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".

10 January 1822 - [James Hickson ?] - Trinity, Newfoundland

Honoured and dear Fathers

When I wrote you in the summer I purposed to have written you again ere this time but has [sic] I have not found it convenient you will pardon me and accept of my service now which is very little and very imperfect. But it is my [unclear, maybe "might"] and when I have cast it into your treasury, I shall have cast not of my abundance of information but my all. And indeed it is but a mite when compared with what is thrown in by my Brethren in the east, west, and south at my Master's vineyard. Glory to God I am a partner with them in their spoil of joy and gladness, and this I am determined to be though I only be a sypher among them.

In my last letter I said but little about this circuit and promised to give you an extract from my Journal which is as follows.

21 June 1821, Thursday, Trinity

I am now arrived in my new circuit. In coming to it I had many fears, and my principal fear was, lest I should be useless. My soul is all ready in travail for the souls of this people. I have no source in myself that would inspire a hope of being useful. But this will I do, I will give myself to God and the word of his grace. What ever good may be wrought by me, I am purposed to give the glory of it to him, who uses the things that are [unclear, maybe "not"], the weak, and the ignorants "that the excellency of the power may appear to be of God and not of man"

O Lord make me ["clear" or "clean"] the bearer of they vessel, let my garment be [unclear, maybe "unspotted"] from the world. O God here I am, and anew give myself to thee with all my [unclear] nothingness, weakness, and ignorance, make this the last year I ever lived both in experience and [the next line or so is unclear]

24 June 1821, Sunday

I opened my mission among this people this morning by declaring "I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified" found myself quite at home, and at liberty in addressing them. The congregation was small, but this is account for from the service being in the Church hours. In the afternoon the Lord again warmed my heart and loosened my tongue while I endeavoured to improve the circumstances of [maybe "Baccheus"] conversion. The congregation, owing to the service not being in the church hour was materially larger. I determined to set forth God's holy word as far as in me lies, in its preculiar plainness and simplicity. Lord help me so to do. After service I met the class. Glory to God there is a little few that name Christ here. What is their exact state as it respects faith and holiness I could not learn, not liking, at one, to question them so closely. I exhorted them not to rest without a clear evidence of their acceptance with God, requested them to join me in hardent prayer for a deepening of the work in our own souls, for the revival of religion, and a plentiful effusion of the holy spirit. There is a little leaven, Lord may it soon leaven the whole lump. In the evening I went to the Church and heard Mr Spencer display devotion in prayer and learning in preaching. I shall avail myself of attending his ministry.

27 June 1821, Wednesday

This evening a young man waited on me requesting admittance into our Society, bearing in his hand the following note "This is to certify that Mr W P [I may have misread these initials] is communicant with the Church under my care, and as providence calls him a way from Poole, I cheerfully recommend him to the communian and kind attention of any minister or church of Christ near where his lot may be cast, Thos Turant, Minister of the Independent Congregation, Poole" I knowing it was not my place to question him on particular oppinions, I immediately began to converse on the excellancy of the Christian Communians and of the advantages arising from it, of which he appeared to be quite sensible. This pleasing to see the partition wall of prejudice which appeared once as high as heaven, now crumbling to dust. He offer himself as a teacher of the Sunday school, I gave him a copy of the rules, with which he seemed quite pleased.

28 June 1821, Thursday

To day I attended the School which meets Sundays and Thursdays. Our school in this place has greatly prospered. It was commenced by Brother Ellis. Then few children in the Harbour could read at all. Now many read the scriptures and the rest are learning to fast.

01 July 1821, Sunday

Had much liberty in preaching. At the sacrament there was more form than what I have usually seen. But all seemed to eye the crucified and some found with me the divine life "infused into the bread and power into the wine". I enjoy all the means of grace but o the sacrament is my banquet, here is the best of food suited to my every want. The most desirable company, and I feel I am welcome. It leads me to the humbling scene of [unclear but looks like "Cale"], to the raptures of Taber, and to the prospects of Nebo. On any of these mounts I am willing to put off my mantle of flesh and step into the Christ of Israel. My soul cannot, nor will not rest without seeing the salvation of God in the conversion of sinners.

05 July 1821, Thursday

To day as well as for several days past I have found an uncommon measure of power of God while on my knees, reading the word of God, and praying that I might comprehend with all saints what is the length and breadth of the love that passeth knowledge. But my sould seems to go into an agony while crying O Lord I revive they work. That God may send us a Pentechost, I feel determined to give myself to fasting and prayer, But in this I will not trust, my help is in the Lord who made heaven earth. I found the Lord with me while giving an exhortation to the chilren.

["Sunday 8th" is written, but then crossed out]

Two kind friends of this place lately took me in a small boat to English Harbour. We arrived just as the flag was taken down for service. I preached twice with much liberty and a good impression appeared to be made on the people. O that this may not be as the morning cloud and as the early dew. A little more than five years ago I spent a week in this Harbour. Then there was no Society. Now there are between thirty forty members. Then they had no place of worship, now they have a chapel in which they hold divine service regularly on the Lords day. There was no Sunday school, now there is one consisting of upwards of fifty children. This is encouraging. I had great pleasure in visiting the school. Mrs Kelson (wife of Mr W Kelson, Merchant and Magistrate of this place) after a severe fit of illness which confined her for three weeks, was again [unclear] to attend. Her labours have been indefaticable and very useful among the children, on Sundays and Thursdays, for now more than two years. She tells me when she began to teach, she did it for the credit of the Harbour, but now being with her husband makes a subject of divine grace, the love of Christ now constrains her. There are two or three young females who give their labours regularly twice a week. Much good has been done among the the people generally. In my last visit to this place in 1817, for during the whole winter few nights passed without a Ball, either private or public but now nothing of the kind occurs. The morals of the people are improved greatly. [unclear] though [unclear] read go forth [unclear] bearing precious seed, we shall [unclear] return again rejoicing bringing our Sheaves with us.

["Last July", meaning either July 1820 or 31 July 1821 ?]

I visited, went to an Indian Wigwam, its inhabitants belonged to the tribe called Micmacks and were Christians. What pleased me most was finding them so forward to speak about God, their souls and heaven. The spoke in broken english, but their language savoured of godly sincerity. The principal of them spoke of the providential care of God over all his creatures saying "dere be ten tousand, & tousands, but got miss none. me been very ill, me thought I might be gone in morning; me lie down here, me not tink get up again; me spect to die; but de goot got mind me gain". I made enquiries respecting the different parts of his family, and I found he had taken one out of charity. He said "She noting kin me, she noting kin my wife, but all her people go! She left! She perish! me took her, because me wish do some tink for got". I asked him whether he prayed with them all together, to which he answered "da all want go to heaven, me say prayers load, den da say with me". I proposed to pray with them, which was gladly received, they pointed me to kneel down, I prayed with as plain words as possible, and when I had done they all expressed their gratitude in their countenances, by clasping their hands and saying "tank you Sir, tank you sir, me never had so goot people come see me before". I came home much pleased with my visit. This day in the [unclear] human habitation even in an Indian Wigman, I have felt heard and seen God (The end)

16 August 1821, Thursday

This day was a day to be remembered. It is not in my power to discuss it philosophically, but at three oclock every hand was obliged to cease from labour [unclear] Being able to see, I dismissed the school for the same reason. The heavens bore a very formidable aspect and seemed to bend beneath an alarming load of fire. The sulphurous curtain appeared to draw itself arround us, as though we were butt of its revenge. Many were lead to think of that day when the sun shall be darkened, and they shall be called to stand before God. Their cry was what good would all the world do me now & The began to weep and wale. Thank God in this gloomy hour the son of righteousness shone brightly on my soul. In a few hours the loaded atmosphere discharged in vivid glaring lightning and bellowing Thunder but the smell of fire was not suffered to pass on any of us.

21 August 1821, Tuesday

In the morning, Bro Barr was come to spend a month in Trinity, I set sail for Catalina to stay the same time in Bonavista, after fifteen hours passage I arrived safe. The next day I went to see those who when I was a stranger took me in & but alas the pale horse had ridden a few hours before into their dwelling, and had thrown the hostess in such circumstances as prohibited my seeing her and in about an hour and half after death its rider killed the mother and made her wombe the grave of her infant. She has left an husband and ten children. In the afternoon I went to this house of mourning and could not but mingle my tears with their weeping children and especially with my friend Mr Diamond who had to weep the loss of a wife in many respect[unclear]able. He is the Leader and reader in this place. At her funeral I preached to the largest congregation ever witnessed in that Harbour a great part of which were Roman Catholicks who gladly came to show their respects her they highly esteemed.

31 August 1821, Friday

Came into dear Bonavista where I commenced my Missionary Career and where God gave me many souls for my hire. More than four years had expired since I left this place. And in meeting with my friends again we could not but rejoice a [unclear] with [unclear]. Went to look at the chapel which was not finished when I left but now it is completed, and one of the neatest and well constructed buildings we have in the country. But o it is deep in the mire of debt. Surely if there is a place of worship in this Land stands in need of the Committee's help, it is this.

02 September 1821, Sunday

In the morning while crying "Having obtained help of the Lord I continue to this day" [unclear] God [unclear] both hearer and speaker. While I was reading the 2 Kings 5 for the first lesson one left the Chapel under deep confriction. After preaching at night I was requested to visit him, and I found him under dreadful apprehensions of his danger, I saw he was a fit vessel to receive the oil of comfort and hardently directed him to Jesus who is anointed to, and gives to all men liberally and upbraideth not. But o hard hard it is even in the last shifts of Godly sorrow, to cast themselves on Christ by faith. The excellent order in which I found our Sunday School gave me much pleasure, and this was augmented in seeing upwards of a hundred children led in procession from the court house to the church, who are taught by the members of that Communion. To see the children of both schools and the members of both Congregations moving in each direction is a seen truly pleasing to the Christian Philanthropist.

20 September 1821, Trinity

After spending three Sundays in Bonavista and one in Catalina where they have got a church since I left them before I this day arrived safe here, thankful to God for his preserving mercies, both by sea and land.

25 December 1821

Was much blessed in directing the people to Bethlehem to "see this thing which is come to pass". And afterwards followed him with tears to [unclear] but found his resurrections power in the Cup of memorial. There were two for the first time with us at his table.

31 December 1821, Monday

Decending to my usual plan We held a watch night in the following order, preached a serman [unclear] Mr Skelton Esq Chief Magistrate [several unclear words] and useful exhortations. I then spent a few minutes in calling to mind the blessings of the year which was hastening to a close, and then concluded it on our knees in a midnight and deathly silence which evidently had a deep effect on the minds of the people. There were about an hundred present and all stayed to the close. Being the first ever held in Trinity it raised much curiosity, some expecting to find matter for sport but went a way convinced other ways.

04 January 1822, Friday

Read an extract of Mr Stewart's work [unclear, either "at" or "on"] the necessity of special prayer for an outpouring of the spirit of God. My soul was almost in an ecstasy to find such a well of living water in that communion of which I consider myself a legitimate member. The doctrines of ["Mr Hodison" ?] are the doctrines of the Church of England. The word of the Lord is gone forth of this Jerusalem, and o that the Pentechost may come upon the same from the Mitred head to her meanest Desciple I could not but rejoice to see my mind so fully laid ["upon the world" ?]. Thus far for my journal.

I wish I had the privilege of writing of my many conversions, for it would be as salt to season all that I have said but this I can not at present. We have five new members and three that have received the witness of the spirit since my coming among them and our congregations are increasingly larger than ever known here. So that now the Trusttees are sorry they had not the Chapel larger in the beging [sic, probably meant "beginning"] the state of the chapel Mr Kelson will write you and as he knows it from the begining to the present he is the most able to write you.

At our last District Meeting I sent a request for liberty to return home the coming spring. Likewise in my letter I mentioned it again and now again I throw my request at your feet, that I may come home after an exile of near seven years. And that I might do so I have kept myself in that state which is declared not good even in [unclear, but looks like "adornish"] perfections I wish not to come home at the expense of good conscience, ["how" ?] God knows I would do his will in the [unclear] of his vineyard he chooses. My request father is ["that" ?] you would drop my a line on this subject as early as possible in the spring, and there will be vessels sailing from Poole in March. That God may preside in all your meetings [several unclear words] be the prayer of your [the next line or so, up to and including where a concluding signature would appear, is unclear]

[Home] [Mail]