From William O'Bryan at Millpleasant near Plymouth, to his daughter Mary O'Bryan on Guernsey, Channel Isles.
Mary will no doubt be surprised to learn that her mother [Catherine] has gone as a missionary to the Isle of Wight. Mary Toms had written to ask for another preacher to be sent to assist her. They considered Sarah Cory and Catherine went to Kingston to speak to her. Cory accompanied Catherine back to Plymouth and on the road they met Mr Friend, who appeared very unwilling for Sarah to go and she herself was undecided. Just before retiring for the night, the O'Bryans and several friends prayed and then cast lots to decide the issue. The decision was that Sarah should not leave for the Isle of Wight. They then cast lots to see whether Catherine should be sent instead and it was decided that she should.
The steamer left today for Portsmouth at 11am. It is to call at Dartmouth, Torquay, Brixham and Cowes. They hope to be in Portsmouth tonight. Mary's mother is accompanied by Eliza Jew, a young woman of Kingsand who is promising speaker.
They were disappointed when the [ship or stagecoach] Alfred arrived on Saturday with no letter from Mary. They hope to have a long communication from her soon. She could follow her father's example by keeping a daily journal and sending it home. Mary should tell her father of her feelings, prayers, reading and preaching etc. Is she satisfied with her preaching station?.
They hear that [Samuel] Smale or at least one of the male preachers, has been preaching in a field on Guernsey. It was apparently filled with people, but not all reports are necessarily true.
It is rather singular that both a mother and daughter should be missionaries to off-shore islands.
Catherine [O'Bryan's daughter] is almost recovered, after taking a `purging physic'. The doctor attributes her illness to eating fruit.
He trusts that Mary has settled Mrs Sarchet's bill.
O'Bryan is pleased that the child has returned.
The work here remains the same, with only odd ones here and there being added to the ranks of the converted. They should however be thankful for any success. He was at a prayer-meeting at [Plymouth] Dock last night when William the soldier stood up and asked to speak. He said that he had promised the Lord that he would. William had been unable to believe that God had forgiven his sins until lately, when a few days ago he was so filled with joy that he felt assured of forgiveness. He then gave out a verse of scripture and prayed that Mary's ministry might be useful. She is often remembered in their prayers.
She should be very guarded in conversation so that she speaks only of spiritual matters.
O'Bryan would like to hear of her progress at least one a fortnight.
Reference is made to Hester Onchard and Grace Thorne.
Harry Major wrote last week to say that they had enjoyed a good local preachers' meeting. The same day, one of the society dreamt that he had seen thousands of Bryanites going through the land blowing trumpets. Some said that there was no need for such a noise, but then a voice said that if all had been faithful, hundreds who were now in hell would have been saved.
He sent the letter to the Wesleyan preacher [Henry] Taft yesterday, as he wished to find out first if his appointment at Malton was permanent.
In a postscript, he mentions that [Henry] Taft is not the same person as Zachariah Taft.
Mrs Eastcott and her husband have moved to Dartmouth, and have offered to provide hospitality for preachers.
- Samuel Smale (1796-1824) was born at Bridgerule, Cornwall. He entered the Bible Christian ministry in 1821 and was appointed to the Guernsey Mission in 1823. Source: Beckerlegge and Bible Christian Magazine 1824, pp.132ff
- Henry Taft (1772-1824) was trained as a doctor of medicine, and was converted at the age of twenty-eight. He entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1802. His final circuit was Birmingham where he was instrumental in obtaining subscriptions for the erection of the Cherry Street Chapel.. Source: Arminian Magazine 1824, pp.213 and 645