From Bristol to George Marsden at the Methodist Chapel in Sunderland. Reference is made to bothBarber and Marsden and their wives are called upon to minister in a circuit where they have neverbeen before.
Upon their arrival, the Barbers were received very kindly. They have provided with everythingthey need to quite an unusual degree. 'The people here seem rather of a dull heavy cast and in thecountry in particular are ignorant and stupid to a high degree and seem to have very littlereligion'. But if there are not as many joining the societies as in the north, there are not as manyleaving.
Several of the Bristol congregations are so large that bigger premises are needed and morebuildings. At the same time there do not seem to have any men of public spirit among them. The planof changing places with the [school] governor and preacher at Kingswood is not, in Barber's opinion,working, as it deprives both the circuits of a lot of the pastoral care which is necessary acrossthe societies. At the same time it takes [Robert] Johnson away from Kingswood school [ Johnsonserved as governor of the school]... and there are times when it is very necessary for him to bewith the boys, especially in the evenings. Many of the Bristol people disapprove of the arrangement.
In this city there are some very pious people. Upon the whole, their situation here is verycomfortable. Reference is made to a [John] Pipe taking a journey for the sake of his health toWeymouth and not returning until September 15 and was soon after seized by a bad bowel complaint, sothat he has been able to do little work. He is however now feeling better. Barber did at one timeconsider summoning a young man [probationary itinerant to provide additional help] but was afraid ofthe greater expense. Mr Johnson is allowed £50 per annum by his circuit for duties on a Sunday, andthen they have the services of four preachers throughout the week.
It seems that [Jonathan] Crowther has returned to Stockport apparently determined to exercise aheavy hand, only to find that the [class] leaders etc were ready for him. He now wants everything tobe dropped, but they are threatening him with a district meeting. Barber has also been told thatthings are rather uncomfortable in Manchester.
There has lately been a revival in Exeter[?] where forty to fifty new members are joining everyday and the chapel is so crowded that people cannot get in.
There have been some unrest in Wales about some Welsh preachers being employed in England.Yesterday, Barber received an account of the death of Dr [Thomas] Coke [while en-route to India tocommence the Methodist mission there] who died on May 3rd. That is the extent of information that hehas.
He trusts that Marsden will write soon with news of how Sunderland is agreeing with him and hiswife.
- John S. Pipe (d.1835) entered the Wesleyan itinerancy in 1790 andexercised an active circuit ministry until his health began to fail which led to superannuation in1825. His retirement was spent largely in Bedford. Source.Minutes of Conference 1835 andHill's Arrangement1833