From Bristol to Mary Tooth. This must be a brief letter because of Moore’s many engagements, yet she feels that she must let Tooth know [Henry’s] observations on the subject of their previous letter – ‘the important subject which we know it is to you who so exquisitely feel all that concerns your circuit and that in the best way.’
First, there is no doubt that Conference will grant the petition from the Madeley circuit for [Jonathan] Crowther to remain in the circuit as he was struck down with the illness while in the circuit and ‘his time not expired.’
With regard to the continuance for a third year of those mentioned by Tooth, ‘it will probably stand unless those who are against it take the steps you mention, they intend that of a counter petition to Conference in that case the matter would come under regular discussion, and Mr M. [Henry] would aid your cause. As far as he could perceive it, it would promote the good of the work in general, the prosperity of the circuit being, we are very sure, the only end and aim…we cannot think that these manoeuvrings are not creditable either to preachers or people and are utterly inconsistent with Christian simplicity.’ [Leaving aside Jonathan Crowther, the only itinerant who could have been the subject of this discussion was Crowther’s colleague John Sumner, who was stationed in Madeley from 1820 to 1822. ]
Moore trusts that Tooth has recovered from that physical weakness that she complained of in her last letter and that their missionary meeting was attended with success.
Yesterday the quarterly committee meeting was held at Kingswood School. It was well-attended and the Moores were accompanied in a coach by their visitors from Dublin. ‘The preachers very judiciously managed to have their missionary meeting all under one. My dear Mr [Henry] Moore in the chair, it was surprisingly well-attended considering the extreme wetness of the evening. What the collection was we do not know, we hastened away the minute it was over. Mr Naylor and his friend Mr Gardner had breakfasted with us the morning before and had gone over to Kingswood where Mr G. staid the night and met me at the missionary [meeting] in the evening where he held forth a great deal of very good matter indeed but greatly impassioned and, as we thought, by far too long so that we feared our collection would be injured thereby as the people kept going out and several more had intended to speak but were precluded by his long one so that the meeting was obliged be broke up abruptly and concluded immediately. He had told many particulars of his little son at breakfast which were very affecting, and gave us two of the books he had written respecting the piety and sweet spirits of the child, all this while it never entered my dull pate that this was the man who had been with you, not till I read your letter after their arrival. By what I could judge it seemed to me that tho he is ardent in spirit, yet I do not think it would accord with yours and upon the whole, I believe I may say that this is not the man you will chuse.’
In a postscript, Moore mentions that her friends leave on Tuesday. The Moores leave for Bath on Wednesday, spend the night there and then leave for London at 6 in the morning.
- Jonathan Crowther (1759-1824) was born at Northowram near Halifax in Yorkshire. After hearing the preaching of the Anglican evangelical Brian Bury Collins in 1779, Crowther joined the Bradford Methodist Society and was converted under the influence of the Wesleyan minister Alexander Mather. Crowther entered the itinerancy in 1786 and served circuits in Scotland and England. Adept at finding remedies to the financial problems which plagued the Connexion, he was also involved in the controversies of the 1790s between preachers and chapel trustees. In 1810 he wrote The Methodist Manual, which went through several editions in Britain and the United States, and became a useful tool in the fight against Lord Sidmouth's bill of 1811. His reputation was further enhanced by his biography of Thomas Coke, which appeared in 1815. Crowther was elected President of Conference in 1819 and deputed to the same office in the Irish Conference a year later. His death followed two years when he was afflicted with paralysis. Two of Crowther's brothers also served as Wesleyan ministers, as did his son Jonathan junior. Source: Minutes of Conference 1824 and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)