Scope and Content

From J. Evans in Madeley to Mary Tooth, c/o of Henry Moore, Spitalfields Chapel, London. In accordance with Tooth's request, Evans is taking the opportunity of writing with details of the meeting of 23 July. About sixteen [lay and itinerant] preachers were in attendance, including [Edward] Sumner [stationed in Madeley] who acted as chairman - his colleague [George] Russell having previously left for Conference.

When Evans's name was 'called over' according to custom, Sumner wanted to know if he [Evans] had not neglected some of his [preaching] appointments. Evans replied on his own behalf, asking if he was in the habit of doing so? Sumner asked who Evans had sent to Beckbury on Sunday? Evans did not reply directly for he perceived Sumner's intention: Sumner persisted in the matter, stating that Evans had sent Tooth. Evans acknowledged that Tooth was to have gone and Sumner then stated that it was in contravention of a rule made last quarterly meeting. Evans denied the accusation, being perfectly satisfied in his own mind from what had passed at that same meeting, that any 'brother' as well as Mr [Richard?] Williams was perfectly at liberty to give up any of their appointments to Tooth; a little altercation then took place - 'Mr [Sumner] observed I might be satisfied; from what the brethren then said, that it was the wish of the meeting that no bro shd give his appointment to any but to those whose names were on the [Circuit preaching] plan. However I did not appear satisfied with such observations & wished to know what rule to pursue in future; some said put it to the vote - Mr [Sumner] said it may be done without. I said I did not wish to abide by what a few of then may plan, thinking that if it were put to the vote there may be a majority in my favour; at all events under the present circumstances I was prohibited acting as I had done, & therefore thought there could be but one HOPE, and that by ballotting, which would show also our friend & foe. Accordingly a [unreadable word] should now be confirmed (viz that no bro should give you their appointment but Mr Williams. It was then seconded and carried by a majority. But I pray that they may neither have sleep to their eyes, nor slumber to their eyelids till they have sincerely repented of their doing. I hope I am not rash, I wish to be charitable but I think they ought to repent of trying to stop the cause of God and silence those characters which have been & may be useful in God's vineyard. I do not mean to flatter, but it appears to me awful to try to prevent the use of the least talent which God may have given to any of his children'.

Evans trusts that God has prepared Tooth for this happening and that she will yet see the time when the decision of 23 July will be reversed.

Williams is very annoyed with the decision of the meeting and Evans believes that if he [Williams] had been present, the subject would not have been discussed. He has asked Evans to pass on to Tooth his grief. She should let Williams know in her reply to this letter, how she wishes him to act in response. Williams believes that a person of his years and record of holding important positions in the Church 'should not let Mr Sumner's conduct pass unobserved. He feels very much inclined if you are agreeable to give [word obscured by wax seal mark] a good set down before he leaves the Circuit'. He also wishes Tooth to inform [Henry] Moore to ascertain his opinion concerning the correctness of what the present preachers in this Circuit [Russell and Sumner] have done - something that no preachers before them did.

Reference is made to Tooth seeing Brother Bailey, who can confirm what Evans has said in this letter.

Evans has gone into detail, but he knows that Tooth likes 'particulars'.

Miss Morris preached in 'Cath Furnace'[?] last Sunday and at [unreadable place name] last Tuesday - her labours have won her 'a troop of converts. Here[?] you see God does not despise[?] female effort tho wise man does'.

Mr and Mrs Williams and Mrs Evans send their regards.