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Elizabeth Ashbridge

            The autobiography, from Some Account of the Forepart of the Life of Elizabeth Ashbridge Written by her own Hand many years ago edited by Daniel B. Shea, 1990 reveals to me the dilemma Elizabeth is confronted with once she finally validates her growing desire to become a Quaker. This resolve severely tests her marriage because of the doubts, fears and challenges her decision gives rise to. She must overcome her husband's objections and abuse while at the same time live within the confines of marital and societal expections. Elizabeth is able to overcome her fear and self-doubt by thoroughly examining her soul and seeking a truth she can live with regardless of the risks. Her doubts and fears about proclaiming her Quaker faith are summed up in this passage from her writing:.
             "He likewise let me see that all I had gone through was to prepare me for this Day & that the time was near that he would require me to go forth & declare to others what he the God of Mercy had done for my Soul; at which I was Surprized & begged to be Excused for fear I should bring dishonour to the truth, and cause his Holy name to be Evil spoken of. All the while, I never Let any know the Condition I was in, nor did I appear like a Friend, & fear"d a Discovery. I began to think of returning to my husband but found a restraint to stay where I was.".
             Elizabeth was not yet ready to make an outward commitment to the Quaker faith at this point in her writing. Once her husband arrived, " then began the Tryal of my Faith". She lived in constant conflict with trying to appease her husband and neighbors while at the same time trying to be faithful to her religious beliefs, which were still being tested. This passage shows that she is still concealing her true beliefs " & in order to Change their Opinions got into greater Excess in Apparel than I had freedom to Wear for some time before I came Acquainted with Friends.

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