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Attended Rahway meeting and went to New York, crossing three ferries in our way. Thence to the Quarterly and Yearly Meeting held at Flushing, on Long Island; which began on fifth-day, and ended on the next second-day. To me it was a very suffering time. After this we crossed at White-stone ferry, and had a meeting at West Chester, on the main land. It was indeed an exercising season; the Truth lies so low, and professors are so much settled on their lees, that the poor travellers often have laborious work. We next had meetings at Mamaroneck and Purchase. In those parts, Friends have many negro slaves, and religion seems much eat out. My labours in some of these meetings was not soft, but terrible to the rebellious and disobedient; yet sometimes had a word of consolation to the weary traveller.
The 2d of the 6th month, 1776, being the first day of the week, we were at a meeting at Richard Hallet's, in Connecticut, and had an afternoon meeting with Friends at Richard Titus's. My mind was very low and distressed, in a sense of the oppression which the Seed is under in those parts; and my heart groaned because thereof; so that sometimes I was ready to conclude I could hardly endure the laborious task I had in those parts. But again I witnessed my strength renewed, so that hitherto I have been preserved from fainting; and sometimes have fresh cause humbly to be thankful to the Father of mercies, in that he doth not forsake his depending children, in their sore exercises.
The practice of slave-keeping amongst many under our name, has sometimes brought me very low; for the great sin of keeping slaves has appeared more plain to my understanding, than ever before. I felt it as I sat in the Yearly Meeting at Flushing, before I knew there was a Friend possessed of them; and I had, after long reasoning and fears, to tell them that their hands were polluted, and their fingers defiled with the gain of oppression. However sorrowful it is, I found, in divers meetings afterwards, that there was too much occasion for this language. So close has been my exercise on account of slavery, that at times, I have found my mind straitened so as not to have freedom to partake with those Friends who hold slaves.
Next day, we set off for Rhode Island, and travelled through Connecticut to John Collins's, at Hopkinton. We were three days in passing through a Presbyterian country, where we saw not the face of a Friend. At Hopkinton we again met with David Ferris and John Parry, and John Alsop from Long Island. After being at an appointed meeting there, we had a meeting at Westerly; which was chiefly made up of other professors. When meeting was over, I requested the members to stay. They were but few, and we had some close, exercising labour amongst them; in which I had satisfaction, so far as to clear myself. In these parts, Friends are so much declined and fallen away, that there seems, at present, but a very gloomy prospect; and I had to tell them that if they were not more faithful, they would be laughed to scorn by their neighbours, and would be set aside.
Thence, taking meetings at Richmond, South Kingston, and Lower South Kingston, we dined at Thomas Hazard's, and crossed to Canonicut, and Newport, on Rhode Island, where next day began
the Yearly Meeting, which continued till the 19th of the 6th month. Although the meeting was large, it was a trying time, by reason of disorders having spread amongst the professors, and even among some of the foremost rank. Thus, the head being sick, occasioned the hearts of many to be nigh fainting. Yet, though this was the case, there was a visitation extended, in loud alarms to the rebellious, but to the obedient, like dew to the tender plants. And I have a hope that some of them will remember it, at times, while they have a being.
Here, we parted with our kind friend, Charles Brooks, who had accompanied us from Shrewsbury, also with John Alsop, both of whom had been very serviceable to us. Next day crossed the ferry to Little Compton meeting, thence to Acoakscit and Center. At the latter place, there was such a great gathering of people, that they could not get into the house; so the meeting was held in an orchard hard by, where some climbed up, and sat in the apple trees; but it was mostly silent. We then had meetings at Newtown and Accushnet. The last five were mostly silent, and I entirely so in all, except a meeting for business. We then went to Bedford and lodged at Joseph Rotch's, and next day to a monthly meeting at Aponegansett, which was large, and much was spoken, in a very close, searching manner.
Early next morning we embarked for Nantucket in a vessel, of which Samuel Starbuck was master. We had the company of many Friends, and a fine passage; the distance sixty miles. We got well in before night, and went to William Rotch's. The two following days we visited some families; then came on the Yearly Meeting, which was large, but the people were very much settled down at ease; they, however, had some tender visitations, invitations, and warnings extended to them. The Yearly Meeting ended on second-day; after which we attended their monthly meeting, and went over to the main land, where, taking a meeting at Falmouth, we attended the Quarterly meeting at Sandwich. It was not very large; but things here were very much out of order, and the spirit of the discipline much departed from. My companion and I visited the men's meeting, and were enabled to lay before them the necessity of more care and diligence on that account. Here, we took leave of our beloved friends, David Ferris and John Parry, they intending for Smithfield Quarter, and we for Hampton.
On first-day, the 7th of 7th month, we were at Yarmouth. Thence we went on to Pembroke, where we had a meeting among a mixed multitude; in which I was led to speak to one or two individuals, to their and my own satisfaction. Dined at Ephraim Otis's, whose wife was under religious exercise. She was one of the persons particularly addressed in the meeting, but was not in membership with Friends. She told me the exercise of her mind, and that she had strong desires her state might be spoken to; and it was, much to her satisfaction. In the afternoon, we rode eighteen miles to a tavern, but could not have lodging there;—so we got lodging at a church minister's, (so called,) who lived near by, and was very kind to us, as were also his wife and daughters.
Next day we rode to Boston, and had a meeting. On our way, passed through Roxbury, where we saw scenes of desolation, the buildings being much defaced. In the afternoon crossed the river, and saw the hill on which the English army and the Provincials had had a battle. We also saw the place where Charlestown stood, and had been a pretty large town; but now presented a scene of desolation;not one house was left standing, but all thrown down. Such have been the destructive effects and calamities of war, in that place.
Then, taking Lynn monthly meeting on our way, we went on to Hampton, where we attended the select Quarterly meeting on seventh-day, the 13th of the month. The Quarterly meeting ended on second-day following, and the next day we were at a meeting at Newtown. Then, taking meetings at Newberry, Almsbury, and Dover, we reached Elijah Jenkins' at Berwick. Next day, being first-day, attended two meetings there; then travelled two days to Royalton, where we had a small meeting; being a newly settled place. The house we lodged in was covered with bark, and the meeting house was a inere shell made of boards, admitting plenty of air, without door or window, and the green grass growing in the house; which rendered it pleasant in warm, dry weather. But the people here, as well as at other places, are too much at ease, and their inward state too much resembles their outward wilderness situation.
In the afternoon, we rode twenty-five miles to Stephen Morrill's; next day had a meeting at Falmouth; and the day following, a small meeting with Friends, at a remote place, called Windham. Returned to the same place, and lodged—then attended a monthly meeting. In the evening we went to