Planting the Seed in Wales 1656-1657
Being released from our imprisonment, we got horses, rode towards Humphrey Lower’s, and met him upon the road. He told us he was much troubled in his mind concerning us, and could not rest at home, but was going to Colonel Bennet to seek our liberty. When we told him we were set at liberty, and were going to his house, he was exceeding glad. To his house we went, and had a fine, precious meeting; many were convinced, and turned by the Spirit of the Lord to the Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching.
Soon after we came to Exeter, where many Friends were in prison; and amongst the rest James Nayler. For a little before we were set at liberty, James had run out into imaginations, and a company with him, who raised a great darkness in the nation. He came to Bristol, and made a disturbance there. From thence he was coming to Launceston to see me; but was stopped by the way, and imprisoned at Exeter; as were several others, one of whom, an honest, tender man, died in prison there. His blood lieth on the heads of his persecutors.
The night that we came to Exeter I spoke with James Nayler: for I saw he was out, and wrong, and so was his company. The next day, being First-day, we went to visit the prisoners, and had a meeting with them in the prison; but James Nayler, and some of them, could not stay the meeting. There came a corporal of horse into the meeting, who was convinced, and remained a very good Friend.
The next day I spoke to James Nayler again; and he slighted what I said, was dark, and much out; yet he would have come and kissed me. But I said that since he had turned against the power of God, I could not receive his show of kindness. The Lord moved me to slight him, and to set the power of God over him. So after I had been warring with the world, there was now a wicked spirit risen amongst Friends to war against. I admonished him and his company.
When he was come to London, his resisting the power of God in me, and the Truth that was declared to him by me, became one of his greatest burdens. But he came to see his out-going, and to condemn it; and after some time he returned to Truth again; as in the printed relation of his repentance, condemnation, and recovery may be more fully seen.
On First-day morning I went to the meeting in Broadmead at Bristol, which was large and quiet. Notice was given of a meeting to be in the afternoon in the orchard.
There was at Bristol a rude Baptist, named Paul Gwin, who had before made great disturbance in our meetings, being encouraged and set on by the mayor, who, it was reported, would sometimes give him his dinner to encourage him. Such multitudes of rude people he gathered after him, that it was thought there had been sometimes ten thousand people at our meeting in the orchard.
As I was going into the orchard, the people told me that Paul Gwin was going to the meeting. I bade them never heed, for it was nothing to me who went to it.
When I was come into the orchard, I stood upon the stone that Friends used to stand on when they spoke; and I was moved of the Lord to put off my hat, and to stand a while, and let the people look at me; for some thousands of people were there. While I thus stood silent, this rude Baptist began to find fault with my hair; but I said nothing to him. Then he ran on into words; and at last, “Ye wise men of Bristol,” said he, “I marvel at you, that you will stand here, and hear a man speak and affirm that which he cannot make good.”
Then the Lord opened my mouth (for as yet I had not spoken a word), and I asked the people whether they had ever heard me speak, or had ever seen me before; and I bade them take notice what kind of man this was amongst them that should so impudently say that I spoke and affirmed that which I could not make good; and yet neither he nor they had ever heard me or seen me before. Therefore that was a lying, envious, malicious spirit that spoke in him; and it was of the devil, and not of God. I charged him in the dread and power of the Lord to be silent: and the mighty power of God came over him, and all his company.
Then a glorious, peaceable meeting we had, and the Word of life was divided amongst them; and they were turned from darkness to the Light, — to Jesus their Saviour. The Scriptures were largely opened to them; and the traditions, rudiments, ways, and doctrines of men were laid open before the people; and they were turned to the Light of Christ, that with it they might see these things, and see Him to lead them out of them.
I opened also to them the types, figures, and shadows of Christ in the time of the law; and showed them that Christ was come, and had ended the types, shadows, tithes, and oaths, and put down swearing; and had set up yea and nay instead of it, and a free ministry. For He was now come to teach the people Himself, and His heavenly day was springing from on high.
For many hours did I declare the Word of life amongst them in the eternal power of God, that by Him they might come up into the beginning, and be reconciled to Him. And having turned them to the Spirit of God in themselves, that would lead into all Truth, I was moved to pray in the mighty power of God; and the Lord’s power came over all. When I had done, this fellow began to babble again; and John Audland was moved to bid him repent, and fear God. So his own people and followers being ashamed of him, he passed away, and never came again to disturb the meeting. The meeting broke up quietly, and the Lord’s power and glory shone over all: a blessed day it was, and the Lord had the praise. After a while this Paul Gwin went beyond the seas; and many years after I met him in Barbadoes.
Soon after we rode to London. When we came near Hyde Park we saw a great concourse of people, and, looking towards them, espied the Protector coming in his coach. Whereupon I rode to his coach side. Some of his life-guard would have put me away; but he forbade them. So I rode by his coach side with him, declaring what the Lord gave me to say to him, of his condition, and of the sufferings of Friends in the nation, showing him how contrary this persecution was to the words of Christ and His apostles, and to Christianity.
When we were come to James’s Park Gate, I left him; and at parting he desired me to come to his house. The next day one of his wife’s maids, whose name was Mary Sanders, came to me at my lodging, and told me that her master came to her, and said he would tell her some good news. When she asked him what it was, he told her, “George Fox is come to town.” She replied “That is good news indeed” (for she had received Truth), but she said she could hardly believe him till he told her how I met him, and rode from Hyde Park to James’s Park with him.
After a little time Edward Pyot and I went to Whitehall to see Oliver Cromwell; and when we came before him, Dr. Owen, vice-chancellor of Oxford, was with him. We were moved to speak to him concerning the sufferings of Friends, and laid them before him: and we directed him to the Light of Christ, who had enlightened every man that cometh into the world. He said it was a natural light; but we showed him the contrary; and proved that it was divine and spiritual, proceeding from Christ the spiritual and heavenly man; and that that which was called the life in Christ the Word, was called the Light in us.
The power of the Lord God arose in me, and I was moved in it to bid him lay down his crown at the feet of Jesus. Several times I spoke to him to the same effect. I was standing by the table, and he came and sat upon the table’s side by me, saying he would be as high as I was. So he continued speaking against the Light of Christ Jesus; and went his way in a light manner. But the Lord’s power came over him so that when he came to his wife and other company, he said, “I never parted so from them before”; for he was judged in himself.
After this I travelled into Yorkshire, and returned out of Holderness, over Humber, visiting Friends; and then returning into Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire, among Friends, I had a meeting at Edge-Hill. There came to it Ranters, Baptists, and several sorts of rude people; for I had sent word about three weeks before to have a meeting there, so that hundreds of people were gathered thither, and many Friends came to it from afar. The Lord’s everlasting Truth and Word of life reached over all; the rude and unruly spirits were chained down; and many that day were turned to the Lord Jesus Christ, by His power and Spirit, and came to sit under His blessed, free teaching, and to be fed with His eternal, heavenly food. All was peaceable; the people passed quietly away, and some of them said it was a mighty, powerful meeting; for the presence of the Lord was felt, and His power and Spirit was amongst them.
Thence I passed to Warwick and to Bagley, having precious meetings; and then into Gloucestershire, and so to Oxford, where the scholars were very rude; but the Lord’s power came over them. Great meetings we had as we travelled up and down.
Thus having travelled over most of the nation, I returned to London again, having cleared myself of that which lay upon me from the Lord. For after I was released out of Launceston jail, I was moved of the Lord to travel over the nation, the Truth being now spread in most places, that I might answer, and remove out of the minds of the people, some objections which the envious priests and professors had raised and spread abroad concerning us.
In this year the Lord’s Truth was finely planted over the nation, and many thousands were turned to the Lord; insomuch that there were seldom fewer than one thousand in prison in this nation for Truth’s testimony; some for tithes, some for going to the steeple-houses, some for contempts (as they called them), some for not swearing, and others for not putting off their hats.
Having stayed some time in London, and visited the meetings of Friends in and about the city, and cleared myself of what services the Lord had at that time laid upon me there, I left the town and travelled into Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, visiting Friends. I had great meetings, and often met with opposition from Baptists and other jangling professors; but the Lord’s power went over them.
We lay one night at Farnham, where we had a little meeting. The people were exceeding rude; but at last the Lord’s power came over them. After meeting we went to our inn, and gave notice that any who feared God might come to our inn to us. There came abundance of rude people, the magistrates of the town, and some professors. I declared the Truth to them; and those people that behaved themselves rudely, the magistrates put out of the room.
When they were gone, another rude company of professors came up, and some of the chief of the town. They called for faggots and drink, though we forbade them, and were as rude a people as ever I met. The Lord’s power chained them, that they had not power to do us any mischief; but when they went away they left all the faggots and beer, for which they had called, in the room, for us to pay for in the morning. We showed the innkeeper what an unworthy thing it was; but he told us we must pay it; and pay it we did.
Before we left the town I wrote to the magistrates and heads of the town, and to the priest, showing them how he had taught his people, and laying before them their rude and uncivil carriage to strangers that sought their good.
Leaving that place we came to Basingstoke, a very rude town; where they had formerly very much abused Friends. There I had a meeting in the evening, which was quiet; for the Lord’s power chained the unruly. At the close of the meeting I was moved to put off my hat and to pray to the Lord to open their understandings; upon which they raised a report that I put off my hat to them and bade them good night, which was never in my heart.
After the meeting, when we came to our inn, I sent for the innkeeper, as I was used to do; and he came into the room to us, and showed himself a very rude man. I admonished him to be sober, and fear the Lord; but he called for faggots and a pint of wine, and drank it off himself; then called for another, and called up half a dozen men into our chamber. Thereupon I bade him go out of the chamber, and told him he should not drink there; for we called him up to speak to him concerning his eternal good.
He was exceeding mad, rude, and drunk. When he continued his rudeness and would not be gone, I told him that the chamber was mine for the time I lodged in it; and called for the key. Then he went away in a rage. In the morning he would not be seen; but I told his wife of his unchristian carriage towards us.
We then travelled to Exeter; and at the sign of the Seven Stars, an inn at the bridge foot, had a general meeting of Friends out of Cornwall and Devonshire; to which came Humphrey Lower, Thomas Lower, and John Ellis from the Land’s End; Henry Pollexfen, and Friends from Plymouth; Elizabeth Trelawny, and diverse other Friends. A blessed heavenly meeting we had, and the Lord’s everlasting power came over all, in which I saw and said that the Lord’s power had surrounded this nation round about as with a wall and bulwark, and His seed reached from sea to sea. Friends were established in the everlasting Seed of life, Christ Jesus, their Life, Rock, Teacher, and Shepherd.
Next morning Major Blackmore sent soldiers to apprehend me; but I was gone before they came. As I was riding up the street I saw the officers going down; so the Lord crossed them in their design, and Friends passed away peaceably and quietly. The soldiers examined some Friends after I was gone, asking them what they did there; but when they told them that they were in their inn, and had business in the city, they went away without meddling any further with them.
We passed through the countries, having meetings, and gathering people in the name of Christ, their heavenly teacher, till we came to Brecknock, where we put up our horses at an inn. There went with me Thomas Holmes and John ap-John, who was moved of the Lord to speak in the streets. I walked out but a little into the fields; and when I returned the town was in an uproar. When I came into the chamber in the inn, it was full of people, and they were speaking in Welsh. I desired them to speak in English, which they did; and much discourse we had. After a while they went away.
Towards night the magistrates gathered in the streets with a multitude of people, and they bade them shout, and gathered up the town; so that, for about two hours together, there was a noise the like of which we had not heard; and the magistrates set them on to shout again when they had given over. We thought it looked like the uproar amongst Diana’s craftsmen. This tumult continued till night, and if the Lord’s power had not limited them, they would likely have pulled down the house, and torn us to pieces.
At night the woman of the house would have had us go to supper in another room; but we, discerning her plot, refused. Then she would have had half a dozen men come into the room to us, under the pretence of discoursing with us. We told her, “No person shall come into our room this night, neither will we go to them.” Then she said we should sup in another room; but we told her we would have no supper if we had it not in our own room. At length, when she saw she could not get us out, she brought up our supper.
So she and they were crossed in their design; for they had an intent to do us mischief, but the Lord prevented them. Next morning I wrote a paper to the town concerning their unchristian carriage, showing the fruits of their priests and magistrates; and as I passed out of town I spoke to the people, and told them they were a shame to Christianity and religion.
After this we returned to England, and came to Shrewsbury, where we had a great meeting, and visited Friends all over the countries in their meetings, till we came to William Gandy’s, in Cheshire, where we had a meeting of between two and three thousand people, as it was thought; and the everlasting Word of life was held forth, and received that day. A blessed meeting it was, for Friends were settled by the power of God upon Christ Jesus, the Rock and Foundation.
At this time there was a great drought; and after this general meeting was ended, there fell so great a rain that Friends said they thought we could not travel, the waters would be so risen. But I believed the rain had not extended as far as they had come that day to the meeting. Next day, in the afternoon, when we turned back into some parts of Wales again, the roads were dusty, and no rain had fallen there.
When Oliver Cromwell sent forth a proclamation for a fast throughout the nation, for rain, when there was a very great drought, it was observed that as far as Truth had spread in the north, there were pleasant showers and rain enough, while in the south, in many places, the fields were almost spoiled for want of rain. At that time I was moved to write an answer to the Protector’s proclamation, wherein I told him that if he had come to own God’s Truth, he should have had rain; and that the drought was a sign unto them of their barrenness, and their want of the water of life.
We passed through Montgomeryshire into Wales, and so into Radnorshire, where there was a meeting like a leaguer, for multitudes. I walked a little aside whilst the people were gathering: and there came to me John ap-John, a Welshman, whom I asked to go to the people; and if he had anything upon him from the Lord to them, he might speak in Welsh, and thereby gather more together. Then came Morgan Watkins to me, who was become loving to Friends, and said, “The people lie like a leaguer, and the gentry of the country are come in.” I bade him go up also, and leave me; for I had a great travail upon me for the salvation of the people.
When they were well gathered, I went into the meeting, and stood upon a chair about three hours. I stood a pretty while before I began to speak. After some time I felt the power of the Lord over the whole assembly: and His everlasting life and Truth shone over all. The Scriptures were opened to them, and the objections they had in their minds answered. They were directed to the Light of Christ, the heavenly man; that by it they might see their sins, and Christ Jesus to be their Saviour, their Redeemer, their Mediator; and come to feed upon Him, the bread of life from heaven.
Many were turned to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to His free teaching that day; and all were bowed down under the power of God; so that though the multitude was so great that many sat on horseback to hear, there was no opposition. A priest sat with his wife on horseback, heard attentively, and made no objection.
The people parted peaceably, with great satisfaction; many of them saying they had never heard such a sermon before, nor the Scriptures so opened. For the new covenant was opened, and the old, and the nature and terms of each; and the parables were explained. The state of the Church in the apostles’ days was set forth, and the apostasy since was laid open; the free teaching of Christ and the apostles was set atop of all the hireling teachers; and the Lord had the praise of all, for many were turned to Him that day.
I went thence to Leominster, where was a great meeting in a close, many hundreds of people being gathered together. There were about six congregational preachers and priests amongst the people; and Thomas Taylor, who had been a priest, but was now become a minister of Christ Jesus, was with me. I stood up and declared about three hours; and none of the priests were able to open their mouths in opposition; the Lord’s power and Truth so reached and bound them.
At length one priest went off about a bow-shot from me, drew several of the people after him, and began to preach to them. So I kept our meeting, and he kept his. After awhile Thomas Taylor was moved to go and speak to him, upon which he gave over: and he, with the people he had drawn off, came to us again; and the Lord’s power went over all.
From this place I travelled on in Wales, having several meetings, till I came to Tenby, where, as I rode up the street, a justice of the peace came out to me, asked me to alight, and desired that I would stay at his house, which I did. On First-day the mayor, with his wife, and several others of the chief people of the town, came in about the tenth hour, and stayed all the time of the meeting. A glorious meeting it was.
John ap-John being then with me, left the meeting, and went to the steeple-house; and the governor cast him into prison. On Second-day morning the governor sent one of his officers to the justice’s to fetch me; which grieved the mayor and the justice; for they were both with me in the justice’s house when the officer came. The mayor and the justice went to the governor before me; and awhile after I went with the officer. When I came in I said, “Peace be unto this house,” and before the governor could examine me I asked him why he cast my friend into prison. He said, “For standing with his hat on in the church.”
I said, “Had not the priest two caps on his head, a black one and a white one? Cut off the brims of the hat, and then my friend would have but one: and the brims of the hat were but to defend him from weather.”
“These are frivolous things,” said the governor.
“Why, then,” said I, “dost thou cast my friend into prison for such frivolous things?”
He asked me whether I owned election and reprobation. “Yes,” said I, “and thou art in the reprobation.”
At that he was in a rage and said he would send me to prison till I proved it. I told him I would prove that quickly if he would confess Truth. I asked him whether wrath, fury, rage and persecution were not marks of reprobation; for he that was born of the flesh persecuted him that was born of the Spirit; but Christ and His disciples never persecuted nor imprisoned any.
He fairly confessed that he had too much wrath, haste and passion in him. I told him that Esau was up in him, the first birth; not Jacob, the second birth. The Lord’s power so reached the man and came over him that he confessed to Truth; and the other justice came and shook me kindly by the hand.
As I was passing away I was moved to speak to the governor again; and he invited me to dinner with him, and set my friend at liberty. I went back to the other justice’s house; and after some time the mayor and his wife, and the justice and his wife, and diverse other Friends of the town, went about half a mile out of town with us, to the water-side, when we went away; and there, when we parted from them, I was moved of the Lord to kneel down with them, and pray to the Lord to preserve them. So, after I had recommended them to the Lord Jesus Christ, their Saviour and free Teacher, we passed away in the Lord’s power; and He had the glory.
We travelled to Pembrokeshire, and in Pembroke had some service for the Lord. Thence we passed to Haverford West, where we had a great meeting, and all was quiet. The Lord’s power came over all, and many were settled in the new covenant, Christ Jesus, and built upon Him, their Rock and Foundation; and they stand a precious meeting to this day. Next day, being their fair-day, we passed through it, and sounded the day of the Lord, and His everlasting Truth, amongst them.
After this we passed into another county, and at noon came into a great market-town, and went into several inns before we could get any meat for our horses. At last we came to one where we got some. Then John ap-John being with me, went and spoke through the town, declaring the Truth to the people; and when he came to me again, he said he thought all the town were as people asleep. After awhile he was moved to go and declare Truth in the streets again; then the town was all in an uproar, and they cast him into prison.
Presently after several of the chief people of the town came, with others, to the inn where I was, and said, “They have cast your man into prison.”
“For what?” said I.
“He preached in our streets,” said they.
Then I asked them, “What did he say? Had he reproved some of the drunkards and swearers, and warned them to repent, and leave off their evil doings, and turn to the Lord?” I asked them who cast him into prison. They said, the high-sheriff and justices, and the mayor. I asked their names, and whether they understood themselves; and whether that was their conduct to travellers that passed through their town, and strangers that admonished and exhorted them to fear the Lord, and reproved sin in their gates.
These went back, and told the officers what I had said; and after awhile they brought down John ap-John, guarded with halberts, in order to put him out of the town. Being at the inn door, I bade the officers take their hands off him. They said that the mayor and justices had commanded them to put him out of town. I told them I would talk with their mayor and justices concerning their uncivil and unchristian carriage towards him.
So I spoke to John to go look after the horses, and get them ready, and charged the officers not to touch him. After I had declared the Truth to them, and showed them the fruits of their priests, and their incivility and unchristian carriage, they left us. They were a kind of Independents; a very wicked town, and false. We bade the innkeeper give our horses a peck of oats; and no sooner had we turned our backs than the oats were stolen from our horses.
After we had refreshed ourselves a little, and were ready, we took horse, and rode up to the inn, where the mayor, sheriff, and justices were. I called to speak with them, and asked them why they had imprisoned John ap-John, and kept him in prison two or three hours. But they would not answer me a word; they only looked out at the windows upon me. So I showed them how unchristian was their carriage to strangers and travellers, and how it manifested the fruits of their teachers; and I declared the truth unto them, and warned them of the day of the Lord, that was coming upon all evil-doers; and the Lord’s power came over them, that they looked ashamed; but not a word could I get from them in answer.
So when I had warned them to repent, and turn to the Lord, we passed away. At night we came to a little inn, very poor, but very cheap; for our own provision and that for our two horses cost but eight pence; but the horses would not eat their oats. We declared the Truth to the people of the place, and sounded the day of the Lord through the countries.
Passing thence we came to a great town, and went to an inn. Edward Edwards went into the market, and declared the Truth amongst the people; and they followed him to the inn, and filled the yard, and were exceedingly rude. Yet good service we had for the Lord amongst them; for the life of Christianity and the power of it tormented their chaffy spirits, and came over them, so that some were reached and convinced; and the Lord’s power came over all. The magistrates were bound; they had no power to meddle with us.
After this we came to another great town on a market-day; and John ap-John declared the everlasting Truth through the streets, and proclaimed the day of the Lord amongst them. In the evening many people gathered about the inn; and some of them, being drunk, would fain have had us come into the street again. But seeing their design, I told them that if there were any that feared God and desired to hear the Truth, they might come into our inn; or else we might have a meeting with them next morning.
Some service for the Lord we had amongst them, both over night and in the morning; and though the people were slow to receive the Truth, yet the seed was sown; and thereabouts the Lord hath a people gathered to Himself.
In that inn, also, I but turned my back to the man that was giving oats to my horse, and, looking round again, I observed he was filling his pockets with the provender. A wicked, thievish people, to rob the poor, dumb creature of his food. I would rather they had robbed me.
Thence we went to Beaumaris, a town wherein John ap-John had formerly been a preacher. After we had put up our horses at an inn, John went and spoke through the street; and there being a garrison in the town, they took him and put him into prison. The innkeeper’s wife came and told me that the governor and magistrates were sending for me, to commit me to prison also. I told her that they had done more than they could answer already; and had acted contrary to Christianity in imprisoning him for reproving sin in their streets and gates, and for declaring the Truth. Soon after came other friendly people, and told me that if I went into the street, the governor and magistrates would imprison me also; therefore they desired me to keep within the inn.
Upon this I was moved to go and walk up and down in the streets. And I told the people what an uncivil, unchristian thing they had done in casting my friend into prison. And they being high professors, I asked them if this was the entertainment they had for strangers; if they would willingly be so served themselves; and whether they, who looked upon the Scriptures to be their rule, had any example in the Scriptures from Christ or His apostles for what they had done. So after awhile they set John ap-John at liberty.
Next day, being market-day, we were to cross a great water; and not far from the place where we were to take boat, many of the market-people drew to us. Amongst these we had good service for the Lord, declaring the Word of Life and everlasting Truth unto them, proclaiming amongst them the day of the Lord, which was coming upon all wickedness; and directing them to the Light of Christ, with which He, the heavenly man, had enlightened them, by which they might see all their sins, and all their false ways, religions, worships and teachers; and by the same Light might see Christ Jesus, who was come to save them, and lead them to God
After the Truth had been declared to them in the power of God, and Christ the free teacher set over all the hireling teachers, I made John ap-John get his horse into the boat, which was then ready. But there being a company of wild “gentlemen,” as they were called, gotten into it (whom we found very rude, and far from gentleness), they, with others kept his horse out of the boat. I rode to the boat’s side, and spoke to them, showing them what an unmanly and unchristian carriage it was; and told them that they showed an unworthy spirit, below Christianity or humanity.
As I spoke, I leaped my horse into the boat amongst them, thinking John’s horse would follow when he had seen mine go in before him. But the water being pretty deep, John could not get his horse into the boat. Therefore I leaped out again on horseback into the water, and stayed with John on that side till the boat returned.
There we tarried, from the eleventh hour of the forenoon to the second in the afternoon, before the boat came to fetch us; and then had forty-two miles to ride that evening; and by the time we had paid for our passage, we had but one groat left between us in money.
We rode about sixteen miles, and then got a little hay for our horses. Setting forward again, we came in the night to a little ale-house, where we thought to have stayed and baited. But, finding we could have neither oats nor hay there, we travelled all night; and about the fifth hour in the morning got to a place within six miles of Wrexham, where that day we met with many Friends, and had a glorious meeting. The Lord’s everlasting power and Truth was over all; and a meeting is continued there to this day.
Next day we passed thence into Flintshire, sounding the day of the Lord through the towns; and came into Wrexham at night. Here many of Floyd’s people came to us; but very rude, wild, and airy they were, and little sense of truth they had; yet some were convinced in that town. Next morning one called a lady sent for me, who kept a preacher in her house. I went, but found both her and her preacher very light and airy; too light to receive the weighty things of God. In her lightness she came and asked me if she should cut my hair; but I was moved to reprove her, and bade her cut down the corruptions in herself with the sword of the Spirit of God. So after I had admonished her to be more grave and sober, we passed away; and afterwards, in her frothy mind, she made her boast that she came behind me and cut off the curl of my hair; but she spoke falsely.
From Wrexham we came to Chester; and it being the fair time, we stayed a while, and visited Friends. For I had travelled through every county in Wales, preaching the everlasting gospel of Christ; and a brave people there is now, who have received it, and sit under Christ’s teaching. But before I left Wales I wrote to the magistrates of Beaumaris concerning the imprisoning of John ap-John; letting them see their conditions, and the fruits of their Christianity, and of their teachers. Afterwards I met with some of them near London; but, oh, how ashamed they were of their action!
Soon we came to Manchester, and the sessions being there that day many rude people were come out of the country. In the meeting they threw at me coals, clods, stones, and water; yet the Lord’s power bore me up over them that they could not strike me down. At last, when they saw they could not prevail by throwing water, stones, and dirt at me, they went and informed the justices in the sessions, who thereupon sent officers to fetch me before them.
The officers came in while I was declaring the Word of life to the people, plucked me down, and haled me into their court. When I came there all the court was in a disorder and a noise. I asked, “Where are the magistrates that they do not keep the people civil?” Some of the justices said that they were magistrates. I asked them why, then, they did not appease the people, and keep them sober, for one cried, “I’ll swear,” and another cried, “I’ll swear.”
I declared to the justices how we were abused in our meeting by the rude people, who threw stones, clods, dirt, and water; and how I was haled out of the meeting and brought thither, contrary to the instrument of government, which said that none should be molested in their meetings that professed God, and owned the Lord Jesus Christ; which I did. The Truth so came over them that when one of the rude followers cried, “I’ll swear,” one of the justices checked him, saying “What will you swear? hold your tongue.”
At last they bade the constable take me to my lodging, and there secure me till they sent for me again to-morrow morning. So the constable took me to my lodging.
As we went the people were exceedingly rude; but I let them see the fruits of their teachers, how they shamed Christianity, and dishonored the name of Jesus which they professed.
At night we went to see a justice in the town who was pretty moderate, and I had a great deal of discourse with him. Next morning we sent to the constable to know if he had anything more to say to us. He sent us word that he had nothing to say to us; we might go whither we would.
The Lord hath since raised up a people to stand for His name and Truth in that town over those chaffy professors.
We passed from Manchester, having many precious meetings in several places, till we came to Preston. Between Preston and Lancaster I had a general meeting, from which I went to Lancaster. There at our inn I met with Colonel West, who was very glad to see me, and meeting with Judge Fell he told him that I was mightily grown in the Truth; when, indeed, he was come nearer to the Truth, and so could better discern it.
We came from Lancaster to Robert Widders’s. On the First-day after I had a general meeting of Friends of Westmoreland and Lancashire near Sandside, when the Lord’s everlasting power was over all. In this meeting the Word of eternal life was declared, and Friends were settled upon the foundation Christ Jesus, under His free teaching; and many were convinced, and turned to the Lord.
Next day I came over the Sands to Swarthmore, where Friends were glad to see me. I stayed there two First-days, visiting Friends in their meetings thereabouts. They rejoiced with me in the goodness of the Lord, who by His eternal power had carried me through and over many difficulties and dangers in His service; to Him be the praise for ever!