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these parts. It was large, and one of the justices, with some other masters of negroes, attended. They spoke well of the meeting, and said they felt very free their negroes should be at such meetings, and were glad they had been there themselves; uniting with what was spoken, and wishing it might be observed.
16th. Had a large and favoured meeting at Bennett's creek, near the sea-shore: also one in the afternoon at the widow Buskin's.
Some of the people seemed rejoiced, not having much opportunity to be at Friends' meetings.
Our next meeting was at the South Branch, a very exercising season. I thought some of them desired smooth things and peace to be preached to them, and that they were too much in a state of self-wholeness. But how can there be peace, where pride and oppression abound? The slaves have to bear the burden, and many of them are oppressed, with want of proper food, clothing, &c. under taskmasters whose religion seems to be in talking. The land is barren, or nearly worn out, and their cultivation and management are poor. So that the prospect of things looks gloomy every way. It is a trying circumstance to me to see the naked bodies of slaves, and the cold weather near; while the sons of their oppressors, who live an idle life, appear so different, and their haughty daughters with their long tailed gowns trailing on the ground, look as if they might spare something to put on the naked bodies of those who wait on them.
18th. We had a small meeting near the Great Bridge, at Robert Poole’s, to satisfaction. After which, at the house where we were kindly enter
tained, I had some conversation with several gay women respecting their manner of dress. They were not acquainted with Friends, nor our principles. One thing I proposed for their consideration was, whether some of the stuffs in their trailing gown tails, and the price of superfluous ribands, might not well be spared in order to put something on the bodies of their naked little blacks. It was a solid season; though I suppose they never heard such sentiments before, and we parted friendly. Our next meeting was at a widow Britt's in Camden county, a place where there had never been a Friends' meeting held before. We also had a meeting at the widow Richardson's. The people were kind, though much unacquainted with our way, and many hearts were tendered.
24th. We attended Friends' preparative meeting at Piney Woods. I endeavoured to stir them up
to a more lively zeal for the cause and testimony of Truth. The next day was the select Quarterly meeting; in which my concern was for the right education of children and families, that becoming plainness might be observed, and that Friends might be good examples in their houses, furniture, &c. In the Quarterly meeting for discipline the day following, I also laboured, hoth amongst men and women, for their help, and hope it ended to some profit, though a low time. On first-day I was again at Little River in the morning, and in the afternoon had a meeting in the court house of Pasquotank county; at which were many people, black and white. It was a season that appeared to be generally satisfactory; many in great tenderness, signifying their unity with me and my service; and some
of them pressed me to tarry with them; but I was easy to leave them in the hand of the Lord. Next day, had a meeting at the Old Neck, and another the day after at Rich Square.
12th month 2nd. At the request of some of the Baptists, we had a large meeting in their meeting house; which was satisfactory. Next day, were at Jack Swamp; where are some solid Friends, who expressed unity with my service. We were also at their first-day meeting, which was large and mercifully favoured. We then went on through Halifax to Raleigh, about fifty miles. Here the general assembly of North Carolina were sitting. We found some Friends endeavouring to obtain an alteration of the cruel laws relative to the negroes. Having felt my mind much exercised on the subject, I was willing to join my endeavours to theirs.
7th. We attended the house of common council, and had a number of private conferences with members, who received us friendly, but seemed mostly opposed to the freedom of the black people. My great Master endued me with an innocent boldness, in which I could use much freedom of conversation with the leading men. They mostly quartered where we did, which gave me full opportunity to relieve my oppressed mind. But though the prospect seemed gloomy, yet I would not have my friends here to be discouraged; even if nothing can be done at this time for the relief of our distressed fellow-men. The cause is surely good; and I have no doubt that way will be made for their liberation; but in what manner, or how soon, must be left to the Lord.
My mind was turned towards trying for a religious meeting in this place: but after waiting awhile
to see how matters would turn respecting it, the way did not appear to open with clearness; I was therefore the more free to make use of private opportunities with the members of the legislature and others; there being now here a large number of the first rank, called gentlemen, most of thein being men in some office, civil or military. These opportunities were generally to my satisfaction, and I thought the respect they showed me was marvellous. Some of them confessed that my simple appearance, singular as it was, was instructive to them. Though their own conduct and way of living was luxurious, they allowed much might be spared, saying, I looked as well as they did, although they had great variety of roasted, baked and boiled provisions; while my liring was about half a pint of milk and as much water, morning, noon and night, without any flesh.
As we boarded at one house, we generally sat at one table. Some, at first, looked at me with astonishment; and, at length, tho' they had never seen the like, said they believed, or did not know but that it was the right way of living; yet that it would be hard for them to submit to it. At the tavern where we put up, there were about fifty boarders, all men of note; and as they had private rooms, a number of them invited me, if at any time I was weary of noise, and wished to be more retired, freely to come into their rooms and sit with them, and that they should be pleased if I would do so. All this seemed to be favourable towards furnishing me with opportunities, when my mind was so engaged, to touch on their cruel laws and the hardships to which the poor blacks were subjected in that government. I queried of them why things should be
in such a severe way here, more than in any other place I had heard of: for I had been through each of the governments eastward, as well as Maryland and Virginia, lately, and had not heard of any cruelty of the kind, sanctioned by any other legislative body on the continent. Some of them spoke of other states not having so many slaves in them, and less danger of their rising. My answer to such was, Those who so cruelly oppress the slaves, have more occasion to fear their rising. My hints to them on the subject, were in a way of plain dealing, and so well received, that many of them kindly invited me to come and see them, if I should come near their dwellings. It was unexpected to my companion and myself, that when he came to settle for our tavern expenses whilst here, the man would take no pay for my board, he was so well pleased with the visit.
9th. We left Raleigh, and after travelling about one hundred and fifty miles, reached Core Sound, near the sea-coast; where we consulted with the min. isters and elders of that monthly meeting on the subject of visiting the families thereof. The concern being united with, and two Friends agreeing to join me in the service, we proceeded, and in about four days visited fourteen families to good satisfaction.
17th. Attended their meeting, and had a comfortable and satisfactory opportunity with Friends by themselves. Here is a hopeful number of young people of both sexes, whose appearance is more in simplicity as to their dress and otherwise than in some places. The apparel of the women was mostly homespun; no black silk cloaks nor bonnets among them. I was comforted in their company, and part