|Moses Aldrich||Jeremiah Austin||Obadiah Brown|
|David Buffum||Daniel Brayton||John Collins|
|Abel Collins||Peter Davis||Moses Farnum|
|Daniel Howland||Elizabeth Mott||Joseph Mitchel|
|Dorcas Peckham||Samuel Thurston|
The Meeting for Sufferings, 1841
Providence: Knowles & Vose, Printers. 1841
Testimony from the Monthly Meeting of Smithfield, concerning our late deceased and well esteemed friend, Moses Aldrich, of Mendon.
He was born in the 4th month, 1690, and was convinced and made profession of the truth amongst Friends, about the twenty-first year of his age; and four or five years afterwards, he was let to engage in the service of the ministry; in which work he was well approved. In the year 1722, he obtained a certificate from Providence Monthly Meeting, recommending him to Friends in the Island of Barbadoes. This Island he visited, laboring in the work of the ministry; and returning, brought a certificate from Friends there, expressive of their unity with his doctrine, consistency of life, and conversation.
In 1730, he in like manner visited and labored in the ministry, in most of the provinces on this continent, as far south as Carolina, to the satisfaction of Friends, bringing certificates to that effect.
In 1734, he again, with the concurrence of Friends, visited Barbadoes, to the satisfaction of Friends there; -- and in 1739, having received certificates of unity from the Monthly Meeting of Smithfield, of which he was then a member, he crossed the Atlantic, and spent the most part of two years in Great Britain and Ireland, in the service of Truth. These labors of love appear to have been satisfactory to Friends there, from their returning certificates, wherein they declare their unity with him in his doctrine, life, and conversation. Divers letters were written by him during his absence, to his wife, children, and friends, giving them tender counsel and advice.
He was a man of cheerful mind, pleasant conversation, and exemplary life. He was endowed with a sound understanding as a man, and favored with a large gift in the ministry. He often visited the Meetings of Friends in several parts of New-England, and when at home, was constant in attending the meetings to which he belonged, when of ability of body; often communicating to us, to the confront and rejoicing of the strong, and to the encouragement and strengthening of the disconsolate and weak ones, through the assistance of that divine grace by which he was supported. Having occasion at one time, to speak of his experience, he said it was about forty years since he was convinced of, and embraced the Truth, and that he had been mercifully preserved from stumbling at it; and we believe he was enabled so to continue to the end. He retained his bodily powers until about a year before his death, at which time they had in a measure decayed, so as to confine him at home in the winter; yet in the summer he visited Rhode-Island, Nantucket, and some other places. In the latter part of the 8th month, 1761, he was taken sick, experiencing great pain of body, which he bore patiently, and in resignation. His children showing themselves troubled with the apparent near approach of his death, he said, "Mourn not for me, but mourn for yourselves; it is well with me, and as well to depart now, as to live longer," or words of this import. He tenderly counselled and advised them to live in love, one with another; giving them to understand that thereby they would receive strength. He appeared to retain his mental faculties until the last, and departed this live on the 9th day of the 9th month, 1761, in the 71st year of his age; and was interred in Friends' burying ground, in Mendon, on the 11th.
Although we esteem his departure a great loss to us, yet we have good cause to believe it to be his great gain.
Signed at a monthly meeting of Friends, held at Smithfield 30th of 12th
month, 1762, by
and 14 other Friends.
Testimony from the Monthly Meeting of Friends of Westport, in the State of Massachusetts, concerning our beloved friend and Elder, Jeremiah Austin, deceased.
He was the son of Robert and Hannah Austin, of Charlestown, in the State of Rhode-Island, where he was born, the 24th of 3d month, 1730. His parents being poor, he was at an early age hired out to labor for their support, and was by that means not only deprived of the necessary benefit of schools, but consequently, exposed to many temptations unto which his active mind yielded, indulging in the amusements and follies incident to the young and inconsiderate; for, in his youth, he was inclined to vanity and dissipation. But being mercifully visited by Divine Grace immediately revealed in his heart, he was enabled to see the deplorable state into which he had been brought through sin. Great was the anguish and distress in which he was involved, as some of us have heard him relate. But in process of time he found relief to his distressed mind by being enabled to yield to the operations of the Spirit of Truth, and to take up a resolution to forsake the evil of his ways and to live a more circumspect life.
Soon after he attained the age of manhood, he became convinced of the truth as professed by the Society of Friends, and was united in religious fellowship with them in the Monthly Meeting of South-Kingstown, and being concerned so to run that he might obtain the crown, he was preserved from sitting down contented in an outward profession, and became engaged to press forward to experience fellowship and communion with the Father and Son, and continuing to grow in grace and in the saving knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, the talents with which he was endowed became sanctified, and he was qualified to fill, with dignity and propriety, the stations assigned him in the church. He began with little of the things of this world; but being diligent and industrious in providing for the comfort and accommodation of a numerous family, as well as concerned for truth's prosperity, he was blessed in his labors, so that he lived comfortably and maintained his family respectably, supporting the character of an honest and peaceable man, and was often instrumental in restoring peace among his friends and neighbors, a service for which he was well qualified, his judgment being sound and his manner mild and persuasive, which gave him influence over the wayward and unruly dispositions of some minds, so that they would listen to his admonitions and advice.
He gave evident proof that he was attentive both to his relative and social duties, and while he was diligent in business, evinced a fervency of spirit, serving the Lore, not suffering his temporal concerns to divert his attention from the exemplary attendance of meetings, both for worship and discipline; and he was also concerned to promote the attendance of his family and helpful in getting them to meetings, from which he mostly lived remote. He was zealously engaged for good order and comely behavior in meetings, and that they be concluded in the most proper time; and in meetings for discipline he became eminently useful, having been instructed by the precepts of Christ, that "Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them."
His love to the young and rising generation was strong and ardent, and he was often led into near sympathy with them in their various trials and temptations, knowing, by his own experience, that they were greatly increased upon them by their being entangled with the spirit of the world. His meekness and love gave him great place in their minds; and we trust his exemplary life and pious admonitions will prove to some of the present age like bread cast upon the waters, which may be seen after many days.
His obedience to the truth deeply fixed upon his mind the immutable principles of justice; and he was early concerned to support our testimony against the holding of our fellow men in a state of slavery; in which his zealous labors among his friends were blessed in several instances, and his precepts were enforced by his own example; for his wife having by legacy a female slave, left to her by her father, she was immediately manumitted. He was indeed concerned faithfully to maintain our religious testimony in all its branches, and with christian patience suffered much loss of goods in support of that against war.
He continued a member of South-Kingstown Monthly Meeting until about the year 1766, when he removed to Rochester, in the State of Massachusetts, and was nearly twenty years very acceptably united with Friends of Sandwich Monthly Meeting; and in the year 1785, by removing to Little Compton, in the State of Rhode-Island, became a member of this meeting. Here he continued to devote much of his time and talents to the best of all causes, that of universal righteousness.
He was a pleasant and cheerful companion; conspicuous for his humility and true christian benevolence; of great simplicity and temperance, and "civil beyond the usual forms of breeding." His character was highly esteemed, both among Friends and others, in the different neighborhoods where he resided.
He was employed in his usual occupation of husbandry, until within two years of his decease, when, after the death of his wife, and his children being all married, he gave up that business, often mentioning with gratitude, the blessing that had followed his diligence and industry, whereby he had been enabled to educate his family, and support them with comfort all his life; and further remarked that he had settled his affairs so that he did not know that he owed any person.
Having spent most of the last two years in visiting his children, who were remotely situated, he attended the Quarterly Meeting at New-Bedford early in the 12th month, 1815, and returning to the residence of his grandson, John Austin, in nearly usual health, was soon after taken unwell, and remained so about two weeks, but was not wholly confined to the house, when, on the morning of the 20th, after breakfasting as usual, he fell from his chair in a fit, and being laid in the bed, soon after expired, aged upwards of eighty-five years; and on the 23d of the month, was buried in Friends' burying ground, in Little Compton, after a solid meeting of Friends and others.
As he had lived, so he died, in the unshaken faith that he had not followed cunningly devised fables, but the pure and everlasting truth.
Signed in behalf of our Monthly Meeting of men and women Friends, held at Westport, the 21st of 11th month, 1816, by
ESTHER NEWITT, } Clerks.
Testimony of Providence Monthly Meeting, concerning Obadiah Brown, deceased.
"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord; from henceforth yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them."
Although the subject of this memorial has been for some time removed from us, yet we believe it right for us to bear our testimony to the excellence of his character, both as a mark of grateful commemoration of the source from whence all good proceeds, and that the present and future generations may derive instruction and encouragement by advertising to the course pursued by one whose path may, in the emphatic language of Scripture, be said to have been "as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
Our late beloved friend, Obadiah Brown, son of Moses and Anna Brown, was born in North-Providnece, Rhode-Island, the 15th of 7th month, 1771. From a child he possessed a happy equanimity of temper, united with a remarkably susceptible and ingenuous heart; and by these traits he peculiarly characterised through the whole of his life. He was deprived of maternal care at an early state of infancy, but the parental and Christian concern of a rightly qualified father, proved successful in directing his youthful steps towards the garden enclosed; and believe it may with propriety be said that he was "brought up in the nurtue and admonition of the Lord." As he advanced in life he evinced his allegiance to and love for the cause of truth and righteousness, by his exemplary deportment, by the humility and contrition of his spirit, and by his manifesting, on all occasions, his fellowship and sympathy with the sincere and devoted servants of a crucified Redeemer. Many of these can testify that they have partaken of his genuine hospitality, and have received from him assistance in the name of a disciple.
He was industriously and prosperously engaged in business, by which he accumulated an ample estate; but was particularly careful not to have his mind absorbed therein, to the exclusion of higher and more important objects, and he appeared at all times peculiarly to feel that he was an almoner of the Lord's bounty. His practical benevolence was sensibly felt in the community at large, and he shared in an uncommon degree the affection and esteem of the intelligent and upright of all classes. What was said of a conspicuous character in former times, may in measure apply to him, "When the ear heard him it blessed him, and when the eye saw him it gave witness to him." His philanthropy was extensive and remarkable. His charities flowed through the unconfined channel of generosity and brotherly love. The cause that he knew not, he sought out, administering to the necessities of the needy.
In the social relations of life, few can be found who more fully consulted and contributed to the comfort of those about him. The filial tenderness and attention he displayed towards his venerable parent were very striking, and are worthy of all imitation.
In the 3d month, 1798, he was married to Dorcas Hadwen, daughter of John and Elizabeth Hadwen, of Newport, with whom he lived in much conjugal tenderness during the remainder of his life. The Holy Scriptures he highly valued, and habitually and attentively perused and was much concerned for their diffusion in the world. He was a zealous advocate of the principles of peace, and engaged with much earnestness in circulating publications calculated to elucidate and establish this important subject among those not of our profession.
His concilatory manners and affable address were passports for him to the young, for whose welfare and safe advancement he manifested a deep solicitude. Their religious, guarded education was with him a subject of the most lively interest, and he was signally instrumental in the establishment of the Yearly Meeting Boarding School; an institution designed to promote this end, with the youth of our Society. To the funds of this institution he contributed liberally while living, and in his will he bequeathed to it a permanent and very ample legacy, which, as it continues to be appropriated according to the intentions of the donor, will not fail, with Divine blessing, to be a lasting benefit to the present and succeeding generations. To this school he gave much personal attention, visiting it nearly every day, entering into its concerns and rendering his advice and assistance with an ardor that proved how deep was his interest in its welfare; and we trust that neither its present nor future inmates will cease to remember with gratitude and affection, the munificent source from whence they derive so many advantages.
He was firmly established in the doctrines of the Christian religion, looking for salvation unto Jesus Christ our Lord, the author and finisher of the saint's faith, and while few will be found who more fully acknowledged the necessity of the obedience to the guidance of the Holy spirit, or believed more implicitly in the efficacy of this baptizing and sanctifying influence upon the heart, he did not fail to discover and acknowledge our dependence on the mediatorial sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary's mount, without the gates of Jerusalem.
Thus established in the truths of the gospel, they were precious to him, and he was firm in maintaining them, wisely discriminating between the spirit of anti-Christ, which scatters and divides, and the effects of that Faith which gathers and unites into quietness and peace.
He was much attached to the testimonies of our religious Society, and supported with a zeal according to knowledge, its excellent discipline, always manifesting in his own example, his adherence to its salutary restraints. He sustained t the advantage of the precious cause in which he was engaged, various offices in our Society, and occasionally spent a considerable portion of time in traveling with friends, who were exercised in the ministry.
In the 7th month, 1822, he was appointed to the station of an Elder.
He closed his useful and estimable life the 15th of 10th month, 1822, in the 52d year of his age, after an illness of short duration, and attended comparatively with little suffering. In the course of its continuance, his expressions were few, but the sweetness and serenity of his spirit clearly manifested its preparation for the solemn charge, being entirely sensible of its approach, and resigned to the even. "May our last end be like his."
Signed on behalf, and by direction of Providence Monthly Meeting, held at Smithfield, the 30th of 12th month, 1835.
SAMUEL BOYD TOBEY,}
SARAH SARLE, }Clerks.
Our minds being deeply impressed with the loss the Church hath sustained by the removal from works to rewards, of our ancient and beloved friend, David Buffum, we feel engaged to manifest our sense thereof by furnishing the following testimony concerning him.
He was born in Smithfield, in the year 1743, and was the son of Joseph and Margaret Buffum, both respectable members of our religious society. For the last thirty-eight years of his life, he was a valuable member of Rhode-Island Monthly Meeting.
He possessed a sound discriminating mind. Benevolence, sympathy and genuine hospitality were distinguished traits in his character, and on the subject of these and other valuable endowments, much might with truth be said. Our object, however, is not to eulogize departed worth, but rather to magnify the great and excellent name of Him who "giveth gifts unto men," and by his power can incline their hearts to consecrate them to his service. By the operation of this power, the mind of our departed friend became early convinced of the reality of true religion, and the necessity of yielding to the convictions of the spirit of truth in the heart. But it was not an easy thing for his strong mind to bow to the simplicity of the gospel, yet being visited and revisited by Divine grace and the inshinings of that light, which "maketh manifest," he was enabled clearly to see that the way of the cross was the only way to the crown; thus after much self-abasement and conflict, he strengthened to make the sacrifice required, and to offer an offering in righteousness. On the subject of his internal exercises, he did not often converse; yet there were seasons wherein he very feelingly and instructively adverted to those solemn "days of preparation;" in one of these, he left the following testimony to the importance of a strict attention to manifested duty, even in things, considered by too many, as of minor importance. "That if in the day of small things, he had not yielded to the comparatively minute sacrifices demanded of him as tests of his obedience, he never could have known an advancement in a religious course."
After this surrender of his will to the Divine will, a gift in the ministry was committed to him. This he frequently exercised to the comfort and edification of his friends; and many of us can feelingly bear witness to the humility of spirit, the earnestness and solemnity which marked his communications, when expostulating with his fellow pilgrims on the necessity of unreserved obedience to the requirings of truth as manifested in the secret of the soul. On this subject, a subject so forcibly and frequently inculcated in the holy Scriptures, he was often evidently exercised, and appeared deeply to feel the solemn import of the memorable charge given by Mary, the mother of Jesus, to the servants at the marriage in Cana of Galilee: "Whatever he saith unto you, do it." The due observance of this command, together with that of often repairing to and keeping on the watch-tower, were points to which with much weight and energy he frequently endeavored to direct the attention of others. Through the efficacy of this watchfulness he was favored to keep in proper subjection a mind inclined to philosophical researches, and a disposition naturally cheerful.
He maintained with great firmness and religious propriety the testimonies of truth, with respect to war and slavery; the former by patiently suffering distraint of property; and the latter, by faithfully laboring in conjunction with other exercised Friends, for the freedom of slaves that were held by members of our religious Society; nor were these exertions abated until all that were retained in bondage within this Yearly Meeting, were set at liberty.
His field of labor in the line of ministry was not very extensive, his services therein being chiefly within the compass of his own Yearly Meeting; although he occasionally visit those of Philadelphia and New-York. Yet, notwithstanding he was circumscribed in this respect, his mind often clothed with desires, that Friends everywhere might live up to their profession. The introduction of unsound principles into our once united Society, occasioned him much painful exercise. In an interesting conversation, which an intimate friend of his had with him latter time, on subjects relative to the Christian Faith, he emphatically and with great reverence declared his full belief in the plain Scripture account of the miraculous birth, life, miracles, death, resurrection and ascension, of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; and that He is now our Mediator with the Father, and also expressed his full assurance of the Divine authenticity of the Holy Scriptures.
In our Yearly, Quarterly, and subordinate meetings, he maintained his station with great propriety and dignity, even to advanced age, and of late years frequently under the pressure of much bodily suffering and debility, occasioned by almost continual disease, yet his mental faculties were preserved vigorous and active, he retaining to the last a lively concern that every avenue might be carefully guarded to prevent the intrusion of evil, not only in an individual by in a Society point of view.
He was a useful member of the meeting for Sufferings from the time of its organization in the year 1775, until his death, with the exception of one year, when he was released at his own request.
The winter preceding his death, his health was so much impaired and his strength so reduced as to confine him almost wholly to the house.
In a religious opportunity which occurred in the family a few weeks
before his departure, our deer friend remarked he that thought he should
feel most easy to express that he believed his day's work was done, and
that he did not see anything to stand in his way, though he was aware that
he had not been so faithful in all things as would have been best, having
often been sensible of many, very many short comings, yet he believed these
were in mercy passed by; adding, that he was now waiting his final charge,
believing that he should go in peace, let it be sooner or later, though
he thought he had not long to stay, to which
apprehension he expressed his entire resignation.
He departed this life the 20th of the 5th month, 1829, and on the 22d his remains were taken to the meeting house in Newport, and a solid meeting held on the occasion, were interred in the burying ground there.
By direction and on behalf of Rhode-Island Monthly Meeting, held at Portsmouth, the 30th of 4th month, 1830.
RUTH RODMAN, }Clerks.
Testimony of Swanzey Monthly Meeting of Friends, concerning our beloved friend, Daniel Brayton, deceased.
Believing that usefulness may result from preserving some account of the lives of such of our deceased friend as have been distinguished for piety and virtue; and as the subject of this memoir was one of this description, we feel engaged to give forth the following testimony concerning him.
He was born in Newport, R. I., on the 14th of 7th month, 1762, of parents not in membership with us. His mother died when he was very young. His father, it appears, was engaged to bring up his family in the way of Friends, and with them removed to Swanzey, in Massachusetts, in or near the year 1775; soon after which his father deceased, leaving him and a mother-in-law with a family of young children. About the sixteenth year of his age he went to learn the trade of a tailor, with a member of our Society in Providence, R. I. It appears he was of a steady, serious turn of mind, and served the term of his apprenticeship to great satisfaction. He then returned to live in Swanzey, and diligently attended Friends' meetings, truth, as professed by us, he soon requested, and was received a member of our religious Society, and appeared to enter into the various services of the church with a willing heart and a ready mind.
For several years he was in the place of an overseer, and at the same time he was frequently made use of in other services; being a zealous promoter of truth and righteousness he was also concerned that the discipline of the church might be properly administered. In the year 1802 he was appointed to the station of an Elder, which eh filled to the satisfaction of his friends, in which time his Divine Master called him into the service of instrument in the Lord's hands in declaring the everlasting an gospel among the people, not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of Power, and was at times eminently favored with the spirit of supplication.
His visits in truth's service were not very extensive, yet in addition to those within our quarter, he several times visited most of the meetings within the verge of several of our neighboring Quarterly Meetings; and by his returning certificates therefrom, it appears they were performed to good satisfaction.
He was a kind and affectionate husband, a good neighbor, free in conversation, seasoned with grace; very diligent in the attendance of all our meetings, and earnestly engaged to encourage others in this important duty. He took a lively interest in the welfare of our young friends, often imparting a word of encouragement to them, and when opportunities presented, he was concerned to introduce ious reading, the intention of which was to incite them to wisdom's ways.
Although his outward circumstances were limited, yet by strict attention to his occupation, he had enough for the support of his family and the kind entertainment of his friends. In the decline of life, accompanied with bodily infirmities, he went but little abroad, except to attend our Yearly and Quarterly Meetings, which he continued to do until within a few years of his death, and was favored to attend his won particular meeting until near his close, although with much difficulty; and a short time before his decease, being under appointments with other Friends, he visited some of the families of our Monthly Meeting. In the early part of his last sickness, which he endured with Christian fortitude and resignation, although his bodily sufferings were very great, he observed he thought it would be his last, and calmly added, he had no fear of death, for he knew in whom he had trusted, and safely relied on that arm which never had failed him.
During his illness he was often engaged in supplication, not only on his own behalf, but for his beloved friends whom he was about to leave, which at one time was as followeth:--
"Gracious and most Merciful Father, if it is consistent with thy divine will, be pleased, I beseech thee, to release me from this deep suffering, and take me to thyself; yet, may I be patient and wait the right time; and grant, O Merciful Father, the favor of thy love unto they church militant, and water it with the dew of Heaven, and be pleased to raise up judges, as at the first, an councellors, as at the beginning; all of which I ask in the name of thy Son, the Lamb Immaculate."
At another time he exclaimed, "Oh! death, where is thy sting: Oh! grave, where is thy victory?" And a few moments before he expired, he was heard to say, "Merciful and Holy Father, receive my spirit;" and quietly departed, without a sigh or a groan, on the 13th of the 12th month, 1836.
Signed on behalf and by direction of Swanzey Monthly Meeting, held in Fall River, the 29th of the 10th month, 1838.
THOMAS WILBUR, }
ELIZABETH B. CHACE,} Clerks.
Testimony from the monthly meeting of South Kingstown, in Kings County, in Rhode-Island Government, concerning John Collins.
He was born in the town then called Westerly, in said Government, the 21st day of 12th month, in the year 1716, old style, of believing parents, and when about 23 or 24 years of age, was convinced of the blessed truth, and became zealous and circumspect in his life and conversation, and for Truth's sake, took up the cross and denied himself of his former pleasures and delights. It was not long after his convincement, before his mouth was opened in a public testimony, wherein although for some years he had but few words in meeting, yet his appearance was both acceptable and edifying to Friends, and as he proved himself faithful and diligent in the gift bestowed upon him, the Lord was pleased to enlarge it, so that he became an able minister of the gospel. And being possessed of a good understanding, he was through divine grace, serviceable in the discipline of the Church. He was also very diligent in attending meetings, until infirmity of body rendered him unable. He was not forward in appearing in testimony in meetings; but when he felt a necessity upon him so to do, his exercise tended to the edification and comfort of those who sat under his ministry. Upon his observing the great loss and damage many in connexion with us had suffered, as he apprehended, from their taking upon them offices in civil government, he has been heard to say, that he thought all who take upon them our high and holy profession and strictly attend to the dictates of truth in their own hearts, would be preserved from taking such offices.
When he became affected with bodily disease, which was of a pulmonary nature, and protracted in its duration, his zeal and fervency were not abated, which was manifested by his continued constancy in attending meetings, both for worship and discipline. He was much engaged and took much pains in endeavoring to have the Africans or negroes freed from slavery, and often testified against that wicked practice. He was exemplary in bring up his children in plainness of habit and speech. About a week before his decease, he called those of them that lived in the house with him, and said that he had no expectation of continuing long, and he had this advice to give them. "Live together in love, and be kind one to another; and be diligent in attending meetings--and when met, not to be looking for words, but to endeavor to be gathered inward and to wait in silence to be taught by that infallible teacher, the spirit of Christ, in your own hears." His disease increasing, and he continuing to grow weaker and his speech failing much, he appeared frequently to be in prayer, by lifting up his hands, and the moving of his lips, and one time was heard to say, "Be with me, O God, at this time." At another time, a friend that was sitting by him, said "it may be, that thou mayest recover, there may be some further service for thee," he answered, "I have no will about it, yet had rather be released if it be the Lord's will; if not, I desire to be conformed thereunto, and if there be any further service for me, I hope I shall be faithful, but I believe that my service is over." He continued to fail, and drawing towards his end, one of his sons coming to his bed side, he looked at him and said "almost gone," his son answered "it looks so" and, "I think thou hast been greatly favored in the preservation of thy understanding;" he answered "yes, and notwithstanding the extremity of my pain, I believe I shall be favored with an easy passage when the time comes," which to appearance, was granted him. He continued sensible to the last, and departed this life the 1st day of the 10th month, 1778, in the 63d year of his age, and was buried the 3d of the same, in the Friends' burying ground in Hopkinton, after a solemn meeting held on the occasion in the meeting-house. The foregoing testimony was signed by Stephen Hoxie, by order and on behalf of said Monthly Meeting of South Kingstown, held 28th of 3d month, 1780.
STEPHEN HOXIE, Clerk at this time.
The forgoing testimony of the Monthly Meeting of South Kingstown, respecting our esteemed friend John Collins, deceased, had been read in this meeting, and the same is directed to be sent up to the Yearly Meeting, this meeting approving thereof, with this additional testimony, that he, notwithstanding his views that the administration of civil government in the present state of the world did not belong to Friends, held civil government to be necessary, and that there was an order of men whose business it was to administer the same. We have also to mention his zeal and care to further the service of Friends who were traveling for the promotion of truth amongst us, often accompanying them therein, giving up his time to the service of the church, in a manner worthy of imitation. And as he lived to the promotion of righteousness on earth, we doubt not of his receiving the reward prepared for those who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity and truth.
Signed in and on behalf of our Quarterly Meeting, held at East Greenwich for Rhode Island, in New England, by adjournment, the 14th of 4th month 1780, by
GEORGE COMSTOCK, Clerk
Testimony of South-Kingstown Monthly Meeting, respecting Abel Collins, deceased.
He was the son of Amos and Thankful Collins, of North Stonington, in the State of Connecticut, who were members of our religious Society, and was born in that place on the 2d of the 5th month, 1770, where he also resided.
The restraining care of his parents, over his youthful mind, with the blessing of Divine love, was greatly conducive to that purity of heart which he afterwards attained.
He was in youth possessed of a mild and quiet disposition, and of an open, forgiving spirit, which, in more mature age, combined with religious devotion, made his character interesting. In the 21st year of his age he was married to Mary, daughter of Thomas and Mary Wilbur, of Hopkinton, in the State of Rhode-Island, to whom he was an affectionate companion through life. He was a believer in the truth of Christianity, as testified of in the sacred Scriptures, and in the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit; and being convinced of the instability of all earthly things, and the necessity of regeneration, and daily bearing the cross of Christ, he endeavored, through watchfulness unto prayer, to walk consistently with so high a profession, and was encouraged to seek after a close communion with the Lord, and strengthened in good measure to overcome his natural will and walk in the path of Christian simplicity and self-denial.
As a father, guardian or friend, he performed his duties with affection and tenderness, and was able by his industry and diligence, with the blessing of Divine Providence, to supply the wants of a numerous family. He was engaged to promote love and forbearance among his brethren, often enforcing these virtues by citing the example of our Divine Master, and would often say it was better to suffer wrong than to do wrong to others. His sympathy and pity for the afflicted were often conspicuous, and he frequently enabled to give to such, appropriate counsel and encouragement; and being easy of access, his advice was much sought after. He was diligent in the attendance of religious meetings, and in encouraging those under his care to the faithful performance of the same duty. He frequently went in a feeble state of health, and his reverent waiting therein as well as in opportunities of retirement at home were very instructive. He endeavored, through watchfulness, to maintain the Christian warfare; and when apprehending it required of him, he became willing to labor in the ministry and first appeared in that service in the thirty-seventh year of his age, and his gift therein was soon after acknowledged by Friends.
In the exercise of his gift his offerings were attended by an evidence of Christian love in which he often favored to minister to individual states in great tenderness, and in humble and weighty manner. His spirit was remarkably clothed with reverence and solemnity when engaged in vocal prayer. He was usefully engaged in the work of visiting friends' families, and several times made religious visits in the neighboring States, which conduced to the peace of his own mind, and which were salutary and acceptable to those visited, as evinced by returning certificates from various meetings of Friends.
In the year 1815, he was visited with a severe illness, which resulted in a permanent disease; his distress during this illness was at times very great, in which he manifested much patience and resignation. He told his wife his prospect of forgiveness was as clear as the sun; and to one who enquired after his state of mind, he replied, "I feel that peace which I would not exchange for the whole world." Although his disease continued, he gradually recovered a comparatively comfortable state, and was again enabled to attend to his social and religious duties.
That charitable and forgiving disposition, the fruit of true Christianity, shone forth with increasing brightness, in advanced life, and though mild and unobtrusive, he was firm and persevering when duty required, nor wa weakness of body suffered to plead as an excuse for neglect; but using his portion of strength with regularity, his exertions turned to good account. He was zealous that the discipline of the church should be maintained in its purity, and anxious that admonition should be given to offenders, in love; and willing to dig about the unfruitful and wait with them patiently. His exertions were often successful in reconciling differences, so that it may be justly said of him that he was a peace-maker. He was liberal in promoting works of benevolence; to the poor and suffering, he was an unostentatious benefactor. He entertained his friends with kindness and hospitality, and at the same time was a good example of that simplicity in his domestic concerns which becomes the self-denying follower of Christ. In his passage through life, he met with many trials and afflictions, which he bore with meekness submissions, and showed the sincerity of his profession by constancy and cheerfulness under them, remarking that "they are intended for our instruction and refinement;" and that he felt desirous, in every trial, to adopt the language, "Not my will, but thine be done." In the perusal of the holy Scriptures, he took great delight and was concerned to practice the daily reading of them in his family.
While thus pursuing his Christian course, it pleased unsearchable wisdom to call him hence. About two months previous to his departure, a close affliction was permitted to befall him, in the removal by death of a dear child, on which occasion his parental feelings were peculiarly tried. In her departing moments he prayed fervently that she might be received into the mansions of bliss; another invalid daughter he affectionately endeavored to console on the occasion, by saying, "Weep not for her, we have no cause to mourn, she has exchanged this world for a better." It being observed, "There is a breach made in our little number which can not be restored," he replied, "I know it, but we must be prepared to follow, and if we can be permitted to meet in Heaven, what an unspeakable favor it will be." His health at this time had become feeble, and two weeks previous to his decease, his symptoms assumed a serious appearance, after which he was unable to lave his chamber, and expressed his conviction that he should not recover, and exhorted his wife to be resigned to the will of Heaven.
His case became more alarming, and though suffering much bodily pain, yet his patience and resignation were great; no repining word escaped him, but he received every affliction as from a Merciful Father, and prayed that his eye might not pity, nor his hand spare, until judgment was brought forth unto victory. At another time he was enabled to lay hold of the consoling promise, "My grace is sufficient for thee," and to believe in the fulfilment of it. After a severe paroxism of the disease, he prayed to the giver of every good and perfect gift, that he might not be permitted to do any thing but that which might tend to his honor and glory. He spoke of himself as an unworthy creature, ascribing all his hopes to the Saviour, and magnifying him in all things.
Love, the conspicuous feature in his character, seemed remarkably to abound in this sickness, affectionately taking all by the hand who approached him, and sending messages of love to many. He often tenderly embraced his wife and children, and expressed his gratitude to those about him for their kind attention to him, and gave suitable instructions to his children, respecting their future conduct.
Near his close, articulation becoming difficult, he was unable to express much; but the serenity of his contenance, evincing the sweetness of his spirit, was such as indicated that all wa peace within. His work was nearly done, his warfare nearly accomplished; little remained but to wait patiently until his change came; and as the period approached, his faith failed not, and he passed quietly away without a sigh or a groan; and we have reason to believe, (as he expressed his hope near his close,) that he has entered a mansion of glory, there to join the just of all generations, in singing praises to Him who alone is worthy.
"Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace."
He departed this life on the 17th of the 9th month, 1834, aged 64 years.
Signed by direction and on behalf of the aforesaid Monthly Meeting, held at Western, the 27th of the 4th month, 1835, by
WILLIAM A. ROBINSON,}
SUSAN C. WILBUR, }Clerks.
Our beloved ancient friend, Peter Davis, was born at Dover, in Great Britian, the 1st of 3d month, 1680. By his own account he was brought over to Boston, North-America, when very young. He was educated after the manner of the Presbyterians, and was a professor of religion in the order of that denomination. About the thirty-sixth year of his age, he became convinced of the principles of truth as professed by the Society of Friends.
He was a minister, well approved; his life and conversation agreeing with his profession--careful to educate his children in plainness of speech and habit, zealous for the cause of truth, a diligent attender of meetings, both for worship and discipline. His religious services were not confined about home. He visited most of the meetings of Friends in New-England, where his public testimonies were well received, and were to the edification and comfort of many.
He left his home, in Westerly, R. I., on a visit to Friends, in England, the 4th of 5th month, 1747, with the approbation and unity of his friends; travelled through Connecticut into the province of New-York, and visited the meetings of Friends at and about Albany, East and West Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland; thence to Philadelphia, where he took shipping for England; but on his passage was taken by Spaniards and carried into France, and from thence got passage to England. He visited the meetings in London and those in the western and northern parts of that kingdom, pretty generally, where he was also well received and had good service among them, as appeared by certificates. After his return he remained steadfast in the faith and fervent in spirit, often leaving his family and occupation, which was that of a tailor, to visit his brethren in the various parts of the quarterly-meeting and the families of Friends in the adjacent meetings, to their comfort and edification. Like the beloved ancient disciple of our blessed Lord, (to whom he had many times been likened) he frequently exhorted his brethren to love one another and to be faithful, taking occasion in his public testimony to assure those to whom he ministered, that honesty was the best policy, which he was enabled often to open to such striking manner that he was known by his friends, both in Great Britain and America, by this maxim. Although his gift lay more in the ministry than in the administration of the discipline of the Church, he was sensible that that necessary institution was not so fully attended to, as would be best, which he manifested in a lively simile, in his advanced age, say that "Notwithstanding I have not been so much engaged in the discipline of the Church as might have been best,, yet it is like marrow to my bones in my old age, to see the young and rising generation engaged therein, for we have been ploughing and sowing, but neglecting to keep up the hedge, the wild beasts have got in and devoured our labor." He often visited the sick and afflicted, and we have reason to believe they were often refreshed by his ministry. When far advanced in old age, he continued to appear in the exercise of his gift, with that warmth and brightness which is reflected by a near approach to the Sun of Righteousness; and when he had access to His presence in prayer, the spirit of which he frequently appeared to be favored with, an awful solemnity and covering of the Divine Canopy was witnessed. By reason of great age he was confined to his house about fifteen months before his death. During this time he had often something to offer in meetings, held at his house on account of his not being able to get out. About fifteen days before his dissolution, he was seized with a fit, and continued to grow weaker until the 29th of 2d month, 1776, when he departed this life, in the 96th year of his age, and was interred in Friends' burying-ground, in Westerly, on the 3d of 3d month following.
To a friend, who visited him during his last illness, he said, being in a tender frame of spirit, "As I have lived in love,, so I expect to die in unity with Friends. Give my love to all my dear friends who ask after me." And as our beloved friend, so he died, in the unity of his brethren; being indeed, an Elder worthy of double honor.
Signed in and by order of South-Kingstown Monthly Meeting, held at Richmond, the 28th of 3d month, 1780, by
STEPHEN HOXIE, Clerk for this time.
Testimony from the Monthly Meeting of Smithfield, concerning Moses Farnum.
He was born in Uxbridge, the 25th of the then 8th month, 1730. His parents, Moses and Abigail Farnum, were then in profession with the Presbyterians, and were afterwards convinced of the Truth, as professed by us, and were zealously concerned to educate their children therein. This concern was afterwards gratefully remembered by the subject of this memoir, as being to his lasting advantage. When quite young, he appears to have been inattentive to these parental reproofs, and to have lightly esteemed concerned friends, until his tender mind was reached by the supplication of a friend, particularly for his father's family, in a meeting held at his house. After this, he dare not speak lightly of our profession. Notwithstanding the repeated visitations of Divine Goodness to him, he made but little progress in religious experience, for several years.
After he married, and had a family of several children around him, he became more obedient to the teachings of truth, and useful in our society, and being favored to improve the talent received, the Lord was pleased to commit unto him a gift in the ministry. In entering upon which service, he was deeply baptized under a humbling sense of the weight of such a work, and often appeared much affected in our meetings, under the influence thereof.
He, as a minister, was a close reprover of backsliders; but to the sincere and heavy laden, his words were like oil to their comfort and encouragement. He was short, but comprehensive in his public testimonies, and at times much favored in supplication. He was ready to indite in a short and comprehensive manner, and was extensively useful in the discipline of the church. He was a man of good nature understanding and capable of argument, yet he seldom engaged in any doubtful disputation, but in our meetings for discipline, when such questions arose, he forbore, keeping a bridle upon his tongue, until the truth opened his way, when often by a simple expression of his feelings they were satisfactorily settled.
He was steady in the attendance of our religious meetings, and a good example therein, humbly waiting for divine assistance, and often recommended it to others as the only way to renew their strength. In the endearing relation of father and husband, he was kind, tender and careful, keeping his family constant in attending our meetings, and bringing them up in our christian order of plainness in speech, behavior and apparel, and in the frequent reading of the Holy Scriptures, and he often called them together to sit in silence, sometimes counseling as truth gave utterance.
But what rendered him still more amiable in the view of his friends as being a strong mark of true discipleship, was his readiness to be advised, and to take advice, showing thereby, his great love for the brethren.
In his neighborhood he was useful and respected, having a disposition and qualifications which rendered his company and conversation instructive and desirable.
He was useful and instrumental in obtaining the freedom of oppressed enslaved Africans, and became so deeply concerned to unbind the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free, that for several years before his death, he declined the use of such goods as he knew to be the product of the labor of slaves.
He very constantly attended the Quarterly and Yearly meetings to which he belonged, and travelled considerably within their limits as a minister, visiting Monthly Meetings in company with other friends. He visited on a religious account, most of the families in his own Monthly Meeting, and some of them several times, to their satisfaction, being well qualified for such a service. And in this, as well as his other labors, he was fervently engaged for the prosperity of the youth.
In the year 1779, with the concurrence of Friends, he visited Pennsylvania, on a religious account, and attended the Yearly Meeting in Philadelphia, and many adjacent meetings, to the satisfaction of Friends. Shortly after, in company with Abraham Griffiths, from Pennsylvania, he made a religious visit ot Friends in Salem Quarterly Meeting, in the States of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, and it was winter and much snow on the ground, he suffered great hardship, and this with his exposures afterwards in going to meetings, through roads impassable for horses, by reason of snow, caused him to think he mush perish by the way.
He however remained in comfortable health until 3d month, 1780, about which time he was observed to fail, and his disease proving to be apoplectic, greatly affected his speech, yet he conversed brokenly and by signs, until near his last. Being asked as to the state of his mind, he said, that on a review of his life, he had seen many things in which he had been unfaithful, but had known them all done away, so that now nothing but peace and quiet of mind remained, and that this was his happy state, fully appeared, by his patient resignation through the whole of his illness.
He gave his family much good advice, exhorting them to live in love one to another, and counseling his children to be obedient to their remaining parent, and was enabled so to speak to them, that they were much affected.
He had borne his testimony against war and bloodshed, by refusing to pay the tax for the support of it, and near his end he expressed his satisfaction that he had so done, and his belief that such a testimony would arise into dominion.
About two days before his decease, feeling himself drawing near to a conclusion, he took his solemn and final farewell of his family (at which time his understanding appeared clear, and he a little revived,) taking them each by the hand, as well as others present, being unable to say more than yes or no, but with the appearance of a mind truly sensible of the nature and solemnity of such a parting.
He gradually sunk till near the close, when falling into a sleep, he remained till he breathed his last without a sigh or groan, on the 9th day of the 5th month, 1780. His remains were interred in Friends' burying ground in Uxbridge, on the 11th following, on which occasion, a large concourse of Friends and other attended.
Thus time closed with a valiant in the Lord's cause, who we doubt not is now at rest in a mansion of glory.
Signed on behalf and by direction of the Meeting aforesaid held at Smithfield, the 1st of 9th month, 1780, by
THOMAS LAPHAM, Clerk.
Testimony of Greenwich Monthly Meeting, concerning Daniel Howland, deceased.
The following memorial, concerning our beloved friend, Daniel Howland, was read in this meeting and approved, having the unity of our women's meeting herein, and the clerk is directed to sign the same on behalf of this meeting, and forward it to our next Quarterly Meeting.
"Blessed are those servants who the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching."--Luke, xii, 37.
It appears not only desirable, but a Christian duty, to preserve some brief memorial of our dearly beloved friend, Daniel Howland, deceased. He was born at East-Greenwich, in the state of Rhode-Island, on the 24th of 12th month, 1754. He was the son of Daniel Howland, and his mother's name, previous to marriage, was Philadelphia Brownell. They gave the subject of this memoir a guarded and religious education. In very early life he became sensible of divine impressions, which, with the pious precepts and example of his parents, restrained him from following many of the vain fashions and customs of the world, and he was thus mercifully preserved in a good degree of uprightness of conduct and conversation through the earlier walks of life. And as he approached the stature of man, he witnessed the operations of Divine Grace, increasingly to restrain his natural propensities and inclinations, and to bring his mind in a greater degree under the redeeming power of the Cross of Christ, and was made to bow under its sanctifying and reconciling influence. In this state of humiliation and abasement of self, he was brought near to the pit of despair, and for many weeks his mind appeared to suffer inexpressible anxiety and distress. But he who knew the integrity of his heart, and what was best for him, in due time restored him to the light of his glorious covenant of Grace, and enabled him to sing praises to his Redeemer, as on the banks of deliverance.
Not far from this time, he appeared in public ministry in a few words, in much humility and simplicity of manner, accompanied with that wisdom which rendered his testimony acceptable to his friends. He was early employed in the concerns of the Society, the welfare of which he evinced through the whole of a long life that he was earnestly engaged to promote, and to maintain its peculiar testimonies. He was often engaged in public and in private, to encourage those with whom he associated to live in love and in the exercise of charity and good feeling towards each other; and such appeared to be the prevalence of Christian charity, love to God, and love to man, that it became one of the most striking and common features of his public testimonies. Although his charity and liberal feelings were generally manifested in his intercourse with his fellow-men, he was careful not to compromise or let fall any of the Christian doctrines, as held and believed in by the Society of Friends; being through life an unshaken believer in and supporter of, (according to his measure,) the gospel dispensation, introduced by the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, confirmed by his mighty works, established and perfected by his suffering, death, resurrection and ascension, and in his becoming our Intercessor and Advocate with the Father, and by the giving of Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit. And when sentiments were advanced, lessening or denying his divinity, his offices, the efficacy of his sufferings and death, as set forth by the evangelists and apostles, he would occasionally remark, that without a belief in these fundamental truths, he could not see on what ground any one could justly lay claim to the appellation of a Christian.
He travelled but little on a religious account, out of his own Yearly Meeting, and not very generally over that. With the approbation of his Monthly and Quarterly Meetings, he attended the Quarterly Meetings of Nine Partners, and Easton, and some other meetings in the State of New-York, in the year 1814, bring back with him, from several of the meetings, written evidences that his company and labors of love had been acceptable to those visited. Notwithstanding our beloved friend had been mercifully favored to experience much of the consolations of divine grace, and made partaker of the good word of life, yet his great and gracious Creator saw meet in his inscrutable wisdom to suffer his faith again to be tried, even as to a hair's breadth; and for many months he was left to feel as though his lot was cast as in a desert land where there was neither dew nor rain, nor field of offering, and, as it were, to call in question all his former experiences. Although hope had thus lost its cheering influence, and faith had measurably ceased to exert its sustaining power, yet his Hold Redeemer did not cast him off, but in his wonted goodness brought him up again, as from the pit, and established his goings, and enabled him to sing songs of thanksgiving and praise, and in deep humility to acknowledge that through the merits of redeeming love he had been brought out of great adversity, and his soul made to rejoice with joy unspeakable. In 1818, he obtained a certificate from his Monthly and Quarterly Meetings, to attend the Yearly Meetings in Pennsylvania and New-York and some meetings belonging thereto; which visit he accomplished, and brought back with him testimonies that it had been acceptable to Friends.
Here it may be proper to introduce a few remarks, which are in his own hand writing, and were evidently intended to be preserved, viz: "1832, 2nd month, 10th. It seemed with me to record a few of the gracious dealings of Divine Providence with me, even in very early life, in that he hath at times poured forth of his blessings upon me, both temporal and spiritual, whereby my heart has been tendered, and I have desired to be favored to return thanksgiving and praise to Him who is alone worthy of all praise. And this saying often been consoling to mind: 'Keep my commands,' saith Christ, 'so shall ye abide in my love, even as I have kept my father's commandments, and abide in his love.' This has appeared to me above all things, desirable for mankind to abide in divine love. As this is our experience, we may, in our day be favored to feel in degree the same renewings of the Holy Ghost, that made the Prophets and Apostles in their day truly alive until God, and to experience indeed, that the name of the Lord is a strong tower, to which the righteous flee in every time of trial, and are safe."
As a husband, he was invariably kind and affectionate; as a father, tender and compassionate; uniformly manifesting an ardent desire for the present, and above all, the everlasting felicity of every member of his family; and in all the relations of social life, exhibiting in no ordinary degree, kindness and benevolence of heart.
His situation, though far from affluent, was still such as to enable him to entertain his friends, and to impart something to the comfort of others, who stood in need, and in both he manifested peculiar satisfaction. He often expressed his confidence in divine goodness, by saying that he believed that if he did as well as he knew, in reference to divine requirings, he should not fail of having sufficient; which was rather remarkably exemplified, and which he did not fail gratefully to acknowledge. His mind was often deeply interested when contemplating the situation of the people of color in this country, both as it respects the aborigines, as well as those of the African race; often expressing a desire that the precepts, or commands of our Saviour, that of doing unto others as we would that others should do unto us, might be extended unto them, that so they might enjoy the blessings of civil and religious liberty, which a gracious Creator designed alike for them, as for all.
In his life and conversation he gave evidence of having day by day, spiritual union and communion with his gracious Creator, through the medium of the Holy Spirit, and we doubt not, that under its influence and holy help, he was enabled so to walk by faith, endeavoring to do the Divine will, as to receive the testimony before he was taken hence, one formerly had, that he pleased God.
For some years before his decease, he had been affected with bodily disease, in such manner as to give just reason to apprehend that his life would terminate suddenly; of which he appeared to be very sensible, and divers times observed, that it was not very important in what way, if he was but prepared. And when the awful moments came, and the agonies of death were upon him, (which lasted nearly three hours,) when at intervals he was able to speak, he appeared perfectly calm and undisturbed, as one whose faith failed not. Thus terminated a long life, devoted, above all other considerations, to love, serve, and obey his Holy Redeemer, walking in the footsteps of the righteous, who had gone before him, and obtained a resting place; and we are thankful in believing that through the mercies and loving-kindness of God in Christ Jesus, he has received a righteous man's reward. "Verily there is a reward for the righteous, verily he is a God who judgeth in the earth."
He died early in the morning, on the 23d of the 8th month, 1834, and was interred in Friends' burying ground, on the 24th of the same, after a very large and solemn meeting, aged 79 years and about eight months.
Signed on behalf of Greenwich Monthly Meeting.
WILLIAM REYNOLDS, Clerk.
LOIS ANTHONY, Clerk.
Testimony of Rhode-Island Monthly Meeting, concerning Elizabeth Mott, deceased.
Our beloved friend Elizabeth Mott, was the youngest daughter of Jacob and Mary Mott, of Portsmouth, on Rhode-Island, and was born in the year 1728.
Through a blessing on the pious parental care bestowed upon her, she was preserved in her youthful days in a good degree of innocence and implicity of mind and manners, and her taste for reading being directed particularly to the Holy Scriptures, and to works of a religious tendency and especially the writings of our ancient friends, she gave evidence of the good effects thereof, and by yielding to the visitations of divine love with which she was favored in early life, she became qualified to discharge in an exemplary manner the various and important duties of an attentive and sympathizing daughter to her aged father, of an affectionate sister in her brother's family exercising judicious tenderness and care towards his children, and to become a valuable member of our religious society; in administering the discipline of which, and in its various services she was much and usefully employed, having for some years acceptably filled the very important station of an Elder.
In the year 1778, a gift of the ministry was dispensed to her in the exercise of which she evinced much humility and care. The deep sense of the awfulness of the vocation which rested on her mind was apparent in the solemnity of her countenance and demeanor when engaged either in testimony or vocal supplication, and her labors of love, both in public and in private opportunities, were often awakening to the negligent and encouraging and consoling to the afflicted, whom she tenderly sympathized with and frequently visited. During the time when this country was involved in war with England, she was brought under deep mental exercise from an apprehension of duty to address the Legislature of this State. After duly pondering the weighty concern in her own mind, she imparted it to her friends, and being encouraged by them, she wrote a pertinent communication, strongly recommending to their observance the two first commandments, as comprising the whole duty of man, and the principle that ought to govern their proceedings. It was approved by the meeting for sufferings, which manifested much sympathy with her on the occasion, and left her at liberty to proceed in regard to it in the manner that accorded best with her prospects. She accordingly enclosed it in a letter to the Governor, and requested him to present it to the General Assembly, which he did at their session in the year 1780, where it was respectfully received and read.
Her dedication was again put to a close, and of latter times an unusual trial, in the winter of 1791-2, when she believed it was required of her to deliver a gospel message to the people in the streets of Newport. Being of a disposition naturally diffident and retiring, and deeply impressed with the awfulness of the requisition, she experienced a severe conflict previous to becoming resigned to it, but having the unity of sympathizing friends, and being availingly strengthened by the arm of the All-Sufficient Helper of those who trust in Him, in whom she had learned to confide, she was enabled to accomplish the service in a manner that produced a testimony from some of the religiously inclined amongst her auditors (not of our religious society) to the power and authority with which she was enabled to address them to the satisfaction of the friends who bore her company, and as it appeared, much to the relief and comfort of her own mind. In the evening of that day, after a season of solemn silence in the family of two of those friends who accompanied her, she weightily expressed that she felt fearful of interrupting the precious sabbath of rest, into which her spirit had been introduced, but she apprehended that some vocal acknowledgement was due from her to the goodness and bounty of him who had permitted her to enjoy it.
She never travelled beyond the limits of this yearly-meeting, but visited several of the Quarterly Meetings which compose it, and on her return, producing satisfactory testimonials that her gospel labors were acceptable to friends where she had been. As long as bodily ability was afforded her, she diligently attended our Quarterly Meeting, which at that time included a large compass, and was held at distant places,, and occasionally visited other meetings belonging to it, and she continued to be exemplary in in the performance of that duty within this Monthly Meeting long after a lameness that she was many years afflicted with, rendered it painful and difficult for her to get abroad. The gradual increase of that lameness, and general debility of her limbs with the usual infirmities of declining age, confined her at home about eight years, and the last five of her life to her chamber, and mostly to her bed.
She bore this long confinement with much patience and resignation; her conversation was often animated and cheerful, and being accompanied with that religious care which evidently dwelt upon her mind, was very interesting and instructive.
In this state of great bodily weakness and seclusion, she retained a lively interest in the welfare of the Society, and manifested great solicitude for the support of its peculiar doctrines and testimonies, and that its discipline should be preserved from innovation, which a desire for greater liberty than the truth allows, would lead into, if not sedulously guarded against. She encouraged friends who visited her to vigilance and faithfulness, and enabled to strengthen the hands of some whose views and feelings in these respects coincided with her own.
During this period her mind was at times deeply exercised on subjects of more public, as well as of a more private nature, than this. The African slave trade, which was then illicitly, but pretty openly prosecuted from this State, became a grevious burden to her mind, from which she could find no relief but by addressing those engaged in the iniquitous traffic. In the summer of 1806, she accordingly wrote a close and pathetic expostulation, which being approved by the Meting for Sufferings, a copy was sent to each of those who were known to be concerned in that business, and it was afterwards inserted in one of the public papers in the town of Newport.
She was also frequently brought under deep exercise on account of individuals, to whom she believed it required of her to impart counsel or caution, several of whom she had no personal acquaintance with. Some were invited on these occasions to her bedside, and to others she communicated what was on her mind in letters; though from the prostration of her bodily strength, she could hardly write legibly; they were therefore copied by a friend and signed by herself.
These deep engagements were renewed at times, till within a few months of her decease, affording a striking illustration of the Psalmist's expressions, "Those that be planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bring forth fruit in old age."
Having gradually sunk under much suffering, and powers of nature nearly exhausted, she was seized with apoplexy, the 4th of 2d month, 1813, which terminated her mortal life about thirty hours after, and we have no doubt that she has entered into the joy of her Lord.
She was in the eighty-fifth year of her age; a minister about thirty-five years.
Signed on behalf and by direction of the Monthly Meeting aforesaid, held at Newport, the 26th of 1st month, 1826, by
RUTH RODMAN, } Clerks.
Testimony of the Monthly Meeting of Friends, held at Newport for Rhode Island, the 29th of 5th month, 1787, concerning our esteemed friend, Joseph Mitchel, deceased.
He was born on the Island of Nantucket, in the year 1741, of parents professing the truth with us, by whom he was educated in the same profession. In the year 1781, he became a member of Rhode Island Monthly Meeting, by certificate from the Monthly Meeting of Greenwich, being recommended an approved Elder, and having for some time appeared in public testimony to the satisfaction of friends. And steadily attending to his gift, he experienced a growth therein, and became faithful and approved minister, being an example n plainness and simplicity, in godliness and honest, and of whose self denying life we might mention many things that appeared in him, evidencing him as a follower in the footsteps of the flock of the companions of Christ. He was a man invested with a deep concern for the promotion of truth, being favored with quick discernment and of remarkable stability, grave in his deportment amongst men, and in religious meetings his countenance bespoke solidity and reverence. In the attendance of meetings, both for worship and discipline, he was careful and diligent, and in his appearance in public testimony to the truth was attentive to the openings and closings thereof, which rendered his service savory and edifying. He believed it required of him at a particular time to declare publicly in the streets of Newport against the superfluities and extravagance of the people, to which, in obedience to what he apprehended to be his duty, he gave up. He was also concerned to write to the legislative authority, expressive of what had impressed his mind, respecting the peculiar care of the Most High, over those who placed their dependence on Him, and of his prospect of a threatened scourge to those who continues to reject His law. Which having been communicated to the meeting for sufferings and receiving their approbation, he presented it with his own hand.
He was also deeply concerned on account of that iniquitious practice of making slaves of the people of Africa and of the injustice and cruelty exercised in many places upon those reduced to that condition, from a sense of which he became particularly careful that no part of his conduct might countenance that unrighteous gain of oppression.
He was several times concerned in the weighty service of visiting the families of Friends in divers Monthly Meetings in our quarter, and his labors in this service were also extended to Friends out of the verge of it, and we believe were to the help and edification of those he visited.
In the year 1784, with the concurrence of Friends, he attended the Yearly Meeting on Long Island, and by an endorsment on his certificate, it appears that his company and services there, were acceptable. With the unity of his Monthly and Quarterly Meetings he proceeded in the seventh month, on a visit to Friends in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and parts adjacent. And after visiting the Meetings on Long Island, New York and several parts of New Jersey, and several Meetings in Pennsylvania, to the satisfaction of friends, as appears by their certificates, it pleased the Lord to put a period to his labors; for about the time he went into Pennsylvania, which was about the latter part of the eighth month, he was taken ill of a fever, yet he continued in the service of his religious visit, until the 4th of the 9th month following, when his disorder had so increased as to render him unable any longer to proceed in that service, and continuing to increase upon him, proved the means of his dissolution.
He died at the house our friend Thomas Smith, in Buckingham, in the county of Bucks, the 27th of 9th month, 1784, and was interred on the 28th of the same, in Friend's burying ground at that place, as it appears from testimony directed to this meeting from Friends at their quarterly meeting held at Middletown, in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, the 30th of 11th month, 1786.
By which testimony it also appears that in the first part of his illness, after he was confined, he labored under deep exercise, accompanied with increasing bodily infirmity, but was favored to endure this trying dispensation with patience and resignation, which was, as appeared by his frequent expressions relating thereto, what he fervently desired. And although in some stages of his disorder it appeared much to effect his intellectual faculties, yet he was preserved in an innocent state of mind; saying to a friend at a time of an intermission of the fever that he felt the good presence of his Maker, which to him was comfortable.
He departed this life as one fallen to sleep. This is the work of righteousness and peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
Signed on behalf of the meeting aforesaid, held 29th of 5th month, 1787, by
ALICE ALMY, } Clerks.
Extract from Testimony of Rhode-Island Quarterly Meeting, concerning the same.
A fresh sense of his zeal, care, circumspection and usefulness in this meeting, the image and superscription which truth had impressed on his countenance, as well as the lively exercise under which he wa frequently favored, both in meeting for worship and discipline, to the comfort and satisfaction of the living body, we hope will long remain in our remembrance for our encouragement and perseverance in the line of divine appointment for the honor of that precious truth with which he was so eminently adorned.
Signed in and on behalf of our Quarterly Meeting of Friends, held at East-Greenwich, the 9th and 10th of 4th month, 1789, by
SYLVESTER WICKES, Clerk
Testimony of South Kingstown Monthly Meeting, concerning our beloved friend, Dorcas Peckham.
Dorcas Peckham, daughter of Paul and Rachel Gardner, was born at Nantucket, in the State of Massachusetts, on the 8th of 6th month, 1767, of religious parents, and being early instructed in the way of self-denial, her mind became impressed with the necessity of dedication of heart to her dear Lord and Master, and to render him the first fruits of the increase.
But He who condescended thus to visit her, and make known from time to time the manifestations of his holy will, suffered her to pass through various and severe conflicts, which tended to the further refinement of her mind.
Apprehending if she was faithful to the pointings of truth, it would be her lot to speak to others of the loving kindness and tender dealings of the Most High with her, she was deeply humbled under the prospect. But He who brought Israel through Jordan, was not unmindful of her tried state, and enabled her to bow in resignation to his blessed requirings. She appeared in the ministry about the 31st year of her age, to the satisfaction of friends, and her own peace. After she was recommended in 1801, she visited many meetings in the New-England States, likewise New-York, Virginia, North-Carolina and Tennesee, and more than once was engaged in family visits among friends of her native Island.
She married about the 49th year of her age William Peckham, a member of South-Kingstown Monthly Meeting, and removed to his residence, where she became a valuable and useful member, being diligent in the attendance of meetings, and a faithful laborer for the promotion of good among us; and in Gospel love she visited the families of this and Greenwich Monthly meeting to the satisfaction and comfort of many.
Her health gradually declined for several years previous to her dissolution, during which time she was often deprived of the privilege of attending meetings. While thus confined to her house she remarked, that being now prevented from assembling with her friends, the reflection was pleasant that she had always attended meetings when her health would admit. "For," she said, "be assured that if we grow neglectful in the attendance of our religious meetings both for worship and discipline, lukewarmness and weakness will ensue."
Many times after recovering from those trying ill turns to which she was subject, she would say; "I know not why I am continued in mutability, my sufferings are so great," and pausing, would further remark, "I believe it is to answer some good end, and if rightly improved, may serve to do away the dross, tin, and reprobate silver that may remain, and finally prepare me for that Heavenly Kingdom into which nothing that is impure can enter; but this will be by the sure mercies of my Redeemer, and not from any merit of my own."
On the evening of the 13th of 4th month, 1831, reviving from a period of great suffering, she gave directions concerning some matters that had been on her mind, observing that it would make no difference about her stay in this world, but that she was no easy; and then expressed herself to those around her in this wise: "My dear children, you have always felt very near to me; we have spent many pleasant hours together, but none ever seemed more so than the present, and my desire for your, my children, is that you may be found faithful to manifest duty; let obedience keep pace with knowledge, although discouragements may prevail, though it is indeed a sifting time to many, and their faith tried as to an hair's breadth on account of their weakness, and the many deviations and devastations in our highly favored Society, yet to those who remain faithful, and continue to keep their ranks in righteousness, their afflictions will work for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, a treasure in the Heavens that fadeth not away. Zion will yet arise and shake herself from the dust of the earth, and put on her beautiful garments and become a praise in the earth."
Her disposition was cheerful and instructive, it being refined by the operation of the ever blessed truth. She was an example of humility, piety and patience, and often craved the latter might be her portion to the end which seemed mercifully granted. Nearly her last expressions were, "I have nothing to boast of, I continue to trust in the merits of my Redeemer, and feel nothing in my way."
She was seized the following morning with a paralytic fit, which derprived her of the use of one side, and almost of articulation; on the 15th, she had another shock, which she survived until the following evening, when she quietly passed away like one falling into a sweet sleep, on the 16th of 4th month, 1831. Her remains were interred on the 17th, after a solemn meeting of Friends and others on the occasion.
Thus closed the life of one, who through the adorable goodness and tender mercies of God in Christ Jesus, has, we doubt not, become an heir of eternal salvation.
Signed on behalf, and by direction os South-Kingstown Monthly Meeting, held at Western, the 23rd of 4th month, 1832, by
TIMOTHY C. COLLINS, }
ELIZABETH PECKHAM, } Clerks.
Testimony from the Rhode-Island Monthly Meeting, held at Newport, 26th of 1st month, 1826, concerning Samuel Thurston, deceased.
The recent death of our beloved friend, Samuel Thurston, being sensibly felt to be a loss to this part of the Militant Church, we feel engaged to furnish a short testimony concerning his exemplary life and zealous labors for the promotion of truth and righteousness amongst us, and to encourage survivors to follow him as he followed Christ.
He was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the 4th of 6th month, 1731. His parents, John and Elizabeth Thurston, were professors in the Church of England, in which persuasion he was strictly educated, and from accounts which some of us have heard him relate, with respect to his religious exercises in his youthful days, we have no doubt of the sincerity of his heart in the mode of worship which, at that period of his life, he was in the observance of; but not continuing to find peace of mind therein, he occasionally visited several different places of worship, until the removal of his parents to Portsmouth, when he became a diligent attender of Friends' meetings; and under the visitation of divine love, with which he was favored, he became fully convinced that it was right to adhere to the simple mode of worship practised by us; and notwithstanding our meetings were frequently held in silence, yet he has humbly acknowledged, as some of us can testify, that he often experienced them to be seasons of refreshment and enlargement in religious understanding, and particularly those held in the middle of the week had been blessed to him.
He had not long attended those meetings, before he found it to be a part of his religious duty to adopt the plain Scripture language; and though much in the cross, to begin with using it first to his parents, who were opposed to his new views of religion. They, however, treated him with affection, and gradually became reconciled, from a better understanding of the reason of his change.
Thus continuing faithful to the requisitions of duty, as manifested in the secret of his soul, he, in the year 1782, sought admission into and was united in religious fellowship with the society of Friends. And while thus reviewing his religious progress, and in a renewed sense of his usefulness to the church, we can feelingly testify that he adorned the doctrine he professed. In our meetings for worship, he gave evidence by his solid and reverent deportment, of the weightiness of his spirit and of his just views of the nature of spiritual worship.
In his subsequent labors, both in the station of an elder and overseer, he was zealous and skilful, manifesting a lively concern for the preservation of right order in the administration of discipline; in the support whereof he was active and firm, and often successful in restoring those with whom he was engaged to labor.
He was pleasant, and often very interested in conversation, kind and liberal to the poor, hospitable to strangers and a good example of plainness in habit, manners, and in the furniture of his house.
Thus he continued a faithful standard bearer, retaining even in advanced age a freshness of feeling, and great religious sensibility, evincing to those associated with him in labor that "they who abide in the vine, have their fruit unto holiness and their end everlasting life."
He attended our Monthly Meeting 30th of 12th month, 1824, being nearly in usual health, and in the evening of that day was taken ill. His situation was not such as to induce an apprehension that he would speedily be removed, but his complaint soon assumed a more formidable aspect and baffled medical skill, depriving him of the use of his mental faculties. While these remained he manifested his continued care and concern for the Society of which he was a member, and desire for its preservation.
He lived until the 8th month, 1825, when it please our Heavenly Father to release him from further sufferings and we are thankful in believing that our loss is his exceeding gain. For "blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."
On the 10th his remains were carried to Friend's meeting house at Portsmouth, and after a large and solemn meeting, held on the occasion, were interred in our burying ground at that place.
Signed on behalf and by direction of the meeting aforesaid, by
DAVID RODMAN,} Clerk
RUTH RODMAN, } Clerk
The Newport County
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