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A Rough Reception at Hull.
At Birstal, he preached out of doors, and was surprised to find, that those of the congregation who were a hundred and forty yards distant, distinctly heard him. At Leeds, he preached in the new chapel. At Wakefield, in the church, and writes: “Who would have expected to see me preaching in Wakefield church, to so attentive a congregation, a few years ago, when all the people were as roaring lions; and the honest man did not dare to let me preach in his yard, lest the mob should pull down his houses ?"
At Sheffield, he preached “in the shell of the new house"; and says, “ All is peace here now, since the trial at York, at which the magistrates were sentenced to rebuild the house which the mob had pulled down."
At Epworth, he found his coarse, ignorant, wicked brotherin-law, Richard Ellison, who had farmed his own estate, reduced to poverty. All his cows were dead, and all his horses, excepting one. For two years past, all his meadow land had been flooded ; his money and means were gone; and Wesley recommended him to Ebenezer Blackwell, as a fitting object to be relieved out of the funds disposed of by Mr. Butterfield. Nine years afterwards, Charles Wesley buried him.
On landing at Hull, the quay was covered with people, inquiring, “Which is he? Which is he?" But, for the present, they only stared, inquired, and laughed. At night he preached, "a huge multitude, rich and poor, horse and foot, with several coaches,” being gathered together at Mighton-Car. Thousands gave serious attention; “but many behaved as if possessed by Moloch. Clods and stones flew on every side." A gentlewoman invited Wesley and his wife into her carriage, in which were six persons, besides herself, already. Wesley writes : There were nine of us in the coach, three on each side, and three in the middle. The mob closely attended us, throwing in at the windows whatever came next to hand; but a large gentlewoman, who sat in my lap, screened me, so that nothing came near me.” On arriving at his lodgings, the windows were smashed, and, till midnight, he and his host were, more or less, saluted with oaths, curses, stones, and
1752 brick-bats. This was a rough reception, and Wesley did not Age 49 repeat his visit for seven years.
From Hull, Wesley and his wife proceeded to Pocklington, where he had been announced to preach, though there was no society, and scarcely a converted person in the town. The room, which had been provided for the preaching, was five yards square, which Wesley reasonably enough thought too small. A yard was looked at, but it was plentifully furnished with stones, and Wesley's experience taught him that these might be dangerous artillery in the hands of the “devil's drunken companions.” At last, a gentleman offered a large commodious barn, in which Wesley had the most blessed season of refreshing that he had had since his leaving London.
At York, a magistrate had stuck up in public places, and distributed in private houses, part of Lavington's Papists and Methodists Compared ; and hence, as soon as Wesley and his spouse passed through the city gates, they were saluted with bitter curses.
At Osmotherley, he visited a scoffer at all religion, who was either raving mad, or possessed of the devil. The woman told him, that the devil had appeared and talked to her for some time, the day before, and had leaped upon, and grievously tormented her ever since. Wesley says: “We prayed with her. Her agonies ceased. She fell asleep, and awoke in the morning calm and easy.” Osmotherley tradition says, that the name of this maniac was Elizabeth Whitfield.
Wesley reached Newcastle, the centre of his northern peregrinations, on April 30. At Sunderland, he “found one of the liveliest societies in the north of England. This,” says he, “is the effect of their being so much under the law, as to scruple, one and all, the buying even milk on a Sunday." He preached at Alemouth, and made this remarkable entry in his Journal : “How plain an evidence have we here, that even our outward work, even the societies, are not of man's building! With all our labour and skill, we cannot, in nine years' time, form a society in this place ; even though there is none that opposes, poor or rich; nay, though the two richest men in the town, and the only gentlemen there, have done all which was in their power to further it.”
At Wickham, he met with a remarkable case. Mrs. Arm
1752 strong, before whose house he preached, was an old lady of Age 49 more than fourscore years of age. From childhood, the Bible had been her companion ; but recently, on mounting her spectacles, she was not able to see a word. She took them off; looked again ; and could read as well as her daughter could. “From that hour, she could not only read without spectacles, but sew, or thread the finest necdle, with the same ease as when she was thirty."
At Barnard Castle, the mob was numerous and loud. The rabble fetched out the fire engine to play upon the congregation; but John Monkhouse, great grandfather of the late Rev. Thomas Monkhouse, seized the pipe, and diverted the stream from Wesley, so that, as he remarks, “not a drop fell on him.” 1
From Barnard Castle, Wesley made his way to Whitehaven, intending to embark for Ireland; but the master of the ship set sail without him. Upon this, he made an excursion into Lancashire and the west of Yorkshire. He spent two days with his clerical friend, the Rev. Mr. Milner, at Chipping, and preached in the parish church to “such a congregation as was never seen there before.”
At Heptonstall, “an attorney endeavoured to interrupt, by relating low and threadbare stories; but the people cut him short” in his harangue, “ by carrying him quietly away.”
At Todmorden, Wesley found the clergyman “slowly recovering from a violent fit of the palsy, with which he was struck immediately after he had been preaching a violent sermon against the Methodists." The following items appear in the Todmorden circuit book. "1752, June 9.-Received of Mr. Grimshaw towards the maintenance of Mr. Wesley and others, in all, six shillings.” As further curiosities of Methodism we give other extracts from the same book for 1752. “April 20.-For William Darney, foreside of his waistcoat, 7s.” “For trimming for his coat, gs. IIşd.” “To him for his wife, 20s.” “May 5.–For friends at quarterly meeting, is. 3d." "June 9.-Paid to James Heanworth for Mr. Wesley and others, in all, 125. 2d.” “ August 14.-Paid to
1 “Memoir of Rev. T. Monkhouse," p. 4.
William Marshall when in a strait, 5s.” “December 14.-For writing paper, id."
At Mellar Barn, Wesley's bedroom served "both for a bedchamber and a cellar. The closeness was more troublesome at first than the coolness; but he let in a little fresh air, by breaking a pane of paper in the window ; and then slept sound till morning.”
As a specimen of Wesley's itinerant troubles, we give the following extract from his Journal.
“ 1752, June 15.—I had many little trials in this journey, of a kind I had not known before. I had borrowed a young, strong mare when I set out from Manchester ; but she fell lame before I got to Grimsby. I procured another, but was dismounted again between Newcastle and Berwick. At my return to Manchester I took my own ; but she had lamed herself in the pasture. I thought, nevertheless, to ride her four or five miles to-day ; but she was gone out of the ground, and we could hear nothing of her. However, I comforted myself that I had another at Manchester, which I had lately bought ; but when 'I came thither, I found one had borrowed her, and rode her away to Chester.”
By some means, he rode to Chester on June 20, where “a poor alehouse keeper seemed disgusted, spoke a harmless word, and run away with speed." While preaching “in the square," "a man screamed and hallooed as loud as he could, but none regarded him. A few of the rabble, most of them drunk, laboured much to make a disturbance; but the far greater part of the congregation, the gentry in particular, were seriously and deeply attentive.” A few days afterwards, however, the mob made the Methodist meeting-house a heap of ruins. On July 10, Wesley and his wife got back to Whitehaven.
In the midst of these labours and journeyings, Wesley wrote as follows, to his friend, Mr. Ebenezer Blackwell.
“ NEWCASTLE, May 23, 1752. “ DEAR SIR,- I want your advice. T. Butts sends me word that, after our printers' bills are paid, the money remaining, received by the sale of the books, does not amount to £100 a year. It seems, therefore, absolutely necessary to determine one of these three things :-either to lessen the expense of printing, which I see no way of doing, unless by printing myself ; or to increase the income from the books, and how this can be done I know not; or to give up those eighty-six copies, which are specified in my brother's deed, to himself, to manage them as he pleases.
Wesley and his Wife in Ireland.
“The people in all these parts are much alive to God, being generally 1752 plain, and simple of heart. Here I should spend the greatest part of my
Age 49 life, if I were to follow my own inclinations. But I am not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me. “ I am, dear sir, your ever affectionate servant,
“JOHN WESLEY." I Wesley set sail, from Whitehaven, for Dublin, on July 13, and, after a passage of four days, arrived in safety. The new chapel was ready, and he describes it as "nearly of the same size and form ” as that at Newcastle, with the exception, that on three sides it had deep galleries. The society consisted of about four hundred and twenty members, many of whom “were much shaken, chiefly by various opinions, which some even of his own preachers had propagated.”
The following extract from a letter, written three days after his arrival in Dublin, may be acceptable :
“DUBLIN, July 20, 1752. “DEAR SIR,-Finding no ship ready to sail, either at Bristol or Chester, we at length came back to Whitehaven, and embarked on Monday last. It is generally a passage of four-and-twenty hours ; but the wind continuing contrary all the way, we did not reach this place till Friday evening. My wife and Jenny were extremely sick, particularly when we had a rolling sea. They are already much better than when they landed.
“ Last month, a large mob assaulted the new house here, and did considerable damage. Several of the rioters were committed to Newgate. The bills were found against them all, and they were tried ten days since ; but, in spite of the clearest evidence, a packed jury brought them in, Not guilty. I believe, however, the very apprehension and trial of them has struck a terror into their companions. We now enjoy great quietness, and can even walk unmolested through the principal streets in Dublín.”? Shortly after, he wrote as follows to his brother Charles.
“ATHLONE, August 8, 1752. “DEAR BROTHER,—Some of our preachers here have peremptorily affirmed, that you are not so strict as me; that you neither practise, nor enforce, nor approve of, the rules of the bands. I suppose, they mean those which condemn needless self indulgence, and recommend the means of grace, fasting in particular ; which is well-nigh forgotten throughout this nation. I think it would be of use, if you wrote without delay, and explain yourself at large.
“They have, likewise, openly affirmed, that you agree with Mr. White
Wesley's Works, vol. xii., p. 165.
? Ibid. vol. xii., p. 166.