Account of the Travels, Sufferings and Persecutions of Barbara Blaugdone
The title of Barbara Blaugdone’s memoir is An Account of the Travels, Sufferings and Persecutions of Barbara Blaugdone, with “travels” highlighted by its enormous size. Indeed, when reading the book the reader is perhaps most struck by Blaugdone’s excessive, nearly constant travel habits. It may even be argued that at its heart the book is a travel narrative and not a memoir or even a religious account. She traipses about the seas around the British Islea, not only in England but also venturing to Ireland to proselytize and preach to those yet untouched by the Quaker message.
Travel was an important part of Quaker life. As a fledgling religious movement focused on the importance of introspective faith and a personal relationship with God, many Friends took it upon themselves to spread the word world-wide. Furthermore, as a group looked down upon and disliked by the rest of English society, Quakers were tempered to have a predisposition towards independence and adventure that served them well when traveling (Trevett 65).
Again, most Quaker travel was for the sake of missionary work. Many Quakers traveled east to the Holy Land to attempt to proselytize to the Muslim population or to the New World to save the indigenous peoples there. The New World, in particular, was an attractive destination for Quakers. Its offer of religious freedom and opportunities to found new societies called William Penn and other Quakers to found settlements there not long after the events in Blaugdone’s Account. As a result, travel back and forth from the Americas to Europe was very common amongst Quakers. This enormous oversea journey was almost part of the course for prominent Friends, who recognized that the center of a sect based upon personal faith would not be in England but rather world-wide.
Sea travel at the time was an adventure in itself. Those who used private passenger travel would have to be prepared...