Rev Thomas Jackson Collection

Scope and Content

The collection consists of letters and copy letters, circulars, pamphlets and printed material relating to Methodist history. Matters covered by these include the death of John Wesley; various disputes between ministers, chapel stewards and the Methodist Conference (especially the Portland Chapel dispute); moral and political issues (notably slavery); a few printed minutes of various British Methodist districts; and the beginnings of missionary activity overseas.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Jackson (1783-1873) was born in Sancton, Yorkshire. In 1801 he was converted to Methodism through the ministry of Mary Barritt. He began to preach soon after and entered the itinerancy in 1804. In 1817 he succeeded Jabez Bunting as sub-secretary of the Conference and in 1824 was appointed to the important post of connexional editor, again in succession to Bunting. As connexional editor he authored a wide number of publications and established himself as one of Wesleyan Methodism's greatest apologists and historians. The pamphlets which he wrote were cornerstones in the defence of traditional Wesleyanism during this very troubled period. He also edited the journals of Charles Wesley, and the sermons and other works of John Wesley, while his two volume biography of Charles Wesley is still the most complete work about the hymn-writer and co-founder of Methodism. In 1842 he was appointed theological tutor at the Richmond Theological Institute and served there for nineteen years until poor health forced him into retirement. Jackson served as President of Conference in 1838 and 1849.

(Source: THE METHODIST ARCHIVES BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX, Methodist Archives and Resource Centre, John Rylands University Library, Manchester -


The collection is generally ordered chronologically (in seven folders) although there are some exceptions, mainly as a result of the original manuscript list.

Arrangement of Original Files (and how microfiched):

Folder One (Includes a manuscript list of the collection) 1736-1790

Folder Two 1791-1793

Folder Three 1794

Folder Four 1795-1796

Folder Five 1797-1820

Folder Six 1821-1834

Folder Seven 1835-1839

The following terms have been used when describing items within the collection. Letter refers to handwritten letters addressed to a particular receiver. The term circular letter refers to printed letters and statements addressed to no particular receiver i.e. dear brother or dear brethren. Pamphlet refers to a printed booklet usually on a particular subject.

With circulars, printed documents and pamphlets I have included the title or heading of the work between apostrophes in the description. With such printed material, when possible, I have included the date of printing in square brackets within the description and used the date column for the date of the original event, this is because the original manuscript list accompanying the collection lists the event date rather than the printing date. Where the circular or printed material contains extracts from more than one item or speech that are dated differently I have included all of the dates in the date column, this is unless the document has an overall date of its own e.g. Item Number 4. Where the item is a direct copy the date column refers to the date of the original and the copy date if known is stated in the description, this reflects the original arrangement of the collection which is arranged chronologically by original date not copy dates. Where there is more than one copy of a document I have included in the description the number of copies written in brackets.

Access Information

Only to be viewed on microfiche


Other Finding Aids

Handlist available. The original manuscript list is also available within the collection.

Archivist's Note