose to come and shake Hands with us; which those who usually come to Meeting did: And, from a secret Draft in my Mind, I went amongst some who did not use to go to Meeting, and took my Leave of them also: And the Moravian and his Indian Interpreter appeared respectful to us at parting. This Town stands on the Bank of Susquehannah, and consists, I believe, of about forty Houses, mostly compact together; some about thirty feet long, and eighteen wide, some bigger, some less; mostly built of split Plank, one End set in the Ground, and the other pinned to a Plate, on which lay Rafters, and covered with Bark. I understand a great Flood last Winter overflowed the chief Part of the Ground where the Town stands; and some were now about moving their Houses to higher Ground.

We expected only two Indians to be our Company; but, when we were ready to go, we found many of them were going to Bethlehem with Skins and Furs, who chose to go in Company with us: So they loaded two Canoes, which they desired us to go in, telling us, that the Waters were so raised with the Rains, that the Horses should be taken by such as were better acquainted with the Fording-places: So we, with several Indians, went in the Canoes, and others went on Horses, there being seven besides ours. And we meeting with the Horsemen once on the Way by Appointment, and that near Night, a little below a Branch called Tankhannah, we lodged there; and some of the young Men going out a little before Dusk with their Guns, brought in a Deer.

On the twenty-second Day, through Diligence, we reached Wyoming before Night, and understood the Indians were mostly gone from this Place: Here we went up a small Creek into the Woods with our Canoes, and, pitching our Tent, carried out our Baggage; and before Dark our Horses came to us.

On the twenty-third Day in the Morning their Horses were loaded, and we prepared our Baggage, and so set forward, being in all fourteen; and with diligent Travelling, were favored to get near half-way to Fort-Allen. The Land on this Road from Wioming to our Frontier being mostly poor, and good Grass scarce, they chose a Piece of low Ground to lodge on, as the best for grazing; and I, having sweated much in Travelling, and being weary, slept sound; I perceived in the Night that I had taken Cold, of which I was favored to get better soon.

On the twenty-fourth Day we passed Fort-Allen, and lodged near it in the Woods.

Having forded the westerly Branch of Delaware three Times, we thereby had a shorter Way, and missed going over the Top of the Blue Mountains, called the second Ridge. In the second Time fording, where the River cuts through the Mountain, the Waters being rapid, and pretty deep, and my Companion's Mare being a tall, tractable Animal, he sundry Times drove her back through the River, and they loaded her with the Burthens of some small Horses, which they thought not sufficient to come through with their Loads.

The Troubles westward, and the Difficulty for Indians to pass through our Frontier, I apprehend, was one Reason why so many came; as expecting that our being in Company would prevent the outside Inhabitants from being surprised.

On the twenty-fifth Day we reached Bethlehem, taking Care on the Way to keep foremost, and to acquaint People on and near the Road who these Indians were: This we found very needful; for the Frontier Inhabitants were often alarmed at the Report of English being killed by Indians westward.

Amongst our Company were some whom I did not remember to have seen at Meeting, and some of these, at first, were very reserved; but, we being several Days together, and behaving friendly toward them, and making them suitable Returns for the Services they did us, they became more free and social.

On the twenty-sixth Day and first of the Week, having carefully endeavored to settle all Affairs with the Indians relative to our Journey, we took Leave of them, and I thought they generally parted with us affectionately; so we, getting to Richland, had a very comfortable Meeting amongst our Friends: Here I parted with my kind Friend and Companion, Benjamin Parvin; and, accompanied by my Friend, Samuel Foulk, we rode to John Cadwallader's, from whence I reached Home the next Day, where I found my Family middling well; and they, and my Friends, all along appeared glad to see me return from a Journey which they apprehended dangerous: But my Mind, while I was out, had been so employed in striving for a perfect Resignation, and I had so often been confirmed in a Belief, that whatever the Lord might be pleased to allot for me, would work for Good, I was careful lest I should admit any Degree of Selfishness in being glad over much, and labored to improve by those Trials in such a Manner as my gracious Father and Protector intends for me. Between the English Inhabitants and Wehaloosing we had only a narrow Path, which in many Places is much grown up with Bushes, and interrupted by abundance of Trees lying across it; these, together with the Mountains, Swamps, and rough Stones, make it a difficult Road to travel; and the more so, for that Rattle-snakes abound there, of which we killed four: People, who have never been in such Places, have but an imperfect Idea of them; but I was not only taught Patience, but also made thankful to God, who thus led me about and instructed me, that I might have a quick and lively Feeling of the Afflictions of my Fellow-creatures, whose Situation in Life is difficult.

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John Woolman

  • Born October 19th, 1720 and died on October 7th, 1772
  • Quaker preacher
  • North American merchant, tailor, journalist
  • Early abolitionist
  • Died of smallpox in York.

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