Waln, was educated in the Society of Friends, but in early life seems to have cared little about their principles.
He was then an ambitious, money-loving man, remarkably successful in worldly affairs.
But the principles inculcated in childhood probably remained latent within him; for when he was rapidly acquiring wealth and distinction by the practice of law, he suddenly relinquished it, from conscientious motives.
This change of feeling is said to have been owing to the following incident.
He had charge of an important case, where a large amount of property was at stake.
In the progress of the cause, he became more and more aware that right was not on the side of his client; but to desert him in the midst was incompatible with his ideas of honor as a lawyer.
This produced a conflict within him, which he could not immediately settle to his own satisfaction.
A friend, who met him after the case was decided, inquired what was the result.
He replied, ‘I did the best I could for my client.
I have gained the cause for him, and have thereby defrauded an honest man of his just dues.’
He seemed sad and thought-> ful, and would never after plead a cause at the bar. He dismissed his students, and returned to his clients all the money he had received for unfinished cases.
For some time afterward, he appeared to take no interest in anything but his own religious state of feeling.
He eventually became a preacher, very popular