Abbildungen der Seite


intellectual faculties. Her memory was remarkable, if it be Age 47 true, as stated, that she was able to repeat almost the whole of Shakspeare by heart.

These particulars will give increasing interest to the following extract from Wesley's Journal: "1750. April 12.-I breakfasted with one of the society, and found she had a lodger I little thought of. It was the famous Mrs. Pilkington, who soon made an excuse for following me upstairs. talked with her seriously about an hour; we then sang, 'Happy Magdalene.' She appeared to be exceedingly struck how long the impression may last, God knows."


Mrs. Pilkington was now thirty-eight years of age. Five months afterwards she died.

Having spent thirteen days in Dublin, Wesley set out, on the 19th of April, on a country excursion. At Portarlington, he preached to almost all the gentry in the town. At Mountmellick, he found the society much increased in grace, and yet lessened in number; a case which he thought was without a parallel. At Tullamore, many of his congregation were drunk; but the bulk paid great attention. He rebuked the society for their lukewarmness and covetousness; and had the pleasure of seeing them evince signs of penitence. At Tyrrell's Pass, he found a great part of the society "walking in the light, and praising God all the day long." At Cooleylough, he preached to backsliders. In the midst of the service at Athlone, a man passed by on a fine prancing horse, which drew off a large part of the congregation. Wesley paused, and then raising his voice, said, "If there are any more of you who think it is of more concern to see a dancing horse than to hear the gospel of Christ, pray go after them." The renegades heard the rebuke; and the majority at once returned. At Aghrim, he preached "to a well meaning, sleepy people," and "strove to shake some of them out of sleep by preaching as sharply as he could." At Nenagh, he preached in the assembly room. At Limerick, he "told the society freely and plainly of their faults." At Killdorrery, a clergyman would talk with him whether he would or not; and this made him too late for preaching at Rathcormuck in the evening.

Here let us pause for a moment. The clergyman at

Rev. Richard Lloyd.


Rathcormuck was the Rev. Richard Lloyd, who, twelve months before, had permitted Wesley to preach in his pulpit, Age 47 and had shown him great attention. On this occasion, likewise, there was the same brotherly affection. It so happened, that, at the time of Wesley's visit, there was an Irish funeral. An immense crowd of people had assembled, to do honour to the dead; Mr. Lloyd read part of the burial service in the church; after which Wesley preached; and, as soon as his discourse was ended, the customary Irish howl was given. Wesley writes: "It was not a song, but a dismal, inarticulate yell, set up at the grave by four shrill voiced women, who were hired for that purpose. But I saw not one that shed a tear; for that, it seems, was not in their bargain."


Mr. Lloyd got into trouble by his allowing Wesley to occupy his church. The neighbouring clergy complained to the bishop. The bishop directed Mr. Davies, the archdeacon, to deliver to Lloyd an episcopal order, that he must not "suffer any person to preach in his church, who was not a licensed preacher of that or the neighbouring diocese." In a long letter to the bishop, dated "July 4, 1750," and sent as an answer to his order, Mr. Lloyd remarks:

"I confess that Mr. Wesley has preached (though seldomer than has been wished) in my church. And I thought, that a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, who is admitted to preach before the university there, and has preached in many churches in London, and other parts of England, as also in Dublin, might be permitted to preach here also." He adds: "The mobs at Cork, and some other places in this kingdom, have obliged the Methodists to seek the protection of government, which undoubtedly they will have. Several of them, of good fortunes, to escape the persecution, are preparing to settle in England; and, because the clergy are supposed to have encouraged it, numbers of others resolve to quit our church. At this rate, we may, in a short time, have only the refuse left. Religion, my lord, is now at a very low ebb in the world; and we can scarce see the outward form of it remaining. But corrupt as the world is, it is thought better that the devil should reign, than that Mr. Wesley should preach, especially in a church."

On the same day, the bishop answered as follows:

"CLOYNE, July 4, 1750.

"Reverend Sir,—I have that opinion of your prudence, that I doubt not you will be cautious whom you admit into your pulpit; and that you

1750 Age 47

will avoid doing or countenancing anything that may offend your brethren of the clergy, or give occasion to mobs and riots.

"I am, reverend sir, your faithful brother and humble servant,

Blarney seemed to succeed when peremptoriness had failed; Wesley had preached for the last time in Rathcormuck church.

Leaving Rathcormuck on May 19, Wesley rode on to Cork; and, at eight o'clock the next morning (Sunday), had a large and deeply attentive congregation in Hammond's Marsh. Wesley declares, that he had "seldom seen a more quiet and orderly assembly at any church in England or Ireland." He designed to preach in the marsh again at night; but, during the afternoon, received a message from the mayor, Mr. Crone, that he would have no more mobs and riots; and that, if Wesley attempted to carry out his purpose, he would be prepared for him. Wesley, not wishful to give offence, relinquished his purpose of preaching out of doors, and conducted the evening service in the chapel; but no sooner had he commenced doing so than his mightiness, the mayor, came with the town drummers, and an immense rabble, and continued drumming as long as Wesley continued preaching. On leaving the chapel, Wesley was hemmed in by the mayor's mob. Observing a serjeant standing by, Wesley desired him to keep the king's peace. The king's officer replied, "Sir, I have no orders to do that." And so, amid all sorts of missiles, the poor, harmless parson, had to make his way, through a brutish crowd, over Dant's Bridge, to the house of Mr. Jenkins. Some of the congregation were more roughly handled, particularly Mr. Jones, who was covered with filth, and escaped with his life almost by miracle.

The next day Wesley rode to Bandon; but, for four hours in the afternoon, the mob of Cork marched in grand procession, and then burnt him in effigy.

The day after, May 22, the mob and drummers met at the house of John Stockdale, the tallowchandler, whom they had nearly murdered twelve months before, and whose wife

1 Methodist Magazine, 1779, p. 256.


Persecution at Cork and Bandon.


was then abused most brutally. The mayor was sent for, 1750 and came with a company of soldiers. Addressing the mob, Age 47 he said: "Lads, once, twice, thrice, I bid you go home; now I have done"; and away he went, taking the soldiers with him. Of course the "lads" knew how to interpret his worship's sham loyalty, and, accordingly, at once proceeded to smash all Stockdale's windows.

On the following day, May 23, the infuriated crowd still patrolled the streets, abused all that were called Methodists, and threatened to murder them, and to pull down their houses. On the 24th, they again assaulted Stockdale's dwelling; broke down the boards he had nailed up against his windows; destroyed the window frames and shutters; and damaged a considerable part of his stock in trade. On the 25th Roger O'Ferrall put up an advertisement, at the public Exchange, to the effect that he was ready to march at the head of any rabble, and to pull down all the houses that harboured "swaddlers."

During this week of misrule and terror, in which not Mr. Crone but king Mob was mayor of Cork, Wesley was peaceably preaching in the town of Bandon; but, on the evening of Saturday the 26th, with a congregation in the main street, twice as large as usual, he was disgracefully interrupted. When he had preached about a quarter of an hour, a drunken clergyman, with a large stick in his hand, placed himself by the side of Wesley, and began a preconcerted disturbance; but, before he had uttered a dozen words, three resolute women seized him, pulled him into a house, expostulated with him, and then dismissed him through a garden, where the poor maudlin priest, who had intended to stop Wesley's mouth, fell in love with one of Wesley's admirers, who, in order to extricate herself from his brutal embrace, had to repel force by force and to cuff him most soundly. Thus the parson was got rid of, leaving behind, however, three young gents-his friends-all armed with pistols, more dangerous than even his reverence's shillalah; but the belligerent youths were quietly arrested, by others of Wesley's audience, and were taken away with more civility than they merited. And, then, to complete this fantastic display of Irish bravery, the last hero in the plot came on with the utmost fury; but "a



1750 Age 47

butcher of the town, not a Methodist, used him as he would an ox, bestowing one or two lusty blows upon his head, and thus cooled his courage. So," says Wesley, "I quietly finished my discourse."

The next day, Sunday, May 27, Wesley preached thrice in Bandon, and wrote a letter to the mayor of Cork, the conclusion of which is worth quoting :

"I fear God, and honour the king. I earnestly desire to be at peace with all men. I have not willingly given any offence, either to the magistrates, the clergy, or any of the inhabitants of the city of Cork; neither do I desire anything of them, but to be treated (I will not say as a clergyman, a gentleman, or a Christian, but) with such justice and humanity as are due to a Jew, a Turk, or a pagan.

Wesley now turned towards Dublin. One day, he was on horseback, with but an hour or two's intermission, from five o'clock in the morning till nearly eleven o'clock at night; and yet only five hours after this, he again set out, and made the longest day's journey that he ever rode-about ninety miles. At midnight, he came to Aymo, where he wished to sleep; but the woman who kept the inn refused him admittance, and, moreover, let loose four dogs to worry him.

[ocr errors]

He spent only two days in Dublin, when he began a second visit to the provincial societies. He writes: “June 21.-I returned to Closeland, and preached in the evening to a little, earnest company. Oh who should drag me into a great city, if I did not know there is another world! How gladly could I spend the remainder of a busy life in solitude and retirement."

At Portarlington, he had the unthankful task of reconciling the differences of two termagant women, who talked for three hours, and grew warmer and warmer, till they were almost distracted. Wesley says: "I perceived there was no remedy but prayer; so a few of us wrestled with God for above two hours." The result was, after three hours of cavilling and two hours of prayer, anger gave place to love, and the quarrelsome ladies fell upon each other's neck. Here also, there being no English service, he attended the French church service, and writes: "I have sometimes thought Mr. White

« ZurückWeiter »