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Excellent Women   By:

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[Illustration: A STREET IN CAIRO. (See Mary Louisa Whately .)]

EXCELLENT WOMEN.

BY VARIOUS WRITERS.

CONTENTS.

ELIZABETH FRY. BY JAMES MACAULAY, M.A., M.D. SELINA, COUNTESS OF HUNTINGDON. BY REV. R. LOVETT, M.A. RACHEL, LADY RUSSELL. BY JAMES MACAULAY, M.A., M.D. FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL. BY REV. J.P. HOBSON, M.A. HANNAH MORE. BY HENRY JOHNSON. SUSANNA WESLEY. BY REV. J. CUNNINGHAM, M.A. MRS. HEMANS. BY REV. S.F. HARRIS, M.A., B.C.L. MADAME GUYON. BY WILLIAM NICHOLS. ANN JUDSON. BY FRED. A. MCKENZIE. MARY LOUISA WHATELY. BY REV. W.R. BOWMAN. AGNES JONES. BY ELLEN L. COURTENAY. ELIZABETH, DUCHESS OF GORDON. BY REV. S.F. HARRIS, M.A., B.C.L.

ELIZABETH FRY.

I.

BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS.

Elizabeth Fry was born in Norwich, on the 21st of June, 1780. She was the third daughter of John Gurney, of Earlham, Norfolk, and Catherine Bell, daughter of Daniel Bell, merchant in London. Mrs. Bell was a descendant of the ancient family of the Barclays of Ury in Kincardineshire, and granddaughter of Robert Barclay, the well known apologist of the Quakers.

John Gurney of Earlham, born in 1749, was educated in the principles of the Society of Friends, but as he advanced in life, and associated with persons of various Christian denominations, the strictness of his religious opinions was much relaxed, and he showed liberality of sentiment towards others, even if they were indifferent to all spiritual concerns. In fact, in those times there was throughout England, in all the churches, a decay of faith and a tendency to unbelief; against which a few men made noble protest, till the religious Revival, led by Whitefield and Wesley, inaugurated a happier era.

We are, therefore, not surprised to read that the daughters of John Gurney, deprived in early life of their mother's care, were accustomed to mingle with people entirely devoid of religion, although some of these were accomplished and talented in their way. The father continued formally to attend the Friends' Meeting; and the eldest daughter, Catherine, being of a thoughtful mind and with desire for instruction, was of use to her sisters in somewhat checking their love of worldly pleasure and amusements. Of Elizabeth, it is said that in her young days "she was singularly attractive; her figure tall, her countenance sweet and pleasing, and her person and manners dignified and lovely. She was gentle and quiet in temper, yet evinced a strong will." The visits of different Friends, especially her uncle Joseph Gurney, who always had much influence with her, both then and during her future life, helped to confirm the good teaching of her mother in childhood.

II.

BEGINS A PRIVATE JOURNAL: WITH RECORD OF HER EXPERIENCES.

In 1793, when in her seventeenth year, Elizabeth Gurney began to keep a private Journal.[1] In the early part of this record she frankly tells her proceedings day after day, and describes the long and gradual struggle that took place in her heart, which ended in her conversion by the power of the Holy Spirit, and in her thorough consecration to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a most instructive record, especially for the young.

[Footnote 1: This Journal was kept up by her till the close of her life, and contains not only a full account of events, but a personal record of her thoughts and experiences. It is preserved with pious care by members of the family. A Memoir of Elizabeth Fry , published by her daughters, in two volumes, was widely circulated after her decease. Innumerable biographies and memoirs have since appeared, the best of which, by Susanna Corder, contains selections from the private Journal.]

Her father, a man popular on account of his genial ways and social disposition, making no objection, she joined, with some of her sisters, in all the gaieties of life in Norwich. Prince William Frederick, afterwards Duke of Gloucester, was then quartered with his regiment there, and there was an incessant round of pleasures balls, concerts, and oratorios... Continue reading book >>




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