From John Radford in Manningtree to Mary Tooth. His ministry in Salisbury has come to an end and he is embarked on a new field of labour. Tooth’s last letter was forwarded here by the Salisbury circuit.
With regard to the letter sent to Tooth by Mr [James] Dredge, he thinks that Tooth will find ‘that instead of referring to any bible, the property of the ever to be revered Mr [John] Fletcher, the writer solicits the gift of the bell which formerly called the people of Madeley to the public worship of Almighty God, when it was celebrated in the Vicarage barn. The following are the circumstances of the case – a short time before I quitted Salisbury, Mr [William] J. Davies missionary in Southern Africa wrote home to his father and mother, who are residents in New Sarum, and stated that the tribes of Caffirs in that country were so scattered that it would be very desirous if his friends in England would by their joint contributions purchase him a bell, for the purpose of calling the people in their country together at the hour of worship.This was mentioned to me by Mr Dredge, who is the Missionary Secretary for the Salisbury circuit, and I was immediately reminded of my last visit to you. At that time you kindly took me over your premises, and in one place the bell…came in sight, and I expressed a wish (for the sake of the owner, and the service it had performed) to possess it, and you very generously replied that I might have it. I then suggested that it might do well for a missionary station etc and when the African missionary Davies wrote home to his parents and friends to obtain one, I directly said to Mr Dredge, Miss Tooth possessed such an article some time ago and she did indeed offer it to me…Now my sister, if the bell is still under your roof and you would like to present it…I will thank you to signify it to me as early as convenient…’
Radford deeply sympathises with Tooth in her loss. ‘From the first moment of my acquaintance with you, and which has now existed for more than twenty years, I have felt a venerative[?] and more than ordinary respect for your character, and in different parts of this kingdom it has been my pleasure to make pious mention of you in connection with the holy Mrs [Mary] Fletcher…with whom you were an esteemed companion…when therefore you invite me to perform the task of [one] whose business is to chastise, I find myself incapable of doing anything of the kind, inasmuch as I find no fault to correct. I will however offer a word of advice – as the chapel is built, and as it has been judged right to have service in it at your hour, perhaps you will think with me that rather than there should be the semblance of opposition, it will be best upon the whole for you to choose another time which would of course render both meetings more agreeable and secure at each a better attendance.’
When does Tooth intend paying another visit to London? If she can come and visit the Radfords at the same time, they would be honoured to have her stay as their guest.
- James Dredge (1796-1846) was the son of a cabinet maker of Salisbury in Wiltshire. He became a local preacher at a young age and started a school in his native town at the age of 21. In 1838 on the recommendation of Jabez Bunting, Dredge was appointed one of four Assistant Protectors of the Aborigines in South Australia by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Due to the hostility of the settlers, Dredge relinquished his post in 1840 and opened a china and glass business in Melbourne that failed the following year. He then obtained employment as a salaried local preacher in the Methodist Church stationed in Geelong. Dredge offered for the itinerancy but was turned down. His health started to decline and he was advised to return to England – he died at sea one day from home. Source: A Dictionary of Methodism in Britain and Ireland, edited by John A. Vickers (Epworth Press, Peterborough 2000 and MAM/FL/6/2/22
- William J. Davies is listed in Conference Minutes as a missionary to the Bischuana country of South Africa in 1832 and 1833. However his name does not appear either in Hills Arrangement for 1833 or the lists of ministers who ‘died in the work’