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NOTTINGHAM, JUNE 15, 1847. MY DEAR CLARINDA—In my last, rears its intrusive head every where per steamer of the 4th inst. you were in the meadows and green fields, and informed of our safe arrival at the the brier occasionally obtrudes upon residence of John Davies, Esq. of our path, reminding us that this is Mollington, Chester County. This neither ancient paradise nor paradise much esteemed and beloved brother restored. and his excellent lady, whom he gen-/ Our brother Davies is one of the erally salutes as “ Mary Davies,” main pillars of the cause of reformaconstitute his proper family. In their tion in England, as you are aware, hospitable mansion I have found a and has done much to introduce and to home which has afforded me every-circulate our writings throughout the thing I could desire on earth, save length and breadth of this land. At the presence of that family which the his own expense he stereotyped the Lord has given me. Our brother new version of the New Testament, Davies lives in one of the most beauti- and scattered it through England and ful spots, of one of the most beautiful Wales. Our late friend, the much vallies in England. Indeed the val- venerated William Jones, of London, ley of the Dee, around the very an- who greatly aided the cause for some cient and venerable city Chester is years, but through the force of old sometimes called the royal valley of prejudices, and in consequence of my England. From Liverpool to his unintentionally pressing too hard on residence, along a splendid railroad of the darling child of his old age, besome seventeen miles, or three quar- coming restive, and taking the alarm ters of an hour from the city, is a that certain dogmata of the much and country under the highest state of deservedly admired McLean, of EdinEnglish cultivation. It rather re-burgh, the father of the Scotch Bapsembles a continuation of gardens, tists, were in imminent danger of than of farms or fields, from the death at my hands, suddenly made Mersey to Mollington. The green war against the new version, so far hedges of the sweetly scented haw-as he feared its influence ; and after thorn, now in blossom, the emerald writing an acrimonious preface to it, fields everywhere sprinkled with flow- and making sundry very trifling and ers of various colors, of which the insignificant alterations, republished it daisy and buttercnp, the innocent with my prefaces and general addenda white, the golden yellow, and the at the end of it, thereby taking the blushing red predominate and refresh work measurably out of the hands of the eye as it luxuriates on all the brother Davies, who, nevertheless, as forms of beauty which nature and art Paul said of himself concerning cercombining, can bestow on a country tain envious preachers, rejoices that so uniform as that along the Dee from Christ is preached and the new verChester to the mountains of Wales. sion diffused by a fourth English ediThere is just enough of forest trees tion of it, so far as the influence of and shrubs scattered over the country our much esteemed, though somewhat to afford all that pleasing variety peevish and fastidious Elder Jones which good taste requires to relieve could give it circulation. and to please the mind of any one who Brother Davis having been born in desires to trace the hand of God and Wales, only, indeed, some ten miles the hand of man co-operating in ma- from his present residence, exerts much king a country a suitable and delight-influence there as well as in England, ful abode of man. Still the thistle in the cause of original Christianity. When brethren like him, of ample thing around me was perfectly new. pecuniary means, not only labor in Every face was an original one, and word and teaching, but are “ willing myself to them all, equally original. to distribute,” and “ ready to com- I had to smother the singular and municate" of their abundance to build novel emotions and feelings that sudup the cause of Christ in the world, denly and wholly unexpectedly arose there is no limiting the wide extent within me and quickened into life. or long enduring influence which they This is the fatherland, thought I to may have in transmitting the blessings myself—and these are the people of the gospel of Christ to many of our whence our American family and our fellow-men ; and thus they lay up in American institutions sprang, from store for themselves a good foundation whom we have inherited our persons, for the time to come, that they may our language, our laws, and our relay hold of a glorious immortality. ligion. And why, said I to myself,
Brother Henshall, soon after our am I here to-day ? For what purarrival together at Mollington, began pose have I come ? To speak to them to remember that he had a father and the gospel ? We received it from five brethren living in this county of them! To develope to them the treaChester, whom he had not seen for sure which they had bestowed on us ! more than seventeen years. He be- Rather to show them how far we have came immediately restless, and, after profited by their instrumentality, and dinner, in the evening, deserted me, how we have used the talents which and taking the cars, flew off some we received from them in trust, thirty miles, and made himself known when expatriating ourselves, they to his father's house. There, and in gave us the parting benediction. But the environs, he spent one week, oc- it is impossible to embody in language, casionally preaching a little, and en- the reminiscences of the past the deavouring to win over two of his feelings of responsibility and of gratibrethren who are preachers among tude, combining with the tides of the Methodists. One of his brothers, emotion which, in quick succession, whom I saw at Mollington, is quite a passed through my mind before I grave, intelligent, and dignified person. arose to address the waiting congreHe has almost decided to become one gation. of us. Indeed; I calculate with cer- Brother Davis opened the meeting tainty, that having been immersed on with the usual customs of the church, his own profession of the faith, him- and, in his very apposite prayer, when self and brother will plead in England mentioning the Queen and the royal what our brother James pleads in family, in obedience to Paul, he openAmerica.
ed again in me a new vein of sentiMeantime, advertisements were ment and feeling. printed announcing our arrival, and He read, at my request, for the the next day, being Lord's day, we morning reading, the opening of the met in a spacious hall rented for the letter to the Hebrews. My dispurpose, in the metropolis of the course, being an introductory one to county Palatine of Cheshire, one of a series of some six or seven lectures, the oldest cities of the English empire. I submitted and discussed sundry and Our audience was respectable for preliminary propositions arising from number, and very respectable in ap- the assumption of the Apostle, expearance. I can scarcely tell you pressed in the first period of the epishow I felt when ascending the plat- tle, and afterwards developed to the form ; I could hardly believe that I close of the fifth verse of the second was in England ; I still felt the waves chapter. of the Atlantic in my person. Every In the afternoon the church met;
we addressed it, and at seven o'clock only without restrictions, but assuring we lectured to a much larger audience us that even if we chose to oppose than we had in the morning. We their doctrines, we might freely use continued the subject introduced in the their house. There is an air of conmorning. The topics of the day were fidence in the strength of their theory,
-Has GOD SPOKEN TO MAN ? If he and, at the same time, a respect for have, BY WHOM ? and, WHAT HAS HE public accommodation, as well as a SAID ? The lawgiver, Moses, the an- tribute to free discussion in this libegels of the Old Testament, the Mes- rality, which are worthy of a better siah, the Prophets, the Apostles, their cause. mission, character, work, &c. came From Chester, on Lord's day, the fully before us, and furnished matter, 6th of June, Brother Henshall and rich and various, for that day. Out myself, with Brother Davies, went into of our Lord's day auditory, we made Wales, and spent a pleasant day at one for the week, which, without Wrexham, some fourteen miles distant much variety or change, continued to from Mollington. The ride was most meet every evening till Friday night. delightful, the morning charming, and I delivered, in all, eight lectures in our associations with Wales, and Chester.
reminiscences, were all of a pleasing The hall in which we met, being character. In Chester, at the Lord's constructed rather for music than for table, we broke the loaf of blessing oratory, was exceedingly unfavorable with some 80 brethren. We found for speaking audibly to a large audi- here a larger number assembled, and ence. Its vaulted roof, very high, spent with them a very pleasant day. with the whole contour of the room, I addressed a crowded house in the made it impossible to be heard clearly morning, brother Henshall in the afby those at a distance. Complaints ternoon. I again addressed the church were so numerous, we were constrain- at the supper. In the evening I spoke ed to remove to the ancient meeting in the Baptist church to an audience house of the celebrated Matthew Hen- which our Brother Clare, its Elder, ry, for whom it was builded, some said was the largest he ever saw in it. 146 years ago. I have had his five Our Baptist brethren heard with all folios on my shelf for five and thirty candour, and on leaving the house to years, but never thought that I should return to Mollington that evening, have the pleasure of preaching in his while we walked some distance in adpulpit. I delivered two of my lec- vance of our carriage, we were accomtures in this old Presbyterian chapel. panied by a very large company of But, strange to tell, this old and vene- our brethren, both of the Baptists' and rable looking building, with most of of the Disciples' church. I have selthe ancient Presbyterian meeting- dom been so much affected with a houses in England are now in the parting scene. The crowd that marchhands of the Unitarians!
led along with us down the beautiful So far as courtesy indicates merit, declivity of one of the finest roads in they indeed deservedly possess them. the world, with a silent and solemn For while the Presbyterians almost step, gave every demonstration of ununiformly refuse us the use of their feigned affection and respect. They meeting-houses, the Unitarians as uni- took the parting hand with such a formly tender theirs. And they do grasp of fraternal feeling, that when this, as they did in Chester, knowing we bade the last adieu, we had scarcely that we do not at all sympathize with any more command of our feelings them in their views of the person, than of the right hand of fellowship. office, and death of Christ. Indeed, We all seemed to be inspired with the they invited us to their house, not same spirit, and to feel that on earth
we all should never meet again. The of our lecture was too solemn for such whole scene more resembled Paul's indications of approbation, as in their embarkation from Miletus to Patara, liberality and complaisance they had in Lycia, as reported in the last verse given us the evening before. With of the 20th of the Acts, than any one one or two slight deviations from our I have ever witnessed. Since leaving, request, we enjoyed the most profound we have heard that some efforts have attention of one of the most intellecbeen made at Wrexham to bring the tual audiences I have seen. After I Baptist brethren and the disciples into closed, some person in a remote corner one weekly communion. May the of the room, muttered so loud as to Lord bless them all, and enable them disturb the congregation, often repeatto maintain unity of spirit in the bonds ing that " he believed in a Holy Spirit of peace !
that gave men religion right down On Monday and Tuesday evening, from heaven, without any instrumenthe 7th and 8th of June, we made our tality.” But the congregation showappearance in Liverpool. The breth- ing no sympathy with him, he was ren in Liverpool are not numerous, overpowered with their reprobation, and occupy but a small room. The and left the room repeating his favoOwenites, alias Socialists, of that great rite dogma. city, some years since builded a spa- Intending to spend a few days about cious hall, now called “Concert Hall,” Liverpool on my return, my appointfor their free discussions of the theories ments abroad being published over of my friend Robert Owen, and other the kingdom, I was compelled to leave philosophers of the power and charms Mollington early on Wednesday mornof circumstances. But as usual, in ing for Shrewsbury, in Shropshire, a all such cases,circumstances compelled very ancient and venerable city, which them to dissolve their meetings, annul I felt much interested to visit, it being their charters, and to turn back again the place of your mother's nativity, as to the walks of common sense, to na- well as the residence of a few valuature, and the domestic circles of ble disciples. Christian prescription.
I received a very kind and cordial Our brethren hired this large am- invitation from sister Cook, of the phitheatre, which the keeper says Baptist church, to make her house my seats 2500 persons. We had it some home, while in Shrewsbury. She is two-thirds full the first evening, and the sister of our amiable and excellent quite full, indeed crowded, the second brother Hawley, of Detroit, with evening. We stormed the castle of whom you are acquainted. Accominfidelity the first evening, and gave panied by Mr. Samuel Davies, one of them a lecture on the Holy Spirit the the warmest friends of reformation second evening. By the frequent de- out of the church I have met with, I monstrations of approbation during had a delightful ride of some sevenour first lecture, we felt that it was teen miles by railroad, and more than not a church but a “ Concert Hall," thirty by stage to Shrewsbury. which contained us ; and also that For the first time in my life, I took the audience fully comprehended the an outside passage, that I might see discourse, from the points which they the country. I had a very pleasant selected at which to place their, to us, ride, upon a very smooth and beautiful rather annoying notes of admiration. turnpike, as all the roads of England On the second evening, when com- are, at the rate of some eight or nine mencing, we requested from the audi- miles an hour, and enjoyed a fine ence, no such comments as they were opportunity of noting many things pleased to add to the text of our first interesting to me, on the agriculture discourse—alleging that the subject and husbandry of the country, of
which I may say something here and after my lectures a union was after.
proposed by some of them, with the After dining with brother Thomas immersed “Plymouth brethren” and Butler, of Castle-street, Shrewsbury, the Disciples. May the Lord unite I was conducted to the paradise of them on the ancient foundation of one sister Cook, immediately out of the Lord, one faith, one baptism, one body, city. For all that good taste in the one spirit, one hope, one God and Faselection and location of shrubberyther of all. and flowers, and all that art could On visiting the old Baptist church, achieve in erecting and adorning a of which mother Bakewell's father very neat, chaste, and beautiful pri- had been a deacon, I found on the vate abode, with adjoining gardens left hand, close by the door, two moand fields, this is really one of the numents bearing his name, one of most delightful spots I have seen. I which, much defaced, was some of enjoyed all that I could enjoy of human his relatives. I was curious to have comfort, in this Christian family. the history of this very old Baptist Sister Cook, and her four Christian church, and was kindly furnished daughters, seem to live just as much with the church books, during the for one another as for themselves, and evening, by one of the deacons. I to enjoy themselves just as they pro- found the name of George Bean as mote the happiness of one another. ' early as 1769, and as deacon in con
The brethren obtained a very con- cert with Jos. Edgerby, July 1, 1794. venient and respectable public room This was your mother's grand-father, for my lectures. I delivered three of whom I heard a good report from discourses on the great elements of some who yet remember him. the Christian religion, received and The church, it appears from its answered some questions. I formed own record, had lived for a century an acquaintance with some of the “at a poor dying rate,” frequently “ Plymouth brethren” in this place, almost extinct, sometimes actually who, on hearing some of my dis- dissolved, and then again reviving. courses, expressed a desire for a better At present it is at a very low ebb. acquaintance. They are numerous in The meeting-house is of a very antique many places in England, and truly a construction, with heavy galleries, so spiritually minded and intelligent peo- that in no one spot, not even in the ple. They are more like our breth-pulpit (for I stood in it), could the ren than any people I have met with. preacher see his whole audience. Some of them have been immersed, On having the sexton to wash one and of the few that I have yet seen, of the tomb-stones near the door, I (not, indeed, all immersed) I have was able to read, “ Ann Bean, aged formed a very favorable opinion. They 62, Aug. 17, 1800.” meet weekly to commemorate the Sa- This and Chester city, Birmingham, viour's death and resurrection, are and Nottingham, with some intermore devoted to the New Testament mediate places, shall constitute the than any of the existing sects, and con- subject of my next letter. I arrived sequently, more self-sacrificing and here, according to appointment, on devoted to the Lord. They have some Saturday, the 12th instant. On the peculiarities, of which I shall not yet morning of Lord's day I delivered an speak, not having fully heard nor con- address on miracles. This was spoken sidered them.
in the chapel which you visited when The whole Christian profession, here. The congregation was just as amongst all the dissenters at Shrews- large as the house could possibly bury, is at a very low ebb. The few admit, which is not more than some living Baptists were very friendly, eight hundred persons. The brethren