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.