Here are some annotated passages of interest for the over-busy Quaker who does not have enough time to explore Woolman’s Journal thoroughly:
The Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman. Edited by Phillip P. Moulton.
The following passages were selected for the reader with limited time or difficulty with the style.
p. 17 – 20. Woolman Chronology lists the key events and journeys.
Ch. I. His first 22 years
p. 50 -51 Refusing to write a will bequeathing a slave
p. 53 – 57 His struggles with his business requiring too much time
p. 58 “I saw a light in my chamber…” One of many dreams and visions which influenced him.
p. 59 -61 His dilemma of free hospitality
p. 70 One paragraph, beginning: “Here my brother joined with some Friends…” a wonderful account of being “exercised” in Meeting over concern for religious education of slaves, yet remaining silent. He then witnesses another Friend bring forth the very proposal.
p. 90 Travels in the Philadelphia area, especially Abington Quarter
p.95 Advice for all who attend Meeting for Business
p. 96 – 98 “Having at times perceived a shyness in some Friends of considerable note toward me, I found an engagement in gospel love to pay a visit to one of them…”
Sometimes he went alone…sometimes he remained silent…
p.122 -137 Woolman’s account of his visit to the Wyalusing Indians
p 139 -140 A tender message by an elderly Friend with a concern re wealthy Friends
Chapter XI Woolman travels to England in steerage. The account mixes images of scripture with the winds, the sea and conditions of the young sailors. “A great reformation of the world is wanting”!
Chapter XII Woolman’s final three months of life. Includes his recall of an earlier near-death experience.
Note 1: Four years after Woolman’s death, in 1776, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting took the decisive step of prohibiting the owning of slaves.
Note 2: Although most of the Journal is devoted to his itinerant ministry, Woolman averaged only about one month per year away from home.
Carolyn Schodt, 06/29/09