Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

2014 FGC Gathering : John Woolman Quotes

Photo from Southwest Ohio Research
Event Resource
John Woolman | 11/12/13
2014 FGC Gathering Theme : Let Love Be The First Motion

"Twelfth of sixth month being the first of the week and a rainy day, we continued in our tent, and I was led to think on the nature of the exercise which hath attended me. Love was the first motion, and thence a concern arose to spend some time with the Indians, that I might feel and understand their life and the spirit they live in, if haply I might receive some instruction from them, or they might be in any degree helped forward by my following the leadings of truth among them; and as it pleased the Lord to make way for my going at a time when the troubles of war were increasing, and when, by reason of much wet weather, travelling was more difficult than usual at that season, I looked upon is as a more favorable opportunity to season my mind, and to bring me into a nearer sympathy with them. As mine eye was to the great Father of Mercies, humbly desiring to learn his will concerning me, I was made quiet and content."

From Woolman, John. The Journal of John Woolman. Vol. I, Part 2. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909–14; Bartleby.com, 2001. www.bartleby.com/1/2/ [Date of Printout 11/15/2013].

The events surrounding a later battle of the French and Indian war, which started at Fort Necessity, are mentioned by John Woolman, in the same section as he talks of love being the first motion.

“After I had been asleep a short time I was awoke by a man calling at my door, and inviting me to meet some Friends at a public-house in our town, who came from Philadelphia so late that Friends were generally gone to bed. These Friends informed me that an express had arrived the last morning from Pittsburg, and brought news that the Indians had taken a fort from the English westward, and had slain and scalped some English people near the said Pittsburg, and in divers places. Some elderly Friends in Philadelphia, knowing the time of my intending to set off, had conferred together, and thought good to inform me of these things before I left home, that I might consider them and proceed as I believed best.”

Woolman, John. The Journal of John Woolman. Vol. I, Part 2. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909–14; Bartleby.com, 2001. www.bartleby.com/1/2/. [Date of Printout 8/14/2014].