The World's Greatest Books, Vol X
Author: Various
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8
Home - Random Browse

II—Among the Indians

Having many years felt love in my heart towards the natives of this land, who dwell far back in the wilderness, whose ancestors were the owners of the land where we dwell, and being at Philadelphia in 1761, I fell in company with some of those natives who live on the east branch of the river Susquehannah, at an Indian town called Wehaloosing, 200 miles from Philadelphia; and in conversation with them by an interpreter, as also by observations on their character and conduct, I believed some of them were acquainted with that divine power which subjects the rough and froward will of the creature.

At times I felt inward drawings toward a visit to that place, and laid it before friends at our monthly and quarterly, and afterwards at our general spring meeting; and having the unity of friends, I agreed to join certain Indians, in 1763, on their return to their town. So I took leave of my family and neighbours, and with my friend Benjamin Parvin, met the Indians.

About four miles from Fort Allen we met with an Indian trader, lately come from Wyoming; and in conversation with him I perceived that many white people do often sell rum to the Indians, which is a great evil: first, their being thereby deprived of the use of their reason, and their spirits being violently agitated, quarrels often arise which end in mischief; again their skins and furs, gotten through much fatigue in hunting, with which they intended to buy clothing, when they become intoxicated, they often sell at a low rate for more rum, and afterwards are angry with those who, for the sake of gain, took advantage of their weakness. To sell to people that which we know does them harm, manifests a hardened and corrupt heart.

We crossed the western branch of the Delaware, having laboured hard over the mountains called the Blue Ridge, and pitched our tent near the banks of the river. Near our tent, on the sides of large trees peeled for that purpose, were various representations of men going to, and returning from the wars, and of some killed in battle, this being a path used by warriors. As I walked about viewing those Indian histories, painted in red and in black; and thinking on the innumerable afflictions which the proud, fierce spirit produceth in the world; thinking on the toils and fatigues of warriors, travelling over mountains and deserts; and of their restless, unquiet state of mind, who live in this spirit, and of the hatred which mutually grows up in the minds of the children of those nations engaged in war; during these meditations, the desire to cherish the spirit of love and peace among these people arose very fresh in me.

As I rode, day after day, over the barren hills, my thoughts were on the alterations of the circumstances of the natives since the coming of the English. The lands near the sea are conveniently situated for fishing; the lands near the rivers are in many places fertile and not mountainous. Those natives have, in some places, for trifling considerations, sold their inheritance so favourably situated; and in other places, have been driven back by superior force. By the extending of English settlements, and partly by English hunters, the wild beasts they chiefly depend upon for a subsistence are not so plentiful as they were; and people too often open a door for them to waste their furs, in purchasing a liquor which tends to the ruin of them and their families.

III.—Across the Atlantic

Having been for some time under a religious concern to cross the seas, in order to visit friends in England, after weighty consideration I thought it expedient to inform friends, at our monthly meeting at Burlington, of it; who, having unity with me therein, gave me a certificate; and I afterwards communicated the same to our general meeting, and they likewise signified their unity by a certificate, dated the 24th day of the third month, 1772, directed to friends in Great Britain.

I was informed that my beloved friend Samuel Emlen, intended to go to London, and had taken a passage in the cabin of the ship called Mary and Elizabeth; and I, feeling a draft in my mind towards the steerage of the same ship, went and opened to Samuel the feeling I had concerning it. My beloved friend wept when I spake to him; and he offering to go with me, we went on board, first into the cabin, a commodious room, and then into the steerage, where we sat down on a chest and the owner of the ship came and sat down with us. I made no agreement as to a passage in the ship; but on the next morning I went with Samuel to the house of the owner, to whom I opened my exercise in relation to a scruple I felt with regard to a passage in the cabin.

I told the owner that on the outside of that part of the ship where the cabin was, I observed sundry sorts of carved work and imagery; and that in the cabin I observed some superfluity of workmanship of several sorts; and that the monies received from the passengers are calculated to answer the expense of these superfluities; and that I felt a scruple with regard to paying my money to defray such expenses. After this, I agreed for a passage in the steerage, and went on board with Samuel Emlen on the first day of the fifth month.

My lodging in the steerage afforded me opportunities of seeing, hearing and feeling, with respect to the life and spirit of many poor sailors; and an inward exercise of soul hath attended me, in regard to placing out children and youth where they may be exampled and instructed in the fear of the Lord. Now, concerning lads being trained up as seamen, I believe a communication from one part of the world to some other parts of it, by sea, is at times consistent with the will of our heavenly Father; and to educate some youth in the practice of sailing, I believe may be right. But how lamentable is the present corruption of the world! How impure are the channels through which trade hath a conveyance! How great is that danger to which poor lads are now exposed, when placed on shipboard to learn the art of sailing!

IV.—Prices, Wages, and Religion

On landing at London I went straight to the yearly meeting of ministers and elders, which, by adjournments, continued near a week. I then went to quarterly meetings at Hertford, Sherrington, Northampton, Banbury and Shipston, and visited other meetings at Birmingham, Coventry, Warwick, Nottingham, Sheffield, Settle, and other places.

On inquiry, I found the price of rye about five shillings, wheat about eight shillings, per bushel; mutton threepence to fivepence per pound; bacon from sevenpence to ninepence; cheese from fourpence to sixpence; butter from eightpence to tenpence; house-rent, for a poor man, from twenty-five shillings to forty shillings per year, to be paid weekly; wood for fire very scarce and dear; coal in some places two shillings and sixpence per hundredweight but near the pits not a quarter so much. O may the wealthy consider the poor!

The wages of labouring men, in several counties toward London, is tenpence per day in common business; the employer finds small beer and the labourer finds his own food; but in harvest and hay times wages are about one shilling per day and the labourer hath all his diet. In the north of England poor labouring men do rather better than nearer London. Industrious women who spin in the factories get some fourpence, some fivepence, and so on to tenpence per day, and find their own house-room and diet. Great numbers of poor people live chiefly on bread and water, and there are many poor children not even taught to read. May those, who have plenty, lay these things to heart!

Stage coaches frequently go upwards of an hundred miles in twenty-four hours; and I have heard friends say, in several places, that it is common for horses to be killed with hard driving. Post-boys pursue their business, each one to his stage, all night through the winter. Some boys, who ride long stages, suffer greatly on winter nights, and at several places I have heard of their being frozen to death. So great is the hurry in the spirit in this world, that in aiming to do business quickly, and to gain wealth, the creation, at this day doth loudly groan!


Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8
Home - Random Browse