From Joseph Fletcher in St Austell to [Benjamin] Carvosso. Recently Carvosso had to seek action against a stubborn tollgate keeper who insisted on making Carvosso pay the toll when proceeding to his preaching appointment on a Sunday.
Last evening when Fletcher was on his way to Grampound, the gate toll was demanded for the first time. The keeper had been directed to do so by the magistrate and trustees of the Truro Trust. Fletcher paid the toll but intends to initiate proceedings in the matter. He would therefore like to avail himself of Carvosso's experience.
Fletcher has discovered that the clergyman-magistrate for the Grampound Division has stated that the Methodists are not entitled to an exemption from the toll on Sunday for more than one chapel or place of worship. Fletcher is sure that 'high church spleen' is at the bottom of the matter. In obtaining a summons, he cited the person whose name is over the door of the toll gate - in this case a man named John Dunstan, although in actual fact he employs a man and his wife by the name of Pearce to collect the money.
There are two gates costing two pennies each between St Austell and Grampound. At the first gate, which is the responsibility of a different trust, no money has yet been demanded. The Grampound gate is in the division of magistracy belonging to the Tregony area, to which he must go for the summons and the hearing. If the decision of 'these clerical magistrates in quorum' goes against him, as he expects on account of bigotry, hatred and lack of charity, then he will have to appeal to the [quarter] sessions. What expense will probably be incurred? Would he be justified in refusing to pay the toll and make them summon him?
A month or two before he left Barnstaple, he was told by the new keeper of the toll gate on the edge of Carvosso's town of South Molton, that Fletcher would be charged as he went to more than one chapel and they could not all be his usual place of worship. Fletcher told him that he would contest the matter in court, but as it happens did not pass that way again.
Fletcher has enclosed a stamp for Carvosso's reply.
Perhaps Carvosso is aware that Fletcher's eldest boy, aged seventeen, is apprenticed to a draper called Hodge of Carvosso's town. The lad has been a member of Brother King's [class] for over two years. His parents would be obliged if Carvasso could keep an eye on him. Fletcher feels that the boy is unclear in his views on justification and that he has not yet obtained forgiveness of his sins.
Fletcher and his wife send their regards to Mrs Carvosso
- Joseph Fletcher (1790-1881) was born in Worcestershire. His mother was a Methodist and raised her son to attend worship from an early age. He joined the Society at the age of nineteen and entered the ministry in 1818. Fletcher's first appointment was to Bombay, India, but his health failed after two years and in 1822 he went to the West Indies, where he remained for ten years in the face of some persecution. Fletcher returned to England in 1833 and exercised an active circuit ministry, principally in the south-west of England, until superannuation in 1855. His remaining years were spent in Taunton. Source: Hill's Arrangement 1878 and Minutes of Conference 1881
- Benjamin Carvosso (1789-1854) was the son of the noted Cornish class leader William Carvosso. He was born at Gluvias in Cornwall and entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1814. He served as a circuit minister until 1819 when he volunteered for overseas service. Carvosso landed in New South Wales, Australia, in May 1820 and was responsible for introducing Methodism to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), before going on to Sydney where he worked among the convicts and free settlers. He returned to England in 1830 and worked as a circuit minister in the south-west of England and on the Isle of Wight until he died following a severe illness. Source: Hill's Arrangement 1853, Minutes of Conference 1855 and Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)