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NOTICE OF THE END OF THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JAMES GOUGH,
AND REMARKS BY HIS BROTHER, JOHN GOUGH, IN CONTINUING THE NARRATIVE. ENGAGEMENTS AT AND NEAR HOME. DEATH OF HIS SON JOHN, IN HIS TWENTY-FIRST YEAR.
NOTICE OF HIS FUNERAL AND EXEMPLARY CHARACTER. CONSIDERATIONS ADDRESSED TO THE YOUTH. VISITS FRIENDS IN ENGLAND, WALES AND IRELAND.
Thus far my deceased brother proceeded in the narrative of the transactions of his own life. I find by the papers in my hands, that, as noted in the preface, he drew up a review thereof at sundry periods, and commenced the last in the sixty-sixth year of his age; which, it is probable, had he lived to finish it, would have exhibited, in a continued narration, the succeeding occurrences of his life, to near the present time; but he proceeded only a little way in the last review; and the former in his fifty-fourth year
terminates here. I regret the want of this continuation by that hand, which only could give it with those interesting reflections, resulting from a recollection of the feelings attending the successive occurrences of his life. This is an advantage that no other hand can supply; but as I have in my hands the abstracts of succeeding journeys and sundry other papers, I shall endeavor to supply the deficiency to the best of my ability.
After his settling in Bristol, he seems to have been pretty much engaged in his outward, confining occupation, for the support of himself and a large family, so as to travel little abroad in the service of Truth, except in short excursions to the neighboring meetings, and other services in the vicinage of that city; and to the Yearly Meeting in
London, which he attended constantly for several years, and where his service was, I believe, generally acceptable. It was here for the first time after his removal to Bristol, and several years separation, I had the satisfaction to meet with him, which was no inconsiderable addition to the comfort and edification I was favored with, in the attendance of that meeting in 1771. And being mostly with him at meetings and elsewhere, I had the agreeable opportunity of observing, that the spirit of universal love, which characterized him in a peculiar manner, procured him the like open reception there, as formerly amongst his friends in Ireland ; and that the liveliness which still accompanied his public ministry, procured him also an open door for the reception of his labor and service therein.
During this interval, in the year 1769, he met with a close trial in the death of his deservedly beloved son John, a young man of amiable manners and valuable qualities beyond most of his years, being blessed with a good natural disposition and capacity, well improved in his minority by a diligent application to useful learning, under the tuition of his father and preceptor; to whom the easy task of instructing him, his assiduity and ready proficiency conveyed secret joy and pleasing hopes of future satisfaction in a son, who gave such promising tokens of making a useful and honorable member of religious and civil society. Nor were these hopes frustrated in the advancing stages of his short life; for as he grew up, being favored with solid religious impressions, he sought after and attained best wisdom to a degree, in general, exceeding his age. In his entrance on the stage of life, a propriety and steadiness of deportment, that might adorn advanced years, attracted the notice and respectful regard of the
best Friends, who had the opportunity of observing or being acquainted with him. By a conscientious discharge of every social and religious duty, as a dutiful son, as an affectionate brother, as an exemplary pattern of plainness, sobriety and circumspection of life, he gave evident indications that he was early acquainted with the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ.
I apprehend he was for a season an assistant to his father in his school; but the weight of care and embarrassment of this occupation not suiting the present temper of his mind, discouraged him from continuing in that line of life; and therefore, meeting with an offer from a Friend in London, to assist him in his business in the capacity of a clerk, he removed thither; and there he laid down the body in or about the twenty-first year of his age, as I recollect, having in this station, as well as every other, conducted himself with fidelity, reputation and honor; in testimony whereof I have an extract of a letter from his employer to his father, communicated in one from the latter, of Tenth Month 26th, 1769, as follows, viz:
“I now doubt of my eldest son John's being any longer in this world ; he was seized with a violent fever last First-day week. B. R., in last Seventh-day's letter, writes: * For my own part, I do not much expect his recovery, which is a great affliction to me on divers accounts; yet I hope to be resigned to the will of Providence, being well assured, if he be removed, it will be to his eternal gain, although my very great loss as well as thine, and many others, by whom he is dearly beloved. Oh! that my life, and that of all that know him, may be like his, that at our death we may say as he did to my wife: ‘I have done all that I had to do, and must now go home.' "
Soon after, he died; and in my brother's next letter he writes me the following account of his funeral: “My son John's funeral was uncommonly remarkable. It was taken to the new meeting-house at Park, in Southwark. The meeting was excessively crowded, and many withoutdoors. It was attended by several public Friends, many Friends from several meetings in the city, and many out of the country, from the love they bore him; the opportunity by all accounts was eminently favored, the service thereof falling to the lot of our worthy, well qualified Friend, Samuel Fothergill, to the tendering of the hearts of many present.
“Through Divine favor and assistance, I freely gave him up, thankful for having such a son, who hath left behind him too few like him in pure, unmixed goodness, which diligently exerted itself to do well. He was a most affectionate, dutiful son, both to me and his present mother; so complete a pattern in every virtue, that I have heard many
in London and Bristol say, that they never saw one of his years like him. He is happily gone before, safely landed in the port of rest; and that we may land there is all that we have to desire and be concerned for.” These short testimonies to the memory of
deceased nephew, I thought proper to insert here; first, because I am of opinion, had his father lived to continue his own account of the occurrences of his life so far, he would not have omitted one so nearly affecting him; and it was my purpose to notice what I apprehend he would have done, for edification, as far as I have materials. Secondly, I thought the delineation of such a character might be of service to some of the youth of this generation, as an example for them to imitate; as an evidence that early piety may, through Divine assistance, be attained ;
and that if we seek it in sincerity, and with full purpose of heart, our search will not be in vain. “I love them," saith Wisdom," that love me, and they that seek Me early shall find me.” As an awakening instance of the uncertain tenure of all things in this transitory life; that all flesh is grass, and the goodliness of man as the flower of the field; and as a powerful incentive, in consideration thereof, to extend our views beyond the short-lived glory and fading enjoyments of this uncertain world, to the durable riches of righteousness, and everlasting rewards thereof.
May the rising youth hereby be incited so to number their days, as that they may apply their hearts to wisdom, in order to make timely preparation for their final change; and not suffer themselves to be so far deluded as to put off this necessary work to some future stage of life, which they can have no assurance of attaining to, reasoning with themselves, through the suggestions of the enemy, that gavety, festivity, and fleshly liberties, being agreeable to their present age, may be safely indulged for a season, as they have much time to repent and grow sober in; and that at some more advanced period, when gravity and seriousness will be more suitable to their years, they will then apply to those things that belong to peace. Had this virtuous young man so reasoned, and so acted, how different had the savor he left behind him been ; but O, how very widely different his condition in his immortal state!
“If any man will come after me,” said our blessed Lord, “ let him take up his cross daily, deny himself, and follow me.” Since, then, these are the prescribed terms of discipleship, and if we would be eternally happy, are to be submitted to, at one period of our lives or other; they have