Friday, 1 March 2013

1st March 1813: Thomas Shillitoe visits the families of Thomas Brook, James Haigh, William Thorpe & John Ogden

On Monday, the Quaker missionary Thomas Shillitoe continued his visits to the families of the Luddites executed at York in January, accompanied by Joseph Wood:
Second-day, we bent our course to Lockwood, sat with the widow and three children of Thomas Brook, who suffered for rioting. We also had the company of his parents and two brothers: his two brothers were in York castle with him, but were discharged. This proved a heart-rending opportunity to us all: being willing, as I humbly hope I may say we were, to sit where the surviving sufferers sat, we were helped to go down into suffering with them, and thereby became qualified, through the renewal of Divine aid, to administer suitably to the need of those we sat with. Our minds were clothed with feelings of compassion for the widow and the deeply-afflicted parents, accompanied with a hope, the opportunity had made such an impression on the minds of the two young men, that it would become of lasting benefit to them. The sufferer, we were informed, had only been out once with the rioters, at which time he lost his hat, which caused his apprehension. At our parting, they endeavoured to make us sensible that our visit had been like a cordial to their minds, and they expressed the thankfulness which they felt for it. We proceeded to Huddersfield; visited the widow of James Haigh—he suffered for rioting—left no children: we found her under deep affliction. She appeared to have a clear view of our motives for taking the steps which we did, expressing, in strong terms, the gratitude she felt for our visit. Our next visit was to the parents and two sisters of [William Thorpe], who was a single man, and who suffered for the murder of the master-manufacturer: we felt deeply for the afflicted parents. Divine regard was mercifully extended in this opportunity, both to visited and visitors: that a grateful sense thereof may continue in each of our minds, was the secret prayer of my soul. It appeared a time of precious visitation to the sisters of the sufferer. In the afternoon we proceeded to Cow-cliff, to visit the widow and two children of John Ogden, who suffered for rioting. We proposed to meet her at her husband's parents, in order to have their company, and that of two of the sufferer's sisters; but we were given to understand, that the parents spurned at the idea of sitting with us. As it did not appear to me we should be warranted in so easily giving up this prospect, and apprehending I felt that in my own mind that would bear me out, in taking the widow and family with us into their cottage, my companion consenting, we did so, and took our seats amongst them. After sitting awhile together in solemn silence, we had to hand forth both caution and encouragement, especially to the poor young widow, and the sufferer's sisters: it proved to all a melting season. The parents were both confined to the house, in consequence of the melancholy event that had occurred respecting their son, and from their appearance, with that of one of their daughters, they were sinking under the weight of their afflictions. The parents, in a very feeling manner, at our parting, expressed thankfulness for our visit, and, I hope I may say, feelings of gratitude clothed my mind. The wedding of a sister of the sufferer's being kept at the adjoining cottage, apprehending it would be safest for us to make them a visit, we accordingly did so, but the men were all absent: pausing, and feeling something stirring in my mind towards the bride and her female friends, I gave way to it; the labour bestowed soon put aside all their light behaviour, which our presence at first excited; and, at our parting, novel as our visit was to them, it appeared to be kindly received. May glory abound to His praise, who is God over all, blessed for ever, and for evermore.

This is from Shillitoe (1839, pp.185-187)

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