Past and Present
Preliminary Annals


We had intended beginning our sketches with the article which will now succeed to this; but the wish of some subscribers to the book, communicated through an aged and estimable minister, whose judgment we greatly value, that I “ would try and extend my ‘ Recollections ’ back to the time when the first Wesleyan Missionaries visited the banks of the St. Lawrence,” has induced me to republish some sketches relating to Methodism and written on the very spot where it was first planted in the Province, published in the Christian Guardian in 1834—to which we append so much of Dr.. Bang’s History of the M. E. Church relating to Canada, as to make this compendious chain of Provincial Methodist History general and complete, down to the period from which our own individual. “ recollections ” date. We extract now from the Guardian :—

Sketches of the early settlement and improvement of Upper Canada

A few weeks since, we addressed a series of questions to the Methodist Ministers throughout the Province, to which we solicited answers, illustrating the early settlement, improvements, and local advantages of those parts of the Province which were within the bounds of their several circuits; embracing likewise a History of the establishment and progress of the Methodist Church. The Superintendent of the Matilda Circuit has commenced a sketch of the Townships in his field of labor, and we hope he will persevere until he has answered all our questions; and that his example will be followed by the preachers on every circuit in the Province :

Matilda, August 24th, 1834.

Having no more to say on business, I employ the remainder of my sheet in answering the first four questions which you recently proposed.

This circuit is bounded on the north by the townships of South Gower, Mountain, Winchester, and other back settlements ; on the east by the eastern part of the township of Cornwall; south by the river St. Lawrence; and west by the western part of the township of Edwardsburg—including within it part of the last mentioned township, Matilda, Williamsburg, Osnabruck, and part of Cornwall.

The part of this section of country immediately on the river, was settled as early as June, 1784. Its original settlers were principally disbanded revolutionary soldiers, belonging to Sir John Johnson’s regiment, and of Scotch and German extraction, but most of the latter. The inhabitants of the back parts of the above mentioned townships, which have been settled at different periods from that time to this, are a mixture of almost all nations.

Some of the circumstances connected with the early settlement of this place, which I have learned from some of the feic remaining first settlers, are rather amusing, and perhaps worthy of record. The first three years the settlers were kindly supplied with provisions by the Government: but as they had no roads, they were provided with two batteaux to each township, in which they used to convey their provisions from Montreal. Their method of serving out their rations was rather peculiar. Their plan was, to prevent the appearance of partiality, for the one who acted as commissary, either to turn his back, take one of the articles, and say, “Who will have this?” or else the provisions were weighed, or assorted, and put into heaps, when the commissary went around with a hat, and received into it something which he would again recognise, as a button, a knife, &c.; after which, he took the articles out of the hat, as they came uppermost, and placed one upon each of the piles in rotation. Every person then claimed the parcel on which he found the article which he had thrown into the hat. As they had no mills for a long time, Government provided each township with a steel handmill which they moved from house to house: their first milling was done in Kingston. There was a great deal of simplicity and unanimity among the people at that period; but they were very little acquainted with true religion. They were much given to carousing and dancing.

“The agricultural and commercial advantages ” of this part of the country are great. The fertility of the soil, and its contiguity to the river St. Lawrence, render it at once one of the most pleasing and prosperous parts of North America. Formerly, it is said, the inhabitants lumbered extensively; but of late years, since the timber in the immediate vicinity of the river has begun to be scarce, they have turned their attention more to agriculture; and the country seems to profit greatly by the change. Many of the persons in business, however, still lumber largely, and, it is said, successfully, back on the Nation and Ottawa rivers. The roads have been universally bad in the interior of this section, till the legislature began to take the subject into consideration, and to make appropriations. They are now in a state of rapid improvement.

It appears, from the best information I can obtain, that this part of the country was one of the first places in Upper Canada visited by a Methodist Preacher, which, from the Minutes, we find to be sometime in the year 1792. At that time, but two regular travelling preachers were sent, viz., Darius Dunham and William Losee. The first was sent from what was then called the Cataraque Circuit; the other was sent to this, which was then called the Oswegochie Circuit. This name it derived from an old Indian village, which formerly stood a little east of where the town of Ogdensburg, on the American side, now stands. What the extent of the circuit then was, I shall not pretend to decide; but it is probable that it included all the settlements in Upper Canada, east of Kingston, excepting those on the Ottawa, if, indeed, they were then in existence. It appears, however, that notwithstanding the Circuit was denominated from a place on the other side, that there were no appointments on that side: for, in fact, it seems, there were no settlements of white people on the south side of the St. Lawrence at that period. The circuit bore the name above mentioned, with the exception of one year, when I find it called the “ Upper Canada Lower Circuit,” till the year 1808, when it was called “ Cornwall,” from the town or township of that name within its borders. The propriety of the change in the name was suggested by the Rev. Joseph Sawyer, Presiding Elder, in Canada, for that year, who now, I am proud to say, resides on my circuit, and of whose counsel and communications I am happy to avail myself. The first ministers of the Gospel in these parts were of the Lutheran order; who came in shortly after the first settlement of the country, and who, it appears, knew and preached but little concerning the power of religion : for, according to the testimony of those who were converted to God, under the ministry of the early Methodist preachers, the people were greatly sunken in ignorance and vice. It is but just, however, to state, and I feel a pleasure in doing it, that it is said of a Mr. Swartsfager, who was then settled in Matilda and Williamsburg, that he was a person of exemplary morals, and that he used to defend the Methodists after their coming into the country, when he heard them unjustly aspersed; and also, that he was wont to say of their doctrine, that it was the doctrine of the Bible and of the Reformation, which had been too much lost sight of; but which had been revived by John Wesley. If I might be again permitted to digress, I could tell an amusing anecdote concerning this old gentleman and one of his parishioners. The. person in question was an old German lady, whose children had been converted, and joined the Methodists. She thought because she had been baptized, and had partaken of the sacrament, that, therefore, she was a Christian; but her children told her that unless she was “ born again,” and knew her sins forgiven, she would be lost. At this she took great offence, and so excessive was her grief, that she undertook one day to make her complaint to her beloved pastor. Said she, “Mr. Swartsfager, my chiltren says that I must pe pourn akain, and know my sins forgiven !” To which the good man rejoined, “What now, mamma! have I been preaching to you so long, and you have not found that out yet?” He went to his rest a short time after the arrival of the Methodists.

You inquire in your seventh question, “By whom or what agency were Methodist Societies first formed?” The agency, I believe to have been that which has been employed since the commencement of the gospel dispensation: “the foolishness of preaching.” The person honoured of God as the “ Apostle ” in the formation of the first churches, was the individual mentioned in my last—the Rev. William Losee. This appears from the Minutes for the year succeeding his first appointment, 1793, .in which we find ninety members returned for this circuit. Hence, his labours must have been much prospered, considering the then scattered state of the settlements, and the comparatively limited period he had to stay with them, occasioned by the distance and difficulty of the way he had to travel, in coming from and returning to Conference, which was on horseback, by the way of Montreal. ...

Perhaps it would not be altogether irrelevant to give here a list of the names of the early preachers who, laboured on this circuit, which my copy of the Minutes only allows me to carry down to the year 1812. It will be seen that Mr. Losee was the' first Preacher appointed for this circuit, viz., in 1792; I find no appointment for .1793, but the people inform me that he continued the second year; in 1794-5, James Coleman; in 1796, Hezekiah C. Wooster; who, though I find no appointment in the Minutes for the circuit that year, was, I believe, re-appointed for 1797; in 1798, Samuel Coate; in 1799, Darius Dunham; in 1800, Joseph Jewel, James Heron; in 1801, William Anson, James Aikens; in 1802, for this and the Ottawa, Sylvan us Keeler, Seth Crowell, Nehemiah IJ. Tomkins; in 1803, Peter Van Est, Luther Bishop; in 1804, Thomas Madden ; in 1805, Sylvanus Keeler, Nathan Bangs; in 1806, Gershom Pearce, William Case; in 1807, Daniel Pickett, I. B. Smith, C. Hurbert; in 1808, in which the circuit was abridged, and called Cornwall, William Snow; in 1809, Elias Pattie; in 1810, Bela Smith; in 1811, it appears to be included in the Augusta Circuit, and to which were appointed John Rhodes and John Reynolds; and in 1812, J. Rhodes, E. Cooper, S. Hopkins.

How affecting is the contemplation of the changes which the lapse of a few years have made in reference to those labourers \ Some of them literally wore themselves out in their Master’s cause, and died triumphant; some were .driven by the embarrassments under which they laboured to retire from the itinerant field, and have either died or are now living in retirement; some few, I am sorry to say, have seceded from the Church, of whom, perhaps, some have made “ shipwreck of faith;” but a few of them, thank God! are still upon the walls of our Zion, both in this country and the United 'States, in the faithful discharge of their important functions.

The “opposition” with which the first Methodist Preachers had to contend in the discharge of their holy and benevolent work, was similar to that which has ever assailed the preachers and preaching of the Gospel, viz.: that arising from the natural hardness, enmity, and unbelief of the carnal mind. This was manifested by pointing the finger of scorn, calling opprobrious names, and, it is said, in some instances, by throwing stones at the Preacher, setting the dogs on his horse, and “hurraing for the Methodists.”

Through the deficiency of particular information, I am .unable to adduce and give the particulars of many “instances of remarkable conversion.” But of these it appears there were not a few; for, to use some of the old people’s, own words, in reference to the conversions of that period: “They were cast out powerful!” I have gleaned a few facts, however, upon this part of my subject. Perhaps I could not illustrate the character of the work in that day better than by giving a narrative of the conversion of a man and his wife, (whose house was the first home for the weary; way-worn servants of God, in the lower part of Matilda,) which was given to me yesterday by the old lady herself, who survives her husband, at present, under another name. Her first acquaintance with the Methodists originated from Mr. Losee’s calling at the house, and asking her if she would not like to have the word of God preached in her house; to which she replied that she would, not being able to understand the Germans. Upon which she asked him what he was called; and having ascertained that he was a Methodist Preacher, she ran to the barn, ,to call her husband. Having told him that a Methodist was in the house, he expressed his surprise; and wished to know “ how he looked” To which she replied, that “he looked like another manjut. that he wanted an arm.” To shorten my story, suffice it to say that to dinner; got acquainted, and left an appointment to preach, on his return from the lower part of his circuit, to which he was then going. And under his preaching, Mr. Wright, (for so he was called,) who had been a professor among the Baptists, before the Revolution, but had backslidden—and his wife, got awakened, and greatly concerned about the salvation of their souls. One Sabbath evening, having returned from a little quarterly meeting, he summoned courage to take up the cross of family prayer. The exercise of both their minds was great. She formed the resolution of spending the “live-long night” in prayer and watching; for, as she expressed it, “she was afraid of being in hell before morning.” She strenuously adhered to her purpose; but spent the night in the mo^t indescribable agony. She truly “drank the wormwood and the gall.” The husband rose early from a restless bed, and asked her if she had found any relief. To which she replied, “No;” but expressed a determination, that if she went to hell, she would perish, “crying out for God.” He went to the barn, not, as she supposed, to fodder his cattle, but to pour out his soul to God in prayer; and she repaired to the bed-room, and literally fell upon her face on the floor, and “poured out strong cries and tears to Him that was able to save her.” Nor did she cry in vain: suddenly a flood of light and joy broke in upon her soul—she sprang upon her feet—leaped to the bed-room door—crying out to her eldest daughter to run immediately for her father.

The child instantly obeyed the command; and going to the stable, found him just getting out of the manger, where he had been at prayer, and coming to tell his wife the joyful news of the liberation of his own soul. His daughter, meeting him, exclaimed,—“Oh, daddy, come quick, I never saw mamma look so before in my life !” The husband and wife met at the door; and embracing each other, glorified God with a loud voice for what he had done for them. After walking across the floor several times, hand in hand, in inexpressible rapture, said Mr. Wright to his wife, “ We do wrong to eat our morsel alone; let us go up and inform Mr. and Mrs. Doran, (a neighbouring man and his wife, both of whom were under conviction,) of what the Lord has done for us.” Away they flew, like lightning; and got there just as the woman was preparing for breakfast. But no sooner had she seen them, and before they had spoken a word, discovering their unusual and heavenly appearance, than she threw herself into a chair, and began to weep bitterly on account of her sinful state; the husband, who was smoking in the chimney corner, threw down his pipe, and began to cry to God. They bound themselves under a promise, which was often made in those days, which was, not to eat, drink, or sleep, till God should liberate their souls. The man obtained liberty that night; and, I believe, the woman soon after. There being “ four believers,” a class was shortly organized, and Mr. Wright was appointed leader. And the work of the Lord began to revive powerfully. For, said the old lady, “ There was not a prayer meeting at which there were not one or more conversions ; and I used to count the days,” continued she, “ till the return of prayer meeting night, with the expectation of seeing souls brought to God.” And pointing to the roof of the house, “ Say, brother, there have been many and many souls converted to God under this same poor old shell!” She then mentioned the names of some of the old, influential members on the circuit who had obtained religion in her house. Your’s truly,

J. Carroll.

Dr. Bang’s account, in his History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, supplements the information given above, has much as it shows that Losee was in the country one year before his labouring in Matilda and its neighbourhood. Still, from the information I received from the old settlers, I believe Losee visited the banks of the St. Lawrence while yet an Exhorter, before he was received on trial by the Conference as a Preacher.1 And, from the best evidence I can get, a relative of his, Joshua Losee, afterwards known as a distinguished exhorter, by the title of “Father Losee,” was the first man converted in Canada, under the labors of the Methodists; and it was his (Mr. L.’s) interest in the country that led to his designation to it as a missionary, by Bishop Asbury. We now quote from Dr. Bangs:

Upper Canada was visited by William Losee, a member of the New York Conference, in the year 1791. He went through the wilderness of the western part of the State of New York, suffering many privations and hardships, and crossed the lower part of Lake Ontario, to Kingston. In attempting to form a circuit along the banks of the Lake and of the Bay of Quinte, he found here and there an individual who had heard the Methodist Preachers in England and the United States. By these he was cordially received; and he succeeded in forming a circuit, and establishing a few classes. The next year, Darius Dunham was sent to Canada. He and brother Losee extended their labours from the Bay of Quinte down the banks of the St. Lawrence, forming what was called the Oswegotchie Circuit; and the next year, there were returned on the Minutes of Conference, as the fruit of their labours, one hundred and sixty-five members of the church. From this time, the work of God went on gradually in Canada, until it eventuated in one of the most glorious revivals in religion we have on record in these modern days. It will be noticed more particularly in the proper place.” (Vol. I. p. 322.)

In volume second, he resumes, “In Upper Canada, a gracious revival had commenced in 1797, chiefly through the instrumentality of Calvin Wooster, whose fervency of spirit led him forth in the work of reformation, in a remarkable manner and with singular success. In company with Samuel Coate, he volunteered his services as a missionary to this distant field of labor, and after enduring almost incredible hardships on their way, for they lodged no less than twenty-one nights in the wilderness, they arrived in safety just in time to attend a Quarterly Meeting on the Bay of Quinte Circuit. After preaching on Saturday, while the Presiding Elder, (Darius Dunham) retired with the official brethren to hold the Quarterly Meeting Conference, brother Wooster remained in the meeting to pray with some who were under awakenings, and others who were groaning for full redemption in the blood of Christ. While uniting with his brethren in this exercise, the power of the Most High seemed to overshadow the congregation, and many were filled with joy unspeakable, and were praising the Lord aloud for what he had done for their souls; while others 1 with speechless awe and silent love/ were prostrated on the floor. When the Presiding Elder came into the house, he beheld these things with a mixture of wonder and indignation, believing that1 wild-fire ’ was burning among the people. After gazing for a while with silent astonishment, he knelt down and began to pray to God to stop the 1 raging of the wildfire,’ as he called it. In the meantime, Calvin Wooster, whose soul was burning with the 1 fire of the Holy Spirit,’ knelt by the side of brother Dunham, and while the latter was earnestly engaged in prayer for God to put out the 1 wild-fire,’ Wooster softly whispered out a prayer in the following words: 1 Lord, bless brother Dunham! Lord, bless brother Dunham Y Thus they continued for some minutes, when at length the prayer of brother Wooster prevailed, and Dunham fell prostrate on the floor—and ere he arose, received a baptism of that very fire which he had so feelingly deprecated as the effect of wild imagination. There was now harmony in their prayers, feelings and views; and this was the commencement of a revival of religion which soon spread through the entire Province; for, as brother Dunham was the Presiding Elder, he was instrumental in spreading the flame throughout the District, to the joy and salvation of hundreds of immortal souls.

“Calvin Wooster was a man of mighty prayer and faith. Frequently his voice was heard by the families where he lodged, in the night season, when, rising from his bed while others slept, he would pour out the desire of his soul to God, in earnest prayer for the salvation of souls. Such, indeed, wa3 the strength of his faith in God, and the fervency of his spirit, as well as the bold and pointed manner of his appeals to the consciences of his hearers, and particularly to the wicked, that few of these could stand before him: they would either flee from the house, or, smitten with conviction, fall down and ciy aloud for mercy—while, in the midst of these exercises, the saints of God were shouting forth His praises.

“Nor was he alone in this work. The other preachers caught the flame of divine love, and were carried forward under its sacred impulses, in their Master’s work. Many instances of the manifestations of divine power and grace might be narrated, which go to illustrate the authority by which these men of God spoke in his name; one of which I will relate.

“At a Quarterly Meeting in the Bay of Quinte Circuit, as the preacher commenced his sermon, a thoughtless man in the front gallery commenced, in a playful mood, to swear profanely, and otherwise to disturb the congregation. The preacher paid no attention to him until he was in the midst of his sermon, when, feeling strong in faith and the power of His might, suddenly stopping, he fixed his piercing eye upon the profane man, then stamping with his foot, and pointing his finger at him with great energy, he cried out, ‘ My God I Smite him !’ He instantly fell, as if shot through the heart with a bullet. At this moment such a divine afflatus came down upon the congregation, that sinners were crying to God for mercy in every direction ;< while the saints of God burst forth in loud praises to His name. This great work may be said to have been, in some sense, the beginning of that great revival of religion which soon after spread through various parts of the United States.

“The doctrine more especially urged upon believers was that of sanctification, or holiness of heart and life—a complete surrender of the soul and body, and all the powers and affections to the service of God—and this was pressed on them as their present privilege, depending for its accomplishment now on the faithfulness of God, who had promised to do it. It was this baptism of the Holy Ghost which fired and filled the hearts of God’s ministers at that time, and which enabled them so to speak that the people felt that their words were with 'demonstration and power,’ and they could not well resist the influence of those 'thoughts which breathe,’ and those 1 words which burn.’

“We are not to suppose that this work went on without opposition. In that country, there was a marked line of distinction between the righteous and the wicked,’ there being but few formal professors of religion to interpose between the two classes. And such was the general state of society, that those who did not embrace religion felt themselves at liberty to manifest their hatred to its doctrines by open acts of hostility, by scurrilous speeches, and, in some instances, by personal violence. One instance among others I will relate. A stout opposer of the Methodists, hearing that his wife was in a prayer meeting, rushed violently into the room, seized his wife, and dragged her to the door, when attempting to open it, he was himself seized with trembling, his knees failed him, and he fell helpless upon the floor, and was fain to beg an interest in the prayers of those very people whom he had so much despised and persecuted. He rose not until the Lord released him from, his sins, and made him a partaker of his pardoning mercy.*

This very man afterwards became an itinerant minister, with whom I was personally acquainted, and had the relation of these facts from his own lips.”

This is, perhaps, the best place to give the Doctor’s obituary notice of the orginal instrument in this work, of whom also we have preserved some traditions in another article:—

“Hezekiah Calvin Wooster also took his departure to another world this year. We have already seen some thing of his character in the notice we have taken of the work of God in Upper Canada. His name is ‘like ointment poured forth ’ to many in that country, and he was spoken of as an extraordinary messenger of God, sent to declare his counsels to a fallen and rebellious world. After exerting all his powers of body and mind in beseeching sinners to be reconciled to God, he returned home with fatal consumption fastened upon his lungs. But even while in this feeble state, so reduced as not to be able to speak above a whisper, this whisper, being announced to the congregation by another, was frequently attended by such a divine energy and unction, that sinners would tremble and fall under the announcement, while the people of God felt the holy annointing running through their souls. It is said, indeed, that his very countenance exhibited such marks of the divine glory that it struck conviction into the hearts of many who beheld it.

“‘Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth. Though Hezekiah Calvin Wooster could not be regarded as a man of more than ordinary talents as a preacher, yet, such was the holy fervour of his soul, his deep devotion to God, his burning love for the souls of his fellow-men, that he was the happy instrument of kindling up such a fire in the hearts of the people, wherever he went, particularly in Upper Canada, that all the waters of strife and opposition have not been able to quench it. This testimony I consider due to such departed worth. The grace of God wrought mightily in him, and great was his glorying in the cross of Christ nor did he glory in aught else—for he. was as much distinguished for his humility, his deadness to self, and to self-applause, as he was for the fervour of his spirit, and the boldness and pointedness of his appeals to the consciences of the people.

“That he enjoyed perfect love was demonstrated not only from the fact of his having recorded the time when he received the great blessing, but also and more especially from the tenor of his life, his constant self-denial, his watchings and fastings, and from the fruit of the Spirit—love, faith, meekness, patience, gentleness, long-suffering and charity, which shone out conspicuously in all his deportment, in the temper of his mind, and words of his lips.

“It could not be expected otherwise than that such a man should be prepared to meet his ‘ last enemy with firmness,’ and ‘ rejoice in hope of the glory of God,’ when drawing to the termination of his earthly career; accordingly when so exhausted as to be scarcely able to speak, on being asked by his father if his confidence was still strong in the Lord; he answered with holy triumph, ‘Yes, strong! strong!’ And a short time before his eyes were closed in death, he said, 1 The nearer I draw to eternity, the brighter heaven shines upon me!’ He thus ‘ fell asleep in Jesus,’ on the 6th of November, 1798, in the 28th year of his age, and the fifth of his ministry. Though his race was short, it was brilliant—its brilliancy arising not so much from the splendor of his talents as from the purity of his motives, the fidelity of his private and public life, and the holy and burning zeal with which he pursued his vocation until sickness and death put a stop to his activity. And when he had sunk under the cloud of death, he left such a trail of light behind him as shall, it is humbly hoped, never be extinguished. Such honour God puts on those who honour him.”

Of 1802, our historian says, in reference to Canada:— “ Montreal, in Lower Canada, was visited this year by Joseph Sawyer. He found a few persons there who had belonged to the Methodist Society in the city of New York, before the Revolutionary war, who received him cordially, and assisted him in procuring a school-room for preaching. A Mr. Maginnis and his sister, both unmarried, were among the first who attached themselves to the society in Montreal, and they remained faithful through all the vicissitudes through which Methodism was called to pass in that city until their death.” An incident very little known, and never yet in print, was related to the writer by Mr. Sawyer himself, which occurred in connection with his first entrance into Montreal, will show how Methodist preachers were regarded in certain quarters, and the difficulties through which they had oftm to make their way. Mr. S.y who was very apostolic in his appearance and spirit, and very urbane and polite in his manners, thought it might be well to call on and endeavour to conciliate the minister of what is called the “ Church of England/’ in the city—the Rev. Mr. M—. He did call; and when he came into the minister’s presence, making a polite bow, he addressed him to the following effect:—“ Sir, I am a Methodist minister, sent to labour in this city and vicinity by Hishop Asbury; and as yourself and I are the only Protestant clergymen in the place, I have made bold to call on you, with the desire to have some conversation with you relating to the interests of religion in the country.”

Clergyman (with a mingled look of surprise and displeasure.) “You, indeed! I would much rather encourage the Roman Catholics than such as you, Dissenters. No! Get out of my sight!” While these words were being uttered, he was sideling towards the corner of the room, where stood his trusty staff,—when he reached to grasp it, with a design of driving the lowly Missionary from his house. Mr. Sawyer, finding himself “in the wrong box,” expressed his “regret for the intrusion”—said he “meant' no offence and, keeping a cautious eye on the cane, “ bowed himself out, backwards as deputations do out of the presence of royalty;-till he got beyond the preciricts of the parsonage, when he beat a hasty retreat from the scerfe of his unsuccessful advance.

“The Long Point' Circuit, in Upper Canada,” the Doctor proceeds, “'was formed the latter part of this year, chiefly through the labours of Nathan Bangs,-wlio \?ent into the work Under the direction of the Presiding Elder of the District. In the towns of Burford and Oxford particularly, there was a great work of God commenced1 Under his labours, which eventuated in the conversion of one hundred souls.”

Of 1804; the same author says —“This year also, and solicited arid obtained the appointment of a missionary to a new settlement on the river Thames, in "Gfyper' Canada. This place had long been on his mind as a promising field for missionary labour, and he had frequently offered himself to explore it in the name of the Lord, but h’is presiding elder objected, on account of the feeMe state of his health, and the wheal thiness of the climate.

While at the Conference in New York, this year, he made Known his desires and impressions to Bishop Asbury, and he appointed him a missionary to that place. He accordingly left the city of New York in the latter part of the month of June, went into Upper Canada by the way of Kingston, thence up the country; along the north-western shore of Lake Ontario, to the Long Point Circuit, and thence on through Oxford to-the town of Delaware, on the river Thames. Here he lodged' for the night in the last log hut in the settlement, anti the next morning, as the day began to dawn, he arose and from his departure, and, after travelling through a wilderness of forty-five miles, guided only by marked trees, he arrived at-a solitary log-house about 'sunsst, weary, hungry, and thirsty, where he-vra3 entertained with the best the house cold afford, which was some Indian pudding and milk for his supper, and a bundle of straw for his bed. The next day, about twelve o'clock, he arrived at an Indian village on the north bank of the river Thames, the inhabitants of which were under the instructions of two Moravian missionaries. While there, the Indians were called together for worship, which was performed in a very simple manner, by reading a short discourse, and singing a few verses of a hymn. The Missionaries and Indians treated him with great respect and affection, and seemed to rejoice in the prospect of having the gospel preached to the white settlements on the banks of the river below.

About three o’clock P. M , he arrived at the first house in the settlement, when the following conversation took place between the missionary and a man whom he saw in the yard before the house. After the introductory salutation, the missionary inquired, ‘ Do you want the Gospel preached here?' After some deliberation, it was answered, that we do. Do you preach the Gospel V ‘ That is my occupation.

*Alight from your horse, then, and come in, will you have come a great distance to preach the Gospel to the people here, and it is now Saturday afternoon, to-morrow is the Sabbath, and I must have a house to preach in before I get off from my horse/ After a few moments of consideration, he replied, ‘ I have a house for you to preach in, provender for your horse, and food and lodging for yourself: and you shall be welcome to them all if you will dismount and come in/ Thanking him for his offer, the Missionary dismounted, and entered the hospitable mansion in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘ Peace be to this house/ A young man mounted his horse and rode ten miles down the river, inviting the people to attend meeting at that house the next morning, at ten o’clock.

“At the time appointed, the house was filled. When the Missionary rose up, he told the people that whenever a stranger makes his appearance in a place, the people are generally anxious to know who he is, whence he came, where he is going, and what his errand is among them. "In these things" said he, "I will satisfy you in a few words/ He then gave them a short account of his birth and education, of his conversion and call to the ministry, and the motives which induced him to come amongst them, and concluded in the following manner:—*I am a Methodist Preacher, and my manner of worship is to stand up and sing, and kneel in prayer; then I stand up and take a text and preach, while the people sit on their se<«ts. As many of you as see fit to join in this method, you can do so; but if not, you can choose your own method/ When he gave out his hymn, they all arose, every man, woman, and child. When he kneeled in prayer, they all, without exception, kneeled down. They then took their seats, aud he stood up and gave out his text,—“Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord and he preached, as he thinks, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Having concluded his discourse, he explained ,#to his audience his manner of preaching, by itinerating through the country, his doctrine, and how supported, &c. He then said, * All you who wish to hear any more such preaching, rise up/—when every man, woman and child stood up He then told them they might expect preaching there again in two weeks.

“Such a commencement, in a strange place, he considered a token for good. He then sent ou appointments through the settlements along down the river, which he filled in a manner similar to the above, and was everywhere received with great cordiality. He proceeded down the shore of Lake St. Clair, visited Sandwich, on the Canada side of the outlet of the lake, crossed over to Detroit, and preached in the Counsel House, thence to Fort Maldeu, and down the shore of Lake Erie, in a settlement made up of Americans, English, Scotch, Irish,, and Dutch emigrants. The people everywhere flocked together to hear the Word.

“A more destitute place he had' never found. Young' people had arrived at the age of sixteen who had never heard a Gospel sermon, and he found a Methodist family who had lived in that country for severe years without hearing a sermon preached. But although the people were extremely ignorant of spiritual things, and very loose in their morals,-they seemed ripe for the Gospel, and have received and treated God’s messenger with great attention and kindness. He continued among them about three months, when he left them for Niagara Circuit, intending to return again soon, but was prevented. He was succeeded the next year by William Case, who was instrumental of great good to the souls ol the people. Societies and a regular circuit were formed, which have continued to increase and flourish to the present time.”

Under the date of 1806, our author recurs to Canada again. “This year a new district was founded, called the Lower' Canada District, which included Montreal, Quebec, and Ottawa. I have before spoken of Montreal and Ottawa. Nathan Baags voluntered his services for Quebec. After spending a few weeks-in Montreal; to supply them till their' preacher,. Samuel Coate, arrived, he sailed down the river St. Lawrence, for Quebec; and arrived there on Saturday morning. Having a few letters of introduction, he delivered them, and by great exertions, succeeded in hiring a room and getting it seated that day, and he preached his first sermon on the Sabbath morning following, to a tolerable congregation.

"The majority of people in Quebec were French Roman Catholics, attached to all their peculiarities, and of course, opposed to all Protestant' innovations. The next ifi numbers and influence were the members of the Church of1 England, and next to them the Church of Scotland—•all* manifesting a deadly opposition to Methodism. He found, however, a few who received him cordially, though with much timidity. Among others, he called on a Scotch missionary, by the name of Dick, who had succeeded in collecting a small congregation, and was treated by him with much affection and respect.

“It would doubtless b*e uninteresting to the reader to enter into a detail of the difficulties with which he had to contend, the mental trials he underwent, in striving to plant the Gospel in that hardened place, with small means of support, and few to countenance his undertaking. For a while the congregation was respectable as to numbers, but they soon dwindled down to not more than a dozen steady hearers, and not more than three or four of these seemed to be under religious impressions. He has frequently held a prayer-meeting with only one besides himself, when each would pray, and then dismiss the meeting, though inwardly conscious of the divine approbation, yet with but faint hopes of success. He, however, formed a small society, which, under more faithful and skilful labourers, has since increased to a considerable number, and Methodism has now a firm stand in Quebec.”

This was the commencement of a regular Methodist cause in that city, but an experienced and intelligent Wesleyan minister, the Ilov. John Tompkins, who has spent the most of his ministerial life in Lower Canada, and who has interested himself in all that concerns the rise and progress of Methodism in that section of the Province, has assured the writer that he had good evidence for believing that the Gospel was preached by lay Methodist Preachers, in the army of General Wolfe, in which there was a society of Methodists. This was as early as 1759.

"An attempt was made this year,” Dr. Bangs continues, “to establish a mission for the benefit of the French Catholio population of Lower Canada; and William Snyder, who understood and could preach in the French language, was appointed to this service. He entered upon his work in the French settlements in the vicinity of the Ottawa river, and for a time was cordially received and listened to with much attention, so that great hopes were entertained of a successful issue of his labours. Having occasion, however, to be absent from his field of labour for a few weeks, the parish priest took the opportunity to go and warn them of the danger of hearing the ‘ Protestant heretic/ threatening them with excommunication—which, in their estimation was a sure prelude to .damnation—if they did not desist. This so wrought upon their fears, that, upon the return of brother Snyder, not a soul dared to hear him or receive him into his house. He was, therefore, reluctantly compelled to abandon the enterprise in despair, nor has anything been effected for this people since The chains of Roman Catholicism still hold them in bondage to their priests.”

We are thankful that the late success of Protestant Missionaries, and Wesleyans among the rest, renders the Doctor’s concluding remarks, in their strongest sense, inapplicable to the present time. Enough is being done, we humbly hope, to give earnest of a brighter future for the French Canadians of the Lower Province.

Our principal authority for these summary annals, furnishes nothing very special relative to Canada, till 1809, excepting that in the preceding year, a temporary shock was given to the infant society in Montreal, by a missionary preacher appointed to that city, John Richards, returning to the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church, from which he had been an avowed convert, and entering the ranks of the priesthood. “ Father Richards” was a well-known character in Montreal, subsequently to that. In 1809, there was “an attempt to introduce the Gospel at Three Rivers, in Lower Canada, a place about midway between Montreal and Quebec.”

Of 1811, it is said, This year Bishop Asbury crossed the St. Lawrence into Upper Canada. After attending the New England Conference, which assembled this year in Barnard, in the State of Vermont, he took his departure on his intended tour into Upper Canada—a place he had long desired to visit.

On Wednesday, June the 26th, he crossed the Green Mountains, visited Middlebury, and preached in the courthouse, and afterwards set forward a subscription for building a house of worship in that place, fully believing, as he said, that “the Lord would visit Middlebury.” He then passed on through Vergennes, Charlotte, and Flattsburg, in each of which places he stopped and preached, until he arrived, after a fatiguing journey through the woods and swampy roads, at the Indian village of St. Regis, situated at the mouth of the river of that name, which empties into the St. Lawrence river.

At this place he was ferried across the St. Lawrcnee, which is here three miles in width. The first place he stopped at was Evan Roy’s, (Raises, where the compiler afterwards often stopped with Mr. Roise's son,) “in the town of Cornwall, where there was a flourishing Methodist society, one of the oldest in the province.” This is still represented in the Moulinette society.

"On landing in Canada,” he (Asbury) says, “my strong affection for the people of the United States camp with strange power upon me, when I was crossing the line,” and inquires, with much apparent feeling, “ Why should I have such new feelings in Canada?” No doubt associations were called up by this visit which he little expected to realize in this world. He had left his native land in his youth —had struggled through the difficulties of the revolutionary war—a war which eventuated in the severance of the United States from the land of his birth—had lived to see these states rising and flourishing, and the Church whose affairs he had been called to superintend, numbering within its bosom six hundred and thirty-six travelling preachers, and 174,560 members—and now, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, and fortieth of his ministry in this country, he found himself once more under the shadow of his paternal government, in a distant province of the empire, among a people who had been raised up by his sons in the Gospel, professing the same faith, and adopting the same modes of worship with those with whom he first united himself in the mother country. Amid such reflections, how could it be otherwise than that ‘strange feelings should come over him and, more especially, as he must then have anticipated the near approach of another war between the United States and that Government from which he had expatriated himself for the sake of building up His kingdom whose government shall have no end.

The Bishop passed along the banks of the St. Lawrence, [calling on the Rev. Joseph Sawyer, who was now located in the township of Matilda, and preaching in the original “ Matilda Chapel”] as well* as stopping and preaching in the most considerable places, gathering information from his own observations and communications of others respecting the state of things in Canada, until he arrived at Kingston, where he preached in a new chapel the people had erected in that placc. He says:—“Our ride has brought us through one of the finest countries I have ever seen. The timber is of a noble size ; the cattle are well shaped and well-looking; the crops are abundant, and a most fruitful soil. Surely this is a land that God the Lord hath blessed.”

The war of 1812, the premonitory signs of which Bishop Asbury is supposed to have observed at the time of his visit to Canada, had a disastrous effect on true religion. Most of the Methodist Preaehers, being citizens of the United States^ from inclination or necessity left the country, and the societies were neglected and scattered. I m}Tself, though but a child at the time, remember seeing the devoted Methodist Class--

leader, at the Cross-roads, near Niagara, made a prisoner by the American Indians, and led away towards Greenbush, in the United States; and of my mother entertaining him with dinner, in the town of York, on his way home, at the close of the war. A tender meeting with this worthy man and some others, from Canada, is mentioned by the Rev. William Case, who chanced to be detained in the United States during the war. His words are as follow :—

“Albany, Oct. 26, 1813.

“This moment, I have returned from a visit to the barracks, in Greenbush, in company with brother Merwin.

“Having been kindly indulged by Col. Larned, commandant, to speak to the prisoners, we most joyfully embraced the privilege of proclaiming to them the sweet liberty of the Gospel. As soon as we began to sing, there was weeping ; and immediately on our kneeling to pray, they knelt down, and here and there we heard the voice of Amen to our petition for their salvation. I could not solve this till after the service. To my great surprise and mingled grief and joy, several brethren and acquaintances from Canada came and made themselves known to us; they were militia in arms, and were taken near Fort2 George; among these were Messrs. George Lawrence,3 Leader at the Four-Mile Creek; William Clinton, from the head of the Lake; and Russell Hawley, brother of David Hawley, of Bay of Quinte. Their captivity was an affliction which made friends more consoling. By them I was informed, that in consequence of the troubles, there had been no preaching in that part for some time: that Mr. Ryan and others were travelling and doing all the good they could for God and souls: that none of our brethren in that part had been killed.

“So soon as the peace took .place, attention to the word became more general; the societies began to resume their former strength; till the more general reformation took place, of which the following are some particulars. In 1816, congregations were unusually large, and great seriousness and meetings of heart portended better days. In June, 1816, while the Genesee Annual Conference was in session at Elizabethtown, many were brought under awakening, and ten persons found peace to their souls. On Sabbath, the church was filled from eight A. M. to eight p. M., during which five sermons and several exhortations were delivered. At eleven, that man of God, Bishop George, delivered a discourse which seemed to move the whole congregation. The following thrilling remarks on that discourse are made by the Rev. Charles Giles:—‘Of Bishop George’s sermon I wish I could give the whole, but it is beyond my reach. Near the close, as he was bringing the strong points together, he ascended from thought to thought in his towering theme, like an eagle on the wing; then higher and higher still, till it seemed that inspiration would become his chariot, and by the grasp he held on the ’assembly, he would take all away with him to the third heaven. The hearers appeared motionless, absorbed in thought, and charmed with the grandeur of the theme ; while emotions were visible and strong in the congregation. At length, as the man of God was about to descend from his lofty elevation, cries for mercy were heard from the awakened crowd in the gallery; and the mourning penitents were conducted to the altar, where a prayer-meeting was opened, and supplications were made in their behalf. The time was well improved; and it was a season of great power and glory.'

“Through the whole sitting of the conference of five days, the word was delivered with much freedoin and power; and so great was the revival that followed, it is believed that more than one hundred were awakened during that conference.

“Conversions now became frequent: whole families were made the subjects of saving grace. The numerous family of a pious widow were among the favoured; five sons and four daughters are among the subjects of grace.

“The neighbouring towns now caught the flame. From attending the preaching at the conference, the people' returned to their homes with earnest prayer for their families and neighbours; and the revival was renewed* With great power in Augusta, and many were converted to God. The Minutes for July, 1818, shew an increase of 3X7. The professors drink deeply Into the spirit of the Gospel—the youth are making promising improvements. They delight in reading the Bible. At a late quarterly meeting in Augusta, the divine power was gloriously manifest. Among the hundreds of joyful souls were eight above the age of sixty, who had found mercy during the late revivals: among them was one of seventy-five: another of seventy-two, blessed God that all his family, seven in number, were converted. About the same time, a revival began in the fifth town, Hallowell Circuit. It was at a prayer-meeting, when the divine power rested on the minds of those praying, filling their hearts with peace. Their supplications were heard for sinners, and a number were awakened. And so powerfully did the Lord carry on his work, that in a few weeks, about sixty were brought to rejoice in the love of God. In this good work whole families Were rejoicing f In all the east part of the township, there was scarce a family where the voice of prayer and praise was not daily heard! A great and glorious work of God was also going on in the Bay of Quinte Circuit. It commenced in the township of Fredericksburg, on the 17th of August, 1817. It began at Mr. Cain’s, where a company of young persons were assembled for the purpose of improving in singing. At this meeting, a young man, who had lately found peace, addressed the company on the subject of his late conversion—the joy he felt in the service of God and invited them to come to Christ, and ‘ taste for themselves that the Lord was gracious.’ The divine power rested on all present, and the company were broken into contrition for whom prayer was made, when six young persons were blessed and made happy in the love of God. The news of this meeting brought many together, till no house could contain the multitude : numbers were converted at every meeting. It spread like a devouring fire through the neighbourhood; thence east j thence north, through the Geiman settlement around Hay Bay, sweeping in its course almost every family. From brother Cain’s it took a western direction, and spread the width of Adolphustown, leaving a blessing in many a house. Many hundreds assembled at the prayer meetings, when ten or twelve would be converted. From the fourth concession, boat-loads crossed the bay to the meetings in the chapel; by this means the revival obtained in the north part of the township. O, it was most delightful to hear the solemn praises from the happy converts, as they sailed across the bay, to and from the place of worship!

“This work produced a most happy change in families. On some occasions, while the father would be reading the Bible, praying or conversing with his family, some one would realize the divine power, and experience a saving change. On these occasions, it would be truly affecting to witness the Christian endearment, when parents and children would embrace each other, praising God for his mercy, and rejoicing in its mighty comforts. Some who embraced the Gospel when first introduced into the country, have lived to see the piety of their children and children’s children. So true are the words of unerring inspiration ; The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.

“By these revivals, great changes were brought about in the state of society. Kude companies, who spent the Sabbath in idleness and revelry, were now seen with their families in the place of worship. Others, who, through the influence of drink, had been led to differences and fights, now learned meekness and to forgive. The drunkard’s song was changed into loud hosannas, and blasphemies into praise! It was delightful to witness the Christian affection and religious fervour of the people : they seemed to hang on the ministers’ lips, as if feasting on every sentence; and as the truths of religion were brought to their believing view, they received them with tears of joy—sometimes with shouts of praise, and “ ,Glory to God,” for the wonders of his grace ! Our quarterly meetings were attended by such multitudes that no house could contain them. We then had to stand at the door, and to preach to those within and those without,—or divide the congregations.

“Other revivals might be named, but those were the principal, at that day; at least in the Bay of Quinte district. The Niagara country was equally favoured, about four hundred having been added in the Niagara Circuit.”

The above extracts from Mr. Case’s Jubilee Sermon, bring down the annals of Canadian Methodism to the time when my own recollections begin, with...


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