Letter

Scope and Content

From Abraham Watmough at Congleton to Mary Tooth in Madeley. Tooth's kind letter of 16 July was received five days ago - Watmough suspects because his colleague, who he supposes brought it with him from Liverpool, put it into his pocket and then forgot all about it.

They were in lodgings only until a suitable house could be found, in which they have now been comfortably settled for four or five months. There is now also a house a being built for the second preacher, and Watmough expects to be moving into there as soon as it is ready, which will not be long.

Their trials in this circuit have been many and great. The personal problems mentioned in Watmough's last letter [MAM/Fl/7/13/11] arose from the conduct of his father-in-law - the issues were very great indeed and had he lived, would have dragged on for some years, 'but the Lord was pleased to call him away by death, which has (in part at least) delivered us from the intolerable burden.'

Watmough's health continues as normal - sufficient for his work, but not so good that he forgets his mortality.

There has been much good work done in this circuit 'in quickening and enlivening the souls of the classes, and in the conversion of souls to God ... there are not a few I think who are, I think, truly convinced of the need to entire sanctification ... this concern is spreading from one to another ... I do feel my own soul alive to God.' Spiritual matters are further discussed in detail, with particular regard to Watmough's own state.

He hopes that Tooth's 'appointment' [to preach] will prove valuable to the people and to the area. 'I have had many thoughts about your three years appointment, which is now ended, and especially as it has been attended with such afflictive circumstances: I hope our three years appointment here will not be attended with anything of a like nature'. His love should be passed to the Madeley preachers and also to Tooth's sister [Rosamund].

In a postscript, Watmough says that he has been waiting for a convenient moment to add the following information regarding the late problems within his family. 'I did not wish by inserting it in the letter to awaken feelings in the breast of my dear wife (who generally reads my letters) ... It was her father whose conduct so deeply wounded both himself and all his friends ... For 50 years he was among the Methodists. About 6 or 7 years ago, he withdrew, through some reports respecting him and a woman, but which were then generally believed not to be all true. All his life he has had a place under the same family in their warehouse etc where great confidence was placed in him, but which, also it is to be feared he betrayed for many years together. Stolen goods to a considerable amount, were at last found to have been secreted into a certain place by him ... He fled - was persued, and tried at the New Bailey, Manchester, and sentenced to 7 years transportation !! This was mitigated to 5 years imprisonment in Lancaster Castle, and then afterwards (we know not how) the sentence of transportation was again passed; so he was removed to hulks, we believe, before London, and is since dead at that place. It has come out beyond dispute, that he has been bad with women for years ... I could say much more, but have not room.' Watmough is afraid that the grief this has occasioned his wife, has very much affected her health, which was not strong to start with.