The existence of the Autobiography which is published in the following pages came to my knowledge in the course of a chance conversation with a distant relative of the writer's family. The original manuscript has been carefully preserved, and has been for many years in the possession of Mr. G. H. Carter, of Helston. He received it from his father, the G. Carter mentioned herein, who was a nephew of Harry Carter himself. The memoir of the writer, which will be found in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine for October 1831, was based upon information supplied by G. Carter partly from the manuscript and partly from his own knowledge. The original is now printed in full for the first time, with the consent of the family.
The part of Cornwall to which the autobiography chiefly relates is the district lying between the two small towns of Marazion and Helston, a distance of about ten miles on the north eastern shores of Mounts Bay, comprising the parishes of Breage, Germoe, St. Hilary, and Perranuthnoe. The bay is practically divided into two parts by Cuddan Point, a sharp small headland about two miles east from St. Michael's Mount. The western part runs into the land in a roughly semicircular shape, and is so well sheltered that it has almost the appearance of a lake, and, in fact, the extreme north-western corner is called Gwavas Lake. From the hills which surround it the land everywhere slopes gently to the sea, and is thickly inhabited. The towns of Penzance and Marazion and the important fishing village of Newlyn occupy a large portion of the shore, and around them are woody valleys and well cultivated fields.
To the eastward of Cuddan is a marked contrast. There, steep and rocky cliffs are only broken by two long stretches of beach, Praa Sands and the Looe Bar, on which the great seas which come always from the Atlantic make landing impossible except on a few rare summer days. With the exception of the little fishing station of Porthleven there is not a place all along the coast, from Cuddan Point to the Lizard, large enough to be called a village. Inland the country is in keeping with the character of the coast. Trees are very scarce, and the stone hedges, so characteristic of all the wild parts of West Cornwall, the latches of moorland, and the scattered cottages make the whole appearance bare and exposed.
Porth Leah, or the King's Cove, now more usually known as Prussia Cove around which so much of the interest of the narrative centres, lies a little to the eastward of Cuddan Point. It is said that this name is derived from the fact that John Carter, a brother of Harry Carter, and the most famous of the smugglers, lived there. He was nicknamed the King of Prussia, and the house in which he lived is still known as the King of Prussia's House. (Now Cliff Cottage.) The origin of this nickname is explained by a story that when they were all boys together, they used to play at soldiers, and John would always claim to be the King of Prussia. Clearly an echo of the fame of Frederick the Great had reached these boys about the time of the Seven Years' War. There are really two coves divided from one another by a point and a small island called The Enez. The western cove, generally called Bessie's Cove, is a most sheltered and secluded place. It is so well hidden from the land that it is impossible to see what boats are lying in the little harbour until one comes down to the very edge of the cliff. The eastern side of the point, where there is another small harbour, called the King's Cove, is more open, but the whole place is thoroughly out of the world even now.
The high road from Helston through Marazion to Penzance now passes about a mile from the sea, but at the time of which Harry Carter was writing this district must have been unknown and almost inaccessible. From all accounts West Cornwall at that time was very little more than half civilised. The mother of Sir Humphry Davy (born at Penzance, 1778) has left us a record that when she was a girl of six West Cornwall was without roads, there was only one cart in the town of Penzance, and packhorses were in use in all the country districts. (Bottrell, iii. 150). This is confirmed by a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, who says that in 1754 there were no roads in this district, the ways that served the purpose were merely bridle paths 'remaining as the deluge left them and dangerous to travel over' (Gentleman's Magazine Oct. 1754) ; and by the official records of the town of Penzance, which show that in 1760 the Corporation went to some expense in opposing the extension of the turnpike beyond Marazion, to which place it was then first carried from Penryn (Millett's Penzance, Past and Present).
The places of which the names are mentioned in the autobiography, but which are not shown in the map, such as Rudgeon, Trevean, Caerlcan, Pengersick, Kenneggey, and Rinsey, are all in the immediate neighbourhood of Prussia Cove. They are merely little hamlets of four or five cottages each, and there is no reason to suppose that they were any larger one hundred years ago. Helston, the market town of the district, is about six miles off, and had then a population of some two thousand people.
The chief interest in the autobiography is probably that which it attracts as the most authentic account of the smuggling which was carried on in the neighbourhood in the latter portion of the 18th century.
Cornwall has long enjoyed a certain reputation for pre-eminence in this particular form of trade, and apparently not without some reason. A series of letters of the years 1750-1753 were published some years ago in the Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall (vol. vi. pt. xxii. p. 374, The Lanisley Letters) to a Lieutenant-General Onslow, from George Borlase, his agent at Penzance, asking that soldiers might be stationed in the district, because `the coasts here swarm with smugglers,' and mentioning that a detachment ought to be stationed at Helston, as `just on that neighbourhood lye the smugglers and wreckers more than about us, tho' there are too many in all parts of this country.' In his Natural History of Cornwall, published in 1758, Dr. Borlase regrets (p. 312) that `the people of the sea coast are, it must be owned, too much addicted to carry off our bullion to France and to bring back nothing but brandy, tea, and other luxuries.' This is delicate, but there can be no doubt of his meaning; and he goes on to complain that `there is not the poorest family in any parish which has not its tea, its snuff, and tobacco, and (when they have money or credit) brandy,' all, may presume, duty free. The will of Philip Hawkins, M.P. for Grampound, who died on September 6, 17 38, is perhaps the most striking record, for he actually bequeathed £600 to the king to compensate for the amount to which his tenants had defrauded the Customs.
That the smuggling prevailed to such an extent is not to be wondered at, for the law must have had but a very slight hold on such a rough and scattered population, living so far away from any of the large centres of England. In such a narrow country too, where no one lives very far from the sea, the miners took to smuggling as readily as the fishermen. A trip to Roscoff or Guernsey formed a pleasant change after a spell on tribute underground or working stamps. A rough, reckless, and drunken lot were these tinners, and if riots and bloodshed were more scarce in West Cornwall than in some parts, it must have been due to the judicious absence of the Custom House officials, and not to any qualities in the smugglers. George Borlase says Lanisley Letters that in December 1950 a Dutch ship laden with claret was wrecked near Helston, and ` in twenty-four hours the tinners cleared all,' the authorities apparently not daring to interfere; and that just before a man who went to the assistance of the revenue officers had been killed near the same place.
Beyond these I have mentioned, the literary records are very meagre, but the whole county, and especially the western part, abounds with legends. The smuggling was so universal, that every cove and fishing village on the coast has its own stories, and everywhere the curious visitor is still shown the place where the smugglers landed their cargoes, the secret caves where they stored them, and sometimes, but not often, the places where the `officers' found them. Prussia Cove, beyond all others, has the richest store of such history. Here are little harbours cut out of the solid rock, which are now occupied by innocent fishing boats. The visitor can see a roadway, partly cut and partly worn, crossing the rocks below high water mark, and caves of which the mouths have been built up, and which are reputed to be connected with the house on the cliff above by secret passages.
In the legends of the Cove the personality of John Carter looms so large that his associates are almost if not entirely forgotten, and everything centres around him alone. It was he who cut the harbours and the road, it was he who adapted the caves, and he is the hero of most of the tales which are told of the good old days. One of these stories is worth recording. On one occasion, during his absence from home, the excise officers from Penzance came around in their boats and took a cargo, which had lately arrived from France, to Penzance, where it was secured in the Custom House store. In due course John Carter returned to the Cove and learned the news. What was he to do? He explained to his comrades that he had agreed to deliver that cargo to the customers by a certain day, and his reputation as an honest man was at stake. He must keep his word. That night a number of armed men broke open the stores at Penzance, and the `King of Prussia' took his own again, returning to the Cove without being discovered. In the morning the officers found that the place had been broken open during the night.
They examined the contents, and when they noted what particular things were gone, they said to one another that John Carter had been there, and they knew it, because he was an honest man who would not take anything that did not belong to him. And John Carter kept his word to his customers. The story that he once opened fire on a revenue cutter from a small battery which he had made at the Cove is well known along the coast.
It is characteristic of the history of the smugglers everywhere that they enjoyed the support of popular sympathy. This was certainly the case in West Cornwall, where the farmers, the merchants, and, it is rumoured, the local magistrates, used to find the money with which the business was carried on, investing small sums in each voyage. Harry Carter finding shelter at Marazion when the Government were offering a reward for his capture (p. 19), and the action of the unnamed `great man of the neighbourhood' on his return from America (p. 63), are perhaps the reverse of the picture which George Borlase drew for General Onslow Lanisley Letters: ` the countenance given to the smugglers by those whose business it is to restrain these pernicious practices, hath bro't 'em so bold and daring that nobody can venture to come near them with safety whilst they are at their work.' It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that there must have been some powerful influence exerted in his favour to obtain his exchange from prison in France in 1778, and what else can we make of the commission to go privateering against the Americans.
The Government had then recently passed a measure (17 Geo. 111. c. 7.) to encourage privateering by authorising the Admiralty to grant commissions, and apparently English sailors were everywhere readily taking advantage of the opportunity so afforded for their enterprise. (See Lecky. History of Eighteenth Century, vol. iv. ch. xiv.) But to obtain such a commission the applicant had to find the security of sureties, of whose `sufficiency' the commissioners were to satisfy themselves, and also to send in a written application specifying the ship for which the commission was asked, with full details as to the number of her guns and other matters. He surely could not have ventured to place himself in the hands of the Government in this way without a friend at Court. It certainly seems a fair inference from their popularity, their fame, and from the fact that they both rose to leading positions amongst the smugglers while still comparatively young, that Harry Carter and his brother John were superior men to the rough material of which their crews were probably composed.
The accounts of the actual smuggling in the following pages are not very elaborate, but we must remember that at the time when Harry Carter was writing (1809), John Carter and the `Cove boys' were still at it, and Prussia Cove had not yet ceased to be a great centre of smugglers. This would also explain the absence of any more particular reference to any of his companions. This reticence, which we must respect, although we may regret it, is quite compensated for by the variety of his later experiences.
To have been a prisoner in France during the Reign of Terror, and at a time when the Convention had decreed that no quarter should be given to an Englishman (Carlyle. French Revolution, bk. iii. eh. iv.) is of itself no small claim on the attention of his countrymen. From his account, which is, I believe, unique in English literature, and especially when it is compared with those of French writers, it would seem that the English, who were, of course, prisoners of war, were placed on the same footing as the `aristocrats' and ` suspects,' the great number of whom made it necessary to utilise the convents and even private houses as prisons. Alexandrine des Echerolles tells us (Private Life in Public Calamities) that `Bread was distributed daily to the prisoners, and their pitchers were filled every morning with fresh water. Those who could not pay the turnkeys for their trouble got none, so the rich used to bestow alms upon the poor in this form . . . . Once a fortnight, I think, they were supplied with fresh straw, or what was called such, each person received an armful.' She mentions that by degrees the prisoners managed to make themselves more comfortable by introducing tables, and chairs, and mattresses, which they were compelled to leave behind on their removal to other prisons. All this coincides very closely with Harry Carter's account, and he seems to have shared their anxiety as to the fate of his friends and the common anticipation of the guillotine.
Even this does not exhaust the interest of his life. The very first lines of his writing show the object with which he wrote. In no part of England did the teaching and influence of John Wesley obtain such a hold as in Cornwall. At the time of his first visit he speaks of the natives of this distant country as `those who neither feared God nor regarded man' (Diary, May 17, 1743) ; he accuses them of wrecking and of murdering those who were washed ashore, and describes their pastimes as `hurling, at which limbs were often broken, fighting, drinking, and all other s manner of wickedness.' The Lanisley Letters contain similar charges of wrecking and murder, and Dr. Borlase confirms the statement as to their drunken habits. In 1750 Wesley mentions how greatly all these things were changed. They were, perhaps, not as much changed as he thought, but undoubtedly they were greatly improved, for it is plain fact that the whole of the moral reformation of the Cornish folk is due to him. He gained followers so rapidly in the west that at the first Methodist Conference in 1744, St. Ives is classed with London, Bristol, and Newcastle; from this it is evident,' says Dr. Smith (History of Methodism, i. 213), ° that London, Bristol, St. Ives, and Newcastle were regarded as the great centres of Methodism in England at this period.' At the third Conference (1746) Cornwall forms one district out of seven, while the others included in some cases four and in one case six English counties. In 1750 John Wesley (Diary, August 18) says of St. Just, `There is still the largest society in Cornwall, and so great a proportion of believers I have not found in all the nation beside.' Similar societies or classes sprang up in the most remote places, such as Rugan, or Rudgeon [Rosudgeon]as it is more usually spelt now, where the society met at which Charles Carter was converted; at Trevean and Caerlean, where Harry Carter preached.
That especial characteristic of Wesley's organisation, `the local preacher,' took root firmly in Cornwall from the very first. To those who are not acquainted with the county it may be necessary to explain that these laymen, earnest men of all classes, who preach, are so common in every village that they constitute a distinguishing feature in the local life. The services in the small wayside chapels which are so numerous are usually conducted by a local preacher in the intervals between the visits of the regular ministers. Those who do know Cornwall also know the importance of the local preacher in the history of the Methodist movement.
John Wesley's preaching was received by the poor and uneducated, the miner, the fisherman, and the labourer, and the persecution of the clergy and the magistrates only strengthened the enthusiasm of the people for their great teacher. From such men sprang the first local preachers, preaching and exhorting not with the dull formality of men who had to do it, but with the earnestness of men who really felt that they had a message to deliver, and labouring under uncontrollable excitement they greatly impressed their hearers; while the familiarity of their persons led their audience to look upon this new teaching as a thing of their own to which they could all attain. It is impossible to doubt that the hold which the movement gained was greatly due to these men, and Harry Carter was one of them.
John Wesley had set himself from the first against the smuggling which he found so prevalent; he had preached against it at several places, and had even published a pamphlet against it. We may therefore fairly suppose that Harry Carter, the great smuggler, was regarded as a most important accession to the ranks of his followers.
The autobiography ends abruptly in the year 1795, but the writer lived until April 19, 1829. The last thirty years of his life he spent at Rinsey. He lived quietly, keeping himself occupied with a small farm, and occasionally preaching in the neighbourhood. From the memoir of him in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, to which I have already referred, I cull the two further facts that he retained the intensity of his religious feelings up to his death, and that he never failed in grateful recollections of James Macculloch - the Mr. M. of his French prison experiences. Of his family I can learn but little. It is said that originally they came from Shropshire, and certainly the name does not show a Cornish origin. His father, who was called Francis, was born in 1712, and died on February 28, 1774 ; his mother, Agnes, was born in 1714, and died in 1784. Of the eight sons and two daughters of whom he speaks, I can only trace four of the sons besides himself. Thomas, whom he does not mention, was born in 1737, and died in 1818 ; and John, whom he refers to as the eldest, Francis, born in 1745, and Charles, born in 1757, and died in 1803, are all mentioned in the autobiography. His daughter, Elizabeth, as far as I can learn, died while young.
In preparing the manuscript for publication I have taken the liberty of omitting some passages here and there which were simply repetitions, and which did not throw any additional light either on the narrative or his character. I have corrected all the wrong spellings which could be classed as simple mistakes, but I have carefully preserved all spellings which appeared of interest, as showing the pronunciation of the words, and especially those which illustrate the local dialect. For instance, the general preference for `a' over the other vowels, and especially in final syllables, is distinctly characteristic of West Cornwall. [These have been removed in this version to make it easer to read.]
In some places, particularly towards the end, the manuscript is somewhat damaged, and many of the pages have lost a portion of the lower corner. The gaps so caused I have endeavoured to fill with the words which he probably used, and such words are printed in italics. Where I have been unable to suggest the missing words, I have left blanks. [Italics and blanks removed]
John B. Cornish.
A Cornish Smuggler
As it have been impressed upon my mind for several years to take a memorandum of the kind dealings of God to my soul, in particular these last two or three years, I have been persuaded by several of my friends, in particular Mr. Wormsley and Geo. Carter. I have thought in general it would be so weak that no person of sense would ever publish it to the world, notwithstanding, this morning being 20 of December. 1809, I have taken up my pen, and may the Lord bring past things to my remembrance just as they are, and if published to the world, may the Lord make it a blessing to every soul that read and hear it for Christ's sake, amen, amen.
I have made several remarks at different times in years past of some particular things of my experience for my own amusement, then thinking for no person ever to see it but myself only; and as I have made a general rule more or less for several years to have had fixed times to sit in silence to trace my whole life from eight or nine years of age, in particular more so since I have tasted the goodness of God, most particular things that I have past thought seems to be tolerable familiar to me.
I was born in the year of 1749 in Pengersick, in the parish of Breage, in the County of Cornwall. My mother had ten children, eight sons and two daughters, eight of whom lived to maturity. My father was a miner likewise rented a little farm of about £21 per year, who was a hard labouring man, and brought up his family in what we called decent poverty. My oldest and youngest brothers were brought up to good country scholars, but the rest of my brothers with myself, as soon as we was able, obliged to work in order to contribute a little to help to support a large family, so that I never was kept to school but only to read in what we called then the great Book.
As for our Religion, we were brought up like the rest of our neighbours, to say some prayers after we were in the bed, and to go to Church on particular times as occasion served us. When I was about eight or nine years old, my brother Francis was about four years older than me. He joined the Methodist society in Rudgeon, (Rosudgeon, a small village about half a mile from Prussia Cove,) soon after found peace with God, and as him and me was most times sleeping and waking together he revealed himself unto me, told me the place and time he received the Comforter. I seeing such very great change upon him, as before time he was a very active boy, I firmly believed the report.
From that time I firmly believed that except I was born again I should in no case see the kingdom of God, so that convictions followed me sharp and often, sometimes constrained to weep bitterly. But alas! as I grew up they went fewer and fainter. About nine or ten years old I went to work to stamps, and continued there until 15 or 16. I worked to ba1(a mine, tin or copper) , as I think, until I was about 17, and from thence went with my two oldest brothers to Porth Leah (this name is now lost) or the King's Cove fishing and smuggling, and I think about 18 or 19 went at times, with Folstons (? Folkestone) people and sometimes with Irish, as supercargo, whom we freighted.
Before this time I learned to write, and so far so, that I would keep my own accounts. I think I might have been about 25 when I went in a small sloop, about 16 or 18 tons, with two men beside myself, asmuggling, where I had very great success; and after a while I had a new sloop built for me, about 32 tons. (The sizes of all his vessels are given in old measurement. Before 1835 ships were measured by the following elaborate rule. Subtract three-fifths of the greatest breadth from the length of the keel, multiply this by the breadth, and the result by half of the breadth ; divide the result so obtained by 94, and the answer is the size of the ship in tons (see 13 Geo. III. c. 26, § 7¢). They are now measured by the cubical contents. It is difficult to render these figures in modern measurement, but this sloop was probably about the size which would now be called 10 tons.)
My success was rather beyond common, and after a time we bought a small cutter of about, 50 tons and about ten men. I sailed in her one year, and I suppose made more safe voyages then have been ever made since or before with any single person. So by this time I begun to think some thing of myself, convictions still following sharply at times. I always had a dislike to swearing, and made a law on board, if any of the sailors should swear, was punished.
Nevertheless my intention was not pure; I had some byends in it, the bottom of it was only pride, etc. I wanted to be noted to be something out of the common way of others, still I always had a dislike to hear others swearing. Well, then, I think I was counted what the world calls a good sort of man, good humoured, not proud, etc. But man is short sighted, who can discern spirits when the heart is deceitful above all thing and desperately wicked, oftentimes burning and boiling within in a blaze of passion, though not to be seen without. Nevertheless in the meantime was capable to be guilty of outward sins the same as others of my companions, and often times, when went out on a party, crying and praying to keep me from a particular sin, was often the first that was guilty of committing it. Then conscience, after staring me in the face, oh what a torment within I felt. So I went on for many years sinning and repenting.
Well, then, in the course of these few years, as we carried a large trade with other vessels also, we gained a large sum of money, and being a speculating family was not satisfied with small things. Built a new cutter, about 197 tons, then one of the first in England ; expecting to make all our fortunes in a hurry. I was in her at sea in December 1777, made one voyage about Christmas. Returning to Guernsey light, sprung the bowsprit, was recommended from Guernsey to St. Malos for a bowsprit, and for the want of Customhouse papers and proper despatches was seized upon by the admiralty of the above place, where they unbent the sails, took them onshore, and confined us all on board with a guard of soldiers as prisoners, allowing two men to be on deck only at a time; likewise their orders was for no person to come alongside, no letters to pass or repass. But the commanding officer I soon got in his favour, that I conveyed letters onshore, and sent an express to Guernsey, likewise to Roscoff, when there was soon certificates sent them to certify what I was, as they stopped me under the pretence of being a pirate ; their pretence nevertheless was not altogether unreasonable, having sixteen carriage guns on board and thirty-six men without any maritime pass, or anything to show for them. Notwithstanding they certainly knew what I was.
I think it was on the 30 January 1778, and I think the latter end of March there was an embargo laid on all English boats. (The treaty between France and the Americans was made on February 6, 1778.) They kept me onboard with all the people until I think the 1 May, when they took me onshore in order to examine me, and about four o'clock sent with a strong guard unto the Castle. This was a strange seeing unto me, the first prison I ever saw the inside of, the hearing of so many iron doors opening, etc.
So I was put up to the last floor in the top of that very high Castle, in a criminal jail, where there were a little short dirty straw, etc. So after looking round a little to see my new habitation, I asked of the jailor to send me a chair to sit on, and something to eat, as I took nothing for the day, then seeming to be in tolerable spirits; but as the jailor left me, hearing the rattling of the doors and the noise of the keys, I begun to reflect, where am I now ? I shall surely never come out of this place whilst the war lasts, surely I shall die here, etc. I suppose in the course of an half hour heard the doors and keys as before for a long time before I saw any person, so in came a man with a chair, my bed, and a little soup, etc.
Well, then, I sat myself down in the chair, looked at my dinner, etc., but then begun to weep bitterly. I had not lost only my liberty but the cutter also, which was my God. My liberty was gone, my honour, my property, my life, and my God, all was gone; and all the ten thousand pounds I expected to get privateering was gone, as there was a commission sent for me against the Americans before I left home. There I walked the dismal place bewailing my sad case.
But in the space of about two hours two or three of my people were sent to join me, and before night I think about eighteen of us, small room full. Then we begun to sing and make a noise, so that some of my tears vanished away; hope of life sprung up, and as, the French was such flatterers in general, a very little hope for the cutter, etc. The remainder of the ship's company put in the town criminal jail.
We was all kept in prison until about the 20 or 21 day of the same month, when early in the morning were took out by a strong guard of soldiers, sent to Dinan prison of war, where we had then plenty of room, etc. I suppose we were about six or seven of us that every evening joined to sing psalms in parts, etc. But this would not satisfy me, I know there was no Religion in this at all, but one night as I was asleep, as we lay on the floor side by side, I dreamed that I heard like the voice of an angel saying unto me, `Except thou reform thy life, thou must totally be lost for ever.' There was something more that he said, but I cannot now remember it.
When I awaked I was in a lake, sweat from head to foot, and all my body in a tremble. Nothing but fear and horror upon my mind. The next day I passed much to myself, very serious and sad, not one smile on my countenance, but kept it all to myself. Took great care to let no person know anything of the matter.
Well, then, as Cain went to build a city in order to divert his mind, I begun to learn navigation, and so loosed my convictions little and little, that in the course of about a fortnight I could do the same as I formerly used to do. I think I was in prison about five or six weeks until my oldest brother John was brought to join me, as he come to St. Malas lust after I was stopped, from Guernsey, with certificates from the Governor, etc., in order to try to liberate the cutter and me.
Well, then, this almost so great trial as any, he being the head of the family, and thought the business mused come to an end at home. We was kept both in prison until, as I think, some time in August, and was sent on parol about forty miles in a town called Josselin. However, we was kept in different places in the country until I think the latter end of November in 1779, when we were private exchanged, by the order of the Lords of the Admiralty, in the room of two French gentlemen sent to France in our room.
And then to come by the way of Ostend, being, as well I can remember, about five hundred miles. From thence came by the way of London, and arrived at home the 24 December in the same year. We found the family all alive and well, but with the loss of the cutter, and the business not managed well at home, as my brother was then a prisoner, and wanting from home about two years, the family in a low state. Nevertheless, he being well respected with the Guernsey merchants, was offered credit with many of them.
So went on again in freighting of large vessels, and had very good speed for some time. I went again in the little cutter I had before, about 50 tons. And after making two or three voyages to the King's Cove, went with a cargo on the coast of Wales. In order to smuggle it, went onshore to sell it. Left the cutter to anchor near the Mumbles, where an information was given to an arm ship called The Three Brothers, that lay some distance from there. And about that time there had been some large privateers' cutters on that coast from Dunkirk, and had taken may prizes, manned and commanded chiefly with Irishmen. My cutter was represented to be one of them, namely, The Black Prince, mounting sixteen guns and sixty men. I had then in the cutter about six men and three beside myself onshore. When they saw the arm ship coming upon them, cut the cable and went to sea; and when the ship gave up the chase from the cutter, sent his boats onshore, took up the cutter's cable and anchor, and found me onshore.
I, having left my commission on board, and had nothing to show who or what I was, took me on board the ship as a pirate, and after examining me in the cabin for two or three hours, detained me as a prisoner for twelve weeks until I was cleared by my friends at home through the Lords of the Admiralty.
So after I was at home some time, riding about the country getting freights, collecting money for the company, etc. etc., we bought a cutter about 160 tons, nineteen guns. I went in her sometime smuggling, and had great success. We had a new lugger built, which mounted twenty guns, and both went in company together from Guernsey, smuggling along the coast, so that by this time I begun to think something of myself again.
Nevertheless convictions never left me long together. But in the course of this time, being exposed to more company and sailors of all descriptions, learned to swear at times. And once, after discharging our cargo, brought the both vessels to an anchor in Newlyn Road, when we had an express sent us from St. Ives of a large cutter privateer from Dunkirk, called The Black Prince, had been on that coast and had taken many prizes, to go out in pursuit of her. It was not a very agreeable business, notwithstanding for fear to offend the collector, (The collector of the Customs, presumably at Penzance) we put round the both vessels to St. Ives Road, and after staying there two or three days, the same cutter hove in sight Christmas day in the morning.
We not having our proper crews on board, collected a few men together, and went to sea in pursuit of him. Soon come up with him, so that after a running fight for three or four hours, as we, not being half manned, and the sea very big, the shots so uncertain, the lugger received a shot that was obliged to bear up, and in the course of less then an hour after I received a shot that card of my jib, and another in the hull, that we could hardly keep her free. So that we bore up after the lugger, not knowing what was the matter of her running away. We came up with her about five in the evening.
Desired the Captain to quit her, but he, in hope to put her into Padstow, continued pumping and bailing until about six, when he hailed me, saying, stand by him, he was going to quit her. So that they hoisted out their boat, but the sea being so big and the men being confused, filled her with water, so that they could not free her no more. I got my boat out in the meantime, sent her alongside the lugger, so that some of the men jumped over board, and my boat picked them up, and immediately the lugger went down. I hove to the cutter and laid her to, that she drifted right over the place that the lugger went down, so that some of the men got on board by virtue of ropes hove from the cutter, some got hold of the jib tack, and some picked up by the cutter's boat, so that we saved alive seventeen men and fourteen drowned.
As Providence would have it was about the full of the moon, or certainly all must be lost. This was scene indeed. What cries ! what screeches! what confusion was there! We stayed some little time there cruising about the place, but soon obliged to get the cutter under a double reefed trysail, a heavy gale of wind ensuing, and bore up for the Mumbles.
Now I am going to inform you of a little more of my pride and vanity, the spirit of truth had not as yet forgot to strive with me. Before we come up with the privateer, in expecting to come to an engagement, oh, what horror was upon my mind for fear of death, as I know I must come to judgment sure and certain. If I died, I should be lost for ever. Notwithstanding all this I made the greatest outward show of bravery, and, through pride and presumption, exposed myself to the greatest danger. I stood on the companion until the wad of the enemies' shot flew in fire about me, and I suppose the wind of the shot struck me down on the deck as the shot took in the mainsail right in a line with me. One of my officers helped me up, thought I was wounded, and he would not suffer me to go there no more. This was a great salvation, and that of God, and not the only one; for all so many hundreds of shot have flown around me, I never received so much as a blemish in one of my fingers; but I can remember for many years before this, whenever I expected to come to an engagement, I was always struck with horror of mind, knowing I was not fit to die; and since I have tasted of the goodness of God, I have thought that the greatest hero in the Army or Navy, as long as the spirit of Truth continue to strive with them, even Anson, is struck with the like feelings ; and if ever I hear of a coward, I know this is the cause of it.
In the year of 19th April, 1786, I was married to Elizabeth Flindel, of Helford, in the parish of Manaccan, and in April 19, in 1787, she bore me a daughter, who was called after her mother's name, and I think it was about middle of November.
I went in a lugger smuggling, about 1401 tons, mounting sixteen carriage guns. After making one voyage at home to the King's Cove I got a freight for Costan, (?Cawsand, nr Plymouth) and as I depended on them people to look out if there were any danger, according to their promise, came into the Bay, and after some time spoke with a boat from the above place, saying it was a clear coast, there was no danger to bring the vessel up to anchor, and we should have boats enough out to discharge all the cargo immediately. So that I brought the vessel to anchor, leaving the jib with the trysail and mizen set, and begun to make ready, opening the hatches, etc., when I saw two boats rowing up from the shore. I said to the pilot, `There is two boats coming.'
He answered,' They are our boats coming to take the goods out,' etc. Soon after a boat come alongside. ' Do you know these is two man-o'-war's boats?' We immediately cut the cable, and before the lugger gathered headway were right under the stern. They immediately cut off the mizen sheet, and with a musket shot, shot off the trysal tack and boarded us over the stern. My people having some muskets, dropped them down and went below. I knowing nothing of that, thought that all would stand by me. I begun to engage them as well as I could without anything in my hands, as they took us in surprise so suddenly, I having my great coat on buttoned about me, I seeing none of my people, only one man at the helm; and when they saw no person to oppose them, turned upon me with their broad swords, and begun to beat away upon my head. I found the blows very heavy - crushed me down to the deck - and as I never loosed my senses, rambled forward. They still pursued me, beating and pushing me, so that I fell down on the deck on a small raft just out of their way. I suppose I might have been there about a quarter of an hour, until they had secured my people below, and after found me laying on the deck. One of them said, ° Here is one of the poor fellows dead.'
Another made answer, `Put the man below.'
He answered again, saying, ` What use is it to put a dead man below ?' and so past on. About this time the vessel struck aground, the wind being about East S.E. very hard, right on the shore. So there I laid very quiet for near the space of two hours, hearing their discourse as they walked by me, the night being very dark on the 30 January 1788.
When some of them saw me lying there, said, `Here lays one of the fellows dead,' one of them answered as before, ' Put him below.' Another said, ° The man is dead.'
The commanding officer gave orders for a lantern and candle to be brought, so they took up one of my legs, as I was lying upon my belly; he let it go, and it fell as dead down on the deck. He likewise put his hand up under my clothes, between my shirt and my skin, and a then examined my head, and so concluded, saying, 'The man is so warm now as he was two hours back, but his head is all to atoms.' I have thought hundreds of times since what a miracle it was I neither sneezed, coughed, nor drew breath that they perceived in all this time, I suppose not less than ten or fifteen minutes.
The water being ebbing, the vessel making a great heel towards the shore, so that in the course of a very little time after, as their two boats was made fast alongside, one of them broke adrift. Immediately there was orders given to man the other boat in order to fetch her ; so that when I saw them in the state of confusion, their guard broken, I thought it was my time to make my escape, so I crept on my belly on the deck, and got over a large raft just before the main mast, close by one of the men's heels, as he was standing there handing the trysail. When I got over the lee-side I thought I should be able to swim on shore in a stroke or two. I took hold of the burtons (a small tackle of two pulleys to be fastened anywhere needed.-(Phillips' Dictionary, 1706)) of the mast, and as I was lifting myself over the side, I was taken with the cramp in one of my thighs. So then I thought I should be drowned, but still willing to risk it, so that I let myself over the side very easily by a rope into the water, fearing my enemies would hear me and then let go.
As I was very near the shore, I thought to swim onshore in the course of a stroke or two, as I used to swim so well, but soon found out my mistake. I was sinking almost like a stone, and hauling astern in deeper water, when I gave up all hopes of life, and begun to swallow some water. I found a rope under my breast, so that I had not lost all my senses. I hauled upon it, and soon found one end fast to the side just where I went overboard, which gave me a little hope of life.
So that when I got there, could not tell which was best, to call to the man-of-war's men to take me in, or to stay there and die, for my life and strength was almost exhausted ; but whilst I was thinking of this, touched bottom with my feet. Hope then sprung up, and I soon found another rope, leading towards the head of the vessel in shallower water, so that I veered upon one and hauled upon the other that brought me under the bowsprit, and then at times; upon the send of a sea, my feet was almost dry. I thought then I would soon be out of their way. Let go the rope, but as soon as I attempted to run, fell down, and as I fell, looking round about me, saw three men standing close by me. I know they were the man of-war's men seeing for the boat, so I lay there quiet for some little time, and then crept upon my belly, I suppose about the distance of fifty yards, and as the ground was scuddy, some flat rock mixt with channels of sand, I saw before me a channel of white sand, and for fear to be seen creeping over it, which would take some time, not knowing there was anything the matter with me, made the second attempt to run, and fell in the same manner as before.
My brother Charles being there, looking out for the vessel, desired some of Cawsand men to go down to see if they could pick up any of the men dead or alive, not expecting ever to see me any more, almost sure I was either shot or drowned. One of them saw me fall, came to my assistance, and taking hold of me under the arm says, `Who are you ?' So as I thought him to be an enemy, made no answer.
He said, 'Fear not, I am a friend ; come with me.' And by that time forth was two more come, which took me under both arms, and the other pushed me in the back, and so dragged me up to the town. I suppose it might have been about the distance of the fifth part of a mile. My strength was almost exhausted ; my breath, nay, my life, was almost gone. They took me into a room where there were seven or eight of Cawsand men and my brother Charles, and when he saw me, knew me by my great coat, and cried with joy, `This is my brother!'
So then they immediately stript off my wet clothes, and one of them pulled off his shirt from off him and put on me, sent for a doctor, and put me to bed. Well, then, 1 have thought many a time since what a wonder it was. The bone of my nose cut right in two, nothing but a bit of skin holding it, and two very large cuts in my head, that two or three pieces of my skull worked out afterwards ; and after so long laying on the deck with that very cold weather, and being not altogether drowned, but almost, I think, I did not know I was wounded or lost any blood.
And now, my dear reader, I am going to show you the hardening nature of sin. When I was struggling in the water for life I gave up all hope, I was dead in my own mind; nevertheless my conscience was so dead asleep I thought nothing about Heaven or hell or judgement; and if I had died then I am sure I should have awaked amongst devils and damned spirits. See here this great salvation and that of the Lord. I have been very near drowned, I think, twice before this, and have been exposed to many dangers many a time in the course of time between the five years the lugger eras lost in the North Channel and this time, privateering, smuggling, etc., but I think conscience never so dead as now.
I stayed there that night and the next evening took chaise. My brother and me, and the doctor came with us so far as Lostwithiel, and arrived at home the night after to brother Charles' house. I stayed there about six or seven days, until it was advertised in the papers, I think three hundred pounds, for apprehending the Captain for three months from the date thereof, which set us all of alarm.
So I moved from there to a gentleman's house at Marazion. I think I stayed there about two or three weeks, and from thence moved to Acton Castle, (Near Cuddan Point. It was built about 1775 by Mr. John Stakhouse, of Pendarves.) as my brother John rented the farm, the family not being there then, so that the keys and care of the house were left to his charge, and after a few days removed to Marazion again, then afraid of the shaking of a leaf. I think I might have stayed at Marazion for the course of a fortnight, and then went to the Castle again. (It is said that the doctor who attended him at this time was always met on the road about a mile away by two men, who blindfolded him ; and in this way he was brought to the Castle, and so led back to the road again. A precaution to prevent him from giving information as to Harry Carter's hiding place.)
I used to half burn my coals by night in order that there should be no smoke seen in the day time. In the course of about three months, after my wounds were nearly healed, I used to go at night to the King's Cove and there to drink grog, etc., with the Cove boys until the gray of the morning, convictions following me very sharp still at times. In my way home to my dreary lodgings, the larks flying up in the fields around me, warbling out their little beautiful notes, used to move me with envy, saying, `These dear little birds answer the end they were sent in the world for, but me, the worst of all creatures that ever was made.' So that I have wished many a time I had been a toad, a serpent, or anything, so that I had no soul, for I know I must give an account for my conduct in this world. Likewise there was a gray thrush that sang to me night and morning close to the house, which have preached to me many a sermon.
In the daytime I chiefly spent my time improving my learning on navigation, etc. I remember one Sabbath day, when I was at Marazion, I heard some people singing hymns. I think they were Lady Huntingdon's people, when sincerely wished I had been one of them. Often I thought there was very great beauty in religion, and when I have been with others laughing and ridiculing the Methodists, wished I had been one of them, whom I thought best of them. See what hypocrite was here.
I remember about a year before this I went with my wife to Caerlean preaching, on the Sunday afternoon, where I stood as near as I could by the door. When the word fastened upon my mind, saying, ` Thou art the man.' So that I was constrained to turn my face to the wall and wept bitterly, with promises to mend my life, etc. But, .alas ! I had not gone perhaps an hundred yards from the house until I joined my old companions, so lost all my convictions. That was not the only time by many when I have set up resolutions in my own strength to serve the Lord etc.
Well, then, in the course of this time, whilst at this place, my wife would come to see me, and sometimes bring the child with her, and spend a day or two, so that I passed my time pleasantly whilst she was with me. I think it was in the latter end of August my wife was taken very poorly in consumption, being before of a delicate constitution, and was always obliged to come and go at night.
I think it was in the beginning of October in 1788 when I went to Helford to see her, in company with a servant man to brother John, one night, as she removed from her own house to be with her mother. I found her in a very weak state, and as I expected then soon to quit the country, I stayed with her about two or three hours, when we took our final farewell of each other, never expecting to see each other no more in time. Oh, what a trying scene it was, to leave her in flood of tears.
So I arrived home to my dreary solitude a little before day. I, before then, was greatly distressed for her soul, and through friends desired Uncle James Thomas to visit her, so he did often. I think it was about the 10 or 12 of the same month, when I was sitting upon a bench in one of the ground floors, bemoaning my sad estate, I began to say to myself, ` I have lost my liberty, my property; I have lost my wife also as she was the same as dead to me then so I thought that if her life were spared, it mattered little to me if I was to go to the West or East Indies, so that I could only hear from her by letters, would leave me some comfort. But that was taken away also; so that when I was cut off from every comfort in this life, that I had not the least straw to lay hold of, I begun to see the emptiness and vanity of everything here below, and set up the resolution, God being my Helper, I will serve him the remnant of my days, so that I immediately fell to my knees and begun to say, `Lord, have mercy upon me. Christ, have mercy upon me,' etc.; and at that time I could not say the Lord's Prayer without form, if any man would give me my liberty, being so long living without prayer.
So, then, as before time I used to divert myself in the daytime in looking at the ships and boats in the bay, the men and cattle working in the fields, etc., but now shut my eyes against them all; and if I had business in the daytime to go to the top of the house, was with my eyes shut. So I went on with the above prayer, sometimes in hope of mercy, other times lost almost all hope.
On October 24, in 1788, I sailed from Mounts Bay for Leghorn (Livorno, in Italy) in the ship George, with Captain Dewen, as master. I was put on board with a boat from the King's Cove, accompanied by brother John, and I think I was almost like a dead man; thought little or nothing consuming my wife or child, or anything in this world, but was earnestly crying for mercy. I had a little cabin to myself to lodge in, where there was only a single partition between me and the men. At first it was a great pain to me to hear them swearing, but after a little while took very little notice of it. I had some very good books to read with me, but they seem to be all locked up to me, as the natural man cannot discern the things of the Spirit of God, for they are to be spiritually discerned. I remember sometimes reading, when I could not understand, I should be so peevish and fretful that I could heave a book over-board. Then, oh, what a torment in my poor soul I felt. Then to think, surely the mercy of God is clean gone from me. Oh, what burthen my life was unto me. At them times I seldom prayed then less in secret than twelve times a day and night, and when I could pray with a little liberty, I should be in hope of mercy, and at other times kneel down and groan without one word brought to my remembrance, then almost ready to give up all, saying, `Surely there is no mercy for me ; all my prayers is no use at all, God pays no respect unto them ;' but still I dare not give up praying. I could look back afterward and see I was all prayer. So I think I arrived at Leghorn in the latter end of December, where I passed my Christmas. I think the first Sabbath after I came there the Captain asked me to go on shore to church with him, as there was an English church and clergyman there. I gladly went. The minister being a good reader, I saw in his countenance much gravity and solemnity. I said to myself, `Surely this is the man of God,' and thought I was highly favoured to hear him. The next Sunday I gladly went again, but on coming on board after the service was over, I was told that sacrament days he did not scruple to go to the plays and cards, etc., which poisoned my mind so with prejudice, I never went no more.
In the course of all this time I never met with one person to give me one word of advice concerning my soul, but I laboured to keep myself to myself so much as possible, still reading and praying with all diligence. Well, then, the Captain got freight there to go to Barcelona, to load with brandy for New York in America. I was very glad when I heard of it, as I heard that there was Methodists there, in hope I should fall in with some of them to give me a word of instruction. So I think we sailed from Leghorn in the latter end of January in 1789.
The Lord still continued to strive with me, sometimes in hope of salvation, other times almost ready to give up all hope; but I still was diligent in reading and prayer, but I was so ignorant of the ways of salvation as I was at the first time I began to pray. I remember my passage there one day, scudding before the wind, very cold weather, and a very big sea, looking over the stern. I thought I should be very glad to be tied in a rope and towed after the ship for a fortnight, if that would get me into the favour of God. But, alas, I know all such works would not merit anything from God as salvation.
I arrived at New York on the 19 April in 1789, and about ten or twelve days before I arrived there, I was taken with a violent inflammation in one of my eyes, so I could see very little on that eye and the other much affected also.
So after two or three days being there, there came a glazier on board to put in a pane of glass in the cabin windows. And as the Captain and mate was not present, I thought it was my time to enquire about the Methodists, and as shame always hunted me much, I begun to ask him about the different persuasions of people there; at last I asked, `Is there any of Mr. Wesley's Methodists here?'
He answered, `There is many.'
I asked him, `Do you know any of them ?'
He answered, `Yes, many of them.'
I asked, `What sort of people are they?' thinking, if he gave them a bad character, to say no further.
His answer, `They area good sort of people,' so then I asked him, ` Do you know the preacher?'
He said, ` I do, and I go to hear him sometimes.'
I said, 'Then I shall be obliged to you if you will send your little boy with me to show me the house.'
So after he stared a little at me, said, ` If you will stay a little until I have done this job, I will either go with you myself or get some person that shall.' So that encouraged me very much, set me in high spirits, and after a little further discourse, he told me his wife was a Methodist, and soon after took me to his house, where the dear woman received me very kindly. And when she know I wanted to speak to the preacher, she asked me if I did belong to the connection in England.
I answered, ` No, but I want to speak to the preacher.'
She said, ' To-night is public meeting night. I will go with you a half hour sooner, when we shall find Mr. Dickinson home.' So accordingly we went together, where I found the dear man and his wife in the kitchen.
As soon as I looked at him, I said to myself, ' This is the man I wants to see; this is the man of God.' I said, ` Sir, I should be glad to speak a few words with you.' So as there was no persons present but his wife and the good woman that come with me, said,' Say on.'
I said, ' To yourself, if you please, sir.'
So he took me into a small parlour and said, `What do you want of me?'
I said, `Sir, I am an Englishman, and belong to a ship in the harbour. I know I am a great sinner, and as I am informed you belongs to Mr. Weseley's people, I want to know what I must do.'
He looked at me and said, ` Do you think God would be just to send you to hell ?' I was surprised at such a question, did not know what answer to make. Then he begun to say to this purpose, that Christ come to seek and to save that which was lost, etc. He likewise asked me, ` Do you pray?'
I said, ` Yes, a little.'
` Do you fast too?' said he.
I said, ` No, sir.'
So, after asking me a few more questions he said, `There is a public prayer meeting here this evening, you may stay if you please.' So I thought he paid me a very great compliment. I thanked him, and when the time come, that dear woman took me to the meeting house and put me in a place to sit down. So after they had sung and prayed, the preacher gave an exhortation, and I thought all to me, so that I was a little comforted and after the meeting was ended, the dear woman took me by the hand, as I was half blind, and lead me home to her own house; and the good glazier, her husband, lead me on board, with a strict charge not to fail coming to see them tomorrow. So I gladly accepted of the invitation, and when I came there she had brought one of the class leaders and a good old woman to meet me, who gave me great encouragement to seek the Lord.
My eye still getting worse, and as I could not get leeches as I used to do at home, applied to a doctor, and he cut the small blood-vessels of the apple of my eye, and so let the blood out. So as the ship was going to Baltimore to load, I thought if I went in her I should be in danger to lose the sight of one eye if not both, as both was much affected. So, then, I concluded to stay there, where I attended all the ordinance some place to go to every night.
And I think it was about the first of May when I was asked if I would have a note of admittance to meet in class. I thought it to be the greatest compliment I ever received in all my life, and gladly accepted it; so that when the leader asked my name, as he took me in surprise, I said, ` Harry.'
He said, ` Is that your surname ?' I said, `Yes.'
Then he asked, ' What is your Christian name?'
I said, ' Henry.'
So the people called me, some ` Mr. Harry' and some ' Captain Harry,' as the sailors I come with called me ` Captain Harry'; so that in the course of a very little time I got more acquaintance with them dear people. I could see afterwards I was hungering and thirsting after righteousness, but sometimes in hope of mercy, other times almost ready to give up all.
I used to walk out of town every morning in some solitary place to myself to read and pray; and I know since that time if I wanted to know when the clock struck twelve in order to go home, that the family should not wait for me for dinner I did hardly know much better when the clock had done striking no more than when it begun I had not the time to count two, for all my soul was in a blaze of prayer. I think in the beginning of May, Doctor Cook (Thomas Coke, LL.D. he was ordained Bishop or Superintendent of the American Methodist Societies by John Wesley in 1784) come there to hold conference. I wished to make myself known unto him, but was afraid, as at that time I know very little about the Methodists, - afraid of the shaking of a leaf. Although I was so highly favoured with so much help and means I could form no idea of justifying faith.
Sometimes I thought I should here as a man's voice to speak unto me, other times think to see something with my bodily eyes, other times think as if my body should be changed. I have thought many times that there never was one so ignorant as I was in the ways of salvation. Sometimes, if I could weep a little under a sermon, or in a prayer meeting, I should have some hope I was in the way, and sometimes feel the drawings of the Father, which would give me some. encouragement and hope; other times, if I saw any persons weeping by me, should complain of the hardness of my heart, and be almost ready to give up all.
Nevertheless I still continued praying I suppose seldom less than twelve times in a day and sometimes think whether the hindrance was because I missed naming myself. Well, then, I have thought many a-time since of my unwillingness to belief, for all I was blessed with so many helps and means. The preachers, and about six or seven people in particular, took me by the hand and was like fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, so that I often in the afternoon amongst some of them dear women and the preachers, drinking tea, and if I should sit with them more than an half hour without some of them should ask me something of the state of my mind, I should be so much dejected, and say to myself, `Surely I am beneath the least of their notice; how can I expect the least of their notice ?'
And I remember one day went to the hospital, preaching. When the preaching was over, the two as, Mr. Morld and Mr. Cloude, in their way home, I drew nigh to them; thought to have some conversation with them, and as they used to make so free with me, then only spoke as I thought coldly, I was so much dejected in my own mind, I thought I was the worst creature that ever was born, and that almost all things cried vengeance against me. Another time I remember I went to the preacher's house to inquire after Mr. Cooper, he not being there that present, and as I went out to one door he came in to the other, I not seeing him. Mr. Morld said to him, ° Brother Carter was here inquiring after you.' I heard him, and was immediately struck with wonder to think a such man as he should be so humble as to call a such poor creature as me, brother.
So these was some of the ways I was tried. Some times up, some times down, some times in hope and some times almost ready to give up. 'Notwithstanding all this I continued still in prayer, and I remember when walked the streets I was like one with his eyes shut, crying for salvation, and likewise crying to the Lord that there might nothing take my attention or the least of my affections from Him in this world.
I think I was there about three or four weeks, when I was asked why I did not go to sacrament. I answered, 'I am unworthy.' The person answered, ` You are the very person that is 'worthy.' So as he could not prevail upon me to go, he told the as of it, and after class meeting on the Sabbath morning, as they was going to a friend's house to breakfast, asked me to go with them. They soon opened their commission, and asked me to come to the sacrament today. I answered, I could not.
They asked my reason. I said, ` Him that eateth and drinketh unworthy, eateth and drinketh his own damnation,' and immediately I burst out in a flood of tears, and desired the company to pray for me. The whole large company kneeled down, and prayed for me with great power, so that I had not the only wet face by many in the company, and after prayer took me to reason, so I consented to go. And I went with much fear and trembling. I felt nothing particular in the ordinance, but ever after continued to go.
I think it was in the beginning of June I begun to abstain from eating, and as I eat to the full before, I slackened a little every meal. I was afraid to fast for fear the family should take notice of me; and about this time 1 sent home for some money, then thinking to set on a shop in C- with Robert Snow, then thinking to leave my bones there. So I still went on some times thinking I was getting into lukewarm state, other times a little hope of mercy, and some times almost despair of all mercy.
But I remember 19 July I went to preaching as usual, when, as the preacher was pointing out the odiousness of sin, and the heartfelt sorrow that a true penitent soul felt for it, he mentioned of a woman that had a cancer cut out of her breast a few days before, and when she was asked if the pain was not very great, her answer was, `Not so great as when I was under convictions for sin.'
I immediately concluded I was out of the way. I had hardly the least hope left of Christ, Heaven, or happiness. So in my way home in company with Mr. Cooper, a little before we parted he said, `Captain, what is the matter? You seem to be low-spirited tonight.'
I answered, `Yes, and well I may.'
He said, ' What then is the matter?'
I said, `Did you not hear Mr. Morel saying about the woman that had the cancer cut out of her breast, and I am sure I am not in the way, I never felt such pain at all,' etc.
He said, ` I am sure you are in the way, and then begun to repeat the promises, etc. I thought I had heard the same promises repeated hundreds of times before, but never in such manner as at present. Hope sprung up that the blessing was very near to me. I went home to my lodgings, and after prayer opened the hymn book to
Salvation, oh the joyful sound,
What music to our ears!
A sovereign balm for every wound,
A cordial for our fears.
Glory, honour, etc, etc.'
(This is one of Dr. Watts's hymns. It was not included by John Wesley in the Hymn-book which he published in 1790.)
I was almost ready to flyaway. I went to bed, but did hardly sleep all the night, praying and praising God. Never the less in all this I did not believe that my sins was pardoned, but I hope God would do it, and that soon. In the morning went to the man of God, told him how I felt, to which he gave me great encouragement. The next night went to preaching about two miles out of town. I was still very comfortable, but could not believe. The next day being the 21st, about two or three o'clock in the afternoon, I went to pray that God would show me the hindrance that stood between him and my soul, and that he would show me by that man of God, or by some other means. After I rose up from my knees I went to the man of God. He saw me coming, and asked me with a smile, ` Well, Captain, how is it with you now?'
I answered, ` I have been just now praying that God would show me the hindrance that stands between him and my soul, and take it away from me.'
He answered in his usual pleasant way, `Nothing at all, Captain, only unbelief; but I would advise you to spend most of this afternoon in prayer, that God would show you under the sermon, or by some other means, before you go to bed,' etc.
So I did according to his direction, and in the evening went to preaching in great expectation. And when Mr. Morel delivered his text from the 15 chapter St. John, ` Abide in me and I in you,' and as he went on a little, I thought, surely this is for me. Hope sprung up ; but after a little further I thought Mr. Cooper had been telling the preacher of what I had told him, which set me in doubting. But after he went on a little further, I said to myself, ' Whether he have told him or not, it is for me,' and I believed in that moment, so that I rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
As soon as the service was ended, lest Satan should get an advantage over me, I told the preacher what the Lord had done for me, and immediately Mr. Cooper, so that we rejoiced greatly together, to which the latter told me, ` You must go in the morning to such and such a ones' (mentioned six or seven houses), ' and tell them what the Lord have done for you, and forget not to sing and pray with them. So I went according to his order, and told them that I had received the comforter, so that we had a happy morning together. Well, then, I went on my way rejoicing, no doubts, no fears, neither hardly a temptation, until the end of ten or twelve days.
So then I went on, some times on the mount with Peter and John, some times in doubts and fears; and if I did not always find my mind in a blaze of prayer unto God, I frequent used to say to myself, `Now I am surely getting into a lukewarm state,' and so write bitter things against myself.
About this time I begun to fast once a week, until about four o'clock in the afternoon, and abstain to nearly half my fill. I think it was in the later end of August when I received a letter from my mother-in-law concerning my wife's death.
I soon begun to reason if she was gone happy or not, so that in the course of a few days after I used to go out by night, and looking up towards heaven, wishing and praying to see her vision, or to know by some means whether she was gone happy or not. And one night, before I went to bed, I prayed earnestly to the Lord if he would show me by dream or by vision.
So that night I dreamed I was amongst serpents and vipers, and the worst of venomous beasts, that I had the hardest struggles to get clear of them, so when I awaked I was in a lake of sweat from head to foot. Then I thought I had not done according to the will of God. I continued in that state, with my harp hanged upon the willows, could not sing one note for a thousand worlds for all so much delight I took in it in times past, keep it all this time to myself, so that I got myself into such wilderness state that I could hardly tell if I was in the favour of God or not.
But I think it was to the end about fourteen days I opened my mind to Mrs. Snow, who said,' By your own account your wife had good morals, and she had also the preachers and people to pray and instruct her; I have a good hope she is gone happy. Nevertheless, whether or not, you must leave that to God, it is a business you must have nothing at all to do with; and if you continue to go on in this way, I am in doubt as you are in danger to lose all your Religion. So we kneeled down and she prayed for me, and immediately I went to a prayer meeting. The first hymn was,
My God, the spring of all my joy,
The life of my delights, etc.
I sung with a loud voice but with a wet face, so that the temptation left me. Glory be to God for dear friends, etc. So I went on as before, some times happy and other times in doubts and fears, but still getting a little strength.
I think it was about this time that I left of drinking water, and I think it was in the beginning of September I concluded in my mind to quit the town and go to Baltimore; and as there was a ship bound there I spoke for a passage, and got most things ready for the voyage. But oh! what a trial it was to me to think of leaving of my New York friends. There the Lord had helped me in such abundant manner, and then to go 600 miles from there to a place and people I knew nothing of.
I begun to reason as before with the enemy of my soul ` Surely at last I shall become a castaway, surely Is hall be stripped of all my Religion!' I suppose no man can conceive the misery I felt in my own mind for the course of about ten or twelve days; I have thought since that I never had a greater trial. But to 'the end of this time one night I went to preaching, where Mr. Asbery, (Francis Asbury. He was sent to America by John Wesley in 1771, and was elected joint Superintendent with Dr. Coke at the Conference held at Baltimore in 1784. He was the only English preacher who remained in America during the War of Independence) with his great loud voice, gave out this hymn -
Tho' troubles assail and dangers afright,
If friends all should fail and foes all unite,
Yet one thing assures us, what ever betide,
I trust in all dangers the Lord will provide,
(This is one of the ' Olney ' hymns by Cowper and Newton.)
I never heard that hymn before, and as he went on I was filled with such faith and love I could trust and not be afraid ; it mattered nothing to me where I went, as I believed that God would be with me. I never opened my mind to no person in the course of all this time, but I was thinking to the same day I sailed, or the day before, and that only to desire one of my friends when my money came from England to remit it unto me. But at that time, as I was so happy in God, and could trust him with both soul and body, I thought I could trust his servant also.
So I begun and opened all my mind to my Father Cooper, told him who and what I was, and how I came there, and, all my reason I had to quit the town, which was, as my right name was H. Carter, and as I hailed as H. Harry, I thought if I entered into business I must at times have business upon the wharves, amongst the shipping; and if I ever meet any person that know me I should be branded as a hypocrite, and hurt my partner and sadly wound the cause of God.
He answered and said, 'Captain, as that is the cause, I think you need not leave the place. If you think proper, I'll speak to the preachers and your leader, and appoint to meet to one of your friend's houses one afternoon, where, I think, we shall be able to settle all the business, but you must not be present.' Accordingly they meet all together, those I was most I particular acquainted with, so he opened the business.
They all joined together, and said, ' He did this when in a natural state, not meaning to wrong or defraud any man, for personal safety; and when we hear anyone call him "° Captain Harry" or " Mr. Harry," we must say his surname is Carter, as it is the custom in England where there is two Captains of one family, the one is called after his Christian name.'
So my old friend delayed no time, but soon come with this full account to me, where I rejoiced in my great deliverer. I could not then doubt but this was the Lord's doings, and it was marvellous in my eyes, so that the report soon spread about the town. But most of them, as they begun with `Captain Harry,' so continued ; and I thought, tho' their love was so great to me before, it was increased if possible tenfold more so; so then I concluded in my mind to stay, and thought to live and die there, and went on as before, watching and praying, frequently complaining of my littleness of love, weakness of faith, etc., until about the 19 of December, when I went to class meeting on the Sabbath morning.
Providence sent one there from the County of Durham, in England, whose name was Hodgson. He lately come to town in company with two excellent men from the same place, and as he being a stranger, the leader desired him to speak to the people. So he begun, saying how and when he was convinced of sin, when he was converted, and when he was sanctified unto God ; and after, exhorted all that believed to only believe and see the salvation of God, and with this language, ` all things in Christ is now ready, all the fitness he requires is to feel the need of him.' So he preached a present and full salvation unto us. Such language I never heard before with no man.
Now in the course of this time I had been there Religion was not in a very prosperous state, few convinced and very few converted unto God, but the people going on still in a steady state, so that we never heard sanctification preached, or seldom prayed for, in public, and amongst the whole of the Methodists that was there at that time, about, as well as I can remember, 260 in all, and only two persons out of the whole number that did profess and enjoy the blessing of sanctification. Father Cooper was one, and an old woman the other.
So that I thought if I could receive that blessing to the end of three or four years, I thought it would be a blessing indeed, etc. So then, after the meeting was ended, as Mr. Hodgson and me lodged in the same part of the town, went in company together. He begun to ask me who I was, etc., so that I gave him a true description of how long I had been in town, and what the Lord had done for me since I had been there. When I had done speaking, he said, ' Well, my brother, be thankful for what the Lord have done for you, and ask for more and some thing in this way, `Go on to perfection, it is the will of God, even your sanctification. Do you believe these things?'
I answered, ` I believe in the doctrine of sanctification, but I cannot believe the promise is to me.' He asked for what reason.
I said, ` I am a poor ignorant person, and it is not more than five months since I am justified, and there is a great number of excellent men and women in this town that is useful to their fellow creatures in praying in public, visiting the sick, instructing the ignorant, etc., they do not profess this blessing at all, and how can I expect it, who am good for nothing, and so unworthy and unfit for it.'
He answered, `All the fitness he requires is to feel the need of him. The promise is for you ; only believe, and see the salvation of God,' etc. So the discourse I had with him set my soul all of aflame, the blessing seemed to be nigh me. I went home and fell to my knees in prayer. I thought
I was just ready to take hold of it, but unbelief hindered me; but the hope of the blessing being so very nigh, made me rejoice in abundant manner. I was very happy all that day and the next day also, still in earnest expectation to receive the blessing. But the day following went to a prayer meeting, being on 21 December, where I meet Mr. Hodgson providentially, and after the meeting he asked me to go home to his house with him. I gladly embraced the opportunity, and after a little conversation by his fireside the Lord enabled me to believe in him for full salvation. I immediately told him, saying, ` Glory be to God, I do believe.'
So after we sung and prayed, he said, `You must go in the morning and tell your friends of what the Lord have done for you ; this blessing may not be given for your sake only, but for others also. So I parted with him, and went home, jumping,' and leaping, and praising of God. And the next morning, according to his order, I went from house to house, and told the six or seven families that I was most particular acquainted with what the Lord had done for my soul, so that we rejoiced greatly together, they firmly believed the report.
And I have thought many times since, as if I hard them says 'Now we see God have no respect of persons. This poor ignorant Englishman have been here with us only a few months, have been justified and sanctified, and surely if this blessing is to be attained too, we will never rest until we receive it.' So that the preachers and people were all in alarm. In the course of a few days there were new prayer meetings set up upon almost every quarter of the town, so that in a very little time the Chapel would scarcely hold half of the people, and the Lord begun to pour a lot of his spirit upon the people in a wonderful manner - some crying for mercy, others standing up rejoicing and praising of God that they know their sins was forgiven them; likewise others rejoicing, saying that God spake the second time, 'Be clean,' and cast out all their inbred sin ; and oh, what a glorious work was there.
I know one of my friends going home from a prayer meeting one night, about two or three o'clock in the morning, called to another friend's house, knocked him out of bed, and told him that God cleansed him from all unrighteousness. They both joined in prayer, and they wrasled with God until the other experienced the same blessing also. So that with the noise and bustle of the people the world seemed as it were turned upside down. The Calvinests, Baptists, Universalists, Quakers, with the people of the Establish Church, all seemed to rise up in arms against it.
Some said the devil was amongst the Methodists, some one thing, some another; but the work continued to go on in a glorious manner, so that in the course of about two or three months the society increased from about 260 to more than 500. It was then good times indeed, praise be to God. I have had the pleasure to see many revivals since, but I think I never saw greater heroes for the work then my dear friends in New York; and I think the people there then was something like the primitive Christians, going from house to house in fellowship one with another, declaring the wonderful works of God.
Well, then, I am now going to return to myself. I think it was in the beginning of January, in 1790, when there was a meeting set up called the `Select Bands,' meant for those that was sanctified, and those believers that was pressing hard after it might join if they pleased. So I think there was about twenty that profess sanctification joined, and about ten more that was crying after it. I think that was a lesson indeed, to hear so many sensible men and women to stand up to tell of their experience from the beginning to the present, and I never was a greater wonder to myself than to be permitted amongst such people, as I was the youngest in the way and the most ignorant of them all. So I still continued in all the ordinances, using not less secret prayer than when I begun to seek the Lord, my soul most times in a blaze of prayer.
I think it was in about the middle of January when I went one morning to the preacher's house in company with Mr. Coopar, where there was several of the leaders, consulting where they should hold prayer meetings, and how they should carry them on. I went home to my lodgings, and seating by the fire I begun first to reason, saying, `Everyone is employed, all have some thing to do excepting me, and I am good for nothing, no use to society, but as a dead dog in the way.
Well, then, as I was a long time in expectation to have remittance from home, my money being done, and being in debt about 38 shillings for my board, I said to my creditor, `I have gave up all hope of having any money from home, I mused begin to work about something, but what or where I know not. If I work in town the people will brand me for a deceiver, as I have said I have some property and sent home for some, so I fear it would much hurt the cause of Christ. I should be glad to have your advice in the case.'
He answered, `What you owes me is but a trifle, you need not go anywhere to work on my account. You are welcome to stay a month or two longer, perhaps your money will come ; and if not, do not make yourself uneasy about it.' But, however, my friend Hodgson about that time went upon Long Island to live, so that I spoke to him for lodgings and went with him, thinking I should be out of the way of censure. So the 15 of June I carried my little sea bed there, and laid it in one corner of his room as he had neither bedstead for me so the next morning, being 13th, went to work to a farmer about a mile and half from the little town where I lived, and was sent to the field to hoe Indian corn in company with a Negro. The work was very strange unto me, but soon after begun fell into discourse with him, and I rejoiced to hear he belonged to New York society. We worked the forenoon in the field together, where I was pleased and profited with his conversation; the afternoon being hard rain, we worked shifting of straw, etc., in the barn, when come the farmer, as I could not mow hay, etc., paid me my wages, and directed me in my way home to a cousin of his, whom I called upon, and he told me to come the next morning.
Accordingly I did so, who sent me in a field to do the same work, when about seven or eight o'clock I was joined with a man to work with me, who was part owner of the field. I worked until breakfast time, when I was called in to breakfast. I could eat nothing, but drink a little milk, the same to dinner. The man that worked with me, as he could do much more work than me, desired me not to work to hard, but by three or four o'clock the blood was running between my fingers, and my body so weak, all most ready to drop down. The man that was with me asked me no questions concerning who or what was, but a little before we left work went to a public house and brought me a little rum and water, and desired me to drink again and again. I gladly took a very little of it, and should have taken more, but I thought, as he know me to be a Methodist, he did it in order to trap me; but I saw after the man had no such desire, so I gladly received it with thankfulness both to God and him. So I went home rambling, with a tired body, as one that was much intoxicated.
The next morning went to the same place again, but wore gloves to hide my bleeding hands ; and as their hours was from about sun rising, and stop a little to breakfast and dinner, and work until sun set, and as my body was wasted and weakened before with much fasting and abstinence, and had hardly dirtied my finger scarcely for nearly twenty years before, my body was almost ready to crush under the burden. Oh, what a change was this indeed!
And as I used before to pray not less than twelve times in a day in secret, I had no opportunity at that time but a few minutes before I went to work, and find a little house or some bye corner to breakfast and dinner; and when I got home in the evening, where the family was almost ready to go to bed. But I can really say, to the glory of God, I never was so happy in all my life as I was at that time.
So I stayed there two or three days to finish that job, and after put in a field to work to myself some distance from the house, and further from my home, where my employer told me, `You may lodge here if you will.' I gladly accepted the offer, and the first night I was took into a room in one end of the farm house and showed my bed, where there was an old Negro woman, and a little black boy with her. I looked at my bed, the room, and my company, and I think I never saw a meaner bed in all the course of my life. Stripped off my clothes and turned in, in full expectation that they was going to sleep with me, as I saw no other bed or place else for them. But whilst I was thinking of this, I saw there in one corner of the room a little ladder, where they both went up together.
I was there, I think, three or four days in that field to myself, and I think it was the second day, about eleven o'clock, I stood in the field and leaned upon my hoe, and could not tell whether I should drop down under my burthen or stand any longer, the sun almost over my head, the wind very little, and took hardly anything to sustain nature. And I worked harder than perhaps I was required to, and that for two reasons the one for fear that they should know I was a broken gentleman, and if known, I should not have work to do. The other, I must do justice unto my employer.
Whilst I was thus at a stand, calling to the Lord for help, I saw a light shone brighter then the light of the sun, that filled me with such faith and love, I went on again like a giant refreshed with new wine, praising and blessing of God. Oh, what happy times I had every moment. After I had done the field, he had no work more for me, so I returned home and got work a day or two in a place.
I kept all what I felt to myself, no murmuring, no complaining; but when my dear friends in New York come to hear of it, they agreed together to contribute to my maintenance, and take me off from there, and sent me word to be home one day, as they were coming to see me. Accordingly the day came, when six or seven women come according to promise, and after some conversation opened their business, but in a very feeling manner. I thanked them, and said, °I surely am not too good to work; I have read of some that have worked for their own bread that I am unworthy to wipe their shoes or snuff their candle.' So we passed the afternoon together in singing and praying. I saw them to the boat, where they made me promise not to fail to come to see them every Sunday, and, if possible, Saturday night.
After three or four days, working a day in a place, I went to work with a farmer near the place I worked before, where I went to hoe Indian corn with five or six Negro slaves. They behaved unto me very civil indeed, desired me not to work too hard; and as the poorest workman amongst them could far out do me and do my best, but one or other always helped me on, so that I kept close up with them. I was, as well as I can remember, with them six or seven days, and that time slept in a hay loft.'
My suffering was not all over as yet; I could eat very little, and in the morning, when I went to work, almost so sore and so tired as in the evening ; and I could hardly say I could sleep at all, at times just forget myself only.
All this time neither master nor any man ever asked me who or what I was, they only know I was an English man. They all treated me very civilly, and when they had done with me they would ask me my demands. My answer was, `What you please'; so they always gave me the same as another common labourer.
About this time I was asked to go with a mason to repair a mill dam; it was to be repaired with turf, and: I had a small flat bottom boat to carry the turf across the pool. So I went with him upon this conditions, if I could do the work, to give me what he pleased. I expected at first he was to be always with me, but just showed me my work and left me to myself, only some times come to see me, once in the course of two or three days.
I then lodged and boarded myself to friend Hodgson's. The place was in a valley, in boggy ground, and the weather very hot, that the sweat would run over me in large drops, as if any person was heaving water upon me. I think I went to work about sun rising in the morning, I suppose about five o'clock, stop about half hour to breakfast, only an hour to dinner, and then work until sun set, I suppose about seven. My breakfast and dinner was a piece of bread I carried with me, and I went to a farm house for a little milk. When my employer come to see me, he would most times bring with him a little rum and a cup, and as there was a well close by,
`Come,' said he, `rest yourself a little; let us go and have a drink together.' What a change indeed was worked upon me; before time, when I was, as it were, a gentleman, I could not touch a dram before dinner upon any account. But then how glad and how thankful I was to receive it. But after the first fortnight or three weeks my bones was become a little more hardened, my sufferings was not altogether so much, and I have thought many a times when my sufferings was to the greatest, that if it was the will of Providence I would gladly continue in the same all the days of my life. So every Sabbath day I went to New York to see my friends in the morning and return back again in the evening.
I think it was in the later end of July when Mr. Dawson, one of them English men I before mentioned that came from the County of Durham, came over to inform me that if I would go home there was a vessel that would be ready in the course of a week's time, and he was going to England. I thanked him and went to New York, and asked the advice of my friends. They all, as the voice of one man, said, `Surely this is the Lord's doing; go, the Lord will be with you. We believe that it will not be in the power of man to hurt you, but you must not think it strange if you receive strong trials from the Captain.'
The Captain was an English man that come there from the West Indies, and had been in town for, I suppose, six or seven weeks ; a man that did profess Religion, and did at times stand up in public as a preacher, but of Calvinist principles. And as I know him before, I went and asked him for a passage, then fully believing it was my duty, and I thought I could trust the Lord with my both soul and body. So he was quite agreeable, and then, as I was not acquainted with the man, opened all my mind unto him, notwithstanding for all the hints I had concerning him before.
So he asked me if I was a navigator, and if I could work, etc. I answered I had my quadrant and books with me. So I agreed with him to be landed in Mounts Bay, or close to the East of the Lizard Point, and then returned back to Long Island, and told my employer I was going at home. He desired me to stay a few days longer with him to finish the job, to which I consented. And I think about the 3 or 4 of August, when we settled our accounts, he paid me very handsomely. I returned to New York. I paid off all my debts and bought myself several little seafaring clothes for the voyage, and I think I had four pence in coppers left. Well, then, here was a change in deed from such hard labour to ease again.
So I stayed there with my dear friends, going from house to house as before. I think I was always rejoicing and praising of God, and still using the same self-denial by abstaining from food as before time, and not only then, but also when I was to my hardest labour. I staid there until the 13 August, when took breakfast with my old and first friend the glazier, and after breakfast he took a dollar out of his pocket and said, ' I insist on you to accept of it.' I thanked him, and I took it, so went on board, and that day got to an anchor in Sandyhook, and the next morning sailed for England with a fair wind and fair weather.
The vessel was a small sloop about 60 tons, bought by the Captain then in New York, but the papers drawn in the mate's name, under cover him being an American. The cargo was coopers' timber, and the whole crew was the Captain, mate, two boys, Mr. Dawson, and myself. I kept one watch with the biggest boy, I suppose about 16 or 17 years old ; and the mate kept the other watch with the other boy, I suppose about 13 or 14 year old.
We was not more then a day or two at sea until Satan begun to rage and roar. The Captain set his face against me. Try my best I could do nothing to please him. He pretended to know all things, but did hardly know anything of the sea or business.
Then I thought of what I was told by my friends in New York, so that I was not the least disappointed. I acted in the capacity of steward and as cabin boy, to bring all things to his hand as a gentleman, and if there were anything short I stayed without it ; so that I had plenty to do to try to please him, besides keep my regular watch on deck night and day.
We had a fair wind until we came upon the banks of Newfoundland. Then the wind took us ahead and blow fresh for a little time. The vessel made some water upon one tack; he said, ° We will bear up for Boston.' I think, for all he was a professor of Religion, I never saw a man more afraid of his life in all my life. I thought that if we put in to Boston I never should fetch home in that vessel. I opposed him, and said, ` There is no danger, I will engage to keep the pump in my watch.'
Mr. Dawson said, ` I will keep it in the other,' tho' he know nothing of the sea. The mate then joined us, and amongst us all gained our point, so that soon after we had a fair wind again.
We had most times public prayers in the morning, some times Mr. Dawson and some times him, but still continued with his face set against me, and poor Mr. Dawson dare not speak one word in my favour, as he was full so much afraid of him as I was. And the two poor boys, I think in the hardness of my times it never was in my power to treat two dogs as he treated them. So one day, after we come in to soundings, I said, `The Land's End bears so and so, it is time for you to alter your course if you land me there.' So as he pretended to keep a reckoning he said to the contrary, but never let us see his journal, the mate and me, within two or three miles of each other, (i.e., in their reckoning as to the position of the vessel.) so that I thought he had no mind to land me in the Mounts Bay, according to promise, the weather being fair. Saw a sail, and as it was not the first time by many, said to me, as I had the helm, `Bear down to speak with him.' I did so.
He said, `Keep her so and so.'
I said, `Sir, if you keep her so, you never will speak with him.'
He begun to belch out, `What is that to thee? I say keep her so.' So as I had given up all hope of being landed there, I thought it was time to take a little courage.
I left go the helm and said, `Keep her so your self, if you please,' and I immediately went below and turned in, in my cabin. In the course of a little time he came down and said some thing to me in a very surly manner.
I answered, `Sir, you have not behaved unto me as a man since I have been with you. I have answered every end I engaged with you for, and much more so, and now I see you are entirely off your word with me, as you know you was to land me in the Mounts Bay, or a little to the East of the Lizard.'
He begun to bale out, 'Thou dost profess the spirit of Christ, but thou haste the spirit of the devil,' and so on in a great rage, my poor friend Dawson present fearing and trembling but dare not speak one word ; and I have thought that good man suffered during the voyage much more on my account than I did myself. So I did not render railing for railing, said nothing, or very little more.
This was in the evening, and in the course of about half hour after, when he come to himself, he came to me and said in a very good humour, ` I should be glad if you would turn out and come on deck, I wants to speak with you.' So he took me forward on the bow out of the sight and hearing of any person, and said something to this purpose : ` I hope you'll think nothing of all that is past, and I am going to tell you why I cannot be to my word with you to land you in the Mounts Bay. I served my time to a hatter in London, and as there was a brig there laden with hats and other goods, I took her away under the pretence of being supercargo, etc., unknown to the owners. I sold the vessel and cargo in the West Indies, bought the sloop you see me come to New York in, sold that sloop there, and bought what we are in at present. I told you and others I was bound to London, but I meant to go to Dunkirk and send for my wife to London. I mean to sell my cargo and then to return to New York again, for if I am known in any part of England I shall be apprehended and hanged. So now let me beg you to keep it a secret. And I have the favour likewise, as you know there is no draft for the Channel on board, I knows nothing of the Channel,
and the mate quite unacquainted, let me beg you to do your best to get the vessel to Dunkirk.'
I answered, `I will do every thing in my power,' etc. These was the tenor of our discourse, etc. So that when he had finished, I thought I was almost lost in wonder and astonishment. I thought my case was bad, but his ten thousands times worse. So I turned to work again with a willing mind, knowing nothing should happen unto me against the knowledge of God, neither without his permission, and I believed all things should work together for my good, and so went on my way, rejoicing and praising of God.
The weather still very fair and a fair wind. The next morning saw the Start Point, and so made the best of our way up Channel. When came a little to the west of Folkestone Mr. Dawson was put onshore, to go to London in order to fetch the captain's wife to him to Dunkirk, and soon after fell in with a fleet of West Indiamen, with several cutters and frigates, with their boats out, bring them to, to press their men, as at that time there was a little quarrel between the Spaniards and English.
We passed through them all with our American colours set, expecting to be brought to every moment; and as I was the only Englishman onboard, the Captain advised me to hide myself in the bread locker. But I thought, if they had come on board and found me, I must be gone; so I thought if it was the will of Providence that I should be pressed, let his will be done; and I thought if they should come on board and ask me if I was an Englishman, I should say nothing to the contrary. That if I was stationed on the tops, or anywhere else, God would be with me, and all things should work together for my good.
The same day, about three or four o'clock, got close in to Calais, where we took a pilot for Dunkirk the same evening, on the 16 September in 1790. And as we went up the harbour I saw in a brig's stern, I think, the 'Bettsey, Truro.' I thought if there was any place called by that name out of Cornwall, but the next day, as the Captain and I was so great he could then not go onshore without me, neither eat nor drink without me, I was then with him as it were all and in all. It was a great change indeed, whether through fear or love I know not.
So the next day I, as a complement, asked him to go on board with me to see what the brig was. So it proved to be from Truro, from Petersborg laden with hemp and iron, there wind bound, and bound to Daniel's Point (on the Fal) the first fair wind and as I did not want to make myself known unto him as an Englishman, I thought I would let him know that I know some gentlemen at Falmouth, and after a little discourse some in Penzance; so after a while, he naming of one and another until he come home to our family, and added, `Poor fellows, they have had a great many and very great misfortunes of late years. Harry, poor fellow, lost a valuable lugger, with a valuable cargo, and was obliged to leave his Country, being taken with some man-of-war's boat. I saw him in Leghorn, dined and supped with him, and from there he went to America. I have not heard anything concerning him since; whether he is dead or alive, I know not, poor fellow.'
So at last I said, 'I am the man, and I desire the favour of you to give me a passage home.'
He stared like a man frightened, and said, 'I never saw such change on any man in my life, and I had no more knowledge of you no more then if I never saw you. Anything in my power I will gladly do for you. Do you want money, or anything else ? You'1 make free with me. I am sorry I cannot take you to sleep with me, as the cabin is full of hemp, etc. Be not afraid of being pressed, as all my men is protected, but you shall not be pressed unless they press me also.'
Here I was lost in wonder, love, and praise, seeing how I was preserved the day before from a man-of-war, and I looked upon this as if the Lord had worked a miracle t to send the brig there as if it was on purpose for me.
The Captain used that trade for some time, but never put into any harbour in France before, but now struck upon a sand bank, and put in there to be repaired, as he had received some damage, etc. Well, then, I could but only wonder and adore the goodness of God, surely his paths is in the deep and his ways past finding out. So then I returned again to my little sloop. I stayed in Dunkirk eleven days, then sailed for England, arrived at Daniel's Point on the 1 October. The same night, about nine o'clock, arrived home to Kenneggy, (near Prussia Cover) to Br. Charles's.
So I was received as one risen from the dead, as they know nothing of my coming home, neither had heard from me for about twelve months. So after a little I related what cause I had to come, and after I had settled my business I was minding' to return to New York again. He said, `I will send for our brothers in the morning, and perhaps we may find something otherwise.'
So early in the morning they come, and said, 'If you go to America again we shall never see you more; we think you may stay at home in safety, there is no person will meddle with you, but we advise you first to go about this neighbourhood as public as you please, where you are well known, but shun the towns, and after a few days there will no person take notice of you.
I very gladly consented to what they said, this being on Saturday. First went to the King's Cove to see the Cove boys, although I was not more than about two years from them, not one of them know me until they heard me speak. The next morning being the Sabbath, went to Trevean (a small village, about a mile from Prussia Cove.) to preaching, where I had a blessed time indeed.
After preaching I was surrounded with almost all the congregation. Every one glad to see me, but in particular the Methodists, as they heard before that there was a change of mind passed upon me. This made me to wonder and adore the goodness of God unto me, as I did not expect to see any person when I came home but only my own family. This was a wonder indeed to think I was once more returned to my native country, amongst my own family, friends, and the people of God.
Well, then, after attending the preaching and meetings a few times was desired to give out a hymn and speak in prayer, but at first I refused, as I did not exercise in that way before I come home, only at times I was sent to visit the sick with Father Cooper when he could not attend himself. So I refused, but after suffered great pain of mind, so that at last I took up the cross with much fear and trembling, and immediately went about like a town crier, telling the people what the Lord had done for my soul.
See what a change was here taken place ; a little while before labouring in the fields with the poor Negroes, and used like a slave, and looked upon with contempt on the greatest part of my passage home; so now I had nothing to do with the world, all things was provided for me, so that in a little time the congregation begin to increase greatly, and prayer meetings set on in many different places; so, as far as I can remember, in the course of eight or nine weeks there was a great number of men, women, and children converted. Our meeting seem to be all in confusion, some praying, some singing, some crying, some praising and blessing of God. We have staid in the house some times from twelve until three o'clock in the morning. My heart at that time, with every power of my soul, was fully engaged in the work ; one time in particular, I trust I shall never for get it, in prayer in the after meeting, I think Mr. Wacktings was the preacher, whether in the body or out of the body I could hardly tell.
It was just the same as it was in New York, and carried on in the same manner. At the first some of the old members would not owned it to be of God, as it was so much out of the common way, whilst many others put their shoulders to the work, and, praise be to God, about this time I do remember my soul through mercy was got just in the same tune as it was in New York. I declared at that time to several old members concerning my thoughts. Some would give me great encouragement, whilst other would try to drive me back.
I mentioned this, if ever this should be published, which in all probability it will not, for thou, my young Reader, to take care who to declare thy mind to, for it is not every old professor that knows most of the things of God, but in the general him who's soul is most alive to God.
So as I was but as a babe in the way, I still wanted to be taught the ways of God, and I fell in company with John Bettens, to whom I opened my mind freely. I have thought many times since I never found such faith, no, not in all the men I ever talked with. Well, then, I was not confined to Trevean house only, but I went about all through the country. But no place where I was asked where the house was not full of people, and some would not contain all the people. Surely I was a wonder to myself, and in general I found great freedom to speak to the people in my simple way. I remember once I went about eight or nine miles from home, and as I came to the door where I was expected, a young man came out and said, ' Are you Captain Harry Carter?'
I answered, ` My name is Henry Carter.'
He said, ` We have been expecting of you, for it is given out for you to preach to-night.' When I heard of the name preach, I was struck with such fear and trembling, I could not tell whether it was best to return home again or stay there. So I went in, and the good man received me very kindly, and when the time came took me to the chapel, where it was so full the people could hardly stand. Some that know nothing of preaching called it preaching, but I never presumed to take a text, but laid a little foundation as a text in disguise, so that I had room to ramble. But it was not for what I could say only that the house was so full of people, but it was like the Jews of old, came not to see Jesus only, but Lazarus also.
Where I was not known before, they heard of me, and they believed that there was a great change upon me. I think the people believed I was really what I professed to be, but many times after I had been speaking, so dejected in my own mind, wishing that I may stand up no more, for it was seldom a day passed but what I had doubts whether I was called or not, and I was much afraid to run before I was sent. And likewise the cross was so great, I have often thought if the people knew what I suffered, they never would ask me to exercise in that way at all. Oh, how I did tremble and sweat just as the time were come. Well, then, still the work of God continued to go on in Trevean society, and lively meetings all through this neighbourhood.
I think it was in February, in 1791, or a little before, when the work in Trevean begun in some degree to ease, but still blessed times; and I think it was in the later end of March or the beginning of April I was sent for by a great man of this neighbourhood, he wanted to speak with me. Accordingly I went, and the business was as follows saying, ` I was in Helston a such a day in company with three gentlemen ' (mentioned their names); `they all ware black coats. Looking out through the window, a Methodist preacher went up street. One said, "There is a Methodist preacher." Another answered, "I wonder how Harry Carter goes about so public a preaching and Law's against him (referring to the Government reward for his capture) I wonder how he is not apprehended and taken." So I sent for you, as I fear they are brewing of mischief against you.'
'Well, sir,'said I, `what do you think I am best to do?'
He said, ` I know they cannot hurt you no further, then if you are taken you may suffer a long time in prison, and it may cost you a good deal of money, etc. I think you are better, to prevent danger, to return to America again.' This was the tenor of his advice, and added, ' If you go there I will give you, as I think he called it, a letter of recommendation from Lord , which, I think, may be very useful to you, or anything else in my power shall not be wanting.' And as the gent was well acquainted with our family, I dined with him, and he brought me about a mile in my way home, so I parted with him, fully determining in my own mind to soon see my dear friends in New York again.
So I told my brothers what the news was, and that I was meaning to take the gent's advice. They answered, `If you go to America we never shall see you no more. We are meaning to carry on a little trade in Roscoff in the brandy and gin way, and if you will go there you'll be as safe there as in America; likewise, we shall pay you for your commission, and you car on a little business for your self, if you please.'
So that with prayer and supplication I made my request known unto God. I still continued to walk in the same rigorous self denial as before, abstaining from food, etc. Well, then, with much fear and trembling I concluded to go. The greatest trial I had about going, I know there was no religious people there, and some times in fears I should be lead away into the world again. I know I was going on slippery ground, but, glory be to God, I know his grace was sufficient for me. So at the 19 of April, in 1791, I sailed in an open boat from the King's Cove, in company with a merchant that had business there, so that after fifteen hours' passage arrived there very safe, still in the same frame of mind.
I lodged at a public house, I think, two days, and as the merchant had business to Morlaix, desired me to go with him, where I staid there about ten or twelve days, and returned again back to Roscoff. I kept myself to myself as much as possible. Well, then, I went to private lodgings and ate and drunk to myself; and as I had no business to do, I was almost all the time to myself day and night, still walking in the same self denial as first. I would not allow myself but four hours in bed, so continued, as well as I think, for six or seven days, but I found I had not sleep enough, as about noon I have fallen asleep upon the book, so I added a little longer time.
I have often times since thought how dead I was then to all below. There was a house burned under the same roof where I lodged little before, and I had to go in and out right before the same house; and after I was there about a fortnight I hard some people talking about the dreadful fire, and what great lost some had sustained. I asked, `What fire?'
They said, ` Next door.' I made no other answer, for I was really ashamed; what they thought of me I know not. So after I looked, and saw most of the walls standing, but without windows and door, and the walls smoked quite black.
Well, then, I did not pray in secret less than I did before, I suppose never less than ten times in a day, and in fore and afternoon walked a little out of town in so solitary place as I could find, out of sight of all men. In general I went on the cliffs where no eye saw me, and there sing, that I may be heard for I suppose a mile distance, and pass, I think, about two hours and half fore noon and after noon in reading, praying, singing, and then return home. About this time I made a linen girdle to go about my loins inside my shirt. Tied it tight, I thought, I might be able to live upon less food and my spirit would be more vigorous in the ways of good. I continued on for, as I think, about two days, found it quite disagreeable, and so left it off I passed almost all my time to myself; in my going out and coming in I went the bye roads, because I wanted to see no person; and if I meet any person in the way, it was a great cross to me to enter in to any conversation more than just the time of the day, for fear to obstruct my communion with God. I think then I watched over all my thoughts as well as words and actions. I think there did not the least thought pass my mind unperceived ; my mind then was like a fisherman's net, I saved the good but heaved away the bad.
Well, then, I went on still in this way until I think about the beginning of August, when I went on with a little business in the shop way, and about the same time Captain B--. came there, an old acquaintance of mine, being the first Captain I sailed with, a man of what we calls good morals. I meet him one Sabbath morning as I was walking out, and after a little conversation I said, ` This is a poor place for the public worship of God; if I was at home now I should be at Trevean preaching.'
He answered, `Why don't you stand up here and say something to the people ?' So as I thought he was making game of me,
I answered, `Who will hear me?'
He said, ` I will hear you, and I suppose most of the English men in town.'
So the next Sabbath morning meet with him again on nearly the same ground. He repeated unto me nearly the same thing again, saying, ` All the English in town will gladly hear you,' or to that purpose.
So then I thought he was in earnest, and I left him with much fear and trembling, and immediately went to ask counsel from the mouth of the Lord, so that spent the remainder of that fore noon in pray and supplication, and for fear I should run before I was sent, I set this as a mark, that after diner I would go on the pier, and if I meet first a such a man, who was master of one of the vessels that was there, I should propose the matter unto him, and if agreeable, I should surely think it to be the will of God concerning me.
So about one o'clock I rose up from my knees and went on the pier, and the first man I meet with was the very same man, so with much fear and trembling I opened the business unto him of what Captain B. and I was talking of.
He readily replied, `I'll come, and I will tell all the people of it, I suppose they will all come.' So him and me proposed the time of meeting, I think it was four o'clock. So he, like a town crier, beat the alarm, and after I left him, oh, how my poor head was distracted, a such poor ignorant soul as I was to take such a thing upon me; surely I shall be a by word and reproach with the French, and a mocking and laughing stock to all the English. And another was, what can I say to the people? As when I was at home there was mourners to comfort, weak believers to build up, sanctification to impress upon the people's minds, and now only sinners, etc., to talk to. So that my poor mind was so full of distraction I could hardly tell what to do; but as I had gone so far as to propose it, I could not go from it.
Well, then, according to the time proposed, the same afternoon, in came Captain B. with I suppose about twenty or thirty, I suppose nearly all the English men in the town, took off their hats, and seat themselves down, so that I begun to tremble and sweat, I could scarcely hold the hymn book in both hands. Gave out a verse, and begun to sing myself, and praise be to God, before I sung the second verse I found life coming, and before I went to prayer the cross was all gone, so that I found very great liberty in prayer; so that when I rose from my knees I was surprised to see so many hard harts to their knees, so that I found much courage to go on in my poor simple way. I found uncommon degree of liberty, and the people all listened with the greatest attention, and after I dismissed the people with singing and prayer.
So after they were gone, I was still concerned that they would turn what I said into ridicule, and as I had a back window that I could see the greatest part of the pier, watched them, and they all went on board as quiet as Christians of the first magnitude might be expected. The Lord doth only know if there was any good done or not. So I continued for eight or nine months every night when there was Englishmen there.
I think it was in the beginning of the month of May 1792, when three of my brother's children come to life with me, Fras., Henry, and Joanna Carter, and staid with me until the beginning of September, when I was like a hermit to myself as before.
I think it was in the beginning of October when three large cutters, Captain Scott one of them, came in here wind bound from Guernsey; and as I went into the house on some business where they put up to, saw one of their sailors that did formerly sail with me. I asked him to come to my house, saying I could treat him with a glass of grog, and if them three or four men that was present would come with him, I should be glad to see them also. This was in the evening. I was not home as I think more than fifteen or twenty minutes until he came in with four or five with him, and in a few minutes after almost the house full with their three Captains.
Then I thought what they come for, and as they took me in surprise, as I had not the least thoughts to say anything, I begun to tremble and run upstairs to call for help from the Lord. I suppose I might have been there eight or ten minutes, and as I was coming down I meet one in the stairs, saying, 'If you don't come down the people will all be gone.'
So with much trembling and sweating I took the hymn book and begun to sing to myself, as I did the first time. I found great liberty in prayer, and after thundered out the tretnings, cried aloud, spar'd not. They all behaved very well, seemed to listen with great attention. So after we concluded the meeting, I asked the Captains and some of the men to seat down, so they stayed with some more of their people, I suppose more than an hour, all very serious, no laughing, no trifling conversation. They took some thing to drink, shook hands, and wished good night. Praise be to God, I was surely a wonder to myself indeed.
So the next morning him that had sailed with me before come in laughing, saying one of his shipmates told him that how could that old man know his thoughts, for he told him almost all that ever he did in his life. I think they sailed the next day, and two of them being in company in a gale of wind, one of them disappeared, and have never been heard of since.
Captain Scott showed me great kindness ever after; he sent a lugger there after to be laid up, with, I think, six or eight men on board, who ordered them to take all what they wanted of me, and likewise recommended all his friends unto me for what they wanted.
Well, then, about the later end of November, I got a passage to come home not only to see my family friends, but my spiritual friends also. I can still see, glory be to God, I was still hungering and thirsting after him. I thought before I come home, if I could be permitted to come into preaching houses, I should be very happy, but praise be to God, I had rather the right hand of fellowship given me, the preaching houses full of people where I was expected, as before. I stayed at home until 24 December, and as the war seemed to be near at hand between the French and English, embarked at Coverack, on board Captain R. Johns. I had a blessed time in company, with my dear friends there, two or three day wind bound. Arrived at Roscoff, Christmas day in the morning.
1 January 1793, oh, how short I comes in all things of what I would wish or ought to have been. There was no talk of war when I arrived there, all was quiet as when I left the place. I found my house, etc., just as I left it. I was then to myself as before, I went home like a hermit or a king blessing and praising of God. I continued to walk in the same self denial. I sent off most of my goods to Gurnsey, sold some there, and kept some, what the law would allow me to bring home, as I was promised that a vessel should be sent to bring me home. So I think February 2 there was an embargo laid on all English vessels, and war declared between both Kingdoms. (War was declared on 1 February, 1793)
I think it was in the latter end of March when I was sent to Morlaix as a prisoner, not close confined, but to appear every morning to the town house to sign my name. I was there nine or ten days, when I was ordered back to Roscoff again. Things at that time looked very gloomy, but glory be to God, I was not the least afraid of all the lions in France. I could trust both soul and body in the hands of my Redeemer, no mourning, no complaining, the language of my heart was continually, `Good is the will of the Lord, may thy will be done.'
I stayed in Roscoff nine or ten days, when I was ordered again to Morlaix in company with Mr. and Mrs. McCullock and Mr. Clansze. I think it was in the beginning of May, I was sent back again to Roscoff, Mr. M. and Mr. Clansze in Roscoff the same time, where we was all obliged to go to the town house every day to sign our names. So continued until the beginning of August, when we got a passport in order to come home. In the course of this time, whilst in Morlaix, the same as at Roscoff, went to private lodgings. Walking still in the same rigorous self denial, etc. So as there was no other way for us to come home, M. Macculloh bought a small vessel, about 40 tons, and about the seven or eight hauled the vessel out in the Sadle Rock Road, and got all things on board ready for sea, when there was orders from the town house with a corvet's armed boat, ordered us in to the pier again. And this was Providence indeed.
Our whole crew consist as follows: Mr. Macculloh was a gentleman merchant, lived in that town many years before, a man of good property, etc.; Mrs. Macculloh, two sons, one a man, the other about twelve years old, one daughter, a young lady about eighteen or twenty years old, one servant man, two servant maidens, Mr. Clansice, and myself, ten in number in all. And we concluded before, that the old gentleman and me was all the sailors, there was not one of the other eight that in no case could help themselves. The four females was sent onshore to Mr. Macculloh's house, all the rest of us kept on board with a guard of soldiers for three days and three nights, the wind blowing very hard though fair. This vessel was condemned for sea for some time before, so that in the course of three days we had time to over-haul her, and I think I may safely say that there was scores of graving pieces in her not bigger then a man's hand ; some of the timbers so rotten, that one might pick them off with one's fingers, the sails, masts, etc., in the like state. We had hard rain some part of that three days, where we were as wet below nearly as upon deck. The old gentleman have told me many times since, saying it was Providence prevented us from sailing, had we sailed then we should all be no more. You may be ready to ask, 'Why did we expose ourselves to so much danger?'
I answer, `This was the third passport, and all contradicted, and glad to get out of the mouths of the lions, as there was no other way.' So we was all sent on shore to Mr. M.'s house with a guard of soldiers to be kept at the door, and the 15 of August, 1793, all marched to St. Paul's with a guard of soldiers. I lodged and boarded in the house with Mr. and Mrs. M., where I had a good room and bed to sleep in, and a large garden to walk in.
Now, I am going to inform you of some of the devices of Satan. One evening, whilst at supper, seating by the side of Mr. M., when it was suggested to my mind the same as if one was to speak to my outward ear blasphemous thoughts against my dear friend Mr. M. At first it struck me all of alarm. Upon reflection I was shure they were not my thoughts, for at that time, and before then, I know I never loved my own father better, and after, when the guillotine begun to work, I have thought many a times, should him be condemned, I would gladly die in his stead.
So after supper I took a walk in the garden as usual, where I begun to reason, saying, `Surely if I was saved from inbred sin, I should not feel such ugly thoughts as these and then begin to doubt.' But praise be unto God, he did not leave me to doubt for barely a moment, but sent me down the Comforter, so that all doubts vanished away in a moment. So I went to seat in the summer house, and begun to sing, that I suppose that I might be heard all over the town. I suppose I shall never forget that evening whilst in time, how my poor soul was delighted in God my Saviour. Still went on in the same rigorous self denial, but I could not fast then for fear to be taken notice of with the family.
I stayed there until the 12 or 13 September, 1793, when some officers came, sent by the town house ; so after they examined us for money and papers, took us to the Town House, and after they measured our height, and asked us many foolish questions, took us to a prison called the `Retreat,' in the same town. We arrived there a little after night, were all of us showed our apartment to lodge in. I had a nice little room to myself like a king. Here was another change, but a happy one, the language of my heart was, 'Good is the will of the Lord, may Thy will be done.' Nor could I help singing that night aloud when I went into bed. We all had our permission sent from the House we lodged before, and after four or five days past, we was joined by several French gentlemen and ladies, and in about fourteen or fifteen days there was two armed horsemen sent in the prison to take Mr. and Mrs. M. from us, no person knowing where they were to be sent, but supposed they were to be sent to a small uninhabited island, a little off Brest harbour, and there to be starved to death. Oh, what tears and cries was there with their little family and many others. It was seldom I could shed tears, then I did plenty, and after dried up my tears and cheered myself up, and then went in to his room, where I found him alone packing up his clothes, etc. I sat myself down in silence I suppose for about ten minutes with out one word; whether him or me spoke first, I know not, but he said in his usual pleasant way to this purpose, 'I fear not what man can do unto me. I can trust in Providence and not be afraid,' which set my heart all on fire with love; I could give them both up unto God, surely believing I should see them again.
The remainder of the day was a solemn day unto me indeed, but a day of mourning through the whole house; after this there did seldom a day pass but what some Gentlemen and Ladies was brought to join us, and in the beginning of November 1793 the lady I boarded with and some of her family was brought to us.
I used set times for reading, praying, walking, and thinking, as I did before when I was at liberty, and kept almost all the time to myself; I went to bed about ten or half past, and got up as soon as I could see daylight in the morning; and as the weather begun to alter, just to run in the garden about half hour in the fore noon, and the same in the after noon. At first the people thought I was either a natural fool or else mad, but my friend Clansie gave them an account of what kind of being I was. About this time I had word brought me, that all my goods I left in Roscoff was condemned and sold, I suppose they might have been to the amount of £40. I rejoiced with great joy when I heard of it, saying the Lord's will be done, knowing all things should work together for good. It appears clearly to me since that my will was wholly swallowed up in the will of God; I think I was then surely so dead to this world as ever I shall be.
Well, then, as the people begin to increase more and more every day, Mr. Clansice came with me in my little room. At first it was a great cross to me, but soon after, the oftener I saw him the better, far better I liked him, he acted like a father, a brother, my tutor, my servant. Glory be to God for such dear friends. He was a young gentleman merchant, a man of great natural abilities, and I suppose brought up in the first schools in Christendom. I knew his father and him from a child before, but was little acquainted with him before we became poisoners together, and I have thought many times since that there was not in the whole world two such men as Mr. M. and he.
About the 3 or 4 of December 1793 a guard of soldiers came into the prison and took with them my dear friend C., Mr. T. Maccull, with a great number of French gentlemen and ladies, so there was none of my family left, but Miss M., her dear little brother, and the two servant maidens. I think such a scene as that I never saw in all my life. I suppose there was not one dry face in all the house, either with men or women. There was not one person that know where they were to be sent to, but supposed they were all to be sent upon the same Island with Mr. and Mrs. M., and there to be starved to death. This was a day of mourning and lamentation indeed. I do not know that I shed one tear, though it was a solemn day with me, still the language of my heart was, `Good is the will of the Lord, may the Lord's will be done.' But the trial was so great, the same as tearing the flesh from the bones.
About the 6 December. 1793, when a guard of soldiers came to the prison, and took away I suppose between thirty and forty prisoners, and me one of them, where to go we knew not; but Providence interfered, and worked upon a French gentleman's mind, so that he took Miss Maccuh and her little brother, with the two maidens, to his own house, so that they had all liberty to walk the town when they pleased. This was the cause of great joy and gladness unto me. There was a few horses brought for the old and infirm to ride too, which one was put in my hands, and ordered to ride it, with a charge to keep it to myself. We had about twelve French miles to go, so we arrived to Morlaix just after night, where, to my agreeable surprise, found dear C., Mr. T. M., and some gent of Roscow, whom I knew before.
We rejoiced greatly together, and then they gave an account of Mr. and Mrs. Maccuh- ; they was put from St. Paul's to a town called Landernau, about twenty miles from St. Paul's, in to a criminal gaol, where the first night had nothing to lie on but a little short dirty straw, and without one farthing of money with them, and not one person in the town that they were acquainted with, but in the morning was visited with some gentlemen and ladies, who supplied them with a bed, and brought them provisions. So we rejoiced greatly together in telling and hearing. Here was a blessed change again to me, to once more to be with my dear family at home again.
This place we was now in was a gentleman's house, all the family thrust out and put into other prisons, and this house made a prison of. The house was not large, but it was full of people below and aloft. I slept in one room, where there was fourteen beds, and there could not find the least corner to retire to myself but a little house. At that time it was very cold, but I did not mind that. I could not stay there long to a time, disrobed with one or other, as there was sixty or seventy prisoners there. I had not one farthing of money, nor neither of our family, but the law or rule was, by the order of the Convention, for the rich to maintain the poor. So I think I was maintained by the public for two days, when my friend C. got credit for himself and me, from a tavern close by. What a great change this was again, all the day long in nothing but a discord and noise. What a mercy it was I was not drawn away by the multitude to do evil. I can see now at this moment how I improved my time, how precious every moment was, I had always my book in my pocket ready to hand if I could find any place to seat, and some times, when I could find no place to sit, stood to read.
All the people were very civil to me, and in the beginning many of them introduced their conversation; but I did not find it profitable, it served to block the mind from prayer. Though I could understand and speak French on most common subjects, I soon gave them to think I know little or nothing, so by that means I saved myself from a great deal of empty chat-chat, so by that means pass almost whole days, some times without speaking very little.
I have often heard some of the French gentlemen speaking very high things in my favour one to another, not knowing I could understand them, and I think it had always this effect to humble me as in to the dust before God and before man. I was still watching over all my thoughts with all my words and actions. I do really now believe that there did not one thought pass through my mind unperceived in all my waking moments, still living as under the immediate eye of God, walking in the broad light of his countenance from moment to moment. I had left of drinking of water from the year of 1789 in America, but there was a well close by the backdoor. I had a tumbler glass where I went some times, and filled a glass with water, and look at it again and again. Oh, how my heart would burn with love and thankfulness to God. About a week after I was there, I had a book given me by a French gentleman that spake English, called `The Sinner's Guide,' penned by a Spaniard, but translated in English. The name of the gent that gave it me was Mr. Lereu, which proved a great blessing to me indeed.
25 December, or Christmas day, 1793, Mr. T. M. and Mr. S. was taken from us, and put to a town callked Carhaix, about thirty miles from Morlaix, and there they joined Mr. and Mrs. Maccuh' ; all the rest of us was moved to another gentleman's house, a few dors off, where we had more room, etc., Mr. C. and me still left together. The first thing I always looked for first was a place to go in secret, and my friend C. would always look out for a place for himself and me to sleep in. I found a nice little place in the garret, with some old mats and other things I so inclosed, that it would just hold me to my knees, with my feet out of sight, where I might stay so long as I pleased, and no person disturb me.
This was a blessed change again. I slept in a room with ten or twelve gentlemen, went to bed at ten o'clock, got up in the morning at five, spent an hour to myself, and at six went down stairs, and sat by the fire with the old men that guarded the house. To read, etc., until about half past seven or eight, when I should retire to my little garret until nine, when I should come down, make my bed, and run or walk in a large room until ten, and then retire again to my garret until one o'clock, when I was called to dinner. After dinner, about two, I retired to my garret and stay there until half past three, come down and run in the room until four, then retire, and stay there until about seven or eight, stay down about half hour, and then pass in the garret until ten, bed time.
There was a small window in the garret about a foot square, without glass, but a leaf to shut and open, so that in the daytime could see to read by it, but at night I sat without any light, the days nearly the same length as they are in England. At that time I begun to, what I call, to examine myself, which time was from half past six until about nearly eight in the evening - about the same time that the many thousands of Methodists offered up their evening sacrifice in England - and begin first to see the many wonderful deliverances the Lord had wrought for me - how I have been preserved so many times from drowning and other dangers, then how I was convinced of sin, how I called for mercy, what trials and temptations when I was seeking the Lord, how and when I received the Comforter, what trials, temptations, when I was in a justified state, what , what fears, what joys and delights in all places I have since I know the goodness of God; how many times I prayed in secret in every place, what self denial I walked in, and to conclude, some up the whole, saying, ' Lord, how is it with me now; am I growing in grace or losing of ground?' This garret was very cold indeed to the body, so that my hands was swollen very large with chilblains, sitting so many hours in the cold without fire.
In January 1794, about the beginning of the year, Mr. C. got me to sleep with him in his little room with one French gent. This was again a comfortable change ; there we was together again, like to great kings. About the later end of this month, I was desired by C. to speak to about twenty women called nuns, being prisoners in the same house. I went with fear and trembling. They received me in a very pleasant manner, drew a chair, l asked me to seat down. One of them, an old lady, the mother Confessor, asked me, was I ever baptised. I answered, `Yes.'
`In what manner?' I answered, `I was marked with the sign of the Cross in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' I saw some thing very peasant upon all their countenance, as it was the same way they themselves was baptised. They asked me a number of many foolish questions, that I was obliged to muster all the little French I could rise, as I could understand and speak any thing about the common things of this life far better than the spiritual things, having no person to converse with about spiritual things. However, they kept me with them I suppose about half hour, still asking me questions, but at last asked me to kiss the Cross. I refused. They tried me again and again. I told them I could not, I dare not do it.
So at last I took my leave of them, and so came off rejoicing like a king. They are a loving people, and the nicest women I ever saw in France. I doubt not but many of them lives according to the light that is given them. They petted me very much, and told my friend afterward that if he could prevail upon me to turn to their Religion, I should be a good man. They thought I was earnestly crying for mercy, but was an entire stranger to the way of mercy. They always looked upon me after ward with the love of pity, and some of them was fond to converse with me, found it profitable, they after called the solitude, I spent so much time to myself.
I think it was the 11 or 12 of February 1794, I sat apart to prayer and fasting on a particular occasion for thirty hours without eating or drinking. At the 19 and 20 of the same month, I sat apart in prayer and fasting to ask of the Lord several favours for self and friends, with thanks for past mercies, forty-eight hours with out eating or drinking. Oh, what a blessed time I had.
The 19 and 20 of April, 1794, I sat apart in prayer and fasting for forty-eight hours without eating or drinking. I trust I shall ever remember these times whilst I am in time. Oh, how my poor soul was delighted in God my Saviour. To the end of this time I went to run in the room as usual, willing to know whether I was weaker or not, so that I found I could run as strong as ever I could and it was surely to me a great wonder, as I took no breakfast for about six months before then, and I took supper some times two, and some times three times a week, and my supper I suppose did not exceed two ounces of bread, without tea, water, or anything to drink, and my dinner very little. I was still supplied with dinner from the tavern. Mr. C., and about six or eight French gents, dined together. I could not keep all this a secret from my friend, so he took me to reason several times, saying, `You'll destroy the body,' and would entice me like a child to eat and always took the pains to call me to dinner.
So I thought it was reason what he said, and I thought I was going to too great extremes, so I thought for the time to come I would go without breakfast and supper as usual, and fast for thirty hours once month, for the time to come. I did not know then at that time I was thankful or humble, but even now, I know I was as less then nothing in the sight of God and all men. I know I was unworthy of the floor I walked on, and vilest of the vile in my own eyes. I never saw my short comings more clearer than I did in them days. Oh, how often I was crying out against my dryness and laziness of soul, my littleness of love, etc. Some times, when I heard the clock strike, I used to rejoice, saying, `Lord, one hour nearer to Eternity,' the same time mourn before God I did not spend it more to his glory. I think every moment of time was far more precious then fine gold.
About this time there was numbers of gent and ladies taken away to Brest that I personally know, and their heads chopped off with the guillotine with a very little notice. I don't know I ever had a doubt of my own life, but I have had many of Mr. M., and thought many times, should he be condemned to die, I would gladly die in his stead if Providence would have it. I knew he had much enemies, and why, because he was a liberal man and a man of power, and did do much good, and them he did do most good to was his greatest enemies, and it was such men as him in general suffered most. Again if he was spared, he was worth his place in creation, be helpful to others as well as his own family. As for me, 1 thought I should never be found wanting with any person in the world. I know my child at home would be taken care of, so it was a matter of very little difference to me where the body was left, knowing I had a house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.
I stayed there until the 15 June, 1794, when the house was cleared of all the prisoners, and then put to a convent a little out of town, that was made a prison, called the Carmelites, where there was about 270 men and women, the house very full of people. We arrived there about nine in the morning, and as Mr. C. and me was shifting about the house seeing for a place, standing in the room talking together, he was taken with a fit and fell as dead in my arms. Soon others came to
my assistance, and took him out in the yard as dead.
It was very seldom that I shed tears, but then I did plentifully, as I was in mind he was no more; but the language of my heart was still - nay thy will be done; come life or death, take life and all
away, good is the will of the Lord.
But praised be the Lord for ever, in the course of an hour he revived, and was put to bed, so that in the course of some time after he recovered. In the garden I sat myself under a tree and thought of Hagar's words, `Thou, God, seest me.' I had a sweet time there until I was disturbed by two young men that came to sit by me with a great merriment and ladies, and soon after the Lord provided a place for me under the stairs. It was a large stone stairs going down to a underground cellar. In the daytime I could see a small glimmering light, but never so light as to see to read.
This was a blessed place again, indeed, where I was out of sight and hearing of all men. Mr. C. got part of a room in the garret, with a young gent, whose name was Morrow. The first night I made my bed in the passage close by his door. Friend C. could not bear to see me there. The next morning him, with some young gent, got carpenter's tools and timber, turned to and divided the room in two, so took me in with him again, and there we was again together like two great kings. We could no longer have our food from the tavern, the distance being too far. The good lady that I lodged and boarded with in St.Paul's was brought to the same prison, and a young gentleman with her, her brother son, to which she had dear C. and me with her to eat. She had her provisions sent from her own house. Blessed be God for such dear Friends.
In the course of two or three days I found my strength much failed me. I had more room to walk in than I had before, and long stairs to go up and down over. Mr. C. discovered it, and took me again to reason, saying, ° You are of the earth, and the body must be fed with things of the earth; if you continue so, you'll. hurt yourself, and if you do not feel any ill effects now you surely will if you lives until you are old.'
I thought it was quite reason that he preached to me. I thought I was going too far with it, and that Satan had some hand in it; so after he watched me like a child, and if I was not present at the time of meals, he would come and fetch me, and I must go with him, he would not be denied. Praise be to God that I ever saw his face, he was always more mind full of me than he was of himself; so I continued to take breakfast for eight or nine days and then left it off again, and I usually stayed without supper twice a week. This place was again a blessed change indeed. We had a large garden to walk in, from six in the morning until seven in the evening, I suppose not less than three acres of ground, with fine gravel walks in it and some apple trees, etc., so I was like a bird left out of a cage. I suppose I had not sung aloud to be heard with men for many months before.
I was always surrounded by men, but then I used to go out with my book in my pocket, sit myself under a tree, and if I could not see any person, sing so loud, I suppose I might be heard for a mile off. Oh, how my soul would be delighted in the God of my salvation.
I remember one day, as I was sitting under a tree, three or four ladies came to me, and asked me to sing. I begged to be excused. They asked me again and again, so as I was afraid to give an offence I sung two or three verses with a loud voice. They thanked me in a very pleasant manner, and went away quite pleased. I think I spent my time to myself much the same as I did in Roscoff, before I was taken as a prisoner. I was always mindful of my little corner under the stairs. I went to bed at ten o'clock, and got up in the morning at four. All the people still full of friendship to me; but I kept myself still to my self as much as possible, without giving an offence.
There was there amongst the whole number about sixty nuns, one of whom I conversed with more then all the rest; seldom miss a day, if she saw me, but what she would have some thing to say unto me. But I had not French enough to enter into any depth of Religion, but I never heard one sound of persuasion from her to turn to her Religion. Once I remembered she asked me, saying, `Carter, did not you feel your self very sorry when you was first convinced of sin ?' or some thing to the same purpose. I was struck with wonder where she got that from. I think I may safely say she was a burning and a shining light. She had small supplies often from her father's house, and well she had it often as it was possible. It was always in her power to govern her own mind.
Every day she would give almost all she had to the poor, or to any person she thought that wanted; lived almost entirely on bread and water herself. She have often told friend C, ` Do not leave Carter want any thing, but speak to me.'
I have often thought that she would almost tear out her eyes to do me good, and I have often thought that she had not the least doubt but what I was built for a Catholic. I have thought then, the same as I think now, that if I am faithful until death, and she continued in the same way, that she and me, with many more that I saw there, shall meet at God's right hand, where we shall sing louder and sweeter that ever I sung in that garden. May the Lord grant it - She was so nice, beautiful a young lady as I think the sun could shine on, I suppose about 26 or 28 years old.
Her father was a nobleman of a large income, her mother, a sister to the great, rich Bishop of St Paul's, and him, as I have heard, for all his income, could scarcely keep a good suit of clothes about him - it was "busy all for the poor". (A common express in West Cornwall. It is a forcible way of saying that his means were fully occupied.) I think she was the picture of humility in all her deportment. I could not help to admire her, as I was in the same house, or houses, for, as I think, nearly six months.
Well, then, I continued to go on in the same manner as did before, minding the same things, and using the same language as I did in every change or place; this is the right place that God would have me be in, without one mourning thought, or the least desire to be anywhere else, good is the will of the Lord, happy still from moment to moment. It was about the later end it was impressed upon my mind to make, as there was some country men there that was doing it, and after, with prayer and supplication, I made my request known unto God, I begun to work. I went to bed still at ten, rose at three in the morning, at four went to work until nine, pass a hour in prayer under the stairs, work until half past eleven, and then dinner; after dinner pass a half hour under the stairs, and work until four, pass a half hour again in prayer, work until half past six ; at seven we had supper. The remainder of the evening spend in praying, walking, reading, thinking, etc. So as the days shortened I could read but very little, neither walk in the garden, but only on the Lord's day. But praise be unto God, he was ever with me in a powerful manner, some times when the walks was almost full of gents and ladies, pass through them all, as if almost there was no soul there but God and me only. That garden was as the garden of Eden to my soul.
Then, in the morning, I spent nearly one hour to myself, and got at work as soon as I could see, minding the same stops under the stairs, and work as long as I could see in the evening. So as the weather got colder, I got myself to work in a large room, I suppose not less than 50 feet one way, and I suppose about 30 the other; it was not finished, neither plastered nor floored; what was under foot was the ground, the top of the window just to the level of the roof; and after supper, every evening, I passed my time there until bed time. I had a stool to seat on at meals, and in the evenings sat on my stool, then to pray, etc.; some times, unless it was moonlight, stumble up against the walls, as I had no light; but praise be to God for ever, for all it was so cold, a solitary place, it was a paradise to my soul, it was some thing like a hermitage indeed. I was out of sight and hearing of all men and things.
So just about that the clock struck ten, my dear friend C. and me used to meet just at the same time in our little dark corner of our lodging room as cheerful as two kings.
I think it was in the middle of December 1794, the good lady and her brother's son was removed from us and put to St. Paul's, into the prison that I was first put in. It was a day of mourning and lamentation with her, indeed, to leave her two children behind her, and it was a time of trial to me likewise, as she was nearly so natural as a mother.
But still the language of my heart was as usual - good is the will of the Lord. She took care to send us our provisions from her own house, so still dear C. and me was together like . About this time I had an account that Mr. and Mrs. Maccullock was liberated out of prison, and they and all their family were then at Mr. Diot's, in Morlaix. It was a day of rejoicing to me, indeed, to think that the Lord was so gracious to bring us so near together again. And in the course of a few weeks they had liberty to come to see dear C. and me in prison. We surely had a happy meeting together, as we had not seen each other for about fifteen months ; they received me as their own child, and I them as my father and mother. Praise God for so many dear friends. (Robespierre was executed on 28th July, 1794. Soon after his death the Convention decreed that ` Prisoners and other persons under accusation should have a right to demand some " Writ of accusation," and see clearly what they were accused' - Carlyle : French Revolution, Book vii. ch. i. This Decree was followed by the release of great numbers of 'Suspect' and other prisoners.)
About the 10 January 1795, Mr. Diot sent for me to come to dine with him. I went with much fear and trembling, as it was ever a great cross to me to be with my great superiors, and so in every place I moved at a solemn awe of the presence of God resting upon me with a fear to offend him. There I meet with Mr. and Mrs. M., with all their loving family, and through the tender mercy of God, after all our trials and sufferings, being separated to nearly sixteen months from each other, escaped, through mercy, all the lions in France, not one hair of our heads diminished. We staid there until evening, when Mr. Diot said,' I will in the course of a few days get you out of prison and you shall both come to live at my house.'
We thanked him, wished good night, arid arrived at home with our guard about seven. So the 23 January 1795, in the morning, we was both liberated. I went to Mr. Diot's, Mr. C. went with Mr. Morrow in the same town. Still provisions at that time very scarce to be had, the inhabitants of the town had all their provisions served out every day according to their family. Without we had money we should not be able to get board on any account. I was received into that family as a king, treated as if I had been a noble-man, and being the last stranger was placed at the head of the table, where I begged to be excused again and again, but could not prevail.
But to the end of six or seven days I shifted to the other end, where I thought I was more in my place. I thought it then, as I have many times since, a piece of bread behind the kitchen door was more suitable for me. Praise be to God, here was a change again indeed. I eat most times my three meals, then for fear to be noticed, I always eat sparingly. I think I can say I always rose up with a sharper appetite then I had when I sat down. I lodged in a large house to myself next door to Mr. Diot's, where I had no person to disturb me day nor night.
This was a blessed change again, it was just the place I would wish to be in. I was there about two or three weeks, when I saw some things wanting to be done about two vessels that was laid up before my door, belonging to Mr. Diot. I spoke of it to Mr. Peter Diot, and went to work, and when the season served, I washed the decks morning and evening; and as I had a chest of carpenter's tools in the same room with me, made boats' oars, rudders, painted names in the stern of the small boats, etc.; that I was mostly employed all the week. But my work not hard, as I was my own master, and I did it all voluntary. And on the Sabbath day I went out of town every morning and afternoon when the weather was fair in some solitary place to read, pray, sing, and think, as I did in other places.
I think it was about the middle of March 1795, Mr. M. was taken sick with fever and agues, and in the beginning of May 1795 went away with all his family, leaving only the two maidens and me behind him. It was the 10 or 12 of June that I went to St. Paul's and Roscoff to see my old friends, where I was received like a king, and by some people I never had but very little acquaintance with. I had my time to my self as usual, only at meals. I found the same solitary place as before, where I was brought to examine myself whether I was growing in grace or not so I had a blessed time.
I returned back again to Morlaix about the 26 or 27 June, 1795, like a giant refreshed with new wine. There I was received again with that loving family with the greatest affection. Praise be unto God for so many dear friends. It was nearly about this time I went with about a half a score men to put a boat of Mr. Diot's in a large building that was before a tobacco manufactory in the shade, and after I had got the boat to the place I wanted, I went from the people to get a corner to myself to pray, and looking about I saw a large scales and weights close by me.
I thought as no person saw me I would weigh myself, and all the weight my weight was 6 scores and 15 pound (1 score= 20lb) . I was set to wonder where all my weight was gone, as I did for many years before way 10 score, and when I came home I tried un a waistcoat that I had not worn for several years before, and I found it too big for me, may be upon the round nine inches, and I never know in all these years no not one single day of sickness. I think it was the 10 July, 1795, Captain --- the Captain of a frigate that was taken, and Mr. Moress of the ` Elazander' man-of-war, came to Horlaix in order to get a passage to England in a vessel, -- who dined and supped at Mr. Diot's. They made very free with me all the same as if I was their equal, and one day, by a friend, desired me to call at their lodging, they wanted to speak with me. I went with fear and trembling, and the business was as follows.
They said, `Mr. C., we have been talking about you, as you have been here so long a prisoner, wearing your old clothes out, your time passing away, earning nothing. We think you may go with us in safety. Put your clothes on board the evening before we sail, get on board in the night, you'll never be inquired after, neither found wanting.'
I answered to this purpose 'Gentlemen, I thank you kindly, but first you'll give me leave to inform you I was brought out of prison upon Mr. Diot's interest, tho' he never signed any paper, neither gave his word that I should continue in the country. Notwithstanding that, in these critical times, if I was to go without his leave, he might be called to an account for it afterwards. If you will be so good as to ask Mr. Diot, and with his leave, I will gladly go with you.'
They commended me very much, and said the first opportunity they would ask him, and I should know of them again. In the course of two or three days I waited on them again. Mr. Morress said to me, 'Well, Mr. C., we have opened your case to Mr. Diot. Mrs.-- , him long with you; he is a great fool to stop here so long as he have, I wonder how he have not gone long before now. But Mr. D. said you was best to stay a little longer,' and added, ` Mr. C., providence has preserved and provided for you in a merciful manner, so I would advise you to wait with patience, and you
will be delivered in God's due time.'
I thanked them and took my leave of them, wondering where that should come from, for it was the words of a spiritual man. I went in one of my solitary corners and there sung, and blessed and praised God. I can almost feel at this moment how happy and thankful I was, so well and contented equally to stay as to go ; and if it was the will of God, I should stay there all my lifetime, still, good is the will of the Lord, may His will be done.
So I continued to my work about the boats and vessels as before, walking in the same self-denial, until the 6 or 7 of August, 1795, when, unexpected, on Saturday received a letter from Mr. M to meet him at St. Paul's next Monday, that he had obtained a passport for himself, family, and me to go to England, and Mr. Clansee was then at Brest, who had then got a neutral ship to take us home.
Well, then, this was a great as well as unexpected news, and many times before then thought that I should be very glad and thankful if I ever lived to see such change. But it answered the same effect as every' other change I passed through, a fear I should meet with anything that should obstruct my communion with the Lord, and this is my meaning when you read of any case before, when I said I went in fear and trembling. So that on Monday morning I set out for St. Paul's in C°. with Mrs. Diot and her two little children and two servants riding in a coach, and me on horseback, where we arrived at St. Paul's at ten in the morning, and there joined Mr. and Mrs. M. and their loving family.
We stayed there until Tuesday morning with my dear old friend and Mother, Madam Esel le Pleary, and set out for Landernau in company with the two maidens. We arrived at Landernau about three in the after noon. Wednesday morning breakfast with my two old friends, Mr. and MadElel Renard, and old gent. and young lady, who was his daughter. We was many months prisoners together, but then all liberated, and they in their own house. Same morning took a boat, and at four in the afternoon arrived on board the ship in Brest harbour, where we met all the family together, the same ten of us that was stopped together through a miracle of mercy in deed, and not one hair of our heads diminished.
Praise be to God, here was another change. This ship was formerly an English frigate, then under Danish colours, and the Captain an English man. The first night I slept on the cabin floor covered with a greatcoat, then got a hammock amongst the sailors. And when more people came on board, I went between decks, being more quiet. I suppose the whole number of passengers was about fifty officers in the army and navy, where I never was in such hurry and noise yet, in all the course of my life, neither to sea nor land. I was always employed in reading, in cooking, tending my family to the table, etc.' And there was too a black boy, the servant to one of the officers, very ill most of the time, and no person to do the least thing for him but myself only. I had a quiet place between decks to lodge in and pray, so that no person disturbed me. I used the same self-denial as before.
I have been often led to wonder many times since of the goodness of God, for all they were such wild, distracted, dissipated souls, I never head the least trial from one of them, neither one of the ship's company during the whole time. I could always bring any dish of meat from the cook to the cabin to my family, and no person set the least hand on me; or if one of the others did, they was ready almost to kill one the other; and the Captain would trust me with the tea and sugar canister, but not one person else on board.
I have thought many times since about it, more than at that time through favour with God and man. We lay in Brest Roade nine days wind bound, and then got a fair wind to the Northward and westward etc. arrived at Falmouth 22 August, 1795. Arrived onshore about three o'clock in the afternoon with much fear and trembling, where I meet with my dear little Bettsy, there staying with her aunt, Mrs. Smythe, then between 8 and 9 years old.
In the evening went to prayer meeting in the great Chapel. I said something to the people, but found but little liberty. I thought the cause might have been after about three weeks exposed to so much noise and company, and for want of composure of mind, and likewise so long a time out of the habit of exercising in that way. I have thought many times since, if I was ever dead to the world and to myself, I was then in them days. It mattered but little where my lot was cast, whether in prosperity or adversity, whether sickness or health, take life or all my friends away, I could trust both soul and body, with every thing, that I had, in to the hands of my great Creator without .the least reserve.
I have thought many times since in them days, tho' I did not know it then, that I had no will, or rather, of my own, but my will was lost in the will of God. It is now brought into my remembrance as the ship lay to off Falmouth harbour, there was not boats enough to carry all the passengers and baggage at once, and I waited to the last with two more, stayed until another boat should come, the wind blowing fresh from the westward. The Captain grew very impatient, looking out for a boat, and at last said, I shall not wait only a few minutes longer, and take you with me. One of these passengers was making such a noise, almost ready to jump overboard, for fear to be carried up channel. I said to him, ` Have a little patience, we shall have a boat in little time now.'
He turned unto me in a very sulky manner, and said, `Who is like you, you are always at home, you don't care where you are carried.'
I smiled, said nothing, but rejoiced within, and said to myself, 'You are saying the truth.' And I thought if it was the will of the Lord that I should, be carried to Copenhagen, that good is the will of the Lord. So in the course of a few minutes after saw a boat coming, and so all was well again. I have thought since them days, I mean, since the day that my soul was sanctified, that there did hardly one thought pass through me unperceived in all my waking moments when I was in company talking about the things of the world, or the things of God, when in private by myself, or acting of business, my spirit, as it were, was in a continual blaze of inward prayer.
Well, then, I stayed that night at Falmouth, the next morning went to Penryn with my dear little Bettsey in my hand, to see Mr.°M ~ h and his loving family, who was then at Mrs. Scot. The next morning, on Sunday, took a horse and arrived at Breage Church town about eleven o'clock, where I meet my dear brother Frank, then in his way to Church.
As I first took him in surprise, at first I could hardly make him realise I was his brother, being nearly two years without hearing whether I was dead or alive. But when he a come to himself as it were, we rejoiced together with exceeding great joy indeed. We went to his house in Rinsey, and after dinner went to see brother John . (Who lived at Prussia Cove) We sent him word before I was coming.
But he could hardly believe it, with the voice of, 'How can these things be?' But first looking out with his glass saw me yet a great way off. Ran to meet me, fell upon my neck and said in language like this, `This is my brother that was dead, but is alive again; he was lost, but is found.' We passed the afternoon with him, and in the evening went to Keneggy to see brother Charles, where we meet with many tears of joy, and afterwards returned again to Rinsey in the evening, where we had all our conversation about Heavenly things, which was a treat indeed, after being so long silent on the subject.
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