- James Hervey (1714-1758) was born in Hardingstone, Northamptonshire, the son of an Anglican minister. He was educated at Northampton Grammar School and Lincoln College Oxford where he was a member of the Holy Club. Hervey was ordained in 1737 and served several curacies until 1743 when he became his father's curate at the parish of Weston Favell. Hervey maintained his friendships from his Oxford years, particularly with George Whitefield and incorporated some aspects of Methodist practice in his ministry. After his father's death in 1752, Hervey succeeded him as Rector. Hervey was a leading Anglican exponent of Calvinism and published several books of religious verse, meditations and reflections which were heavily influenced by Calvinist theology. He had a sharp disagreement with John Wesley over doctrinal matters and broke off their friendship in 1755. They were never reconciled. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)
From Aberdeen to an unnamed correspondent [addressed as 'Dear Brother'] duly received his correspondent's letter and was pleased that he remains in good health, Bardsley himself is in reasonable spiritual and physical health. They are going on pretty well here and in a little town about ten scots miles from here. They have had about twenty new members added and several have experienced God's grace, but they have not had much encouragement from Inverness and the other parts of the circuit as many people are prejudiced against the Methodists on account of their sentiments and the 'eleven letters said to be wrote by Mr [James] Hervey .' [A reprint in Edinburgh of James Hervey's posthumous Eleven Letters defending his views offended many Scottish presyterians and hindered the Methodist cause for many years.]
Bardsley was sorry that he was unable to settle his account with his correspondent before this time. Had he been in England, he could have done so but he has only had three pounds to his quarterly charge since he arrived, but as he will get his shortfall made up by Conference, he will take the first opportunity to settle the bill.
Bardsley was informed by his dear brother Jeremiah [Bardsley's] last letter that his correspondent has not been meeting in society which upset him much on various accounts and particularly because of the great regard that Bardsley has had for his correspondent for these many years. He could weep for his dear friend.
Spiritual matters are discussed in detail.
If any of the Methodists look unkindly at him because of this, or treat him badly, he should remember the words of the prophet "why should a living man complain a man for the punishment of sin?". Bardsley begs his correspondent to be diligent in attending the means of grace [Communion] and the prayer meetings.
Bardsley was very sorry to hear of the death of his correspondent's daughter - he trusts that she has been removed from the evil to come. His correspondent should write immediately and tell him how he is faring and if he is affected by desire for mercy.
Bardsley's dear love should be passed to his correspondent's wife - he should not give her any more pain.. His love should also be passed to Matty.
22 Mar 1782
To Jeremiah Bardsley [in Manchester?]
From Aberdeen. Bardsley wrote to him about three weeks ago, which he hopes was delivered. He came to this city on the 2nd of this month and has enjoyed health and peace. The Methodists are doing very well here and in a little fishing village called Newbrough - about twelve new members have been added since Christmas and several have experienced God's grace.
He spent about four months in Inverness where he met with a few friends who were very kind to him. He thinks that it is a 'singular favour' that his health remains so good and that he desires after the Lord.
Bardsley is now nearly a hundred miles nearer to Jeremiah than when he was at Inverness and perhaps next year, he may be closer still.