letter

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 DDPr 2/52
  • Former Reference
      GB 135 DDPr 2/52
      GB 133 Leather Volume V - Letters of Methodist Preachers, p.52
  • Dates of Creation
      10 Apr 1786
  • Physical Description
      1 item

Scope and Content

From Joseph Pilmore in Philadelphia, United States, to Charles Wesley at City Road, London. The friendship which Wesley showed to Pilmore during the time of his troubles in London, impressed him so much that he can never forget his kindness.

In a former letter, Pilmore wrote of his journey to Connecticut and the 'prosperity' of Bishop Seabury, who is making good progress towards achieving his aim of rebuilding the 'Ancient Church'. Seabury lately held an ordination in Rhode Island and is now in Boston. On Trinity Sunday he is to officiate at a general ordination in New Haven [Connecticut] and then he proposes a visit to the Southern States. In this way the Church is reviving which makes the 'sons of God rejoice'. In this city there is a marvellous prospect of sinners saved. Pilmore preaches twice a week in St Paul's, sometimes to congregations of close to three thousand people 'and they begin to hear indeed'. He also has three churches in the country which he attends once a week alternately. In addition, he preaches once at the 'Sweeds' Church and often in the Poor-House, so that he has more work than when he was a Methodist preacher. He mentions this because he knows that Wesley will be pleased to know that his time is filled up and that Wesley's expectations of Pilmore are not disappointed. 'My heart is fixed AND FULLY BENT TO LIVE and die for my Lord'.

There is some anxiety here about the outcome of 'YOUR COURT RESPECTING AMERICAN consecrations'. Does Wesley think that the Bishops will agree to the reformed liturgy? Pilmore wishes that they had waited for a bishop to preside over the convention for the sake of 'regularity', but possibly that will be overlooked especially as there is a wish to see the extension of the English Anglican [Episcopal] succession through to the American Church, thereby establishing a kind of ecclesiastical union between the two. If this could be done without one Church establishing jurisdiction over the other, all will be well, but the American clergy and laity will never allow foreign power over their affairs. The 'Presbyterians' are uniting all their strength and will do all they can to win the day for their party, which illustrates the necessity of union between the 'Episcopalians' that they might stand their ground. If the Methodists had remained within the [Anglican] Church there would have been little to fear, but the split that they have engendered, has greatly weakened the cause and will no doubt result in disputes for years to come. If John Wesley were here, Pilmore is convinced that he would be convinced of the need for union and would do all in his power to bring that about. The clergy here in general wish for it and would go more than half way to accommodate the Methodists. Pilmore is afraid however that many of the Methodists have grown too fond of having a separate Church and would not easily give it up.

It is a very good thing that there is as yet no sign of religious persecution in the United States. Everybody is free to practise their beliefs without any restraint.

In a postscript he asks that his best wishes be given to Sarah and the children and his 'dutiful respects' to John Wesley

[Annotated by Charles Wesley - 'Pilmore April 10 1786 America II']