of the late
chiefly compiled from
and edited by
of St. Petersburg.
Darton and Harvey,
Printed by Joseph Rickerby,
In presenting to the public these extracts from the voluminous Journal of a tenderly-loved parent, it seems only necessary to observe that every effort has been made, both by her daughter and by judicious, and long-tried friends, to bring forward in a collected form such parts as may throw light on the character, labours, and dedicated life of the deceased. If they have not succeeded in giving as continuous an account as might be desirable, it has been owing to a paucity of information; one reason of which may have originated in the retired spirit of their precious relative and friend, who always preferred that what she did should be little known, and still less the subject of conversation.
The selection has been made with increasing interest, and no regret was felt till the close obliged us to take leave of a character so full of instruction and encouragement; yet this regret has given place to the hope, that by the perusal of these pages many may be led to appreciate more fully the inestimable privilege of retirement, and waiting on the Lord, in order to follow the gentle intimations of His Holy Spirit, and thus be prepared for such a part in the world’s vineyard as the Great Master shall appoint.
Her early Life—First religious Impressions—Joins the Society of Wesleyan Methodists—Extracts from her Journal.
Hannah Kilham was the daughter of Peter and Hannah Spurr, who were respectable tradespeople in the town of Sheffield, in which place she was born the 1774-08-1212th of 8th month, 1774. Of her early years little is known. Her constitution was delicate, and her mind much disposed to reflection. When very young her mother died, and she, under the superintendence of an elder sister who was married and lived near, took charge of the family, and was incessant in her exertions that all should be comfortable and in order for her bereaved father, brothers, and younger sister. Through the kindness of two of her early associates we are indebted for the following detail: Our acquaintance commenced at the vicarage day-school Many years afterwards, in writing to a friend, she says, I account it one of the greatest hapinesses of my earlier days, to have been frequently under the care, for religious instruction, of one whose affectionate parental kindness will always claim from me the warm returns of gratitude and respect,—I mean one of the ministers in the Establishment wherein I was brought up, who, during the summer, used to meet the children of his congregation, or of any who chose to send their children, once a week for religious instruction. And his labours, I believe, were not in vain. when your beloved mother was about B 2 B1v 2 ten years of age, she was then a most amiable, talented, and serious girl, and set an example worthy the imitation of her schoolfellows. At that time she regularly attended the evening prayers at the parish church; and, however she might be engaged with her companions, she always left them at the hour for worship. Her sympathy with, and care for the poor manifested itself when she was very young; and my sister remembers she had her weekly pensioners for whom she saved her pocket- money, for she often accompanied her at the stated time for carrying her pence to those on her list. She also at that time kept a diary of her good and bad deeds, which she placed on opposite columns; but she gave it up, because she soon found the bad to preponderate.
At fourteen years of age she was sent to a boarding-school in Chesterfield, where she conducted herself to much satisfaction, and made so much progress in the study of grammar as to displease her master, who, in those days, when that science was not taught to girls, thought her over- stepping the bounds of the female province. At sixteen she returned home, and, from changes in the family, was thrown into gay life; but its vanities never were agreeable to her, and she entered into its follies principally to satisfy her relations and friends.
When about nineteen or twenty she was struck with the change of deportment and engagements in some of her intimate friends; and being under 3 B2r 3 serious impressions herself, she called upon these friends and made many enquiries respecting their views and feelings, and from that time evinced a desire to be more intimately associated with them. One of them has very kindly furnished a few particulars of her at this time, which are the more acceptable as her journal is silent on this all-important change.—The work of conviction for sin was carried on in her heart more by the drawings of the Holy Spirit than by any deep awakenings of conscience. After associating awhile with the above- mentioned friends, she declared herself more openly on the Lord’s side; and soon being enabled to believe with her heart unto righteousness, she became ready to make confession of the same to others. About this period she joined the Society of Methodists. In our love-feasts Love Feasts—Primitive Christians feasts of charity. They frequently held these after public ordinances, and had spoke to each other of the love of God, and the things which concerned their salvation. The Moravians followed a similar plan, and John Wesley adopted their mode of holding love-feasts almost in every particular. Persons of various societies meet on these occasions; bread and water are handed round, they declare what God has done for their souls, and thus become acquainted with each other’s experience, which not only increases their love to each other, but enables them to bear their brethren afterwards on their hearts before God, in their addresses to His gracious throne. and band-meetings Band-meetings and Select Band-meetings are principally designed to help those who have believed through grace. They should meet by choice, with the persons they know, and in whom they can confide; the number not less than three, and not exceeding six. They should meet together once a week, and begin their worship with singing and prayer. They should speak their mind with the greatest freedom. They ought to tell their experience, that others may be encouraged; also all they feel in their hearts, that suitable exhortations may be given, and suitable prayers offered on their behalf. The members of the Select Band should especially be exemplary, that all who see them may be thoroughly convinced that they are aiming at nothing but to glorify God, and find their way to eternity. she B2 4 B2v 4 often testified of the God of grace, to the edification of the church. We, and many who were present, remember well the first time in which she arose publicly to express her gratitude to God for the change He had made in her soul: she was so overcome as to be constrained to fall on her knees, and in that posture to pour out her full heart before God. She soon gave herself up to the work of her Master, and divided her time between public and private devotions, and visits to the sick and afflicted.
This season is evidently the one in which she commenced her journal.1796-07-02July 2nd, 1796. This morning I have given myself to God. This was a practice among the early Methodists. I have made a solemn vow that I will be the Lord’s, and live a more faithful, obedient, self-denying life than ever I have done. This I have done in the strength of the Lord, begging of Him to give me that spirit of humility and love which shall constantly look up to Him for help. Lord, keep me! I am surrounded by many dangers, but thou canst raise my soul above them. I am thine; preserve me, and let me be thine for ever! 1796-07-066th. I have long deceived myself by relying on my own strength,—by attempting to reform myself,—now on one point, then on another. But my conduct had no degree of uniformity, and I had no spiritual solid peace till I came with all my imperfections on my head, in obedience to the call 5 B3r 5 of my Saviour, simply as a little child, weary and heavy laden, casting my care and burden before Him. Then I was willing to take His yoke upon me, and learn of Him, endeavouring by the grace of God to copy His humility, convinced that His yoke is easy, and His burden light. My only wish now is to lay aside every hinderance, and the sin that doth so easily beset me. I have enlisted under the banners of Jesus. I have made a covenant with God to devote my understanding, will, and affections to His cause: this I know is my reasonable service; yet I can neither do it, nor go on the Christian warfare in my own strength. God is the God of hope and strong consolation, on this Rock I will build my confidence; no longer will I trust to a bruised reed, when the power of Jehovah is offered to suport me. I cast off all hopes of acceptance on my own merits, for I know I am less than nothing. My God, convince me of this truth more strongly. I would fix my soul on Jesus, I would endeavour in all things to follow His steps. O, that I could glorify the God of my salvation. The whole world and all its pleasures have nothing to be compared with one single spark of Divine love. O, let all my soul, let all the world unite in blessing God, the Father of light and life. I thank thee, O Lord, for thine abundant goodness to me. Carry on thine own work in my soul. Let me be indeed to all eternity thy child in Christ Jesus. 1797-01-01January 1, 1797. Blessed, ever blessed be God that there is balm in Gilead; there is a physician there, and the wounds, however deadly, of the children of men may be healed. It is now a little more than twelve months since I first knew the 6 B3v 6 salvation which is in Jesus. A year of mercies indeed it has been; my soul has been borne up by the Spirit of God, and kept from sinking back into nature’s darkness. I never before felt such a sense of the entire dedication I had to make of myself to God; but He is worthy. Oh, what have I to give! My God, be thou my strength! I do devote myself to thee! Having thus given up myself to God a sacred calm overspreads my soul. The Lord will keep me. Blessed be God, I can lay down my head in peace to-night, yet still I feel something of fear, on account of the sacred vows which are upon me, —a fear lest I should break these vows,—a fear which has a degree of pain in it, and which I think I should be freed from were I perfected in love. 1797-01-033rd. I hate the tyrant’s chain, and it distresses me to think that the enemies of Christ should have any part in my soul. Oh, that I might more fully see the depth of corruption there is in my heart! then I should surely shrink from myself, and take refuge in the hope set before me. 1797-01-044th. One part of this day I seemed quite weary of myself: my communion with heaven seemed almost closed, my soul barren, and faith at a very low ebb. Sometimes I was distressed with the fear of falling into lukewarmness and insensibility, because of the excessive slothfulness of my spirit. Then again, at other times, (that is during a part of the forenoon, while engaged in domestic employments,) I got into a spirit of carelessness, and gave way to such light, trifling conversation as afterwards caused me a good deal of pain. 7 B4r 7 Darkness and distress continued till evening, when, towards the close of a meeting I was attending, my soul was brought into an agony of distress; I felt a piercing sense of the holiness of that God of whose favour I had rendered myself so unworthy. I had a painful struggle with the corruptions of my nature, which were still rising. At length I found power to look to God in Christ Jesus, and in mercy he delivered my soul; my burden left me, and a sacred peace entered my spirit. The lord was my refuge: I had sweet consolation in secret after I returned home, yet still without that full witness of the Spirit, that powerful love in my soul, that would assure me without a doubt that I was sanctified to God. 1797-01-099th. My petition at the throne of heaven today is, that in all things I may have a single eye to the glory of God. I feel at present a particular need to pray for this. Oh, that I might always have cause to rejoice that the Lord knows the most secret thoughts of my heart! I adore that God who requireth truth in the inward parts. Search and try me, O Lord, and grant that in all things nothing may I see,—nothing desire or seek but thee. May the Lord enable me to choose the part that shall be most for his glory, and the peace of those around me! whether in so doing my natural inclination be gratified or crucified. But I would leave to-morrow in the womb of eternity. May the Lord help me to live to him the present moment! 1797-01-1111th. Towards evening I retired into my room, and began to pray: was rather languid in the beginning, and oppressed by trials; but soon 8B4v8 the Lord poured sweet consolation into my soul, my heart was softened, and I believe melted down into the will of God. I gave myself freely and solemnly into His hands! God was indeed with me: I had a powerful view of His universal love. I had great comfort in the thought that I cannot be where He is not! I felt a blessed assurance that my name was written on His hands, and that in all my sorrow He still remembered me; and I knew that however I might be circumstanced in future, I could do all things through Christ strengthening me! I had several opportunities for private prayer in the evening. I found myself in want of it, for now that my spirit was relieved, I was getting too much at ease and inattentive. It was impressed on my mind to retire into my room and pray, but an enemy whispered, Not now; it will be better to go a little while hence. I complied, and thus was in a great measure shorn of my strength, for though I did retire some time after, I found my faith weakened, and that blessed degree of light and power withdrawn. I did not recover it, but fell asleep at night with some uneasiness on my mind. 1797-01-2727th. When I retired to my room an accusing spirit (but I believe it was from God) pierced my soul. My unfaithfulness,—my littleness of concern for the souls of others,—and many such reflections rushed upon my mind. I saw the vanity of every earthly thing, and the folly of tampering but for a moment between God and the world. I was in an agony of grief, of self-condemnation, and of fear lest souls should suffer through my coldness and neglect. 1797-02-06Feb. 6th. I think a degree of self-confidence 9B5r9 has crept into my spirit, and I always find it is not any thing we feel, not energy, nor any thing else in which we may rest, but on Christ Jesus. For by resting in that powerful activity of mind which I this morning felt, I found before evening that I had strayed, and that not only my intercourse with heaven was damped, but the vigour of my mind declining. What would it avail to go through worldly employments ever so well, if we lose our communion with God, or even a measure of it? It is merciful in the Lord to give us that degree of relish for temporal things that enables us to perform our relative duties, and go through every necessary employment with pleasure. But in this, as well as in other things, I find it truly needful to look to God, for when I forget my dependence I become languid, indolent, and weak. 1797-02-077th. When to-day at chapel they sang the hymn, There we shall see His face, and never never sin, my heart was softened; I longed for the time to come when I shall be pure and perfect,— never grieve the Spirit of God, never in thought or word sin against Him; but see Him as He is, and become like Him. Awoke at six, and felt uneasy that I had overslept the time for the meeting. I knew very well, however, that it was best for me now to rise, and offer my morning sacrifice to God. I was tempted to try to sleep again, and complied, but was quite restless. My mind appeared to have very little disposition to spiritual employment, therefore I continued to delay. When I had reasoned backward and forward, and trifled away half-an-hour, it was brought to my mind what I had sung at the covenant, All, all my happy hours I consecrate B5 10 B5v 10 to thee, and then the bar was broken, and I arose. When I had poured out my soul in prayer to God, peace again entered my heart. These may seem trifling things to write about, but I believe the souls of men are often destroyed by overlooking what at first appears to be of small importance. But do they not mistake? Can any act of disobedience to the laws of religion be accounted as such? idleness is an act of disobedience, and its consequences are melancholy: it destroys the work of the Spirit in the heart, damps every vigorous, every lovely principle, and unfits both soul and body for the Christian warfare. 1797-02-2626th. The recollection of (what I believe was) a deep-rooted attachment, which was some time since for ever broken off, would return and bring a degree of suffering to my mind; but I am deeply convinced that good is the will of the Lord. He has given me power even to rejoice that my will is thus forcibly broken, that I may give myself to Him, that He may choose for me. We met band in the evening: my band-mates, as well as myself, thought I had not as much simplicity, love, and zeal as I once had; and in endeavouring to find out the cause we freely opened our minds to each other. I conceived one hinderance in myself to be a want of freedom from caring about future things. I ought to learn to live to-day, and leave to- morrow. 1797-03-01March 1st. I think I understand what a friend of mine means, when he speaks of the poor souls that lose their way in a dark and cloudy day. Oh, how I can feel for them! Surely it is by a higher power than man that we are for a moment kept! A victorious soul is indeed a miracle of mercy! 11 B6r 11 When we look at the proneness of our nature to turn away from God, the many things which come between to intercept our view of Him who is to nature’s eye invisible, we are ready to wonder at the power of that unseen hand which keeps us. 1797-03-04March 4th. Blessed be God, I dare again say with humble confidence, the blood of Christ cleanses my soul from sin. I was this day deeply convinced, though not by any condemnation in my own mind, of the hatefulness of every temper which is not of God. A vital union with Christ appeared to me to be the only object worth mankind’s pursuit, and every thing else, in comparison of this, frivolous and insipid. Dispositions contrary to God and to holiness, however specious in their appearance, however glossed over by man’s imagination, cannot but in reality be degrading to the soul, and hold it back from that liberty and power which it is our privilege, as Christians, to enjoy. A circumstance I met with to-day was made a means to convince me of these things more deeply. I wanted every thing to be taken away from me that did not honour God, and no passion, no affection to exist in mind, but what was in subjection to this one principle,—the love of Christ. This afternoon, as I was earnestly pleading with God in my room, entreating Him to give me power to love Him with all my heart, and to bear the witness by His Spirit in my soul, I found the answer of my prayer. God took full possession of my heart; every doubt, every fear was removed, and light and peace again were given. I did indeed love God: I had a happy evening. My desires to do the will of God were increased, and I felt a 12 B6v 12 deliverance from that indolence of mind and body which had distressed and sunk me when I was low. 1797-03-1212th. I have never before so fully seen the usefulness of the duty of visiting the sick. I prayed in secret for more energy, more faithfulness, and more discretion in this engagement. It is a hard thing to have grace to seek on a death- bed. Blessed be God for every soul he has called in health! I have been ready to sink in the view of my insufficiency for any work of God; for visiting the sick, or any other spiritual employment. I felt as though I were comparatively full of sin,— full of imperfections. I do so little for the glory of God, and even what I do undertake is so poorly done. God be merciful to me! He is mercy, or I should not yet live. 1797-03-1515th. When I do not rise early I am generally thrown into confusion the whole day, or something is neglected. Oh, could I but in all things refuse to comply with the present suggestions of flesh and blood, and follow the true light! 1797-03-1616th. Too much visiting, even among spiritual friends, is not, I believe, for the prosperity of my soul. It interferes too much with other things, and sometimes robs me of the time which would be better spent in retirement. While we detest sin, which has made such ravages in the world, while we feel ourselves unable to account for many things we meet with, let us remember that we are ourselves unworthy. 1797-04-01April 1st. Strong desires this day were given me for the salvation of our family. Oh, might they all be brought to God! Oh, could we but 13 B7r 13 all look forward in earnest hope and holy confidence that we should meet in heaven! 1797-04-033rd. Sabbath-day. The love-feast was a precious time; such a constant sense of the power and glory of God as we hardly ever experienced. I felt my heart strongly united to Christ, and a growing sense of the goodness of God too in my sister’s salvation. But I am a poor unfaithful creature. I thought I could not get courage to speak before so large a congregation, but the theme was worthy the crucifixion of my own timid feelings. Oh, I thought, if we be but with Christ in the end, what matters it if we were to go through constant darkness and gloom all the way to heaven? But, blessed be God, we do not do that, for Jesus becomes to us the light of life! 1797-04-077th. I have been, I think, more forcibly convinced than ever, that my judgment is greatly uninformed in many respects, I have thought little and read less: it is high time for me to redeem what I have lost. 1797-04-2424th. In the beginning of my experience I thought very little about Satan, but I have since met with unnumbered instances which I cannot at all account for but by admitting his agency. But do thou, gracious Lord, save me from his power! let me have unceasing union with thee, and then I shall have nothing to fear! 1797-05-09May 9th. I have yet to complain of frequent instances of indolence and unwatchfulness. The Lord be merciful to me, and teach me to love the path of self-denial better. I feel a danger too of neglecting private prayer, because I have in general many dear friends about me; but I believe my soul will not prosper unless I look as constantly to 14 B7v 14 God for help as though there were no outward means to bring me forward. 1797-05-1111th. I accompanied a few friends to see Mr. Walker ’s orrery. There are some who entirely disapprove of this kind of pursuit, but my opinion is, that whatever tends to enlarge our views of God, either in respect to His power or His goodness, cannot but be right. But, ah! how far do the most complete philosophers fall short in their knowledge even of created, of visible things:—then why should we wonder that none but God can teach us spiritual things? The further a true philosopher goes in his researches into nature, the more he is convinced of the contractedness of his understanding. And the more a Christian knows of Jesus Christ the more he is convinced that there are heights and depths in the eternal, incarnate God, which surpass our knowledge. I felt great peace while I reflected on God being everywhere present and ruling all things. When I considered the majesty of God in creation, I was indeed struck with awe; but this passage came with comfort to my mind, Will He plead against me with His great power? No; but He will put strength into me! 1797-05-3131st. Why is it, gracious Lord, that I feel this instability of mind? Why is my heart so prone to leave the God I love? Is there any thing on earth I desire equally with thee? Ah, no! and yet my heart is not always alive to God. I am often in bondage, and there are moments when I seem hardly accessible to Divine impressions. I endeavour to find out the cause, when unnumbered acts of disobedience rise up before me, and my conscience tells me these are they which cloud my 15B8r15 mind and darken my view of that great Being who is Israel’s light. My peace might have flowed as a river, and my righteousness have been as the waves of the sea, had I not still been hanging back from God, and in many things cleaving to my old nature. Repeated instances of trifling and disobedience in little things,—if any act of disobedience can be called trivial which weakens the powers of my soul, and makes my mind more vulnerable to the darts of Satan. I lose that energy of faith which opens heaven, and feel unhappy, because, when I in any measure lose sight of my Lord, I find there is nothing but confusion and darkness for me. I then act in a measure of bondage, instead of liberty; to will is present with me, but my performance of that which is good is feeble. Many things, such as writing, visiting the sick, &c. are neglected and put off till the season becomes less favourable; and sometimes long delays render our endeavours to do good quite ineffectual. I am often unfaithful to God; then my strength begins to fail of course, and instead of returning at once to the blood of sprinkling, I stand poring over my temptations, and my unworthiness, till I sink into myself and become weaker and weaker. I lament this inconsistency of condust: do, gracious Lord, give me power to overcome it! I know that by the power of Thy Spirit, through faith in Jesus, I may be every moment conqueror! I was much struck with an expression in a prayer on my account, offered by a dear friend, when I had been relieved from discouraging feelings. He blessed God that my soul was prospering, and said, May she never again take her eyes from her bleeding Saviour. But, 16 B8v 16 alas! even since then I have refused or forgotten to look to Him! I now repeat the prayer. Oh, might this one request be heard in heaven, might I never be suffered to take off my eyes from my bleeding Lord! 1797-06-13June 13th. For some time past I have been distressed with great temptations to general unbelief. It has been suggested, If thou wert quite sure of every thing thou professest to believe concerning God, eternity, &c. thou mightest then act with vigour and confidence, but now thou wilt still have the pain of thinking, should all prove vain and shadowy at last: and this thought will damp thy joys, weaken the energy of thy mind, and prevent thee from ever being completely happy! In a short time the Lord interposed in my behalf, and sent a strong and clear light upon my mind. He caused me to feel that He loves me, and that I have not followed a cunningly devised fable. I turn to Him with something like contrition of heart, and say, Lord, thou knowest me! Have I grieved thee? have I wronged Thy goodness? have I for a moment doubted of Thy truth? The fear of this distresses me. Thou, Lord, hast given me such repeated proofs, such striking confirmations of Thy truth and love, that it were horrid ingratitude to doubt Thee! But no! Jesus triumphs. Were there no conflict there could be no conquest. In the time of deep temptation, O Lord, may I turn to Thee! my Deliverer and my All! 1797-07-01July 1st. I was much distressed the other night, after having reproved a friend for speaking in a way upon spiritual things that rather shocked me; I spoke myself too roughly on the occasion, 17 B9r 17 and began to fear lest by any means my natural temper should get the better of me again, and then I should be in danger of wounding the peace of those around me, and ruining my own soul. I remembered the trouble I had occasioned to myself and others once by giving way to my temper; I was quite in anguish through grief and fear. My soul was humbled in the dust. I asked my friend to tell me all she had seen or thought wrong in me. She mentioned two things,—an appearance of self-consequence, and something of sharpness in reproving. She was right: I know some of my besetments, in a state of nature—I was proud, strong in my resentments and dislikes, as well as my attachments; yet even in my attachments I was partial and capricious. When, as was the case in some instances, I had a kind of general dislike to any one, and that person offended me, I was very unforgiving. If I had offended them I was too proud and too self-willed to make concessions. I remember thinking that such an one as I was ought to be very cautious not to offend, that I might save myself the trouble of feeling that I ought to humble myself, and yet as positively feeling that I could not do it. One thing on which I rather pique myself, was a kind of openness in my temper, which caused a difference in my conduct towards those I disliked and those I loved. I hated that disguise which I saw many practise, and which prevented people from knowing who were their friends and who were not. I did not feel that spirit of universal benevolence, which, though it loves those most who have most of the image of Jesus, yet breathes a spirit of good-will to all: as far removed from a blind admiration, as an uncontrolled18 B9v 18 controlled dislike. I did not feel this spirit, nor did I feel my want of it, but satisfied myself with, what I called, my honesty. I looked coolly, and often spoke disrespectfully: I often gave way inwardly to a spirit of contempt towards those whom I conceived to be persons of weak intellect, and whom I found as vain and conceited as they were unmeaning. However, I mostly joined in the same amusements as themselves; and there were times, too, when I was not so much struck with their folly, and fell into a kind of easy, worldly, friendly manner towards them. I might say much more about my natural self; but it appears not to be worth while at present. I will return then, and add on the subject which led to this digression, that after two or three hours of suffering, through fear of the return of those evils that had once distressed me, and a painful sense that I had this night done wrong, I had power to believe the Lord would keep me, and that the work which He had begun in my heart He would carry on to all eternity. No other power but Himself could have effected the change which has been wrought, and I rejoice to find on examination that indeed the change is great. 1797-07-07July 7th. My sister was with me the whole day. She says she thinks I have not yet got the better of my natural disposition; but am too much given to a kind of lightness, and a rapid way of talking, which she thinks unbecoming in a Christian. She is right; and may God give me the victory over myself fully! 1797-07-088th. This morning I set out for Nottingham with two friends. On the road my mind was a good deal taken up with considering the many 19B10r19 kindnesses I had received from my Christian friends. The spirit with which real Christians love one another is very different to that of the world in its dearest friendships. While my heart glows with gratitude to these dear friends, how much more do I owe to God,—to my Saviour,—the source, the spring of all! 1797-07-2121st. A day never to be forgotten. We went to Hadbotton, a village about two miles from Nottingham, to see J. S., a faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. The presence of God was with us all the day: in the garden and in the house our conversation was constantly spiritual; for the general bent of our minds seemed to be towards heaven. We endeavoured to gain some general information by which we might know good from evil. We conversed likewise on some particular points of religious experience; and while we talked, light beamed strongly on my mind, and I found we had seized the object in which alone is light, power, and real joy, even the love of God in Christ Jesus. Everything but Him appeared what it truly is, only a shadow. But Satan did not let me alone; he insinuated that God must be a respecter of persons, or I should not have so great enjoyment while multitudes of mankind were sinking in sorrow and distress. But who can be judge of the whole plan of Providence by looking at one object, or of the whole of any one’s life, by taking only a single day? During the conversation to-day my soul gained great establishment in God. After tea, when we had prayed, we sang the Covenant Hymn, and indeed my love went with the words I uttered, 20 B10v 20 though my body trembled under the solemn power I felt in saying, Whate’er I have, whate’er I am, Shall magnify my Maker’s name. and these words, My soul and all its pow’rs Thine, wholly thine, shall be; All, all my happy hours I consecrate to thee! I left the room the moment we had concluded; and when I was alone fell on my knees: the Lord poured His Spirit upon me, and I solemnly renewed my covenant. If a voice from heaven had spoken I think it would not have sent a stronger conviction into my mind, than the Spirit of God spake in that sacred hour to this purpose: If thou wouldst be truly the Lord’s; if thou wouldst have real holiness of heart and true enjoyment in thy soul, thou must live not to thyself, but to God, seeking only His glory, and the good of His cause. Seek not thy own gratification, but live the servant of mankind, but more especially the servant of the poor. That this command was ever engraven as on the palms of her hands, her after life bore abundant testimony. Ed The lord sealed this command with the witness of His Spirit on my soul, that He would enable me to do this. What power and love, what sacred overflowing communications of Divine life did my soul feel! 1797-07-2424th. This was a day of peace,—but not without pain,—for it was my last day at Nottingham; and I could not but be grieved at the thought of leaving friends amongst whom I had been so much 21 B11r 21 blessed. My spirit had united with them, and I had been treated with a friendship and kindness truly Christian. But above all, I love these people for their attention to poor children; for I have lamented, I believe more than twelve years, the general neglect of education. I have always seen (however ignorant I might myself be of the plan of salvation) that people in general do not take the means to impress the minds of children with religious truths; they either never talk to them at all on these subjects, or they merely teach them to say by rote prayers, catechisms, &c., or they content themselves with speaking of Divine things in a way that children can by no means understand, and take them to hear those truths which, though great and sacred in themselves, have, nevertheless, not the least weight with children, because their minds are not previously qualified to receive them. 1797-07-2525th. I had sweet intercourse with God in secret prayer this morning: I believe the Lord will still be with me. Never since I knew the Lord have I felt so much at parting from any friends as these; but my communion with God is not damped. I go nearer to my heavenly Father, because this is a painful hour, and find that the source of my consolations is powerful. My soul was covered with an humbling, filial fear,—a sacred thirst after holiness,—a strong desire to be the Lord’s. Several of our friends came to take leave of us. My soul felt for them. May God bless them! And, ah! our Lord, do thou preserve us also, and suffer us not for a moment to lose the power and love which in this place have been our portion! 22 B11v 22 1797-07-2626th. To-day I met a friend who has always been kindly desirous of my soul’s welfare; he spoke roughly to me, and as though he thought I had lost ground. This pained me; and the enemy took advantage of it, and endeavoured to destroy my peace, by reasoning on the hasty manner of my friend; but I was on my guard, having suffered before from this quarter. Yet all the rest of the day, from some cause or other, I lost the joy I wished to feel. 1797-07-2929th. We had a good meeting at the Selectband this evening. I spoke my experience. When it was over, the friend I mentioned on the 1797-07-2626th came up to me, and said, I think you seem to feel what you want. Should I not be thankful for this friend? for surely, if he does not make me angry, he will certainly be a means of making me humble; but I think Christians ought to bear with patience what they conceive to be the mistaken judgment of others concerning them, and should always be open to conviction from any quarter. 1797-08-01August 1st. Since returning from Nottingham, a Sunday-school plan has been in progress. We spend part of the day in calling on our friends to ask them to teach. 1797-08-055th. I was this morning surprised to hear that a division was probable in our Society: The cause of the division of Methodists into the Old and New Connexion was the following:— During the life of John Wesley the Methodist mode of government was much disapproved of by many sensible people in the Societies, who beheld in it the latent but real seeds of future strife and contention, which they foretold would finally cause a division in the Societies; but as it was thought that this singular mode of government would end with Wesley’s life, every attempt to alter it was considered premature while he lived. The cause of the division was a few leading preachers having obtained such a power over the people and the junior preachers as to keep them in the greatest subordination. For six years the Societies in vain remonstrated with the Conference, or annual assembly of preachers, and requested at different times an alteration in its laws and form of government, which they thought highly oppressive. They were at length fully convinced that the Conference would not make the alterations in favour of the people which were thought so reasonable and necessary: this, with the various refusals they had received, as might be expected, roused them to opposition. In 1797-08August, 1797, the Conference was held at Leeds, and a number of delegates from societies in various parts of the kingdom assembled to make another application to have their government placed on a liberal footing. They demanded of the Conference that delegates should be suffered to meet with them, and this request was positively refused. After this the delegates requested that they might be permitted to assemble by themselves, and give their sanction or disapprobation to any important business that might be debated by the Conference. This was not only refused, but the delegates were informed that they should not even have the privilege of meeting with the preachers in the district meetings. These various refusals brought matters to a conclusion; a division immediately took place; many societies rejected the preachers sent to them by the Conference, and a new Conference and itenerancy were established on liberal and Scriptural principles. The New Conference made this public declaration: Be it known to all the world that we have not separated on account of doctrines. Church government, and that alone, is the ground of the separation! Mr. Kilham had a thorough knowledge of all these particulars, and his inflexible integrity made him determined to remonstrate against those corruptions of which he was a constant spectator, and he published several pamphlets to expose them to the Societies. He was in consequence of this arranged, tried, and expelled by the Conference. Many of Mr. Kilham’s brethren, both among preachers and people, thought him highly qualified, on account of his piety, unabated diligence, and zeal, to take a prominent part in the formation of the New Connexion and New Conference. He therefore gave way to their solicitations, and in this engagement he spent the remainder of his life. if it 23 B12r 23 should be the case I shall think it my duty to inform myself as far as I am able of the whole affair, 24 B12v 24 for I think it impossible to make a rational decision in favour of either party, without hearing both sides of the question. 1797-08-088th. I have not improved my time as I ought. I feel determined by the grace of God to begin with renewed vigour. I want to begin as though I had everything to learn, and everything to do, and I know not how little time I have. May this one prayer be heard! and may I be helped constantly to ask myself, Is this the best use I can make of my time? Blessed be God! He never yet denied a request that was for our soul’s good; and I believe He will hear me in this, and will help me by His grace to read more, act more, and in all things to live with an eye more to His glory than I have ever done! 1797-08-099th. My friends say that if I look any farther into the affair of the division I shall be sure to repent. But I cannot help thinking it my duty to take the means of judging for myself. Who are these poor Kilhamites, (as they are called,) so despised by some and pitied by others? They are immortal souls,—they are not contemptible,— not beneath our notice! Oh, God, direct me! Some people talk as though Kilham’s books were weapons of death. If the influence of any man’s opinion, or example, could form my decision, I think it would be Mr. B.’s; but I dare not knowingly have respect of persons in judgment. Oh, make me ready to be anything or nothing, as Thou wilt; only let me be sure to hear Thy voice! 1797-08-1212th. I was unhappy the beginning of this day; but afterwards much clouded, perhaps from having suffered some employments to keep me from secret prayer, to which I had been drawn. I was also 25C1r25 distressed by the fear of my conduct being influenced by improper motives; but the cry of my soul was, Lord, search me, and try me! Prove the very ground of my heart, and whatever there is wrong in me, oh, do Thou discover it, and take it away, and sanctify me fully! Oh, make me pure in heart, that I may see God! 1797-08-1313th. My soul is in anguish, for I cannot decide which party is right; and this hesitation is a great cause of distress; but I look to God for help, and trust to find it. 1797-08-1414th. Was accused to-day, by a friend, of several wrong dispositions, of which I was not conscious. I do not know that my mind was wounded, but my joy was damped. I had intended going to Mr. Kilham’s chapel in the evening, but my friends so strongly objected to my going so soon that I gave way. However, I was not quite sure, when at our own chapel, that I was right; only this I believe, my motive in resigning my intention was pure. 1797-08-1515th. I have this day a great spirit of enquiry. I want to see things as they are. I want to be informed, when good men disagree in their judgment, how we may know who is in the right. It appears to me that the original justice of a cause cannot depend on the multitude of its adherents, nor on the stability of those who profess themselves its followers. Truth comes from God, and its object will ever be a conformity to the revealed will of God,—an uniform coincidence with the law of love,—a consultation, not of present gratification, but of future good. 1797-08-1818th. Truth depends not on any man’s receiving or rejecting it. If Mr. Kilham’s friends C 26 C1v 26 have truth on their side, they will prosper though all men forsake them. With these views I went this evening to their chapel. Mr. Kilham preached from Psalm xci. 4. The presence of God was, I believe, generally felt in the meeting. My soul was calm and happy. The 1797-08-1919th, 1797-08-2020th, and 1797-08-2121st, I had a good deal of reasoning—yet I trust not hurtful reasoning—with myself about the path I ought to take in order to a real conformity to the will of God. Supposing this new plan of government to be more agreeable to the Scriptures, and more likely to promote the general good than the old, is it merely the idea of a change that should prevent one entering into it? Is it not thought right and commendable to make new laws and regulations in the Conference, and so in a measure to change the government? Had nearly the whole of the Conference approved of the plan which Mr. Kilham’s friends proposed, I suppose they would then have thought it necessary to change the whole government of the body; and if so, why should they blame in a few the conduct they would themselves have pursued, had their views been the same? The men who remain in the Old Connexion cannot take the consciences of the others into their own hands; then why should they wish to influence their actions contrary to their consciences? I cannot see why a part, more than the whole, should be condemned for following the way they conceive to be the best. I want to see more clearly; indeed the principal thing that disturbs me is the fear that this new government may be ill administered, and then what better will it be? Yet if the body of the people determine to act with a single eye for the 27 C2r 27 glory of God and the good of the whole, I believe they will form a constitution which neither time nor circumstances can ever shake. 1797-08-2222nd. I was shocked at the unfeeling manner in which I offered, and generally do offer, my evening sacrifice. We retire rather late, and I am often wearied and sleepy, and just repeat the petitions, or perhaps thanksgivings, that come into my mind, with nearly as little faith or feeling as though I were running over a form of prayer for the sake of it. O God, be merciful to me! do not suffer me to use Thy name in this unhallowed manner! Justly mightest Thou have sent total darkness over my soul! But, oh, quicken me! rouse my drowsy powers, and help me from this hour to offer every act of worship,—not with my lips only, but do Thou engage every power of my soul! 1797-08-2525th. Oh! that I might adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour in all things! I want not only to be saved from everything sinful, but from all that is trifling, and inconsistent with the spirit of Christianity in any degree. 1797-08-2727th. At the Benevolent Society Meeting some of the company, when the business was over, spent some time in proving how little a preacher has for the support of his family. Indeed it is but little; yet a minister of the gospel ought to be able to live on that little. Our real wants are very few, and luxury cannot be encouraged in the body without effeminacy entering the soul; yet their conversation rather disturbed me. I do not like so much controversy. There are many who differ from me in judgment, to whom I yet feel that degree of affection that makes me suffer when I think of giving them pain. First one and then C2 28 C2v 28 another questioned me about my present conduct, some with surprise and harshness, and some with tenderness, which is harder to bear. At the close of the meeting I was asked to pray, and while I was pleading for the light of God to guide and direct us; my heart was so softened I could not proceed. I remained alone in the chapel some time after our friends had gone away.
Extracts from the Correspondence which passed between Alexander Kilham and Hannah Spurr previous to their Marriage.
My valued mother became intimately acquainted with my father in the summer of 17971797. No record of this event appears in her journal. It is evident that till 17991799 she kept no regular account of herself, except noting her thoughts and feelings on loose sheets of paper, in a short-hand of her own. After the death of my inestimable father she copied the whole in regular order till the above- named period; and it is supposed the remembrance of her bereavement was too vividly before her to permit her to continue this writing, therefore she deferred it to a season of calmer resignation. Probably the care of her infant, and afterwards a scene of more active exertion, caused her never to make up this blank in her journal.
Extracts from the letters which passed between my beloved parents at this interval may help to make up for the deficiency.1797-09-18September 18, 1797. Bear with me while I entreat you not to shrink from suffering, if you see such is the will of God concerning you. Be actuated by the charity which beareth all things: be willing to be reviled, despised and rejected of men: let your name be cast 30 C3v 30 out as evil,—only take care that it be undeservedly! While you look to God, men have but little power over you: they may indeed, in some degree, wound your peace, but you will not suffer loss in the conflict, if the fault be not your own. You have real enjoyment while in Christ Jesus, and doing the will of God; but whenever you deviate in any degree from His will, however specious appearances may be,—however gratifying to nature,— it must eventually be productive of evil to yourself as well as to others. The Lord will support you under the burdens He himself lays upon you. You have nothing to fear but sin; then determine by the grace of God to stand unmoved in the fire; —your Saviour will be with you; but rather let the flame consume you, than that you should do anything to grieve the Spirit of God. Your sincere friend, Hannah Spurr. 1797-10-01October 1, 1797. It is impossible to describe the joy I feel in seeking the salvation of my fellow-creatures. I feel a lively hope that God will grant His protecting cloud, that we may adore and love Him for ever. My soul does enter within the veil and seeks her meat from God. Oh, that I may be fed more abundantly, and rejoice continually in His salvation. After preaching I returned home weary and faint. One of my brothers came from Epworth, and informed me my aged father is well, who has known the grace of God more than fifty years. Your affectionate friend, Alexander Kilham. 31 C4r 31 1797-10-02October 2, 1797. How must I overcome indolence? I have had quite a contest with myself the few last days on account of it. Idleness is a sin which of all others I most dread—I might say, which I most despise! A voluntary feebleness of mind and contractedness of soul arise from the constant gratification of one’s own will. If the soul has no other spring of action than that which self-will gives, it will often be slothful as well as obstinate. For my own part I find if I am not in the habit of giving myself up in some way or other for the glory of God, and the good of my neighbours, my mind becomes selfish, effeminate, and unhappy. The flesh warreth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other. I would that the Spirit were always conqueror:— and it is my own fault when it is not! H. S. 1797-10-03October 3, 1797. It appears to me that idleness is one of the greatest evils in the world;—it might justly be entitled Legion! Scarcely a crime of importance but has its origin here. I will name some of the principal causes of it: injudicious education, indulgence of parents, the propensities of our own heart, self-indulgence, dejection of mind, and no settled occupation. Now in order to lessen the influence of this evil a change in the heart should be wrought by the Holy Spirit, which will lead us to redeem the time, and will stimulate us to exertion by a humbling recollection of our former waste of time. We should strive to feel the import32 C4v 32 port of the text, Be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; and should constantly reflect on the greatness of the work we have to accomplish, and the shortness of our stay in this wilderness. We should form a plan for religious exercises and temporal engagements, and endeavour to live to it as near as possible. We should avoid all needless indulgence; and should never allow depression of spirits, or light affliction, to hinder our labours, remembering we can never do too much in promoting the glory of God and the salvation of our fellow-creatures. A. K. 1797-10October, 1797. I was reflecting the other day on the Lord’s dealings with my soul, from the time I went to Nottingham, and have cause to believe that the gracious visitation from on high which I received there, was intended to prepare my soul for the exercises I have had since my return. I have been much led, the last few days, to pray that my soul may be more abundantly quickened. I would rise above all selfish cares: I would seek the glory of God, and the good of His cause. Oh, that our hearts may be established in righteousness! I have felt thankful this week on account of the friends to whom we are united; there is something in them which will bear enquiry: I have had cause to bless God on their account. I believe God will be our present helper in every difficulty, and that our souls shall praise Him for ever! H. S. 33 C5r 33 1797-11-04Nov. 4, 1797. I seem to need the voice that would be constantly crying to me, Arise, and shake thyself from the dust! I was thinking this afternoon, if I had not an active life, I should not have a happy one. The Lord orders all things in wisdom: from a grateful heart I can at this moment say, The Lord does all things well! H. S. 1797-11-14Nov. 14, 1797. At chapel to-day E. O. spoke in a very forcible and affecting manner on our Lord’s being a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. My heart was much affected with the remembrance of the tenderness of feeling which Jesus showed, when expiring on the cross, towards her who, after the flesh, was His mother. He knew the sorrows which pierced her heart, and, while finishing the great work in which the dearest interests of mankind were all concerned, He was not dead in His feelings towards her, but commended her to the care of his most faithful friend. I cannot but lament that mankind are not more faithful to the grace of God. Why was it that His disciples forsook Him after He had spent His time and His strength for their good? We know not that we should have done otherwise. Oh, that this view of the treachery of the human heart may humble my soul, that I may fear always, lest I also be overcome! I can recollect many seasons when I was almost ready, like the first disciples, to forsake my Lord; and if I feel this proneness to start aside in this bright gospel day, what should I have done in an hour of C5 34 C5v 34 darkness, discouragement, and gloom like theirs? The Lord has been unspeakably good to me, or I should have fallen a thousand times:—a thousand and a thousand times He has delivered me! His light has shone on my heart, and on my path. We will praise Him, my dear friend; we will love and adore Him for ever! He is unbounded in His mercy to us. The springs of gratitude rise in my soul, surely they will rise to all eternity! Oh, may we never forget that we are both the purchase of a Redeemer’s blood! and whatever cause we find to love each other, may our love abound the more toward Him by whose grace we are what we are. H. S. 1797-11-18Nov. 18, 1797. You say you rejoice that my mind leads me to desire an active life, because the providence of God is leading me into a scene where I may have plenty of exercise in the vineyard of the Lord. I do, my dear friend, desire an active life; but when I mentioned it to you I was considering it only as a negative good,—a preservative from melancholy and vain reasonings. You give me a more animating, a far more desirable idea of it, when you say, Labour is delightful, when the heart is truly engaged, &c. I need not repeat your own words, but only this, you say your heart burns for more unction, that all your works may be begun, continued, and ended in God. May the Lord grant you the desire of your heart in this thing. It is this unction, this life and power from God, which can only bear you up above the fear of man, and the fear of evil. 35 C6r 35 I suffer as well as rejoice with you: your friends are fearful, and your opponents mighty, but the Lord is with you; and I trust His mercy will never forsake. I believe He will be with you always, even to the end. When it occurred to your mind, What doest thou here, Elijah? I hope you did not forget Elijah’s upright, yet dejected mind, had given him too dark a view of the state of the church. We may sometimes, in particular cases, conceive things to be worse than they really are. There is, I trust, a scattered seed all over the earth who are accepted of God in Christ Jesus; and the hour will come in which the Lord will collect them together, and they shall feel they are one fold under one Shepherd, and none shall think or act as though they thought church-fellowship a more powerful bond of union than the Spirit of Christ. I fear there are persons in the world, who would almost think it a sin to dispute the experience of any in their own church, who yet find it difficult to believe that any person can be alive to God who does not worship with them. Is not this making too much account of outward church- fellowship, and too little of the spiritual union of the whole body of Christ? H. S. 1797-11-19Nov. 19, 1797. My mind has been exercised by the unaccountable conduct of my opposers, and from a deep conviction of their acting out of character. I was grieved to think that men professing godliness should have so little grace, and that they should seek to injure me when I was seeking to do them all the good in my power. But the Lord 36 C6v 36 has convinced me that suffering from this quarter was what He himself endured; and He assured me if I suffered with Him I should also reign with Him. I am now willing, by His grace, to bear reproach from any quarter, so that His glory may be advanced on the earth. Indeed I expect to have my name cast out as evil. I look for crosses daily, and seek a preparation of mind to bear them for His glory. By this means hard things become easy, rough ways are smooth, crooked things are straight, and my soul both sees and feels the salvation of God. The more I am resigned to the will of God, the more comfortable I feel in all the conflicts which infinite wisdom appoints. Indeed I frequently find that my soul rather wishes for, than attempts to shun the cross, because, while we suffer for following Christ fully, the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon us. I think you condemn yourself on some points too much: you will never be delivered from evil reasonings unless you venture constantly by faith on the Son of God. Remember Peter walked on the waves as on a pavement, while his eye was kept on the Lord Jesus; but when he looked down he saw the waves and began to sink. Let us live by faith, and not by our feelings. The weather,—exercises from various quarters, &c., may alter our feelings, but God is unchangeable. We often have too gloomy thoughts of Him:—we view Him as looking upon us with a great deal of harshness and inflexible justice, when we ought to remember that mercy is His darling attribute, and that as a kind father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. Let us view Him as our 37 C7r 37 reconciled covenant God, and cast all our care upon Him! A. K. 1797-11-23Nov. 23. As you observe, the views which God gives us of Himself in the Holy Scriptures are calculated to fill our hearts with admiration and love. My soul has always the most exalted, yet most encouraging views of God when I behold His glory in the face of Jesus. In looking to Jesus we cease to have gloomy thoughts of God. We remember that in Him the Lord is our reconciled Father, full of compassion and love towards us. The view is the most assimilating and strengthening, as well as comforting to our minds. I can never so well obey the Lord, (whether in pleasing or painful circumstances,) as when I feel that He loves me. There is no other way of obtaining this feeling, except by looking to Him who has given himself to restore us to God. Last night I went with a heavy heart to the class; but how great was the mercy of God to me! my bonds were broken before we had been five minutes together, and while we were singing the hymn, Jesus, my truth, my way! my heart melted into tenderness and love; such gratitude sprung up in my soul toward God that I felt power to give up my cause into His hands; darkness fled away, and the day-spring from on high visited us. I think if mercy and goodness can affect the heart I shall be the Lord’s for ever! I was thinking this morning that we who have 38 C7v 38 tasted so freely the love of God in Christ Jesus had most abundant cause of thankfulness. And should we be surrounded by outward trials and inward temptations, have we not help more than sufficient in Christ Jesus to conquer all? Oh, that I may never sink again; but rather take courage and fight against my foes! H. S. 1797-11-25Nov. 25. I have been thinking on the simplicity of faith. It appears to consist in a full persuasion that God is our reconciled Father, and in casting our souls, with all their wants, into His hands. He is represented in all the endearing characters that language can invent to excite our dependence upon Him. He upbraids us for not asking what we need, or for not asking with suitable confidence. He complains of our unbelief and hardness of heart. He desires that we petition for all we want, and assures us that all our wants shall be supplied out of His infinite fulness. He complains of our being straitened in ourselves. He declares that, if we only believe, our peace shall be as a river, and our righteousness as the waves of the sea. He informs us that many mighty things cannot be accomplished because of our unbelief. He seems anxious to expel from our nature the proneness we feel to discredit His word; and when we seem averse to give way He weeps over us. Unbelief is the evil from which arises lukewarmness. If we nourish it we are fostering in our breasts the vilest enemy of our heavenly Father, and feeding the principle from whence arises pride, self-will, covetousness, &c. We may attempt to avoid a 39 C8r 39 number of things that appear wrong, but unless we are earnest in seeking to lay the axe to the root of this evil tree all our lopping of branches will be of little avail. When we are happy in God we believe, and wonder at our former unbelief; but when sensible comfort is withdrawn do we not indulge in unbelief and hardness of heart, and thus prove that we are placing sensible comfort in the place of Jesus? We build upon the best gifts of heaven, instead of building upon their Giver. Need we enquire why we have so little sensible comfort, and why our minds are so frequently uneasy for want of Divine manifestations? I apprehend the reason is at hand,—God cannot give them to us in abundant and constant enjoyment, because unbelief remains in our breasts, and we pervert them to the basest of purposes. Were we to live by faith alone, and venture on Christ in all the emergencies of life with equal confidence, our consolations would abound through hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Oh, that we could ever remember that we have to do with an unchangeable God! A dull day, indisposition, strong temptations, &c., may occasion an alteration in our animal spirits, and in our feelings; but do they alter the nature and attributes of the Deity? Because we vary, must He vary also? Is it not our duty to exercise the same confidence in God, however we may change? If our eye be single, and our hearts fully fixed to follow the Lord, we shall rely every moment, with a child-like confidence. While we are not weaned from unbelief, we are frequently suffered to drag on heavily. The subject is inexhaustible. I am ashamed and grieved at the dishonour I have brought upon God by unbelief.40 C8v 40 belief. I feel such a sweetness and satisfaction in taking God at His word, that my soul rejoices in His faithfulness, and exults in His truth. I would fain hope that my future days will be spent in living by the faith of the Son of God, who hath loved me and given himself for me. I am perfectly sure that this faith will lead to that holiness and righteousness before men which the Scriptures require. As far as I am enabled, I will endeavour to preach down unbelief, and exalt faith in the Lord Jesus; it is so glorious to God, so advantageous to ourselves, so ornamental to our profession, and so much for the benefit of mankind. I hope that the faith in our hearts will gain strength by our various exercises, and come forth like gold seven times purified. Though it is past midnight,—the weather exceedingly stormy, my fire low, my poor tottering body oppressed with cold, travelling, and other exercises, and I have three times to preach on this dawning day, as well as to travel on foot several miles, yet I would gladly write all night upon this delightful subject, if my endeared Hannah could be delivered from this enemy. A. K. 1797-12-28Dec. 28. You may think me obstinate and foolish, but I am not yet satisfied respecting the regulations about the teachers for our new Sunday-school. You will remember once observing that if no abuses had taken place through the defects of the old system of Methodist government, that would not be a sufficient assurance that none would take place. As yet there is no barrier fixed to prevent41 C9r 41 vent the most improper persons from engaging as teachers;—no notice is taken either of their abilities or of their piety. Their voluntarily entering into such an engagement may indeed be considered as a presumptive proof of their sincere desire to do good; but I cannot think it a sufficient proof of their qualifications either to teach children to read and write, or to lead them by the grace of God to heaven. I have thought of some things you said yesterday, and of your not uniting in my idea of piety being a necessary qualification for the instruction of children of four or five years old. If persons of mere outward morality, whose hearts are yet carnal, are considered as proper persons to become teachers, is there not as great a probability of their being placed with the older boys and girls as with the little children? Is there that humility in the natural heart which would choose to be put at the feet of the whole school? I would not consider the teachers being united to any religious body as sufficient to recommend them. I would have their principles and character examined, and their abilities for the work they have engaged in noticed by some competent judge, before they are fully placed in their different classes. Can the teachers act in unison with each other if some are religious and others not? H. S. 1797-12-29Dec. 29, 1797. Do not forget that my definition with regard to teachers is, that penitents and believers are suitable for that office, to whatever sect or party they may belong. I think that some mode should be adopted to know the abilities and 42 C9v 42 dispositions of those who propose themselves. As far as I can learn, all the teachers who are already named are members of our own Society, therefore I cannot see the subject exactly as you do. A. K. 1797-12-31Dec. 31, 1797. I know not a person in the world whose disposition is so suitable to mind as that of my beloved Hannah. I think our heavenly Father has in mercy brought us acquainted with each other for the best of purposes. I hope if I am not worthy the name of Pliable, my dear Hannah will not merit that of Obstinate! If we can only do each other good, and be useful to mankind, God shall have the praise. I shall conclude with observing, on this last day of the year, that, next to the blessings of Divine grace to my soul, thou art the choicest favour that earth could afford, and of which I am unworthy! A. K. 1798-01-02Jan. 2, 1798. After sleeping four hours, I arise at five, and prepared for travelling to this place, Barnsley. The spirit of fervent agonizing prayer rested upon me. I found desires to begin a new life with the new year, and pleaded much with God to pass by whatever He had seen amiss in my former life. My ory ascended to God on your behalf. May the Lord hear, and bless! On the way my spirit kept ascending to God. I found the fatigues of the past sabbath, and the inconveniences of the journey,43 C10r 43 ney, as nothing compared with that love which burned on the altar of my heart! A. K. 1798-01-04Jan. 4, 1798. May God bless you! I feel thankful more than I can express that you are so much interested for the welfare of the Sunday-school. The strongest bond of union we can have is a mutual desire, not merely for each other’s, but the general good; in pursuing this our happy spirits shall be blended together, and we shall every day have to bless God for each other’s existence. I trust the Lord will lead me and teach me how I may be useful to the dear children! I feel very insufficient for the work I have engaged in. My dear friend, I bless God that you are sensible our greatest joy is not in following our own selfish will, but in loving God, and loving our neighbour;—here our hearts expand, here we know why we were sent into the world,—it was to glorify God, through His grace to seek the happiness of others, to rejoice as well as to suffer below, and to be with God, and with all the precious of the earth beyond the skies for ever! H. S. 1798-01-18Jan. 18, 1798. After meeting I read the chapters on which we had agreed, and found my soul comforted. I rejoiced in the thought of your meeting me at the throne of grace. I have many mercies, and my heavenly Father seems determined to melt me into His will by kindnesses. I would spend and be spent in the cause of so glorious a Benefactor.44 C10v 44 tor. You would be pleased to be among the people of this neighbourhood, Nottinghamshire, if your services might prove instrumental to their good. 1798-01-1919th. Yesterday I came on foot eight miles through a very dirty road to Dunnington; the weather was tolerably fine, but my feet were wet and cold, and this occasioned my headache to return. I was kindly received by our friends there. At night we worshipped in the Baptist chapel: the congregation was large, and I felt a good deal of liberty in speaking, and the word appeared to be applied with Divine impressions. The people were very earnest and attentive. I spoke two hours, and was very weary. After sitting awhile with the Baptist minister, I returned to my hospitable friends. Although faint and exhausted my soul rejoiced in God, and my spirit gloried in the Redeemer. It felt the ambition of my life to spend and be spent for the Lord Jesus. I found great thankfulness in the thought that I had sown my seed in the morning, and in the evening had not withheld my hand. I had a restless night, and awoke early with the headache; but even this led me to resign myself to God. I offered myself to suffer as well as to do His will. I arose soon after six, and found my mind eager to engage in business; and notwithstanding the unwillingness of the flesh, dragged myself to writing. At two I set out to this place, Whitich. I found something in my heart which would have complained on account of being so far separated from you; but I checked the thought, and found my soul devoted to the will of God, 45 C11r 45 and resolved to follow Him fully in the regeneration. The Lord sanctify our affection, that we may glorify Him with all the powers of our spirits, and go on our way rejoicing in Him continually. A. K.
Her marriage with Alexander Kilham.—Extracts from their Correspondence—Death of her Husband—Birth of a Daughter.
My beloved parents were married in 1798-04April, 1798. In the few months of their union they were much separated, my dear father travelling in the work of the ministry to various parts of England and Wales.
A few extracts, not only from their crorespondence, but also from the printed Memoir of my father, will, it is hoped, be acceptable to the reader, and will serve to connect the account of so beloved a parent, till she again resumes the detail of her experience.1798-06-19June 19, 1798. God forbid that we should ever for a moment say we will stand or fall together in religion; yet I cannot but think that whenever the Lord particularly blesses thee, it brings me nearer to Him by a spirit of humble thankfulness than any other circumstance ever does. My soul melts under a sense of His goodness, deeply feels that His ways towards us are mercy all. Oh, that we may be more and more united in Him than we have ever been! Our affection for each other will not be damped; no, it will be heightened and refined by the Spirit of truth having fuller influence on our hearts. May God make thee altogether such an 47 C12r 47 one as He can delight in. If trials still await thee, may Jesus be, as he has hitherto been, like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land to thy soul! Thy way has been in many instances strewed with thorns; but my soul is raised in thankfulness to that good Being who preserves thy spirit, and who has borne thee through all thy trials! We know not what a day may bring forth, nor need we anxiously concern ourselves about it. Outward circumstances do not constitute our peace, nor can outward things destroy it. If our anchor be fixed within the vail, what storms can shake us? The enemies of Jesus sought to destroy Him, and they imagined their intent was just accomplished; but how deceitful were their expectations! at the moment their wishes seemed complete, he whom they had thought their enemy was at that instant finishing His work!—the great and glorious work for which He came into the world. And so it shall be with the followers of Jesus;—if their enemies would sow for them briars and thorns, the Lord will cause fruitful trees to spring up in their stead. They shall go out with joy, they shall be lead forth with peace, and the face of nature, as well as the kingdom of grace, shall rejoice with them. The word of truth assures us this will be the case. H. Kilham 1798-07-05July 5, 1798. I am obliged to own that melancholy and lowness beset my spirits. I cannot tell the cause, except it is that I see a thousand imperfections in myself. My judgment is clouded, my mind irresolute, and my affections are far too little attracted 48 C12v 48 towards the best objects. I sometimes feel as though I could mourn over everything I have ever done, and sink into dejection. Pray that I may live to better purpose. I cannot be happy unless I do. I am weary of my uselessness and of my nothingness. I do not want to be raised in the eyes of the world, or of the church, but in the favour of the Lord. My soul longs for food from heaven, nothing else can fill the painful void I sometimes feel. Our mutual affection for each other is the greatest earthly blessing I possess; but this affection cannot fill my soul with peace, if the Lord do not shed the light of His countenance upon me. H. Kilham
The following letter was written to her sister:—Nottingham, 1798-07-05July 5, 1798. I rejoice, my love, to hear of your prosperity. The Lord bless and be with you still! You say you are happy in your freedom from worldly cares: I know you are. May you enjoy your freedom still, if you conceive it to be for the glory of God and your own peace. For myself I cannot, no, not for a moment, repent that I have entered into what you call entanglements. It is true the cares of the world come upon one; and perhaps we are called to greater exertions of mind in this state; but the goodness of God has attached affections to duties, and thus the toils of life are softened, and duty made delightful. Perhaps you, who have so long lived with me, may have observed that melancholy was always one of my besetting evils. The grace of God has, during the last two years, in a great measure banished this 49 D1r 49 spirit. I have never for a moment, since I first experienced a sense of the favour of God, found that painful void in my soul which once distressed me. If we would know happiness it must be by the unfolding of our faculties, and the exercise of them, particularly of the affections; first to the great the benevolent Author of our being, and from Him to all His hand has made. Perhaps there is not in the world so good an antidote against low spirits as to visit and endeavour to administer comfort to the afflicted. It is here we imitate Jesus. That name is unspeakably precious to my soul in this solemn moment! The good Shepherd who brought us back from the dark, the wretched mountains of sin and error, still He traverses the wilderness in search of the sheep that is lost. Let us pray that we may be taught to imitate Him! My dear Sarah, if our hearts are right we shall sink into humility,—the depth of humility, whenever He suffers us to become His messengers of peace! We shall acknowledge it an unspeakable mercy,—a mercy we are unworthy of! Oh, that the kingdom of Jesus may spread on every side!—no other can do us good. I was writing to you a few minutes ago about melancholy; and, just as I was leaving the subject, I wondered why I should mention it to you, who never feel anything of it. Perhaps you may meet with some who do; and, if you should, entreat them to seek out those who have more cause to mourn than they have, and to endeavour by the grace of God to pour into their spirits the balm of consolation, and the Lord will not suffer them to remain themselves comfortless! H. K. D 50 D1v 50 1798-11Nov. 1798. Truly the Lord Jehovah is with us, the God of Jacob is our defence: O, that we could praise Him for his goodness, and adore Him for His love for ever! Surely my lines are fallen in pleasant places, and I have a goodly heritage. After the morning preaching I could not but weep for joy; the Redeemer appeared so precious, and His ways so delightful. It is impossible to express the joy I feel in seeking the salvation of my fellow-creatures. At H— I met with much unjust reproach; but when I go to God I find power to cast my care into His hands. I can appeal to Him that I am jealous for His adorable name, and desirous of promoting His praise. Labour is delightful when the heart is truly engaged; perhaps very few have more exercises than I have at present: I can seldom spare more than five hours for sleep, and I am frequently much fatigued; but still I find that wisdom’s ways are ways of pleasantness. It is our duty to endure hardships as good soldiers of Christ. It is necessary that we should be sifted as wheat. Jesus Christ, however, prays for us, and while we have His intercession before God, we shall not be left comfortless. Let us go therefore without the camp bearing His reproach.! A. K. 1798-11Nov. 1798. The Lord seems to have set me in the hottest post, to endure reproach and shame for His sake; yet amidst all, the cross of Christ is precious, and I am happy in being accounted worthy to suffer 51 D2r 51 for His sake. Oh, that I may ever do so as a Christian! I long to be made perfect through suffering that God may be glorified in my life and death. When I am fully engaged in preaching and writing, my soul rejoices to run its course. I am conscious the Lord requires me to take the steps I am now pursuing, and therefore my heart rejoices, and my joy is frequently unspeakable and full of glory. A. K.
About the end of November my father returned. He appeared much exhausted: he however did not relinquish his labours, though he went through them with evident weakness. The following particulars of the last few days of his life were furnished by my mother to the editors of his Life.On Wednesday, 1798-12-12December 12th, 1798, it was thought my husband took a violent cold in walking home, beween four and five miles from the country. The next morning he had much pain in his back and shoulders, which continued increasing till Friday, when it was so violent that he compared it to boiling lead pouring on the part. Both the surgeon and himself conceived the pain to be rheumatic. On Saturday he suffered a great deal from the application of a blister, and on Sunday morning appeared in a very weak state. In the course of his affliction he would ask me to pray by him; and, though I suffered much in seeing his situation, I found the Lord near to help in the time of need. When his pain was great he would frequently call on the name of his Redeemer and his God, praying that, if consistent with His D2 52 D2v 52 will, he might experience some relief; but would add, Not my will, but Thine be done. On the evening of Tuesday he appeared to be recovering, notwithstanding he had had so little sleep. In the evening of this day my husband prayed with an enlargement of heart, with a depth of feeling, such as I had never known before: his soul indeed appeared to be deeply engaged with God, and his desires for the prosperity of our souls,—for the good of the church, and for the salvation of the world were more affectionate than ever. He expressed a deep and affecting sense of the mercy of God, in that He had not left us to wander in our sins. Oh, what did my soul feel while we were engaged in that solemn hour! My mind was powerfully impressed with the thought that we who were present should soon be separated by death; but did not apprehend that the Lord was going to call my dear husband. Our dear child was so much struck with her father’s manner of praying, that she observed to the servant that she had never heard him pray so before. I do not know that he had five minutes good sleep during the night; notwithstanding this, he appeared to be better on the Wednesday, and went out. The doctor this day took leave of him, supposing his presence to be no longer needful. In the evening, when we were alone, my husband made an observation which led me to ask him if he thought he should die soon?—he answered, I am quite resigned either to life or death, whichever is the will of God. I felt my mind much affected. I could not but shed tears while I asked him again, Do you think you shall recover? He answered, I have no other apprehensions; I should like to 53 D3r 53 live longer if it be the will of God. He coughed a little this evening, and said he was not quite free from the pain in his back; but thought if he could sleep all would be well, but that night he was more restless than ever. On Thursday morning, about five o’clock, he complained much of restlessness. I wished to procure him something composing, but he would not suffer me; he said he would try to sleep until his usual hour of rising. Between six and seven he started up, saying, He could not bear to lie any longer; it seemed as though a sword darted through his left breast: he immediately spit blood. The doctor was sent for, who bled him in the arm; and hot applications were used, which seemed to relieve the pain. I was much affected with the thought that if an uncommonly sweet and heavenly frame of mind were to be considered as a sign of an approaching change, my dear husband would soon be called away. He said he was much relieved, and I expressed my thankfulness to God with tears. About ten o’clock he threw up a much larger quantity of blood than before. I called to the girl to go for the doctor: she not being within hearing, I had to go out of the room for her. When I returned my heart sunk within me at the sight of my husband; he had vomited again during my absence, and now appeared as though the hand of death was upon him. He saw my distress, and, looking earnestly at me, as I gave him some cold water, said, God is love, my dear! The girl called in a neighbour; two friends also came in, and I said to them, He is dying. The soul of my dear husband appeared to be engaged with God as he said, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow54 D3v 54 dow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me! In a short time I repeated, He is dying! He answered, I am not dying, my dear; I am very easy! In a little while the vomiting came on more violently than ever; and, as soon as he was able to speak, he said, If I am dying now, tell all the world that Jesus is precious! His whole soul appeared to feel the words, and he added, He is working gloriously in my heart, glory to God! A friend who was present said he would go for a physician. My husband answered, No, no doctor; I want none but Jesus Christ! He went, however, soon after, and brought one, who thought if the vomiting did not immediately return, my husband would recover. He prescribed a blister and some medicines; but by the time they arrived my husband was too weak to have them applied. When we were distressed at the thought of his sufferings, we heard him say, As the afflictions of Christ abound, His consolations abound in my soul. His life was now wasting away very fast; he appeared sensible of it, and left a dying profession of his confidence of the goodness of a cause in which his heart had been engaged: he said, What I have done with regard to the Methodist connexion, so far from repenting I rejoice in it at this moment! When in a yet more exhausted state he observed, Some may say this is a judgment upon me; but what I have done in opposing the corruptions in the church I believed my duty: I bless God that He made me an instrument of doing it! Oh, that I had done it more faithfully! He gave some directions respecting his dear child, and expressed his wish that she might be brought up in the fear of the Lord. Mr. S— came in, and though my husband 55 D4r 55 was too weak to speak out, he was so recollected as to desire me to remind him that a preacher should be provided for the chapel that evening. The last words he was heard to speak were, Jesus Christ, receive my spirit! He then clasped his hands, and his soul appeared to be engaged with God. Soon after, he turned towards me, and fixed his eyes upon me. I saw he was departing. My mind had till now been suspended between hope and despair, and I was silent; but not I began to speak to him. I saw his faithful soul was going to his Redeemer, and in the fulness of my heart declared, I would call on all the world never to seek happiness in anything but God. I assured him if a human being could have given happiness, he had given it to me.
Extracts from a letter, written 1799-04-04April 4th, 1799, to a long-tried friend of my beloved father’s:—Though I am broken off in a great measure from human dependencies, and expect not perfect enjoyment in anything this world can afford, I still feel thankful that I have friends whom I love and who, I trust, will join me in giving glory to God beyond the grave. I am conscious that on God, and on Him alone, depends our happiness. I would not cast aside his mercies as it were in disgust; and because he has seen it good to take away from me one whom I considered dear as my own soul, I would not on this account sink into an ungrateful stupor of mind, and refuse the blessings which yet remain. I have always thought, since I began to reflect with seriousness, that the exercise of the 56 D4v 56 affections was one of the greatest sources of our happiness; and, while my husband lived, the comfort I felt in my attachment to him was such as made me ready to wonder sometimes why life had been painted in such gloomy colours. We had that perfect confidence in each other, and that affection which constantly united us as the heart of one, and it was the remembrance of what I experienced in this union which caused me to say, when he was dying, If a human being could have given happiness, thou hadst given it to me. But the Lord has seen it good to make me an example of the uncertainty of human happiness: mine was short in proportion as the enjoyment had been great; and then I felt from experience the force of one of Saurin’s observations, The world appeared to me as a universal solitude, and the universe—the whole universe—a desert, uninhabited and uninhabitable. My dear friend, where would my soul have found refuge but for the blessed truths of religion? The Lord gave me power to believe through the dark and gloomy day; and, though clouds surrounded Him, and His footsteps were in the great deep, I could not doubt the heavenly truth that God is love. I was made sensible, too, that there is no weakness in the love of God; but that He will act towards us in that way which will best promote our eternal welfare, whether it be consistent with out present gratification or not. Yet, notwithstanding this, my mind was often for a few days confused, or rather clouded. I could not think why my dear friend should be taken away so soon and so suddenly. On the Monday evening, (the night before my 57 D5r 57 husband was buried,) as I went into the Meeting, Mr. Trundel was giving out that verse of Cowper’s, Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,But trust Him for His grace!&c. my mind was in a moment relieved from that degree of oppression I had before experienced. I saw it was impossible for us to understand all the ways of God, or, from our own feeble powers, to make a just estimate of his dealings in every instance with the children of men. I determined, therefore, to cast myself and my all on the Lord, with that unbounded confidence which his faithfulness demands. The cheerfulness and vigour of his mind were beyond the strength of his body, and I think it cannot be doubted, by any one that knew him, but that his uncommon labours hastened his death. I believe the journey into Wales hurt him a good deal. When he returned he appeared much worn out, and was hardly ever refreshed by sleep. My mind was much depressed the day he set out. I had always dreaded that journey more than any he had ever taken, because it was so long, and quite among strangers. I was saying, a little while since, that my mind had been painfully exercised many ways. The recollection of any instance wherein I had been the cause of giving him pain has distressed me beyond what any one can conceive; but I cannot reproach myself with ever having designedly grieved my husband in any respect; though I lament that I was not more active and unremitting in my attention to his happiness. The instances wherein,D5 58 D5v 58 in, by neglect or delay, I have given him pain or cause of complaint, dwell on my mind at times in such a way that I am quite ready to sink into melancholy; but when I remember how contrary that would be to my husband’s wish, and how much against the will of God, how much it would be likely to hurt my soul, and prevent my having any power to promote the happiness of those around me, I feel it my duty to look to God for deliverance; and, though I cannot recall the past, endeavour to seek refuge from myself, and a conformity to the Divine will in all my future ways. That he was fully prepared to meet death cannot be doubted; and I remember with thankfulness the calm assurance with which he expressed his willingness to die, at a time when there was every reason to believe he would have continued with us. I mean on the night before his death, when he appeared in a great measure free from every complaint. Well, my dear friend, though the Scriptures speak truth of this world as a wilderness,—a vale of tears, everything conspires to assure me that the Lord has only placed us here to prepare us for a better country. I can now, through the grace of God, look forward to immortality and eternal life; and in this prospect my soul rises above its present sufferings, and I can feelingly say, I bless the day that I was born: though sorrow should mark my path through every stage in this short scene of things, what is there to complain of? If Jesus receive our souls at last, we may be borne through all without sinking,—without for a moment ceasing to remember that God ruleth over all and cares for us, even more than we care for ourselves. 59 D6r 59 As we followed the body of my husband to the grave, while they sang, Our brother the haven has gained,Outflying the tempest and wind!&c. you know not how the clouds dispersed from my mind. The Lord gave me at that moment such a view of the brightness of another world, and of the glorious change my husband now experienced, that I found power at that moment to lose my sorrows in his joy. Truly the Lord is our salvation! My mind enjoys much consolation and relief when I am persuaded I am doing the will of God; though often suffering from a sense of want in this respect. I would live with death in my view, and I believe in this prospect my soul may gather strength daily. I find, through mercy, a constant power to say, Good is the will of the Lord! I never had cause to doubt of this truth; and I trust, through all the changing scenes of life, I shall still find Jesus to be the anchor of my soul!
When my beloved father was on his dying bed, he requested that a small patrimony which had belonged to my first mother should be laid aside for me. This desire was scrupulously observed, and never did my endeared mother take any part, except the interest, although she thereby straitened herself. Yet neither that, nor the claims of her own little girl, ever restrained her from giving me the best instructions in her power, nor prevented her from fulfilling, in every point of view, the duties of the most tender and judicious of parents.
In the course of April the subject of this Memoir became the mother of a lovely little girl; 60 D6v 60 and this circumstance occasioned a diversion of thought, which at once tended to relieve her loneliness, and soothe her sorrows. Soon after her recovery, she took charge of the female part of a day-school which was opened among the Methodists. It is interesting to see some of her thoughts at this period, when Sunday-schools were very unusual, and the system of mutual instruction scarcely known.
In a letter to a friend, she remarks: The shocking neglect, the wretched bigotry that generally prevails in the education of children, have struck my mind for many years, even before I had ceased to be a child myself. It appears from the manner in which parents bring up their children that principles of either natural or revealed religion are nearly out of the question, and habits unsanctioned by either reason or religion are suffered to usurp their place. Supposing we can only do little to stem the torrent of corruption that flows from the general neglect of education, we are not to sit down because we cannot do everything: God does not despise the day of small things. Where we cannot do all we would, it is our duty to do all we can. But who fulfils this duty? My conscience answers, Not I. Were but a few of us to set about doing all we can for the general good, we know not how the Lord might bless our efforts. The effects produced by Sunday- schools, when properly managed, have been by no means inconsiderable. Almost the whole business depends on the teachers being qualified for their undertaking. An institution of this kind ought to be conducted by persons of Christian experience, and who are accustomed to think and judge for 61 D7r 61 themselves, otherwise they will not be capable of teaching children to use their reason; and what is all the knowledge gained by rote, unless we are taught how to exercise our understanding? If there be any truth in these observations, it is indeed of importance to the present and eternal interests of children that they be put under the care of reasonable and religious persons. What difficulties are too great to encounter for the attainment of such an object,—such a blessing to society, and to the church? I say, to society; for, if we conside the future influence well-educated children may have on society, we shall be far from concluding that schools are of little importance. Were I persuaded that a few months would end my life, and that I should leave children in a confused world, without a parent to instruct their tender minds, and without a parent’s solicitude to direct them in the way to heaven, how would my heart be cheered with the thought that the Methodist church would take up their cause; and not only theirs,—but, inspired with the love their heavenly Father shows to all who want help, that they were following His example, and seeking to be of use to the most helpless, and yet the most neglected part of mankind.Mr. G— tells me that if I can only convince the children I love them, and wish to do them all the good I can, I shall establish a confidence in their minds towards me, which will be the best foundation of usefulness to them. The employment of education will not be very productive, in a temporal sense, to any; but let us be content with the necessaries, the common comforts of life, and leave its toys for those who have nothing to do but to play with them! Neither will this employment62 D7v 62 ployment be considered by the multitude as the most honourable; but those who cherish principles which want food from the world’s applause would be improper persons to teach the religion of Jesus. A lively and fervent wish came into my mind last night, and I pray from the depth of my soul that, if the Lord see it good, it may be accomplished. It is that all descriptions of true Christians who deserve the name of the friends of youth should unite their efforts in the great work of education. I am persuaded that no great things will be accomplished until Christians, although dissenting from each other in some points, unite in this labour of love. How glorious would be such a union!—I do not mean in the eyes of men; for prejudice and bad habits have made the employment of teaching appear almost contemptible. But would it not be a truly acceptable service in the eyes of Him in whose favour is life! Yet, desirable as this may be, it appears a very distant object. Religious persons must be more public-spirited, and better-qualified to teach, ere this wish which arose in my mind can be accomplished. Perhaps there are no persons more spiritually- minded, or more liberal and active in promoting what they believe to be a good design, than some of the Society of Friends are; let them and some of our friends take the subject into consideration, and unite in an earnest and affectionate appeal to the consciences of Christians in general. I think it is not in the power of a child’s mind to be engaged the whole of the Sabbath in a religious way; with many it is a day of languor and idleness,—and with many one of active dissipation. I believe, from what little I have myself seen, and 63 D8r 63 heard, that there are very few, if any, children who look forward to the Sabbath with so much pleasure as the Sunday-scholars, and I know of none who spend the day to greater advantage. When first I heard of Sunday-schools conducted on religious principles my heart was delighted, and I counted it one of the happiest days of my life. To these schools again I turn my mind, as likely to be the greatest, the most extensive means of good to our youth which I at present know of; and whatever means can be used for their benefit and improvement is an object worthy of the most active and attentive care.
The small-pox being very prevalent in Nottingham about this time, the dear babe of my beloved mother was inoculated. Before the eruption appeared my little sister’s life was in imminent danger from a series of convulsion fits. What my mother’s feelings were at this painful crisis will be best conveyed in her own words:—My spirits were in a dreadful state of suspense, of silent anguish and agony. Oh, my God! my hand has hesitated while I call thee mine, for I have been unworthy of Thy goodness; forgive the want of confidence in Thee which Thy unhappy servant felt in that dreadful hour! It seemed as though, if my child were taken away, I should not know what was meant by an over-ruling and merciful Providence,—all would be darkness and desolation to me. My body, as well as my mind, was unnerved in this struggle;—if, indeed, it might be called a struggle, for I fear it was almost without resistance that I sank under a weight which it appeared impossible for me to support. I was sitting on the stairs: I had seen my child a little 64 D8v 64 before, and those about her were expecting almost every moment to see her breathe her last. I had begged a dear friend to stay with my child; she came to me and asked me how I was; (I had scarcely power to think or to hope,) but answered, I am almost lost! She spoke kindly to me, and said she hoped the Lord would mercifully spare my child. There was a turn:—she was now sunk into a quiet sleep, though not yet perfectly free from a convulsive appearance. Forgive me, O Thou in whose hand are the issues of life and death! Forgive the want of confidence in Thine eternal wisdom and goodness which I had felt in those moments of dreadful trial! I am unworthy of the hope which beams upon my soul! As soon as I heard that my precious child was likely to be restored, I could not but express with eagerness my thankfulness to God.
Hannah Kilham joins the Society of Friends—Engages in a Day-school in Sheffield—Loss of her only Child.
In the close of the year 17991799, and in 18001800, my beloved mother’s mind was led to views on some religious subjects different to those entertained by the Methodist connexion. Extracts from her journal, and from letters written about this time, will show the progress of this change of sentiment, and also that it eventually led her to retire from the Methodists, and to join the religious society of Friends.
The latter end of 17991799 she gives the following restrospect of herself:—I knew that whatever was found of good in myself or others must have its source in that Infinite Being who is the Author of our existence, and by whose power alone our life is still supported. I found my heart animated by a sincere and fervent wish for the happiness of my fellow- creatures, and I knew that this wish is excited by the Spirit of truth and love, who in mercy deigns to communicate his gracious influences to the souls of men. I rejoiced in the desire of my spirit for the general welfare, because I knew our heavenly Father regarded His large family with affection infinitely beyond what any of them could feel for one another; and that, though He might suffer seeming evil to prevail in many things for the 66 D9v 66 present, yet in the final issue we should be made sensible of the result of infinite wisdom, power, justice, and goodness. I found in my own spirit a degree of sincerity and of love, and it was a conviction more evident, more striking to the mind, than what is brought through reasoning, which convinced me that truth and love had their source in God. This He himself taught me—He who only can himself explain. I loved Him first because He had given me life, and I felt existence delightful. I loved my friends; —my affection for them added much to the happiness of my life, and I did not look forward to a separation; but some of them were taken away by death, and one whom I loved more than all the rest was of that number. It would have been truly dreadful to have seen him laid in the cold grave, had I not believed his spirit was not dead, but only brought into greater liberty than before,— conveyed into another world,—a happier state, where he would live for ever. With this confidence of a happy immortality, and an assurance that the work of regeneration by the Spirit of Christ was begun in my soul, I was constantly happy. Yet, as I knew no happiness apart from that of my brethren of mankind, my affections daily went out towards them, and my spirit was much engaged in desires for their welfare. My mind was sometimes pained on account of a want of clearness in my understanding of divine things. In regard to some things concerning religion there appeared a confusion, an inconsistency, both in myself and others with whom I conversed. I had many reasonings about truth, and different manifestations of truth which 67 D10r 67 were given to mankind. In regard to ourselves in this country, I was thankful for the revelation in the Scriptures, and was deeply convinced that the writers of them were inspired by Him who made the heart, and who knows what passes therein. I reasoned, not without pain, on the revelations of truth which were used for the enlightening of other nations and people, and enquired anxiously in my own mind, and of others, whether those truths which were necessary to our happiness were not self-evident to all men everywhere? and, again, I anxiously enquired whether there was such a thing as self-evident truth? My mind got confused,— even distressed; some things which I had thought as clear as daylight, when represented to a friend whose judgment I highly esteemed, were considered as, in general, inconclusive arguments. I was weary of thinking, and almost afraid, at length, to think, on account of my confused and undecided state of mind. I thought I would endeavour, through the help of the Almighty, to engage my time as much as possible in the service of my fellow-creatures, and especially to the young; but not to think much; and to pass my time as well as I could. The most important thing undoubtedly is our views of what constitutes religion; for these views will have the most immediate influence on our souls, and on our conduct. What then are the questions we ought to ask ourselves, or others, in order to know what is our real state before God? Are they not such as these: Have you this evidence that you are in Christ Jesus, You walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit? Do you show by your actions, as well as by your professions, that 68 D10v 68 you love God with all your heart, and your neighbour as yourself, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you? Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your Spirit that you are a child of God? Is there anything scriptural in the manner, so very common, of estimating the spiritual state of people merely by their feelings, or by their professions? I should not have asked this question, but should have thought that, as religion always produces happiness, we might rest upon the assertion of those who professed themselves happy; but painful experience has convinced me that many can quiet themselves with what they call being happy, and feeling very comfortable, while yet they are in some things evidently walking after the flesh, and not after the Spirit. When once I mentioned an instance of this to a professor of religion, who I thought could not justify himself, he answered (after acknowledging he was in the wrong,) Well, the Lord knows my frame; He remembers that I am but dust! my soul was truly pained to hear Scripture so perverted. And, oh! how many are there who satisfy themselves with saying, They are unworthy creatures! they know they come very far short! and so on, while yet they will not make an effort to gird up the loins of their minds, and, in the strength of the Lord, to fight against the evils which have overcome them. What encouragement does the word of God give to such to believe they are in a state free from condemnation? My acquaintance with professors of religion has not, indeed, been of very long standing; but, from what I have observed, I am constrained to own that many of us have given way to a very erroneous69 D11r 69 roneous method of judging, and thus yielded to an evil which opens the way to more and more delusion and misery. Is it right to estimate the state of any one by the loudness with which he says Amen? or should it be from his attention to the weightier matters of the law—judgment, mercy, and faith? Fervour in prayer is truly desirable, but the strength of sound is surely a very insufficient mark by which to judge of spirituality in the worshippers of that God who requireth the heart. When I hear persons dwell so much upon this and upon other things merely outward, it makes me think religion is very superficial amongst us. The spirit and conduct of some have distressed and confused me; yet this is my comfort, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal,—The Lord knoweth them that are His. Oh, that God may lead us to act in all things as having no desire, no object in view but the general welfare of the Redeemer’s kingdom. O that He would remove every hinderance which prevents the power of that kingdom from prevailing on the earth. I now became painfully sensible of a want of spirituality, and indeed of truth, in much of the worship in which I had been accustomed to join. I was pained excessively to observe that the preaching of some seemed only calculated to please, without reaching the heart, or leading to a true reformation in the life; and, in general, I felt persuaded that the custom of filling up a certain time in outward worship,—preaching, singing, and prayer,— was contrary to the real nature of sincerity, of true worship, and of effectual teaching. It appeared to me that a want of submission and obedience to the Divine power and teaching in 70 D11v 70 the heart caused much confusion and distress in the soul. People are anxiously enquiring for help from men; they want something to satisfy and employ their minds, and are too ready in this restless state to accept unwholesome food, instead of the living bread which comes down from heaven. My mind had been much led to think on the people called Quakers. The idea of these Friends, and of sincerity, consistency, and faithfulness had been always connected together. I knew but little of them; but, from what I did know, believed them to be in a measure influenced by the Spirit of truth, and, indeed, beyond what I conceived any other people to be, as it regards their system; but, when I considered the Friends themselves, they appeared for the most part, from what I could judge, to come far short of what might be expected were the principle by which they profess to be governed suffered to have its full influence. The Methodists had been kind to me; they had been instrumental in promoting my best interests, and I love that affectionate zeal which had led them (E. M., in particular, I shall, I trust, remember with grateful affection for ever) to speak to me, and to endeavour to direct me to the true and living way to Zion, when I was wandering, as it were, lost and solitary, though by the wayside. The first time I went to the Friends’ meetinghouse at Nottingham, I was sensibly affected with a consciousness that the spirit of worship was with the assembly, and the awful silence which prevailed seemed favourable to that deep recollection of spirit which I believe it must be the delight of those who have been brought into much experience in Divine things to cherish and to enjoy.” 71 D12r 71 1800-06-11June 11, 1800. I never, I think, felt my mind so broken off from human dependence as about this time. I could not receive light or assistance in my present circumstances through the medium of friends with whom I conversed, either through those whose views were similar or different to my own. I wished to be fully free from human influence of every kind, and was, I believe, sincerely desirous to be taught of God. To Him I looked up for help, hoping that I should receive that light and direction of which I felt the need. With regard to the state of my mind, and the different views I had from Methodists, there are three things which conduce to persuade me I am not in these things led by a delusive influence;— at least not in general, though it is possible I may have mistaken views in some respects:—I feel a deeper reverence towards God than I was ever sensible of before. I find, also, a more earnest and affectionate desire for the welfare of my fellow- creatures, both as it regards the spreading of truth among them, and their happiness in every respect, which I know can only be promoted effectually by the power of Christ prevailing in the hearts of the people. The love I feel towards mankind makes me desirous—more desirous than ever—to be, in any way the providence of God may assign me, an instrument of good to them; but more especially to the poor, the weak, the ignorant, and the young. I find, thirdly, a more clear confidence, a deeper faith in that truth which forms my present, and on which depends my eternal happiness. These things I consider with thankfulness to the great Source of every good, and find no cause to fear on account of the opinions of any. 72 D12v 72 There is one thing among the Methodists which I cannot but name, and which appears to me to be a distinguishing excellency in the spirits of this people; I mean the affectionate concern which is manifested by many of this church towards the lost,—towards the most wretched, the most ignorant, the poorest, and the worst part of mankind. This spirit of benevolence and compassion which many Methodists have shown,—going out into the highways and hedges to compel them to come in, traversing the wilderness to find and save, if possible, the wandering sheep, is so consistent with the spirit and life of Jesus, that my heart is impressed by the most grateful and interesting affections when I think of it. These show, by their life and conversation, that they are the disciples of Him who poured out His soul unto death for the salvation of mankind. But surely the day is hastening forward, when all who are animated by the Spirit will be willing more fully to unite their influence in promoting the glory of their heavenly Master, and the happiness of mankind. The Spirit of Christ will be found to be the strongest bond of union, and, while each sincere member of the universal church will unite with those whose views are most coincident with his own, we shall all rejoice in joining occasionally in the worship of God, giving thanks to the Author of our being for His unbounded love towards us, and towards all men; and shall also be ready to join in every labour of love, in every affectionate endeavour to promote the interest of our Redeemer’s kingdom, by the spread of happiness and truth among mankind. Many times has the plea of usefulness been 73 E1r 73 suggested in favour of my continuing among the Methodists. Oh, my God! Thou knowest that Thou thyself hast given to my soul a desire that, with the strength imparted to me, I might be enabled to strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees; but instruments are altogether in Thine own hand! I dare not alter, though convinced of some things inconsistent and wrong in the way of worship I have till now engaged in. But, convinced to the degree I lately have been, I dare not continue in them under pretence of supporting the cause, lest, in so doing, I should act like Uzzah, and draw down Thy displeasure on my head. I have longed that some way might be adopted for sincere Christians to worship together, and to unite together in every labour of love; yet my view of so desirable an union has not been so clear as to enable me to propose any means for its promotion; and, indeed, I lament that, so far as I know, there is in general in every sect a great want of that true spirit and life which alone can make either a union among Christians, or any other secondary act extensively effectual to the good of the church, of ourselves, or of the world. While some of these thoughts were passing in my mind, it was thrown into great suspense with regard to leaving the Methodist connexion. My spirit was brought into a state of humiliation before God, for I knew not how to act, or what to do. I became sensible that too much impatience had possessed my mind, and was now constrained to acknowledge my own weakness, ignorance, and blindness. My human reasoning forsook me, or rather was cast off as helpless and insufficient. I could gain no light from conversation with friends of any E 74 E1v 74 description; and I seemed totally blind as to the next step I should take. I am convinced, from painful experience, that neither my judgment, my spirit, nor my practice is perfect; nevertheless I must now act according to the degree of light which I at present receive, and leave events, whatever they may be. I would, however, by all means, avoid seeking a place among the Friends, and afterwards disturbing the peace of any, by declaring doubts which might have been expressed before. If ever I express a wish to join them it will be because I believe them to be the most faithful, as well as the most enlightened, people I know of, and that I am called of God to spend my days among them. I find it, I think, more needful than ever I did, to keep my mind constantly awake to a sense of the presence of God. I believe His Spirit is purifying my mind from evil, and bringing me more fully into the possession of the promised inheritance. I thank God for what my soul experiences of his Divine power: His favour is better than life! My present circumstances, it is true, are rather trying; but the approbation of God is all I seek. Keen reflections are sometimes cast upon me for what the Methodists call deserting the cause for which my husband incessantly laboured, and in which he died. I always did, and I believe I always shall rejoice in the part my husband took in opposing what he was convinced was evil in the Methodist connexion; but I think I should be quite as unjustifiable in refusing to follow the light as it shines, as my husband would have been had he yielded to the influence of men, and desisted from opposing what he believed himself called to oppose.75 E2r 75 pose. And I am fully persuaded he was not mistaken when he believed himself called to oppose the corrupt government of the Methodist church. I have only to endeavour in simplicity and sincerity of heart, to make the approbation of my heavenly Father the object of my constant attention; and, at the same time, by my life and conversation, to commend myself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. If asked why I think more highly of the Friends than of any other church, I answer that genuine truth is more valuable to me than everything else; and it appears to me that the leading feature in the principles and practices of the spiritual among the Friends is sincerity; and that in a more eminent degree than what appears in any other body of professors with which I am acquainted. In the school vacation at Midsummer 18001800 my dear children and I went to see our relations and friends at Epworth, in Lincolnshire. I suffered on the way from sickness. When we got to my father’s, the sight of their clean, comfortable house did me good, with regard to my health; but as I entered, and recollected the place beside their wide chimney where my husband used to sit with his beloved family and friends, I was powerfully affected with the remembrance that the place which knew him once now knows him no more for ever. Everything in this place seemed to remind me of my dear Alexander. He was born, he was nursed, he was brought up here; and the place itself, to me, derives its chief value from the thought of his having inhabited it. It was here the active, generous dispositionsE2 76 E2v 76 positions of his mind first opened and displayed themselves. His friends delighted in him, and now how they love to talk about him! There seemed something sudden and mysterious in thy death, my beloved friend! my dear husband! But I trust, I believe that thou art risen into greater purity in thy present state of existence than thou couldst have enjoyed in this. I hope one day, when freed from the clogs and fetters of mortality, to meet thy beloved spirit in that happy land where we shall experience a friendship higher and more delightful than can be enjoyed on this side death. While at Epworth, I went to the Friends’ meeting. As I sat there I felt as an infant whose opening powers experienced all that could at present be conceived of desirable or delightful in being near its parent; but which was incapable of conceiving of the higher beauties and deeper excellencies of its parent’s mind, which would, on a future day, inspire it with a reverence, confidence, and love, beyond what it was now qualified to experience. One evening, as I was alone in my chamber at Epworth, I opened a book in which I had sometimes put down passages of Scripture which struck me as important truths. My eye was cast on that, For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. The words sank into my soul: a light shone on them, of such as I had never before been sensible. Ah! were mankind, especially professors of Christianity, but universally influenced by the same spirit, what a change must soon take place in the world! 77 E3r 77
The withdrawing entirely of my dear mother from the Methodist society was hastened through the promptness of some of the influential members of that church. On retiring, she wrote the following letter to the class-leaders’ meeting, which is given entire, as it contains a clear and simple statement of her change of sentiment.To the Class-leaders’ Meeting, Hockly Chapel, Nottingham. Dear Brethren, 1800-08-18Aug. 18th, 1800. Though far from being influenced by any spirit contrary to affection, or from being animated by a principle which delights to oppose, I have believed it my duty to dissent from the general practices of Methodism, and I now write to answer the claims you have upon me, as a member of your society, for some account of the principles which have led to my dissent. During the last year, 17991799, my spirit, sensible of the unstable and insufficient nature of earthly good, was more deeply engaged than before in the pursuit of spiritual happiness, of religion, and of truth, conscious, gratefully conscious, at the same time, that these three are united, and the object of my enquiry is but one. On Sabbath-day, about the close of the year, in a season of retirement, my soul was impressed with a conviction more powerful than any language of mine can explain, that religion was something more deep and more spiritual than was generally conceived. My mind was deeply affected with the awfulness of the Divine presence, and for some 78 E3v 78 days I was led in silence to wait upon and to adore God. A change took place in my mind from that time; and, if I do not deceive myself, I have since that time been more feelingly conscious than before, of anything in conversation, reading, preaching, prayer, or common practice, which is inconsistent with the genuine spirit of religion, that religion which God alone inspires, and which, if suffered to have its full influence will dwell in every power and temper of the soul, and regulate every action of the life. My mind was led by degrees into a fixed disapprobation of many things belonging to the Methodist system,—as the established ministry; believing there could be no true ministry but that which is the effect of the power of Christ in the heart. The falsehoods uttered in singing, I was sensible were an evil such as only custom, together with the pleasantness of this exercise, had made us inattentive to. I believed that persons were frequently induced to utter words of prayer through custom, and the necessity there was (according to our system) of filling up the appointed hour for worship, when at the same time the mind was not influenced by the true spirit of prayer. I have lamented in reflecting that this has been my own experience; I have mourned that there was not found in my spirit more sincerity toward God and man. These, and other things which I believed to be wrong, brought my mind at some seasons into great perplexity. In the first month of this year I wrote to my friends at Epworth on these subjects, also to some other estimable Christians; but I did not hear anything from any of them which might 79 E4r 79 cause me to reject the principles my spirit was imbibing. All the evils in myself and others appeared to arise from this source, a want of attention, submission and obedience to the divine power and teaching of the Spirit. It will be allowed, without hesitation, that no teaching or instruction of men, unaccompanied by the healing power of the Sun of righteousness, can give true light or consolation to the wounded spirit; but, if this truth be acknowleged, why should a constant round of teaching be thought necessary, whether the spirits of those who minister are divinely influenced or not? It may be said, that there is much good done in this way. But is not the good which is done the answer of the true Spirit which pleads in the hearts of the worshippers? I am very far from believing that the Methodist worship is unmixedly false; but is not the measure of false worship, or of worship without the Spirit, a hinderance to the prevalence of the true life? Does it not mislead the mind, and, by causing it to satisfy itself with that which is not bread, still suffer confusion and darkness, and even sin to prevail? Words are, indeed, a means by which the spirits of men have communion with each other; but even in this they are not the only means, and are no further really useful than as they express the genuine feelings of the mind. But to the Almighty we do not want this means of conveying our feelings: if we worship Him in spirit and in truth, it matters not whether it be in words or in silence. No experienced Christian will deny that we may worship truly without words; and, though I 80 E4v 80 cannot find one passage in the Scriptures, on argument in the nature of things, nor, I believe, one conviction from the Spirit in my heart, that there can be any worship acceptable which proceeds not from the Spirit; notwithstanding this, I see almost every sect of Christians in the habit of filling up the time appointed for public worship with outward forms, whether the mind be divinely moved in it or not. In regard to instruction, I believe the principal point is to have the attention turned to the Divine Teacher in the heart, that true light which is the life of men, and which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world. See John, i. 9. The Almighty has indeed seen it good to make men instrumental in turning each other’s attention to the heavenly light, and to make this instrumentality one means of uniting his people to each other, and calling into exercise many grateful and heavenly affections. For some time before I declined joining in your general meetings for worship I had frequently, and indeed generally, been in a degree of bondage in the meetings, and felt a persuasion that I could not long continue in this state. Yet I did not find liberty to separate from the Methodists. An absolute separation from any who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity was a thought from which I shrunk; and I could not but encourage a hope that either some change might take place in the society, so that what was objectionable might be avoided, or that some kind of union might be found among sincere Christians of every name, 81 E5r 81 so that no separating bar should any longer prevent their endeavouring to do each other good, and more abundantly to spread the influence of the Redeemers kingdom. The prayer of my heart was, Ah! join me to thy secret ones,Ah! gather all thy living stones! The Spirit of Christ has always appeared to me a much stronger bond of union than any similarity of opinions, or any views of outward church-fellowship. I did not expect to find a pure church on earth; but my heart glowed with affection for the sincere of every name. Sensible that I was very far from being infallible myself, and remembering how, in some things, I had discovered myself to have been under the influence of error, I have wished to exercise a spirit of affection and forbearance towards those who differ from me, conscious that if a spirit of forbearance and charity were not exercised towards me, my conduct might be too severely and unjustly judged. I have longed to see the members of the church-militant united as one family, filled with reverence and love towards their heavenly Father, overflowing with gracious affections towards each other, and animated with benevolent desires for the salvation of those who have never yet experienced the powers of the world to come. I have felt much in remembering the lines in one of our hymns, Scattered o’er all the earth they lieTill Thou collect them with thine eye,Drawn by the music of thy name,And charm’d into a beauteous frame. These views and these desires may be consideredE5 82 E5v 82 sidered as visionary, and I am sorry there is no brighter prospect of their being realized. No union among Christians can be extensively effectual to good, unless the spirits of men be influenced in a deep and lively measure by the power of Christ. When Christians are brought to experience a more abundant measure of his Divine Spirit, they will be more affectionately united to every member of the family of heaven. In remembering Him who poured out His soul unto death for their sakes, they will remember also that He commanded them to love one another. I would take this opportunity of giving my thanks to those of you who, influenced by the spirit of Christian candour, have avoided passing a hasty judgment on my conduct; but, on the contrary, have given me credit for sincerity of intention, notwithstanding you might have wished me to have acted otherwise than I have done. My late conduct has, I know, by many persons been attributed to a want of that very principle which, in reality, has influenced my mind, and induced the dissent for which I am reflected on as unstable. To explain myself more clearly,—many persons have appeared to think that, in dissenting from Methodism, I have manifested a want of love to God and man, a decline of the concern which my actions formerly seemed to show for the welfare of my Methodist friends, and particularly for that part of them among whom my husband passed the last days of a life which there is reason to believe was shortened by his uncommon labours in the service of Methodism. On the whole, I am cautioned to take care lest, through my instability, I am not a stumbling-block to many weak believers, 83 E6r 83 and their souls be laid to my charge. I do not hesitate to say, it is not instability which has led me into my present situation. It has been the same principle, namely, a love of truth, and a desire after a genuine holiness, which first induced me to union with the Methodists, afterwards with that part of them who saw it needful, from motives of uprightness, to separate from the majority. It was the same principle which has since induced me to withdraw from what I believed to be wrong, in a church in which I had enjoyed much peace, and I hope some degree of spiritual advantage; though I own (not without painful feelings) that my spiritual progress has been very little to what I believe I might have experienced, had I been more faithful to divine light and grace. I believe I may say with truth, that I never was so sensibly affected with desires for the good of the Methodist church, and especially for that part of it to which I have been united, and of my union with whom I have never for a moment seen cause to repent. With regard to what is said of the relation in which I stand, as the widow of Alexander Kilham, what I have to reply is this: I believe my husband was fulfilling the will of God when he opposed the corrupt government of the Methodist church. I believe his life was prematurely exhausted in labouring for the welfare of Methodism. I had told my husband, while he lived, and in his death I felt the same sentiment, that it would be less painful to see him die under his labours and sufferings, than it would be to see him shrink from a cause which I believed to be just. But I should have been unworthy of a friend so faithful and 84 E6v 84 sincere as I found in him, and should have profited little by his example, had I not endeavoured to make truth the object of my pursuit, independent of any fear of human censure, or any love of human praise. It is vital holiness which I desire to seek; and whatever may be thought of me, I would reject everything which I believe is calculated to impede the genuine influence of the Divine Spirit. I have nothing more to add, only that I could rejoice to unite with a company of worshippers, by whatever name they were called, who would make the spirit of worship their principal object, and who would rather worship in silence occasionally than make it a part of their system to fill up their time of meeting with outward worship, whatever the state of their minds might be. Until some such meeting be approved by my Methodist friends, although I shall always feel interested for their welfare, shall rejoice when they have cause to rejoice, and mourn when they have cause to weep, and shall gladly unite with them in any labour of love in which they may suffer me to unite, or in any other way in which conscience is not violated; yet it is impossible for me to consider it as right that I should abide in a way of worship which I believe to be in some things inconsistent with the will of God, and, of course, inconsistent with the best interests of the church. Your respectful friend and sister, Hannah Kilham.
In a letter written about the same time we find the following:I have esteemed plainness and simplicity of 85 E7r 85 language as most favourable to godly sincerity, but have not, till this night, been fully convinced that it was my duty to adopt it. I am conscious I have not chosen my own time, yet have a hope that I shall not intentionally recede from my present purpose, unless it be from a conviction of its being wrong. I could not think it right for any person to reject the usual mode of language, unless from principles of genuine humility, and obedience to what is believed to be the Divine will. I think it would be very possible for persons possessing a good degree of natural confidence to adopt a plainness of language from very unjustifiable motives,—even from a spirit of vain defiance, pride, and self-will. Such conduct would tend to promote anarchy and confusion, instead of peace and love. 1800-10-06Oct. 6th. In the evening, while I was alone in my room, my soul was visited by a manifestation of eternal truth, more affecting and more awfully impressive than language can express. I thank God for these occasions of confirmation to a soul in itself so fearful, and at the same time so helpless.
1800-12-19Dec. 19th, she writes to a friend: Will my heart be relieved by telling thee that the day- spring from on high hath visited me? The Sun of righteousness arises on my soul with healing in His wings. I trust I am not deceived. I believe the Lord is reviving my soul, by giving me to feel that I am nothing, and that, if I would have purity, freedom, or happiness, I must deny myself, refuse to comply with the suggestions of my 86 E7v 86 own will, and learn of Him and through Him in all things. Ah! how precious, how inexpressibly precious is that love which makes the soul delight in the object that attracts it! I shall, I believe, through the infinite mercy of God, be taught to know such love more perfectly: it will dwell more deeply in my soul. I thank God for subduing my mind in some degree, and teaching me to feel my weakness. Oh! that, as a prisoner of hope, I may turn to my strong hold! Everything in me and about me cries aloud for a Saviour, a Redeemer. My spirit was revived, and I was filled with humble, grateful joy, when I remembered that He who had trodden the wine- press alone would redeem His people from their sins.I should not at present find liberty to take the sacred name of God into my lips, (I believe on any occasion,) unless I felt at the time reverence in my heart toward Him. I could not speak of Jesus as my Saviour, my Redeemer, unless I felt in my spirit that He had redeemed me from the evils of my own heart, with which I had been sensibly oppressed. 1801-03-283rd mo. 28th, 1801. I am still persuaded, as I have often said before, that outward instruments, and the outward senses, are greatly used in the work of salvation, and particularly in the earlier parts of experience, especially with the young, the unthinking, and the uninstructed. It appears to me at present to be a subject worthy of most serious enquiry, How shall the outward senses be made most conducive to the welfare of the soul? I feel my mind seriously affected when I remember that a just answer to this enquiry necessarily 87 E8r 87 includes that we ought not to do anything, nor say anything, inconsistent with the truth.
In the summer of this year my dear mother removed to Sheffield. Here, also, she took part in a day-school, which was conducted by one of her friends.
Writing to a distant friend, in a letter dated 1801-055th mo. 1801, she remarks:In some of the most favoured seasons of my life, when my spirit has been in some measure brought into a feeling of its own nothingness, and blessed with the baptizing influence of divine power and love, I have felt particularly led toward the weak, the ignorant, and those who are without the gates of Zion. I have heard as it were a voice more powerful, more awfully impressive than any which may be sounded to the outward ear, directing me to live, not seeking my own gratification, but as the servant of mankind, and, more especially, of the poor. When I have heard of Him Who, meanly in Bethlehem born,Did stoop to redeem a lost race, I have thought that some would surely be favoured as instruments of mercy, still more and more, in the spirit of their Divine Master, to stoop as it were to the very lowest and meanest, the weakest and most ignorant of mankind.
In the beginning of 18021802 the scarlet-fever was prevalent in Sheffield, and was peculiarly fatal to young children. The family of my precious mother did not escape, and she was called to part with her beloved infant.88 E8v 88
Her writings after this bereavement will show the depth of the wound, and the abundant mercy that enabled her to bear it with a Christian’s feeling.1802-02-142nd mo. 14th, 1802. I thank thee, my dear friend, for thy attention to my outward concerns; but much more I thank thee for the spirit of sincere sympathy which thy letter breathes. Should God ever suffer me to become the messenger of consolation to a fellow-sufferer, as thou hast been to me, I shall think my affliction has not been wholly vain. A few days before my child was called away, the doctors gave it as their opinion that the fever had quite left her, and that she would very soon be well. She had had a violent attack of scarlet- fever of a malignant character; but this complaint seemed nearly to have spent itself, yet was succeeded, and indeed some thought it had been accompanied, by water on the brain. Not withstanding the opinion of the doctors, I could not but apprehend, both from what passed in my own mind, and from the very distressing look of my beloved child, that she would soon be called away. There was a season (though the previous conflict was great) in which I was carried above present things, and was favoured with power to resign myself and my precious infant to the disposal of the Divine will; and I felt from whom this power was given. Yet, at other seasons, my sufferings, and a feeling of the sufferings of my precious child, were almost more than I could well bear; and I could not but pray that, if it were possible, this cup might pass from me. I was holding her when death came over her 89 E9r 89 countenance; and when I saw she had departed, something in my mind seemed to say to her, It is well for thee, for I felt as though I held a prison from which the precious spirit had but just escaped. Although, I have, through Divine favour, been generally enabled from that time to hold fast my hope in God, which is as an anchor sustaining my soul in the midst of a sea of distress, yet there have been hours of heavy gloom, in which it seemed as though something was at work to rob me, even of this my only source of consolation, and which I think ever since I have known it, I have always felt to be the dearest to my heart. Gross as the suggestions may appear, I have been tempted to doubt concerning the providence, and even the existence of the great First Cause; and at another season, when thinking on my child, to doubt concerning the existence of her spirit. But the Lord soon brought me through these dreadful mists; for, though at the moment the temptation felt piercing as a sword, yet He has in much goodness made even this salutary. I have often acknowledged that it is of Divine favour, and not through any merit of my own, that I have received any blessing; and the consciousness of this has, I believe, contributed to prevent me from complaining under this bereavement, although the trial to nature has been exceedingly severe. 1802-04-294th mo. 29th. In feeling the separation from my beloved child, it seemed as though my earthly prosperity was blighted, and my spirit felt for a season weighed down with a heaviness of heart which, though I saw it desirable to pray, kept me 90E9v90 back from the power. Afterwards, this prayer was breathed in my heart: O, that whatever is of myself may be destroyed; and let my dispositions, my pursuits, and even my sorrows, be cast behind, and let God live in me! 1802-05-185th mo. 18th. I shut out of my room the bright moon, which my dear Mary would with pleasure call on her mother to come and see. Its calm and silent beams do now remind me of those melancholy nights when my dear child was beginning to suffer under her last illness. 1802-05-2323rd. It appears as though it would have been a thing in which I should have delighted to have had my child still on earth with me, to have beheld her growing spirit; and, as she increased in days, to have beheld her heart expanding in affectionate disposition; but it was the will of the Father that it should not be so. Since our dearest comforts are so closely allied to the keenest sorrows, ought we not to enjoy the present life as passing through it, and not as dwelling in it? It may be needful for me to feel this more sensibly than I should have done had my precious child been still with me.
In the beginning of the year 18031803 the subject of this Memoir was received into membership with the religious society of Friends; and about the year 18051805, or 18061806, began a day and boarding- school in Sheffield, in which she was occupied till the year 18211821. Many engagements appear to have obstructed her diary, as we find a blank till 18091809.Matlock, 1809-07-067th mo. 6th, 1809. Oh, might I feel in every place that the Spirit subdues and organizes my mind,—that I am preferring Thee 91 E10r 91 before and above all things, and never, by my conduct, denying Thee: for if I can serve Thee but feebly, oh yet enable me to serve Thee truly! And, gracious Father, strengthen, enlighten, and lead me, that I may act in Thy will, and promote Thy precious cause on earth. Make me willing to endure any deprivation, or to make any sacrifice to Thy divine pleasure. Let me not seek myself, but Thee; and in the hour of conflict, O Thou source of all goodness, direct my soul to Thee, and nothing will be too hard for me. Teach me to feel Thy light and life, and to move in that alone, for I have cause to distrust myself! In the evening of 1809-10-2210th mo. 22nd, 1809, I had some relief and comfort in my own family, and believed that it was required of me rather to seek the happiness, and much more the improvement of others than my own present gratification. 1809-11-0911th mo. 9th. Our monthly-meeting was held in this place. The meeting for worship was a solemn, precious season. Under a feeling of the prevalence of Divine power that language was opened on my mind, In the day of His Power His people shall be willing; surely that power which can subject even the strongest will can subdue all things unto itself. 1809-12-1012th mo. 10th. I have sought the pleasures of friendship too much, and in so doing have sometimes found disappointment, vacancy, and lassitude of mind. I want to acquire the habit of patient, persevering attention to business and duty. 1810-01-011st mo. 1st, 1810. I am happy. My hope is in Him from whom every good and perfect gift proceeds, and with whom is no variableness, nor shadow of turning. 92 E10v 92 1810-01-088th. I feel the supplication, which I once believed it right to express in public, that the Lord would maintain His own cause. And, oh, that it might be effectually, availingly pleaded in my too variable heart! The thoughts and desires of my heart are known unto Thee, O Thou preserver of men, and only Thy own works can praise Thee! 1810-02-012nd mo. 1st. This morning, when I awoke, this language was brought to my mind, Come and let us walk in the light of the Lord. And to be brought to obey this call, felt to me an object most desirable. But, oh! the anxiety of my nature, the proneness to excessive solicitude, and the impatience of suspense. Yet to thee, O Father of mercies, is my heart often powerfully attracted; and, oh, that the tremulous sacrifice, which at times seems ready to be fully resigned, might be bound, even as with cords, to the horns of the altar! 1810-09-059th mo. 5th. It has appeared to me a most desirable thing that there should be seasons appointed in our Society for the children to assemble in the meeting-house for the purpose of religious instruction; not to supersede family or parental instruction, but to second it. I fear, in many cases, instruction at home is greatly neglected. I think it would be profitable if children had certain portions, as selections from Scripture, or from Friends’ Epistles, to commit to memory, and repeat in these meetings. Their having to do this at home, might even lead to a greater extension of care, and an increase of solicitude, in their parents, on these interesting subjects. I am quite persuaded and satisfied that it is the design of the great Shepherd of Israel that these lambs of the flock should be tenderly watched over and instructed,93 E11r 93 structed, that the good seed in them should be cherished and cultivated, and that we ought to regard the cultivation of the soil on which it is to grow, as one of the first of our duties—the most interesting of our cares. 1810-04-034th mo. 3rd. I feel a desire in my heart for our dear young people, and for myself, that we may not be delaying the dedication of the whole herat until there be only exhausted powers to offer. Oh, may the sacrifice be made in the full strength of the day! for He is worthy who hath called us to glory and to virtue. 1810-09-109th mo. 10th. Read the heart-affecting account in Matthew, ix. 35—38. Oh, that the spirit of Him who was moved with compassion toward the multitude, who were as sheep having no shepherd, may deeply possess my heart; for truly the harvest is great, and the labourers—the feeling, faithful labourers, but few. Oh, these present things, how do they absorb! not by their importance, but by their forcing themselves, as it were, on our immediate attention. 1810-10-0410th mo. 4th. Has there been in me a disposition to form heavens of my own, and dwellings of my own, rather than to seek my all from Thee? Heavenly Father, has not Thy Spirit created in me a desire, and Thy love caused a willingness that these heavens, and these forbidden dwellings may be shaken? I have feared that some friendships which I have been disposed to form, and sanguinely to indulge in, would too much bias, too much absorb my mind, and lead my judgment and affections; and draw aside from that unreserved devotedness to Thee, which, in my most favoured and happiest 94 E11v 94 moments, my spirit longs for. And, oh, if there be any separation to be made which may be comparable to that of a right hand, or a right eye, enable me, by Thy divine power, willingly to endure it, and even to rejoice in whatever shall tend to turn away my hopes and my desires from all but Thee. 1812-066th mo. 1812. That principle which causes us to desire to recover and restore our erring fellow- creatures, rather than to seek their destruction, is assuredly the principle to which Christianity tends, and to which it will ever lead, where its benign influence is suffered to prevail. Is it possible that in the 1801 < x < 1900nineteenth century,— a time when, to every species of known distress, the hearts of mankind are open to feel, and prompt to relieve,—is it possible that men should refuse to hear, or hear unheeded, those cries of accumulated misery which will now and then reach them from the abodes of insanity; dwellings which, in some instances, have been too correctly described as tombs of the living? 1812-09-199th mo. 19th. It appears to me to be one of my first duties to endeavour to make home a scene of interest and happiness. This, indeed, will be best done by all having their attention well directed; all feeling that love to God and man from whence all virtues flow, and in that love- seeking to avoid all cause of offence, and fulfilling, as means may offer, the duties of the day. Save me, O Lord, from apostacy from Thee! O thou source of my hope! for truly Thy goodness, in visiting and revisiting, has been unbounded! 1813-01-221st mo. 22nd, 1813. During this week my desire95 E12r 95 sire has been to keep a reverent fear of offending, and bringing upon myself the bereavement of good. 1813-04-234th mo. 23rd. I remember the prayer of our great Redeemer for his disciples when He was about to leave them: I pray not that Thou wouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou wouldest keep them from the evil! And, oh, I feel myself the need of such a supplication! and for some of my beloved friends, too. What hast thou to do (this is often in my remembrance,) what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or, what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? What has thou to do with the spirit and maxims of this world, who hast been taught the lessons of a better wisdom? Ah! forsake not thy allegiance to the King of kings, in any act of thy conduct, in any principle of thy heart! Be ever alive to the feeling, that He is the fountain of living waters, and that, inasmuch as we depart, or go aside from Him, we are only making to ourselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Oh, then, that the desire of our hearts may be ever awake to the remembrance of Him! Guard our hearts, O Thou who art our preserver and Redeemer! Guard us from the temptations that encompass us on every side! Prepare us by an entire subjection and acquiescence to Thy will for the fulfilment of all Thy designs concerning us. Thy ways are not our ways, nor Thy thoughts our thoughts. O! let us not be bounded by ourselves; but our hearts and affections enlarged by an unreserved dedication to Thee, that so we may be favoured to feel that the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. 96 E12v 96 1813-077th mo. (5th day of the week.) Our dear friend D. W— stood up to-day in meeting, with an allusion to this affecting appeal, Were there not ten cleansed; but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God save this stranger! Oh, that the enquiry may be brought home, Who among us that have been the favoured subjects of renovating power, have not yet returned to give glory to God, not resigned themselves still to His purifying influence; but gone aside to the waters of Egypt, the rivers of Assyria, instead of still repairing to Him who is the Fountain of life. 1813-08-158th mo. 15th. Set thine house in order! I believe it will be well for me, as soon as may be, to put my outward affairs in such a train that I may both know readily how I stand to all debtors and creditors, and that others might know also without difficulty, if I were suddenly removed; yet not that I have any apprehension of this being likely. Whether it be permitted to us to enjoy, or whether it be ours to suffer a deprivation of that grateful feeling in meeting, in which our soul delights, yet if our growth in the truth be promoted, all will be well: only may the bias of our hearts, in and under all, be to the Father which is in heaven. To-day we have had two silent-meetings. In the last my mind was impressed, during a part of the time, with the remembrance of the pious and devout state of mind often evinced by the Psalmist, and of the interesting and important supplication uttered in these few words, Teach me Thy statutes! 97 F1r 97 Our Redeemer, infinitely powerful, can make all things work together for good to those whose love and fear is to Him to whom all hearts are open, and all desires are known. O, that the thoughts of our hearts might be so cleansed by the inspiration of His pure and infinite Spirit, that we might be taught perfectly to love Him, and worthily to magnify His holy name! 1813-08-318th mo. 31st, 1813. It is not mere outward profession, it is not a mere coincidence in the theories of reason, that can truly unite us to one another, or enable us to be instrumental in leading to happiness, which is alone to be found in Thee. Our true union with one another must be a union in that divine life that proceeds from Thee, and in attracting us to thyself, as the source and centre of all goodness, we are drawn nearer and nearer to each other in living, precious union! But, while I write, and name the feeling which now is dwelling with me, my spirit fears its own weaknesses, by which it has too often been betrayed. Oh, that from day to day I might still have the power feelingly to say, in the remembrance of Thee, My heart is fixed! ‘I wish I could retrace the feelings that were brought over my mind at the York Midsummer Quarterly-meeting; but my hope is that their effect, felt in that meeting, will never be lost. My heart was then called to an entire dedication to Thee, even beyond what I had before conceived, or understood. And, oh, the integrity, the uprightness, the singleness of heart which Thou requirest, and justly claimest from us; we must not, even in thought, say,—Thus far will I follow Thee, and no further. Our obedience, our devotedness, must F 98 F1v 98 be entire and unreserved, and our allegiance ever true to Thee. In meeting, such was the ascendency of Divine power that all things appeared possible. 1813-09-069th mo. 6th. At our last Monthly-meeting, such was the pressure on my mind of the necessity of the offering of an undivided heart, that I apprehended it required of me openly to testify the feeling; and the cause was afterwards pleaded by a highly favoured instrument and advocate, whose testimony opened with the expression I had last uttered, an undivided heart. 1813-09-2525th. For most of the last five years my natural strength has been less than before, from the effect of long indisposition in the winter of 1808–18091808-9. In looking back, I believe there is cause thankfully to acknowledge that the hand of Divine goodness has been extended, in causing the frequent feelings of weakness and inability for much exertion to be a means of calling my attention to things of a more essential and sustaining nature. During the last spring and summer my health has much improved. Oh, let me not forget the hand that has supported in days and years that are past, when every other help failed! Let me not forget that I have partaken of soul-sustaining enjoyment, when no earthly object, nor any advantage of an outward nature appeared to have any share in causing such enjoyment! Teach me, O Father of mercies, to feel, to think, and act in Thy heavenly will, and to leave all the rest to Thee! 1813-12-2612th mo. 26th. Fifteen years have now passed since I was left in a state of widowhood, and nearly twelve since I lost my beloved infant. There has been much to combat since that time, 99F2r99 from within and from without; yet a hand of mercy and goodness has led thus far through all, and fixed my faith and hope in increasing stability. I look back, not without grateful feeling, in remembrance of that power and goodness by which my spirit has been upheld in the dark and gloomy days of deep disappointment and heavy suffering, when every earthly prospect seemed to fail. What my future lot may be is wholly unknown, unseen. Oh, that my only object may ever be to choose that path (as far as anything is left me to choose) in which I may act most to the glory of my Creator! 1813-12-2727th. In reading one of the Religous Tract Society’s publications, No.20, a precious calm overspread my spirit, and a confirmed acknowledgment was excited that, however various in profession, those who are truly religious are of one spirit, being all taught of Him who came to seek and save that which was lost. And these, as they give up their spirits to His redeeming power, will ever be preserved in true humility, as well as in true love, knowing the feeling that in Him, and not in themselves, is the fountain of life. I believe that true religion may lead its votaries to unite the diligence in business of the most industrious with the most disinterested benevolence. 1813-12-2828th. Two days of indisposition, in which I was favoured to enjoy a peaceful retirement. Read with much satisfaction and pleasure, some of the Religous Tract Society’s books, and a few of the Cheap Repository tracts: and selected about twenty for lending-libraries. Concluded to send some of the Scripture Selections to various schools. It is a privilege I hope gratefully to enjoy to appropriateF2 100 F2v 100 propriate every year some of the first-fruits of the increase of my school to the dispersing of religious books, especially to children and young persons. It is delightful to read some of these publications, which are so evidently written under that religious feeling which we are convinced was given from the one source of goodness. While reading, I thought I felt a confirmed conviction that our truest happiness, even here, depends not on outward situation, any further than in being so placed as we may best fulfil the will of our Father who is in heaven; and my hope is that this is the first object of my heart! 1814-01-231st mo. 23rd, 1814. And now as to the melody of sweet sounds, or what is called music, I do not feel that for myself I need them in meetings for worship; but it may yet be that in some states, and to some classes, even of truly sincere Christians, they may be helpful, and therefore right to be used. But in our intercourse with one another we need them not; we can communicate and sympathize, and indulge in the pleasurable enjoyments of interesting and improving conversation, and want no sounds but the natural and accustomed tones of the human voice to convey our sentiments and feelings, and to receive those of the friends with whom we converse. And, ah! does not my heart acknowledge that much of the most interesting intercourse of friendship and affection I have ever enjoyed has been in the society of a class who renounce the pursuit of musical acquirements, whether vocal or instrumental! And, since we need not the practice in our intercourse with one another, why consider it as a necessary medium for communication with 101 F3r 101 the Father of spirits, with Him who must be worshipped in spirit and in truth? Again, though not a necessary medium to us, yet if the state of a large part of mankind be such as to make this outward melody helpful to devotional feeling, and therefore desirable, be it so;—let them continue to use it, only not in the violation of truth, by putting words into the mouths of a congregation which are inconsistent with their experience; and even where a supplication is expressed which might suit the states of all, if feelingly uttered, let the people be, in general terms, advised against expressing it, unless their hearts go along with it. 1814-02-052 mo. 5th. Oh! my Father! thanks be to Thy goodness, for the degree of peace enjoyed this day, and for the degree of victory over some conflicting emotions, which yesterday distressed me. I was enabled to turn to thee with a sigh of supplication, and thy goodness was extended to enable me to conquer: yet let me not speak as having attained. Keep me from evil,—keep me from any disposition contrary to the meekness and gentleness which is due, from one who professes to be a follower of Christ. The prompt display of resentful feeling hurries people sometimes as into a vortex, and makes only work for repentance. 1814-02-1111th. I consider the attendance of meetings for public worship a solemn duty, and a high, invaluable privilege. My heart has often felt it to be so when gathering together in the name of Christ, to wait together for the prevalence of His power over us. In the dominion of that power in us over every opposing thing is our strength and victory; and it is also a testimony we owe to the world that we are the worshippers of the one true God, 102 F3v 102 and depending upon Him for all our present and eternal welfare. 1814-12-0512th mo. 5th. Are not Friends peculiarly called upon to act as school-missionaries, since they might do this in conformity with their best principles? and might they not in each place or station have meetings for religious worhsip? 1814-12-077th. Should I not return from the journey on which I am setting out, let it be remembered as my request, that those whom I have loved, or that have affectionately regarded me, would feel that the cause of religion and benevolence, in its genuine fruits, is worthy to be pursued with the whole heart, and let them unite in promoting a Missionary School and Tract Society—at home and abroad —including in its plans a regard to the wants of the poor, and an endeavour to relieve them. But I think my race is not yet run, nor my mind so matured for heaven as I hope it will be before I die. I love the religious, I believe, more than any others in this world—those who are evidently and devotedly religious; and, oh, that their number might increase! for to love the Lord with all the heart, and our neighbour as ourselves, according to our Redeemer’s precept, this is the happiness of the present life.
[During her residence at Sheffield the attention of Hannah Kilham was particularly directed to relieving the wants of the poor and distressed, and endeavouring to promote their moral and religious welfare. We believe it was in this year 18151815, that she took so active and conspicuous a part in the formation and establishment of the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor in Sheffield, which originated with her, and has proved a model 103 F4r 103 for many similar institutions throughout the nation; the objects of this society engaged a large portion of her attention during the remainder of her residence at Sheffield. Her benevolent labours were not confined to this society, as we learn that her attention was much devoted to the Girls’ Lancasterian School, and that she took an active and valuable part in the Society for Visiting and Relieving aged Females. She also assisted greatly in the establishment and management of the Sheffield Bible Associations.
The correspondend who furnished these particulars, remarks:—
Our truly respected friend Hannah Kilham, with whom I was favoured to be intimately acquainted, and often privileged to co-operate, (from about 18021802 to 18181818 or 18191819,) for years had an influence in the circle in which she moved, beyond that of any other individual, among the great number of excellent persons, who, during those years, gave their services to benevolent institutions in Sheffield. Hannah Kilham’s sterling good sense, clear discernment, decided firmness of purpose, unusual business-like habits and plans, untiring industry, united with her winning, but unobtrusive manners, all conspired to make her influence great, and her services valuable.]
1815-01-021st mo. 2nd, 1815. Might there not be made a beautiful and interesting selection from the reports of Bible societies, school societies, and societies for bettering the condition of the poor? And might not a book of this kind be presented to each of the higher classes of schools, recommending, at the same time, subscriptions to be promoted among young people for these institutions?104 F4v 104
1815-01-055th. At meeting, this query presented itself, and dwelt on my mind, Why should any complain of the want of light, when they do not open their eyes to behold the sun? Why should any complain of not finding access to heaven, when their minds are chiefly directed toward the earth? Acknowledge thy God in all thy ways, and thou shalt know Him to be the guide and director of thy steps!
1815-03-103rd mo. 10th. I feel sometimes much support in the remembrance of these words, read in a tract early last year, I received this drop of earthly comfort from a source which still remains. And whatever we may see beautiful or lovely in our companions, through this scene of probation,—their lovingness, their goodness—are only the streams which issue from an exhaustless Fountain. Oh, am I not bound to promote, with unwearying diligence, an establishment for the extensive circulation of tracts on religious and moral subjects, when some of the liveliest and deepest impressions I have ever received been conveyed, I believe, through mediums such as these?
The following was evidently written on deeper reflection on the idea expressed 1815-01-021st mo. 2nd, and is inserted for the valuable hints it contains:—To enjoy we must communicate. In reading the animating reports of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and afterwards some affecting appeals on behalf of infant sufferers, the feelings of pleasure from the one source, and of sympathy and solicitude from the other, have been such as to excite an earnest desire for the wide extension of such interest, and for the diffusion of publications calculated to excite it. Can we read 105 F5r 105 of the benign and beneficial influences evidently produced on the minds both of the donors and receivers through the medium of the British and Foreign Bible Society, without earnestly desiring that Bible societies and associations might be formed in every village of our country, in every region of the world? And can we witness or hear of the suffrings to which from various causes, our fellow-creatures are subjected, and especially of the sufferings of the most helpless part of society, without anxiously desiring that extension of interest which would tend to their alleviation? There are numbers of persons whose united interest might do much in counteracting, or removing causes of distress, to whom subjects of this nature are but seldom presented. Might not much good be done by the free and extensive dispersion of tracts, and other publications interesting to humanity? And in all the solicitude that may be felt for the relief of those who are suffering under depression and distress, let it ever be remembered that the most important object—the most interesting and efficient for present and future happiness—is their religious welfare and improvement. There are numbers of approved publications compressed for the benefit of the poor and others, which are calculated to impress the minds of readers on the most interesting of all subjects, and by affecting examples of piety as well as by the affectionate counsels of the pious of various denominations, tend to excite feelings and dispositions correspondent with those which they express. And since it is peculiarly desirable that the 106 F5v 106 younger classes in society should be engaged in the cause of humanity and piety, presents to the teachers of schools, of books on such subjects, might be made, with the recommendation that they should be read at stated times by the teachers or senior scholars, and the attention of the school directed to what is read; and thus may the susceptibility, to which this early season of life is so favourable, be called into action by its appropriate objects. The powerful and animating appeals on the great cause of religion which are contained in the reports of the Bible Societies might be attended, no doubt, with an enlightening and ennobling influence, on the judgment and affections of our children. Why should their attention, with respect to the history of mankind, be confined so much as it often is to the history of wars and slaughter, to the rise and fall of empires in distant periods? Let them be led to regard with attention some of the most interesting facts of the present day; let them learn what is doing, and what remains yet undone, on subjects in which the happiness and well-being of mankind are eminently concerned. 1815-03-1313th. Attended to-day a highly interesting meeting of the British and Foreign Bible Society,— the Auxiliary Society for Sheffield:—was much impressed with many excellent things presented there, and especially with a speech of our beloved townsman James Montgomery, wherein he earnestly urged that children should be incited, in their early days, to associate themselves for the promotion of this great and heavenly cause. And I believed that the time 107 F6r 107 was nearly come when it would be well to attempt, on a larger scale than has hitherto been done, to interest both children and others in engagements of this nature. 1815-09-189th mo. 18th. Independently of many anxious feelings, I have not since Midsummer felt the constant sunshine of a summer’s day; but have been ready at times to say, Where are those hours of enjoyment and happiness I formerly experienced? Discouragement had taken hold of my mind. I feared that many efforts made for the good of others would prove fruitless, or nearly so; and could not but dwell, from day to day, on the dark side of things; even feeling at times almost incapable of acting for myself, or filling the responsible situation of the head in a family; yet these feelings of depression were kept to myself, and I endeavoured quietly to pursue my duty without neglect; and was, perhaps, even more willing than usual to go on with anything dry or difficult, so that I might only escape dreary feelings, or feelings of condemnation. After a time, prospects brightened again, and on the 1815-09-1010th I began to write some Family Maxims, which presented themselves to my mind on rising in the morning. Would it not be well to have some such maxims printed, and hung up in the houses of the poor? 1815-09-2727th. An interesting day at the Town-hall, in the forenoon. In the afternoon, had the heart- gratifying engagement of administering some relief to the extreme wants of two individuals in great necessity, and distressing degradation. Earnestly do I wish that measures could be taken more effectually to better the condition of the poor, and 108F6v108 to raise them from the abject situations which many of them are in. 1815-10-0510th mo. 5th. Conversing with a friend this evening on the uninstructed state of young women employed in manufactories, as to the business of domestic life, our attention was turned to the care taken of them about Matlock, by their worthy pastor, P. Gell, in Sunday-schools, &c.; and I wished that some of us should make a tour of observation in that direction, at a suitable time. When alone, the thought occurred to me, that if such tours of observation on the state of the younger parts of society, and others, were often to be made, instead of mere journeys of pleasure without an object, how interesting they would become, by witnessing an improved state of things, and hearing of the probable causes which had led to such improvement. Health and pleasure would be more effectually obtained by the animating nature of the object in pursuit, unless, indeed, in some cases (which are possible) the interest excited might stimulate the spirits beyond the natural strength. And in such tours the remarks of visitors might be minuted, and conveyed to a central point for publication, in order to more extensive usefulness. 1815-10-2424th. Oh, may it be the constant and anxious bent of my mind to attain to a full experience of the one thing needful! 1816-01-281 mo. 28. 1816. Temptations may be permitted for our subjection and refinement. We might in some circumstances be peculiarly liable to forget ourselves, if we had no outward or inward combats. Oh! that my mind may be rightly led this day, and kept from every improper tendency. 109 F7r 109 1816-033rd mo. I have for the last ten months been so circumstanced, by having an additional teacher, that my time has been more at liberty, and less engaged in my own concerns than before. I have been prospered, and my school has been fuller than in any previous year; and is not this of the goodness of Him who can direct all things as He sees fit, and can give prosperity in any circumstances, if we seek, in the first place, to know and to fulfil His will? I name this in fear, and in a feeling of insufficiency of myself to direct my steps aright, and in a consciousness of imperfection cleaving to all my ways; but if I may but, by the devotion of my time and strength, whether mental or natural, be instrumental in promoting the cause of truth and happiness in the world, I do not fear the consequences of giving myself up to it. Yet I believe it to be a duty for me to have my eye so far over the concerns of my family and school as to know that those engaged are attending to their several employments, and endeavouring to take care that things are well done. I believe it will be a duty for me, especially during the next few years, to devote the strength of my days to the cause of the poor, the school, and libraries of moral and religious tracts for lending. It is a great claim for gratitude in me that the Lord has given me favour in the eyes of my friends of various classes, so that they have been remarkably willing to hear proposals which at different times I have wished to make respecting the poor, libraries, &c.; and this involves me in a very serious responsibility that I may do right, and desire nothing but what is right in these concerns. 110 F7v 110 I wish the tracts published by Friends had more of narrative in them. I do hope in awhile they will see it well to adapt them to a class of readers who do not enter much into what is abstract.
In the year 18031803 the mind of my dear mother was deeply affected with the horrors of slavery, and the cruelties practised upon the poor negroes; and, in order that she might have no part in the guilt, she abandoned in her dress and food, whatever was of negro cultivation in the slave districts. After some years of self-denial in these particulars, her attention was gradually turned to means for their relief and instruction. She read much on the subject of slavery, education, and Christian civilization, and her heart became more and more desirous to be employed as an instrument for the good of this oppressed and degraded people.
We have no further accounts than her private journal supplies of the development of this feeling, or of the steps which led her to embrace a missionary life.1816-04-204th mo. 20th. This morning, in thinking and reading of the horrors of slavery, I cannot but wish that a mission for schools, or for bettering the condition of the poor, or both together, might be sent to the still suffering slaves of the West India Islands, supported by the contributions of a general fund, from which also might be relieved the distresses of the poor negroes. Who that had health and strength, and felt for this cruelly abused class would not be willing to embark their lives in such a cause? The school mission might extend 111F8r111 its influence to other classes in the islands who are not poor. Possibly the time may not be fully come for such a measure; yet let not any proneness to delay lead me to the supposition that such a measure is further distant than it really is. This prospect which has opened before me is beautiful and interesting, though surrounded with some clouds that give an awfulness to the view. I have been ready to say, I will offer myself to this service; and what if even my life were the sacrifice? Death must come at some time, and life would be here resigned in a worthy cause; but we are not our own. May I be led clearly to see what is and what is not required of me, and to pursue it, whatever it be! He who has all in His divine power can preserve in all circumstances, and restore at His pleasure. And what I consider as of chief moment, is to know in what way the devotion of my time, and my attention to the welfare of others —to the promotion of their best interests—may best effect the intended purpose. If this be really my heart’s desire, what daily vigilance is required! what serious application to duty! 1816-06-156th mo. 15th. Teachers should be to their children examples of kindness, patience, and attention, and should not imperiously require what the children have not had sufficient opportunity of learning; but should call with firm decision for their attention, whilst they explain what is to be learned. Children may drag on a long time to little purpose, not knowing what they are about, if the teacher does not enter into sympathy with their want of knowledge, and try to assist them in acquiring it. 1816-08-208th mo. 20th. I have still to guard against 112F8v112 hasty anger; and in the last few weeks have often felt the necessity of this; yet to-day have been off my guard, in looking over the writing which some of the children were doing: and, though hasty anger is wrong and prejudicial, and unfits the mind for its best duties, there is yet an opposite extreme, into which I desire not to come—that of listless, indolent carelessness, as to whether those about me do their best, in their several departments or not. But the matter is, to try to remedy what is defective by proper means; for to attempt a cure by becoming ourselves disordered is like making the rent of an old garment worse, instead of mending it. Oh! for a closer walk with God,A calm and heav’nly frame! In this, authority is gained with more decision and clearness than in any other disposition. My family is large, and, whatever concern I have for the poor, the daily care of home must have its place. May I seek a right disposal of time, and, what is still more important, a watchfulness as to the disposition of the mind. 1816-09-079th mo. 7th. The times look very serious, and the state of the poor is such as to call for much time. It is unknown how much business may be gone through if the mind only be collected, and one thing attended to at a time; and closely and diligently attended to, in subjection to the feeling of duty, and a desire to conform in all things to our heavenly Father’s will. The cry of drunkenness and of want is grievously heard in this town. Oh! that people could be more fully aroused to a sense of their true interests. 113 F9r 113 Oh! for diligence in business, fervour in spirit, serving the Lord, feeling the subserviency to Him. Should any unforeseen cause check the stream of life and health, let me leave it as my last legacy, that my friends everywhere should care for the poor, and seek to do them good in every possible way; and not them only, but the rich and the middle ranks, who call for our care and thought, and feeling. 1817-03-093rd mo. 9th, 1817. Time flies. Reading this morning some of the religiuos lessons for Sunday schools, my heart united with those who write such lessons, in the disposition in which they are evidently written—a disposition that earnestly strives to seek and to save that which is lost. 1817-03-1717th. On looking back, I feel convinced, as I have often done before, that had I no ground for final salvation and acceptance, but the correctness of my own doings, I should despair. 1817-03-2121st. Yesterday, accompanied by a friend, I visited a number of very poor families, some in the extreme of poverty. We looked with pity on their various situations, almost destitute, as some of them appeared, of any consolation, either from within or from without. Alas! there is too much of that squalid poverty in which the main support of life is a source of continual and almost fretful anxiety, from day to-day. We were in one habitation which I scarcely ever saw exceeded for the appearance of poverty, and almost divestment of all that can be called comfort. In the inmates of these poor dwellings there is evident such an alienation of mind from the only source of true consolation, that we could not but deeply pity their situation, and earnestly wish that their hearts 114 F9v 114 might be turned to seek for hope and consolation in Him who was called the Friend of sinners. Oh! that we might, by affectionate conversations with them, and by lending them books in which are examples of piety, and the counsels of the pious, be happily instrumental in leading them to a state, in which the prospect of a happy futurity, and the consciousness of heavenly favour, could make even the wilderness to bloom and become beautiful, and the lowliest habitations to be cheered and enlivened by the beams of an unfading sun. Oh! how are those who have been favoured to see and to feel where their best interest lies, called upon to direct the attention of others to the pursuit of the same blessings. It is in the influence of religious feeling only, that a balm can be found for the sorrows of the present world, and a corrector of all its disorders. It is this which can introduce happiness into every department of life, and even bring order and harmony into dwellings, which have been the scene of discord and confusion, and can teach the heart to rejoice in God, even when the trees, which have borne fruit to us, shall forbear to blossom, and a bereavement of the nearest and dearest of our natural enjoyments is to be endured. Oh! then, that the hearts of people might be more and more weaned from the dependence on an unstable world, and directed to that which is enduring and eternal. Expressions of truly devotional feeling, committed to writing, would I think be good subjects for the meditation of our children; though we would not recommend the adoption of them, as expressions of devotion, unfelt. Let them always know that the heart must pray; the lips alone cannot, whatever words are used. When I was a very little 115 F10r 115 girl, I was pleased with finding a book of my dear mother’s, called the Duties of the Closet; but do not recollect any expressions it contained, except that in the exercises for the evening preceding the Sabbath; I do not know whether they were called prayers or meditations, but in them were these words, which I sometimes uttered, and my heart felt gratefully conscious of the goodness of that infinite, yet mysterious Power, to whom they were addressed: O! Thou overflowing Fountain of endless love. The renewal of this remembrance this morning feels sweet and precious. Ah! what interest is there in the whole world, and all that it can give, in comparison with that which is connected with the acknowledgment of Him, whose power created the heavens and the earth, the seas, and the fountains of water, who teaches us the lessons of His love, in the silence of retirement, with a power and a sweetness no language can express. Oh! that, when thus favoured, watchfulness may be maintained, and the mind preserved in a state, to worship Him in the beauty of holiness. 1817-08-058th mo. 5th. I could not easily trace all the interesting views which have presented themselves during the last few weeks. One is a delightful hope, originating in my mind at the general school meeting at Ackworth, that that school may become more eminently useful, and the religious instruction now given there, (I trust from true Christian sympathy,) may be crowned with the blessing of Him who is the beginner and finisher of all that is good. A great reduction in my own feelings while at Ackworth, seemed to prepare the way for listening, with renewed delight, on the following day, to good tidings of great joy, given to all people, in the mission of the Redeemer, which was 116 F10v 116 feelingly proclaimed at the meeting of the Bible Society. At that meeting was an African missionary; and then, and before, but especially after, my hopes were kindled into expectation, that school missions and religious missions from among Friends, and partly in conjunction with what they can unite with in others, would, some time hence, be freely encouraged and promoted; but, let us begin well at home, and not press things beyond the right time:—good will increase. Ah! may we be true to our proper business. Let religious instruction be given in schools and families at home, and from true Christian duty. Let this be our first social duty, in conjunction with the general care of our dear families; for dear they will be, if our hearts are right with our Father which is in heaven. Secondly, let us provide for the necessities, temporal and spiritual, as well as we may be enabled to do, of those about home,—by promoting schools, Bible societies, tract libraries, and bettering societies. Then, in the third place, let our love and our care be shown to those of every land, to whom we may be favoured with the power of doing good. 1817-08-2424th. I sought society this evening, but not attaining it, took up to read some missionary papers, which have lately been presented to me; and, before the first was finished, essayed the following query for insertion in the Iris. To the Friends of Missions. What would be the most easy and efficient method of arranging and reducing to letters an unwritten language? Any considerations which can throw light on this interesting point, would essentially oblige, A Correspondent. 117 F11r 117 Prospects wide and interesting open before my view; and I fully believe that the day will come when Friends will more largely engage in missionary work than they have ever yet done, and without violating any of their principles. At our monthly meeting lately, both in and out of meeting, when some arduous concerns were before me, which I believed to be duties, a precious feeling of consolation was conveyed, as my mind was directed to Him who is the source of all that is good, and could guide and support through all, this language emphatically and affectingly came to my mind, Is He not Almighty? 1817-09-209th mo. 20th. If I have an evidence of duty in any one point, I believe it is given in imparting religious instruction to children; and this not only from my own Scripture selections, but from other books. I shall never, I think, forget the first attempt, made in the year 18131813, to convey instruction in this way to the children of my own family. The tenderness which overspread their spirits, and the consciousness that filled my own, of the continuance of that heavenly regard which once induced the injuction, Suffer little children to come to me, were very striking and memorable. 1817-09-2323rd. Yesterday completed the outlines of a little elementary grammar, very short and easy, designed for the children of the most uninstructed class, such as the subjects of misssionary care at Sierra-Leone. How grateful I should be for such a degree of leisure as I now enjoy, for pursuing interesting concerns. All my family act towards me with unremitting kindness and attention, which is a great blessing, and tends to keep the mind in quiet; for to be happy at home is indeed always to 118 F11v 118 be desired, and wherever we may meet with courtesy, how little would it avail, if we do not meet with it in our own family. 1817-11-1811th mo. 18th. This morning and noon had much feeling of sadness and depression, and was ready to say, from whence shall I hope for deliverance? In the afternoon two dear Friends appeared in testimony in the meeting. The season was awful and sweetly humiliating. Thy eternal power, O infinite Governor of heaven and earth! Thy eternal power can cause even the mountains to flow down, and the hills that appeared to swell to a height insurmountable to pass away, as with the steps of the tender lamb. Oh! may our eye and our heart be turned to Thee, and all that is within us, bow before Thee!
Her prospects of visiting Africa—Proposes the subject to her Friends in London—Undertakes the Education of two African Natives in London, principally with a view of acquiring from them a knowledge of the Jaloof Language.
In 18191819 it was my precious mother who first proposed my leaving England, and this she was led to do from an expression of countenance she observed in me, when a friend mentioned a person being wanted in Russia for girls’ schools on the system of mutual instruction. She made every arrangement for this step with the utmost cheerfulness and alacrity, talked with interest of the new field of occupation, &c.; and I could not imagine the separation would be very painful to her; not from any previous marks of want of affection, because of her love I had had continued, and strong proofs; only I thought her expansive benevolence had so far conquered her natural feelings as to 129 G5r 129 render her able to make any sacrifice which she deemed likely to promote the public good. When, however, the parting hour drew near, the struggle was so difficult, and her sufferings so acute, that I have often wondered how I could tear myself from her, and why I did not abandon the enterprise. After these emotions had subsided, she accompanied me to the vessel, and finally separated from me with the meek and peaceful submission of one who counted her Lord’s will more to be desired than all earthly comforts.1819-08-198th mo. 19th. Two days ago a letter was received, giving the information, that Johnson from Sierra-Leone would, with his wife, return to Africa in about two months. The subject of leaving this country for that coast is thus brought very near home, and has introduced my mind into close inquiry, as to my engagement there. The subject was presented to two honourable friends whose judgment I value, and a proposal made by them, that such of the ministers and elders as should attend Monthly Meeting this week, should have the subject presented to them for their united judgment and feeling. This is satisfactory to my own mind, and now my heart’s desire is, that heavenly wisdom may guide them, and that I may be saved from either taking an unauthorized step, or any premature one; and saved also from withholding any sacrifice required at my hands. I think I truly desire to know and to do in this thing the will of my heavenly Father. Only let my beloved friends and myself see clearly what is right, and it shall be well. I cannot recede, because of any change of feeling, as to the sense of duty, for my heart still turns to Sierra-Leone. If the matter be G5 130 G5v 130 thought premature, I expect still, on a future day, to go there. But Thou, O Father of the whole human family! Thou canst prepare my way, and make darkness light before me, and rough places plain. What feels most painful is the want of a companion like-minded, as to religious concerns, with myself, and of the same society. This may not be necessary, yet, on some considerations, it seems very desirable; but I am willing to go alone in this respect, if my friends are willing to unite with my view of going to these poorest, lowest, weakest, most neglected, and most oppressed of all the human race—to be employed in leading them to ascend the first steps, as to outward knowledge, and to point them to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world, and the misery of the world. I am sensible, that in many minds, even where the desire for the attainment of the truth is often earnest, this entire renovation of the will, the understanding, and the affections is far from being so easy of attainment, as it may at times be conceived to be. 1819-09-179th mo. 17th. I have been reading this morning the distressing accounts of sufferings from the Scilly islands, and longed for the time when the feeling of brotherhood shall so bind people of various countries together, that when they suffer greatly in one place, help should immediately be extended. Oh! that truth and sincerity might more fully prevail in the world. May we be careful to promote it everywhere. And, O that the Society which has been called out from outward forms, may be enabled to support the testimony given 131 G6r 131 them to bear in the life. To forbear to use a language unfelt, is not everything. My present situation is such as to demand the deepest gratitude, and yet is felt, at the same time, to be awful, affecting, and trying. It is a cause for gratitude that I am suffered to be so far a steward for the heavenly Master, as to send out to various places messengers of good, in little selections from the Holy Scriptures; also other tracts of various kinds, either alone or in concurrence with others. It is a great favour to be permitted, in conjunction with other agents, to aid the poor by means of the Bettering Society in this town: good appears to flow through that institution into various channels. And it is a great favour to see that concern for the poor, and for the general good of society is gaining ground. These and many other causes claim my gratitude to the Father of mercies, and Fountain of all goodness. It is a great favour that my friends have so far sympathized with my prospect of visiting Africa, as to leave me at liberty to go there, and affectionately to feel for me. And now, though some anxious thoughts have attended this prospect, I trust, arduous as the engagement may be, that apprehending the cloud and the pillar of fire to move that way before me, there will be strength given to follow the leading, in simplicity and sincere fidelity. 1819-10-1910th mo. 19th. It was my intention to accompany some missionary friends, going to Sierra- Leone this autumn; but the time of their sailing was unexpectedly so long delayed, that I felt the time would be too short for me to accomplish what I wished before the ensuing rains; and that season I believe it is not right for me to encounter 132 G6v 132 if it can be avoided. Feelings of anxious solicitude have been present with me, while seeking to attain to a full and clear decision. My fervent hope is, that He who, in infinite wisdom and goodness controls all, yet forces none, will overrule these apparently embarrassing circumstances for good. Strongly as the attraction to Africa has been felt, and yet will be, it may for the present give way to claims about home, which indeed are powerful. I earnestly desired that I might be found in the appointment of Providence, wherever that might be, and not have the unhappiness to choose my own ways. At present it feels to be my duty to be still, without looking much to the future, as to this matter. A more favourable season may present; and if so, I trust it will be seen at the time; but life is wholly uncertain, we know not what shall be on the morrow. Before the close of the year, I went up to London to converse with some missionaries leaving for Sierra-Leone, on the reduction of unwritten languages, particularly African. Whilst I was there, it was proposed that an experiment on this subject should be made in England on individual Africans who might be in our country. This proposal did not at the time take much hold on my mind, it appeared so improbable that we should meet with persons suitable for teachers among the poor Africans generally seen in our country. Soon after, having heard of a vessel just arrived in the Docks, in which were African sailors, some kind friends accompanied me to the ship. From a few we saw, we selected two who were willing, and apparently intelligent, and, although not natives of the 133 G7r 133 same district, spoke the same language. These were taken under the protection and care of Friends, and were placed at Tottenham, under the oversight of a young man who was engaged to teach them. I remained some time in the neighbourhood of London, in order to proceed in my purpose of reducing the Jaloof language, which was spoken by both the young men, although one was a native of the Mandingo country.
Till the Yearly Meeting of 18201820, my dear mother remained in London, steadily pursuing the reduction of the Jaloof and Mandingo languages, and during that period we find no remarks in her journal, so closely was she occupied in her delightful and valuable work. The next of her private observations is dated Sheffield, 1820-10-2310th mo. 23rd, 1820.The sun rising beautifully at this moment above the neighbouring hills, and still shining in its wonted order, reminds me of that Mighty Hand unseen, which controls all things, and which we shall eventually have to acknowledge, hath done all things well. This acknowledgment was willingly made, when the Redeemer openly and visibly gave forth His power, in causing the blind to see, and the lame to walk; but when, for a season these miraculous demonstrations of His power appeared to be withheld, and the hour and power of darkness to prevail, the trembling disciples communing with each other in the sadness of their hearts, said mournfully, We trusted it had been He who should have redeemed Israel. They knew not at that moment that, notwithstanding the gloomy appearance of things to their natural eye, the Redeemer of men had indeed appeared among them, 134 G7v 134 and was even now about to manifest before them His infinite ascendency over every opposing power. 1821-03-023rd. mo. 2nd, 1821. There are many things to induce anxious feeling, and especially this responsible situation of having charge of a boarding- school, and the care of young persons, who must be employed in teaching. Human nature, in all, requires a controlling principle higher than itself; and I feel a fear both for them and for myself, lest by opposing in our own wills what we do not approve, we mar the work, and excite feelings which are prejudicial in their nature. Children have a quick sense of right and wrong, and may be greatly injured by a tart dictatorial manner, which has its origin in feelings not in unison with the meekness and gentleness of true wisdom. People err greatly in judgment, perhaps never more so, than when they suppose that a gentle manner cannot be availing in government. On the great principle which acts through all nature, of like producing its like, humility and gentleness will produce corresponding feelings in the children who witness these qualities in their teachers; and perfect gentleness is entirely consonant with the firmest requisition of order. Nay, indeed, none can more clearly see what true order demands, than they who maintain the greatest collectedness of mind, and entire self-command. I have several causes of anxiety besides; as the critical state of one child’s health, and whether or not this school should be continued, &c. But, I must not withhold my hope and trust in that infinitely gracious Providence, who has so wonderfully opened the way for the entering upon some of the deeply interesting135 G8r 135 ing concerns before me. Let me leave myself entirely to His disposal, not desiring to choose my own path, or my own abode, or even desiring to have a place which I can call my home, so that I may only feel myself in the order of Providence. With all my cares it feels difficult to give time to the study of the African languages; yet it must be done, it is quite necessary. Oh! that this might induce me from this day, to appropriate a part of every morning to the practice of Jaloof and French. Time must be found for duties, as it is necessary to find time for the support of the body by food and sleep; and before very long the day will be spent, and the time for the business of life will be over. 1822-02-012nd mo. 1st. 1822. Who knows the full extent of that responsibility that attaches to this state of being! Let those who feel this, arise and go hence; let them flee from that excess of care for worldly things, which is so ill adapted to a world that must soon be left, and which bears down the mind, so as to preclude the right exercise, for the prevalence of that which is enduring and eternal. Oh! let every root of bitterness be supplanted by that which is of the Lord’s own right-hand planting. May the new creation prevail, and appear in all our dispositions and all our proceedings in life. Let gentleness, forbearance, patience, and goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, so govern the dispositions of our hearts, that their effects may appear even as on the very borders of our garments— in all our solitary dwellings, and in all our intercourse with one another. 136 G8v 136 1822-08-068th mo. 6th . I have been transcribing Scripture passages for translation into Arabic, and circulation in Africa. In this engagement there was happiness; yet my heart mourns that so few acknowledge the Lord fully in this land called Christian. Ah! how infinite is the mercy and long-suffering of the Most High! With regard to my African prospects, as to how and when we may go, I am now without anxiety. The cause is not mine; and I believe it will be well and wisely ordered. 1822-08-1313th. In reading A Summary of the Distresses of Ireland this morning, the efficacy of societies for bettering the condition of the poor is renewed to my remembrance, and with a conviction stronger than ever, that it is desirable they should exist everywhere, and that everywhere there should be arrangements for knowing and aiding the state of the poor. Associations should certainly by some means be formed for the aid of the most destitute and helpless, that they might obtain employment and support. Oh, that a committee of really feeling and judicious men would unite for the great object of visiting Ireland. It is a disgrace to a civilized country to have in it such a state of wretchedness, arising from want, as exists in that country, when at the same time some of the inhabitants of the empire are living in luxury and excess. Could we but obtain these three things, the improvement of Ireland, an arrangement for bettering-societies, and a communication-society for the good of all classes, what might we not readily relinquish for such a cause? But let us be careful,137 G9r 137 ful, and know a right guidance. The state of Ireland has taken deep hold on my heart. May I see what is right, and be taught how to pursue it. 1822-08-1919th. If we should even go late this season to Africa, I think that before next winter I should again be in England, and pursue, with my friends, for a season, some interesting measures for the poor in this country and in Ireland. I believe that where there is much good in the character of an individual, it is right that it should be met, even though much mixed with what requires to be overcome;—the way to overcome is not to slight and neglect, but kindly to meet and to help. How did the Redeemer act towards his erring disciples? 1822-08-2020th. Oh! how ought I to be grateful and satisfied, although at times much mental toil be my lot. It should be accounted a great favour to be employed in this interesting concern of writing a new language; and sometimes the return is sweet when we find that precious truths can be conveyed in that language. Let me choose the pursuit of such interesting concerns before the nearest gratifications of even natural affection. 1822-09-149th mo. 14th. Yesterday and this morning feelings of depression have prevailed in looking to the great suffering and sin with which the world is overspread, and in the justness of that enquiry, Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? And in feeling that the children of this world may be regarded as wiser, or more earnest in pursuit of their concerns in their generation than the children of light. How many are there 138G9v138 among those who seem influenced by feelings of pity for the bodily sufferings of the poor and afflicted, who feel little for that darkness and alienation from good, which, among rich and poor, is the great cause of both inward and outward distress! Oh, may I be taught to feel what is required at my hand by the awful enquiry, How much owest thou unto thy Lord? nor dwell in any degree on what I may appear in the eyes of others, only endeavouring to fulfil His will concerning me; taking the cup of salvation appointed by His goodness, and calling on the name of the Lord in daily and secret aspiration. It has been said that the Turks consider women without souls; and one might imagine, from the little care that is evinced by some for the spiritual welfare of people whose bodily distress they seek to relieve, that they considered a great proportion of human beings as merely formed of the tangible and material. I know it may be pleaded that the work of seeking to guide or help in spiritual concerns is too serious and sacred to be attempted without aid from on high, and this is true; yet how often that aid would be imparted, if earnestly and watchfully desired, and sought after! It may be said, that some who seem to make much stir in profession, and talk much of promoting the spiritual welfare of others, are evidently far from being themselves redeemed from pride and self-seeking —from the spirit of this world, its disguises and its insincerities—are far from evincing in their daily deportment the fruits of the Spirit. This unhallowed talk and profession on hallowed subjects 139 G10r 139 betrays a fearful want of feeling of the high and sacred nature of true religion, which cannot be brought to exist in the mind through any outward observance or profession. My hopes have been greatly diminished concerning the effects of the influence of one, invested with some degree of the world’s authority, on behalf of poor Africa. It is not philosophy, it is not policy, that can save Africa, and make her happy. It is the prevalence of Christian influence and Christian feeling; not the outward forms, in the way in which they too often are dwelt upon. For all who have been favoured to feel that love to the Divine law which brings great peace, much watchfulness is needed, and constant care to deny self, and to follow the Redeemer—to live to Him—to guard against the assimilating influence of those who do not seek to acknowledge God in all their ways. My spirit has been this morning sensibly consoled in receiving what seemed as the breaking forth of the Sun of Righteousness from behind the clouds, in the remembrance of that inestimably precious declaration, God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Yes, it is the love of God which is the light, the brightness, and the happiness of created beings; and it is in the prevalence of Christian love and Christian feeling alone that we can hope, and this will lead to all good efforts for the welfare of the bodies and the souls of all men. We must scatter the seed of Scripture truth up and down in Africa,—even among Mahomedans. 140 G10v 140 My heart cannot consent to select such parts only as Mahomedans would not reject; my proper business is, I believe, openly to avow my belief and trust in the Redeemer of men, and to hope for the prevalence of His power for the recovery of mankind from sin and wretchedness. It is not the arm of man that can save. We must remember that the Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses flesh, and not spirit. If our trust be not in the name of the Lord, those who are helped, and those who help, shall both fail together. May I be taught more deeply to feel my calling, nor suffer, in this short day of life, any indolent supineness, or selfish regard, to prevent the daily pursuit of very serious duties that call for increasing watchfulness: and let me not cease to feel that I am, in all circumstances, called to act as a disciple of the Prince of Peace, seeking to strengthen and to heal, and to meet whatever is good in any, tenderly careful not to injure a bruised reed, or to do anything that may be compared to quenching the smoking flax. 1822-11-2811th mo. 28th. Oh! that teachers of schools were generally religiously concerned to make such instruction on right grounds their constant care, and the more interesting part of their duty. I long to see correct principles more generally instilled into the minds of the young—principles of piety, and of honourable dealing with all with whom they have to do. It is not the name of Christianity, nor right views alone that can convert the heart, and rectify the conduct. May wisdom 141 G11r 141 from above be graciously imparted in the deeply interesting concern now before me! May I be preserved from doing harm, and led, if it be the gracious Master’s will, to unite with the sincere in heart, of every name, in doing good!
Joins the British and Irish Ladies’ Society, and undertakes on its behalf a visit to Ireland—Report made to the Committee on her return.
In the latter part of the year 18221822, the distress which prevailed in Ireland in consequence of the failure of the potatoe-crop, attracted the notice of the British public. A large sum was raised to relieve the Irish peasantry from the famine which threatened them; and in connection with its distribution the British and Irish Ladies’ Society was formed. This Society had for its object the permanent improvement of the condition of the female poor of Ireland, and especially the promotion of habits of industry among them. In its proceedings Hannah Kilham took an active part. The subject was one in which she had long felt deeply interested; and much of the time which elapsed between the giving up of her school and her first visit to Africa, during which time she resided in the neighbourhood of London, was devoted to this object.
In the early part of 18231823 she spent some months in Ireland. Her correspondence at this period is full of details which prove her unwearied exertions, but which would not be otherwise interesting to the reader. A few extracts from letters written to one of her fellow-labourers are, however, added to the extracts from her journal.143 G12r 143 A committee has been formed for assisting the Irish in their present distress; large sums of money have been subscribed; and the conclusion for its appropriation is this, to visit the dwellings of the poor, and obtain a knowledge of their situation, under certain heads. To aid the sick by the loan of linen, obtaining medical advice, &c. To encourage industry, and attention to domestic duty; to encourage parents to send their children to school; to assist the poor in any other way that circumstances may appear to require. These are the leading objects of our plan. In order to give some aid, in the commencement of these exertions for the distressed in Ireland, the committee have thought it advisable for one of their members to visit that country, particularly in the districts which suffer the most; and the choice having fallen on me, I do not feel at liberty to turn from it. My supplication to the Most High I think was sincere, that if this step of visiting Ireland was right, my friends might concur with me; and this they have done, not only as to the object, but they cordially unite with, and approve, and feelingly sympathize in the present state of the poor in that nation, with desired for the success of every rightly-sanctioned effort for their good. May wisdom be given in the hour of need, for truly that which alone can rightly guide, will be greatly wanted, and much caution requisite, as well as courage. It is concluded for us to leave on the 26th. On the day fixed, I set out from Tottenham to take the coach to Holyhead, on my way to Dublin. We met with several interesting persons on the way. One sweetly religiously-minded woman travelled a stage with us; and it was truly grateful 144 G12v 144 to feel the piety that pervaded her spirit. Oh, that all who have tasted that the Lord is gracious might maintain that watchfulness unto prayer in which there is preservation; that, so abiding under the Redeemer’s influence, those around may partake of the reflected feeling of love, which is at times so precious in its effects, even on those who had not previously felt much for themselves. We were favoured to anchor safely in port at the time expected; for although the wind was so strong that the packet from Dublin had been driven back into the harbour, yet it was not unfavourable, as a side-wind, for the direction of our vessel. As I sat in the cabin, waiting for the call of the steward, my friend C. B— entered and kindly welcomed me to Ireland. It was very grateful to meet with him, and I feel cause to be thankful for the degree of health and strength afforded. The oppressive feeling connected with many things relative to the state of the people in this land has been experienced from day to day. May I move quietly under it, and make my secret appeal to the Searcher of hearts, who alone can know what passes before my mind, and who alone can guide me so as to enable me to effect any real good, as an instrument in the Divine hand. There needs a guard on my mind lest in easy conversation I lose sight of that restrictive feeling which would control all our communications, and lead to real edification. I have met with a person who has seen much of the state of the poor; his belief is, that their wretched condition at home is one great cause of inducing a habit of intoxication, when they can 145 H1r 145 obtain money. A man destitute of comfort receives a few pence; he says to himself, Bread would feed me, but I am miserable and low, and whiskey will cheer my spirits;—I will take that: I can have it for the same price as bread, and it will please me more. And, thus exhilarated for the moment, his spirits sink again when the effects of the liquor have passed by; but the habit of taking it gains upon him, until reasoning or forethought are no longer in action when temptation presents itself. Went to the week-day meeting. It was a time of close exercise of mind, yet not without hope. Surely the light will not be withheld in the time of greatest need. At present seasons of suffering must be endured. Part of the afternoon was passed in sadness of heart, in the sense both of my own weakness, and of many surrounding causes of suffering in the state of the poor. And not in this alone, but in the want of that prevalence of life which is most to be desired. When shall the full dominion of its power be felt in the assemblies of the people, so that even the languid and indifferent may be attracted to assemble with their friends, and all unite in desire to feel what they are in the presence of the Most High. In a proposed Library Association I greatly desire that such principles may be adopted as will lead to the circulation of books, not of mere religious theories, but of such as may inculcate religious principle, and incite to Christian practice. Were I to choose a library for the poor, or any people, myself, I could not be satisfied to subject it to the authority of the priests. Let me not close my eyes this evening without H 146 H1v 146 marking my feelings of acknowledgment for the goodness of God, in having this day more fully cleared my view as to the importance of attending to the minds of those whose condition we desire to improve. It is the want of a right direction of the mind and heart that causes the greatest part of the existing misery, and if the heart be the seat of attack it is the heart which must be the scene of victory, if ever real victory be obtained over the causes of the greatest sufferings and evils in society. Religious education and religious care must be the great objects of our attempt on behalf of Ireland; yet without the omission of any duty whereby the people may be served. 1823-01-051st mo. 5th, 1823. J. G— read after breakfast a chapter in which were the words, The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. The feeling introduced to my mind was, that since the Redeemer of the world gave to us such an example, the lowest acts of ministration to the poorest of mankind should not be withheld. We ought to be ever willing to go down into sympathy with those that suffer, and to follow them to their abodes of poverty and want willingly and freely, and not to let any difficulty or self- denial in the way prevent us from fulfilling the claims of Christian duty to the poor.
The following are extracts from letters referring to, or written during her visit to Ireland:—1822-11-2811th mo. 28th, 1822. Those who are pleading on behalf of the poor Irish, either here or on the other side of the water, are not promoting a continuance of almsgiving, or 147 H2r 147 the encouragement of a state of dependence on the rich: They are only pleading for the means of occupation for the poor by which they would be both able and willing to support themselves. Were spinning-wheels and flax put into the hands of the women—even by loan—they would provide themselves and their families with clothing, blankets, and all articles of covering, excepting a very few, that are requisite for their health and comfort. I have informed the committee that I am intending to go to Ireland; but have not entered into particulars as to my inducement to do so. They seem glad of the prospect of my having an opportunity to see and hear for myself, and for them. Now those who engage in this concern must reckon on the business of calm calculation, and not put the question of What means will be wanted? too promptly aside. It seems to me that without neglecting to reckon on the care of Government in the ensuing session on behalf of the Irish, there is still a wide field for individual and associated exertion of voluntary support to the Irish cause, that must be liberally considered, if any effectual good is to be done; and the good that would be done to society at large by the improvement of the Irish poor would soon, I am satisfied, be evidently felt. Limerick, 1823-01-271st mo. 27th, 1823. I feel earnestly desirous that party feeling may subside, and people become more alive to the acknowledgment of what is really good, even in those whose sentiments on some points may be much opposed to their own. The face of the H2 148 H2v 148 country in this province makes me feel sad: cabins and demesnes,—very few buildings of any other description, excepting in a small number of towns, and the long ranges of buildings appropriated to the destroyers of men. Since writing to — I have united with some of the friends of the peasantry here in preparing arrangements for two central committees; one for the city and liberties, and another for the county. The sufferings of the poor surpass what any had expected to witness; they had no idea of their extreme misery until they saw it for themselves in these visits. In one division, in which ninety-six families were visited, consisting of four hundred and fourteen persons, eighty-eight of these families were without even sufficient straw to form their bed,—no cases: sometimes seven persons on one small parcel of straw. In another division, fifty-four families, and in another, seventy-eight, without one sufficient portion of straw for a bed, in either district. I am informed that in the city of Cork there is already an evident effect from the visits of the ladies, in the poor being stimulated to cleanliness. This evening a letter was received informing me that on the day on which we left, forty-one poor people walked from Bantry to Cork, a distance of about twenty-four miles, and entered the city, led in by their parish-priest, for the purpose of requesting that I would convey their grateful thanks to the Ladies’ Society in London for the great comfort they have experienced in bed-clothes and wearing-apparel: these latter they were dressed in. It was very grateful to us, adds my correspondent, to see such a disposition prevalent, and 149 H3r 149 has induced us to hope that much benefit will arise to our poor disconsolate peasantry. M. U. is intending to try to form an association. She said she had witnessed with agony indescribable a state of distress among the peasantry which it was impossible for individuals, however inclined, effectually to relieve. Limerick, 1823-01-311st mo. 31st, 1823. I cannot be prevented, either by the unremitting kindness of those around me, or the affectionate courtesy of strangers, from feeling, night and day, that the poor of Ireland are in misery. It is early to address to thee a second letter, when my first has scarcely reached London; but since writing that latter I have witnessed scenes that have harrowed every feeling of my heart. It is impossible to convey by any description the just idea of the wretchedness that exists among the people in the old parts of this city. It can only be known by going into their dwellings, and seeing it with our own eyes; and having seen and felt with the sufferers, I could not, without violating the claims of humanity, and the sacred sense of individual duty, forbear attempting in some degree to convey the feeling. It is really dreadful that the sufferings of one class of human beings should have been so little known to others of the same nation, and even subjects of the same empire. Were it not that they show a feeling for each other, which presents an example to the rest of the world, many of them must have died for want. In one room that contained three families it was declared by each that as long as one of them had a potatoe for themselves they never suffered the 150 H3v 150 other to fast for want of one: that house consisted of six rooms; most of them contained two or three families. In one room, of three families, there were thirteen persons; three miserable nests of straw, either of them unfit for the lodging of an animal, formed their places of retirement,—if retirement it could be called, where mixed families of men, women, and children were thus enclosed in the same apartment. Yet human intelligence, although thus borne down, is not destroyed; and an anxiety for the instruction and improvement of their poor little ones yet lives amongst them: nearly naked, they are yet sent to schools; and I feel convinced that multitudes of these, both parents and children, if they could be brought into such a situation as the common claims of humanity demand, would evince qualities of mind and disposition that would render them capable of contributing their humble but valuable portion to the general advantage of society. But the mind calls for cultivation, as well as the outward circumstances for aid. I had the satisfaction to accompany the Countess of Clare and her daughter on 4th day, in visiting some of the cabins. In going into those where the people had partaken largely of the kindness and liberality of the Countess, and of her son and daughter, it was cheering to see the industry, cleanliness, and comfort that could be found in a cabin; and I felt as though a sensible load were taken off my mind in witnessing their comparative state of prosperity and enjoyment, healthful labour, good schools, and good books. It should be added, that this was not effected without liberal gifts, in the outset, of beds, &c., and a superior manner of 151 H4r 151 building the cabins, such as the poor people themselves (who are mostly left to build as they can) could not have effected; this example, therefore, is not likely to be followed, except it be by a few liberal-minded persons; and if the poor were to wait until such examples should be general, their case, it is feared, would be hopeless. J. M. H. goes with me to Dromoland, if nothing prevent, on 3rd day; 4th and 5th are to be spent in visiting the cabins, 6th the country- committee meet, and on the 7th I return to Limerick. A visit to Tuam is under consideration; we shall probably proceed to the school, which you have heard of as so greatly successful in Roscommon;—also to Edgworth-town. I feel, in all I see, a fresh and confirming conviction that no dwelling of the poor should be without the kind notice of visitors; and that much of misery and crime would be prevented, were the system of friendly and judicious visiting to become general. I do not know what other measure can bring the real state of the people so fully into notice, and lead to so clear a knowledge of the causes of distress: we speak not as having attained, but as earnestly desiring to learn what is right, and to pursue it, aided by the Infinite Power from whom every truly good word and work proceeds. May I hope to hear from thee soon in reply to this and my last. Do not conclude that I am becoming insensible to the enjoyments of friendship in looking on the darker side of things. There is yet a grateful feeling that the Most High reigns, and will bring forward His own designs through all; and here is our anchor. 152 H4v 152 Limerick, 1823-02-282nd mo. 28th. * * * gave an extract of a letter, which I will send as a specimen of the feeling of the Irish peasantry, without considering what may be the appearance in regard to myself. I can, I think, lose sight of myself, in the remembrance of the poor of Ireland, and disregard either the publicity or obscurity of my own station, if their cause may but be promoted. Extract:—I must not forget to tell you that the poor people in the mountain-district about Scariff were so impressed with a sense of Mrs. Kilham’s goodness in coming over that they were making collections of fowls and eggs to take a present to her; and many of them would have gone to Ennis in the snow to see her, but that the ladies prevented them. Who shall say they are an ungrateful people! May those who have the power not be surpassed by the peasantry of Ireland in generous feeling and liberal action. I fully unite in thy view of doing what you can now, rather than wait to learn what you will be able to do in future. Duty calls to present exertion. Many of the younger children look faint and poorly; those whose constitutions have gained more strength, and who were in their infancy better supported, look more healthy. It is consoling to know that the attention of those in power is so much engaged on behalf of Ireland, and likely to be during the present session of parliament; but a greater consolation than even this is the belief that the Most High will cause the light of Christian truth to arise more fully, and its influence to be felt on the minds of the 153 H5r 153 people. The bonds which have fettered many cannot, indeed, be expected to be broken in a day; but my hope is, that in due season the influence of Christian principle will be more prevalent in this land, and that the attachment of many to shadowy forms may be diminished. But this will not, I apprehend, be effected through any violent opposition, even to the prejudices of the people; but by the silent influence of the Spirit of Truth, its operation on the minds of the people, and the instrumentality of Scriptural instruction to the younger part of the community, and in many instances, also, among other classes. The way has not, I think, appeared open for me to go northward, either to Tuam or Roscommon. I expect to be at Clonmell on the 1823-03-1212th of next mo., Waterford 1823-03-2121st, and Mountmellick 1823-03-2828th. Dublin, 1823-04-184th mo. 18th, 1823. As we rode from Mountmellick to Abbeyleix, my attention was so arrested by one particular cottage on the bog-lands that we stopped to go into it. The bog sunk under our feet as we trod along to the hut; we had to stoop to enter, and still in the cabin the ground was nearly as damp and yielding. Many small openings in the roof must have admitted both rain and sun, and increased the constant dampness of this miserable spot. A poor young mother, with three children beside her, was sitting, bent with sickness, after a confinement of eight weeks, from which she was not recovered. This cabin was the abode of eight human beings,—an aged father, mother, sister, and the family I have mentioned. It was a grief to see them thus herded in a place which was H5 154 H5v 154 not, indeed, a fit shelter for half the number of cattle. We are informed to-day, by letter, that the young ladies of Portarlington who have been accustomed only to the ample abodes of their relations and friends, are greatly astonished to find their fellow-creatures, whom they have now begun to visit, in a state so wretched,—worse fed and lodged than their own dogs and horses. Ah! let this system of visiting the poor, of visiting them all, even the very lowest, be brought fully into action, and it will not be possible for so much misery to be continued! Let us be thankful to Him who has opened the way for such an engagement in this land! let nothing divert our purpose from the object with which we set out,—an arrangement for bringing the state of the poor into view by visiting them in their own dwellings, and by kind advice and friendly aid to enable them to become the agents of their own improvement. Limerick, 1823-03-183rd mo. 16th. Praise and adoration be to Thee! O Thou most mighty and most merciful! Thy goodness has been near, to support through some of the darkest and most trying seasons of my life, and Thou hast caused Thy light to enlighten the darkness, and Thy love to support in the closest trials. Let it never be forgotten that when all around appeared only to present scenes of dismay, my spirit was still favoured to feel Thy consoling presence near, and the language perceptibly sounded to the spiritual ear, Be not dismayed, I am the Lord. This assurance has been my hope, and my shield, and everything I have seen among rich or poor combines155 H6r 155 bines to confirm the conviction that it is only in the prevalence of His reign that the earth can rejoice, and that every degree of departure from Him tends to desolation and unhappiness. Much is due from those who have been favoured to know the truth, and to feel that the Lord is good. Oh! that these may be true to their principles, and diligent in promoting the welfare of mankind, by any means permitted them. Human imperfection cleaves to almost everything we see in the world, in engagements professedly benevolent as well as in other concerns, and it is highly needful that we attend to the beneficent injunction of the merciful Redeemer, and not tear away with unauthorized hand the tares out of the ground, lest in so doing we pull up the wheat also; yet purity of motive and of aim in all that we do is greatly to be longed for, and especially as it regards our own well-being. He who searcheth the heart can only accept that which is done unto Him, and in His love. Children want guiding in some degree even in searching the Scriptures; and I have felt satisfied to present subjects of importance before them, and afterwards, by either asking the questions in regular succession or promiscuously, to observe how far they appear capable of understanding and applying what they have learned. I do not know a more interesting engagement than that of thus seeking to draw the suceptible minds of the dear children to the most interesting of all subjects, and I do earnestly desire and hope that we shall not, in our pursuit of the general education of the poor, forget that the great object of education is to direct the mind to those 156 H6v 156 principles of general Christianity which are unfolded in the Scriptures, and the reception of which, through the Divine influence, will make the world wise and happy, beyond all human knowledge, or human power. There is much in this land to call forth the feeling of deep interest and concern, not for the poor alone, but for other classes of society who have experienced in the last few years a visitation which has not been without its effects in shaking the confidence of the people in those temporal gratifications, which have been found utterly incapable of conveying true enjoyment. The immortal soul thirsts for something corresponding with its own nature, and all material accommodations that perish with the using, if relied on for the support of happiness, even in the present life, yield only disappointment. Oh! that Christians may be more and more willing to yield themselves to the influence of that love which longs for the happiness of man, and would willingly yield to required duty, with whatever sacrifice it may be accompanied, if only they be instrumental in diminishing the sufferings of others, or in advancing their happiness! At present there are numbers, beyond what can easily be estimated, who are supporting the very lowest state of existence by means so precarious that it would be difficult to conceive how life is maintained from day to day, were it not a well- known fact that the peasantry of Ireland will not suffer a poor neighbour, or even a stranger, to starve, as long as they have even a single meal of potatoes wherewith to feed themselves. There is a generous, grateful, and affectionate feeling in 157 H7r 157 this people, an intelligence and susceptibility of improvement, that makes one long to see them placed in more favourable circumstances; yet I am far from believing that outward circumstances alone, though ever so favourable for the removal of present suffering, would be all that they want to make them happy. Evils of another kind would be substituted for those of misery and want, if the cultivation of good principles and habits did not accompany a change of outward circumstances. To those who desire the real welfare of their fellow- creatures it would afford but a melancholy prospect to have the poison of whiskey substituted for the sorrows of want. It appears very evident that in the south and west of Ireland there is quite as strong a call for the labours of a society for raising human beings into a state to provide themselves with the accommodations of civilized life as there can be in Africa, or the wilds of America; and in some respects the claim may be regarded as stronger, since there is here no open counry in which the people may either gain their living by hunting, or cultivating the land before them. The land is occupied by the people who would gladly work, on even the lowest terms on which life could be supported, and who, having their application for employment rejected, are on the verge of despair. It is, indeed, wonderful, after what they have of late been suffering from year to year, that hope has lived so long. There are two sources of amelioration that appear to me to be greatly wanted at the resent moment:—the one is, a comprehensive arrangement for occupying the peasantry of these districts, in their present situation, with 158 H7v 158 spinning and weaving; and the second, which has greatly occupied my mind, is, a colony, somewhat on the plan of the one in the north of Holland. One on principles yet more simple than even that establishment, might, I apprehend, be formed with ease, in a district of this country, and while it might be made to pay the interest of the capital advanced, might furnish every family in the establishment with the means of comparative prosperity, and healthful occupation. Limerick, 1823-02-282nd mo. 28th. I believe it will be seen more and more clearly that the prosperity of a whole nation must ever be greatly dependent on the welfare of the labouring class. The prosperity of the manufacturer, or merchant, must rise or fall with the demand for the productions of the labourer, and so must it be also with the proprietors of land. But how will the most extensive and permanent demand be created? Will it not be by the labouring-classes being themselves in a state above wretchedness and want, a state in which this extensive portion of the community partake, in a healthful and reasonable degree, of the productions of industry, and thus cause an ample and steady demand, with regard to both trade and agriculture. These observations are far from being new to many who have been accustomed to reflect, and to acknowledge that we are children of the same Almighty Parent. People have indulged themselves in the vain plea that luxury is good for society,—that it furnishes employment for the poor, and promotes their prosperity. Yet let it be fairly considered whether we may not, in renouncing many superfluous159 H8r 159 fluous appendages to a state of competency, which serve no better purpose than to indulge a love of display, and mere selfish gratification,—whether we may not in renouncing these, obtain an increase of power, and come forward to the help of suffering humanity, by promoting the advancement of the poor from a state of misery and degradation, and thus furnishing ample resources for their employment, unaccompanied by the train of evils that ever have been, and ever must be attendant on habits of luxury. The unfeeling neglect which luxurious habits have a natural tendency to induce, the hard exactions which luxury demands to supply its own claims, will narrow up the mind in providing for selfish indulgences, whilst the reasonable claims of the labourer, who toils for the supply of these demands are too often slighted, as if unworthy the trouble of thought, or of calculation. What I have seen and felt in this country has greatly confirmed my attachment to the solid and salutary principles of our Christian profession. I am deeply convinced that what the world wants for its recovery from the miseries with which it has been afflicted is the prevalence of Christian principles and Christian practice:—the truth, the sincerity, the moderation, the peace, benevolence and love which the Redeemer of the world would lead his people into, were the precious influences of His Spirit but suffered to have their full ascendency in our minds, and His government to prevail. 1823-04-034th mo. 3rd. I left Limerick about three weeks ago, accompanied by a friend. At different towns we met committees. The first was at Tipperary, where we staid a day with —, a 160 H8v 160 medical man of benevolent and estimable principles. We had interesting conversation with him on the subject of religious instruction in schools, without sectarianism or proselytism. He is very solicitous for right care in education, and to avoid injudicious proceedings from parties. He wishes much that my two little books of Scripture Selections and Questions may obtain the approbation of the Roman Catholic clergy, as a book of religious instruction for the Free-schools. I have had conversation with the Roman Catholic bishops of Limerick and Clare on the subject of the education of the poor, to satisfaction. Lady O’Brien proposed to me to present the bishop of Clare with the Scripture Selections, which I did, and he has expressed his full approbation of them. The bishop of Limerick, on looking over them, said they appeared to him to be just what was wanted for the public schools. In a neighbouring village some young persons had shown to the priest these books, and he had approved their introduction into a new school of Roman Catholic children. If the people here can be induced to adopt a system of religious instruction from the Scriptures, and not insist upon their own peculiar catechisms,— either Protestant or Catholic,—but leave these for the different classes of teachers at other times and elsewhere, a very important point will be gained. A letter has lately been received from Dr. Chalmers on the present associations in Ireland, which he thinks likely to do good, yet he dwells on the localizing system, or thorough cultivation of one small district. This plan I think admirable in itself, yet it wants also the organization of a more extensive scheme to have its benefits widely 161 H9r 161 diffused. The minds of people in England, Scotland, and Ireland are so much awake to the subject of the best means of improvement for the people at large, that I trust the truth will eventually be more fully known and pursued. I believe that even the collision of sentiment will be the means of eliciting truth, if only people will be patient with each other, and pursue their important object in the spirit of solid and thoughtful enquiry, and not in the pharisaical feeling which trusts in itself and despises others. In the various committees we visited we expressed our sentiments on the importance of a right direction of benevolence in inciting the poor to become the agents of their own improvement, and for this purpose to put them in the way of employment. I can fully accord with the idea that the influence of circumstances on the conduct and character of individuals ought to be a strong inducement to all who have power to render the circumstances of both children and others as favourable for the cultivation of good feeling and good conduct as possible; yet man is a free agent still, and in a certain degree must be the former of his own character, so far as that can be done by yielding the mind to the influence of that which is good, or neglecting or resisting it. Were the state of the poor more generally inquired into, and their disadvantages from lack of real Christian instruction in early life considered and deeply felt, many things would be remedied by greater care. There is a serious responsibility attached to those who will not feel but for themselves, or who shrink from going into the wilderness 162 H9v 162 after that which is in danger of being lost. How precious is the example of our Redeemer in His pity towards the publicans and sinners, and in His will to heal all manner of sicknesses and all manner of diseases.
On her return from Ireland, Hannah Kilham presented a report to the Committee of the British and Irish Ladies’ Society, from which the following is extracted:—In acknowledging your kind proposal that I should convey, in writing, some account of my late visit to the south and west of Ireland, I feel aware that I am solely indebted to your candour and indulgence, in so far uniting with a proceeding merely voluntary; and which had nothing official in its character, by which it might be recommended to your notice. Having earnestly desired the opportunity of forming a judgment of the state of the Irish peasantry from actual observation, and well assured that my friends, in Ireland, would kindly aid my inquiries, on a subject on which they had (I knew) felt long and deeply interested, I concluded to pass a few months of the winter in and near the province of Munster, and to visit some of the abodes of the peasantry, both in the cities, and in the more thinly-peopled districts. The time thus engaged was, from about the end of the year, until the 5th month, (May,) during which I visited parts of each of the counties in Munster, excepting Kerry, and a few places in Leinster. A little time was spent in Dublin, both on landing, and previous to my return to England. 163 H10r 163 In the city and county of Limerick; in the city of Waterford; in Mountmelick, Portarlington and Maryborough, I was kindly invited to unite in the formation of District or County Associations, from which reports of the regulations adopted have been conveyed to the Central Committee. In the city of Cork, and in the counties of Clare and Tipperary, I had the satisfaction of attending Committees already formed; and in several places had the opportunity of visiting the peasantry in their cabins, and in their miserable rooms in the old parts of cities. I do not conceive it possible for any language or picture of destitution to have conveyed to my mind the impressions received from the actual sight of the peasantry, as they at present exist. The wretched cabin, built by the hard-strained efforts of extreme poverty, is destitute of almost everything that could mark any attainment of civilized liffe. The yet more miserable room, in a lane of the city, each corner of which is, in many cases, occupied by a separate family, lodging four, five, or six together, on one mouldering portion of straw, insufficient for the nightly accommodation of a single animal, and with little or no covering, but the tattered garments of the day; here they breathe, night and day, a tainted sickly atmosphere, and in such abodes the frequent prevalence of fever is indeed no matter of surrise. Numbers of families of this description are supporting life, by means the most distressingly precarious; seeking employment, and earnestly soliciting it, at even the lowest rate, yet compelled to spend the chief portion of their time, however reluctantly, in idleness, and in consequent destitution and misery. 164 H10v 164 Yet, there is a feeling of generous kindness in the Irish peasant that shines and is beautiful amidst all the depressing circumstances with which he is surrounded. The peasant out of his poverty is the supporter of the destitute, so long as he has a single morsel to share with him; and thus it is that life has been preserved, and many kept from day to day from perishing for want. That employment is the great resource to be contemplated, for the improvement of the people, is generally acknowledged; and let it not be supposed that the attainment of this great object will be impossible, even though many difficulties may appear. Could the mothers of families be furnished with the means of putting their industry into action, how great is the demand for the occupation of that industry, in providing clothing for themselves and their now destitute families; and in the progress of supplying this demand, how many hands, in addition to their own, would soon be furnished with the benefits and advantages of occupation! It is in the consumption of the labouring classes, who form, as to numbers, the great mass of society, that the best resource must be found for the exercise of healthful and salutary industry. In proportion as these are brought into a state to support a regular demand for clothing, and for the simple accommodations of civilized life, the supply of this demand will necessarily induce that general action of industry and commerce which will convey riches and strength to every department of society. It is truly grateful to observe, that in the course of inquiries into the state of families visited by the Local Associations, as suggested by the 165 H11r 165 rules of the British and Irish Ladies’ Society, female education and the occupation of juvenile industry are likely to be much promoted wherever the Local Associations are formed. The existing Institutions for education will give much facility to the establishment of Schools, where they are found to be wanting; and there is no doubt that, when the peasantry can obtain a sufficiency of employment, they will gladly contribute their own part toward the support of the Schools. The kind solicitude with which the upper classes of society in Ireland, are directing their attention to the improvement and well-being of the peasantry; the communication opened with them by the visiting Committees, and the good effects already seen to result from this communication, give ground to hope for great good from the Associations, if supported, as we cannot doubt that they will be. The different classes of professing Christians uniting together, in the prosecution of a widely-extended work of benevolence, in which all are interested, will become better known to each other, and disposed to acknowledge and to meet with that which is good in all. Although the grants conveyed to this Society, in its present early stage, have been generous and liberal, yet the object of the Institution is too comprehensive to be carried into full effect, without continued and powerful aid from the British public, in conjunction with the efforts of your correspondents in Ireland to obtain local funds. Unless means can be provided for furnishing general occupation to the mothers of families, the office of visitor will be a very painful engagement. It is well known that the Associations do not offer 166 H11v 166 gratuitous assistance, and all that the poor women solicit from the Committees is employment. The great deficiency is the want of wheels, and a little flax or wool to begin the occupation of each; could these be provided for all, there are resources for employment to an undefined extent, in the demand for linen yarn of a common quality, which the female peasantry would gladly supply, although on terms so low as not usually to afford more than twopence a day in payment. The manufacture of coarse clothing, into which some of the associations have entered, will also furnish another valuable source of occupation. I have remarked on the present miserable form of the cabins as attributable to the extreme poverty of the tenants by whom they are built; and the peasantry being accustomed to this wretched kind of dwelling has, no doubt, a great influence on their general habits. On some estates the tenants are assisted in building their cabins by gifts of timber from the landlord, which, though easily given by the proprietor from his estate, afford material assistance to the poor tenant. I was informed of a number of people in some of the mountain districts, whom I had not the opportunity to visit, who, driven from their little holdings by inability to pay the rent, had cast very slight huts on the uncultivated ground, and were living there in great misery. The object in resorting such stations is to recover a piece of land for the cultivation of potatoes, and to dwell in these places, as they are allowed to do for a without the payment of rent. The forlorn state of the habitations thus described could not, I think, surpass that of some I saw on the bog- 167 H12r 167 lands. In one which I entered the bog sunk under my feet even within the dwelling, as well as on the way to it from the open road. On a single stone in this hut was laid a small turf fire, over which sat, bent with weakness, a sickly female who had been confined eight weeks before, and who was not yet recovered. Her infant was near, which, with two other children, an aged father, mother, and sister, formed a family of eight in this one miserable room, and in times of rain and snow the water was draining upon them in many courses through the roof. My heart sunk within me to see human nature in such a state of pitiable suffering and degradation; and I was only consoled in the belief that some generous measures for the effectual relief and improvement of the state of the peasantry would certainly be adopted, and that a state so wretched, so unworthy of civilized society, would not much longer continue to exist in the British Empire. May our hope and trust be directed to the great Parent of the Universe, and in acknowledging the claims of the lowest, as children of the same family, may the deep responsibility be felt which attaches to every situation in which power is given to help and serve one another. In the retrospect of my late visit, I feel thankful to Divine Goodness in permitting what was felt to be so greatly desirable. An interest toward Ireland, long alive in my mind, is now more deeply fixed than ever, and will not, I believe, be effaced by time or distance. The affectionate courtesy of every class in society towards one who was hitherto a stranger among them will still live in my grateful remembrance. 168 H12v 168
Of the permanent results of the labours of the committee in which Hannah Kilham took so active a share it would be difficult to say much. The miseries and the wants of Ireland are not even yet fully before the view of the British public; and some of the hints which the above-cited correspondence contains refer to measures which present experience proves to be highly useful.
Her first voyage to Africa—Arrival at Bathurst— Engagements whilst there, and at Birkow.
The preceding pages show the gradual growth in the mind of Hannah Kilham of that deep interest on behalf of the people of Africa, and more especially the children at Sierra-Leone, which was attended with the conviction that it was an individual duty to devote herself to their improvement.
Two native Africans, one a Jaloof, the other a Mandingo, but both speaking the Jaloof language, had been taken under care originally with a view of acquiring from them a familiar knowledge of their language. During their residence in this country much pains had been taken to instruct them in the truths of the Christian religion, and qualify them for teaching others; but it was thought that neither the lessons prepared in the native languages nor the use of them would prove of much avail without European superintendence:—the conclusion on the part of the committee who associated to promote Hannah Kilham’s concern grew out of these efforts, and the part she undertook in directing the settlement on the coast of Africa did not originate with herself. Her own primary concern was the reducing of the native languages to writing, and making them the medium of communicating with the people, whilst the committee were I 170 I1v 170 anxious, in addition, to promote school-instruction and a knowledge of agriculture.
The little company of settlers, consisting of Hannah Kilham, Richard Smith, John Thompson, and his sister, Ann Thompson, and the two natives, embarked at Gravesend, on board the James, bound for St. Mary’s, in the Gambia, on 1823-10-2626th of 10th mo., 1823.
Great pains had been taken to supply all their wants, and to make arrangements for the prosecution of the undertaking, and the work was entered upon very favourable circumstances, and with a fair prospect of success; but, in the ordering of Divine Providence, all was frustrated by the death of Richard Smith, upon whom the care of the concern devolved on Hannah Kilham’s return to England in 18241824.
We now return to her own journal:—London, 1823-05-195th mo. 19th, 1823. There has been a meeting of the African Instruction Committee, to take into consideration the applications of such friends as have offered themselves to go out in the autumn with Sandanee, Mahmadee, and myself, and to conclude on some other subjects connected with preparations for the engagement. A letter has been received from the governor of St. Mary’s, (to which station we are intending to proceed,) kindly expressing his desire to see the cause prosper, and his disposition to afford every assistance that can be wanted from his influence. 1823-09-169th mo. 16th. General M‘Carthy has appropriated a house for our reception, which government have built, but not yet put into use. We are 171 I2r 171 to have it until we can fix our own plans. It is at Birkow, and it is offered free of expense, except keeping it in repair, and with the promise that it shall not be withdrawn, without such notice as shall prevent inconvenience. This kind offer has opened our way so as to call for thankfulness. When we received this intelligence we could not but be impressed with the feeling that Infinite Goodness was graciously shining on our path, and going before us. Ah! how consoling is this feeling! May we dwell under the sense of it, and our eye be to Him from day to day, in whom are all the springs of our hope, and of every enjoyment of which our immortal nature thirsts to partake. Our present position in preparing for a great undertaking is very serious, but not sad. An anchor is felt, and an assurance that in Him who reigns over all is everlasting strength. Our company will consist of Richard Smith, a sincere, solid, active, persevering, and disinterested man. He goes at his own expense, having a small independent property. J. and A. Thompson, with whom I am much pleased, Sandanee, Mahmadee, The two young men from whom she had been learning the languages. and myself. Gravesend, 1823-10-2525th of 10th mo. Last evening we had a sweet and solemn parting with our beloved friends in London, and are now waiting for the vessel which is expected to be here in a few hours. Several friends are with us, and we have been again favoured to feel the evidence of heavenly goodness, affording a consoling hope, that His presence will be near to guide in this arduous undertaking: this I2 172 I2v 172 evidence still rests with me, and is as a light to our path. Let the will of the Most High be done, and may all we have, and all we love, be resigned to His all-wise and beneficent disposal. A few days since I had a conversation with Major Grant, late governor of the island of St. Mary’s; he has kindly given us a letter of introduction to the governor, requesting him to recommend us to the Alcaide of Birkow. One of our ship’s company understands Mandingo, and, if we are enabled to surmount the sea-sicknes, we propose to pursue the study of both Jaloof amd Mandingo. The vessel is arrived, and the captain intends to go down the river with the afternoon’s tide. Every preparation has been made for us, that our friends could think of. We went in the evening on board the ship, which lay at anchor, and waiting for the ride. As we sat down together in the cabin we were again mercifully favoured with such an overshadowing sense of heavenly love and goodness, that I could not well forbear expressing the sense I then felt, that, although the waves of the sea are mighty, the Lord God who dwelleth on high is mightier. Our beloved friends, R. F. and A. S. left us, and after we had watched them for a time sailing towards the shore, we retired to our cabins. It was comforting to have had these dear friends with us. I think we had been consoled together in the feeling with which it had pleased Divine goodness to favour us, and believing our separration was in His will, we parted peacefully. The next morning being first day we held our little meeting together, and were permitted to feel that we were not forsaken. I informed the captain that it was our 173 I3r 173 usual practice to read the Scriptures after breakfast, and, if he did not object, we wished to continue to do so. He freely consented, and the other passengers remained with us. We came next morning opposite Deal. While we remained at anchor there the wind arose and blew strong, yet it being favourable, we again set sail. For two days the gale increased. During the night of the 1823-10-3131st the wind rose higher and higher, and, in the morning, a truly awful scene presented, but which I could only know by report, being too weak to go on deck. The waves broke over the vessel, and it seemed every moment ready to go to the bottom. I had, during the awful suspense of the preceding day, been led into close searchings of heart; yet, through all the consciousness of human imperfection, and, though very humblingly sensible of my own, I could not find ground to conclude, that I had been misled in this concern, either as to the cause itself or the step I had now taken in it, although fear as to the possibility of too prompt conclusions on what I had felt, would still at times present itself. I cannot say that hope of our eventual deliverance from this storm was ever quite withdrawn, and I could not but believe that should we even be taken away at this time, the cause itself in which we had embarked would still be carried on by other agents. This day, the 1823-11-011st of 11th mo. was indeed awful; the vessel pitching so much that the pumps could not be used; the gales of wind tremendous and unremitting; the waves dashing so over the deck that many of the live stock were killed, and no hope remaining that the ship could continue very long afloat, unless we might be favoured with some 174 I3v 174 intermission or variation of wind. I was led to breathe the language of supplication; that, if consistent with the Divine will, some abatement of this distress might be known, and a degree of balmy feeling came over my spirit, with desire that submission might be felt in al things. Life appeared to hang on a slender thread, and the continuance of it very uncertain; yet still hope seemed to live, and a secret belief to be given that the present dispensation was tending to deepen a feeling which it was necessary to my best nature should be deepened. Yet was my spirit deeply humbled before the Most High, and sensible of much unworthiness in His sight. On the 1823-11-022nd of 11th mo. the wind changed about half-past two o’clock A. M., and before daylight it was discovered we were near the French coast, and within view of the bay of Harfleur. Had the wind not changed, there was every probability of our being drifted upon the rocks of that coast. Let thankfulness ever dwell in our hearts for this seasonable and merciful deliverance. In the course of the day the appearance became altogether more favourable, and much relief was felt. Our little company did not meet together for worship till evening, when I was still confined to my berth. J. T. read the Bible to us, and we had a season of silence that felt grateful and refreshing. The Scriptures that evening and on other seasons since our embarking, have felt remarkably sweet and precious, and I have felt sensibly that the subjects of which they speak are not cunningly devised fables, but solid and consoling realities. On the 1823-11-055th we were permitted to arrive safely in the Isle of Wight, and it was indeed grateful to 175 I4r 175 us to have this little season for rest and refreshment. 1823-11-1010th. Our little company met this morning, and through unmerited mercy were favoured to feel the weight of a solemn covering, evidencing, beyond a doubt, the gracious care of Divine goodness to be humblingly yet consolingly near, and something like the heart-appeasing language imparted, Fear not, I am with thee. And, in this hope and sustaining assurance, may we not again freely commit ourselves to our floating abode on the great deep, and look forward to the coast of Africa, not trusting in ourselves, but in Him who gave himself for the lost, and in and through whom life and immortality are brought to light. We have, indeed, cause humbly and thankfully to adore that goodness which has mercifully preserved us to the present moment, yet, may we dwell in fear and reverence before Him, feeling awfully how very near we have appeared to be to the verge of departure from this world, and how little we can justly depend on the time of our continuance in it, or with respect to its concerns, over which no human being can obtain for himself anything that can be called an unconditional controul. Oh! may the feeling of our dependence on the Most High, and of our responsibility before Him be deepened, by whatever means He may be pleased to appoint, and all shall eventually be found to have worked together, through His appointment, for good. The wind is now fair, and it is concluded to depart. The sky is cloudy, and the mate expects a windy night. 1823-11-1717th. When at Cowes, and yet more since, I 176I4v176 have been impressed with a sense of the importance of endeavouring diligently to promote the best welfare of seamen, and of what importance is it, that the influence they carry with them to distant parts should be of the right kind, and how great has been the lack of this influence among those in this way of life! This voyage has introduced me into a view of a state of society of which I could hardly otherwise have formed an idea, and has given me deeply to feel how much we are in need of home missions. I have not yet seen Africa; but assuredly there is, in professing Christendom, a melancholy lack of that subjection to the controul of Christian principle and feeling, which forms the beauty of society, where that controul is known and yielded to, and with all the errors that are seen in some of high profession, and much adherence to the outward forms of worship and peculiar creeds, there is yet a foundation in many of these, from which there is much to hope, and to which I cannot but turn, in solicitous expectation, in looking forward to the advancement of good both in England and Ireland, for both countries are much in my thoughts. How desirable that wherever we are, in one country or another, the first object of our care should be to keep watch over the state of our own minds! In addition to the work of uniting with my friends in forming town and village libraries, there is another object near my heart; the increase of good schools for the middle classes, particularly female schools. I want to propose to my friends to form an establishment for training female teachers, and forming Friends’ day-schools to be open to all classes, in every part of England, where such schools 177 I5r 177 can be formed, and to have a central model-school near London, for promoting this interesting object. I am well assured that good day-schools conducted by conscientious Friends, and open to all classes, would be both acceptable to the public, and greatly useful to the rising generation. I long to see a colony in Ireland for the improvement of the peasantry; and do trust that some Friends, who unite in principle and feeling, will form such a colony, and show what may be done for the people by generous and judicious measures, by a free advance of capital to return itself in due time, or to pay suitable interest; and by mild regulations, for the instruction and government of the colony, and the education of their children. I trust we shall be permitted to see this before long. 1823-11-3030th. Obedience, obedience, entire dedication, this is what I desire may be the pursuit of my life, without choosing my own path, or seeking to avoid what is difficult and opposed to my nature. 1823-12-0712th mo. 7th. What I feel most desirable is the habit of daily mental self-denial, and the prevalence of that inward and outward order which must be the result of a constant attention to duty. I am now, through Divine favour, making a peaceful approach to the shores of Africa. I have been seldom quite free from sea-sickness, so far as to be able to sit up long together, but hope soon to recruit. 1823-12-088th. Early this morning we were permitted to anchor off Bathurst. The captain and all the passengers except our company, went on shore before breakfast. A precious sense of Divine favour and goodness covered my mind, and a consoling belief that our coming here would, through I5 178 I5v 178 His merciful care and guidance, be for good. The first person I saw from the island was my kind friend, A. Partarieu, Merchants at St. Mary’s, with whom H. K. had become acquainted in England. who came on board when he heard of our arrival, and with him I entered into conversation respecting our Waloof translations. Very soon W. Waterman came to take us on shore, and, to our great satisfaction, conducted us to an empty house, which we were to occupy until we could go to Birkow. We all felt much at home on entering this house, and, as our furniture could not be landed at present, the kindness of several provided what was requisite in the meantime. Several British residents visited us in the course of the day. I felt unwilling to let the day pass without seeing the commandant of the island, to whom we had a letter from his predecessor, Major Grant. J. Horton, the chaplain, accompanied us. We went along the beach, and, though the heat was considerable, we found a refreshing breeze. I felt truly glad to tread the African shore, and was never, I think, more sensible of being at home at any place than now in this. The countenances of many of the natives whom we see about, appear interesting and intelligent, and bespeak a mental soil that would well repay a friendly and liberal cultivation. I do not think that any full and sufficient trial has yet been given to a body of Africans, to enable Europeans to judge of the extent of their qualifications and ability for usefulness; and I cannot doubt from what is already seen and known, but that they are as susceptible of improvement as the people of other countries, had they fair and just 179 I6r 179 measures afforded to them from other classes of mankind. The Commandant received us courteously, and proposed to introduce us to the Alcaide, after the departure of two vessels about to sail. 1823-12-1313th. To-day I felt sufficiently strong to visit Birkow, and the Commandant kindly went with us. After a sail across the creek, and about half-an- hour’s slow walk, we reached the house. It is beautifully situated; with a fine open view on one side to the sea, and on the other to the town and its vicinity. We found abundance of room for three separate schools; for, boys, girls, and young children. Thankfulness ascended as I looked around me, and I could not but say, that if we had had any unbelief or misgivings, we might now, indeed, be ashamed of them. A. T. feelingly acknowledged, that, if we had already prepared a place for ourselves, we could not have desired to have one better adapted to our purpose. Yesterday Dongo Karry, who is learning to read English, came to pay us a visit, wishing to hear something read in his own language. I read to him a few sentences. On hearing the first, he exclaimed, Ah! that’s Jaloof; and so repeatedly, evidently understanding them. A short narrative was then read, which pleased him very much; and he repeated several sentences in this and other narratives which were read, and by his actions and expressions evidently understood them. Afterwards I read to him the first section of the Scripture lessons, when he exclaimed, Great and good, great and good! 1823-12-1717th. It is now nine days since our arrival at this port, and three since our visit to the Cape, the 180I6v180 proposed place of our settlement. Our visit I have noticed, but not further than our introduction to the station, and the satisfaction we felt on seeing that, both for habitation and school, things were quite prepared to our hands; yet there is one serious disadvantage which we must endeavour soon to provide for, and that is the want of water; the wells being on the opposite side of the town. When we were there a number of the natives collected about us, only one of whom could speak English—a man of lively countenance, who expressed a wish to improve in the language, and to learn to write. He resides with the Alcaide, and sometimes interprets for him. We were told that the Alcaide was gone to King’s-town to attend a court there. He is spoken of as a thoughtful respectable man, and his influence I have no doubt is felt in the town. We were told that all the children were taught Arabic, but fear the account is exaggerated. Many of the little ones, and even those who appeared to be about seven or eight years of age, were introduced without clothing, and some of the elder people wore very little: this caused difficulty in going among them; yet we had opportunity to observe, that many of the children had pleasing countenances, and I longed to begin a school among them. Great care will be requisite in keeping to suitable subjects of instruction, such as Scripture lessons, natural history, geography, anecdotes of exemplary children, and some narratives of good and useful characters, also with advices which they can easily understand. I am well aware that arduous duties are before me, and that difficulties on the right hand and on the left must be encountered; but the state of the people calls 181 I7r 181 for help. The inexperience of our two native teachers will often be an exercise for our patience, and oh! that we may be endued with this grace from time to time as it shall be called for. We shall meet with many difficulties, but we must, under all circumstances, consider only what appears to be the path of duty, and quietly endeavour to repose on the goodness of the Most High for protection from injury, as far as he shall be pleased to extend it to us. Dongo Karry will soon learn to read the Jaloof; if he could become instrumental in teaching it, and receive a recompense in proportion to the number and improvement of his pupils, it might prove a blessing to his country. 1823-12-1414th. We sat down together in meeting. I felt it as I have often done, a favour to be introduced into a state of silent self-examination in the presence of the Most High, and a secret desire was raised in my heart, that in our new and untried situation, all feelings that have their spring in self might be rightly subjected and controlled; and kindness and good-will prevail in my heart towards all around. In the afternoon several of the natives came to sit down with us. They wished to be informed when we would have a meeting with them. I replied, that we were not at present prepared for a meeting, but if some of them wished to come to have a little talk with us, we should be pleased to see them. About fourteen came, and sat down in great quietness. Sandanee and I read to them from the Waloof lessons: they appeared to understand, but only one could speak a little English. In the early part of the afternoon, J. Horton, the 182 I7v 182 chaplain, paid us a visit, and entered feelingly into conversation on the state of the people. He says, his present situation is discouraging on account of the little hope of usefulness, so long as the gross lives of the Europeans are witnessed by the natives in opposition to the Christian doctrine and profession. He says also, that many of them suffer for want of their attention being more turned to agriculture, and he would be glad to see something done for them in this respect, if it were only the loan of agricultural implements, to be left in the care of some individual of responsibility, who would lend them out, or sell them at an easy rate. I do trust something of this kind will be provided by our Friends at home ere long. 1823-12-1818th. This morning a strong Harmatan wind has arisen, so that on one side of the house we are obliged to keep the doors and windows closed, and indeed they cannot be opened without a strong effort. This is the first time we have experienced these winds. The weather, after the first day of our being here, has been uncommonly warm for the season, which is mostly considered as the coldest time of the year. J. Horton, when with us, spoke with much regret of the mortality of the British seamen on the African coast, which he thought was often attributable to their working too hard in this hot climate, and then being obliged to continue work, even when their strength was failing from fever; as they were often not brought into the hospital until they were in a very sad state, when there was little prospect of any help being effectual. They often labour at a very heavy and unhealthy employment, even during the rainy season, in bringing wood 183 I8r 183 from a distance from which a bad exhalation arises, the timber being saturated with wet and mud. This work the Kroomen would do for very trifling wages, and they are strong. I inquired whether a general charge from the governor to the captains of vessels might not prevent this suffering in a great degree, by freeing them from work during the hours of extreme heat, and that early care should be taken in conveying the sick to the hospital. J. H. thought that nothing short of the direction of the Secretary for the Colonial Department would answer the purpose. It should not be lost sight of. It is certain a great number of seamen lose their lives, both here and at Sierra-Leone; indeed, the larger proportion of the Europeans who die at these stations is of this occupation. I long to see the people here put in the way of forming better dwellings. Many of the Irish cabins, despised as the name of an Irish cabin is, by those who remember it only as associated with some of the worst; yet many of the poorer Irish cabins I have seen are like little palaces in comparison with some of these African huts. Since leaving home my mind has been, I think, more sensibly impressed than ever with a sense of the inestimable value to mankind of what are designated in the Scriptures as the fruits of the Spirit. Oh! that these might be evinced more and more among professors of Christianity: the truth would then soon make rapid way in those called heathen lands; where, indeed, much darkness dwells, and much that calls for Christian sympathy and self-denying labour. We ought ever to keep in view, that we are not our own—not our own masters to choose what we 184 I8v 184 will do, or what leave undone. This should be kept in view in endeavouring to call others to the duties of Christian benevolence. Yet, oh! the watchfulness,—the abstractedness of mind required of those who have to act as instructors of the people. What self-renunciation—what temperance —what willingness to take up the daily cross, should these evince, if they would keep themselves in body and mind disencumbered, so as to be ready for the master’s will and the pursuance of his work, which should be to them their meat and drink. It is an awful thing to have been called to the work of ministering in things spiritual. May I be forgiven wherein I have acted, or thought, or spoken, unworthily of this calling, and be mercifully taught to maintain in future a strict and daily watch, so that qualification may be received rightly to attend to the exhortation of the Redeemer, Feed my lambs. 1823-12-1912th mo. 19th. We were summoned to Government-house to meet the Alcaide of Birkow. He was sitting in the room with the Commandant; had a straw hat on his head; his whole appearance was uncouth, and expressive of listlessness and apathy. As I looked at him I could not but sigh to think, how very, very far remote these people are from a state of civilization—from that intelligent and Christian feeling, which is the result of right education and religious principle in our highly favoured country. He told us we might live among the people at Birkow, and instruct the children of such parents as were disposed to send them. I, through Mahmadee, informed him a little of our views, and of the interest which our friends and ourselves felt for the education of children, both in our 185 I9r 185 own country and in this; believing that it was the will of the great Parent of all, that they should be taught what is good in early life, and brought up in the ways of peace, and love and good-will to all. The commandant told him our friends were a people that never fight, but who desire to do good, and that we had left all our near and dear connexions to come, and to do good to the people of Africa. The Alcaide said, white men come into their land and build good houses for themselves, he wished they would build one for him. The Commandant promised to send men to build him a house, if he would set his own people to collect materials. Although we did not make any engagement about helping him, I do hope we shall do what we can to obtain for him a better habitation. On returning home we could not but consider the Alcaide as rather cool, and evidently jealous, lest our efforts for the people should interfere with Mahomedanism. On entering into conference on the present appearance of things, we thought the collecting a school at Birkow would be rather slow; and here, at Bathurst, the people were soliciting for our staying with them and teaching them, and the Europeans also desirous to place some of their children under our care for school-instruction. We concluded that R. Smith and J. Thompson should go to Birkow, and commence their agricultural labours, and A. Thompson and I remain here for the present and open a school. To me it was grateful to have an opportunity of trying the Jaloof lessons. In the evening R. S., walking on the beach, met with our kind friend the chaplain, who much united with out proposed arrangement, and returning with R. S. to our lodging, offered me 186 I9v 186 one of his rooms, which is supplied with benches for a place of worship, and in which I might have a school for children in the mornings, and another in the evenings for the king’s-boys, (so called from being re-captured negroes.) This was just what I could have desired—to have an opening for some usefulness towards the re-captured negroes, and to have a school for the Jaloof language. Sandanee may assist me in both, and, indeed, I wish him to be the ostensible person in both. We are told that some of the worst characters among the king’s-boys are sent to this flawed-reproduction6 letters but this should not discourage us from trying to do them all the good we can. On the 1823-12-2020th the Alcaide paid us a visit, and appeared more open and friendly than on the day before. We had presented him with an umbrella, some writing-paper, &c. and to-day, finding he wanted a pocket-book, we gave him one, and added a bag to carry it in. Mahmadee was our translator. In this, and in his kind and willing services in the house, we find him very useful. 1823-12-2121st. My mind was greatly impressed this morning in our meeting with the necessity of attending to the awful injunction—Sanctify the Lord God of Hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. In the evening, I went to see A. Partarieu, who is still sick, yet well enough to converse, and evincing a continued interest in the state of this poor country, as he sometimes emphatically speaks of Africa. 1823-12-2222nd. Several Jaloofs came to ask for an easy lesson-book. Two of them appeared particularly interesting and intelligent, and desirous to learn. 187 I10r 187 They seemed rejoiced to hear of our intention to open a school next week, and purpose to attend it. We purpose also having a school, in the house in which we live, for mulatto girls, and this A. T. will teach. I was much interested lately with a mulatto boy: he is a Mandingo, but speaks Jaloof. I wished to try the Mandingo vocabulary with him, which I had taken down from Mahmadee, and as this boy understood very little English, he was asked to give the Mandingo words, which I pronounced, back to me in Jaloof; this he did very readily, and I felt much interested in hearing his translations, and glad that the Mandingo words which Mahmadee had given me were quite intelligible. 1823-12-2323rd and 1823-12-2424th were days of fatigue from various occupations. We had a large wash, which went on slowly, on account of the new hands, and want of accommodation. The water had to be brought from a well, and only a very small portion of it could be heated over a fire of wood made between a few stones, in a straw cooking-house without chimney, and the washing was done under a virandah with no other floor than one of deep sand, which blew about with the least wind. We also unpacked and separated the goods, some to be sent to Birkow, others to remain here. 1823-12-2727th I was much indisposed, chiefly, I think, from over-fatigue. We found we could not open the two schools so soon as we had intended, from the intervention of the holidays. The celebration of this season is in a way which must cause regret instead of joy, to observers who really feel what constitutes a holy remembrance of a great event, and much more the event which Europeans profess 188 I10v 188 to celebrate now, and whose example, in the mistaken manner of feasting and boisterous mirth, has spread to the Africans who appear to know little more respecting the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, than that some Europeans, whom they know, call it a great holiday, and that they often meet together to feast at this time, after having been to their places of worship! Oh! that the real substance of religion, good principles and good feeling in the heart, producing correspondent fruits, were more generally acknowledged, and sought as the chief concern of life; and the observance of what are called feasts and festivals either conducted in a manner worthy the profession of a holy day, or passed in the feeling that every day and every night God gives is in itself good! 1823-12-2929th. A trying morning, from a continuance of great relaxation, and some discouraging feelings as to the difficulty to be incurred in sickness here; but I ought not to complain. R. S. is taken sick with an attack of ague, which, though not violent, makes us thoughtful. To-day he is feverish. It is a satisfaction to us that he is in the habit of prescribing for himself when indisposed, as the army-surgeon, the only medical man in this place, is himself in a declining state of health, and we ought not to wish him to exert himself, if it can be avoided. On the 1823-12-2323rd we heard the bell toll early in the morning: at breakfast-time, the following note was handed to the houses of Europeans: Gentlemen,—You are invited by Sister Marcellaine to attend the funeral of Sister Adelle, at five this evening. These two were French nuns who had devoted themselves to the service of the sick, and 189 I11r 189 lived in the hospital in this place; another has since arrived from Senegal to supply the place of the deceased. A man living next door to our house was speaking to Sandanee one day last week, as he passed by, and the next evening we heard that he was dead. J. H., the chaplain, told me that he was much struck soon after his arrival at Sierra-Leone, to see a person one day in good health, and to hear the next day that he was dead and buried. On first day afternoon, I read a few passages of Scripture, and several short narratives, to Daba, our maid, who till now has been uninstructed in letters. We have begun to teach her. I asked her to give me back the narratives as well as she could remember. She appeared to understand all that was read to her, and related the narratives very well in Jaloof, here and there varying the expression a little, but without losing the sense. In a situation like this there is truly a great necessity for our endeavouring every day, and oftener than the morning, to repair to the Fountain from whence the spiritual life is supported. The precious aid we at times derive, both in and out of meetings, at home in England, from the gathered feeling of collected minds to whom we come near, is a privilege we know but little of in this seclusion. Should I live to return, how much will such privileges be prized on again enjoying them! I have also affectingly remembered the quiet feeling with which we were in a degree favoured from day to day in our large family at Leavy Greave, where the business of the day went on in calmness, after we had collected together for morning reading. If I could see at Birkow a 190 I11v 190 school pleasantly settled before we leave, and the business of the day pursued there in that sweetness and tranquillity of feeling which arises from a sense of the goodness of the Most High, and a desire to fulfil the duties of the day as unto Him, how great would be the consolation, and of how little to be accounted, any difficulties in our way to the attainment of such an object. I wish the merchants were more engaged in promoting the civilization of the people. It can only be a mistaken and short-sighted estimate of things which can lead people to believe that promoting civilization can do injury. Were all Africa civilized, possessing substantial farmers and active merchants, there would yet be many things wanted from Europe which could not be manufactured in so hot a clime as this. 1824-01-021st mo. 2nd, 1824. We have thought it would be best, while here, to do what we can for the instruction of the girls, as well as boys, in reading, and other school-learning. The instruction of the people must be our first object. In the afternoon, went to Jola Town with J. H. and Sandanee, to invite the girls, and women also, to come to our school. We met two young men, whom I invited to attend with the king’s-boys. The town consists of fourteen huts: most of the men and boys were absent. The women looked very pleasantly on us, and several of them were very earnest to take off the small burs from my stockings and skirts; and they directed us also, when we left them, to a nearer road to the beach, where there were not so many of these small pins. Altogether, I could not but sigh with sadness at the state they were in. As they were out at the doors, there was little 191 I12r 191 occasion to enter the huts; but I went into one or two, and felt that, degraded as are the poor peasantry of Ireland, they are in some respects much better prepared for improvement than the Jolas are. This wretched system of multiplicity of wives unhinges those strong and endearing connexions of domestic life which, even in the poorest classes, gives scope for so much humanizing and virtuous feeling; and I have never valued civilization so much as in witnessing the laxity and indolence and sin of which an uncivilized state is so abundantly productive. I am aware, indeed, that there is much which needs improvement in our own neighbours in England; but, poor Africa! how powerful are thy claims to our best help and most sincere pity! I have sometimes lately had a sweet recollection of those words of the Psalmist, Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, they will be still praising Thee! 1824-01-044th. I am longing to hear from our dear friends in England. I want help and strength, but must repair to the Source of their hope and my own. Do they remember us? Do they present a petition for us before the Most High? Do they feel that we are in a barren land, where there is much to obstruct the free current of the water of life? Oh! may Israel’s God be their tower of defence from all that would wound their best life! May they be preserved as the salt of the earth,— as a leaven the influence of which shall be diffused all around. My mind is on the stretch, looking forward to what is before me, as one who is attempting an acclivity, and longs to know what can be seen 192 I12v 192 from it. I feel much pressed to visit Sierra-Leone as soon as may seem expedient. We purpose taking Mahmadee’s brother for instruction. We had in view another Mandingo boy; but he has not been sent because his relations say he has a hard head. In looking at the natives, either here or at Birkow, I feel aware that a friend whose qualifications might seem of a very lowly scale to those about him in England, might here, in comparison with those he had to instruct, be of quite sufficient ability for the work. There requires, indeed, some one, or more, of experience and solid thought to guide the general concern, under the direction of a committee in London. All engaged ought to be persons of just and kind feelings, Christian principles and integrity. They ought also to possess what Henry Tuke justly ranks among the Christian virtues, cheerfulness, for this is greatly desirable both for the support of themselves and their associates in their daily concerns and duties, and requisite also to draw the natives along with them; for they would be repelled, instead of attracted, by the appearance of gloom, or an extremely reserved and absent manner. How grateful ought we ever to feel for the kind consideration of our dear friends, evinced on such various occasions in the course of our proceeding in this interesting cause; but yet more fully and especially in the time of preparation for our departure; and if anything has been omitted that was requisite for our accomodation, it is only ourselves who are to be charged with the omission, as everything was allowed that was suggested as desirable. 193 K1r 193 1824-01-088th. On the 1824-01-055th our school was opened for girls, at nine in the morning, and I was glad to find that several were brought who are regarded as slaves, although in this colony slavery is not acknowledged. These were to be taught to read and work, in company with those who were considered their proprietors; or with others of the same class—mulatto girls. As the example is thus set of having slaves instructed, I trust it will be followed. Our school the first morning consisted of eight, and the school at the Court-house for the king’s-boys and others were thirty-five—mostly king’s-boys—only five of them, men and boys of the island, belonging to the Jaloof country. The chaplain was so kind as to attend and assist me in taking their names, &c. Some could read well, and, if well disposed, might be of much use; but an unfavourable account is generally given of their habits. J. H. says, he has no doubt but if we remained the Government would send pupils from Sierra-Leone for instruction. What is danger! what is life! if only good can be done, and the great work of reformation and improvement in the earth rightly proceeded in? Let me not presume, or suppose I should be unmoved when danger comes; but let me only see clearly my path, and trust for strength to be enabled to pursue it. Some of the re-captured negro boys have fine intelligent countenances, and would, I am satisfied, if their minds were well directed, be capable of being very useful. At present they give way to intoxication, and amuse themselves with gaming. The plan I propose for the Jaloof scholars, both men and women, as well as younger ones, is K 194 K1v 194 to read the vowels after me, in the first lesson, many times, until they seem to know them; then spell a few easy words, and read them after me; then, in the same way, to spell and read a few easy sentences; then spell the easiest words without the book. Then write, first the alphabet, and then words from their lessons, or from dictation. I believe than even two hours daily spent this way would advance a scholar very fast. Yesterday we had eight women pupils and sixteen girls. Several of the women had young children with them. 1824-01-1010th. The poor women with their infants were found so unsettling to the school that it is concluded to discontinue them as pupils, unless they could engage to come in turns, and one take care of two children at home, and thus set each other at liberty every second day. The repeated evidence of the African lessons being intelligible to the Jaloofs felt cheering on opening school, and conducting it. Partarieu expresses his conviction that Friends would be received by the natives with confidence, and would succeed in their attempts to introduce improvement; but he believes they would find it requisite to trade as well as teach, in order to do all the good they would wish, in promoting industry, and furthering the great object of the general welfare of the people. Having had much inconvenience from the inexperience of our servant, and seen also that she is capable of doing better, if taught, the idea of training servants as an important object, both for their advantage and for domestic comfort, has been much on my mind. I should like to write a 195 K2r 195 few hints on the way to avoid excessive labour by method, and to gain time by foresight and early attention, so as to have some time for employments that allow rest. Also a few thoughts on kindness, sincerity, and the feeling of responsibility to the Creator of all men and Judge of the world. 1824-01-1212th. I feel it a great claim for humble acknowledgment and trust in Divine goodness, that in our little assemblies for worship here, small as they are, we are yet favoured with some sensible feeling of the fulfilment of the Saviour’s merciful declaration, Where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them. How sweet and sublime is that worship which is in spirit and in truth, independent of the aid of ourward forms, and evidently adapted to all places, countries, and circumstances, and people, where the right feeling is awakened. Nor do I know anything so calculated to open the way for the prevalence of the best feelings, and of the true spirit of worship, as to sit down in silent and awful remembrance of the presence of the Most High. It is in this silent and awful feeling of the Divine presence that a refuge will be known from thoughts that tend to dissipate and distract from the spirit of worship. It would be a vain and indolent excuse, for a dissipated mind to allege that this feeling is not at our command: Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find. I am well satisfied that my first effort in reducing the African languages was made in Jaloof. This language is spoken by the most intelligent persons on this coast. K2 196 K2v 196 The present state of the Africans calls for very simple methods of instruction; and even meetings for religious worship might, I apprehend, be conducted here with a simplicity and divestment of those forms in which sects differ, and yet the important and essential truths of Christianity be conveyed. Oh! were the practice of such outward instruction as should be adapted to the capacity and state of the people, but united with seasons for retirement, mental prayer, and recollection in the presence of God, (which a season of silence in our religious assemblies would allow,) how much more effectually might the great object of meeting with the uncivilized for religious instruction, and Divine worship be promoted, than it can be by the introduction of outward forms, which the people cannot understand, and by a system that does not cast the mind upon what passes within itself as an encouragement to occasional silence would do. How much has this poor country to suffer from the gross example of Europeans; some of whom will be willing to attend, at least sometimes, a place of worship on the first day of the week; but will not put away the evil of their doings, but make shipwreck of all that would exalt and enrich the character of intelligent beings designed for a state of immortal existence. My attention has been drawn to the good whih might be done by the instruction of the people in the principles of Christianity on a system that might be pursued by well-disposed teachers of schools, by mechanics, or by agricultural agents. I fear not the test which such a system might be brought to in the Scriptures of 197 K3r 197 truth. Did not the great Master himself appoint fishermen, and others employed in useful labours, as the chief teachers off the people in the truths that concern our present and everlasting happiness? And did He not present himself an example, in the simplicity of the manner in which instructive truths the most sublime might be presented, when, as his custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath-day, and stood up for to read? On the 1824-01-1111th, after the heat of the day had subsided, a few of my senior pupils came to me. They all speak a broken English, being from Sierra-Leone. I read to them a plain account of a good poor woman in England, from a tract called Bible Happiness; but, simple as this tract is, it was necessary often to make the language plainer still. I read to them also from the Scriptures, and recommended a time of silent attention to the subjects, so far as they were understood. I explained to them why we should be silent before Him who sees the heart, and knows all its desires, whether uttered or unexpressed. A sweet feeling was present, which was consoling, and a cause of thankfulness. I ought to keep a small book in which to put down the Jaloof and Mandingo phrases that occur to me as being wanted, as I go along, and with which I am not familiar. I can make myself understood by the Jaloofs in such phrases as seem most commonly in use; but am not familiar enough with the language to carry on a conversation, or to understand the particulars of their conversation, except when they speak in short phrases. 198 K3v 198 I was asked a few days since to go and see a poor woman who was much hurt by some blows received from her husband. On my way to her hut I was informed of one of the king’s-boys, not far from this place, who, being dissatisfied with one of his wives, had ordered her legs to be broken, and she had died in consequence of this cruelty. When I was in the hut of the poor woman, a native came in who was decrepit, and I was told it was from the violent blows of the man who called himself her husband, and who by brutal treatment had crushed some of her bones. Alas! what can be said by those who plead for human nature, when uncultivated, being innocent and good, and not needing the aid or interference of those more enlightened? Yesterday evening I went to the school-room; but was informed there was no school, because of the races. The accounts we hear this morning of the fruits of this pastime, as it is called, are indeed grievous. Drunkenness being found here, as in England, a common accompaniment of horse- racing. Last first day several of the king’s-boys came to request I would give them Jaloof books, as they wished to teach all the people of this place who speak that language. I gave to these and to others who followed, until twenty-two had been distributed. Let me attend to the duties of the present day; do what I can, whilst here, and leave the future. Let me diligently pursue the objects before me; they are greatly interesting, and now we have in a considerable degree got over the first cares and occupations and hindrances arising from the 199 K4r 199 strangeness of our situation and the want of more efficient help, we may attend to our great point of school instruction, and the acquisition of information relative to the people, and what may be done for their advantage and improvement. May we be governed by that principle which desires the prevalence of the Redeemer’s kingdom before all earthly good. It is very possible in this country to be dwelling on tangible things, and neglecting the real religious exercise that is requisite to the support of the best life. The life which is imparted, indeed, from a Heavenly influence is alike efficacious in the solitude of the desert and in the fully peopled city; but which everywhere demands an application of heart, to which we are excited many times in England by watchful and collected minds in meetings and in private intercourse with dear friends. I fear that some coming out, even with good motives, to serve the people of uncivilized countries have, in remaining year after year with but little of Christian intercourse with those advanced in religious experience beyond childhood, not been sufficiently on their guard against the loss to be apprehended in such circumstances, and in European settlements especially. I do wish that it might be in the heart of some firm, religious, and judicious Friend to fix in this island, who would bear faithful and Christian testimony against the excesses and gross conduct which are witnessed here. Yet let these testimonies be borne in the Christian feeling that would gladly, if possible, restore, and not proudly or hopelessly reject those who have so greatly wandered from the right path. 200 K4v 200 1824-01-2323rd,. There is much aguish sickness prevalent, and reports of many deaths. It is very evident from some well-known circumstances, both here and at Sierra-Leone, that sickness and mortality are greatly increased by intemperate living: this, I think, should be known in order that people should not be prevented from encountering the dangers of this climate from an apprehension that they are greater than they really are. In the view of going to Sierra-Leone it is not merely the climate that I have looked at; but I have been solicitous to know the best time, and I have nearly concluded it must be the present. The field of labour is so opening here, by many wishing to learn to read, and others desiring Jaloof books, that I feel almost reluctant to quit at present; yet trust I may return. The king’s-boys improve so well that they will soon be able to teach others. I took a walk on the beach this evening with J. T. In conversing on the state of this colony, and alluding to the uncontrolled habit of living to which many give way, we united in the sentiment that the mortality is so far from being subject of wonder, that it might rather be said it is wonderful so many live. There are certain other causes to guard against besides luxurious living and intemperate drinking. Much labour or fatigue in the heat of the day is evidently calculated in this climate to cause sickness and premature death; and perhaps there is no secondary measure more requisite than to endeavour, in humble reliance on Divine Providence, so to arrange our concerns as to avoid extreme exertion, and especially during several hours of the hottest part of the day. Also to take a sufficiency of nourishing, but not heating 201 K5r 201 provisions. We are also aware that persons whose minds are tranquil, yet cheerful, have a better prospect of being kept in health here than those whose minds are ill at ease. After all, it must be allowed that life in this climate is critical, and seems to hang at times as on a very slender thread.
Visits Sierra-Leone—State of the liberated Africans —Causes of mortality—Character of the Inhabitants.
Departure from Sierra-Leone—Arrival at St. Mary’s —Progress of the Scholars—Establishment of a School at the Cape.
Returns to England—Death of John Thompson on the Passage—Death of Richard Smith—Visits the Poor in St. Giles’s.
As a break of several months now occurs in the journal of our precious mother, perhaps it may be supplied by an extract from a letter, written soon after her return to England, dated 1824-08-138th mo. 13th, 1824, in which she gives some particulars of the voyage and the affecting event of the death of her kind companion and friend John Thompson. For some particulars of the character of John Thompson see an extract from another letter, Appendix A.The subject of a part of our company returning this summer to England, having come under consideration, and some circumstances relative to the further prosecution of our concern, rendering it, in our apprehension, a measure almost unavoidable, it was finally concluded, as satisfactory to all, that J. and A. Thompson and myself should return, and R. Smith, not having any other view than that of remaining, we arranged our concerns for leaving R. S. at the house occupied at the Cape, and took places in a brig about to sail for England. When about to embark, our friend R. Smith having accompanied us from the Cape to Bathurst, we there held together our last conference. In this meeting a sense of the overshadowing power 256 M8v 256 of Divine goodness rested on our spirits, and called forth I trust, in each of us, a grateful acknowledgment, to Divine Providence for many favours received since our landing on these shores. I felt that I could now leave the coast in peace, although not with the apprehension that this would be a final farewell. On the 1824-06-2424th we embarked apparently in good health. A. T. remarked that she had had better health in Africa than at home, and that she never saw her brother look better than at present. What were his thoughts at that moment I do not know, but the last passage in his journal, written a few days before he left Africa, expressed that although he was looking towards home, and to the enjoyment of meeting his family and friends, yet, considering the uncertainty of time, and the wide expanse of waters between, he could not but feel it uncertain whether he should meet them again. On the first night after we had embarked, finding himself greatly affected by the heat in the cabin, he went upon deck about two in the morning, and slept there for several hours. He was struck with cold, and came down in the morning complaining of chill and pain in his limbs. During the day he exerted himself in settling several things about the cabin, which was much crowded, and in the evening appeared much better. In a few days, however, decided marks of fever appeared. We had not any medical officer on board, but our dear friend had the kind care and attention of the captain and some others, both as regards medical attention, and in other respects. The fever was evidently of the inflammatory kind, and the symptoms, though decided, were not complicated.257 M9r 257 cated. The medicine taken appeared to answer for the time, but the fever returned from day to day, and was not subdued. Our dear friend appeared sensible of the critical nature of his disorder, and his mind was very susceptible and tender. He sometimes asked his sister or me to read the Sciptures to him, and would then inquire of me if I had anything on my mind to say to him. My hopes of his future usefulness had been so excited, both in the time of health, and now even in his sickness, that it felt hard to relinquish the thought of his recovery. I could not doubt that it would be well with him if called away in this sickness, yet sometimes, when alone and contemplating the prospect of a separation while on the great deep, the view was to nature very awful and almost appalling. Still was my heart sensible that the Most High, who is infinite in wisdom, in knowledge, and in goodness, often carries forward his designs of mercy by means which we cannot fathom. In speaking to my dear friend J. T. on this subject, he assented with sweetness and feeling to the expression of a belief, that our deepest afflictions are often, through the direction of infinite gooodness, made our greatest blessings. I did not inquire whether he looked for recovery or not, but had his sickness been such as to preclude any communication of his feelings, I could not have doubted, from the state of mind evinced before, and in his sickness, that Divine love was near him, and the refining influence of the Redeemer’s power, preparing him for a better habitation. The support that was mercifully extended to his beloved sister and to myself in the awful moment of departure—the precious feeling of peace 258 M9v 258 which accompanied, and the Divine consolation which covered our minds, as a light dispersing all darkness, when we sat beside the remains of our much-endeared friend about to be committed to the great deep,—these unmerited favours will I trust be held in grateful and humbling remembrance; and, oh! that the feeling may be kept alive, which was then so sensibly present, that the life that now is, is but a little portion of the term of existence, and that we ought ever to live and act under the remembrance that this is not our rest. In thus living and thus acting, our social affections and every authorized enjoyment would be heightened, and not diminished. The acknowledgment of God in all our ways, would lead us to desire always that He should direct our steps; and feeling also that we hold our friends, and our all, only at His disposal, we should be the more watchful against every disposition or action, that was in any degree unguarded or unkind, and be solicitous for the present and everlasting happiness of those with whom we may, in any degree, be concerned.
In peace and safety my dear mother and A. Thompson reached England the beginning of 1824-088th month. But a few weeks had elapsed after their return before they received the melancholy intelligence of the death of Richard Smith. The removal of this pious and devoted individual, who from a sense of duty had given himself up to assist in the prosecution of the work of African instruction, was a severe blow to the undertaking; and with it closed the attempt to prosecute this work of Christian love on the coast of Africa which he was so successfully promoting. Some particulars of this painful event were received in a letter from a merchant259 M10r 259 chant residing at Bathurst, and appear in the Appendix B.
The 1825-01-1010th of 1st mo., 1825, she writes: How great cause have I to be thankful:—my life and health preserved for manifested duties—my sight prepared for the prosecution of an object of deep interest now before me, and for various duties and engagements, in which the possession of the blessing of sight must be peculiarly wanted. Oh! may I gratefully and diligently use these advantages and favours, whilst they are permitted to be enjoyed. How much more heavy would be the loss of these than the lack of wealth for the prosecution of good purposes; this may, I trust, be obtained, as it may be needed, by the combination of many in a good cause.I have had trials, and may yet have: in one, lately, that was of a nature solely connected with religious concerns, I was ready to say, as on some former occasions, How shall deliverance be wrought? Yet, without any outward agency or communication since with any individual, my most merciful Father has, I trust, himself spoken peace and deliverance, in calling my attention to deeply interesting duties, and giving me to feel how much cause I have humbly and gratefully to acknowledge His goodness in guiding my path into the way of peace, and supporting me when the billows seemed ready to overwhelm with dismay. What a favour it is to feel that peace with all men (so far as I know) is the clothing of my spirit, and no impediment from that quarter fetters my mind. I believe the docility of the child should be the habit of feeling with me. Oh! that the watchfulness which solicitously guards against 260 M10v 260 whatever might tend to wound the best life, might daily be the state to which I should seek to attain! My mind has this morning been led in affectionate and sweet remembrance of my dear friends at Tottenham and Newington, and in grateful recollection of their kindness in days that are past. I trust we may yet again be permitted to meet, and in peace and love unite in future duties for the good of society both far and near. Manchester, 1825-02-042nd mo. 4th. Some Jaloof sentences occur to my remembrance so familiarly that I think, if I were among the natives, I should be more disposed to speak their language to them, when I could, than when there last year, and not to mind the objections of the Europeans against perpetuating this language, which they wish to supersede, if possible, in St. Mary’s by the English. I feel that I have been deficient in many things; and am prepared, I think, to learn that others as well as myself expect more efficient attention from me, in that department of the African cause in which I have engaged. Should we form again a family in Africa, I think we might have our own meeting for worship at seven in the morning, and a meeting at eleven in which the Scriptures, pious biography, &c., might be read, and time for quiet feeling given. In the evening, a meeting for religious instruction, adapted to the children, in which some questioning of the children in what they hear might be practised. I have much temptation at times to depressed feeling, from several causes and considerations; but it enervates the mind, and I seem to lose mental261 M11r 261 tal strength when it is given way to; and I believe a conflict should be maintained against it. 1825-02-1111th. I am told by a Methodist preacher, who has had much opportunity of seeing and judging about Sunday-schools, that the best conducted one he had ever seen, was one in which the Methodists and Friends had each a part in the care of the school. The one supported by Friends and Methodists at Ackworth was, I thought, a very agreeable school, and there was something of life and order in the management of it that was refreshing. Habits of diligent attention to cleanliness and order are very salutary, and should, if possible, accompany all school-establishments. They are salutary everywhere, and should, doubtless, be a point of great attention in education. I have been thinking often, within these few days, that we as a society possessing, as many do, great accommodations at home, have need to guard carefully against that indulgence of ease, which might disincline to arduous and self-denying labour on behalf of the poor, and for the spread of religious improvement. Oh! that we may be enabled to keep guard against this relaxation, and show gratitude to Him from whom we have received so many favours, both spiritual and temporal, by a devoted application to the welfare and improvement of others, as instruments in the hand of Him who calls us to His vineyard, and imparts the power to labour rightly in it, whether in the lesser or the larger departments. It is at times difficult,—yet I trust it will not be found impossible,—for me to look to a longer continuance in having no employment in which to obtain an income for my own support. Perhaps 262 M11v 262 this may still be some years distant, and, if it should, may I be enabled willingly to pursue the path marked out for other duties, and these three in particular—African translations, religious education in Ireland, and the promotion of a society, in this country and elsewhere, for Christian improvement, by friendly communication on such concerns as are interesting not only to the welfare of the poor, but to the happiness and well-being of every class in society. This communication, to be truly effectual should originate in that Christian feeling which leads invariably, in all classes and professions, to the love of God and the love of man. 1825-02-1919th. At Liverpool, where I entered with much interest into conversation with J. C. on the state of the south and west of Ireland. I do greatly desire that the different classes of people in that country, would be more patient with each other. I cannot but think that if even the Roman Catholics were to be patiently met, and their objections to the present system of public education considered, some method might be found by which a religious education might be given to children, and at the same time their objections to the Scriptures at large being put into the hands of the children might be allowed. They do not object to all Scripture lessons. I have seen selections from the Scriptures in some of their schools, and I cannot but believe that it may be found possible to introduce a system of religious instruction agreeable to each party, Protestant and Catholic, and to admit, also, the New Testament into the schools, in both the Protestant and Catholic versions. Many even of the Roman Catholics, I doubt not, feel the want of 263 M12r 263 a more general attention to religious instruction in schools; and if I were soon to meet them in their own land, it would, I believe, be one very interesting object of my engagements there to seek to propose a system of school-instruction on the broad basis of Christianity, so that all might unite, of whatsoever denomination they might be. 1825-02-2727th. In the preparative meeting, a fresh feeling arose of the value of our Christian testimonies, and the desirableness of their being faithfully and in Christian feeling supported by us as a society; and a belief was renewedly raised that many would come to the acknowledgment of these testimonies, in various parts of the world, if we, as instruments, be faithful in their support, and in spreading the knowledge of those principles on which they are grounded. 1825-03-013rd mo. 1st. Spent the evening with a dear friend. We conversed on the different directions of benevolence, and agreed in the belief that there was great deficiency in the result of measures in which only the outward condition of the people was the subject of sympathy and care, and their minds left unattended to. I renewed the remembrance of Dr. Chalmers’s suggestions on the necessity for the localizing system, to bring the lowest and most neglected of the people into view. I have believed, within these few days, that it will not be sufficient to seek occasional opportunities only of retirement; but that I must not omit to devote a short season to silent feeling, wherever I am, before retiring to rest, and also before leaving my room to engage in the concerns of the day. I have been sometimes ready to conclude that the last moments of our evenings were 264 M12v 264 not the best for such an engagement; but it does not feel right for me to retire without directing some of my latest thoughts to Him on whom we depend for life, and breath, and being, and for every blessing. 1825-03-055th. With regard to infant-schools it will be very important, if the dear little children can be instructed how to teach and how to learn, since in all situations in society I think there must be something for each individual to do, both in teaching and learning; and if these children can, from their early infancy, be led to cherish the right feeling in these engagements, to instruct with gentleness, and to learn with docility and diligence, how valuable, both to their own peace and improvement, and to their connexions, and all with whom they are concerned, would be this habit of feeling and these acquisitions or attainments! 1825-03-1717th. If we would have the prevalence of Divine power in our religious meetings we must be concerned also out of meeting to bow in spirit before Him who made heaven and earth. My path is encompassed with some trials of faith and patience; yet these must, I believe, be for the present silently submitted to, without any attempt to avoid them by efforts of my own. If the heart be engaged to seek after good, let not feelings of depression sink the mind too low. Never despair! He who has power to sustain will often restore consolation, and at seasons even joy after sorrow, and after a time of trial introduce to unexpected deliverance. It seems now desirable to keep, as it were, in my tent as much as may be, for a season, and wait for guidance. How greatly do I need the renovating power from day to day! 265 N1r 265 There is an awfulness in the path before me, and I feel the critical nature of several concerns that cannot fail deeply to engage me at present; and I feel too that, unless Divine power shall be mercifully extended for my help and support, I must sink under a sense of weakness and insufficiency; yet let me hope and trust in Him who ever liveth and changeth not. There is need to guard, in our intercourse with each other, lest the eye be too much outward, and we lose that sense of the Divine presence, which should chasten all our thoughts, and keep our actions and our words simple and direct, as they wold be if the heart were imbued with the feeling of His presence. London, 1825-06-266th mo. 26th. After returning from meeting, a dear friend sat down with us (Dr. S.) and read the 40th chapter of Isaiah, which he said had been much before his mind on the day before. He with much sweetness and feeling expressed to us some subjects which he said often engaged his attention on the evening of the Sabbath-day:—the remembrance of the many Christian congregations assembled for the worship of their Heavenly Father,—the number of pious persons in different parts of the world, who were feeling for each other, and desiring the enlargement of the Redeemer’s kingdom. His expressions I have not, perhaps, exactly written; but they conveyed this feeling, and my mind was humbled, and enlarged in desire that the sincere in heart, of every name, might be led more and more openly to engage in the labours of love which are directed to the hearts and minds of the people, and for which I cannot doubt but a qualification would be given, if the prevalence of N 266 N1v 266 the power of Christ in our own minds were sought for before and above all things. 1825-06-2727th. On the way between Tottenham and London the impressive language of the 40th of Isaiah (particularly the five first verses) was brought powerfully before me. The great sacrifice by which comfort is brought to the Lord’s people, and through which the warfare must be accomplished, and the iniquity forgiven,—and through the influence of which every valley shall be exalted, and the mountains and the hills made low, the depressed spirit raised in Him,—the lofty reduced and brought down by his all-conquering power,—and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh see it together. Our African concerns are in a very critical state at present, although the interest has greatly spread; but will all this spreading of the interest, there are serious difficulties to contend with, and the cry of my heart is, If the Lord help us not, vain is the help of man. Oh! that the hearts of those engaged in this cause may be imbued with a feeling of their dependence on him for right guidance, both in regard to how and when we may move, and in what disposition of mind. Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. 1825-06-3030th. Awoke in the night in some feeling of peace and satisfaction, in having opened my views on the subject of our African concerns to the friends more immediately engaged in the cause; yet still my mind dwelt under a sense of suffering, whilst I sought to trace the cause of some depressed feelings, which have much accompanied 267 N2r 267 me of late. A feeling of the claims of Christianity, and a view of the purity and excellency that a full submission to its influence would yield, accompanied with the sense of the short-comings of myself and others professing its sacred doctrines, is painfully alive. Still I may acknowledge much that is very beautiful and excellent in many characters, who even have not attained to that perfection, which is the Christian standard. I have been, and am so circumstanced, as to be within the sphere of engagements of deep interest, and of very extensive concern; and having to take a part in some such engagements involves me in deep responsibility, and often great thoughtfulness. I am led also to the consideration of the state of things in society, both at home and abroad. The miseries and sins in some parts of the British metropolis,—the conflicting feeling and various difficulties in Ireland,—the slavery and degradation of poor Africa,—and the affecting state of things in the New World, both as regards the coloured population, and those who should ere this have been, to a wide extent, their instructors in Christian truth: a state of things altogether, which cannot be contemplated without feeling that there is much out of the Divine harmony. In past days I have rejoiced in the arising and spreading of light, but I knew not then the extent of the darkness. Whether my time be longer or shorter in this present scene, it appears my duty and calling to seek after a spirit of watchfulness unto prayer. A little hope was raised in meeting to-day, in the remembrance dwelling on my mind of that language of the Psalmist, Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of N2 268 N2v 268 my countenance, and my God: yet of late little of consolation has been known, as in days past, whether in or out of meetings. My own want of fidelity and attention to duty is yet more to be mourned than even this, and is probably the greatest cause of what has been suffered. I minute these things I know against myself, but shall not be satisfied if I act otherwise. If I live, I may compare this with some future day, and more fully see how it has been with me. 1825-07-027th mo. 2nd. We, as a society, have to guard against assimilating with what is not consistent with our principles, and especially where, in a state of affluence, people of different societies may almost insensibly be led to depart from real simplicity in their manner of living, when answering what they conceive to be the claims of hospitality and kind intercourse with each other. How much need is there to guard in this quarter, or rather, seek to be guarded by a higher influence; and to watch, lest the love of popularity, or of the praise of men, mix itself so with the feelings of Christian sympathy, as to prevent the good, to its full extent, that might be done, were the mind kept in its true direction. But danger does not preclude duty. Friends and others of different professions, unite in civil concerns, in trade and commerce. They have dangers to encounter here, but they go on. And shall not the claims of benevolence induce them also to venture on the course in which there may be unavoidably attendant danger, but not unconquerable difficulties? Persons of different professions may yet be united in the bonds of Christian love, and may help and strengthen one another. Let us propose such a union: let us seek 269 N3r 269 to do good to the bodies and minds of our fellow- creatures, if so it may be permitted us: let us follow our Redeemer whithersoever He will lead us, and influenced by His heavenly power, go about doing good. Let us form plans of benevolence and of social care, and of brotherly intercourse for good, that shall engage the attention of various classes in larger or more limited spheres, each according to their ability and inclination; as minor instructors in voluntary schools,—as visitors of districts for the loan of approved tracts,—as visitors of the sick, of hospitals, or in whatever way social duties shall call their attention; whilst others guide the helm in the various local institutions connected with the concern. The present is a season of close exercise and conflict in various institutions, but truth and love will spread, and eventually prevail; conciliation, without compromise, should be the order of the day. I feel that as Friends, we have a part to take in Christian love towards society at large, beyond what we have yet done in the promotion of truth and righteousness on the earth, by the spreading of those principles which are professed by us as a society. 1825-07-1616th. Again I am compelled to acknowledge that gratitude and praise ought to be the clothing of my mind, for the abundant goodness of God in directing my path so as to permit the occupation of time and thought for engagements that may conduce to the relief of suffering, and the real happiness of society. There may have been various causes for the feeling of depression which so much accompanied my mind of late, such indeed at seasons as I can scarcely remember to 270 N3v 270 have ever felt before. I have myself to blame I doubt not for much of this depression, apprehending that such an extreme would not have been felt, had I not given way to a relaxed manner of appropriating my time, and thus being behind with my purposes and employments, and giving way also to a backwardness to engage in the retirements which are, I believe, greatly conducive, through Infinite Goodness, to the renewal of spiritual strength; and thus I have awoke morning after morning under the power of anxiety and depression, and felt almost unfit to encounter any engagement requiring clearness of view and close thought. I have been ready to enquire, Is there no way for me here? Is all, as it were, fading before my view, because it is right to leave all, band again to visit Africa? This I thought I could willingly do for peace, could it be clearly seen by myself and by others, that it is really required. And it seemed as though the mere application to languages, or the deprivations, and even dangers of the sea, might be willingly encountered, rather than the feeling of depression and unfitness for mental engagements, under which I suffered. I felt not only prone to indolence from this state of mind, but also at times to an irritability of temper that distressed me: but Infinite Goodness can enable us to overcome all things, if He direct and strengthen for the warfare. My mind is now much relieved, and I have had, even amidst the recent suffering, repeated proofs that He mercifully cared for me, although unworthy; and such has been the feeling of humiliation in my mind, that I thought I could gladly engage in even very difficult and laborious offices, either in 271 N4r 271 England or in Africa, if I might but be permitted mercifully to witness, as I apprehended had been witnessed sensibly in days past, a state of reconciliation, reliance, and peace. How great is the privilege which I have enjoyed, and hope still to enjoy, of leisure to attend to suggestions for the good of others, whether arising in my own mind, or by the conversations of friends; and it is a duty to take care, whatever my outward situation may be, to retain, if possible, this great privilege, and to use it rightly. How thankful ought I to be, in not only being permitted to act as an agent in the reduction of languages, but allowed also to extend the desire and the effort for improvement in other directions, as the way may open for it; and that kind, judicious, and feeling friends are led to desire that I should enjoy this liberty and exercise it. How difficult in prospect did my path appear, when, three years ago, my mind was led towards a visit to Ireland, and yet how wonderfully was the way laid open for that visit, and how mercifully was I borne through the deep conflicts that awaited me there, feeble as I was, and unworthy of the favour extended to me! Have I not now of late been permitted to experience a state, like that describbed to have been poor Peter’s lot in the time of trial; Satan hath desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat. Ah! how great the mercy interposing; I have prayed (the Father) that thy faith fail not. Let me then not shrink from any remaining suffering, but be thankful for recent preservation through what has been felt; and may I be enabled to trust in the Lord for ever, feeling that however limited may be our own powers by 272 N4v 272 nature, in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. I have felt constrained to confess the low degree of the exercise of faith, though never, I am disposed to hope, quite out of exercise; but I have felt compelled to confess how unworthily mine has been limited in its views in this respect, and confessing my desert of suffering, have been led to petition for forgiveness in and through an ever-compassionate Saviour, who has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and by whose stripes His unworthy disciples are mercifully brought to know themselves healed. Never may this day of humiliation be lost to my remembrance, but ever in its recollection excite the feeling of gratitude and praise for every dispensation, whatever it be, which shall bring to a deeper sense of infinite and unmerited mercy. Should trials yet await me, may I be enabled humbly to feel that I have received many and unmerited favours, and ought to submit without complaining, to what may be against my natural will, or even greatly opposed to it. And, if favours should still be conferred, though undeserved, may all lead my heart to humble adoration of the giver of every good; feeling that He is good in his gifts—supremely good—nor less so when He denies. Even crosses in His sovereign hand are blessings in disguise. At the funeral of a friend my mind was under weighty impression of the necessity of cherishing a deeply reverential feeling before the Most High, who made heaven and earth, the seas, and the fountains of water, and who, infinite in holiness, can only be worshipped in spirit and in truth. 1825-07-127th mo. 12th. I have felt an apprehension lately, that some attempts to do good amongst the very 273N5r273 lowest of the people in the district of St. Giles are required of me, and yet I see difficulties, not a few, in the way, unless there can be some opening for the employment of the most forlorn and destitute. May the hours be rightly employed: time is than gold more sacred. I do not know when the sense of its preciousness was more fully before me. 1825-07-2323rd. May I be enabled to acknowledge the goodness of Divine Providence in all His appointments. May my heart be ever kept from every feeling inconsistent with gentleness and love; and may I be diligently bent, from day to day, on the right occupation of the precious gift of time. I have been ready to fear, lest there was something either negligent or unskilful in my arrangements, when I possessed a home, which prevented me from gaining what might have been nearer independence; but I may also remember, that even before entering upon the school, I felt a check against giving up the whole of my time to occupations that wouuld prevent my attendance on the poor, and that this check always continued; and that subsequent failure of health, after being too much engaged, threw me necessarily more into quiet, mental occupations, which it appeared my indispensable duty to pursue. 1825-07-2424th. A grievous conflict of mind ins the fear, that should a provision be made for me, independdent of my own exertions, there might be some painful fetter to my mind. This was the first day of the week: had my view been more fully engaged in things eternal, a part of this suffering migh perhaps have been avoided, but it seemed the time to think and speak of it with a dear and N5 274 N5v 274 valued friend, who can feel with me, and yet advises that I should leave it, and consider, whether I would not recommend to another to act as he now recommends me, and to think whether it is not best to agree to an arrangement, that shall leave me at liberty for such a sphere of usefulness as might in that way be open to me. I feel for the poor, but what do I do for them? was the impressive query of a young girl, who afterwards acted to excellent purpose, as well as felt an affecting sympathy. What do I do for them? should be urged on all who profess to feel as Christians for the wants and the sufferings, the sins and the sorrows of that mass of society, who, whether from misconduct or unfavourable circumstances, or both, are dwelling in a land of plenty, but suffering poverty and want, and in a country abounding with means of instruction, yet a prey to ignorance, and the victims of temptation to crime, and suffering under its punishment. We want that Christian institution in action, that will go deeply and fully into the state of the poor, and the causes, as well as consequences, of misery and neglected education. Education comprises not school instruction alone for the poor, but religious care; and I long to see more of this in action among us as a society. Might not Friends collect at their own houses the children of a little local district, and read to them, and teach them, once a week? My heart was turned towards the poor from a child, and perhaps not being rich myself may have led me to feel more sensibly for them, and to desire that what is done for their good may be done freely and kindly, and so as not to fetter and render them dependent, but to enable them to grow 275 N6r 275 stronger in ability to serve themselves and others. On the 1825-07-3131st, in a solid and solemn meeting in the forenoon, I was so assailed by a temptation to anxiety and restlessness on one particular subject, that on getting a little over it, through the conviction that in all things my spirit must seek an entire submission to what Providence shall be pleased to appoint or permit, I feel persuaded it must be the enemy that thus repeatedly assaults, and seeks to bring my mind into undue perturbation and bondage, and sometimes at seasons, when the highest concerns and engagements should absorb my attention. The bait is adapted to its object: oh! that I may be taught to beware. I have at seasons been much reminded of the saying of our Lord to His poor disciple:—Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. May I be permitted to know finally the precious declaration, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. I must learn in all things submission, and I believe all will be well. In retirement I was led to desire that our friends might be led, in Gospel love, to visit the European colonies in different parts of the world. How much do these need Christian care, and how great will be the influence of these colonies, whether good or bad. Let the soldiers of Christ arise for His cause. Many times, and again and again, must the thought of those memorable days spent at the Cape (Birkow) return, accompanied by a deep feeling, that the cause in which we had engaged was good, and worthy of devoted labour. I cannot still relinquish the prospect, that it will be prosecuted, even 276 N6v 276 on that spot, before the magnificent Atlantic, which rolls its waves with solemn grandeur against the rocky shores of that beautiful coast. How sweetly might a little family of Friends resident at Birkow, stroll along that fine beach in the evening, after the labours of the day, conversing together on the objects of their mutual engagements, and enjoying the needful relaxation for the recruiting of their strength. And then in the evenings, instead of keeping school during the whole of the time, to have a part engaged either in retired or social reading. We were ourselves often too closely occupied, and health, in some of us, consequently suffered. Often did A. T. and I entreat our male friends to retire from labour in the middle of the day, for a longer season than just that of dining, but they seldom did. Now I regret that we did not more frequently urge their leaving any thing undone, rather than endanger their health by so much exertion. Twelve months ago we were drawing near the shores of England. Great has been my suffering at seasons since that time; and in the last two months, amidst close conflict, I have been ready to cry out in secret, When shall it be with me as in days past? When shall I again know something like a home, and a certain prospect? But let all this be left. I will be thankful that in meeting and in retirement there is a feeling at seasons solemn and precious. Yesterday I was much favoured in this respect. I may thankfully acknowledge that I feel cause to be happy, and to dwell under a grateful sense of Divine goodness. How earnestly do I desire the day, in which the powerful and subduing influence of the Redeemer’s277 N7r 277 deemer’s Spirit, shall be so humblingly felt on the minds of professors of Christianity, that His sacred name shall not be uttered, nor subjects connected with the everlasting kingdom ever spoken of, but with the sensible feeling of humiliation and reverence. How very painful is it to hear at seasons a plea for what is called the cause of Christianity, urged in hardness, and even bitterness of spirit, and the sacred doctrines of the Gospel spoken of in a feeling, in which nothing is so visible as that self-righteous pride and exultation which our Redeemer so forcibly pointed out, as an object of His condemnation. On the 1825-08-033rd of 8th month I was at Gracechurch- street Meeting. It was silent, and I do not know that at any time my mind has been permitted to dwell under more weighty feeling of the sublime and heavenly nature of that worship, which needs not the intervention of outward forms, but falls down in spirit before Him, who formed heaven and earth, and who sees all that is passing within us. To dwell in silence before Him, seeking only the influence of His heavenly power to operate to the renewal and refinement of our spirits, what can we desire more than to be partakers of a privilege so precious? Near the close of the meeting, my mind was deeply impressed with the awful language: I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. I am ready to fear that sometimes people who are instruments of much good, were their own minds sufficiently prepared for it, by an humble feeling concerning themselves, and a reliance on the aid of Divine Providence, are hindered in their usefulness, by too much reliance on their 278 N7v 278 own doings, and a propensity to attribute what is only due to Divine direction and blessing, to some other source,—at least, to be too much elated if success attend. It is easier to express in words than to declare in action, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give the glory! Do not our inmost hearts acknowledge that in reality to Him, as the mover of every good thought, and the supporter of every good act, to Him alone the praise is justly due, and that instruments can only, as instruments, fulfil His pleasure. 1825-08-058th mo. 5th. The thought that the state of the Otaheitians was very favorable to improvement, from the plenty that their country presents preventing anxious thought about the means of life, and the temptation to steal, is much before me; and I do think the misery of the Irish, and some of the English, increases the difficulty of doing right, and increases the temptation to crime. Oh! that some wise and generous measures, yet simple and efficient, could be adopted to employ idle hands, and lead to the colonizing system! Whatever may be my future allotment the present season will be remembered as a season of close conflict,—sometimes cheered by the opening prospects, amidst a state of combat, and sometimes depressed by a sense of suffering which, perhaps, might not be so keenly felt, and which can only be effectually overcome in present circumstances, by a reliance on Divine Providence, and an entire submission to whatever may appear to prepare me for the more fully accomplishing what I have apprehended to be my calling—to live the servant of the poor and the uninstructed. Let me be satisfied to live a life of abstraction, of divestment, as 279 N8r 279 to property, and seek only to be an humble follower of Him whose kingdom was not of this world; and thus neither desire nor seek to live as in the world’s spirit, but, above all things, to be perfectly redeemed. 1825-08-056th. Another claim, besides that of Africa, dwells strongly on my mind, and that is the state of our metropolis; in some of the most miserable and disorderly of its population, presenting scenes as much opposed to real Christianity as light is opposed to darkness. I want these to be brought more fully into our view, and the question received into our hearts, What can be done for the prevention of crime and misery in this land? Our prisons are filled,—our laws convict, condemn, and transport,—our watchmen are robbed of their rest, and a great expense is incurred to guard property against plunder. Could not more be done to prevent the disposition to plunder? To give the lowest of the people occupation, and the means of plenty? To visit them in Christian kindness,—to have no poor family unknown or unnoticed? And, since I have felt it my path to serve the poor, let me pursue with steadiness what is required from me here, and I may then, should life be spared, willingly proceed to foreign duties. The weekly loan of tracts will, I apprehend, be the first step for bringing arrangements forward for the amelioration of the state of the poor: afterwards various efforts may follow,—as schools, meetings for instruction, &c. I expect soon to enter upon a visit to St. Giles’s, and, as far as I can judge, feel released from the present further prosecution of duty on the coast of Africa, except by correspondence; and 280 N8v 280 here may I rest, and feel thankful that my path is so clear and plain. The consciousness of our proceedings, with regard to leaving Africa, having been thought by some rash and unauthorized, and by others lacking in firmness and perseverance, has been painfully felt, even although my dear friends who have sympathized with us have shown great kindness; and my way, in various respects, both here and in the north, has been opened beyond what I could have expected. I cannot condemn myself, either in going or returning. I think we were willing to suffer, and trust strength may be given to continue so, and to do the work of the day, according to the ability afforded. 1825-08-1717th. At the morning-meeting of 1825-08-038th mo. 3rd, I was solemnly impressed with the feeling that those who were called to the work of the ministry, or other important stations in the militant church, should dwell in a willingness to be prepared for the work of the Lord, whenever and whatever it might be that should be called for at their hands. On the 1825-08-1111th was brought with lively feeling to my view that declaration of the apostle, Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect—but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth, &c. Oh! that Ireland could be essentially served, in the state of her poor population being so brought into early notice as that the dear little ones could be generally taught. Affecting accounts are received by the Church Missionary-Society of continued mortality among their missionaries at Sierra-Leone. G. Nylander 281 N9r 281 has finished his course. Five others have lately died, even though it has been mostly the dry season; and four are returning home to recruit. In returning from London last evening the stage stopped a few moments at the higher end of Tottenham before a public-house; a window was thrown open, and some dreadfully light remarks on an oath that had been uttered pierced me with grief and shame for the degradation of human nature, and almost with astonishment in the sense of the long-suffering of the all-powerful Creator. What ought to be our patience under the wrongs we may receive from human beings, when we remember the forbearance thus manifested! How ought those who have been permitted to feel and know in some degree the power of the Truth to be willing to lay out their efforts for the awakening of those who are so lost in darkness as to be indeed a disgrace in conduct to a land professing to be Christian! Because of drunkenness, and its wretched fruits, the land mourneth! How little should we esteem any labour to bring up the younger part of society in a detestation of this sin! Let Christians unite to stem the current which is thus leading poor human beings into ruin. What is our ease or self-indulgence to be placed against the sin which is going on, in some directions in our land. Sometimes I have been induced to forbear sitting down quietly alone from feeling so unprepared, and afraid of not attaining to more than a form of retirement, but it is brought to my view that we must supplicate inwardly, as we may be enabled in the little strength we have, for ability 282 N9v 282 to resign ourselves to the guidance of Infinite Love, and to follow Him day by day. How has my mind been impressed in witnessing what I mentioned of sin and profaneness last evening, with the consciousness that the Most High is indeed infinite in mercy,—infinite in condescension, —in still seeking the restoration of His fallen and unworthy creature, man! Let England and America and France show an enlightened and liberal policy in promoting the growth of knowledge, and consequent power, among the working-classes, whilst the more jealous of neighbouring nations look on, and see the fruits of such proceedings: they will be convinced, in time, that industry is the nerve of power, and freedom the spur to industry, and riches and abundance the fruits of industry: yet let this power be rightly directed and guarded by real Christian instruction and the influence of Christian care in counteracting that perversion of the advantages and provisions of the world to which human nature is so prone, and which perversion often, in the ordering of Divine Providence, leads again to misery and want, as well as to disorder of various kinds. A stroke of conviction came home to my mind some days since, when suffering under the view of the future, and the apprehension lest the sense of obligation should feel as a weight upon my spirits. What then! it seemed to be spoken to my heart, shall the poor, to whom thy mind has been led in compassion, and the ignorant, whom thou hast felt bound to endeavour to instruct, shall scenes of duty which are open before thee be turned from unheeded, because there are difficulties to thy 283 N10r 283 natural disposition and feelings to be encountered? Look at the two different paths before thee, and consider which thy conscience would best approve? It appeared to me that if the way be made plain and clear, I ought not to shrink from an arrangement which, although it would bring great obligations, would yet leave me at liberty in the disposal of my time for the good of those who want help and attention. I ought gratefully to feel what a dear friend once expressed, that it is a favour to be employed. And should what I have felt for St. Giles’s lead, through unmerited goodness, to some arrangements for their real help and service, both as to body and mind, how deeply should I feel the claim to thankful-ness! 1825-08-2020th. The way appears opening for the desire of my heart, with respect to finding access to the poor in the most neglected districts. On our first visit there was a degree of coldness among the people, an insensibility and closeness of mind that felt discouraging. In a second visit, yesterday, we were received with much more cordiality than in the first, and felt quite cheered in finding the people seemed better to understand us. One person, who had behaved with peculiar coldness to us last week, was now so much altered in her manner that I did not even remember, till afterwards reminded of it, that it was the same person. She has, I think, been softened by hearing we helped a distressed family near her. Another poor woman, who had been out when we were in the district last week, told us her son, a young man who could read, when he heard what we had been about was much disappointed that his mother was 284 N10v 284 not at home, that he might have had a book to read. Thus we were cheered with the hope that even these obscure and unfrequented dwellings might be pervaded with some rays of light, through the channels thus opened before them. The principle fixed in my mind is, that the very lowest, and worst, and most untaught parts of society should be subjects of both benevolent and religious care, and that meetings for instruction and tract-distribution should be objects of the first care and attention. Have we not the example of our Redeemer, who came to call sinners to repentance, and declared of the joy in heaven over the conversion of one of these? Is not the injury done to Society at large by one of these, who dwell in the extremes of vice, and foster and generate iniquity, to be regarded as a mortal poison, the effects of which should be arrested as speedily as possible, if we desire to see the body preserved in life and health. I long to see more thought and diligent care in the work of prevention. I long to see the instruction of very little children attended to—their moral and religious instruction. The worst of the people should not be considered too far in the dark for Christians to follow. If those who have proved themselves guilty are the subject of Christian pity in prisons, why not try to meet them with the exhortations and warnings of the Gospel, in their obscure dwellings, before the crimes to which they are tempted are committed, and whilst yet there may be hope of the prevention of the crimes which would make their restoration the more difficult and hopeless? A letter arrived from a dear friend in Africa. In reading it, I longed to see again Wellington 285 N11r 285 and the dear children of Sierra-Leone. But as to a visit to the coast, unless a very clear view induce it, it must be left for the present, until some duties at home are more fully entered upon; yet even now I believe I could most willingly go for the ensuing dry season, if it clearly appeared to my friends and myself that this would be the right time for going. My mind is favoured with quiet in the belief that Divine Providence is guiding some of us, in infinite mercy, into a path of usefulness towards some of those who most need Christian care, and that He will be pleased to direct us in the way. Oh! that the heart may be turned to Him for daily help! I feel sensibly that the acknowledgment is due to Infinite Goodness for the peace with which my mind was favoured yesterday, in the course of our visits. There seemed something over us which I could not but regard as an evidence that the Friend of publicans and sinners was directing our path. May what shall be entered upon in this cause be done as unto Him! Perhaps no more interesting duties will ever call my attention than some which are immediately before me. What a favour it is to have health and comparative quiet of mind to enter upon these engagements! It is not thirty years since my mind was decidedly turned to seek its peace in the redemption that is in Jesus: let fruits now appear more evidently than they have yet done, in dedication of heart and life, and daily breathings of spirit to Him whose holy and beneficent pleasure it is to renew strength to them that have no might. 1825-09-039th mo. 3rd. The great Parent of the universe 286N11v286 can prepare for every duty, and but one thing is needful, to dwell as at the Redeemer’s feet, and hear His voice, and seek to follow Him. How precious is the quiet which the soul thus favoured is led to feel, even amidst varied and arduous engagements! How infinitely great is the goodness of our Heavenly Father who, unworthy as we are, still condescends tenderly to invite and direct to scenes of duty with the indubitable assurance that He will be with His weak, dependent children in every sincere attempt to pursue the path to which He is pleased to direct. The 1825-09-033rd and 1825-09-044th were memorable as seasons of great peace, I may say of happiness. Opened on the 1825-09-044th a map to observe the relative situations of Malacca, Singapore, and New South Wales, and while I sat contemplating the map, rejoiced in the belief that good is going on, through the agency of the pious, in many distant districts to which the English have had access, and longed for the yet more visible increase of truth and righteousness on the earth. Have I not been brought, from happy experience, unworthy as I am, yet to acknowledge that there is nothing of enjoyment in this world, not even in our natural and allowed affections, comparable to the precious feeling of Divine love, the indwelling sense of the goodness of the Lord. I have lately read the last accounts from Sierra-Leone of the Church Missionary-Society. It is a grief to see one affectionate labourer after another falling in that colony, and it is to me more evident than ever that they labour beyond what European constitutions can support in that climate; I could not but feel sad in reading the 287 N12r 287 accounts. Dear Madelane Gerber was one of those lately removed, and I could not doubt her being fitted for an inheritance more to be desired than this world can present; but for the dear little children and poor uninstructed people to lose their teachers one after another,—this is afflicting. I do not think that preaching three or four times a day can be likely for an European to continue and live. They should have readers to occupy a part of the time, and only have short occasional communications from the minister. Oh! that they could give way to silent feeling at times in their meetings. Where they cannot have native readers the female missionaries might read, and might also give out the hymns, as one did in the Gambia. How much do I desire that they would select such hymns as would not violate the truth when sung by a congregation. This subject should be more fully brought forward. On speaking about it last evening to a Moravian minister, he acknowledged immediately that he had felt this, and that it seemed to him the strongest argument we, as a society, could bring forward against congregational singing; but he quickly added, Might not those hymns be sung which, whilst they make a general acknowledgment of the truth, and may tend to excite good feelings, do not profess individual experience? I acknowledged that this to me would be a much preferable habit. Yet a sacred regard to truth ought ever to be inculcated; but most of all when assembling for the awful purpose of Divine worship. Alas! the great evil is, that many imagine they have performed Divine worship, when they have uttered certain prayers and professions, without considering whether those 288 N12v 288 professions are sincere, and whether the tenour of the life and conversation are correspondent with them, in the sight of Him who searcheth the heart. The accounts we hear of the darkness and sinfulness of many parts of the world are heart-affecting; and though we may see much to lament in England there is yet much to console.
Her Labours for ameliorating the Condition of the Poor in St. Giles’s—Proposes a second Visit to the coast of Africa.
Her second Voyage to Africa—Arrival at Sierra- Leone—Engagements whilst there—Illness—Returns to England.
Her third Voyage to Africa—Arrival at Sierra- Leone—Establishes a School at Charlotte—Her Labours therein.
It was my privilege to spend the summer of 18301830 with my beloved mother. Till I had this opportunity of watching her in a great variety of circumstances, and of observing her silent and continual renunciation of self, I had formed no adequate idea of the brightness and devotedness of her Christian character. Every walk, every meal, every visit bore a testimony to her deep religious feeling, which to this day speaks more powerfully to my heart than words can express. Quietly and sedulously she pursued her occupations, and accom— plished more than many who had far more opportunities than herself. In whatever she felt her duty she would persevere, notwithstanding she might in its performance have to encounter hunger, cold, fatigue, and want of rest. Whilst she took a deep interest in the exertions of others, she was remarkable for silence on her own labours, unless she saw some good end likely to be answered by relating them.
When it drew near the time of sailing to Sierra- Leone, I accompanied her to see the vessel in which her place was likely to be taken. Part of the river we had to cross in a boat, and while she was in it her natural fear of water so strongly 366 R3v 366 showed itself, that I could not but contrast the great timidity which almost overcame her at that moment, with the constraining love of Jesus which caused her to anticipate, without dismay, a voyage to Sierra-Leone, in order to make known to a benighted people the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Although dreading the day in which I must part, perhaps for life, from this invaluable relative, yet my soul was mercifully sustained, and instead of weeping in the near prospect of bereavement, I was led rather to be thankful for the great privilege of having been with her, and of having had an opportunity of watching her close walk with God. After accompanying her to Gravesend, we bade each other farewell in a peace and calmness which could only be bestowed by Omnipotence.
Whilst memory holds her seat my heart must feel the mercy and blessing of that visit to England, fraught, however, with responsibilities; for surely that season of instruction was vouchsafed in unmerited love, and fruit from it will be expected in that awful day on which we must appear before the Judge of all flesh.
On the 1830-10-1717th of 10th month my precious mother sailed from Gravesend in the company of four missionaries of the Church of England, one of whom was her esteemed friend J. Raban. On reaching the Downs they were obliged to cast anchor, and very tempestuous weather succeeding, they remained in that situation for three weeks, during which time she suffered much from sea- sickness. A few extracts from her letters at this season may be acceptable to the reader.Downs, 1830-11-1010th of 11th mo. It was a great mercy that our ship was kept so steady in the tempestuous 367 R4r 367 night of the 1830-10-088th. I may thankfully acknowledge, that never in a time of danger did I feel more sensibly that through the help of Divine goodness my mind was at anchor, trusting in the infinite power and love of our Father who is in Heaven. I feel sensibly how greatly such a resource of hope and trust is needed, and desire to seek for help from day to day, in order that what shall yet be before me may be met with resignation to his will. Even the stormy sound and appearance of the sea on the first night of high wind brought feelings of awfulness, which I desire never to forget, in the remembrance of Almighty power. That power which is able to bear down whatever is before it, whether it be by winds or waves, or other destructive elements in nature. Who would not fear Thee, O Lord of Hosts, for to Thee doth it pertain to fulfil all Thine own infinite and wise designs, whether in the way of judgment or of mercy.’ 1830-11-1717th. Be not afraid for us. We are still favoured with preservation, though detained; and since I wrote last we have had higher winds than we had before experienced. I feel, indeed, cause of thankfulness, even for the dangers we have suffered. These have been the instruments, in the hand of Infinite Goodness, which have led me into a nearer sense of the beneficent care of Him who comprehends in His view even the minutest points of creation, and who still extends the consoling language of Fear not. Although constitutionally much alive to a sense of danger, and naturally anxious that all should be done that can be to guard against it, I have, I may thankfully acknowledge, been permitted to enjoy much consolation; and often during the windy nights a sense of 368 R4v 368 repose and rest has been vouchsafed in the care of Divine Providence, much more desirable and joyful than the rest of sleep. I do feel that in the days of apparent security my mind has never been sufficiently grateful for the care and goodness of God;—never have I been enough sensible of perpetual dependence on Him both for guidance and protection. O, that in added days this humbling yet consoling sense of dependence every moment on the All-powerful may be the clothing of my spirit!
In her journal she again proceeds. It is but within these few last days that the vessel has been so steady in its motion as to induce me to be much on deck. This day is fine and pleasant, and we have a fair wind. Our position is off the Canary Isles, but we do not intend to touch at any. Palma is finely in view, in part covered with clouds, but its lofty summit towers above all. We are not so near as to distinguish the colours of the vegetation. Several ships are in view; we spoke to two of them, one from America, and another from France; the latter had passengers on board bound for Rio Janeiro. They kindly enquired if we were in want of any thing. On parting they sang in concert something which we could not hear further than the melody. It sounded sweetly on the water like an evening hymn; the sun was just setting in great beauty.My conviction of the value of the principles of Friends deepens with the opportunity of observation, and I long for the day in which these shall be more fully known and acknowledged. Still I have been much struck with a remark by one of the Grecian legislators to this purpose:—He gave them not the very best form of government that 369 R5r 369 could be given, but the best they were capable of receiving. And so it must be with regard to religious institutions for the Africans, or others in the initiatory stages of instruction. The people require to be met with such institutions as they are capable of receiving and participating in, and their friends and teachers should be willing to adapt the means to their state; yet ever maintaining the strictest regard to sincerity and truth, and not to lead persons into professions that are beyond their real experience. 1830-12-1912th mo. 19th. Suffer me to acknowledge a grateful sense of Thy mercy and goodness, O my God, who hast brought Thy poor unworthy servant thus far on her way, and now givest a sweet and peaceful hope of not many days hence arriving at the desired haven. Thou hast sustained a feeble mind through many dangers, and in the midst of very awful seasons hast been pleased to give lessons of deep instruction, which I would humbly desire may never be lost sight of. Thou hast taught me to feel that in all things I ought earnestly to desire Thy heavenly guidance, and never take a step of importance, and especially one in which the promotion of good on the earth is concerned, without deep and heartfelt desires after Thy own guidance, and a clear apprehension that the way is directed of Thee. Thou hast taught me to feel that I have never been enough sensible how much gratitude and love I owe to Thee for the blessings of daily preservation, and the unnumbered and innumerable benefits conferred from day to day. Thou hast taught me, also, how much I need more of the spiritual feeling—the savour of life—that I may, through Thine own power, be made an instrumentR5 370 R5v 370 strument of good to others. I trust I have been led to desire, that even should nature be crucified in yielded to Thy requirings, nothing may be withheld that Thou will be pleased to call for at my hands, in the station to which I apprehend Thy providence is leading me. 1830-12-1712th mo. 17th. Free Town, Sierra-Leone. On the 1830-12-2323rd we were favoured with a safe, and in most respects a pleasant landing at this much-desired port. The day before we landed was to me a happy day; in the evening I read to the young missionaries the charge of Wardlaw to Reed, on his going out to the East Indies. The love of Christ a constraining principle was the leading subject of the address. We were all delighted with it. I slept little in the night, but rejoiced, and I trust felt thankful to Him under whose beneficent care we had thus been preserved. When anchor was finally cast, we soon had the consolation of seeing some of our friends. How rejoiced I was to see J. Keightley, the Wesleyan missionary, to whose house I was intending first to go. I went to J. K.’s: several of his friends came, also T. Macfoy. Before we separated in the evening my heart was engaged in the family meeting to acknowledge the mercy that had hitherto been near, and also to supplicate help and direction for our coming days. On the 1830-12-2424th a message was received from J. and A. Weeks, and a palanquin sent to convey me to them in the mountain district. In the evening I left the friendly shelter of J. K., and went up. How merciful is our God thus to open our way in the hearts of dear friends, to provide for all our wants, both spiritual and temporal. O! the inestimable371 R6r 371 mable favour of that permission, Be (anxiously) careful for nothing; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. The 1830-12-2525th and 1830-12-2626th were spent at Bathurst. On the 1830-12-2727th I went down to Free Town, wishing to present to the Governor my certificate, also The Appeal on the Claims of West Africa. At the same time to express to him the desire which I felt to have a full opportunity of trying the plan of instruction through the native languages, with a company of newly arrived children from the slave- ships. I felt the need of seeking heavenly aid and protection, and was led to desire as much favour in the sight of the people in power as should be needful for the cause’s sake. Under the influence of a spirit of supplication to Him who has the hearts of all in His hand, I proceeded to the Government-house. I was received very kindly by the Governor, who told me he had been reading The Appeal, and was sorry to say my apprehensions were but too true respecting the slave-trade being carried on in this colony to a most disgraceful extent, and that also many poor children were stolen and sold. He informed me not less than twenty-five persons were waiting for trial at the next sessions, accused of carrying on the slave- trade in this colony. The Governor was quite disposed to consent to my taking charge of some of the children on their arrival from the slave-ships, provided no additional expense should be thereby brought upon government. He approved of teaching through the native languages, and with making the experiment on children entirely untaught. I was informed by the 372 R6v 372 Governor, that as soon as I could fix myself in a village both eligible and healthy, he would take care to forward to me some children from the first slave-ship brought into the harbour. After some other communications we departed, acknowledging his kindness to us; and I felt thankful that our heavenly Father was thus opening a way for the accomplishment of the desire of my heart. 1831-01-011st mo. 1st, 1831. I would desire gratefully to feel the mercy which has brought me through the year that is past, and given me to see the commencement of the present. I would earnestly petition that I may be favoured with heavenly direction for the deeply important concerns that are now before me. Last evening, in company with T. Macfoy, I visited the village called Allen’s Town, in which there is a rapidly increasing population, for whom my soul yearned, and more especially for the little children, who have no teacher, and of whom numbers came running out of their huts to meet us. These people have no spiritual instructor, and no means of collecting to learn the first principles of the Christian profession. The village of Charlottee seems the most suitable as well as healthy situation, therefore it is proposed to receive there the little African girls. I long to see the natives taken by the hand as brothers, raised by religious and intellectual instruction, and taught to feel affectionately and gratefully that we are the children of one Father. Would the time of one individual allow, I would like, in addition to my school-family, to provide each child in Charlottee who can read, and will teach another to read, with a little book and short 373 R7r 373 lesson for the purpose. When the young teacher can show that the pupil has acquired the art, I would then give the former a copy of infant school- hymns, or the Cottage Hymn-book, as may be best suited to the age and state of the party. The evening breeze about sun-set is delightful. Sometimes a stagnant state of the air is felt at this time, and we have often great heat in the day: but where we make the best of the advantages that are obtainable—such as meeting the breeze, and sometimes resting in the heat—we may be helped and strengthened for work. I hope with care some might come out and be well. Let them stay only for a season, and then others take their places; thus Friends might take their part in this mission, till a native agency be raised up. O, that we might now take hold of the work, and never let it go from us, until a native agency may take its place! 1831-01-099th. I cannot but desire but that a good school conducted by English Friends should be in some village of this colony for the higher class of coloured children, both male and female. How could I rejoice if before leaving this colony I might see such a school under the care of some estimable Friends! On looking to the present state of the poor little liberated African children, like sheep without a shepherd, it seems impossible for me to leave them, and I think my dearest friends could not desire it. Free Town1831-02-092nd mo. 9th. How true it is that we know not what shall be on the morrow. After I wrote last in my journal, I became very unwell and was in much heat and weakness, yet came to Free Town to engage a matron for the school. I 374 R7v 374 had a sweet and pleasant ride and arrived about dusk; took some coffee with my kind friend J. Keightley, and then accompanied him to the chapel. Not that I profess to be one with them in sentiment as to the best form of holding meetings for Divine worship, but wishing to unite as far as I could, and also to sympathize with the state of the people. I was glad that I had been. The congregation was smaller than that of the first day of the week, but more select. On the 1831-02-1313th, I had an attack of fever, and felt myself growing so rapidly worse as to internal feelings of sickness, that it seemed best to call in medical help. For the five ensuing days I felt as much disordered as I ever remember, and all the future as to my purposes and prospects was involved in obscurity, and only just a sense remaining that Infinite Wisdom must and would order all things well and wisely. My dear kind friend M. Macfoy came down to their house in Free Town, and brought attendants with her to assist in nursing me. On the fifth day the fever broke, and through Divine mercy my recovery was very rapid, only that strength did not return as quickly as the feeling of renewing health. This however increased by degrees, and my kind friends assisted in preparing for my taking up my abode in Charlottee. I can never, I hope, cease to feel how well I was cared for in that hospitable mission-house, nor with what brotherly regard J. K. took my cares upon himself, in providing for my little furniture, stores, &c. A palanquin was sent for me by my friends T. and M. Macfoy, and I paid a visit to the schools at Portuguese Town, and Kongo Town, much to my satisfaction. The native masters are the sole instructors375 R8r 375 structors in these villages as to reading and writing, except that the wife of one of them gives assistance as a gratuitous helper in her husband’s school. Little books and lessons were given to several with the recommendation that each should teach another to read. One little boy in Portuguese Town school had previously begun to teach his father. On the 1831-02-1111th of 2nd mo. early in the morning, I left the house of my valued friend J. K., and set out for Charlottee. When recovering from sickness and enjoying the company of my dear friends, and looking forward with hope to making a trial of the proposed system of instruction in this place, both as to the languages and instruction of a religious nature, I thought I was passing through some of the happiest days of my life. My kind matron met me at the gate, and soon introduced me to twenty little girls who were arranged on the piazza to receive me. I rejoiced to see them, and soon found myself much at home in the habitation allotted to me, which consisted of two good rooms and an ample piazza surrounding, in which I soon concluded that I should often if not constantly have the school. There are two school-houses in the yard, one of which is under repairs, the other we shall occupy for a meeting-room, and the upper part divided in two will answer well for the matron’s room and the children’s lodging-room. It was sixth day when I arrived in the evening: a considerable number assembled in addition to our own family, and both men, women, and children have continued to come so far. My heart is moved toward the people of this place, and to the dear little liberated African children. The two weeks I have spent here have been days of toil and 376 R8v 376 exertion, and every day has been a day of weariness even to pain; still my health has been generally preserved, and I have been mercifully enabled to rejoice in my work. There has been little time for quiet, except in the night; and the cries at times of children in the family living below, added to the sound of work-people, and palavers for the submanager to settle with the villagers, have been preventives to repose. Occasionally, prisoners are kept in a room in the yard, called the jail. With regard to our own flock of dear children, instruction commenced on the 1831-02-1313th, but has been a little retarded by my having been obliged to give considerable time to clothing them, though but with one garment. We have no one besides themselves to work, except such as are already a good deal employed. Sally Mason, a girl of about fifteen, came from M. Macfoy, she, and a Kosso girl, as well as Diana, are very useful. Diana is a kind, willing, and industrious girl, but not very quick in understanding, and knows but little English, yet I feel much interested in her, and glad of her assistance. O, how great is the cause of thankfulness to God in that feeling of rest which my mind has enjoyed in this habitation, even in the midst of much bodily weariness! So much have I felt at home in my work, that I have been ready to say, Can it be that in a few months I shall have left this dear flock to other care, and be on the way to England? One night I was in my dream already in England, and my work no further on its way than at present. I thought I felt distressed, and not at home, and grieved to find myself out of my place, and truly glad was I on awaking to see myself still in Africa 377 R9r 377 O, how I desired that my way might be plainly seen, as to when or how I should depart, and how long, and for what purposes it might be right to stay! 1831-03-113rd mo. 11th. On looking over some memoranda made at sea, I am struck with the allusion of an approach to Sierra-Leone as to the desired haven; whilst a residence here feels a very serious and even fearful thing. This colony being a part of our own country, claims British attention as well as affectionate Christian care. In its present embryo state there is much that is interesting and critical, so that were I early to retire from this part I should look back with anxious feeling, unless by a retirement from this field, or in other words, a return to England, I could more effectually advance the cause of general instruction in the native languages. It is a custom here that if a native wishes to show he does not like you, he sends you to fetch water in a basket: thus unkind feeling induces a person who has power over another to require impossibilities. Is not a portion of the same spirit exemplified in reproaching persons who are uninstructed and inexperienced for not doing what they have it not in their power to do? 1831-03-1818th. An elementary state, such as that in this colony, is one full of the excitement of hope, even where but feeble endeavours for good have commenced. It is interesting also in its divestment of some complicated evils attached to higher and in some respects more advanced conditions. There is a check, however, to our satisfaction, in seeing and feeling that in this elementary state, and in the fallend nature of man, there is a great conflict of 378 R9v 378 evil, which can only be surmounted by good, and at the same time a considerable tendency to that weakness and irritation of spirits which relax and even, when yielded to, destroy the capacity of overcoming that which is wrong in others in the best and most effectual manner. The exhaustion of the natural strength should be guarded against, as opening the way to this weakness, and the simple family maxim adhered to of, Let all be well instructed in the duty and business required of them; give timely directions, and avoid unkind reflections. Having written this maxim, I ought to be more careful to give such instructions as are needed, and be patient when there are many deviations and proofs of inattention in young people little experienced, untaught, and much unused to act without constant direction and superintendence. This in Africa is a great lack, as few of the natives are taught even by Europeans to think and act on a regular system in works of daily service, and this keeps both themselves and their superintendents in a kind of daily toil, even to weariness, and often in much conflict. I have lately received letters from my friends; all are looking for my return. Whilst thinking of those dear to me by the ties of relationship and Christian friendship, and attracted to England as my home, the query arose, And where is home? Art thou sure it is to be found in England? I have felt it a fearful thing to look towards leaving this place at this season, and yet within these last few days I have been ready to apprehend my strength might not be equal to the work before me. I have been ready to say, that if my health be preserved, it can only be so by care 379 R10r 379 and by a determination rather to forego my wishes as to getting forward with my work, than to continue when too much spent to be qualified rightly to proceed. Translations interest me greatly. I see that the simplicity of the subjects, together with the pictures, give such a key to the language, that I do greatly wish if possible to see this experiment thoroughly tried. If I had to begin with a new set of children, or had even one teacher on whom to depend for assisting me, I should prefer the children not attempting to learn to read English, until they could read their own language, because of the increased difficulty of attempting two orthographies at the same time. I trust that experience will so confirm my present plan that it will eventually be adopted even in Sierra-Leone; although I hear still the old sound of, This colony is an English colony, and for our own people we do not need the native languages. The manner in which English is understood and spoken here is grievous. I believe the people in singing hymns often remember but very few of the words given out in two lines, and either use other words, or sing a part of the time without words, and this I apprehend arises from their not knowing enough of the meaning of what they hear to enable them to understand, and if so they cannot be expected to use the lines given out for singing. Feeling the lack of religious reading, I took up this afternoon the Daily Expositor, and was struck with the passage from Luke xvi. 26, and thought that neither the parching heats, nor blighting cold should hinder the effort to proceed when duty calls; 380 R10v 380 nor even our own life being in jeopardy, if the star appear to lead forward. Several of my friends are quite desirous I should not continue through the rains, and particularly as being at this place rather far separated from medical and other aid; but I have felt much interested in this village, and could no otherwise quit it freely than by seeing a prospect of its being continued as a station of liberated Africans, under the friendly care of missionaries or others. My hope is, that Divine Providence will mercifully direct my path. I can only at present inform my friends, that my way for returning does not appear sufficiently clear to allow of making any arrangements with that view; and that I wait a little longer in the expectation of hearing something about the proposal to have elementary African lessons formed through a native agency in England. I fear to move from hence too soon, and would hope also to be preserved from staying when I ought to be looking towards England. the children of Israel were on their way, and favoured with evident direction, how happy was their state! When the cloud rested, they stood still, and when it moved, they journeyed. There is a great variety of sounds and noises in this village, besides the voices of our own young ones, which are as yet too little repressed when out of school, though when in it, they are quiet and easy to govern. There are frequent noisy quarrels in the village, and many of these who thus contend with each other appeal to the sub-manager (a native) who lives below: what with these disturbances 381 R11r 381 and the frequent breaking of rest in the nights, my health and strength have been much worn down. Still there is a feeling of present home in this place, that I would gratefully acknowledge and daily be thankful for; yet daily care is needed to prevent the various calls for attention from encroaching on the habit of seeking spiritual strength for the day’s work. How sweet was the declaration of the Psalmist, O, my God, I trust in Thee; and whoever is seeking sincerely to move in the Divine appointments, and not in his own will, should surely adopt the same language and fear no evil, but go directly forward, without calculating on mere human consequences. 1831-03-2020th. Our times of instruction on first days are not long, seldom more than an hour, and a part of that is given to such as have some knowledge of English, and given in English only; yet I find just now that the weakness on my lungs, together with some other considerations, prevent me from singing with them, consequently it is rather more difficult than usual to keep up their attention. 1831-03-2323rd. I intend to-day to write to my friends in England, to say, that if lack of health should not prevent, I have concluded to remain here till next spring. It is not without deeply feeling the responsibility attached to such a conclusion, and the many dangers, spiritually and physically, to which I shall be exposed in remaining, that I have come to this conclusion. Within the last twenty-four hours I have experienced almost all the variety of circumstances that may contribute to lower and destroy the health, to unsettle the temper, or to excite to disappointment, with respect to agents who must be employed, and towards whom, with all 382 R11v 382 their inadequacy, it is necessary to act with patience and forbearance, and to seek at the same time for their better instruction. It is surely needful that I should in earnest prayer seek for victory over all that would prevent my filling this station in a manner that should exemplify in the sight of the people the Christian character, and show forth the Redeemer’s praise by the evident prevalence of Christian principles. There is much to combat with in the effect of the great changes which are experienced in the physical state of this climate, and particularly from exhaustion when food at seasonable times is either neglected to be taken, or too long delayed from want of attention in the providers. Too much exertion from teaching in school will produce the same effect. It was a cause of sadness to have last evening to part with T. and M. Macfoy, who are going to England. My heart mourned that I had not been to them a better helper in spiritual things. During the night, Let your speech be always with grace seasoned with salt, was much in my remembrance as an emphatic Christian memento. I must do more in instructing my teachers, and have them apart for this at a daily specified hour; and surely to teachers and to children, the grand principle of the Redeemer, Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you, should be ever kept in view and acted upon, and thus the feeling that desires not to condemn, but to save, would shine through all the conduct, as a light that would glorify our Father which is in heaven. 1831-03-2424th. I have just read with much satisfaction the memento for the day, in the selection called Daily Bread. The purport is the estimate of 383R12r383 offences by the character of the offended, and hence the great depth of turpitude in sinning against God. O, for more constant watchfulness against every inward evil, and the continual sense of Thou, God, seest me. My mind was refreshed when lately in Free Town by seeing the missionary Keithly still dwelling under the grateful sense of Divine mercy and goodness, renewedly felt in his recent recovery from sickness, and the safe arrival of a colleague whom he had nearly ceased to expect. On reaching home I missed the wonted welcome of dear friends and relations, and felt solitary. The next morning, and to-day also, my mind has been comforted and strengthened. I am fully satisfied in the prospect of remaining until next spring, and have made arrangements to be more exonerated from actual teaching in school. I could not leave this work without a clear evidence of its being the time to leave it. How cheering is the hope that I may stay and live to see it more fully advanced. O, may patience, and perseverence, and Christian industry be given to me! 1831-03-2828th. I have been so much indisposed within the last few days, that my faith was almost ready to faint, and my mind was tried with the apprehension that I have not physical strength for the work in prospect. What then, I said in my heart, can have been the cause of so much attraction here? I petitioned that if my remaining here was in the Divine will, I might, as a token for good, have ere long some return of that health with which I have at times been favoured, and that I might obtain quiet and refreshing sleep in the night. This petition has been mercifully granted, I have had sweet sleep, and have arisen refreshed. 384 R12v 384 We have had interruptions as to the receipt of provisions that are inconvenient to one not strong in health; but I must do what I can to guard against this, and take care of the body for the sake of the tenant, of which, though the body be but the habitation, that habitation is not at our command, and should be kept in due repair. The cares of this station are from day to day many and various. One of the first this morning was a distressing cry from the yard, one room in which is appropriated as a house of correction for this district. My heart mourned in seeing the petty authority of the jailor proudly and cruelly exercised towards a poor woman, whom he was obliging to take upon her head an unmerciful load of stone, and driving her to work with a whip, amidst her throbbing outcries. I called to him, and he forbore further to strike her; but little was I aware of her having to carry her load four miles. Going down to the sub-manager to remonstrate on this conduct of the jailor, he owned it was too hard, yet had looked on, and not prevented it, but only desired him not to drive her. A man followed with a stone on his head, but much smaller than that the woman had to carry. O, how far are this people from being prepared for the exercise of power, and how ill is power frequently used by persons but very little raised above their fellows, and lacking the advantages of Christian discipline in education. O, that we could hope for a little company of Friends to come out in this cause, and for this work! I long to see some other agents employed in translations and for the schools, also in setting an example of Christian harmony, integrity, simplicity385 S1r 385 plicity and pure devotion. Though I long for these, I greatly value what has been done, and is doing by the agents of the Church and the Wesleyan Societies. Europeans are much needed here; and though we may often wish for more able helpers in the work, yet some with great apparent inexperience, are so superior to those they have to teach, that what seems chiefly needed is simplicity, diligence, Christian integrity, and devotedness. Notwithstanding all the imperfections and deficiencies of native teachers, and many are now employed whose qualifications are very slender, yet I very much fear even from what I have seen, that for the people to be left without these opportunities of assembling, and invitations to hear the Sacred Records, and the comments of preachers upon them, and the offer of vocal supplication, whether from written forms or otherwise, that the lethargy and indifference cherished in the absence of even impercet aids to devotion and instruction would be far more injurious to the minds and principles and general habits of the people, than the present imperfect help, which, imperfect as it is, is still an acknowledgment of God and a sense of responsibility towards Him. Care indeed is needed that the persons who thus minister as native teachers should instruct the people in the ways of truth and righteousness, seeking for Heavenly help for themselves and their flocks, and not just lead them to rest in a speculative belief of Christian doctrines, or in a mere outward acknowledgment of what is good. 1831-04-014th mo. 1st. I have just met with some sentences written at sea, and desiring to retain the S 386 S1v 386 sense of what then was deeply felt, I will write them in this part of my journal. 1. It is the Spirit that quickeneth, and He alone can. 2. The command is, Quench not the Spirit; cherish the dawnings of good. 3. Lean to the weakest in Christian condescension. O, that I may be made more spiritually minded, that the savour of life may be with all my ways, that I may be wholly a pilgrim, not commending myself to any; and O! that I may be gratefully sensible of my perpetual dependence, and of the continual oversight of God. 4. Surely before the Infinite, the state of a child is what we should strive after. 5. It is life only that can lead to life, and no forms are availing without it. Seek the life in all things, and cherish it by all authorized means. 6. Let temperance in all outward things be the order of the day. Its opposite leads to mental bondage and to overbearing oppression. 7. We ought to seek the controlling power of Christ over all that is within us, and seek to Him for strength; and this we shall assuredly find if we desire to be wholly His. My soul longs to unite with the deeply and humbly exercised among Friends. How I love the principles of this valued and favoured Society! Their principles will advance on the earth. The state of the world calls for their fuller developement. 1831-04-022nd. When near the end of my toils to-day, my mind was refreshed by a friendly note from the dear Wesleyan missionary, who is about to send 387S2r387 me some wine which I had ordered, and some bread to slice for drying as sea-bread, that I may have it toasted when flour is run out. The lack of bread is more felt than that of other food, from the long habit of using it in England. Let us take heed that we be not lulled to sleep with the idea that we can do nothing for religious instruction until physical and intellectual privileges are first employed and improved. No, there is a spark of heavenly light in all, although often greatly dimmed and obscured by surrounding obstructions, which cause the darkness not to comprehend or to give way to it. This light will guide to the acknowledgment of the truth when it is met in Christian love. 1831-04-033rd. My mind is impressed with a persuasion that there are several families of Friends, even within my own knowledge, who would be both more happy and more useful as missionaries than in business at home; and I think this would be the right sphere for them, whether at home or abroad. Should our Society open the way for the employment of such agents, we might have one or more families thus engaged in Africa. In the country districts, and with moderate labour, some constitutions might enjoy pretty good health, and changes could be made, if desirable, as in the Wesleyan society. If our Friends should take a station here, they must first agree upon a system of religious meetings and religious instruction, and consider whether in addition to seasons of silence, which should ever be maintained as suited for the collecting of the mind before the Most High, they would not also recommend the reading of the Scriptures, with occasional comments on what might S2 388 S2v 388 be read. Hymns adapted to the state might be read or sung in the assembly; also other subjects read, which are written in clear and simple language. I do not find any language so easy for the people to understand, and yet comprehending so much. In recollecting this I am reminded of Montgomery’s description of prayer:— Prayer is the simplest form of speechThat infant lips can try;Prayer the sublimest strains that reachThe Majesty on high. Sierra-Leone is far from being such a region of peace and order as I have enjoyed in Tottenham, in Yorkshire, or even nearer London; but we cannot, in a missionary station, expect that. Still, I cannot but long for some society with whom I could freely communicate many passing thoughts, and consult how far we can rightly allow or check such and such things. O! that the heart’s communion were kept more fully open toward Him who has said by His servant, If any lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally upbraideth not. 1831-04-066th. My friend A. W. came yesterday to see me, on her way to Regent, on her return from Kent, to which extreme point of the peninsula she had been with her husband. They saw on their way a number of little villages, formed by the Africans when freed from their bond to government. So many of these were without schools that their compassion was excited, and they wished that in addition to what the Church Missionary 389 S3r 389 Society do for the colony, that the Wesleyans and Friends would send out further agents. The people of Kent rejoiced to see them, hoping they were come to remain with them. The want of schools for their children is what most distresses these poor people. J. and A. Weeks wished that some plan of circulating schools, as in the East Indies, could here be introduced. The plan there is, for a teacher to pitch his tent, for a month or so, collect a school, and then leave it under such agency as can be obtained; then visit another village, and proceed in like manner, till he has made his circuit. This colony does assuredly want further help, and more should be done both in the way of preparing teachers, and opening and superintending schools. The Africans are very far from being prepared to take this important and difficult station into their own management; and much as there may be to struggle with, European Christians should still be willing to come for the help of the people. Difficult as it may have been to help them effectually, and many as may have been the imperfections of agents employed, I still feel disposed highly to estimate any real Christian labour that has been bestowed, and to long for more labourers into this vineyard, so important as it is to poor Africa. It is difficult here to prevent the neglect of property devoted to public service. Here is, too, very little idea of the waste of time occasioned by want of punctuality in persons bringing articles for sale, and others calling for payments. Native teachers also require so much oversight, and are so apt to forget what should be remembered, that altogether the time and attention is by these minor 390 S3v 390 matters drawn from the full pursuit of what would be of general advantage, such as the writing of lessons, and the preparing of translations. These cares sometimes distract the mind, and hinder that renovation which we hope to gain in serious reading and retirement. Thou seest, O my God, the danger I am in of suffering surrounding difficulties to call off my mind, and hinder its access to Thee, and thus I may become shorn of the strength which is needful for the arduous duties of this station. I feel that I have many privileges and blessings for which I ought gratefully to thank Thee; only let the way be open and plain before me, and let me know Thy will, and look for strength to Thee to enable me to walk in Thy Divine requirings. 1831-04-077th. It may be seasonable for me at present to dwell alone as to European society, and the beloved association of Christians with whome I have been wont to communicate. My many engagements require much attention; still, when I have enjoyed, as to-day, the company of a dear Christian friend of my own native land, and watched her departure, and returned to a habitation comparatively solitary, my heart feels it, and sinks for a time: yet I am thankful that it is only in a state of sojournment that I am thus alone, and that a beloved relative, if I am favoured with a home in England, will then gladly make a part of my family, and would even here have been willing to accompany me, had that been judged expedient, but on my own account I could not have consented to it. I love occasional solitude, and should, in any situation, be glad to be alone a part of every day; yet I love cultivated Christian society, and 391 S4r 391 dearly enjoy the interchange of thought and feeling of which we are thus permitted to partake. O, may all our best desires of enjoyment lead to the Fountain of life and love, and to the humble and grateful adoration of our Heavenly Father and Friend. 1831-04-1010th. I seem not to fear either this climate, or the dangers of the deep, if only I may know what is required of me. How sweet is the assurance that we are not left to ourselves! Earnestly do I long to see this establishment conducted on Christian principles, and in that feeling of love and good-will to all around that will be most effectual to real improvement. It will require great watchfulness to keep to principles, to teach and justly reprove when needful, but not to reflect and reproach, and at the same time to give some responsibility to each, and instruct each how to use it. Would it not be well to put the younger children under the care of an elder one as to washing, &c., not to do it for them, but to see it done. My young people are at present very deficient in even remembering what they have to do, without immediate and present direction. I want them to improve in this, to think more, and not depend on perpetual oversight and direction from any one. I have been favoured with a little strength to keep quiet and undisturbed, when circumstances were not what could be wished, and temptation to complain to my young people presented. A waiting for a more suitable season to lead them into better ways is, I believe, my present duty, as well as to watch against both temper and negligence, and to endeavour, by Christian example, to help them. My mind is watching to act consistently, 392 S4v 392 and, through everlasting goodness, is favoured with rest and peace, yet is far from being disposed to overlook any wrong thing, but only desiring to counteract what is wrong steadily and patiently. Often in my former engagement in Yorkshire, I had to maintain for some of my teachers a silent exercise of mind, and to endeavour to counteract and indirectly instruct, rather than to separate from them by outward complaints; and this has been followed by some success, although I sensibly feel that my deficiences as to Christian exercise and religious travail of spirit for them has been great and needed forgiveness from Him who poured out His soul unto death. The degree of good there appeared in my dear helpers, set me I fear too much at rest, and I sought not their spiritual advancement as I ought to have done. Their growth in grace, as well as their increase in knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, should have been my daily petition. Still I have to acknowledge the mercy that has followed them, so that my hope is consoling concerning them all, and with regard to some most comforting. Thanks be unto God for this great and inestimable favour. My path seems so plain before me just to stay in Africa till I see a clear call to England, that my mind is now at liberty, in the prospect of endeavouring without loss of time diligently to pursue my way as a pilgrim, without anxiety as to the season in which my labours may close for the present, or how long they may be continued. I do not feel that in an African climate, such as this, the state of the atmosphere precludes mental labour. All must depend on the Divine ordering 393 S5r 393 and the right observance of it. England certainly affords many spiritual helps, which Africa does not; and yet the variety of calls to occupation in England may, in one view, be less favourable than a situation in Africa, because this, in comparison to that, is almost a complete solitude. O, how gratefully ought I to acknowledge the great Providential mercy I have experienced, in having had in England, both whilst living in my large family in Yorkshire, and since the divestment of occupation has given me much time for mental engagements, and for the free consideration of what might tend to usefulness amongst the poor and others. It is true, little is yet done in comparison with what is needed, whilst the field for labour is very wide. Still, these seasons of retirement, have, through Divine help and mercy, led to some exertions in favour of those who needed help, which, imperfect as it may have been, calls for an aspiration of thankfulness, that the orderings of Divine Providence have in any way led to, and permitted, even that degree of fruit which has appeared, yet feelings of deep humiliation may well prevail when I look back. I long, when the right time shall come, to join once more in the sublime and sacred exercise of an assembly of silent worshippers, and to witness the solemn waiting of endeared friends at the graveside of a brother or a sister, when the awful transition into the eternal world, calls out the mind to the acknowledgment of the unstable and transiet nature of all human things. Deas as is the thought of preparing little untaught children for the first rudiments of Christian instruction, yet my mind greatly enjoys partaking of the high and spiritual S5 394 S5v 394 privileges, which Christian communion with exercised and experienced friends often so sweetly affords in our own native land; our highly favoured country, where blessings and privileges do indeed abound, and where the question ought daily to come home, How much owest thou unto thy Lord? and What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. O! that the true Christian missionary spirit may spread in our dear native land, and may its compassions be moved toward many at home, as well as to those in distant countries. Far be it from me to narrow the stream that would flow abroad, or to desire for either myself or others a greater exemption from this labour, even for the last and lowest of the people, than the Divine will would appoint. Only I desire that the many benighted and suffering people in our own country may partake also of missionary labour. May schools be formed, and colonies of industry also; may Christian instruction visits be given; in fine, may all be ready to help in every way where right openings are seen, and may they serve one another in the Redeemer’s cause, and from love to himself. I am not satisfied without acknowledging, that amid some trials and bereavements which I have experienced here, there has been vouchsafed to me through unmerited goodness, such an evidence of Divine mercy and protection, that many of the hours I have spent in this habitation may, I believe, justly be considered as among the happiest of my life. 1831-04-1212th. We have had this afternoon an unexpected visit from the Governor, just as the children395 S6r 395 ren were commencing the afternoon school. I staid in the house a short time to see some refreshment set out for our company, and on going into the school-room, found the Governor very wisely forming his judgment of what the children could do, by pointing out from the lesson-board different letters, not in regular succession. I heard them afterwards a little from the Kosso and English lessons. He inquired about their knowledge of the English language; and himself, and the two civil officers who accompanied, seemed satisfied with their appearance and attainments. One spoke of them as the most intelligent company of liberated African children he had ever seen. 1831-04-1313th. I have had a good night’s rest, and arose this morning much refreshed, and felt, I trust, thankful for the renovated power with which I am favoured. O, that from day to day that grace may be earnestly sought which can perpetually renow the soul in Christ Jesus! In my afternoon hour of instruction I have been refreshed. O, what a favour it is that we have had so much satisfaction, and so little disquiet. Whatever else has been going on heavily, the school, both for the children and the teachers, has been pleasant and satisfactory. I must endeavour to lead my young people out of the habit of passing time thoughtlessly, by giving employment that will interest them and be attended to in leisure hours. Three are now capable of reading and writing, so as to occupy themselves in reading to good purpose. I have given a Cottage Hymn-book to each of these, and proposed a hymn to be learned by two verses at once, to which they immediately applied. Two of our family (the servants) have 396 S6v 396 lately been much involved in contention with each other. I trust, however, that has all passed, and that at this present moment the whole family is in peace and good-will. O, may this be maintained, and thankfulness of heart be felt for so great a comfort! I long to see a religious exercise awakened in the minds of these dear young people who are appointed to help the children, and that they may be enabled to lead them by counsel and example in the ways of righteousness. 1831-04-1717th. Merciful and beneficent was the appointment of one day of rest from worldly cares; and desirous should every conductor of a family be that all partake the intended benefit:—not overloading the preceding day with toil, so as to cause late retiring, or late rising in the morning of the Sabbath. There should not be much preparation of food for either the family or for visitors, so that this may not be a day of weariness, or hard pushing to obtain an hour or two for the sacred engagements of public worship. Let it be remembered, Thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant were to be included in the first appointment of this sacred day. I long greatly for a habitation in which each shall endeavour day by day conscientiously to pursue his own duties, as unto the Lord; where the sweetness of harmony shall be felt throughout the house, and the comforting presence of infinite and everlasting goodness be acknowledged. O, that a deputation of able men would come on a visit to this colony, to see the whole concern of the liberated African department! The school stations want more helpers, and the causes of the great mortality which has existed among the children in the 397 S7r 397 rains, needs more fully ascertaining. We need also some powerful exertion with regard to the apprenticing system, which, in many cases, is only another kind of slave-trade. O, that health may be given to continue through the rains! If that should not be granted, or if any other cause should make it requisite to leave, I would seek to submit with resignation to the view of returning; which yet, to my own choice, would be more difficult than staying. Some people might, if they saw these and other reasonings on the subject, be ready to say, you bring indisposition by your doubts and fears. I do not feel that this would be a just reflection, nor that I am in the way of expecting indisposition till it is felt. A constitution at all times peculiarly susceptible of suffering from damp, must be sensible of these effects in Africa, whatever care may be taken before the rains commence. My only hope is, that, if it be the will of Divine Providence for me to remain, He will give what strength He shall see good. My mind is under concern from the fear that some resting too much in the observance of regular seasons for family and public worship, do not yet guard the heart with all diligence, but suffer tempers to be indulged that tend to wound, disturb, and weaken that which is good. The memento seems to be, Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it, are the issues of life. It is in our lives that we show most fully whose we are, and whom we obey. When engaged in the selection of subjects for reading to children, it is necessary to have the mind at liberty for the work, and awake to sympathy with the little ones, so as to adapt instruction398 S7v 398 tion to their state. There are some things in the little magazines, which though instructive, are put into language rather too childlike for public reading. I like for this purpose, the gravity and affecting seriousness of many of the accounts in Janeway’s Token for Children. I apprehend that the delicate concern of conveying religious instruction in language adapted for children without lowering sacred subjects by too familiar expressions, has been one great hinderance to some religious instructors who really feel for children, and has prevented them from more frequently attempting to instruct them in public. Query. How can children who are taught to sing hymns, be best guarded against singing them in a rough careless manner? In looking back to some past enjoyments with dear friends in England, I feel that they have indeed passed away for ever, and can be known no more; no more known under the same circumstances: and I feel willing that it should be so, hoping that they will give place to feelings still higher, should some of us be once more permitted to meet. O, may it be thus, when the final separation from all below shall draw very near. May the hope of that which is higher and brighter, then animate and cause entire resignation; and to be prepared for this, may Heavenly love, through Redeeming mercy, rest on my spirit, and refine by its own pure influence all that is within me. Thus may I be prepared for every duty of the present day, and taught to go through even the roughest places steadily, as best becomes the Christian character, with the eternal inheritance in view; and in this feeling calling upon others to come, taste, and 399 S8r 399 see that the Lord is good, and blessed both here and hereafter are they who trust in Him. If instead of this, the uninstructed, who know not our Lord and Saviour, see those who profess His name easily moved to anger, to impatience, to restlessness, and off their heavenly guard, how can they judge of the efficacy of that religion of which they hear, but which they see so very imperfectly exemplified in its professed followers? The language of our Redeemer to His disciples was Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: and when in whatever trial or provocation we suffer ourselves to be deprived of this peace by giving way to feelings inconsistent with it, we not only act against our own best welfare, but deprive ourselves in the same degree of that mental ascendency over those who do wrong, in which alone the best and most efficient government must ever consist.
Her continued Exertions on behalf of the liberated African Children—State of Apprentices in the Colony—Advice relative to youthful Missionaries.
- An experiment, so far as circumstances will allow, of teaching English intelligibly, and making use of the native languages for that purpose, so far as they are known, or can be obtained in their elementary form.
- 2ndly. The watchful care of a company of liberated Africans, both as to health and mind;
- and, 3rdly. The training of a few young persons as teachers for schools.
Receives fifty-six Children from the Church Missionary School, which is relinquished—Visits Liberia— Close of the Journal—Her Death.