letter

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 DDPr 2/61
  • Former Reference
      GB 135 DDPr 2/61
      GB 133 Leather Volume V - Letters of Methodist Preachers, p.61
  • Dates of Creation
      15 Jun 1813
  • Physical Description
      1 item

Scope and Content

Notes

  • Samuel Warren ((1781-1862) entered the Wesleyan itinerancy in 1802 and exercised an active circuit ministry until 1834 when he was suspended for leading agitation against the decision to set up a theological institution. He lost a lawsuit, contesting connexional control of Oldham Street Chapel in Manchester and was expelled from the Connexion in 1835. Warren was followed out of Wesleyan Methodism by eight thousand supporters and the Wesleyan Methodist Association was founded. Warren left the Association soon after and in 1838 was ordained into the Anglican ministry. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)
  • John Clulow (d.1830) was the son of John and Elizabeth Clulow of Macclesfield, Cheshire. Clulow's father was a baker and his mother was one of the earliest converts to Methodism in the town. Both John and his brother William were trained as solicitors. William moved to London where he was employed by John Wesley in the drawing up of the Deed of Declaration of 1784 and Wesley's will in 1789. John remained in Macclesfield where he established a flourishing practice and served as town clerk from 1804 to 1830. John was never fully committed to Methodism but was nevertheless sympathetic to the movement. Despite possessing a reputation as a drinker and a brawler, he allowed prayer and class meetings to be held in his house and helped with legal matters. Source: Benjamin Smith, Methodism in Macclesfield ((1875), pp.42-43,219-220, 322-325 and Gail Malmgreen, Silk Town:Industry and Culture in Macclesfield 1750-1835 (1985), pp.110-111, 146, 166.

From Samuel Warren in Macclesfield, Cheshire, to Joseph Benson at the New Chapel in City Road, London. Benson's letter to Mr Hughes was read out last night to a class-leaders' meeting with Warren and Mr Hughes present. The leaders have asked Warren to acquaint Benson with a few particulars concerning the character of Joseph Cooke and the details of the controversy which has involved Benson's reputation. In this way, Benson may be able to reach a decision as to whether or not to inflict a heavier penalty on Cooke than the simple exposure of Cooke's letter of acknowledgement to Benson.

At a very early stage of the controversy, Mr Hughes 'retired from the PUBLIC PAPER & designed a pamphlet'. It was then that Warren wrote to the Macclesfield Courier under the name of 'Phibleuturus?', firm in his intention that 'civis' [Joseph Cooke] should not escape until Warren had fully exposed his malice. He achieved his aim through three successive replies to letters by 'Civis', after which the controversy in the Macclesfield Courier ended. The result of the dispute was so strongly in favour of the Methodists and so indicative of villainy on the part of 'civis', the editor of the newspaper [Mr Wilson] and the Anglican clergy of the town, that Warren was asked by the Methodists and dissenters to publish an account of the whole affair as a warning to others. This he undertook and while his manuscript was printing in London under the supervision of his friend John Cooper of Queen Street, Cheapside, Mr Hughes published the pamphlet which he had been composing in private entitled Whilst I am in the Field of Battle. It was in reply to this work, after the controversy had subsided that 'Civis', obviously keen to conceal his defeat at Warren's pen, undertook the publication in which Benson is referred to as 'star-gazer &...prognosticator'. Benson will observe that there is not the slightest reference in that pamphlet to the defeat inflicted upon him by Warren.

Warren's pamphlet entitled A Defence of the British Constitution against the Attacks of CIVIS upon the Methodists and Dissenters has just been published and 350 of the 1000 copies printed have already been distributed. If Benson has not already seen it, he may obtain a copy from John Cooper. He trusts that the way in which he has handled this affair will meet with Benson's approval and that of the London preachers.

Last Friday, Cooke received a copy of Warren's pamphlet, he immediately went to Warren's house with a friend and demanded satisfaction for the manner in which Warren had attacked him 'upon the law & honour of a gentleman'[ie fight a duel]. Warren told him that the only satisfaction, he would give was based on the law of the country. The vexation which has been caused to the opponents of Methodism is extreme. Benson should also be aware that the letters which were wrote to the Macclesfield Courier in defence of the Methodists, were classed as advertisements and were charged to the Methodists at a penny a line. The total cost was £10.4.0.

The leaders and stewards also wish it to be known that Messrs Cooke and Wilson have been for many years enemies of Methodism. They are of the opinion that Cooke, who is a lawyer, 'only wishes to exculpate you as an individual, because you have him in your power...'. There is no doubt that if he escapes punishment, he will simply be more vindictive in the future. The dissenting minister Mr Browning is one of the most peacable men around, and Warren is of the opinion that the Methodists and the dissenters are of one mind on this issue. As for the number of Cooke's pamphlets libelling Benson's character, which have gone into circulation, it is impossible to estimate. Cooke's own statement should not be trusted. It is impossible to discover if any of the pamphlets have been returned, 'nor is it likely thay will, as that part which concerns you, is considered both by friends and enemies as one of the GREATEST & MOST CURIOUS DISCOVERIES OF THE AGE!'.

Warren has just consulted with [John] Clulow, who wishes Benson to know that Clulow will leave it to Benson to decide if he is satisfied with the acknowledgement Cooke has given to Benson. He is however of the opinion that as Benson's name is so closely connected with the Methodists, he should really force Cooke to make a full retraction of all that he has written against the Methodists. He also thinks that Mr Wilson, editor of the newspaper should make some personal acknowledgement and that Messrs Cooke and Wilson should apologise and recant in public. If they refuse, Clulow could start an action for damages rather than an indictment for libel on account of the cost involved. An apology to the Methodists in general would however be preferable to legal action. His advice is that a threat to initiate legal proceedings should be made. Whatever course of action is decided on, no doubt with the guidance of the solicitor [Thomas] Allan, an early note to the stewards and leaders of the Macclesfield Society would be gratefully received.

Note

Notes

  • Samuel Warren ((1781-1862) entered the Wesleyan itinerancy in 1802 and exercised an active circuit ministry until 1834 when he was suspended for leading agitation against the decision to set up a theological institution. He lost a lawsuit, contesting connexional control of Oldham Street Chapel in Manchester and was expelled from the Connexion in 1835. Warren was followed out of Wesleyan Methodism by eight thousand supporters and the Wesleyan Methodist Association was founded. Warren left the Association soon after and in 1838 was ordained into the Anglican ministry. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)
  • John Clulow (d.1830) was the son of John and Elizabeth Clulow of Macclesfield, Cheshire. Clulow's father was a baker and his mother was one of the earliest converts to Methodism in the town. Both John and his brother William were trained as solicitors. William moved to London where he was employed by John Wesley in the drawing up of the Deed of Declaration of 1784 and Wesley's will in 1789. John remained in Macclesfield where he established a flourishing practice and served as town clerk from 1804 to 1830. John was never fully committed to Methodism but was nevertheless sympathetic to the movement. Despite possessing a reputation as a drinker and a brawler, he allowed prayer and class meetings to be held in his house and helped with legal matters. Source: Benjamin Smith, Methodism in Macclesfield ((1875), pp.42-43,219-220, 322-325 and Gail Malmgreen, Silk Town:Industry and Culture in Macclesfield 1750-1835 (1985), pp.110-111, 146, 166.