A manuscript copy of a printed edition of John Wesley's hymn-book, copied by an English prisoner of war during the Napoleonic Wars. The copied title-page (folio v) is as follows: A collection of Hymns for the Use of the People called Methodists. By the Rev. John Wesley, A.(M.), Late Fellow of Linclon (sic) College, Oxf(ord). The Twentieth Edition .
An extract from an inserted letter from W.C. Ellis to Mr Garratt, dated 8 April 1895, explains why the copy was made: My father was a Captain in the Merchant Navy, his ship was captured by a French Man of War during the time of the first Napoleon, he together with his crew were conveyed to France being prisoners of War, and kept in captivity for four years; while there a powerful spiritual awakening took place amongst hundreds of prisoners, who prayed, and sang together. There was but one hymn-book amongst the many, and that was John Wesley's. My father had with him as his servant a young man who was a good penman, and he copied in a beautiful manner the whole of the hymns contained in the book. These were used at the meetings held, and afterwards bound together in the present form. This I consider is too precious to be lost, and therefore ask your acceptance of the same, if so it will afford me pleasure to know that it is in safe keeping to be placed amongst other things associated with Wesleyan Methodism.