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".
By the mercy of God I am spared to address you once more. This I should have been more forward to do had I made greater inroads upon the enemies territories. Whereby I might have presented you with a long list of prisons opened, hand broken, and captives brought home. Thank God I have not prophesied altogether invasion. So we have come together and from the four winds breath has come and breathed on a few that they live. That you may know what I have been doing since I wrote you last, I shall here subjoin decarding to my usual flair, and your request an extract from my journal.
26 January 1822, SaturdayJames Hickson
Walked to Bonaventure the distance about nine miles. In the morning the wind was very piercing, but when we got into the woods we felt but little of it and as the day advanced it became very fine. The sun, that Monarch of our [unclear] with his [unclear] glory for there was no interposing [unclear] in his journey to the west (O that no cloud of doubt may ever hide the eternal son from the eye of my mind) his splendour was much augmented by the brilliancy of the snow & ice which a nervous ally met his rays. David cried wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. The snow white souls best set forth the glory of the son of righteousness. That I may do this Lord make clean my heart within me. I would here remark that I have traveled some hundreds of miles in this country and that in different directions but have never yet seen timber to corrdinate [maybe corroborate?] the saying of geographers that this country will supply the Navy with tinber when America shall fail. Found the people very willing to receive me though an utter stranger to the place. The next day I preached to them three times with much liberty, and was heard with tears and deep attention. On Monday I was well wet before I got home as it rained all the way.
14 February 1822
Went to English Harbour. In walking over the ice I was rather fearful having no one with me, and being dubious of its strength. In these cases I would act with prudness and the trust in my preserver. Presumption in all cases is utterly inconsistent with the christian character. Lord let me be kept from this evil also. The same night I cried "it shall be well with the righteous" [etc ?] The next day I administered the sacrament of the Lords supper to two sick women and other attending. We found the [unclear, maybe "author"] of the [unclear, maybe "past"] present. Met one part of the society in the afternoon and the other at night and was sorry to find that out of forty members not more than two or three have a sense of God's [unclear] love. O for the Pentecost that the Holy Ghost may be given to this people also.
02 March 1822
Was accompanied by a few friends to Bonaventure. The day fine and, comparatively speaking, the walking was good owing to the frost making the track in the snow hard and there being many Ponds in the way which were as pavements to our feet with the exception of their being very slippery which creates a slavish fear of falling. But our walking long journeys, wading in deep snow, and labouring with the treacherous ice will not loose a reward. The population of this place is less than a hundred, but there are Harbour near it about the same sizes. The inhabitance of which attend worship in this where they have a small church, and a person to read in it, and keep school.
27 March 1822, Wednesday
Left Bonavista for Trinity. On the 8th instant I came to Bonavista with an intention of changing with Brother Barr for a time. But he took the opportunity of my being there and got married on the 15th. Immediately after this I was taken unwell which with the weather detained me till the above date the distance thirty miles, ten from Bonavista to Catalina, and twenty from thence to Trinity. When we were got about four miles from Catalina I was taken ill and obliged to walk between Brother Barr and a young gentleman that was with us, till we got half way, then by eating and drinking I gathered a little strength and walked alone about four miles, after which I was taken worse than before. Then my kind friends to whom I shall be forever indebted, were obliged to lay me down in the snow and send forward our guide to get a sled and dogs to hall me out to Salmon Cove. Meanwhile my friends were breaking down bows and piling them under me to save me from the snow and took off their own clothes to keep me from the piercing wind. They did much much more but it is all a dream to me, for I had scarcely possession of my senses for the time. The dogs and sled came and I was carried to a house where the good woman of it got me some tea afterward I was able to get home four miles farther. The Lord provided for my [unclear] in giving me a fine day and companion that were able and willing to take care of me. Had I been taken this way in the woods alone there would have been no alternative I must have perished.
28 May 1822, Tuesday
By sailing sixty miles and walking thirty I got to Carbonear where our meeting (that is the District Meeting) convened the next morning at six o'clock.
30 May 1822, Thursday
Taken very ill and bliged [sic - obliged] to leave the meeting and go to bed. The next day I was able to sit with my Brethren again. And finding myself much better on Saturday went to Harbour Grace heard Brother Wilson the next morning and preached at night.
03 June 1822
[unclear] to break part with Mrs Skelton after which I was put to bed very sick, and to all appearance not to rise again. Had [a few unclear words] the case, glory to God, my death would have been [a few unclear words] any my weaking up would have been eternal [unclear] My [a few unclear words], but I had no joy, because of the sorrow my death in a foreign land would bring upon my dear mother and relatives. Through the prayers of my numerous friends, and the skillful application of medicine, and the unremited attention of Mrs Skelton and other friends I was raised up again I trust not to be a cipher in his church after being detained there five weeks I went to St. John's to take the first opportunity for Trinity which was not till the 18th of July, and arrived here on the 20th. I was much wanted in my circuit and my dear people received me as from the dead. The Lord is very precious with us in our class meeting we have an increase of grace and number. Our congregations are deeply attentive and large. We are often lead to cry the place is too strait. These drops promise a shower. O that he would pour a might flood. In my last letters I requested liberty to return to England. I much renew it in this as have received no answer from you on the subject. You will persieve from the above that my health is much impared and it is to that degree that my Doctor has said (but not to me) that if I stay in Newfoundland two years I shall be dead. Dear Fathers believe me your willing servant and son in the Ministry.