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critically read the Old and New Testa- | annual examination of the British School, ments in the original languages, in the in Palace-street; and it is now a pecuSyriac Peschito, and in the Latin vulgate, liarly affecting remembrance that, at the before he was twenty-two years of age, close of the engagement, a map of Engand he was well acquainted with Rab- land and Wales, which some of the boys binical and Patristic writings; but, what had drawn out, was presented to him in is best of all, his early studies were not the name of the school, as a testimony only pursued and perfected in after life, of the respect and gratitude of the chilbut all the intellectual wealth and power dren. His affectionate heart was evidently which they afforded, were consecrated to delighted with the gift. He thanked the advancement of truth and piety in them all most heartily; and, alas! for himself and others. He was an object human plans and foresight, he kindly of great admiration and attachment to promised that all the boys should visit all his juvenile acquaintance; and when Earlham, some fine day in summer, when we consider the sweetness of his dispo- they might play in the plantation, and sition, his social sympathies, and his walk through the beautiful garden. “In bright worldly prospects, we may grate- that garden there is now a sepulchre !" fully acknowledge that his preservation Having, in early life, been brought from the power of temptation, was an under the influence of religion, he beearly and impressive evidence that he came desirous to be the means of imwas a favoured object of Divine care and parting its instructions and blessings to mercy.
others; and, therefore, after the usual It will be peculiarly gratifying to the preliminary proceedings, he became an great and useful body of Sunday-school acknowledged minister in the Society of teachers, to be informed that some of his Friends in the year 1818. By taking juvenile years were consecrated to that this step, he entered upon a more imimportant work, chiefly for the purpose portant course of labour and usefulness. of instructing a class of young persons His ministry, notwithstanding its accordin scriptural religion; and that some ance with the principles and peculiarities men of reputation and usefulness, now in of the Friends, was evangelical and influNorwich, were once children in his “first ential in a high degree. As the Friends day" school. From that time forward distinguish between teaching and preachhe was an enlightened and zealous advo- ing, he could consistently make previous cate and labourer in the cause of popular preparation for the former, and such diseducation. The public school, at Ack- courses especially were exceedingly clear, worth, as well as other schools, belonging well arranged, and peculiarly adapted to to the Society of Friends, received his the occasion and the auditory. The simattention and support; and he composed, plicity of his style, the appropriateness of for the use of its pupils, “a plan of his illustrations, the telling words which scriptural instruction,” which embraces he occasionally introduced, the ease and a compendious system of Scripture bis- | gracefulness of his manner, and the deep tory, doctrines, and duties. He was also and honest interest which he always a warm admirer and liberal supporter of manifested in the subject of his address, the British School System, not only on rendered him a most attractive and peraccount of its religious and unsectarian suasive speaker; and whenever he rose basis, but also on account of its efficient on the platform, at our public meetings, mode of communicating instruction. Many every heart throbbed, and every eye parts of the country, as well as of our sparkled, in anticipation of his speech. own city, can bear witness to the liber- One of his earliest journeys, in disality with which he assisted in the erec- charge of his ministry,—undertaken in tion and maintenance of public schools. 1818 in company with his sister, Mrs. One of his latest acts was, to attend the Fry,—was also devoted to an investigation of the state of the prisons in Scotland / oppression, kindly treated, properly emand the north of England; the results of ployed and remunerated, and encouraged which were given to the public, in a to cultivate small portions of land, at a volume of well-selected facts, accom- moderate rent, on their own account, panied with wise and benevolent sugges- there can be little question, that they tions on the subject of prison discipline. would gradually become valuable memA similar journey to Ireland was taken bers of the community, and would be as by the same parties in the spring of much bound to their superiors by the tie 1827, and an account of it was published of gratitude, as they are now severed by Mr. Gurney in "A Report addressed from them by ill-will and revenge.” to the Marquis Wellesley, Lord Lieu- The friend of the prisoner could not tenant of Ireland;" in which he recom- be expected to become the enemy of the mends a course of prison discipline, the slave; and the name of Joseph John great objects of which are, “first, to Gurney will ever be associated with prevent the criminal from growing worse; Clarkson, Wilberforce, Buxton, and others, and, secondly, if possible, to effect in his in the noble roll of abolitionists. The character a real improvement.” Upwards termination of the abominable slave trade of forty prisons were visited by them, by the British Parliament in 1807, still besides the principal lunatic asylums, in- left slavery existing in our colonies, firmaries, houses of industry, and other while the slave trade itself was still pracestablishments, for the relief of the most tised by foreign nations. The extension wretched part of that ever afflicted popu- of the cause of abolition, and the emanlation. This visit was very interesting cipation of our own slaves in the West to him; and, on his return, he related, Indies, were, therefore, objects still inin his own playful and humorous man- viting the wisdom, courage, and selfner, several anecdotes respecting the denial of the friends of freedom and husalutations with which he was greeted by manity; and the subject of this memoir the warm-hearted Irish in some of the most cheerfully gave up heart, and soul, towns, when he was seen walking arm- and purse, to the effort. Many persons in-arm with the priests in making his in Norwich well recollect the ardent and visits of mercy; and also respecting the laborious exertions which he made in the influence produced by the inspiring city and county, to enlist all classes in chant of Mrs. Fry's voice, in those re- the glorious contest. Nor was he unligious meetings, at which both priests successful. In January, 1824, only a and people attended-an influence which short time after his brother-in-law, Fowell was felt indeed not in Ireland only, nor Buxton, bad brought the subject of coin England only; for when she was ad- lonial slavery before the House of Comdressing a large company of orphans on mons, Mr. Gurney was mainly instruthe Continent, one of the German princes mental in collecting a meeting in the in attendance was so wrought upon, that Guildhall, where he delivered a speech he cried aloud, “C'est le don de Dieu"- which he afterwards published, replete “This is the gift of God.” The following with sound argument, and warm-hearted sentence, which occurs towards the close philanthropy. The public mind in the of his report, though written twenty city had been prepared for that meeting, years ago, is a word in season even now. by a visit paid by Thomas Clarkson a "Were the poor of Ireland, instead of few days before it was held, whose conbeing reduced by high rents, miserably versation and addresses most thoroughly low wages, uncertain tenure, and want established and animated Mr. Gurney's of employment, to a condition of misery mind on the subject. At a county meetand disaffection-and, then, in the end, ing, held in the Shire ball, in the October driven off the land in a state of despair of the following year, at which the High were they, instead of suffering all this Sheriff presided, the eloquence of Lord
Suffield, Buxton, and others, united with | labouring in the cause of emancipation, his own, not only in silencing the objec- he was in the fulness and maturity of tions advanced by Lord Wodehouse, but his physical and intellectual powers; and in obtaining a petition for “the imme- those who were associated with him in diate mitigation, and, with as little delay the spirit stirring work, now look back as possible, the final and entire abolition with gratitude on the successful terminaof British Colonial Slavery." And at tion of that glorious struggle for human another meeting of the inhabitants of right and liberty, by which eight hundred Norwich, held in St. Andrew's Hall, a thousands of our fellow creatures were month afterwards, a society for the abo- delivered from the chain, and the scourge, lition of slavery was instituted, of which and the sting of slavery. the Revs. Edward Day and John Alex- It is scarcely possible for a man of ander were associated with himself as intelligence and generous sympathies to secretaries. Before that year closed he be wholly indifferent to politics. Joseph was found advocating the same cause at John Gurney, at all events, was not so. a general meeting of the Anti-Slavery By education and conviction, he early Society in Freemason's Hall, London, at became a stanch advocate of civil and which Wilberforce, Brougham, Buxton, religious freedom, and, on many occaMackintosh, Denman, and Lushington, sions, fearlessly asserted the inalienable were his associates. His speeches on right of man to think for himself. For these exciting topics were a fine mani- several years after he attained to manfestation of gentlemanly courtesy and hood, he took some part in the electoral Christian forbearance. They admirably struggles of Norwich. Electioneering, combined the “suaviter in modo," with however, connected, as it then too much the “fortiter in re;” and while his in- was, with party spirit and corrupt pracdignation burned against the atrocious tices, soon became unpalatable to him, system itself, he called no fire from hea- and he gradually withdrew from the poven upon either the mistaken or the litical arena; not, however, until he had guilty men by whom it was upheld. It made a bold but unsuccessful attempt to was this “speaking the truth in love," abolish, by mutual agreement between as well as his commanding talents and the antagonist party leaders, the system influential circumstances, that qualified of bribery, so long and so shamefully him so completely for a leader in every prevalent in Norwich. That he continued worthy cause, in whose judgment and to the last firm in his allegiance to the temper all parties could repose with en- political principles of his youth, no one tire confidence. " While it is undoubt- will be disposed to question who rememedly our Christian duty,” says he, in his bers his distinct avowal of them at the letters on the West Indies, “to avoid great Anti-Maynooth meeting, held in the least concession of principle upon the St. Andrew's Hall, in 1844; or his manly · subject of slavery, the use of harsh epi- adhesion to the doctrines of the League, thets and violent language towards the on the occasion of Mr. Cobden's first visit slaveholder is not only objectionable in to Norwich; when "free trade" was less itself, but has often an injurious effect fashionable than it has since become. In in arming them against our arguments, politics, however, as well as in everyand of thus injuring the progress of our thing else, he was swayed exclusively by cause. I have, therefore, thought it best the pure motives of love to his neighto observe towards them the terms and bour, and of fidelity to the law of God. usages of Christian courtesy; and I be. As he was opposed to capital punishlieve there are many of these persons in ments, both on principle as a Quaker, the United States, who are increasingly and on feeling as a philanthropist, he disposed to enter upon a fair considera- took a decided and active part in every tion of the subject,” When he was thus + effort for their abolition, and anxiously and laboriously interested himself in the autumn of 1816. He was staying with case of several criminals in the city, who his family by the seaside, at Lowestoft, had been condemned to death.
in Suffolk. I well remember going over Institutions of a more entirely religious from the place of my own residence, in character were, however, the objects in the neighbourhood of Norwich, partly which he took the deepest interest; and for the purpose of seeing so great a man, of these the British and Foreign Bible and partly for that of persuading him to Society was perhaps his greatest favourite. join our party, at the time of the apIts sublime and simple object-the circu- | proaching anniversaries of the Norfolk lation of the Scriptures, without note or Bible and Church Missionary Societies. comment, throughout the world; its wide I was then young; but he bore my inembrace of all denominations of Chris- trusion with the utmost kindness and tians as its members; and its blessed in- good humour, and I was much delighted Auence in saving the souls of men, all with the affability of his manners, as well fell in with his most fondly cherished as with the fluency and brightness of his sentiments and feelings; and the day of conversation. Happily he acceded to my its anniversary meeting in Norwich was solicitations; nor could I hesitate in acwith him always "a high day.” For- cepting his only condition—that I should merly its evening, and, for some years take into my house, not only himself, but past, its morning, was spent at Earlham his whole family group--consisting of by the committee, in social and religious his amiable lady, and several of their intercourse. How delightful it was, on children, two clergymen, who acted in such occasions, to form one in the varied the capacity of tutors, his private secrecircle of which he was the ever bright tary, servants, &c. We were indeed to and hallowed centre. How delightful to be quite full of guests, independently of meet there eminent and honoured Chris- this accession. But what house would tians of all ranks and denominations, not prove elastic in order to receive the uniting with his own lovely family in abolisher of the slave trade ?" friendly fellowship and in domestic wor- The advocacy of these religious and ship. How delightful to hear his Scrip- benevolent institutions was, however, not ture readings and expositions, recom- confined to this country, or to Great mending to us that truth and charity, Britain. He remembered them, and which he so fully and closely combined, pleaded for them in the religious visits and to sympathise with him in those which, as a ministering Friend, he paid supplications for the church and the to America, and to various parts of world, which he so fervently offered up. Europe. His visit to America was in “Surely, it was none other than the 1837, and occupied three years ; during house of God and the gate of heaven." | which time, he travelled through most of Wilberforce, Buxton, Kinghorn, Simeon, the northern states of the Union, and in Inpes, and many others, who once met Upper and Lower Canada. The various in fellowship there, are now gone to that incidents of his journeys; the objects, world where he is gone, to unite with natural, civil, and moral, which attracted them in the song of Moses and the his attention by the way; and the imLamb; but there are others who continue pressions made on his mind by America unto this day to carry on for awhile that and the Americans are all narrated in blessed cause, in which they were faith- good tourist style, in a series of letters ful even unto death. It was on one of to Amelia Opie, with whose delightful these occasions that he commenced and prose and poetry all our readers are facemented his personal intimacy with miliar. This volume of Letters, though Wilberforce. In the sketch which he printed and circulated among his private has given of that adınirable man, he says, friends, has not been published; but it " I was introduced to Wilberforce in the seems very desirable, that not only it but
some deeply interesting manuscripts, last public meeting he ever attended, had should be published for the use of society, been summoned by the District Visiting which is already so much indebted to his Society, in accordance with his own sugworks.
gestion, to make some additional proBut we must glance at his visits to the vision for the poor, during the severities Continent. The first was in 1841, when of winter. The venerable Bishop, who he went to Paris with Samuel Gurney, loved to honour his Christian character, his brother in sympathy, as well as in and who cordially sympathised with his relationship. The principal object of this liberal spirit, moved the resolutions which visit was to direct the attention of influ- Mr. Gurney seconded; and a handsome ential and official persons to the subject subscription was the result. It was in of slavery, for the purpose of obtaining its going home from that meeting that his extinction. During their stay they had horse fell, and he received his mortal an interview with Louis Philippe, the injury. But he had finished the work king of the French, as well as much which his Master had given him to do, communication with M. Guizot, his mi- and then the Master said, “ Well done, nister, and with other persons of distinc- good and faithful servant, enter thou into tion. His next visit was in the same the joy of thy Lord." year, when he was accompanied by Mrs. Though it will not be expected that Fry. As both of them were ministers, in this brief sketch any extensive analysis their visit, in that capacity, was sanc- of his writings should be given, yet we tioned by the Society ; but they endea- must not entirely omit to notice him as voured to combine with it, as was usual, an author. Some of his publications different, yet accordant, objects of pur- have already been referred to. His “Obsuit. They visited Holland, Belgium, servations on the Distinguishing Views Hanover, some of the smaller German and Practices of the Society of Friends," states, Denmark, and Prussia. They held, first published in 1824, has passed through in various places, religious meetings, not seven editions; and while it is "intended only for worship with the Friends, but not so much for the information of the also for the instruction and improvement public in general, as for the use of the of all classes; and they paid many visits junior members of the Society," it is a of mercy to administer the consolations source of authentic information relative of the gospel to those who were suffering to the religious views of his denomination, affliction and persecution. They inspected and a work of great thought, research, prisons, hospitals, and other public insti- and learning. His “Essays on the Evitutions, and then presented their reports dences, Doctrines, and Practical Operato the several governments; always re- tion of Christianity,” is a body of sound commending to them, when necessary, divinity, written for the use of the church the abolition of slavery, and the granting at large, and from which Christians of of religious toleration. Thus, after the every denomination may derive instrucexample of their Divine Master, they tion and improvement. While it contains “ went about doing good." Their recep- a perspicuous statement of the doctrines tion everywhere was cordial and joyous. of Christianity, it presents its internal “The common people heard them gladly,” and external evidences of truth in a clear
He was "a cheerful giver, such as the and forcible manner; and points out the Lord loveth.” He knew well, from his practical influence which it is intended own experience, that "it is more blessed and adapted to produce. The arrangeto give than to receive;" and probably ment of the whole is exceedingly lucid there was not, in all the world, a man and logical, and no one can thoughtfully more really happy than he was in the peruse it, without great advantage to his exercise of his personal faculties, and in head and his heart. The work has been the use of his various possessions. The well appreciated by the public. It has