Thomas Jackson.

Memoirs of the life and writings of the Rev. Richard Watson, late secretary to the Wesleyan missionary society online

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iM E .M U 1 II S


I III: Liri: and writings


Tin: kj:\. in char I) watson,

JjOlt Sttrrlary to the W'eslrifan Missionary Society, f '■


Therf is a sort of God's dear servants whu walk in pcrfcctness ; and they hare a
drcrrc ol'rlarily and Divinp knowlrdgp more than we can discourse of, and more
certain than tlic demonstrations of geometry, brighter than the sun, and indc-
firient as the light of heaven. As a flame touches a flame, and combines into
uplrndoiir and to plory ; so is the spirit of a man united luito Christ by the Spirit
of God. — Jernny Taytur.




J. Collord, Printer.



21»43 4





The yoars 1832 and 1h;{3 were a season of uicat ami alVcctiiip mor-
tality amoiif,' thf Wcslcyaii niiiiistors. During ihis period several men
of leading inlhieiue in that body wore separated from their brethren
and the ('hurch, and cidled to resign a charge which tliey liad fulfdled
with superior fidelity and success. OP this numl)er the most distin-
guisheil were, Dr. Ad;im C'larke, and tlie l{ev. Riclwird Walson ; both
of whom were universally esteemed and beloved for their piety, attain-
ments, and usefuIncsH. The loss of these excellent men has been
painfully felt ; and their memory will long be cherished by a large
circle of friends, and by the numerous congregations to whom they
wore aroustomed to preach the word of life.

In the following pages an attempt is made to trace the personal
historj- of Mr. Watson ; and though the narrative has been compiled
under many disadvantages, chiefly arising from the pressure of other
engagements, it is presumed that the work contains a faithful, tliough
inade(|uate, record of his life and labours. The writer will always
con.sider it as one of his greatest privileges, and one for which he will
ever be thankful to Divine Providence, that he was favoured with the
friendship of this great and good man, and for several years lived in
habits of constant intercourse and correspondence with him. They
have conversed together on almost every subject of theology, and of
ptiblic interest, as well as upon all the litcrar\' projects in which Mr.
Watson was engaged. To give an honest and just view of his habits,
character, and opinions, has been the writer's aim ; but no one is more
sensible than himself that his descriptions fall vastly short of the ori-
ginal. It would have required a pen like his own to do full justice to
Mr. Watson's intellectual endowments, and his great exertions in the
cause of Christianity.

To those friends who have kindly furnished materials for this
volume, the cordial thanks of the writer are due, and are very sincerely
tendered. It is unnecessary to specify the names of the parties in this
place, as they are generally mentioned in the body of the work, in
connection with their rosprctivc commnnicatioiis. Mr. Watson's cor-
respondence, of which many specimens are given, will be found to
possess a more than ordinary- value, on account of its piety, elegance,
and variety.

DUr'.EXCH. 27 MA.R. 1901


No man was more deeply impressed than the subject of these me-
moirs, with the conviction, that devotedness to God is the principal
end of human life ; and it is earnestly hoped that the exhibition of his
own character will tend to promote this most important of all objects.
Such an example of sanctified talent, and of holy zeal, in the midst of
pain and wasting disease, has seldom been witnessed. He had learned
the great practical lesson of connecting the labours of time with the
awards of eternity ; and hence arose his impressions concerning both
the sacredness and vanity of the present life.

" Sacred how high, and vain how low,
He knew not here, but died to know."

London, March 25th, 1834



Mr. Watson'rt I'arcntaKo—Rinh— Delicate Il.-altli— Ivirly Ivluration— Rnli,
cioim Traiiiiiig— Dcatli of a Sislrr— FrattTiial Coiuliicl— Ki'iuovul to Lincoln—
Kducation in that City— I'ropoKal that lie should enter Iho Army— Lovo of
KiMiiinjj — Apprt-nlicfd to a Joiner — I'ersonal Appearance — Moral Character—
Con version— Fervent riety— Singular Accidenta I'uiiO 13

Cll.\l''l'i;ii 11.


:Mr. \ValKOn'.>f removal to the Leicester Circuit — Method of Study — Case of
strong Temptation — Poetical Composition — Appointment to the Derby Circuit —
Success of his preaching in Derby — First Publication — Disputes in the Methodist
Connection — Character and Labours in the Derby Circuit — .\dniission into ftill
Connection with the Conference — Appointment to the Hinckley Circuit — Begins
the Study of Hebrew — Theological Studies — Indiscretion — Reported to have
embraced heterodox Opinions — Unkindly treated — lititires from the Itinerant
Ministry — Did not hold the Tenets ijnputed to him — Enters into Husiness —
Marriage — Divine Call to the Ministry — Becomes a private Member of the
Methodist New Connection— Enters upon the Ministry in that Body — Appoint-
ment to the Manchester Circuit, ......... 37


Mr. Watson's Satire upon the immoderate Use of Instrumental Music in I'ublir
AVorship — Approval of the Discipline of the New Connection — Memoirs of William
Bradbury .md .Tohn Cash — Sermon on Religions Meditation — .Sermon on Sunday
Schools — Letter to Mr. Edmondson — Ztvil and Labours — Ai)pointed to the Liver-
pool Circuit — Letters to the Messrs. Faulkner — Verses on Charity — Admitted
into full Connection with the Conference — Writes tlic Annual Address to the
Societies — Appointed to Liverpool — Writes a History of that Town, and of the
Reign of George III. — Jeu.d'esprit — Commences the Liverpool Courier — Letter
to .Mr. John Faulkner — Writes the Address to the Societies in 1808 — Returned
a third Year to Liverpool — Nature of his Preaching — Publishes an Answer to
Mr. Roscoe, 54


Failure of .Mr. Watson's health — Returned to Liverpool as a Supernumerary —
Letter to ^Ir. John Faulkner— Writes Verses entitled " Enjoj-ments" — Memoir
nt' the Rev. James Parry — Mr. Watson's views of Church Government — Tho
Rev. Robert Nicholson — Providential Escape — Appointed to the .Manchester
Circuit — Publishes a Letter on Lord Sidniouth's Bill — Character of tiiat Measure
— Failure of Mr. Watson's health — Retirement from the Now Connec-
tion — Returns to Liverpool — Unites himself to tlie Wesleyan Body^Lctters to
Mr. Absalom Watkin, ........... 78



Mr. Wutson returns to the Wesleyan Itinerancy — Appointed to the Wakefield
Circuit — Character of his Preaching — Assists at the re-opening of the Methodist
Chapel at Halifax — Letter to his dying Father — Letter to Mr. Makinson — Preaches
at the opening of a new Chapel at Armlej'— Letter to Mr. IMakinson— Matthew
Shackleton— Letters to Mr. Watkin — Outline of a Sermon on the Trial of Faith,
' Page 93


Departure of Dr. Coke from England — Formation of a Methodist Missionary
Society in Leeds — State of the Methodist Missions — 3Ir. Watson's Sermon on
that Occasion — Writes an Address in behalf of the Methodist Missions — Speech
at a Missionary Meeting at Halifax — Assists in forming a Missionary Society in
Hull, and another at Sheffield — Speech on a similar Occasion in Wakefield —
Letters to Messrs. Makinson and Watkin, 107


Restoration of Peace in Europe — Mr. Watson's Sermon on that Occasion — Mis-
sionary Societies formed in various Places — Mr. Watson's Zeal in the Missiona-
ry Cause — Diversity of Opinion concerning Missionary Meetings — Decision of
Conference on the Subject — Lifluence of Missionary Meetings upon the Method-
ist Connection — IMr. Watson's Conduct in his Circuit — Reproof to an impatient
Hearer — Removal to the Hull Circuit — Opening of a new Chapel in Hull — Mr.
Watson's Usefiilness — His Views of congregational Singing — Letter to Mr. Wal-
ton, of Wakefield — Missionary Meeting in London — Letter to Mr. Walton — Tale
of Robbery — Death of Dr. Coke — Mr. Watson opens the new Chapel at Newark
— Attack upon him in one of the Hull Newspapers — His Letter in self defence
— Letter to Mr. Walton — Mr. Watson's Conduct as a Colleague — Providential
Deliverance, 123


Mr. Watson visits London to assist at a Missionary Anniversary — His Sermon
in the City.Road Chapel — Missionary Anniversary at Hull — Extract from the
Report — False Alarm — Difficulty in preparing for the Pulpit — Mr. Watson's Re-
moval to London — Appointed one of the General Secretaries to the Wesleyan
Missions — Manner in which he discharged his official Duties — Letter to Mr.
Edmondson — Letter to Dr. Ellis — Letters to Mr. Garbutt — Extracts from the
General Missionary Report for the Year 1816, ...... 141


Attacks upon the West India Mission — ]\Ir. Watson's Defence of that Mission
— Speech at the Anniversary of the Bible Society — Conference of 1817 — Mr.
AVatson's reappointment to London — Letter to Dr. Ellis — Missionary Report for
1817 — Mr. Watson preaches at the opening of a new Chapel in Oxford — Singu-
lar Adventure on that Occasion, 158


Mr. Watson's Pamphlet on the Eternal Sonship of Christ — Extracts on the
Use of Reason in Religion — Mr. Robert Hall's Opinion of Mr. Watson's Pam-
phlet — Unkind Reply to it — Consequences of Dr. Clarke's Theory — Resolution
of Conference in regard to the Doctrine of the Eternal Sonship of Christ — Plan
of the General Wesleyan Missionary Society — Arrival of two Priests of Budhoo
from India — Letter to Mr. Walton — Conference of 1818 — Formation of the Gene-
ral Chapel Fund — Mr. Watson's Removal to the London West Circuit — Preaches
before the Sunday School Union — Extracts from his Sermon — Attends an Ordi-
nation of Missionaries at Bristol 174



Mr. Wiitsoii'a AddrosB in the City. Road Cliupol, on the Appointment of a Num.
l)cr of Missioiiiirifs — His Views uf th« ;Mi.s.sii)nury Chiiractur uiid Work — Kupurl
of Iho .MiN.siunury Society for lh(> Vuar 1818 — I'Mmttli-d State of tiie jNation —
Mr. VVat.son'H loyal and patriolie iOxurtionti — Letter to MiHM Smith — EmbarraMied
State of the Mission Kiuid — Appeal to the) I'lildir in its behalf — Annuul Meeting
of the Mis.sionary Society in 1819 — .Sir Alex mder Johnston — C'onferen<e of
iHllt — Pastoral Adtiress to the Metlio(lint Societies — InstriK-lions to the Wcs.
leyan .Missionaries — First Report of tli(! (leneral Ch;ipel Fund, . I'ago l'J2

CllArTilU Xlll.

Missionary Report for the Year 1819 — liettor l<> .Mr. G irl)Ull — Mr. Watson
visits t'ornwull, ueconipanied by Mr. Huntinu — Mission in ."Southern Africa —
Anniversary of the .Missionary .Society in the Year iH'iO — Letter to Mr. Walton
— (.'oiil'erence oi" l.'^;2l) — Visit of Mr. Fjinory, from America — Pastoral .\d<lress to
llio Methodist ."Societies — Mr. \\'atson'.-i Appointment a third Year to the London
NVost I'ireuil — His t'orrospondcnce with the ^Mi.ssionaries — I^'tter to thi; Rev.
William 1). (ioy, iJI7


Mr. Southey's "Life of Wesley" — Brief View of Mr. Wesley's Doctrine — Mr.
."^outhey's deleetive Views of Relijrion — Mr. Watson piihlishes "Observations on
.^outhey's Lilb of Wesley" — E.vtrarts from that Work — Death of the Rev. Jo-
.■;eph Benson — Missionary Report fur the Year 1820 — New .South Wales — New-
Zealand — The West Indie.s — Anniversary of the Missionary Society in l8t2I —
The Rev. William Ward — Remarks on Missionary Meetings — Letter to Mr.
Walton, 2:V2


The Conference of 1621— Letter to Mr. Walton — To his Daughter— Mr.
Watson's Appointment to the Office of Resident Missionary .Sccrotary — Be-
comes a private .Member of a Class — Letter to the Rev. Robert Young — Mis-
sionary Tour in Yorkshire and Lincolnshiro — Letter to Mrs. Watson — Mr.
M'atson's Contributions to the Wcsleyan Magazine — Doctrine of the witness of
the Spirit — Sermon on Man magnified — Begins to write his Thcolojrical Insti-
tutes — Missionary Rojiorl for 1821 — .Mission in Ceylon — New-Holland — New-
'/■^alaud — Western and ."^outiierii Africa — Income of the Missionary Society —
Mr. Watson vi-^its Cornwall — Letter to .Mr. Walton, .... 1250


Mr. Watson's spirit at Missionary .^nnivers.aries — .Vriniversary of the Mission,
ary Society in 1822 — Speech of the Rev. George Collison — Instruction of Mis.
sionaries — Letters to Dr. Ellis — Letter to the Rev. Elijah Hoole — Missionary
Report for the year 1822— Letter to Dr. Ellis— .Mr. Watson pul)lishes the first
part of his Theological Institutes — .\)iiiivers;iry of the Missionary Society in
1803— I/3tter to Dr. Ellis— Letter to :\Ir. Walton— The Rev. IMcssrs. Sargent and
Lloyd killed on their way to the Conference — Letter to ]Mr. Walton — Letter to
Miss Walton, Cn the Death of her Sister— Death of the Rev. William Ward-
Projected Mission in Palestine — Letter to Dr. M'Allum — The Rev. Charles Cook's
Visit to Jerusalem — Mr. Watson writes in Defence of the Witness of the Spirit
— His Sermon on " Man Magiiitled by the Divine Regard" — Letter on Organs in
Methodist Chapels, 261


^Ir. Watfion publishes the second Part of his Theological Institutes — Letter to
Mr. Walton — Persecution in IJnrbadoes — The Argument a priori in proof of a
First Cause — Dr. Samuel Clarke's Demonstration — Divinity of Christ — Mission-


ary Report for 1823 — Projected Mission to Jerusalem — Mission in Ceylon — In
the West Indies — Catechisms of the Wesleyan Methodists — Mr. Watson preaches
on the Mission to the Negroes at the Anniversary of 1824 — Letters to Miss
Watson, • . Page 280


Mr. Watson visits Oxford — Conference of 1824 — Letters to his Daughter —
First Report of the Anti-Slavcry Society — Agitations in the West Indies — Letter
to the Right Hon. Wilniot Horton — Letter to the Rev. Elijah Hoole — Letter to
the Rev. Frederick England — Missionary Report of 1824 — Anniversary of the
Missionary Society in 1825 — Letter to Mr. Garbutt — Debate in the House of
Commons on the Riot in Barbadoes — Sir R. W. Horton — Singular Impression —
Conference of 1825 — Address to the Societies — Letter to the Rev. Robert Young
— Mr. Watson publishes the third Part of his Theological Institutes — Notices
concerning it, 291


State of the Mission Fund at the End of the Year 1825 — Appeals for farther
Exertions — Missionary Report for 1825 — Mr. Watson publishes a Tract against
Popery — Anniversary of the Missionary Society in 182G — Loss of the Maria
Mail Boat, and of five Missionaries, &-c — Panic of 1825-6 — Mr. Watson assists
in opening a new Chapel in Manchester — Letter to Dr. Ellis — Death of Joseph
Buttervvorth, Esq. — Mr. Watson preaches and publislies his funeral Sermon —
The British Senate — Abolition of Slavery — Mr. Watson is elected President of
the Conference — Letters to Mrs. Watson — Mr. Watson's Conduct as President —
Letter to a young Preacher — Mr. Watson attends a Missionary Meeting at
Leeds — Letter to Mrs. Watson — Letter to Dr. Ellis — Mr. Watson publishes the
fourth Part of his Theological Institutes, . 309


Missionary Report for 1826 — Letter to Mrs. Watson — ^Ir. Watson's Visit to
Scotland — Letter to Mrs. Watson from Glasgow — Mr. Watson visits Cornwall
and Ireland — Letter to Mrs. Watson — Attends the Conference in Manchester in
1827 — Letters to Mrs. Watson — Delivers an Address to tlie Young Preachers —
The most useful kind of Preaching — Mr. Watson's Appointment to Manchester
— Private Studies — Ministry — Conduct as a Superintendent and Christian Pas-
tor — Sermon against a Musical Festival — Personal Character — Attention to his
Circuit, 325


Missionary Report for 1827 — Anniversary of the Missionary Society in 1828
— Benefit of the Scriptures — Mr. Watson publishes the fifth Part of his Theolo-
gical Institutes — Remarks on Calvinism — Anecdote of the Rev. Rowland Hill —
The Conference of 1828 — Attempts to subvert the Methodist Discipline — Mr.
Watson publishes his " Affectionate Address" — Pamphlets of the Rev. Daniel
Isaac — Two Replies to Mr. Watson's Address — Character of those Publications
— Letter on Mr. Watson's early History — Letter on his future Appointment —
Report of the Missionary Society for 1328 — Letter to Mr. James Nichols — Mr.
Watson publishes the last Part of his Theological Institutes, and presents tliat
AVork to the Connection — The Conference of 1829 — Tribute to the Memory of
Thomas Thompson, Esq. — Mr. Watson's Removal to London — Address tit the
Ordination of Missionaries — Letter to the Rev. John Hannah — Report of the
Missionary Society for the year 1829 — Persecution in Jamaica, . . . 339


Mr. Watson publishes his " Conversations for the Young" — Annual Meeting
of the Missionary Society in 1830 — Mr. Watson's Speech — Letter to the Rev.
Samuel Entwisle — Meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society — Resolutions of Con-


ferencc on Slavery — I^ttnr to Dr. Kmory — AddroHs to llic CongreKs''"" *' City-
Koud on Slavery — Mr. WutsdirH Scriiioii on (ioil u itii ii« — MiHsinnarv lu'port lor
1830 — Spoc'cli alllie Aiiti-Sluvery Moeting — AddrnsHlo llio .MctlnxiiHtM on Slavery
— Suppicnient to the .MotluuliNt llynm Hook — Mr. Walnon imiMLhIu-b tin- ijle of
Mr. Wesloy — Conference of lt^31, ....... I'aiJf 3G3


Appearance of the Ciiolora in Rnf^hmd — Fast Day observed by the C^ity-Koiul

Con^jre^ation — \Vat<-li.\i;jlit at tlio City-Uoad — Ix-tlrr to .Mr. Kdniondhon — Uo-
port of the .Missionary Socii-ty I'or 1>'^31 — IV'rKi-ciilions in Jamaica — Mr. Watson
visits IJrijjIiton tor liis Ilealtli — C'oniplelion of his nil)lical Dictionary — Doctrine
of t'liristian Perfection — Missionary Anniversary in lH3'J — .Mr. Watson's Speech

— Litorary Projects — .Mr. Watson bejjins an K.xposition of the Now Teslanient —
'I'he Conierence of lt<3'2 — I.eltt>r to .Airs. Watson — Mr. Watson presents hiji
\\orks lotiie Connection — His Appointment to tho Otficc of Itesidcnt
Secretary to the Missions — Dr. Adaiii Clarke — Mr. Watson's rcsipnation of liis
Foiitorship at t'lly-Uoad, S'Jct


Letters to Mr. Williani Sliaw — rimihir Letter addressed to tho Missionaries —
Death of Dr. Adam Clarke — Deatii of the Rev. Thomas Stanley — Literary I'roiort

— Lelterto Mr. iieni.imin Hiaine — .Mr. Watson's I;i,sl Sermon — Death of the Rev.
John James — .Mr. Wat.son's Kxposition — Rapid Decline of Mr. Watson's liealtii
— State of the Anti-Slavery (jiiestion — Letter to Mr. Hiixton, on Ncf^ro Emanci-
pation — Notices of .Mr. Watson's last Sickness, hy Mrs. Ilulmcr, Mr. IJeecham,
Mr. Marsdcn, Mr. Ince, Mr. Di.xon, and Mrs. Dixon — His Death — Resolutions
of the Missionary Committee — Mr. Watson's Funeral — Mr. Buntinfj's Sermon
on his Death — Tribute to iii.s .Memory in the Missionary Report — His Character
by tho Conference — Publication of liis Exposition, . . . . .Ill)


Mr. Watson's personal Appearance — Manners — Mental Character — Attain-
ments — Judfrmcnt and Imagination — Fine Taste — Versatility of his Talenta —
Practical Habits — U|)riijlitness and Consistency — Diligence — Pastoral Visitation
— Kind Attention to Children — Temper — Etfcct of Disease upon his Spirits —
Forgiving Temper — Generosity — Conduct in the Domestic Relations — Letter to
his Son — Qualifications as Missionary Sccretarj' — L^sefiilncss in that Office —
Catholic Spirit — Modesty — Powers of Conversation — Submission to tho Autho-
rity of Scripture — Letter to a Speculatist — Character of his Preaching — Manner
in the Pulpit — Examples of powerful Eloquence — Manner of conducting Public
Worship — .\ttachment to his own Denomination — Conduct as a Methodist
Preacher — Was not a theoretic Dissenter — Regard for the catabliehed Church —
His deep Piety — Honour put upon him in Death, 462





Mr. Watson's Parontago — Hirlh— Delicate Health— Early Kducalion— Knli-
(jimiH 'I'riuuiiijj — Dt-alli i>t* a Sister — Fr.iti)riial Conduct — RcniovHl to Lincoln —
I'diii-ation in tliat City — rropoHid that ho shuiiUl enter tho Army — Love, of
Ktiadin}; — Apprenticed to a Joiner — I'erHonal Appearance — Moral Character —
Conversion — Forvont Piety — Sinjjular Accidents.

Fkw subjects of inquiry excite deeper interest than the personal
history of incn wlio h;ive been (hstinfruishcd by k-arninff, genius, or
any piH-uharilios of character and comhict. TIk; C'hurcli and tho
worhl, therefore, have each their favourite biofrrapliical works, in which
thoir respective heroes arc; exhibited ; and to th<se they are accustomed
to pay a more tiian ordinary attention, 'i'o meet tlie public demand
for some authentic record of one of tho most eminent men of modern
times, tlie following narrative has been prepared. It sugjfcsts many
important lessons of practical instruction ; and presents, in a very
striking view, the power and excellence of true religion, as giving
strength and elevation to the human intellect, sanctifying a life of
atlliction, inspiring universal charity, and afl'ording consolation and hope
in tlio prospect of death and eternity.

The Rev. Richard Watson was the son of Thomas and Ann Watson,
and was bom at Barton-upon-Humber, in Lincolnshire. His father, who
was a native of Lcdenham, near Lincoln, was the son of a respectable
farmer ; and as the family was somewhat large, and could not be all
conveniently employed in agriculture, he was brought up to the busi-
ness of a saddler. The earlier years of his life were spent in Not-
tincham ; where it is probable he served his apprenticeship. In this
town he was connected wiili the Methodists. He subsequently removed
to Bawtrv, and from thence to Barton.

Mrs. Watson, the mother of Richard, is still living, (1834,) and re-
sides in Nottingham. She was bom in London ; but removed in early
life with her parents to Finningley, near Bawtry, where she bocamo
acquainted with ,Mr. Watson, and was married to him in the parish
church of that village. Though far advanced in years, she is in full
possession of her faculties ; and in her features greatly resembles her
son. She presented her husband witli eighteen children, of whom
Richard was the seventh. They all died in their infancy, except
Richard, and three sisters who are still living.

Richard was born February 22d, 1781. His father at that time was
connected with the dissenters ; yet, being a freeman of the city of
Lincoln, and thinking that the parish register might be of advantage
to his son in future life, the child was baptized at St. Peter's church,
ui Barton. During his infancy his healtli was exceedmgly delicate ;


his death was ahnost daily anticipated ; he was taken to the church to
be baptized on the fifth of March, being then only eleven days old ;
and his parents, who were passionately fond of him, had scarcely the
slightest hope that he would be spared to arrive at manhood. He was
80 extremely weak, that his mother was for a long time compelled to
nurse him upon a pillow ; his feeble and attenuated frame not being
able to bear the slight pressure of its own weight upon her arms.

When he was about three or four years old, so as to be able to walk,

Online LibraryThomas JacksonMemoirs of the life and writings of the Rev. Richard Watson, late secretary to the Wesleyan missionary society → online text (page 1 of 69)