Joshua Evans

On July 17th 1795 Joshua Evans arrived at Dartmouth. Evans was a Quaker minister and abolitionist born in 1731 in West Jersey, he was a vegetarian, an ardent proponent of the peace testimony along with Quaker plainness and ending slavery. He visited with local Quakers Seth Coleman and Thomas Green, among ten other local families.

“Through a lifetime of increasingly rigorous and peculiar “testimonies”, Joshua Evans bore witness against a spirit of self-indulgence and greed within himself and in his society… his purpose, however, was not primarily negative.. he loved humanity – indeed all living things are creations of his divine master. He was especially fond of blacks and indians, the Acadians, the poor, and the oppressed.”

“Evan’s rejection of “contaminated products” also stemmed from his abhorrance of slave labor. As early as 1761, and perhaps before, Joshua Evans was launched on a journey of “plain dealing” with slaveholders… “to plead for the Liberty of the Black people, and to visit those who held them…” The work went hard, but it was “the Lord’s requiring.””

Evans described Dartmouth as “situated on the east side of Chebucto bay, and contains between fifty and a hundred houses.”

He attended several meetings in Dartmouth “large for the place, and proved to be a heart-tendering, favoured opportunity” including public worship, a meeting of conference and a preparative meeting “in which, those who incline to marry are allowed to declare their intentions…on account of their situation being so remote from any monthly meeting.”

“These friends have had their trials, by reason of others removing away, when they had not freedom to go. Our visit was very acceptable, as coming in a needful time; which some of them expressed.”

On July 27th 1795, the day he departed Dartmouth, Evans described his visit as “Many people, Friends and others, coming together”.

Evans’ visit to Dartmouth was nearly three years before his travels through the southern States (in the spring of 1798) where he continued to labor with friends and others about the evils of slavery. He returned to New Jersey and died in July of that same year.

Dartmouth’s motto is “Amicitia Crescimus”, Amicitia meaning “friendship” or “an alliance”, Crescimus being a first-person plural of cresco which has several meanings including to “come in to being”, to “arise”, to “grow”, to “grow up”, “to increase”, to “swell”, to “prosper and thrive”, to “become great”, to “attain honor”.

“We grow in friendship”, “friendship grows”, “through friendship we prosper and thrive” — perhaps Evans’ visit to Dartmouth and his musings served as inspiration.

“Joshua Evans, 1731-1798: A Study in Eighteenth Century Quaker Singularity” Donald Brooks Kelley

“Joshua Evans Papers”, ca. 1788- ca. 1804

“Journal of the Life, Travels, Religious Exercises and Labours in the Work of the Ministry of Joshua Evans, Late of Newton Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey”, ca. 1834

“Descendants of Benjamin Green Sr.”

“The New College Latin & English Dictionary”, Bantam Books, NY, 1969.