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General Cavignac.


bread per man daily. Their object in landing was chiefly to obtain provisions; but fighting followed; the garrison was conquered; and articles of capitulation were signed. Five days afterwards, Thurot set sail again, and was met by three English frigates. A battle ensued (February 28), and three hundred of the enemy were killed and wounded, Thurot himself being shot through the heart.1

General Cavignac was at Carrickfergus at the time of Wesley's visit, and was resident in the house of Mr. Cobham, who also invited Wesley to be his guest. The following letter, to Mr. Blackwell, refers to these events.

“CARRICKFERGUS, May 7, 1760.

“DEAR SIR,—I can now give you a clear and full account of the late proceedings of the French here; as I now lodge at Mr. Cobham's, under the same roof with Monsieur Cavignac, the French lieutenant-general. When the people here saw three large ships anchor near the town, they took it for granted they were English; but, in an hour, the French began landing their men. The first party came to the north gate. Twelve soldiers, planted on the wall, fired on them as they advanced, wounded the general, and killed several. But when they had fired four rounds, having no more ammunition, they were obliged to retire. The French then entered the town, keeping a steady fire up the street, till they came near the castle. The English then fired hotly from the gates and walls, and killed their second general, who had burst open the gate, and gone in, sword in hand, with upwards of fourscore men. Having no more cartridges, the English soldiers thought it best to capitulate. They agreed to furnish, in six hours, a certain quantity of provisions, on condition that the French should not plunder. But they began immediately to serve themselves with meat and drink, and took all that they could find, chiefly from the houses where the inhabitants had run away. However, they neither hurt nor affronted man, woman, or child, nor did any mischief for mischief's sake; though many of the inhabitants affronted them, cursed them to their face, and even took up pokers and other things to strike them.

"I have had much conversation with Monsieur Cavignac, and have found him not only a very sensible man, but thoroughly instructed even in heart religion. After one general was killed, and the other wounded, the command devolved on him. I asked him, if it was true that they had a design to burn Carrick and Belfast. He cried out, 'Jesu, Maria! we never had such a thought. To burn, to destroy, cannot enter into the head or heart of a good man.' One would think, the French king sent these men on purpose to show what officers he has in

1 London Magazine, 1760, p. 147.

1760 Age 57

1760 Age 57

his army. I hope there are some such in the English army; but I never found them yet.

"I am, dear sir, your affectionate servant,

“John WesleY.”

Wesley further tells us, that his host, Mr. Cobham, was sent to Belfast, to obtain the provisions for the French that had been promised, and had to leave his wife with General Cavignac, as an hostage for his return. During his absence, Thurot himself entered Mr. Cobham's house, and stated that he had neither ate nor slept for eight and forty hours. The commodore was hospitably entertained; and, after six hours of rest, he politely thanked his Irish hostess, and went aboard his ship.

Wesley had lengthened conversations with Cavignac, not only on affairs in general, but on religion. "He seemed," says he, "to startle at nothing; but said more than once, and with emotion, 'Why, this is my religion; there is no true religion besides it!""

The following is an extract from another letter to Mr. Blackwell, and, though written some days previous to the former one, refers to the same subject.

"NEWRY, April 26, 1760.

"DEAR SIR,-Hitherto I have had an extremely prosperous journey; and all the fields are white unto the harvest. But that the labourers are few, is not the only hindrance to the gathering it in effectually. Of these few, some are careless, some heavy and dull; scarce one of the spirit of Thomas Walsh. The nearest to it is Mr. Morgan; but his body too sinks under him, and probably will not last long.

"In a few days, I expect to be at Carrickfergus, and to hear from those on whose word I can depend, a full account of that celebrated campaign. I believe it will be of use to the whole kingdom. Probably, the government will at last awake, and be a little better prepared against the next encounter. "I am, dear sir, your ever affectionate servant, "JOHN WESLEY.” 1

Leaving Carrickfergus, Wesley proceeded to Larn, where he had "a very large, as well as serious congregation." At Garvah, he preached in the house of Mr. Burrows to a "well behaved audience of churchmen, papists, presbyterians, and Cameronians." At Ballymena, he had "a large con

1 Wesley's Works, vol. xii., p. 176.

Wesley Mobbed in Ireland.


course of people." At Coot Hill, he preached to "most of the 1760 protestants in the town." At Belturbet, there was neither Age 57 papist nor presbyterian in the place; but there were "abundance of sabbath breakers, drunkards, and common swearers." At Sligo, "the congregation was a little disturbed by two or three giddy officers." At Newport, "all the protestants of the town were present, and many of the papists, notwithstanding the prohibition and bitter curses of their priests." At Castlebar, all the gentlemen of the surrounding country were assembled to hear a trial about the plunder of a Swedish ship. "It was to be heard," says Wesley, "in the court house, where I preached; so they met an hour sooner, and heard the sermon first."

Having been to the extreme west of Ireland, Wesley was now returning to the east, accompanied by William Ley and James Glasbrook, two of his itinerants. On reaching Carrick upon Shannon, he had no sooner begun to preach, than a magistrate came with a mob and a drum to silence him. While the magistrate harangued the mob in the street, Wesley quietly removed his congregation into the garden behind the house. William Ley was standing at the door. The magistrate, armed with a halbert and a sword, ran at him, and, striking him, broke his halbert upon William's wrist. The mobmaster pushed along the passage to the other door, but found James Glasbrook holding it so firmly on the outer side, that egress into the garden was impossible. Not to be foiled, the magistrate and his minions ran round the house, climbed over the garden wall, and, with a volley of oaths and curses, rushed up to Wesley, bawling, "You shall not preach here to-day," "Sir," said Wesley, with the most provoking calmness, "I don't intend it; for I have preached already." The man now foamed more furiously than ever. He belaboured poor James Glasbrook with the truncheon of his halbert till it snapped asunder; and then took vengeance on Wesley's hat, which, says Wesley, "he beat and kicked most valiantly; but a gentleman rescued it out of his hands, and we rode quietly out of the town."

Wesley now made his way to Tyrrell's Pass, where "a heap of fine, gay people came on Sunday in their postchaises to the preaching." At Portarlington, he preached at five o'clock



1760 in the morning; and again "at ten, for the sake of the Age 57 gentry: but," he adds, "even that was too early, they could not rise so soon." At Coolylough, he "found a congregation gathered from twenty miles round; and held the quarterly meeting of the stewards, a company of settled, sensible men. Nothing," says he, "is wanting in this kingdom but zealous, active preachers, tenacious of order and exact discipline." At Sligo, "a large, commodious" preaching room had been procured since his previous visit, and here he spent five days, preaching in the market, the barrack yard, and other places.

Preaching daily, and riding long journeys over the roughest roads, and on all kinds of horses down to one "about the size of a jackass," Wesley came to Limerick on July 4, where he held a three days' conference with ten of his Irish preachers. He then proceeded to the settlements of the Palatines at Ballygarane, Killeheen, and Court Mattrass, three towns scarcely to be equalled; for there was "no cursing or swearing, no sabbath breaking, no drunkenness, no alehouse, in any of them." At Clare, he preached in the new chapel ; and at Clonmel, near the barracks, "to a wild, staring people," whom the soldiers present kept quiet. At Bandon, he found a new meeting-house, "very neat and lightsome." At Kinsale, his congregation consisted of "a multitude of soldiers, and not a few of the dull careless townsfolk." "Surely," says he, "good might be done here, would our preachers always preach in the Exchange, as they might without any molestation, instead of a little, ugly, dirty garret."

After a tour of thirteen weeks, Wesley got back to Dublin on the 20th of July. He had preached scores of sermons, travelled many hundreds of miles, been subjected to great hardships, and sometimes to serious danger; but, in the midst of all, God was with him, and he was happy and prosperous in his glorious work. In making up the numbers, he found that there were, in Connaught, a little more than two hundred members; in Ulster, about two hundred and fifty; in Leinster, a thousand; and in Munster, about six hundred.

Wesley was now obliged to leave Ireland for the purpose of attending the Bristol conference, which was to open on July 25. Five days only were left to make the journey,—ample time as things are now, but not so in the days of Wesley.

Racing against Time.


Then there were no steamers crossing the channel daily; 1760 and even sailing vessels then were remarkable for nothing Age 57 except their want of punctuality. Wesley had been advised, that Captain Dansey would sail on the 19th or 20th; but, on arriving at Dublin, he found he would not start, at the earliest, before the 25th, on which day Wesley had arranged to begin his conference in Bristol. He then inquired for a Chester ship, and found one was expected to sail on the 22nd; but, in the morning of that day, the captain sent him word he had to wait for General Montague. Such delays were trying; but Wesley calmly writes: "So we have one day more to spend in Ireland. Let us live this day as if it were our last." At length, on July 24, he and forty or fifty other passengers embarked for Chester, and, after a two days' voyage, during which there were two dead calms, and Wesley preached two good sermons, they landed at Parkgate, thirtysix hours after Wesley ought to have been in Bristol. For nothing was Wesley more famed than for his strictness in fulfilling his appointments. The passengers were landed at Parkgate, but, it being the time of low water, Wesley's horses could not be landed. To wait for high water and his horses was out of question; hence, he bought one and hired another, and set out for Bristol with the utmost speed. At Wolverhampton, his new horses failed and were unable to proceed farther. Fresh ones were hired, and the others left behind; but no sooner had Wesley and his companion started on their newly acquired nags, than one fell lame, and the other, which Wesley rode, tumbled, and gave its rider a most serious shock. At length, with great difficulty, they got to Newport; and there, abandoning their horses, they took a chaise, and reached Bristol a little before midnight on July 28. He writes: "I spent the two following days with the preachers, who had been waiting for me all the week; and their love and unanimity were such as soon made me forget all my labour."

This is all we know concerning the conference of 1760. It began on July 29, and ended on July 30. Wesley had been six months from London and his wife; and yet, on the very next day but one after his conference concluded, he set out on another month's tour to Cornwall. But here we must make a pause, to insert some of Wesley's letters.

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