The Missing Cross to Purity



1655.—Visits Scotland, passing through Northumberland—
Has good service for the Lord at Edinburgh and Glasgow—
Returns to Swarthmore, and proceed to Cheshire.

IT was not long after this, that I took my leave of that blessed family, for I was to go to Scotland, towards which nation we had felt some drawings, before we were clear of that service beyond the sea. Having taken my leave in abundance of love of my dearly beloved friends at Swarthmore, I went through Westmoreland, and had some good meetings among Friends there, which were of good service. Upon the 12th of the ninth month, 1653, I went towards the bishoprick, in order to go into Scotland. When I came into the bishoprick, I met with my dear companion John Stubbs again; and when we had visited the brethren and Friends in those parts, and had been truly refreshed together in the Lord, we went into Northumberland; in some parts of which we had very good service, especially in the country about Morpeth.

About the beginning of the tenth month, 1655, we were at Berwick; and on the market day, it was upon us to go into their market, where we had some good service. On first-day following, I was moved to go into their great assembly, where none of our Friends had been, who had not been imprisoned and afterwards put out of the town. Nevertheless, I was not therefore to be discouraged, but went in boldly in the name and power of the Lord; and when the priest had finished, I stood upon a stall, but none seemed to make such haste to get away as the priest; however, my mouth was opened in much power, and the Lord was pleased to give me courage and boldness, and I had impartially good liberty to declare the truth. When I had finished, the mayor met me at the door, and took me by the hand, and delivered me to the sergeants. But afterwards I was brought before the mayor and magistrates, and further examined by them, who finally ordered that I should be turned out of the town, which also came to pass. In the afternoon I was at a steeple-house in the country, where I spoke to the priest; but he was furious, and called me madman, and told the people to take me to the stocks, and bind me hand and foot, with more such expressions. None of the people would obey him however, but gathered generally about me, and were pretty willing to hear the truth declared, though they were a dull, ignorant people. Afterwards I could not get any lodging among them for my money; and when I was wandering up and down, being unable to get a place to lay my head, or to rest and refresh myself in, there came a man out of Berwick to me, and I went along with him. The guard allowed me to pass very freely into the town again, where I met with my dear companion John Stubbs, who had also been in great service that day; in the morning among the Baptists, and in the afternoon he fulfilled the meeting which we had appointed; so that day we had good service, and stayed afterwards some few days in that town, and had another meeting or two there.

We traveled from there into Scotland, towards Edinburgh; and though our travails were great, and our sufferings many, both in the inward and outward man, yet the Lord by his mighty power supported us, and carried us through them all. What made them the easier to us, and made us the more capable to bear with them, was the extraordinary love and unity in which the Lord preserved us; so much that I do believe scarcely any of the brethren who traveled abroad upon the same honorable account, were ever more agreeable than we were, or were more mutual in their service, and in other things incident to travelers, than we. Therefore our travels and sufferings were so much more easy to us, through him that blessed us, and with the right hand of his righteousness supported us-to whom be glory, honor and dominion forever and ever!

When we came to Edinburgh, we found things somewhat out of order there, through the unfaithfulness of some who were convinced of the truth, but who did not order their conversation aright, neither did they live as became the gospel; which we endeavored to rectify among them, as much as was possible; and the word of the Lord was effectual through us among them, to bring them into better order.

After we had been some time together in that city, it was upon my dear brother to go to some other places, as to Burnt Island, Ayr, and afterwards to return to England again; so we parted in the fullness of endeared love, with much brokenness of heart.

I stayed several weeks in that city, [Edinburgh], being accompanied by another dear brother, John Slee by name. Many good meetings we had in the city, especially upon the Castlehill, where many hundreds heard the truth of God in much power and plainness; and often the witness of God was reached, and many were made to confess to the truth; so that we had extraordinary good service for the Lord. Not only did we keep our meetings upon the previously mentioned public place, but also we often had meetings at William Osborne's, who formerly had been a Lieutenant-Colonel, but had now become very zealous for the Lord's truth. One time especially, it was upon me to go to their high place of worship — the greatest in the city — which accordingly I did. After the priest had finished, I spoke to the people, but was not allowed to speak much, before I was carried out with the press of the multitude, which was indeed extraordinarily great. When I came out in the street, there was a guard of soldiers set in readiness to secure me from the multitude, and to conduct me to the place where I wanted to go, which they did with their drawn swords; and after that I went in peace to the meeting of Friends.

I was also about that time with General Monk, so called, who was seemingly moderate, and heard me, and received any papers from me which I had to deliver to him.

I was also at Stirling; and at my going into the city, was carried to the main guard, and from there I was sent to the governor, who at first was high with me; but when I had spoken a little to him, and had given him something to read, he became more moderate. I went from his house to the English chaplain's, who was very moderate and kind in his way towards me. After I had good service among them, I went to Glasgow, another great city; and it was upon me to go to their great cathedral, where three congregations met at once. After they had all finished, I had some liberty to speak to the multitude in the yard, for the rude people were kept very much under control by the English soldiers, who were pretty moderate towards me, so that I had very good service in that city.

I was at a place called Douglas, where I had good service, both in the steeple-house and elsewhere; but the priest caused me to be turned out of my lodging, and did what he could to hinder me from having any accommodation in the town; but some who lived a little from the town, were willing to receive me into their house.

Thus after I had had such good service both in the city of Edinburgh, and at the places before mentioned, I was pretty free to return again to England, which I did.

When I came back to England, I visited Friends both in Northumberland and in the bishoprick, [Durham] and had some good service among them, especially in the bishoprick; and afterwards I visited Friends again in Westmoreland, and in due time got well back to Swarthmore, where I was received as formerly, even in the fullness of dear and precious love. I found the power and the presence of the Lord with them as formerly, and therefore our refreshment together was again as it was apt to be. I could truly say, it was good to be there; but the Lord having much service for me abroad, I could not stay long before I was constrained to travel again in the work and service of the Lord. About the middle of the first month, 1656, it was upon me, and another dear brother, William Simpson, to go down into Lancashire and Cheshire, to visit Friends, which accordingly we did. Many precious and serviceable meetings we had, and the Lord's heavenly power and presence were much with us, and very good service we had both at Warrington and Manchester; and I was at the great Independent congregation at Stopard, [Stockport] but Eaton, their pastor, caused them quickly to take me away, so that I had very little liberty among them. Afterwards I went to the meeting at Manchester, and my companion was moved to go to the steeple-house, but had little liberty to speak, for he was taken there, and was turned out of the town, as he had been twice the day before. But that night he came in again, and we had a good meeting in the town, as I had had the night before at Stopard. The next day many people followed us, through William's speaking, at the end of the town, and there I had a favorable opportunity to declare God's truth among them; which they heard with moderation and attention. Upon the third-day following, we had a meeting at a place called Sunderland, and upon the fourth-day another meeting four miles from there, and on first-day, we had a good general meeting within four miles of Northwich. Yes, night and day we labored in the work and vineyard of our heavenly Father, and our reward was with us.

We were put in prison at a place called Congleton in Cheshire; and remained there some few days, when Providence so ordered it, that we were again released. Time would fail me to relate particularly the good service which we had at that time in Cheshire, Lancashire, and at Leek in Staffordshire; sometimes in steeple-houses, sometimes in streets and markets, and night and day frequently in meetings. In due time we were made free in the Lord to return again, after we had spent several weeks as previously mentioned; and as always when I returned to Swarthmore, it was a place of refreshment to me.


1656.—Attends a general meeting in Leicestershire —
again visits Scotland; has good meetings at Edinburgh, Leith, Stirling —
Returns to Swarthmore, and proceeds to Bristol and into Cornwall —
Visits George Fox in Launceston jail.

ABOUT this time, as I remember, I took a journey into Leicestershire to a great general meeting which was appointed, to which many of the brethren came, and among them there was dear George Fox, whom I greatly desired to see. It was a very precious meeting. Afterwards I had some precious time with the brethren, and took my leave of them, and returned again into Lancashire. I had not been there long, when it was upon me to go into Cumberland and Scotland again; at which point I took my leave of Friends in those parts, and went towards Cumberland. On the 4th day of the third month, 1666, I was at a meeting at Ambleside close by the chapel, and several of the people were with us after the priest had finished. In the afternoon I was moved to go into the chapel among them, but they were exceedingly violent against me, and seemed to thirst much after my blood, for they fell upon me, as if they would have torn me to pieces; but their power was limited, and I was preserved in the arms of the Lord, and endued with much courage and boldness to declare the everlasting truth among them.

Afterwards I went into Cumberland, where I had several good and precious meetings among Friends, to the confirming of them in the truth, and to my great refreshment in the Lord. When I had visited Friends in that county, I look my leave of them, and went from there to Scotland again, being accompanied by a dear brother called John Grave. We traveled towards Douglas, where we visited the few Friends that were convinced, and had a meeting in the steeple-house yard, where many heard the truth declared in the power and demonstration of the Spirit, especially in the priest's absence; but when he was at his devotion many of them left us. In the steeple-house, when the priest was instructing his hearers, and sometimes when they could not answer him, I was ready to reply, and I gave him some questions to answer. Sometimes he said he would answer them, and sometimes he said he would not; but finally he broke out into a very great rage and passion, and caused the people to turn me out of my lodging; and it is possible he would have done much more, if he had had power.

We traveled from there to Edinburgh, where we had several good meetings, also at Leith, and there openly in the street. Many came to them, both the English who were in that country, and also of the natives; so that we had many precious opportunities of declaring the everlasting truth of God freely and powerfully among them. About that time I was not well in body, having burdened it with hard travels; however the Lord was pleased to restore me again in a pretty short time, even for the service sake. When we were pretty clear of Edinburgh and Leith, we traveled towards Stirling city; but when we came there, the people were so incensed against us, that we had a very hard time getting lodging for our money, which finally some soldiers obtained for us. When the first-day of the week came, it was upon us to go to their great steeple-house, which accordingly we did; and being there at the very time when the priest was going about to swear some of them upon some occasion, I was moved to speak, and tell them that Christ, the head of the church, said, “swear not at all;" but they would allow us to speak only a little more in that place. Afterwards we were carried before the governor, who was very much against us, and would even have forced us out of the city; however he was then prevented from doing so, for the Lord had a very considerable service for us in the latter part of the day. We had appointed a meeting upon a green, near the steeple-house, to which a great assembly of people resorted; and a very precious and serviceable meeting we had,-for the Lord was pleased to give us his word plentifully to communicate to the people freely and powerfully, and his presence was with us. His living witness was reached in many, which testified to the truth of what we declared; and we met with little further opposition at that time. Yet some of the people were so envious, and others fearful, that many of them did not dare to entertain us. Neither could we get lodging in the city that night; so we went out into the country, and not without difficulty could we get lodging there; for the Scots were prejudiced against the English. They looked upon us as if we had been some straggling soldiers, and were therefore the more afraid of us; yet Providence did so order it, that we got well through the country to Glasgow. When we came there, we found the governor, one Colonel Ashfield, a very moderate man; and he sent for me to come to his house, and reasoned very moderately with me, as also his wife, who is since convinced of the truth, and he is very loving to Friends; his chaplain was also friendly to us. When the first-day of the week came, it was upon us to go to one of their steeple-houses, which accordingly we did. When the priest had finished, I began to speak to the people, but the drums beat, by which the soldiers were called away; and as for the Scots they could not endure sound doctrine, but turned away their ears from hearing the truth. At the city I was carried to the main-guard, where I had good service among the soldiers, who were very civil towards me, and in due time they allowed me to depart in peace to my lodging.

When we had had very good service in that city, and were pretty clear and free of it, it was upon me to go to another noted place called Ayr, in the west of Scotland, and it was upon my dear companion John Grave, to go to another place, so that we parted for a season, which was no small trial to us in that dark and barbarous country. In due time I got to Ayr; and it was upon me to go to the steeple-house there. I had pretty good liberty to speak because there were many soldiers there, and I was civilly treated among them.

After I was clear of that place and others, according to the will of God, I set my face again towards England, and traveled many miles alone in that barren and rude country. However the Lord was with me, and through his mighty power I was not only preserved out of the hands of unreasonable men, but also through his mercy, from the sin and evil which abounded among those people; for which my soul has cause to bless and magnify the name of the Lord, while I have my being.

In due time afterwards I met with my dear companion to our mutual refreshment; and then with cheerfulness, after we were clear of that country, we returned to England again. When we got into Cumberland we had very large and precious meetings, even as we had had before our going into Scotland. Friends were strengthened and confirmed in the precious truth, which in those days flourished and prospered very much; and the Lord's power and presence were with us, through which we were carried on in his work and service, in which our souls delighted to be exercised.

After I had good service, in Cumberland, I visited Friends in Westmoreland, and in due time got well back to Swarthmore again, where I was dearly received as in months past; after my great travels. I always found it a place of refreshment to me, both for soul and body. But I was not permitted to stay much, there since such an effectual door was open abroad in the country; and therefore I was constrained, through the love of God which dwelled richly in my heart, to labor so much the more diligently, for I knew it was good working while it was day. When I was at Swarthmore, we had not only many precious meetings there, but also several in the country thereabouts, near the steeple-houses and chapels; so that many heard the truth of God plentifully declared, both of them that believe and of them that perish. Indeed, a glorious and precious time we had, to make known to people the way of salvation, and what the Lord had done for our souls. Many believed and were converted, and brought to serve and worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.

I had not been long in those parts when it was upon me to go towards Bristol, and further westward so far as Cornwall; upon which I took my leave of Friends at Swarthmore in abundance of love and tenderness, in which we were accustomed to meet and to part, and traveled with a dear companion, whose name was Walter Clements. We visited many brethren and Friends in our journey to their and our comfort; and in due time, through mercy, we got well to Bristol, where I was more than a little refreshed with Friends, to see how the truth prospered among them, and what large and gallant meetings there were, both in the city and also in the country thereabouts. I was moved to communicate freely to them of the overflowing of the life and power dwelling in me, which tended to the comfort of many. After we were refreshed together in the Lord I left them, and went on in my journey westward, for I was determined to visit all of the brethren who were in prison in Launceston jail in Cornwall. I visited several Friends as I went, traveling mostly alone and on foot also; but the Lord was with me, and through his goodness I got well to my journey's end, where I was more than a little comforted with the brethren. I went out also into the country where I had some very good service; and afterwards returned to the prison again, where my refreshment was so much, that my cup was even made to overflow, there being at that time dear George Fox and several other Friends prisoners there; of whom in due time I took my leave, even in the fullness of endeared love, and returned again out of those parts.


He returns to Bristol, and travels eastward into Kent—
Remarks on the exercise of his gift—Reaches London.

About the latter end of the fifth month, or the beginning of the sixth, 1656, I was at Plymouth, where I visited Friends; and after I had had a meeting among them, I traveled into the country, and being refreshed with Friends, I came to a place called Totness in Devonshire. Upon my coming into the town I was apprehended and carried before the mayor, who threatened to have the whip laid upon my back, though without cause. But Providence ordered it otherwise, for others of the magistrates were more moderate; and when they examined me, the priest being present, I had a very gallant opportunity to bear a large and faithful testimony to the truth, which accordingly I did. For indeed the Lord was much with me, and it was given me in that very hour what I was to speak. That night they kept me prisoner, and the next day they sent me away with a pass from tithing-man to tithing-man,* or from constable to constable; and by this I had a fine opportunity to declare the truth to the people in the country as I traveled. For when I had come into a town in the officer's hand, many people who heard of it, came out of their houses to see the Quaker, as I was called; and some were pretty tender and loving, and others were otherwise. I freely declared the truth among them as I was moved; and in due time I was freed from that entanglement by a countryman who would trouble himself no further with me, but gave me the pass, and let me depart in peace.

[*a tithing-man was a paid position in a Puritan community who enforced rules related to the Sabbath day. He went from house to house on Sunday making sure everyone was at church. Anyone caught skipping church, or working or traveling on Sunday was fined. The tithing-man also made sure no one fell asleep during the church service. He had a stick he used to bop men and children on the head with who were sleeping or misbehaving; the other end had a feather which was used to tickle women with. He also collected the taxes paid to the church.]

I got well to Taunton in Somersetshire, where I visited Friends, as elsewhere in the previously mentioned shire; and in due time I got to Bristol, where I found several of the brethren such as Francis Howgill and John Audland, with whom I was more than a little comforted. For the Lord's presence was with us, and his heavenly power was among us, so that we were not only a refreshment to one another in the Lord, but many were refreshed through us; and we were all refreshed in the Lord, whom our souls did magnify and praise.

When we had been sweetly refreshed together among Friends at Bristol, we went into Wiltshire, and were together at a great general meeting. After this we parted in an abundance of love and unity; for I was to go into Kent, and they elsewhere.

I came to a place called Basingstoke, where I happily met with my dear brother and former companion, John Stubbs. Another dear brother called William Ames was with him, who had been with him in Holland. But since they were traveling westward, and I eastward, we had only a little time together. However, in that little time we were truly comforted in one another; and afterwards, in the ancient brotherly love, we parted again. I traveled along on my journey, being much alone, but the Lord's heavenly presence was with me; and I had several good and precious meetings, to my and Friends' great refreshment in the Lord. Finally through mercy I arrived safely in Kent, where I went from place to place, and visited such, especially, who had previously received our testimony. I had many precious and large meetings in the county, and the Lord was very much with me, who furnished me plenteously with his word and power; so much that I stood admiring at various times, from whom I had that fullness. This was not only the case with me, but with many more, who looking with the eye of reason upon my earthly tabernacle of outward man, could not expect any great thing from me, being then only about twenty years of age — neither had I ever been in much profession, until I was convinced of the truth of God. Yet the Lord was pleased to open in me and through me plenty of heavenly things, to the end that I might communicate the same to the multitude; which sometimes was so great that I was ready to say within myself, how shall I have enough to satisfy all these? When I looked at my own weakness and insufficiency as of myself, I was ready to faint; but when I looked only at the Lord, and put my confidence entirely in him, I was strong and courageous. For the Lord showed me by his eternal light, at a time when I was even bemoaning my own weakness, and groaning under the sense of the weight of the service and work of the Lord; saying or thinking within myself, Oh! such and such, (meaning the ablest and wisest of the brethren), are so fitted and furnished, that they have no worries about what service they are called unto, — but as for me, I am so simple, — I am so weak, — and I never have anything beforehand, — neither do I scarcely ever know, when I go into a meeting of several hundreds, what I shall say, of whether anything or nothing. But even when I was full of those and other such reasonings, the Lord showed me how they that had much had nothing over, and they that had little, had no lack; even as it was with the Israelites of old. For the brethren who were wise and eminent, who had received much from the Lord, behold there was so much the more required of them. So that of all they had, they had nothing over, but what they were to employ in the work and service of God. As for my own part, I, who was so little in my own eyes, and so small and contemptible in the eyes of others, had no cause to complain; for though I was often in the state that I did not know what I should say when I went into a meeting, yet even in such a meeting, the Lord was pleased to give me his word so plentifully, that through him I was enabled to speak two or three, yes, sometimes four hours in a meeting with little or no intermission. Often it has been with me, that as I knew not before the meeting what I should speak in the meeting, so neither could I well remember after the meeting what I had spoken in it; and yet had plenty and fullness, though I was often daily at meetings; and not only during the day, but in the evenings also. The Lord always gave me fresh supply out of that good treasury, which affords things both new and old.

These things I repeat, not for my own praise, but do say, "not to me, not to me, (who have nothing but what I have received), be the praise; but to the Lord alone;" who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. I can truly say, what I received from him, I delivered to his people; and no small favor, love, and esteem I had from them and among them; so that the Lord, whom I faithfully served, was pleased to give me even what my heart and soul desired. An exceedingly glorious day I had of it, and did much rejoice in the Lord, notwithstanding my great travails and sufferings; all which, through him, were made easy to me; neither were they much to me, with all the perils and dangers I went through both by sea and land, in comparison to the power and presence of the Almighty, which did so sweetly and eminently accompany me in those days. After I had had good service in Kent and elsewhere in the country where I traveled, I went up to London.


1656.—Sails for Holland—Visits Amsterdam and Rotterdam-
His service at both places—Is imprisoned at Middleburgh,
and conveyed on board of a ship of war for England—
Travels into the South of England, returns to London (l656-7)—and proceeds, again to Holland.

ABOUT the beginning of the seventh month 1656, being in London, with several of the brethren, we had at that time much disturbance in our meetings in the city by some troublesome and unruly spirit. These were gone from the truth into extremes; and though we suffered by them, yet we were refreshed together in the Lord, and one in another.

About that time it was upon me to go over to Holland, unto which I was given up in the will of the Lord. I was then weak in body, having gotten a sickness through heats and colds in my travels, as it was judged. Nevertheless I was in readiness, though in that weak condition, to take the first opportunity; and I desired very much to have a companion along with me, if Providence had so ordered it. However, I finally went alone; and met with some wicked and uncivil men in the same vessel in which I went over; some of whom in their jollity abused me; but before we got over to Holland, we had a pretty bad storm, and to outward appearance were in much danger. At that time great was the fear and anguish that came upon those that were so wicked; and even then the Lord raised me up, in whom my faith and confidence was. It was upon me to speak to them in their distress, and then the witness of God was near and ready to answer to the truth of what I spoke. The goodness and mercy of the Lord to me in that storm were very great; through whose hand we were preserved, and finally, through his mercy, brought well to our desired haven; blessed and magnified be his name forever and ever.

When I landed at Dort, I do not know that I could speak three words of their language, and so was much pressed in spirit, and sorely laden with the weight of iniquity, which fell upon me; and since I needed an interpreter, my burden was the greater. From Dort I sailed to Rotterdam, where I found some few that had heard the truth, and who in some measure received it; however, I did not stay long there, for my drawings were to Amsterdam. Through the good hand of the Lord I got there well, where John Stubbs and William Ames, my dear brethren, had been before with another Friend; and very good service they had had among the professors there. Some had received their testimony and the truth in the love of it; and these with gladness and joy of heart received me. And the Lord made my service effectual among them for establishing and confirming them in that living truth, which they had heard and believed. There were some among them who could understand me, and interpret what I spoke to the rest; so that I had very good service among them, for that little time I stayed, which was not long, until it was upon me to return to Rotterdam. In the meantime, a young man came over from England, who went with me, and could understand both English and Dutch. When I was in Rotterdam he left me for a while; and in the meantime, I was much distressed for lack of an interpreter; but there being one who could speak some Latin, I spoke some time in that language to him, and he interpreted it to the rest. But my sufferings were exceedingly great in that country, in various respects; and they were increased through some forward and unruly spirits who were convinced, but who run out into extremes both in words and writing; by which both the truth, and those who lived in it, came to suffer much. For my part, I would have fainted through weakness and sufferings, had the Lord by his mighty power not upheld and preserved me.

At that time few or none of the priests' proselytes came to our meetings, but several high conceited professors, both at Amsterdam and Rotterdam attended, and several of them were more apt to take it upon themselves to teach others, than to receive instruction themselves.

I was also at the Jews' Synagogue at Amsterdam upon one of their Sabbath days; and staying most of the time of their worship, I beheld the manner of it, which was very strange in various respects. Neither would they admit of any dispute in their Synagogue; but after their worship was ended, another Friend and I had some pretty good service with some of them in one of their houses; they are a very hard, obstinate, and conceited people in their way. When I had stayed some time at Rotterdam, it was upon me to go to Zealand, which accordingly I did, about the latter end of the eighth month 1656, and the previously mentioned young man went along with me. When we had been some days at Middleburgh, he went to some of their meeting places in that city, and was apprehended. When I understood this, I went to visit him, and they, perceiving that I was his companion, secured me also. Afterwards we were examined very late into the night, and after our examination we had three or four soldiers to guard us, and a place assigned to us where we might stay the night. But quickly after this, we were called up again in great haste, and were carried from there to the prison, about the eleventh or twelfth hour at night, and put in two different places, which caused my sufferings to be the greater, and even more so, because I could speak little or none of their language. I remained there some days, being weak in body, but in the process of time, we were brought before the council, and were severally examined, but returned to prison again.

It seems they ordered (by what followed), that we should be sent to England; for soon after, a coach-wagon was brought to the door, to carry us to the water-side, and several soldiers were also provided to guard us. For the city seemed to be in an uproar, and the rude multitude exceedingly raged, as if they would have torn us to pieces. But the Lord was with us, who was our chief keeper, though there were some in the wagon with us, and some who went on foot along by the wagon. According to their order, they brought us on board a ship-of-war, where we were kept prisoners, nearly two weeks, being confined to an open, cold room. The men were so hard hearted towards us, that they would not allow us so much as a bit of sail cloth to lie under us, or above us. Thus for the most part of that time we lay upon the bare boards in very cold, stormy weather, so that our sufferings were great both in the inward and outward man.

But, how is the goodness and mercy of the Lord to be admired, for even then, while I was in prison, and so badly used, my strength grew much, and I recovered my health, in a great measure again, even to my own and others' admiration. And by this I came to have further experience of the goodness and mercy of our God, for which my soul has cause to bless and magnify his name for ever.

About the middle of the ninth month 1656, through mercy, we got well to England, and about the same time came up to London. We had extraordinary pain in our feet after we came to lie in warm beds, having lain so long in cold weather in our stockings and shoes. But meeting with many of the brethren there, my refreshment was great among them, and in that good service which I had in the city.

When I had been about two weeks in the city, it was upon me to go down into the country; and when I was traveling alone in Surrey, near Ryegate, a wicked, murderous fellow came out of a house, and fell upon me as if he would have murdered me; but the Lord delivered me out of his hands, and afterwards I went to the meeting of Friends that day. I had good service in Sussex, especially among a people that were called Seekers, who were mostly convinced, not far from Lewes. I was also at Steyning, Arundel, Chichester, Portsmouth and Southampton, at all which places I had good service for the Lord; as also at other places, both in Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, and Kent. I had a meeting at the east side of Sussex, where there had never been any Friends before; and the rude multitude came with their drum, marching up to the house, like men ready for battle, in a desperate manner, as if they would have pulled the house down over our heads. I was moved to go out to them, and asked them what they wanted. They said Quakers; I told them I was one. It was upon me to speak in much plainness to them, which I did, and in much power; and presently their countenance fell, and fear surprised them, and with shame and confusion they withdrew, not having power to harm any of us, blessed be the Lord; who in those days did eminently appear for us, as he has often done since, therefore have we cause to put our confidence in him to the end. About that time I had much good service for the Lord in those parts, and when I was free of the same I returned again to London.

I had not stayed long there, when it was upon me to return again to Holland; although I had some very good service in London, and in some part of Surrey, before I was perfectly clear and ready to take ship. For about that time there was an effectual door open in and about the city, and many of the brethren were there, and a very precious opportunity we had together, to our refreshment in the Lord.

In due time way was made for my going over, and in the fullness of dear and precious love, I took my leave of Friends and the brethren in London, and through mercy arrived well at Rotterdam. Understanding there that William Ames, a dear brother, was at Utrecht, I hastened there, where I found him in good service for the Lord, both to his and my refreshment. Entering into discourse with him, I understood that he had been in prison at Amsterdam with another Friend, and that they were turned out of the city. Nevertheless, according as it was upon me, I went to Amsterdam, though bound in spirit; and came there about the middle of the second month, 1657. I arrived there in a very opportune and needed time; for Friends being young, and having had a pretty severe storm, were somewhat scattered and scattering, being discouraged and frightened through the indignation and wrath of the magistrates and priests, which were kindled against them. I made it my work to gather them together again, and to establish them as much as was possible in the eternal truth. Besides what they had met with from the magistrates, there had been a bad instrument among them, who had bred much discord and dissension among them; but through the mercy and goodness of the Lord, they came in due time to be restored again into faith and confidence, peace and tranquility, in which they kept their meetings. But as for the professors, they were high and conceited, and would scarcely believe that a greater light was sprung up in any part of the world, than what was arisen among them. Neither could they well endure to receive instruction from those who would not or need not be instructed by them. There were also at that time many stumbling blocks laid in the way of the simple, and the truth met with many obstructions in that place. Therefore were my burdens the more, and my sufferings the greater; but the Lord was with me, and the right hand of his righteousness upheld me, — glory be to his holy name forever and ever!

[The following valuable epistle from the Swarthmore Collection, is dated “Amsterdam, in Holland, 15th of third month, 1657." It bears an endorsement in the handwriting (as the editor believes), of George Fox, thus: " W. Caton to Friends, 1657."]

To all my dearly beloved Friends that are elected of God, sanctified through the Word of his grace to be vessels of honor, to the praise and glory of his name everlasting. Mercy, grace and peace be multiplied among you, from God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the fountain of love and life, from whom all goodness does come. Who has distributed of the riches of his grace unto you, and manifested his living power among you; by which he has quickened some of you who were dead in trespasses and sins, and given you a sight of the entrance into the eternal inheritance, which never fades away. Yes, light is sprung up unto you who walked in darkness, and upon you who dwelled in the land of the shadow of death, has the light shined; and your understandings has the Lord opened, and given you to see that in yourselves, which separated you from him; and some of you are come to distinguish between the precious and the vile, between that which enters into God's kingdom, and that which is shut out. So what you once esteemed highly, which appeared beautiful and glorious in your eyes, comes now to be accounted rubbish and dung in comparison of that pearl, which some have found, and many are digging for; which is not purchased by all that seek it, because they are not willing to part with their whole substance for it. But I know that many of you have forsaken much; and yet something remains which must be also offered, even that part which would save its life, and would not come to judgment, must be brought to light and offered, even if it is as dear to you as your right eye or right hand. Those who keep nothing back, but are willing to part with all for the truth's sake, shall receive a hundred fold, and in the life to come life everlasting. For I do assure you, that none are ever made losers for parting with any thing for the Lord, neither need they regret of that; and what you lose and have lost for the truth, the time is at hand when you shall be repaid it gain. Although the world may account you fools, because of the loss of your reputation; when your honor and dignity come to be laid in the dust, it does not matter; for it is better to be reproached by the world, and to suffer persecution of the world for righteousness' sake, than it is to revile those whom the Lord has chosen out of the world. Therefore eye his mercy to you, who are reproached and not reproachers, persecuted and not persecutors; yes, I say, rejoice that you are accounted worthy, not only to believe, but also to suffer for his name's sake. Be comforted, in the midst of your deepest sufferings and tribulations, with the consideration and hope of the joy and glory that shall be revealed unto you, which your present sufferings, which are but for a moment, are not worthy to be compared unto. For the night is far spent in which the sorrows are; and the day is at hand when sorrow and sighing shall fly away. Then shall you that mourn be comforted, and receive beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that you may be called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord; although for the present you be in pain and sorrow, groaning to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Be patient therefore and hope to the end, for he that shall come will come, and will not tarry; whose arm is already stretched out, in which he carries his babes and lambs, who are born again of the incorruptible seed, nourished and fed with the sincere milk of the living Word, by which they grow from strength to strength. The Lord will not lay any more upon any of them than they are able to bear; but he strengthens the weak, comforts the feeble, binds up the brokenhearted, fills the hungry, clothes the naked, satisfies the weary and the thirsty soul; whose everlasting treasury is always full, and his banqueting house ever well stored with durable riches; where the distressed are relieved, and every one's necessity supplied, who hungers after righteousness. For he is a Father to the fatherless, and he increases the strength of those who have no might. So unto him you may come, as to a living fountain, from which none are sent empty away, who thirst and pant after the Lord. Oh! blessed are all they that come to drink here of this Fountain of living waters; their souls shall never thirst more; and you, whose souls are thirsty and longing to participate of it, you shall be satisfied. For I know that no visible created thing can satisfy what longs to be refreshed with the living streams which issue out from this fountain, which waters and refreshes the whole city of God,--the streams which make glad the hearts of the righteous, whose souls come there to be everlastingly satisfied. So come here, all you that thirst, "come you to the waters, and he that has no money, come you buy and eat, yes, come and buy wine and milk without money and without price;" yes, eat, 0h friends, eat abundantly and be satisfied; for a living fountain has the Lord set open, for Judah and Jerusalem; and all who are bathed and washed in it come to enter into the holy city, which has no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine in it;-for the glory of the Lord God doth enlighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof; — the gates of which are not shut at all by day, for there is no night there; — neither can anything enter into it that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie; but they whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. Towards this your faces are turned, and your feet are guided into the way that leads to it.

But woe to them that take up their rest by the way, and so come short; they shall inherit sorrow and vexation, and trouble shall be their portion; and with terror and great fear shall they inherit their possessions; and poverty and distress shall be their garments, by reason of the drought, scarcity and famine, that shall be in their inheritance. But with the righteous and those who fear the Lord it shall not be so;-for the Lord is their shepherd, and they shall not want any good thing;-they shall eat in plenty;-feed in pastures which are green and large, and their souls shall delight themselves in fatness. There shall no devourer or venomous beast come within their liberty to make them afraid; neither shall there be scarcity nor desolation in their land; for the dew from heaven shall fall upon it, which shall cause it to bring forth more abundantly, by which its increase shall be watered and refreshed; for the Lord has blessed their inheritance, and the curse shall no more come upon it, neither shall the unclean enter into it,-but showers of mercy shall descend upon it,-because the Lord has blessed it,-yes, and will bless it, and all their posterity, that inherit it forever and ever.

So, my dear friends, know the seed of God in yourselves, and dwell in the living power of God, which will overturn and dispossess what by violence has kept the seed of God in bondage; that that what has led captive may go into captivity, and that which has suffered violence under the violent oppressor, may come to be set free. Then you will see your Deliverer come forth of Zion, who purchased your redemption, and will make you free from what has held you in thralldom and bondage. Then you will return unto Zion with the ransomed of the Lord, with everlasting joy upon your heads,-being made inheritors among those who are sanctified and crowned with victory. So, the everlasting powerful God, who is strong and mighty, bless, preserve, and keep you,-that you may multiply, increase, and prosper, and bring forth some an hundred, some sixty, some thirty fold, to the praise and glory of our God-to whose custody and protection I commend you; his grace and peace be with you forever and ever, amen.

Your dear brother in the living truth,

Will Caton

When I had stayed there for the most part of seven weeks, I left Friends for a season, having had very good service, not only at meetings, or the like, but about getting books printed and published, which were of good service in that country.

Afterwards I went with my dear brother William Ames through some of the principal cities in Gilderland; however our movings were especially to a place called Zutphen, a city out of which William Ames had been banished before. When we came there we went to the meeting place of the Meonnonists, otherwise known as Baptists; but when we would have gone in, they bolted the door, and would not allow us to enter in among them. Since William was pretty well known in the city, the rude multitude gathered about us; but to avoid the occasion of a tumult, we withdrew out of the streets to the walls of the city, and many people followed us. As we were moved and allowed of God, so we spoke in his power, making known his eternal truth. A very good opportunity we had upon the walls of the city, from which we withdrew, when we were free. The baser sort of people were very rude in throwing stones and clods at us, however, but the Lord did so preserve us, that we received little harm by them. In the afternoon there came many people to us out of the city to our lodging, where we had also a very good opportunity to declare the everlasting truth freely among them, and to disperse many books in their own language, which we had brought along with us; and several received pretty good satisfaction. My dear companion had proposed to stay there some time, but the magistrates being moved with envy, would not allow the people to entertain him. Besides they took it as a great presumption in him, that he should dare to return again there, after he was banished from there. Moreover, they threatened that if the Baptists came at us they should be treated in like manner. These threats, together with what they had done before, kept the people in much fear and slavery, so thus they dared not appear to defend that of which they were convinced.

After we had good service in those parts, I returned again to Amsterdam, where my service consisted much in keeping things in as good order as was possible; und likewise in getting books printed and published, and in several other respects.


l657.—His service in several cities in Holland—
love of God to him and Friends there—
returns again to England—Attends a general meeting in Bedfordshire—
northward, and reaches Swarthmore.

In this year (1657) I was at the Hague, the place at which the head court is kept for the Seven Provinces. There was only a little entrance for the truth, though I had some good service with some in that city. I was also at the city of Dart when the plague was there, where I found some two or three who were somewhat loving. However, there was little reception for the truth in the place, and therefore my suffering was greater.

I also went to the city of Utrecht to visit those who were convinced, where I now and then had good service, and pretty fine meetings. But in those days I spoke mostly by an interpreter. When the magistrates and priests came to understand that the truth seemed to get some entrance in that place, their enmity began to increase against it; and they gave forth an order, that those who entertained us, and had meetings at their houses, should from thenceforth neither entertain us, nor have any more meetings in their houses, on pain of being turned out of the city, or of being arbitrarily punished. These threats terrified some, and caused some to draw back, but not all.

I was also in the city of Leyden, where their great university is; there a Baptist woman received me into her house, whose husband was a Papist, at whose house I was allowed to have a meeting, to which many sorts of people came. The truth being a new thing and very strange, I met with no small opposition, especially from the Papists and Baptists, both of which were stirred and offended; and more so, because the man and woman of the house came to be convinced. A meeting was in due time established in that city, where oftentimes, as also in other places, I had good service for the Lord and his truth. Most commonly, when my service was over in the country, I returned to the city of Amsterdam which was a place of greet interest, and where there was a more constant service than in other parts in that country. In due time there were additions to Friends, and the number of them increased. Their meetings were kept in very good order, and for the most part were pretty peaceable; and the goodness and mercy of the Lord abounded much to the remnant who were gathered. Sometimes the rude multitude was tumultuous and troublesome at our meetings. Once especially there were many rude people gathered together, who doubtless had much wickedness in their hearts, and some of the worst of them came into our meeting, and sought to lay violent hands on me, and to have done much harm to me and others; but the Lord's power prevented them, and preserved me and Friends, even to our admiration. I was through Providence cast into a house in the presence of the rude multitude, who if they had not been, as it were, smitten with blindness, and restrained through the power of God, might have executed their fury upon me and the rest; but He that was in us, and by his power preserved us, was greater than he that was in them, who in their madness would have devoured us at once. But blessed be the Lord our God, who very often showed mercy to us, and at various times, with his heavenly presence and infinite loving kindness, plenteously refreshed and comforted our souls;-infinite praises be to his name forever and ever!

When I had spent over a year in the service of the Lord in the Low Countries, especially in Holland, in which time I had also written two or three books, I was free in the Lord to return for England, which accordingly I did, through Zealand; where I wrote the book called, "The Moderate Inquirer." In due time I got well to London, through the mercy and goodness of the Lord, where I found many of the brethren. We had several precious meetings in and about the city, to our great refreshment; for about that time the truth multiplied, and spread, and many were added to the church, and came to receive the gospel. For in those days the Lord endued his servants and handmaids with much power and wisdom from above, and they went on in his name, preaching the Word of life, both in season and out of season, not only in the meetings which they were moved to appoint, and which Friends duly kept, but also in steeple-houses and markets, in streets and highways, or elsewhere, wherever and whenever any was moved of the Lord to publish and declare his living truth.

When I had been some little time in London, I went into Surrey to some general meetings there near Reigate and Kingston; where I was more than a little refreshed with Friends, and they with me, in the power and presence of the Lord God, which was often eminently manifested among us, to the comforting of our souls.

At the time called Whitsuntide, in the year 1658, there was a general meeting appointed in Bedfordshire, at John Crook's, to which I went with Friends from Kingston, and to which many hundreds of Friends came. Some of the brethren came from most parts of the nation, and great was our refreshment together in the Lord. When it had continued about two days, some troopers came, who apprehended few or none, though some were in jeopardy. Afterwards we parted, and everyone went as he was moved, some eastward, and others westward, some northward, and others southward; but I and a dear brother and former fellow servant, whose name was Thomas Salthouse, went to the north, and visited Friends in our journey. Through mercy we came finally to Swarthmore in Lancashire, the place of our former residence; where we were received with joy and gladness, and indeed great was our refreshment in the Lord, as it was likely to be in that place. Various precious and gallant meetings we had there and thereabouts, which tended not only to our own refreshment, but to the refreshment of many more, whose hearts were made truly glad, through the power and presence of the Lord God, which did accompany us.

After I was abundantly refreshed at Swarthmore, and with Friends thereabouts, I went into Westmoreland, as it was upon me, about the latter end of the fourth month, in the previously mentioned year, 1658, where I had some very good service among Friends at and about Kendal. Afterwards I went out of those parts into the bishoprick, where I had several large and precious meetings. One was a very large, general meeting, upon a certain moor, in a convenient place for Friends to come from several parts of the country; and the Lord's power and heavenly presence was very much with me that day, even to the confirming of those who had believed in the everlasting truth, and to the convincing of those present who were giving their hearts to the truth.

After this meeting I went to Durham, where the same night I had a very good meeting; for in those days it was common with us, while such an effectual door was open, to get meetings in the evening, besides what we had had in the day-time; for we were freely given up to spend and be spent in the work of the Lord, which in that day prospered exceedingly, to our joy and refreshment in the Lord.

When I had had very good service for the Lord in the bishoprick, I went into some part of Northumberland, and visited Friends there, and afterwards from there to Carlisle, where I had very good service; as elsewhere in the county of Cumberland, where I had many precious meetings. For in that county, there would come many hundreds to a meeting, and our meetings were commonly very peaceable. The Lord was extraordinarily good to me, and gave me his word plentifully to publish and declare in the power and demonstration of his eternal Spirit, to the confirming of many that had believed in the everlasting truth of God.

After I had visited Friends and their meetings in that county, and was clear of this, I returned again into Lancashire to Swarthmore, where I was accustomed to find Friends in the same love, life and power in which I left them. It was very common with us, through the mercy of the Lord, to be plentifully refreshed together in and through the same; therefore had we many joyful and blessed days together, the remembrance of which does even unto this very day sweetly refresh me, especially when I feel the same love and life fresh in myself, which then was and yet is, the author of our living refreshments.

When I was at Swarthmore, it was my manner, together with others of the brethren, to go from there to meetings in the country thereabouts, sometimes among Friends, and sometimes to fresh places, where, it might be, there had scarcely ever been a meeting of Friends. For I made it my sole work to be found doing the work of God, unto which he had called me, and for which he had in measure fitted and qualified me, blessed be his name for evermore, who never required me to go without my reward.


1658.Travels to London—His labors in Kent, Sussex,
—Proceeds to Bristol, and returns to London
—Attends a General Meeting of ministering Friends at the Bull and Mouth (1659)
—Sails again to Holland and returns— Dangers on his voyage back.

ABOUT the latter end of the sixth month, 1658, I took my leave of that honorable family at Swarthmore and of Friends the area, and set my face southwards again, visiting Friends in some part of Lancashire, and especially in Cheshire, where I stayed about a week or more, and had several good and precious meetings to our great refreshment in the Lord.

Afterwards I went pretty readily to London, where I found several of the brethren, and an effectual door open, and Friends generally well, fresh, lively, and very open and tender. I had good service in the city, and the Lord was pleased to give much dominion, and even fullness to me out of the everlasting treasury, which, through him that strengthened me, I freely communicated to them whose souls were breathing after the Lord.

[Extract from a letter dated London, 13th of seventh month, 1658, to Margaret Fell.]

I came into the city, and my soul has been much refreshed among the brethren. Here is a mighty door open at present in this city; and Friends are generally fresh, lively, and tender. As for the generality of the people, they are much tender, and many are moderate and loving, whose hearts are open to receive the truth. I have had as gallant service in the work of the Lord, since I came to this city, as I believe I ever had in my life. Upon the first-day, I was at the meeting at the Bull and Mouth, where the Lord was pleased to open the hearts of many, who with joy and gladness received that which the Lord allowed me to speak; so that in much love and tenderness I left them. After that meeting I passed a mile out of the city, when I had a very precious meeting, which consisted of a great concourse of people, several captains and masters of ships and seamen, with other persons of note and quality, who were generally very moderate and open to receive the truth. After that meeting was ended, I returned again into the city to another meeting, where the power and presence of the Lord was made manifest to the great refreshment of the most part of the Friends then assembled.

When I had been about two weeks, or above, in and about the city, I went down into Kent, where I also found an open door, and fresh desires in people after the Lord; and many precious meetings I had also in that county, which were of great service for the establishing of Friends in the truth who were convinced, and for gathering in of others, who were hungering and desiring after the truth.

I went out of that county into Sussex, where I also visited Friends, and had several precious meetings among them; and traveled along pretty near to the seacoast, so far as Southampton, where I had also gallant service among Friends. After we had been plenteously refreshed together, I took my leave of them as in other places, and visited Friends at Winchester, who were in prison. Afterwards I traveled westward into Somersetshire, where I visited Friends and some of their meetings; and being sweetly refreshed among them, I went to Bristol, where I had good service, as also in some parts of the country the area among Friends; and it was no small matter of joy and rejoicing to me to see the truth of God prosper and flourish, as I saw it did in that journey. In due time I returned to London again by Reading, where I also visited Friends, and reaped refreshment; for in all those travels the Lord had been with me, which even made them, together with the service which I had in them, very pleasant and delightful to me. Many precious and peaceable meetings I had; and the Lord gave me utterance in power and much authority, to declare and publish his name and truth; all which redounded to his praise, which was his due, and which my soul did freely render to him, who is the fullness, itself, from which all my fresh springs flow. After I had some very good service in London, I passed down into Kent again, about the 20th of the ninth month; where I had very precious service for the most part of a month, and afterwards I returned to London again, where I determined to stay but a few days, when I went there; but the work of the Lord was so great in it, and meetings so full and so many, that it was hard to get out of it again in a short time; for in those days the truth did mightily prevail and prosper, not only in that city, but in the country about, as also in many parts of the nation.

I spent some months in those southern parts, where especially there was an effectual door open; and often in great service for the Lord I was exercised both day and night, in which the Lord made my cup to overflow.

At the time called Easter, [1659,] there was a general meeting appointed, especially for the ministering brethren, who resorted to it from several parts of the nation, which was held at the Bull and Mouth, near Aldersgate in London, upon the 5th of the second month, 1659: it was very large and exceedingly precious, to the refreshing of many hundreds. In the later part of the day we had a very great concourse of people at our meeting place at Horsleydown in Southwark, where, within and without doors, it was thought some hundreds might hear the truth declared that afternoon, with which many were much affected; and great was our rejoicing and comfort, which we had in the work and service of the Lord, in which we were abundantly refreshed together. In that great assembly our souls even with one accord, praised and magnified the God of our salvation; and in a few days after, Friends departed out of the city again, the end being fully answered for which they came together.

About that time it was upon me to go again to Holland, and I took my leave of Friends and brethren in London, and in much brokenness of heart, love and unity, we parted. I took my journey towards Colchester there to take shipping, which accordingly I did, after I had had several large and precious meetings; but the wind being contrary, I stayed there, and the area near upon three weeks, in which time I had very good service; for the Lord's heavenly power and presence was much with me, as in other places, not only to my refreshment, but to the refreshment of many more in the Lord. When the Lord made way for it, I went aboard, and we set sail; but the wind proving contrary, we put in at Harwich, by which I had an opportunity to see Friends there also. On the first-day of the week, I had a gallant meeting there, to which many came, not only many Friends out of the country, but also many people that were not Friends, who seemed to be pretty much affected with the truth when it was declared to them. When I had spoken about an hour or two, the master of the vessel came and called me away, for he was determined to set sail. I committed them to the grace of God, and went aboard, and probably thirty or forty Friends might follow me to the ship-side in boats, such was their love, to the admiration of the spectators.

Through the good hand of God I got well over to Rotterdam, where I visited Friends, as also elsewhere in the country. I found things pretty well in reference to the truth, and meetings pretty peaceable; and about that time strangers came more frequently to our meetings than formerly; and if things had not been carried in much wisdom, we might have been often in tumults, for there were those who watched for iniquity, and were ready to do mischief, thinking that if the magistrates would not meddle with us, as we then were; yet if they could but procure an uproar or tumult at or about our meeting places, we should be punished as uproar-makers. Notwithstanding the evil conspiracies of the wicked, the Lord was exceedingly good to Friends, and very gently and compassionately dealt with them; and they grew bold and valiant, and the truth got dominion among them. My suffering before had been great in that country, especially before I could speak their language, yet the Lord refreshed me much among that small remnant which were called by his name, and who walked in his eternal truth; and having gotten their language, and being able to minister in it, I could much better free myself of the weights and burdens than before. When I had stayed about two months, and seeing things in a pretty good posture as to the truth, Friends well settled, and their meetings kept in good order, it was upon me again to return for England, where there was such an effectual door open. I took my leave of Friends in Holland, whom I committed to the custody and protection of the Almighty, and so left them.

In the latter end of the fifth month, 1659, I took shipping for England, partly intending for London. When we had been about twenty-four hours at sea, we saw a ship which proved to be a pirate or robber, which chased us; when the master perceived it, he caused all to be made in readiness to fight, and the passengers that were aboard were furnished with arms as well as the rest, but for my part I could not touch any of their weapons, as to shed blood with them, but stood simply given up to the will of the Lord. But as Providence ordered it, when they were almost within shot of us, their hearts failed them, and they were not allowed to come up to us, so that there was no blood shed, nor harm done to each other; in which the Lord answered my desire, for which mercy my soul did bless, praise, and magnify his holy name.

After we were delivered through the good land of God from the hands of the before said pirate, we were in imminent danger through a very violent storm, which took us when we were near the coast of England; and coming to cast anchor we left both anchor and cable, and had our boat split in pieces. One great ship that rode by us was swallowed up of the raging sea—a sad sight to behold—there not being one man saved alive in her; yet nevertheless, the same God that delivered us from the hands of the before said pirate, did also deliver us out of that violent storm; through whose mercy we got finally into harbor at Yarmouth, though it was near a hundred miles from the place for which we intended.


1659.—He proceeds by sea to Sunderland, and passes westward to Swarthmore
His services in Cumberland
— Travels to Edinburgh, Leith, and other parts, and returns to Swarthmore.

BEING landed so far to the northward as Yarmouth, I determined to go from there by shipping; which accordingly I did, with a Friend to Sunderland, where I found two of the ancient ministering brethren, Francis Howgill and John Audland. I was much refreshed with them and the rest of the Friends. When first-day came, we went together to a general meeting in the country, where there were abundance of Friends and others; and the power and presence of the Lord was with us, through which we were much refreshed together.

After that meeting I visited many Friends in the bishoprick, and in a short time after passed westwards towards Lancashire through Westmoreland, visiting Friends in my journey, as my manner was. I got well to Swarthmore, where I was received in the same ancient and entire love, with which we were usually favored together, through the infinite mercy of the Most High, which abounded much to us and among us in those days.

When I had stayed some weeks there, and the area, I went into Cumberland, to visit the flock of God there again, among whom I had many precious meetings; for the power and presence of the Lord did accompany me, and his Word of life ran freely and powerfully through me, to the strengthening of the weak, the comforting of the feeble, and to the satisfying of the thirsty soul. When I had been through a great part of the county, and had visited most of the Friends in it, I returned again into Lancashire; where I could not stay long at that time, because it was upon me to go into Scotland to visit Friends there. I took my leave, even in an extraordinary manner, of my dear and near relations in the eternal truth at Swarthmore, where we spent several hours in waiting upon the Lord, and in pouring forth our supplications before him, and in being refreshed abundantly together, after we seemed perfectly clear and ready to part one from another; which finally we did, in much love and unity.

Being accompanied by two dear brethren, Leonard Fell and Robert Salthouse, I went back again into Cumberland, and visited Friends in my journey there, where I heard much of the troubles that were in that nation, and of the likelihood of their increasing; yet nevertheless I could not be freed of the journey, but must go on in the name and power of the Lord. Presently after our coming into that nation, the before mentioned brethren took their leave of me and I of them, in the fullness of our Father's love, in much brokenness of heart; committing one another to the protection and custody of the Almighty;- and afterwards I and another Friend traveled towards Edinburgh, where through the mercy of God we arrived, after some hard travel.

The next day after our arrival, we went to a general meeting at Lythgoe, [Linlithgow] about twelve miles from Edinburgh; where we found Friends at their meeting by the highway side, to which many people resorted, and good service we had at it. However the people of the town were so incensed against us, that we could scarcely get any food or lodging among them for our money; but the wife of the governor of the castle being at the meeting, her heart was opened and filled with love towards us and the truth, and she constrained us to turn in and take up our lodging in the castle; which we were free in the Lord to do. Afterwards we had some more good service in the town, which, when it was over, I returned back again towards Edinburgh and Leith, where I had good service. About that time it was pretty much upon me to speak with General Monk, it being about the time of his advancing for England; but I was not permitted, and was constrained to deliver my message or to make known my business to his secretary, which he promised to communicate to his master, whereupon I came to be pretty well discharged.

[The following letter is from the Swarthmore Collection : Thomas Willan, it appears, was a Friend of Kendal.]

Thomas Willan,

My dear friend,—Such is my love to you and to Friends, that I cannot very well omit such an opportunity as this, when it is put into my hands, but that I must let you know something of my welfare and of the affairs of the gospel in these parts where I am; knowing that it has often tended to the refreshment of some, even as I hope these lines in some respect will. I for the present being somewhat far remote from you, even as in a forest, or wilderness, where I should be in great jeopardy, did not the arm of the Lord's power compass me about, which is my buckler and sure shield of defense; by which I was brought well through the country, to the city of Edinburgh, the place towards which I was most pressed to hasten.

Staying one night in the city, I passed on twelve miles the day following; when I met with several Friends to our refreshment in the Lord. And having had two meetings together in that town of Lythgoe, [Linlithgow] where the governor's wife of the castle is a Friend, some of us returned to this place; where sometimes the meetings are held, and sometimes at the city of Edinburgh. But for the present our meetings are but small, few strangers coming to them; for many are surprised with fear who have some inclination in them towards the truth, but dare not appear nobly to confess the same before men, having little of the life of the same in themselves. Since my coming into these parts I have had good service, sometimes among the soldiers, sometimes among the Scots, often among Friends, who are I hope benefited already by my being here, this being not only a time of trial to them, but to many men who are exceedingly jealous one of another.

This is a day in which many are offended, and because of the treacherousness and falsehood that one man beholds in another, there is great hatred and emulation among men; insomuch that father is against son, and son against father, one brother against another, one family against another, and one nation rising against another. What shall we say to these things? Is it not the Lord's doing, thus to dash one potsherd against another, that he alone may reign, whose right it is? who is now arising in his mighty power, to break his enemies to pieces, like a potter's vessel.

I have sometimes since my coming here endeavored to speak with General Monk, but could not have access to him; so the substance of that which was upon me, as to him and the army, I wrote and gave to his secretary, who promised to deliver it to him. I also gave his secretary a copy of the same to communicate to the officers, which he said he would do. He with several others who were present with me, were pretty moderate and civil towards me. Friends here with others were very desirous that it should be printed, but it could not be got done here; and therefore, it is sent to Newcastle in order to be printed; and if it be, it is like that you with Friends may see it.

I purpose shortly, God willing, to pass westward, and after I have visited Friends there, I know not to the contrary but I may return for England. For the present, the door which has been opened seems to be shut in this nation; where the spirits of men are much set on fire, and some are promoted, others abased, and strange overturnings here are among the children of this world; but the faithful and upright are little troubled at these things, being confident that they will work together for good to those that fear the Lord. For a further account I refer you to the bearer hereof, George Collison.

Salute me very dearly to Friends that inquire of me, and let them know that I am well at the writing hereof, praised be the Lord! Many things I might write of, but not knowing in whose hands this may come, shall therefore be sparing; and remain thy dear friend and brother in the pure truth,

Will Caton

Leith, near Edinburgh, 14th of Ninth month, 1659.]

Afterwards it was upon me to visit Friends in the west of that nation, which I did, to the confirming and establishing of them in the eternal truth; and after I had had good service among them, I became pretty clear of that country, and set my face again towards England. I traveled mostly alone, after my fellow-traveler had left me, and got well, through the goodness of God, back to England again.

Upon my return from Scotland I visited Friends again in Cumberland, and with some difficulty, it being in the winter season and very tempestuous weather, I got back again into Lancashire, and so to Swarthmore, which was always a place of refreshment to me.

[About this time William Caton wrote a letter to George Fox, dated from Swarthmore, 20th, of Tenth month, 1659, from which the following is extracted.

After describing his service at Edinburgh, etc., he adds, "but at that time the hearts and minds of people were so taken up with the bustlings and stirs that were among the children of this world, that there was scarcely any room at all for the truth in them. When I returned for England, I left Stephen Crisp in the west among Friends, who is a pretty wise man that came from Colchester; and he was determined to stay some time in that nation."—Swarthmore Collection.]

<Journal Continued>>>


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