On the journey I received intelligence of the decease of Hannah Whitaker; the account produced a strong sensation in the minds of Friends generally, who felt much for our dear afflicted friend Robert Whitaker, and for the loss which the institution at Ackworth has sustained. I have had a note from R.W., written evidently under very desponding feelings; yet he knows where alone consolation is to be sought, and I still cherish the hope that his valuable services will not be lost to the establishment in which they have been so long blessed.
We intend to meet as a Bible class on Second-day evening: our number will be small, but I hope we shall persevere. Your house and garden look much as usual; but I scarcely like to look at them, since I cannot go to spend such pleasant evenings as I used to do there. However, I believe you are in the way of your duty, and I know it would he wrong in me to repine at the loss of your company.
I trust you do not forget our poor little company in your approaches to the throne of grace. You are, I believe, the subjects of many prayers: O that the parties who offer them were more worthy!
Your affectionate friend,
This letter was endorsed by one from J.R.’s mother (the Elizabeth Rowntree whom the reader may remember as the hostess of J. and M. Yeardley on their first visit to Scarborough,) from which we extract a few lines.
The accounts I have received have often helped to cheer my drooping mind, to hear how many you have met with in various places, who could sit down with you in worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth. I have thought of the privileges many of us have had, yet I think many you have met with may make us ashamed of ourselves; and the desire of my heart has often been that we may be more deepened.
John Rowntree’s letter contained the information that Richard Cockin, of Doncaster, a Friend universally known and respected in the Society, had been physically disabled by a stroke of paralysis. R. C. himself wrote at the same time to John and Martha Yeardley, describing his affliction, which he received with childlike resignation as a message of love from a Father’s hand.
I have, he says, no expectation of getting again to meeting, and it does not appear probable I shall be able again to get down stairs. With respect to the state of my mind, it was an occasion of grateful admiration to me that such & poor unworthy creature as I felt myself to be, should be so favored as to have my will entirely subjected, as to become resignedly willing either to live or die; and, for a time, the prospect of not continuing long appeared to be most probable. I, however, felt no reliance upon anything that I had done or could do; my dependence was entirely upon the unmerited mercy of God through Jesus Christ.
THE THIRD CONTINENTAL JOURNEY.