This and other letters were sent to the Methodist Missionary Society in England from Newfoundland in the early 1800's. The letters are now archived at the Methodist Missionary Society, although microfilm copies can be found at the United Church Archives in Toronto, Ontario under location number "87.225C".

18 January 1821 - Ninian Barr

Rev'd & dear sir

As circumstances of rather a painful nature have turned up since I wrote you in Nov last I feel it my duty to give you and the Committee through you some account of what has transpired. You are aware that this has long been a station occupied by the society for Propagating the Gospel. But the missionary they have had here was very unfit for the work a person who though in the ministry for 30 or 40 years I believe never made a sermon in his life. He always read prayers and a sermon on the afternoon of the Lords day and some years ago when our friend G Skelton Esq asked him why not in the morning also he answered that the people had then to attend to their worldly affairs (Sunday till now being the time for going to the stores) 3 or 4 years ago this old man was taken ill and the service was conducted sometimes by one and sometimes by another and for months together by a poor foolish son of his who cannot tell the hour of the day by a clock or watch. 18 months ago the old minister died and since that time till lately the service was read by any one or every one.

This state of things induced the Brothers to recommend Trinity as a proper station for a Wesleyan missionary. For more than 3 years through G Skelton Esq [unclear, maybe first] magistrate for this District and now a member of our society we have had the use of the Court House. [insert here an unclear sentence] A few weeks ago a new minister proceeded to this station. Our encouragement and our society gave him great offence as will appear from the following occurrances. Two or three days before X'mas he told Mr Kelson (agent for one of the two principal trades here and now with his wife a member of our society) that he was going to give the sacrament on Mr K thought Sunday but it was Monday being Xmas I thought that as we did not communicate till Xmas that we would all go to Church on the Sunday and testify our good will. Mr K waited on him to know when he would administer and if he were willing that we should come if he administered on the Sunday. He was told that Xmas was the time and that if we would not give up our service altogether in church hours he would use his influence to get the Court House taken from us altogether [unclear, maybe to give] up service on Xmas morning and every Sunday morning. My answer was that I was sorry to offend him but that I could not give up a means of grace in which God had so often blessed me and those who worshipped with me. My having double the number of communicants that he had (I 24 - he 11) and generally having a larger congregation in the morning was not to be borne. As the Church was old he applied for use of the Court House and took the very hours at which we worshipped and gave up the afternoon service. G S would have protected against this conduct but as the other magistrate and the Parson had influence with the governor and as we thought of getting our chapel somewhat tenantable we thought it best to take all quietly.

No doubt but our opposers thought that by taking the C H from us they had completely routed us out as there appeared no way for us to meet excepting in some private houses as our chapel was only a shade and had been at a stand for some time. But they were a good deal disappointed to find that next day 30 or 40 persons were employed about the chapel in [3 unclear words] up the seams making [3 unclear words] The very next Sunday we opened it and now find it more comfortable than we expected.

A circumstance worse than all was the opposition to our Sunday and Thursday school. Soon after Bro Ellis came here he set a school on foot and though there was no school or any kind in the place he met with much opposition. The people thought that all their children were to be taught a new religion. Our Bro was not to be discouraged, the school went on, we have added a day in the week to the Sunday so that we have more opportunity to instruct them. Now to see 80 or 90 children (almost all that can come in the place) taught by us gives great pain it is feared that the next generation will be all Methodists. An opposition school was projected and as it was thought that we have not any place to teach in no fear was entertained of getting all the children. Mr G (the other merchant in this place) went to our members who were [unclear] and to others who sent their children to school saying they must not come to meeting nor let their children come to school that he was going to open a school and that they must send them there. But he could not move one of them. We teach in the Chapel and the school does as well as ever.

In my last I ventured to ask a little help I am [unclear] of the Committee could [unclear] us in this cold country in the chapel as it is they would give us 50 pounds but for pities sake give us 20 pounds. We can beg with some hope for we have done much ourselves. I have given every shilling that I can, I have wrought for months from morning to night with my own hands. [unclear, maybe Clove] the [unclear] out of old [2 unclear words] every one of them on. Cut sticks in the woods, ground chalk for [unclear] glazed the windows. Never I have done my all, the people have done their best, and a grant of 20 pounds from the Committee would help us wonderfully.

I hope my dear sir that you will excuse me for this hasty scrawl. I hope you will not give it futher publicity than to the Committee.

I have lately had two interviews with the new Parson - he is perfectly evangelical in his sentiments.

Wishing you every blessing, I am yours very truly, Ninian Barr

[Home] [Mail]