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Full text of "Memoirs of the life, character, and ministry of William Dawson"

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Published, by Hamilton, Adams, and Co., Pa 

London, and to be had oj all Booksellers 




EXTRACTS FROM REVIEWS 

OF THE 

VILLAGE BLACKSMITH. 



" The ' Village Blacksmith ' is altogether one of the most 
interesting volumes of its kind, and the best written we have met 
with. No one can take it up without the certainty of reaping 
instruction and delight. Mr. E. has exhibited the continued sweet- 
ness and playfulness of beautiful imagery which distinguishes his 
prose, and in every page tells us in spite of himself, it is ' Prose 
by a Poet.' Its peculiar feature is graceful simplicity, with 
poetry oozing through every sentence. His arguments are clear 
and forcible, expressed in language generally elegant; and we 
feel that we are perusing the pages not only of a man of genius, 
but of an ardent, active, and cheerful Christian. And withal, 
there is a tone of delightful pleasantry, half-concealed in the 
writings of Mr. E., which is often placed under unnecessary res- 
traint." ECLECTIC REVIEW, Oct. 1831. 

" The simplicity of Samuel Hick often bordered on the ridicu- 
lous, and it required not only tenderness and experience, but the 
penetration and judgment of a master of the human heart to 
discriminate between them. The literary merits of this work are 
superior to the maudlin mass of religious memoirs, as the comet- 
coursed villagu blacksmith was unlike the amiable, but inanimate 
personages, of whom they bear witness. We recommend the ' Vil- 
lage Blacksmith,' as likely to amuse, instruct, and edify and the 
volume as containing more pure, manly, and beautiful English, 
than is to be found in any half-dozen modern novels. A poet's 
prose, where it is not inflated, is the best of all prose : and in the 
work before us, Mr. Everett's taste and judgment have fortunately 
prevented him from falling into the common error ; and he has 
introduced only so much imagination and metaphor as to elevate 
the subject, delight the rtader, and to throw over the whole the 
quiet and pure spirit of his own muse." THE ATHEN^CM, Nov. 
19,1831. 

" An interesting Memoir was published a few months ago of the 
life of Samuel Hick, late of MicklefiVld, Yorkshire, the details of 
which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they appear more in 
the character of a romance than real lite." MANCHESTER 
CHRONICLE, July 30, 1831. 



" The volume now lying before us epitomizes the life of a black- 
smith, distinguished for his integrity and piety, and who has been 
very useful in his day and generation. It is written in an easy, 
graceful style ; and it cannot fail to interest those whose hearts 
oan warm to the expressions of sincerity and benevolence, which 
breathe through every page." MONTHLY MAGAZINE, April, 1832. 

"Perhaps few men, besides Mr. Everett himself, could have 
constructed, had they been so disposed, such a goodly fabric, or, 
to change the metaphor, have produced such a dish, out of such 
materials; for in the crudity of those very materials is to be seen 
the skill of the artificer, who makes light shine out of darkness, 
speaks confusion into order, and throws a charm around what else 
had been repulsive to both sight and taste. Yet amid innumerable 
disadvantages, there was one advantage in the subject alone, which 
the writer appears to have had prophecy of soul sufficient to foresee 
would arrest the attention of the reader, like the fiery brilliancy 
of a comet, exclusive of its erratic course. With the exception of 
the Vulcan of the heathen, and the Knot-tier of Gretna-green, we 
know of no ' artificer of brass and iron,' not even Tubal-Cain 
himself, the secrets of whose history would be more interesting 
than those of ' The Village Blacksmith,' and in the life of no 
one of them will be found such an 'instructor.'" IMPERIAL 
MAGAZINE, April, 1832. 

" This is a singular little work, furnishing another very remark- 
able history of human character acted upon by ideas of religion, 
which it were hard to characterize as too enthusiastic when 
stamped by so much of charity and good works. We have not for 
a long time seen a volume which we read with more curiosity and 
pleasure curiosity in following the developement of the character 
of the natural and simple man, in his rough, but honest and 
untutored, and often singularly correct views of things, and plea- 
sure at that unwearied pursuit of good, which marked every 
moment of his life. His dreams, his mental impressions, his self- 
denials, his sympathy for the poor, his undaunted courage in 
respect to what he thought was right, his untutored dialect, his 
firmness under persecution, and the quaintness of his manners, are 
all delightful. One thing, however, must be noted by way of 
detracting from tha subject of the memoir, as the whole cause of 
our satisfaction in perusing it, and that is, the excellence of the 
composition the neatness and clearness of the writer's style, and 
the charming simplicity which prevails throughout. Hick was 
himself what Coleridge would call a phsycological curiosity, and 
the memoir is not less a curiosity for its purity and elegance. The 
Life of Hick should be in the hands of every Christian philo- 
sopher ; it is a most interesting account of a mind deeply impressed 
with religion, and furnishing a beautiful exemplification of the 
outpouring of a simple, benevolent, untutored spirit, full of hope 
and enthusiasm." THE METROPOLITAN LITERARY JOURNAL, 
May, 1832. 



3 
EXTRACTS FROM REVIEWS. 

OF 

THE WALL'S END MINER." 



" OF the merits of this interesting and instructive volume, we 
must be understood to speak candidly we are disposed to do 
justice they are of an order which cannot fail to elicit commenda- 
tion. The memoir of an orphan, from beginning to end, is well 
written the characters introduced fairly sustained and the 
interest kept up throughout." MONTHLY MAG., Feb., 1836. 

" With how small a portion of the world is the most widely- 
travelled acquainted ; in how narrow a circle of interests and 
feelings does the most liberal thinker live! Want of time, want 
of opportunity, the pursuit of one or two engrossing objects 
confine him to his own orbit in spite of himself; but should any 
casuality lead him to tracts new and strange, he has the advantage 
over the narrow-minded of being, at least willing to contemplate, 
and to open his understanding and heart to things which may not 
heretofore have been comprehended in his philosophy. At least 
such we feel to be our case, in stumbling upon a book like ' The 
Wall's End Miner,' a work which, in its own class, will have 
probably has had already both circulation and influence. We 
can perceive that though there be only a hair's breadth between 
enthusiasm and fanaticism, still, the separation is clear and deci- 
sive : on one side of the boundary the morals and charities of 
life exist and flourish, though in an atmosphere strange to us." 
ATHEN.EUM, Feb. 27, 1836. 

" This work will be very acceptable to readers of the persuasion 
of the Wesleyan Methodists,' and the various sects that have 
branched off from that vast stem. The narrative is, of itself, 
very interesting." METROPOLITAN MAG., Masch, 1836. 

"William Crister's narrative, in the hands of Mr. Everett, is 
both interesting and instructive, and we shall be much mistaken 
if this small volume does not obtain a more extensive circulation, 
and make a deeper impression than the author has ventured to 
anticipate. It is well written, and we sincerely recommend it to 
those who wish to become acquainted with excellences of character 
which have been exemplified in humble circumstances." NEW- 

CASTLE COURANT, Dec. 19, 1835. 

SECOND EDITION. 

" We need say no more in recommendation of this volume 
than that, ' The Wall's End Miner ' is an excellent companion 
to the ' Village Blacksmith.'" WATCHMAN, March 28, 183b. 



" We are glad to see a second and improved edition of the 
Memoir. It abounds in very useful reflections and observations. 
Mr. Everett-, writes like one who well knows how to seperate not 
only the chaff from the wheat, but the bran from the finer flour, 
and has furnished a very useful addition to the stock of Christian 
biography." WESLEITAN METHODIST MAGAZINE, April, 1838. 

" This is a brief and novel Memoir of a singular, yet sincere 
.. .'iplij of Jesus, and a Northumberland Collier." NEW- YORK 
CHIUSTIAN ADVOCATE AND JOURNAL, August 16th, 1839. 



THE POLEMIC DIVINE : 

OR 

MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE, WRITINGS, AND OPINIONS, 

OF THE 

REV. DANIEL ISAAC: 



" THESE are judicious and interesting Memoirs, illustrative of 
the upright, unaffected, and sound-minded subject of them. They 
will interest the reader of popular works, as well as afford some 
true and agreeable lights, whereby to study varieties of human 
nature, and when placed under peculiarcircumstances." MONTH- 
LY REVIEW, Sept 1839, p. 145. 

" It is not merely the scarcity in the article of biography, which 
makes us relish this life of Daniel Isaac. Were the memorials 
of departed worth, genius, and learning, ' plenty as blackberries,' 
we should still keep a corner for any fresh leaves from Everett's 
Book of Worthies. We know him of old, to be happy in the 
choice of his subjects, and skilful in the treatment of them. 
Enough to say, that we have read through this Life with pleasure, 
and cannot close it without recommending it to all such as love 
what is earnest and genuine, whether it go forth licensed by a 
bishop, or a synod of non-conformists." ATHENAEUM Aug. 24th, 
1839, p. 628. 

" Of Daniel Isaac we must speak with praise. He was simple, 
sincere, and temperate, with considerable humour, and with little 
temptation; but we have more to do with the subject than with 
the man." WEEKLY DISPATCH. 

" This book will be of considerable interest to the Wesleyan 
Methodists, among whom Mr. Isaac, a man of strong character, 
was an eminent and influential preacher. It gives considerable 
insight into the domestic life of the lower and middle classes of 
England. Though not without some of the small blemishes, or 
rather distinctive marks of his sect and calling, Mr. Isaac was 



both a good and an able man, full of life and energy; possessing 
and exercising the power of independent thought upon most 
subjects." TAIT'S EDINGBURGH MAGAZINE, Nov. 1839, p. 758. 
" This is one of that class of works which appeal to a certain 
exclusive, but very extensive order of readers, and to them it will 
prove very acceptable. The Polemic Divine is neither more nor 
less than a memoir, (somewhat too lengthy, we must observe), of 
the late Mr. Daniel Isaac, a Wesleyan Preacher, and one of suffi- 
cient celebrity in his day and order to justify a work of the kind 
devoted to his memory. The work is written with care and 
industry, and may, as a biography, be read with interest by other 
persons than those devoted to the extensive sect to which the 
writer and the subject belong." NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE, 
Nov. 1839, p. 431. 





Idanu.i.CJ'Paterneftir 



MEMOIRS 



LIFE, CHARACTER, AND MINISTRY, 



WILLIAM DAWSON, 

LATE OF BARN-BOW, NEAR LF.KDS. 



JAMES EVERETT, 

AUTHOR OF "THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH," "THE WALL'S Exu MIXER, 
"THE POLEMIC DIVINE," &c., &c. 



" Narrow is that man's sou], which the good of himself, or of his own 
relations and friends can fill, but he who, with a benevolence, warm as the 
heat of the sun, and diffusive as its light, takes in all mankind, and is sincerely 
glad to see poverty, whether in friend or foe, relieved, and worth cherished, 
makes the merit of all the good that is done in the world his own. by the 
complacency which he takes in seeing or hearing it done " ANON. 

" HE WAS A BURNING* AND A SHININO LlOHT." John V. 35. 



LONDON: 
PUBLISHED BY HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO. 

PATKRXOSTER-KOW. 

1842. 



TO 

THE REV. THOMAS GALLAND, A. M., 

WH*OSE VIRTUES, TALENTS, AND LEARNING, 
WERE HIGHLY APPRECIATED BY THE SUBJECT PORTRAYED, 

Jrfjfsc fttcmoivs 

ARE RESPECTFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED, 
AS A TOKEN OF PERSONAL ESTEEM, 



THE AUTHOR. 



PREFACE. 



As to personal history, many of the more prominent 
facts recorded in these Memoirs, -were communicated to 
the biographer by the subject himself, either directly, 
in the way of information, or incidently, in the course 
of general conversation. Partly through the accumula- 
tion of these facts which a friendship of nearly twenty 
eight years continuance might naturally be expected to 
produce, but still more because of the high value fixed 
upon moral, religious, and intellectual character, a pur- 
pose was formed, hi the event of the writer being the 
survivor, of furnishing a simple narrative of the life of his 
friend. This design being reserved to himself, he was not 
a little surprised, soon after the decease of the beloved 
subject, to be waited upon by the executors, Messrs. 
Charles Smith and Edward Phillips, of Leeds, request- 
ing him to undertake the Memoir of their long endeared 
and venerated friend ; stating, at the same time, that the 



VI PREFACE. 

family united in the request. Something providential 
appearing in this coalescence of intention, arrangements 
were immediately made to enter upon the work. The 
executors, with promptitude and kindness, placed the 
papers of Mr. Dawson in the hands of the writer ; and, 
combining with his own collections whatever was avail- 
able for the purpose of biography, he proceeded with all 
possible care and despatch, to furnish he following 
pages ; which, under these circumstances, are presented 
to the public, not only with the sanction of the family, 
but under the authority of the executors. 

Though the writer had a valuable collection of Letters 
in hand, obligingly furnished by different friends, he 

studiously avoided the introduction of them into the 

> 

Life ; first, because they would have swelled it to an in- 
convenient size ; secondly, he was anxious to introduce 
as much incident as possible ; and thirdly, he foresaw 
that the Letters themselves would form an excellent 
volume running, chronologically arranged by the side 
of the Life, as a kind of companion, leaving it optional 
with the reader to take one or both, as inclination or 
circumstances might lead. 

In each of the biographies in which the writer has 
been engaged, it has been a maxim with him to be 



PREFACE. Vll 

honest to give both sides. He has never been either 
afraid or ashamed to look human nature in the face, so 
far as simple character has been concerned apart from 
vice whether in its strength or weakness, its eccen- 
tricities or its regularities ; nor has he ever tried to 
make a man what, in reality, he was not, so that when 
his friends and neighbours have seen him in print, they 
have been unable to recognize him having been made 
so much better than he actually was. Religion requires 
no deception ; and happily for the biographer, he under- 
took a subject that could sustain a scrutiny, a subject 
as open as the day, and, for sincerity, as transparent 
as the light. That subject the biographer commits to the 
world, ,with an ardent wish, that the virtues embodied 
there, may be exhibited both by himself and his readers. 

JAMES EVERETT. 

YORK, Feb. 12th, 1842. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Piety connected with secular employment. Parentage. Lord 
Irvine. Sir Rowland Winn. Luke Dawson. Mrs. Daw- 
son. Sir Thomas Gascoigne. Confidential servant. Wil- 
liam's brothers and sisters. His birth strong affection 
early developement of imitative powers. Kippax. Rev. 
Miles Atkinson. Rev. William Richardson. Domestic 
training. William's first serious impressions. Religious 
Books. Health. The Village School-Master. Rev. W. 
Hodgson. Mr. Ephraim Sanderson. Subject of these Me- 
moirs finishes his Education at Aberford. Rev. Thomas 
Dikes. His usefulness. Distress on account of sin. A 
Dream. John Batty. Samuel Settle. Doctrine of Assu- 
rance. Importance of an early religious bias. William's 
state of mind and character, as given by his pastor. The 
Rev. John Graham. Advantage of falling into good hands. 
Depression of spirit. Insignificant means of relief. 
External objects. The poor Negro. Death of William's 
father. Christian liberty. Letter of Counsel from the 
Rev. T. Dikes 

CHAPTER II. 

Commences a Diary. Essays. Letter from the Rev. T. 
Dikes. Select religious Meetings. Labours of the Rev. J. 
Graham. Rev. T. Gall and. W. Dawson begins to ex- 
hort. Attends the religious Services of the Wesleyans. 
Hears the Rev. Samuel Bradburn. Monarchy. Prays in 



X CONTENTS. 

public. Early Compositions. The fall of Man. Sojourn- 
ers. The Scriptures The Apocalypse. Reading. Books. 
Attempts to court the Muse. Rev. R. Hemington. W. 
Dawson becomes more public in his character. " Grime 
Cabin." Renewal of Covenant. The Rev. Joseph Benson. 
S. Settle sent to Magdalen College, Cambridge . . . . 25 

CHAPTER III. 

Letter from Mr. Settle. Mr. Kilham and his party. York 
Assizes. A religious Diary. Extracts from it. W. Daw- 
son formally takes a text. Besetment. William Smith. 
Kindness to the Widow. Reproof. Pressed to enter into 
Holy Orders. The Elland Society. The Latin Language. 
Difficulties and Cares of Business. The Rev. J. Gra- 
ham's testimony in favour of Wm. Dawson. Slender Re- 
muneration. Despondency. Letter from Mr. Settle. . . 51 

CHAPTER IV. 

Renewed Dedication. Rev. J. Benson. Mr. W. E. Miller. 
A noisy Prayer-Meeting. Letters from Mr. Settle. Pro- 
gress in Learning. The Rev. J. Atkinson. Evening Lec- 
tures. Liberality. Further intimations of Holy Orders. 
Reading and Studies. Portrait of a worldly-minded 
Farmer. Inward conflicts. Messrs. Myles, Pawson, Brad- 
burn, Mather, Griffith, and Dr. Coke. Out-door Preaching. 
State of Sinners. Extended usefulness. Early Sermons. 
Extracts from them. Preaches more generally and pub- 
licly. Colton. Service by lantern light in the open air. 
Mrs. Dean. Loud preaching 80 

CHAPTER V. 

Voluntary and involuntary evil. Letter from Mr. Settle. 
College trials. Bias towards Methodism. Miss Barritt 
Love- Feasts. Messrs. Mather' and Blagborne. Pride. 
Balancings. Fear. Enthusiasm. Reading. Lay help in 



CONTENTS. Xi 

the Establishment not encouraged. Samuel Hick. Se- 
verity. Labours. Extracts from the Diary. Usefulness. 
Public Addresses. Sin. Assurance. Death. Sinners 
in danger. Sceptics. Growing Piety. Painful Exercises. 
Local Militias. State of the Country. Prudence. 
Morning Comtnunings. Scrupulosity of Conscience. 
Stands Sponsor. Thoughts on Marriage. Feeling mani- 
fested by external Signs. Letters from Messrs. Graham 
and Settle. Freedom of Mind. Trials often heighten 
coming Joys. Visit to the Rev. J. Graham, York. Genius 
of Methodism. Further References to the Elland Society. 
Prayer. The turning Point. Rev. Miles Atkinson. 
Peculiar situation of W. Dawson. Decides against Holy 
Orders. Rev. J. Graham. Rev. S. Settle. Rev. Joseph 
Benson. Rev. T. Dikes. Religious state of W. Dawson. 110 

CHAPTER VI. 

Wesley's Life. Reconciliation necessary for a Minister of the 
Gospel. People generally moulded by the Ministry. 
Increasing faith. Little faith. Jeremy Taylor. Extracts 
from the Diary. Bohler's advice to Wesley. Faith to be 
preached. Faith in its simplicity. Examples of it. 
Friendship. Covenant. Messrs. Graham and Settle. 
Advantage of different Christian Communities. Authors 
and reading. Sentiments of Dr. Johnson and Sir P. Sidney 
on Knowledge. " Visitation of the Sick." Industry. 
Messrs. Settle and Wade. Mr. Suter. W. Dawson sup- 
plies the place of the Vicar of Thorpe-Arch. Personal 
Piety and public Usefulness. Self-abasement. A hoary- 
headed Enquirer after truth. Watch-nights. Tries Class- 
Meeting. Preaches in the Coal-mine. Dress. Useless 
and unseasonable Conversation. Omissions of Duty. 
Death of the Rector of the Parish. Public business, and 
rules to be observed in transacting it. Hard Bargains, 
and love of our neighbour. Inferior usage. Contentment. 
Presentiment. Visit of an uncle to Barnbow. Sermon 
to Young People.- Providential deliverance. Aptitude for 
improving occasions and events 155 



Ill CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER VII. 

The old year. Time. The eighteenth Century. Opinions 
of Johnson and Clarendon. Disinterested toil. Useful- 
ness. Samuel Hick. Class-Meeting. Thomas Stoner. 
Blessedness of Christian communion. Social and literary ad- 
vantages. Reading and religious discourse. Providential 
choice of lot Wit, true and false. Study. Reproof. 
HOME religion. Domestic changes. Escape from death. 
Murder. Local preachers. Pulpit preparation. Over ex- 
ertion. Progress in piety. Sinners disturbed in their 
pleasures by rousing sermons. Increasing labour. Pity to 
the poor. Becomes an accredited Local Preacher. Wes- 
ley, Whitfield/an'd "Cennick's sermons. Richard Burdsall. 
Enlarged sphere of labour. Affliction and its fruit. 
Meets the Local Preachers, and attends the Quarter- Meet- 
ing. Preaches in Leeds. Rev. S. Bradburn. Rev. W. 
Bramwell. Sinkings and swellings of heart. Watchfulness. 183 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Activity. Proposed for the itinerant work. Enlarged sphere 
of action. Cotton Mather's " Directions." Desirous of a 
chapel at Barwick. Severe mental exercises. Doubts. 
Mr. Barber. A. Mather's Life. Bunyan's " Grace Abound- 
ing." Indiscreet praise. Pride and humility. Sensibility. 
Perplexity. Appointed by Conference to a circuit. De- 
clines travelling. Dissimulation and sincerity met by the 
providence of God. Mr. Bramwell. Visitations from 
above. Paradoxical character of Christian experience to 
the world. Expense in dress. Prosperity of the work of 
God. W. E. Miller. High rents. Feasts. Secrets. Un- 
pleasant forebodings. Natal Anniversary. Death of Wil- 
liam's grandmother. Ground bought, and a chapel in the 
course of erection. Mr. Bramwell leaves the circuit. Re- 
flections upon it 213 



CONTENTS. XUl 



CHAPTER IX. 

Opening of a chapel at Barwick. Collecting Book. The 
Rev. Thomas Taylor and John Grant. Occasional sermons. 
Visit to Hull. Rev. Joseph Bradford. Character. 
Characteristic distinctions. Dr. Bates's Works. Samuel 
Popplewell, Esq. Afflictive dispensation of Providence. 
Friendship. Rev. Miles Atkinson as a preacher. Increas- 
ing popularity. Biographer's first interview with Mr. 
Dawson. Rev. Andrew Fuller. First Public Missionary 
Meeting among the Wesleyans at Leeds. An Extract from 
Mr. Dawson's speech on the occasion. Comparative view 
of the Wesleyan Missions. The partial and indirect influ- 
ence of Mr. Dawson's occasional play of fancy upon speak- 
ers and hearers. 236 



CHAPTER X. 

Conscience, a singular Incident. Tenderness in preaching. 
The Shepherd personified. Indirectself.praise Revival- 
ists. Mistakes in Conversion corrected. Early Gift in 
Prayer among young Converts. Establishment of Mission- 
ary Societies at York and Wakefield. Extracts from 
Speeches. Mr. Edward Wade's death. Selby Missionary 
Meeting. Timidity. Characteristic Remarks. Conver- 
sational Meetings among the Local Preachers. A spiri- 
tual Ministry. Deputation from a distance. Death of the 
Princess Charlotte. Visit to the North. A Dream. 
Quarrels from trifling causes. Fault-finders. Prejudice. 
Chester and Liverpool Meetings. Dr. Adam Clarke. Pro- 
priety of bringing acquired knowledge" 'fJtTEear oh the cause 
of Truth. Death of the Rev. William Bramwell. 1*he 
Backslider. Tract Distribution. Addresses to Children. 
Objections. The Eternal Sonship. Authors 263 



XIV CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XI. 

StageCoach Dialogues. Retort. Incognito. Lord Milton. 
Touching Tale. Conversations. Matrimony. Business. 
Misers. Popery. Socinianism. People. Ministers. 
Poetry of action. Impotency. Penitents. The World- 
ling. The character of Mr. Dawson as a Preacher. Power 
of imagination. Terrific Imagery. Candour in hearing. 
Selection of Hymns, and remarks upon them. Indis- 
cretion in singing pieces after sermon. Death of Friends. 
Death on the Pale Horse. The Secret of successful 
preaching. Sermon to Sailors. Death of Friends. Rev. 
David Stoner. Different Pulpit methods. Mr. Dawson's 
Class. False wit. Bible Meeting at Hull. Death of Mr. 
Dawson's Mother . . 293 



CHAPTER XII. 

Increasing labour. Conversion of a Sceptic. Opening of 
Brunswick Chapel, Leeds. Contrast between the Pulpit 
and the Farm. Silver taken at the foot of the gallery stairs. 
Difference between popularity and usefulness. Revivals. 
Industry. The grave and the ludicrous. Daniel in the 
lions' den. John Richardson. Biography. Death of t!ie 
Rev. David Stoner. His character. The fallen trumpet. 
Difference between Nature and Art. Mr. Samuel Ent- 

wisle Mr. Hugh Gill. Dr. Me Allum's character and 

death. Leeds Organ Question. Mr. Baines and the Leeds 
Mercury. -Disputes. Journies. A mishap. Platform 
Readings. Prayer Meetings, and their good effects. Di- 
vine Influence. Restitution. Contentment. Solicitation 
of Subscriptions. Melancholy effects of false alarm at Heck- 
mondwike. The Rev. Gideon Ouseley. Popish Contro- 
vertists. Death of "The Village Blacksmith." Farm un- 
successful. Curiosity in check. Visits. Obituaries. .. 321 



CONTENTS. XV 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Christian friendship. Rev. J. Storry. Martha Hick. Ex- 
cessive labour. Sensibility. Extempore speaking. Com- 
mon sense. Young's Night Thoughts. Mercy. Critics. 
Living Epistles. Shadow of Death. Attitudes. Con- 
versation. Backslider restored. A School Address. 
Hymns. The wig. The " Factory Question." Affability. 
Visits. London. Collections. Hard toil. Titles of 
Public Addresses. The Reform Bill. War. The Cholera. 
The tax -cart. Invitations. Travelling conducive to 
health. Dr. Clarke and the Rev. Richard Watson. Suc- 
cessful beggingT^^lttanner. ^Stripes of Transgressors. 
Power over an auditory. Providence. Mr. Reinhardt 
Mrs. Turton. Willingness to labour. The auctioneer's 
stand. Piety maintained. Rev. Robert Aitkin. Socia- 
bility. Good done at Barwick. A travelling fete. Con- 
tentment. The North. The Theological Institution. 
Additional labour ~~. r ."" v" Tn i'."~rT"~". . .. 360 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Love, a great moving principle. Rev. S. Settle. The old 
ship. John Patrick. Rev. R. Aitkin. Visit to the Theo- 
logical Institution. Hint to chapel- keepers. Scattered 
fears. A Rent-day homily. Religion requires constant 
application. Continuance of excessive labour. Liberality. 
A platform dilemma. Failures. Tea Party. Presen- 
tations. Humility. The Dawsonian Fund, and its object 
Symptoms of physical decay. Outgoings. Mr. R. M. 
Beverley's " Travelling Revivalist." Perseverance. Cor- 
respondence. The Hoppings. Second case of liberality. 
The Holy Spirit. Menders of Systems. The Christian 
race. Penitents. " Teetotallism." Politics prejudicial to 
religion. Adaptation of tne Gospel to ManT^Honles* sub- 
scribed towards the Dawsonian Fund presented to the Mis- 
sionary Committee, and accepted. Mr. Dawson's views on 
the subject Extraordinary collections at Huddersfleld. 
Conversions 395 



XVI CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XV. 

Notice of Mr. Dawson's engagements. Residence in Leeds. 
Unmitigated toil. CENTENARY OF WESLEYAN METHOD- 
ISM. Speech. Moral and religious Advantages of the 
Centenary. List of Appointments. Out-door preaching. 
Narration of Cottage Stories. Eccentricities. The Holy 
Spirit Spurious Christianity. Plainness in Preaching. 
Leeds Parliamentary Revision. Courtesy of the Mayor of 
Leeds. Windsor Castle, Busts, and Paintings. Nature 
and Art Leadership. Character. Kindness and Friend- 
ship. Ireland and the Irish. Mr. Thomas Stoner. Ser- 
mons. The Gown. Duke of Devonshire's grand Con- 
servatory. Habit of Industry. Disinterestedness. Shef- 
field. Indisposition. A second case of Restitution. 
Presentiment. The London "Times.'' Mr. Thomas Lumb. 
Isle of Wight Sickness 433 

CHAPTER XVI. 

The King's Daughter. The Will of God. Proverbial Say- 
ings. Indisposition. Acaster. Plan of Labour. Mr. J. 
Wild. Dover. Letter to Mrs. Ince. Croydon. Birk- 
hamstead. Last Sermon. ReturnHome. Colne. Sudden 
Death. Reflections. Processions. Funeral Obsequies. 
Tokens of Respect Concluding Observations 463 



MEMOIRS 



WILLIAM DAWSON 



CHAPTER I. 

Piety connected n-ith secular employment. Parentage. Lnrd 
Irvine. Sir Ron-land Winn. Luke Damson. Mrs. Damson. 
Sir Thomas Gascoigne. Confidential servant. William's 
brothers and sisters. His birth strong affection early devel- 
opement of imitative poivers. Kippax. Rev. Miles Atkinson. 
Rev. William Richardson. Domestic training. William's 
first serious impressions. Religious Books. Health. The Vil- 
lage School-Master. Rev. W. Hodgson. Mr. Ephraim San- 
derson. Subject of these Memoirs finishes his Education at 
Aberford. Rev. Thomas Dikes. His usefulness. Distress on 
account of sin. A Dream. John Batty. Samuel Settle. 
Doctrine of Assurance. Importance of an early religious bias. 
William' 1 s state of mind and character, as given by his pastor. 
The Rev. John Graham. Advantage of falling into good 
hands. Depression of spirit. Insignificant means of relief. 
External objects. The poor Negro. Death of WiUiam's father. 
Christian Liberty. Letter of Counsel from the Rev. T. Dikes. 

PERSONAL religion cannot appear otherwise than 
glorious in a Christian minister, dissevered from all 
secular employment, and exclusively consecrated to the 
service of the sanctuary. Under such circumstances, 
he is, in scripture phraseology, "as the sun when he 

A 



MEMOIRS OF 



goeth forth in his might;" unaccompanied by a single 
cloud, and mounting up his shining way, amid the 
pure azure of heaven, till he attain his meridian height 
and glory. The same amount of piety in a man 
mixed up with the bustle and business of life, is in 
danger of having a portion of its real worth im- 
perceptibly abstracted from it, in consequence of the 
association ; whereas, the real glory of the latter tran- 
scends that of the former, by reason of his coming 
out of a feast, a place of trust, with its untold 
thousands, a mercantile transactian out of the world, 
in short, as pure as from the temple of God, with its 
means of grace. Such a man was WILLIAM DAAVSON, 
the subject of these Memoirs, whose honour as a man, 
and whose character as a Christian, stood not only 
unimpeached, but were the subjects of glowing eulogy ; 
being deservedly classed with those "that buy, as 
though they possessed not," and that "use this world, 
as not abusing it." 

The grandfather of William was colliery agent to 
Lord Irvine, of Temple Newsome ; and one of the 
brothers of his grandfather was land and colliery 
agent to Sir Rowland Winn, Bart., of Nostal Priory, 
near Wakefield, about the time that the celebrated 
John Nelson was employed as a stone-mason, in the 
re-election of the family mansion. 

The name of William's father was Luke Dawson, 
and his mother's maiden name was Ann Pease. The 
latter was distinguished for great strength of mind, a 
shrewd insight into business transactions, combined 
with considerable foresight being capable of diving into 
remote conclusions from present appearances ; added 
to which possessing the fear of God, she was a 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 3 

woman of sterling integrity. Being in the habit of 
visiting Leeds occasionally, and of comparing the past 
with the present, she sometimes amused her children 
with the change telling them, that she recollected to 
have seen grass growing in Briggate, after attaining 
the age of womanhood. Her husband, the father of 
William, acted as steward to Sir Thomas Gascoigne, 
one of the descendants of the ancient family of Gas- 
coigne, of Gawthorpe, the baronetage of which became 
extinct on the death of the late Sir Thomas, when 
Richard Oliver, Esq., of Parlington, succeeded him in 
his estates, and, in compliance with his will, assumed 
the name of Gascoigne. The office of Mr. Luke 
Dawson was to superintend the colliery department, 
which office he sustained for a period of twenty-one 
years, when death put an end to his labours. He 
died in the fifty-first year of his age, leaving a widow 
who reached her "three-score years and ten." His 
comparatively premature removal from this transitory 
state, was not remarkable, having been, in the language 
of the subject of these pages to the biographer, "but 
a sickly man." One circumstance, in addition to 
the fact of his office having terminated only with his 
life, goes to prove, that he had not only the respect, 
but the fullest confidence of his master. In a case of 
some difficulty, when a party appealed to Sir Thomas, 
whose decision would have been final, and to give which 
would have been attended with no impropriety, he 
replied, " Gentlemen, I shall not decide, till I have first 
seen Luke Dawson, and consulted him on the subject." 
Mrs. Dawson bore ten children to her husband. 
Two, who were twins, died soon after they were born ; 
another a boy, quitted life at the age of one year and 



MEMOIRS OF 

three quarters ; and a fourth a girl, was called hence 
when verging on her second year; the other six reached 
maturity, one of whom a sister, who was marrried, died 
in London ; and four of the remaining five, two brothers 
and two sisters, survived the subject of these pages. 

William was the oldest child, and was born March 
3()th, 1773, at Garforth, a small parish town, three 
miles from Aberford, and seven from Leeds, in the 
county of York. The other children were born at Barn- 
bow,* a short distance from Garforth, whither his 
parents went to reside while he was yet a child in 
the arms. The house at Barnbow being then in the 
course of erection, William was sent to Whitkirk, little 
more than two miles distant, to reside with his grand- 
father and grandmother on the paternal side, with 
whom he continued for a period of nearly five years. 
One circumstance connected with infancy may be noticed, 
as it had an influence upon his opinions in mature 
life. During the first half-year of his existence, he 
Avas feeble and sickly, and cried both night and day ; 
so much so, that his father and all the domestics, with 
the exception of his mother, wished for his own sake 
supposing that his life would be one of debility and 
suffering, that the Lord would call him hence. To 
this almost incessant crying, he afterwards attributed 
the strength of his lungs ; and certainly, if there is 
any truth in the remark, that strength is acquired by 
exercise, his opinion was correct. When able to run 
abroad, he had a little play-fellow, of the name of 
William Arthur, of whom he was passionately fond. 

* The population of Garforth, according to the census of 1831 , amounted to 
731 persons. The townships of Barnbow, Morwick, and Scholes, contained a 
population of 764; the first comprising 273, and the two latter 491. 



WILLIAM DAWBON. 5 

His namesake having taken the small-pox, he was 
cautioned against visiting the house. Heedless of the 
injunction, and insensible of the danger, he proceeded 
to the abode of the little invalid. His absence soon 
awakened suspicion at home ; and those who were sent 
in pursuit of him, found him with the sick boy, into 
whose bed he had crept unperceived by the family. 
There, in his child-like way, and with a warmth of 
feeling creditable to riper age, he was consoling him 
under his affliction. This is a fine instance of what is 
denominated the " intelligence of affection," which is 
carried on by the eye only, and which, while it exists 
in the heart, is often falsified by the tongue, through 
the refinements of society. The eye of little Dawson 
saw the plague-spot of that disease of childhood upon 
his companion of "sports and pastimes;" his heart 
was smitten with a tenderness of which he knew not the 
name; he clasped the contagion to his bosom, and 
bore it away to his own couch, where he lay, like his 
play-fellow, the subject of tender domestic solicitude. 
Both of the invalids, however, soon recovered, and were 
as soon beheld sporting on the village green, shewing to 
the separate families by what fine-spun threads the 
affections are drawn together, threads as fine as those 
spun from the bowels of the spider, and yet so strong, 
as to bid defiance to disease and death in mature age. 

The house of old Mr. Dawson, adjoining the burial- 
ground belonging to the Established Church, the two 
boys were often found gambolling among the tombs, 
a ground, which, next to a place of worship, should 
be held sacred, but which is too often thoughtlessly 
passed over by both old and young, and not suffi- 
ciently fenced by the proper authorities. The subject of 



6 MEMOIRS OF 

; these Memoirs having been taught to read, and having 
strolled into the church one day, while the sexton was 
engaged in the discharge of some of his duties, pro- 
posed to his companion "a game," as it was termed, 
"at parson and clerk," selecting for himself the more 
dignified character of the former, and assigning to his 
fellow the more humble office of the latter. Accordingly, 
Dawsoiv who could in many instances mimic to the 
life, entered the reading-desk, opened the Bible, whose 
unwieldy size required all the physical energy he pos- 
sessed to unfold its pages, announced the book, and, 
with an audible voice, read a chapter, occasionally 
bending his eye upon his less dignified companion in 
the clerk's place below, which he was the better able 
to effect, in consequence of having elevated his person 
by something which he had found at hand adapted 
to the purpose. This led his mother pleasantly to 
remark, in after life, when his ministerial labours were 
adverted to "He was born a preacher." 

On the death of~fcis~ jgYandfatKer, he returned to 
his parents at Barnbow, where he resided till within 
three or four years of his own demise. He accompanied 
his father and mother to Kippax, about three miles 
distant, where they sat under the ministry of the Rev. 
Miles Atkinson, afterwards of Leed ;* a man of 
evangelical sentiment and Christian character, both of 
which, in all probability, led Mr. and Mrs. Dawson 
to prefer Kippax to their own parish church at Bar- 
wick. This is the more likely, as the latter had they 
not, like the children of the "elect lady," known and 

It is to this excellent man, that Mr. Wesley refers in his Journal, May 2, 
1779, having been requested by him to preach in his church. Works, Vol. IV. 
p. 151. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 7 

walked in the "truth," presented especially in un- 
favourable weather, greater inducements to flesh and 
blood, than the former, requiring a journey of only two 
miles instead of six. William heard Mr. Atkinson during 
a period of four years, but observed to the biographer, 
that he was unable to comprehend what was advanced, 
and was consequently not properly impressed by it ; 
a circumstance, perhaps as the ministry was strictly 
evangelical, though not striking, more to be attributed 
to the carelessness of the hearer, than to any want 
of perspicuity in the matter, or seriousness in the 
demeanour of the preacher. 

After this, when in his ninth year, he sat under 
the ministry of the Rev. W. Richardson, who offi- 
ciated in the same church. Mr. Richardson was more 
adapted to his genius; for dealing occasionally in strong 
expressions, not unfrequently spiced with the quaint- 
nesses of the preceding age, he at once caught and 
fixed the attention of his young auditor, whose mind, 
like the opening bud, was gradually expanding to the 
sun of instruction. One of these peculiar forms of 
expression he carried with him through life, some- 
times employing it to good purpose: "I love," said 
Mr. Richardson, when speaking of persons acting with 
a "single eye," "I love those one-eyed Christians." * 

With such aid in the pulpit, Mrs. Dawson, to whom 

* Air. Richardson afterwards removed to the city of York, where he exercised 
the ministerial office 30 years, having been in the ministry 50 in all. On his 
decease was published, "The Faithful Minister, Israel's best Defence. A 
Sermon preached at St. Michael-le-Belfry, York, May 27th, 1821, in con- 
sequence of the death of the Rev. \V. Richardson, Minister of that Church. 
By the Rev. J. Graham, Rector of St. Saviour, and St. Mary, Bishop-hill, 
sen., and Domestic Chaplain to the Rt. Hon. Earl Bathurst." 8vo. pp. 33. 
It appears from Mr. Graham's account of Mr. Richardson, that he was no 
ordinary man ; his perception being acute and discriminating his memory 



MEMOIRS OF 

William looked up as his priestess, and who was 
anxious to promote the religious welfare of her chil- 
dren, was greatly assisted in her domestic appeals to 
the conscience. Though she had no vices to preserve 
in check, no acts of immorality to condemn, yet she 
knew, that personal religion was not of spontaneous 
growth, that human nature would no more send forth 
its shoots of piety, without culture and grace, than a 
naturally unfruitful soil will yield golden crops with- 
out care, seed, manure, and tillage, of which she had 
a striking example in a portion of the land tenanted 
by her husband. While Mr. Dawson, therefore, was 
engaged with his farm and his stewardship, Mrs. Daw- 
son took upon herself the momentous charge of the 
children, as to religion and morals. For this, she was 
not only religiously disposed, but admirably fitted ; and, 
as in the order of Providence, she was destined to be 
left with them, while some of them were yet young, she 
acquired by it a commanding influence through life, 
which was the more important as age advanced. In 
order deeply to impress William's mind, together with 
the hearts of the other children, as they rose under her 
training hand, she prayed with them, read the Holy 
Scriptures to them, and enforced many of her remarks 
by select portions from the "PRACTICE OF PIETY." Two 
paragraphs of the latter, William observed to the writer, 

accurate and tenacious his judgment sound his reading extensive bis 
learning solid and useful his discourses, at the same time, being enriched 
with maxims of substantial, practical wisdom and his conversation eminently 
engaging and improving. As to personal religion, his devotion is stated to 
have had the character of strength rather than warmth, being seated in the 
mind rather than in the passions. He was the staunch friend of Bible, Mis- 
sionary, and other valuable institutions, and was considered the " FATHER" 
of the Sunday Schools belonging to the Established Church, in the city of 
York. 



WILLIAM DAVVSON. 9 

late in life, fastened their contents upon his mind; 
further stating, that he often wept and prayed over 
them, adding, in his expressive way, "Many a time 
have I thumbed. them since." 

"Drelincourt on Death," and "Flavel on the Soul," 
were also books which he read in early life, and which 
seriously impressed him with the awful realities of 
an invisible world. But there was one book, he re- 
marked, when speaking of his juvenile days, the 
exact title of which had passed from the memory, 
but whose purport seemed to be the vast importance 
of religion, professing to solve the momentous ques- 
tion Shall I be Lost or Saved? which made the 
deepest impression upon his mind. The book, he 
stated, was afterwards either lost or destroyed; and 
as religion rose in importance in his esteem, he felt 
the more anxious to procure a copy, but, in the 
whole of his search, he was never able to meet with 
anything capable of satisfying his mind with the fact of 
it being an impression of the same work. It did not 
occur to the biographer, till sometime after the con- 
versation took place, that it might possibly have 
been a copy of "The Great Concern; or, a Summary 
Account of the Fear of God, and Keeping his Com- 
mandments, by Samuel Wright, D.D.," a third edition 
of which was published in London, in 1733, and 
was a likely book to find its way into a family where 
the "Practice of Piety" was so highly esteemed. 
But whatever might be the work, he observed at the 
same time, with deep and sweet emotion, as though 
all other oracles spoke through one, and as if every 
ray of light from other sources flashed upon his 
spirit through the same medium "I owe much to 

A2 



10 MEMOIRS OF 

my MOTHER!" a subject on which he was always 
tender, and under which, whenever he touched it, 
an audience has sighed and wept like a child weeping 
before its parent ; and has been as much subdued into 
softness, as the maddened spirit of Saul was toned 
down to subordination and quiet, when the fingers of 
the Hebrew bard swept across the strings of the 
Jewish harp. O, yes ! the kindest lessons are those 
which a mother teaches, as the most touching and 
solemn warnings are those which issue from her 
heart and from her lips, when she warns away her 
child from danger : and William Dawson was one 
who, though he stood in awe of his mother, never 
ceased to love her, whether in youth or in age ; and 
the biographer himself, with silverlings now sprinkling 
his head, still recollects, while writing, with a gush- 
ing heart, and eyes swimming in tears, a mother's 
love, a mother who descended into " the valley of the 
shadow of death," with many endearing recollections, 
at the advanced age of between eighty and ninety. 

The subject of these Memoirs seems to have had much 
more of the mother than the father, both with regard 
to physical energies and intellectuality. He possessed, 
with the exception of the first half-year of his life, a 
sound, healthy constitution, was remarkable for mus- 
cular strength, as soon as he was able to exercise it, 
and manifested, as age crept on, amazing vivacity, 
with occasional corruscations of genius. His grand- 
mother, adverting to his general health, his readiness 
for his meals, and the cheerfulness with which he 
seemed to partake of the bounties of Providence, used 
to say, "Child, thou hast a crop for all kinds of corn." 
With some of these proverbial expressions, whose sense 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 1 1 

was full, and whose alliteration rhymed to the ear, he 
would occasionally amuse the writer. 

His first school-master, on leaving Whitkirk, was 
Joseph Cromack, of Barwick. The school-room in 
which he was taught, adjoined the church-yard, and 
stood on the site of the present erection. Here, but 
slender progress was made in learning. Joseph seems 
to have wanted some of the pre-requisites for his 
situation, and to have been only less pedantic than 
another master of the ferula, to whom William re- 
ferred one day to the writer, of the name of John 
B., who kept a school at Scholes. He humorously 
represented John as a wholesale reader of one of the 
largest Leeds papers commencing with the first ad- 
vertisement on the first page, and systematically pro- 
ceeding with every word to the imprint at the close. 
Adverting to some effects which were advertised for 
sale, but not being conversant with the several items, 
John observed to the villager, who was not quite so 
profoundly learned as himself "The whole, I sup- 
pose, will be devil-oped on the day of sale." 

His next tutor was the Rev. W. Hodgson, curate 
of Garforth, who taught a school at Barwick. This 
gentleman, being defective in Christian conduct, often 
neglected his pupils ; the consequence was, that young 
Dawson was next sent to Mr. Ephraim Sanderson, 
of Aberford, who kept a large academy in that place; 
and who, exclusive of day scholars, had sometimes as 
many as forty boarders. The distance was three 
miles from Barnbow, and thither our tyro proceeded 
daily. There he made the greatest progress in learning, 
and finished his education ; often, at a subsequent period, 
when capable of forming a judgment, complimenting 



12 MEMOIRS OF 

his master for his conduct and abilities. Zimmerman 
speaks of learned men, who are ignorant of nothing, 
saving their own ignorance. Mr. Sanderson was not 
of this class, and it is a happy circumstance that 
Dawson's close at school was much more propitious 
than its beginning. 

Owing to the religious instruction received at home, 
William was the better prepared to profit under the 
ministry of the Rev. Thomas Dikes, who officiated as 
curate at Barwick-in-Elmet, for a period of two years, 
prior to his final residence in Hull. Under that gentle- 
man's ministry he received his first deep and permanent 
awakenings, subsequent to those produced under do- 
mestic tutorage. Not only was he favoured with his 
ministry but with his counsel in social life, as well as 
with his epistolary correspondence ; the latter of which 
was not only expressive of high esteem, but a deep 
anxiety on the part of Mr. Dikes to promote his best 
interests. Among other helps to piety, Mr. Dikes 
put "Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion in 
the Soul," into his hand. He was sitting in the barn 
one day, when John Batty, one of his father's servants, 
who was also the subject of serious impressions, found 
him poring over its pages. On going into the house, 
he was asked by his master whether he had seen 
William anywhere; to which he replied in the affir- 
mative. He was next asked what he was engaged in, 
when he returned "reading." Having seen him in 
deep distress, and being afraid lest it should be a 
book that would increase it, and so, in the language 
of Festus, set him "beside himself," his parents were 
anxious to know its character, and also to secure 
possession of it, without exercising force or severity. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 13 

When John returned to the barn, he informed William 
of what had passed, saying, hy way of apology, "What 
could I do? I was obliged to speak the truth!" 
William replied, "You did right." This book he 
generally concealed on what was called the wall-plate 
of the granary ; and to the granary, or some other 
private place he used to retire, when he wished to 
read without interruption. He appears to have derived 
unusual benefit from it; for on Friday, July 25th, 
1790, he wrote an extract from it, embracing nearly 
two folio pages, and headed, "A Solemn Surrender 
to Almighty God ; " to which he appended, opposite 
the date, "solemnly performed this day." 

His solicitude for deliverance from spiritual bondage 
increasing, he naturally sought for relief in the use 
of the ordinances of God ; and it was agreed, that 
he should receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper 
at the hands of Mr. Dikes, in connexion with John 
Batty, who, by this time, had grown up into a kind of 
band-mate for him. The minds of both were impressed 
with sacred awe, vows, promises, arid protestations 
were made, and the "Week's Preparation" was not 
only seriously read, but its directions were rigidly 
observed. Though the day of liberty was still in hazy 
twilight, his ardour for" salvation was considerably in- 
creased by the solemnity of the occasion. All was 
anxiety within ; the spirit was struggling to be free ; 
and the very solicitude experienced, was so strained 
and overbent, that it seemed to break and prove a 
hinderance to itself; like a body of water, which, in con- 
sequence of its own super-abundance and onward force, 
is prevented from finding a ready issue through the 
straitened sluice. He was unable to give full expression 



14 MEMOIRS OF 

to his feelings ; and hence, sat brooding over his in- 
ward wretchedness. 

During the residence of Mr. Dikes at Barwick, a 
church was in the course of erection for him at Hull, 
to which place he finally removed, and in which place 
he was living, in mellow age, and crowned with honour, 
when the subject of these pages had finished his 
course. Mr. Dikes, in early life, was particularly 
distinguished for his zeal; and though "William Daw- 
son did not enter into Christian liberty till some time 
after he left for Hull, yet he "took," as he expressed 
himself to the biographer, "the mould of" his "reli- 
gious character from him," which was then beginning 
to unfold itself in its various lineaments and features. 

Though he was not at all superstitious, and used 
to state, in reference to dreams, that only one in a 
hundred might possibly be improved; yet, there was 
one about this period, the effects of which he was 
never able nor did he wish to shake off. He dreamed 
one night, that he saw two roads, the one broad and 
the other narrow, that multitudes were crowding the 
former, where they were dancing along in tumultuous 
joy, favoured with everything capable of gratifying the 
heart, fascinating the eye, enchanting the ear, and 
regaling the taste, and that the other was nearly 
without a traveller. Various inducements were held 
out to him, to take the broad way, all of which he 
declined; and turning to John Batty, whom he thought 
he saw standing at the entrance with himself, he said, 
"We'll take the narrow path, John; it will do for 
us ; we shall be less incommoded in it. " They 
pursued the line some distance, in agreeable companion- 
ship with each other, when he awoke. Though only 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 15 

a vision of the night, it haunted him like a spectre 
by day ; his young spiritual feelings, his vivid imagi- 
nation, his pulpit monitor, his training at home, and, 
above all, his Bible, in which he read also of a broad 
and a narrow way, enabled him to decipher the whole; 
it induced a spirit of fear and of caution, lest he 
should incline, even in purpose, to the left, in which 
direction the broad path lay ; and meeting his early, 
and then old friend, a short time before his dissolu- 
tion, who was thus one of the principal personages 
in this midnight drama, he exclaimed, with a fine flow 
of feeling, as if he had just been throwing the eye 
along the line of road they had actually travelled, and 
seen all the dangers they had separately escaped, 
"Bless God, friend Batty, we are in the narrow way 
yet!" Can any one doubt, that "God, in a dream, 
in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon 
men, in slumbering upon the bed ; " can any one 
doubt, that God "then openeth the ears of men, 
and sealeth their instruction? " 

A young man, of the name of Samuel Settle, servant 
of Mr. Miles Jackson, of Hillam Mill, spoke to William 
on the subject of personal religion, and told him for 
his encouragement, that he himself enjoyed an assu- 
rance of the favour of God. This was like a light 
unexpectedly springing up in a dark place ; and the 
subject of these Memoirs kept his eye as steadily fixed 
upon it, till he was led to the Saviour, as did the 
"wise men" on the portentous "star," that finally 
guided their steps to Bethlehem, where they beheld 
the same object, only in an infant form "the young 
child with Mary his mother," and where they "fell 
down, and worshipped him." Samuel was William's 



16 MEMOIRS OF 

guiding star. The latter had read of Christian assu- 
rance, and had heard, what he deemed, something 
like it urged from the pulpit ; but he had been led 
to contemplate it as the privilege only of a highly 
favoured few of saints of the highest order, and rather 
to be beheld in prospect approaching nearer and nearer 
to it, till just on the verge of the grave, than to be 
enjoyed at present : and till now, he had never con- 
versed with any who experienced the blessing. This 
anticipated experience is but too common with many. 
If death were the journey, instead of the end of it, 
then such anticipations might be cherished. But who 
would feed a lamp with oil, when the wick has reached 
its end, and the flame is about to expire ! The blessing 
is as necessary for the spirit's sustenance on the way 
to heaven, as at the close of it ; the manna was even 
more essential to the Israelites on their march through 
the wilderness, than when in sight of the promised 
land, at the latter of which periods it ceased to descend. 
The "sense of assurance," as enjoyed by Samuel, 
dwelt on the mind of young Dawson, like the pre- 
ceding dream, by night and by day. Samuel was looked 
upon by him in the light of a superhuman being ; 
and he was in the habit of speaking on this to him 
mysterious subject, to John Batty, while at the plough, 
and when otherwise engaged in the work of the farm 
"wondering, in himself," like Peter in another case, 
"at that which was come to pass." The distress of 
mind which he had for some time experienced, ren- 
dered relief desirable, and for this he sought ; but now 
he knew how to give it a name, saw a living example 
of it in humble life, in one about his own age, and in 
one respecting whose piety and character he entertained 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 17 

the highest opinion. This increased his earnestness for 
the blessing, and he embraced every opportunity that 
presented itself for conversing with Samuel, and of 
corresponding with him, on the all absorbing subject. 
On leaving church, they often slipped notes into the 
hands of each other, and thus, for some time, enjoyed 
the advantages of Christian fellowship. It is interesting 
to look at the outset of this youthful trio ; John 
Batty, a servant in the house of one of his companions ; 
Samuel Settle, with his little bed in a part of the 
mill ; and William Dawson, looking no higher than 
the plough! How different their stations and effects 
upon society, through life ! John Batty becomes a 
respectable farmer, quietly and unostentatiously settling 
down at Throstle Nest, a short distance from Bar- 
wick, where he was acting, as he had long done, in 
the capacity of a class-leader, on the death of William 
shining like a fixed star, and where, to return to 
the former allusion, he was likely to end his days, 
saying with Job " I shall die in my nest !" Samuel 
Settle is sent to college, chiefly through the instru- 
mentality of the Rev. John Graham, leaving the noise 
of the mill for the calm of the study, and exchanging 
his powdered costume for the more stately and sombre 
drapery of a clergyman of the Established Church, 
in one of whose pulpits he was officiating at Salisbury, 
at the same period modestly pursuing his course, in 
beauty and in serenity, like the moon in the heavens ! 
William Dawson, on the other hand, is like a blazing 
sun, but with comet-like course, astonishing, entrancing, 
and fixing the gaze of the multitude ! And yet, with- 
out the grace of God, not one of these young men 
would, in all probability, have been known beyond 



18 MEMOIRS OF 

their own homestead, or, at furthest, beyond their 
own immediate vicinity ! 

William still continued to "groan, being bur- 
thened" with a sense of his moral wretchedness. The 
Rev. Thomas Dikes, adverting to this, in a letter to 
the Rev. William Dawson, nephew of the subject of 
these Memoirs, dated "Hull, July 30, 1841, observes; 
" When I entered upon my ministry," referring to 
Barwick-in-Elmet, " William Dawson was one of my 
parishioners, and regularly attended church. Then it 
was, I believe, he received his first religious impressions. 
He was wont to call upon me, and open his mind very 
freely. His convictions of sin were deep and pungent. 
He was deeply sensible of the corruptions of his own 
heart, and felt how unable he was to deliver himself 
from the body of sin and death. The foundation of 
his religion was laid in deep humility. It was this that 
led him to diligent prayer, to steadfast faith in Christ, 
and to seek for that influence of divine grace by which 
he might serve God in righteousness and true holiness. 
His attendance on religious worship was regular, his 
behaviour devout ; and I shall never forget the marked 
attention he paid to the discourses from the pulpit. 
His walk and conversation were unblamable, and his 
whole deportment was serious yet, softened by that 
cheerfulness which, I believe, rendered him through 
life an agreeable companion to those with whom he 
associated. Soon after I became acquainted with Mr. 
Dawson, I left my curacy. Mr. Graham, of York, 
succeeded me ; and his ministry, I am persuaded, was 
made a great blessing to Mr. D." This is an inter- 
esting reminiscence of a venerable clergyman, upwards 
of eighty years of age, throwing his mind back upon 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 19 

a period of half a century, and bringing from the 
recesses of that mind the state and character of one 
of his parishioners ; and excellent indeed must the 
character have been, to have left an impression so 
indelible on the mind of the pastor ; nor is it less com- 
plimentary to the pastor himself, to have rendered 
himself so familiar with the state, not only of the sheep, 
but of the lambs of his flock. Mr. Dikes adds ; " I 
am sorry I cannot contribute my quota to the life of 
one who did so much to promote the glory of God, and 
to benefit his fellow men." Here, of course, he refers 
to his removal from Barwick, when personal intercourse 
ceased, and with it, personal observation. But the 
reminiscence itself, so far as early character goes, is an 
excellent condensed history. 

The Rev. John Graham entered upon the duties of 
the parish, as curate, some time in the year 1 790 ; 
under whose enlightened ministry, William as antici- 
pated by Mr. Dikes, received great advantage. But 
though the subject of these Memoirs considered himself 
a member of the Established Church, to which he was 
strongly attached both from principle and gratitude ; 
yet he had, from boyhood, been in the habit of attending 
the prayer-meetings among the Wesleyans, and of hear- 
ing the local preachers in the afternoon of the Lord's 
day, but without any intention or disposition to unite 
himself to the body. During the successive labours of 
Messrs. Dikes and Graham at Barwick, his attachment 
to the Establishment was still more strongly marked ; 
the former minister influencing his heart by fervent 
zeal, the latter maintaining his authority over his in- 
tellect by superior talent. The two combined, not only 
nailed him to the door-posts of God's house, but exer- 



20 MEMOIRS OF 

cised a beneficial influence on his character in after life 
and a spirit at once so ardent, and a genius so exuber- 
ant, required the more sedate training of the clergy of 
the Established Church, to moderate the strength of the 
one, and prune the luxuriant shoots of the other. In 
having two such guides, just at the turning point of life, 
when one false step might have changed the whole face 
of his character, and so have fixed his destiny for ever 
he may be considered as having been highly favoured. 
Not having yet received a sense of the divine favour, 
and having but little society adjacent to his own home- 
stead, with the exception of the family and John Batty, 
William was often the subject of more than ordinary 
depression of spirit, which is not unfrequently the case 
with persons who are a good deal thrown upon their 
own resources. On one of these occasions, he went 
into the fields not like Isaac at eventide to meditate, 
but more in the spirit of Jeremiah, to pour forth his 
notes of sorrow. The sun, it would seem from his own 
account to the biographer, was up in the heavens, the 
fields were gay with flowers and rich in verdure, the 
birds were warbling out their varied strains, every thing 
around him instinct with life, seemed happy, and, in his 
own language, "all appeared striving to contribute to 
his happiness." But no consolation could be derived 
from either the reflections of his mind, or the objects 
Animate and inanimate around him. At length he 
went behind a hedge, and while sweeter songsters left 
him unmoved, one of the less beautiful and more 
diminutive of the feathered tribe caught his eye, as it 
hopped from twig to twig, uttering its monotonous but 
cheerful note of "chirup, chirup." This, by a sud- 
den turn of thought, was instantly transformed by the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 21 

fertile imagination of the melancholy wanderer into 
" cheer-up, cheer-up, cheer-up," which, even in its 
abbreviated form, presented no great dissimilarity to the 
ear. He said within himself, " Here is a little bird 
happy, and I and I possessed of an immortal spirit 
born for heaven cared for by a watchful providence 
fed, sheltered, protected, redeemed with salvation 
within reach and the very heaven for which I was 
born, offered am yet unhappy !" This circumstance, 
though not less important in its nature than the case 
recorded by the Hebrew bard, who contrasted his 
suspended privileges with those of the " sparrow" and 
the "swallow," one of which had "found an house," 
and the other " a nest," contiguous to the spot around 
which the good man ever delights to hover the "altars 
of the Lord of Hosts," led to a train of serious reflec- 
tion, which issued in serenity of mind ; and he could 
not but adore the goodness of God, humbled and 
prostrated before Him, without whose permission a 
sparrow cannot fall to the ground, in thus employing 
so minute and unimportant a creature, to be the instru- 
ment of such a reversed state of feeling, from that 
of deep overshadowing gloom, to the tranquillity and 
cheerfulness of a summer evening.* This, however, 
was but a foretaste of what was in reversion, for as yet 

* The influence of external objects upon the mind, ami the aspects in which 
they are viewed, in certain moods and states, is strikingly illustrated by 
Carabo, a negro in one of the Southern States of America, who was desired 
to give an account of his conversion, and who proceeded thus : " While in 
my own country, (Guinea,) me had no knowledge of the being of a God; me 
thought me should die like the beasts. After me was brought to America, 
and sold as a slave, as me and another servant of the name of Bess were 
working in the field, me began to sing one of my old country songs, ' It is 
time to go home ;' when Bess say to me, ' Cambo, why you sing so for ? Me 
say, 'Me no sick, me no sorry; why me no sing? 1 Bess say, 'You better 



22 MEMOIRS OF 

he had not experienced the assurance to which his 
friend Settle had attained. It encouraged him, in the 
mean time, in the midst of further despondings, and 
inspired- him with a hope, that the day of complete 
deliverance was not remote. 

His father dying when he was only between eighteen 
and nineteen years of age, he succeeded him in the 
stewardship over the collieries of Sir Thomas Gascoigne, 
and became in his turn, and at this early period of life, 
the father of the family. With the stewardship was 
still connected the farm, consisting of about one hundred 
and fifty acres, some of the land of which, as already 
hinted, was exceedingly poor. To this his brother at- 
tended ; and on its produce the family were chiefly 
dependant. Though he was now, in a certain sense, a 
master, yet, such was his reverence for his mother, that 
she bore the rule, while he attended to the provision of the 
family ; thus presenting a fine example of filial obedience. 

Mr. Graham had not been long at Barwick, before 
the subject of these Memoirs was enabled to lay hold 
on Christ by faith, and to rejoice in a sense of sin 
forgiven. This took place some time in the year 1/91, 
in the church at Barwick, while Mr. Graham was 
administering the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and 
just as he was uttering, " The body of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy soul 

pray to your blessed Lord and Massa, to have mercy on your sonl.' Me look 
round, me look up, me see no one to pray to; but the words sound in my 
ears, ' Better pray to your Lord and Massa !' Bye and bye me feel bad sun 
shine sorry birds sing sorryland look sorry but Cambo sorrier than them 
all. Then me cry out, 'Mercy, mercy, Lord.' on poor Cambo!' Bye and 
bye, water come in my eyes, and glad come in my heart. Then sun look 
glad woods look glad birds sing glad land look glad, but poor Cambo 
gladder than them all. Me love my Massa some; me want to love him 
more." 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 23 

and body unto everlasting life. Take and eat this in 
remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on 
him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving." Than 
this, scarcely anything could have been more appro- 
priate : the seeking sinner was at the table of the 
Lord in immediate contact with the cross the bread 
was shadowed forth, which alone could impart life to 
the soul, and satisfy its cravings an exhortation was 
given to the exercise of faith the sentence of death 
was felt within the death of the Saviour was ex- 
hibited for the life of the transgressor and all this 
for THEE yes, for THEE ! He was overwhelmed with 
a sense of the mercy of God in Jesus Christ, and 
had the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the 
Holy Ghost given unto him. 

It was not long before his new situation became a 
source of temptation ; it afforded him but few mo- 
ments of leisure, and his tender conscience vibrated in 
the case of the coal measures used by the men, between 
justice to his master, and honesty to the purchaser 
being unwilling to give the one any unfair advantage 
over the other. To this there seems to be a reference 
in the following letter to him from his old pastor, 
the Rev. Thomas Dikes, dated "Hull, Nov. 21, 1791." 

"DEAR SIR. We must recollect, that we are not 
yet in heaven. This world is a wilderness, in which 
we must not expect rest and peace. Our Saviour 
Christ went through a great variety of afflictions, when 
he was upon earth : if the Head suffered so much, 
no wonder that the members should likewise suffer. 
Prosperity hardens the heart ; adversity softens it. The 
natural impetuosity of our temper will but ill brook 
subjection to God ; we must not be surprised, therefore, 



24 MEMOIRS OF 

if the Almighty put us into the furnace of affliction, 
that he may bring down the insolence of our pride, 
and make us submit to his yoke. 'Whom the Lord 
loveth, he chasteneth.' 

"I am not sufficiently acquainted with the business 
in which you are engaged, to give you any directions 
respecting the proper discharge of it. I think your 
father was careful in seeing that the men gave full 
measure, which is certainly a duty you owe to the 
public. And I need not say, that you never can be 
too earnest in your endeavours to support your mother 
and family. Think no pains, no labour ill bestowed, 
if you can advance their interest. Be not slothful in 
business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Idle- 
ness lays us open to Satan's assaults. When he finds 
us unemployed, he will usually take care, that we 
shall not be long without employment. But in the 
midst of your worldly business, find time for prayer 
and meditation. Dread a dull uniformity in religion 
worse than death; for when the mind falls into a 
dead, stupid frame, and is excited by no hopes, nor, 
alarmed by any fears, then a total falling away from 
God is much to be feared. Let not a view of your 
sins discourage you from coming to Christ, for he is 
willing to save you, and is the author of eternal life 
to all that believe. Make him the beginning and end 
of all your religion. And remember, that eternal life 
will be the reward, through grace, of all who shall 
continue steadfast to the end. Be thou faithful unto 
death, and thou shalt have a crown of life. My kind 
regards to Mr. Graham. Yours sincerely, 

"In great haste, THOMAS DIKES. " * 

*Tliis is the manner in which the name is spelt in the letter ; latterly it has 
been spelt Dykes. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 25 



CHAPTER II. 



Commences a Diary. Essays. Letter from the Rev. T. Dikes. 
Select religious Meetings. Labours of the Rev. J. Graham. 
Rev. T. Galland. W. Darvson begins to exhort, Attends 
the Religious services of the Wesleyans. Hears the Rev. 
S. Bradburn. Monarchy. Prays in public. Early Com- 
positions. The fall of man. Siyourners. The Scriptures. 
The Apocalypse. Reading. Books. Attempts to court 
the Muse. Rev. R. Hemington. W. Dan-son becomes 
more public in his character. " Grime Cabin." Renewal of 
Covenant. The Rev. Joseph Benson. S. Settle sent to May. 
Col. Comb. 



IN the spring of 1792, he commenced a Diary, 
which, though occasionally referring to graver mat- 
ters, seems to have been chiefly intended for secular 
purposes, including the engagements of the day, the 
state of the weather, prices of grain, &c. A few 
brief extracts, without following each successive day, 
as distinctly marked, will be sufficient to show, not 
only its design and character, but also, that if there 
had been the least temptation to self-indulgence, his 
native energies and general activity would never have 
allowed such indulgence a moment's quarter, ever 
acting, from nature and from habit, on the advice of 
Mr. Dikes, and concluding "no pains, no labour ill 
B 



26 MEMOIRS OF 

bestowed," to "advance the interest of the family." 
" Mond. Ap. 14, A.B.* Sowing in the morning. 
Forenoon in Broom Close." "Tuesd. 15. At Leeds. 
Sold 8 Ids., at 20s. 6d." "Frid. 18. Good-Friday. 
At the sacrament" "Tuesd. 22. With Mr. P. 
At Garforth in the evening." " Mond. May 28. Till 
ten o'clock at the Colliery. Then to B. C. [home, 
Barnbow Car.] Went to the Society" "Tuesd. 29. 
At Leeds, with Wheat. At 14s. 3d." "Wed. 30. 
At Colliery." "Thur. 31. At do." "Frid. June 1. 
At Colliery. Measured by Hole. 22 yds. Mr. Porter 
let the road to throw out at 7s. p. acre, four yds. 
wide." "Mond. 4. Forenoon at Colliery, and after- 
noon at Roundhay for G.S." "Tuesd. 5. At Colliery 
removing the gin to the sinking pit. Mr. Emerson's 
pasture at the bottom of the wood." "Friday 8. 
Rainy day. No work." "Sat. 9. At the Collier}-. 
Balanced with Lun &c., for sinking the pit in Mr. 
Cotton's close." "Thursd. 14. Winnowing in the 
forenoon. Afternoon at the Colliery." "Wed. 20. 
At Colliery in the forenoon. Afternoon at Mrs. Daw- 
son's funeral." "Thursd. 22. At Colliery forenoon. 
Afternoon at Boroughbridge fair." "Sat. 23. At 
Boroughbridge till nine o'clock. Bought 20 Wethers 
at 16s. 3d., and 7 Gimmers at 13s. 6d. At Colliery 
in the afternoon." "Tuesd. 26. At Leeds." "Wed. 
27. At Colliery. Then washed sheep." "Mond. 
July 2. At Collier)'. After, clipping sheep." "Mond. 
16. At Colliery. Begun to mow at Col. Also 
clover at home." " Wed. August 2. At Garforth 
moor putting up a beam." " Mond. 6. At Colliery 

*" A. B.,'' is the abbreviation of At Barnbotv, as " A. C.,' 1 in the Diary, 
sometimes stands for At the Colliery. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 27 

in the Morning. Stacking hay at home. Hay-making 
in the afternoon." " Frid. 10. At Colliery. James 
Hunsworth broke his leg in the top pit." "Sat. 11. 
At Colliery. Mr. P. turned .off J. Hunsworth, G. 
Scholes, and J. Dawson." "Sep. Wed. 5. At Colliery. 
Collins began to shear in Quarry close." " Mon. 10. 
At Colliery in the morning. Afternoon, making a 
stack upon Little Holme. A very high wind. " 
"Tuesd. 11. Stacking oats, and at Col." x "Thursd. 
13. At C. forenoon. Leading corn in the afternoon. 
A strong wind." " Sat. 26. At Col. A very rainy 
week." " Tuesd. 25. At Leeds with corn and wool. 
S. C. at 19s. wool 11s. 9d." "Mond. Oct. 1. At 
Aberford fair. Sold a horse for twenty guineas." 
"Mond. 8. At Colh'ery till nine o'clock. Begun to 
sow." "Tuesd. 15. At Leeds. After, at Wm. Waits' 
funeral." "Mond. 29. At Col. Coals raised 6d. 
per cwt." " Sat. Novr. 3. At Col. Settled with the 
Colliers at 10^ per dozen, near end at 15d. per yd. 
Engine end lid. per doz. Broad at 18d. per yd." 
"Mond. 5. At Aberford Statute the Colliers stuck 
out." " Mond. Deer. 3. At the engine taking pumps 
out." "Sund. 9. At Whitchurch in the forenoon. 
Afternoon at Barwick." "Mond. 17- At Garforth 
moor sinking. Begun to sink a deep pit at the 
engine end." 

In this Diary, the Sabbath is distinguished with 
from two to four capital letters, in red ink, one 
involved within another, with some of the graceful 
curves of the writer, exceedingly difficult to decipher : 
mostly B. C., as if Barwick Church were intended, 
and sometimes the S. dexterously worked into them, 
as if the Sacrament were included. 



28 MEMOIRS OP 

Among his papers, are three essays, in his hand- 
writing, dated 1792; one on "Christ's Love," another 
entitled, "A Soliloquy," and the third founded on 
Mark xiii. 37, "What*I say unto you, I say unto all, 
Watch." The last of these was hegun in "June," 
and was enlarged "Deer. 1793." The first is 
desultory and common-place, displaying more of 
piety than ability. The second exhibits equal piety, 
but more mind, and greater condensation. In the 
third, he indulges a little in metaphor, and shews 
symptoms of the future man. It is easily to perceive 
in each, that JESUS is not only "the brightness of 
the Father's glory," but the object of the writer's 
love, and the subject matter of his musings. 

Mr. Graham had now been settled sometime at 
Barwick ; but though the subject of these Memoirs 
had excellent help in him, he still availed himself of 
the privilege of corresponding with Mr. Dikes, in 
cases of depression, when placed in difficult situations, 
or disturbed with the plague of his heart. He re- 
ceived another letter from that gentleman, bearing 
date, "Hull, Feb. 2, 1793;" directed for "Mr. Will. 
Dawson, Barnbow Carr, near Banvick, to be left at 
Mr. Butterfield's, Horse and Trumpet, Cross Parish, 
Leeds." 

"DEAR SIR, I received your last letter, dated the 
28th January. I shall be glad to give you any advice, 
that might tend to comfort you, or to render your 
progress more easy in the way of godliness. I feel 
a regard for the Barwick people, among whom I 
laboured two years, though not with the success I 
could have wished. It is God, however, who must 
give the increase. But I need not be large in my 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 29 

admonitions to you, because you have an excellent 
minister, whom you may consult as occasion requires ; 
and I advise you often to speak freely to him, and 
to lay open the state of your mind. Such conferences 
will be attended with unspeakable benefit to yourself. 

"Respecting your temporal circumstances, I shall 
not say much. Read the xi chapter of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews. Think of the things which are 
eternal. It will soon be of little consequence whether 
you were high or low, rich or poor. The proper 
way to get rid of anxious disquietude is, to furnish 
the mind with better thoughts. Think much of 
Christ and the heavenly kingdom, to which you are 
hastening; and you will find, that earthly things 
will seem less than nothing and vanity. 

" Respecting spirituals. You grow, I trust, in a 
knowledge of the evil nature that dwells within you. 
The more you know of indwelling sin, the more you 
will love Christ, who delivereth us both from its 
curse and power. Hence, you will likewise grow in 
humility ; and he who groweth in humility, groweth 
in grace. 

"But you must not think, that you are destitute 
of the grace of God, because you see greater iniquity 
in your heart than you havfe been wont to see. The 
same evil, yea more abundant evil, was there before, 
only your mind was darkened by sin, and you saw 
it not. The depth of corruption, which is in the 
heart, can only be discovered by the grace of God's 
Spirit. I trust you hate and loath sin, and strive 
to be delivered from it. This is a good evidence in 
your favour, and you may conclude, that he who 
has begun a good work in you, will carry it on to 



30 MEMOIRS OF 

the day of the Lord. Believe, therefore, in Christ, 
and don't think you must stay till you are better, 
before you believe in him : but go to him, just as 
you are. Deliver yourself day by day into his hands, 
to be saved, sanctified, and governed. Keep up an 
intercourse with him in your soul, and seek grace 
out of his fulness for the supply of your daily 
necessities. Thus, in time, you will be enabled to 
adorn the doctrine of God your Saviour, by a holy 
life and conversation. Don't be always poring over 
your own heart, but look more at Christ the Son of 
God, who died for sinners. Yours sincerely, 

"THOMAS DIKES." 

Mr. Graham preached regularly forenoon and after- 
noon on the Lord's day ; and in the evening of that 
day, expounded in the school-room, adjoining the 
church, generally selecting a whole chapter, or par- 
ticular sections, as the ground- work of his remarks. 
He held also a select meeting on the Thursday 
evening, which at first met in his own house, and 
afterwards in a private dwelling. Of this meeting, 
William Dawson was a member ; and here the devout 
feelings of the heart were not only cherished, but 
the opening powers of the mind were brought into 
fuller exercise. Of Mr. Graham, he always spoke 
affectionately and respectfully, and often with deep 
feeling ; stating, that of all the lecturers on entire 
chapters of the Bible, he was the most lucid, con- 
nected, comprehensive, interesting, and impressive, he 
ever heard.* In this meeting, particularly in the 

* When naming this circumstance to the biographer, he added, " Next to 
Mr. Graham, I am partial to Mr. G alland, who was sometime under Mr. 
Graham's tuition, at York, and who probably seeing this excellence in the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 31 

absence of Mr. Graham, during the vacation of his 
school, or when otherwise called from home, William 
read a portion of Scripture, and offered a passing 
remark upon it ; or, as he playfully observed, in 
the language of an illiterate man, whom he some- 
times quoted, and who was in the habit of ignorantly 
substituting one word for another " expunged a 
little." Here also, he often prayed, but never at 
this early period, in any public meeting, without 
a printed form. His remarks were at first rather 
sententious, and shewed great ripeness of judgment, 
combined with occasional flashes of genius. 

His multifarious engagements had no influence 
upon him, in diminishing his efforts to increase in 
personal piety, or in damping his ardour in seeking 
the salvation of his neighbours. He continued to fill 
the chair, left vacant by Mr. Graham, during the recess 
of the school prayed exhorted and occasionally 
mingled with the members of the "Wesleyan Society, 
both as a hearer and in their prayer-meetings. Ad- 
verting to the devotional meetings of the latter, when 
narrating, in friendly conversation with the biographer, 
the history of early days, he remarked, "A shy, 
dry, reserved old class-leader, turned to me one Sun- 
day afternoon, on being disappointed of a preacher, 
and said, 'Willy, go to prayer.' I refused, and felt 
indignant at the request. Though I could listen to 
others, while praying, yet I could not think of 

master, ventured upon it as a pupil. His expositions are superior to bis 
sermons. In the former he excels. On having a vacant forenoon, or on my 
work for the Sabbath lying in that direction, I have gone frequently into 
Leeds on purpose to hear him expound the lessons for the day. To me, it was 
always a high treat, when he was in the Leeds circuit. I know no man equal 
to him as a lecturer in the Connexion." 



32 MEMOIRS OF 

engaging officially in prayer myself, in a place un- 
connected with the Established Church. After this, 
I went to church as usual, but felt no freedom in the 
service. This led to serious self-examination ; and I 
asked myself, why I should refuse to pray, when 
requested ? It occurred to me, that either pride or 
shame must have been the cause, and that neither of 
these were fit companions for a professor of religion 
in a place of worship." This was sound reasoning, 
and rendered him much less repulsive at a subsequent 
period. 

Mingling occasionally, as has been intimated, with 
the Wesleyans, and having heard of the fame of the 
Rev. Samuel Bradburn as an orator, who was an- 
nounced to preach in the chapel in which the Rev. 
Edward Parsons officiated, he decided on visiting Leeds. 
This was during the Conference of 1793. His pre- 
judices, he remarked to the writer, were exceedingly 
strong at this time in favour of the Established Church ; 
and up to this period with the exception of the 
Wesleyan local preachers, he could scarcely bear to 
hear a person preach without a gown. This predilection 
I in favour of the clerical costume was met on the present 
occasion, in consequence of the preacher being habited 
in the vestment usually worn by Mr. Parsons ; and 
apart from his oratorical powers, Mr. Bradburn' s noble, 
commanding figure, powdered hair, and advanced age, 
at once fixed his eye and captivated his heart. His 
subject was the Kingly Office of Christ ; and being 
at the period of those feverish heats occasioned by 
Paine's "Age of Reason" and "Rights of Man," when 
man himself was running riot, and preparing his way 
for the severest denunciations and heaviest penalties 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 33 

of all law, civil and religious, he availed himself of 
the spirit and opinions of the times a work for which 
he was well qualified, for the purpose of shewing the 
advantages of a monarchical, over all other forms of 
government, never losing sight of the subject in hand, 
but directing the attention of his auditory to the king- 
dom of Christ. Though the British government is un- 
questionably mixed, and therefore properly denominated 
by some writers, a limited monarchy, the preacher 
could at once shew the admirable balance of power 
in the very circumstance of its being formed by a 
combination of the three regular species of government, 
the monarchy residing in the King, the aristocracy 
in the House of Peers, and the republic, as represented 
by the House of Commons. The kingly office of 
Christ, at all events, was grateful to one who had 
submitted to his laws; and the preacher's denunciations 
against scepticism and insubordination, could not be 
otherwise than satisfactory to a member of the Church 
of England. / 

Mr. Bradburn, on giving out the last hymn, inclined 
his person over the front of the pulpit, and looking 
to the precentor, who had either not pleased him, or 
preferring it for some private reason, said, " I will 
give out the two last verses myself;" which were, 

" The government of earth and seas 
Upon his shoulders shall be laid ; 
His wide dominions shall increase, 
And honours to his name he paid. 

" Jesus, the holy child, shall sit, 
High on his father David's throne ; 
Shall crush bis foes beneath bis feet, 
And reign to ages yet unknown. " * 

These verses, the subject of these pages had never 

Watts Hymns, Book I. Hymn 13. 
B 2 



34 MEMOIRS OF 

heard before ; and yet, from the bare recital of them 
by the preacher, he recollected them ever afterwards. 
His memory was naturally tenacious, and was con- 
siderably improved afterwards, by habit. This specimen 
of simple, free, powerful, and impassioned oratory, 
' which he had in Mr. Bradburn, gave him a more 
favourable opinion of the Wesleyan preachers, and a 
! more kindly bearing towards the body : and certainly, 
| if in oratory, the greatest art is to hide art, Artis 
I est celare artem, the speaker in question, with 
all his other accomplishments, had this in per- 
fection. 

It was not long before the old class-leader among the 
Wesleyans, somewhat oddly portrayed already, "stuck 
the hymn-book in his face," to employ the subject's 
own words, while attending a prayer-meeting, saying 
| unceremoniously, "Here, give out a hymn, and go 
to prayer." He did so; and after this, occasionally 
' assisted in the prayer-meetings. He was, however, 
according to his own statement, much ashamed of him- 
self, saying, that he "made but poorly out." The 
truth is, that there was more of the publican in the 
present exercise, as there was more of the pharisee 
in his former refusal. But still, it was the pharisee 
in momentary practice, rather than in confirmed sen- 
timent, and had no baneful influence on his general 
feelings and character. 

He continued to exhort in the private meetings, and 
also to exercise his pen. Some of his compositions 
were in all probability the ground-work of his addresses. 
Though he did not formally announce a text, yet select 
passages of Scripture appear to have been very often 
the subject of previous reflection, and to these he 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 35 

occasionally adverted, avoiding, at the same time, the 
formality of a sermon, with its divisions and sub- 
divisions. A few of these pieces, written at this period, 
may be noticed, as it is interesting to trace the openings 
of such a mind, and to become acquainted with the 
subjects upon which it was employed. The first is 
dated, "Feb. 1794," and is founded on Rom. iii. 23, 
24; the second, "March," and has for its base I. Chron. 
xxix, 15 ; the third "March 29," the day before the 
twenty-first anniversary of his birth-day, and evidently 
intended for its celebration; the fourth, "May," in 
which he launches forth into the Apocalypse, xix. 11 
13 ; and the fifth, "July 30," entitled "A Meditation 
on the glorious Attributes of God." The mind, in 
each case, appears active, and becomes more and more 
expanded. He manifests considerable native vigour, 
and puts forth a bolder pinion for flight than hereto- 
fore. The facts of the fall and restoration of man, 
in the first paper, are assumed rather than proved, 
illustrated rather than defended. He is, in thought, 
what a person is in actual vision, who is introduced 
into a region where but few things are familiar, and 
to whom most are new and interesting, and who is not 
disposed to discredit the testimony of his senses. With 
slender biblical helps, he seems to look upon Scripture 
as the best interpreter of Scripture, has all the marks 
of sincerity in his pursuit of truth and is zealous in 
its propagation. Though loose, and a stranger to cor- 
rect composition, yet improvement is perceptible, the 
essentials of religion are steadily maintained, and his 
vocabulary is gradually enlarging. His disposition to 
indulge in contrast, in which he afterwards often ex- 
celled, is apparent. After describing the first pair in 



36 MEMOIRS OP 

paradise, and the sudden reverse on their expulsion, he 
observes, "It is not within the power of the imagination 
to depict their feelings and their state : Yesterday, 
dwelling in the sunshine of God's smiling countenance, 
to-day, terrified beneath the dark cloud of his avenging 
wrath! Yesterday, the place in which they resided, 
brought forth fruit in abundance, to-day they are 
not only blighted with the curse of God themselves, 
but the very earth is cursed for their sake! Yesterday, 
the garden brought forth fruit of itself, to-day, they 
are doomed to labour for their bread by the sweat 
of the brow, and when they have exerted themselves 
to the utmost, the ground yields but a scanty supply 
in comparison with that of Eden ! " Directing his 
attention to the scheme of human redemption, he 
remarks, "Without this, we must have been inevitably 
lost, lost beyond the power of man or angel to re- 
cover us. But now, the way is plain to all that 
believe. There is a gate, which stands open, though 
a strait one. There is a market, with an abundant 
supply of provision, in which we may buy without 
money and without price. There is a well at which 
we may constantly drink and be satisfied. Yes, though 
Adam brought death upon his posterity, and though 
such is the cohesive quality of sin, constantly clogging 
and retarding the soul in its ascension to heaven in 
prayer and holy meditation, yet Jesus, who beheld 
the weight of wrath from above ready to fall upon 
us, and the depths, the unfathomable depths of misery 
to which man was exposed, has come to his rescue." 

His second paper furnishes a good deal of the 
picturesque. Man is represented as passing through 
a wilderness, and a parallel is run between the journey- 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 67 

ings of the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land, 
and the Christian on his route to heaven. Thoughts 
appear to teem upon him, and words are frequently 
omitted in his haste to transmit them to paper. An 
extract will shew the man. "We are strangers before 
thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers : our 
days on earth are as a shadow, and there is none 
abiding. We are only tenants of this earthly taberna- 
cle, and know not how soon we may be served with 
an ejectment. What is there in a wilderness to divert 
a traveller whose heart is set upon home? What can 
a person wish to have in such a dreary situation ? 
Can he wish to stay, and take up his portion here, 
without thinking of going to his resting place ? Would 
he prefer to dwell among dragons, and exposed to 
dangers? Does he conclude he has not a home to 
go to? that there is no city, whose maker and builder 
is God? .... Travellers, and especially those on 
foot, ought to carry as small a burthen as possible. 
They should do the work their situation requires, and 
return to their destined place with the utmost despatch. 
.... Think not that almost leaving the world will 
do. If we but almost leave the world, we cannot be 

altogether Christians Look to thyself, O my 

soul, and see how matters stand with thee. Is this 
world a stranger to thee? Are thy affections set on 
things above? Art thou looking for, and hastening 
to the day of God? Art thou running the race set 
before thee, looking unto Jesus? Dost thou keep the 
glory of the Sun of Righteousness in thine eye? Art 
thou, eagle-like, mounting towards the meridian splen- 
dour which emanates from the glory of his countenance? 
Dost thou, like Abraham, take thy wife thine heart, 



38 MEMOIRS OF 

and forsake thy habitation, and travel towards that 
good land that God has promised to every believer 
in Jesus ? Dost thou erect an altar in every place 
on the road, where thou art likely to stop a little, 
and offer the incense of the merits of thy faithful 
Intercessor to a merciful prayer-hearing God? Dost 
thou constantly apply to him for strength to enable 
thee to run so as to obtain ? Dost thou ascend to 
the top of Pisgah, and, with the perspective glass of 
faith, look into the land to which thou art travelling?" 
In this way, many of his papers though they com- 
mence with others, terminate in a close application 
to himself; thus shewing a mind, not only rigid in 
its scrutinies upon itself, but intent in its pursuit of 
the "one thing needful." 

The piece dated, " March 29, " comprises some 
eulogistic remarks on the word of God, and an ex- 
hortation to himself to become more familiar with 
its contents. He thus soliloquizes : " Consult thou, 
O my soul, the word that will make thee wise to 
salvation. It will not deceive thee, if thou lookest 
properly into it. There thou wilt find the deformity 
of man in its proper light ; and there also, thou wilt 
perceive the blessedness of the bleeding Jesus set off, 
but not without a lustre. Look, I say, into this 
mirror. Some females spend no small portion of 
their fleeting time in gazing upon themselves in gilded 
mediums mediums washed with silver. But these 
only represent the outward form and features. The 
Word of God goes into greater niceties : it goes through 
the walls of both skin and bone, and gives to man a 
true section of himself; it exhibits the magazine of 
sin; it throws light upon the cage of unclean birds 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 39 

screaming like owls, and unable to bear the lustre 
of so glorious an object. O my soul, do not thou 
forget to look constantly at thyself in this glass. Thou 
art in a world where dust and dirt, where moral filth 
may be contracted, and if thou lookest not at thyself 
here, thou wilt have many spots upon thy garments 
so many, that the true followers of the Redeemer, 
will conclude thee to be either slovenly or indolent. 
Look, then, more and more to thyself. Follow not 
the man who sits in the seat of the scorner. Strain 
not thine eyes in looking at thy neighbour trying 
to discover some flaw in his conduct. Do not be too 
ready to observe the slips or stumblings of fellow- 
travellers, unless it be to increase thine own watchful- 
ness. On perceiving a fault in another, instantly turn 
the eye inward, and thou wilt perhaps find, that if 
thou excellest him in this, he has other qualifications 
superior to thine, and that, in other matters, thou 
art far inferior to him. Yes, my soul, look to thy- 
self. Time is passing, posting, flying going at a rate 
beyond the power of man to compute ; and ere the 
morning watch shall arrive, the angel may have uttered 
the irrevocable decree, ' Time with thee shall be no 
longer.' Twenty-one years will then have elapsed, 
and gone to give in their accounts ; and thou canst 
form some idea of what is placed against thee. If 
God were to give the bill to thee, demanding payment 
at thine own hand, threatening to cast thee into 
prison, till thou shouldest discharge it, what would 
become of thee? Couldst thou give a receipt in thine 
own legal righteousness, and would it be deemed good 
coin for cancelling thy contracted debt ? Alas, no ; thy 
best will be found but base metal when tried in God's 



40 MEMOIRS OF 

furnace. Christ alone can pay all demands. He has 
fulfilled all righteousness has magnified the law and 
made it honourable. Examine thyself closely, O my 
soul, in this important matter, and see, whether or 
not, Jesus is thy Friend in the court of heaven. Look 
to him, follow cry cling live to him. Read his 
Word. See there, what is offered to thee in that 
exchequer! It is to thee an inexhaustible fund; a 
land-mark to direct thy course, and to prevent thee 
from splitting on the rocks of open sin ; a candle 
put into thy hand, to save thee from tumbling 
over the precipice of ignorance and error, into the 
pit of eternal perdition! He that despises this word, 
and takes it not as his guide, is intoxicated with the 
liquor of blind, natural reason's brewing ; and unless 
he is roused by some powerful hand, he will continue 
drunk, till seized by God's bailiif, and cast into outer 
darkness. O thou sovereign Disposer of all things, 
look upon me, and bless me yet more and more, in 
everything calculated to promote the power of true 
religion^ in my breast ! Wean me from everything 
opposed o thy will ! Stablish me in every good word 
and work ! Fix within me a principle, which will 
never be reconciled to sin; and grant that I may be 
a child of Jesus, ever walking worthy of my Christian 
profession!" This extract is the longer, as it exhibits 
the inward workings of the soul. 

There is less reference to his religious state in the 
article on the Apocalypse, xix. 11 13, penned in the 
month of "May." The "white horse" here, may 
not improbably have ultimately led the way to his 
famous sermon, entitled, "Death on the pale Horse." 
There is great wildness in this piece ; much more of 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 41 

fancy than of judgment; and no wonder for wiser 
men than he have often betrayed their folly in at- 
tempting to guess out the meaning of the more abstruse 
parts of the Apocalyptic vision ; and certainly, with 
the exception of the Song of Solomon, there is not 
a more hazardous book to descant upon, than the 
one in question, for persons susceptible of lively im- 
pressions, of a vivid imagination, and of infantile 
religious experience. All the way through, our juvenile 
expositor seems struggling with his subject, desirous 
of mastering it, but is evidently mastered by it. 

In the last piece, of "July 30th," "On the Divine 
Perfections, " his reasoning powers begin to unfold 
themselves ; and in one part, he maintains the position, 
"That sin would not be sin, if God were not holy ; 
that iniquity would not meet with punishment, if 
the punisher were not pure." His knowledge, too, 
of the Sacred Writings becomes more extensive, 
manifesting a readiness in bringing forward the most ap- 
propriate texts to establish the points under discussion. 

The year 1795, found him equally diligent in 
business, and fervent in spirit, with the year pre- 
ceding. Being resolved on becoming better acquainted 
with the Scriptures of truth, he purchased a copy of 
Dr. Doddridge's "Family Expositor," March 24th. 
Here a new vein was opened, and while mining for 
the sake of enriching his own mind, he was pouring 
forth on paper, such of his meditations as he hoped 
would prove beneficial to others, in his oral addresses. 
In the course of this and the following month, .he 
wrote some papers entitled, "The Law and the 
Gospel," the "Vanity of the World and Creature 
Comforts," "The Love of God in the Soul." These 



42 MEMOIRS OF 

are longer, more laboured, and much more correct, 
than his preceding compositions; and, as usual, are 
mixed up with appeals to himself, and thus rendered 
useful as topics for self-examination. 

That he might not be entirely ignorant of the 
world in which he lived but chiefly, no doubt, for 
the sake of agricultural and commercial information, 
he began to subscribe for a newspaper. This kind 
of reading, however, never became a passion ; nor 
was it ever permitted to occupy the time demanded 
by other duties. 

He was led also about this time, to read more 
freely the publications which issued from the press 
among the Wesleyans, and to pick up, in his 
perambulations, when at Leeds, selections from their 
poetry, together with the more didactic portions of their 
prose. His first purchase in this way, he jocosely 
; observed to the biogragher, was " a threepenny Hymn- 
. book. " He next procured Watts's Psalms and 
Hymns; then the large Hymn-book, or "Collection 
of Hymns for the use of the people called Methodists;" 
and succeeding these, a copy of the Olney Hymns, 
which he highly valued. Having hitherto been accus- 
tomed to hear and read only such of the Psalms as 
were "Done into Metre," by Sternhold and Hopkins, 
by Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, these productions 
opened up an additional source of delight; and such 
i was their influence upon him, that he himself at- 
tempted the composition of some hymns, together 
with other poetic pieces. One of the former, he 
I gave out at a prayer-meeting, subsequent to this period, 
I when Mr. W. E. Miller paid a visit to Leeds and its 
neighbourhood, previously to his becoming an itinerant 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 43 

preacher, the hymn itself terminating with "Ye 
must be born again," which speaks more for the piety 
than the ear of the versifier. As he was disposed to 
be facetious on the occasion of mentioning the cir- 
cumstance, he was reminded by the writer, of the Itev. 
S. Wesley's clerk, who, on the return of King William 
to London, after some of his expeditions, gave out, 
in Epworth church, " Let us sing, &c., a hymn of 
my own composing," and was recommended to adopt 
the same form of announcement, should he be tempted 
to give out any of his own compositions at any future 
period. But he was too much dissatisfied with himself 
on the occasion to which reference is made, to attempt 
it again; and with few exceptions, after this period, 
presumed to court the Muse, whose steps he was but 
indifferently qualifiecPlo follow. His versifications, 
apart from other defects, were too extemporaneous 
in their character to be good ; and ought to be judged, 
according to the notion of Shenstone, as persons judge 
of a horse pushed into full speed, not by the grace- 
fulness of his motion, but the tune he requires to 
finish his course. The measures adopted were "Long," 
"Common," "Four-eights and two-sixes," "Tens and 
Elevens;" and the subjects were, "The Christian's 
Conflict," "Love," "The Fellowship of Saints," 
"An Address to a Young Friend," "Verses on the 
Death of S. Simpson," &c. 

One piece, reserved for distinct notice, is on the 
" Last Judgment," in blank verse, comprising 422 
lines, 20 pages, 4to. It is entitled, "A literal De- 
scription of the Judgment, concluding with the Folly 
of Sinners, and the Safety of Saints." It appears to 
have been re-perused by him at a subsequent period, 



44 MEMOIRS OF 

when he appended to it, as if acting on the advice 
of Horace, not only in having preserved it, hut in 
severely criticising its merits, the following opinion ; 
" What a poor semblance of poetry is here ! When 
young, how soon are we hlinded with the dazzle of 
appearances, blinded when there is hut little of the 
real or the substantial to support claims to merit ! 
There may he some Gospel sparks shining here and 
there ; hut in poetry, the piece is defective indeed. 
Mar. 20, 1806." There is truth in this decision, as 
far as poetry of the first order is concerned, more 
perhaps, than he himself was aware of; but there 
is a great deal of the "real," the "substantial," and, 
it may be added, of the striking and the powerful 
in it, both in thought and expression. To subject 
it to the test playfully proposed by Dean Swift, would 
be to do it injustice. He advises his readers to "Try 
a good poem as they would sound a pipkin," assuring 
them, that "if it rings well upon the knuckles, they 
may be certain there is no flaw in it ; " further re- 
marking, that "verse without rhyme is a body without 
soul, or a bell without a clapper, which, in strict- 
ness, is no bell, as being neither of use nor delight." 
Another critic tells us, that blank verse is merely 
poetry to the eye. But what becomes of Milton, if 
the only poetry embodied in his "Paradise Lost," is 
to be tested by the eye? In the piece in question, 
it is but justice to state, that the subject of these 
Memoirs far exceeds all his previous efforts, whether 
in prose or verse ; and that if it had been re-touched 
by him twenty years after the first copy was written, 
it would have done him no discredit. 

He remarks in his Journal, for the same year, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 45 

June 22, that he had the privilege of hearing the 
Rev. R. Hemington, at Barwick; and this is noticed 
here for the purpose of connecting with it another 
fact. This excellent clergyman was forty-five years 
vicar of Thorpe- Arch, and died Sep. 10, 1820, in 
the seventieth year of his age. He was at this time 
in the zenith of his usefulness, preaching not only in 
the several churches, but hi hams and private dwell- 
ings. In the course cf one of his outgoings, William, 
who by this time, had acquired some degree of notoriety 
as an exhorter, and by taking a leading part in meetings 
for Christian fellowship, and other religious exercises, 
was requested by Mr. Hemington, at the close of his 
sermon, to engage in prayer, with which request he 
immediately complied. This speaks as much for the 
established Christian character of the one, as the ardent 
zeal and condescension of the other ; at all events, 
it is a circumstance of rare occurrence in the service 
of the Established Church, and bears the Wesleyan 
aspect of a preacher requesting one of the members 
of society to engage in prayer after preaching, when 
a good influence has accompanied the sermon. 

Hitherto the colliery accounts had been kept in a 
place which subjected him to some inconvenience ; but, 
Sep. 4th, they were removed to " Grime Cabin." In 
this place, often called " a shed," upwards of a mile 
from home, and which has since been converted 
into a stable, he not only attended to the business of 
the colliery, but also to that of the church. It was, in 
fact, both his study and his place of worship. Here 
he composed the principal part of his sermons ; and 
here also, he met hi band with John Batty every Sab- 
bath day morning, at seven o'clock; when they sung a 



46 MEMOIRS OF 

hymn, prayed, and communed with each other. John 
by this tune having become a "Wesleyan, and William 
continuing a Churchman, the one, on quitting the 
place, proceeded to the public service of the Establish- 
ment at Barwick, and the other to hear a Wesleyan 
preacher at Garforth. Both hearts were right with 
God, and their separate creeds were correct in the 
essentials of Christianity ; all minor differences, there- 
fore, to employ the language of the author of " The 
World before the Flood," were " lost, like the prismatic 
colours, in a ray of pure and perfect light." 

On the 14th of this month, he renewed his covenant 
with God ; in which covenant he expresses his wonder 
that he has not been " cut down with the axe of divine 
justice," and that God, " with the fan of his holiness, 
had not blown him, like chaff, into unquenchable fire ;" 
and such were the views he entertained of his impo- 
tency, that, without divine aid, he had no more hope of 
attending to the "rules" specified in the covenant en- 
gagement, than he could expect to "remove a mountain 
with a bruised reed." The "rules " penned, and which 
he resolved to observe, are such only as were likely to 
occur to a person strictly conscientious, highly devotional 
in his spirit, ardent in his pursuit of entire sanctifica- 
tion, and anxious to be useful to his fellow-creatures. 
He charges the whole upon his soul, with the solemnity 
of a judge exhorting a criminal to prepare for eternity, 
after having received sentence of death ; closing the 
document with, " Lord, help me ! Lord, help me ! 

' Help I every moment need.'" 

It was towards the close of 1 795 too, that he, for the 
first time, heard the Rev. Joseph' Benson, who, at the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 47 

Conference, had been appointed to the Leeds circuit. 
Having been announced to preach at Seacroft, William 
went to hear him. His remarks on the occasion, to 
the writer, will convey, not only an idea of the preacher, 
but of his own feelings under the sermon. "His word," 
said he, "was irresistible. I knew what religion was, 
and had the evidence of it in my heart. But there 
was a power in it at Seacroft, to which I had not 
been accustomed. I wept wiped off the tear felt 
ashamed ; wept, and wept again struggled with my 
feelings, and strove to repress them : at length, I 
said to myself, 'Let it come;' so saying, I laid my 
head on the front of the gallery, and let the tears 
hail their way to the bottom of the chapel. No man 
ever took the hold of me that Mr. Benson did; and 
his preaching produced the same overwhelming effect, 
whenever I heard him." 

Ere this, his friend and companion, Samuel Settle, 
had left all secular employment, and gone to college, 
to prepare for the Christian ministry. As the letters 
which had passed between them, up to this period, 
were given up to each other by mutual consent, the 
following is the first of the second series, from the 
collegian : 

"Magdn. Col., Cam., Nov. 6, 1795. 

"DEAR DAWSON, Our friendship is now become 
firm through long continuance, and I should be sorry 
to be the least occasion of its diminution. Indeed, 
I hope we have been acquainted too long to suspect 
each other's sincerity. Besides, it would be exceedingly 
absurd, after having agreed so long, in travelling the 
same road, to shew any marks of unkindness, and 
so give up friendship, now that we are so much 



48 MEMOIRS OF 

nearer our journey's end. I have a letter by me, 
which I should have sent from Hull ; but I thought 
it was not worth postage. I got to Cambridge, Oct. 
31st, and had a very comfortable journey. All the 
letters, which I had of yours, I packed up before 
I left Cambridge last year, and directed them to be 
forwarded to you. Thus much, I deemed necessary, 
on account of the uncertainty of our continuance in 
the present life, and owing to the various changes 
in human affairs : and I beg it, as a favour from 
you, that my letters in your possession, may be packed 
up in the same way, and directed for me. I hope 
you will have no objection to comply with my request : 
for it appears reasonable, if I die first, that you should 
have your own letters returned ; and if you die first, 
that I should have mine returned. One reason for 
this is, I think we shall be able to make a better 
use of our own, than other persons, into whose hands 
they might fall. But, perhaps, we may both die 
together, and die at the same time ; and then it will 
be of little concern to us, in whose possession the 
said epistles may be. We shall, in such case, be 
tuning our harps, and hymning our Redeemer's praises 
above. Till that period, we must give all diligence to 
make our calling and election sure. 'Be thou faithful 
unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.' 

"I wish we could consider our privilege more fully 
that we are heirs of God joint-heirs with Christ 
and that mansions are prepared for us in heaven. 
I cannot conceive greater anguish, than to see Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, entering into the kingdom of God, 
and we ourselves shut out. Perhaps we know a little 
of this, when we see persons seemingly begin in the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 49 

spirit, and end in the flesh. It is an awful con- 
sideration, to stand knocking at the gate of heaven, 
and then he compelled to turn our backs upon it, 
before the porter can have time to open it. Alas, 
we have often done this ourselves. After much prayer 
and importunity, we have, for want of patience and 
perseverance, come from the throne of grace without 
a blessing. Real religion is a serious matter ; it is 
no trifling work. If we are right, and in earnest, 
we shall find many misgivings and stings of conscience, 
when we come to our Beth-els. I cannot say, that 
I remember you in every prayer with that earnest- 
ness I ought ; but on occasions, and at particular 
seasons, I do remember you from the bottom of my 
heart. It is our happiness, our duty, our privilege, 
to love one another ; it is the fulfilling of the law ; 
it is our greatest worldly comfort. What would this 
life be, if we were to hate one another? The more 
we love one another for Christ's sake, the more we 
resemble God, for 'God is love.' He that dwells 
in love, dwells in God. With regard to ourselves, 
our motives to love one another are stronger than 
with persons who are strangers to each other, because 
we began to seek God about the same time, and now 
have almost become surety for each other. I could 
write a great deal, but I wish to advance that only, 
which will unite us in heart. Doctrines, and such 
like things, I omit. Our letters should always be 
the pictures of our hearts. It is only in this way 
we can really become acquainted with each other. 

"Mr. Graham's meetings will, I trust, be useful. 
Some will be built up in righteousness ; and should 
others slacken their diligence, let it be our great end 



50 MEMOIRS OF 

and aim to improve every opportunity, for, in due 
season, we shall reap, if we faint not. Let us look 
more and more into the cause of backsliding, viz. 
our own depravity ; and let us constantly repair to 
the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. It is 
only when we are sensible of our own guilt and misery, 
that the salvation of Christ becomes desirable, and is 
accepted. 

"Give the enclosed to my father, when you see 
him. Mr. Dikes enquired after you. I hope he will 
be made useful to many souls in Hull. The harvest 
is truly great. Let us pray that our nets may be 
kept whole, that we may not lose the fish. I long 
to hear from you. Yours. Respects to all friends. 

"S. SETTLE." 

Mr. Settle, in stating that "our letters should 
always be the pictures of our hearts," appears to be 
of the opinion of Steele, who observes, that "there 
is no rule in the world to be made for writing letters, 
but that of being as near what you speak face to 
face as you can." Sincerity will always effect this. 
Real friendship needs no disguise, and religion will 
not admit of it. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 51 



CHAPTER III. 



Letter from Mr. Settle. Mr. Kilham and his party. York 
Assizes. A religious Diary. Extracts from it. W. Dawson 
formally takes a text. Besetment. William Smith Kindness 
to the Widow. Reproof. Pressed to enter into Holy Orders. 
The Elland Society. The Latin Language. Difficulties and 
Cares of Business. The Rev. J. Graham's testimony in favour 
of Wm. Dawson. Slender Remuneration. Despondency. 
Letter from Mr. Settle. 



THE salvation of the soul was the "great concern" of 
life with the subject of these Memoirs. He knew, with 
one of his favourite authors Baxter, that it is one 
thing for a man to take God and heaven for his 
portion hi the heyday of life and health, and another 
thing to be desirous of it, as a kind of reserve, when 
he can maintain his grasp of the world no longer; 
one thing to submit to heaven as a more diminutive evil 
than perdition, and another thing to be anxiously 
solicitous respecting it as a greater good than earth ; 
one thing to lay up treasures and hopes in heaven, 
and to seek that heaven first, and another thing to 
be content to accept it in the day of necessity having 
first sought and secured the world, finally resigning 
into the hands of God that only which the lusts of 
the flesh can spare, a putrid carcass, a depraved 



52 MEMOIRS OF 

spirit, the last sighs of an expiring life. If personal 
religion consisted only in "bodily exercise," in moving 
the lips, in bending the knee, it would be as common 
for human beings to step into heaven as to enter 
an adjoining house to visit a friend. But to separate 
the thoughts and affections from the world, to draw 
forth to open day the graces which adorn the Chris- 
tian character, to fix each grace on its proper object, 
and to hold the respective graces to the work waxing 
stronger and stronger, till every enterprize, every labour 
of love prospers in the hand, is a work of no ordinary 
difficulty, and will always distinguish the genuine 
Christian from the hollow and superficial professor. 
All the characteristics of a sound, healthy, religious 
state of feeling, were exhibited by William Dawson. 

His friend, Mr. Settle, continued to pursue his 
studies at college, and the friendship between them 
remained unbroken. The former writes, 

Jan. 1, 1/96, Mag. College. 

"DEAR DAWSON, It is now, at least, six years 
since we began to seek salvation by grace, in Christ 
Jesus. I cannot say that my mind is in so forlorn a 
condition at present, as it was six years ago ; yet I feel 
the depravity of the heart, and that, without watchful- 
ness, it would bring me into captivity. But God has 
promised, that sin shall not have dominion over us. 
As yet, I do not seem sufficiently to have considered 
the nature of the religion of Christ ; I mean, I have 
not looked upon it as properly consisting of two 
parts, Justification and Sanctification. The former 
part has, in general, occupied my attention. But, 
alas, it is but a small thing for us to be justified, 
that is, delivered from wrath. We want something 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 53 

more ; we want righteousness purity holy affections 
heavenly tempers a fixed and sure foundation of 
holiness wrought in our souls hy the Spirit of God; 
that our whole man, and all our conversation may 
be seasoned with salt, meet to minister grace to those 
that hear us. It is vain, I find, to be continually 
forming resolutions, to break off this, and the other, 
bad habit. It is God alone, that can work in us a 
hatred of all sin, and a desire after real holiness. 
"When I consider this, my wonder ceases at the 
Methodists dwelling so much on the nature of holi- 
ness, and purity of heart. I do not say, that they 
have not carried their notions too far on this im- 
portant point of religion. Of this at least, I am 
certain, that Christ promises great things to those 
who earnestly seek him. The Gospels, and great 
part of the Epistles, abound with passages to this 
effect. You will be ready to ask, ' Have you turned 
Methodist ?' My dear friend, I only notice these 
things, because I suffer much uneasiness, in con- 
sequence of not being washed and cleansed from sin, 
as set forth in the Scriptures, of not having my 
habits, tempers, and desires, brought into subjection 
to the law of the obedience of Christ. Besides, 
when I name the Methodists, I mean and intend 
the Old Methodists. I scarcely know what the New 
Methodists, so called, are. You will best understand 
my meaning by an example. Here is a person 
accustomed to acts of theft and injustice. To-day, 
he is at court released from punishment and 
receives his liberty : but he carries with him the 
same principle, the same disposition to acts of in- 
justice; and therefore, falls into his former practices-. 



54 MEMOIRS OF 

I have mentioned this instance to illustrate my own 
case in minor things. It is God alone, that can 
write his laws on our corrupt hearts, engrave them 
on our minds, and enable us sincerely to love and 
delight in holiness, in heavenly mindedness. "What 
is more common, than continually to hear, from all 
religious sects and denominations, 'That, in order to 
enjoy God, we must have something in us of his 
likeness ?' God himself asks, ' How can two walk 
together, unless they be agreed ?' And, indeed, it 
may be asked, how in natural things, bodies can 
be compounded or blended, which are totally averse 
to union? Apply this. How can we, with all our 
sinful passions, be united to God, and enjoy fellow- 
ship with him God who is gloriously holy, pure 
beyond all conception ? It is said, ' Grow in grace,' 
&c. Certainly this is a very different thing from a 
mere speculative knowledge of the doctrine of justifi- 
cation. The one sort of knowledge seems to be 
finite, the other infinite. The perfections of God 
are infinite ; and it is on this account, as I conceive, 
that our growth in grace, our transformation into 
his image and likeness, will be always progressive, 
but never entirely complete. This is a subject on 
which, I pray God, that both you and I may be 
employed in contemplating for ever! 

"What I have penned, would be much more inter- 
esting in conversation, as we could then, enter into 
many particulars, remove doubts, and explain the 
subject more fully to each other. We live in times 
of great profaneness, and great gospel privileges. I 
hope I can heartily join with you, in praying, that 
God may not visit us with a famine of the word. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 55 

The word of God was precious in the days of 
Samuel. It is now plentiful. Because iniquity 
abounds, the love of many shall wax cold. But in 
such times, they should be examples of greater 
diligence. I hope God will be with you in your meet- 
ings, and stand by you in all your persecutions. 
All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer 
persecution. We have need of being stirred up. 
When God sees us waxing cold, and growing faint 
in our minds in religion, he shakes us with tempests, 
and causes all his billows to pass over our souls. 
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your 
spirit. Amen! S. SETTLE." 

Mr. Settle refers, no doubt, by the "New Meth- 
odists," to the party gathering around Mr. Kilham; 
and not being acquainted with the points in dispute, 
might see proper to guard his remarks, lest any of 
the essentials of religion should be involved in the 
general question. On Mr. Kilham's expulsion from 
the body, the subject of these Memoirs though 
little versed in Wesleyan politics, was curious enough 
to step into one of the chapels in Leeds, when he 
was making some of his statements. He observed 
to the writer, that he felt little interest in what was 
said, and was rather disappointed in Mr. Kilham's 
appearance, especially his face, which he considered 
as not at all indicative of intellect. Towards the 
close of the year, he remarked, a person put Mr. 
Kilham's "Defence" into his hand. On reading it, he 
said to himself, "I am incapable of judging of the 
points at issue for want of fuller information ; but 
with this man, I can have no sympathy, for I perceive 
his spirit is bad." There is propriety in this ; for a 



56 MEMOIRS OF 

man is in nothing so much himself, as in the tem- 
per and the character of his passions and affections. 
If he loses what is Christian and worthy in these, 
he is as much lost to himself, as when he loses his 
memory and his understanding. To attempt to defend 
and support Christian truth in companionship with a 
bad spirit, is the antinomianism of a polemic; and is 
the same, as it regards the man himself, as a person 
professing the sanctification of the spirit in connexion 
with an immoral life. Reason and free enquiry are 
the only effectual antidotes of error. Give them 
full scope, and they will uphold the truth, by bringing 
false opinions, and all the spurious offspring of 
ignorance, prejudice, and self-interest, before their 
terrible tribunal, and subjecting them to the test of 
close investigation. Error alone requires artificial sup- 
port, and the malignity of an inquisitor to assert its 
claims ; truth can stand alone, and no more requires 
a bad spirit to support it, than a Christian requires 
the presence and actual aid of a daemon to enforce 
his commands. These observations though arising 
out of the remark in reference to Mr. Kilham, are 
intended to apply generally not to the man, but to 
the spirit, in whomsoever it may exist. 

He attended the spring assizes at York this year, 
but on what occasion, is not stated. The use, how- 
ever, which he sometimes made of judge, jury, criminal, 
and witnesses, in arraigning man before his Maker, 
as a transgressor of the divine law, is a proof that he 
permitted few impressive scenes to pass before him 
without improvement. 

Finding that his secular Diary of 1792, which he 
continued sometime after this period, was scarcely 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 57 

adapted to religious purposes, j and that he required 
something in which to minute the workings of the soul, 
as well as the toil of the hands and the feet, he 
commenced another a day-book for the heart, which 
he continued for some years, the first entry in which 
is dated "April 28, 1796." He commences with 

" Begun this Diary. Rich and adorable Saviour, 
in whose presence is life, and whose absence is death, 
look upon this attempt of thy sinful creature. Bless 
it with thy favour own it with thy peculiar benediction 
and make me faithful in recording thy dealings 
with my soul, whether prosperous or adverse ; that 
I may derive benefit from hence, according to my 
oresent state and situation, and that seeing thy good- 
icss in times past, I may be led to a fresh application 
io thee for help, and so by renewed and lively 
thankfulness for past mercies, and an entire surrender 
of body, soul, and spirit into thy hands thou who 
hast wonderfully conducted me so far I may rejoice 
in hope of thy glory, and praise thee with all my 
powers. And thou, O my soul, may the present 
intention be useful for the promotion of the best ends, 
in reference to thee the furtherance of vital godli- 
ness ! May it be the means of spurring thee forward 
to greater attainments, of quickening thy spiritual 
speed ! only looking at the things behind, with a view 
to animate thy every faculty, and rouse thy every 
affection, pursuing with earnestness and steadiness 
the prize that is set before thee. Above all, and 
before all for he is all and in all, fix thine eye upon 
Jesus look unto Him for grace, for strength, for 
instruction, for pardon, and to Him as thine exemplar, 
to enable thee as a runner ought to do, to lay 
c 2 



58 MEMOIRS OF 

aside every weight, and run with patience the race 
set before thee, that thou mayest at last receive 
an incorruptible crown, reserved in heaven for thee !" 

In this Diary the ministry of the Rev. John Graham 
and that of others, is repeatedly and emphatically ad- 
verted to, as highly instructive and religiously impressive, 
and outlines of several of the sermons are recorded. The 
Diary, as a whole, forms a kind of window, and the differ- 
ent days of the year, are so many squares of "many- 
coloured glass," through which the reader is permitted 
to look into the breast of the penman, as into the interior 
of a building, and to see the undisguised operations of 
the "inner man." Without following him through 
each successive day, or giving the whole of what is 
penned for the day, a few brief sentences for the 
month, as in the case of his previous Diary, will be 
sufficient for every biographical purpose, and will 
shew the running interest religion had in his mind. 
The separate sentences, abstracted from those with 
which they are found associated, exhibit every variety 
of feeling, and would many of them at least, form 
useful topics for conversation in a social party. It 
may be necessary to observe, that though the extracts 
are grouped together for the month, the dash is 
intended to separate the matter belonging to each 
respective day, and to shew by the break, what is 
to be appropriated to that day by the reader. 

APRIL. "Wanderings in prayer. Saw Barmistone 
happy in his Saviour. A sweet hymn sung in the 
school-room, which was useful to me. Anxious for a 
clearer interest in Jesus. Had some useful conversation 
with John Warner. Long for a closer union with 
Christ. The corruption of the heart not yet dead. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 59 

Read a letter of Romaine's, in which I saw a glorious 
sufficiency in Christ, which I pray may be mine. 
Have to complain of wandering eyes. Pevishness, be 
still ! Christ is all and in all. Wrote a letter, and was 
comforted by it. A sweet refreshing shower. Oh! 
what thanks are due to the Saviour for temporal 
mercies ! 

MAY. " Cold in the public service of God. At a 
prayer-meeting at Barwick. Heard Mr. Richardson; 
loud responses ; at a loss to know how far they are 
proper. Much of the world, and the spirit of the 
world.- Too expensive in clothes ; many are starving ; 
part of the money ought to have been given to the poor. 
Admonished while reading the state of the Laodi- 
ceans. Convinced of the need of candour in all matters 
of judgment, and hearing both sides of a question with 
humility. Preserved from sin ; thanks be to God for 
it! Grievously forgetful. Murmur not, my soul, at 
God's dispensations; thank him! thank him! thank him! 
A peculiar discovery of the deceitfulness of sin. A 
happy morning with Jesus, in private prayer. Pray, 
my soul, for charity ! Overcome by the enemy, but not 
abandoned of God. Lord, purify my diabolical heart ! 
Consolation under the ministry of the word. Still 
deeply humbled. Mark the foe ! Hard work to pray 
for a blessing on our endeavours to do good to others, 
without mixing up our own honour with it. Steady 
attention in family prayer. Profitable conversation with 
Wm. Smith. Some have left their religious profession 
at Barwick, and in the neighbourhood. Need of wis- 
dom. Too apt to forget God and myself. Overtaken 
with levity. Heard a useful discourse on industry in 
temporal things, Prov. vi. 6 ; another from Mr. Griffin, 



60 MEMOIRS OP 

on Amos iii. 3. Cause of self-condemnation. Too 
much formality. Longing after closer communion with 
Jesus. Meditated and spoke on the descent of the 
Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, and the effect 
produced on ministers and people. Meekness and can- 
dour felt in hearing reports concerning others. Happy 
in having God to go to as a director, protector, and 
, comforter. Again overcome with levity ; and my soul 
is not heartily weaiy of it, nor in earnest for its destruc- 
tion. The work of the glorious and mysterious Trinity 
considered in the salvation of sinners. Want to live 
upon, and in Jesus, more and more. Much benefitted by 
a letter. Abhor equivocation. Useful conversation with 
friend Settle. Praise God for preservation from sin ; 
though the act was not committed, yet the will, it is to 
be feared, -was there. Beheld the goodness of God in 
the midst of the ravages of a desolating fire. A delight- 
ful time with Wm. Smith. Read the fifty-fifth chapter 
of Isaiah ; a delightful chapter to a hungry soul ! 
Spoke upon sin in believers ; and in what sense they 
are free from it. Do not sufficiently carry a savour of 
religion about with me. Betrayed into lightness ; an 
evident sign of the want of a deeper impression respect- 
ing eternal things. Awful news from Leeds ; Mr. 
Thoresby holding a love-feast, the floor gave way, and 
report states twenty killed, and nearly one hundred 
wounded. Nothing short of regeneration will save a 
man. Sometimes fear I am a cheat, a hypocrite, an 
Agrippa ! Too little stirred by things acknowledged to 
be momentous. Let my words be few. Disturbed 
with irreligious thoughts. 

JUNE. "Still haunted with improper thoughts. 
my soul ! flee and pray ! fight and pray ! Pardon 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 61 

the iniquity of my holy things ! Bless God for a Sab- 
bath! A most beneficial season at the school-room, 
under the consideration of Mark vi. 45 to 56 ; and a 
sweet hymn at the conclusion. A sharp temptation. 
Conversed and prayed with W. Smith, and not without 
benefit. Lukewarmness dreaded. Coldness in family 
prayer. See the necessity of habitual seriousness. 
Feel the risings of a corrupt heart. Always wish to 
speak to the glory of God. Very sorry for Peter 
Porter's imprudence. Still tormented with P. P.'s folly. 
Lord, give me wisdom ! Earnestly united in suppli- 
cation with the minister at the school-room, on the 
Sabbath evening. Wrote P.P. a reproof. Peevishness. 
Ready to start aside. Lord, quench the fire of 
wrath ! Conversation with Settle. A sweet discourse 
on Prov. i. 7. Cold in private prayer ; not sufficiently 
felt. Mourn over the folly and vanity of the eye. Too 
little of thy presence, blessed Saviour ! and yet easy 
without it. Quickened in prayer with W. S. Lament 
the sin of others. Heard Mr. Postlewaite in the school- 
room, on Saul's hypocrisy and Samuel's honesty. 
Prayed for a revival. A serious discourse by Mr. Thorn, 
on Col. i. 28. Friend Settle spoke on Matt. v. 13-16. 
Melted while meditating. 

JULY. " A sweet nearness of soul to Jesus in private 
prayer. Carried away with a bad spirit. Why should 
God permit such a wretch to speak to him ? Tasted 
that the Lord is gracious, and yet rather light. How is 
this? Oh, that my heart was saved from wandering! 
Heard Mr. Thoresby. Why should I be so light, when 
I have so much cause to be serious ? Spoke on Psalms 
Iv. 6. Well may a Christian wish to be at rest. In all 
I do, there seems to be something of pride mixed up 



62 MEMOIRS OF 

with it. Read Watts on the ' Mind.' Friday set 
apart for prayer. Heard Mr. Graham on the deceitful- 
ness of sin ; and had a conversation with him in the 
evening. Grieved with the cold state of the society. 
Attended William Smith's funeral ; peculiar solemnity ; 
Mr. Graham's subject exceedingly serious; a happy 
account of William's death. Wish to be meek, char- 
itable, humble. Overcome with anger. 

AUGUST. " Tempted to disbelieve the providence and 
omnipresence of God. Tempted to draw back. Mr. 
Graham treated on the sacrament ; also on self-examin- 
ation. Carried away with levity. Did not stop at 
sacrament. Much in the world ; may I not be of it ! 
A blessed Sabbath day. Still a savour of yesterday's 
blessedness. A delightful conversation with J. Rhodes, 
and a time of refreshing under Mr. Hemington. Mor- 
tify the eye and the heart. Read 'Alleine's Alarm,' 
and 'Watts' s Death and Heaven.' Grieved with false 
shame. At Leeds. Heard Mr. Atkinson and Mr. 
Thorn ; useful sermons ; but derive most profit in 
attending our church at home. Much tried, and rather 
peevish. Levity is the daughter of forgetfulness of 
God. Thursday, sweet views of Jesus and heaven ; 
spoke on II. Cor. i. 3 6 ; if any benefit, God be 
praised. Feel the risings of pride. Glory be to God, 
for a blessed Sabbath ; a sweet, searching, useful dis- 
course on Agrippa's confession. Set a watch, O Lord, 
before my mouth. Was advised, with others, not to 
frequent Methodist meetings. A sad peevish heart. Mr. 
Graham strongly recommended domestic religion. Sweet 
time with Settle in the B. Lord answer our united prayers! 
Too great a compliance with the world. The murmur- 
ings of unbelief. Dread, and pray against lukewarmness. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 63 

SEPTEMBER. "A fine shower; God is good to 
his inheritance. Felt nearness to God in public prayer. 
Heard Mr. Dean on St. Paul's carnal man ; and 
Mr. Graham on keeping the whole Law, and offending 
in one point. Dissatisfied state of mind; felt joy in 
meditating in the evening. Unbecoming temper. O, 
levity, thou art one of my sorest plagues ! Longing 
for a more even walk. Delightful communion with 
God in prayer. Much tried ; meekness, gentleness, 
and love, not sufficiently conspicuous. Nearness in 
prayer. Wanderings. Delightful discourse from Mr. 
Graham. Want more of the salted conversation of 
the Christian. Yesterday's discourse still upon my 
heart with lively force. Sweet time with H. S. 

OCTOBER. " Read Col. Gardiner's Life. Steady 
Sabbath in the service of my God; an instructing, 
convincing, and constraining sermon from Mr. Graham, 
on Rom. xii. 1. A constant sense of the presence of 
God for some time ; then came my plague again. Oh, 
for greater earnestness! Partly overcome, and partly 
overcame. May I render to God the calves of my 
lips. Read our Lord's charge to the church at 
Ephesus ; and also the account to be given of every 
idle word; and felt condemned. Steady composure 
of soul. Ready submission to the dispensations of 
Providence. Some discourses by Mr. Dean and Mr. 
Graham on the state of the nation. Poor account 
of this day. Wrote a hymn for a society of religious 
persons. Much benefitted. A steady frame of mind. 
Sweet time at the Lord's table ; and useful discourses 
from Mr. Graham. Read 'Shower's Time and Eter- 
nity.' Abiding serenity. Much troubled with tooth- 
ache. Oh, how intolerable, if eternity were written upon 



64 



MEMOIRS OF 



the pain, when most excruciating! Disappointments, but 
intended for good. Haunted with improper thoughts. 
Lord, cleanse my soul, and pardon all inattention at 
the means of grace. Recommended the opening of a 
little monthly subscription for the purpose of purchasing 
a few practical authors for the use of the Society. 
Oh, the benefit of private prayer! Wrote a letter to 
Mr. C. The Lord accompany it with his blessing! 
Ministry of the Word irresistibly impressed upon 
my soul. Enable me, Lord, to follow thy will in all 
things. Mr. Graham discoursed on the profanation 
of the Sabbath, and cautioned the people against feasts 
on that day. See clearly that zeal in religion is 
necessary. 

NOVEMBER. " Partook too much of the spirit of 
the world. Deeply indebted to God for preserving 
me from sin. Read an old author on communion 
with the Spirit. May I have more of it ! Heard 
Mr. Graham on the twenty-fifth Psalm, but wandered 
much in the service. Fix, fix my soul on thee, O 
Lord! Want seriousness. Distant in private prayer. 
Oh, the love of God! Unsteady in soul. Heard 
an excellent sermon on the parable of the Prodigal. 
Not inclined to the vanities of the world, but the 
contrary. Fear not man, my soul, but God. At 
Leeds fair. Keep me, O Lord, above the world. 
Haunted with uncomfortable imaginations. Begin with 
God first in everything. Condemned for light con- 
versation. Read 'Baxter's Saint's Rest.' Sweet are 
the expectations of the Christian. May I live up to 
the Christian's privilege. Oh, may the Gospel never 
be scandalized by me! Just ready for my besetment 
yesterday, but saved. O God, I thank thee ! Oh, for 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 65 

more real godliness. A searching sermon ; found com- 
fort under some parts of it, and condemnation under 
others ; but praise came in the evening. Distressed 
at the discovery of so much of the fear of man in 
me. What is man ! Jesus is a great Friend, and I 
am a great rebel. Read Baxter again. Lamented 
over the much to be lamented evil of peevishness in 
professors ; and saw myself in a poor light. Not 
meet to be called a servant of the Lamb. Heard of 
Mr. Graham being likely to leave Barwick. How 
much, O my soul, shouldest thou be engaged in prayer 
at this season! Seem to be a compound of levity, 
pride, self, babbling, and sin. Search me, O Lord ! 
Thursday. Spoke on Gen. xix. 15, 16. Pressed 
upon the society to be seriously in earnest. Lord, 
grant that I may bind no burthens upon others of 
which I am not willing to bear my share. Thought- 
lessness, self-pleasing, and the risings of pride. A 
comfortable, serious frame of soul. May I ever be 
honest with myself, sincere, and in earnest ! Let 
nothing rob thee, O my soul, of God. Wrote B. a let- 
ter. Partly overcome. Oh, this carelessness! Heard 
Mr. V. The Lord help him to deliver truth in a 
style, plain and easy to be understood! Read the 
'Address to the People called Methodists,' by Pawson 
and Mather. Brotherly love is wanting among them. 
Lightness and peevishness again. Want always to 
feel what I say. Read Baxter. Reproving sin not 
sufficiently attended to by me. Thursday. Enlarged 
on the necessity of love, and shewed its decays by 
comparing it with the actings of our first love. Lord, 
attend the word spoken with thy blessing! Some 
outbreakings of light. Comfortable time in prayer 



66 MEMOIRS OF 

with H. S. Satan is not idle. A wandering heart. 
Heard a person in the afternoon, I suppose from 
Bramham. Oh, the astonishing ignorance of that man's 
soul ! Lord, open his eyes. Praise the Lord for 
spiritual mercies ! Felt unusual liberty in family 
prayer. Joy laid up in store for the believer. 

DECEMBER 1. "Thursday. Heard Mr. Graham on 
the abuse of spiritual privileges. Had a conversation 
with him on the subject of entering into the ministry. 
Lord God of heaven, direct me in this matter. 
Friday 2. Strong inclination to enter into the church. 
This day should have been set apart for prayer on 
that important business, but forgetful, and overcome. 
Saturday 3. Asked Mr. Porter whether he would 
take my brother into my place, if I left? Consented. 
Lord help me in this difficult time and work. Sun- 
day 4. Informed my mother of my intentions. Thy 
will be done, O Lord! Leave me not under the 
awful curse of my own imaginings. Much harassed 
with reasoning on the subject. Refreshed in prayer. 
Monday, 5. Many reasonings on the propriety of 
entering into the ministry. Rather haunted with 
unbelief. Tuesday 6. Had a little conversation with 
Mr. Atkinson, of Leeds, on the longed for employ- 
ment. Could not but admire his prudence in not 
giving me an immediate answer ; still my pride rose. 
Wednesday 7. Unbelief, fear, hope, and faith, 
alternately rising in the soul ; sometimes thinking it 
the greatest folly to aspire after such an office, and 
at others, cordially embracing. Jesus, guide me ! 
Thursday 8. Still reasoning on entering into holy 
orders. After all, praised be God, I can say, Thy 
will be done. Mr. Graham dwelt on Jesus sending 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 67 

his disciples to sea, and Peter walking upon it. Lord, 
be mine! Saturday 10. Private prayer, how sweet! 
Anger ready to rise. Sunday 11. Bless the Lord, 
O my soul, for this day! Heard Mr. Graham in the 
morning on Caleb's spirit, courage, honesty, singularity, 
faithfulness, &c. ; and in the afternoon, on Mary's 
choice. Received benefit. Monday 12. Comfort in 
meditating on the heavenly city. Wednesday 14. 
Unbelief. Met with Mr. Graham, when going to 
Aberford. Delightful conversation with him on enter- 
ing into the church. Reason to bless God for a kind 
providence. Thursday 15. Private prayer the best 
antidote against unbelief. Friday 16. Steadiness of 
soul. Much lost for want of it. Sunday 18. Overcome 
by my sad besetment, levity. Afterwards found near- 
ness to God in prayer. Oh, the mercy of God, that 
he should favour such a wretch! Monday 19. Liberty 
in family prayer. Tuesday 20. Received a letter from 
friend Settle. The Lord attend him with his blessing! 
Reasoning on the ministry. Unbelief stirs. Wednes- 
day 21. Still reasoning. Alarmed at the badness of 
a case. Thursday 22. Spoke on brotherly love. 
Friday 23. Peevishness rising in the soul. Saturday 
24. Fear not, for henceforth thou shalt catch men. 
Sunday 25. Praise the Lord for his grace! Lord, 
I am thine ; I am thine. Heard an excellent dis- 
course from Mr. Graham on the Song of Simeon. 
Monday 26. Full of reasoning. Tuesday 27. De- 
sirous of greater earnestness. Wednesday 28. Doubt 
whether my brother will do for the colliery. Still 
reasoning. Again overcome. God be merciful ! 
Thursday 29. O my soul, cast out from thee, every- 
thing that has a tendency to indispose thee for 



68 MEMOIRS OF 

spiritual things. Heard Mr. Graham on 'Hitherto hath 
the Lord helped us.' Viewed the general mercies of the 
year; and laid down several marks of a growth in grace. 
Friday 30. More earnestness. Saturday 31. O my 
soul, thou art come to the close of the year. What a 
scene of mercy and sin hast thou presented to thy view! 
Five times overcome by thy besetment ; and often over- 
come with unsteadiness, peevishness, forgetfulness, and 
ingratitude. O my soul, be serious ; do be serious. Had 
it not been for thee, my Jesus, I should have been cast 
down long ago, cast into unquenchable fire! What 
is due to thee, dear Lord? What can I give thee? 
What ought I to do for thee? What must I do for 
thee? I have nothing meritorious in me. The good 
I have, is from thee. Thou art its author, and must 
be its finisher. Thou art my only plea, my only 
advocate, my only sufficient Saviour, to pardon my 
oft-repeated offences offences against gospel light, and 
against the dictates of conscience. Quicken me in 
the ways of godliness ; spare me, spare ; cast me 
not down, cast me not off. Plead for me with thy 
Father. And thou, O my Father in Jesus, deny not 
the supplications of thy Son. He has died for me 
satisfied for me, risen for me, and now intercedes 
for me. Send thy light and truth into my heart. 
Pardon my sins, and seal, seal me thine to the day 
of redemption. Give me the earnest of the prepared 
rest of thy people. Go with me through the next 
year. Undertake all my business ; work for me, and 
in me; direct into all truth: let eternity be impressed 
upon my soul in all its awfulness and nearness. Go 
before me, in my going out and coming in. Be my 
God and guide unto death. Amen." 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 69 

Here we have in operation all the varied feelings 
exhibited in the Psalms of David, hope, fear, joy, 
sorrow, inward relentings, and outward though not 
gross, wanderings ; a man in the battle-field with 
self and with Satan ; now struggling, now rising ; 
ever clinging to the cross, and the cross pressing 
upon him ; with a thorough knowledge of human 
nature, a correct estimate of the value of true 
religion, humbled under a sense of the mercy of 
God in Jesus Christ, and desirous, though in the 
midst of conscious weakness and imperfection, of pro- 
moting the holiness and happiness of his fellow- 
creatures. There are a few points, however, in the 
Diary, which may be adverted to, as they have revived 
in the recollection of the biographer, associate circum- 
stances, not recorded by the pen, but communicated 
in social discourse. 

One of these circumstances refers to July 7th, when 
the subject of these Memoirs spoke in the school-room, 
on Psalm Iv. 6, "And I said, Oh that I had wings, 
like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at 
rest." He observed, that he had prepared some 
remarks on the text, and that this was the first time 
he had dared formally to announce the book, chapter, 
and verse, and read the passage as the ground-work 
of discourse. On the Thursday evening following, no 
Bible to his surprise, was visible. This disconcerted 
him a little ; but was sufficiently intelligible, as to 
the hint conveyed by it ; intimating to him, that 
though, as a layman, he had been permitted to occupy 
the chair of a regularly ordained minister, he had, 
in this instance, overstepped the legal and accustomed 
bounds of his calling being only allowed, as hereto- 



70 MEMOIRS OF 

fore, to pray, and give a word of exhortation. The 
text was exceedingly characteristic. He had watched 
the bird in its flight and in its habits, in con- 
nection with the dovecot at Bambow ; he was full 
of tender feeling full as the dove itself, with its 
melting, mournful cooings, and which is stated by 
Pliny to be without gall, to shew the kindness of its 
nature ; while the metaphorical language employed, 
was calculated to awaken into play his gradually un- 
folding imaginative powers. Nor was it less indicative 
of the future preacher, who generally selected such 
texts as a person only would select, whose heart was 
teeming with the sympathies of human nature with 
the two extremes of the tender and the terrific. He felt 
poignantly on the occasion ; but like the bird to which 
he referred, which will clasp its wings to its side, and 
conceal the arrow that is preying on its vitals, he 
hid the wound he had received, and only noticed it 
among other incidents, which the lapse of years had 
deprived of their interest. 

He speaks of being " five times overcome," in the 
course of the year. This is not to be interpreted into 
so many acts of immorality. He characterizes levity as 
his besetment ; but he also designates it as his plague 
and, therefore, hateful to him. If it be correct, 
according to Lavater, that volatility of words is care- 
lessness in actions ; then it is equally true, that words 
are the wings of actions, and may sometimes bear a 
man into regions not at first contemplated by him. 
But such was the tenderness of conscience of the subject 
passing in review before the reader, that what his can- 
dour would have interpreted into cheerfulness in others, 
his self-scrutiny was ready to condemn as levity in 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 71 

himself. In such cases, the sentiment of Confucius, 
aided by a little Christian light, is worthy of observation : 
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but 
in rising every time we fall." At no period of life, 
however, would William Dawson's native buoyancy of 
spirit have allowed him to conduct a conversation 
with the austere gravity of a funeral oration. 

William Smith, whom he frequently visited during 
his last illness, was a man of deep piety ; and he 
was not forgetful of the widow, when deprived of the 
presence of the husband. It is to the widow of this 
excellent man, that he refers in his Diary, Nov. 25, 
when recording the happiness he experienced in prayer 
with "H. S.," Hannah Smith. She resided- at Gar- 
forth ; and to this poor old woman, unknown to his 
own family, he took his own dinner, two or three days in 
the week, left it with her, and thus ministered to her 
wants, while he himself practised the duty of self-denial. 
For a healthy man like himself, with an appetite often 
whetted to intensity with outdoor exercise, this was 
no ordinary sacrifice ; and was as honourable a tribute 
to the memory of the dead, as it was creditable as 
an act of charity to the living. She, in the language 
of the apostle, was "a widow indeed, and desolate;" 
and he, in visiting and relieving her, gave full proof 
that he was possessed of "true religion." He wrote 
a short memoir of her departed husband, who is stated 
in it to have been a follower of Jesus upwards of 
forty years to have filled up his station in life humbly, 
actively, and usefully to have diffused a steady light 
by his example to have been a great, but a patient 
sufferer, towards the close of life and to have died 
in the full triumph of faith. 



72 MEMOIRS OF 

For the "Letter of Reproof," administered to "Peter 
Porter," in June, the subject of these pages was well 
prepared. He had written an excellent paper "On 
Reproving," in the month of April, of this year, 
founded on Mat. xviii. 15 ; expatiating, in his best 
and most consecutive style, on the manner in which 
reproof ought to be given the timing of it how it 
ought to be received and the advantages resulting 
from it: and if this article, or any appropriate portion 
of it, met the eye of Peter, it might, under God, operate 
like the glance of the Redeemer on his apostolic 
namesake. 

As to the subject of holy orders, it may be observed, 
that Mr. Graham, in addition to the specimens afforded 
him in the school, as to public speaking, had some 
of William's compositions put into his hand, and 
perceiving them possessed of some merit, he concluded 
that God had higher work for him than that in which 
he was daily engaged. Mr. Graham, therefore, in 
William's own language to the writer, pleasantly yet 
not without sincerity, asked him, whether he was 
"disposed to exchange the drab for a black coat?" 
On replying in the affirmative, the Rev. interlocutor 
told him, that he would recommend him to the 
"ELLAND SOCIETY," of which the Rev. Miles Atkin- 
son, of Leeds, was a member; a society near Halifax, 
composed of clergymen, whose object was, to recommend 
young men of character and talent, and to funiish 
them with a preparatory education, to enable them 
ultimately to discharge the duties incumbent on a 
clergyman of the Established Church. Mr. Graham, 
with a view to pave the way to future studies, advised 
him to procure a Latin Grammar ; but like most 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 73 

persons, who permit the teens to pass away before 
they enter upon the study of the foreign classics, he 
found it hard work to fix his mind, with any degree 
of satisfaction, on his task. He felt as if the mind, 
so to speak, had lost all its waxy properties, and 
was incapable of taking up the necessary impressions, 
and as if the memory had lost all its tenacity. One 
dark, interminable passage seemed to lie before him, 
without a solitary ray to gild any of the intermediate 
steps, or a single outlet at the close ; and the fact of 
Mithridates being acquainted with twenty-two different 
languages, would have required had it been commu- 
nicated to him, a stretch of faith beyond what he 
was capable of exercising. The consequence was, that 
after a short lapse of time, he returned to Mr. 
Graham in a fit of despondency, observing, that he 
could "make nothing of it," further adding, in his 
still more characteristic language, that he was afraid 
it would "crack his brain." His friend for such 
he was, and such he confessed himself to be to the 
close of life, laboured to encourage him ; telling him 
that the rudiments, whether in art or science, were 
always the most difficult, because new to the learner 
but that the language would become more easy as 
he advanced. He again applied himself to it, and 
looked forward with mingled feelings of hope and fear 
towards the sacred ministry. 

Mr. Graham was directed by the general educational 
mode pursued, in recommending him to enter upon 
the study of the Latin rather than the Greek first : 
and yet it is not improbable, that if he had been 
advised to commence with the latter, which is the less 
difficult language of the two, and of which the Latin 



74 MEMOIRS OF 

language is admitted to be nothing more than a dialect, 
being capable only, according to some of the best 
critics, of being thoroughly understood by being traced 
to Greek roots, he would have had fewer obstacles 
to surmount ; and the acquirement of the one would 
have encouraged him in the acquisition of the other. 
Quintilian, who was of this opinion, contended that 
the Roman youth should be taught Greek before their 
native tongue : and this sentiment seems to be gaining 
ground, as appears from a work, entitled, "Greek with- 
out a Master ; or a practical, theoretical, analytical, 
and synthetical Course of the Greek Language ; intended 
chiefly for the use of Persons who are studying the 
Language without a Master. By a Graduate of the 
London University." 

In throwing the mind back upon the extracts from 
his "Diary" for the year 1792 and these are only 
specimens of what is recorded of the labour of the 
intervening days, omitted by the biographer, they will 
exhibit to the reader a life of varied employment, 
both at home and abroad; a life, not only amounting, 
in many instances, to hard toil, but attended with the 
distracting cares of business, and will readily account for 
any apparent irksomeness as to the Latin tongue, 
the subject himself being much more disposed to 
stretch his weary limbs on the couch, than to take 
his seat at the bench with "Ruddiman's Rudiments" 
before him, early retirement for repose being as much 
pressed upon him by the calls of labour having to start 
with the lark at day-break each succeeding morning, 
as urged upon him by the still more imperious demands 
of nature. 

Mr. Graham, like Mr. Dikes, crowned with the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 75 

snow of years, adverts to those times, in a letter from 
York, dated July 31, 1841 ; and observes of the 
subject of these pages, "During the whole of my 
residence of five years and a half at Barwick in Elmet, 
as curate, which terminated with the year 1796, I 
knew him intimately, and loved and valued him as 
a brother. His natural vigour and originality of mind 
his clear and comprehensive views of Scripture doc- 
trines and duties his experimental knowledge of Christ 
and his salvation, and his solid yet fervent piety, 
seemed only to require a more regular and extended 
education to make him, what indeed he became with- 
out it, 'a burning and a shining light.' Having 
occasionally, in my absence from home, conducted for 
me a sort of cottage lecture, in which his talents 
and gifts conspicuously displayed themselves, I often 
expressed to him my wish, that he would enter upon 
a course of preparation for the ministry in the Church, 
of which he was then an attached member. But his 
zealous love for Christ and for souls would not permit 
him to wait three years in silence and study. My 
removal to York, and his connection with another 
denomination of Christians, while they subtracted 
nothing from our mutual affection and esteem, naturally 
in a great measure suspended our intercourse ; so that 
during the interval of forty-four years, though we had 
occasional interviews, we had no epistolary correspon- 
dence. He is gone to his rest in the presence of his 
God and Saviour. May my last end be like his ! " 

To return to the proper period of the subject's 
personal history, from which we are led by the last 
sentences of the above extract; between the colliery 
and the farm the latter not being entirely left to 



76 MEMOIRS OF 

his brother, the head and the hands were busily 
employed; neither of them affording a fair remuneration 
for the labour and expense bestowed. The former, 
indeed, seems to have been a mere appendage to the 
latter, which was neither moderate as to rent, nor 
yet excellent as to soil. On finally quitting the farm, 
he observed to the agent in the transaction, "I think 
I might claim some attention, when I add, that neither 
my father nor myself were equally remunerated for 
our time and pains, as agents of Sir T. Gascoigne. 
You will be surprised when I inform you, that my 
father never had more than 12s. per week, and 
coals and candles allowed! I had 12s. per week, until 
1793, when the wages of the colliers were raised, and 
then I had 15s. The colliers struck again, about a 
year or two after this, when another advance took 
place, and mine was raised to 18s. per week. Thus, 
my father and myself, served the Goscoigne family 
for a period of nearly forty years, for what I have 
just stated ; and what I may call a paltry wage. 
I have often told you, that for twenty years, I have 
thrown 20. a year of my own money into the farm ; 
and, except for the last two years, I have not saved 
a penny for twenty years. " This, though partly 
anticipating the more advanced stage of these Memoirs, 
shews how this excellent young man was circumstanced 
in some of his early straggles. 

Though he had his joys, he was, as will have been 
perceived, often the subject of painful feeling. Such 
was the "hour and power of darkness," that on one 
occasion, he lost all evidence of his acceptance. As 
this was not occasioned by any sin of which he had been 
guilty, it was of course unaccompanied with remorse 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 77 

of conscience. It seemed partly to have arisen from 
the want of some old experienced guide on the road 
to heaven, to keep pressing it upon him as a constant, 
common Christian privilege, and partly from false 
reasoning. Such, however, was the effect of the simple 
loss of it, without being ahle to charge himself with 
any known sin as its cause, that he was plunged into 
the deepest distress of mind. He compared himself 
to Bunyan's Pilgrim, when he lost his "roll," and 
was no less in earnest to regain his lost peace. At 
one period, such was his anguish of spirit, that he 
was tempted to throw himself into a river, as he was 
walking along its banks. A world was valueless in 
his esteem, compared with the repossession of his 
" roll." It was not long, however, before he regained 
the desire of his heart, and no one knew better than 
himself how to solace the distressed, or entered with 
a deeper interest into their feelings and circumstances. 

In his dullest moments, he continued to cherish, 
some time after this, a hope of preaching in the 
pulpits of the Established Church. This, in all pro- 
bability was preserved alive by the success of his 
friend Settle, one of whose letters is referred to in 
the Diary, and which is as follows : 

"Cambridge, Dec. 17, 1796. 

"DEAR DAWSON, I have remained a longer time 
silent than I intended. But I hope you will not 
consider my silence a proof of any diminution of 
friendship. I still profess a sincere regard for you, 
and reflect with much pleasure on our past intercourse 
on particular evenings, and in particular places. I 
have been busy in attending lectures ; but the term 
ended yesterday, and now, I must be up to the head 



78 MEMOIRS OF 

and ears, in reading for the schools. My neglect of 
reading in Summer has thrown me into deep confusion. 
However, there is divine reading which cannot, or at 
least ought not, to ; he omitted. But alas, we are 
purblind; present objects engage our view, and we 
lose sight of that which is invisible. Custom has a 
powerful influence on the mind, and we cannot brook 
the idea of being exceeded by those whose abilities 
are only equal, or perhaps inferior to our own. But 
this is a weak argument when placed in competition 
with the affairs of the soul. Inferiority is no disgrace, 
provided religion be kept in the heart. We ought 
to labour for an immortal crown ; and I wish it were 
my concern in a far greater degree. 'Can a man 
walk on hot coals, and not he burnt ? ' Can I be 
among those who are deeply engaged in study, and 
who profess to have the same views of religion as 
myself, I say, can I be among them, thus cir- 
cumstanced, and not be fired with a spirit of emulation? 
You see of what spirit I am. 

"I have seen in the public papers, Mr. Graham's 
preferment. Well, how do you feel ? It appears likely 
that Mr. Atkinson's son will succeed him. I have 
never heard him preach. He is inferior to Mr. Graham 
in intellect. But piety is what is chiefly wanted in 
a minister, and where we see that, we can bear with 
natural weaknesses. I am aware, worldly people despise 
weak ministers, and especially when piety is combined 
with weakness. But this is a topic upon which we 
have already dwelt ; and, indeed, there are few sub- 
jects, whether moral or religious, on which we have 
not frequently conversed. 

"Let me have an account of you all. Mr. Graham 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 79 

named to me a subscription for books. I confess to 
you, it appears to me to be a party subscription. 
When the new curate arrives, I know not how he 
will go on with you. Pray, do your sentiments 
respecting your present situation fluctuate ? Have you 
made your choice in reference to the part you intend 
to act in life? I shall be glad to hear from you. 
Till, then, I remain sincerely yours, S. SETTLE." 



80 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAPTER IV. 

Renenxd Dedication. Rev. J. Benson. Mr. W. E. Miller. A 
noisy Prayer-Meeting. Letters from Mr. Settle. Progress in 
Learning. The Rev. J. Atkinson. Evening Lectures. 
Liberality. Further intimations of Holy Orders. Reading 
and Studies. Portrait of a worldly-minded Farmer. Inward 
conflicts. Messrs. Myles, Panson, Mather, Bradburn, Griffith, 
and Dr. Coke. Out-door Preaching. State of Sinners. 
Extended usefulness. Early Sermons Extracts from them. 
Preaches more generally and publicly. Colton. Service by 
lanthern light in the open air. Mrs. Dean. Loud preaching. 

ON the first day of January, 1797, he started in the 
Christian race, as though he had for the first time en- 
tered the course. Part of his language is, " O, Eter- 
nal King, I have this day dedicated myself to thy 
service ; determined, through thy strength, to walk 
henceforth in thy ways with greater stability and con- 
scientiousness to resist every sin to have no other 
lords to rule over me, but to take thee as my portion, 
my helper, my guide, and my God. Oh, deny not thy 
helping hand ; receive me into thy favour and protec- 
tion ; and enable me to separate every idol from my 
heart to sacrifice, not an hour, not a talent, not a 
faculty to any object, but to live in perfect conformity 
to thy revealed will. Impart to me an increase of thy 
love, strengthen me by thy Spirit in the inward man, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 81 

sanctify my body and soul, my taste, wishes, and 
desires, and let this year manifest in my soul, and 
also to others, that I consider myself a sojourner on 
earth as all my fathers were. Accept me, O Lord, in 
thy Son ; strengthen these resolutions ; inspire me 
with Christian humility and zeal, that neither pride nor 
cowardice may rule in my soul. Let my courage be 
regulated by thy restraining and assisting grace, and 
enable me to adorn my Christian profession, in the 
promotion of thy glory, and my own everlasting 
salvation." 

The succeeding day was distinguished by the divine 
blessing ; hence his language on the occasion, " In a 
happy frame of mind. The service of God is perfect 
freedom, nay, rich enjoyment. Praise God ! O my 
soul, thou art not thine own." 

Having profited so much under the ministry of Mr. 
Benson at Seacroft, he went to hear him in another 
place on New Year's day, and also on the 4th of the 
month at Scholes. In the first instance, he wrote, on 
his return home, a full outline of the sermon, founded 
on Rom. xii, 1 ; commending it in his Diary, as both 
"sweet and searching." That at Scholes was on 
Psalm cxviii, 1 4 ; and the occasion was rendered 
equally a time of refreshing from the presence of the 
Lord. These visitations drew him nearer and nearer, 
and, by almost imperceptible degrees, towards the 
Wesleyans. 

Mr. W. E. Miller, who was like a flame of fire, 
visited Barwick ; and his name having gone forth as a 
revivalist, the subject of these Memoirs was induced to 
hear him also. The scene was new ; he had never 
been in a meeting of such apparent tumult before, and 
D 2 



82 MEMOIRS OF 

had entertained scruples respecting the loud responses 
which accompanied the prayers and preaching of Mr. 
Richardson. He , sat and watched every movement 
with critical severity ; occasionally darting an ardent, 
curious, and impassioned glance at the speaker, some 
of whose sentences and images rich, though occa- 
sionally extravagant, had a magical attraction, and were 
to him, as has been said of another, as " splendid and 
graceful as a diamond concealed under the leaves of a 
rose." Still, he was ill at ease with the vehement 
bursts of passion, incidental to the outbreak at the 
close, when Mr. Miller went from seat to seat, praying 
with, and speaking to the people. Coming to Dawson, 
he laid his hand upon his head, and said, " Thou wilt 
do a great deal of good in the church, when thy heart 
is emptied of pride." It would seem from William's 
account to the biographer, that Mr. Miller had im- 
puted his apparent inflexibility to pride ; though his 
not joining in with the work, like a well-disciplined 
Methodist, was more owing to its novelty, than to any 
want of devotional feeling. 

He proceeded with his Latin exercises, though 
somewhat beclouded in his prospects of entering the 
Church. Mr. Atkinson of Leeds, had informed him, 
that the state of the funds of the ELLAND SOCIETY, 
had brought the members to the resolution of admitting 
no more candidates on the books, till they should be 
warranted to do it, by an increase of subscriptions. 
To this there is a reference in the following letter from 
his friend, Mr. Settle : 

January 31, 1797. 

"DEAR DAWSON. I heartily thank you for your 
last letter. I knew the Society had as many candidates 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 83 

as it was able to maintain. But you know some of us 
will be weaned soon, and then, I doubt not, that you 
will be taken on. I am glad that you have made a 
beginning ; it is probable you will some time or other 
come to an end. However, if you never should be 
taken on to the books of the Society, a little grammar 
can do you no harm. Nay, I dare say, that dominus, 
domini, &c., will be of great advantage. There is one 
comfort, if God want workmen, he will call them ; and 
I confess I feel so little party-spirit, that I care not 
how or in what manner we are employed, if so be that 
we are only made useful to the conversion of souls. 
And if learning be required in a minister of Christ in 
one party, it is required in all. You need not, then, 
look upon fagging at the Latin Grammar, as improper. 
I trust, that you will one day, stand up before a con- 
gregation ; a congregation of what kind? Nay, I 
care not of what kind, if so be that you only preach 
Christ and him crucified. 

"Pray have you seen Mr. Atkinson yourself? or did 
you make application by Mr. Graham ? Does Mr. 
Graham stand your friend, and does he give you 
encouragement? He, I suppose, will recommend you 
to the Society, as he is well acquainted with you, and 
therefore, knows whether you are a proper person to be 
admitted. However, do not render yourself uncom- 
fortable ; for God can work, and who shall let it ? 
After you have got the verbs, you may then go on with 
any easy Latin Work, with an English translation. 
Take care of long and short syllables for they are 
very much regarded in Latin. You may get a Dic- 
tionary of my father; take the best, for there are 
two. Do not be in too great a haste. Get well 



84 MEMOIRS OF 

grounded in the first principles. Turner's Exercises 
will be of use : it will teach you to decline and con- 
jugate, &c. Supposing you should not be very perfect 
in the rules, you will acquire at least a good many 
Latin words and phrases, which will be of use when 
under a master. 

"I am very glad of the information you give me 
respecting my brother. I hope you will make it your 
business to see him as often as you can make it con- 
venient. God will take it as done to himself. But I 
need not urge you to this. You know the value of a 
soul. Pray write soon, and let me know how you go 
on. I am obliged to leave off. Mr. Atkinson is 
waiting for this letter. Wishing you all prosperity in 
body and in soul, in Christ Jesus, I am, 

Yours sincerely and affectionately, 

" S. SETTLE." 

Mr. Settle again addressed him in the course of a 
couple of months, under considerable anxiety respecting 
his brother, whose case is adverted to in the preceding 
letter. 

Cambridge, April 5, 1/97. 

"DEAR DAWSON. I received a letter from my 
brother Thomas about a fortnight ago. He informs 
me, that William is very weak, and appears as if he 
could not be long in this world. He observes, that 
you have visited him regularly once a week, some time. 
I acknowledge myself much obliged to you for this 
kindness, and esteem what you have done for him, as 
done to myself. There is no saying how God may be 
pleased to bless your conversation to his soul. I shall 
be exceedingly glad to hear of his being brought to an 
acquaintance with himself and with Jesus Christ. You 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 85 

will do me a favour, if, when you write, you will give 
me any particulars respecting him ; for you know, that 
both my father and my brother Thomas, will write in 
general terms. I suppose he is still living. Alas, I 
am stung with painful feeling, that I did not speak 
more freely to him, when I had the opportunity. But 
this is our folly, and our weakness. We lament when 
it is too late ; and what is worse, our past neglect, and 
loss of opportunities, seldom make us act with greater 
diligence and prudence in future. I should like to see 
him ; but the distance is too great, and travelling is 
very expensive. Besides, what can I do for him ? He 
may continue some time yet, though my brother writes 
as if near death. Please to write in a day or two ; 
and, if living, let me know how he is. To stand at 
death's door is an awful situation. The good and the 
bad, the prepared and unprepared, start back when 
they think of dying. Serious men tell us, that we 
must often revolve in our minds, the thoughts of death 
and judgment, and by that means make them familiar 
and common to us. But if I take away what often 
moves me with alarm, I throw off one of the most 
powerful restraints against sin ; I mean, if I think of 
death and another world in such a careless manner, 
they will at length become so familiar to me, as to 
make no impression upon the mind. 

" I forwarded my brother William a parcel by Mr. 
Atkinson, and sent you a letter at the same time. 

" I assign to you a good deal of work. But you can 
write to me a letter of questions and answers. How 
does Mr. Atkinson go on in preaching? Are your 
meetings kept up ? Does he explain a chapter on the 
Sunday evenings in the church or school ? Has he 



86 MEMOIRS OF 

taken lodgings, or has he engaged a house, at Barwick ? 
Have you seen Mr. Graham since he left you, or have 
you heard from him ? Does he continue to take 
pupils, or has he given them up? How, if in pos- 
session of two or three churches, are they supplied? 
Have you heard anything more of the Ellanders ? Do 
you read Latin ? Does young Mr. Atkinson assist you 
in the Latin tongue ? 

" Lately, I have heen much engaged in the Schools ; 
and am surprised that wise men will regard such 
nonsense. But, the fact is, I am tired of Cambridge 
studies ; and I am persuaded, I shall always consider 
my time spent in Mathematics, the least beneficial of 
any employed in the whole course of my life. Had I 
been engaged in searching the Scriptures, in composing 
sermons, and in reading the history of mankind, I 
should then have possessed some useful knowledge, 
on going forth into the world. Instead of that, I 
shall have spent three or four years in grammar, and 
three or four more in again forgetting it. Such is my 
tale. 

"This, I forward, by way of Wetherby, that it 
may reach you the sooner. I am afraid lest it should 
lie at Leeds till Tuesday. Yours sincerely, 

"S. SETTLE." 

This portrait of a college life, at the close of the 
letter, and which must either have been written under 
momentary depression, or under the longings of a 
man to be at the work of converting sinners, was but 
little calculated to fascinate the ardent spirit of a 
Dawson, breathing after an increase of personal piety, 
and more extensive, as well as more immediate useful- 
ness, to the perishing multitude. An answer to some 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 87 

of the questions propounded though not written with 
that view, may be gleaned from William's Diary for 
the year. 

As to Mr. Atkinson, who succeeded Mr. Graham 
in the curacy at Barwick, though inferior to his pre- 
decessor in some respects, yet his labours are adverted 
to with respect, and several outh'nes of his sermons 
were deemed well worth recording. Mr. Dean, the 
rector, generally occupied the pulpit in the forenoon 
of the Lord's day, and Mr. Atkinson in the afternoon. 
But the evening lecture on that day, appears to have 
been discontinued. 

The Thursday evening meeting was preserved alive 
on the departure of Mr. Graham, chiefly through the 
influence and exertions of his helper in the work 
the subject of these pages, who preached regularly 
the first eight months, without any apparent aid, till 
the month of August, when Mr. Atkinson took a 
part in the services ; after which, to the close of the 
year, they occasionally took the work alternately ; and 
in one instance, December 28, they gave the people 
in the same service, a double lecture, Dawson leading 
the way on the subjects of creation, preservation, and 
redemption ; and Mr. Atkinson following on the former 
part of the eighth chapter of the Gospel according to 
St. Matthew. This is a fine specimen of liberality 
both on the part of Mr. Atkinson, and his excellent 
predecessor ; and may serve as a hint for maturing 
more fully the Pastoral Aid Society, in the Established 
Church, in the more liberal use of laymen. 

The texts upon which our clerical helper descanted 
were the following : Psalm Ixxxiv. Psalm Ixxiii. 22 
26; II. Cor. iv. 17 ; II. Cor. v. 511 ; Heb. xii. 



88 MEMOIRS OF 

1, 2 ; I. Cor. ix. 24 ; Joshua xxiv. 14 25 ; Isaiah 
liii, 4, 5; Psalm xc; Gal. ii. 20; Psalm Ixiii, 3; 
Psalm xxx. 4, 5 ; Rev. part of xxi, xxii ; John 
xxi; Psalm xxvii. 39, 40; John xi. 25, 27; Malachi 
iii. 16; Rev. xiv; Psalm ix; Isaiah Ixi. 1, 2, 3; 
Rev. i. 1620; Heb. xi. 14, 15; Gen. xxii; 
Isaiah xxv. 6 9 ; Luke ix. 33 ; Ephesians iii. 14 
21 ; Philippians iii ; I. Cor. xv. 55 57 ; I. John i. 
If an opinion of the matter is to be formed from the 
texts selected, it may be presumed to have been such 
as would interest both the heart and the understanding ; 
and if the devotional character of most of the texts 
is to be taken in connexion with his experience, it 
would be candid to infer without even an appeal to 
his Diary, which supports it, that William Dawson 
was deeply and personally interested in the "one thing 
needful." In some instances, he engaged in prayer 
after Mr. Atkinson preached. 

The Sabbath evening services which had been rendered 
so useful to the piety and instruction of the more devout 
part of the parishioners, under Mr. Graham, were ad- 
verted to with pleasure, while their discontinuance was 
imbittered by the reflection. In consequence of Mr. 
Atkinson having taken private lodgings, the Thursday 
meeting was removed from its accustomed place, which 
might be one reason why he did not close in with its 
services at a more early period. It was held in the 
house of S. Simpson towards the latter part of the 
year. 

Mr. Graham left in January, having informed the 
society on Thursday, the 12th of that month, that it 
was the last time he should address them as their 
curate. He visited Barwick, Thursday, March 2, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 89 

when he preached to the Society ; and also Monday, 
July 10, when William had an interview with him, 
and conversed freely with him on the subject of the 
ministry. The day previously to the last date, he had 
received a letter from Mr. Dikes. Thursday, August 17, 
Mr. J. Atkinson informed him, that there was a pro- 
bability of his entering into the ELLAND SOCIETY ; 
but the scene was once more overshadowed by a cloud ; 
and the latter wrote to his early patron and friend, Mr. 
Graham, October 20, when the subject seemed to be 
further set at rest. 

Whether William received any assistance from Mr. 
Atkinson, in acquiring a knowledge of the Latin lan- 
guage, is not stated; but as he frequently notices 
conversations with him in his Diary, the probability 
is, that he might receive some incidental, if not formal 
and systematic aid, not only from him, but also from 
Mr. Settle, with whom he associated, during the sus- 
pension of his studies at college : and that he pro- 
ceeded in his attempts to acquire a knowledge of the 
language, is evident from a translation of the Latin 
into the English, in his Diary of January the 15th. 

In addition to his arduous secular avocations, his 
regular perusal of the Word of God, a new sermon 
for some months successively, for his Thursday auditory, 
the public ordinances at Barwick, visiting the sick, 
attending prayer-meetings at Scholes and elsewhere, 
writing letters of reproof, advice, and encouragement, 
he found time for the perusal of "Law's Serious Call," 
part of Fletcher's Works, of Madely, "Young's Night 
Thoughts," the "Arminian Magazine," "D. Brainard's 
Journal," &c.; faithfully recording the effects of the 
latter upon his mind, and accompanying each letter 



90 MEMOIRS OF 

with an ardent prayer to God to bless it to its intended 
use. He was deeply imbued in a Christian sense, with 
all that is implied in the celebrated saying of Zeuxis, 
Pingo eternitati I paint for eternity, for he evidently 
lived for eternity. 

How different is such a man from the countryman 
portrayed by Bishop Earle, the exuberance of whose 
wit is only exceeded by the truth of his pencil! 
"A plain country fellow," he observes with a quaint- 
ness peculiar to the times, and not out of place for 
rural manners and scenes, "is one that manures his 
ground well, but lets himself lie fallow and untilled. 
He has reason enough to do his business, and not 
enough to be idle or melancholy. His hand guides 
the plough, and the plough his thoughts; and his 
ditch and landmark are the very mound of his medita- 
tions. He expostulates with his oxen very understand- 
ingly, and speaks gee, and ree, better than English. 
His mind is not much distracted with objects, but 
if a good fat cow come in his way, he stands dumb 
and astonished; and though his haste be never so 
great, will fix here half an hour's contemplation. His 
religion is a part of his copyhold, which he takes 
from his landlord, and refers it wholly to his discretion; 
yet if he give him leave, he is a good Christian to 
his power, (that is,) comes to church in his best 
clothes, and sits there with his neighbours, where he 
is capable of only two prayers, for rain and fair 
weather. He apprehends God's blessing only in a 
good year, or a fat pasture ; and never praises him 
but on good ground. Sunday he esteems a day to 
make merry in ; and thinks music as essential to it, 
as evening prayer, where he walks very solemnly after* 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 91 

service, with his hands coupled hehind him, and 
censures the mirth of his parish. He thinks nothing 
to be vices but pride and ill husbandry, from which 
he will gravely dissuade the youth, and have some 
thrifty hob-nail proverbs to clout his discourse. He 
is a niggard all the week, except only market-day ; 
where, if his corn sell well, he thinks he may get 
drunk with a good conscience. He is sensible of no 
calamity but the burning a stack of corn, or the 
overflowing of a meadow ; and thinks Noah's flood 
the greatest plague that ever was, not because it 
drowned the world, but spoiled the grass. For death 
he is never troubled; and if he get in but his har- 
vest before, let it come when it will, he cares not." 
This picture drawn by a Yorkshireman for the worthy 
bishop was born in the city of York, 1601 and 
possibly the likeness of a Yorkshire farmer taken 
from life, furnishes, though tolerably charged, a fair 
description of a sordid, contracted mind. It is here 
given for the sake of contrast : for there is not a 
single point in which William Dawson was not at the 
antipodes. He neither permitted his farm, the vine- 
yard of the Lord, nor " himself to lie fallow and 
untilled;" but laboured in each department as though 
each demanded his sole attention and toil, and as if 
afraid, lest any part of life should be allowed to stagnate. 
Added to the abridgment of those meals which he 
gave to widow Smith, he set apart days for fasting 
and prayer, and otherwise practised great self-denial. 
He assisted in the course of the year too, in establishing 
a society for the benefit of the sick. So attentive 
was he to the means of grace, that he missed Barwick 
only twice in the course of the year. Both of these 



92 MEMOIRS OF 

times were in the depth of winter ; and one of them 
was when he fell and lamed himself on his way to 
the place, and was compelled to return home. Every 
opportunity was embraced of hearing Mr. Hemington, 
when in the neighbourhood ; and he notices having heard 
him both at Barwick and Garforth. Secret and family 
prayer and sacramental occasions are often adverted to 
in his Diary, as productive of great spiritual good. 
There was hi the midst of all, the deepest self-abhorrence 
and self-abasement; severe inward conflicts; occa- 
sional outbreaks of levity, his constant bane, from 
which he would instantly revolt, and again sink into 
the dust ; a resolute cleaving to God ; a full and 
grateful sense of the value of a Saviour; and an 
almost incessant cry for the cleansing influence of the 
Holy Spirit; exclaiming in the midst of all, "Oh, 
how hard, in the midst of the schemes of life, to 
keep the eyes fixed on God! to keep them fixed 
there, while up to the ears in worldly employment ! " 
He often felt the force of the Gaelic proverb, in his 
prostrations of spirit, that "If the best man's faults 
were written on his forehead, it would make him pull 
his hat over his eyes." But conscious integrity 
enabled him to bear up under all his discouragements. 

He was now in a state, that while he still had no 
wish to unite himself to the Wesleyans, he was unable 
to resist the charm which attended many of their 
religious meetings. He heard Messrs. Myles, Pawson, 
and Mather, and was much pleased with them ; often 
stealing away to a part of the service after attending 
his own Thursday evening meeting. On one of these 
occasions, Mr. Mather exhorted his hearers to seek 
first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 93 

encouraging them with the declaration, that all other 
things should be added to them, stating, in language 
as homely as that of Bishop Earle, and which was 
not likely to he lost on a mind constructed like that 
of the subject of these Memoirs, and by way of 
shewing the insignificance of everything short of 
religion that the world, in a somewhat tradesman- 
like manner of proceeding, would, like pack-thread, 
be given into the bargain. The Conference being 
held at Leeds in the course of the year, he availed 
himself, when at the Tuesday market, of slipping into 
"Ebenezer chapel," and hearing "an old man on the 
Prodigal's return. " He revisited the centre of at- 
traction on the Sabbath day, August 6th, where he 
heard four sermons, with which he was much delighted. 
The preachers were Messrs. Pawson, Bradburn, Griffith, 
and Dr. Coke. 

A fortnight after this, having heard Mr. Dean, 
the rector, in the morning, and Mr. Atkinson, the 
curate, at noon, he went to hear a stranger preach 
out of doors. The site chosen appears to have been 
an artificial mound, adjoining Barwick, formerly the 
seat of the kings of Northumberland, and supposed 
to have been thrown up by Edwin, one of its brightest 
ornaments. "The great extent and magnificence of 
this fortification," says Dr. Whitaker, "which is four 
furlongs in circumference, and contains an area of 
more than thirteen acres, sufficiently prove that it 
has been a royal park." The mount, called Hall 
Tower Hill, was formerly encompassed by a double 
trench ; on this mount, the royal mansion in all 
probability stood, and is the only part that remains. 
Here the preacher stood, and here Dawson, with the 



94 MEMOIRS OF 

listening crowd, heard the Word of Life ; himself 
declaring, that he "was in a measure enabled to lay 
hold of the promise." The subject was the prophet's 
expostulation with Nineveh ; and Jonah could not 
have had a fairer view of that ancient city, than 
the preacher had of Barwick and its population, over 
the latter of whom he yearned with bowels of com- 
passion. After this, William, as though he had 
caught the spirit, entered upon out-door work himself, 
and gave out the hymns at the funeral of John 
Cawood, as the mourners passed from the house to 
the church-yard. 

Though he did not, as will have been perceived, 
neglect to extend his knowledge by reading, yet he 
seems, from the native force of his own mind, and 
the fertility of his imagination, to have thought more 
than read, and to have employed a considerable portion 
of his time on new compositions. "A Word to the 
Persecuted," was one which employed his pen ; writ- 
ten probably with a view to console some of his 
religious associates under domestic opposition. Another 
was on the state in which Jesus Christ found man, 
when he entered upon his divine mission, and the 
blessings resulting from his obedience and death. In 
one of his addresses, after looking at man as described 
by the sceptic and the moralist, who deny the doc- 
trine of human defection, he closed with "Here is 
a brief, but pleasing picture of man ; differing, how- 
ever, from the ugly original ; and in this state the 
Redeemer finds us all. The fallen sons of Adam are 
swimming on the ocean of their own passions, riding 
on the tumultuous billows, blown onward by the 
storms raised up by the prince of the power of the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 95 

air; going full sail with the tide, and, for anything 
they know to the contrary, may the next day, nay, 
this very night, have shot the gulph of eternity. 
See them! there they are, there they ride unconcerned, 
with their backs to heaven, and their faces towards 
hell, striving against conviction, against light, till 
they force their best Friend to seize them, and in 
that friend, feel the grasp of an enemy, whom they 
have compelled to become such by their carelessness 
and their transgressions." Passages like these delivered 
with his usual force and fire, would, however incorrect 
and uncourteous to the ear of the fastidious critic, 
fall with tremendous power on the heart of an untutored 
sinner. 

He now let himself out more freely in establishing 
prayer-meetings, and in attending those already estab- 
lished, in the neighbouring villages ; occasionally giving 
a word of exhortation. After leaving church one day, 
in company with his friend John Batty, and being 
desirous of becoming more extensively useful, he pro- 
posed a private meeting for prayer, that both might 
be guided to the fittest scene of labour. They retired 
to a wood, and in the bosom of that silvan scene, 
poured out their supplications before the Lord, when 
they agreed being most deeply impressed with it, 
to go to Scholes, where they held a prayer-meeting 
with the villagers. Samuel Hick, "The Village Black- 
smith," was at Scholes on one of these occasions, 
and requested "William to go to prayer. Not aware 
that he had exercised in this way before among the 
Wesleyans, the good man took the credit of introducing 
him to public life, and was sometimes innocently 
egotistic on the subject. Samuel passed no high 



96 MEMOIRS OF 

encomium on the prayer, and was permitted, un- 
disturbed, to indulge himself in the persuasion, that 
he had been the honoured instrument of planting him 
among the Wesleyans. 

Soon after this, the subject of these pages wrote two 
Sermons, one of which was founded on Prov. xxix, 25 
and the other on Isaiah iii, 10. The one on Proverbs, 
" The fear of man bringeth a snare," was probably 
occasioned by previous embarrassment, arising from the 
evil referred to. And this is the more probable, from the 
reference there is to pride, cowardice, and courage, in his 
piece on the dedication of himself to God at the commence- 
ment of the year, and his prayer to be delivered from 
the evils of which he stood so much in awe. The good 
people of Scholes, having heard of his exhortations in 
the school-room, at Barwick, and also in other places, 
invited him to give them the benefit of his public 
labours. He complied with their request, and informed 
the biographer, that he took the above subject, and 
addressed them upon it, both with a view to their 
benefit and his own. He afterwards wrote in pencil, on 
the MS., "This was the first text which I ventured to 
take publicly." The school-room addresses were not 
deemed public by him, but delivered to a select party of 
religious friends ; and, in other places, the separate 
texts around which the mind was permitted to revolve, 
had never been formally announced. The MS., com- 
prises eight closely written foolscap, 4to pages, and is 
in his usually neat and small hand. It is headed with, 
"The causes, character, and folly of the fear of 
man;" and was subsequently "delivered at Colton." 
The latter delivery is dated "June 24, 1798." The 
composition is distinguished for acuteness, a good 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 97 

knowledge of the human heart, a thorough acquaintance 
with the trifling yet criminal subterfuges of sinners, when 
pressed to duty, and a close application of the subject, 
with a special appeal to the young. The following 
sentiments will furnish an idea of his style and manner : 
"Consider, that the season of affliction is fast 
hastening to your door. How soon it will be said, 
' There is a sick man in the house,' no one knows ! 
Will the best friend you have in the world, who is 
himself but mortal, be able to, give you ease in pain ? 
Can he prevent the disease from growing worse, or 
impart comfort under it? Can he assuage the still 
more poignant pangs of conscience prevent the light- 
ning flashes of reflection, or settle the storm of misery 
blowing over the soul, and say, peace be still ! No ; 
perhaps he may have been the cause of the whole. 
How is he, then, to quench the flame ! His presence 
is the remembrance of your faults. You think, when 
you see him, ' But for you, I might have been in 
heaven!' Oh then, sit down and count the cost. 
Review the whole. Weigh things fairly. Set Time 
against Eternity, Man, whom you fear, against God ; 
and see which end of the scale will fall, which will rise ! 
You will find, that TEKEL will then be written upon 
both the character and end of man, and also upon the 
world. Every thing short of religion will be found 
wanting, when weighed in the balance of equity. To 
you who are young, I especially address myself; you 
who are actuated by the fear of man. Your hearts are 
yet tender ; impressions have been made upon them ; 
and persuasion has made them consent to the reasons 
adduced. You have been under conviction from 
childhood. The Bible, your own consciences, and the 

E 



98 MEMOIRS OF 

secret suggestions of the Holy Spirit, have all spoken 
in favour of the majesty, goodness, beauty, and 
sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ. You have in 
some degree yielded to the influence of gospel truth, 
and assented to the importance of what you have heard 
from faithful ministers, when reasoning on right- 
eousness, temperance, and a judgment to come. You 
have heard and trembled, resolved and feared. When the 
gospel trumpet, like heavenly music, has sent its echoes 
through your listening soul, you have been almost 
persuaded to become Christians ; but like too many, 
who wish they were in heaven, but never prepare for it, 
your good desires have died in the place where they 
were formed ; you have again mingled with your com- 
panions at the close of the sermon laughed away your 
feelings and forgotten what manner of persons you 
were. Think, young friends, upon your state. Do 
not permit the fear of man to bring you into a snare, 
the snare of the devil, which, like a net, will entangle 
you, and endanger your etenial happiness. Turn your 
backs upon your former ways and companions. The 
latter may laugh, may even curse, but you shall bless. 
Give no ear either to their threatenings or their 
promises. Jesus loves to see a young Timothy bold 
and valiant in his cause." 

In the sermon on Isaiah iii. 10, he has the merit 
of more immediately keeping in view the unity of 
his subject; and the convulsions arising out of the 
French Revolution, would seem to have influenced 
his mind in its composition, fortifying the Christian 
against the perils of a threatened invasion. There 
is much more nerve and condensation in it, than 
in the preceding sermon ; being full of a fine mixture 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 99 

of stirring, awakening, powerful, consoling thought, 
and displaying a great deal of intuitive knowledge, 
considering the comparatively limited character of 
his reading. He never attempts to speculate, but 
goes direct to the work of conversion and edifi- 
cation, pouring forth the trumpet-clang of alarm 
upon the ear of the sinner, and warbling out his 
notes of consolation to the saint, which are felt in 
the inmost soul, as though a songster of the grove 
had taken up its residence in the breast. Had it 
not borne the dates of 1797 8, in his own hand- 
writing, it would have been mistaken for one of his 
more matured productions in after life. It is of the 
same size as the preceding, but is distinguished for 
greater fire and earnestness, and evidently more adapted 
to the character of his genius, and the state of his 
religious feelings. Without attending to connection, 
and merely to shew the strain of thought indulged, 
two or three extracts may be made. 

"Say ye" This he applies to the prophet, and 
then to the Christian minister. " Souls," says he, 
"are at stake! and shall the watchman sleep? Im- 
mortal spirits are perishing, and shall the shepherd 
not sound the alarm, and call for assistance ? God 
speaks ! and are ministers to be careless ? Christ 
commands ! and shall these disregard what is said ? 
The Holy Ghost strives ! and shall we be indolent ? 
Time flies ! and are not the stewards of the gospel 
to improve it ? Eternity is at hand ! and shall they 
loiter? The gates of heaven and hell stand open to 
receive the ruined or the saved! and shall not the 
minister of Christ warn men to escape the one, and 
exhort them to enter into the other? Yes, men in 



100 MEMOIRS OF 

this office, with their eyes open to see the value of 
an immortal soul, must, in obedience to the dictates 
of their own consciences, and in conformity to the 
command of God, speak and spare not : say ye, &c." 
Speaking of the " righteous," he observes, " His 
estate is ' the pearl of great price ;' and, in this, he 
has secured to himself that which is of greater value 
than the world, were its mountains silver, and its 
oceans liquid gold." Glancing at the future state of 
the "righteous," he remarks, "They shall be ac- 
quitted and honoured in the great judgment of the 
world. The resurrection will deliver their bodies out 
of prison ; and then, they will lift up their heads, 
for their redemption draweth nigh. Suppose we had 
a cause in any court of judicature, and that no bill 
of indictment could be found, that no witnesses were 
to appear, and that the judge was known to be our 
sworn, constant friend! Should we be afraid, under 
such circumstances, to appear in court ? Should we 
tremble on our approach to the bar? Certainly not. 
People would be heard to say, ' It cannot but go 
well with them ; they have everything in their favour, 
and nothing against them.' Such will be the case 
with the righteous. Who is he that condemneth? It 
is God that justifieth Christ that died yea rather, 
that hath risen again. Then shall they eat of the 
fruit of their doings. That which was sown in time 
shall be their feast in eternity." 

Turning to the more appalling side of the subject, 
in connection with the other, he observes: "The 
righteous have a rich inheritance on this side death, 
and an invaluable treasury in the book of God. Not 
so the ungodly. There are no promises to a hardened 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 101 

sinner ; no comforts for an impenitent rebel. Every 
leaf, which drops honey on the lips of the believer, 
is a drawn sword to the wicked ready to cut him 
down ; every command, in the performance of which 
the believer rejoices, stands clothed in terrible armour 
against the wicked against those, who, instead of 
obeying the commandments of God, glory in the 
breach of them. The threatenings are as a bow bent 
with fiery darts, and ready to wing their way through 
the soul of the sinner. The wicked flee, and flee 
too, when no man pursues them ; and God, in their 
flight, instead of assisting them, will exert the arm 
of his majesty to hurl them into eternal perdition. 
When the sword is commissioned to go through the 
land, it shall make them tremble ; it will affright 
them to see garments rolled in blood, themselves 
expecting the next deadly blow. And oh, from whence 
are they to have peace ? Shall they sing in the fires ? 
Will they have God for a very present help in trouble 
a refuge from the storm a shadow from the heat 
a light in darkness a deliverer out of their distress ? 
To the righteous, death comes on the kindest errand ; 
he comes as their harbinger to glory, comes to knock 
off their chains, and bring them to the liberty* of 
the children of God. Is this the case with the 
wicked ? No ; death will be to them the greatest of 
misfortunes; an unwelcome guest, a visitant that 
will bring intelligence to their ears, far worse than the 
tidings brought to Eli of the defeat of the Israelites, 
the death of his sons, and the loss of the ark ! Then 
may they say, ' Hast thou found me, O mine enemy ? 
Must I go ? Must I leave all that I love, and all I 
once enjoyed?' Yes, go go go you must. The 



102 MEMOIRS OF 

summons is from God, and death is the bailiff. Oh, 
what horrible thoughts rush into the mind at this 
moment ! what feelings excruciate the heart ! How 
different the aspect of things ! The mask drops from 
the face of every former foolery and enchantment! 
Every thing appears in its native hideousness and 
deformity. The devil, who once lulled them asleep, 
now grins in their face, and enhances their misery by 
his diabolical injections. The world has left them in 
darkness and despair The flesh trembles through 
fear, and swoons at the dreadful apprehensions of 
approaching woe. They now open their eyes upon the 
truths they once despised, and like Esau, with heart- 
sinking disappointment, lift up their voice and cry, 
with a great and exceeding cry 'Woe unto the 
wicked, for it shall be ill with him !' WOE WOE 
WOE WOE must be his portion, for God has said it ; 
God who cannot lie : Christian ministers are com- 
missioned to say so. But uncomfortable as the pre- 
conceived notions of future torment may be in the 
present life, they are but an earnest of what is laid up 
in store ! A drop from the boundless, bottomless 
ocean of pain ! An atom of the prodigious weight of 
WOE that awaits them, on the judgment being set ! 
Not a friend in court ! Not an answer to the ten 
thousand charges brought against them ! Infinite 
debtors, and not a farthing paid ! The Law lays down 
its heavy charges, and appeals to the holiness and 
justice of Jehovah. The Gospel adds to the long 
series, and augments their condemnation. Father, 
Son, Holy Ghost, angels, and ministers unite to 
condemn ! No defence, no reply ! and conscience 
seals up the whole ! Woe woe woe unto the wicked." 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 103 

These snatches from the discourse, connected with 
his energy, and peculiar manner of delivery, would 
impress the congregation with the fact, that they had 
no ordinary man before them, and would lead the pious 
part of his hearers to cherish anticipations of future 
greatness. 

Reference having been made to a letter from Mr. 
Dikes to him, in the course of the summer, it may 
here be introduced, to shew the intercourse which still 
subsisted between them. 

"Hull, July 1-4, 1/97. 

"DEAR SIR. I some time since received a letter 
from you, which I ought to have answered before this 
period; but I take the advantage of Mr. Atkinson's 
return, to say, that it gives me great pleasure to hear 
of your health and welfare. 

"You enjoy many blessings. You have indeed lost 
one excellent minister ; but another is come to supply 
his place. You experience no great persecutions; but 
can worship God according to the dictates of your 
own conscience. These are great blessings. May we 
make a good use of them, and not forfeit them by 
our ingratitude and abuse of them ! 

"You complain very much of the evils of your own 
heart. These evils, I apprehend, you will feel more 
or less to the end of your days. It is possible; yea, 
I may say, it commonly happens, that in proportion 
as a person grows in grace, he will see and feel more 
depravity in his own heart. Not that there really is 
more evil, but that he has more light to perceive it. 
Various temptations will occur to call it forth to view; 
and he will have his eye more upon his own ways. 
Besides, when we see the holiness of God, the purity 



104 MEMOIRS OF 

of his law, and the true nature of sin, our own cor- 
ruption will appear great and aggravated. Hence, 
some persons have been led to suspect, they were 
more vile than they were, before they knew anything 
of religion. The truth is, all these evils existed; but 
they were not known : they lay dormant. While we 
are eagerly wandering after external pleasures, we 
remain strangers " to ourselves; or, if we do see any 
evils, we regard them as venial faults, which may be 
very well passed over. 

"You must endeavour to get good views of Christ. 
He is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin 
of the world. If you were whole, you would not 
have need of the physician. But amidst all the evils 
of which you complain, you can have recourse to him. 
You will find him able to save to the uttermost all 
them that come to God by him. The more closely 
you keep to him, the more confidence you place on 
his atonement, the more peace you will enjoy in your 
own conscience, and the more strength and power 
you will find to resist all sin. 

"I doubt not, but you will be preserved by the 
power of God through faith unto salvation. He has 
certainly begun a good work in you, and he will 
carry it on to the day of the Lord. I hope your 
meetings prosper, and that all things succeed well 
with you. Believe me to remain, 

"Yours, very sincerely,-r-T. DIKES." 

Waiving the slender encouragement given to pray 
for purity of heart, in the sentiment that its 
"evils will be felt more or less to the end of life," 
but which, in the mind of the excellent writer, might 
refer rather to the Christian's conflict with evil, than to 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 105 

its reign; there is great propriety in his other remarks, 
namely, that increasing light produces greater con- 
sciousness of the existence of evil, while at the same 
time, it is no proof of the actual increase of that evil. 
Thus, a person of a hale, robust constitution, is much 
more conscious of an acute pain just on the tip of 
the finger, than he is of the health possessed by the 
whole body at the same moment. Whence is this? 
It is not because there is more pain than health. 
The pain, though acute, is confined to a very small 
part of the system. So it is in the divine life. In 
the struggle between the flesh and the spirit, the 
one Imting against the other, in the phraseology of 
Scripture, the pain of the flesh is much more felt 
than the health of the spirit. Not, be it observed, 
because the Christian, to preserve the phraseology, 
has more of the flesh than the spirit ; for the cor- 
ruption of the heart is neither perceived nor felt by 
corruption, but by grace. The more acute the pain, 
therefore, the greater the grace, and the less of corrupt 
nature. Death, even in cases when not violent, is 
generally painful ; nature will not die without a strug- 
gle. But these pains are so many proofs that death 
is approaching. The work of conquest is going on ; 
victory is coming to a point. The struggle of the 
believer, who is in the enjoyment of pardon, is to 
get the monster inbred sin, whose power is already 
broken, fully and finally expelled from the heart ; and 
the struggle of a person entirely sanctified, is when 
the door is closed, vigilantly to guard every corner 
and avenue of the sacred temple against its return. 

Doors of usefulness continued to open in different 
directions, and in 1798, became next to oppressively 

E2 



106 MEMOIRS OF 

numerous. His zeal induced him readily to yield to 
the promptings of friendship at home, and to the calls 
of strangers at a distance, to favour the villages and 
hamlets, till then unvisited by him, with a word of 
exhortation. Persons belonging to the Establishment 
were not only prepared for such meetings, by such men 
as Mr. Remington, and the Wesleys, but also, by Mr. 
Ingham, of Aberford, who married Lady Margaret 
Hastings, and who was one of the persons that 
accompanied Mr. "Wesley to Georgia. This gentleman, 
together with his coadjutors and successors, established 
the practice of preaching in private houses and in barns, 
through the whole of that district ; thus rendering it, 
long after his demise, not only easy, but in many cases 
acceptable, and even respectable, for a person of piety 
and talent, whether in or out of the Established Church, 
to instruct the people from behind an old chair, as well 
as from the curiously carved pulpit in places more 
sacredly devoted to the worship of God. 

Colton was the first place at which he preached, 
and formally took a text out of his own parish, 
Scholes, where he had previously taken one, being 
considered in it. He preached in the house of Grace 

the first time. The next time he took his stand 

on the stone at her door ; and subsequently preached 
on the common. His subject, on the occasion of his 
second visit, was the general judgment. Having made 
some statements in the course of his address, which 
bore hard on sinners, an old man of the name of 
Hardwick, standing in the skirt of the congregation, 
sent his stentorian voice across the heads of the crowd, 
demanding of the preacher a proof of what he ad- 
vanced, asking "How do you know that?" Though 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 107 

possessed of the obstinate courage of the man, who, 
Si succiderit de genu pugnat, if his legs fail him, 
fights upon his knees, yet not having been rocked 
in the storm of out-door preaching, like a Whitfield 
or a Wesley, his recollection was less at command 
than his prowess, and his presence of mind failing 
him, he was dumb for a few seconds before the people. 
One of his hearers perceiving it, who was a man of 
some weight of character, immediately encouraged him, 
by shouting out with a no less audible voice, "Go on, 
goon;" and perceiving he had the congregation with 
him, he again rallied, and proceeded with freedom. In 
this scene of early labour, he afterwards had the happiness 
of seeing a chapel erected, which he opened in 1832. 

His visit to Colton, seems to have led the way to 
the establishment of preaching at Whitkirk, which 
is in its vicinity. He here preached regularly in the 
house of Mrs. Dean, a relative of Lady Irvine, who 
was much attached to him as a preacher, and was 
in the habit of designating him, "My "Willy." He 
preached the funeral sermon of this excellent lady 
some 3 r ears afterwards, at Whitkirk, when a somewhat 
novel scene was presented to view. The respectability 
of the deceased, and his own popularity, drew a large 
concourse of people to the place, the consequence of 
which was, the auditory had to adjourn from the 
usual place of preaching to the open air. It was in 
the evening, and exceedingly dark ; but such was the 
temperature of the atmosphere, though the season was 
far advanced, that little inconvenience was sustained. 
That the people might have a faint gleam of his 
person, as well as hear his voice, a friend suspended 
a lantern and candle on the bough of a tree, beneath 



108 MEMOIRS OF 

which he stood ; and there, in its dim glow lit 
up for a different purpose than the lantern employed 
by Judas, when filled with the execrable purpose of 
betraying the Saviour, and himself bearing a message 
unlike that which issued from the lips of the oak- 
prophets of druidical times, he proclaimed, like the 
Baptist in the wilderness, the doctrine of the kingdom. 
He expatiated likewise on the value of that inward king- 
dom to the deceased, and the glories of the heaven which 
she was then enjoying, and which his auditory, on 
passing through the shades of a deeper night than that 
which enveloped them, might also enjoy. The whole 
scene would present to the mind of the hearer a just 
picture of the Christian's passage "through the valley of 
the shadow of death," with hope glowing in the midst 
like the taper over the head of the preacher, accompanied 
by the voice of the "Great Teacher," cheering him 
onward, and saying, "Fear not, for I am with thee." 
The scene was admirably adapted to his genius, and 
to the solemnity of the occasion ; and to persons just 
emerging out of the darkness of nature, and visited 
with a gleam of gospel light, the whole must have 
been exceedingly touching. The preacher could avail 
himself of every point could improve * every cir- 
cumstance; would, while directing the finger to the 
shaded candle, which rendered himself but dimly visible, 
encourage the desponding penitent, by telling him, that 

" The wretch, condemn'd with life to part, 

Still, still on hope relies, 
And every pang that rends the heart 

Bids expectation rise : 

that 

Hope, like the glimmering taper's light, 

Adorns and cheers his way, 
And still, as darker grows the night, 

Emits a brighter ray." 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 109 

In addition to the places already noticed, he preached 
subsequently in a barn belonging to Robert Moor, of 
Swillington, in the house of Mr. Shillitoe, of Little 
Preston, before the door of J. Birkenshaw, of Gar- 
forth, at Horton, and in the house of John Loriman, 
of Aberford. He was not satisfied with one service 
in the day, as will afterwards be seen; nor did he 
confine himself to the fittest seasons for travelling. 
After attending public worship at Barwick, he usually 
sallied forth to the villages at noon ; and when not 
engaged elsewhere, would have returned to assist at 
the prayer-meeting at Barwick in the evening. 

As he advanced in the work, his zeal became more 
ardent, and his manner more violent; so much so, 
that his mother, after hearing him a few times, 
observed to him, "I can do with anything but thy 
shouting; it quite distracts my head." Not experiencing 
any inconvenience from it himself, and therefore, the 
less sensible of it, he remarked to her on returning 
from preaching, on one occasion, " Mother, I have 
not shouted much to-night!" "Shouted," she replied, 
"why, child, I never heard thee shout so much before." 



110 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAPTER V. 

Voluntary and involuntary evil. Letter from Mr. Settle. College 
trials. Bias towards Methodism. Miss Barritt. Lovefeasts. 
Messrs. Mather and Blagborne. Pride. Balancings. 
Fear. Enthusiasm. Reading. Lay help in the Establishment 
not encouraged. Samuel Hick. Severity. Labours. Ex- 
tracts from the Diary. Usefulness. Public Addresses. Sin 
Assurance. Death. Sinners in danger. Sceptics. Grow- 
ing Piety. Painful Exercises. Local Militias. State of the 
Country. Prudence. Morning Communings. Scrupulosity of 
Conscience. Stands Sponsor. Thoughts on Marriage. Feel- 
ing manifested by external Signs. Letters from Messrs. Graham 
and Settle. Freedom of mind. Trials often heighten coming 
joys. Visit to the Rev. J. Graham, York. Genius of Method- 
ism. Further References to the Elland Society. Prayer. 
The turning point. Rev. Miles Atkinson. Peculiar situation 
of W. Damson. Decides against Holy Orders. Rev. J. Gra- 
ham. Rev. S. Settle. Rev. Joseph Benson, Rev. T. Dikes. 
Religious state of W. Damson. 

His evidence of his personal interest in the atoning 
sacrifice of Christ, which had often been overshadowed, 
became brighter and more constant as he proceeded, 
and as he associated with persons who were them- 
selves in possession of the blessing. He grew less 
and less disposed also to charge the involuntary stir- 
rings of a depraved nature upon himself with all the 
force of voluntary transgression, and found that there 



WILLIAM DAWSON. Ill 

was a wide difference between the pain produced by 
the one, and the guilt arising from the other ; being 
able, in the former case, to approach the throne of 
grace with less of downcast look and feeling, than 
in the latter. He became less disturbed too, on the 
subject of satanic suggestions ; aware that the most 
innocent character as in the case of the immaculate 
Jesus, may be tempted, and yet maintain his purity. 
But such was the severity of his tests, that a temptation 
to sin produced the same abhorrence, and almost the 
same amount of painful feeling, as sin itself: and 
though he rarely relaxed in the severity of his judg- 
ment, yet his riper experience rendered his decisions less 
harassing and painful to himself, enabling him to draw 
a proper line of distinction between the temptations of 
Satan, and the corruptions of the human heart ; between 
a temptation to sin, and a participation in its guilt, 
by surrendering himself to its power. His views 
and feelings became better adjusted in all matters of 
religious experience. He saw that a temptation might 
be presented to the mind, in the way that the eye 
may meet an uninvited and unexpected object ; and 
that the mind may as quickly and as innocently 
turn from the one, as the eye from the other. The 
impression may still be left ; but it is the Christian's 
duty to ascertain whether the impression is one 
of pain or of pleasure : if of pain, then conquest may 
be fairly anticipated. The mind, in its wandering, 
and less watchful moments, may stumble upon what 
is not altogether profitable or convenient ; but even 
then without the least disposition towards that which 
is unlawful, divine grace instantly interposes its check ; 
and the conscience is left as free from guilt as the 



112 MEMOIRS OF 

man is who looks upon a tree loaded with fruit in 
a neighbour's orchard, but without the least disposition 
to covet to look till he loves to love till he shall 
put forth the hand to steal. The heart of a Christian, 
like the mind of a wise man, should resemble a mirror, 
which reflects the object without being sullied by it. 

Though never otherwise than decided from the 
commencement, in his adherence to Christian prin- 
ciple and practice, yet owing to more constant peace, 
and a stronger assurance of the divine favour, he was 
enabled to enter with greater freedom into the minis- 
terial work ; while his continued correspondence with 
his friend, Mr. Settle, seemed to localize his views and 
feelings to his own neighbourhood, by rendering 
the discipline of a university less attractive, and holy 
orders, in the same ratio, less probable and desirable. 
Mr. S. thus addresses him : 

"Cambridge, Jan. 23, 1798. 

"DEAR DAWSON. After a long silence, I take up 
my pen to give you a line. I have just taken my 
degree; but, I fear, with little or no credit. I shah 1 
never make a shining character. Some poor, obscure 
village will be suitable enough for me. The manner 
in which the public examination is conducted, were 
I to describe it, would not be at all interesting .to 
you. It will be sufficient to observe, that I laboured 
under several disadvantages ; one of the principal of 
which was, slowness and defective writing ; and the 
other, too great a fulness in the proofs and demon- 
stration of any particular problem. Besides these, 
there were others, which I forbear to mention. A 
maudlin man stands but a poor chance of success in 
the senate house. The world, you are aware, is 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 113 

not fond of seeing a religious man honoured; nor 
can I conceive why a serious man should hunt after 
reputation in the present life. But as Cambridge 
professes solely and purely to regard merit, I do not 
see that it is wrong to complain when any one does 
not meet with the treatment which his merits deserve. 
Were you acquainted with the proceedings of the 
University, I could quickly make it appear to you, 
that a great deal of unfairness and unjust conduct 
has been shewn to Magdalen College. Mr. B r tt, 
whom I have often named to you, has, in consequence- 
of this, taken no honour. You are aware, that he 
was to have been among the three or four first the 
place which Mr. Th p n was pleased officiously to 
assign to me; but I have lately had an opportunity 
of seeing Mr. T, and told him that he lavished his 
praise with too liberal a hand. He denied the charge; 
but the evidence was too strong to be evaded. As I 
am on this subject, I may observe, that persons can- 
not be too cautious in what they say ; for without 
intention, they may depress, and represent a man as 
totally insignificant, or elevate him to a rank to which 
he is not entitled. Mr. T. felt the force of what I 
said, and acknowledged it to be wrong. You will be 
ready to exclaim, 'You are full of complaints. Why 
am I to be troubled with Cambridge affairs?' You 
are sensible of this, that it is painful to be classed 
among the first in mathematical merit, and in the 
end to run the hazard of losing one's degree. 

"I expect, should the Bishop not send me back, 
to get into orders in March. It is supposed, that 
his grace will have a private ordination in London; 
and this is the reason why I shall not visit Yorkshire. 



114 MEMOIRS OF 

"Receive my thanks for your last. The death of 
Mrs. Jackson affected me much ; and that of Mary 
Batty was sooner than I expected. I have not heard 
anything more of Mr. Graham, and conclude your 
information incorrect. As to Clifton, I can give you 
little or no account. Parish tells me, that the people 
are poor. Let me hear from you soon. Give my 
respects to Mr. Atkinson, when you see him. I am 
yours sincerely and have done with mathematics. 

"S. SETTLE." 

With all his attachment to the Established Church, 
several things concurred, like so many small driftings, 
to bear him out of his original course, and to ac- 
celerate the force of the feeling by which he was 
borne along. His visits to Scholes, Colton, Garforth, 
Seacroft, Swillington, Little Preston, Aberford, Whit- 
kirk, &c., not only became more frequent, but new 
places, such as Kippax, Micklefield, Starks, Halton, 
Hanks, Cross-Gates, &c., were included in his circuit; 
making forty-four visits in ah 1 in the course of the 
year, for public addresses, exclusive of prayer-meetings. 
Some of these places were visited in church hours ; 
and the church service was omitted by him in con- 
sequence. Added to this, he was more frequent in 
his attendance on the meetings carried on among the 
Wesleyans, and preached much less on a Thursday 
evening in connection with Mr. Atkinson though 
generally present as a hearer, and sometimes engaging 
in prayer. He addressed different congregations, in 
places some miles apart from each other, on the Lord's 
day, and occasionally preached to the people in the 
same places in the course of the week ; taking Little 
Preston in the forenoon, attending church service at 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 115 

Kippax in the afternoon, and preaching at Garforth 
in the evening. 

Having heard a good deal respecting Miss Mary 
Barritt, who, as a public speaker, was at this time 
unusually popular, he was induced to go to Sturton 
to hear her ; and availed himself of other opportunities 
of hearing her in the course of the year, at Whitkirk, 
Kippax, Mr. M. Jackson's, of Hillam Mill, and other 
places. Her subject at Sturton was "Balaam's Wish;" 
and he appears to have been favourably impressed 
with the address, exclaiming, " I thank thee, O Lord, 
for the least profit, which I have received. Let me 
experience thy full salvation." But he lost, at the 
close, as at the prayer-meeting at Barwick, conducted 
by Mr. Miller, what he had gained in the beginning; 
observing, "a confused meeting commenced at the 
conclusion of the sermon, which rather pained my 
mind." He prayed, however, that God would "lead 
him right, and keep him right ; " and on his return 
home, " found unusual liberty in family prayer. " 
Though disposed to exercise candour, the tumultuous 
meeting at the close, became the topic of conversa- 
tion the next day, when he was not altogether satisfied 
with his remarks upon it ; stating, that he " was hurt 
with what he said ; " adding, in his Diary, " it seems 
better, Lord, that I should say nothing." He was 
afraid of speaking unadvisedly, and of rooting up the 
wheat with the tares ; though by no means reconciled 
to the noise, as is evident from subsequent conversa- 
tions. The last time he heard her was at Barwick, 
on a Wednesday evening, on which occasion his joy 
appears to have been unmixed; saying, "Praise the 
Lord! found some sweetness in hearing." On this 



116 MEMOIRS OF 

occasion, too, he appears either to have courted, or 
to have been allured, to a little Wesleyan fellowship,; 
enjoying the society of Mr. Blagborne, then stationed 
on the Leeds circuit, on his return home. 

A further advance was made, by stepping from the 
outer to the inner court of Wesleyan Methodism ; 
having attended three love-feasts, one at Sturton, July 
1st, another at Seacroft, October 7th, and a third at 
Kippax, Nov. 25. Mr. Mather preached on the occa- 
sion at Sturton, and dwelt chiefly on the love of God. 
"I found," he remarks, in noticing the circumstance, 
"a near approach to God. Blessed be the Lord! 
Went from thence to Little Preston, full of hope of 
a gracious time, and was not disappointed. I spoke 
on the concluding clause of the Apostle's Creed. 
May the Lord bless the word! I hope, I trust, he 
will. I wish to leave all self, and simply to go on 
with the glory of God in full view. Found a warm 
reception on my return; but praised be the Lord, I 
found a perfect calm within, and submission to his 
will." No wonder that his mother, a rigid church- 
woman, should manifest a little opposition, on seeing 
him take one step after another though still un- 
intentional on his part, towards a separation from the 
Establishment. Mr. Blagborne led the lovefeast in 
the latter case ; and it is probable, that this prepared 
the way for the intercourse which Dawson had with 
him, as noticed in the preceding paragraph. Here, 
however, he was not quite so happy as at Sturton. 
He complains of "pride," and inferior things occa- 
sionally occupying the mind, though he laboured to repel 
them, earnestly praying "for more heart religion." 
Without positively affirming it, there is reason to 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 117 

believe that he spoke on the occasion, and that it 
became a source of temptation to him. It was not 
the "pride" of which Chapman speaks, which is 
blind, making us "eagles in matters that belong to 
other men," and "beetles in our own:" but that 
to which Pope refers, "a consciousness of having 
done a poor thing, and a shame of hearing it." These 
two appear to have entered into the composition of 
the pride of the occasion. 

Not only were the Wesleyan preachers followed 
through the week, but when on a visit to Wetherby 
and York, he found his way to the religious as- 
semblies of the Methodists, assisting the friends in 
the former of these places though a perfect stranger 
to them, to carry on a prayer-meeting. Whether the 
Thursday evening Lectures were regularly continued, 
or whether he found his various engagements interfere 
with the service, by making so many demands upon 
his time, is not ascertained ; but certain it is," that 
Barwick was omitted five times on that evening during 
the twelve months, and only one of those times in 
consequence of rain. The fact too, of being occa- 
sionally under the disagreeable necessity of hearing 
his old schoolmaster, Mr. H., in the church at Bar- 
wick, operated painfully on his mind; observing, that 
not only were "his notions of religion incorrect, but 
his life was opposed to the ministerial character:" 
further adding, "what a sad state should I have 
been in, under such a minister ! " But though he had 
lost his "mainstays" in Messrs. Dikes and Graham, 
both of whom he ever remembered with respect and 
affection, and a weakening process was going on, of 
which he was not altogether sensible, he was not 



118 MEMOIRS OF 

without his fears as to the propriety of the steps he 
was taking, and the real character of the zeal displayed 
by the Wesleyans. Hence, in his Diary, he writes, 
" I found my mind in a frame of thanksgiving this 
morning:" and then, as if afraid lest any of his 
plans or purposes should at all militate against the 
hallowed feeling, he directs the heart upward, and 
pours out his spirit in prayer, requesting the Lord 
to "Sanctify every faculty of the soul; not to allow 
him to misunderstand any feeling ; to save him from 
all enthusiasm, and from confounding the mere effu- 
sions of a heated fancy with the comforts of the 
Holy Ghost; to give him a discriminating eye, and 
to enable him to discern Satan as deformed, at the 
very moment that he is transformed in all his specious 
appearances." This fear though he was frequently 
called upon to engage in prayer, made him a little 
shy, now and then, of letting himself out too freely. 
Thus, about the same time, being alive to the practice 
of calling upon him to exercise, the following entry 
meets the eye: "Some men came from Leeds to 
Barwick, and spoke upon 'This man receiveth sin- 
ners.' I had some reasonings in my mind respecting 
the propriety of going to prayer, if called upon." 
He heard Mr. Atkinson, the curate, in the church, 
in the afternoon of the same day, and went himself 
to Garforth in the evening, and preached on the 
"New Birth." His views, however, respecting Wesleyan 
doctrine, worship, and discipline, became clearer and 
more enlarged by a continued perusal of the Works 
of Fletcher, and a close examination of Benson's 
Defence of the Methodists against the attacks of 
Tatham, Russel, and others. In the latter case, he 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 119 

exclaims, " Oh, how hard it is to manage controversy 
without bitterness ! " 

His sphere of labour, which was still gradually en- 
larging, and the slender encouragement given to lay- 
interference and help in the Established Church, may 
also be considered as contributing no small share to .the 
change which was now drawing to a point; for in the 
same proportion as he wandered from the general rules 
and usages of the Church, in calling sinners to repentance 
as was the case with the venerable Wesley, belonging 
to the same community, in the same proportion he 
entered further and further into the heart of Methodism 
a system resulting from the same erratic, but apostolic 
movements, of the extraordinary man from whom it 
took its rise. 

It is not surprising to find him, considering his 
religious associates and training, a little at variance 
both with Methodism and its promoters. Honest 
Samuel Hick was one of those persons, whose pecu- 
liarities he was at first unable to relish, though he 
could afterwards not only bear with his weaknesses, 
but duly appreciate his numerous excellences. But 
though he objected to Samuel, he was no less grieved 
with himself for the apparent severity of his criticisms 
upon him ; and hence, revolving on the subject of a 
Sabbath meeting at Garforth, he observed on the 
Thursday following, when his sentiments had wound 
their way back to him from an unexpected quarter, 
"I was hurt at some unwary expressions which were 
dropped respecting some observations made by Samuel 
Hick, at Garforth, on Sunday afternoon." He had 
not only the good sense to know, that extreme severity 
is not only sure to arm everything against it, and often 



120 MEMOIRS OF 

relaxes into supine neglect, but he carried about with him 
a conscience tender of the faults and failings of others. 

Still, though he lent occasional, and now more 
frequent aid, to the Wesleyans, his labours were 
chiefly directed to the improvement of the members 
of the Established Church, as his principal friends 
were yet to be found in that community. He 
visited its sick not only at Barwick, but at Swilling- 
ton and elsewhere, was invited to improve its funeral 
solemnities, by praying and addressing the people, 
prior to the removal of the corpse to the place of 
sepulture, and sought to advance the spiritual interests 
of the people, by religious discourse in social life. 
With the same view, he carried his religion into the 
"highways and hedges;" and on one occasion, rejoiced 
in having to record, that he " met with a stranger on 
the road, who jcnew something of the divine life," 
and with whom he had taken sweet counsel. The 
salvation also of his grandmother, and other friends 
and relatives, to whom he frequently spoke, and with 
whom he frequently prayed, was matter of great solici- 
tude with him. Nor were his labours fruitless, either 
in public or in private. Adverting to the influence 
of some of his public addresses on different occasions, 
both upon himself and others, he has the following 
brief notices : 

"At Hanks in the evening. Spoke on the wisdom, 
power, faithfulness, and love of Christ. Bless the 
Lord for a good, spiritual season ! Oh, may I ever 
be moulded to his will ! Only let me be thine, O 
Lord! 

" Spoke on watchfulness at Seacroft. My only end 
is the glory of God, and the good of precious souls. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 121 

"In the evening at Garforth. Dwelt on the necessity 
of the Spirit's influence to change the human heart, 
and the equal necessity of that change, in order to 
our admission into heaven. May the Lord hless the 
means to the hearers! Found a remarkable nearness 
to God in prayer at James "Watson's. Visited John 
Clayton. Oh, may I ever feel the value of souls ! 
God is my Father, Christ is my Redeemer." 

"Found God present in the public ordinances. 
Gave a serious exhortation to the people at Scholes. 

"Thank the Lord for an earnest frame of mind in 
the means of grace ! Spoke at Whitkirk in the evening 
on Gal. iv. 4 6. It was a remarkable season of 
refreshment. Praise the Lord! 

"Received information respecting some good done 
at Colton through my unworthy instrumentality. Praise 
the Lord! May he bless the person upon whom the 
effects were produced, and render the work permanent ! 

"Spoke at Garforth on the advantages of early 
piety. Heard, in the course of the week, of some 
good effects produced on some minds. Ah, where 
is the person, who has lived thirty years, that has 
not had a transient work upon the affections at times! 
To God alone I look for a blessing. May none of 
my services rise up in judgment against any soul! 
Satan, perhaps, desires to sift me as wheat. May 
Jesus pray for me, that my faith fail not ! " 

The addresses themselves bore strong marks of 
originality, and were admirably calculated to rouse 
and to fix attention ; nor were . his communings with 
himself less calculated to preserve and augment the 
life of God in his own soul. The latter, as is the 
case with all who speak from the heart, were mingled 

F 



122 MEMOIRS OF 

with his discourses, and essentially aided him in all 
his probings and searchings, when employed with the 
consciences of his hearers. Two or three extracts 
will shew the character of his thoughts at the time. 

SIN. "Reflect upon the momentous concerns of 
religion in health and strength. Deny thyself. Abandon 
thy favourite sin. Tear it from the heart, though 
entwined with its very strings. Carry it to the fire 
of mortification, as the primitive sorcerers carried 
their books to the fire to burn them. Sin is a poi- 
son ; there is something of sweetness in it at the 
moment of drinking; but oh, when swallowed, what 
heart-twinges does it produce, what crampings within, 
what a rending of the vitals ! Terrible, indeed, will 
be its eifects, if not expelled from the mind. Abhor 
it in thyself; reprove it in others." 

ASSURANCE. "Can we be otherwise than struck 
with the propriety and necessity of a sense of forgive- 
ness, as applied by the Holy Ghost, in the comparison 
between man as a sinner, and a debtor in a gaol? 
We can no more suppose, that Jesus Christ would 
permit a pardoned sinner to live in bondage, than a 
man would permit a friend to linger out a life in 
confinement, after he had discharged his debts. Never, 
never rest, then, without a clear sense of the mercy 
of God; and, once obtained, continue to walk in the 
light of his countenance." 

DEATH. "Think on a dying hour! Think on that 
moment, when physicians and friends can do no more 
for the body, and it lies gasping* for breath ! The 
quivering lip hangs feebly down, and the muscles are 
so unstrung, that they are unable to raise it to its 
former position. It is sprinkled with a liquid from 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 123 

a feather ; but small as it is, it is as refreshing to 
the body as a slight dew to the earth, during the 
most parching drought, though as quickly exhaled. 
The tongue falters in its delivery, and the attendants 
are obliged to lay the ear close to the opened mouth 
to collect the half articulated sentence. When this is 
the case, what will be the thoughts of the heart ? 
What would be our language to our friends, waiting 
to close our eyes, and to stretch the lifeless trunk 
on a plank, if able only in broken accents to utter 
the feelings of that heart? Should we be disposed 
to say, 'Take warning of us ; we have done too much 
for Jesus; we have gone further than his commands 
required ; we have spent our breath, our prime, in 
his service, and for his glory; and now we see onr 
madness, our folly! We see that we might have 
taken our ease, have indulged in the quiet of home, 
while drudging for the Son of God!' Ah no! Realize 
the approaching moment ; bring it to the eye set it 
before you let it be imprinted in lively figures upon 
the imagination." 

So graphic were his various descriptions, that lie 
seemed to give reality to everything he touched. 
"Man," said he, when preaching at Scholes, "Man, 
as a sinner, is like a person blindfold, walking upon 
a bridge without battlements. Instead of going straight 
along, he has got a turn, and is on his way to the 
side. Crowds of diseases and accidents are pressing 
upon him, and may, the next moment, jostle him 
over into eternity. The folly of delaying repentance 
to a death-bed, is no less extravagant, than if the same 
person were to place one foot upon the edge of the 
bridge, and the other off, beyond the chance ot 



124 MEMOIRS OF 

recovery." After proceeding in this way with his 
picturings and appeals, he suddenly ejaculated at the 
close, just as the sinner appeared balancing in the 
"mind's eye" of the auditor, on the perilous edge 
of some of those bridges thrown across the opening 
chasms among the Alps, " Lord, save, or he perishes 
in the roaring, bottomless ruin below ! " 

He appears to have met, in some of his perambula- 
tions, about this period, with persons of sceptical 
principles; and one objection urged was, That religion 
only tends to nullify the natural appetites of the soul. 
To this, Dawson replied in the course of the argument, 
" Religion certainly changes the passions ; but that 
no more proves that the Christian has no enjoyments, 
than it proves that a man has no stomach, because 
he does not live upon the same food as an ass." He 
had penetration sufficient to perceive, not only the 
different aliments, so to speak, upon which saints and 
sinners subsisted, but the difference between a change 
effected in anything, and its utter destruction; while 
his simile, by the keen stroke of his wit, not only 
affected the position maintained, but obliquely reduced 
his opponents themselves to a somewhat assenine 
condition. 

The number of authors, whose works were read at 
this period, does not only appear to have been enlarged, 
but he seems to have been more deeply imbued with the 
self-denying spirit of Brainard, and the hallowed tone 
of piety exhibited by Baxter. In reference to the 
former, he remarks, " He was a serious man ; his 
life leaves a serious savour on my mind." And in 
reference to the latter, he gives utterance to a similar 
sentiment ; " A savour of religion remains upon the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 125 

soul on every perusal of his writings." This had 
a beneficial influence on his correspondence, con- 
versation, and public addresses ; and references to use- 
fulness after this become more frequent. The means of 
grace were evidently wells of salvation to him, and such 
was his devotedness of spirit to God, that birth-days 
usually seasons of festivity, were converted into 
fast-days. He speaks of " nearness " in private prayer, 
of "freedom" in family exercises, of divine assist- 
ance in preaching, closing with, "Jesus died for me." 
Numerous as were his blessings, his graces were not 
a little tried with the "Holy War" carried on in the 
"City of Man-soul," and with some external exercises 
he was destined to experience ; so that while he found 
strength sufficient for the day, he was sensible that it 
was only for the day that there was no stock on 
hand for any succeeding period. Among other things, 
he was often tried with his own "spirit," upon which 
he was always compelled to keep a tight rein. The 
counting-house was entered by thieves ; and although 
the booty was but slender, he found the circumstances 
painful in which he stood between the depredators and 
his master. Some ruthles villainss shot a calf, more from 
malice apparently than wantonness. The farm was 
unproductive, which led him to exclaim with deep 
feeling, though with resignation, "The Lord seems 
to be trying us in our temporal circumstances." 
Various nefarious practices were committed also upon 
property for which he was partly responsible to his 
master; and not being able to obtain the least clue 
to the persons or plans of the agents in the work, 
he himself and happy for him that his master had 
implicit confidence in him, was left without further 



126 MEMOIRS OF 

means of freedom from blame than his general vigilance 
and integrity of character. These, however, were 
sufficient, and bore him through in triumph. He 
was not only disturbed while preaching out of doors, 
as already noticed, but as a proof that Satan found 
bis interests in danger, in consequence of his zealous 
efforts to spread the truth, a gentleman of the name 
of Eamerson, who had considerable influence at Colt on 
and Seacroft, warned his dependants away from hearing 
him, and accompanied his prohibitions with threat en- 
ings of dismissal on a repetition of the offence. In 
an interview with the gentleman himself, some severe 
language was employed by him; and William, who 
was tender of his own Christian character, was afraid 
lest either his own manner or matter should not have 
reflected, in everything, honour on the cause he 
espoused though without the least design to be un- 
courteous. Hence his language on the occasion : 
" Pardon, O Lord, whatever I might say amiss. 
Bless and convert his soul. Keep his malicious 
speeches from turning to our hurt ! " To be mild 
and respectful under such circumstances, is next to 
impossible, without the grace of God; for "there 
is a time " with individuals, as well as with states, 
in the language of Burke, "when the hoary head 
of inveterate abuse will neither draw reverence nor 
obtain protection." 

A considerable portion of public spirit was infused 
into his soul, in consequence of his public labours. 
He mixed with society, indulged in an interchange 
of sentiment and feeling, and acquired information on 
subjects of national importance. He felt acutely at 
this time for the disturbed state of Ireland, and no 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 127 

less for the nation, which was threatened with an 
invasion from the opposite shores. Sir Thomas Gas- 
coigne, in consequence of the menaced state of the 
country, compelled each of his tenants to find "a 
man and horse for a troop of cavalry," and Mr. 
Porter, the head steward, "took down the names of 
all the colliers, to serve as foot soldiers." The men, 
soon after this, were ordered by Sir Thomas, to 
proceed to Garforth, when William accompanied them. 
On such occasions, and especially at the formation 
of a corps, when men who have everything to learn, 
and many of whose vicious habits have never been 
subjected to the severer restraint of military law, there 
is often much to distress a conscientious mind, and 
still more of which he finds it impossible to approve. 
Dawson coupled the Christian with the hero, and made 
as firm a stand for his God as his king, resolved to 
fear the one, while he honoured the other. In acting 
lawfully, however, in things lawful, he found he gave 
offence. He bore his honest testimony against every 
religious and moral impropriety. This brought down 
upon him the displeasure of his superiors. Referring 
to this, he observes, "I have just been informed 
of Sir Thomas Gascoigne's disapprobation of my con- 
duct at Garforth. What I did, was, I believe, agreeable 
to the will of the Lord. His will I wish to know in 
all things ; and my prayer is, that he would assist 
me in everything I undertake." The probability is, 
from his love to souls, his ardent zeal, and from the last 
form of expression, that, as Garforth was one of his 
"preaching places," he undertook to give such of 
the men as might be disposed to listen to him, like 
honest John Nelson in " olden times, " a little whole- 



128 MEMOIRS OF 

some ethical advice, some of them being as little 
versed in Christian morals, as in military tactics. 
Whether he had more to do with the foot soldiers, 
than to attend to different arrangements, is doubtful, 
as his brother Richard supplied the demands made 
upon the tenantry, by entering into the cavalry. Nor 
is it to be supposed, that he acted altogether im- 
prudently in the thing which gave offence ; for, as 
an eminent writer observes, "if the prudence of reserve 
and decorum dictates silence in some circumstances, 
in others prudence of a higher order may justify us in 
speaking our thoughts." So it was here. If "prudent 
men," according to another writer, Shenstone, "lock 
up their motives, letting familiars have a key of their 
heart, as to their garden," they are not at the same 
time to place a padlock upon the tongue, when the 
imperative commands of God are upon them, urged by an 
enlightened conscience. Dawson's heart dictated these 
further sentiments on the occasion : " Into thy hands, 
O Lord, I commend my soul, body, property, talents, 
influence, and everything, to be at thy disposal. Oh, 
give me such a measure of thy love, as will at all 
times enable me to say, in sweet, passive resignation, 
'Thy will be done.'" 

He was generally fitted for the exercises of the day by 
his habits ; for when he arose in the morning, he did 
not only direct the heart to God in prayer, but con- 
sulted him also in his Word ; and frequently wrote 
in his Diary the passage, or the sentiment, by which 
he was most impressed, thus collecting manna in the 
morning, like the Israelites in the wilderness, as food 
for the soul to feed upon through the day. Hence, 
he writes: "'Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 129 

in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that 
your labour is not in vain in the Lord.' This was 
one of the first texts that my eye fixed upon this 
morning. May the Lord enable me to take it into 
my heart, and to adopt it into every thought, word, 
and action!" Again, a short time after; "Rose in 
a frame of prayer. Praise God ! Read God's promise 
to Moses, 'My Spirit shall go with thee/ &c. 
Experienced a divine unction proceeding from it. O 
Lord, I rest upon it; and through it, rest upon 
thee. Let me never do anything to forfeit such 
blessings ! " It is an old proverb " After the master, 
is manners." God is the Master of man, the soul 
is the master of the body. God ought to be served 
before man, the soul before the body. This truly 
Christian man, to keep up the allusion, enabled the 
soul to break its fast at the throne of grace, the 
first thing in the morning; and he issued from his 
closet like a giant refreshed with new wine. The 
day that has a good devotional beginning, has gene- 
rally a satisfactory close. When the Sun of Righteous- 
ness gilds the spirit in the morning, the moon is often 
found walking in her brightness in the evening. 

There was a scrupulosity of conscience, however, about 
him, which, though not at all interfering with the reli- 
gious exercises of others, was often distressing to himself. 
"Conscience," observes old Burton, "is a great ledger 
book, in which all our offences are written and registered, 
and which time reveals to the sense and feeling of the 
offender." No man ever turned over the leaves of this 
ledger more frequently than William Dawson ; and in no 
such ledger were more minute entries ever to be 
found. The following are a few of those things for 

F2 



l.SO MEMOIRS OF 

which he empaled himself, and on which he writhed 
in agony: viz. Paying away "a bad shilling," though 
perfectly unintentional ; receiving more than he thought 
he deserved for certain sen-ices, though acknowledging he 
would have " allowed others, in the same circumstances, 
to have done the same ; " giving an opinion on men 
and things, which, though just, might in some instances 
detract from their worth in the esteem of persons not 
sufficiently acquainted with them observing that, " in 
free conversation, improper things are apt to slip 
out;" omitting places, which his zeal prompted him 
to visit, but which time, strength, and opportunity, 
would scarcely allow; not practising greater abste- 
miousness and self-denial, when further, in some 
instances, might have unfitted him for duty; smiling 
in a place of worship, when the oddity of the expression, 
or burlesqued character of the figure, rendered it next to 
impossible to repress the feeling; employing a sharper 
tone in conversation, than what he might suppose 
comported with Christian meekness ; engaging in dis- 
course, which, though harmless, was no more than 
harmless not profitable saying, on the occasion, 
that "such things should not have been introduced," 
and that "we ought rather to forbear lawful things, 
than transgress against law ; " inadvertently substitu- 
ting the word fortunate for providential, concluding 
from the perversion of the term, that he might have 
given occasion for a lax view of the government of God 
in the world; allowing himself to lie awake in bed in a 
morning, as though feigning sleep, in order to gain 
two or three minutes indulgence, when a single call 
would have instantly summoned him to the chamber 
floor ; a fear of urging upon others what he did not 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 131 

experience in all its fulness himself; naming any- 
thing, which, though not strictly confidential, and 
from the best of motives, might hare been as well 
withheld ; accusing himself of a shame of the cross, 
of the fear of man, or a disposition to indulge, in 
his own language, "King Self," in the discharge of 
duty, when it appeared to have been a stratagem of 
the enemy to check him in his career of usefulness ; 
unpleasant reflections, lest he should have become 
a partaker of other men's sins, because of his not 
having in every instance reproved them, when the 
time, occasion, society, and other circumstances, might, 
by possibility, have aggravated the case ; and for 
indulging in cheerfulness, instead of grave, sober 
thought and discourse. Still, though he could not 
always stand clear with a scrupulous conscience, he 
carried about with him the general "testimony" of 
a "good" one: and agreeably to South, "A palsy 
may as well shake an oak, or a fever dry up a 
fountain, as either of them shake, dry up, or impair 
the delight of conscience. For it lies within, it centres 
in the heart, it grows into the very substance of the 
soul, so that it accompanies a man to his grave; he 
never outlives it, and that for this cause only, because 
he cannot outlive himself." Here was William Dawson's 
safety, in the midst of his distress. 

It is rather singular, with so much scrupulosity, 
and his attachment to the formularies, rites, and usages 
of the Established Church can alone account for it, 
that he should ever have been induced to stand spon- 
sor for a child, which was the case, in the parish 
church of Whitkirk, May 27, 1798; thus, as in all 
such sponsorships, taking upon him to answer for 



132 MEMOIRS OF 

the future conduct of the child, solemnly promising 
to renounce the devil and all his works, to follow 
a life of piety and virtue; and by this act to lay 
himself under an indispensable obligation to instruct 
the said child, and to watch over its conduct. This, 
when associated with his living and dying a bachelor, 
gives rise to some rather amusing thoughts. And 
yet, with him, it was at this time a serious thing ; 
and he chides himself for some inward shrinkings on 
the occasion, saying, " O Lord, pardon me ! I am 
not half bold enough for thee : I blush at my shame- 
faced folly." 

It may be stated, however, once for all, on the sub- 
ject of celibacy, and without any feeling of delicacy, 
that he was not a stranger to the charms of the softer 
sex and it would have been a shame if he had ! 
There are intimations of an occasional leaning to the 
marriage state, in his own hand-writing, and there 
are facts to support it. But that, agreeably to his 
own sentiments, " which he considered perfectly lawful 
in itself, he concluded to be imprudent in him, because 
of his temporal affairs, and more especially the position 
in which he stood in reference to his mother and 
the younger branches of the family." His excellent 
mother, for whose comfort he could sacrifice any- 
thing, lived till his habits of "single blessedness" 
became fixed. After that, with a prudence only equalled 
by his previous self-denial, he resolved to proceed to 
the grave unfettered with new connexions and responsi- 
bilities ; especially, as he had attained a period of life, 
when he was less able to make provision for those 
whom in addition to his brother Thomas, for whom 
he had to provide, he might leave behind. No man, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 133 

however, could support a little pleasantry on the sub- 
ject with a better grace than himself sometimes 
styling himself, when others were talking of titles, 
" Bachelor of Arts." "What," said a friend to him 
jocosely one day, "I am told you have been dis- 
appointed in a love affair!" He instantly returned, 
looking shrewdly, but good-naturedly in the face of 
the gentleman, who had passed the meridian of life, and 
who had himself obtained no higher degree than bachelor, 
"That, according to report, is only one ; but I am 
informed, your disappointments have reached the teens" 
This was as unexpected as the other, for neither of 
them were aware though nothing is more common, 
that reporters had been taking notes of their respective 
cases. 

His warmth of feeling, which led to certain external 
manifestations, and which would have been less con- 
spicuous hi a Methodist chapel, than hi a parish 
church, attracted the attention of Mr. Atkinson, the 
curate ; but as it was involuntary on the part of 
William, he was the less conscious of the habit. It 
would have been as difficult to stop the bubbling up 
of a natural spring from the side of a mountain, as 
to suppress the external expressions of any painful or 
joyous emotion in him, whether in the social circle, 
or hi a place of worship. 

In the course of the same month, that he became 
a godfather, he received a letter from Mr. Graham, 
in answer to one of his own ; the only one apparently 
received from that gentleman, not having any regular 
"epistolary correspondence," as previously stated, but 
chiefly personal "interviews," which rendered it the 
less necessary. 



134 MEMOIRS OF 

"York, May 2, 1798. 

"Mv VERY DEAR FRIEND. Were I not unwilling 
to fill my letter with apology, and did I not know 
that I have scarcely a letter to write to a friend 
that does not need one, I might entreat your forgive- 
ness now for my long neglect in answering your 
very friendly and agreeable letter. Be assured, my 
affection for you is not abated, much as my silence 
may deserve to be construed into neglect. If Barwick 
is yet dear to me, it is not the soil, or the solitude 
I enjoyed there, that makes it so; but the few of 
the Lord's people that live in it. Among them, you, 
my dear friend, who, while I was present with you, 
administered most to my comfort, hold the first place 
in my memory and aflFections in my absence. I 
received your letter as a proof and pledge of your 
sincere regard for me, with real satisfaction and have 
resolved, and re-resolved, to gain a few minutes to devote 
to you, till at last shame, which made me give it up 
for awhile, has compelled me to realize my resolutions. 

"My ministerial responsibility, as well as my private 
regard, lead me to enquire how the Lord's work 
goes on in you, and around you. I have no doubt, 
from the Lord's dealings with you, while I was with 
you, but that you have learned more and more of 
his covenant love, wisdom, and goodness, in Christ 
Jesus. I hope, that as the foundation was laid 
deep, and attended with sharp conflicts with* the 
pride of reason and the powers of hell the fruit of 
righteousness is sown in peace to you; that you 
stand rooted and grounded in light and love ; that 
you find it easier to live by faith, and realize the 
promises of an unchanging Jehovah. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 135 

"Oh, my friend, we trust in a Saviour in whom 
all fulness dwells ; we serve a master, who can richly 
repay us ; we follow not cunningly devised fahles ; 
we look for a city which cannot be moved ; we have 
a friend with God, who is touched with the feeling 
of all our infirmities, and who is able to save us to 
the very uttermost. Let not our hands hang down; 
let not our eye of faith quit its mark; let not our 
affections languish ; let us not sleep as do others, 
but let us run with patience the race set before us, &c. 

"How stands the work of God among you? Does 
the party meet as before? Do they maintain their 
former state in numbers, in attention, in fervency of 
devotion, in brotherly love, in righteousness of con- 
versation? Do they grow in these graces, adorn the 
doctrine of God their Saviour, and cause the light 
to shine on those who sit in darkness around them? 
Are you Mr. Atkinson's deacon and helper, as you 
were mine? Give my best love to them all at your 
next meeting ; and tell them, I often think of them ; 
that it would give me pleasure to see them again, 
and find them ripening for the great approaching 
harvest. Request them, in my name, and in the 
words of the Apostle, that they let their conversa- 
tion be as becometh the gospel of Christ that whether 
I come to see them, or else be absent, I may hear of 
their affairs ; that they may stand fast in one spirit, 
with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel. 

"I was not at Elland the last meeting, nor have 
I heard any account of their finances, which I fear 
are not yet extricated from embarrassment. I hope 
your mind is at ease, in full resignation to the divine 
will on this point. I should be glad if you could 



136 MEMOIRS OF 

pay me a visit at York; and give me as much time 
as you have to spare. You might continue over the 
Sunday, on your visit. Do come, and soon. I beg 
my best regards to your mother, sisters, and brothers, 
and shall be glad to hear that they have all seriously 
set their faces Zion-wards. My respects to Mr. 
Atkinson, and believe me to be, with sincere regard, 

"Your affectionate servant, J. GRAHAM." 

William, instead of simply tendering Mr. Graham's 
Christian regards to the "party," namely, the little 
Christian society at Barwick, connected with the 
Established Church, read the whole of this truly 
apostolical epistle to them on the first occasion of 
their meeting after its reception. This Society lay 
near the heart of William, of Mr. Graham, and Mr. 
Settle, the latter of whom was one of its early mem- 
bers, and rarely wrote without an enquiry after its 
welfare. An allusion to it, as well as to the Elland 
case, which was still in suspense, will be found in 
the following letter. 

" South Clifton, near Newark, Notts. 
"May 12, 1798. 

"DEAR DAWSON. I have just received your letter. 
The box, in one place or other, had been seven weeks 
on the road. But 'better late than never.' You 
have not seen, I dare say, in any of the papers, 
The Rev. S. Settle, proposes opening, &c., for so 
and so, upon the easiest, &c., for young gentlemen. 
The situation, &c. You understand me. 

"Some time since, you named a report respecting 

his grace haA-ing taken another living from Mr. 

Is the report correct? Have you seen Mr. Graham 
lately, or heard anything from him ? Pray, how 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 137 

does the meeting go on at Barwick ? Does it increase, 
or does it stand still? You have said nothing in 
reference to the Ellanders lately. I suppose the sub- 
ject is set aside. Do you think they will ever call 
upon you to undertake hie, fuse, hoc ? Does young 
Mr. Atkinson ever propose anything, or do you give 
him any hint on the subject of Orders? Have you 
seen the rector, Mr. Dean, lately; and does he ask 
you any questions on the matter? What are you 
reading Euclid or Guthrie ? Perchance, the Methodist 
Magazine now and then! You see what a number 
of questions I ask you. There is yet another. Have 
you heard any talk about Mr. Foster, the new curate, 
at St. Paul's, Leeds? Does he please, displease, or 
neither ? 

"Your father, I hope, was a true prophet. A 
preacher, of one kind or other, you will one day be, 
I have little doubt. I have never given you much 
encouragement in offering yourself to the Ellanders. 
I have gone the road long and dreary, and without 
a flower to regale the senses ; and I have found at 
the end of it poverty, contempt, and almost universal 
neglect. However, I make no complaints to any one 
besides yourself. The first step to usefulness is to 
be placed beyond the power of want. How Mr. D. 
could think it possible, that a man, a clergyman, 
one who, though he does not, ought to appear as 
a gentleman, should be able to live, to keep body 
and soul together, with the scanty allowance of thirty, 
or at most, forty pounds a year, argues but little 
for a knowledge of the world. This is poor encourage- 
ment either for a man, like yourself, wishing to enter 
into the church, or for one, like myself, with one 



138 MEMOIRS OF 

foot already in, and a desire to continue within its 
walls. But we may both multiply and magnify com- 
plaints to infinity, and be no better. As I expect 
little favour from the College, I wrote the other day 
to request a person to take my name off the boards. 
Young Mr. A. wrote to me, and put the letter into 
the box. He advised me to look out for cheaper 
lodgings. But there is not another place where I 
could lodge at Clifton, either cheaper or dearer. 

"I think, I have given you some pretty broad 
hints respecting what I should do, were I in your 
situation. I have not told you, to go and get into 
the pulpit, and preach among the Methodists; but 
I have almost told you, to lay aside all thoughts of 
entering into the Church. But somehow or other, 
you have never given me your sentiments on that 
head ; and if I were not satisfied in reference to 
your fidelity, I should hesitate to write to you in so 
plain and frank a manner. "Without flattery, I know 
that God has favoured you with many good qualifications, 
and I think it is a pity that any of them should 
remain dormant. One part of my letter, you state, 
that you like ; and there is one part of yours that 
I like. You inform me, that you address a word 
now and then to the Methodists. Why is it only 
'now and then?' why is it not as often as possible? 
You write much about souls perishing, time flying, 
&c. I think, I may retort, and say, You are halting 
between two opinions; you are ordered to Nineveh, 
but you seem resolved to go to Joppa. Apply this. 

"Your advice respecting increasing the duty is 
good. I had put it partially into practice before 
you wrote. I have also written to Mr. Farish on 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 139 

the subject. He is. willing too, that it should be 
increased occasionally. Respecting catechising, I pur- 
pose following Mr. Graham's plan. Would I could 
execute it only half as well. I purpose, in the course 
of the summer, to go over some evening in the week, 
to Hanby, (Shadwell you know,) and for the sake of 
order, read the evening prayers, and then explain a 
little, not so much to the children, as to the people. 
The same is intended to be done at Clifton on Sunday 
evening. 

"Two young men died lately of consumption, both 
of whom I embraced the opportunity of visiting. One 
lived within a mile of this place. Him I generally 
saw daily. It was by mere accident, that I heard 
of him. He did not live in the parish, but had 
a farm in it. Only part of the town is in the 
parish. I went to him, and spoke on the miseries 
of human life, and the cause of them ; all generals, 
you know. I enquired, whether the clergyman had 
been to see him. f O yes,' was the reply, 'and 
gave him the sacrament.' They had sent for him 
on purpose. To my no small surprise, the man, as 
I was taking my leave of him, asked me to pray 
with him. I returned, 'Yes, by all means.' One of 
the persons in the house enquired, whether I wished 
to have a book. I answered, 'No.' After this, I 
preached the gospel to him, conversed freely with 
him, and proposed to him various questions. The 
man, I trust, obtained saving knowledge. He was 
exceedingly partial to my society, and expressed him- 
self with a good deal of warmth. The other was at 
Harley, and had a good sense of divine things. 

"As it regards myself, I stand much in need of 



140 MEMOIRS OF 

divine teaching. I want more real life in my soul. 
My manner of speaking to the people, I fear, is 
dull, and wants animation. But the minds of my 
people require to be informed. They ought to under- 
stand the Law before the Gospel. God himself first 
preached the Law to his people, and then the Gospel. 

"You perceive I have said nothing about certain 
particulars ; and yet I expect many from you. Please 
to tell my father that everything has been received 
in safety. Pray, write soon. 

"Yours, most sincerely, S. SETTLE." 

Of Mr. Foster, William seems to speak favourably 
in his Diary, having heard him at Barwick. As to the 
Methodists, it will have been perceived, that Mr. Settle 
only became more explicit in his remarks, after his 
correspondent had stated that he occasionally ad- 
dressed them in public. This was prudent, and shews, 
that he wished his friend to be guided by the con- 
victions of his own mind ; and the fact of .his having 
laboured among the Methodists, long before he had 
relinquished all thoughts of going into the Church, 
and his friends had ceased to interest themselves in 
the subject, is a proof that everything was the result 
not of disappointment, but deep conviction, and 
sober, careful deliberation. Nor would he, had he not 
been sincere in all his movements, have ever attempted 
to prejudice his case with the clergy, by taking a 
part in the religious assemblies of the Methodists, 
and more especially when advised by a clergyman, 
some years prior to this, not even to associate with 
them. His silence, too, on the subject of his intentions, 
of which Mr. Settle complains, shews that he wished 
to be left to his own reflections, as if afraid of any 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 141 

improper bias from friendly interference. And not 
anything can be more characteristic of his ardent zeal, 
than the fact while he was furnishing the example 
at home, of his urging his clerical friend to enlarge 
the sphere of his usefulness. 

The additional shades thrown into the picture pre- 
viously sketched by Mr. Settle, of his struggles and 
disappointments, are perfectly natural, and what might 
have been anticipated. He had been engaged in secular 
employment in early life, and had to enter upon his 
studies on attaining the age of manhood. Early habits 
had to be uprooted, and new ones planted in their 
stead. He was anxious, like all persons of genuine 
piety, to overstep that part of the path which though 
fitting him for it, nevertheless kept him from his 
grand object the pulpit. His touching description, 
"I have gone the road long and dreary, and with- 
out a flower to regale the senses," reminds the traveller 
of the "long and dreary" road across the moors 
from Sheffield to Hathersage, where all is sterility 
for a distance of several miles, till he comes on the 
brow of the hill, leading down to the village, when 
the lovely vale of Hope suddenly bursts upon the eye, 
which, in the language of Montgomery to the writer, 
in reference to the same scene, "lies like a paradise 
in the lap of desolation." But the heath, the jolting 
road, and the rocks, which are all in stern contrast 
with the scene, only add to the enjoyment of it at 
the close ; as the happiness of the collegian would 
be heightened when once within the sound of his 
own "sweet evening bells," amidst scenes of rural 
simplicity and beauty, with the prospect of general use- 
fulness among his approving and smiling parishioners. 



142 MEMOIRS OF 

So Mr. Settle afterwards realized the sweets resulting 
from his mental toil; and it was no small privilege, 
while on his journey to the better land, that he 
had such an ear as William Dawson's to listen to 
his sorrows, and such a breast to sympathize with 
him under them: thus requiting him for his song 
of joy in earlier times, when all was assurance and 
peace on the one hand, and all was despondency on 
the other. 

It was not till the 27th of July, that the subject 
of these Memoirs, found it convenient to accept of 
Mr. Graham's invitation to York. He speaks of 
experiencing great "nearness to God," as he rode to 
the city on the Saturday. On the Sabbath, he appears 
to have been "in the Spirit ; " and what is not a 
little expressive of his freedom from all disguise, as to 
his partialities and practice, he went to the Methodist 
chapel in the morning, where he heard a sermon on 
Matt. v. 17 20, under which his heart was filled 
with thanksgiving. He next proceeded to hear the 
Rev. "W. Richardson, who preached on Ephesians v. 
13, 14, and whose voice, manner, and matter, revived 
many early recollections. The public services of the 
day were closed by attending on the ministry of Mr. 
Graham, who expounded I. Bangs vii, by which his 
visitant was greatly edified. In his private devotions, 
he states, that he "felt a remarkable unction when 
reading the cxxxix Psalm." The next day he had 
a conversation with Mr. Graham, on what he terms, 
"the Elland business," which seems to have been 
the prime object of the visit, and respecting which, 
his prayer was, "Direct my steps in thy goings, O 
Lord. I am thine, do with me as thou wilt." 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 143 

Some excellent remarks were penned by him in the 
course of the month on the duty of " mortification," 
in things lawful, and evidently applied to himself in a 
case of some difficulty, in which he displayed the 
Christian ; ending in a further dedication of himself to 
God. 

Additional influences and circumstances, appeared to 
be bringing him to a decision between Methodism 
and the pulpit of the Established Church. He found 
that he had freer scope for the exercise of his talents 
among the Wesleyans, than he was likely to have in 
the Church in which he had been nurtured; and as 
the founder of Methodism embodied the doctrines of 
the Church of England in his writings, and defended 
them against the attacks of several of the clergy, by 
an appeal to the Liturgy, Articles, and Homilies, 
there were the fewer impediments in his way, so far 
as creed was concerned. In stating, that he found 
fuller scope for his peculiar genius among the Wesleyans, 
than in the community to which he belonged, is to 
advance no more than will be admitted by all who knew 
him ; for while he was with the Church violent as was 
his manner very often, and loud as was his voice, he 
nevertheless laboured to sober down his native im- 
petuosity into the sedate, systematized manner of the 
clergy, and so proceeded under partial, and sometimes 
embarrassing restraint: whereas, on being let loose 
among a few warm, simple-hearted Methodists, where 
every man clerked and responded for himself, he sang, 
he talked, he prayed, and seemed to feel the same 
difference that is experienced by the bird which ex- 
changes the confinement of the cage for the freedom, 
the society, and the music of the grove; and that 



144 MEMOIRS OF 

too, as in other cases connected with himself, with- 
out fully ascertaining the cause the whole system 
heing peculiarly adapted to his nature and his ge- 
nius. And he had not to go out of the Establish- 
ment, to turn his back upon it, and to enter another 
community to feel it ; but it was while he was yet in 
the one, and before he enjoyed the full fellowship of 
the other ; and therefore, at a time when many of the 
peculiarities and privileges of both were duly appreciated. 

Mr. Atkinson informed him at the close of the 
Thursday evening meeting, Oct. 11, that his father 
wished to see him at Leeds, to speak to him in 
reference to the Eh 1 and Society. Dawson's language 
was, "Lord, let thy will be done in all things." He 
wrote to his friend, Mr. Settle, on the Friday. On 
the Saturday morning, he went to Garforth, and there 
found his other bosom friend, John Batty, with whom 
he communed; and afterwards visited widow Smith, with 
whom he prayed. He received the sacrament at Barwick, 
in the parish church, on the Sabbath, after the forenoon 
service, when his heart was filled with "praise," and 
when he states it to have been " a time in which God 
shewed his reconciled face." In the afternoon, he 
heard Mr. Atkinson; and in the evening, he went to 
Scholes, where he addressed the people on the "Hap- 
piness of heaven," placing it in contrast with the highest 
happiness to be enjoyed on earth. 

Monday, Oct. 15th, there is the following entry in 
his Diary : "Dedicated to prayer ; praying that the 
Lord would direct my goings in this most trying 
season. Lord answer. Settle came down." 

Here a little additional information may be supplied. 
Finding his sphere of usefulness gradually enlarging 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 145 

in his own neighbourhood, and having been led, as 
far as he could perceive, step by step, in the order 
of Providence, in the work in which he was engaged 
for it was perfectly out of the ordinary course of 
proceeding in the Establishment, he hesitated, and 
hesitated the more as he found the door so long in 
opening in reference to the Elland Society, to decide 
whether he really ought to leave so fair a field of 
usefulness. He was at the colliery on the Tuesday 
morning, and so also was John Batty, who was waiting 
his "stem" a term employed in the neighbourhood, 
to denote a person waiting his turn for a load of 
coals. The time of waiting happened to be longer 
than usual, and turning to Batty, William said, "John, 
this day is to decide whether I am to be a clergy- 
man, or remain as I am." John, who was anxious 
to bind him to the spot, and win him over to the 
Wesleyans, proposed a meeting for prayer, when they 
proceeded to "Grime Cabin," where the colliery ac- 
counts were kept. On leisurely going to the place, 
William observed, "The best time for thinking with 
me is, when I have a little leisure, from eleven o'clock 
in the forenoon to two in the afternoon, which is the 
middle of the clay. These are my best hours ; and when 
these are lost, the best part of the day is lost to me. 
Now," continued he, " if it were to be decided in my 
favour, that I should go to college, I should be obliged 
to remain there three years : these three years would be 
taken from the best part of my life; and, as far as 
actual labour in the Church of God goes, would be 
a mere blank." Whatever complexion this mode of 
reasoning might assume to persons who had every- 
thing to learn in religion, who had not yet entered 

G 



146 MEMOIRS OF 

the field of ministerial toil, and therefore had no con- 
gregations to leave, but only one to look to in the 
distance, with Mr. Settle's "long and dreary way" 
between, it had its influence upon the subject of these 
Memoirs ; and, to a certain extent, prepared the way 
for what followed. Unwilling, however, to lean to his 
own understanding on the occasion, the twin spirits 
entered the counting-house, to plead with God in 
fellowship, as William had often sought directions 
singly on the subject before. The service was com- 
menced by singing the 429 Hymn, p. 403, * of the 
Hymn Book, used among the Methodists, beginning 
with 

" Behold the servant of the Lord ! 
I wait thy guiding eye to feel ; &c." 

than which, scarcely any other in the book could be 
found more appropriate : and their voices in those 
days were not only powerful and harmonious, but 
paired admirably with each other. They then prayed 
alternately several times, when the power of God was 
felt by each, and the glory of God seemed to fill 
the place. It was to them, what the consecrated spot 
at Haran was to Jacob "the house of God," and 
"the gate of heaven;" and humble as was the shed, 
the realities experienced there, seemed with a slight 
transposition of the language of the poet, to 

" Dissolve them into ecstacies, 
And bring all heaven before their eyes." 

As they issued from this little sanctuary, like giants 
refreshed with new wine, or more appropriately, like 

* The Hymn was composed by Charles Wesley ; and originally appeared at 
the close of Mr. Wesley's " Farther Appeal," where it is headed "An act of 
Devotion." 



WILLIAM DAWSOX. 147 

the priest from behind the veil, where the divine glory 
had been rendered visible, Dawson exclaimed, " John, 
I believe I shall have to be a Methodist preacher yet." 
This was music to the ear of Batty sweet as the 
hymn itself which had just been sung in the, "cabin," 
and made delightful melody in his heart the whole of 
the day. 

William, soon after this, mounted his horse and 
rode to Leeds, where he had an interview with the 
Rev. Miles Atkinson, by whom he was informed, that 
the funds of the Elland Society were still low. This, in 
connection with previous reasonings, and the impression 
produced upon the mind by his meeting in the counting- 
house, seemed to be an indication that the providential 
cloud was moving in a direction towards the Wesley an 
pulpit, rather than that of the Established Church. Mr. 
Atkinson, however, not to lose his hold of such a 
valuable man, and still hoping that the funds would 
soon be replenished, endeavoured, with a view to wed 
him to the people among whom he had been trained, 
"to prove," according to the language of William in 
his Diary, "the superiority of the Church Establish- 
ment " over other communities. This, the Rev. gentle- 
man might readily do, so far as his arguments applied 
to himself, and other regularly ordained ministers : 
but what applied to himself, would neither satisfy the 
conscience or the reason of a man, who was unordained 
pressed in spirit, as he believed, by God himself, 
to preach the gospel, with a "woe" attached to 
disobedience who stood alone, as a churchman, in 
his ministerial character who could not legally enter 
a single pulpit in the church to which he belonged 
who had congregations in different places, glad to 



148 MEMOIRS OF 

hear him, and benefited by him the Wesleyans throw- 
ing the doors of their private dwellings open for him 
the path to holy orders, through the medium of 
the Society proposed to him, intercepted by an appa- 
rently insuperable barrier and at the hazard of having 
his energies cramped by the next rector that might 
succeed Mr. Dean, or the next curate that might 
follow Mr. J. Atkinson. 

On leaving Mr. Atkinson, of Leeds, he continued, 
to employ his own words, "earnest in prayer with 
God for direction." The next day he went to "Wood- 
house, in the afternoon," and was there "till late;" 
and in the Diary for the same day, Wed. Oct. 17, 
he adds "Gave Mr. Graham a denial of entering 
the Church." Here, his conversations with the biog- 
rapher, will again supply a few particulars. Mrs. 
Graham's sister being a resident in Leeds, Mr. Graham 
was at this time on a visit to the house of his sister- 
in-law. Having heard that his old parishioner had 
latterly mingled more freely than usual with the 
Methodists, and might ultimately unite himself to 
the body, he resolved, if possible, as one of his 
early preceptors, and as was natural for him as a 
clergyman strongly attached to the Established Church, 
to rescue him from taking a step, which, in his esteem, 
was so unadvisable. He intimated, that the Methodists, 
however unintentionally, were increasing the number 
of Dissenters from the Church of England, and ad- 
verted to the dissensions in the body, occasioned by 
Mr. Kilham and others, as offering but indifferent 
inducements to persons disposed for quiet, to change 
their religious connexions. Recurring to this interview, 
the subject in question observed to the writer, "I felt 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 149 

I had gone too far to recede, and employed a strong 
expression, which not only startled Mr. Graham's 
sister-in-law, but at which I afterwards trembled myself 
I will risk my damnation upon it;" an expression, 
which, by the way, could only have arisen from a 
conviction clear and strong, that he was not seeking 
his own, but was following the leadings of divine 
providence. Reflecting on the whole the next day, 
he entered into his Diary, "What have I done? 
O Lord, have I pleased myself, or thee? thou only 
knowest. Convince and pardon me, if I have sinned; 
if not, strengthen and stablish me. Oh, give me not 
over to mine enemies." He went to the Thursday 
evening meeting as usual, where he heard Mr. J. 
Atkinson on Matt. xiii. 47 52 ; in which the king- 
dom of heaven is compared to a net cast into the 
sea: and after Mr. A. had preached, engaged in prayer. 

His friend, Mr. Settle, who was in the neighbour- 
hood, preached twice in the church on the following 
Sabbath, and at Kippax in the course of the week ; 
on each of which occasions, William attended his 
ministry; and on the evening of the Sabbath as 
if honoured with a new commission, took his stand 
on "Colton Common," and shewed the persons who 
heard him, how far a person might proceed, and yet 
only have "a form of godliness" what the power 
of godliness was applying the subject both to pro- 
fessor and profane, and demanding an answer to the 
question, "That if persons, who had a mere form, 
could not gain admission into heaven, how those could ex- 
pect to inherit it, who were destitute even of that form!" 

Though Mr. Settle knew the way in which the Lord 
had led his friend, and had given him an intelligible hint 



150 MEMOIRS OF 

on the subject of Methodism, yet when it came to a 
decision, he seemed dissatisfied with him for deciding so 
peremptorily against holy orders ; living in hope, like 
Mr. Atkinson and others, that a way might still be 
opened for him to the pulpits of the Established Church, 
where he might be extensively useful. Mr. Wade advised 
him to go into the Church, and others were grieved 
with the result of his interview with Messrs. Atkinson 
and Graham. Still, unwilling to do anything in haste, 
and ready to retrace his steps if he had done wrong, 
he resolved to acquire the best light on the subject 
he could obtain, and so wrote for advice to the Rev. 
Joseph Benson. He had heard what could be said 
on one side of the case ; he now wished to know 
what could be advanced on the other. Mr. Benson 
wrote as follows : 

"York, Oct. 30, 1/98. 

"DEAR SIR. Having been very much engaged ever 
since I was favoured with your letter, it has not been in 
my power to pay proper attention to it till now. And 
even now, having only half an hour to spare here 
upon a journey I am taking into the North, I shall 
not be able to return you such an answer as you 
probably will expect. But if I can suggest any hint 
which may be a means of casting light upon your 
path, I shall be glad. Let me observe 1st, then, it 
is matter of very great thankfulness, that so many 
pious ministers have got into the Church hi different 
parts of the kingdom of late years ; and it is much 
to be desired that more still should be introduced 
into it. For, as you justly observe, thousands will 
hear the gospel in the Church, who will not hear it 
out of it. Add to this, we are at no loss at all to 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 151 

procure preachers to labour in our Connexion; we 
have more offering every year than we can take in : 
but it is not so easy to find persons proper to go into 
the Church, or to get such as are proper, so educated 
as that they can be admitted. Nevertheless, though 
I speak thus, I would observe 2ndly, it is not in me 
to determine how far it will be your duty to endeavour 
to get into the Church. Divers circumstances should 
be taken into consideration, as your inclination and 
ability to apply yourself to the study of the classics : 
how far you can be spared from the calls of your 
father's family, who it seems are partly dependant 
upon you for support. The loss of five years, which 
if you went to the University, would be absolutely 
necessary to qualify you for orders, is a serious objec- 
tion which I could not get over, were it not for the 
prospect of greater usefulness afterwards ; and yet that 
is doubtful, should it please God to spare your life. 
Upon the whole, the best advice I can give you is, 
to remember him who has said, Acknowledge me in 
all thy ways, and I will direct thy steps. If your 
eye be single to God's glory, and you sincerely, 
earnestly, and believingly ask his direction, you cer- 
tainly shall be favoured with it, and not suffered to 
take a wrong step. Praying that the Lord may make 
darkness light before you in this business, and guide 
you continually, I remain your sincere friend and 
brother, " J. BENSON." 

Had Mr. Benson not given greater satisfaction as 
a commentator, hi illuminating what otherwise might 
appear dark, than he did in removing the difficulties 
which pressed upon his enquiring friend, he would 
have been less popular than he is ; for in the language 



152 MEMOIRS OF 

of the subject of these pages to the biographer, 
"his letter just left me where I was." But it is 
probable, from the known character of Mr. Benson, 
that he felt a delicacy on the subject; and that he 
wished to leave his enquirer to the dictates of his 
own conscience, the guidance of his own reason, the 
counsel of his friends, and the openings of divine 
providence. So William himself concluded. Hence, 
in his Diary, it is remarked, " He leaves it entirely 
to God and myself:" and then adds, "once, O Lord, 
thou madest a way for me, in a case like the present, 
when assistance was not to be found in any other 
quarter. Suffer me not to walk in darkness, but to 
follow thee. Attend me in all my concerns ; and 
assist me in all things to act as becometh a Christian." 

A few days after this, he received the following 
note from Mr. Dikes : 

"Hull, Nov. 5, 1798. 

" DEAR SIR. I lately saw a letter from you to Mr. 
Benson. I will take the liberty of giving you my 
advise respecting the question you propose to him. 
If your family do not require your attention, if your 
entering upon a course of study would be no dis- 
advantage to your mother and sisters, by all means 
accept the offer of the Elland Society. Mr. B. tells 
me, they i. e. the Methodists, have more preachers 
than they want. As to the time. Why should you 
be in such haste? Neither our Saviour nor John 
the baptist entered upon their ministry till they were 
thirty-one. And if persons were not so young, when 
they entered upon so important an office, it would be 
better. Only, if you accept the offer of the Elland 
Society, you must comply with all their rules, and not 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 153 

preach among the Methodists. Believe me, to remain 
yours very sincerely, T. DIKES. 

p. g. You must not think all is lost time, which 
is spent in making preparation for the ministry. I 
would wish you to pass through the University of 
Cambridge: it will be a great advantage to you in 
after life for the work in which you are about to 
engage." 

Mr Dikes had either not been fully acquainted with 
the result of William's interview with Messrs. Atkinson 
and Graham, or some sudden and unexpected change 
must have taken place, in the improvement of the 
funds ; otherwise, he would not have urged him to 
"accept the offer of the Elland Society:" unless it 
be supposed, that a strong hope was entertained that 
he would, at no remote period, be admitted as a 
candidate, and was therefore requested to wait a short 
time longer. At all events, the " oifer" affords ad- 
ditional proof, that his way was now open to holy 
orders, and that his non-acceptance was the result of 
the deliberate convictions of his own mind. 

In his public addresses, and theological studies, he 
often felt unspeakable delight, though he was not 
without his moments of bondage and depression. The 
one laboured against the other ; and while he was 
encouraged on the one hand, he was preserved in a 
state of dependance on the other. Some of his sub- 
jects towards the close of the year, appear to have 
originated in his own experience, arising from his 
hopes and fears, his joys and his sorrows ; as the 
comfort afforded to such as seek the Lord, Ezra viii, 22, 
the preciousness of Christ to such as believe, 1 Pet. 
ii, 7, the benefits enjoyed by those who are "born 



154 MEMOIRS OP 

again," a caution to the lukewarm, taken from the 
example of the members of the Laodicean church, 
Rev. iii. 16, finally, warbling out his "Christmas 
carol" at Aberford, Deer. 25, on Luke ii. 10. There 
were several other texts and topics, as appears from 
his notabilia, on which he dwelt; but these are ex- 
pressive of his general state, making it his constant 
business to seek the Lord himself, clinging to Jesus, 
reaping the blessings arising from the change he had 
experienced, and dreading lukewarmness as he dreaded 
moral evil. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 155 



CHAPTER VI. 

Wesley's Life. Reconciliation necessary for a Minister of the 
Gospel. People generally moulded by the ministry. Increasing 
faith. Little faith. Jeremy Taylor. Extracts from the Diary. 
Bohlers advice to Wesley. Faith to be preached. Faith in 
its simplicity Examples of it. Friendship. Covenant. 
Messrs. Graham and Settle. Advantage of different Christian 
communities. Authors and reading. Sentiments of Dr. John- 
son and Sir P. Sidney on knowledge. " Visitation of the Sick." 
Industry. Messrs. Settle and Wade. Mr. Suter. W. Dam- 
son supplies the place of the Vicar of Thorpe-Arch. Personal 
piety and public usefulness. Self-abasement. A hoary-headed 
enquirer after truth. Watch-nights. Tries Class-Meeting. 
Preaches in the coal-mine. Dress. Useless and unseasonable 
conversation. Omissions of duty. Death of the Hector of the 
parish. Public business, and rules to be observed in transacting 
it. Hard bargains, and love of our neighbour. Inferior usage. 
Contentment. Presentiment. Visit of an uncle to Barnbow. 
Sermon to young people. Providential deliverance. Aptitude 
for improving occasions and events. 

THE Life of the venerable Wesley having been put 
into his hand towards the close of 1/98, he began 
to give it an attentive and serious perusal, at the 
commencement of 1/99. He remarks in reference 
to it, Jan. 8, "I read part of Mr. Wesley's Life; 
and was struck with an observation, that 'none 
are proper preachers, who have not the witness of 



156 MEMOIRS OF 

pardon.' This, to me, appears to be a reason, why I 
should forbear my present mode of proceeding." With 
this may be coupled another passage in his Diary, 
for Feb. 1. "I was deeply impressed with 2 Cor. 
v. 18, 'All things are of God; who hath reconciled 
us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us 
the ministry of reconciliation.' From hence, it seems, 
that a man must himself be reconciled to God previously 
to his becoming a minister of the Gospel." 

This may be considered as a new era in his Chris- 
tian experience. The past, in his estimation, seemed 
to amount to nothing. He appeared to himself to 
have been satisfying his soul with occasional comforts 
and flashes of joy, which were confounded by him 
with assurance, or conscious pardon. But others, who 
knew him, and with his Diaiy before them them- 
selves meanwhile conversant with the operations of 
the Spirit of God upon the heart, would not be in- 
clined thus to view the past. His experience might 
be deemed imperfect ; but still, the work was genuine, 
as far as it went. The truth is, that God mostly 
accommodates his work to the workmen, and the work 
generally partakes of the character of the ministry. 
When people sit under a ministry distinguished for 
dry morality, little else but a decent morality is wit- 
nessed. Where a God-fearing, gradual work of grace 
is insisted upon, without the doctrine of assurance, 
the people very often live beneath their privilege ; 
and, instead of rejoicing in God, hang down their 
heads like bulrushes, as if the religion of Jesus only 
tended to generate gloom and melancholy. When, on 
the other hand, present pardon present salvation 
the seal and witness of the Spirit are pressed home 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 157 

upon the soul, persons live in the enjoyment of them. 
Let people hear nothing, expect nothing, pray for 
nothing, believe in nothing in this way, and nothing 
of the kind is either received or enjoyed. As far as 
experience is concerned, the religion professed is a 
mere religion of emptiness. The faith that is not 
encouraged, is rarely brought into exercise. These 
remarks are made in the spirit of the sentiment to 
which the Apostle gives utterance, in his first Epistle 
to the Corinthians, "Therefore, whether it were I 
or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. " Nor 
are they less in harmony with the language of the 
Son of God, "According to your faith he it unto 
you." This apostolical doctrine is, in its operation 
upon the mind, one of the distinguishing features of 
Methodism. An instantaneous work is believed and 
urged, and instantaneous pardon is received, accom- 
panied with its internal evidence. Christianity is 
represented, Rom. vi. 1 7, under the nature of a mould 
or die, into which its adherents are cast, and from 
which they take the impression of its excellence ; "ye 
have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine 
which was delivered you." And as is the mould, so 
will be the figures thrown oif perfect or imperfect, 
feeble or strong. 

The case seems to be this, the subject of these 
pages, now saw more clearly what, to a considerable 
extent, he before had felt. He began to adopt differ- 
ent terms, and to affix either stronger or other meanings 
to terms previously employed. He became more in 
earnest too, for the direct abiding witness of the 
Spirit; had a more correct perception of the nature 
of faith, and was more deeply impressed with the 



158 MEMOIRS OF 

necessity of living by it. In consequence of not having 
lived in the constant exercise of faith hitherto, he 
was often complaining of the "hidings" of God, of 
"startings of anger," of "earthly desires," of an 
inclination to "peevishness," over the first of which 
he silently mourned, and against the latter of which 
he proclaimed incessant war: but now, it was faith 
faith in the beginning, faith in the middle, faith 
at the close ; the faith in which he found he could 
alone stand by which he found he could alone walk 
through which he could alone overcome ; that faith, 
in short, by which he only could live, and so secure, 
in the smile of his God and Saviour, permanent re- 
pose. A want of the constant exercise of faith will 
as naturally induce doubt, fear, gloom, and consequent 
dejection, as moral evil will entail its burden of guilt 
upon the conscience. Hence, the momentous import 
of that single sentence, uttered by the prophet "The 
just shall live by his faith ; " a sentence, iterated and 
re-iterated by the apostle; entering into the very 
spirit of every dispensation of God to man ; urged 
upon the ancient Jews, the Romans, the Galatians, 
and the more modern Hebrews ; * informing the latter, 
that they were to " LIVE " as their fathers had 
done, "by faith," that faith was as essential to 
spiritual, as food to natural life, and that a man 
could, with as little safety to his comfort and reli- 
gious being, cease to believe, as he could hope to 
support existence in the present state without food. 
Weak faith, like impoverishing diet, preserves the 
soul in a sickly, languishing state ; strong faith pre- 
serves it in vigour. Faith, when weak, endangers 

Hab.ii. 4; Rom. i. 17; Gal. Hi. 11 ; Heb. x. 38. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 159 

the life of an apostle, and he feels himself gradually 
sinking through the yielding waters, in proportion 
as he ceases to exercise it ; whereas faith, when strong, 
gives courage to the heart, and vigour to the arm of 
the patriarch, who, in the plenitude of its power, 
goes forth to the sacrifice of an only son. 

It was from his own experience, that he drew many 
of his subsequent observations, and so far whatever 
might be the cost of pain to himself, his exercises 
were beneficial to others. When speaking of "little 
faith" afterwards, he exhibited it under the imagery 
of "A little lad, sitting in a corner, with a blood- 
shot eye, and a green shade over it." Persons of 
fastidious taste, would find latitude sufficient here to 
find fault; but to the spiritually-minded, the right- 
hearted, the imagery, with the truths couched under 
it, would afford ground-work for half a dozen dis- 
courses. "LITTLE FAITH," to extend, as well as 
familiarize the subject, is but a "little lad" being 
comparatively feeble, in consequence of not having 
reached maturity; is found "sitting," instead of being 
actively engaged, and on the alert our best divines 
invariably representing it as an " active principle ; " 
takes its position in a "corner," instead of going 
abroad to benefit the public by its example, and to 
be "seen and read of all men;" with a "green 
shade," requiring, instead of imparting relief; "a 
blood-shot eye," and so obstructing vision, by pre- 
venting the free and full use of the faculty; the 
whole forming a complete contrast to faith hi its 
strength, or, to pursue the metaphor, faith in its 
manhood, whose praise is thus chaunted by the bard 
of Methodism 



160 MEMOIRS OP 

" Faith lends ils realizing light, 

The clouds disperse, the shadows fly ; 
Th' Invisib'e appears in sight, 

And God is seen by mortal eye." 

And besides, as already hinted, and as was well 
attested by the experience of the subject of these 
Memoirs, "little faith" is more or less in pain 
perplexed with doubts, and distracted with fears, which 
was, no doubt, another idea he wished to convey. 
Jeremy Taylor, in illustrating faith, takes the case of 
the Israelites, who were bitten by the serpents; and 
shews, to employ his own language, that when even 
a "blear-eyed" person turned towards the object, 
and reached it, there was sufficient virtue in the look, 
in connection with the object so beheld, to save ; 
though the vision of such a person might be but 
dim, when compared with the clear, steady, penetra- 
ting glance of others. Whatever becomes of the 
language and the same apology that will serve the 
prelate, may be deemed sufficient for William Dawson, 
the simile, in both cases, is admirably adapted to 
illustrate faith in its varied exercises and effects. 

Two or three extracts from his Diary, in the course 
of the year, of different dates, will shew how his mind 
was absorbed on the subject of faith, and the blessings 
consequent on its exercise. 

" Read some of the experience of Mrs. Rogers. Thy 
will, O Lord, be done in me and by me. Let thy mercy 
preserve and bless my soul. Remove unbelief. Give 
me faith. Opened on Zech. ix. 9 12, which was made 
useful to me. 

" Much in earnest for strength to believe. Frequently 
opened on different texts in the Evangelists ; such as 
'Thy faith hath saved thee,' 'Only believe,' ' If 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 161 

thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that 
believeth,' &c. In the afternoon of the same day, I 
opened on Rom. iii. 25, ' Whom God hath set forth 
to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare 
his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, 
through the forbearance of God.' Thus, in the death 
of Christ, by applying faith, God's righteousness is 
exemplified in the remission of sins that are past, and 
he can be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth 
in Jesus. 

" Engaged with the Lord all the day, for the full 
application of the sense of pardon to my soul. In the 
evening, when at private prayer, I found a little confi- 
dence in the merits of Jesus, by believing in him. This 
promise is useful to me, ' He that believeth on him is 
not condemned.' Mr. Fletcher's letters are of service 
to me, where he shews that believing, and the seal of 
the Holy Ghost, are two distinct things. But, O Lord, 
I trust I shall not rest hi anything, and especially with- 
out this seal, this earnest of thine, this pledge of 
heaven. Never till now did I see so much as is implied 
in this promise, 'Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father 
in my name, he will give it you.' Blessed Jesus ! I 
hope this is the beginning of good days. The same day 
I spoke at Garforth, on ' Believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' This is my earnest 
wish, a more powerful application of the Holy Ghost 
to my heart." 

In thus preaching faith, while deploring his want of 
it, and assigning that want as a reason why he should 
desist from preaching, a person acquainted with the life 
of Wesley, to which reference has been made, will be 
led to advert to the following passage, where the latter 



162 MEMOIRS OF 

remarks, "Immediately it struck my mind, 'Leave 
off preaching. How can you preach to others, who have 
not faith yourself?' I asked Bohler whether he thought 
I should leave it off or not. He answered, 'By no 
means.' I asked, ' But what can I preach ? ' He said, 
' Preach faith till you have it ; and then, because you 
have it, you will preach it."'* It is not improbable 
that Bohler' s reply to "Wesley was the means of not 
only preserving Dawson in his work, but of his con- 
tinuing to preach on the subject of faith. There is one 
distinction, however, to be preserved in remembrance, 
That while Mr. "Wesley felt the total absence of justi- 
fying faith, William Dawson was only tempted to reason 
himself out of what he had. He seemed like a person 
not altogether satisfied with the fruit he had been per- 
mitted to taste, and was desirous, if not of entirely 
rooting up the whole tree, of at least grafting a scion of 
a different species of apple on the old stock. But he 
was soon taught to proceed "from faith to faith," 
not differing in kind, but in degree, "by a gradual 
series," as Mr. Wesley renders the passage, " of still 
clearer and clearer promises." As the giant Anteus, 
when wrestling with Hercules, is said to have acquired 
strength by every fall to the ground ; so the faith of 
Dawson, though occasionally foiled, rose again and 
fought more valiantly, each succeeding conflict yield- 
ing greater triumph. f 

By repeated conferences with Mr. Thomas Stoner, 

* Wesley's Works, Vol. I. p. 86. 

+ Simplicity in all matters of faith, is considered the best guide ; and with 
this, while the poor are instructed, the learned are never offended. A peasant 
of singular piety, being upon a particular occasion admitted to the presence of 
the King of Sweden, was asked by him, " What he considered to be the nature 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 163 

the father of the Rev. David Stoner, then resident at 
Barwick, and Mr. John "Warner, together with others, 
he became more and more established. Mr. Warner 
was at that time in all the strength of his Christian 
character, and William Dawson, who could never for- 
get a kindness, was not the man to desert him, in 
a reverse of circumstances. A false friend has been 
very properly compared to the shadow on the dial, 
appearing in clear weather, but vanishing as soon as 
it becomes cloudy. The subject of these Memoirs, 
on receiving an accession of spiritual strength, never 
failed to strengthen the brethren, to uphold the weak, 
and to reclaim the wanderer; and Mr. Warner was 
one who shared in his kind attentions. 

He entered into solemn covenant with God on the 
anniversary of his birth-day, adopting the same form 

of true faith ?" The peasant entered fully into the subject, and much to the 
king's comfort and satisfaction. When the king was on his death-bed, he had 
a return of his fears as to the safety of his soul, and still the same question was 
perpetually put to those around him : " What is real faith p " The archbishop 
of Upsal, who had been sent for arrived, and entering the king's bed-chamber, 
commenced in a learned, logical manner, a scholastic definition of faith, which 
lasted an hour. When he had finished, the king said, with much energy 
" All this is ingenious, but not comfortable ; it is not what I want. Nothing 
but the farmer's faith will do for me." 

A minister, in America, desirous of communicating the notion of faith to a 
little boy, took a chair, and placed it some distance from him, when he told 
the boy to stand upon it to fall forward and he would catch him. The boy 
immediately mounted the chair, but did not fall forward as requested. He 
wished to obey, but was afraid the minister would fail in catching him. He 
however, put one hand on the mantle-piece, thinking to save himself, if not 
caught ; but the minister told him, that would not do, he must trust to him 
alone; adding, that he would surely catch him, provided he would fall for- 
ward. The boy immediately summoned all his courage and fell ; when he was 
as quickly caught. The minister then told him, that that was faith, and that 
he wished him to go with the same confidence to Jesus Christ. Any child may 
comprehend this; but alas, the disposition is too often manifested, to lay hold 
of some " mantle-piece " something in which self is interested, rather than 
go direct to the anus of the Saviour. 



164 MEMOIRS OF 

as the one of Friday, July 25, 1790, saying "repeated, 
Saturday, March 30, 1799." 

Mr. Graham visited Barwick in the spring, and Mr. 
Settle in the summer; but no estrangement of spirit 
was perceptible on either side. William notices his 
interviews with both, with pleasurable feeling; and with 
the latter, a regular correspondence was still main- 
tained. They were satisfied with his sincerity in the 
decision of the preceding year; and though it sun- 
dered them in the field of operation, they knew that 
the great moral waste could only be cultivated and 
reaped by the different religious communities occupying 
their different stations and plots, and working their 
way to the centre, where on the work being com- 
pleted, "Harvest home" would be shouted, and the 
grand "Hallelujah chorus " sung over a once lost, 
but finally saved world. 

He became increasingly attached, in his reading, to 
the Arminian Magazine, to the writings of Fletcher 
of Madely, Richard Baxter, Joseph Alleine, and others ; 
and added to them, in the course of the year, those 
of Rogers, Bishop Newton,' Doddridge, Bunyan, Dr. 
Owen, Ambrose, &c., together with a work on the 
Success of the Gospel. He was not, as has been stated 
of another, a labourer in the mines of learning ; but 
more properly an assayer of the metal ; one who could 
test the value of what he read, and then give it cur- 
rency. His reading was but circumscribed; still, it 
was good. He seemed instinctively led to some of 
the most useful works; and as he read chiefly for 
experimental and practical purposes, he rarely per- 
plexed himself with the more controversial portions of 
an author's writings. The end which he proposed to 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 165 

himself in reading, preserved him from the error against 
which others have been cautioned, of wheeling rub- 
bish to the base of the mountain, without adding to 
its height, or enlarging its prospect; of carrying 
stones to the architectural pile, and only adding to 
its bulk, without increasing its strength or its mag- 
nificence. The time occupied in reading, was taken 
in snatches from secular employments ; and as this 
was compressed into comparatively small compass, he 
contrived to improve it to the best advantage, by the 
value of the works that came under his notice. He 
felt in all its force, what Dr. Johnson with so much 
judgment has expressed : " The foundation of know- 
ledge must be laid in reading. General principles 
must be had from books, which, however, must be 
brought to the test of real life. In conversation you 
never get a system. What is said upon a subject is 
to be gathered from a hundred people. The parts of 
a truth, which a man gets thus, are at such a dis- 
tance from each other, that he never attains to a full 
view." As a system can only be effectually formed 
in this way, so that system when good, will have 
its corresponding influence on human action ; for, "it 
is manifest," says Sir. P. Sidney, in his more anti- 
quated style, "that all government of action is to be 
gotten by knowledge, and knowledge best by gathering 
many knowledges, which is reading." 

In obeying the apostolic injunction, " give attendance 
to reading," he was careful not to permit his attempts 
to acquire knowledge to trench upon other duties. He 
knew the liturgy too well to forget " the visitation of 
the sick ;" and the grace of God had too deep a hold of 
his heart, to allow him to neglect the kindly office. A 



166 MEMOIRS OF 

reference has been already made to his diligence and 
tenderness in the discharge of this duty ; and he was 
not without encouragement. " I visited," he remarks, 
" a young woman at Scholes. May she know the whole 
truth!" Two days after he adds, in reference to the 
same person, "I am much comforted in the relation 
of her triumphant death." 

He was in the hahit, at this time, of composing a 
new sermon every week ; and forty of these have turned 
up among his papers, dated 1799, together with the 
places at which they were preached. Exclusive of short 
addresses, seventy-five distinct preaching sen-ices are 
enumerated in the course of the year. This is the more 
remarkable, as he stood nearly alone, not being wholly 
either with the Established Church, or with the Wes- 
leyans, though loved and courted by both, and an 
attendant on the ministry of each. Among the clergy, 
the Rev. Messrs. Atkinson, Hodgson, Foster, Marriott, 
Smalpage, Hemington, and King, are noticed this year; 
Benson, Pawson, Blagborne, and others, among the 
Methodists. 

Few were the instances in which he was repulsed, in 
the course of public instruction which he was pur- 
suing ; and two of these, which are the only cases that 
have come to the knowledge of the biographer, were 
not distinguished by anything discreditable to either 
party. Some of the friends applied to Mr. Wade of 
Sturton Grange, to allow him to preach in his house. 
" No," returned Mr. Wade, with energy and firmness, 
" he shall not preach in my house, till he is united to 
the Methodists." Mr. Wade was ignorant of his inward 
struggles, and of the difficulties he had to surmount, 
arising from early prejudices and prepossessions. On 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 167 

the friends at Seacroft requesting Mr. Suter, who 
preached in the forenoon, to publish for him to occupy 
the pulpit in the evening, he enquired with some appa- 
rent sharpness, " Who is this Mr. Dawson ?" Further 
observing, " He is not regularly acknowledged among 
us ; we know nothing of him." Not being an accredited 
local-preacher, and the old gentleman being tenacious 
of rule, he considered himself justified in declining to 
make the announcement. Yet such was the contrast, 
in the same place, and about the same time, that when 
the Rev. R. Remington, vicar of Thorpe-Arch, noticed 
above, was announced to preach, but prevented from 
attending, the congregation assembled on the occasion, 
finding William Dawson present, pressed him to engage 
in the service, which he readily did, and went through 
the whole to the satisfaction of the hearers. His own 
remark in his Diary, in reference to this circumstance 
is ; " I was at Seacroft in the evening. Mr. Heming- 
ton was expected, but did not come. I spoke to the 
people. O Lord, let thy good Spirit be found in me, 
to enable me to rejoice before thee with reverence, and 
to bear an experimental testimony of thy pardoning 
grace, in and through Jesus Christ!" He also occupied 
the pulpit at Scholes, in the absence of Mr. Pawson. 
Adverting to the extraordinary manner in which he had 
been led by the providence of God, in early life, as 
well as his consecration to the Missionary cause at 
its close, he observed to the writer, after several other 
remarks, " I have always considered myself a kind of 
nondescript." 

While the two or three rebuffs just noticed, produced 
momentary pain, they contributed their quota towards 
hastening another decision, consequent on that of 



168 MEMOIRS OF 

deciding against holy orders, namely, his becoming an 
accredited Wesleyan local-preacher. He continued, 
meanwhile, in the spirit of his work, as the following 
additional entries in his Diary for the year will shew ; 
and though somewhat similar to extracts already made, 
they will exhibit his progress in piety. 

"At Barwick in the evening. Spoke upon Psalm 
ciii. 2. Blessed be the Lord, my strength, for a sweet 
confidential nearness to him in prayer ! 

" Preached at Micklefield. Praise the Lord ! I found 
him near and precious. I experienced, as I was going, 
a sweetness of a peculiar kind, in thus being engaged 
for God. I spoke on, ' He hath done all things well.' 
It is still my prayer, that God would reveal himself in 
my soul more fully in the full demonstration of the 
Spirit. 

"Had a powerful application of that text, 'How much 
more shah 1 your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit 
to them that ask him ? ' 

" While at prayer, after dinner, I felt an uncommon 
influence of God upon the soul ; and particularly in 
reading John, xiv. 13 17. In the evening, I spoke at 
Whitkirk, on our Lord's appearing to Mary Magdalene. 
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord for all his benefits ! 
those especially which I obtain while waiting upon him. 
He is good. Oh, may he attend the poor hints which 
have been dropped, with his divine blessing ! " At the 
same place again, about a month after, he observes, 

" I was at Whitkirk in the evening, and spoke on 
Acts xix. 20. Bless the Lord, I think I never remember 
receiving so much good in my life. Bless the Lord ! 
He is mine, he is mine. A woman was deeply affected. 
Oh, may she never rest, till she is completely changed 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 169 

into the divine image ! Blessed Lamb ! I wish to be 
the devil's enemy. O enable me to do much injury to 
his interests in thy Name ! 

"Life and liberty in speaking at Colton, on Prov. 
xix. 23. I trust my visit will not be in vain. 

"Spoke on Isaiah Ixii. 6. Solemnly affected in the 
first prayer. A poor, simple-hearted man, stood up 
in the meeting, and told us what God had done for 
his soul. 

"At Halton. Spoke on Matt, xviii. 3. My prayer 
is, that God would attend my labours with abundant 
success to precious souls ; and for this, my soul is 
unusually drawn out. 

"In a sweet frame of mind this morning. I hope 
it will be the opening of a good day. So it pro- 
ved. At Little Preston in the forenoon; at Robert 
Moor's at two o'clock ; and at Scholes in the evening. 
Bless the Lord for a finishing blessing ! May the 
Lord hear our prayers for the poor creature that has 
recently so much dishonoured the gospel, and raise 
up many in his place ! Praise the Lord for a praying 
frame ! Waking in the morning, and going to sleep 
in the evening in it ! 

"Blessed be the Lord for a gracious season at Sea- 
croft ! A woman was set at liberty from the bonds of sin. 

"Oh, may I be moulded, blessed Lord, into thy 
likeness, so that as thou art the express image of 
thy Father, I may be the express image of thee my 
Redeemer ! " 

Notwithstanding his repeated baptisms of the Spirit, 
such passages as the following, mingling with the 
preceding, shew, that with the patches of light, there 
were also some deep shades. 
H 



1/0 MEMOIRS OF 

"Appear, O Lord, in my heart with power! I see 
and feel my natural depravity. The character of Mary 
Magdalene was far inferior to mine in sin. Oh, for 
Mary's sensibility and success ! " The succeeding 
month, he exclaims 

"God he merciful to me a sinner! Surely the 
earth never bore a greater ; yet, how little I am 
affected with it, to what I ought to be ! Lord, give me 
not over to a hard heart, and a reprobate mind!" Again, 

"Thou knowest, O Lord, that I would rather die 
than live in sin. Cleanse me fully! Found sweet 
relief in, 'Where sin abounded, grace did much more 
abound.' Praise the Lord! Oh, never, never, never 
may I, for the twinkling of an eye, indulge the thought 
of making Christ the minister of sin ! " Once more ; 

*' After breakfast, I wrestled with the Lord, with 
some short intermissions, till noon, for a manifesta- 
tion of his grace. But he did not appear. Surely 
it is pride, self, or unbelief, that prevents it. Went 
to Methley ; found some faith to believe ; and, the 
Lord was present to seal his word. In the evening 
I experienced a calm in my soul. Indwelling evil 
and fear, seemed to have fled. A quiet resting 
upon the Lord seemed to be my state, though I 
cannot say a lively faith. Oh, that it may be the 
preceding stillness for the Lord speaking to my soul ! 
and that this were my experience, 

' Restless, resigned, for this I wait' " 

When thus abased before God, his evidence became 
bedimned; and he would have implored reconciling 
grace, like a penitent imploring pardon on first coming 
to Christ, with an oppressive load of guilt upon the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 171 

conscience. Thus, "O Lord, thy promises, thy mani- 
festations, all speak thy willingness to communicate 
thy Spirit to any soul that longs for it. Do I ask 
amiss? Lord, pardon me! Do I not ask the gifts 
of thy Spirit with this one object in view thy yloryl 
Thou knowest self creeps in. Work in me a thorough 
change an entire, a new creation : and I protest, in 
thy presence, and by thy assisting grace, which is 
ever ready to help, I will not rest without the seal 
of the Spirit, through faith in Christ Jesus. Thou, 
O Lord, and thou alone, canst bestow the power to 
believe. Thou hast given me a will. Let me enter 
into the liberty of a lively faith in Christ, and out 
of the bondage of all slavish fear. Let me taste the 
powers of the world to come. Let the Spirit come 
in thine own way, and in thine own manner. Thy 
will be done ; only hear my breathings for a present 
salvation. Bestow a holy sense of thy reconciliation, 
that I may know, that thou, O Father, for Christ's 
sake, hast blotted out mine iniquities, and I am ac- 
cepted in the beloved. Lord, help helplessness; a 
little child, that can only defend itself, and help itself, 
by weeping ! Lord, help me. Let me gather up the 
crumbs that fall from thy table. Infinite love ! let one 
smile be afforded, that my soul may cease from its own 
works, and rest in the full and eternal satisfaction of 
the Redeemer of the whole world ! " Like David, he 
lifted up his heart to the Lord ; but he found, as in 
the weights of a clock, that the spirits might drop sud- 
denly, and with ease, when it required steadiness, 
strength, and perseverance to wind them up. 

Then again, in his private musings, as well as in his 
public exercises, to which reference has been made, his 



1/2 MEMOIRS OF 

soul would reveal itself in smiles, breaking forth like 
the sun from behind a cloud ; giving utterance to such 
sentences as these, " I have a sweet sense of the un- 
searchable riches of Christ in my soul. Take, oh take, 
lovely and adorable Lamb, full possession of my breast !" 
Again, " Delightful drawings after God. Surely this 
is the day-star, the dawning of a happy day, when 
heavenly zeal, burning love, true humility, and every 
grace of the Spirit shines out with useful splendour on 
a watching world ! " 

But whether in cloud or in sunshine, he never lost 
sight of his own spiritual interests, and the salvation of 
those around ; and the Divine Being knowing his sin- 
cerity, affixed, in both states, his seal to his ministry. 
Dwelling, on one occasion, upon "repentance unto 
faith," and shewing that the one, if followed up, would 
lead to the other, an old man was deeply impressed 
with the subject. After preaching, the man of hoary 
hairs found his way to him, and told him that he had 
often heard of repentance, but that there was something 
in this "repentance unto faith," which he could not 
understand; observing, "You must excuse me asking 
you for an explanation ; but when you are in the pulpit, 
you sometimes get above us, and at other times go 
away to other things, when we want a bit more of what 
we have just had." Dawson entered into a friendly 
conversation on the subject, which only gave his auditor 
a relish for more. Not long after this, he was going to 
Leeds market, when his horse, somewhat quicker in 
hearing than himself, started, and seemed disposed to 
push forward. He had proceeded but a few paces, 
when he heard a distant pattering noise in the rear, 
and on suddenly turning round, saw a person posting 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 1/3 

his way after him on a pony. It was his old friend, 
who had watched for an opportunity of joining him on 
his way to the market; and who, on coming up to 
him, abruptly and unceremoniously accosted him with, 
"now for a bit more of this ' repentance unto faith.' " 
Dawson was again as ready to communicate, as his 
companion was to receive ; and unfolding the scriptures, 
he " preached unto him Jesus," just as Philip preached 
to the Ethiopian treasurer, "as they went on their 
way," the discourse continuing till he and his ven- 
erable pupil reached Leeds. And in this way, and for 
these purposes, his society was frequently sought. 

Watch-nights were held once a quarter, on a Saturday 
evening, at Garforth ; and these he generally attended, 
as well as assisted in the service ; describing one as a 
" pentecostal season," in the course of which he " spir- 
itualized the Jewish Jubilee." The love-feasts were 
also attended as heretofore. Thus, every door was now 
open to him, and into most he had entered. He had 
preached in several of the pulpits, exercised in the 
prayer-meetings, assisted at watch-nights, and had 
spoken in the love-feasts. But he had not yet passed 
the Rubicon. Class-meeting, like that inconsiderable 
stream separating Italy from Cisalpine Gaul, was a 
boundary over which he had not dared to step ; as that 
would have been if not to have placed him in a hostile 
attitude to the Established Church, like Caesar against 
the senate and against Pompey, at least to have recog- 
nized his membership in the Wesleyan body. Without 
any intention, however, to enter as a stated member, 
and in all probability through the force of persuasion, 
he at length made a solitary trial of class-meeting, on 
Sunday, June 9th, in the present year 1799. His 



1/4 MEMOIRS OF 

own account of the occasion is exceedingly brief: 
" Hear, O Lord, and answer my poor petitions ! Thou 
knowest the desires of my soul after thee. At Scholes 
in the evening ; spoke on Rev. i. 5, 6. Found but a 
slender movement of the affections in my breast. 

' Jesus, I fain would find, 
Thy zeal for God in me.' 

Stayed at the class in the evening. Felt rather better 
in my approaches to God." Whatever might have 
been the cause, which is not stated, it is certain 
that some time elapsed before he again ventured to a 
class-meeting. About the same time he has this 
remark ; " Heard some reports respecting persons 
professing godliness, committing sin. Saw a man who 
had been a preacher, and who, it was said, had enlisted 
as a soldier. Lord, help me !" These things, though 
not occurring in the immediate neighbourhood, might 
possibly exercise an improper influence over him, in 
preventing a repetition of his attendance. With the 
exception of class-meeting, from which he afterwards 
derived much benefit, and which he never appears to 
have discouraged in others, he manifested the utmost 
anxiety for the spiritual prosperity of the several so- 
cieties, and on one occasion, the circumstances of the 
case demanding it, " wrote an address to the society at 
H," probably Halton. 

He was no less active below, than above ground. 
His office, as steward, sometimes made it necessary for 
him to descend into the bowels of the earth, to examine 
the workings of the coal mines. He had a dress for 
the occasion ; and after finishing his survey, he was 
often accosted by the colliers on leaving, with " Come, 
give us a word : there are some of your children here, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 175 

and they want a bit of bread." This appeal to his 
ministerial character, made by those whom he had 
" begotten through the Gospel," and who were anxious 
for the bread of life, was rarely made in vain, never, 
indeed, when time and prudence gave their suffrage. 
And there not in clerical costume, but in his grotesque 
under-ground habiliments, he addressed the sons of the 
pit, like so many "spirits in prison," as they squatted 
around him, with the hue of West Indian slaves, two 
or three candles in the midst of the still deeper jet of 
the mine, held in the hand, or attached by their own 
tallow to the projecting blocks of coal, rendering the 
white ring of the eye visible, as it gleamed in the 
equally penetrating yet benignant glance of the preacher. 
The biographer can easily conceive the effect of such a 
preacher, such a place of worship, and such an auditory ; 
having himself embraced the opportunity of preaching 
to a company of miners, about a quarter of a mile under 
ground, in a spacious apartment in one of the mines 
of Cumberland, when led by curiosity into it, but with 
this difference- it was less murky, the whole sparkling 
like a spacious hall studded with diamonds. 

Though necessity was laid upon him to change his 
attire, when he descended into the earth, he made 
little or no difference, at this time, between his pulpit 
costume and his ordinary dress. As he always gloried 
in the character of an English yeoman, who was quali- 
fied to serve on juries, to vote for knights of the shire, 
and to perform any other act where the law requires one 
that is probus et leyalis homo, so he was partial to his 
dress, which is thus quaintly described by Fuller: 
"The good yeoman," he observes, "wears russet 
clothes, but makes golden payment, having time in his 



1/6 MEMOIRS OF 

buttons, but silver in his pockets. If he chance to 
appear in clothes above his rank, it is to grace some 
great man with his service, arid then he blusheth at his 
own bravery. Otherwise, he is the sweet landmark, 
whence foreigners may take aim of the ancient English 
customs ; the gentry more floating after foreign fash- 
ions." Notwithstanding the subject of these pages 
avoided " floating after foreign fashions," and might 
be considered as a fair and safe "landmark," always 
habiting himself in a way suited to his situation in life, 
yet it did not quite comport with the views of some of 
his inferiors in society, and with their notions of the 
ministerial office, though lay in its character. An old 
man, somewhat facetious in his way, met him in an 
adjoining wood one day, and touching his breast, said 
" Put it in put it in, and cover it up." Dawson 
had been preaching in a ruffled shirt, of which he was 
perfectly unconscious, constituting a part of his ordinary 
Sabbath dress, and which had as little influence upon 
his spirit, as the shoes on his feet. But though this 
soon disappeared, still all was not agreeable to those 
who look at "outward and visible signs." While walk- 
ing, on another occasion, through the fields, on his way 
to Garforth, in company with John Batty, he took off" 
his neckcloth, and disencumbered it of its " stiffner." 
John, in a state of surprise, enquired, " What are you 
about?" He returned "Nothing particular;" sub- 
joining rather drily, "I am only becoming weak to 
the weak ; Mrs. W. has sent me word that I am not to 
appear again at Garforth with a stiffner in my neck- 
cloth." In this, much more credit was due to the 
preacher, than to the tongue of the fair hearer. 

He was always much more afraid of the spirit, than 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 177 

the costume of the world ; and had to complain of per- 
sons, who, on leaving the house of God, entered upon 
topics irrelevant to the ordinance and the word preached, 
instead of improving what they had heard ; and up- 
braided himself for not, in every instance, hearing his 
testimony against it, as well as for not fully delivering 
his mind in private, on matters of religion, saying, " Oh 

that I could have said more to on the important 

concerns of the soul ! " The least omission of duty 
weighed down his spirits. " I heard a man," he writes, 
" boast that he was once able to drink a certain quantity 
of liquor." This same person appears to have become 
religious, and ought to have been ashamed of giving 
publicity to the circumstance. Dawson let it pass. 
But what were his views and feelings afterwards ! "0 
my soul ! " said he, when soliloquizing on the subject, 
" why didst thou not give some reproof? Thou didst 
wrong in not discharging thy duty. Forgive me, O 
Lord ! I am a sinner. This will not excuse an omission 
of duty, on another opportunity presenting itself." 
This is a point of some moment. Persons have been 
known to dwell on their past sins, when connected with 
cunning, daring, or skill, more with a feeling of pride 
than holy shame ; forgetting the odiousness of the act 
in the dexterity displayed ; when they ought to have 
wept before God, and blushed before man. He was 
careful, however, in administering reproof, to award 
only what was necessary for the occasion ; and would 
have rebuked himself for any defect either in the matter 
or the manner. Hence his complaint, " This afternoon 
I spoke in sadly too strong language. Lord, pity me ! 
I deserve not thy mercy." 

On the demise of Mr. Dean, the rector, who quitted 
H 2 



178 MEMOIRS OF 

this life "Wednesday, February 6th, of this year, the 
subject of these Memoirs felt much anxiety respecting 
a successor ; saying, " O my God, give us a minister 
who shall preach the whole, truth, as it is in Jesus ! " 
The new rector, Mr. Hodgson, visited Barwick, on the 
6th of March, and preached on the 10th. But "Wil- 
liam's attendance at the church became less and less 
frequent, in consequence of his almost incessant labour 
elsewhere. He attended the sale of Mr. Dean's house- 
hold effects, but was out of his element. " What 
advantage," says he, " O my soul, is to be obtained 
on such public occasions." 

His talents, however, were such as to command at- 
tention ; and he found it impossible to escape from the 
more chafing parts of public business, being called 
upon to engage in valuations, parish meetings, &c. 
Nor had he a little trouble with the " Income Tax," 
concerning which he speaks of having received his 
instructions at Leeds. But into every act between man 
and man, he took his conscience. Hence some of his 
cautions : " Beware of speaking too positively in bar- 
gaining." " Guard against an overcharge of liquor. 
The least degree unfits the soul for communion with 
God. And this may be the case, when its effects 
cannot be perceived by man." " Avoid sharpness in 
conversation." " Never speak disrespectfully of any 
man." " Flee all self-seeking." 

These, and similar maxims, he laboured to carry into 
effect ; and if a bargain seemed hard to the party with 
whom he was transacting business, though their own 
deliberate act, while the circumstances in which he was 
placed would admit of no alteration, he nevertheless 
felt acute pain ; and instead of boasting of a slight 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 179 

advantage, as is the case with many, whose trumpet is 
the loudest in transactions the most unjust, especially 
when the unsuspecting and inexperienced are the prey, 
he threw his sympathies into the heart of the buyer, as 
well as poured out his prayers for him, that the pur- 
chase might prove beneficial, and exceed expectation. 
An example occurs in his Diary, in reference to a 
person who had taken a lime-kiln, and which he was 
affraid would prove a hard bargain. The circumstances 
had all been stated ; but the man ventured upon it ; 
and though there was no complaint on his part, yet it 
did not prevent the apprehensions and feelings of the 
subject of these pages. And this is the very essence of 
love to our neighbour, to make his case our own! 
Just and liberal, however, as he was, he had not only 
small wages, as before noticed, but even less wages and 
fewer privileges than the other book-keepers, in the 
service of Sir Thomas Gascoigne. But it is no uncom- 
mon thing to find the children of this world better paid 
than the children of light ; nor is it at all marvellous, 
that a person of superior mind should be found to sub- 
mit to it, who considers himself in the order of God, 
and who has been taught to say with the apostle ; " I 
have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be 
content." The wheat, too, this year, was " much 
sprouted." But instead of complaining, he looked 
upon it as a punishment, saying, "Thy just judg- 
ments, O Lord, are abroad in the earth ; but spare, oh 
spare thy people ! " 

A reference has already been made to his freedom 
from superstition. But, like many others, he was not 
a stranger to presentiment. " I am struck with the 
idea," he observes, " that some trial is hanging over 



180 MEMOIRS OF 

my head. If it be not a trial occasioned by, or proceed- 
ing from, any fault of my own, the Lord's will be 
done ! I have no doubt it will work for good." The 
next leaf he notices, " Richard has taken himself out 
of the Barkston-Ash volunteers." He adds, " Let 
thy special providence, O Lord, be over us in all 
things ! " Though Mr. Richard had sufficient reason 
for the step he took, it was calculated to excite the 
displeasure of those in command, and might possibly 
have worked round painfully upon the family, through 
the medium of Sir Thomas Gascoigne.* It is not un- 
reasonable to suppose, that God occasionally permits 
these secret forebodings and anticipations to take place, 
which, like clouds settling upon the brow of a hill, 
overshadow the mind, but which, in thus throwing 
their dark shadows over the spirit, prepare and fortify 
the individual against the event, as a sudden plunge 
into the ocean of sorrow might terminate in despair ; 
and this may be admitted, without going to the full 
length of the Orientals in their doctrine of " Khismut." 
His uncle William paid a visit to the family in the 
course of the year, for whose salvation he had often 
prayed ; and as he had to preach at Barwick on the 
evening of the Sabbath he was at Barnbow, it is not 
improbable that the uncle might be induced to hear the 

* While one of our squadrons was blockading either Brest or Toulon, the 
flag-captain had occasion to send for one of the warrant-officers, a veteran who 
had shewn his undaunted face in some of our severest actions, to receive some 
directions on the quarter-deck. As the ship was just standing off the .'bore, 
and nearly three miles from it, a shot was fired from one of the batteries. On 
seeing the Hush, the old seaman clenched his hands and exclaimed, " That is 
for me ! I know it is for me ! " The astonished captain had scarcely com- 
menced his rebuke, when the poor fellow's trunk lay bleeding on the v' an ks. 
Tiie gun must have had an elevation of twelve degrees or more, so that the 
chances of tbe ball touching anything but the sea were enormous ; and the 
person destroyed was the only one who even thought about an effect. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 181 

nephew. He spoke on Christ, in all things having 
the pre-eminence ; and earnest was the prayer which 
went from the lip, that " the Lord would change the 
heart of his uncle by his grace." What a mercy to 
have one in a family, if there were no more, to care 
for the salvation of the remainder ! 

From his earliest religious impressions, he had, as 
occasion has been taken to shew, a tender solicitude for 
the spiritual welfare of young people. And towards 
the close of the year, he remarks, "The propriety of 
preaching a sermon to young people, at Whitkirk, 
occurred to me." This was speedily followed up by a 
discourse to that effect. 

In returning home after the public labours of the 
Sabbath, over moors, and along deep narrow lanes, he 
frequently had to encounter the tempest, driving the 
rain, the snow, and the sleet full in the face ; and 
in some instances, found it difficult to pursue his way 
in the dark ; yet generally exclaiming at the end of the 
journey, " The Lord has been my preserver and con- 
ductor." On one of these occasions, he was benighted 
on a moor; and being unable to discern the proper 
track, he gave himself up to the guidance of divine 
providence, throwing the bridle on the neck of the 
horse, and praying for direction. The thunder pealed, 
though in the month of December, and the light- 
ning only rendered the darkness still more "visible. The 
next flash struck the stick in his hand, but did no 
further injury. Such was the vividness of each suc- 
ceeding flash, that the face of the surrounding district 
was suddenly lit up, as with a gleam of sunshine, 
enabling him, though as suddenly ceasing, to guess 
his way out of the labyrinth in which he was involved. 



182 MEMOIRS OF 

Having to preach at Barwick the same evening, he 
arrived just as the people were about to disperse. He 
related to them the occasion of the delay, telling them, 
with some little improvement of the circumstance, that 
it was a sermon sufficient of itself for their further 
meditation. 

There is little doubt that the improvement was a 
good substitute for the sermon ; for he manifested a 
considerable aptitude in improving passing events, as 
well as a readiness to turn public occasions to good 
account. Thus, at Garforth feast, he took for his 
text, Isaiah Iv. 1, 2, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, 
come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money ; 
come ye, buy and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk, 
without money and without price." At the same place, 
on the occasion of a watch-night, he improved on the 
"shipmaster's" address to Jonah i. 6, "What meanest 
thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be 
that God will think upon us, that we perish not." 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 



CHAPTER VII. 

The old year. Time. The eighteenth century. Opinions of John- 
son and Clarendon. Disinterested toil. Usefulness. Samuel 
flick. Class-meeting. Thomas Stoner. Blessedness of Chris- 
tian communion. Social literary advantages. Reading and 
rtliyious discourse. Providential choice of lot. Wit, true and 
false. Study. Reproof. HOME religion. Domestic changes. 
Escape from death. Murder. Local preachers. Pulpit 
preparation. Over exertion. Progress in piety. Sinners dis- 
turbed in their pleasures by rousing sermons. Increasing labour. 
Pity to the poor. Becomes an accredited Local Preacher. 
Wesley, Whitfield, and Cennick's sermons. Richard Burdsall. 
Enlarged sphere of labour. Affliction andits fruit. Meets the 
Local Preachers, and attends the Quarter-Melting. Preaches 
in Ljeeds. Rev. S. Bradburn. Rev. W. BramwcU. Sinkings 
and swellings of heart. Watchfulness. 

WHILE the close of an old year never fails to pros- 
trate the Christian in the dust before God, and to 
fill him with adoring gratitude, the commencement of 
a new one is rarely without its holy purposes and 
protestations. The brief parenthesis between the close 
of one century, and the opening of another, is still 
more impressive. So it was experienced by William 
Dawson, who commenced January 1st, 1800, with a 
solemn dedication of himself to God, imploring " spe- 
cial grace," to enable him to do his "perfect and 



184 MEMOIRS OF 

proper will," entreating at the same time, a "revival 
of religion in the hearts of those around." Noiseless 
as are the wings of time, they were next to heard 
by him on the occasion, and roused him to renewed 
exertion. He rested his hopes not on the past, but 
on the future. The eighteenth century had completed 
its cycle ; but he was aware, that " Time never turns 
the glass again," to furnish man with an opportunity 
of going over the ground, in order to improve it. 
"Time," was to him, "the wise man's treasure," 
"the nurse and breeder of all good:" but he knew, 
if he could not change the past, by renewed purposes, 
he could nevertheless make improvements upon it ; nor 
did he fail in this, when defects were detected, though 
few men had less reason to complain of misspent 
moments. "Money and time," it is remarked by Dr. 
Johnson, "are the heaviest burthens of life, and the 
unhappiest of all mortals are those who have more 
of either than they know how to use. To set him- 
self free from these incumbrances, one makes collec- 
tions of shells, and another searches the world for 
tulips and carnations." The subject of these Memoirs 
fixed his mind on things the most momentous; and 
finding life exceedingly short, he contrived to press 
the greatest amount of labour into the smallest pos- 
sible compass of time ; and this he did under a full 
conviction of the truth of the sentiments of Clarendon, 
''That our precious time is not lent to us to do 
nothing with, or to be spent upon that which is worse 
than nothing ; that we shall not be more confounded 
with anything, than to find that there is a perfect 
register kept of all that we did in that time ; and 
that when we have scarce remembered the morrow 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 185 

what we did yesterday, there is a diary in which 
nothing we did is left out, and as much notice taken 
when we did nothing at all." Hence his frequent 
exclamations, when pressing important truths upon 
himself and his hearers, "Let us look at everything 
in the light of eternity, hring everything to hear on 
a day of judgment." 

In support of the devout resolutions formed, and 
as a proof that he was anxious to forward the pros- 
perity of Zion, his sermons in the course of the year 
averaged ahout two each Sahhath, preaching on some 
occasions, when a Sabhath had been omitted, four 
sermons on one day, the places themselves being 
some miles apart from each other. Several new places 
too, were added to those which had been regularly 
visited, as Bramham, Mickletown, Thorpe-Arch, Sher- 
burn, Shippin, Lofthouse, Rothwell, Hemsworth, and 
Ackworth. For all this toil, the only reward he re- 
ceived, besides that of the approbation of his own 
conscience, was an occasional social meal or two with 
the friends on the Sabbath ; and even that was regu- 
lated by his distance from home. He found his own 
horse, paid his own tolls, and supported the whole 
of the wear and tear of the road. In this, he had 
an admirable example in many of the Local Preachers 
among the Wesleyans; but not being familiar alto- 
gether with the system, and being without an example 
in his own peculiar situation, moving alone, to a 
certain extent, his disinterestedness appears the more 
conspicuous. 

His usefulness kept pace with his sincerity and zeal. 
Hence, at Kippax, on a Saturday evening, he observes, 
"This was a season of help, while speaking for 



186 MEMOIRS OF 

Christ. A woman was remarkably affected. Let it, 
my Lord, bring her effectually to thee. How far it 
was right in concluding, the Lord only knows." On 
another occasion, he remarks, "John Head has in- 
formed me of a person receiving good under my 
preaching. Praised be the name of the Lord for 
this ! It is the Spirit that quickeneth. A tongue of 
flesh alone profiteth nothing." Again, when at Sax- 
ton, Barkston, and Sherburn, he observes, "I was 
pleased with the happiness of a young person brought 
into the liberty of the children of God. Keep her, 
O Lord, under thy hand; and add many to thy 
church, who shall be eternally saved. " Also at Whit- 
kirk: "It delighted me to hear the intelligence of 
J. Harrison's conversion. Praise the Lord, who 
abundantly pardons all returning sinners ! " 

The doubt entertained respecting "concluding" at 
Kippax, seems to have arisen from the fact of the 
person not having entered into Christian liberty, and 
the propriety of leaving her in that state, without 
a continued exercise of faith and prayer on her be- 
half. He became better disciplined in this work 
afterwards ; but the doubt itself was a favourable 
symptom. * How far, in the other case, the expression 
"under," rather than in the hand of God, was designed, 
is not certain; yet it very much resembles one of 
those happy verbal selections peculiar to himself. The 
person was young ; and if, from her native buoyancy, 

* He afterwards amused the biographer with a remark of the " Village 
Blacksmith " in a similar case. " You will not leave the person in distress," 
said the friends to Samuel, as he was quitting a meeting, on the blessing being 
pronounced. " Bless you barns," he sharply returned, " she will serve as a 
match to kindle the fire with to-morrow night." Dawson had no such design ; 
and Samuel himself was probably either lacking in faith, or failing in physical 
strength, when he gave the reply. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 187 

she did not require the hand of severity to subdue 
her spirit, and so "keep her under," she required 
the constant, gentle training of the vine-dresser, that 
"under" his "hand" "under" his tender care, she 
might bloom in the paradise below. 

Though still shy of class-meeting, he found it diffi- 
cult to steer clear in his frequent associations with 
the Wesleyans ; and accordingly, when preaching 
at Little Preston in the evening of February 3rd, he 
enters into his Diary, " Stopped at the class ; " sub- 
joining, as though he could not avoid it, and was 
at a loss to know how far he had acted properly 
hitherto, in declining it, " The will of the Lord be 
done!" The other prudential means of grace in the 
body, such as love-feasts and watch-nights, were en- 
joyed as usual, remaining in the latter sometimes, 
when at a distance of some miles from home, till 
twelve o'clock at night. Thomas Stoner had a meeting 
too, at Barwick, but whether a fellowship, conversa- 
tional, or prayer-meeting, is difficult to determine. 
That it was not a class-meeting, is probable from the 
fact of William first uniting himself formally to the 
class at Scholes, and the great probability of his 
joining the one in the house of Thomas Stoner, in 
consequence of his attachment to him, and the hallowed 
seasons he enjoyed under his roof. 

Being at Seacroft, Thursday, June 20, "assisting 
Mr. Porter with his hay," he states, that he attended 
"Stringer and England's class;" again adding, "let 
me do thy will, O Lord ! " Having at length decided 
on becoming a member, he united himself to the 
Society at Scholes, Thursday, July 3rd; on which 
occasion, he remarks, " At Scholes class-meeting 



188 MEMOIRS OF 

for the first time. It is under thy will and blessing, 
O Lord, I trust, that I should attend there. Let 
it be for thy glory, and the good of souls." His 
previous visits were accidental rather than otherwise ; 
now he formally entered as a member, and considered 
it the " first time " of meeting in that character. 
He subsequently notices the advantage which he re- 
ceived from such Christian fellowship, in the following 
terms; August 7- "At Scholes. A season of good 
from God." August 14. "Great nearness to God. 
Praise his holy name!" August 21. "In a serious 
frame, produced by considerations on the shortness 
of time." September 16. "A partial fast, to inter- 
cede with God for his blessing upon the Society at 
Scholes." September 18. " Visited Miss Collingworth. 
The mind more open. The Lord appeared rather 
distant at the class towards the commencement, but 
nearer towards the close." September 25. "A precious 
season at Scholes !" October 16. " A most profitable 
meeting. Praise the Lord!" November 6. "Refreshed 
with a solemn sense of God's presence." 

Few men ever entered the Wesleyan Society with 
greater weight of character, from purer motives, with 
more matured judgment, or were equally qualified for 
more immediate and extensive usefulness. And as 
he had no quarrel with the Established Church 
no objection to her creed and loved her pious minis- 
ters, he was not without his regrets. He even venerated 
her "studious cloysters pale," her "high embowered 
roof," her "antique pillars ; " and although he was 
going to another "full-voiced quire," and, in process 
of time, another "pealing organ," yet he was leaving 
her 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 189 

" Storied windows richly dight, 
Casting a dim religious light.'' 

But service, ministers, and structures, were to be 
practically given up, and the face and feet were to 
be directed towards the ecclesiastical piles less mag- 
nificent, and a people comparatively poor, for the 
sake of a wider field of operation. 

One serious disadvantage under which he laboured, 
was the want of a few friends, who combined with 
religion a good general course of reading ; for what- 
ever may be a man's literary taste, yet, if he be left 
to toil in the mine alone, or next to alone, without 
the sound of other voices, and the operation of other 
instruments, to cheer him on in his way, as well as 
superior experience to guide him to the right vein, 
he will rarely make the progress which he would 
otherwise make with such helps at hand. As to 
polished society, the want of this if such want 
existed, was amply compensated by his visits of mercy 
to the huts and homesteads of Hannah Smith, Alice 
Tillotson, and other aged persons, ripe in religious 
experience ; through whose conversation, together with 
that of others, he was enabled to cherish the best 
feelings of his heart ; the same having an indirect 
influence, in the mean time, both upon his reading 
and his ministry, by leading him chiefly to such 
theological works as tended to foster genuine piety 
both in himself and his hearers. These are admirable 
schools of instruction, when the heart is right with 
God, and often make up for other disadvantages. 
There is great truth in the remark, that by read- 
ing, we enjoy the dead by conversation, the living 
and by contemplation, ourselves; adding, as the 



190 MEMOIRS OF 

result, that reading enriches the memory, conversa- 
tion polishes the wit, and contemplation improves the 
judgment. Of these, however, as in the case of faith, 
hope, and charity, reading is the most important, 
because it furnishes both the others. In balancing 
the advantages and disadvantages, the society into 
which William Dawson was thrown, and which he 
courted for the sake of its value to his spiritual 
interests, was, perhaps, the best adapted to his genius. 
Had he associated with wits, his own would have 
flashed with the brightest of them ; nor would he have 
soon become bankrupt for want of stock : but he would 
have been placed in the most imminent peril of losing 
his religion. His, however, was not the false wit 
which consists in puns and quibbles, in anagrams, 
chronograms, lipograms, and acrostics, but that sin- 
gular and unavoidable manner of doing or saying 
anything peculiar and natural to himself only, by 
which his speech and actions were distinguished from 
those of other men, and so far impressed with a char- 
acter of their own ; and which would not have failed 
to reach all, except those who are placed beyond its 
"boundaries," and who have been compared to bodies 
indissoluble by heat setting both furnace and cru- 
cible at defiance, possessing "minds upon which the 
rays of fancy may be pointed without effect, and 
which no fire of sentiment can agitate or exalt. " 
What he lost in intelligence, in some instances, he 
gained in piety ; and applying himself to his books 
at home, as he found leisure, and as has hitherto 
been seen, he was generally on the advance of those 
around, and never failed to enrich himself by com- 
municating it being " more blessed to give than 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 191 

receive." Among other works that engaged his at- 
tention about this time, those of Romaine, Walsh, 
Luther, Manton, &c., may be noticed ; and still further 
to extend his knowledge, he entered into a Subscrip- 
tion Library, distinct from the one referred to in the 
earlier part of his history. Though he both read and 
studied hard, he never read to satiety, nor yet studied 
so "much" as to make it a "weariness to the flesh." 
Each continued to have its charm ; and hence such 
language as this in his Diary, "A sweet season, 
while studying on 'My grace is sufficient for thee!" 
The same spirit which was breathed into it, in his 
closet, was wafted from it, like fragrance, the Sabbath 
following, when he exclaims, "The Lord sent home 
with sweet power, at Seacroft, 'My grace is sufficient 
for thee.'" His reading and intelligence added to the 
value of his society, and so held him in increasing 
request. 

Being frequently thrown into irreligious society at 
Tadcaster, Wetherby, Eipon, Knaresborough, Leeds, 
and elsewhere, while engaged in business, both on his 
own account and on that of the collier}", he was often 
annoyed with the profane conversation of those with 
whom he came in contact. He notices two cases, two 
successive days ; in the one of which he administered 
reproof, in the other, for some reason not stated, the 
sin was permitted to pass. In the latter case, he 
condemned himself, so that the ground of omission, 
must, on mature deliberation, have been deemed in- 
sufficient. The first case involves a nice point, which 
could only be suggested to a mind deeply imbued 
with the Spirit of God, and a heart despite of all 
his upbraidings, distinguished for its tenderness. What 



192 MEMOIRS OF 

else is implied in the following expressions? "Par- 
don, O Lord, the sins of my duties ! How little, 
O my soul, didst thou feel, in reproving a man ? 
How unlike that which Jesus felt, when he wept over 
the city of Jerusalem. I say, how unlike nay, was 
it not the very reverse ? " There is a great deal in 
timing a reproof, as well as in the manner of its 
administration. It should never be done when the 
tempest is up, but when the soul is hushed into re- 
pose. Abigail reproved Nabal, not when he was in 
a state of inebriation, but when the morning light 
had dawned, and his senses had returned. It is vain 
to press the seal upon the wax, while it is hard ; let 
it melt, and instantly the impression is perceptible. 
There is a manner, as well as a time ; an oblique 
way of reproof, which frequently takes off the sharp- 
ness of it. Reproof is an excellent parent, but hatred 
often constitutes a part of its progeny. To prevent 
the latter, it should always be combined with counsel ; 
and thus, like a sword anointed with balm, should 
perform at the same moment, the twofold operation 
of wounding and healing. But even this scarcely 
entered into the case of Dawson ; he wished not only 
to weep over the sinner, but to feel such an abhor- 
rence of the sin as the sinner ought to have felt 
himself. It was not an individual case only, that often 
occasioned pain, but public meetings, when he found 
it difficult to carry out all his desires and designs. 
Hence, he says, "I was at Barwick settling the ac- 
counts for the highways. Here my soul was hurt at 
not being able to recommend the cause of my Divine 
Master. Pardon me, O Lord! Justly do I deserve 
the hidings of thy face. " 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 193 

Having laboured hard in every department, without 
ever considering it a toil, any uncomfortable feeling 
which might be experienced, would, by another than 
himself, have been laid at the door of anxiety for greater 
good, rather than to neglect of duty ; for, like the per- 
severing Roman, he deemed nothing done, while any 
thing remained undone. In the same way though the 
priest of the family for several years, and presenting 
before it an example of piety and diligence, he seemed 
to charge every defect upon himself, and feel as though 
the non-conversion of a member was owing to some 
negligence of his own. But his very upbraidings, here 
again, were met by the prayers he offered up : " Lord, 
have mercy upon me, and help me to walk before 
my family agreeably to thy will ! Make me a HOME 
CHRISTIAN !" 

Several changes took place in the family in the course 
of the year. His uncle Ingle died, January 10th; his 
sister Mary married, November 1/th; and his aunt 
Mary died December llth. On the demise of his 
uncle, he had some thought of entering upon his farm. 
He sought the advice of Mr. H. Gill on the subject, to 
whom he had repaired on former occasions, and in 
whom he could safely confide as a man of experience, 
prudence, judgment, and piety. Mr. Gill saw no par- 
ticular objection to it at first, but it was otherwise over- 
ruled by divine providence. 

Though death made inroads in some quarters, the 
good hand of God prevented its ravages in others. "A 
morning of mercy and judgment," he exclaims; "owing 
to Mr. Cullingworth's horse running away with the 
cart, while sister Bessey and brother Tommy were in it. 
Praise the Lord, that matters wore no worse ! Lord, 
i 



194 MEMOIRS OF 

sanctify it to us all ! " About the same period, 
one of those melancholy deeds was perpetrated in the 
neighbourhood, which fill the mind with horror, when- 
ever they occur, and which greatly disconcerted his 
feelings. A person of the name of Medhurst murdered 
his wife ; on which occasion Dawson poured forth the 
meanings of his heart on the impotency and vileness of 
man. Of such foul deeds, few have spoken more 
strongly than Webster : 

" Other sins only speak, murder shrieks out. 

The element of water moistens the earth, 

But blood flies upwards, and bedews the heavens." 

In consequence of taking a wider sweep of country 
than heretofore, he was thrown more frequently in the 
way of local-preachers, who were not only anxious to 
encourage him, but also occasionally to relieve them- 
selves of an engagement. Messrs. J. Woodcock, T. 
Hall, T. Richardson, and others, were among those 
who opened his way to new scenes of labour. And 
among those at a distance, he became acquainted with 
the venerable Robert Spence of York, who preached at 
Seacroft, and held a love-feast. 

Though he frequently made considerable preparation 
for the pulpit, yet he never trammelled himself with 
either the plan or the filling up ; or even with the sub- 
ject, when anything more impressive intervened. Thus, 
he observes, " I was at Whitkirk in the evening, and 
spoke on ' Thy kingdom come,' which powerfully 
struck my mind, when Mr. Atkinson repeated the 
sentence in the church, before the sermon in the 
forenoon." 

He sometimes suffered from overstrained speaking, 
notwithstanding his physical strength, and the admoni- 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 195 

tions of his mother. He thus bemoans his imprudence : 
" Heard Mr. Hopkins, at Kippax. In the evening, I 
spoke. Though in the middle of the discourse I lost 
sight of God, for which I implore pardon, yet the Lord 
was precious towards the close. The next day I found 
some slight effects upon the body. O my soul, let not 
self-murder be charged upon thee. Beware of suicide, 
which may be committed by improper exertions even 
in a noble and proper employment. Lord, teach 
me ! " 

In looking more immediately at his state of religious 
feeling in the course of the year, though partially dipped 
into already, there was the same earnest cry for an 
increase of faith as in the year preceding, and often the 
same feeling of destitution ; the clouds occasionally 
thickening around him, and again breaking out into 
light and joy. And being no less desirous to keep the 
" inner " than the " outer man " in view, the secret 
springs of action, than the actions themselves, a few 
detached extracts may be given. These, as may be 
expected on such a subject, are more remarkable for 
depth of feeling than novelty of expression. 

JANUARY. " O God, with reverence, I will call thee 
Father. In thee, Christ, through grace, I will 
believe. Pardon, O Lord, my unbelief, that poison 
to the life of comfort and love ! I see, I must believe ; 
Lord, I will believe. Thou art the propitiation for 
sin. ' I hold thee with a trembling hand, but will not 
let thee go. ' Appear, O Lord, to sin's confusion, 
and my salvation. Amen. 

FEBRUARY. "O Lord, refine my thoughts, words, 
and actions ; baptize me with the Holy Spirit ; sanc- 
tify me wholly; prevent me from resting upon any 



196 MEMOIRS OF 

thing but thee; take away all props and hindrances. 
Let thy glory fill my views, that I may pursue nothing 
else. Give me a more tender regard for souls. Praise 
the Lord for patience in a particular trial ! 

MARCH. "Thou art my Father in Christ. But 
thou wilt shew me greater things than these, if I keep 
close to thee. Yet, Oh, what inward struggles to pre- 
serve my confidence, to keep me from lukewarmness, 
to prevent me from resting in divine favours ! 

" A temptation presented itself. But, praise the 
Lord, for grace ! I see the dispensations of Christ 
require me to cry 'Lord, help me.' A baptism of 
the Holy Ghost and of fire. Wrote a few pages on 
Psalm xxxiv. 

"My mind pained, and at a distance from God, 
through unbelief. Oh, what reasons for thankfulness, 
that I am not in hell. 

APRIL. " This week much shut up in unbelief. 
Delivered from fear after reading Luther on the Gala- 
tians, especially his short comment on the 'fruit of 
the Spirit. ' 

MAY. "Bless the Lord, for a slight taste of mercy 
and love ! Oh, how sweet how precious ! 

' A point my good, a drop my store, 
Eager I ask, I pant for more. ' 

JUNE. "My mind much distracted; but I have 
obtained some comfort in reading Dr. Owen. 

JULY. " O Lord, let me not be given over to mine 
enemies : nor suffer me to be ' sounding brass, or a 
tinkling cymbal.' Indisposed to prayer. Lord, quicken 
me ! 

" Read part of the Life of Walsh. Oh, what com- 
munion with God! I am ashamed of myself. This 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 197 

text kept running through my mind, ' Because I live, 
ye shall live also.' 

"My mind under the happy smile of God's face all 
day. Oh, appear in my soul more fully, thou ' Hope 
of glory?' Still happy in the application of some 
promises, which I read yesterday. 

AUGUST. "At Mr. Shillitoe's rape-thrashing. Praise 
God, I got no hurt ! So much for preventing grace. 
At Aberford in the evening. Glory ! glory ! glory ! A 
precious season ! Souls were deeply awakened, and one 
was enabled to praise the Lord. 

"O my Lord, my Jesus, my Saviour, my Father, 
keep me simple, humble, and holy ! A sweet taste 
of redeeming love. 

" Generally above the world ; and the mind more 
solid than it has sometimes been. 

" Not so happy. Oh, for simple faith ! My sins 
appear numerous, heinous, and black. Oh, what a 
wretch ! What an object of love and mercy ! What 
but infinite love could have suffered me to live ? 

"A sweet afternoon indeed to my soul. Oh, may I ever 
possess the deepest self-abasement, and the divinest love ! 

SEPTEMBER. "At Seacroft in the morning, and 
found the Lord present. Heard Mr. Barber at noon 
on the same text I had in the morning. At Scholes 
in the evening, and found it profitable. While at pri- 
vate prayer, the Lord shewed me such a fulness in 
Jesus Christ as I never saw before, and my mind 
closed in with it, to ask of him. Praise the Lord, 
for such a frame produced by such a sight ! 

"Much fervour in speaking ; but, I fear, a great deal 
of it animal. Went to prayer in the kitchen at Whit- 
kirk, and felt better. 



198 MEMOIRS OF 

" Oh, how little do I know ! How ignorant and 
weak ! 'Weak as helpless infancy ! ' Make me, my Lord, 
more weak, that I may fall upon thee for strength! 
At Aberford. Spent a little time with Mr. Hopkins. 
On my return home, I felt such a power from God, 
in the manifestation of himself in Jesus Christ, as I 
never before experienced. My mind seemed swallowed 
up in his. 

OCTOBER. "A little of yesterday's blessing rested 
upon my soul. 

"Went to pray in a wood. My mind was at first 
hard, wandering, and distant. On rising, I felt nearer 
to God. 

"At Aberford fair. Afterwards at the christening of 
John Batty's child. May all I do and say be for the 
glory of God ! 

"While reading Baxter's Directory, my old sins rose 
in view. Lord, I see that nothing can remove those 
painful recollections, but the clear manifestation of thy 
pardoning love in Christ. 

" My mind, from this day to the end of the week, 
under much insensibility. 

" This morning I awoke with some sense of my past 
sins. I wrestled with the Lord, and asked him to shew 
me some promise in his Book, which would administer 
relief. I opened the Bible, and the first text was, 
'Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.' 
The next was, ' If the Son shall make you free; ye shall 
be free indeed.' Bless the Lord, I claimed the pro- 
mises. Some reasonings crossed my mind again, while 
going to Saxton. But these expressions occurred, 
'Believe, Holdfast your shield Who shall pluck you 
from his hand ? ' I heard with profit Richard Burdsall 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 199 

of York, at Barkston, in the evening. Praise the Lord, 
O my soul ! 

"NOVEMBER. "At Seacroft love-feast. Received a 
letter from Thomas Richardson, which refreshed my 
soul, containing good news. At Colton in the evening, 

but much pained at some preparations made by R k ; 

but was enabled to lay the case at the feet of the Lord. 

" Pardon my useless conversation in the forenoon. 
Made a fresh and solemn covenant with the Lord. May 
he help me to fulfil it to his glory ! 

" Heard Mr. Pawson. Felt a touch of divine power, 
when he cited that text, ' He tasted death for every 
man.' 

" Praise the Lord for this day ! I had a glimpse 
of God's love in giving Christ to be the the propitiation 
for sinners. 

"At Barwick. But my soul out of frame. My mind 
still dark. Lord, shine upon it! 

DECEMBER. "The soul is in an easy frame. At 
Barwick till twelve o'clock. I hope some good was 
done in the name of the Lord." 

The last quotation refers to the service which closed 
the old year. 

His sermons became more and more alarming to 
the sinner, more soothing to the penitent, more 
cheering to the established Christian, and, upon the 
whole, more graphic ; the several congregations taking 
them away with them, and dwelling upon them, both 
in the mass, and in detail. To sinners especially, 
his breathings forth were like so many streams of 
pestilential air upon their artificial enjoyments; his 
thoughts and images, like so many swarms of locusts, 
to devour the "fertility and fatness of their laughing 



200 MEMOIRS OF 

fields of pleasure," making their past delights odious 
to them, and each returning joy, after they had heard 
him, just about as effective as falling snow upon a sheet 
of water, 

" The snow that falls upon the river, 
One moment white then gone for ever!" 

As time advanced, his labours became more arduous; 
and although his Diary for 1801, upon which the 
reader now enters, presents various omissions, par- 
ticularly towards the close of the year, yet not less 
than one hundred sermons may be enumerated, as 
preached in different places. Some of these were of 
course preached on the week-day, as usual ; and in 
two or three instances, he preached four times on the 
Sabbath, taking Saxton, Linnerton, Barkston, and 
Shelburn successively. His attendance on the service 
of the Established Church became, in consequence, 
still less and less frequent, and when there, it was 
mostly on sacramental occasions ; while the Thursday 
evening, which was formerly the evening appropriated 
to the delivery of his "Cottage Lectures," in -com- 
pany with Messrs. Graham and Atkinson, was devoted 
to his class at Scholes. Barwick, however, was not 
less endeared to his heart, because of the transfer ; 
for though the parish school-room was given up, and 
his connexion with the curate had ceased, he generally 
set apart the Friday evening for the purpose of preach- 
ing to the inmates of the workhouse, and to such of 
the villagers as might be disposed to attend. In this 
labour of love, he was often more than ordinarily 
blessed, exclaiming, " Oh, what a time of power from 
God at the workhouse ! " 

The kind attention which he thus paid to the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 201 

spiritual wants of the poor, some of whom were in all 
probability unable to reach either church or chapel, 
is strongly characteristic of his benevolent nature, the 
impulses of pity in which were not only as sudden 
as the sound of instruments of music, which obey 
the touch, but as strong and lasting as the circum- 
stances which called them forth. 

Though he had entered the Society, in the summer 
of the preceding year, it was not till the month of 
February in the present year comprising a period of 
eight months, that he was received as an accredited 
Wesleyan Local Preacher. Messrs. Pawson and Bar- 
ber were on the Leeds circuit at the time. "They gave 
me three appointments," said Dawson to the biographer, 
"leaving it to myself, whether to supply them or 
not." Why this apparent indifference was manifested, 
is difficult to determine; unless it was a fear, owing 
to his having preached so long in connexion with the 
Established Church, that he was more inclined to 
the Church than the Wesley ans. Mr. Pawson had 
found occasion, in one of his pamphlets, to animad- 
vert on the conduct of some of the clergy towards 
the Methodists ; and there was, at this time, some 
sharp shooting, on both sides, in the way of con- 
troversy. Admitting, however, the spirit of the times to 
have had no influence on his case, in inducing caution or 
hesitancy, there could be still less ground for it on 
the score of talent or piety. Had there been any 
doubt of the latter, he would not have been admitted 
upon the plan at ah 1 ; and as to the former talent, 
they were so fully persuaded of this, that he was 
never once requested to preach what is ominously 
denominated a trial sermon. He stood No. 22 on 
i2 



202 MEMOIRS OF 

the plan, and fulfilled the appointments assigned him 
with zeal, affection, and integrity. He was planned 
to three places the first day Ledstone, Scholes, and 
Kippax. On the first page of a full outline of a 
sermon on, " My sheep hear my voice, and I know 
them, and they follow me : and I give unto them 
eternal life ; and they shall never perish, neither shall 
any man pluck them out of my hand," John x. 27, 
28, is written, " Ledstone and Scholes, Feh. 22, 
1801. This was my first sermon, when my name 
was on the plan ; and this was the frst Sabbath I 
filled my place as a regular local preacher I was 
never before on the plan. " It may be taken for 
granted, that the same sermon was delivered at both 
places. On another sermon, on Romans xii. 2, "Be 
not conformed to this world," &c., written out in 
full, he entered, "Kippax, Feb. 22, 1801. N. B. 
This was the first Sabbath, which I preached, as a 
regular accredited local preacher." In his Diary, of 
the same date, he writes, "At Ledstone in the morning, 
and Kippax at noon. Praise the Lord, for "a very 
good time at Kippax. At Scholes in the evening. 
In a solemn frame of mind." 

Up to this period, he had paid but little attention, in 
the course of his reading, to published sermons ; and 
this was one thing, which, in all probability, indepen- 
dent of his peculiar genius, gave such an air of 
originality to his own discourses. He now read those 
published by Wesley, Whitfield, and Cennick ; and was 
especially benefitted by Mr. Wesley's sermon on "The 
Witness of the Spirit," impressed " with the want of 
an applied Christ, in reading Mr. Whitfield' s sermon 
on healing the hurt of the daughter of the Lord's people 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 203 

slightly," and "quickened by one of Mr. Cennick's 
on the woman at Jacob's well." He added to his stock 
this year, the writings of Dr. Goodwin and Matthew 
Henry ; and borrowed the works of others belonging to 
the old school. Having heard Richard Burdsall of York 
preach a short time before, and being much struck with 
the originality both of his matter and manner, he was 
curious to know something more of him, and so pro- 
cured the " Memoirs " of his Life, as "written by him- 
self." He was enabled to perceive in the life of this "old 
veteran," a fac simile of some of the leadings of provi- 
dence, and many of the sacred drawings of God respect- 
ing himself, and was not a little relieved by its perusal. 

As the year rolled on, his ardour for more extensive 
usefulness became more intense ; he was found nar- 
rating his experience in different love-feasts preaching 
occasionally for the travelling preachers and occupy- 
ing the pulpits in Leeds, Holbeck, and Hunslet ; 
together with the pulpits and stands of Fenton, Tadcas- 
ter, Towton, Dunkeswick, Harewood, Woodside, Ecup, 
Armley, Wortley, Forge, Allerton, Thorner, Shadwell, 
Chapeltown, &c., &c. ; not omitting Sturton, which he 
was not permitted before to enter, but which Mr. Wade 
was now anxious to throw open to him, in order to 
secure his labours. 

In the early part of the year, God was pleased to 
visit the family with affliction. William was the first 
upon whom the rod was laid. The stroke was smart, 
but short. He was no sooner restored, than his sister 
Sarah was reduced very low, for whose salvation he 
experienced great anxiety. She was little more than 
recovered, when his brother Richard was " taken very 
ill ;" himself again, in his own language, experiencing 



204 MEMOIRS OF 

" symptoms of fever ;" further observing, " Let the 
light of thy countenance, O Lord, shine upon me, and 
then lay upon me what thou seest good for thine own 
glory!" Persons who have known little of health, 
like Watts, Baxter, and others, rarely feel its absence 
so as to make them unhappy. It is from the remem- 
brance of that which we have lost, that the arrows of 
affliction are pointed. The subject of these Memoirs 
had hitherto enjoyed an even flow of health ; and 
although the present affliction did not affect the consti- 
tution, he felt severely. But he knew, to go to his 
own occupation for a simile, that " As thrashing sepa- 
rates the corn from the chaff, so does affliction purify 
virtue." A sentimentalist, sitting in his study, and 
philosophising on the sufferings of humanity, observes, 
" Before an affliction is digested, consolation ever comes 
too soon ; and after it is digested, it comes too late : 
there is but a mark between these two, as fine almost 
as a hair, for a comforter to take aim at." This is very 
pretty in theory somewhat like a piece of frost-work, 
and might serve the purpose of an irreligious man, just 
stepping into the room of a spendthrift, stung with 
remorse at his folly, and putting a purse of gold into 
his hand ; but the Christian must have his consolations 
both before and after aye, and in the furnace too. 

His indisposition occasioned but a partial interruption 
of his labours ; and the spirit which he breathed after 
it, is worthy of notice. 

" Praise the Lord ! my mind is in a great measure 
relieved of all painful reflections on my past imperfec- 
tions, by the contents of ' If any man sin, we have an 
advocate with the Father,' &c. I was free from dis- 
traction, while at church, and had a sweet glimpse of 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 205 

Christ as a Mediator and Intercessor. Was at Thomas 
Stoner's at noon. Lord, keep those whom thou hast 
called by thy grace. At Bramham in the evening. 
Praise the Lord for a season of refreshing ! Oh, what 
comfort thrilled through my soul, while singing a few 
verses from 'The voice of free grace,' &c." A few 
days after, he remarks, 

" This text is impressed upon my mind, which 
serves as a shield, ' Look unto me, and be ye saved.' 
Bless the Lord for his word! A precious season at 
B. Johnson's." 

Every blessing is suspended as by a fibre of the finest 
silk. So he felt it ; and hence, the day after, he thus 
pours forth his lamentations : " At Leeds ; but lost my 
shield on my return home. Levity broke out ; and 
what aggravated it was, I fear it was the fruit of pride 
or self-complacency. I heard Mr. Barber in the even- 
ing at Barwick, and was properly affected with the 
worship. In private prayer, I smarted for my lightness ; 
for the Lord appeared not, nor visited my soul. Lord, 
pardon me ! 

" Next day I heard Mr. Barber at Scholes, and was 
struck, on receiving my society ticket, to find the text 
upon it, which had been such a blessing, ' Look unto 
me, and be ye saved.' After this, I had a few precious 
moments with the Lord in the counting-house." 

He now, both as a private member, and as a local 
preacher, took an interest in every thing that concerned 
the circuit and the connexion. The local-preachers had 
a meeting in " Wortley Chapel," April 22nd ; and there, 
for the first time, he mingled with them, exclaiming on 
the occasion, "Bless the Lord for all his mercies!" 
June 29th, he attended, for the first time, the Quarter 



206 MEMOIRS OF 

Meeting at Leeds. Here, he observes, " I was rather 
hurt, in giving my vote for a petition for Mr. Bram- 
well;" afraid, apparently, of any interference with the 
order of divine providence ; but finally leaving the 
whole with, "Thy will be done! send, Lord, whom 
thou wilt ; only come with them." 

His first appearance as a preacher in Leeds, was July 
18th, in the old chapel, on a Sunday evening. The 
Conference commenced the week following, when he 
attended the religious services connected with it ; em- 
bracing the opportunity of hearing Messrs. Bradburn, 
Coke, Benson, J. Wood. Averill, Pipe, &c. Mr. Brad- 
burn preached, as on former occasions, in the chapel 
occupied by the Rev. E. Parsons. "But it was the 
last time he appeared there," said Dawson, when 
relating the circumstance of his having heard him on 
the occasion, to the biographer ; and no wonder. He 
had preached delightfully ; but on coming out of the 
vestry, when a person was about to assist him off with 
the gown, either owing to a contempt of such habili- 
ments, or from some recollection of having been incon- 
venienced by it in his action in the pulpit, he assumed 
one of his queer looks doubled his elbows by his side 
clenched his hands before his breast, having taken a por- 
tion of the gown in each, then suddenly sending for- 
ward his .elbows, and shooting out his back at the same 
moment, rent it from the shoulders downwards, making 
an opening sufficient for him to escape by, without the 
necessity of seeking egress in the ordinary way. The 
friends felt the insult ; and as to himself, after the mood 
was over, he had the full space of time given to him for 
repentance, which intervened between the act itself and 
the grave. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 207 

Towards the close of Conference, the subject of these 
pages was at Aberford, Tadcaster, and Towton. A 
travelling preacher was expected at Tadcaster ; but no 
one arrived in time for the service, and he was called 
upon to exercise. Not long after, two preachers entered 
the chapel, who had lingered behind on purpose to hear. 
Neither of them, of course, would preach ; they were 
anxious to hear him ; and though he suffered for it, 
they were not disappointed. 

Messrs. Reece and Bramwell were appointed to the 
Leeds circuit at Conference, in connexion with Mr. 
Barber, who had laboured in it the year preceding. 
The preaching of Mr. Bramwell was peculiarly adapted 
to Dawson's genius, and was made a special blessing 
to him, owing, no doubt like his own, to its alternately 
rousing and soothing effects : hence, 

"I heard Mr. Bramwell. I thought every bar of 
unbelief would give way. 

"At Seacroft in the morning, where I heard Mr. 
Bramwell. Saw clearly that nothing but the power of 
God can make a preacher useful. At Armley at noon, 
and Wortley at night. A blessed time at Wortley. 
Stopped at Armley all night. The quarterly meeting 
being on the Monday, I proceeded to Leeds. Found 
my mind prepared for a full surrender to God. A 
profitable day. Much rejoicing (Oct. 4.) at the news 
of Peace. Oh, that our minds were equally affected 
with the view of peace as offered in Christ ! 

" Still happy in God ! Glory be to his name ! Heard 
Mr. Bramwell." 

Speaking of one of Mr. Bramwell' s peculiarities as a 
preacher, he observes, "I thought the fire of his 
genius never blazed so brightly, as when he was 



208 MEMOIRS OF 

addressing the sinner. He had a natural talent for 
poetry, and I have heard him speak, extempore, most 
striking paragraphs, in a sort of blank verse, for twenty 
or thirty lines together ; when he seemed to plunge the 
sinner into the midst of tormenting flames, and we 
heard him raving out the feelings of his enraged 
passions in the most horrid soliloquies. I once heard 
him preach on 2 Thess. i. 7 10, when he displayed 
' the terrors of the Lord ' in such a manner, as to make 
the flesh cringe at the rehearsal." This is a just des- 
cription of the more terrible character of Mr. Bramwell's 
ministry. At other times, he was as soft as twilight, 
and as tender as the mother singing her infant to 
repose. 

Though the subject of these pages had now a good 
experience in the things of God, as will have been per- 
ceived, and was tolerably well versed in the stratagems 
of Satan, yet, he was often, as in the year preceding, 
depressed in spirit. He found, that there was no hill with- 
out its vale : and we have some of his sinkings-and swell- 
ings of heart in the following passage from his Diary. 

" I feel the uncomfortable approaches of that frame, 
when I feel nothing but my want of feeling. Quicken 
me, O thou Resurrection and the Life ! 

" A degree of shame possessed my soul after speaking 
at Kippax, because of my unprofitableness and unfitness 
for the work in which I was engaged ; though I felt a 
sweet taste of the love of God on my return home. 

"This week, my mind has been much pained on 
account of a want of real vital godliness. 

" At West Gar forth ; but overcome with a fit of 
lightness. Lord, help me ! 

" I was at home in the forenoon, owing to the great 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 209 

snow (March 15) that fell during the day and night 
before. Bless the Lord for ever ! I, in some measure, 
relieved my mind to the family. Lord, help me to 
fulfil my duty in the situation in which I am placed ! 
At Scholes at noon and Whitkirk at night. 

"Alas, at night, I felt, in consequence of some un- 
toward things, a violent start of angry grief which 
made me groan. Oh, what must I do? what must 
I do ? Lord, help me ! Lord, help me ! 

"My spirit, at West Garforth, did not sufficiently 
feel the awful truths I delivered to the people. 

" At Seacroft love-feast, I found my mind dry, partly 
owing, I helieve, to a slight prejudice against the 
Leader. Oh, how careful should we be, not to pour 
that sour evil into the breast of another by whispering ! 

" Too much shame, and of the fear of man. 

" A somewhat clamorous, boasting manner of talking 
this morning. 

" Not properly disposed for prayer this morning. 
Fruits of bitterness rose in the mind in the forenoon. In 
the afternoon, conversation wanted its proper savour ; 
and now, at 4 o'clock, I am pained with just heart-aches. 

" Blamed myself for allowing a slight spirit of mur- 
muring to rise in the breast. 

" Should have been at the workhouse ; but let the 
rain prevent me. My soul is pained on this account. 

"A friend came over, from whom I received no good. 
I feel condemned for not having warned him more 
solemnly. 

"At Holbeck. A season of temptation at noon ; but 
a blessed time at night. 

"Blamed myself for not going to J. Barmiston's 
funeral." 



210 MEMOIRS OF 

In this way, he acted the part of a "watchman" 
over himself, as well as to "the house of Israel;" 
watching the temper of the mind, the words of the 
lips, and the general carriage to those around, not 
only at every point, but every hour of the day ; 
and that too, with the vigilance, rigour, and fidelity 
of a centinel, whose sole business it is to watch a 
garrison. Cares, it is admitted, are as innumerable 
both in kind and degree, as the sands on the sea 
shore; and the fable so pleasantly constructed by 
Hyginus on the subject, shews that man is their 
proper and almost exclusive prey. But what is applied 
in another case, will serve here. "Whenever our 
neighbour's house is on fire, it cannot be amiss for 
the engines to play a little on our own. Better to 
be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined 
by too confident a security. " William Dawson saw 
the miscarriages of others, and he knew the inclina- 
tions, startings, shiftings, and windings of the human 
heart. He had long manifested the utmost anxiety 
to be "put right," and he was now equally anxious 
to keep so. 

The Divine Being, however, did not leave him com- 
fortless ; hence, the following gleams of light, and 
foretastes of heaven. 

"Bless the Lord for his presence at Thomas Stoner's 
in the afternoon ! 

" Experienced some of the droppings of his love into 
my soul at Whitkirk in the evening. Pour the mighty 
flood! 

"A precious season at Linnerton (on Dike-Side.) 
Preserve the people, O Lord, humble and simple in 
thy cause ! 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 211 

" A season of nearness to God, while hearing preach- 
ing at Garforth in the morning. At Colton and Scholes 
afterwards. In a solemn frame all day. 

" Between sleeping and waking in bed this morning, 
these words strongly impressed my mind, 'See all 
your sins on Jesus laid.' Glory, glory be to God ! 

"Preached at Ledstone, Kippax, and Scholes. Praise 
the Lord for a good time at the two latter places ! 

" Solemnly affected while reading John v. 28, 29. 

"Bless the Lord for drawing me to some comfortable 
verses while at private prayer. Found power and liberty 
at Sturton. And Oh, how sweet at Allerton in the 
evening, while singing the last hymn ! 

"A sense of God's presence in private prayer. 

"The Lord blessed my soul on opening upon these 
words, 'Not imputing their trespasses unto them.' 

"My mind was much blessed in reading the "Works 
of Dr. Goodwin, as published in the 'Christian Library;' 
and I seldom, or ever, was more enabled to surrender 
my all to God. 

"Thank the Lord, a precious afternoon! Religion 
is no cunningly devised fable. 

"Heard Mr. Pawson at Leeds in the morning. Found 
much of the power of God, while I was preaching at 
Holbeck in the forenoon. At Leeds love- feast in the 
afternoon. There, blessed be God, I made a public 
surrender of myself to him and to his people. 

"Attended Barwick church in the forenoon, and heard 
the rector. Heard John Holmes at Scholes in the after- 
noon. Returned home, and read some of ' Baxter's 
Saints' Rest ' to the family, and went to prayer. Bless 
the Lord, O my soul! Preached at Barwick in the 
evening. 



212 MEMOIRS OF 

"At Church, Seacroft, Scholes, and Little Preston. 
A sweet time at Church ! Bless the Lord, I feel the 
good effects of yesterday." 

The omissions previously noticed in his Diary for 
this year, seem to have been occasioned by discourage- 
ments, some painful feelings and conflicts often pre- 
ceding them. But in the midst of all, whether in joy 
or in sorrow, the following sentiments flowed freely 
from his pen: "To thee, O Jesus, I willingly yield 
myself, my all, to serve thine interest when, where, 
and how thou pleasest. Keep me from evil, support 
me in trial, and enable me to glorify thee in every- 
thing through which I may have to pass ; and iu 
whatsoever I may be engaged." Adding, in the way 
of experience, as well as purpose and prayer, "My 
soul is not only drawn out after God, but I feel some 
drawings from him. This evening, I felt in lying 
down a sweetness, a melting of heart, of a peculiar 
kind. Glory be to God ! 

' Take my body, spirit, soul, 
Only thou possess the whole."' 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 213 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Activity. Proposed for the itinerant work. Enlarged sphere of 
action. Cotton Mather's "Directions.'' Desirous of a chapel 
at Barrrick. Severe mental exercises. Doubts. Mr. Barber. 
A. Mather's Life. Bunyan's " Grace Abounding. '' Indis- 
creet praise. Pride and humility. Sensibility. Perplexity. 
Appointed by Conference to a circuit. Declines travelling. 
Dissimulation and sincerity met by the providence of God. 
Mr. Bramwell. Visitations from aboi:e. Paradoxical character 
of Christian experience to the world. Expense in dress. Pros- 
perity of the work of God. W. E. Miller. High rents. 
Feasts. Secrets. Unpleasant forebodings. Natal anniversary. 
Death of William's grandmother. Ground bought, and a 
chapel in the course of erection. Mr. Bramwell leaves the cir- 
cuit. Reflections upon it. 

NOTWITHSTANDING William Dawson's elevation in 
the sphere in which he moved, he ascended by degrees 
to the point which he attained ; and with the exception 
of his non-admission to holy orders which was no 
discredit either to himself or others, the ladder never 
once broke beneath him to throw him back, and so 
render additional ascent laborious. Besides the many 
rare and curious pieces of " mathematical motion " in 
the soul, common to all, he had a spring of ac- 
tion within which would never allow him to stand 
still. Piety and genius were constantly sowing their 



214 MEMOIRS OF 

seeds, and he was as invariably indulged with the 
honour which springs from them. Whatever may be 
the truth of the sentiment, when generally applied, 
that every man has a portion of rust about him at 
the beginning, and that in England it accompanies a 
man to the grave not even daring to pen a hie jacet 
to speak out for him after his death, William Dawson 
was an exception. Of his spirit, it might have been 
said, 

" Strong as necessity, it starts away, 
Climbs against wrongs, and brightens into day. " 

The ennui, or wearisomeness of inaction, was unknown 
to him ; and he was so generally approved for piety, 
talent, and zeal, that Mr. Barber proposed him for 
the itinerant work, March 29, 1802, at the Leeds 
quarterly-meeting, when he was unanimously approved 
by his brethren. 

His matter, manner, and Christian spirit, attracting 
general attention in the societies, led him to take a still 
more extensive range of country ; and not only did 
he visit places, which to him were new, but greater 
demands were made upon his labours in the large 
chapels in Leeds and elsewhere. There was no diminu- 
tion of attention, with this additional toil, to the 
wants and interests of his own immediate neighbour- 
hood. He was ready to every good word and work 
throughout the week ; preserving the same anxious 
solicitude for the welfare of the sick the poor inmates 
of the workhouse and the life of God in the classes ; 
not omitting his accustomed fasts, saying, with the 
apostle, "I keep under my body, and bring it into 
subjection ; lest that by any means, when I have 
preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 215 

He was quickened in this work, and at the same 
time humbled, by reading Cotton Mather's "Directions 
to a Candidate for the Ministry." 

A chapel being much wanted at Barwick, and there 
being no immediate prospect of obtaining ground and 
materials for one, he earnestly addressed himself to 
God on the subject ; and observes, that he "dedicated 
part of a day in prayer on account of a preaching- 
house." 

While thus caring for the churches, it was one of 
the severest years for mental suffering he had ex- 
perienced since the time he first escaped from spiritual 
bondage. Such expressions as these are employed: 
"The devil is determined to ruin my peace, my happi- 
ness, my soul." "Heavy in heart and mind." "My 
soul feels the want of true religion. I am afraid it 
is too much in' the head ; and the reason is, I think, 
if it were not, there would be greater pleasure and 
weight in private prayer." "My spirits are depressed 
while reflecting on my past life. God raise me up! 
I would not sin against thee. My heart seems to 
say though I may not wish what is said, I would 
rather be in hell without sin, than be in heaven with 
it." "Religion has not been felt this week in its 
power, in the way I have sometimes experienced it ; 
and I am dispirited in consequence." "At private 
prayer, I am much resisted by the flesh and Satan." 
" My soul lies humbled before God. Oh, that it were 
more so ! Let me die, O Lord, rather than live to 
grieve thee, or bring the slightest stain upon my soul." 
" Lord, am I given up by thee for not doing thy 
will?" "Afraid lest I should prove a castaway after 
all." "Nearly in despair." 



216 MEMOIRS OF 

The doubts entertained of the genuineness of his 
experience in seasons of depression, are not at all re- 
markable. A strong prejudice exists in the minds of 
some people against that state of the understanding 
termed doubt ; but a little reflection will soon convince 
one, that on a subject that admits of strong proba- 
bilities on both sides, doubt is as appropriate a state 
of mind as belief or disbelief on others. It has been 
properly argued, that there are doctrines, propositions, 
and facts supported and opposed by every degree of 
evidence, the proper effect of which is, to leave the 
mind in an equipoise between two conclusions. In 
these cases, either to believe or disbelieve would im- 
ply that the understanding was improperly aifected. 
Doubt, therefore, is the appropriate result from which 
there can be no reason either to shrink, or over which 
to utter the loud lament. If this is the case, in 
matters purely speculative, it is still more difficult, 
without the direct witness of the -Spirit, to arrive at 
correct conclusions in things experimental, in moments 
of depression, when the light is transmitted, as it 
were, through the medium of stained glass, rather 
than immediately from the sun ; for the soul, on such 
occasions, enclosed within the narrow circle of its own 
orbit, feels nothing strongly but what acts within that 
circle ; and the present disposition, fear, or desire, 
throws its own colouring on surrounding objects. 

On these occasions feeling so much of his own 
imperfection, he could scarcely assume sufficient cou- 
rage to reprove sin to enter into the pleasures of 
social life or proceed in the free and full discharge 
of the various duties connected with family religion. 
Hence, his personal upbraidings; "Hurt in hearing 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 217 

a man swear, and not reproving. Oh, may I 
learn wisdom by experience!" "I did quite wrong 
in stopping so long at Sturton." "My mind was 
remarkably solemnized in reading Baxter's 'Directory.' 
I must, I must speak more to the family. Part of 
the day has been devoted to private prayer, to plead 
for more of the power of religion. I want it to take 
full possession of my soul. Oh, where is the melting 
heart? Where the humility and brokenness of spirit 
that ought to possess me? Give it, thou Prince of 
peace?" He had his siftings, also, as on a previous 
occasion, on the subject of faith ; but was now as 
much afraid of the Church as of himself. "I read," 
he observes, "Mr. Wesley's first Journal. I see I 
want that faith which raises me still higher into God. 
Often have I prayed, that I might never become an in- 
strument of bringing into the Church of Christ any 
deadly evil. But, unless I possess this living faith, I shall 
either bring an evil into the Church, or myself, or 
both. Lord, give me this faith ! " As to social inter- 
course, he was aware, agreeably to the sentiment of 
an intelligent writer, that, "Company is an extreme 
provocative to fancy ; and, like a hot-bed, in gardening, 
is apt to make our imaginations sprout too fast." 
One of his prayers was, that God would give him 
"the bridle of inward love, to keep in check, and to 
sweeten, conversation . ' ' 

In the course of the same month, that he read the 
last work, he remarks, "I heard Mr. Barber. Bless 
the Lord, for an increase of faith in the truth of his 
word! Lord, increase it till I believe myself into the 
possession of the promised blessings. On account of 
my offences, I look for God's chastening hand. Any 
K 



218 MEMOIRS OF 

thing, rather than sin against him ! " To supply any 
real or imaginary defect at home, as well as to be 
a constant monitor to himself, he commenced preaching 
at Barnbow, where he seconded his private, by his 
public appeals. 

. He omitted, as in the year preceding, several entries 
in his journal ; and states, that they were occasioned 
by his depressed state of feeling : intimating, at the 
same time, that it was for wise ends, and that rem- 
iniscences of the more painful parts of a man's per- 
sonal history, are useful to those in a public capacity, 
by way of enabling them to succour such as may be 
placed in similar circumstances. He obtained con- 
siderable' relief by reading the Life of Mr. Alexander 
Mather, and Bunyan's "Grace Abounding;" respecting 
the latter of which, he remarks, " I perceive, in many 
instances, a very great similarity between the experience 
embodied in these pages, and my own. Dear Jesus, 
I trust I shall yet see and feel thy great salvation." 

He had committed himself to God; and that God 
who has declared that he will never "forsake," saw 
what was coming, and took care to wrap the soul up 
in the garb of humility before the gale of popular 
applause was heard, and which he was now be- 
ginning to feel. " I have been much haunted with 
pride and self-complacency," says he, "through the 
breath of indiscreet praise, wafting like a breeze across 
the soul. Oh, to be nothing ! Oh, to be nothing ! " 
Again. " I preached at Hunslet. My soul was much 
drawn out after God in prayer, the night before. But 
in the afternoon and evening, I was much tempted 
to self-complacency. ' Oh, hide this self from me, that 
I no more, but Christ in me mav live ! ' These 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 219 

temptations were but momentary ; but his honesty 
would not suffer them to be passed unnoticed ; and it 
was his safety to find, that they were but temptations. 
Had pride been indigenous to the soul, he would have 
been in the utmost jeopardy, with flattery so near, 
to hasten its growth. But "pride," which is said to 
be "as loud a beggar as want, and a great deal more 
saucy," had no cravings in him. It was not even 
permitted to take root, much less to throw out its 
branches to court the sun and the "breeze." To be 
noticed with esteem, by persons of sense, is often a 
patent for esteem with those around ; then comes 
flattery at its heels ; and in the rear of that again 
pride, " the trappings of which men rarely put off, 
till they who are about them put on their winding- 
sheet." He knew, that 

" Humble valleys thrive with their bosoms full 
Of flowers, when hills melt with lightning, and 
The rough anger of the clouds : 

that 

" Heaven's gates are not so highly arched 
As princes' palaces ; they that enter there 
Must go upon their knees '' 

Though not at all parsimonious in praise himself, 
when called for ; and ready to make selections from 
the better part of a man's character and performances, 
when in danger of being undervalued ; yet he was 
careful never to administer the "flattering unction" in 
the person's presence; and if led, unguardedly, to haz- 
ard an unfavourable criticism, he was certain to smart 
for it afterwards. Thus, " My mind has been wan- 
dering this forenoon. I noticed, perhaps unnecessarily, 
some innocent improprieties in a preacher's manner of 
speaking. At all events, my remarks were not to 



220 MEMOIRS OF 

edification. Oh, that my 'speech' may 'be always 
with grace, seasoned with salt.' " On another occasion ; 
" Gave way to some warmth of temper, in consequence 
of which some hasty words were spoken, producing 
great distance of soul from God. Lord, save me!" 
In all cases in which pain seemed to be unnecessarily 
inflicted upon another, he was instantly plunged into 
the person's circumstances, and was tremblingly alive 
all over : for robust as was his figure, and strong as 
was his language, he was possessed of exquisite sen- 
sibility, and was capable of receiving the most powerful 
impressions, whether pleasant or tmpleasant, from every 
subject that concerned the heart, as well as from every 
object that addressed the senses. 

The time approached for his acceptance or non- 
acceptance, by the Conference, as an itinerant preacher. 
Many obstacles of a domestic character stood in the 
way ; and the exercise which he had experienced in the 
interval, and which seemed to overshadow his Christian 
evidence, was the circumstance selected by the disturber 
of peace, for annoying him at this critical moment. 
The following remarks are found in his Diary. 

"Monday, June 28th. At Leeds, being quarter- 
day. Blessed be God, I found my mind in a rising 
frame, while a few of the brethren were praying. 

"Tues. 29. Much perplexed in my spirit this mor- 
ning, to know how far it is the will of God that I should 
be a travelling preacher. Most wise and gracious God ! 
over-rule the darkness of my understanding, remove 
remaining unbelief, and correct self-will in my will and 
affections ! Let all be done for thy glory ! Make thy 
way plain before me, and direct my steps ! 

"Thursday evening, July 1st. Disposed for prayer. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 221 

One grand objection which appears to me against my 
going out to travel is, that I have not at this moment 
the clear witness of the Spirit. The apostles were to 
be endued with power from on high, before they went 
to preach. 

"Friday 2. Set apart for fasting and prayer, that 
direction may be afforded, and a blessing given, in this 
important business. 

" Saturd. 3. Purchased Mr. Beanland's barn for a 
preaching-house. Lord, smile ! 

"Sund. 4. Heard Mr. Reece preach at Bramley in 
the forenoon. A precious season. I took the pulpit 
in the afternoon. Not so good a season. 

"Mond. 5. Much engaged in mind about travelling, 
preaching-house, &c. 

"Tuesd. 6. "Went to Leeds. Gave a cool consent 
to travel. But my mind is touched in a tender part, 
when I see my mother so much elated at the 
thought that I shall continue a little longer, on account 
of the preaching-house. Ah, Lord, how tender a 
point is this ! Look in love upon me, for thy name's 
sake! 

"Thursd. 8. Backward to religious duties. God 
help me ! 

"Friday 9. Visited G. Haigh. He seems on the 
verge of eternity, and under great pressure of pain. 

"Sunday 11. At Halton and Colton. Bless the 
Lord for a measure of liberty at both places ! 

"Wed. 14. Dismissed my reasonings about travel- 
ling, and committed the whole to the Lord. Spent the 
afternoon with Mr. Reece, and was at Whitkirk in the 
evening. Praise the Lord for a refreshing season ! 

" Thursd. 15. Waited upon Sir Thomas Gascoigne, 



222 MEMOIRS OF 

at Parlington, to obtain his acceptance of my brother 
Richard in my place, as steward of the Colliery." 

Though his mother was still opposed to his leaving 
home, it was agreed, at length, that Richard should 
take his office ; and here, his Diary, as to further 
particulars, leaves the whole blank. But some frag- 
mentary conversations, which he had with the biog- 
rapher, will supply the omission. He was accepted by 
the Conference ; and his name, in connection with 
that of Mr. Filter, stood on the MS. Stations for 
Wetherby, near Leeds. The Conference commenced 
at Bristol, Monday, July 26th. On going to the 
head steward, on the Saturday evening before, to close 
his accounts, he found though everything had assumed 
the appearance of being amicably settled, that his feel- 
ings and expectations had been sported with ; the 
steward coldly stating, that he thought they could 
do without the services of his brother. Finding that 
plans had been formed to prevent his brother from 
entering upon the proposed situation, in order as it 
afterwards turned out, to secure it for a relative of 
the steward's own, Dawson's eye instantly flashed fire, 
and he said, "Well, then, I'll remain ; and you may 
give me less wages, if you judge proper : this," con- 
tinued he, "was as great a thunder-clap to the steward, 
as his statement was to me." He immediately wrote 
to Mr. Barber, stating that, for the sake of others, 
he deemed it his duty to relinquish all thoughts of 
going out to travel ; entering into the particulars of 
the case. What is not a little singular, he met Mr. 
Bramwell at Chapeltown, on the 18th of the month, 
who said to him, in his positive, yet familiar way, 
" Billy, I think you ought not to go out to travel ; 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 223 

the time has not yet come; you have not done all 
your work at home : " assigning no reason, but leaving 
the words to produce their own impression. It may 
be further remarked, that though the steward thwarted 
him in his designs of itinerating, the steward himself 
was afterwards disconcerted in his plans ; for the place 
which he had in view, on which to settle his relative, 
was not only given up, but 30 acres of grass land; which, 
though not rich, but serviceable to the farm, was 
added to Barnbow in consequence of it; Sir Thomas 
observing, to the subject of these Memoirs, "You 
shall have the additional land at a rent which shall 
not hurt you." So much for integrity and dissimula- 
tion. Dawson, through whose "breast of crystal," 
the steward was enabled to read every purpose, reaped 
the reward of his sincerity ; and the steward, whose 
"heart and face were so far asunder, as to hold no 
intelligence," was disappointed of his hopes. The 
path of dissimulation is not unaptly described by Blair 
to be a "perplexing maze. After the first departure 
from sincerity, it is not in our power to stop; one 
artifice unavoidably leads on to another; till, as the 
intricacy of the labyrinth increases, we are left en- 
tangled in our own snare." Sir Thomas himself might 
not be fully aware of the steward's designs ; and, 
therefore, might have no intention to counteract them ; 
but Providence employed him on the occasion to do 
its own work, while leaving him in the free exercise 
of the will. 

William Dawson now dismissed all anxiety from his 
mind, respecting any removal from home ; and con- 
sidered himself as fixed in rural life to the end of 
his days. 



ZZ4 MEMOIRS OP 

He was at Chapeltown, Oct. 24th, and observes that, 
with a mixture of inferior feelings, he felt "a strong 
desire for the glory of God." But he adds, " On my 
return home, I found an unusual emptiness of soul." 
Two days after he remarks, " I have been much im- 
pressed with an account of the sudden death of one of 
my hearers at Chapeltown." 

Though he profited greatly by the preaching and 
conversation of the other preachers, the return of Mr. 
Bramwell to Barwick and its neighbourhood, was es- 
pecially hailed with joy. In November, he remarks, 
" Surely the Lord will bless me this day. Mr. Bram- 
well is expected at Barwick. Make bare thine arm, O 
Lord, in this place ! At the time of preaching, my 
soul was particularly drawn out after God, for a blessing 
upon myself and upon the hearers. "We had a meeting 
at six o'clock the next morning. It was a precious 
season. Praise the Lord! Through the remainder of 
the week, I experienced unusual power to draw near 
to God, and to lay myself at his feet." 

On other occasions, painful as the exercises of the 
year had been, he could, at intervals, give utterance 
to such expressions as these: "This morning, my 
prayers have had wings. " " Uncommon liberty at 
Aberford. It is thy Spirit, O adorable Lord, that 
makes the preacher ! " " Inwardly resting upon God. 
Oh, how sweet a spirit is passive resignation, grounded 
upon the promises ! but how much sweeter must 
answered expectations be ! " " The Lord is in our 
class-meetings!" "A time of power at Barwick." 
"Made a fresh surrender of myself to the Lord, 
at the sacrament." "Some sweet thrills of melting 
mercy!" "With gratitude, humility, self-abasement, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 225 

and self-devotedness, I adore God for his manifested 
presence, while preaching at Barwick and Barnbow 
Hall." "Oh, how easy and delightful it is to pray 
and preach with divine liberty ! " "A particular 
manifestation of God. Still, I claim him as my Father 
reconciled." "Heard of good being done, through 
my unworthy services, at Holbeck." 

By connecting some of these triumphant bursts with 
the heart -rendings noticed in the course of the year, 
his religion will appear to be made up only of con- 
tradictions ; or, if not of these, one part of his ex- 
perience at the antipodal point from the other. And 
yet, they are the contradictions, or opposites, that 
are found in fellowship with saints of the highest order. 
Such sentiments, as the following, are mere paradoxes 
to the man of the world: "When I am weak, then 
am I strong;" "as deceivers, and yet true, as 
unknown, and yet well known, as dying, and behold, 
we live, as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor, 
yet making many rich, as having nothing, yet pos- 
sessing all things." Should the Christian be charged 
with patronizing paradoxes, in holding forth such 
expressions, he is entitled to answer with Chrysippus, 
that they only proceed from his love of truth. He 
can neither think nor feel like unenlightened men. 
As he has joys, so he has conflicts, with which the 
wicked have no power to intermeddle. Music may be 
in his heart, and he may be ready to burst into song, at 
the very moment a wicked man is passing him in the 
street, and pitying him for his sombre views of real life. 

We hear the subject of these pages again relieving 
his soul in imploring accents : " Bless me, O God, 
with saving grace in my soul ; and make me useful 

K2 



226 MEMOIRS OP 

in thy hands in saving sinners ! Be this the case, and 
I care not what I am in temporal circumstances, where I 
am in life, or how thou art pleased to deal with me ! " 

An occasion was taken to notice his dress in the 
preceding chapter, chiefly as to its form ; but he now 
penetrated a little further. As he became more dead 
to the world, he became more cautious not to indulge 
in any needless expense ; that he might have the more 
to spare for necessary purposes. His ruffles had been 
laid aside, for which he innocently stood rebuked ; 
but he saw that persons might appear plain, and yet 
be costly in their attire, and that what they gained 
in conscience by the cut, they might lose by extrava- 
gance in the quality. In one instance, he complains, 
this year, as he had done in earlier life, of going too 
high in price for a part of his costume ; stating, 
that the Christian should be "above unnecessary ex- 
penses." As he strove to steer a medium course in 
quality, so he knew there was a medium between 
the fop and the sloven taking not only the yeoman, 
as previously noticed, but the Christian, into all his 
considerations. He had no objection to "the ermine's 
skin," and to the "silk-worm" becoming the "spins- 
ter" of the female, in certain ranks in life, but he 
had a serious objection to men, and especially persons 
connected with the ministerial office, appearing as 
"Madame Superbia" is represented, as if constantly 
"studying the lady's library The looking-glass." 
While, however, he loved ease, plainness, and modera- 
tion, he shunned coarseness ; persuaded, " that if Tully 
himself had pronounced one of his orations with a 
blanket about his shoulders, more people would have 
laughed at his dress, than would have admired his 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 227 

eloquence." It is a shrewd remark of a German writer, 
that "dress is a table of our contents." 

His Diary of 1803, he carried forward to the month 
of October ; omitting the two following, and several 
dates in those preceding. He began, no doubt, to 
find a sameness in constantly adverting to his joys 
and his sorrows ; and having the same battles to fight, 
and the same grace to assist him in his struggles, 
a record of them seemed less necessary. 

On the 7th of January, he "renewed his covenant 
with God, in the most solemn manner ; " and hoped 
that it would be a "bond never to be broken." In 
the same month, he was much profited by a visit 
from Mr. W. E. Miller to Barwick ; and several per- 
sons having joined the Society at Scholes, about that 
time, he exulted to find "most of the lambs " enjoying 
the full benefit of Christian fellowship ; and also to 
find, that " Edward Joley's wife had entered into 
liberty." On the Sabbath day following, he proceeds, 
"I preached at Garforth for J. Ible, and heard J. 
Richards at Barwick. I was at Barwick in the evening. 
My soul was melted with the Divine presence the 
whole of the day. P. Smith was deeply affected on 
account of her lost state, while by herself. On our 
return from the meeting, we found her in deep distress. 
The Lord answered prayer on her behalf." 

He had been gradually prepared for the more stir- 
ring occasions, which often attended the ministry of 
Messrs. Bramwell and Miller, by the living witnesses 
that had sprung up under his own preaching, the 
subjects, sometimes, being unable to repress their 
feelings during service. 

Some additional support from the flourishing state 



228 MEMOIRS OF 

of the Societies, seemed necessary at this time, to 
enahle him to meet, with sanctified feeling, an exercise 
which affected the family. Feb. 1, he remarks, "I 
was at Aberford the whole of the day, waiting to 
take the farm at the advanced rent. I am afraid I 
talked too much. " It would have been marvellous, 
had he been mute on the occasion, seeing that the 
farm, with the exception of the grass land added to 
it, was sufficiently high before. But during the war, 
many of the landlords injured their estates, by raising 
the rents, so as to place it beyond the power of the 
tenant to enrich the land, by affording it proper cul- 
ture. High rents are only calculated to exasperate 
the restless, and dishearten the obedient : they leave 
men helpless and hopeless, and accustom them to look 
upon their best securities from ruin economy and 
industry, as perverted for the worst of purposes by 
those who can be, and who ought to be, the best 
encouragers of their social interests. Where the grace 
of God is not present as a corrective, they compel 
men to exchange love for hatred, confidence for dis- 
trust, and submission for resistance. William Dawson, 
however, took the farm again, resolved, by patient 
industry, to plod his way through another term ; and 
for this he was tolerably fitted by exuberant vigour 
and economical habits. 

Two days after, he again visited Aberford, being 
obliged to be present at the "Coal-feast." But he 
returned from the feast as from a regular meal ; and 
not as many do unfit for either mental or physical 
labour; "like lamps choked by a superabundance of 
oil, or fires extinguished by excessive fuel." On his 
return, he observes, "I called at Thomas Goodall's, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 229 

and preached. " He was not one of those men, of 
whom Seneca speaks, who divide their lives betwixt 
an anxious conscience and a nauseated stomach ; and 
who receive the reward of their intemperance in the 
diseases it generates. Rising with an appetite, he was 
sure to secure digestion ; and he was as fit for the 
work of God after, as before the feast. This is a 
fine example to the "drunkard," who is quaintly, 
but pithily said, " to drown himself in his cups ; " and 
to the "glutton," who, with equal force of expression, 
is said, "to dig his own grave with his teeth." 

A little point may be noticed which affected him 
at the same time, and which may be adverted to for 
the sake of others. Though he was prudent and 
cautious, he was not close and suspicious. Christian 
character inspired him with confidence. But he had 
to repent of misplaced confidence. "I was hurt," 
says he, " on hearing that J had told what I com- 
mitted to him as a secret." The thing might have 
been trivial in itself, and calculated to harm no one. 
But he looked at the breach of trust. And yet, had 
he only reflected for a moment, on the frailty of 
human nature, he would have found, that there is 
often a proneness to divulge a secret, from the vanity 
of being entrusted with it. It has been stated, with 
grave humour, but with some mixture of truth, that 
" Secrets are so seldom kept, that it may be with 
some reason doubted, whether the quality of reten- 
tion be so generally bestowed ; and whether a secret 
has not some subtle volatility by which it escapes, 
imperceptibly, at the smallest vent, or some power 
of fermentation, by which it expands itself, so as to 
burst the heart that will not give it way." That is a 



230 MEMOIRS OF 

fine sentiment, "What is mine, even to my life, is 
her's I love ; but the secret of my friend is not mine. " 

At the close of the same month, on which the farm 
was raised in rent, Mr. Porter informed him, that 
" Sir Thomas Gascoigne intended to set down the 
colliery." This, of course, affected his stewardship, 
and would continue to do so, till either the workings 
should be resumed, or another pit should be opened. 
"The account," he observes, "was sudden, and pro- 
duced various thoughts and feelings." He adds, "Lord, 
undertake for me and mine." This was probably 
occasioned by the "advance" of wages, which took 
place at the time. 

His labours in the old and new chapels, in Leeds, 
became still more frequent, and were not only highly ac- 
ceptable, but rendered a great blessing in the conversion 
of souls to God. Hearers and converts, also, continued 
to multiply in his own neighbourhood ; and he himself 
had become a leader, not only at Scholes, but apparently 
at Barwick. "Mr. Bramwell was at Barwick, " he 
remarks in March ; and proceeds, " Bless the Lord 
for a very crowded house, for drawing so many to 
hear ! Oh, that he would appear with power and glory 
in my classes ! There is the appearance of an opening 
work in the neighbourhood. May nothing retard it ! 
May it be deep, clear, and effectual ! " 

In the same month, he met his uncle William at 
Wakefield, to consult him, apparently, respecting the 
probable result of his situation, should the colliery 
be laid aside. Just after this, on going to Kippax 
to preach, he observes, "The mare fell under me, 
and upon me ; but I was not much worse, except 
in my leg, which was crushed. Bless the Lord, for 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 231 

his hand of love, which was over me for good ! " In 
the evening, his knee was much swelled at Little 
Preston ; and he was compelled, in consequence of 
it, to rest some time from labour. 

On the 29th of the month, on the return of which 
he was more than usually affected, he enters into his 
Diary, "As I call this the last day of this year, 
(being the day before the anniversary of his birth- 
day,) I desire to be deeply humbled, because of my 
past imperfections and unprofitableness ; and I wish 
the feeling to be so strong, as to produce proper and 
lasting impressions." The next day, he writes, "In 
looking back, I find much, very much cause for self- 
abasement. Looking inward, I feel the absence of 
much good, and the presence of much of the evil 
of human nature. Directing the view forward, clouds 
and darkness appear to be lying on the face of the 
scene not knowing what to do. My place at the 
colliery is likely to cease, the farm is advanced, 
and the necessities of the family are great! "What 
the end will be, is not for me to state. The entrance 
upon this year of my life is important. Surely it 
ought to be attended with prayer and self-dedication 
to God." So it was distinguished : and he could not 
but see a providence in his remaining at home, that 
the family might have the aid of his counsel, and be 
encouraged by his example and his prayers. His 
constant prayer, while passing through the cloud, was 
" Lord, undertake for me ! " 

June 4th, he remarks, "This day I have to record 
an affecting providence. My grandmother was found 
dead in her bed this morning. Pardon, O Lord, any 
omission of duty in reference to her ! I praise thy 



232 MEMOIRS OF 

name for what thou didst enable me to do and to 
feel for her. But after all, forgive omissions." The 
tender affections, comprehending all the different modi- 
fications of love, appeared in him in various forms, 
and degrees, from the transient good-will which he 
felt for a common stranger, in matters purely civil, 
to the fondness with which he watched over the spi- 
ritual interests of his own family ; and they are never 
so engaging as was the case with him, as when 
they improve the character. This, indeed, is maintained 
to be their natural tendency, inasmuch as they prevent 
our attention from being confined to ourselves, and 
create both an interest in the welfare of others, and 
also an anxiety to recommend ourselves to their esteem. 
When the grace of God spiritualizes the whole, then 
the young Christian becomes a nursing father to the 
patriarch in years. 

One thing which greatly engrossed his attention, was 
a new chapel at Barwick. He had prayed for one ; 
and as events were hastening the fulfilment of his 
wishes, and one would scarcely have been ventured 
on without him, it was converted into another reason 
in providence for his not going out to travel. April 
18th, he states that he went to Fleet Mill, to see 
whether Mr. Evens would sell a piece of ground for 
a preaching-house, but did not meet with him, at 
home. Having applied to him in the interim, Mr. 
E. examined the ground, June 18, and consented to 
allow him to take as much ground as was necessary 
for the purpose, at one shilling per yard. This was 
matter of praise, as before, the business had been the 
subject of prayer. Wednesday the 21st, "The cha- 
pel," he observes, "was set out, and a part of the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 233 

foundation dug." The "first stone was laid August 
loth ; " and he states it to have been "reared Oct. 27." 

In the midst of his joys and anxieties for a place 
of worship, he had his fears exercised, and manifested 
deep sympathy with the societies in the case of a 
partial revolt from the body. July 5, he remarks, 
"Important intelligence from Leeds. Mr. Bramwell 
has departed from the Methodists. Great and un- 
comfortable, I fear, will be the consequences, if the 
Lord does not, in mercy, heal the breach. Spare 
us, good Lord ; and do not permit the spirit of 
division to rend the hearts of thy people from each 
other ! Pardon any non-improvement of union and 
peace; and if it be possible, let us not see a house 
divided against itself, 'but make us one in heart 
and soul, and keep us one in thee.' ' Such were 
his musings in his closet. Fifteen years after, when 
he preached a funeral sermon, occasioned by the 
death of that excellent man, to thousands of persons 
in the open air, in Leeds, he adverted to the subject 
with great tenderness, fidelity, and ingenuity nicely 
balancing between the Wesleyan body and his subject, 
and desirous of giving to each the full weight of their 
worth. As the sermon was printed and published on 
the occasion, an extract will shew the delicacy of 
some of his touches, in handling a subject which 
involved a difference of opinion. 

When adverting to particular traits of character, he 
observes of his subject, that, "As he was zealous, so 
he was jealous for the honour of his God. His love 
watched with jealous eye, lest the Lord Jesus should 
be robbed of his honour, and a rival admitted into 
the heart of his church. His jealousy suspected that 



234 MEMOIRS OF 

one was insinuating itself among us as a body, and that 
was THE WORLD; that a criminal love was openly 
manifesting itself in a growing conformity to the men, 
the maxims, and the spirit of the world; and, as a 
certain consequence, that there was an increasing de- 
ficiency in spirituality of mind, and entire devotedness 
to God. Now, it is well known that jealousy, which 
is 'cruel as the grave,' always caricatures and mag- 
nifies the object of its suspicions and fears. 

"So it was with the prophet Elijah. The revolt 
of Israel from their allegiance to the true God, and 
their estrangement from his worship, were viewed 
with a jealous eye; and he retired from the hateful 
scene into a place where his heart could not be torn 
asunder, by being a witness of the worship of Baal. 
When the word of the Lord came to him, and said, 
' What doest thou here, Elijah ? ' he answered, ' I 
have been very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts ; 
for the children of Israel have FORSAKEN THY COVE- 
NANT, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy pro- 
phets with the sword; and I, even I, only am left; 
and they seek my life, to take it away.' But the 
evil was distorted and magnified ; and the Lord cor- 
rected his error, by informing him, that he had yet 
left, 'seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which 
had not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which 
had not kissed him.' 

" So it was with Mr. Bramwell. At a certain 
period of his pilgrimage, he suspected that the love 
of the world was dividing our hearts with Christ; 
and he could not bear the thought. His imagination 
took the pencil, to draw the portrait of the hated 
rival. It rose to a monster before his eyes. It alarmed 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 235 

his fears ; it biassed his judgment ; it influenced his 
will ; and, in the simplicity and sincerity of his heart, 
he retired from his circuit. It was at this important 
crisis, that some of his brethren met with him and 
enquired, 'What doest thou here, brother?' He 
might have answered, with great propriety, 'I have 
been very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts. I fear 
a criminal love of the world is rivalling Jesus Christ 
in the heart of his Church ; and, therefore, I thought 
my best course was to retire, and try what can be 
done by me in any other way.' But when his breth- 
ren softened dpwn the distorted features of the 
detested object, which his trembling hand, at the 
instigation of his jealous heart, had drawn, when 
they took off the deep shades with which he had 
overcharged its countenance, when they drew the pic- 
ture of the monster DIVISION, when they proved 
that, in the present state of the Methodist body, 
the evils of a schism and division would be much 
greater than the evils which he lamented and deplored, 
he then saw, in some measure, as they did. Con- 
viction, like a voice behind him, cried out, 'This is 
the way; walk ye in it.' He listened. He obeyed. 
He retraced his steps. He returned to his work ; 
filled his station with credit to himself and profit to 
the Church ; and lived and died in union with his 
brethren." 



236 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAPTER IX. 



Opening of a chapel at Barwick. Collecting Book. The Rev. 
Thomas Taylor and John Grant. Occasional sermons. Visit 
to Hull. Rev. Joseph Bradford. Character. Characteristic 
distinctions. Dr. Bates's Works. Samuel Popplewett, Esq. 
Afflictive dispensation of Providence. Friendship. Rev. Miles 
Atkinson, as a preacher. Increasing popularity. Biographer's 
first interview with Mr. Damson. Rev. Andrew Fuller. First 
public Missionary Meeting among the Wesley ans at Leeds. An 
extract from Mr. Damson's speech on the occasion. Compara- 
tive view of the Wesleyan Missions. The partial and indirect 
influence of Mr. Dan-son's occasional play of fancy upon speakers 
and hearers. 



WITH the exception of two or three brief notices, his 
religious Diary appears to have terminated with the 
year 1803. "What chiefly followed from hence, were 
minutes of the places he \isited, and the texts on which 
he preached. Had he indulged in the particularity of 
Ralph Thoresby, of Leeds, in his " Diary," or Samuel 
Pepys in his " Memoirs," he might, with his observing 
eye and warm heart, have furnished many curious, 
instructive, and moving incidents, while travelling, as 
he afterwards did, from one end of the kingdom to 
another. 

The chapel which was " reared " at Barwick, Octo- 
ber 27th, the year preceding, and in the erection of 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 237 

which he exulted in being able to state, that " not an 
accident, as the world employs the term, had happened 
to any one," was opened by Mr. Thomas Taylor, April 
29th, 1804. "This day," he observes, "Mr. Taylor 
opened the preaching-house, in the presence of a great 
company of people ; and, what is better, under the 
gracious smile of God, which was sensibly felt by many 
of his children. We may turn our eyes upon it, and 
ask, 'What hath God wrought?' And with equal 
astonishment may we look, when we consider by whom 
he has wrought. We dare not impeach the wisdom of 
the Lord in the choice of such unworthy instruments, 
but adore it as an instance of his unsearchable proceed- 
ings, who, in this, as in many other cases, has ' chosen 
the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, 
the weak things of the world to confound the things 
that are mighty, and base things, and things which 
are despised, yea, and things which are not, to bring 
to nought the things that are ! ' May the Lord answer 
prayer /or it and in it, that generations yet unborn may 
find in it the Lord Jesus Christ ! " He further ob- 
serves, " The first love-feast was held at Barwick by 
Mr. Grant, July 8. He preached excellently. May 
the Lord follow the means with a lasting blessing to 
souls ! " 

Nearly the whole of the trouble connected with 
the erection devolved upon himself, as to purchases, 
looking after the builders, joiners, glaziers, painters, 
&c. ; collecting the monies, and meeting expenses. 
His " Collecting Book," which has been preserved, is 
a curiosity, comprising fine specimens of penmanship, 
exactness, and piety. It is preceded with notices of 
laying the foundation, rearing, opening the chapel, &c. 



238 MEMOIRS OF 

Then follows, as a kind of title-page, "June 1803. 
' Prosper thou the work of our hands upon us.' Psalm 
xc. 17' 'They shall prosper that love Zion.' Psalm 
cxxii. 6. June 1804. *EBENEZER.' 1 Sam. vii. 12. 
1 Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.' " The next page 
is headed with, " An Account of Monies promised and 
given, hy those who love the prosperity of Zion, towards 
the expense of a preaching-house at Barwick." Imme- 
diately after this, columns are ruled for double entry, 
in pounds, shillings, and pence, the first three appro- 
priated to monies " promised," the second to monies 
"given." The "heading" of each page encloses a 
text of Scripture, in the Roman character, as if set in 
type, with a view, apparently, immediately to catch the 
eye of the persons to whom he presented the book for 
donations. The texts selected are ; " God loveth a 
cheerful giver," 2 Cor. ix. 7. " Freely give," Matt. x. 
8. " Honour the Lord with thy substance," Prov. iii. 
9. "Give, and it shall be given unto you," Luke vi. 
38. " With such sacrifices God is well pleased," Heb. 
xiii. 16. "He which soweth bountifully, shall reap 
also bountifully," 2 Cor. ix. 6 " He which soweth 
sparingly, shall reap also sparingly," 2 Cor. ix. 6 " I 
know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith," 
Rev. ii. 19. "There is that scattereth, and yet in- 
creaseth," Prov. xi. 24. "Give to every man that 
asketh of thee," Luke vi. 30 ; closing with, "Thou 
shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just," 
Luke xiv. 14. In consequence of taking with him 
his " THUS SAITH THE LORD," he had scarcely a 
dozen failures, in the various promises made to him 
some of which might possibly arise from a change of 
circumstances ; and in comparatively small sums, from 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 239 

"Benny Swift's " shilling, to the jive pounds subscrip- 
tions of Mr. Warner, of Garforth, Mr. Pawson, jun., 
of Thorner, Thomas Stoner, of Barwick, and Mr. 
Whitehead, of Leeds, he collected, at intervals, from 
June 1803, to April 18, 1805, the sum of .150. 7s. 9d. 

Mr. Taylor, who opened the chapel, had neither fine 
sense, nor exalted sense, so called ; but he had what is 
much more useful, good, strong, common sense ; that 
of which there is much less in the world than the world 
is aware. He had no glitter ; he despised it ; knowing, 
in the language of a wit, that "he who will carry 
nothing about him but gold, will be every day at a loss 
for want of readier change." His sermons profited the 
mass, being within the comprehension of all, and in- 
tended to improve the heart, rather than gratify the 
taste. Mr. Grant, who led the love-feast in the 
newly erected building, was of a different class. He 
was an engaging preacher, and was much admired by 
the subject of these Memoirs, for ease, perspicuity, 
occasional elegance, and general usefulness. He pos- 
sessed springs of rhetoric which were rarely dry ; and 
his eloquence, which never failed to plead in companion- 
ship with nature, was often irresistible. 

This year 1804, the subject of these pages was 
invited to preach in the Birstal circuit ; and being now 
occasionally selected for special work, he preached a 
sermon on occasion of the death of Mrs. Wade, of 
Sturton Grange, towards its close. The text selected 
was, Isai. Ivii. 1, 2 ; and being in the masculine, might 
be deemed a little out of place ; but as he had to expa- 
tiate on character rather than sex, and it was the text 
in all probability which most deeply affected his heart, 
it became the object of his choice. 



240 MEMOIRS OF 

In the year 1 805, he stood No. 4, on the plan, while 
older men were below. This, without making any in- 
vidious distinction in reference to talent or popularity, 
might have arisen from the length of time he had been 
employed in the work, having been engaged in preach- 
ing, including his labours in the Established Church, 
from twelve to thirteen years. Towards the close of 
the year, he preached at Methley, on 1. Sam. xii, 24, 
being the day appointed for a general thanksgiving, in 
consequence of Lord Nelson's victory at the battle of 
Trafalgar. 

From 1805 to 1809, his course, though laborious, 
was not strongly marked with incident. It was dis- 
tinguished, however, for increasing piety and useful- 
ness. But as these have been dwelt upon, particularly 
his religious experience, by way of shewing the solidity 
of the foundation upon which the rising superstructure 
of holiness was to be reared, the biographer may now, 
with a view to prevent sameness, be more sparing in 
his remarks on these topics. 

His friends kept dropping into the grave around 
him, like leaves strewing the ground in autumn ; and 
over these, as over the remains of Mrs. Wade, he 
generally had to pronounce the funeral oration. Among 
the departed, may be noticed, Ann Smith, S. Thomp- 
son, Gabriel Tomlinson, and Mary Clarkson, of Barwick, 
Charles Abbott, Mr. Barbey, of Swillington, Mrs. 
Philips, of Weeton, not omitting his old patroness, 
Mrs. Dean, of Whitkirk, Feb. 4, 1807, whose lantern- 
light obsequies have already been the subject of remark. 
Mary Clarkson selected her text on her death-bed, 
Isaiah Ixi. 10; the others were 2 Tim. iv. 7, John 
ix. 4, Rv. xiv. 13, Titus iii. 4 8, Heb. xi. 24 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 241 

26, Isaiah xxv. 8 ; and that selected for good old 
Mrs. Dean, which was a magnificent one for the out- 
door scene, was Rev. v. 9 14. 

Having had occasion to go down to Hull on the 
business of the colliery, and Mr. Joseph Bradford 
being stationed there at the time, he was anxious to 
see and hear him; "a man," as he observed to the 
writer, "who had been on such terms of intimacy 
with Mr. Wesley." But he was disappointed; dis- 
appointed, he further remarked, both in reference to 
"matter and expression." This led him to state, with 
respect to another, "There was the greatest same- 
ness in Mr. P , as a preacher, of any of the old 

preachers I ever heard." With regard to Mr. Brad- 
ford, he must either have heard him to disadvantage, 
or have suffered in consequence of having his expecta- 
tions raised too high, which is the case with all those 
who forget that it is " more pleasing to see the smoke 
brightening into flame, than the flame sinking into 
smoke." However, being recognized by some one, he 
had himself, on the same day, to officiate in the same 
pulpit, in Scott-Street Chapel, which Mr. Bradford had 
previously occupied. As Mr. John Hill, a merchant 
in Hull, a man of general reading, and of a highly 
cultivated mind, sat in the pulpit behind him, it is 
probable that Dawson had been engaged to preach in 
his stead. His text was 1 Pet. ii. 1, &c. Joseph 
Agar, Esq., of York, who was present on the occasion, 
and who then for the first time had seen him, preserved 
a vivid recollection of him as a preacher, when re- 
lating the circumstance to the writer, between thirty 
and forty years after, and cherished strong hopes of his 
future celebrity. 



242 MEMOIRS OF 

He had by this time, both as a Christian and a 
preacher, acquired what is generally comprehended in 
the term character, and that too, in some of its more 
striking peculiarities. "We are," says Helvetius, 
"what we are made by the objects that surround us." 
This, though not without truth, will serve the purpose 
equally of the most refined sceptic, and the brute 
system of Robert Owen, which, like a common sewer, 
with his doctrine of circumstances, is ready to receive 
the vilest filth that is capable of being poured forth 
from the most depraved part of human society. Never- 
theless, properly guarded, and in connexion with a 
wholesome religious education, it is a fact, as stated 
in the "Ethical Questions" of an elegant writer, that 
the young pupil is in the habit of taking lessons 
from every thing around him, and that his habits and 
character are forming, before he has any consciousness 
of his reasoning powers. But whatever character per- 
sons may receive from the circumstances in which they 
are first placed, and however wise and benevolent the 
superintendance may be, which a proper education 
exerts, to give a correct bias to the intellectual and 
moral character, exercising an influence on the im- 
provement and happiness of the mind to the latest 
period of existence, there will be found in the same 
school among boys, and in the same neighbourhood 
among adults, under the same circumstances and ad- 
vantages, one who will stand out from all the rest, 
distinct in character, exclusive of all other attainments. 
Character, in a moral sense, is defined as that habitual 
disposition of the soul, that inclines it to do one thing 
in preference to another of a contrary nature. Duclos, 
in his reflections upon manners, very judiciously 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 243 

remarks, that the greatest part of the errors and follies 
in the conduct of mankind, happen because they have 
not their minds in an equilibrium, as it were, with their 
characters. Thus Cicero was a great genius, but a 
weak soul ; which is the reason of his being elevated to 
the highest pinnacle of fame as an orator, although he 
could never rise above mediocrity as a man. Two 
things seemed to possess the whole soul of William 
Dawson, his own salvation, and the salvation of others. 
His mind was intent on both ; and the disposition 
which gave rise to character, was vigorously at work at 
all times, and kept him constantly before the public, 
in all his native vigour, with " this one thing I do," 
imprinted upon every passion of the heart, every sermon 
from the lips, and every movement in society. He 
never suffered the disposition to flag which contributed 
to the formation of character never allowed himself to 
undervalue or lose sight of character itself and pre- 
served a constant recollection of the position in which 
he stood before the church and the world. These con- 
siderations preserved every hallowed feeling in full 
exercise, and gave a beautiful uniformity to what was 
at the same time bold, elevated, and commanding, 
attracting attention, like a mountainous district, after 
the eye has for some time reposed upon tamer scenes. 
There was another local preacher on the plan, of the 
same name ; and being made of quieter materials than 
the subject of these Memoirs, they were distinguished 
by the ruder part of the people, when an enquiry was 
made as to which of the two should occupy the pulpit, 
not, as in the plan, by their seniority or juniority, 
but by their characteristic manner of preaching giving 
to the one the appellation of "sleepy," and to the 



244 MEMOIRS OP 

other, that of "shouting Billy." The cognomen of 
Billy, which could only arise from that low familiarity 
which "breeds contempt," and which was too common 
even with persons whose sense and education ought to 
have taught them better, was never relished by his 
mother; who said, "he was never called Billy at 
home, and I cannot conceive why he should be so dis- 
tinguished abroad."" As to his zeal, which gave energy 
to voice, matter, and manner, it was not remarkable 
that he should be distinguished for loud speaking, as 
he continued in the same strain which marked his 
earlier pulpit history. Names have great weight, both 
with the vulgar and the learned ; but they very often 
have, beyond their proper signification and applicability 
to the persons on whom they are imposed, a tincture of 
the character of those who bestow them, shewing a 
disposition to degrade, by lowering the dignity of those 
to whom they are applied. 

,In 1810 and 1811, his circle of admirers was greatly 
enlarged ; and he was obliged to yield to pressing 
invitations to preach occasional sermons, and make 
collections, on behalf of Sunday Schools, chapels in- 
volved in debt, at the opening of places of worship, 
&c. ; from friends at Batley, Mirfield, Dewsbury, Wake- 
field, Rotherham, Halifax, and elsewhere. He preached 
also at Naburn, in the kitchen of Mr. Leaf, and in 
other places belonging to the York circuit. 

His power over the passions, and his tact for improv- 
ing funeral occasions, specimens of which he had 
already abundantly afforded, continued to augment his 
engagements in this way. In addition to those of his 
friends noticed in a preceding paragraph, he was called 
upon to improve the death of John Stead, of Kippax, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 245 

Mrs. Batty of Barwick, on Psalms Ixxiii. 26, and of 
Mr. Ragg of Wetherby, on Matt. xxiv. 45, 46, &c. 
Of John Stead he wrote a memoir, which was published 
in the Methodist Magazine for 1810, p. 321. 

He was much pleased and profited, at this time, by 
reading the works of Dr. Bates, and forwarded some 
admirable extracts, to the editor of the above periodical, 
from the Doctor's sermon on "The Death of Dr. 
Jacomb," on John xii. 26, for the special benefit of 
"PREACHERS" of the gospel. These extracts are 
inserted in the same volume in which the above memoir 
is found, p. 379 ; and not only show the kind of mental 
aliment hi which his soul delighted, and which afforded 
greater pleasure to his intellectual taste than the 
" savoury meat" could yield to the palate of the patri- 
arch ; but the portrait drawn by Dr. Bates, exhibiting 
what a minister ought to be, is no bad likeness of what 
William Dawson himself actually was, he having been 
led to frame his conduct, as a preacher, according to 
similar instructions, suggested by the word of God, and 
the impulses of a regenerate heart. 

About the same time, his friend Samuel Popplewell, 
Esq., Steward of the Right Hon. Lord Harewood, was 
passing through deep waters, in consequence of some 
commercial liabilities to which he had subjected himself, 
with a view to benefit a part of his family. Mr. Daw- 
son for thus it is now proper to designate him, from 
the rank he held in society, met Mr. Popplewell in 
Leeds, in the beginning of his troubles ; and it was 
just such a friend a man destitute of the sentimental 
flights of the novelist, and the sage philosophy of the 
mere moralist, that the mental sufferer required ; one 
capable of the most intimate and cordial coalition of 



246 MEMOIRS OF 

friendship from the mere instincts of a benevolent 
nature, exclusive of religion, and of yielding the respect 
and tenderness which man deserves from man. It is 
remarked by a writer of celebrity, that "neither the 
cold nor the fervid, but characters uniformly warm, are 
formed for friendship." So it was here ; they were 
not "flush heats" from whence his sympathies sprung ; 
it was a permanent glow. He was one who " kept his 
friendship in constant repair." Real friendship has 
been represented as a " slow grower," and incapable of 
"thriving, unless engrafted upon a stock of known and 
reciprocal merit." Whatever may have been the time 
of growth in this instance, it was genuine ; not that 
tormenting and taunting kind of friendship, which tells 
a person what he might have been, had he followed the 
advice given ; but that which " weeps with them that 
weep." After the usual salutations, Mr. Popplewell 
returned to the enquiries made, " I find my mind as 
well as I can expect, considering my situation." Mr. 
Dawson replied, " As far as sympathy can share your 
sorrows, I feel deeply concerned for you ;" observing, 
by way of comment afterwards, that "the soothing 
voice of friendship melted his honest heart, the tear 
started in his eye, and, among other things which he 
said, he emphatically remarked, 'though I do not 
know whether I am worth a farthing, yet I should not 
so much heed the loss of my property, if I could only 
see a satisfactory end of the business."' In the space of 
a month subsequent to this, he again saw him, when he 
again poured the balm of consolation into his wounded 
spirit. This was work for which he was always in 
tune, differing widely from those " sweet instruments 
hung up in cases, that keep their sounds to themselves." 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 247 

Within the space of about eight months more, he was 
called upon to preach the funeral sermon of this excel- 
lent man, of whom he furnished a memoir for the 
Methodist Magazine, where it is to be found, Vol. xxxv, 
p. 941. In that memoir, he gives a characteristic 
notice of the Rev. Miles Atkinson, under whose min- 
istry Mr. Popplewell had derived much good, and who 
had manifested great interest in his own welfare. 
Having first heard him, when he was unable to form an 
opinion, it is curious to know Mr. Dawson's more 
matured views. "He preached," he observes, "the 
plain gospel of Jesus Christ. His appearance was 
venerable, his voice peculiarly commanding, and his 
whole manner, both in the desk and the pulpit, was 
calculated to arrest the attention of his hearers. Such 
a minister in the Church was a phenomenon in those 
days, so that his congregations were uncommonly 
large." 

Mr. Dawson's own congregations were now so " un- 
commonly large," that he was compelled, in many 
instances, to preach out of doors. As an exception to 
a general case, "A prophet is not without honour, 
save in his own country," he was as popular at Bar- 
wick, and apparently as new, at the close as at the 
commencement of his ministerial career embracing, in 
all, a period of about forty years. Each returning visit 
to the pulpit, was as welcome as the return of an 
endeared friend, whose absence is regretted, and whose 
presence is the joy of the circle in which he moves. 
The faces of the people were all lit up with smiles on 
his appearance, disclosing the emotions of the heart, 
like flowers in May unfolding their beauties to the solar 
heat. When disappointed of a preacher, he ascended 



248 MEMOIRS OF 

the pulpit, would stroke his hand over his forehead, 
then partially raising it, and modestly peeping as 
from heneath a veil, would say, " It is the old 
face again, friends ! " The simple action and expression 
operated like a charm, preacher and people were in- 
stantly on the sweetest terms of amity with each other ; 
no one besides himself was wanted, for he could 
impart, in his peculiar way, what no one else could 
give. His presence and acceptability, however, were 
sometimes rendered available by the timid and luke- 
warm, as an excuse for absence ; and thus, occasionally, 
the pulpit labours of others were imposed upon him. 
Such was the hold he maintained on the public mind, 
that even in Leeds, when appointed to preach there, 
some of the most eminent travelling preachers in the 
connexion, both on ordinary and extraordinary occasions, 
have met numbers pouring along the streets, to hear 
him, belonging to the several chapels in which they 
were appointed to officiate. The chapels, new and old, 
were invariably crowded ; and the anxiety to hear him, 
was only equalled by the intense feeling of the people 
under his effective ministry. 

It was in the spring of 1813, when the biographer 
first became acquainted with him. Their first interview 
was in the vestry of Armley chapel, near Leeds, Mon- 
day, April 1 9th, on the day of its opening. The Rev. 
Richard Watson was then stationed in the Wakefield 
circuit, and was one of the ministers who officiated on 
the occasion. Mr. Dawson continued the opening ser- 
vices the Sabbath following, where he rejoiced with the 
people in the erection, having often had to preach out 
of doors before, for want of more ample accommodation. 
His text was Psal. Ixxxvii. 5, 6 ; " And of Zion it 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 249 

shall be said, This and that man was born in her ; and 
the Highest himself shall establish her. The Lord 
shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this 
man was born there." The writer will never forget the 
impression his first personal appearance made upon the 
mind. Mr. Dawson was then in his prime, stout, 
firm, compact ; not robust ; and his fine forehead 
was unclouded by the hanging eaves of the thatch-like 
roof of false hair which afterwards disfigured it, 
escaping, however, by its homeliness, the application of 
the censure which Milton apph'es to the ladies, 



' of outward form 



Elaborate, of inward, less exact. 1 ' 

He was seated on a bench, with his body inclined for- 
ward, one elbow on the knee, and the face directed 
towards the floor, musing, apparently, on some sub- 
ject ; while the sole of one shoe was grinding the sand 
beneath it, to the sound of which he was lending 
partial attention. Just at the moment he was pointed 
out to the \vriter, he suddenly raised his head, and shot 
a glance across the room, from whence a voice issued, 
which had caught his ear ; and it was this, in all pro- 
bability, that gave additional force to the eye, and so 
deepened the impression produced. The expression 
was not so clear as pointed, not so brilliant as quick ; 
equally remote from the diamond, the pellucid stream, 
or any transparent substance, as from the slow languor 
that contributes to its beauty, being attractive rather 
than searching, enlivening rather than lovely. It seemed 
to give life to the whole form, and to confirm the opinion 
of those, who believe that the story of Argus implies no 
more, than that the eye is in every part ; that is, as 
such persons express themselves, every other part would 

L2 



250 MEMOIRS OF 

be mutilated, were not its force represented more by 
the eye than even by itself. This " outward portal," 
this "common thoroughfare" to the "house within," 
j to the mind and aifections, was a fair introduction 
to what might be opined of the man; and in no 
instance, after first acquaintance, did he blight expec- 
tation. 

Great exertions were making, at this time, by the 
Baptists, and the agents of the London Missionary 
Society, on the behalf of the heathen. The Rev. 
Andrew Fuller, a man of masculine mind, and origin- 
ality of thought, preached in the chapel occupied by 
the Rev. E. Parsons of Leeds, and made a collection in 
aid of the Baptist Missions. Mr. Dawson heard him, 
and was much delighted, not only with his matter and 
unassuming manner, but with the sweet racy feeling 
that accompanied the word spoken. After Mr. Fuller 
had elucidated his subject, and expatiated on the great 
good that had been effected abroad by Dr. Cary and 
others, he asked, in his energetic way, " Where will 
it end ? '' " In heaven," responded Mr. Dawson, in a 
tone sufficiently loud to be heard, with his face beaming 
with pleasurable emotions. This was not the ebullition 
of that enthusiasm, which, in religion, operates like 
alchymy in philosophy, but of steady, fervid zeal, 
answering to the touch of the preacher, who had bound 
him, as by a spell, to the all-absorbing subject, the 
conversion of a WORLD. Ardent zeal was a vein which 
nature herself had strongly marked on the temper of 
his mind ; and when religion came to its aid, he pursued 
each divine object, as all inamoratos are admitted to do, 
whether in art, science, or what else, with his whole 
soul. He adverted afterwards, with delighted feeling, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 251 

to the biographer, to the influence which the subject 
had upon his mind. 

This was an excellent preparation for the first public 
Missionary Meeting among the Wesleyans, which was 
held soon after, in the Old Chapel, Leeds. Mr. Wesley 
had furnished the example in modern times, of weekly, 
monthly, and quarterly contributions, for the purpose 
of extending the religion of Christ in the world, and 
supporting Christian ministers in the work. The ex- 
cellence of the precedent belongs to St. Paul, who says, 
" Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you 
lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him." 
The weekly contributions of the primitive Church had 
the benefit of " the saints " for their object ; Mr. 
Wesley's was originally intended to liquidate the general 
debt at Bristol. The measure was ridiculed for many 
years; and the preachers were reviled as "roving men- 
dicants," as "men without a local habitation or a 
name ;" and the peculiar mode by which the cause of 
God was supported among the Wesleyans, was insidi- 
ously styled, "a paltry and unlikely scheme for pro- 
curing eleemosynary subscriptions." But in process of 
time, the views and feelings of a large proportion of the 
community were changed ; for many of the very per- 
sons that had previously treated the Wesleyans with 
such scurrility, began "to perceive such utility in the 
labours of Itinerants, as to induce them not only so to 
employ unordained noviciates, around the places of 
their education, but to recommend, as opportunity 
might serve, such a practice to fixed pastors." The 
Wesleyan method, also, of raising money, so much 
despised before, had, by this period, received the sanc- 
tion of several of the bishops and nobility of the land, 



252 MEMOIRS OF 

and was resorted to by almost every denomination of 
Christians, a decisive proof of the favourable change 
of public opinion. Bible, Missionary, and Tract Asso- 
ciations, had brought, by such means, a vast accession 
of pecuniary strength to their respective parent estab- 
lishments. As the plan, in modern times, was purely 
Wesleyan, and had never been adopted by the Societies 
as a source of supply to the Missionary fund, as other 
Christian communities were acting on the example, and 
opportunities for evangelizing the heathen were on the 
increase, and more especially as the Missionary cause 
was losing the personal exertions of Dr. Coke, it was 
deemed advisable to convene public meetings, and form 
associations, for the purpose of raising monies to extend 
the Missionary work. Mr. Scarth of Leeds, had re- 
peatedly remarked to Mr. Dawson, before Dr. Coke 
took his departure for India, " The Missionary cause 
must be taken out of the Doctor's hands ; it must be 
made a public a common cause" This, in Mr. Daw- 
son's view, as expressed to the biographer, was the germ 
of the whole. The Leeds preachers, on taking up the 
subject, visited the preachers at Bramley, with a view 
to consult further on the subject ; and all agreed in the 
propriety, necessity, and practicability of the measure. 
The fine feelings and gigantic powers of the late Rev. 
Richard Watson, were instantly brought to bear upon 
the subject, on being applied to by the Leeds brethren ; 
and having enlisted him in the cause for which he was 
so admirably fitted, and which brought him out with 
redoubled splendour before the public, success, under 
God, seemed at once ensured. Accordingly, after due 
deliberation and preparation, with other lay and minis- 
terial accessions, a public meeting was appointed to be 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 253 

held, October 6th, 1813, in the Methodist Old Chapel, 
Leeds, at two o'clock in the afternoon.* 

The occasion was deeply interesting, and fraught 
with the most important results to mankind. Thomas 
Thompson, Esq., M. P., after singing and prayer, was 
called to preside, and opened the proceedings of the 
meeting. After a speech of some length, distinguished 
for good sense, and a general attention to Missionary 
operations, he concluded his remarks by observing, 
" I will only beg leave, before any other proceeding take 
place, to request that you will not signify your appro- 
bation of the speeches which you may hear from my 
honoured brethren, by modes of applauding, like those 
which are practised in theatres, and other places of 
public amusement. The consideration of the sacred 
purpose for which we are assembled, will banish from 
our conduct every expression of our feelings which bor- 
ders on levity. Whatever may have been the practice 
of other Christians on similar occasions, let it be 
our care that 'all things are done decently and in 
order. ' " 

One of the preachers, in social mood, said to Mr. 
Dawson, previously to the meeting, " You must take a 
resolution." All was new ; it was like going an appren- 
ticeship to a new profession. "Me take a resolution!" 
he returned ; "I know not what to do with it ; I shall 
be blundering over it, like one of our senators, who had 
to take the sacrament to qualify him for his seat." 
This reply, as it was in the freedom of conversation, 
excited a little curiosity. " How was that ? " It was 

"A Report of the Principal Speeches' 1 delivered on the occasion, was 
published by James Nichols; and the Resolutions moved, were published in 
the Methodist Magazine for 1813, p. 950, under the head of " Religious Intel- 
ligence." 



254 MEMOIRS OF 

replied, "He was an irreligious man; and being as 
ignorant of religion, as he was personally indifferent to 
it, he went to church supposing his appearance within 
its walls sufficient when a female was returning thanks, 
and was thus churched with her ;" repeating, " I shall 
be sure to blunder." The disposition to something 
like jocularity, was a sufficient intimation, that he had 
no grave objection to engage in the services of the 
occasion. Accordingly, the seventh resolution was 
committed to his care, which he moved, and spoke 
with great eifect. Having caught the fire from the 
preceding speakers, he commenced, 

" MR. CHAIRMAN, I rise with pleasure before you 
and this congregation, because I believe that the 
grand object of our meeting is under the distinguished 
smile of Jehovah. You know, Sir, that the intention 
of our assembling here to-day, is, to propose, adopt, 
and prosecute the best plans of spreading 'pure and 
undefiled religion' to the utmost extent of our abilities. 
Noble Designs ! Methinks the happiness of sur- 
rounding angels is augmented, when they behold 
these projects, and the spirit with which we enter 
into them. They anticipate the season when these 
plans will be executed, when they will have new 
melodies to raise over penitent sinners returning to 
God. In my humble opinion, Sir, in what we are now 
contemplating, there are two weighty considerations, 
which deserve our particular .attention. One is, 
That a Missionary ministry of the Gospel is under 
the peculiar approbation of God, and is, in his hand, 
the grand mean of enlightening a benighted world ; 
the other That of all people, the Methodists should 
be the first to encourage Missionary efforts." These 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 255 

positions he established ; took a glance at the divine 
mission of Jesus Christ to the world the commission 
he gave to his disciples, and the energy with which 
they acted in carrying it into execution the spirit 
which was roused at the time of the Reformation 
and the efforts to diffuse evangelical truth at sub- 
sequent periods. 

On the other proposition, viz. " That of all others, 
the Methodists should be the first to encourage Mis- 
sionary efforts," he remarked, that, "the reasons for 
it appeared in the DOCTRINES which they believed, 
and the PRIVILEGES which they enjoyed." He pro- 
ceeded, linking himself to all the interests of the 
body, 

"The doctrines which we believe, bind this duty 
upon us in an especial manner. You know, Sir, we 
believe that in the Gospel is provided a full, free, 
and present salvation from all the moral evils con- 
sequent on the fall of Adam. We believe that this 
salvation is of infinite importance, as being a complete 
deliverance from infinite evils, and a personal possession 
of infinite benefits. We believe that wherever the 
Gospel is faithfully preached, this salvation is within 
the reach of all. We believe that, as its duties are 
imposed upon all, its benefits are offered to all. We 
believe that when ministers preach the Gospel fully, 
they preach ' Christ in us, the hope of glory, warning 
every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, 
that they may present every man perfect in Christ 
Jesus.' Now these are some of the doctrines which 
we believe ; and if we act consistently with our prin- 
ciples, we shall not be the least nor the hindmost in 
Missionary efforts. How highly proper it is that our 



256 MEMOIRS OF 

conduct should illustrate and harmonize with our creed ; 
and that we should shew our faith by our works ! 

" But, Sir, the privileges which we enjoy bring on us 
an additional and powerful obligation why we should 
be the first in promoting this good work. Is a 
Missionary ministry of the Gospel under the peculiar 
approbation of God? Our regular ministry is truly 
of the Missionary kind. Do Missionaries make great 
sacrifices ? So do our ministers. Do they sacrifice 
the pleasures of social enjoyments? Do they leave 
father, and mother, and brethren, and sisters, to pro- 
mote the salvation of souls? So do ours. Do they 
sacrifice all prospects of accumulating wealth ? So do 
ours. Do they sacrifice a state and spirit of indepen- 
dence, and enter upon a humble and dependent life ? 
So do ours. ' Foxes have holes, and the birds of 
the air have nests,' to which they claim an exclusive 
right, but our ministers have not a place of their own 
where they can lay their heads. "We lend them houses ; 
we lend them furniture ; and we lend them those 
things only for two years, and then they must re- 
move again to another station, and preach the Gospel 
to other persons. Do Missionaries many times sacrifice 
the sweets of Christian friendship ? So do ours. When 
a preacher has just got acquainted with some kindred 
souls in his circuit, and has begun to repose his 
confidence in them, and to taste the delicious gratifica- 
tions of their friendship, his two years are expired, 
and he is torn away, and sent to some distant part 
of the country, and perhaps never sees the faces of 
his friends again, until he meets them in heaven. 
-Do Missionaries engage in arduous duties? So do 
ours. Almost every night in the week, and generally 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 257 

three times on Sundays, are they engaged in the 
honourable, but arduous duty of preaching the Gospel ; 
besides their additional labour in the quarterly ex- 
amination of the societies. 

" In proceeding, Sir, upon this interesting subject, I 
may, perhaps, wound the generous feelings of my 
honoured fathers and beloved brethren in the ministry, 
who are now before me; but permit me at this time 
to give vent to my own pleasures, though it be at 
the expense of theirs. I therefore venture to ask, 
Is a Missionary ministry under the peculiar approba- 
tion of God? With humble gratitude I would answer 
So is ours. The best of all is, GOD is WITH 
THEM. Stand in the centre of Great Britain, and 
ask concerning our ministers, 'Have they laboured, 
or do they labour in vain?' Thousands upon thou- 
sands would immediately answer, No. Fly over to 
the West Indies and ask, 'Have they laboured, or 
do they labour in vain?' And 15,000 voices answer, 
No. Stand upon the vast continent of America, and 
ask once more, 'Have they laboured, or do they 
labour in vain ? ' Upwards of 200,000 voices answer, 
No. But let us concentrate our views and enquiries ; 
I now look round upon this congregation ; and though 
we are in the presence of so many of our dear fathers 
and brethren in the ministry, * I ask you, ' Have 
they laboured, or do they labour in vain?' (Here, 
hundreds of voices interrupted the speaker, and spon- 
taneously spared him the trouble of repeating his 
negation, by emphatically answering, 'No.') 

"I thank you, my friends. Then, Sir, may I not 

* A considerable number of preachers sat directly before Mr. Dawson, to 
whom he directed the eyes of the congregation while he was asking this ques- 
tion. 



258 MEMOIRS OF 

be permitted to ask Shall we monopolize the benefits 
of such a ministry? By the instrumentality of these 
men, we have received our spiritual eye-sight ; and 
have we received it for no other purpose than to see 
our poor fellow-creatures going blindfolded to rum? 
Is it possible that we can behold such a spectacle, 
without attempting to relieve them, by sending them 
the same means by which we got our eyes opened? 
Surely not. By these men we were directed to the 
Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, and he has broken 
our bonds, and snapped our fetters in sunder, and 
we walk at liberty. And shall we view the poor 
heathens not only blindfolded, but 'tied and bound 
with the chain of their sins,' and the grand Deceiver 
leading them across the stage of h'fe to the 'lake 
burning with fire and brimstone, ' and not strain 
every nerve to send them ministers to ' proclaim liberty 
to the captives,' and, under God, to ' turn them from 
darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto 
God ? ' It cannot be that we can look upon this 
heart-rending and melancholy scene unmoved ! 

" Under the ministry of these men, we enjoy ' feasts 
of fat things, of wines on the lees well refined ; ' 
and shall we see our poor heathen brethren famishing 
with hunger, and not send them one dish of the 
dainties of the Gospel ? It cannot be ! Especially, 
Sir, when we consider that we have a number of 
young men truly converted, and deeply devoted to 
God, who would gladly imitate the angel in the 
Revelation, and fly through the earth, and 'preach 
the everlasting Gospel to every nation, and kindred, 
and tongue, and people.' But they want wings? 
And shall we deny them pinions, when it is in our 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 259 

power to furnish them with such useful appendages? 
Surely not ! To-day we are met to devise the mea- 
sures best adapted for attaining this important object ; 
and I trust we shah" not meet in vain. If we possess 
any proper sympathy for our fellow-creatures, if we 
feel any powerful sense of our superior obligations 
to God, we shall neither be the last nor the least 
in missionary efforts." 

Including thanks to the chairman, there were nine- 
teen resolutions in all, each with its mover and 
seconder. Of the travelling preachers, who had 
resolutions assigned them, to move or second, only 
eight were living in 1841 ; and of the laymen, about 
an equal number. The first committee too, of which 
Mr. Dawson was a member, exhibited the same af- 
fecting waste by the ravages of death. Out of twenty - 
six travelling preachers, whose names were upon it, 
belonging to the Leeds district, only eleven were 
living ; and of forty-eight laymen, only about fifteen. 
Eternity alone will disclose the full importance of that 
meeting to the interests of religion in the world. 
Independent of its influence on other sections of the 
Christian church, its direct influence on the Wesleyan 
body has been highly beneficial, in extending the 
knowledge of the people, in opening up new sources 
of benevolence, in deepening, elevating, and expanding 
the piety of the heart, and in employing a number 
of active agents in the general work of well-doing, 
who might otherwise have lived in comparative seclu- 
sion and ease. * 

* In 1785, the Wesleyans had only three foreign stations Nova-Scotia, New- 
foundland, and Antigua, 3 Missionaries, and 1408 members on those stations. 

In 1813 embracing a period of 28 years, when the Missionary Meetings 
commenced, they had only 4 Districts in the foreignfleld, including 22 circuits, 



260 MEMOIRS OF 

Than on this occasion, the biographer rarely ever 
saw Mr. Dawson to greater advantage; not so much 
for the extraordinary character of his materials, as 
for the deep tone of piety which he displayed, the 
sunshine he threw over the meeting, the spirit which 
he enkindled in the breasts of those around the tact 
which he displayed and the ease with which he fell 
into, what afterwards constituted the work of the plat- 
form. A missionary spirit was soon excited through 
the whole Wesleyan Connexion, and invitations poured 
in upon him thenceforward, not only from newly- 
instituted societies, but societies as they grew old, 
some of whose annual meetings he attended for a 
succession of years. From this period, he advanced 
in popularity and usefulness, beyond all precedent 
among his brethren. It was not that kind of reputation 
which depends upon mere accident, as when the mass 
of the people are guided by the opinions of their 

upon which were 22 Missionaries, comprising exclusive of France, Gibraltar, 
and Ireland, 16,833 members. Seven additional Missionaries were appointed 
at the Conference of 1813, for Asia and South Africa, but had not reached their 
several destinations. The principal Mission Stations at that period were 
Sierra-Leone, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and the West Indies. 

In 1841 a second period of 28 years, the following " Recapitulation " of a 
" Summary View," was published as a " Postscript" to the January " Mis- 
sionary Notices : " " The Society occupies, 

Principal Stations, about 256 ; 

Missionaries, about 380; 

Catechists and Salaried Schoolmasters, &c., 322. 

Assistants and Teachers, not Salaried, upwards of 5,600; 

Printing Establishments, 7 ; 

Members or Communicants, 78,504 ; 

Attendants on the Ministry, more than 200,000 ; 

In the Schools, Adults, and Children, 55,078 ; 

Upwards of 20 languages used by the Missionaries; into several of which 
the translation of the Scriptures, and of other useful and instructive books, is 
in progress. 

The Annual Income of the Society amounting to between NINETY and ONK 
HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS.' So much for Missionary Meetings .' .' 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 261 

superiors; the few, in such cases, being the keepers 
of the elevation of others, upon whom the trumpet 
of applause is hound to attend, and give forth its 
notes, on a solitary display of talent, or an extra 
act of benevolence : it was that which arose from his 
native genius and ardent desire to promote the pub- 
lic good, sacrificing personal ease, profit, and all 
private considerations, to promote the grand object. 
'Without this the public good as a motive, a man 
is at best but "an inglorious neuter to mankind." 

Notwithstanding the chairman's caution to the au- 
ditory, self-restraint seemed next to impossible. Such 
assemblies are, to a certain extent, in the keeping 
of the speakers ; and to the speakers, rather than 
the hearers, such cautions should be administered. 
His style and manner, from the effects produced by 
them, and which in himself were generally admissible, 
led the way to certain imitations, and produced a 
lighter spirit occasionally than what comported with 
the object of the meetings, and which, so far as 
others were concerned, it was found necessary to tone 
down and to check. The evil became the greater, 
from the circumstance of the imitators being destitute 
of the weight which he otherwise possessed, and which 
invariably counter-balanced the flights of fancy in 
which he was sometimes pleased to indulge. 

What was rather extraordinary, on the present occa- 
sion, the chairman himself, who was a man of almost 
stern gravity, was, if not carried away with the excite- 
ment, overpowered by the deeper feeling. He had 
seen Mr. Dawson before, and remarked to a friend 
afterwards, that he was frequently drawn to observe 
him, while the speakers that preceded him were 



262 MEMOIRS OF 

addressing the meeting, and was deeply impressed with 
his appearance, as heing something more than an 
ordinary character, and especially with the expressions 
of his face, which every now and then manifested the 
strongest internal emotions. But when he began to 
speak, the chairman was apparently under as strong 
emotions as himself, and towards the close, wept under 
the affecting appeals which were made to himself and 
to the assembly. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 263 



CHAPTER X. 

Conscience, a singular Incident. Tenderness in Preaching. 
The Shepherd personified. Indirect self-praise. Revivalists. 
Mistakes in Conversion corrected. Early Gift in Prayer among 
young Converts. Establishment of Missionary Societies at 
York and Wakefield. Extracts front Speeches. Mr. Edn-ard 
Wade's death. Selby Missionary Meeting. Timidity. Char- 
acteristic Remarks. Conversational Meetings among the Local- 
Preachers. A spiritual Ministry. Deputation from a distance. 
Death of the Princess Charlotte. Visit to the North. A 
Dream. Quarrels from trifling causes. Fault-Jinders. 
Prejudice. Chester and Liverpool Meetings. Dr. Adam 
Clarke. Propriety of bringing acquired knowledge to bear on 
the cause of Truth. Death of the Rev. William Bramnell. 
The Backslider. Tract Distribution. Addresses to Children. 
Objections. The eternal Sonship. Authors. 

His ministry, if possible, became more energetic 
than heretofore, and was increasingly effective in the 
conversion of sinners. Among many other extraor- 
dinary effects produced, as to the conviction it carried 
to the conscience, one may be here adduced. He was 
preaching in the neighbourhood of Leeds, on Daniel v. 
27, " Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found 
wanting." A person who travelled the country in the 
character of a pedlar, and who was exceedingly partial 
to him as a preacher, was one of Mr. Dawson's auditors. 



264 MEMOIRS OF 

The person referred to, generally carried a stick with 
him, which answered the double purpose of a walking- 
stick and a "yard-wand;" and having been employed 
pretty freely in the former capacity, it was worn down 
beyond the point of justice, and procured for him the 
appellation of "Short Measure." He stood before 
Mr. Dawson, and being rather noisy in his religious 
professions, as well as ready with his responses, he 
manifested signs of approbation, while the scales were 
being described and adjusted, and different classes of 
sinners were placed in them, and disposed of agreeably 
to the test of justice, truth, and mercy, uttering in a 
somewhat subdued tone, yet loud euough for those 
around to hear, at the close of each particular, "Light 
weight" "short again," &c. After taking up the 
separate characters of the flagrant transgressors of the 
law of God, the hypocrite, the formalist, &c., Mr. Daw- 
son at length came to such persons as possessed religious 
light, but little hallowed feeling, and the semblance 
of much zeal, but who employed false weights and 
measures. Here, without having adverted in his mind 
to the case of his noisy auditor, he perceived the 
muscles of his face working, when the report of " short- 
measure " occurred to him. Resolved, however, to 
soften no previous expression, and to proceed with an 
analysis and description of the character in question, 
he placed the delinquent, in his singularly striking 
way, in the scale, when instead of the usual response 
the man, stricken before him, took his stick the 
favourite measure, from under his arm, raised one 
foot from the floor, doubled his knee, and, taking 
hold of the offending instrument by both ends, snap- 
ped it into two halves, exclaiming, while dashing it 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 265 

to the ground, "Thou shalt do it no more." So 
true is it, to employ the language of an eminent 
minister, that " no man ever offended his own con- 
science, but first or last it was revenged upon him 
for it." Conscience is an equitable and ready judge, 
when permitted to speak out, and tells a man that he 
cannot injure another, without receiving the counter- 
stroke, that he must necessarily wound himself in 
wronging another. Let conscience be waited upon in 
all transactions between man and man, and like the 
fingers of a steady time-piece, it will generally be found 
to point to the golden rule of equity ; but let it once be 
tampered with, and it will soon become "seared as 
with a hot iron," robbed of the integrity in which it 
was created, and neither have purity sufficient to carry 
a man to heaven, nor yet light enough to enable him to 
select the path. 

When the subject led to it, Mr. Dawson, as has been 
seen, could be as tender, as on other occasions, he was 
rousing and severe. At the opening of Wortley chapel, 
near Leeds, he took for his text, Isai. xl. 9 11. He 
told his hearers, that the text was like a well-toned 
organ full, varied, powerful, sweet ; but that it re- 
quired some one to touch the keys with skill ; and yet, 
he added, "a skilful hand, without the breath of 
heaven, will avail nothing." However he himself, he 
observed, might attempt to handle the instrument, all 
would be in vain, unless the breath of God, " the inspi- 
ration of the Almighty," filled the pipes. He believed, 
at the same time, that a person like himself, engaged 
in agricultural pursuits, and of pastoral habits, could 
enter more readily into the meaning of some parts of 
the text, than many of his hearers, who had to attend 

M 



266 MEMOIRS OF 

to the loom, and seldom stirred abroad. He then 
adverted to the eleventh verse, "He shall feed his 
flock like a shepherd ; he shall gather the lambs with 
his arm, and carry them in his bosom ; " and depicted, 
in fine style, from personal experience, the shepherd 
going out into the fields, hours after the day had closed, 
or hours before day-break, in the cold month of Feb- 
ruary or March, to visit his flock. The hearers were 
then transported in imagination into the rural districts ; 
the heavens, in addition to the darkness of the hour, 
sometimes overshadowed with clouds, with a strong 
cold vapour floating in the atmosphere, and at other 
times, the stars sparkling in the midst of the dark blue 
overhead, with the ground either covered with snow, 
hardened by the frost, or slightly crisped under the 
feet, with a sharp searching wind. Under these cir- 
cumstances, the shepherd was beheld by the "mind's 
eye," like a stalking shadow in the midst of the gloom, 
now pausing, now listening, pausing and listening 
again, once and again deceived by fancied sounds, 
then hearing the palpitation of his own heart ; proceed- 
ing, and halting, and listening, and looking, till a small 
white speck appeared a few paces before him. It was 
readily conjectured to be a lamb, only a few hours old, 
and nearly frozen to death. The shepherd, moved with 
tenderness, as much as by interest, was again repre- 
sented as stooping down, taking it up, putting it in 
his bosom, beneath his upper garment, carrying it 
home, placing it before the fire, looking upon it with 
anxious solicitude, his eye glistening with joy on see- 
ing it stir its limbs, still more on it raising its head, 
and finally transported to behold it, though stagger- 
ing, upon its feet, and to hear it bleat. Just at the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 267 

moment the bleating of the lamb seemed to die upon 
the ear of the congregation, the poor penitent was 
exhibited, as followed by the mercy of God, Jesus, 
the " Great Shepherd of the sheep," pursuing him, 
going into the wilderness, laying hold of him by his 
Spirit, bringing him to the fold, fostering, anima- 
ting him, and at length delighted with the voice of 
prayer, "bleating in the ear of heaven, 'Mercy, 
mercy, mercy ! ' " feeble at first, then waxing stron- 
ger and stronger. Here, owing to the manner of 
working up the subject imitating, as far as was com- 
patible with the sanctity of the place, the first feeble 
cries of the returning sinner, which were instantly asso- 
ciated with the first bleatings of the lamb, the subject 
was overwhelming, and encouraging beyond expression, 
to seekers of salvation. The Shepherd's ear was repre- 
sented as ever open to their cry, and his heart as 
beating with compassion towards them having a deep 
interest, at the same time, in the purchase of his own 
blood. 

Though numbers received a sense of sin forgiven 
under his ministry, he was not in the habit of trumpet- 
ing his success from society to society, and from one 
social party to another, in order to keep up a fever of 
feeling in his favour, and to attract attention to himself 
as the principal actor, saying, in effect, " Look at me, 
talk of me, think of me, follow me." Pride is always 
the herald of its own fame ; and this is its vice, that it 
paints its own virtues and success, and counts its own 
numbers, as though no one received good except when 
the trumpeter himself was there. He was no monopolist, 
but distributed the success among the different labourers 
in the vineyard, and shewed that men might have popular 



268 MEMOIRS OF 

tact, without much talent. Listening, one day, to two 
or three revivalists, so called, men of warm hearts, 
little thought, and less reading, who were stating that 
" so many souls were born of God, in certain meetings 
while they were present," he observed with considerable 
point and emphasis, and perhaps a slight degree of 
impatience to administer correction, " You, and your 
friends, talk of such a number being born of God in 
your meetings, and you number them as David num- 
bered the people. No such thing ; they were begotten 
of the word, to employ the language of the apostle, by 
the ministry of others, were convinced, and had be- 
come penitents. You are not the men, your ministry 
is not of that cast, to beget souls by the preaching of 
the Gospel : I can compare you to nothing but so many 
old midwives, calculated to help persons already born 
into a little more liberty. Yours is a very humble 
department indeed, and you have but little in which to 
glory. Do not make so much noise ; and never boast of 
souls being born under you, that wexe prepared by others. 
You only entered upon other men's labours ; and they 
would have remained unborn for you." He found that 
the case admitted of strong language ; that the labours of 
others were not duly appreciated ; and was anxious that 
the work of God should speak for itself, in the life of 
each reformed character, and in the temper of each 
converted heart ; being persuaded that less mistake 
would arise from the realities of the one, than the 
reports of the other. M 

In conformity with these sentiments, a case may be 
stated, showing his settled views on the subject. Two 
young men were brought to God in his own neighbour- 
hood, who, the Sabbath after they received liberty, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 269 

attended a prayer-meeting in a neighbouring village, 
where they prayed with fluency in public. This was 
noised abroad as a wonder. Just about the same period, 
Mr. Dawson, in company with a relative, proceeded to 
an inn in the vicinity, to meet one of the regular 
coaches. On entering one of the rooms, to wait the 
arrival of the coach, they found some persons seated, 
with whom the conversion of the young men was the 
subject of marvel, and had been the topic of conversa- 
tion. Mr. Dawson listened ; and being known to some 
of the party, the discourse was at length directed to 
him, with a view to elicit an opinion. " God," he 
observed, "has no still-born children." "True," it 
was replied, by some one who knew something more of 
religion than he practised ; " but you must admit that 
conversion, in the case of these persons, was quick 
work." Mr. Dawson returned ; " It may have been 
quick in its crisis, but slow in its progress." Then 
turning upon the spokesman, and -through him upon 
the others, of whom he had some knowledge, he pro- 
ceeded, " Some of you have attended religious meet- 
ings for years ; you have had convictions, but have 
refused to yield. Here we find the work begun. You 
have long struggled against God, and I hope the process 
of conviction will go on. You know what is wrong, 
and can talk about what is right ; the work may be 
sudden at last, and I care not how soon. But how do 
you know what may have been the light, the thoughts, 
the feelings of these young men ? It may be that God 
had been at work with them for a series of years, and 
that now they may only have yielded to former convic- 
tions." While this placed the subject before them in 
a new light, it served Mr. Dawson' s purpose of reaching 



2/0 MEMOIRS OF 

the conscience. There is another key to the subject, 
besides that given by Mr. Dawson. " I will pour upon 
the house of Israel," says the Lord, "and upon the 
inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and suppli- 
cation." The Holy Spirit not only animates the affec- 
tions in prayer, but imparts to the mind something of 
the inventive, both as to thought and expression. 
" Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities ; for 
we know not what we should pray for as we ought : 
but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with 
groanings that cannot be uttered." Here is both the 
unutterable groan, and the fluent speech a help to 
infirmity ; and that aid must be effectual, as it is divine 
in its character. With such a helper as the HOLY 
GHOST, we scarcely need be astonished at the power, 
the ease, the fluency, and, in some instances, the cor- 
rectness, with which some new converts, together with 
poor, uneducated, plain-minded men, pour out their 
souls in prayer before God. Nor can the gift, in many 
instances, be accounted for on any other principle than 
that of the Spirit's influence upon the mind. 

Among the numerous Missionary Meetings in the 
establishment of which he assisted, those of Wakefield 
and York may be named ; the former, Feb. 7th, and 
the latter, Mar. 24th, 1814. At Wakefield he showed, 
in a speech of great originality and vigour, that the 
tolerant spirit of the British Government, the peace- 
able and loyal state of the lower classes of the commu- 
nity, and the commanding attitude of Britain among 
the nations of the earth, were strong reasons for at- 
tempting the conversion of the heathen. He humor- 
ously personified the Conventicle Act, as a monster that 
had made dreadful havoc in former times among good 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 271 

men, but which was afterwards chained by the Toler- 
ation Act, and finally put to death by a recent law of 
the legislature, securing the religious liberties of the 
country. He then argued, that if Christians enjoyed 
so much quiet at home, they ought to do much to pro- 
mote the kingdom of Christ abroad. The "Age of 
Reason," too, he observed, had passed away, and with 
it infidelity, blasphemy, insubordination, and civil in- 
quietude. This called for gratitude ; and he thought 
the friends could not shew it better, than by spreading 
that religion to whose influence they owed so happy a 
state of society. That great man Mr. Pitt, he remarked, 
died sighing, " O my country I " "We too, he inti- 
mated, in glancing at the state of affairs, might say, 
" O my country ! " but it was with the transport 'of a 
fond mother, who clasps her child in her arms, just 
rescued from danger, and exclaims, " O my child ! " 
The effect produced at this moment, is well recollected 
by the biographer, who was seated near him at the 
time. He proceeded, " If God has done so much for 
our political interests, it is not to inflate our pride, but 
that he may employ our influence, our example, and 
our means, in diffusing his truth through the world. 
Let us, then, send Bibles and Missionaries in every 
direction. Our ships which carry them, will be like 
the lights of heaven in their courses. As they make 
their revolutions round the world, they will reflect the 
glory of the Sun of Righteousness upon every land they 
approach." 

At York he was much more argumentative: but 
without attempting to follow him in all his reasonings 
and details, he observed, that the subject of Christian 
Missions would bear the closest examination, and that 



2/2 MEMOIRS OF 

nothing would be lost by the investigation. He then 
adverted to the state of the heathen world in point 
of morals; and shewed that, circumstanced as they 
were, they had no means of improvement among them- 
selves. He further observed, that the preaching of 
the gospel was the grand instrument to be employed 
in the work of evangelizing the world, hut regretted 
to find persons disposed to rob that gospel of its 
vital principles, by setting up mere morality as a 
substitute. "The various miseries of human life," 
he remarked, "have claims upon us, but they are 
not superior to those of Christian Missions. Hos- 
pitals, almshouses, and public charities, with which 
York abounds, have claims upon its inhabitants, but 
their claims are not superior to those of Missions. 
The Bible Society has claims, great claims upon us ; 
and though much has been said and done for it, yet 
there has not been enough said and done ; but even 
these claims are not superior to those of Missions. 
The Bereans had the Scriptures ; but it was necessary, 
notwithstanding, that Paul and Silas should go and 
preach the gospel to them. In the Bible Society, 
we see the blushing of an opening dawn ; in the 
Missionary Society, we see the brightening beams of 
a glorious sun, portending a glorious day." He con- 
cluded, by stating, that York stood one of the first 
on the list of the Bible Society, and he hoped it 
would not be the last in missionary exertions. 

July the 7th, the day appointed for Thanksgiving 
for Peace, he preached in Barwick chapel on Psalm 
cxvii. and Ixviii. 5, 6, 7 ; and August 14th, he 
preached a funeral sermon at Huntington, near York, 
on occasion of the death of his old friend, Mr. Edward 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 2/3 

Wade, formerly of Sturton Grange, on Job xix. 25 
27. Mr. Wade married, as his second wife, Mrs. 
Gibson, a relative of the Rev. Walter Sellon, and a 
lineal descendant of the celebrated John Wickliffe 
"the morning star of the Reformation." Mrs. Gib- 
son's son, which she had to her first husband, Walter 
Sellon Gibson, was brought to God under the minis- 
try of Mr. Dawson, when a boy, at Sturton Grange. 
After preaching the funeral sermon in a field near 
the village, Mr. Dawson returned to the city, and 
preached in New-Street chapel to a crowded and deeply 
affected congregation. 

November 16, the biographer had the pleasure of 
another interview with him, at the formation of the Selby 
Missionary Meeting. It was at this Meeting the "Village 
Blacksmith " made his debut on the platform. The 
venerable Walter Griffith was in the chair; and for 
high wrought feeling, the writer rarely ever witnessed 
anything equal to it. Materials for speeches were 
then scarce ; and a preceding speaker having occupied 
the ground, which the biographer intended taking, 
he found it more difficult to strike out a new track 

on the platform than in the pulpit. "Friend E ," 

said Mr. Wild, of Armley, jocularly, on returning 
home, "take care, when you go to a Missionary 
Meeting again, to provide yourself with a double- 
barrelled gun ; if the one does not go off, the other 
may." Mr. Dawson amused himself with this after- 
wards, when adverting to missionary beginnings. 

He himself, however, was not always at home. A 

person of intellect, having heard of his popularity, 

observed one day, that he was going to hear him 

preach, and that he would measure the extent of the 

M 2 



2/4 MEMOIRS OF 

mind of his hearers by the sermon he preached. Mr. 
Dawson heard of this, and having to preach a mis- 
sionary sermon at D , was not a little embarrassed 

in finding the same gentleman putting on a stern 
front, and seated in a conspicuous part of the chapel. 
"I felt," said he, "on seeing him, the barometer 
of my feelings going fast down to rain ; but still 
more so," he continued, "when I saw a platform 
full of preachers, and a chapel full of emptiness : 
then, the barometer was fixed for rain." There were 
several prejudices to surmount, in solitary places, 
against public meetings. On other than missionary occa- 
sions, however, he invariably drew, in the same place, 
immense congregations. Since then, the missionary 
cause has flourished in the town and neighbourhood. 

In his own remarks on ministers, he was more 
characteristic than severe ; and he generally found his 
way to the leading features of a person's manner. 
"Such a one," said he, "is like a tailor's goose, 
hot and heavy" This was not in the spirit of fault- 
finding; for no one could entertain a higher opinion 
of the fine expansive mind of the preacher, the delight- 
ful feeling which pervaded his discourses, and his 
genuine piety, than himself. The remark was solely 
applied to manner. Of another, he observed, "when 
I first heard him preach, he was like the gentle dew 
to me ; then came the mizzling rain, next a little 
more rapid ; after that, a heavy shower for an hour 
together; at the close of this, the clouds began to 
collect and darken ; then succeeded the lightning, 
when the thunder rolled, and the whole assembly 
seemed moved." Speaking of the late Rev. Richard 
Watson one day, and comparing him with another 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 275 

eminent minister, he observed, Mr. always re- 
minds me, in his preaching, of a person who writes 
a beautiful running hand, neat easy every letter 
properly formed, with its elegant body and hair stroke 
and every word in its proper place. Mr. Watson 
can write equally as good a hand as he ; but then, 
(imitating the penman by the motion of the hand 
the while), he throws in the additional flourishes, 
and these, gracefully curving and sweeping around 
the letters, add to the beauty of the penmanship, 
and attract greater attention." This comparison em- 
braced the peculiarities of the two men, Mr. Watson, 
who combined beauty and genius with judgment ; and 
the other, who had taste and judgment, but was with- 
out imagination. Addressing another minister a strong 
minded man, and one with whom he was on familiar 
terms, "You," said he, "are one of the best taker's 
of a likeness I ever met with. In drawing the char- 
acter of a sinner, you do it to the life : but on holding 
the likeness up to the man, you invariably get him 
to laugh at himself." The person referred to has 
been gathered to his fathers many years ; but it was 
one of those defects to which his ministry was subject, 
though otherwise distinguished for numerous excellences. 
"The taste of the public for reading," said he, "in 
the present day, is like that of sheep put into a new 
pasture : no matter how rich and good the grass may 
be ; they will run and nibble a bit here a second 
bit there a third elsewhere, never resting till they 
have gone round the whole then, at last, they settle 
quietly down to one spot and feed." To a person 
who sustained the character of a "snarling critic," 
and who was hazarding some remarks in Mr. Dawson's 



276 MEMOIRS OF 

presence, the latter looked at him, and said, " I passed 
some geese on Friday evening, on the way to my 
class, when the old gander stretched out his neck 
and hissed at me : you are just like him, for you 
can do nothing but hiss." "Daniel Isaac," said he, 
in reference to his severity in controversy, " could bite 
through a nail." "Three things," he observed on 
another occasion, " distinguished the character of John 
Wesley openness to conviction deadness to the world 
and attention to the openings of Providence." 

A meeting was established by the Local Preachers 
of the Leeds Circuit, for "Familiar Conversation." 
Connected with this was a sermon ; and Mr. Dawson 
being selected to preach on the occasion, delivered a dis- 
course, May 15th, 1815, in the Old Chapel, to a crowded 
auditory on " It is the Spirit that quickeneth ; the 
flesh profiteth nothing," John vi. 63. This was just 
the subject, and the occasion for which he was pecu- 
liarly fitted. No man was more anxious to preserve 
a living ministry than himself; and few understood 
better in what it consisted. There is the same differ- 
ence between the spirit and the letter a living and 
a dead ministry, that there is between the. execution 
of a drawn sword in the hand of a person skilled in 
its use, and one thrown off on canvass by the hand 
of an artist, the latter producing as little effect as 
the sword in the image of George and the Dragon. 
The word preached, without the Spirit, is like the 
pool of Bethesda without the angel, the water pos- 
sessing no virtue till troubled. The letter killeth ; 
it is the Spirit that quickeneth ; by which letter, is 
not understood, as Origin would interpret it, the literal 
meaning of the sacred text, and by the spirit, the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 277 

allegorical ; nor yet, as some Antinomians would ex- 
pound it, the former referring to the Old Testament, 
and the latter to the New; but the mighty energy 
of Almighty God, accompanying the word preached, 
as in the ministry of Peter, when, with the swiftness 
of lightning, its unconquerable edge penetrated the hearts 
of three thousand shiners, under one sermon. The word, 
taken alone, may tickle the ear, and please the fancy ; 
but without the Spirit, it is like a shell without a 
kernel, a tree without fruit, a well without water, a 
body without a soul ; and will lie as harmless on the 
shelf, and be as passive in the hand of the bookseller 
as any unheeded volume penned by the Apostolical 
Fathers. In support of this, on casting the eye around 
the Christian world, congregations and ministers may 
be beheld, who have been fixtures from ten to twenty, 
thirty, forty years, presenting neither diminution nor in- 
crease, except by natural births and deaths without 
the conversion of a single soul to God, or the exhibition 
of a solitary reformed rake, the blind leading the 
blind, and both falling into the ditch together. Than 
this a sapless ministry, and a heartless congregation, 
there cannot be a heavier curse inflicted upon a town 
or neighbourhood, both resembling an old decayed 
tree hollow at the heart, without even the leaf of 
profession, with the axe of the woodman laid at 
the root, and ready to cut it down as a cum- 
berer of the ground! How different the ministry of 
the prophets and apostles, before whom even kings 
turned pale and trembled ! How different the ministry 
of the Reformers, of the Wesleys, Whitfield, Romaine, 
Newton, Venn, Grimshaw, Rowland Hill, and others ! 
How different the ministry of old Mr. Berridge, with 



2/8 MEMOIRS OF 

all his wit and eccentricities, who was visited by a 
thousand awakened persons in the course of one year, 
and under whose joint ministry, with that of Mr. 
Hicks, four thousand persons were converted to God 
in the course of the same given period. 

These remarks are made, because Mr. Dawson de- 
lighted to advert to the successful labours of such men, 
and because of the fruitfulness of his own ministry. 
The word of God in his mouth, was accompanied by 
the quickening Spirit. He drew from the Bible, as 
from a grand arsenal, the materials that formed the 
thunder which he wielded over unrepenting sinners ; 
but he knew, to pursue the metaphor and there- 
fore making it a subject of earnest prayer, that it 
was only the lightning flash of the Spirit that could 
wither, blast, and destroy the "man of sin" in the 
human soul. He rarely preached but the occasion 
was adverted to either in social converse, in the classes, 
or in the love-feasts, as beneficial to either saint or 
sinner, or both : an^l what ought not to be omitted 
in his case shewing the kind of material in which 
he dealt, the conviction produced by his ministry was 
deep and lasting. It was not a mere flush of feeling 
a tear a noise a gathering and then a dearth 
for others to bewail after he was gone. The per- 
manency of the work shewed that GOD was in it 
not man. 

Instead of his labours being confined to his own, 
and the neighbouring circuits and districts, his calls 
for special service now extended to the neighbouring 
counties. The friends in one of the principal towns 
in the kingdom, being about this time disappointed 
of some of their leading men on a missionary occa- 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 2/9 

sion, Mr. Dawsou was proposed by a member of the 
committee to supply the lack in the emergency. But 
though fame ran high, yet as he had never visited 
the place as only one or two of the less influential 
members had heard him as great expectations were 
raised, and they were not to be realized by the brethren 
who had been solicited, it was agreed, instead of a 
letter for no time was to be lost, that a deputa- 
tion should be sent forthwith to Leeds and Barnbow. 
On the arrival of the gentlemen at Leeds, they tried 
what additional help could be obtained there ; but were 
unable to secure any. They then enquired, with some 
anxiety, respecting the suitability and the abode of Mr. 
Dawson. "The very man for you!" was reiterated 
in different quarters. Thus encouraged, they took 
a post-chaise, and drove on to Barnbow. On their 
arrival, they enquired of Mrs. Dawson, to whom they 
were introduced, for her son. A chaise in the cross 
road to Barnbow was rather an unusual thing. They 
soon advertised the old lady, however, of the object 
of their visit. She told them, that her son was in 
the fields ; but having no boy at hand, and the gentle- 
men being wishful to go in quest of him themselves, 
they proceeded in the line directed. The visitants 
coming up to a person in crossing the fields, who 
was engaged on the farm, paid their respects to him, 
and enquired, "Are you Mr. Dawson, Sir?" An 
answer in the negative was humbly and respectfully 
returned ; the man adding, " Master is in a close 
down there," pointing in the direction which he wished 
them to go. It was not long before they saw a person 
busily engaged in hedging and ditching ; and being 
pretty near him before they spoke, the humble ditcher 



280 MEMOIRS OF 

lifted up his head, with the spade in his hand. The 
query was again proposed, but with greater certainty 
"It is Mr. Dawson, we presume?" "Yes, gentle- 
men, my name is Dawson. " "We have been deputed 
to wait upon you," naming the place and the occasion, 
" to request your kindly aid." Mr. Dawson returned, 
"You must be mistaken of your man." "No; it 
is no mistake : go, and help you must ; we cannot 
do without you." Lifting the spade, he struck it 
into the earth ; and quitting the handle, he said, 
"If it must be so, why then, it shall be so." Just 
at that moment, he put his first and third finger 
into his mouth doubling the second and fourth, and, 
drawing a full breath, sent forth a shrill whistle, 
that might have been heard a considerable distance 
from the place. Instantly, on the sound striking the 
ear, a man popped his head over the hedge, a little 
further down the field, ready to attend the signal ; 
thus, bringing to the recollection of the reader, the 
tales of gone-by days, when the men of some ancient 
chief, started from ambush at the sound of the horn, 
and suddenly appeared by the side of their master. 
Mr. Dawson waived his hand ; and the man appearing 
on the spot, he said " You must go on with this 
job cut in that direction so low and it will be a 
right depth." So saying, and the servant replying, 
" Very well, " Mr. Dawson threw his coat over his 
arm, proceeded homeward with the gentlemen, where 
there was a cold collation provided for them. Before 
Mr. Dawson himself partook of it, he went up stairs 
washed shaved and, in a few minutes, appeared 
at the table, attired in black, with all the respectability 
of an English squire. They soon entered the chaise ; 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 281 

and being in fine health and spirits, Mr. Dawson 
kept them alive the whole of the way to Leeds with 
wit and anecdote. They soon found they were in the 
presence of a man who would lend them efficient 
help: he proceeded with them, and at the meeting 
crowded, and in one of the largest chapels in the 
Connexion, the whole tide of popular feeling was in 
his favour. With the paramount claims of religion 
over all affairs of state, and the surpassing importance 
attached to the conquest of a world, by means of 
Christian Missions, when compared with a single con- 
flict between two armies, it can be no degradation 
to history, to name William Dawson in connection 
with Cincinnatus; the former brought from his spade 
and from his ditching, into a large Christian assembly, 
whose movements were intended to move the world ; 
and the latter informed, while ploughing in his field, 
that the Roman senate had chosen him to fill the 
office of Dictator. The ploughman went forth at the 
bidding of the senate, entered the field that was to 
be turned up by the ploughshare of war, conquered 
the Volsci and ^Equi, who had besieged his country- 
men, and returned, in the space of sixteen days after 
his appointment, to plough his favourite grounds. No 
such laurels were won by William Dawson ; and there 
is no disposition to institute a comparison between 
the two men. The simple act of calling both from 
the field to posts of honour, in the crowded assembly, 
renders the one as fit for Christian, as the other for 
classic story. 

Among the several chapels which he opened, from 
1814 and upward, was a new one at Selby, November 
19th, 1817, the day in which the Princess Charlotte 



282 MEMOIRS OF 

was interred. His reference to the subject was exceed- 
ingly touching ; and being almost, if not altogether 
all the circumstances considered, without a parallel in 
English History, it was calculated to awaken all the 
sensibilities of his nature. Montgomery, in his " ROY- 
AL, INFANT," strung his " Harp of Sorrow " on the 
occasion, with fine Christian feeling : 

" Yet while we mourn thy flight from earth, 

Thine was a destiny sublime ; 
Caught up to Paradise in birth, 

Plack'd by Eternity from Time. 

" The Mother knew her offspring dead : 

Oh ! was it grief, or was it lore 
That broke her heart ? The spirit fled 

To seek her nameless child above. 

" Led by his natal star, she trod 

The path to heaven : the meeting there, 
And how they stood before their God, 

The day of judgment shall declare.' 1 

As the biographer domiciled under the same roof with 
Mr. Dawson, on the occasion, and had the same couch 
assigned to him, it afforded a fine opportunity, during 
the more early stage of their acquaintance, of witnessing 
his habits and enjoying his conversation. 

About the same time, after repeated and pressing 
invitations, he visited different places in the North, in 
the counties of Durham and Northumberland. Mr. 
Reay had long importuned him to visit Carville, and 
added to letters by post, one journey to Darlington, and 
another to Barnard Castle, to give him the meeting, and 
to request him to pay the Colliers a visit in the 
neighbourhood of Newcastle ; but his lists of engage- 
ments were complete on both occasions. Mr. Reay told 
him the next journey would be to Barnbow, unless he 
prevented it by promising a sermon during the first 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 283 

vacancy. They slept in the same room together, at 
Darlington, in the house of Mr. Dove, afterwards of 
Leeds. Mr. Dawson, contrary to his general indiffer- 
ence to dreams, as noticed in an earlier part of his 
history, observed to his companion in the morning, 
that he had, in the language of one of our poets, 
"dreamt a dream" that he saw a man swaggering 
past a pit that he was on the point of falling in and 
that he caught hold of him and brought him back 
again. He added, " I do not like it. " Mr. D., 
a popular local preacher from another circuit, occu- 
pied the pulpit in the afternoon, and Mr. Dawson 
himself preached in the evening, when he came 
down like "a rushing mighty wind," in full sweep, 
both upon saints and sinners. Miners, and others, had 
travelled from the " Dales" to hear him, some of them 
a distance of twenty miles on foot, and had twenty more 
to measure back again after the evening service, 
having to commence work at the usual hour the next 
morning. On retiring to their room, Mr. Dawson plea- 
santly remarked to his companion, "I have had an 
interpretation of my dream. When I saw Mr. D. in 
the pulpit, I said to myself, on observing his manner, 
' This person will come down either like a man or a 
mouse.' Alas ! he was in trammels, and came down 
like the latter. Something within whispered, 'Thou 
canst do better than that/ The feeling accompanying 
the sentiment might have endangered my spirit ; but I 
instantly threw myself on God ; He saved me ; he 
was with me, and so I escaped the pit dug for me." 
This, to say the least, jf not to be numbered among 
pleasing dreams, and as the French would say, tant 
gagne, so much added to the pleasure of life, was 



284 MEMOIRS OF 

devotional in its improvement, and while it added to the 
safety of his religious character, shews not only nice 
observation, but great delicacy of Christian feeling. 

No. such interest had been excited in Newcastle, 
Sunderland, and other places, in the North, by any 
preacher, except himself, since the days of Messrs. 
Benson and Bramwell : and the sons of the " Coaly 
Tyne," as Milton designates the river, were enraptured 
while listening to him, on this, and other texts, " He 
brought me up also out of the horrible pit, out of the 
miry clay, " &c. 

Deep as was the general tone of religious feeling he 
preserved, it was impossible to be grave in listening to 
some of his descriptions and comparisons. Two fe- 
males happening somewhere to imbibe a strong preju- 
dice against each other, in consequence of the one 
having hazarded a remark on the dress of the other, 
and the thing itself, though exceedingly trivial, affect- 
ing others besides themselves, it became a topic of 
conversation, and was introduced into a party where he 
was, when from home. This he set aside in a fine 
vein of satire, mixed up with the ludicrous, and not 
only shewed the unprofitableness of such discourse, but 
the imprudence not to say wickedness, of persons al- 
lowing trifles to disturb their peace suffering, perhaps, 
what was said in pleasantry, to influence the passions, 
and so stir together the bad feelings of a whole neigh- 
bourhood. The Italian proverb may be appropriately 
applied here " The mother of mischief is not bigger 
than a midge's egg." But though the case to which 
reference was made would apply to every small matter 
that kindles a great fire, "Satire is a sort of glass, 
wherein beholders generally discover every body's face 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 285 

but their own ; which is the chief reason for that kind 
of reception it meets in the world, and that so very few 
are offended with it." His satire might touch some of 
the party ; but being in company, it was kicked Jike a 
ball from one to another, though it would in all proba- 
bility settle somewhere after the society had broken up. 

In a similar manner, he silenced a fault-finder, whom 
he met in Leeds, the day after he had occupied one 
of the pulpits in that town. 

Gentleman. "I had the pleasure of hearing you 
preach yesterday." 

Mr. Dawson. " I hope you not only heard, but 
profited?" 

Gent. "Yes, I did; but I don't like those prayer- 
meetings at the close. They destroy all the good 
previously received. " 

Mr. I). " You should have united with the people* 
in them." 

Gent. " I went into the gallery, where I hung over 
the front, and saw the whole ; but I could get no good; 
I lost, indeed, all the benefit I had received under the 
sermon." 

Mr. D. "It is easy to account for that." 

Gent. "How so?" 

Mr. D. "You mounted the top of the house; and, 
on looking down your neighbour's chimney to see what 
kind of a fire he kept, you got your eyes filled with 
smoke. Had you 'entered by the door' gone into 
the room and mingled with the family around the 
household hearth, you would have enjoyed the benefit 
of the fire as well as they. Sir, you have got the 
smoke in your eyes." 

Prejudice is an equivocal term ; and will apply to 



286 MEMOIRS OF 

good opinions deeply rooted in the mind, as well as 
those that are false and grown into it : but persons 
not properly affected towards religion, very often enter 
the maze of error; and having wandered there some 
time, they often find to their cost, that they have 
wandered too long to find their way out. 

Mr. Dawson was in Cheshire and Lancashire in the 
spring of 1818, and attended Missionary Meetings at 
Chester and Liverpool, April 20, 21. It was at the 
former of these places, that Dr. Adam Clarke first 
met with him ; Messrs. R. Newton, Dawson, and the 
Doctor being the preachers on the occasion. Mr. Dawson 
represented the heathen world under the notion of a 
field ; and the Baptists, Moravians, Calvinists, &c., 
as engaged in cultivating the great moral waste. The 
Doctor was much pleased with the force and ingenuity 
displayed. But on travelling between Chester and 
Liverpool, in a post-chaise, in company with a friend, 
who had lost a limb, and who, in consequence of the 
vehicle not being exactly adapted to the bulk of three 
such personages, aided by its joltings, permitted on 
first starting, of course unintentionally, the unfeeling 
substitute to play off a few rubbers against the Doctor's 
more sensitive shin, there was less disposition for 
free conversation at first, than the social arm-chair would 
have admitted. However, as Mr. Dawson observed 
to the writer, they were soon indulged with some fine 
gleams of sunshine ; and the Doctor adverting to the 
cultivators of the foreign waste in his speech, play- 
fully remarked shewing, at the same time, his strong 
general redemption principles, " If I found a Calvin- 
istic field in heaven, I would flee from it, and go to 
some other." This pleasantry having passed off, the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 287 

Doctor, in allusion to Mr. Dawson, as an agriculturist, 
employing his knowledge of husbandry in the service 
of religion, remarked, " Mr. John Mason, with whom 
I was well acquainted, had an extensive knowledge of 
botany, and Mr. James Kershaw had a good know- 
ledge of medicine ; and yet, though plants have their 
healing virtues, and sin is compared to a disease, I 
never knew either of these men bring their peculiar 
knowledge to bear on a single text, or illustrate 
by it, a single subject : under such circumstances, 
all was lost. As to myself, I have brought all my 
knowledge to bear on the illustration of truth. I 
have no imagination, that I am aware of. My peculiar 
forte is investigation. Give me a subject for I cannot 
create ; let that subject be proposed : whatever it may 
be, I can investigate it (smiling) aye, down to the 
black art ; yes, and I can elucidate it too, bring it 
out, and make it help truth." Whatever credit the 
Doctor might take to himself in part of this statement, 
in the freedom of conversation and he took no more 
than what would be readily ceded to him by those 
who knew him, he underrated himself in another, for 
he evidently shewed ingenuity in the application, as 
well as acuteness in the process. Adverting to the 
old preachers again, he observed, "Talent is as great 
now as it ever was, but it is more monotonous much 
less varied." 

In travelling the eighteen miles, the Doctor forgot his 
shins and his wedgings at least two-thirds of the way, 
being so much enamoured with the conversation of 
his companion : and the next morning accosted Mr. 
Newton, who gave them the meeting, thus : "Your 
friend Mr. Dawson and myself talked all the way to 



288 MEMOIRS OF 

Liverpool yesterday evening, and what an astonishing 
mind he has got ! He assigned reasons all the way 
for everything he had done." 

Shortly after this, Mr. Dawson again met with him 
in the city of Bristol, when he was much struck with 
a statement made by Dr. Clarke, viz. that he had ex- 
amined the religion of the Hindoos, the Mahomedans, 
&c., &c., hut in all the different religions which had 
passed in review before him, CHRISTIANITY was the 
only religion that staked its credit for pardon on 
present belief. 

Mr. Bramwell, the friend of Mr. Dawson, died 
suddenly in Woodhouse-Lane, Leeds, August 13, 1818, 
as he was leaving the house of a friend. The latter 
improved the occasion of his death near the place where 
he fell, September 14th, taking for his text, Isaiah Ivii. 
1,2. It was calculated, that not less than ten thousand 
persons were present on the occcasion. In addition 
to a sketch of his character in the sermon, which 
was published at the time, he entered more largely 
into it in a separate article, comprising twenty-six 
pages, 12mo., published in the Life of that extra- 
ordinary man. Among other conversations which Mr. 
Dawson had with the biographer, respecting Mr. B., 
he observed, " Mr. Bramwell might be classed among 
the first men for offering Christ to saints and sinners. 
Persons, owing to his sincerity, were more ready to 
receive Christ from him than from others ; being 
convinced that he himself had made the experiment, 
and was in possession of Him." This was not intended 
as a reflection upon other Christian ministers, but 
simply referred to the peculiar "gift of God" possessed by 
Mr. Bramwell, and exercised so eminently in his ministry. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 289 

With his more public engagements, he continued 
to keep up his "way-side" duties, knowing the blessed- 
ness of those who " sow beside all waters." He often 
either met or overtook a person who was in the service 
of a miller, on his way to, or from Leeds. The 
man had been soundly converted to God, and lived in 
the enjoyment of religion some years ; but unfortunately 
had retraced his steps into the world. He was rarely 
permitted to pass Mr. Dawson without a word. "Well, 
John, have you joined the regiment again?" "No, 
master, not yet, " was generally the reply. After 
having accosted him in this way some time, mingling 
serious remark with his interrogatories, Mr. Dawson 
met him full in front one day, and with great emphasis 
fixing his eyes upon him like daggers, said, "I 
tell thee, John, thou art a deserter from God and 
truth ; and as such, thou wilt either have to be whipt 
or shot, " and so left him. This fastened upon his 
mind ; and the dread of some heavy personal afflic- 
tion, together with that of final misery, haunted him 
wherever he went ; and it was not long after, that 
Mr. Dawson was overjoyed with the tidings of the 
poor wanderer being reclaimed, 

He was in the habit, also, of scattering religious 
tracts along the road, when there was a probability 
of them falling into the hands of passengers. A man 
seeing him drop one, on one of these occasions, and 
perceiving, by the keen eye of the distributor, that 
it was intended for himself, he took it up : but being 
unable to read, and conscience either smiting him for 
seme misdemeanour, or memory helping him to the 
recollection of some undischarged debt, he concluded 
it to be a "summons ; " and running after Mr. Dawson, 

N 



290 MEMOIRS OF 

in a state of alarm, he enquired into the reason of 
his conduct. Mr. D. instantly caught the idea of a 
summons, and improved it to the man's benefit ; and 
also shewed, in other cases, the advantages arising 
from a knowledge of letters. 

He had a peculiar tact for addressing children ; and 
was frequently requested to speak to them, when 
preaching sermons for the benefit of Sunday Schools. 
After attracting their attention with a play of fancy, 
alternately indulging in the strange, the beautiful, the 
great, and the good, he would then have wound his 
way to their little tricks and sinful propensities. The 
writer was with him on one of these occasions, and was 
delighted with the manner in which he accommodated 
himself to the capacities of the children becoming 
a child in simplicity for the sake of children. Having 
arrested attention, he inclined forward, and fixing his 
eye upon some of the children, he said, in a half 
interrogatory and half affirm atory tone, with an ex- 
pression of tenderness, "You don't tell lies, do you?" 
Several of the little creatures, who had experienced 
searchings of heart from what had previously been 
said, and who were anxious to acquit themselves, 
spontaneously responded, " No ; " one of them adding, 
in a subdued, yet conscious tone of guilt " I am sure 
I do not tell lies. " Other questions were answered 
in a similar way. 

Flexible as he was, in accommodating himself to 
youth and age, to the higher and the lower classes 
of society, he would never sacrifice truth or character, 
or suffer his interest in Methodism to be suspected. 
A gentleman, who had been a Methodist in early 
life, asked him to step into his house, and take a 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 291 * 

glass of wine. He no sooner sat down, than the 
gentleman erected a battery "I do not like the 
aristocracy of Methodism. " Mr. Dawson, finding 
where he was, replied, " That, Sir, is a subject which 
I never studied : " and, after several remarks, enquired, 
"Pray, how do you feel as to personal piety?" The 
gentleman returned, "I have family prayer." "In 
that reply," said Mr. Dawson to the writer, "I at 
once saw the nakedness of the land. Soon after this, 
out came Mark Robinson's pamphlet, when I said to 

a friend, 'Why, these are the views of Mr. , which 

I have already had to combat in private." An appeal 
to personal piety, was a weapon which he often wielded 
with amazing power, when argument failed, and when 
he suspected the disease to be in the heart rather 
than in the system opposed. 

Few questions agitated either the body, or separate 
societies, but what he grounded a firm opinion upon, 
and had his answer at hand, when thrown into cir- 
cumstances which compelled him to speak. At the 
time Dr. A. Clarke's view of the Eternal Sonship of 
Christ was agitated, he acted the part of moderator; and 
in a company where opposite opinions were espoused, 
he pleasantly broke off the debate, by observing 
in allusion to the persons of each, "Dr. Clarke is 
tall, and Mr. Watson is still taller; but if the one 
were placed on the shoulders of the other, the doc- 
trine of the Sonship such is its profundity, will be 
found deep enough to drown them both." Then, 
in reference to the friends of each, he smiled, and 
said, adopting the proverbial expression "'Every dog 
has its day ; ' I have had mine, and it has been a 
very good one ; many have patted me on the back, 



292 MEMOIRS OF 

and stroked my head : in the midst of all I have 
said and that is my language now, 'I ask not life, 
but let me love."' He was pleased with the parallel 
between the Word and the Son, by the Rev. Abraham 
Scott, but found fault with another writer, for adopting 
it as his own in a critique on the subject, without 
having the ingenuousness to acknowledge the source 
from whence it was borrowed. 

Conversation moving in another direction, Mr. Daw- 
son, among other remarks, observed, " Jeremy Taylor 
is a charming writer, but not strictly evangelical. 
Robert Hall is too severe upon Dr. Owen. I am 
less partial to Howe than to Dr. Bates. Herbert 
and Quarles are stiff and quaint. Herbert, however, 
must have been exceedingly popular in his day, which 
may be inferred from the fact of his being so often 
quoted." The biographer rejoined, "good sacred 
poetry was scarce at that time, which is another 
reason that may be assigned." On Mr. D. stating, that 
he was much more partial to " Flavel's Husbandry. 
Spiritualized, " than to his " Navigation, " the writer 
returned, that such a predilection might be accounted 
for on the ground of his own occupation. " Not 
altogether," said he, "for in the one instance, the 
writer is improving upon nature, in the other, he 
has to do with art. " 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 293 



CHAPTER XL 

Staye Coach Dialogues. Retort. Incognito. Lord Milton. 
Touching Tale. Conversations. Matrimony. Business. 
Misers. Popery. Socinianism. People. Ministers. Poetry 
of action. Impotency. Penitents. The Worldling. The 
character of Mr. Damson as a Preacher. Power of imagina- 
tion. Terrific Imagery. Candour in hearing. Selection of 
Hymns, and Remarks upon them. Indiscretion in singing 
pieces after sermon. Death on the pale Horse. The secret of 
succcessful preaching. Sermon to Sailors. Death of Friends. 
Rev. David Stoner. Different Pulpit methods. Mr. Daw- 
ton's Class. False wit. Bible Meeting at Hull. Death of 
Mr. Damson's Mother. 

IT was sometimes amusing, but rarely otherwise than 
instructive, to listen to him while detailing "Incidents 
of Travel," when associated with him in the social 
circle. He was seated in a "Six Inside" coach 
during one of his peregrinations, travelling between 
Halifax and Leeds, when he heard the following 
conversation between a gentleman and a lady, who 
sat opposite each other, preceded by a few prefatory 
remarks : 

Gentleman. " You are in the habit, then, of hearing 
popular ministers ? " 

Lady. "At Manchester, I am, not at Halifax." 

Gent. "You have, no doubt, heard Mr. ?" 

Lady. "I have." 

Gent. "What is your opinion of him ? " 



294 MEMOIRS OF 

Lady. " His imagination is like a young colt turned 
into a field." 

Gent." Have you heard Mr. ? " 

Lady. " Never." 

Gent. "Mr. , you will of course have often 

heard." 

Lady. "Yes, often." 

Gent. "What is your opinion of him ? " 

Lady. " I never got a new thought from him in my 
life." 

Gent." Have you heard Dr. ? " 

Lady. " Never. " 

Gent. " Have you heard Mr. ? " 

Lady. "Yes." 

Gent. " He is an excellent preacher. " 

Lady. "There is too much the appearance of manu- 
facture ahout his sermons." 

Gent. " Have you ever heard Mr. Watson ? " 

Lady. "Yes. He never exhausts a figure. I would 
go ten miles to hear him any day." 

Gent. "There is a great deal of noise about Mr. 
Irving. Have you heard him ? " 

Lady. " No ; nor would I go to hear him. He is 
for destroying the whole language of preaching, and for 
creating something in its place." 

Mr. Dawson was in a large party some time after 
this, in which one of the gentlemen referred to was 
present, who sported with a gentleman of wilder imagi- 
nation than his own, and did not fail to direct attention 
to the playful fancy of Mr. Dawson. The latter, in 
the way of pleasant retort, related as much of the 
above dialogue as comported with the occasion, and 
was more than usually pointed, when he turned the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 295 

lady's "colt loose into the field." This prevented 
the gentleman from ambling at the rate he was pro- 
ceeding. The person, who was partner with Mr. 
Dawson in the pleasantry, heing seated near him, 
turned round, and said, "This colt has trodden 
upon both of us." Mr. Dawson replied, "He has 
not hurt you, I hope?" "No," responded his friend, 
"for like most young horses turned out to grass, 
he is without shoes." 

An incognita may be noticed in connection with 
another journey. He was on one of the Manchester 
coaches, and seated beside two gentlemen. Passing 
through Huddersfield, several large placards were 
perceived posted on the walls, with his name upon 
them, having been there but a short time before, 
preaching occasional sermons. 

First Gent. " I have often seen that name posted 
in different parts of the country, and have heard a 
great deal about the man : pray, do you know, " 
turning to the person next him, " anything about him ? " 

Second Gent. "I heard him preach several years 
ago, and can recollect the text too ; " naming it. 

First Gent. " Is he a regular preacher among the 
Methodists ? " 

Second Gent. " No ; I am informed he is a farmer, 
and lives with his mother. He generally goes by 
the name of the 'Yorkshire Farmer.' But he is a 
very extraordinary man." 

First Gent. "He will not have such polish, of 
course, as such men as Mr. Newton; still he will 
do very well, I should think, for the lower orders 
of society." 

Mr. Dawson was not a little amused with their 



296 MEMOIRS OF 

remarks, and embedded his chin more deeply in his 
neckcloth, the more effectually to conceal his features, 
while the broad brim of his hat threw its shadow 
over the upper part of the face. He concluded 
himself rather favourably dealt with, as they had 
assigned him a post of usefulness among those who 
most required help the poor. The first gentleman 
finding that he knew something of Leeds, turned to 
him, and asked, ^Y. ' 

" Are you acquainted with Leeds and its neighbour- 
hood, Sir?" 

Mr. Dawson. "I am, Sir." 

Firxt Gent. " Do you know the person of whom 
we have been speaking ? " 

Mr. D. "I do." 

First Gent. "Have you heard him preach? " 

Mr. D. "I have." 

First Gent. " Let us have your opinion of him." 

Mr. D. " If my opinion is worth anything, I think 
he is greatly overrated in being supposed to be an 
' extraordinary man. ' ' 

Second Gent. " He is by no means a learned man ; 
but in support of what I have said, I adduce, by way of 
proof, the popular feeling in his favour, and the immense 
congregations he obtains." 

First Gent. "Had he not extraordinary natural 
powers, and were he not a good speaker in addition, I 
cannot conceive how he, as an illiterate man, could 
produce such amazing effects by his preaching." 

On arriving at the foot of Stanedge, the outside 
passengers had to walk : and now, Mr. Dawson began 
to regret, that he had been forced into any part of 
the conversation, and still more, lest he should be joined 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 297 

by his companions, and cross-examined in walking up 
the hill. One of them, as has been seen, had been 
favoured with a half length view of his figure in the 
pulpit, some years before, and had little more than a half 
length view of him on the coach. But he knew not 
how far a closer inspection of himself on the ground, 
might not reveal the secret. It seemed, however, 
that his travelling dress, his half-muffled visage, and 
his more robust form, having become stouter, pre- 
served his hearer of by-gone days in ignorance. The 
only point of delicacy with him was, lest, by a dis- 
closure, the two gentlemen should feel a little unpleasant 
on recollecting the freedom of some of their remarks 
on the station they had assigned him, and his want 
of learning. He heard himself, however, freely dis- 
cussed for the above is only a specimen of the whole. 
But he felt most on arriving at Manchester, lest the 
same eyes should recognize him in the pulpit the 
next day, and so embarrass both parties, when the 
mind should be engaged on more important subjects. 
In addition to his native worth, fire, and extraordinary 
powers, the conversation of the gentlemen shewed, 
that two or three adventitious circumstances contributed 
to increase public impression in his favour. He was 
in the world, though not of it ; and hence, in what- 
soever direction the current flowed, the "Yorkshire 
Farmer" was always floating on the surface. It was 
next to marvellous, with the irreligious and uneducated, 
that a man of business, on his farm, and remote 
from the walks of public life, should be enabled to 
bring out of his intellectual treasury such an in- 
exhaustible store of "things new and, old," and one 
too, so rural often in his appearance, not being 

N2 



298 MEMOIRS OF 

always in black, but sometimes in coloured small 
clothes boots with tops, and otherwise plain, though 
becoming his station, and, above all, one not entirely 
devoted to books and to the work of the ministry. 

The present Earl Fitzwilliam, then Lord Milton, was 
an inside passenger on another occasion. His Lordship, 
of course, knew nothing of Mr. Dawson, though Mr. 
Dawson recognized his Lordship, having the advantage 
of a hearer over a minister the one being known, 
when the other passes unobserved in the crowd. Mr. 
Dawson made a few passing remarks to draw his 
Lordship into conversation; but he might with the 
poet have said, 

" Lo ! Silence himself is here. " 

Euripides was wont to say, " Silence is an answer 
to a wise man." So it would have been to Mr. 
Dawson ; but there were two or three points on which 
he wished to know the opinion of the statesman ; and 
at length, hitting on one particular subject, his Lord- 
ship awoke as from a reverie, kindled into life, and 
proceeded with the interest he might be supposed to 
feel in a debate in the senate. 

A touching tale, in connection with another journey, 
a few years after, ought not to be lost. Seated beside him, 
on a coach, was a young man, who seemed to be a 
sailor by his dress. He was full of mirth; singing 
amusing the passengers with anecdotes, and with 
one piece of wit and drollery after another ; and yet 
so delicate were his strokes, as Mr. Dawson observed 
to the biographer, that the most refined modesty 
could not have been offended with them. On a gentle- 
man being named, he stated that he knew him, and 
had been a student with him at college. The youth 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 299 

was familiar with the Hebrew, and quoted Virgil, in 
the original, with great readiness. When a poor person 
came in his way, he invariably dropped something 
into the hand, and treated such of the passengers as 
were disposed to share his bounty. Mr. Dawson spoke 
to him on the subject of religion, directing his atten- 
tion, especially, to that of redemption. He instantly 
turned it off with " There is no Redeemer mentioned 
in the Old Testament." Mr. Dawson reminded him 
of the passage in Job, " I know that my Redeemer 
liveth." The youth immediately quoted the Hebrew, 
and said it signified an avenger as well as a Redeemer ; 
adding, "there is no certainty to which it belongs." 
After a short discussion, to which he was evidently 
indisposed, he asked the passengers, whether they 
would have a song ? and elevating his voice, he sung 
a tune to some lines composed on a boat disaster 
on the Ouse, at Naburn Lock, about four miles 
below the city of York. Mr. Dawson found afterwards, 
that he had been educated under Mr. Wellbeloved, 
at the Socinian Seminary in that city, had been 
in the boat, and had seen his companion carried 
over the Lock and drowned. On coming to the 
part of the lines that described the catastrophe, 
he was sensibly affected, and could proceed no 
further. Some time before he reached the end of 
his journey, he had squandered away the whole of 
his money, and had not wherewith to procure a dinner. 
A gentleman, who had been amused with him, pro- 
posed to treat him, but his proud spirit spurned the 
offer. Mr. Dawson was provided with a little refresh- 
ment in his pocket, and asked him delicately to partake 
with him. He did; and Mr. Dawson was happy in 



300 MEMOIRS OF 

the opportunity to aid him. In the first case, there 
was something like part payment, for mirth received ; 
in the second, there was an air of friendship which 
wound round the softer feelings. When the gay 
youth arrived a short way on the other side of Bir- 
mingham, he became pensive, and was disposed to be 
silent. Turning to Mr. Dawson, whom he took for 
a Wesleyan, he said, "My father's house is within 
eight miles of this place; and this night, I shall 
either be shut in or shut out : if shut in" looking 
at his poor habiliments, " I shall then have as fine 
a coat on my back as a Methodist parson." Mr. 
Dawson observed, on relating the circumstance, "I 
thought within myself, this poor youth has perhaps 
broken a mother's heart, and has either been sent, 
or run, from home." The young man added, just 
as the thought crossed Mr. Dawson's mind, "This 
night will settle all." About two years afterwards, 
Mr. Dawson was preaching at Chapel-Town, near 
Leeds, when he related part of the anecdote, and 
employed the expression, "Shut in or shut out," 
applying it in his sermon in reference to heaven. After 
preaching, a lady stepped up to him, and said, "I 
am not at liberty to mention names ; but the circum- 
stance, character, and family are known to me; and 
I have the satisfaction of informing you, that the 
young man was that night shut in" 

Mr. Dawson was a close observer of anything that 
came in his way, and, if capable of improvement, was 
sure to make it tell either in the pulpit or in social 
Ufe. This rendered him exceedingly agreeable as a 
companion ; and when he chose to offer remarks, even 
in the way of criticism, there was nothing of asperity 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 301 

mixed up with them. "The preaching," said he, 

"of Mr. is like the building of Solomon's temple, 

without noise ; not so much as the sound of a 
hammer is heard." But he intended something more 
here than the want of animation ; he knew there was 
symmetry, and even beauty. Some of his more sportive 
sallies might border upon the extravagant, though still 
allowable. Stepping into a barber's shop in Leicester, 
when without his razors, he accosted the man "If 
you please, I want your smoothing iron drawn over 
my face." The man stared, not being able to com- 
prehend his meaning at first ; but on seeing the growth 
of his beard, he perceived what he meant, and soon 
found his customer on his way to something more 
tangible and profitable. 

It was impossible to be with him any length of 
time, without being forcibly struck with some points 
of conversation. He was rarely consecutive, except 
some special subject was proposed. Seated one day 
with a few friends, the two subjects of matrimony 
and business were introduced. " Matrimony," said he, 
"has two ways leading to it. The one lies straight- 
forward ; the lady is beautiful possesses property the 
path is strewed with flowers all is inviting. The 
other has inscribed upon it, 'Be not unequally yoked 
with unbelievers ; ' but the former is chosen, and the 
flowers are instantly pointed with thoms. Business 
has also two ways : the one is, be rich here is a 
good opening a fine speculation probable success. 
The other has affixed to its entrance, ' I have learned, 
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.' 
In this case, too, the former is chosen the bait is 
swallowed the way promises success you follow on 



302 MEMOIRS OF 

speculate go over the precipice and are lost. " 
He further intimated, that a good man had no occa- 
sion to walk in darkness, in either case ; being per- 
suaded that the providence of God would guide all 
who sincerely sought direction at his hand. A person 
in the room, who was high in his profession, and 
frequently occupied the pulpit, acceded to what Mr. 
Dawson said in reference to matrimony, though sus- 
picions had been entertained of the purity of his 
motives in reference to marriage ; but on business 
being named, he was silent, and seemed uncomfortable 
in his feelings. In the course of half a year, he made 
a disgraceful failure, and was found to have been 
acting the villain at the time. "No legacy," says a 
writer, "is so rich as honesty ; " and it may be added, 
in the language of another, by way of caution, that 
"he who prorogues the honesty of to-day till to- 
morrow, will probably prorogue his to-morrows to 
eternity." To a young friend who commenced the 
business of a druggist, in Leeds, with a fair prospect, 
Mr. Dawson said, on first entering his shop, " You 
have got a good shop ; I wish you a good trade, a good 
wife, a good life, and a good end." 

Without furnishing the occasion of several of his 
remarks, or the conversations of others with which 
they were often interwoven, a few more may be intro- 
duced from the memoranda of the biographer. Of 
misers, he seemed to entertain the same opinion as 
Samuel Hick, and gave them no quarter. " Immedi- 
ately on seeing a placard for a religious meeting upon 
a wall," he observed, " the miser turns away his skin 
and bones, and says, * It is money they want.' Ad- 
mitting it, what becomes of his own ? He is heaping 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 303 

it up, like manure on a dunghill. And what is it worth 
in his hand ? Even a midden will do no good till it is 
spread ; so with money. He hoards it up ; and his 
midden of gold will heat and rot, and will breed vipers 
and cockatrice eggs ; and these vipers will sting will 
coil round his heart, and enwrap his whole form for 
ever." Popery, as a system, shared the same fate ; 
" It is a mere carcass decorated with the flowers of 
religious ceremonies, having the form without the power. 
Socinianism is much worse ; for it is a body without 
blood and spirit ; neither possessing the ATONEMENT, 
nor the influence of the HOLY GHOST." Turning to 
a medical gentleman seated beside him, he enquired 
with quiet sarcasm, what he could do in the way of 
giving life in such a case, obliquely glancing at the 
hopeless efforts of Socinian ministers to produce any 
thing like religious life, when the blood was drained off 
from the system, and the spirit had fled. Changing 
the metaphor, in reference to ministers attempting to 
resuscitate a lifeless form, he observed in the presence 
of some colliers, " The private members of the Chris- 
tian Church are all ' live coals / some of them, it is 
true, are small, but heaped together they make a blaze. 
Ministers, and especially great and good men, are mov- 
ing 'pillars of fire,' going before the people." Here, 
with grace and majesty, he raised his noble well rounded 
form, and advanced a few paces, turning slowly round 
as if every part admitted of the closest inspection, 
and was intended for use, suiting the action to what 
might be conceived of the movements of " the pillar of 
cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night," thus 
presenting the moving column before the camp. The 
whole was so modulated by his spirit and manner, that 



304 MEMOIRS OF 

it operated on the soul like electricity on matter. It 
was the poetry of action ; and to deny the presence and 
the power of poetry in deeds arid in visible things, is to 
deny its existence altogether. It is the silent poetry of 
Nature, which, with its scenes of awe, sublimity, and 
beauty, steals out the soul with magnetic influence in 
sympathetic rapture, and bids the poet give it a tongue. 
A person complaining of his feeble efforts, and his 
poverty, was met in the following manner by him ; 
" You say you are poor, and can do nothing. If you 
have the grace of God in your heart, you can do some- 
thing. You shall have the credit of being a farthing 
candle. Well, a farthing candle can give light. Take 
it into a dark room, and the inmates will be thankful 
for it. What, a farthing candle, and can do nothing ! 
Yes, you can give light to a beggar. A farthing candle, 
and can do nothing ! Yes, you can set a town on fire. 
Can do nothing! Yes, you can set a world on fire. 
Some of the first public speakers were probably lighted 
by the feeblest taper." He was no less encouraging to 
the poor in spirit, than ingenious in meeting objections 
of listlessness. "Christ," said he to a person seeking 
for mercy, " shall make his enemies lu's footstool. Not 
so, the penitent. Thou, poor distressed soul thou art 
to come to his footstool. He will place thee at his 
feet, and thou, in humility, wilt place thyself there. 
His enemies he will place under his feet, he will tread 
them down." With a view to find his way to the better 
sense of a worldling, by shewing him the absurdity of 
his conduct, he represented the floor as strewed with 
new coined sovereigns and old farthings. "A man," 
said he, " enters the apartment, and is seen anxiously 
picking up the old copper coins, without either image 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 305 

or superscription ; while those of gold, with both image 
and superscription, lie neglected. This," continued he, 
in this burlesque way, "is a picture of the worldling, 
who is spending the whole of his time in picking up 
trifles, while he is neglecting the ' pearl of great price,' 
' gold tried in the fire*;' forgetting at the time, that if 
he were to pick up the sovereigns, he would have the 
farthings in the sovereigns." This imagery was gravely 
sealed with " Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and 
his righteousness ; and all these things shall be added 
unto you ;" and fastened more powerfully than Mr. 
Mather's " pack-thread," in connexion with the same 
text. "Let the backslider," said he significantly, 
"who is unable to stand on his feet, get upon his 
knees." 

From 1821 to 1 824, he was frequently engaged in 
the Metropolis, Bristol, and the large towns in Corn- 
wall, in the southern, western, and northern counties ; 
and- there were few places of magnitude, with innumer- 
able places of minor note, from which he had not letters 
of invitation. On one of those occasions, when attend- 
ing a Missionary Meeting at Birmingham, an eminent 
dissenting minister, to whose opinion further reference 
will be made, went to hear him. Mr. Dawson's text was 
" Be it known unto you, therefore, men and breth- 
ren, that through this man is preached unto you the 
forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are 
justified from all things, from which ye could not be 
justified by the law of Moses." Service being over, 
the minister, after a striking exclamation, observed, 
that he had heard some of the boldest and most original 
conceptions that he had ever heard uttered, and clothed 
in language equally remarkable and powerful. The 



306 MEMOIRS OF 

gentleman to whom the observation was made, acceding 
to the justice of the remark, enquired, "What would 
he have been, had he been favoured with an academical 
education in early life? " "He would have been spoiled," 
retumed the minister. 

The effect of Mr. D's. ministry might have been em- 
bodied in a sentiment of his own; "If Methodism does 
not make men into parsons, it certainly converts them 
into clerks ; for they are responding ' Amen ' ' glory 
be to God,' wherever we go." This was the case with 
his own pulpit exercises, much more than with that of 
most others. He was irresistible. Preaching on the 
returning Prodigal, he paused, looked at the door, and 
shouted out, after he had depicted him in his wretch- 
edness, "Yonder he comes, slip-shod! make way 
make way make way there ! " Such was the approach 
to reality, that a considerable part of the congregation 
turned to the door, some rising on their feet, under the 
momentary impression that some one was entering the 
chapel in the state described. In the same sermon, 
paraphrasing the father's reply to the son that was 
angry and would not go in, he said, " Be not offended ; 
surely a calf may do for & prodigal, shoes for & prodigal, 
a ring and a robe for a prodigal ; but ALL I have is 
THINE." As to the more striking part, when pointing 
to the door, similar effects were produced, when refer- 
ring to the Witch of Endor. His picturings took such 
hold of the imagination, that, on exclaiming " Stand 
by stand by there she is," some of the poor people 
inadvertently directed the eye downward, where his own 
eye was fixed, and the spot to which he was pointing, 
as if she were about to rise from beneath their feet, and 
become visible to the congregation. It was by the force 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 307 

of his own imagination, that he created corresponding 
images in the minds of his hearers ; and many of them 
seemed abandoned, for the time being, to its power, 
and to dwell upon, the visionary scenes presented, 
their feelings varying with the shifting images flitting 
before them, either sparkling with beauty, or hideous 
as spectres. 

On one of his visits to the North, when among the 
colliers, he represented to the imagination of the sinner 
a pit, a chain thrown over a windlass, a weight at 
one end of the chain ; the other end coiled round the 
body of a man on his way to the pit ; the windlass 
whirling round, the weight increasing in velocity on 
its way downward, the man drawing nearer and nearer 
to the mouth of the pit, the weight still more and 
more rapid in its motion ; then shouting out amain, at 
the moment the head seemed to be whirling with the 
machinery "He is going, he is going, there is no 
stopping him ; he is nearer and nearer, the final step 
is taken, he dashes over, disappears, and the splash 
startles the very devils." Here a thrill of horror 
seemed to seize the whole assembly. To give effect to 
his imagery, the weight was the collective sins of the 
sinner, the chain, the Divine Perfections, all harmon- 
izing even in the destruction of the finally impenitent, 
the windlass, the constant whirl of time, to which 
" stop" might be cried in vain. Through the fertility 
of his imagination, the whole was represented as revolv- 
ing the reverse way, in the case of the righteous, good 
works, arising from saving faith in Christ, drawing the 
Christian more and more from earth, and nearer and 
nearer heaven. 

Another piece of imagery, equally effective and terrific 



308 MEMOIRS OF 

in its close, though less rapid in its progress, was 
worked up to rouse the conscience of a drunkard, into 
whose shop he entered the day after the man had been 
indulging hi intoxication. " Suppose yourself to be a 
servant," said he, "and your master were to come in 
the morning and order you to make a strong chain ; on 
the following morning he came again, and urged you to 
get on with it ; and thus, day by day, you were ordered 
by your master to the same job. Suppose again, that 
while you were working, a person came in and asked 
you if you knew what the chain was for ; and that you 
answered in the negative, adding, that you did not care 
so long as you got your wages. But this person tells 
you, that he knows it to be a fact, that it is your mas- 
ter's intention to bind you with it in perpetual bondage : 
would you, I ask, add another link to it ? " The man 
answered "No; and all the money in the world would 
not hire me to it." Mr. Dawson then asked him, 
whether he was not aware that drunkenness was the 
devil's chain, in which he kept poor sinners in perpetual 
bondage, and that when they had added the last link, 
he would chain them in hell for ever. He further 
observed, " Whether you know it or not, every drun- 
ken frolic is a link added to the chain, and Satan will 
wrap it round you red hot" This continued to operate 
upon the 'conscience of the man for some time, the 
thought constantly crossing his mind, " I am making 
another link for my chain ! " till he relinquished his 
wicked course of life, when he published his personal 
history, in "The Tale of the Reformed Drunkard." 

Being asked one day, what he thought of the sermon 
of a preacher from whom little could be brought away 
either for fireside converse or closet thought, he felt the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 309 

position in which he was placed, and instantly returned, 
" I eat what I can, but pocket nothing ;" thus 
dexterously guarding against any reflection upon the 
preacher, as well as escaping himself from the charge of 
being a forgetful hearer. Yet he was sometimes amused 
with the remarks of persons upon himself. "What," 
said a poor man, when disappointed of another preacher, 
" is it you ? " " Yes," replied Mr. Dawson, " it is I." 
"Well," returned the man, intending it for a welcome 
in his way, " you are better than nobody." Mr. Daw- 
son pleasantly observed, "I know my place I am 
next to nobody" 

His introductory remarks on the hymns which he 
selected, as well as his observations on particular lines 
and verses, were not only often very striking, but just 
and valuable, and shewed that they had been chosen 
for his subjects with unusual care. Two or three cases 
may be noticed from the many that came under the 
observation of the biographer. On giving out the 672nd 
hymn, he paused when he came to the first and second 
lines of the second verse, 

" True, 'tis a strait and thorny road, 
And mortal spirits tire and faint;" 

and enquired, " Why do they tire ? Is it because it is 
' strait and thorny ? ' No 

' But they forget the mighty God, 
That feeds the strength of every saint ; ' '* 

thus gliding into the succeeding lines without suffering 
the congregation to feel any interruption by the break, 
while he furnished them with a subject for reflection 
shewing them that they should " sing with the under- 
standing." 

On another public occasion, he announced the 204th 



310 MEMOIRS OF 

hymn, on the 200th page of the large Hymn Book. A 
number of musical instruments being in use in the ser- 
vice, and each performer evidently bent on attracting 
attention, he turned suddenly round to the orchestra, 
on coming to the fifth verse, and with a mixture of holy 
jealousy for his God, and fear on account of the persons 
engaged, exhorted them with a rebuking eye, to guard 
against the evils to which they were exposed; and 
then, slowly and gracefully turning to the assembly, he 
said, in an earnest plaintive tone, and with an expres- 
sion of pity in his countenance, " O friends ! pray for 
them pray fot them for they are in danger ! " pro- 
ceeding with the verse, 

" Still let us on our guard be fuund, 
And watch against the power of sound, 

With sacred jealousy ; 
Lest, haply, sense should damp our zeal, 
And music's charms bewitch and steal 
Our hearts away from thee. " 

In this way, he shewed the depth of his piety, being 
anxious to preserve the spirit of public worship in 
all its simplicity, purity, and power. There was 
nothing indifferent to him in the worship of God ; 
his eye was fixed on every part, and his heart run out 
after it in its performance, both as to spirit and manner. 
Anything light and airy at the close of the service, 
which is too often the case on special occasions, when 
the singers wish to shew off, and the organist is dis- 
posed to give a specimen of his execution, met with 
his decided disapprobation. He observed, that " such 
displays often spoiled the effect of a whole sermon." 
Indiscretion of this kind is much more hurtful than 
direct opposition. In the latter case, a man only 
attacks his enemies, and those to whom he wishes 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 311 

harm ; in the former, he injures indifferently both 
friends and foes. 

Again, in selecting the 190th hymn, page 186, 
"Jesus, thy blood and righteousness," &c., on coming 
to the last, or 10th verse, he broke off somewhat 
abruptly ; and with a view to combine prayer with 
song, of which the lines are susceptible, he remarked, 
in addressing the auditory, " I have often been deeply 
impressed with the language of the minister to the 
people in the Communion service ; the priest proceeds, 
saying, ' Lift up your hearts ; ' the people answer, 
'We lift them up unto the Lord.' The priest again 
strikes in, ' Let us give thanks unto our Lord God ; ' 
the people respond, ' It is meet and right so to do ; ' 
when the priest closes with, ' It is very meet, right, 
and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, 
and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, 
holy Father, almighty and everlasting God.'" Then 
glancing round the audience, he elevated his voice, 
and with amazing energy said, " 'Lift up your hearts ' 
yes, and let the whole congregation repeat, 'We 
lift them up unto the Lord ' " instantly announcing, 

" Thou God of power, thou God of love, 
Let the whole world thy mercy prove .' 
Now let thy word o'er all prevail ; 
Now take the spoils of death and hell. " 

The power of sound seemed increased at least two- 
fold by the additional number of voices, that had 
previously been silent; and twofold in the strength 
of those that had taken an interest in the singing. 
He had perceived that there was not the power em- 
ployed, that the multitude warranted ; and in thus 
testing it, he produced one of the finest bursts of 



312 MEMOIRS OF 

congregational singing the biographer ever heard. Every 
soul seemed suddenly elevated by the power of sacred 
song; and dropping on his knees, the feeling was 
carried through the whole of the prayer the people 
responding to the various petitions presented to God, 
with all the sweet eifect produced on a devout auditory 
by the emphatic responses at the close of the Litany. 
The whole of the Church service being familiar to 
him, he occasionally employed different parts of it with 
great advantage, both as to argument and acts of devotion. 
The 8th verse of the 1st hymn, "See all your 
sins on Jesus laid," produced a similar beneficial 
effect on the side of piety. Before announcing it, 
he suddenly turned to the Bible, and scanned a few of 
the first verses of the sixth chapter of the Apocalypse, 
where the expression, " Come, and__see, " is repeated 
on the appearance of the different horses ; closing by 
saying, "I do not ask you to come and see the 
preacher, or to hear the voice of thunder, but to 
come and see yourselves, your sins, and your SAVIOUR." 
Then, with increased energy, and with a fine extem- 
poraneous intonation of voice, his eyes sparkling with 
pleasure, he proceeded, " I ask you to come and see 
what ? 

" SEE all your sins on Jesus laid : 
The Lamb of God was slain : 
His soul was once an offering made 
For every soul of man." 

His quick mind had just caught the catch-word, 
" See ; " and by a certain association of ideas, at once 
turned to a favourite subject, and by one of his sudden 
transitions or sallies, gave relief to the length of the 
hymn, and produced singular and striking effects. In 
many cases, this was purely accidental ; but in no 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 313 

instance did there appear anything like an impertinent 
obtrusiveness in his remarks, by permitting one idea, 
or one class of ideas, to appear to the exclusion of 
others. He always connected his outbreaks with the 
subject in hand, and found his way back with the 
same ease, as if the subject introduced had constituted 
"part and parcel " of the hymn. Locke would designate 
such interruption a weakness ; and in the midst of 
less grave subjects, would humorously describe it "as 
a childishness of the understanding, wherein, during 
the fit, it plays with and dandles some insignificant 
puppet, without any end in view." But such wanderings 
never excluded Mr. Dawson's subject : the thoughts 
were not of the " puppet " kind, and he invariably 
kept the most important "end in view." 

That he should advert to the Apocalypse in the last 
instance, is the less remarkable, as it constituted part 
of a text on which he had preached, and part of which 
he worked up in a similar way. The text was the one 
alluded to, Rev. vi. 7, 8. "And when he had opened 
the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast 
say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale 
horse ; and his name that sat on him was Death, and 
Hell followed with him." 

" In the middle of the Apocalypse," observed Mr. 
Dawson, "there are hieroglyphics, and characters of 
prophecy, which we do not fully understand ; and, in 
many instances, those hieroglyphical representations 
which are brought before us, are only what ceremonial 
observances were to the Jews ; they are the shadows of 
realities which we do not see at present ; and we shall 
only know the import of the shadows, when we see the 
whole width and breadth of the reality. There are 
o 



314 MEMOIRS OF 

some persons who have a natural talent for explaining 
these things. They never seem to be at home, but when 
they are breaking seals, and pouring vials, and blowing 
trumpets. It is neither my taste nor my talent. A 
pious clergyman once asked, ' Mr. Dawson, what do 
you think about the figures in the Revelations ? ' I 
answered, I do not think much about them, Sir ; nor 
do I care much about figures ; I shall not break seals, 
pour vials, or blow trumpets I blow no trumpet but 
that of salvation to every penitent believer.'* 

With this summary dismissal of the mystic language 
of the Apocalypse, and the diffuse commentaries of 
learned divines on the subject, he proceeded in his own 
original way, to discuss the text ; and though some 
hearers might disrelish his mode of treating the signs 
and symbols of prophecy, they could not but admire 
the ingenuity displayed in giving the words a literal 
interpretation. The following extract forms part of 
the peroration, and will, perhaps, serve to illustrate 
what was considered by some persons, his "power" 
in preaching. 

" 'Come, and see,' then, the awful condition of an 
unsaved sinner. Open your eyes, sinner, and see it 
yourself. There he is in the broad road of ruin ; 
every step he takes is deeper in sin ; every breath 
he draws feeds his corruption ; every moment takes 
him farther from heaven and nearer hell ; he is going, 
and death and hell are after him. The horse and 
the rider are increasing in speed ; they are coming 
quickly on ; they are getting nearer ; they are over- 
taking him. Can you bear the sight? 'Come, and 
see.' If the rider overtakes that poor sinner, un- 
pardoned and unsaved, and strikes his blow, down he 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 315 

falls, and backward he drops : hell behind him, and 
as he falls backward, he looks upward, and shrieks, 
* Lost ! lost ! lost ! Time lost ; Sabbaths lost ; means 
lost; soul lost; heaven lost!' Backward he drops; 
all his sins seem to hang round his neck like so 
many millstones, as he plunges into the burning abyss. 
' Come and see.' Lord, save him ! O my God, save 
him ! ' Come and see.' Blessed be God ! the rider 
has not overtaken him yet ; there is time and space yet 
for that poor sinner ; he may be saved yet, he has not 
dropped into hell. 'Come and see.' The horse and 
the rider have not overtaken you yet ; there is, there- 
fore an 'accepted time,' there is a 'day of salvation.' 
' Come and see.' There is God the Father inviting 
you ; God the Father commanding you ; God the 
Father swearing he has no pleasure in your death. 
'Come and see.' Christ has come to seek you. He 
says, ' Come unto me, and I will give you rest.' ' He 
that believeth in me shall never die.' " 

Death on the pale horse, when Mr. Dawson had 
freedom, was with him, in speaking, what the same sub- 
ject was to West with his pencil, the one being the 
poetry of painting, and the other the poetry of preach- 
ing. This peroration is a specimen, too, of his more 
Tarsic manner of treating a subject, sudden abrupt 
and apparently unpremeditated. * 

He was often peculiarly happy in arresting attention 
in the outset, in this way. A minister who had heard 
much of him, came some distance to hear him preach, 
when he was in the North ; and not being introduced 

The subject was taken up by old Samuel Ward of Ipswich, in 1635 ; and 
has more recently engaged the attention in a separate treatise, 12mo., pp. 209, 
by the Rev. J. Bruce of Liverpool ; but both differ widely from Mr. Dawson. 



316 MEMOIRS OF 

to him through some mishap, he entered into conver- 
sation with a gentleman sitting next to him, on the 
properties of Sir Humphry Davy's safety lamp. Mr. 
Dawson listened to him ; and concluded from his dress, 
manners, and conversation, that he was some colliery 
agent residing in the neighbourhood. He was not a 
little surprized, after the service, to he complimented 
by this gentleman for his sermon, when he heard him 
add, " I wish I could produce the same effect in the 
pulpit when I am there." "Ah, sir," said Mrs. Reay, 
the lady of the house, " you must move the hand of 
Him that moves the world, before you witness these 
effects." Here lay the "power" of Mr. Dawson, and 
not barely, or even chiefly, in his manner of handling a 
subject. Though his remarks were often either awfully 
solemn, eccentrically original, or movingly natural and 
pathetic, the great secret of his success lay in the 
power which God alone can supply. 

The occasion of his first visit to Sunderland, was 
to preach to the sailors. He was met by Mr. B. 
Dowell, at Durham, at whose house he was to reside 
on reaching his destination ; and the next day was 
taken by him to see the life-boat, &c. Having to preach 
in the evening, the objects that engaged attention 
through the day were not lost upon him. Some of the 
imagery which he employed to rouse the torpid con^ 
science of the sinner was terrific. To accomplish his 
purpose, he depicted a shipwreck, the storm raging, 
the billows tumultuously roaring, the wind heaving 
up its ocean-mountains, and scooping out its vallies, the 
vessel on a lee-shore, the rocks at hand, the mariners 
at their "wits end," some crying for mercy, all dis- 
posed to aid each other, and to exert themselves to the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 317 

utmost ; wives, children, and friends on the shore, 
but unable to render them the least assistance ; one 
crying amain, " My brother is lost," another exclaim- 
ing, " My father is there ;" the vessel at length striking, 
flying in pieces, the survivors clinging to the wreck, 
and the whole on the point of disappearing. At the 
moment, when all seemed crashing, reeling, roaring, 
separating into still smaller fragments, and sinking, he 
shouted, " What is to be done now ? all is going 
going for ever ! " " What is to be done ! " bawled out 
a tar in the midst of the congregation, "why launch 
the life-boat." This, with the vivid, bold imagery of the 
preacher, produced an extraordinary sensation in the 
congregation ; and on the feeling partially subsiding, 
Mr. Dawson being in all the majesty of his freedom and 
power, turned his eye of terror upon the sinner, and 
rolling forth a volume of voice in some of its boldest, 
wildest, loudest, and when suited to the sentiment 
and action tenderest tones, rushed down upon the 
previously prepared and awakened feelings, representing 
man as lost hi the general shipwreck of human nature, 
plunging, on rejecting the only means of salvation 
and safety, into the gulf of hell, where every thing was 
aggravated by circumstances ; the sufferers, in the one 
case, being friendly to each other, every man meeting 
a friend in the vessel, with the additional hope of again 
meeting and hailing each other in a future state ; while 
in the other case, every lost spirit in perdition would 
meet an enemy, pious friends, father, mother, brother, 
and sister seen no more, the lost soul tossed on a 
liquid sea of fire scudding on, and on, and on the 
breath of the Almighty, like an everlasting hurricane, 
sweeping across the sea, and blowing up the flames ! 



318 MEMOIRS OF 

After employing this imagery, he took the Bible in his 
hand, and in reference to the exclamation of the sailor, 
said, " Blessed be God ! though there is no life-boat 
in hell, we have one here ! " He then adverted to the 
Word of Life, which pointed out CHRIST, the author 
and the way of life. This was denominated by the 
sailors, "The Life-Boat Sermon," and was talked of 
years afterwards. 

In 1823, the society at Barwick sustained the loss of 
two excellent members by death, the mother of the 
Rev. David Stoner, and Mrs. Newby ; the former Aug. 
10th, and the latter Sep. 9th. Brief memoirs of both 
were forwarded by Mr. Dawson to the Editor of the 
Wesleyan Magazine, where they appeared in 1824, pp. 
140, 209. He wrote also an account of Mrs. Broad- 
belt of Killinghall, for his friend Mr. Thompson. 
There were only eleven members in his class at Barn- 
bow at this time, including himself. The Barwick 
class met a long time in the house of Mrs. Batty. 

There were four out of five children, left by Mrs. 
Stoner, who were found in the ways of righteousness. 
David was the oldest, who was much esteemed by Mr. 
Dawson, and the more so, as he was brought to God 
under his ministry. There was another young man of 
promising talents, who began to preach about the same 
time with David. Mr. Dawson speaking of them one 

day, observed, " J cooks a good dinner, and sets it 

in order before his guests : but they may either take it 
or not : if they do not, they may let it alone ; but in 
such a case ; the infant, as well as others, may starve. 
David, on the other hand, says, ' I'll make you take 
it :' he takes the spoon in one hand, and the child by 
the nose with the other, and pours the contents down 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 319 

the throat. J exhibits, David preaches." The 

eloquence of David Stoner was that which may be 
compared to a stream that is fed by an abundant 
spring, and not that, as a writer observes, "which 
spouts forth a little frothy water on some gaudy day, 
and remains dry the rest of the year. " And yet, 
though few men equalled him for the uninterrupted 
tide of eloquence he poured forth in the pulpit, he 
was exceedingly reserved in social life. Indulging one 
day his taciturn mood, Mr. Dawson full of spirit, 
rallied him on the subject. David, a little tried with 
it, took up the old proverb,- "Empty casks sound 
most ; " and threw it at Mr. Dawson. "What are 
full ones good for," returned the latter, "till they 
are tapt ? " 

The slender number of members in Mr. Dawson' s 
class, as just adverted to, was a source of grief. Mr. 
Russom, of Tarperly, Cheshire, referring to this period, 
observes in a letter to the biographer, " Sixteen years 
have passed away since myself and two others went 
to his class at Barwick. ' I had last night,' said Mr. 
Dawson, ' an impression upon my mind, that God was 
about doing something for us, and now,' pointing to 
us, 'see, here it is three souls three souls. Bless 
the Lord ! Bless the Lord ! After enquiring into the 
state of my mind, and directing me to the 'Lamb 
of God,' he solemnly put his hands upon my head, 
and prayed, while raising his eyes to heaven, 'Lord, 
bless this lad, and make him a blessing ! ' Sub- 
sequently, I was often impressed with his deep humility 
at class, and once observed to a member, ' Mr. 
Dawson seems wholly unconscious of his worth to 
the church. ' " 



320 MEMOIRS OF 

A person meeting with a few religious friends, while 
Mr. Dawson was present, began to sport his wit, and 
to state, that when he became serious, he advertised 
a sale of his effects referring to sin, and resolved 
upon selling all off. Mr. Dawson, to put a stop to 
what might lead to a trifling mode of conversation, 
on a subject so awfully serious as sin, returned, 
"A buyer would be wanting for the stuff; the devil 
would not give a price, for it was his already ; God 
would have nothing to do with it, for he hates it ; 
and man needed it not ; for he would find he had 
enough of his own without it." He could relish wit ; 
but not when "reason put in her claim for the one 
half of it, and extravagance for the other." 

Being down at Hull/ preaching occasional sermons, 
the friends of the Bible Society availed themselves of 
his aid, at one of their meetings. His speech excited 
great interest, especially when he turned to Mr. Dikes, 
and acknowledged him as his spiritual father. This 
revelation to the meeting was the more grateful, be- 
cause of the esteem in which Mr. Dikes was held, 
and the members of the Established Church began 
to look with more respect upon the son in the gospel, 
for the venerable pastor's sake; and it drew many 
to a Methodist chapel, who had not been in the 
habit of entering one before. 

His excellent mother died July 9th, 1824, in the 
76th year of her age, and was sincerely lamented by 
the family ; but by no one was the stroke so severely 
felt as by himself, having been at home with her 
from childhood, and now, comparatively alone in the 
house ! 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 321 



CHAPTER XII. 

Increasing labour. Conversion of a Sceptic. Opening of Bruns- 
wick Chapel, Leeds. Contrast betneen the Pulpit and the Farm. 
Silver taken at the foot of the gallery stairs. Difference 
between popularity and usefulness. Revivals. Industry. The 
grave and the ludicrous. Daniel in the Lions' den. John 
Richardson. Biography. Death of the Rev. David Stotier. 
His character. The fallen trumpet. Difference bettveen Nature 
and Art. Mr. Samuel Entwistle.Mr. Hugh Gill. Dr. Me 
Allum's character and death. Leeds Organ Question. Mr. 
Baines and the Leeds Mercury. Disputes. Journies. A mis- 
hap. Platform Readings. Prayer-Meetings, and their good 
fjf'ects. Divine Influence. Restitution. Contentment. Solici- 
tation of Subscriptions. Melancholy effects of false alarm at 
Heckmondnnke. The Rev. Gideon Ouseley. Popish Controvert- 
ists. Death of " The Village Blacksmith." Farm unsuccessful. 
Curiosity in check. Visits. Obituaries. 

THE anxiety to obtain the services of Mr. Dawson, 
in places which had not been favoured with them, 
became more and more intense from 1825 to 1830, 
which embraces that portion of his history to which 
the reader is now directed: and yet the spirit which 
he kindled in the societies that had been so favoured, 
rendered it extremely difficult for him to extend his 
acquaintance, owing to the friends pressing him to 
repeat his visits. This induced many to apply to 
o2 



322 MEMOIRS OF 

him twelve months before his services were required. 
He had public engagements now, in a general way, 
from January to July, as far as his regular work 
would allow, and also towards the close of the year. 
"The latter part of July," said he to the writer, 
"as well as August and October, I reserve to myself; 
the first, because of the hay, the second being the 
time for cutting the corn, and the third for sowing 
the seed.'' The way in which he accomplished his 
Herculean toil, may be accounted for partly on the 
principle laid down in the remarks of a writer of 
close observation : " It is an undoubted truth," says 
he, "that the less one has to do, the less time one 
has to do it in. One yawns, one procrastinates, one 
can do it when one will, and, therefore, one seldom 
does it at all : whereas, those who have a great deal 
of business, must (to use a vulgar expression), buckle 
to it ; and they always find time enough to do it in." 
"With Mr. Dawson, it was not barely a "must" be, 
though he was sensible of a "woe be to me," if 
I do it not : but his duty was his delight. He could 
adopt the language of Ezekiel, "The Spirit lifted 
me up." This gave ardour to his love, strength to 
his faith, and animation to his hope ; removing from 
the soul the various weights that clogged it, and 
adding to it the pinions by which it was borne on- 
ward in its flight to heaven; being ready, ever and 
anon, to exclaim, through the fine flow of feeling 
of which he was the subject, in what might possibly 
have been proverbial language, "Or ever I was aware, 
my soul made me like the chariots of Ammi-nadib." 

In one of his excursions to the north at this time, 
he preached at Carville, near Newcastle. Two persons 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 

were passing the chapel, one of them, a professed 
deist, said to the other, " Let us hear what this 
fellow is bawling about." They went near the door- 
way, which, as usual, was crowded the chapel being 
unequal to the accommodation of the people. After 
stopping two or three minutes, the other said, "Come, 
let us go." " Nay," returned his companion, " I will 
hear him out." He did "hear him out," and heard 
to profit ; for on the outside of the chapel the win- 
dows and doors being open, the word of God fastened 
on his conscience ; the " strong man armed " was 
slain; and within a fortnight, having given every 
evidence of a divine change, a stone fell from the 
top of the pit where he was working, and killed him 
on the spot ! Whether the man was a reader, and 
entitled to the character of a thinker, or whether his 
infidel principles arose from the natural enmity of 
the human heart to God and truth, is of little im- 
portance. His principles, or his feelings, or both, 
preserved him in hostile array against everything sacred : 
and whether scepticism attempts to rear its own system, 
or employs its efforts to undermine a better, it is equally 
fatal to the individual, though not equally easy and 
pleasant. Hence the truth of the remark, that we 
may find a thousand engineers, who can sap, under- 
mine, and blow up, with admirable dexterity, for one 
who can build a fort or lay the platform of a citadel. 
The point of interest to contemplate is that there 
was hope in the man's death, adding another testimony 
to the fact, that 

" The quality of mercy is not strain'd: 

It dropped), as the gentle rain from Leaven, 

Upon the place beneath. " 



324 MEMOIRS OF 

Few chapels were now opened, including a con- 
siderable extent of country around, to the sen-ices 
of which he was not either pressingly invited, or in 
a part of which he did not actually engage. It was 
common on such occasions, to find his name associated 
in the same advertisements, in newspapers, and in 
the posters on the walls, with those of Dr. Clarke, 
Messrs. R. Watson, R. Newton, and other popular 
ministers. Among the chapels opened in 1825, 
Mytholmroy, in the Todmorden circuit, Cullingworth, 
Osset, Eastbrook, Bradford and Brunswick Leeds, 
may be noticed. 

The last, which was considered the largest chapel 
in the Wesley an Connexion at that time, being 96 
feet in length and 72 in width, was opened Friday, 
September 9th. The services were resumed Sunday, 
September llth. Its cost was estimated to be about 
7900 ; the collections at the opening, amounted to 
.853, which were augmented by a few spirited indi- 
viduals to .361000, exclusive of previous subscriptions, 
amounting' to nearly ^2000. The chapel was calculated 
to accommodate 3000 persons ; and in the genuine 
spirit of that text of mercy, " The poor have the 
gospel preached to them," one thousand free sittings 
were appropriated to such as were unable to pay for 
them : since then, however, it is to be regretted, the 
free seats have been considerably circumscribed. 

Mr. Dawson was visited by a friend on the 10th, 
the Saturday intervening the services, when he was 
found busily engaged in marking sheep on his farm. 
Adverting to his employment, he slyly turned up his 
eye his meaning eye, to his friend, who was ap- 
proaching him, and said, "I hope to mark some 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 325 

other sheep to-morrow. " He did so ; for in the 
afternoon of the Sabbath during the adjourned ser- 
vices, it was found that he had indeed marked some 
of the Lord's stray sheep in Brunswick chapel. The 
honour thus put upon Mr. Dawson, in opening the 
largest chapel in the Connexion in his own circuit 
he himself a local preacher and in a town in which 
he had preached upwards of twenty years, reminds 
the biblical student of the honour which God con- 
ferred upon David, of whom it is said, "he keepeth 
the sheep," and who was translated from the sheep-cot 
to the court of Saul; of Elisha, "who was ploughing 
with twelve yoke of oxen, and upon whom Elijah, as 
he "passed by him, cast his mantle;" and "of 
Amos, who," when the spirit of prophecy descended 
upon him, "was among the herdmen of Tekoa." 

One thing annoyed Mr. Dawson here, as in many 
other places. At the close of the circular announcing 
the services, it was added, "The trustees, wishing 
to accommodate the respectable friends who may attend 
on the occasion, purpose to reserve the entire gallery 
of the Brunswick Chapel for their use. To facilitate 
this, silver will be taken at the foot of the stairs." 
This was always repulsive to his feelings, and the 
collectors employed were characterised by him as pre- 
senting so many " silver daggers " at the people on 
their way to the gallery. He associated with the case, 
the resemblance it bore to persons paying on entering 
a place of amusement its apparent opposition to a 
free gospel and the painful manner in which it 
operated upon the poor. But such were the crowds 
to hear him, especially in Manchester and other popu- 
lous places, that the chapel doors were beset with 



326 MEMOIRS OF 

the people long before they were opened for service, 
the best seats were often occupied by non-contributers, 
while the most liberal givers were left without. In 
many instances, the police were obliged to parade 
before the places of worship, to prevent disturbance 
among the multitudes who were anxious to hear him, 
the baser sort availing themselves of the occasion 
for the worst of purposes. 

Mr. Dawson was not merely popular ; nor was the 
feeling which accompanied his public labours evan- 
escent. There may be popularity without either solid 
or permanent good, excitement without a genuine 
work of God. Popularity is often the mere crea- 
ture of circumstance, and owes its existence as well 
as its continuance, to some external attraction, in- 
dependent of either extraordinary mental endowments, 
or exalted piety. Mere excitement is generally confined 
to the man ; it circumscribes itself within his own 
sphere of operation, moves, like his shadow, by 
his side, never puts up its appearance, except when 
he is there, and leaves all around, save that one 
spot, blank or dreary. A genuine revival of the work 
of God, in a town or neighbourhood, is not seen 
following in the wake of only one person ; every chapel 
is benefited ; every minister of God receives his quota 
of hearers; the week-day services are more numerously 
attended, as well as those appointed for the Sabbath ; 
the forenoon services are as respectable for number 
as those in an evening, that have the charm of a 
prayer-meeting appended to them; and people are 
as partial to the word of GOD, as to the prayers of 
MAN. Newly-awakened souls persons hungering and 
thirsting after righteousness, will not refuse the food 



WILLIAM DAW8ON. 327 

because of the less distinguished platter upon which 
it is served; they will he thankful for the bread of 
life from any minister of Christ. The ministry that 
renders people fastidious, that enamours them merely 
with the man, to the neglect or contempt of others, 
is defective in its essentialities. The subtle poison of 
the Corinthian church is in it. The design of the 
Christian ministry is to endear God, his house, and 
his word, to man, and not man to a solitary individual. 
This was the genuine effect of Mr. Dawson's ministry. 
Though he was loved and respected, the word of God 
was loved the better for his services ; he did not 
take the work away with him to the next place ; but 
he left a savour of hallowed feeling behind him, by 
which ministers and people were benefited after he 
had quitted the spot. Though he took the torch 
with him, a number of lamps were left burning at 
the place, which had been kindled at his flame ; and 
he found them more bright on his return. This was 
the case at Grimsby and other places, where a genuine 
revival of the work of God broke out, through which 
whole societies shared in the benefit. The moving 
of the waters did not subside immediately on his 
departure, as in the departure of the angel from the 
pool of Bethesda, and remain a dead calm till his 
return. The people were left with a relish for the 
ministry of others, as well as his own. They did 
not take their ideas of a minister from himself barely, 
cherishing the notion that they could receive good 
from no other ; all others sinking in their esteem 
in proportion as he himself advanced. He drew them 
to God, not to himself; and yet, in drawing them 
to God, he was honoured both of God and man. 



328 MEMOIRS OF 

Here is the difference between sheer popularity and 
usefulness ; the former follows the man wherever he 
goes, and moves only in his train ; the latter is sta- 
tioned at the different places : the one has a rambling, 
gipsy kind of existence ; and the other has its fixed 
settlement, and erects, if not towns, its congregations 
and its temples found years after, as so many monu- 
ments of ministerial toil. 

He very often had to turn out of the different places 
of worship, and preach in the open air, to accommodate 
persons who could not gain access to the chapels ; 
and the chapels themselves could only be endured, 
from the intense interest the people felt to hear him. 
A person came up to him at Cullingworth, nearly 
breathless, wiping the perspiration off his face, and 
saying, by way of shewing his hardships, and exciting 
pity, "I have had to stand all the time ! " " So have 
I," returned Mr. Dawson, when silence was instantly 
imposed ; the person perceiving that Mr. D. had the 
fatigue of the pulpit added to it. 

In the course of 1826, he assisted at the opening 
of chapels at Brotherton, Rochdale, Otley, Long- 
holme, Thome, York, Mebmerly, Colton, Monkwear- 
mouth, Spitalfield Leeds, Minsten, Shuckerstone, &c. ; 
and visited Nottingham, Newark, Sheffield, Doncaster, 
Newcastle, Shields, Sunderland, Darlington, Halifax, 
and different places in Lancashire and elsewhere : and 
it was not uncommon for him to be sowing seed, 
stacking corn, clipping sheep, &c., on the same day 
that he was opening chapels and attending missionary 
meetings, working " double tides," to employ a nau- 
tical phrase, that one thing might not interfere with 
another, and so bringing "forth his fruit in his season." 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 329 

While preaching in Albion-street chapel, in one of 
his visits to York, he took for his text, Ezekiel iii. 
17 19. Towards the close of the sermon, he pro- 
posed the question with solemnity and deep feeling, 
"Why will you die?" stating, that he would sit 
down, and give them time for deliberating upon an 
answer, taking his seat at the same time in the 
pulpit, in the midst of death-like silence. The effect 
would have been ludicrous, had the people not been 
awed into stillness and sober thought by his previous 
reasonings and appeals to the conscience. After a 
short pause, he turned his scrutinizing eye to one 
side of the gallery, and asked, " Why will you die ? " 
then to the other, shifting the emphasis on different 
words, "Why will you die?" next to the front, 
"Why will you die?" and lastly below, "Why will 
you die ? " With the sound of death still vibrating 
on the ear, he rose, and in a modulated tone, said, 
"What, not an answer! not one capable of assigning 
a reason for his conduct ! Is silence your only reply ? 
Speechless here, and speechless hereafter! At that 
moment for it had not occurred to him to employ 
it before, the fact of one of the judges having sen- 
tenced a poor wretch to be hung in the city two days 
before, flashed into his mind ; and with the same 
solemn feeling, he imitated the judge while putting 
on the "black cap," one of his customary actions 
coming to his aid at the instant, of stroking down 
his wig on each side with both hands, pronouncing 
with firmness and vehemence, that part of the text, 
" Thou shalt surely die." The whole was easy, natural, 
and, contrary to what any one can be supposed to con- 
ceive, except those who witnessed it, deeply impressive. 



330 MEMOIRS OF 

Though, his manner occasionally approached the con- 
fines of the ludicrous, and his expressions were some- 
times overstrained, there was so much pure nature 
in the one, and so much meaning in the other, that 
he generally found an apologist at hand among his 
auditors. When preaching on Daniel in the lions' 
den, he drew largely on the pencillings of his imagina- 
tion, and after depicting the place in all its gloom 
and horror the animals in all their power, hunger, 
and ferocity, he contrasted the whole with the ecstatic 
frame of mind in which Daniel might be supposed 
to have heen wrapt in the presence of the "angel" 
of the Lord, while in deep communion with heaven, 
finally, representing him as bursting forth into song, 
till tamed and charmed by his strains, the lions, 
under a more powerful spell than the harp of Orpheus, 
united in the concert, and "growled bass" to the 
tenor of his finer and more elevated Hebrew warblings, 
which were poured into the ear of his angelic com- 
panion. 

February 29, 1826, his friend John Richardson of 
Barwick, died, with whom he had often taken "sweet 
counsel." John was a rare man, and made a blessed 
exit. But it could not be said of him as of many, 
who may say of themselves, in the affecting language 
of Sir "Walter Raleigh, the night before he died, 

" The dark and silent grave 
* * 

Shuts up the story of our days ; " 

for Mr. Dawson wrote a memoir of him, which was 
published in the Wesleyan Magazine for 1827, p. 721, 
and which enables him to speak, though dead a 
sense in which Sir Walter's own "story" still lives, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 331 

though the " days " of his life have long been num- 
bered, or "shut up." 

Biography had a particular charm in it to Mr. 
Dawson. Speaking of the Lives of eminent men, he 
observed, "The Life of Mr. Benson came into my 
hand about the same time that I received the Life 
of the Rev. Thomas Scott. With the latter, I was 
much pleased. I said to myself, 'There is substance 
here.' A man is best seen in his unstudied letters 
to his friends. Diaries are of little worth, except 
for personal use in private, and will only admit of 
brief extracts for publication. The sum of the whole 
is," continued he laughingly, "he got up in the 
morning took his breakfast sat down to dinner 
drank his tea took his supper and went to bed. 
The next day is a fac-simile of its predecessor. " 
There is much truth in this, so far as diaries of 
mere experience and domestic life are concerned ; and 
it shews the change that had passed over him, in 
reference to his own. But the Lives of eminent men 
were differently viewed, and that for very substantial 
reasons ; for " Biography," as Burgh observes, " sets 
before us the whole character of a person, who has 
made himself eminent either by his virtues or his 
vices shews us how he came at first to take a right 
or a wrong turn the prospects which invited him to 
aspire to higher degrees of glory, or the delusions 
which led him from his virtue and his peace ; the 
circumstances which raised him to true greatness, or 
the rocks on which he split, and sunk to infamy. 
And how can we more effectually, or in a more enter- 
taining manner, learn the important lesson, what we 
ought to pursue, and what to avoid ? " 



332 MEMOIRS OF 

A death with which Mr. Dawson was more sensibly 
touched, followed in the course of the same year 
that of the Rev. David Stoner, who died at Liver- 
pool, after a short illness, Monday October 23rd. The 
mournful intelligence was communicated to Mr. Dawson 
on the 25th; and he felt like a father. Mr. Stoner 
was born near Barwick-in-Elmet, in April, 1/94. His 
parents, who were the intimate friends of Mr. Daw- 
son, taught him what is the good and the right way; 
and the Divine Spirit seconded the prayerful instruction 
communicated, with many drawings from the Father. 
In the spring of 1806, much fatal sickness, and 
many sudden deaths, occurred in Barwick ; and, as 
might be supposed, great alarm prevailed. Among 
others, who were taken away upon this occasion, was 
the father of a large family, and Mr. Dawson was 
called upon to improve the event in a funeral sermon. 
His text was Deuteronomy xxxii. 29, " Oh. that they 
were wise, that they understood this, that they would 
consider their latter end ! " Young Stoner was present ; 
the word entered his heart ; and he was convinced 
of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment : and at 
the prayer-meeting which followed the sermon, "he 
offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying 
and tears, unto him that was able to save him from 
death ; and was heard in that he feared." It was a 
night much to be remembered by him ; for he obtained 
the blessing of conscious acceptance with God. He 
was then only twelve years of age; and yet he held 
fast this early beginning of his confidence steadfast 
unto the end of his life. He was received upon the 
plan as a Local Preacher, when teacher in an academy 
at Leeds; and during the period of the first plan, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 333 

it being necessary to call out another preacher for 
the regular duties of the Leeds circuit, he though 
a native, and resident in it, was fixed upon to fill the 
vacancy. He commenced the itinerant work in 1814, 
and thus finished in 1826. 

The eloquence of David Stoner was, what all true 
eloquence is described to be good sense, delivered in 
a natural and unaffected way, without the artificial 
ornament of tropes and figures. Our common eloquence, 
is, with equal propriety, described by Baker, as usually 
a cheat upon the understanding, deceiving us with 
appearances, instead of things, and making us think 
without reason, while it is only tickling our sense. 
David Stoner was a modern Apollos, "An eloquent 
man, and mighty in the Scriptures ; " overwhelming 
in the application of divine truth to the understanding 
and the conscience. A good characteristic memoir of 
him was drawn up by Dr. Me Allum a man, who, 
like David himself, in the prime of life, and in the 
glory of his ministerial character, dropped into the 
tomb the year following. This brief sketch was pub- 
lished in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, for 1827, 
p. 289. A separate, and more extended memorial of 
him was published the year subsequent to his death, 
12mo., pp. 287, price 4s.; combining with character, 
" Copious Extracts from his Diary and Epistolary 
Correspondence." To the preface are affixed the sig- 
natures of Mr. Dawson and Mr. Hannah. As a joint 
production though highly creditable, it would have 
probably added to the popularity of the work, if, to 
Mr. Hannah's good taste, further distinct traces of 
the sprightly and vigorous mind of Mr. Dawson had 
been perceptible, to relieve the graver character of 



334 MEMOIRS OF 

the work. It is, however, a volume, which young 
preachers would do well to peruse, and merits, for the 
sake of its pulpit model, a more extensive circulation. 

Mr. Dawson, at the earnest request of the friends 
in several of the circuits in which Mr. Stoner had 
travelled, and in places where he was personally known, 
preached funeral sermons on the occasion of his death ; 
as at Leeds, Huddersfield, Bradford, Birstal, Tadcaster, 
Barwick, &c. At Bradford, where Mr. Stoner had 
been extensively useful to the church of God, and 
where he successfully battled, discomfitted, and drove 
the comedians out of the town, Mr. Dawson was 
unusually moving. In highly impassioned mood, when 
referring to the ministry of the deceased, he said, 

"When he blew the trumpet of war, hundreds 
rallied round the banner of the cross, and were ready 
for the charge of the enemy. Nor was he less successful 
when he blew the trump of Jubilee, hundreds going 
forth at the sound, were crowned with joy and glad- 
ness! But look at him now; look at the coffin and 
the corpse ; look, my brethren in the ministry ! 
There he lies. The trumpet has fallen from his hand. 
Speak to him ; say, ' Blow blow blow the trumpet 
in Zion ; sound an alarm ! ' but he heeds not. Let 
those of us, then, who are in the work, give the 
sacred blast. No trumpet ever gave a more certain 
sound, than did that of the deceased. How many 
will have cause to bless the day they ever heard the 
joyful sound from his lips ! You, who were in church 
fellowship, when he occupied this pulpit, look upon 
his coffin and his corpse ! He confirmed your faith, 
warned you of danger, prayed for you, rejoiced 
over you. Many of you were his joy ; now you are 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 335 

his crown! You were delighted when you saw him, 
and still more when you heard him ; you went forth 
at his bidding, with your loins girt, in the gladness 
of your hearts. He placed before you the Saviour, 
by whom he himself was saved, and whose example 
he imitated. And thou, poor backslider, roused from 
thy lethargy by his voice, but again prostrate in the 
encounter, what shall I say to thee ? I would take 
up his fallen trumpet, and sound an alarm in thine 
ear an alarm both loud and long, What meanest 
thou, O sleeper ? Start at once upon thy feet ; 
awake to righteousness and sin not ; otherwise the 
measure of thy punishment will be great. What do 
I read in his Journal? 'If ever a sigh is recorded, 
it is when the classes are deserted ! ' And why, I 
ask, did you plant a thorn for his pillow, and make 
him sigh in secret, instead of sing a song of praise? 
Oh, let his death be your life ; rise and return to 
your first love ; let his happy spirit hear to-night 
in heaven, that the prodigal, who has left his Father's 
house, is returning to it ! And you, O my young 
friends, I invite you also to look at his coffin ! Thirty- 
two years are set upon the lid, twenty of which were 
spent in the service of God. Did he, at the close 
of life, lament that he commenced his religious course 
so soon ? Ah, no. His day was short, but well filled 
up. His work is done. The trumpet has dropped 
from his hand." Then, looking round upon the con- 
gregation, doubling at the same time his hand, and 
placing it to his mouth, when he quoted, with a full 
swell of voice, an appropriate passage of Scripture, 
embodying in it the tidings of salvation to a lost 
world, he seemed to place his favourite son in the 



336 MEMOIRS OF 

gospel, on the summit of Mount Zion, whence he 
sent his voice, with the clang of a trumpet, across 
the "holy city," to rouse its slumbering inhabitants 
from their sins ; asking, while the blast appeared 
echoing among the "hills round about Jerusalem," 
and dying in the distance, " Is there no young man 
in this congregation, willing to take up the fallen 
trumpet, and to occupy the station of the deceased 
in the Church ? " accompanying the question with 
some other pointed interrogatories and remarks, 
shewing the need of labourers, to supply the lack 
of service occasioned by the death of such men as 
Mr. Stoner. 

It is almost impossible to divest the mind of an 
impression of the ludicrous being mixed up with the 
solemn occasion, when assuming the tone and character 
of a person blowing a trumpet; as in his imitation 
of the judge passing sentence. Yet here, as there, 
a sacred something was connected with it, which re- 
pressed every light feeling, and which produced, 
not omitting the sanctity and solemnity of the occasion, 
the same effect noticed by Goldsmith, between natural 
and unnatural speaking, when he observes, that "natu- 
ral speaking, like sweet wine, runs glibly over the 
palate, and scarce leaves any taste behind it ; but being 
high in a part resembles vinegar, which grates upon 
the taste, and one feels it while he is drinking." This 
was the critical moment with Mr. Dawson, and between 
these two points he was sometimes placed in the utmost 
peril of miscarrying and did actually occasionally mis- 
carry in the esteem of others than persons of refined 
taste; but it operated prejudicially only on a few minds, 
and to these it was onlv like a discordant tone in 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 337 

music, preparatory to the richest harmony, a passing 
cloud, shading for the moment the disk of the sun, 
without excluding the surrounding day. Nature, like 
music, is felt or known by all, and works strangely 
upon both mind and matter, raising joy or grief, plea- 
sure or pain giving motion to the blood as well as 
the spirits tranquillizing the disturbed thoughts and 
even heightening the spirit of devotion itself. But 
the query is, what part of nature is to be admitted 
into the pulpit, and what part is to be kept out ; 
as well as what particular parts harmonize, most with 
each other. 

On this occasion, the simple question, "Is there 
no young man in this congregation willing to take 
up the fallen trumpet? " was like a voice from heaven, 
entering the inmost soul of one lovely youth Samuel 
Entwisle, who had been impressed some time with it 
being his duty to give himself to the work of the 
ministry, but had resisted the call, till he brought 
himself into the deepest distress of mind. At that 
moment, he resolved to yield took up the trumpet, 
to pursue the metaphor began to preach entered 
the itinerant work but soon, like David Stoner, to 
whom he would have been an admirable successor, 
sickened, laid aside the clarion, and died the death 
of the righteous. He was the son of the late Rev. 
Joseph Entwisle, "the beloved disciple" of modern 
times. 

Some of the chapels opened by Mr. Dawson in 1827, 
were those of Leuthley, Farsley, Henley, Ulleskelf, 
Kirk Deighton, West Auckland, Farnley, and one in 
the neighbourhood of Croft ; and among the numerous 
places in which he preached other occasional sermons, 



338 MEMOIRS OF 

Stockport, Manchester, Salford, Middleton, Ratcliffe 
Close, Longholme, Keighley, Sheffield, York, Bir- 
mingham, Bristol, Bingley, Skipton, Halifax, Wake- 
field, Bradford, Dewsbury, Pontefract, Snaith, Otley, 
Stokesley, Darlington, Barnard Castle, Newcastle-on- 
Tyne, Wall's End, Thirsk, Bawtry, and Ashton-under- 
Lyne, may be named. 

His long tried and excellent friend, Mr. Hugh Gill, 
died April 27th, this year, aged 74, forty-eight years 
of whose life had been consecrated to the service of 
God. Mr. Dawson wrote a memoir of him, which 
was inserted in the Wesleyan Magazine for 1828, p. 
651. He was one of those men, who never forfeited 
the reputation of his integrity, and out of whose 
commercial transactions, the Christian was constantly 
coming before the eye, like stars, unobtrusively stealing 
into sight as the evening approaches, and attracting 
attention, not so much by their sparkling appearance, 
as by their shining. Mr. Dawson not only penned 
a memoir of Mr. Gill, but preached his funeral sermon ; 
as also the funeral sermons of Mrs. Baggott, Betty 
Scholes, and Dr. Me Allum. 

The last was preached at York, July 28 ; and Mr. 
Dawson was probably selected, not so much from any 
long established friendship between himself and the Dr., 
as from the intimacy which subsisted between the latter 
and Mr. Stoner. The biographer knew the Doctor from 
boyhood, and was stationed with his excellent father 
in the Shields circuit, in 1807, when he came from 
Kingswood School, on finishing his education in that 
seminary. He even then, manifested unusual powers 
of mind; quick, yet not volatile, adventurous, yet 
possessed of sufficient firmness to be relied upon ; 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 339 

and could pursue an argument with care, acuteness, 
and foresight, without as is too often the case with 
persons of more matured intellectual abilities, suddenly 
striking off, like the tangent of a circle, and incapable 
of being brought back into his orbit by attraction or 
gravity. He was usually recollected and guarded. The 
same rare combination of sprightliness and solidity 
advanced with age; and had his life been prolonged, 
he would have ranked still more eminently among 
those men described by Lord Brougham whom, by 
the way, he could imitate to a nicety as a public 
speaker, who, by diffusing useful information, by fur- 
thering intellectual refinement, and by promoting moral 
improvement, " hasten the coming of that bright day, 
when the dawn of general knowledge shah 1 chase away 
the lazy, lingering mists, even from the base of the 
great social pyramid ; " superadded to which, was the 
Christian, as well as the philosopher and the scholar, 
in which exalted character he shone still more bril- 
liantly even as one of the "stars" hi the "right 
hand" of Jesus Christ. His "Remains," preceded 
by a Memoir from the classical pen of the Rev. 
Jonathan Crowther, deserve a wider circulation than 
they appear to have had. 

The close of the year was distinguished for great 
excitement among the Wesley ans in Leeds. The main 
point of dispute was the introduction of an organ into 
Brunswick chapel ; a number of pamphlets, comprising 
when bound together, two thick octavo volumes, 
were published on the occasion. The agitated state 
of the Society had been a source of pain to Mr. Daw- 
son for several months; it was brought, however, to 
a crisis, and " A special District Meeting of Wesleyau 



340 MEMOIRS OF 

ministers" was "held at Leeds" on the case, "on 
Tuesday, the 4th of December, 1827, and continued 
by successive adjournments." Mr. Dawson, in a memo- 
randum made by himself, notices that he was present 
at the " meeting " on the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th ; 
and appends to the latter date, " The case of Messrs. 
Sigston and Mallinson examined, and both were ex- 
pelled." 

Several of the ministers and principal friends were 
assembled in the house of one of the preachers prior 
to the meeting, when some strong remarks were made. 
Mr. Dawson observed, " Hitherto, I have taken part 
with neither side ; and although I cannot justify the 
dissentients, yet there are some palliations to be offered 

on their behalf. I put it to you, Mr. , and, in 

so doing, I may bear hard upon Mr. , whether, 

after the organ question was put in the Quarterly 
Meeting, and there was an overwhelming majority 
against it, it was judicious in such a state of things, 
to grant permission to the trustees to put one up?" 
To this, Mr. Dawson remarked to the biographer, 

"Mr. was silent." "And now," continued Mr. 

D., " I turn to Mr. , and I may bear hard upon 

him: but would it not have been better if Mr. 

had avoided the suspension of ? I am aware 

he acted on the rule of 1797 ; but that rule had been 
slumbering for a period of thirty years ; and that 
being the case, would it not, taken in connection with 
what preceded, have shewn a disposition to conciliate 
matters? I repeat it, I do not justify the men; but 
these circumstances may be stated as palliatives in 
the present stage of the business." Mr. D. further 
observed to the writer, "Not a word was said in 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 341 

reply." After a brief pause, Mr. said, "Well, 

but what is to be done ? The case is before us, and 
we must deal with it." "Do with it," returned Mr. 
Dawson : " the dissentients have arrived at that point/ 
that must now compel you to put them down: there 
is no peace to be maintained with them; and strong 
measures are necessary to preserve the healthy part 
of Society, by separating it from the infected." So far 
he closed in with ulterior measures, not as desirable 
in every instance, but as necessary. 

During this struggle, Mr. Baines of Leeds, mani- 
fested anything but candour and fairness towards the 
Wesley an Methodists, throwing open the columns of 
the Mercury to the dissentients, and narrowing the 
door, as far as possible, as to the admission of papers 
in defence of the opposite party. Mr. Dawson felt 
this, not only on the ground of justice, but on the 
score of friendship, Mrs. Baines when Miss Talbot, 
having been a frequent visitor at Barnbow, and Mr. 
Baines himself having received personal kindnesses from 
members of the Methodist body. He addressed, there- 
fore, a letter to him, through the medium of the 
Leeds Intelligencer, of December 18, 1828, signed "A 
METHODIST," in which the reader will find a repe- 
tition of the comparison of a " snarling critic " to a 
gander, and of which the following is a copy : 

"SiR. In the last fifteen months, the disposition 
of deep-rooted enmity which you have evinced against 
the Methodist system, and the Methodist ministers, 
has given me considerable pain. This, in my appre- 
hension, has been as obvious as the light of day. It 
has always appeared to afford you real pleasure to 
insert any paragraph sent from any person, or collected 



342 MEMOIRS OF 

from any quarter, which had a tendency to lessen 
the system of Methodism in the public estimation. 
When the unhappy disputes began about the Brunswick 
chapel organ, paragraph after .paragraph appeared in 
the most interesting column of your paper, the direct 
tendency of which was, to embitter and inflame the 
spirit of your readers, and those paragraphs inserted 
' without money and without price.' But, as I have 
been informed, when Mr. Grindrod sent his commu- 
nication, then it must be paid for as an advertisement ! 
And pray, Sir, in what particulars have the Methodists 
injured you ? Look over the list of the subscribers 
to your paper, and will you not find scores of per- 
sons who honour that list with their names, who are 
Methodists? But, Mr. B., review the past; and 
'look to the rock from whence ye were hewn, and 
the hole of the pit whence ye were digged ; ' and I 
ask, who was the gentleman that lent you a hundred 
pounds, to begin that business with, in which you 
have succeeded so well? Was he not a Methodist? 
And, after all this, though at times you appear covered 
with a cloak of candour, yet, under it, you hide a 
dagger, with which, at every convenient opportunity, 
you aim a deadly blow under the fifth rib. Ungenerous 
ungrateful man! Do the Methodists deserve this 
at your hands? Let any man of sober reason look 
at your last week's paper, and see the way you have 
treated the Rev. T. Galland; and can any one con- 
clude that this is the conduct of & friend ? Impossible ! 
Whatever may be the merits or demerits of his speech, 
I shall not now decide. But he spoke like an honest 
man, faithful to his convictions. Has he been answered 
like a man? If his arguments are weak, they are 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 343 

the more easily refuted. If they are strong, do you 
suppose that low banter and ridicule will make them 
fly like chaff before the wind ? Pray, Sir, what have 
your doggerel rhymes and lines upon Mr. G., to do 
with his cool reasonings upon the Catholic Question? 
Surely, nothing. Answer his reasonings like a man 
of reason, and not like a goose ; who, when a gentle- 
man walks steadily on, runs and hisses at him, and 
returns to her flock, and informs them what a victory 
she has got, and flutters and cackles most triumph- 
antly! I would advise you, Sir, not to indulge and 
manifest such perverseness to the Methodist system 
and the Methodist ministers ; as I think they do 
not merit it from you: and, therefore, how far it is 
proper in our friends to support such a paper, I will 
not determine. Indeed, it must be said, to the praise 
of every Methodist subscriber, that he fulfils that 
apostolic injunction, ' If thine enemy hunger, feed 
him; if he thirst, give him drink, for in so doing, 
thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.' That 
the fire may melt every particle of the dross of ma- 
levolence, and fully imbue your heart with Christian 
charity, is the worst wish for you, in the heart of 

Yours, &c., A METHODIST." 

Some time after this though anticipating the period 
of his personal history, Mr. Dawson observed to the 

biographer, "You have been suspending Mr. , I 

understand, for attending public meetings of a political 
character." "Such," it was replied, "has been the 
decision of the District Committee." Mr. Dawson 
returned, "There is great sympathy excited for him 
in the country." "That may be," it was answered; 



314 MEMOIRS OF 

"in all cases of suspension, the greater the offender, 
the greater the sympathy. Witness the still more 
serious suspension of Fonntleroy!" "Honest men," 
he subjoined, "are not treated in that way." Then, 
whirling round his finger, like a person suspended 
from the fatal tree, he said, "It is sure to affect 

the crowd. When we suspended Mr. at Leeds, 

about seventy Local Preachers espoused his cause, 
and went off with him. A gentleman came to me, 
and asked, ' What is the matter with you at Leeds ? ' 
I replied, We have had a riot, have laid hold of 
the ringleader and suspended him ; and having ex- 
ercised discipline upon him, there are about seventy 
others of the Local Brethren, who are determined 
to hang or, if you please, suspend themselves, in 
consequence of it." 

Subsequent to this again, he observed to the writer 
somewhat playfully, when speaking of the Protestant 
Methodists, as they were denominated, "Every man 
has his own interpretation of St. Paul's thorn in the 
flesh. I have mine. It appears to me, that it was 
some restless person who wished to rule in the Corin- 
thian church ; and who, by his conduct, pierced like 
a thorn acting, at the same time, the character of 
a messenger of Satan, being sent with a view to buffet. 

At Leeds, Mr. seems to be Paul's thorn in the 

flesh." After a formal separation took place, he rarely 
made any enquiry respecting the dissentients, and only 
noticed the subject when casually drawn into it in the 
course of conversation. War was not his element ; 
and besides this, he possessed a portion of the wisdom 
embodied in a sentiment of Plutarch, when he observes, 
"It is of use to a man to understand not only 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 345 

how to overcome, but also, how to give ground when 
to conquer would rather turn to his disadvantage : 
for there is such a thing sometimes as a Cadmean 
victory ; to which the wise Euripides attesteth, when 
he saith ; 

' Where two discourse, if the one's anger rise, 
The man who lets the contest fall is wise.' " 

He knew, too, in the language of a wit, that "It 
is in disputes, as in armies; where the weaker side 
sets up false lights, and makes a great noise, to make 
the enemy believe them more numerous and strong 
than they really are." In all disputes, it would be well 
to observe the moderation recommended by Hierocles ; 
"When we are in a condition to overthrow false- 
hood and error, we ought not to do it with vehemence, 
nor insultingly and with an air of contempt; but to 
lay open the truth, and with answers full of mildness, 
to refute the falsehood." Still, as much depends upon 
the temper of the sword in the scabbard on the one 
side, as on the other, whether the case does not warrant 
the exercise of the apostolic injunction, "rebuke them 
sharply." 

The organ in Brunswick chapel, respecting which 
there had been so much angry feeling, was opened 
September 12th, 1828; on which occasion, Mr. Daw- 
son was present. He preached sermons on special 
occasions, in the course of the year, at Stokesley, 
Manchester, Salford, Rothwell, Burslem, Knaresbro', 
Bacup, Derby, Ashley, Burton- on-Trent, Belper, Shef- 
field, Norton, Yarm, Appleton, Bedale, Gatonby, Pick- 
ering, Hull, Beverley, Newport, Briestfield, Hapton, 
Barnsley, Skipton, Pateley-Bridge, Gloucester, Bir- 
mingham, Birstal, Nottingham, Burrow Ash, Macclesfield; 



346 MEMOIRS OF 

Harrogate, Pontefract, Ashbourne, Masham, Middle- 
ham, Bradford, Great Horton, Retford, Newcastle- 
on-Tyne, Carville, Sunderland, Rochdale, Longholme, 
York, Acaster, Staley Bridge, Ashton-under-Lyne, New- 
castle-under-Lyne, Bingley, &c. To some of these 
places, as Manchester and Burslem, his visits were 
repeated in the course of the twelve months. In addi- 
tion to this extra toil, he assisted at the opening of 
chapels at Wakefield, High Town, Wighill, Gomersal, 
Stamford Bridge, Tadcaster, Ryther, Wesley chapel, 
Leeds, and Langton-Street, Bristol. The latter was 
opened June 19th ; the Revds. Richard Watson and 
Robert Wood, were also engaged on the occasion. 
Some of these journies, when one engagement was in 
the train of another, occupied a week. These taxes 
upon his time, imposed heavy agricultural toil upon 
him, when he reached home. But still, he was never 
behind with his work ; taking care to say to his ser- 
vants, "come," instead of "go;" the difference 
between which two words, according to a well-known 
anecdote, occasioned the transfer of an estate from a 
master to his steward. He not only inspected, but 
put his hand to the work. Sixty places may be 
enumerated, as above. Several of the journies would 
require three or more days to accomplish them, and 
most of them two; and if we include his Sabbaths 
at home, we may consider this excellent man with 
no other temporal reward than his travelling expenses, 
and not always these, as devoting upwards of the 
one-half of his time to the public service of God. 

In one of his excursions, a lady of great gravity 
was desirous of being introduced to his society. Supper 
was on the table ; and the lady sat opposite him, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 347 

conning him with an apparently curious eye, and lending 
deep attention to every remark he made. He was 
served with fowl, &c. The plate by some mishap, 
got to the edge of the table, and lost its balance, 
when the contents fell upon his drapery. The lady 
was now doubly attentive to see how he felt in this 
predicament ; and it is with a view to shew the man, 
that the somewhat ludicrous and trivial circumstance 
is introduced. The misfortune was not generally per- 
ceived; but a lady, a friend of the biographer, con- 
cluding from the expression of two or three fair faces, 
that something had occurred to provoke a smile, and 
not being able to ascertain the occasion by the dim 
candle-light, glided from her seat, and asked in an 
under tone, " What is the matter ? " Mr. Dawsoii 
coolly replied, while scooping up the contents with 
his hand, till a towel was brought, "Only a small 
mishap." No difference was perceptible in his spirit 
or manner, though his clothes were spoiled by the 
accident ; and he pleasently remarked to the lady who 
made the enquiry, "Do not look at my clothes on 
the platform to-morrow ; attend to what is said, not 
to what is seen." But it was too visible to an eye 
acquainted with the fact, not to be seen when he 
presented himself in front of the platform. Very 
unlike the "bashful man," it seemed to be no con- 
cern of his; and the lady of demure look was as 
much delighted with his philosophy as his Christianity. 
The tables were generally crowded at the houses of 
the friends where he was entertained, the parties 
knowing the general anxiety which existed to enjoy 
his society. Being seated at the corner of a well- 
crowded table one day, he pleasantly observed, " I 



348 MEMOIRS OF 

love the corner; for here I have elbow-room." And 
this position he generally had hy common consent ; so 
that the honour conferred upon him, by being placed on 
the right or the left of the heads of the house, came 
to the relief of his more masculine form, which would 
otherwise often have been inconveniently crowded. 

One of the speakers, when out on a Missionary 
occasion, appearing on the platform with a bundle 
of papers hi his hand, Mr. Dawson, suspicious of an 
attempt to inflict punishment on the patience of the 
people, enquired "What are you going to do with 
all them papers?" "To read them, to be sure," 
was the reply. " What, the whole of them ? " he 
repeated. " Yes," returned the intended reader ; sub- 
joining, "such documents constitute the life-blood of 
a speech." "Let me tell you, then," said Mr. 
Dawson, who looked upon reading on a platform as 
producing the same effect upon a congregation, that 
the damper produces when put into the oven ; and 
who knew well the difference between the exercise 
of the intellect upon written documents, and matter 
bubbling up from the heart, " Let me tell you, 
that your speech will die of apoplexy, for the blood 
has all gone up to the head." 

His aversion to everything that tended to produce 
weariness in a congregation, rendered him solicitous 
to keep the affections on the move with the mind. 
Though strictly a revivalist, he employed great dis- 
cretion in timing the meetings ; watched with narrow- 
ness the influence of the Spirit upon the mind, and 
rejoiced over the smallest indications of good. In a 
prayer-meeting, in Oldham-Street, Manchester, after 
a very impressive sermon, a person came up to him, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 349 

while the Rev. Jonathan Crowther was standing by 
his side. Turning to Mr. Crowther " This is Moses," 
said Mr. Dawson. Mr. Crowther not having either 
seen or heard of the person before, was rather amused 
with his introduction to him under the simple name 
of the Jewish Lawgiver. Mr. Dawson added, "He 
met in my class, but fell away : " then, suddenly 
wheeling round to the man, he said, " Moses, pray 
and begin afresh." The man, as quickly dropped 
upon his knees. Impressed with the loss he had 
sustained in his spirit, while early days rushed upon 
his mind with all their hallowed associations, he 
seemed to pray in the Holy Ghost. "Aye," said 
Mr. Dawson, "hear him; he knows the way; he 
has not forgotten it." After a brief space, while he 
was yet on his knees, Mr. Dawson again, at inter- 
vals, continued to encourage his wrestlings, with 
"There, Moses, pray on; bless the Lord! Hear 
him, O God." Poor Moses at length rose from his 
knees, professing to have found peace. 

The morning following one of .those meetings, a 
young person came to him, and stated with great 
simplicity, the good feeling that continued in the 
prayer-meeting, after he, (Mr. D.), had retired. "There 
was one man," said the informant, naming him, "who 
was under a concern for his soul the night before. 
But he did not obtain the blessing ; and I was cer- 
tain he would never obtain it, till he acted differently." 
Mr. Dawson enquired, " How so ? " " Why," it was 
replied with great artlessness, but with a good know- 
ledge of outward signs, "he was down only o' ya 
knee. But last night," it was continued, "he was 
down o' both knees ; and then, I said to mysen, 



350 MEMOIRS OF 

when I saw this, he will get the blessing. Yes, 
and he did get it tu ! " This was appended in a tone 
of triumph. Mr. Dawson sometimes employed this 
little circumstance with good effect, when shewing, 
that prostration of person generally accompanies pros- 
tration of spirit. The best of men know, that they 
are but recipients, and that to be indebted to another, 
and yet to be too high to show it, by a becoming 
carriage to the donor, "is but the old solecism of 
pride and beggary, which, though they often meet, 
yet ever make but an absurd society. " 

Being at Brunswick chapel, Leeds, two or three 
friends followed him into the small vestry, where he 
stood by the fire a few seconds, while others were 
carrying on a prayer-meeting in another part, after 
public service. Looking at the Rev. R. A., he plea- 
santly, yet significantly remarked, while pulling down 
his wig on either side, under a deep sense of the 
Divine presence, " I may as well go home ; there 
is nothing for me to do here, or indeed, for any of 
us ; God seems to have taken the whole into his 
own hand." And yet, on other occasions, under a 
similar overpowering influence of God upon the mind, 
he both spoke and acted in a reverse way. Preaching 
at Ancoats, Manchester, on Judges viii. 4, "Faint, 
yet pursuing," every eye seemed at one time suffused 
with tears ; and when people and preacher were craned 
up to the highest pitch of feeling, a momentary pause 
ensued, during which the clock struck twelve, and 
broke the stillness that reigned, like the hammer on 
the bell at a watch-night, on the departure of the 
old year. In an instant, he darted his eye to the 
front of the gallery, and personifying the time-piece, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 351 

said, "You may speak clock, but I am not done 
yet." Though no apparent expectation existed on the 
part of the auditory, that he would close his dis- 
course with the hour, yet it had all the effect of 
reviving disappointed hope, and threw a gleam of 
sunshine into every countenance. 

When preaching in Irwell-Street chapel, Salford, he 
adverted to the subject of restitution in his sermon, 
and drew the harrow across the consciences of some 
of his hearers. Such were his appeals, that a per- 
son sent him a letter after the service, enclosing a sum 
of money ; stating, that he had been abroad, that 
with others, he had committed a theft, that the 
persons, if not dead, were out of reach, to whom res- 
titution should be made, and that as he had no 
likely way of ever restoring to them the value of 
the plunder, he enclosed the amount, requesting him to 
dispose of it, as he might judge proper for the further- 
ance of the cause of God. It was not only Christian, 
to permit conscience to speak out, but highly honour- 
able; much more so than those who retain the property 
of others till the near approach of death, when they 
secretly endeavour after a 1 ! the advantage derived 
from its use, and all tho injury sustained by its rightful 
owner, in consequence of being deprived of it, to make 
amends by their will, subsequent to their decease. 
But such persons, in the esteem of a popular Essayist, 
"had as well do nothing, as delude themselves both 
in taking so much time in so pressing an affair, 
and also in going about to repair an injury with so 
little demonstration of resentment and concern. They 
owe over and above something of their own, and by 
how much their payment is more strict and incom- 



352 MEMOIRS OF 

modious to themselves, by so much is their restitution 
more perfect, just, and meritorious ; for penitency re- 
quires penance." 

It may be readily supposed, that Mr. Dawson ex- 
perienced great variety in his travels, as to accommoda- 
tion, both in the way of lodging and conveyance. 
He was at the house of a friend, in a part of his 
own county, where he was put into a bed which was 
the worse for wear, and which was used occasionally 
by a gentleman of more slender make than himself. 
On lying down, away went the sacking, when he was 
immediately placed heels up. His invention was never 
at fault; and turning the pillows to the foot of the 
bed, he lay, as on an inclined sofa, till morning. Even 
this, amusing as it may seem, shews the character of 
the man. Some persons would not only have been 
disturbed themselves, but would, perhaps, have dis- 
turbed the family, already retired to rest ; and would 
have either hazarded an exchange of beds to the in- 
convenience of some of the members of the family, 
or rendered them uncomfortable by a knowledge of 
the peculiar situation of their guests. There is a 
moral here. The fountain of content springs up in 
the mind ; and the trouble it would have given to 
the family, would have disturbed Mr. Dawson' s repose 
much more than any inconvenience experienced by 
himself. 

Glancing over his outgoings for 1829, he appears 
to have lent himself out as freely, and to have gone 
as far from home, as in the year preceding. He opened 
new chapels at Farnsfield and Batch worth. As many of 
his engagements were on the week-day, it must still be 
borne in remembrance, that he regularly fulfilled his 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 353 

Sabbath appointments, according to the plan, when at 
home. 

His time was trenched upon also, in various valua- 
tions, and in having to attend to the executorship 
of the wills of some of his friends. Aware of his 
influence with the people, he had often to engage 
too in the "drudgery of begging;" into the work 
of which he was drawn by others. His friend, Mr. 
Sumner of Cowick, having been deputed to solicit 
subscriptions for a chapel at Goole, concluded if he 
could obtain the aid of Mr. Dawson, he would be 
able to assist his object in the town of Leeds. Ac- 
cordingly, he set off for Barnbow, where he found 
Mr. Dawson ready for_ every " good work ; " and, in 
company with him, proceeded the next day to Leeds, 
in the cold month of February, at the expense of 
several other engagements demanding his attention. 
Mr. Dawson was generally the spokesman ; and ac- 
costing the first friend they visited, he jocosely observed, 
"I have often appeared before you in my own 
person, in the character of a beggar ; but to-day, 
I am begging for a beggar : " next stating the case. 
In the space of about two hours, he obtained the 
sum of 2620 for his friend. There was a cheer- 
fulness in his manner, which would have disarmed 
the churl ; a cheerfulness, however, which bore no 
affinity to mirth ; the latter, to a prudent man, 
being merely accidental, and never to be effective, 
premeditated. Cheerfulness with him, was in the 
temper of the mind; and it is a fact, that "The 
most manifest sign of wisdom is continued cheer- 
fulness : her estate is like that of things in the regions 
above the moon, always clear and serene." Besides 



354 MEMOIRS OF 

its being natural, it was improved by grace; and, 
with a heart brimmed with love, he was the better 
equipped for errands of charity. Importunity, in his 
case, was unnecessary. His own warm sun thawed 
the ice wherever it was found. There was no occa- 
sion for a man to purchase his own quiet, and so to 
relieve himself, by getting rid of rude, eager impor- 
tunity and vexatious noise ; the subject of these pages 
had too much delicacy to push any case beyond a 
certain point, and was too much beloved, not to 
excite a readiness and pleasure in the donor, to 
impart of his abundance. 

A painful occurrence took place in one of his "beg- 
ging excursions." He was invited to preach occasional 
sermons, and make collections at Heckmondwike, Sun- 
day, April 12. Some person, during the service, either 
inadvertently rested upon a stove-pipe, which did not 
fit exactly, or was pressed against it in consequence 
of the crowded state of the place, when it suddenly 
gave way, and raised an alarm. Persons who were 
not aware of the cause, rushed to the door, under 
the impression that some part of the chapel was 
giving way. The shrieks and tumult cannot be de- 
scribed ; and the effects were fatal. In a memorandum, 
left by Mr. Dawson, he has penned, within a broad 
black border, somewhat in the shape of a coffin, 
" Heckmondwike : a panic in the chapel ; five persons 
killed ; one died next day. " Besides these, many 
were seriously hurt. It left such a painful impression 
on Mr. Dawson' s mind, that, though much importuned, 
he could not be induced to revisit the place till Oct. 
3rd, 1837. 

In the course of the spring, he met with Mr. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 355 

Gideon Ousely, and heard him preach. He was much 
pleased with the old veteran, who, as a protestant, 
had been so often in the field against popery in Ire- 
land. Gideon was not one of those "theological knight- 
errants " who converted controversy into a species of 
quixotism ; nor was he one of those testy and quarrel- 
some persons, who have been contemplated in the light 
of a loaded gun, which may by accident go off and 
kill the by-stander. He seemed to have looked upon 
the ignorance and superstition of the people, and the 
"illiterate presumption" of the priests, like Milton in 
another case, as the disease of the Roman Catholic 
peasantry, a disease that had entered into the very 
constitution, and proved " the hectic evil " of Ireland. 
He was, in general, of the opinion of Sir W. Temple, 
that it " is best to take words as they are most com- 
monly spoken and meant, like coin, as it most cur- 
rently passes, without raising scruples upon the weight 
of the alloy:" but then, he took the advantage of 
Sir William's exception, which renders it more than 
admissible in a man, even praiseworthy, to test the 
metal, when the "cheat or defect is gross and evident." 
The conflict between Popery and Protestantism, is a 
conflict between darkness and light, truth and error, 
gold and dross. Gideon, though far from elegant, 
was generally convincing. He tested every doctrine 
by the word of God, and every absurdity in argu- 
ment by the light of reason. Not so the papists. 
With them, remarks Addison, " The most notable way 
of managing a controversy, is that which we may call 
arguing by torture. These disputants convince their 
adversaries with a sorites, commonly called a pile of 
faggots. The rack is also a kind of syllogism which 



356 MEMOIRS OF 

has been used with good effect, and has made mul- 
titudes of converts. Men were formerly disputed out 
of their doubts, reconciled to truth by force of reason, 
and won over to opinions by the candour, sense, and 
ingenuity of those who had the right on their side ; 
but this method of conviction operated too slowly. 
Pain was found to be much more enlightening than 
reason. Every scruple was looked upon as obstinacy, 
and not to be removed but by several engines invented 
for that purpose. In a word, the application of whips, 
racks, gibbets, gallies, dungeons, fire and faggot, in a 
dispute, may be looked upon as popish refinements 
upon the old heathen logic." This is a fine piece 
of irony, and not out of place, it is hoped, in the 
present connection. Mr. Dawson was not more de- 
lighted with Mr. Ousely, than Mr. Ousely was delighted 
with the flashes of Mr. Dawson' s genius, elicited by the 
introduction of the corruptions of the Romish Church. 
Towards the close of July, Mr. Dawson had an 
attack of rheumatism, which prevented him from ful- 
filling an engagement at Otley. Though sharp, it 
was short in its stay, and he was soon in the work 
again. In September, he preached a sermon on occa- 
sion of the death of Mrs. Martha Tarboton of Thorner, 
the wife of a nephew of the venerable John Pawson, 
and sent an account of her to the Editor of the 
Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, which was published 
in the obituary of 1829, p. 568. But another case, 
touched him still more tenderly. Samuel Hick, "The 
Village Blacksmith, " was in his last sickness ; and 
in the month of November, Mr. Dawson visited him, 
settled his temporal concerns, and attended his remains 
to the grave. He preached two funeral sermons on 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 357 

the occasion, one at Aberford, in the open air, with 
snow on the ground, and another at Rothwell. * A 
Memoir of Samuel appeared from Mr. Dawson's pen 
in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, for 1831, p. 
217, which he wrote at the time of his death. 

Mr. Dawson's farm was at this time a losing con- 
cern. He lost, also, through distemper, three horses 
at once, and found it difficult to replace them. His 
friend, Mr. Reay, of Carville, who had bought a farm 
in the neighbourhood of Newcastle, knowing his cir- 
cumstances, offered it to him, generously proposing 
to take any rent Mr. Dawson might judge proper to 
give. But there was equal nobility on the side of 
Mr. Dawson, not to take advantage of the kindness 
of a friend, while there remained the slightest hope 
of improvement; and besides, he knew not how far 
he might be in the way of providence, in removing 
from the neighbourhood in which he had so long 
resided. 

Having been at Stokesly, he crossed the country 
in the gig of a friend, and proceeded within a few 

* There are rare things respecting honest Samuel yet untold. Calling upon 
his sister one day, at Tadcaster, he said, " Thou hast a poor fire.'' She re- 
turned, " We are not so near the pit as you." He made no reply, went 
borne, rose early next morning, proceeded to the pit, loaded his cart, and, 
before eight o'clock, poured the coals down before her door, and returned 
home without looking into the house, being a distance of about 20 miles there 
and back. The neighbours, as the coals lay undisturbed, said to her, "Why 
do you not get the coals in ? " She looked surprised, and could not be per- 
suaded that she had any claim to them, till she was informed her brother had 
placed them there. 

A grave man on a Missionary platform, knowing that Samuel had to speak, 
whispered to him," Let us have no levity to-day, Sammy." When he arose, 
he observed, "Mr. I., sitting there," pointing to him, "says, 'let us have 
no levity to-day.' Why, bit- ss him, as to himself, he can nother mak folk laugh 
nor cry." To another gentleman, who said, "Be short, Sammy," as he 
ascended the platform steps, be smartly returned, " Stop a bit, I have not 
begun yet " 



358 MEMOIRS OF 

miles of Stockton, where he had to wait an hour at 
the station, to catch the train for Darlington. The 
good woman belonging to the station, had to go to 
Stockton, for which purpose she borrowed the gig, 
hoping to arrive at her own residence before the train 
arrived. She left Mr. Dawson in charge of the house, 
and gave directions as to matters of business. During 
her absence, he felt the smell of something burning 
in the oven ; but as he had received no commands 
respecting the cooking department, the oven not 
being specified among the items to which he had to 
attend, he left it, together with its contents, to itself. 
On her return, she found a spice-cake reduced to a 
cinder ; leaving, however, her guest much more inno- 
cent than Alfred, who permitted the peasant's cakes 
to burn while stringing his bow, a subject admirably 
portrayed by Sir David Wilkie. Had his curiosity 
been strong, he might have saved the cake; but he 
acted in the absence of persons, as in their presence, 
erring on the side of too little, rather than too 
great a curiosity ; with a conviction, in all probability, 
of the general truth of the remark, that the "person 
who is too nice an observer of the business of others, 
like one who is too curious in observing the labour 
of the bees, will often be stung for his curiosity." 

The year 1830 brought much more foreign labour 
than the year preceding. In addition to the opening 
of Cawood, Summerseat, Budsworth, and Bradmore 
chapels, he visited, on special occasions, Barton, Hut- 
ton Rudby, Stokesley, Malton, Marston, Sheffield, 
Belper, "Wirksworth, Wensley, Salford, Selby, Bolton, 
Market "Weighton, Beverley, York, Sowerby Bridge, 
Ripponden, Tadcaster, Rochdale, Littleborough, Halifax, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 359 

Wakefield, Otley, Derby, Elland, Bradford, Chesterfield, 
Wimeswould, Loughborough, Leicester, Darlington, 
Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Howden, Stillington, 
Helmsley Black Moor, Doncaster, Lincoln, Sleaford, 
Billingbro', Grantham, Brierley, Wragley, Yarm, Danby 
Dale, Seamour, Harrogate, Birstal, Longholme, Stock- 
port, Bullock Smithy, Manchester, Osset, High Town, 
Great Horton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Wall's End, Shi- 
ney Row, Monkwearmouth, Snaith, Tockwith, Rothwell, 
Nottingham, Barrowford, Colne, Steeton, Bradford. 
Some of these places having been visited twice in the 
course of the year, his journies out of his own cir- 
cuit could be little short of a hundred. 

A short account of Alice Manchester of Thorner, 
proceeded from his pen, and was published in the 
Wesley an Methodist Magazine for the year, p. 716. 
These Memoirs are noticed the more readily in their 
succession, to shew the esteem in which he was held, 
as proofs of his industry, and because of the vein of 
piety which runs through them, all shewing the high 
value he set upon the "excellent of the earth," and 
his readiness to perpetuate the remembrance of them 
in the Christian church. 



360 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Christian friendship. Rev. J. Starry. Martha Hick. Excessive 
labour. Sensibility. Extempore speaking. Common sense. 
Young' s Night Thoughts. Mercy. Critics. Living Epistlet. 
Shadow of death. Attitudes. Conversation. Backslider 
restored. A School Address. Hymns. The wig. The" Fac- 
tory Question. " Affability. Visits. London. Collections. 
Hard toil Titles of Public Addresses. The Reform Bill. 
War. Tfte cholera. The tax-cart. Invitations. Travelling 
conducive to health. Dr. Clarke and the Rev. Richard Watson. 
Successful begging. Manner. Stripes of Transgressors. 
Power over an auditory. Providence. Mr. Reinhardt. Mrs. 
Turton. Willingness to labour. The Auctioneer's stand. 
Piety maintained. Rev. Robert Aitkin. Sociability. Good 
done at Barwick. A travelling fete. Contentment. The north. 
The Theological Institution. Additional labour. 

IT is disputed by some writers, whether a vigorous 
friendship can strike root in a bosom chilled by years. 
Though this sentiment comprehends a general truth, 
and the most lasting friendships are usually the pro- 
duce of early life, when persons are susceptible of 
warm and affectionate impressions, there are exceptions, 
and Mr. Dawson was one. The fire of nature never 
ceased to burn ; he had a deep and ready insight 
into real worth, and never failed to affix his own 
approving stamp upon what he valued. There is a 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 361 

great deal of difference too, in the character of real 
friendship, when Divine grace enters into companion- 
ship with the finer feelings of the heart. Friendship 
is not a thing that a person can "regularly undertake 
to cultivate," hut seems to be born with some persons, 
as they may be born poets. Two men may meet, 
as Goldsmith observes, and may imperceptibly find 
their hearts filled with good nature for each other, 
when they were at first only in pursuit of pleasure 
or relaxation: then the current of tendemess widens 
as it proceeds. Mere speculators in friendship expect 
too much ; and by drawing the bands too closely, 
they at length break them, and so dissolve the con- 
nection. Catharine Phillips seems to have had a just, 
and therefore, an exalted notion of friendship. It is 
to reduce her verse into prose, an abstract of the truly 
noble flame of love love, purified from all its dross 
love refined next to angelic for its strength, that 
which antedates the joys of eternity and is an epitome 
of heaven : or, to return to her poetry ; 

" Thick waters shew no images of things ; 

Friends are each other's mirrors, and should be 
Clearer than crystal, or the mountain springs, 
And free from cloud, design, or flattery. 1 ' 

Such was Mr. Dawson, as a friend ; and such was 
the friendship he enjoyed with the Rev. John Storry 
while he travelled in the Leeds circuit, and to which 
friendship he refers in a note, dated 1831 the year 
before the demise of that excellent man, and useful 
minister of God. Wesleyan ministers did not occupy 
an ordinary place in his esteem ; and it was his delight 
when he could avail himself of an opportunity, on 
visiting Leeds, of returning into the country with them, 
Q 



362 MEMOIRS OF 

when their labour lay at Barwick, or the neighbour- 
hood for the evening: nor was it less an enjoyment 
on their part to be in his society. He refers to 
the Rev. R. Treffry, sen., and others, in this way. 

In the month of February, of this year, 1831, Mr. 
Uawson paid a visit to the widow of Samuel Hick, 
and presented her with a copy of the Memoir of her 
husband. Though like her careful namesake Martha, 
her true nobility of soul never forsook her. On Mr. 
Dawson presenting her with the first-fruits of the 
profits of the first edition, she observed, "I cannot 

think of taking anything, till I know that Mr. 

shall suffer no loss by it ; " and it was not till she 
was satisfied on this point, that she could be induced 
to accept the offering. With all the prudence and 
care which characterized her proceedings, proper occa- 
sions were all that was necessary to draw out the 
fine independant spirit which she possessed, and of 
the credit of which she had though not intentionally, 
been partly deprived from the heedless exuberance of 
her husband's givings. Her faculties were now some- 
Avhat impaired ; and the year following, she left the 
world, if not with Samuel's triumph, in Christian peace. 

Though this year, like its predecessors, was dis- 
tinguished for little short of a hundred journies, exclu- 
sive of his regular work, and some of them long, there 
were two or three months in the spring which exceeded 
anything he had before accomplished in travelling, and 
which could only have been performed by another 
minister besides himself in the Wesleyan Connexion 
the Rev. Robert Newton, whose Herculean minis- 
terial labours are unequalled, perhaps, in ancient or 
modern history. In the months of April and May, 



WILLIAM DAWSOK. 363 

including a few days in- June, he either occupied the pul- 
pits, or was on the platforms, engaged often in double, and 
sometimes treble services, of Tadcaster, Huddersfield, 
Old Chapel Leeds, Liverpool, Chester, Micklefield, 
Aberford, Armley, Weeton, Barnsley, Doncaster, Ep- 
worth, Leicester, Long Eaton, Nottingham, Alfreton, 
Mansfield, Brunswick Leeds, Pudsey, Farnley, York, 
Newark, Boston, Sibsy, Wainfleet, Spilsby, Raithby, 
Horncastle, Lincoln, Seacroft, Chapel Town, Barwick, 
Albion-Street Leeds, Stamford Bridge, Dewsbury, Dar- 
lington, Wakefield, Barnard Castle, Bramham, Burnley, 
Todmordon, Sowerby, London, &c. And yet, mixed 
up with these, as heretofore, we find during the inter- 
vals, when at home a day, or a few hours, the following 
items in his memorandum book, " Oat-stack got in." 
"Finished sowing at Ashole." "Sowed barley on 
the Car." "Sowed Well Close." "Finished a survey." 
"Winnowed oats in top granary.'' "Settled accounts 
in different places." "At Barwick Court." "Made 
a duck-pond." "At Leeds market." "At Collieries." 
"Measuring malt." "Cutting potatoes to set." 
"Thatched the holm." "Set potatoes." " Sowing 
Sweed turnip seed in Quarry Close." "Clipping sheep, 
&c." "Winnowing wheat," &c. These things were not 
barely superintended by him, but, as has been intimated 
elsewhere, it was work in which he often took a share. 
Idleness would have been a heavy affliction to him, 
as it must be to all who are subject to it ; for man 
must be always either doing or suffering. Well he knew, 
with Franklin, that "Sloth makes all things difficult, but 
industry all easy ; and he that rises late must trot all 
day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; 
while laziness travels so slow, that poverty soon over- 



364 MEMOIRS OF 

takes him." He was a living comment on that text, 
as his biography hitherto attests, "Not slothful in 
business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." 

The chapels opened or re-opened by him in the 
course of the year, were those of Long Eaton, Hensal, 
Colton, Gateshead Fell, Oakham, and the Park 
Sheffield. He observed to the biographer, in reference 
to the Oakham chapel, that he was obliged to take 
the mail coach, in consequence of the line of road 
he had to travel, and to engage a seat in the inside, 
because of the night and the state of the weather, 
and that when his expenses were deducted from the 
collections, he felt exquisite pain. In this way, it 
may be remarked, he was often rewarded by his sen- 
sibilities for the toil, risk, inconvenience, wear and 
tear of travelling in the midst of dust and mud, 
the heats of summer and the colds of winter, storms 
and calms, sunshine and rain. "While he was honest 
to a fraction to others, he exacted with severity upon 
himself. 

In the midst of his exertions, he rarely ever lost his 
elasticity of mind ; and when even slightly chafed, 
he had the good sense to conceal it, and not disturb 
the minds of others with it. Follow him whither- 
soever we might, there was always something inter- 
esting connected with his society. Speaking of a 
clergyman in his own neighbourhood, who read a 
sermon in the forenoon, and attempted extempore 
preaching in the afternoon, but who found less freedom 
in the latter case than is witnessed among some other 
Christian communities, it was remarked by a person 
in the company, "He should have commenced his 
work bv meeting; in class. That is the foundation 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 365 

of extempore speaking among the Wesleyans. People 
give expression to two or three sentiments, these 
accumulate, they grow up to exhorters, and then 
into preachers." With this Mr. Dawson coincided, 
as the secret of successful extempore preaching, in 
connection with the love of God in the heart, and 
then gave his own enlightened views of the subject. 

A person being named, one day, possessed of learning 
and sense, but who was often blundering in practical 
matters, and therefore without the art of using the 
knowledge he had acquired, Mr. Dawson observed, 
" Common sense is a very good thing when it is used ; 
but it is like a five-hundred pound bill, it is good for 
nothing till it is cashed." This remark will pair 
admirably with a couplet of Young, 

" Of plain sound sense life's current coin is made ; 
With that we drive the most substantial trade. 

Conversation turning upon criticism, "A critic," said 
he, "sitting in judgment on a sermon, is like a fly, 
which selects the sore part of a horse's back to revel 
on, to the neglect of the sound, unbroken flesh. " 
Adverting to a passage in Young's Night Thoughts, 
where the poet exclaims, "Bound every heart, and 
every bosom burn," and where he represents Mercy, 
or Love's " lowest round, high planted in the skies," 
he said, "I beg leave to differ from the poet. If 
its ' lowest round ' were in heaven, we should be unable 
to reach it. Thank God ! its ' lowest round ' is on 
earth, and encircles the globe." Passing from the sub- 
ject of criticism to the Christian, and seizing on the 
expression of the apostle, "epistles seen and read 
all men," he observed, " Some EPISTLES are neither 
fit to be seen nor read ; they are blotted and blurred 



366 MEMOIRS OF 

with sin; the sight is grievous. But the finger of 
God has written the Epistles which are created anew 
in Christ Jesus ; they are seen and read of all men, 
worthy of being posted at the corner of every street, 
may he read in time, and to all eternity!" 
"Shadow of death!" he exclaimed on another occa- 
sion, when encouraging the timid at the approach 
of death, "what Christian's bones didst thou ever 
break ? A shadow cannot break bones ! " 

When in conversation, he sometimes rolled his body 
in a kind of circle next inclining it forward and 
then, in that position, would turn up his face and 
his eye, sidelingly, to see the effect of an anecdote 
upon the person he was immediately addressing, 
and when wishful to impress the mind with it, would 
again raise his person, twitch up his nose, and rub his 
face with both hands, unable to restrain the motion of 
the more risible faculties, particularly when the subject 
closed with anything of a stirring character, a keen stroke 
of wit, or a little humour. He was sometimes play- 
ful, but never imbecile ; and therefore, an exception 
to the reflection couched in a remark of Addison, 
when he affirms, that "in private conversation between 
intimate friends, the wisest men very often talk like 
the weakest ; for the talking with a friend is nothing 
else but thinking aloud." It is by no means inti- 
mated, that he was either a sage, or that he delivered 
oracles : no more is intended by it, than that his 
good sense never forsook him. Some of his loud 
thinkings, however, even when softened with a little 
playfulness, told with unusual power. A person of 
penurious habits, possessed of property, but of whom 
he stood in doubt, said to him one day, either from 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 367 

an aversion to be examined too closely, or a wish to 
leave an impression on the mind that he was one 
of those persons who prevented the right hand from 
knowing what the left did. "What I gives is nought 
to ony body. " Mr. Dawson quickly and pointedly 
returned, though not the version wished by the 
speaker, "You are right there, friend, for I believe 
you give nothing to any body." 

As he never lost the spirit of his work, God never 
ceased to use him in the conversion of sinners. A 
person writing to the Rev. Daniel Isaac, requesting 
him to use his influence with Mr. Dawson to induce 
him to pay a visit to Malton, observed in a letter, 
"He (Mr. Dawson), will have the pleasure of seeing 
a very respectable man here, when he comes, who 
was till he heard him when last at this place, a 
poor degraded, drunken backslider, and had been for 
years. He confesses that Mr. Dawson was the instru- 
ment in the Lord's hand of his conversion. " This 
was by no means a solitary case. He combined, in 
his addresses to backsliders, the tender and the severe, 
and was more than ordinarily successful in his appeals 
to their consciences. 

He was at a public breakfast, and attended a public 
meeting of "The Teachers and Friends of Sunday- 
Schools, assembled in the Music-Hail, Leeds, to celebrate 
the SUNDAY-SCHOOL JUBILEE, and to commemorate 
the CORONATION of His Majesty King WILLIAM IV., 
September 8th." A speech which he delivered on the 
occasion, was "Published by request," and had an 
extensive circulation in Leeds and its vicinity. The 
day following, he attended the funeral of an old friend, 
Mr. Thomas Pawson of Farnley, and afterwards preached 



368 MEMOIRS OF 

his funeral sermon. There is a Memoir of this Chris- 
tian man, (whose son is now, 1842, mayor of Leeds), 
from the pen of Mr. Scarth, published in the Wesley an 
Methodist Magazine, 1834, p. 489. 

Some notice has heen taken of the use Mr. Daw- 
son made of the hymns, when giving them out during 
divine sendee ; and he was equally striking when he 
referred to them, either in whole or in part, in 
the course of his sermons. Adverting to the 4th 
verse of Hymn 599, p. 553 of the "Supplement," he 
observed, that a boy, weak in mind, was asked, while 
rubbing a brass plate on a door, what he was doing ? 
when he replied, "I am rubbing out the name." 
"Little," said Mr. Dawson, "was the poor boy aware, 
that the more he rubbed the brighter it shone. So 
it is with Satan, who wishes to obliterate the word 
of God from the memory, as well as every impression 
of its internal evidence from the understanding and 
from the heart. But," continued he, in holy triumph, 

" ' Engraved as in eternal brass, 

The mighty promise shines; 
Nor can the powers of darkness rase 
Those everlasting lines: '" 

then shouting amain, as if the chief fiend of hell were 
as idiotish as the poor boy, and engaged in the same 
useful employment, "Rub, devil rub! but all is 
vain ; the evidence only brightens by the attempt ; 
for the Lord, yes, of the Lord it may be said, 

' His hand hatli writ the sacred word 
With an immortal pen. '" 

Citing another verse, on another occasion, which had 
the Bible for its theme, he took the sacred volume 
in his hand, and held it up to the congregation, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 369 

turning to the right and the left, above and below, 
as if exhibiting an article which he could safely re- 
commend for sale ; closing the exhibition with some 
striking sentiments on the value of the sacred writings, 
and the deep interest man has in acquiring a know- 
ledge of their contents. At one place, the gravity of 
the people, as well as his own, was in danger of 
being disturbed, while announcing, 

" Oh that it now from heaven might fall.'" 

some plaster falling from the ceiling at the moment. 
The singularity of the coincidence was felt the more, 
as no harm ensued to soften the lighter feelings. But 
the solemn subject 'invoked, soon returned upon the 
soul with all its impressive weight. 

Some of his actions and attitudes, however, placed 
certain parts of his adornments in jeopardy. His head 
was singularly formed, being rather long from back 
to front, the forehead high, abrupt, and almost 
inclined to jut. This rendered it as difficult to fit 
him with a head-dress, as it was impossible to keep 
it always properly adjusted, when highly impassioned. 
Being on the platform at Scarbro' once, and for- 
tunately it was the platform instead of the pulpit, he 
slipped his hands, in the height of his zeal, beneath 
his wig, and unintentionally placed the sides where 
the back and front should have been. Though not 
particularly unseemly, from the peculiarity of its con- 
struction, it occasioned a momentary smile, till it was 
adjusted, which was instantly done. A friend or two 
in Manchester, confounding the peculiarity of its form 
with what they deemed a state of decay, sent a new 
wig for him to the biographer in the month of January, 



3/0 MEMOIRS OP 

1832, with a respectful message, that it should be 
delivered to him, as from those who valued him as 
a man and a Christian minister. Mr. Dawson, aware 
of the trouble he had experienced in such matters 
before, enquired, when it was presented to him, 
"Who has taken the measure? For a wig, without 
first gauging the head for it, is one of the worst 
things in the world to guess at ; and my head, among 
all heads, is one of the most difficult to hit, and 
therefore to please. There are heads of all sizes and 
shapes; and mine," proceeded he, smiling, "which 
belongs to the second class, is the largest that is 
made of the kind : " thus humorously giving the 
notion of a number of human heads turned off by 
some mechanical process, and fitted on the trunk by 
the artist. 

Mr. Dawson was the staunch friend of the poor ; 
and the " FACTORY QUESTION, " so called, being 
agitated at this time, a question which had for its 
object, the " shortening of the hours of labour in 
factories," he addressed a letter to his friend M. T. 
Sadler, Esq., M.P., who, with himself, felt deeply 
interested on the subject; stating his readiness "to 
throw into the scale the weight of his humble influ- 
ence, to cast the beam on the side of justice and 
mercy." The letter was dated from "Barnbow, Jan. 
27, 1832," and was published, not only in the Leeds 
and other papers, but in a separate form. He was 
invited by the Secretary of the operatives to attend 
a public meeting, and being prevented from acceding 
to the request, in consequence of public engagements 
in another part of the county, he addressed a letter 
also "To the Chairman of the Meeting assembled at 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 371 

Halifax, to petition Parliament for restricting the hours 
of labour in various Factories through the United 
Kingdom, appointed to be held March 6, 1832," in 
which he apologized for his unavoidable absence, ex- 
pressed how cordially he sympathized with the chair- 
man and others in the object proposed ; and laid 
before them more fully his general views of the subject. 
Messrs. Wood and Walker of Bradford, Mr. G. B. 
Chappell of Manchester, and other gentlemen belonging 
to the manufacturing interests, have felt deeply on 
this subject, and laboured hard in what may be de- 
nominated the cause of humanity. The Athenians, 
who were the politest and best natured people of their 
day, were the kindest to their slaves. What would 
be their opinion of the hearts of some of the "Millo- 
crats" of the present day? The "long hour" system 
is admirably adapted to a race of beings without 
souls, children who have no mind to cultivate, 
families regardless of domestic comfort. No wonder 
it should rouse the indignation of Mr. Dawson not 
a man, be it observed, who ever either sympathized 
with idleness in others, or shrank from labour him- 
self, but a man who had a head and a heart, and 
permitted reason, justice, humanity, and religion, to 
speak for the servant as well as the master. 

Between the first arid second of these letters, he 
had a correspondence with some persons in Canada, 
which was resumed in June, highly honourable to him- 
self, but respecting the complimentary part of which 
his modesty maintained a general reserve. Amidst 
all his popularity, such was his approachableness, 
and such his fine temper of mind, that those who 
knew him, felt they could make free with him without 



3/2 MEMOIRS OF 

giving offence. "We have been looking for a preacher," 
said a friend at Holbeck to him, " to preach our charity 
sermons; but we have met with so many disappoint- 
ments, that I believe we shall be driven to come to 
you at last." "We want not," observed another, in 
a letter to him, " men of the first order for our 
sermons ; we shall be quite content with the Dawson's 
of the day." They knew well, that they could not 
only secure larger congregations, but larger collections 
through him, than almost any other man. 

His friend, E. Brookes, Esq., paid him a visit in 
the month of March, and they both proceeded to 
York and Malton, where they engaged in different 
religious services, to the edification of the people. 
In addition to his regular appointments, parish meet- 
ings, and the cares of the society and chapel at Bar- 
wick, such as attending to the seat-rents, &c., he had an 
unusual press of business this year connected with his 
colliery agency, both at home and abroad : and yet he 
contrived to open, and re-open chapels at Hoby, Head- 
ingley, Garforth, Beeston in Bedfordshire, and Bedford, 
and to take scores of other separate journies, east, 
west, north, and south, for the purpose of attending 
Missionary meetings and preaching occasional ser- 
mons. 

He was twice in London in the course of the year, 
once in April, and another time in December. During 
his first visit, he examined, in connection with other 
places of public interest, the West India Docks. He 
preached in the Wesleyan chapels at Kensington, Lam- 
beth, Walworth, and South wark. The morning sermon, 
founded on Mark v. 36, " Be not afraid, only believe," 
was taken down by a short-hand writer, and published 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 3/3 

in "The Wesleyan Preacher," Vol. II., part 3, p. 
52. The object of his services at Lambeth, was to 
make a collection towards the reduction of a debt 
incurred by exertions to maintain and spread the 
preaching of the gospel in various villages and ham- 
lets of that populous district. The monies collected 
on the occasion amounted to 140. The object of 
his second visit, to connect them by way of dismissing 
the subject, was to diminish the debt of the circuit 
belonging to Queen-Street, hi which chapel and on 
which occasion, the collections amounted to ^690. Here, 
for the first time, he was apprehensive of diabetes, 
and had symptoms of it till the March following. 
The Rev. George Marsden, adverting to his extra 
work, enquired of him, by what name he was to be 
designated, when he replied, in Hibernian mood, 
" A TRAVELLING local Preacher. " And certainly, 
some of his fetes, were rarely equalled, previously to 
the introduction of rail-roads. During six days in 
the course of summer, aided only by the regular 
heavy coaches, it appears from a note in his own 
hand-writing, that " from the 27th of June, till the 
3rd of July," he "travelled 340 miles preached 10 
sermons, was only three nights in bed, and during 
the whole of those three nights, the time allowed for re- 
pose, occupied only a space of 1 hours, not averaging 
quite three hours and a half. 

Some of his popular speeches at this time, on the 
Missionary platform, were denominated by his hearers, 
owing to the parallelisms, metaphors, and allegories 
employed, " The Telescope," "The Rail-Road," 
"The Musical Clock, ""The Enclosure Act," 
"The Reform Bill," "The Transportation of Reli- 



374 MEMOIRS OF 

gion," "The Silent Man," "The British Lion," 
"The Slave Speech." " The Openings of Providence." 
"The Cause of Christ our own." "Arguments in 
favour of Christian Missions. " &c. 

He attended a Missionary meeting at Bristol during 
the interregnum of Earl Grey's ministry, when the 
nation was anxious for reform, and popular feeling ran 
strong against the Duke of Wellington. It was a 
time of peril. James Montgomery, Esq., the bard 
of Christianity, was in the chair ; who, adverting to 
the spirit that was abroad, observed to the biographer, 
when giving an account of the meeting, that, in poli- 
tics, the nation seemed to be placed as on a mine- 
ready to spring at any moment ; and that, at such 
a time, in such a city, a city that had witnessed 
its populace in a state of riot, and its buildings in 
flames, it was hazardous to introduce the subject of 
politics in any shape. He called one speaker to order, 
in the morning, and cautioned others against even 
political allusions. Mr. Dawson had to come on at 
night, and Mr. Montgomery, who well knew the daring 
character of his genius, was afraid lest anything should 
escape from his lips, capable of a political construc- 
tion. What should his speech be, but the "REFORM 
BILL," that had just been thrown out! the Bill, 
the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill ! Well, 
observed Mr. Montgomery, "I concluded to say no- 
thing, but let him as he appeared to have come 
primed and loaded, have his full sweep. It was a 
piece with twelve barrels, and every barrel had its 
contents." The bard's continued description of the 
speaker, and of the speech, was truly characteristic. 
He represented him as proceeding to the front of 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 375 

the platform bowing with respect to himself and the 
audience, and then placing his broad shoulders before 
the chair, after which he was never once able to 
see even the tip of his nose, as if half afraid of meeting 
a rebuking eye, because of the line of remark adopted. 
He run a parallel in the allegorical way for which 
he was so remarkable, and went, according to Mr. 
Montgomery's account, over the whole Bill taking 
up clause after clause, frequently running as along 
the verge of a precipice, yet never though often in 
danger of it, falling over nicely cautious often wild 
but with a great deal of that which was excellent, 
and of which he was never any length of time without 
exemplifying. The whole was so dexterously managed, 
that the auditory would have found it difficult to 
determine at the close, whether, in politics, the speaker 
was Whig or Tory. 

August 24, the cholera first made its appearance 
at Barwick, and a person of the name of Eliza Bean 
died of it in the evening. For several successive days, 
its victims were carried to the tomb, and the class 
was removed from a private dwelling to the chapel 
in consequence. Mr. Dawson preached a sermon on 
Wednesday the 29th, to improve the awful visitation, 
taking for his text, Ecclesiastes vii. 2. In addition 
to this, the weather was such, as to lead him to 
exclaim, " A dark appearance for harvest ! " Yet, 
in the midst of all exposures, he acted the part of 
a guardian angel to those who escaped the contagion, 
as well as an angel of mercy to the poor families 
that suffered, by collecting money for their relief. At 
the commencement, there were seven deaths out of 
nine cases, and afterwards, fifteen out of twenty. 



376 MEMOIRS OF 

War with Holland being the subject of conversa- 
tion, towards the close of autumn, a person in a 
half jocose and half serious mood, observed, " It is 
now seventeen years since we had a war ; many of 
the sons of the nobility who were then young, have 
grown up to manhood in the interim, these are in 
want of employment ; there are others among the 
poor, who are lazy and profligate ; in both cases, 
they constitute the surplus stock of society, and are 
often taken off by war." Another gentleman remarked, 
that Lord Hill had a great number on his list, soli- 
citing commissions, some of whom had waited for 
years, and were in want of that kind of employ- 
ment. Mr. Dawson, without entering into the subject, 
observed, when connecting with it the wickedness of 
man and the providence of God, "It is an awful 
way of skimming the pot." So thought an old author, 
when he said, "For a king to engage his people in 
war, to carry off every little humour of state, is like 
a physician's ordering his patient a flux for every 
pimple. " Equally correct was another writer about 
the same period, when he remarked, that in all cases 
of war, "Very much of the man must be put off, 
that there may be enough of the beast." 

When in some of the southern counties, in the 
months of October and November, he rode in com- 
pany with two friends in a gig, on one of the cross- 
roads which was not quite in Macadamised order. 
A good man and his wife passed them on the road, 
in a tax-cart, drawn by an active pony, the shaking, 
setting, and jolting of which, made them forget their 
own tossings, and excited the smile. Their gig, how- 
ever, was soon disabled by an accident, and Mr. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 377 

Dawson was obliged to leave his more respectable 
conveyance for the tax-cart, which was so well packed, 
that the owner, who acted as charioteer, was obliged 
to stand. He took his position in the front, which 
not only shaded the view from the company, but the 
jolting of the vehicle threw him occasionally against 
them, giving an extra double to the hat and the 
bonnet. Mr. Dawson, for the two-fold purpose of 
relieving both the driver and his companions, got 
the latter to compress themselves into as small a 
space as possible, requesting the good man at the 
same time to sit down on the part they contrived 
to make vacant for him. He, on the other hand, 
disposed to be polite, and to give the party the 
full benefit of the seats, told Mr. Dawson to be per- 
fectly at rest in his mind, repeating, "Don't mind 
me, don't mind me ; " appending to it, for further 
satisfaction, and by way of at once settling the business, 
"this is the way, I always stands when I drives 
calves." Such a remark was too much for Mr. Daw- 
son's gravity; but the worthy man, unconscious at 
the moment of the bearing of it upon the stock he 
was driving, again touched the flank of the pony, 
and stood to his work to the end of his journey. 
Time being short, expedition was required. Against 
this, however, the rough road was in constant opera- 
tion; and when Mr. Dawson narrated the journey to 
the writer, combining with it the action of the driver, 
the crack of the whip, the laugh of the persons 
they passed on the road, now rolling from side to 
side, occasioned by the cart roots, then bouncing 
from their seats in consequence of the loose stones, 
it was as much for the writer to sustain with any- 



3/8 MEMOIRS OF 

thing like sober feeling, as was the driver's reply 
respecting the calves to Mr. Dawson. 

Till Mr. Dawson was forty years of age, he had 
never, except when he went to Hull, been forty miles 
from home. It was well for the Christian church, 
that travelling was conducive to health. He observed 
to the writer, that he was of opinion, if he were 
to retire, and indulge in a sedentary life, he would 
soon die. Numerous, however, as the invitations were 
to which he acceded, he could by no means meet 
the one-third of the demands made upon him. This 
year he had one for nearly every day included in 
it no less than three hundred and ten for occasional 
sermons in different parts of the kingdom. 

The calls of the year 1833, were no less numerous 
than those of the year preceding, embracing exclu- 
sive of his own county, and without enumerating the 
distinct places, journies into the counties of Northum- 
berland, Durham, Cheshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, 
Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincoln- 
shire, Warwickshire, Cambridgeshire, Gloucestershire, 
Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, &c. He 
visited Sheffield twice in the course of the year, 
Nottingham twice, and Manchester four times; and 
in the course of some of his journies opened new chapels 
at Howden, Bishop thorpe, Peterborough, and Bristol. 

Mr. Dawson, who venerated Dr. Adam Clarke, and 
sincerely lamented his death the year preceding, had 
now to sympathize with the friends of Christian 
Missions and of humanity, in the demise of the Rev. 
Richard Watson ; both great men, but differing from 
each other, as one star differeth from another star in 
glory. " The worth of some men," it has been stated, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 379 

" lies in their mighty names ; upon a closer inspection, 
what we took for merit disappears. It was only the 
distance which imposed upon us before." Not so 
here : the men could bear inspection while living, and 
their works speak for them now that they are dead. 
Even in their last hour, like all great men, they " bore 
a countenance more princely lhan they were wont." 
And why ? " It is the temper of the highest hearts, 
like the palm tree, to strive most upwards, when it is 
most burthened." Can anything be more simple and 
touching to a truly devout mind, than the remark of 
Mr. Hobbs to Dr. Clarke, and the Doctor's mono- 
syllabic reply to it, so characteristic of his trustful, 
unadorned, simple, yet truly Christian mind,, " My 
dear Doctor, you must put your soul into the hands of 
your God, and your trust in the merits of your Saviour." 
" I do, I do." After this declaration of the work of 
faith being perfected, then follows Richard Watson with 
his dying testimony, the testimony itself being not 
only Christian, but bearing the stamp of real genius, 
" When I come before God, I feel myself like a worm 
that has crawled out of its hole in the earth, and meets 
the glory of the meridian sun. It behoves me to lie 
low in the dust before him." There is no glorying 
here, none in either case. How true it is, that " He 
only is great who has the habits of greatness ; who 
after performing what none in ten thousand could 
accomplish, passes on like Sampson, and ' tells neither 
father nor mother of it.' " 

Actively engaged as Mr. Dawson had hitherto been, 
the extinction of these two great "revolving lights" 
rendered it still more imperious in him to replenish his 
lamp with fresh oil, and to hold himself, if possible, in 



380 MEMOIRS OF 

still greater readiness to obey additional calls to hold 
forth the word of life in places yet personally un visited. 
And what was not a little extraordinary and in this he 
was on a par with Dr. Clarke, if not in the amount, at 
least in the principle, the collections of one year 
almost invariably exceeded those of the year preceding. 
He obtained about 90 for Wesley Chapel, Manchester, 
this year ; and the sum of ^681. 8s. 2fd. at Oldham, 
for the Sunday Schools, the largest amount that had 
ever been collected on the occasion. 

The writer having had repeated opportunities of hear- 
ing him in the course of this year, availed himself of 
them ; as well as enjoyed much of his private society. 
Meeting him at the coach on one of these occasions, he 
was accosted by a friend, who was unperceived, till his 
hand was felt upon the shoulder, and the words were 
uttered " You are my prisoner." Mr. Dawson turned 
round and smiled. But he was scarcely seated in the 
house of Mr. Braik, before he was beset by suppliants 
from different places, soliciting the benefit of his services. 
This was no unusual thing. He observed to the friends 
not ostentatiously, but to shew the impossibility of 
complying in every case with their wishes " Out of 
twenty-six Sundays in the last plan, I have been only 
six at home, exclusive of week-day services; the re- 
mainder having been devoted to extra work. I only 
reached home last night at twelve o'clock, having been 
at a missionary meeting in York, and had to start for 
Manchester this morning." 

Speaking in the morning on "We would see Jesus," 
in Oldham-Street chapel, he observed, " He is to be 
seen in the Bible ;" then suiting the action to the 
expression, he placed the Bible on its edge, which 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 381 

was unfolded about the middle, and, turning it to 
each part of the congregation, with his head inclined 
towards it, and his eye fixed upon its page, he pointed 
his finger to its sacred contents, as to a mirror, into 
which every one might look, and perceive the image 
of the divine personage referred to, repeating "You 
may see him here ; ' see ' him in the Old Testament, 
in prophesies, types, and figures; 'see' him in the 
New, in his life, miracles, doctrines, promises, pre- 
cepts, death, resurrection, and ascension ; 'see' him 
in the beginning, middle, and end : yes, seen here 
not at the dance, not at the card table, not at the 
theatre, not at the horse-race ; to such as attend these, 
if seen at all, it is in the distance ; and the more 
such amusements are indulged, and such places are 
frequented, the further he recedes from view further 
and further and further, till he becomes invisible." 
Having thus fixed attention, he then unfolded and 
applied his subject. Without adverting to his plan, 
a reminiscence or two forces itself upon the mind, 
which may be preserved, as many of his fillings up 
were never committed to paper. The backslider, whom 
he depicted as having lost sight of Jesus, after having 
seen him by faith, and enjoyed him in fellowship of 
spirit, was further portrayed as conquered, and laid 
prostrate on the ground, while Satan, in the character 
of a victor, was brandishing his sword over him, and 
shouting in triumph, with his foot upon his neck, 
"Ah, so would we have it ; so would we have it ! " 
suiting the intonations of the voice to the subject, 
and producing a living image on the imagination. 

In the evening, while dwelling on Luke xii. 41 
48, he was somewhat trite in the former part of 



382 MEMOIRS OF 

his discourse. He shewed that all were the servants 
of God by creation, preservation, and redemption, 
whether slothful, disobedient, or faithful ; and that the 
congregation especially, knew his will and owed him 
obedience. Passing over the intermediate parts of the 
sermon, when he came to apportion to each offender 
his "few" or his "many stripes," according to the 
nature and magnitude of the offences committed, the 
sinewy, athletic body of his thoughts seemed to burst 
their scanty apparel: he was like a person who had 
just had a vision of the misery of lapsed intelligences, 
but unable to tell the whole of what he had seen 
and heard. He illustrated the enormity of sin, by 
shewing its several degrees of aggravation in offences 
against civil authority, passing from the private subject 
to the constable, from the constable to the magistrate, 
and from the magistrate to the monarch, when it 
reached the climax in treason. Sin, he observed, was 
an offence against the Majesty of heaven, in sight 
of the atonement of Christ, against a positive law, 
and in defiance of the strivings of the Holy Ghost. 
"Such," said he, and this is only a faint image of 
his terrific power, "shall be beaten with 'many stripes.' 
The sinner, in this country, in this day, in this con- 
gregation, has not the plea of the Jews, who cru- 
cified Christ ignorantly ; nor yet of Saul of Tarsus, 
who 'did it ignorantly." He has no plea to offer. 
Bring him forth, and let him see himself, as a lost 
spirit, tied, like a soldier, to the halberts receiving 
his 'stripes.'' The devil comes forward, and commences 
with his ' stripes ; ' and every stroke makes him cringe, 
while his misery is enhanced, by hearing his tormentor 
say, ' We had no Bible, no Saviour, no remedy, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 383 

but you had. ' Next comes the Law, issuing, as of 
old, from Mount Sinai, enveloped in fire and smoke, 
and gives its round of lashes. After that, comes 
Conscience, which applies the lash, with its internal 
upbraidings. Then comes Jesus, with the aggravation 
of rejection. In the rear of Jesus comes Justice, 
whose every stroke is like the cut of a whip upon 
a sheet of water, which instantly closes on the lash 
being taken out, and is ready for another gash; an 
eternity of healing and wounding ! " He next changed 
the imagery, and represented each lost spirit under 
the notion of a flame of fire, lighted up, and pre- 
served burning by the wrath of God, the separate 
flames differing from each other in force, width, and 
fierceness ; and each flame with its own distinct lamp 
or vehicle, the congregated mass being 'vessels of 
wrath, ' some large, some small, yet all full of 
misery. To follow him, except hi short-hand, in 
his lightning flashes and thunder peals, is next to 
impossible. On applying the subject to backsliders, 
to the children of praying parents, and to formal 
professors, he was equally tremendous; especially hi 
reference to the second class. "The prayers of thy 
father," said he, "will be like breath to fan up the 
flames of hell ; and the tears of thy praying mother, 
which had been deposited in the Lord's bottle for 
thee, will be constantly dropping, like oil, on the fire 
of hell, to feed it." The sinner was depicted hi all 
his odiousness, " enough to startle the devil him- 
self;" and as met in the "regions of woe," by com- 
panions "whose eyes shot lightning at him," piercing 
the inmost soul with the very essence of mental 
agony. Several persons were convinced of sin under 



384 MEMOIRS OF 

the sermon, and some obtained a sense of mercy in 
the prayer-meeting at the close of the service. 

Anything like sober, sedate feeling, through the 
whole of even a solemn discourse, was very often 
out of the question ; and in his more tempestuous 
moods, he was dangerous as a model, and never to 
be imitated. He stood alone, and ought to remain 
alone ; but in that individual form, as in all unique 
cases, he was rather to be prized than diminished in 
value. He paid a visit to Sheffield about the same 
time, as above, and preached in Carver-Street chapel. 
The congregation was large, and the feeling was in- 
tense. He exhorted his hearers, in the course of his 
sermon, to give their hearts to the Lord, and added, 
laying his hand upon his own, with a fine gush of 
feeling, and his eyes lifted up to heaven, " Here's 
mine!" when a voice from the gallery cried out, 
" Here's mine too, Billy ! " Nor was this the only 
audible token of the effect of his preaching ; such 
exclamations as, "That's right," "True," "Glory 
be to God," &c., being frequently repeated during 
the service. 

Having had occasion to advert to Providence, he 
remarked, that its inequalities argued the necessity 
of a general judgment ; while providence itself was 
illustrated, in connection with the assertion, "The 
ways of the Lord are not equal," by a straight stick 
put into a vessel of water, which, in consequence of 
the medium through which it was viewed, appeared 
crooked ; and by the wheels of a piece of mechanism, 
moving in opposite directions, yet guiding the fingers 
aright, and directing them to the proper hour. 

His friend, Mr. Reinhardt of Leeds, died early in 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 385 

the spring, whose funeral sermon he preached March 
1 st, and to whose will he administered April 9th. Mr. 
Reinhardt had been a memher of the Wesleyan Society 
thirty years, and had filled, for several years, the 
offices of Class-Leader, Steward, and Trustee. 

In the summer of the same year he was called to 
improve the death of Mrs. Turton, the wife of the 
Rev. Isaac Turton, who was awakened to a sense of 
her guilt and danger as a sinner, in the eighteenth 
year of her age, under a sermon which he preached 
in her native place, the village of Harewood, near 
Leeds, in 1809. Mournful as it is, yet it is satis- 
factory for a Christian minister to see the fruit of 
his labour safely housed; not only first to place the 
sapling in the nursery, but to see it finally trans- 
planted to another soil, where it is to bloom for 
ever ; and of all the fruit of Mr. Dawson's ministerial 
toil, he never saw a more lovely Christian in person 
and character grow up, flourish, bend, and fall 
before him than Mrs. T. ; closing life with, "All is 
well." A few weeks after this, he observes, "I called 
upon William Thompson of Barnber, and, to my great 
surprise and grief, found him dead." A funeral tribute 
was paid to the memory of this person also. 

His labours were not always confined to the places 
he visited, according to previous arrangement ; but 
he was sometimes drawn into work of which he had 
no anticipation when he set out on his journey. 
Thus, the friends at Rudham, in Norfolk, finding 
that he was to be at Lynn, waited upon him, to 
ask him to give them an extra sermon in aid of 
their chapel. Never backward to labour, when a door 
was thrown open, and time and physical strength would 



386 MEMOIRS OF 

allow, he preached twice at Lynn on the Sabbath, 
proceeded to Rudham, and preached there at 1 1 o'clock 
in the forenoon, returned to Lynn, where he preached 
in the evening, and went forward the next day to 
preach at Wisbeach. Being the first time of his ap- 
pearance at Rudham, &c., some dissenting ministers 
were drawn to hear him, who intimated that it was 
a style of preaching they had never heard before, and 
could not fail to awaken the attention of the people 
to sacred subjects. In consequence of his pulpit 
labours, and conversation with the friends at Wis- 
beach, the latter were led to commence a plan for 
the enlargement of their chapel, which he afterwards 
re-opened, and the anniversaries of which he sub- 
sequently attended. 

Having succeeded so well in stealing a march upon 
his time and toil for Rudham, the good friends at 
Fakenham, in the Walsingham circuit, were equally 
successful on the occasion of a subsequent visit to 
the county of Norfolk, in securing a few of his "Spare 
Minutes." The chapel, though large enough for or- 
dinary occasions, was too small for the congregation ; 
in the evening, therefore, being in the height of 
summer, he proposed to conduct the service in a 
field adjoining the place. An auctioneer obligingly 
furnished him with his "stand" as a substitute for 
the pulpit; a fine incident in connection with the 
peculiarities of his playful fancy. Behind this, with 
a very different company before him to that with which 
the knight of the hammer was generally indulged 
a company in whom were in operation widely different 
vieivs, feelings, and expectations, and with an article, 
which he could not only conscientiously recommend, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 387 

but in the praise of which he could not be too high, 
he could safely say to each, to all, "Buy the truth." 
But as this was not his text, the elevation in open 
air, furnished him with an equally favourable oppor- 
tunity of enquiring with Moses, who, while he "stood in 
the gate of the camp," asked, "Who is on the Lord's 
side?" a question, involving a subject, which he pressed 
in no ordinary way upon the conscience. The good 
effect of this sermon is noticed in the "Cottager's 
Friend" for 1840, p. 35, in a Memoir of Abraham Jacob. 
In the month of November, he acceded to a pressing 
invitation to the Metropolis, when he preached in Great 
Queen-Street chapel, at Islington, Southwark, and City 
Road. From thence he proceeded to Bristol, where 
he opened the chapel noticed in a preceding page. At 
the close of this journey, he exclaimed, on entering 
his own house, under a deep sense of his obligations 
to Divine goodness, "Praise the Lord, O my soul, 
and all that is within me praise his holy Name ! " 
Travelling, which is but too often the case, never seemed 
to dissipate his mind. He returned home, not poorer 
in spirit, but more enriched in grace ; he resembled 
the bee loaded with honey. The mind was rarely 
so intensely employed on particular subjects as to lose 
its vigour in the exercise ; and when it did flag, being 
impatient of ease, it soon recovered itself again, not 
by continuing inactive, but by varying its applica- 
tions. He was thrown only into such society as kept 
up the flame of devotion in himself; while his habits 
of piety, and his love to souls, led him to augment 
the flame in others. His happiness was derived from 
God, and therefore, beyond the power of circumstances 
to change. This world was beheld only as a kind 



388 MEMOIRS OF 

of stepping-stone to a better. While such a state of 
mind, simply referring to its bias respecting the 
future, adds a double relish to every enjoyment, it 
blunts also, in the language of Dugald Stewart, the 
edge of every suffering. Even in cases where human 
life presents to a man no object upon which his hopes 
can rest, religion invites the imagination beyond the 
dark and troubled horizon which terminates every 
earthly prospect, to wander unconfined in the regions 
of futurity. While memory soothed the mind of Mr. 
Dawson, by storing it with the repollection of past 
mercies, hope overjoyed it with "pleasant pictures" 
of the future. 

1834 an eventful year in the history of Methodism, 
brought still heavier labour to Mr. Dawson than that 
to which he had been accustomed, and which the 
reader will perceive has been gradually growing upon 
him. 

The Rev. Robert Aitkin, a clergyman of the Estab- 
lished Church, had preached some time in the Wesleyan 
chapels, in different places, and had been extensively 
useful in the awakening of sinners ; and persons, like 
him, with more than ordinary zeal, were sure" to find 
their way to the subject of these Memoirs. Mr. Aitkin 
paid him a visit at Barnbow ; Mr. Dawson heard him 
preach in the month of January, some letters passed 
between them, and they met on different public 
occasions. His friend, Mr. Brookes, also paid him a 
visit in the course of the same month, and preached 
in the neighbourhood. Bachelor as Mr. Dawson was, 
he was a social being ; he loved society, and was 
loved by society: not because of the fineness or in- 
tensity of his feelings, or the display of a little 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 389 

amiable sensibility, which only requires a little acting, 
but because of his experience, his talents, the value 
of his character, and his ability and willingness to 
benefit the church and the world. 

In the month of February he rejoiced in symptoms 
of public good at Barwick, while the Rev. Robert 
Bond was preaching, saying, "Praise the Lord! His 
presence was with us ; souls were enquiring their way 
to Zion, and some found the road." The Rev. Francis 
West was noticed by him also, as succeeding Mr. 
Bond, and whose ministry was useful to the society. 
In consequence of this spring of feeling given to 
the people, the Missionary Meeting produced 16 
15s. 4d. While God was enlarging his boundaries 
in the country, he was also extending his work in 
the town. Hence, says Mr. Dawson, "I was at 
Leeds, Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the laying of the first 
stone on the premises adjoining the Old Chapel. On 
my return home in the evening, I preached at Bar- 
wick." 

Lady Hertford, under whom he had an agency, 
died in the month of April; but her demise eifected 
no immediate change with him ; and he seems, about 
this time, in addition to his farm and executorships, 
to have had the business of two or three collieries 
in charge. But in the midst of his secular engage- 
ments, which his business qualities would never suffer 
him to mistime or neglect, he was found within the 
space of four brief days, proceeding with his relative, 
Mr. Edward Phillips, to Colne and Cornshaw, in Lan- 
cashire, and instantly on his return, attending the 
Leeds market, from thence to Aberford, and, without 
returning home, proceeding, as by express, with his 



390 MEMOIRS OF 

friend, Mr. J. Peart, to Pocklington, to engage in 
the work of the sanctuary there. And yet this was but 
trifling compared with one of his feats in the month 
of June, when, in different kinds of conveyances, 
in one route, he embraced, including intermediate 
places, Newark, Wisbeach, Downham, Wireton, Swaff- 
ham, Northampton, Thetford, Kilbro Mills, Falkenham, 
Norwich, Marsh, and Peterboro', closing his account, 
after giving the milage from place to place, with 
"Returned home. Travelled, by cross-roads, in nine 
days, upwards of two hundred miles, and exercised 
sixteen times. As was my day, so was my strength. 
Halleluia, praise the Lord ! " 

In all his journies, he avoided giving the respective 
families with whom he domiciled, any unnecessary 
trouble, and took such fare as was placed before 
him with cheerfulness. Even at an inn, where the 
traveller may assume the airs of a gentleman, and 
issue his commands to the master and mistress of 
the house, as to his own servants, Mr. Dawson was 
as unobtrusive and untroublesome, as in a gentle- 
man's family. He reached Market Harborough at 
twelve o'clock one evening, towards the latter part of 
September, when the weather was setting in cold. 
There was no time for bed between the leaving of 
one coach, and the arrival of another by which he 
hoped to be fowarded; and yet such was his feeling 
for the servants, whom he considered as having had 
fatigue enough with the toil of the day, and little 
enough time allowed for refreshing repose, that he 
allowed them to close the doors, and retire to rest, 
under the impression that he was going to take up 
his residence somewhere in the town, while, in fact, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 391 

he stepped quietly into one of the stables in the 
yard, where he remained with the horses as his com- 
panions, till half-past two o'clock in the morning, 
when he left for home. He might, while there, have 
trilled one of the Madrigals from Wilbye, of 1598: 

" There is a jewel which no Indian mine can buy, 
No chemic art can counterfeit; 
It makes men rich in greatest poverty, 
Makes water wine, turns wooden cups to gold, 
The homely whistle to sweet music's strain ; 
Seldom it comes, to few from heaven sent, 
That much in little all in nought, Content." 

In the course of four days after this, he was in 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with the Rev. Robert Aitkin. 
The visit was well-timed, there being a division just 
then in the Gateshead Society. Both preached, and 
both attended the quarterly love-feast in Brunswick 
chapel. Poor Crister, the "Wall's End Miner," was 
present, and spoke with great interest. Mr. Aitkin 
also gave a narrative of the dealings of God with his 
soul, clear, striking, artless, and attended with 
a divine unction. Whatever might be his subsequent 
doctrinal or merely notional wanderings, it would be 
as difficult to get rid of the genuineness of such expe- 
rience, as it would have been for Robinson of Cambridge, 
in later life, to answer his own arguments in favour of the 
Divinity of Christ, as embodied in his " Plea." Several 
souls were saved in the course of the Sabbath. The writer 
was present on the occasion, and was in the chapel from 
half-past ten o'clock in the morning, till five in the after- 
noon. One young man, may be noticed, of the name 
of Robert Combey, who was awakened to a sense of his 
moral wretchedness, and who, in the space of nine 
months, was swept into eternity, with upwards of a 



392 MEMOIRS OF 

hundred more, men and boys, by a blast in one of 
the pits. 

Shortly after this, Mr. Dawson was at Hull, preaching 
occasional sermons, and addressing the seamen, shew- 
ing the latter, " the difference between a pious and 
an ungodly sailor." The next forenoon he was in 
Leeds market, by half-past eleven o'clock. So mild 
was the weather, that, on the second of November, 
the larks, to the joy of his soul, for he was a 
close observer and lover of nature, were singing their 
morning carols ; and in the same month, he sent up 
his own carols to heaven, on his return from a 
journey of hazard, saying, "I came by railway to 
Lazencroft. Adored be Divine providence, for returning 
me without the slightest injury, and finding all right 
and well at home ! " 

The dissension occasioned by the establishment of 
the "Theological Institution," had arrived at a con- 
siderable height by the close of the year. Scores of 
pamphlets and letters were published, pro and con, 
comprising, when bound together, four thick octavo 
volumes, exclusive of the "Illuminator," &c. Mr. 
Dawson was at first a dissentient ; and so also was 
the biographer, the latter strongly so. Some of 
their reasonings and objections paired with each other, 
though neither were averse to^the abstract question 
of ministerial improvement. When, however, they 
found men passing over from the Theological Institu- 
tion to the Wesleyan Constitution, and trying to sap 
its foundation, they perceived it was high time to 
sacrifice mere opinion for the sake of essentials, to 
give up an outwork or two for the sake of the citadel. 
Hence, Mr. Dawson, addressed a letter, December 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 393 

16th, to Dr. Warren, entitled, "More Work for Dr. 
Warren;" and his name stands in the Subscription 
List of the first " Report of the Wesleyan Theological 
Institution," as a subscriber of 5. Is. As his pri- 
mary opposition had more the character of a fear 
of consequences, than actual hostility, so his subscrip- 
tion was given in hope, rather than confidence and 
not without prayer. 

Without entering into the merits of the question, 
which may now be considered as settled, one great 
good resulting from the whole, in the trial which 
ensued, and the decision of the Lord Chancellor Lynd- 
hurst on the case, is, the act of legalizing the dis- 
cipline of the Wesleyan Conference in reference to 
the preachers, during the intervals of its sittings, 
and, to a certain extent, making the Wesleyan Con- 
stitution a part and parcel of the law of the land. 
The removal of a few factious spirits from the body, 
who were dissatisfied with the system, was merely 
temporary; but this boon will go down to the latest 
posterity with British Law ; and in this invaluable 
boon Mr. Dawson rejoiced, nor less the biographer. 
During the conflict, the language of Sir T. Brown 
could not but impress the minds of those persons 
who were familiar with it; "Scholars are men of 
peace ; they bear no arms, but their tongues are 
sharper than Actius' razor; their pens carry further, 
and give a louder report than thunder. I had rather 
stand in the shock of a basilisk, than in the fury 
of a merciless pen." Though the times cannot be 
contemplated without painful feeling, the subject is now 
capable of a much more dispassionate consideration. 
Selden was not far wrong, when he said, "In troubled 

R2 



394 MEMOIRS OF 

water you can scarce see your face ; so in troubled 
times you can see little of truth. "When they are 
settled and quiet then truth appears." 

The year 1834 has been stated to have been a 
laborious one for Mr. Dawson ; and as another little 
memento for the friends in the respective places he 
visited, as well as a memorial of Christian zeal, it 
may be remarked, that he either attended in the course 
of the year, public meetings, or preached occasional 
sermons, or both, at Clayton Heights, Grantham, 
Wansford, Yeadon, Ripon, Sheffield, Stokesley, Guis- 
bro', Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay, Manchester, Salford, 
Almondsbury, Wansley, Kendal, Addingham, Acaster, 
Tadcaster, Stockport, "Wakefield, Dewsbury, Hudders- 
field, Birmingham, Bradwell, Colne, Cornshaw, York, 
Pocklington, Nottingham, Borrow Ash, Draycolt, Derby, 
Sandiacre, New Basford, Skipton, Keighley, Doncaster, 
Lincoln, Sleaford, Gainsbro', Chesterfield, Macclesfield, 
Bacup, Cheadle, New Mills, Stamford, "Wrotton, Top- 
ham, Downham, Swaffham, Thetford, Kilbro' Mill, 
Fakenham, Norwich, Marsh, Peterboro', Doncaster, 
Malton, High Town, Wetherby, Otley, Minsten, Leek, 
Barton, Ashby de la Zouch, Cromford, Wensley, Belper, 
Brotherton, Addingham, Bradford, Higham Ferrars, 
Bedford, Rowell near Kettering, Newcastle-on-Tyne, 
Carville, Shields, Blyth, Retford, Hull, Gildersome, 
Loughbro', Bramcote, Beeston, Granby, Broomsgrove, 
Tockwith, London, Luton, "Wednesbury, Stoke-upon- 
Trent, Rochdale, Congleton, Middlewich, Stokesley, 
Selby, Darlington, and Gainford. To half a dozen of 
these places, he paid two visits in the course of the 
twelve months ; besides opening chapels at Biggies- 
wade, Granby, Hull, and also St. Peter's, Leeds. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 395 



CHAPTER XIV. 



Love, a great moving principle. Rev. S. Settle. The old ship, 
John Patrick. Rev. R. Aitkin. Visit to the Theological 
Institution. Hint to chapel-keepers. Scattered fears. A 
Rent-day homily. Religion requires constant application. 
Continuance of excessive labour. Liberality. A platform di- 
lemma. Failures. Tea Party. Presentations. Humility. 
The Damsonian Fund, and its object. Symptoms of physical 
decay. Outgoings. Mr. R. M. Beverley's " Travelling Revi- 
valist. " Perseverance. Correspondence. The Hoppings. 
Second case of liberality. The Holy Spirit. Menders of 
Systems. The Christian race. Penitents. ' ' Teetotallism.'' 
Politics prejudicial to religion. Adaptation of the Gospel to 
Man. Monies subscribed towards the Dawsonian Fund pre- 
sented to the Missionary Committee, and accepted. Mr. 
Damson's views on the subject. Extraordinary Collections at 
Huddersjield. Conversions. 

SPECIAL attention having been paid to the opera- 
tions of the Spirit of God upon the mind of Mr. 
Dawson in the early part of these pages, and sub- 
sequently to his excessive labours, it may be proper 
to observe, that while those labours rose out of a 
continued growth in grace, his advancement hi the 
divine life was, in the way of re-action, augmented 
by his labours. God alone was permitted to occupy 
the chief place in his heart. He knew, and he felt, 



396 MEMOIRS OF 

that to put him in a second place, was to treat him 
opprobiously ; that even to equal another object with 
him, was to insult him. With him, it was a fixed 
principle, that wherever God is, he must possess the 
throne ; and that, if a holy heart is an image of 
heaven, as in effect it is, he must reign there, and 
everything must submit to his authority. The love 
of God in his soul was an immense fire ; and like 
the fire of the vestal virgins at Rome, which was 
lit up by no common flame, and never suffered to 
go out; or more sacredly, like the fire in the temple 
at Jerusalem, which the priests were bound to pre- 
serve alive on the altar, he continued to fan the flame 
with earnest, constant, faithful prayer. While God 
was loved, not barely supremely, a slight degree 
above other things, but with all the heart, he found 
that such love would admit of love to man : but then, to 
man with his good alone for its object, it was only 
like the emission of a few sparks, or faint emotions, 
compared with the body of flame that mounted up- 
ward; just as a king is said to collect in his own 
person all the honours of his kingdom, and commu- 
nicates some lucid titles to inferior objects. Hence, 
with even the love of God brimming the soul, the 
parent loves his child, the husband his wife, and 
man his fellow. But then, agreeably to what has 
been stated, divine love will neither admit of any 
other love contrary to itself, nor yet any other object, 
except God himself, to occupy the chief seat in the 
soul. It is in the heart, amidst all the other affec- 
tions, what a prince is among the officers of his 
army ; or in still stronger language, what God himself 
is among all the creatures of the universe giving 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 397 

to all life, and motion, and power, and efficiency. 
This was the case with Mr. Dawson. His love to 
God was without measure, as well as without sub- 
ordination, without bounds, as well as without par- 
tition. The reason of this will be found in the object, 
which it resembles, and which is infinite. It is true, 
in one view of the subject, it is impossible for finite 
creatures to perform infinite acts. But still they are 
in a manner infinite ; and this comparative infinity 
has been argued as consisting in two things: first, 
the good man's emotions go to the utmost extent 
of his power without coolness or caution ; and secondly, 
when he has stretched his soul to the utmost of his 
power, he is never content with himself, but acknow- 
ledges his duty goes infinitely beyond his emotions 
and actions. Thus it was, that the soul of Mr. Daw- 
son was continually running out after God in all the 
ardour of divine love; and to promote his glory, in 
the salvation of man, in connection with all the ener- 
gies of both body and mind, he devoted every hour 
he could spare from his farm. 

In the commencement of 1835, he was engaged at 
"Thorp Hall in surveying the boundaries of Lady 
Gordon's property, in order to the opening of a new 
Winning ; " and was much employed in other secular 
affairs. His correspondence was also becoming more 
and more heavy; and was such as, in other cases, 
would have justified a secretary or an amanuensis. 
To one of his early correspondents, the Rev. Samuel 
Settle, he wrote on the 30th of January; to whom 
a special reference is here made, with a view to 
revive early associations, and to shew the endeared 
friendship still subsisting between them. 



398 MEMOIRS OF 

The uneasiness manifested in different societies, 
towards the close of 1834, was carried into 1835. 
Serious as was the subject, a somewhat amusing con- 
versation took place upon it between Mr. Dawson and 
John Patrick, the latter, an excellent man, who met 
a class near Kirkstal Abbey. 

Mr. Dawson. " "Well John, how is your class suc- 
ceeding ? " 

John Patrick. In a pensive mood. " We are doing 
very well ; but the disturbance existing in some of 
the societies affects me a good deal." 

Mr. D. "Nothing has occurred recently I hope? " 

J. P. "Why, perhaps not. But I was with a 
person the other day, who asked me, whether I was 
not going to leave the Old Connexion ? " 

Mr. D. "What reply did you make? " 

J. P. "I said, no; I am resolved to abide by 
the old ship." 

Mr. D." What then?" 

J. P. " He said, ' She is not sea-worthy.' " 

Mr. D. Amused with the simile, though familiar 
to him, and desirous of hearing the result, " How 
did you meet that ? " 

J. P. "I considered the Wesleyans as forming a 
part of the Church of God ; and in reference to that 
Church, I said, She carried all the Old Testament 
saints to heaven ; and when he, who, by way of deri- 
sion, was called the carpenter's son, appeared upon 
earth, she was new bottomed, and I think she will 
now carry the New Testament saints into the same 
port." 

Mr. D. " What was his answer ? " 

J. P. "He asked, 'Why all the mischief at Man- 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 399 

Chester, Leeds, and elsewhere, if the vessel were not 
in a sinking condition ? ' : 

Mr. D. Pleasantly, " How did you surmount that 
difficulty ? " 

J. P. "I said, Oh, the vessel is as good and 
safe as it ever was : a few of the crew are only 
striving for the mastery. " 

Mr. Dawson relished this not a little ; and the last 
stroke the most, as he was aware that John knew 
the character of the person he was addressing. 

The Rev. Robert Aitkin, who was impressed with 
it being his duty to leave the Established Church, 
wrote to Mr. Dawson on the subject. Not long after, 
he published a pamphlet on the existing dissensions, 
which shewed, however well meant, that he was 
unacquainted with the system of Methodism. Mr. 
Dawson being asked his opinion of the pamphlet, 
returned, "Mr. A. was never designed for a legis- 
lator ; at most, he is only intended for a bellows to 
blow the dust from the embers, and then to kindle 
the embers into a flame." 

Being in the metropolis in the course of the year, 
preaching occasional sermons at Great Queen-Street, 
and at Chelsea, he visited the "Theological Institu- 
tion." He informed the biographer, that the students 
expressed a wish to receive an address from him, 
and that the Rev. Samuel Jones, the classical tutor, 
urged him to write his address and read it to them. 
To the latter he objected, while he acceded to the 
wishes of the former ; and as in early days, at Bar- 
wick, when he occupied the Chair in the place of 
the Rev. John Graham, so now, he occupied the 
office of a Professor of Theology, telling the students, 



400 MEMOIRS OF 

in playful terms, that they were about to be addressed 
by "Bishop Dawson." Among other observations, 
he told them, that it was their duty, in the out- 
set, to convince the people that they wished to do 
them good, that he at first, with some others, had 
his fears and prejudices respecting the "Institution," 
and that it remained with them, by improving their 
talents, and turning out well, to shew the groundless- 
ness of such fears. The several topics to which he 
adverted, and the force and point which accompanied 
several of his remarks, diverted attention from his 
rural appearance, and a few of his provincialisms, 
and rendered them much less singular, the home- 
training of some of the students being taken into 
account, than they would have been at either our 
English or Scotch universities : and besides, there 
was a soul in all he said. On his return home from 
this journey, he exclaimed, "Praise the Lord! all 
is well in body, soul, and circumstances." 

It was not always that he could exclaim, " all is 
well in circumstances ! " For, on one occasion, he 
found himself minus a top-coat, after preaching in 
Brunswick chapel, Newcastle-on-Tyne ; some miscreant 
having gone into the vestry during divine service, 
and stolen it. Though soon re-placed with another 
by the friends, it is a hint to chapel-keepers, and 
it is for this purpose that the subject is introduced, 
to prevent access to the vestry by strangers, in time 
of service. 

But even under untoward circumstances of import- 
ance, and not those of a trivial character like the 
preceding, his argumentative resources for gratitude, 
patience, and contentment, in the midst of them, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 401 

were endless ; nor less so, when consoling and encou- 
raging others. His introductions, however, to some 
of his pathetic addresses, were sometimes characterized 
with a buoyancy and eccentricity, which, while they 
yielded no immediate promise, were nevertheless sure to 
find their way to the heart, and were rendered the more 
welcome the moment they were recognized as the 
means leading to that end. He was at Colne, during 
a period of great commercial distress, when the spirits 
of the people were depressed, and hut slender hopes 
were entertained respecting the collections for the day. 
On commencing the service, by opening the Hymn- 
book, he said, "When I am engaged in preaching 
occasional sermons, I am often presented with a number 
of notes containing different announcements. After 
reading them, I put them into my pocket, where 
they sometimes inconveniently accumulate, till I reach 
home. Going into the fields, I sometimes take them 
out, and look at them, to see whether any of them are 
worth preserving. I read one, not being worth any- 
thing, I tear it into fragments ; up comes a breeze, 
and away the shreds fly ; I look at a second, a third, a 
fourth, and a fifth, tear them, and scatter them in 
the same way. " While he was narrating this little 
incident, imitating himself, by putting his hand into 
his waistcoat pocket, as if reading, tearing, and scat- 
tering, the congregation meanwhile on their feet waiting 
for the hymn, and wondering what the relation might 
mean, with the shreds of paper drifting like flakes 
of snow in the imagination across the field, he sud- 
denly adverted to the depressed state of the trade of 
the place, directed his hearers to an overruling pro- 
vidence, exhorted them to exercise confidence in God, 



402 MEMOIRS OF 

gliding into the hymn in his peculiar way, as noticed 
in other cases, announcing, with the number of the 
hymn and page, 

" Give to the winds thy fears j 
Hope, and be undismay'd : 
God hears thy sighs, and counts thy tears ; 
God shall lift up thy head. 

" Through waves, and clouds, and storms, 

He gently clears thy way : 
Wait thou his time, so shall this night 
Soon end in joyous day." &c. 

The effect was overpowering ; and the sermon being 
of an encouraging character, the whole had a per- 
manently soothing influence on the minds of devout 
persons, who were exhorted as he had done the flying 
shreds, to "give to the winds their fears." 

He was present at the ceremony of laying the "first 
stone " for a new chapel in the Leeds West circuit. 
Wednesday, Feb. 4th ; and on Wednesday, April 8th, 
he had the pleasure of laying the foundation-stone of 
a new Sabbath-School, at Barwick, where he had 
laboured so long and so effectually, and relative to 
which erection, he devoutly prayed, that it might "be 
a blessing to the village and the neighbourhood." In 
the midst of his various other engagements, he con- 
tinued to preach occasionally at Barwick on the week- 
day. Here we have an association not often to be 
met with ; " Bent-day, and preached in the evening 
on 'One thing is needful.' ' Nor was this a solitary 
case. It was the same the year succeeding. Any of 
the other tenants, who might be disposed to linger 
behind, to hear the sermon, would find that their 
own vineyard required cultivation, as well as the ground 
they rented of their landlord; that, in the language 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 403 

of Young, " No man is blest by accident ; " but, 
in order to be holy and happy, he must "Redeem 
the time, '' and, to his " funds and acres, join his 
sense." A sentiment of Cowley may be worked out 
with considerable effect, in its bearing upon the im- 
mortal interests of man ; " The first minister of state 
has not so much business in public, as a wise man 
has in private ; if the one have little leisure to be 
alone, the other has little leisure to be in company ; 
the one has but part of the affairs of one nation, 
the other all the works of God and nature under 
his consideration." What is the cultivation of even 
some thousands of acres of land, when compared with 
the cultivation of the mind and the improvement of 
the heart? The "One thing needful," combines with 
it "This one thing I do." 

The Connexion at home being still in a perplexed 
state, and the annual Conference being about to com- 
mence its sittings, Mr. Dawson wrote to the Rev. 
Joseph Taylor, the President, July 21, and still lived 
in anticipation of peace and prosperity. No state of 
things, however, caused him for a moment to relax his 
exertions to promote the welfare of his fellow-creatures. 
He felt the labour hard, but never complained. 
Between the close of September and the beginning of 
October, he exclaimed, on reaching home, "A laborious 
week ! but, praise the Lord ! my strength has been equal 
to my work." No wonder that he should feel. He 
had been engaged the whole of the Friday in " leading 
oats out of the Marlpit Field," after which he went to 
Leeds, where he took the mail at nine o'clock the same 
evening, and did not arrive at Bedford till one o'clock 
the next day. On the Sunday, he preached three 



404 MEMOIRS OF 

sermons in Bedford; three more at Ridgemount on 
the Monday ; one at St. Ives on the Tuesday, and 
attended a missionary meeting ; delivered two more 
at Littleport on the "Wednesday; the same number 
at Up well, in Norfolk, on the Thursday ; thence 
to Wisbeach ; from "Wisbeach to Newark on the 
Friday ; from the last of which places, he set off at 
half-past eleven o'clock at night, and reached home on 
the Saturday. The next day, he was again in the 
pulpit, preaching twice in his regular appointment. 
Though the repetition of these extraordinary exer- 
tions may be in danger of palling in some instances, 
yet it is in their continuity that we see the man ; and 
in that continued toil, the marvel is, how human nature 
bore up under it so long ; for, in his ardour of spirit, 
and through his vehemence, he put as much physical 
strength into the delivery of one of his sermons, as the 
ordinary run of preachers put into half a dozen. It was 
not here, as stated by Tillotson, in other cases, " What 
men want of reason for their opinions, they usually 
supply and make up in rage." He never substituted 
sound for sense, mere noisy declamation and rant 
for argument: nor was he ever vehement, but when 
most burthened with strength of thought. In the 
esteem of some persons, " Great turns are not always 
given by strong hands, but by lucky adaptation and 
at proper seasons;" and with these, "it is of no 
import where the fire was kindled, if the vapour has 
once got up into the brain." But there was no 
" vapour " here ; nor was it unimportant either, where 
" the fire was kindled " to accommodate the simile to 
the present case ; for fire, like the lights on a stage, 
may be lit up from beneath ; and it was of prime 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 405 

" import" with Mr. Dawson, that his fire should proceed 
from the heart, and that the altar there should receive its 
warmth from above. And others than Wesleyan Meth- 
odists, had no objection to warm themselves at such 
fires. Hence, at Wisbeach, Nov. 5th, after preaching 
in the Wesleyan chapel, he remarks, that in the evening 
he " preached in the Calvinistic chapel, on ' Wherefore 
the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling 
and election sure,'" &c., 2 Pet. i. 10; a perilous text 
for an Arminian to take in a Calvinistic pulpit ! But 
Mr. Dawson had the good sense to waive all minor 
matters on debateable ground, and to deal out the 
essentials of religion in which all agreed. 

It is not to be omitted, however, that, on another 
occasion, he was on the point of a breach of religious 
courtesy, in a chapel belonging to the particular Bap- 
tists, when assisting at a missionary meeting. He 
took up the subject of the "Sower," scattering his seed 
quoting appropriate passages of Scripture for his pur- 
pose and imitating the sower in his action. On coming 
to that text " He is the propitiation for our sins, and 
not for ours only, but also for the sins of " he sud- 
denly turned round to the Baptist minister, who sat 
behind him, and repeated, hesitatingly, but with an 
expressive, cheerful look, "of of of of;" then 
wheeling again to the congregation, who perceived where 
he was, and smiled at his manner, he added, with 
another evolution of the body, while bending his eye 
once more on the worthy pastor, "of the whole world;" 
further observing, "It is there ; I cannot help it ; do with 
it what you like." Being asked the reason of his conduct 
in the evening, he replied, that he felt completely 
imbued with the spirit of his subject, and being 



406 MEMOIRS OF 

accustomed to congregations of his own people, in chapels 
of all forms and sizes, he forgot every thing but his 
work, and just at the moment he had proceeded half 
way with the passage in question, he recollected where 
he was, and immediately drew up hesitated but 
found he had gone too far to recede without being per- 
ceived, and of either laying himself open to the charge of 
cowardice, of defending his creed, or of incurring the 
displeasure of the good people, who might construe it 
into a designed insult ; and therefore it was, that he 
had recourse in his haste to the expedient, which he 
was happy to find, from the expression of the meeting, 
produced pleasure rather than pain. Though he escaped 
censure, there is great truth in the remark of an 
elegant writer, that " the greatest parts, without dis- 
cretion," may be fatal to their owners ; a Polyphemus, 
deprived of his eye, was only the more exposed on 
account of his enormous strength and stature. 

As he often manifested great dexterity in extricating 
himself out of a difficulty, he was no less adroit in 
taking the edge from off a disappointment ; though no 
man had less occasion to do it than himself, in the case 
to be introduced, owing to his popularity. Having to 
supply the place of the Rev. R. N. at Lofthouse, near 
Guisborough, he opened his sermon with :" In looking 
over the Bankrupt Gazette, we find that failures are 
very common now-a-days. If people pay ten shillings 
in the pound, it is considered very fair ; fifteen is 
deemed handsome. You expected Mr. N. ; he, though 
altogether unavoidable on his part, has failed you. 
Never mind ; let us look up to heaven for the presence 
of the Lord, and we shall have twenty shillings in the 
pound, notwithstanding." This not only gave him 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 407 

ready access to the good feelings of his hearers, gene- 
rally, but at once arrested attention, and furnished him 
with a fine opportunity of enforcing the advice of Sir 
Matthew Hale ; " Run not into debt, either for wares 
sold or money borrowed ; be content to want things 
that are not of absolute necessity, rather than to run up 
the score : such a man pays at the latter end a third 
part more than the principal comes to, and is in per- 
petual servitude to his creditors ; lives uncomfortably ; 
is necessitated to increase his debts, to stop his creditors' 
mouths ; and many times falls into desperate courses." 

Exclusive of opening Dringholm, West Bromwich, 
Kirkstall, Ruddington, Hemmingbrough, Yeadon, and 
Guisely chapels, together with that of Oxford-place, 
Leeds, he preached occasional sermons in far on 
to one hundred other places, including Whitby, 
Beverley, Broomsgrove, Shrewsbury, Kidderminster, 
Birmingham, Leicester, Darlington, Macclesfield, Hud- 
dersfield, Lincoln, Halifax, Birstal, Doncaster, Leek, 
Newcastle-on-Tyne, Grantham, Leighton Buzzard, Cam- 
bridge, Woolwich, Burslem, &c., &c., repeating his 
visits to Nottingham, Manchester, and London, in the 
course of the year. At the close of his last Metropo- 
litan journey, in connection with which were several 
other places, requiring a succession of hard labour, his 
heart was filled with " melody to the Lord," saying, 
" Praise the Lord ! he hath done all things well." 

On Christmas Eve, which was two days after his 
return, an interesting Tea Meeting was held, in the 
vestry of Brunswick Chapel, Leeds, of the Committees 
and friends of the Juvenile Missionary Society for the 
Leeds East Circuit. The room was tastefully decorated 
with evergreens, and the tables were amply furnished 



408 MEMOIRS OF 

with provisions suited for the season. Tea being 
finished, the Rev. Robert Newton was called to the 
chair, who introduced the business of the evening 
in a very appropriate speech, distinguished for its 
manly eloquence. He stated that the object of the 
meeting was to present Mr. Dawson with a copy of 
Dr. Adam Clarke's Commentary, as a testimony of 
their regard for his exertions in the Missionary cause. 
He alluded to Mr. Dawson's unremitted exertions in the 
service of the Leeds Juvenile Missionary Society, and 
stated that, with one exception, he had every year 
attended its anniversary since its establishment in 
1816. Mr. Newton concluded by calling upon Mr. 
Alfred Brigg, the Treasurer, who, after a few short 
but appropriate remarks, formally presented Mr. Daw- 
son with the Commentary, on behalf of the Committees. 
Mr. Dawson then rose, and in a very suitable manner 
acknowledged the reception of the gift. He adverted 
at considerable length, to the advantages resulting 
from an early cultivation of religion and strongly 
deprecated the conduct of those who slighted the 
ordinances, and were ashamed of the practice of the 
religion of their parents. The Rev. W. Vevers, 
R. Young, and W. Barton, together with Messrs. T. 
Denham, J. H. Gibson, M. H. Davis, and D. C. 
Roadhouse, severally addressed the meeting. Thanks 
were given to Mr. Newton, the chairman, and after 
singing the doxology, Mr. Dawson concluded the 
meeting with prayer. In order to avoid crowd and 
confusion at the meeting, the number of tickets issued 
was limited to 250, but so great was the interest 
excited, that double the number could have been dis- 
posed of. Several friends actually offered five times 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 409 

their price, but were unable to be accommodated. 
The Commentary was the last edition, published by 
Tegg and Son, in six volumes 4to. It was handsomely 
bound in Russia leather, gilt lettered, and with gilt 
edges. Within the back of the first volume was the 
following inscription, in gilt letters ; " Presented to 
Mr. William Dawson, of Barnbow, by the Committees 
of the Juvenile Missionary Society, Leeds East Circuit, 
as a testimony of their regard for his indefatigable, 
disinterested, and successful exertions in the cause of 
Missions. Deer. 24th, 1835." 

Having attended the Bradford Juvenile Missionary 
Society for a series of years, he was presented by the 
Committee of that Society with the Works of Arminius, 
as a similar token of respect for character, and a grate- 
ful remembrance of his services. His friend, the Rev. 
Thomas Galland, A.M., sent him the Rev. Richard 
Watson's Exposition, as far as the revered author 
had proceeded with it. His language on the first of 
these occasions, in a private memorandum, is, " O, 
my Lord, thou knowest, I am an unprofitable servant. 
I would render all back to thee." These humbling 
views of his services were evident indications of his 
increasing piety, and are the more to be relied upon 
for their sincerity, from the circumstance of their 
not having been addressed to the ear of any one, 
and so exposed to the charge of "voluntary humility," 
or penned for the sake of inspection, but uttered 
in his communings with God, and not expected to 
proceed beyond his own notice ; and thus illustra- 
tive of the fact, that " The best way to prove 
the clearness of our mind, is by shewing its faults ; 
as when a stream discovers the dirt at the bottom, 
s 



410 MEMOIRS OF 

it convinces us of the transparency and purity of 
the water." 

Two days after the presentation of Dr. Clarke's 
Commentary, he called upon Mr. Scarth, who com- 
municated to him an " outline " of what himself 
denominated, " the Sheffield scheme ; " a plan for 
rendering his labours still more generally available 
to the missionary cause, by raising a fund for the 
purpose of enabling him to devote himself exclusively 
to the interests of the Wesleyan Connexion, and in 
reference to which his prayer to God was, "Thy 
will be done. " A Meeting of several of the friends 
was held in Leeds, Feb. 5, 1836 ; and a circular, 
containing a list of subscribers of one guinea each, 
was issued Feb. 20, embracing a view of the object, 
together with certain Resolutions to forward it, and 
so constituting a new era in his personal history.* The 
circular was afterwards inserted in the Wesleyan Meth. 
Mag., 1836, pp. 296, 311. 

" Leeds, February 20th, 1836. 

* " DEAR SIR. I beg to submit to your kind consideration the subjoined 
Statement and Resolutions ; and most respectfully suggest, that, if you approve 
of our object, you will kindly aid us in its accomplishment. 

I am, Dear Sir, (on behalf of the Committee) 

Tour's very respectfully, 

W. G. SCARTH. 

" At the suggestion of many Preachrrs and Gentlemen of various Circuits, 
(particularly of the two Sheffield Circuits,) who have long thought it desirable 
that such arrangements should be made in reference to Mr. WILLIAM DAW- 
SON, of Barnbow, as would enable him to spend the evening of his life 
unencumbered with temporal anxiety, and entirely at liberty for those occa- 
sional religious services, to which he is so frequently called, in which he so 
much delights, and which, under the Divine blessing, have been rendered so 
efficient in the support of the WESLEYAN METHODIST CHAPELS, SABBATH 
SCHOOLS, and FOREIGN MISSIONS; services which have been long con- 
tinued, at great personal sacrifice and inconvenience and for which, any 
thing that can be done to promote his comfort, will form but a very inadequate 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 411 

Adverting to the subject, in a conversation with the 
biographer, he observed, " I am as comfortable at 
present on my farm as I need to be. Home has 

remuneration : A Meeting of a few friends of the two Leeds Circuits was held 
in the vestry of Brunswick Chapel, in the Leeds East Circuit, February 5th, 
1836: 

ALDERMAN SCARTH IN THE CHAIR. 

" IT WAS UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED. 1st. That to promote the object con- 
templated by the friends of Mr. Dawson, it would be highly creditable to the 
Wesleyan Connexion, to raise by voluntary subscriptions not less than the 
Sum of Four Thousand Guineas, to be invested with the General Treasurers 
of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, on condition that they allow to Mr. Daw- 
son, an annuity of Two Hundred Pounds, during the term of his natural life ; 
and at his decease, an annuity of Fifty Pounds to his brother, Thomas Daw- 
son, should he be the survivor, (who is fifty years of age, and from peculiar 
circumstances dependant on his brother), during the term of his natural life . 
The said sum of Four Thousand Guineas to be at the disposal of the saiJ 
Treasurers for the time being, for the purchase or erection of suitable premises 
for a Mission House, Offices, &c., for the transaction of the general business 
of the Society, in London; or for the general purposes of the Wesleyan 
Missionary Society, as the Committee may deem expedient. 

" 2nd. That in order to allow the numerous friends of Mr. Dawson to unite 
in this testimony of affection for him, and express their estimation of his 
valuable services, no single subscription is expected to exceed One Guinea, 
but any smaller sum will be thankfully received. 

" 3rd. That these Resolutions be addressed (by circular) to every Super- 
intendent Preacher in England ; and that he be requested to adopt such 
measures in his Circuit, as he judges most likely to promote the object 
proposed. 

"4th. That William Gilyard Scarth, Esq., be appointed General Treasurer. 
It is desirable that such Subscriptions should be forwarded by the 1st of 
June, 1836, at the latest. 

" 5th. That the following persons form a Committee (with power to add to 
their number) to carry these Resolutions into effect, viz : all the Itinerant 
Preachers in the two Leeds Circuits, with W. G. Scarth, Esq., F. Marris, 
Esq., J. Hargrave, Esq., John Burton, Esq., Joshua Burton, Esq., 3. Sykes, 
Esq., W. Smith, Esq., J. Ogle, Esq., Messrs. C. Turkington, B. Stocks, C. 
Smith, T. Bell, M. Outhwaite, S. Tarbotton, B. R. Vickers, T. Mawson, 
R. Scartb, B. Stocks, jun., W. D. Bootbman, D. Underwood, and T. Simpson, 
f the Leeds East Circuit : and J. Musgrave, Esq., B. Beverley, Esq., Messrs. 
J. Howard, C. Dove, W. Dove, C. Watson, J. Ramsden, J. Patrick, E. Joy, 
S. Watson, H. Spink, J. Raynar, G. Reinhardt, J. N. Brigg, J. Walton, T. 
Holt, J. Thackrah, C. Bowes, W. Haley, J. Richardson, S. Holmes, B. 
Dewsbury, J.Johnson, R. Ripley, S. Whalley, and E. Heaton, of the Leeds 
West Circuit. -W. G. SCARTH, CHAIRMAN." 



412 MEMOIRS OF 

many endearments. The house was built by my 
father; the family have lived in it for a period of 
sixty years; and I shall have to give up my classes, 
to the members of which I feel strongly attached. 
With me, it is a hard struggle. I only wish to know 
the will of God; that once known, I can make any 
sacrifice. The question has come to this, In which 
of the two situations shall I be able most to honour 
God, and unreservedly consecrate myself to his ser- 
vice ? But the scheme begun at Sheffield, seems 
likely to be spoiled at Leeds, by confining the sub- 
scription within a guinea, and so depriving the mis- 
sionary cause of the advantage of higher sums." 

One of his friends informed him, that the fund 
proceeded but slowly in his neighbourhood, and plea- 
santly added, "If you cannot obtain .200 per annum, 
you must be content to sit down, like a supernumerary, 
with .100." Mr. Dawson, who did not altogether 
relish the jocularity, returned as he stated to the 
writer, "There is a difference between my case and 
that of a supernumerary. The latter receives .200 for 
sitting down; whereas I am to receive aGlOO for 
rising up. At present, I am in a state of inde- 
pendence ; then, I shall be at the call of every one. 
Besides, I may now be considered in the decline of 
life, and shall soon work myself out." For a con- 
siderable time, he was in great suspense respecting 
the propriety of giving up his farm, as proper notice 
was requisite, and some time would have to elapse 
before he could sell his stock, &c. ; such a measure 
being exceedingly impolitic, should the " scheme " 
not succeed; and yet much time would be lost in 
the event of its success, on leaving the whole till then. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 413 

After some time elapsed, another circular was issued, 
to awaken the attention of the friends to the suhject ; * 
but this second appeal was still not equal, in effect, 
to what might have been anticipated, especially when 
it is considered, that it was made to a people imbued 
with a missionary spirit, and that the prime object 
of the measure was to promote the interest of the 
missionary cause. 

In observing to his friend, as in a preceding para- 
graph, that he was "now in the decline of life," 

*DEAR SIR. I beg to submit to your kind consideration our renewed 
appeal, with the subjoined statement and Resolutions, respecting the Daw- 
sonian Fund ; and as this measure has received the sanction of the Conference, 
we hope that you will make such arrangements in your Circuit, as you may 
deem necessary to the accomplishment of our object. 

I am, dear Sir, (on behalf of the Committee), 

Yours very respectfully, 

W. G. SCABTH, TREASURER. 
Leeds, Nov. 1st, 1836. 

DAWSONIAN FUND. " The Committee for securing an Annuity for Mr. 
DAWSON, deem it expedient to renew their application to their friends, with a 
view to the immediate accomplishment of their object. They gladly embrace 
this opportunity to present their thanks to those Preachers and friends who 
have kindly co-operated with them ; and are happy to state that the Subscrip- 
tions already received by their Treasurer amount to the sum of 1,500. 

" While the Committee have pleasure in stating this fact they regret to find 
that the ultimate appropriation of the total amount of the Subscriptions, ' for 
the purchase or erection of suitable premises for a MISSION HOUSE, OFFICES, 
&c. ; or for the general purposes of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, as the 
Committee may deem expedient,'' as stated in their original Resolutions, a copy 
of which they subjoin, has been in some cases overlooked : they must there- 
fore remind their friends, that though their first object is to secure for Mr. 
Dawson such a provision as they deem desirable, and thus to secure to the 
Methodist Connexion the entire services of one who has already rendered such 
efficient aid, by his labours in the pulpit and on the platform, to Sabbath 
Schools, embarrassed Chapels, and Wesleyan Missions ; yet their ultimate 
object is to secure to the WESLEYAN MISSIONARY SOCIETY the entire amount 
of the sum to be raised. This part of the Plan they find it necessary to bring 
in the most prominent manner before the attention of their friends. 

" The Committe have also reason to believe that some friends have not 
contributed to this Fund, from an apprehension that to institute a subscription 
of a connexional character, without previously obtaining the approbation of 



414 MEMOIRS OF 

he was reminded of this, by certain symptoms of 
physical decay. He had lost some of his front teeth, 
which slightly affected his articulation, particularly in 
moments of rapidity, and when highly impassioned. 
His sight also was now such as to compel him to 
resort to the occasional use of glasses. Looking across 
the table at the writer one day, during dinner, he 
smiled, and said, in reference to the first defect, 
"My grindstones do not fit each other." And in 

the Conference, was establishing a precedent which might be very objection- 
able : they are, however, happy to state, that the subject was considered at the 
last Conference .-and they now renew their appeal with the sanction of that 
Body : and without any wish to institute any invidious comparison between 
Mr. Dawson and any other member of the Methodist Connexion, they hesitate 
not to avow it as their deliberate conviction, that Mr. Dawson, during the 
last twenty years, has served the interests of the whole Wesleyan Connexion, 
by his labours for SCHOOLS, CHAPELS, and MISSIONS, at an expense of time, 
personal convenience, and even of pecuniary sacrifice, to which no other lay 
gentleman can make the slightest pretensions. But while the Committee 
unequivocally express their opinion, that Mr. Dawson is legitimately entitled 
to consideration for his past services, yet they ground their present appeal, 
chiefly upon the increased facilities of usefulness which will be given to their 
esteemed friend, by relieving him from the care and attention connected with 
the management of his farm, and enabling him to devote the residue of his 
days to the bests interests of humanity, and the welfare of the Methodist Con- 
nexion. 

"The Committee in their first appeal, thought it expedient to limit the 
Subscription to One Guinea, anticipating that many of their friends would 
subscribe for the members of their families, which in many instances has been 
the case ; but they now withdraw that limitation, and will be happy to receive 
Subscriptions to any amount, which the services of Mr. Dawson, and the 
ultimate application of the money to Missionary purposes, may induce them 
to contribute. 

" In again submitting this subject to the consideration of the friends of Mr. 
Dawson and of Wesleyan Missions, the Committee are only influenced by a 
desire to extend his usefulness : and place at the disposal of the Missionary 
Committee, the sum of Four Thousand Guineas, for the general objects of the 
Wesleyan Missionary Society. 

"As it is the intention of the Committee to print an entire List of Subscrip- 
tions with as little delay as possible, they respectfully request, that any money 
received tor this Fund, may he forwarded to the Treasurer, W. G. SCARTH, 
Esq., Leeds, by December 21st., at the latest ; by whom, and also by the 
Itinerant Preachers, in their respective circuits, Subscriptions will be received. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 415 

reference to the last, he said, " The first time I 
detected a failure in my sight, was when I was at- 
tempting to mend a pen." 

Yet no symptom of decay, whatever might be its 
nature, was ever rendered available as an excuse for 
him to abridge his labours : and hence for it is a 
matter of curiosity, as well as personal history, to 
recur to such things, we find him in the course of 
the year at Darlington, Stokesley, Sheffield, New 
Basford, Nottingham, Congleton, Heywood, Salford, 
Ripon, Belper, Derby, Clifford, Malton, High Town, 
Almonbury, Colne, Conningby, Middleton, Oldham, 
Dudley Hill, Tadcaster, Coventry, Wellington, Walsal, 
Broomsgrove, Birmingham, Barnsley, Gainsbro, Caw- 
thorne, Skipton, Towcester, Northampton, Leicester, 
Sandiacre, Yarm, Middleham, Newton, Bolton, Burnley, 
Tanfield, Northallerton, Woodhouse Grove, Rawcliffe, 
Macclesfield, Manchester, Norfolk, Downham, Thelford, 
Little Port, Spalding, Boston, Ashley, Draycott, Key- 
worth, Greetland, Rothwell, Killinghall, Brompton, 
Whitby, Swinefleet, Birstal, Thome, Doncaster, Leek, 
Yeadon, Cheadle, "Wensley, Otley, Wetherby, Gotham, 
Bedford, Dunstable, St. Ives, Daventry, Banbury, New- 
castle-on-Tyne, Blakely, Carville, Carlisle, Tockwith, 
Glass Houghton, Louth, North Sumercote, Grimsby, 
Loughbro,' Markfield, Biggleswade, London, Brentford, 
Colchester, Lambeth, Stoke, Pontefract, Longholme, 
Rochdale, Burslem, Newcastle-under-Lyne, and Brad- 
ford : and at some of these places, two or three times, 
as usual. In the course of one of these journies, 
which occupied seven of the hottest days of the year, 
he was engaged in ten public services, in five different 
places, wide apart from each other, and travelled 242 



416 MEMOIRS OF 

miles. And yet, this is not equal to another journey, 
in autumn, when, in eight days, in six places still 
more remote from each other, he engaged in thirteen 
sen-ices, and travelled 432 miles, and nearly the whole 
by the regular coaches. But, in a general way, how- 
ever arduous his duties, he returned home more like 
a person who had been indulging himself with the 
recreation of a morning walk, than one who had been 
engaged in Herculean toil; giving utterance to such 
sentiments as these ; " Travelling is meat and drink 
to me." "Left Carlisle a quarter before eight o'clock, 
(Oct. 12), by the Glasgow mail; on the outside; a 
tremendous wet night ; but blessed be God, I took 
no harm. Hallelujah." "Returned home; all well, 
and in health. Praise the Lord for all his benefits!" 
Here was spirit in its most buoyant state ; not in the 
perverted sense in which the term is employed in the 
fashionable world, when it is said, that a man acts 
with spirit, when acting rashly and indiscreetly ; but 
the man who shews his spirit by words of love, and 
resolute actions, who burns without consuming, and 
knows nothing of timidity while there is work to 
perform, and strength to accomplish it. 

An extract from Mr. R. M. Beverley's "Letters 
on the present state of the visible Church of Christ," 
referring to an " itinerant revivalist " having at this 
time been so arranged in juxta-position with editorial 
remarks, in the columns of one of the public jour- 
nals, as to lead to a supposition that it "referred 
to Mr. Dawson, the well known preacher of the 
Wesleyan Methodists ; " Mr. Beverley, to prevent such 
a mistake, addressed a letter to the Editor, in which 
he observed, " I beg to state, that my remarks in 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 417 

that extract have no reference to Mr. Dawson, whose 
character I much esteem, and whose talents as a 
preacher, both In natural eloquence, powers of pathos, 
and originality of thought, do, in my judgment, entitle 
him to a high station among pulpit orators." 

He assisted in the services of opening a chapel at 

, Wellington, at Glass-Houghton, and a new School-Room 

at Garforth, with a few extra journies, one of them 

to Hull and Lincolnshire with his endeared friend, 

the Rev. Thomas Galland, which closed the year. 

Like the good man, who is not only devising liberal 
things, but doing them, Mr. Dawson started the year 
1837, by going "to Parlington, to solicit Mr. Gas- 
coigne to give a little ground for a chapel at Saxton." 
But not finding him at home, he wrote a letter to 
him on the subject the next day, not omitting to 
pray, "Lord, give success." The application was 
successful ; for soon after, he had to remark, on a 
second visit, " I went to Parlington respecting ground 
for Saxton chapel, when Mr. Gascoigne, in the most 
gentlemanly manner, gave leave for ground to be 
selected for the purpose. Hallelujah. " His notes, 
however, were on a less elevated key the day fol- 
lowing ; observing, " I went by Parlington to Saxton, 
with Mr. Fox, when he made such propositions, and 
started such objections, as sunk our hopes. Lord, 
help ! " By the resistless force of perseverance, he 
at length completed his object. 

Returning from a journey to Derby, West Brom- 
wich, Coventry, and Tipton Green, in the month of 
February, he had immediately to set to work, and with 
"the hand of a ready writer," to answer nineteen letters 
with which he was greeted on entering the house. 
s2 



418 MEMOIRS OF 

Between two and three weeks after this, he went 
to Haslingdon, in connection with some other places, 
and was there during the " Hoppings. " * But taking 
the " Horrible pit " for one of his subjects, and 
"Escape for thy life," for another, he spoiled the 
hoppings of some who had repaired to the place for 
amusement. May 3rd, he preached two sermons in 
the Independant chapel, at St. Albans, and made 
collections for the benefit of the Wesleyan Trust in 
that place ; another instance of liberality to be added 
to those which have preceded. On the 14th of the 
same month, he opened a new chapel at Mirfield, near 
Dewsbury. 

During the summer months of this year, he preached 
more frequently out of doors than usual, owing to 
the crowded state of the chapels, particularly in Nor- 
folk, Suffolk, &c. Five of these open air services 
occurred in the month of June. In the same month 
he preached in the Calvinist chapel at Wellingboro', 
in Northamptonshire. We are reminded here, in con- 
nection with the case at St. Albans, of a saying 
of Tillotson : "A good word is an easy obliga- 
tion ; but not to speak ill, requires only our silence, 
which costs us nothing. " These interchanges go 
further ; they require the sacrifice of party .feeling ; 
and when such kindly interchanges take place in a town, 
they are not only creditable to the spirit that dictates 

* This term is derived from the Anglo-Saxon hoppan, which signifies to leap 
or dance Hence, dancings in the country, are called hops. The word, in its 
original meaning, is preserved in grass-hopper. Both were indulged in by the 
Grecian youth. One was called akinetinda, which was a struggle between the 
i-ompetitors, who should stand longest motionless on the sole of his foot. The 
other, denominated ascoliasmos, was dancing or hopping upon one foot ; the 
i onqueror being he who could hop the most frequently, and continue the per- 
formance longer than any of his comrades. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 419 

them, but they invariably benefit the individuals con- 
cerned, by promoting the growth of Christian charity. 
Mr. Dawson himself found his soul much enriched 
by the journey, chanting his usual notes, on his 
return home, "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and 
forget not all his benefits ! " 

The biographer having had different interviews with 
him in the course of the year, was, as usual, much 
delighted with his society. The following are a few 
miscellaneous remarks, made on different occasions, 
and drawn forth either by particular circumstances, 
or the introduction of certain topics by others. Fic- 
titious feeling being the subject ; " It is easy to detect 
it," said he. "The Spirit of God can no more be 
mimicked, than the sun in the firmament. The works 
of God's fingers, too, are always to be distinguished 
from the works of man's hands. So, in the soul : 
the finger of God leaves a shine, the finger of 
man a soil." Speaking of the dissensions of 1834, 
he remarked, " We never had a doctor but once ; 
and what was the result? The first year we had 
a storm, the second a dead calm, and now, the 
third year, a few breezes are springing up here and 
there. " He here made a distinction between warding 
off what- might be deemed by some of the best men, 
as well as by himself at the first, the introduction 
of either a real or an imaginary evil into the body, 
and that of tampering with the system, and so en- 
dangering the general health, by an actual prostration 
of strength. To ward off is one thing ; to preserve 
what we have is another. There is no occasion for 
a man to destroy a valuable and extensive estate, 
because of an attempt to add an odd patch of land 



420 MEMOIRS OF 

to it, of which he may not exactly approve, in con- 
sequence of it requiring a different mode of cultivation 
from that of which he is already in possession, and 
which he may still enjoy, secured to him by law, 
and sufficient for all the purposes of social and public- 
life. 

. The race of eternal life being adverted to, he said, 
"Abraham, Moses, Peter, Paul, and John, were all 
found in the course. And for what did they run ? 
Abraham was running out of the obscurity in which 
he was shrouded, to see the ' day ' of Christ, and 
was glad to have a glimpse of it in the distance ; 
Moses run for a ' recompense of reward ; ' Peter 
for an 'inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that 
fadeth not away ; ' Paul for an ' eternal weight of 
glory;' and John, that he might be 'like' Jesus. 
In an earthly race, people tire ; but here, they renew 
their strength. The man noticed in the seventh chapter 
of the Epistle to the Romans, was unable to run 
with ' the law of sin ' in his ' members,' and a ' body 
of death ' at his heels. But as the first verse of the 
eighth chapter necessarily connects itself with the 
last of the seventh, he had nothing to do but to 
step across, and then he was ready for the race." 
Directing attention to the " bruised reed " and " smo- 
king flax," he observed, by way of encouraging the 
drooping spirit ; " There is some fire, because there 
is smoke. The fire cannot be seen; but the smoke 
has got into the eyes, the eyes begin to smart, 
and the penitent thus sheds tears of sorrow before 
the Lord. Fear not. He who has lit up the spark, 
will kindle the flame." 

" Teetotallism " being introduced, he observed: 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 421 

"Some of the friends have ahused me, for not con- 
fining myself to water ; though when I take anything 
stronger, I take it medicinally. They insist upon 
sober persons setting the example of total abstinence 
to others. But this is absurd: here are some men, 
who will not behave themselves, who will not keep 
their hands from picking and stealing ; the consequence 
is, that they are handcuffed, to prevent further depreda- 
tions : but here are others, who not only know how 
to behave well, but, having no temptation or inclination 
to behave ill, conduct themselves with propriety. For 
the sake of example, however, and to deter others, 
they must wear handcuffs too. Is there, I ask, any 
reason why I should become a teetotaller, because 
another man gets drunk ? " An enquiry having been 
made respecting the work of God at Leeds, he replied, 
" Our numbers do not increase in the way we had 
a right to expect, after the erection of our new chapels. 
Some persons attribute this to one cause, and some 
to another. My opinion is, that we have the ' Reform 
Bill ' chiefly to blame for it. It introduced several 
of our friends into office ; they next began to dabble 
in politics ; attention was soon divided ; and muni- 
cipal business put in its claim for the time and care 
they formerly gave to the Church." Here is, at least, 
an opinion ; but if it should be founded on fact, then 
a retreat becomes necessary. At all events, it is worth 
an enquiry with such as may feel interested in it as 
a question. It is scarcely possible to pay undue 
attention to minor matters, without doing positive 
injury to things of greater moment : and all that 
know anything of politics, are aware, according to 
the definition of an eminent statesman, that "Political 



422 MEMOIRS OF 

reason is a computing principle; adding, subtracting, 
multiplying, and dividing, morally, and not meta- 
physically or mathematically, true moral denomina- 
tions," furnishing the mind, when improperly indulged, 
with everlasting employment and vexation. 

Though Mr. Dawson did not permit politics to 
engross his attention, he is not to be considered as 
totally indifferent to public affairs, or to his privileges 
as a subject. No; Aug. 3rd, he is heard stating, 
"I went to Leeds to vote for Mr. Wortley." How- 
ever difficult it might be to discover his political bias 
at Bristol, when Mr. Montgomery was in the chair, 
it is easy to perceive his creed in this instance. But 
religion was the atmosphere in which he loved to 
breathe : and he expressed himself with greater plea- 
sure, when, the day before, he said, "I went into 
Leeds in the evening to witness the ordination of 
the young men." About the same time, he preached 
in the same place, a funeral sermon occasioned by 
the death of Mrs. Bywater. 

The criminal in the condemned cell, was a favourite 
simile with him when addressing the penitent. But 
he varied it, as will be perceived in the following 
instance ; and this was the case when he was the 
most impassioned, as it was then he was most in 
the habit of extemporizing. Thus combining the pic- 
torial with the pathetic, in brief, broken sentences, 
to animate the hopes of "the contrite," he exclaimed, 
while addressing such, "The gospel is just adapted 
to the state of a sinner. The penitent says he is 
unworthy, that it would be presumption in him to 
look for pardon. What! presumption to do what 
God commands, to take what he offers ! In the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 423 

suitableness of the gospel to thy state, for I address 
myself to thee, poor penitent, thou hast only to advert 
to the case of the criminal in his cell, for an illustra- 
tion. The criminal is visited, he is told that a person 
has left him a thousand pounds ; he feels the kind- 
ness, but it avails him nothing, 'to be hanged to- 
morrow ! ' It is added, he has become heir to an 
estate, is shewn the title deeds, but no comfort, 
' to be hanged to-morrow ! ' The king's coronation 
robe is thrown around him, but this is only solemn 
mockery, ' to be hanged to-morrow I ' At length his 
Majesty's pardon arrives; but 'it is too good news 
to be true ! ' When once persuaded of the fact, 
then, ' Oh, what a sovereign ! Oh, what a sovereign ! 
I will bless him all the days of my life ! ' Yes, 
penitent spirit, though guilty, the gospel offers thee 
pardon through a Saviour. " In this way, by some 
sudden turn of thought, he often depicted the de- 
spondings and the rejoicings of man in separate states, 
and in peculiar moods. 

At a meeting of the SPECIAL MISSIONARY COM- 
MITTEE, during the Conference, "W. G. Scarth, Esq., 
who was a member of that Committee, adverted to the 
arrangement which had been proposed, in order to 
secure the entire services of Mr. Dawson, both to the 
missionary cause and to the connexion generally. He 
observed, that it would be impossible for him to say 
anything in reference to the excellent character of Mr. 
Dawson, which would make a deeper impression than 
had been already made on the minds of the committee. 
"His past life," said he, "especially during the last 
twenty years, had been devoted most disinterestedly 
devoted to the service of the Missionary Society : 



424 MEMOIRS OP 

however, it had been thought by many of his personal 
friends, and the friends of Missions, that if the remain- 
der of his life could be separated from all secular cares 
and concerns, he would be still more able to continue 
those services which had been so acceptable to the 
connexion at large, and so owned and blessed of God, 
in raising the supplies which the missionary cause 
required." Mr. S. then detailed the measure which 
had been adopted by the committee of the Dawsonian 
Fund in Leeds. It appeared that the sum originally 
proposed had not been realized, and that not more than 
2,OOQ had been raised, though a few hundreds more 
might probably be received, in consequence of the 
appeal made to the connexion. As it was somewhat 
below the amount anticipated, he thought it reasonable, 
in placing it at the disposal of the general committee, 
to suggest that a smaller annuity than was originally 
proposed, should be secured, both to Mr. Dawson and 
his brother, in case the latter should be the survivor. 
With the amount named, Mr. Dawson was perfectly 
satisfied. He (Mr. S.) thought it right to state, that 
this matter had not been taken up under the idea of 
remunerating Mr. Dawson for his past services. Mr. 
Dawson was not the man to urge the slightest claim in 
reference to those services ; he himself would say, the 
society was welcome to them ; he had his reward in the 
testimony of a good conscience, the approbation of God, 
and the success with which his endeavours had been 
blessed. Neither was Mr. Dawson under any circum- 
stances of necessity whatever to require any aid of the 
kind at the hands of the society ; on the contrary, he 
considered himself in the hands of Providence, comfort- 
ably circumstanced, as to all things needful for this 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 425 

life. The great object of the committee was to benefit 
the missionary cause, both in reference to the sum to 
be raised, and the future services of Mr. Dawson. He 
did not mean to say, that the committee wished Mr. 
Dawson' s labours to be devoted exclusively to mission- 
ary objects, but they did wish them mainly and 
principally to be employed for that cause; while he 
occasionally, as at present, served trustees by preaching 
at chapel anniversaries, or pleaded the cause of educa- 
tion. In conclusion, Mr. S. stated, that as treasurer, 
he offered them the money, upon the condition he had 
specified. It was remarked by other members, that 
independent of Mr. Dawson' s valuable services, the pro- 
position, merely as a matter of finance, ought to be 
accepted. The proposition was accepted by the special 
committee, and was forwarded for the sanction of the 
general committee. 

Mr. Dawson wrote to the missionary committee, 
August 14th, and the following is a copy of a rough 
draught of the letter, found among his papers : 

" To the Missionary Committee. Dear Brethren. 
Last Saturday the "Watchman* fell into my hands, 
when I received the first information of the Conference 
discussion respecting the Dawsouian fund, so called ; 
and though I cannot give expression to my gratitude 
for the unmerited and liberal intention of my friends, 
yet one subject gives me some little pain, and that is, 
that the sum of ,3,000 has not been raised to meet 
the offer of .36 150 towards my living and expenses. It 
is on this subject that I feel the most sensible regret, 
because it was the benefit of the missionary cause that 
conquered my will, and obtained my consent to leave a 

* The account was published in the number for Wednesday, August 2nd. 



426 MEMOIRS OF 

comfortable home though with its cares, labours, and 
forbearances, to promote the glory of God in the 
advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom in the earth : 
and my views and feelings oblige me to confess, that I 
shall reluctantly embark in the plans of the Conference, 
until at least some attempt is made to raise the sum to 
563,000. I feel the greatest objection to have the 
deficiency made up from the missionary collections. 
To make it up from these, would open the mouths of 
our enemies, and would grieve the hearts of some of 
our best friends. If some of our respectable friends 
were apprised of my views on this point, they would, I 
am inclined to think, be ready to remove my scruples 
respecting it. This point once settled, I should think 
it my duty to obey the call of the church ; and, yield- 
ing to the generosity of God's people, should put body 
and soul into the work, so long as health and strength 
might be afforded. I am not unreasonable, I hope, in 
my wishes, that this sum should be raised, as I have 
no present interest in it, and the annuity would be 
given at least so I suppose, whether the amount were 
raised or not. Do, my brethren, endeavour to meet my 
request, by some sort of appeal or statement, such as 
may be judged best by yourselves. This alone will 
relieve my feelings, and make my way more plain to 
acquiesce in the wishes of the friends. 

"I was surprised when I read Mr. R. W.'s sug- 
gestion, which went to confine my labours to the 
missionary work. Had a resolution been grounded on 
it, and that resolution been carried, it would have 
effectually barred me out from engaging in the enter- 
prize at all, as I could never have suffered my liberty 
to be so palpably infringed upon by such a measure. I 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 427 

consider myself the servant of the Connexion, and not 
of any committee for any distinct and separate fund ; 
and therefore, to have excluded me from serving the 
Chapels, Sunday Schools, &c., according to my ability, 
would never have met with my consent. I think even 
the modification of my friend Scarth goes full far 
enough, which states that my labours shall be ' mainly 
and principally ' directed to the missionary interest. I 
perfectly agree that the missionary cause should have 
the preference, both as to time and place ; but I should 
be sorry to be deprived of the pleasure of assisting the 
Trustees of Chapels, and the friends of Sunday Schools, 
through my time being taken up by the missionary 
cause, for which I sensibly feel I am but ill qualified. 
It would be impossible for me to go with deputation 
after deputation on this important business. For such 
employment I have neither mental variety, nor yet 
physical energy ; and should, therefore, shrink from 
the task. But I know the members of the missionary 
committee are ' Men and Brethren,' and would not 
think of laying more upon me than I am able to bear. 
I have deemed it proper to open my heart to you, and 
leave you to take those steps which you think will best 
meet the wishes of the heart of Dear Brethren, 

"Yours, &c., W. DAWSON. 

" P. S. The suspense in which I have long been 
kept, must painfully continue, as you are aware, until 
something definite is settled. I can neither properly 
manage my farm, nor yet give legal notice to quit ; and 
I hope the time is not far distant, when I shall be able 
to say ' Yea ' or ' Nay ' to my landlord." 

On the arrangements being brought to a termina- 
tion, which were to fix Mr. Dawson for life as the 



428 MEMOIRS OF 

servant of the public, he received the following com- 
munication from the Missionary Committee, through 
the medium of one of the Secretaries : 

"London, 28th Sep., 1837. 

"My DEAR MR. DAWSON. The Committee of the 
Wesleyan Missionary Society have desired me to convey 
to you their decision on your letter of the 14th of 
August, which was laid before them yesterday, together 
with one on the same subject, from Mr. Scarth of 
Leeds. 

" The committee rightly appreciate your motives 
for wishing that means should be taken to increase 
the sum which has been raised for the purpose of 
securing your valuable services to the cause of Christ, 
without interruption or embarrassment from secular 
engagements : but on the fullest consideration, they 
are of opinion, they cannot with propriety, for various 
reasons, take any step, or make any appeal for that 
purpose. There are, at present, two special objects 
before the friends of the Society, the Stockholm 
Chapel, and the Negro Schools, and it is not im- 
probable that another may be presented before long. 
At the same time, I am directed to assure you, that 
the committee most cheerfully adopt the recommenda- 
tion of the Conference committee of review. They 
will take the amount which has been collected, and 
secure to you an annuity of 1 50 ; and ^630 annually 
to your brother, in case he should survive you. The 
committee are also anxious that such arrangements 
should be made with you as would leave you, as 
much as possible, consistent with the claims of the 
Society, at liberty to follow your own judgment and 
inclinations. They have, therefore, resolved to propose 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 429 

to you, that for six months in the year, not continuous, 
but to be specified by mutual agreement, as the interests 
of the Society may appear to require, you shall be 
considered under the direction of the Society, to attend 
such anniversaries as they may think best : and that 
for the remaining months you shall be at liberty to 
gratify your friends and your own kind heart, by 
attending such other missionary, chapel, and school 
anniversaries, &c., as you may please. And they 
hope the arrangement will meet your wishes. If agree- 
able to you, you may, therefore, consider yourself an 
annuitant of the Society from the 29th of September, 
1837 ; and you will please to signify to us your 
acceptance of this plan ; or if any practicable modifica- 
tion occurs to you, you will suggest it. 

"I am desired to say, that your valuable services 
have been promised to the Cornwall District. Their 
anniversaries are held in the end of March and be- 
ginning of April, but you shall hear farther, when 
we receive your approval of the plan." 

On receiving this letter from the Missionary Com- 
mittee, which came to hand just as he was setting 
out on a tour to the north, he exclaimed, "Father, 
thy will be done ! " And on Monday, Oct. 23, he 
observes, "I went to Parlington, and finally settled 
to give up the farm ; " to which he again appended, 
" Lord, thy will be done ! " 

His extra journies this year amounted to nearly 
one hundred; and the chapels which he assisted in 
opening, were those of Wath, Shaw Green, Mickle- 
field, and Buxton Road, Huddersfield. The collections 
at the village of Wath, amounted to 56110. In the 
opening of Huddersfield chapel, which is capable of 



430 MEMOIRS OF 

accommodating 2000 people, he was associated with 
the Rev. R. Newton, G. B. Me Donald, Dr. Beau- 
mont, &c., among the Wesleyans, and the Rev. James 
Parsons of York, and the Rev. J. Harris, the cele- 
brated author of "Mammon," the "Great Teacher," 
&c., among the Dissenters. The sermons were stated 
by the public journals to be of the highest order 
of excellence, the attendance uncommonly numerous, 
and the collections munificent ; the latter assertion being 
borne out by the fact, that they amounted to ^61578. 
18s. 3d. 

Instances of usefulness were constantly stealing into 
public notice, as effected under the ministry of Mr. 
Dawson. Mr. Edward Jennings Olley was noticed 
among the "Recent Deaths" of the Wesleyan Methodist 
Magazine for the year, as one who had been both 
convinced of sin, and received a sense of pardon, 
while the subject of these Memoirs was officiating. 
An interesting account, too, is given in the same 
periodical of Mr. W. J. Brown, who was convinced 
of sin some time prior to this. He was in the 
establishment of Mr. Wilton of Doncaster, where he 
had been about six months, and from which Mr. 
Wilton was about to dismiss him, in consequence of 
his infidel principles. In his own account of himself, 
he observes, that when Mr. Wilton was on the point 
of sending him home, "at Mrs. Wilton's solicitation, 
he consented to try me a little longer, that I might 
have an opportunity of hearing a celebrated Local 
Preacher, of the name of Dawson ; who, it was said, 
had been instrumental in awakening some of the most 
desperate sinners in the land. He was going to open 
a new chapel at Thorne ; and, though I knew it not, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 431 

the religious members of the family agreed to make 
it matter of earnest prayer, that God would bless 
the opening services to my conversion. The day 
arrived, and I was easily persuaded to make one of 
a large party who went from Doncaster. Mr. Daw- 
son's text in the morning was Matt. xiv. 31. The 
subject was much more applicable to timid Christians, 
than to hardened sinners ; and as I had gone merely 
to have a little fun, I was not greatly affected; but 
though my affections were not much moved, my under- 
standing was enlightened. In the evening, his text 
was Heb. iii. 15, 'To-day if ye will hear his voice, 
harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.' The 
sermon was expressly to the ungodly and unawakened. 
His language was powerful and glowing ; and there 
was an overwhelming influence with it, which seemed 
to carry every sentence into the inmost recesses of 
my soul. I left the chapel with views and feelings 
of the most distressing kind, arising from a piercing 
sense of my awful state and condition as a sinner 
before God. I felt a burden on my conscience which 
I could neither bear nor remove. My sins had been 
great; consequently my convictions were deep." Mr. 
Dawson had spoiled the "fun" of many a sinner in 
the way. 



432 MEMOIRS OF 



CHAPTER XV. 



Notice of Mr. Damson's engagements. Residence in Leeds. 
Unmitigated toil. CENTENARY OF WESLEYAN METHODISM. 
Speech. Moral and religious Advantages of the Centenary. 
List of Appointments. Out-door preaching. Narration of 
Cottage Stories. Eccentricities. The Holy Spirit. Spurious 
Christianity. Plainness in Preaching. Leeds Parliamentary 
Revision. Courtesy of the Mayor of Leeds. Windsor Castle, 
Busts, and Paintings. Nature and Art. Leadership. Charac- 
ter. Kindness and Friendship. Ireland and the Irish. Mr. 
Thomas Stoner. Sermons. The Gown. Duke of Devonshire's 
grand Conservatory. Habit of Industry. Disinterestedness. 
Sheffield. Indisposition. A second case of Restitution. 
Presentiment. The London " Times." Mr. Thomas Lumb. 
Isle of Wight. Sickness. 



MR. DAWSON being now in a position in which he 
had not been placed before, and the people, in various 
places, taking it for granted that he was more at liberty 
than he really was, petitions poured into the Mission 
House from different quarters, requesting a share of 
his public service. In consequence of this, the fol- 
lowing x advertisement appeared on the cover of the 
"Missionary Notice" for January, 1838 : "In answer 
to the numerous applications to the general Secretaries 
of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, for the attendance 
of Mr. Dawson at missionary anniversaries, &c. ; the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 433 

Secretaries beg to state, that, for several months, Mr. 
Dawson's engagements with the Society will not come 
under their cognizance. When Mr. Dawson's engage- 
ments with the Society commence, a plan will be 
made, with Mr. Dawson's concurrence, embracing that 
portion of his time, during certain specified months 
in the year, which may be at the disposal of the 
Missionary Society ; and the places included in that 
plan will have due notice at what time they may 
expect Mr. Dawson's valuable services." 

He continued to proceed in his usual way till he 
quitted his farm, and entered upon his engagements 
with the Missionary Society ; after which he went to 
reside at Xo. G, Springfield Terrace, Burmantofts, Leeds, 
where his niece, Miss M. Dawson, kept his house, his 
brother Thomas residing with them. In his niece, he 
had everything he could wish in reference to domestic 
happiness ; prudence, piety, good sense, industry, 
order, and affection. He himself was a man of order, 
especially in the arrangement of his papers, and any- 
thing which belonged exclusively to his own depart- 
ment. It was his custom also, to write out a list 
of his engagements during a given period, and give it 
to Miss Dawson, that she might know in what part of 
the kingdom he W 7 as, and how to answer enquiries. He 
opened a new chapel at Tingley, March 1 1, and another 
at Batley Car, April 24 ; both in the Dewsbury circuit. 

His work now became sometimes excessive. The 
good friends, in different places, attended chie^y to 
their own wants and wishes, without considering the 
claims of others ; and to have complied with the 
wishes of all, would have required the compression 
of two years into one. "Uncle," said Miss Dawson, 
T 



434 MEMOIRS OF 

"your labour is too oppressive; you should contrive, 
in your arrangements, to secure two or three days 
to yourself occasionally, for rest." "Mary," he re- 
turned, " I shall rest in my grave. I must work while 
it is day; the night cometh when no man can work." 
At the Conference held in Bristol, July and August, 
several resolutions were entered into on a proposition 
of the preceding Conference respecting the celebration 
of the "CENTENARY OF WESLEYAN METHODISM." 
Minutes, pp. 115 119. On the morning of Nov. 
7th, 1838, pursuant to these resolutions and directions 
of the Conference, a meeting of ministers and gentle- 
men, convened by the President from different parts 
of the United Kingdom, was held in Oldham-Street 
chapel, Manchester, in order to devise a proper plan 
for its celebration the ensuing year. This meeting 
the biographer had the pleasure of attending ; at 
which were present the President and Secretary of 
the Conference, seven Ex-Presidents, and about two 
hundred and fifty other ministers and gentlemen con- 
nected with the Wesleyan-Methodist Societies and con- 
gregations in London, Manchester, Salford, Liverpool, 
Leeds, Bramley, Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield, Bolton, 
Stockport, Halifax, Bradford, Wolverhampton, West 
Bromwich, Macclesfield, Bury, "Wakefield, Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne, Sunderland, Chester, Rochdale, Oldham, 
Huddersfield, Sowerby-Bridge, Birstal, Hull, Whitby, 
York, Louth, Haslingdon, Dublin, Bandon, and else- 
where. The resolutions and speeches delivered at the 
meeting, were published in a " Supplement to the 
Watchman" of Nov. 21st, and also in the Wesley an 
Methodist Magazine for December, pp. 932 944. On 
this occasion, and at subsequent meetings, the members 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 435 

of the Methodist Society, and the friends of Methodism, 
poured into the Centenary Fund, for various connexional 
purposes, upwards of .220,000. 

At the adjourned Meeting of the Centenary Com- 
mittee held in Brunswick chapel, Leeds, in the month 
of December, Mr. Dawson took a share in the pro- 
ceedings. He observed on the occasion, that he was 
a stranger at home ', and that having been so much 
engaged elsewhere, and with other matters, he had 
had no time to direct his attention to the. subject of 
the Centenary. He expressed the pleasure he expe- 
rienced in seeing his brethren dwelling together in 
unity ; and he was sure the feeling connected with 
the meeting would not disturb a dying hour. He 
remembered meetings in the circuit of a very different 
description, meetings that occasioned pain, that 
occasioned the separation of brethren, a separation 
of hearts and minds. He even then felt for some, 
and wished them present to behold their joy. He 
stated, that he once made a speech at a meeting, 
referring to the division, when forty of them left their 
brethren. But after they left, God was evidently with 
both himself and his brethren ; and now, they seemed 
to be tied together with a band, like a sheaf, not 
only united, but full of good fruit. As to himself, 
he further observed, he had always been a non- 
descript, and he remained so up to that period, 
an itinerant Local Preacher, or, according to others, a 
middle link between the travelling and Local Preachers ; 
something like the Acts of the Apostles between the 
Gospels and the Epistles, which united the two. Taking 
hold of the latter comparison, he said, " If I could, 
I would take hold of the Travelling Preachers with 



436 MEMOIHS OF 

the one hand, and of the Local Preachers with the 
other, and would draw them still closer to the body. 
A friend of mine once observed to me, that when 
Matthew Henry died, he was in the Acts of the Apos- 
tles. That, I replied, is where I should like to be 
when I die, in the Acts of the Apostles. I exercised 
a sort of preachment some years before I became a 
decided Methodist ; but I found it would not do to 
be halting between the Established Church and the 
Methodists, and gave myself to the latter, soul and 
body, head, heart, and hand. On Mr. Pawson sending 
me a class-paper and a plan, I entered at once upon the 
work." After giving a sketch of the characteristic pecu- 
liarities of Methodism and its Founder, he then adverted 
the Theological Institution, and expressed a hope, that 
" the lads would come out like naming torches. " 
There were two meetings in Leeds on the same day ; 
and the "day's receipts" were announced in the 
evening to amount to 10, 5 90, which, added to .366,130, 
previously received, amounted to .3616,720 for the 
Leeds Centenary District, exclusive of what was after- 
wards contributed. 

Exclusive of finance, there were several other im- 
portant beneficial results arising out of the celebration 
of the Centenary of Wesleyan Methodism. It brought 
both preachers and people back to first principles. 
Upon these, the whole Wesleyan body seemed to fall, 
and found in them both footing and repose. Methodism 
was ascertained to be the very same then, in all the 
essentials of religion, that it was when it first came 
out of the hand of its Founder : and although, like 
Christianity itself, it had passed through various gloomy 
and turbulent periods, it always came out of the cloud 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 437 

and out of the storm, the same in substance as it 
entered. The waves had sometimes been heard to 
roar, but when they reached a certain point, a voice 
had been heard, " Hitherto shalt thou go, but no 
further. " The sun had been occasionally overcast, 
but never totally eclipsed. The Wesleyans had wit- 
nessed a few volcanic eruptions, but their Pompeii still 
stood, their Herculaneum had not been permitted 
to disappear beneath a superincumbent mass of ashes 
and burning lava. The members of the body could 
still say, "Beautiful for situation is Mount Zion;" 
and although they could not affirm her - to be the 
"joy of the whole earth;" yet they could invite 
the gaze of the crowd, and say, "Walk about Zion, 
go round about her; tell the towers thereof; mark 
well her bulwarks, consider her palaces, and tell it to 
the generation following ; " tell them that Methodism 
was, at the close of the century, as to the essentials 
of Christianity, what it was in the beginning. A 
second result was, that it brought together a number 
of facts and incidents, as well as a great deal of 
Methodistical lore to h'ght, which otherwise, in all 
probability, would have sunk into oblivion. These, 
together with local histories, were calculated to form 
the ground-work of a general ecclesiastical history of 
the Wesley an body, which is still a desideratum in 
Methodism. It produced, as a third result, a stronger 
bond of union among the members of Society. There 
had not been an era in Methodism, in which the 
people were more united ; nor was there a circum- 
stance in the history of Methodism, that had imparted 
equal pleasure ; never a measure that had been better 
supported. Rich and poor, young and old, seemed 



138 MEMOIRS OF 

to vie with each other in paying a tribute of respect 
to a system, which, under God, had placed them 
among the princes of his people. In addition to 
others, it was the means, as a fourth result, of re- 
claiming several wanderers, if not in life, at least 
\\\ feeling, sentiment, and expression. Children, grand- 
children, great grand-children, nephews, nieces, distant 
relatives, and friends, who seemed to have forgotten 
for a season, that such a thing as Methodism ex- 
isted, and that even they themselves owed their 
wealth and respectability to the habits induced by 
it in those that had gone befere, threw the mind 
back upon early days, and brought the past to bear 
upon what was then passing in review before them. 
Hence, in the list of Centenary contributions, were 
tributes of respect for a revered grandfathar, a beloved 
father or mother, friend or relative, of the first, 
second, or third generation of Wesleyan Methodists. 
These things afforded proofs, that if they were not 
with the body, they were in the way of being of 
it ; that a latent , spark of affection still existed in 
the soul, which might burst forth, and not only become 
a burning, but a shining light. 

During part of the winter, and the whole of the 
spring of 1 839, Mr. Dawson was employed in fulfilling 
such engagements as he had entered into prior to those 
which were immediately connected with the arrange- 
ments of the Missionary Committee ; which engage- 
ments were not completed till the month of July. 
A list of the places, commencing with July 25, 1839, 
and ending January 23, 1840, as constituting the 
labours of the half year claimed by the Missionary 
Committee being, during that time, obliged to preach 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 439 

twice a day very often, and to attend Missionary 
Meetings, at a period of life when he was fast verging 
towards seventy years of age, somewhat stiff and 
unwieldy in bulk, will abundantly shew, while it ex- 
hibits a constitution of brass, and the most ardent 
zeal in the cause of Christianity, that the office upon 
which4ie thus entered, after leaving all secular employ- 
ment, was no sinecure. * On one occasion, in addition 

The plan given to him, and which he fulfilled to the letter, is as follows : 
1839. 

July 25 Beal Sep. 4 Armley, near Leeds 

26 Snaith 5 Middleton 

28 (Sund.) Doncaster 6 Horsley, Woodhouse 

29 Misterton 8 (Sund.) Burton-on-Trent 

30 Goole 9 .Tamworth, near Bir- 

31 Ancoats mingham 

Aug. 1 Kelfield 10 Ticknale, nr. Ashby 

2 Acaster 11 Heanor, near Derby 

4 (Sund.) Leeds 12 Ilkestone, near Not- 

5 Worksop tingham 

6 Grundle on the Hill 13 Breedon, near Ashby 

8 Ferry 15 (Sund.) Lougborough 

8 Proceed to Nottingham 16 Thurmanstoue 

9. Kadcliffe, near Do. 17 Anisty 

11 (Sund.) Leicester 18 Ecton,nr.Northampton 

12 Through Coventry to 19 Finedon, ditto. 

St. Albans 20 Higham Ferrers 

13 St. Albans 22 (Sund.) Bedford 

14 Thrussington, near Sep. 23 Perhaps Newport- 
Leicester pagnell 

15 Broughton ditto. 24 Aylsbury 

18 Scarborough 25 Oakham 

19 Ditto. 26 Grimsby, Lincolnshire 

20 Ditto. 27 Ditto, ditto. 

23 Chickingly, near 28 Caister, ditto. 

Dewsbury 29 Scumthorp, ditto. 

25 (Sund.) Cross Mills,nr.Skipton 30 Minterton, ditto. 

26 Otley Several engagements are omitted here. 

27 Manchester Oct. 31 Set off for Birmingham 

28 Swanlow Lane, near Nov. 1 Newport-Pagnell 

Nantwich 2 Gate, St. Albans 

29 Etruria, Potteries 3 (Sund.) St. Albans and Watford 

Sep. 1 (Sund.) Biddings, nr. Belper 4 St. Albans 

2 Critch, Derbyshire 5 Watford 



440 MEMOIRS OF 

to the instances of excessive labour, already mentioned, 
he preached twenty-five sermons, delivered fifteen ad- 
dresses at Missionary Meetings, and travelled 88(5 
miles, in less than a month. 

Some of his outdoor scenes were exceedingly pictur- 
esque. When on a visit to Wheatley, near Retford, in 

Nov. 6 A wish for me to preach Dec. 17 Water 

in the neighbourhood 18 Acaster 

7 City Kuail, Missionary 19 Foggrethorpe anil 

Meeting Holme 

8 In London 20 Home 

J> Go to Ipswich 21 Set off for Congleton 

10 (Sund.) ditto. 22 (Sund.) Preach at ditto 

Nov. 11 Ipswich Miss. Meet. 23 Middlewich, Cheshire 

12 Woodbridge 24 Return to Bradford 

13 ".Manningtree 25 Bradford Juvenile 

14, 15 Unengaged Miss. Meeting 

10 Travel to Brighton 26 Preach near Bradford 

17 (Sund.) Preach ditto 27 Home 

18 .. ditto ditto 28 Go to Oldham 

19 ... .Lewis 29 (Sund.) Preach at Oldham 

20- Worthing 30 GotoWinsford,Cheshire 

21 .... Wahvorth 1840. 31 Burslem 

22 In London Jan. 4 Go to Stokesley, 

23 Travel to Windsor Cleveland 

24 (Sund.) Preach at ditto 5 Stokesley 

25 Meeting ditto 6 Return 

26- Maidenhead This week is not yet filled up 

27 Stanhope-street 12 (Sund.) Ripon 

28 Chelsea 15 Sheffield 

29, 30 Unengaged 16 Ecclesfield 

Dec. 1 (Sund.) City Road & Lambeth 19 (Sund.) Bilston 

2 Spital Fields 20 Kidderminster 

' 3....- -..Westminster 21 Uttoxeter 

4-. Southwark 26 (Sund.) Rochdale 

5, 6. ..... Unengaged This week not yet filled up. 

7 Go to Brentford Feb. 2 (Sund.) Hnll 

8 (Sund.) Brentford 4 Driffield 

9 Hinde-street 5 Crowle 

10 Go to Stainford 9 (Sund.) Derby 

12 1 hope to see home 10 Belper Potteries 

13 Home 11 Buxton 

14 Set off for York 16 (Sund.) Nantwich 

15 (Sund.) Preach at York This week not yet filled up 

16- Missionary Meeting V3 Near Manchester. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 441 

Nottinghamshire, he was compelled to leave the chapel, 
in consequence of the multitude of persons anxious to 
hear him, but unable to gain admission. He took his 
stand near a stack-yard ; and soon, boys, girls, men and 
women, were perched on walls, carts, stacks of stubble, 
and any little eminence that would admit of a sight of 
the preacher, apart from the dense mass of human 
beings before him, collected from the neighbouring 
places. A few smiled at first, at the novelty of the 
scene ; but every eye was speedily fixed, and a death- 
like silence prevailed, except in cases where persons 
were wrought upon by the force of truth. The rustic 
simplicity of the major part of his hearers, and the rural 
objects around, furnished a fine picture of primitive 
times, not of those when " Paul stood in the midst of 
Mars-hill," with the splendid temples of Greece, and 
the polished and philosophical orators of Athens before 
him, but when he " went out of the city by a river 
side, and sat down and spake unto the women that 
resorted thither." It is no wonder that Dr. Southey, 
with his fine genius, should have fastened on such scenes 
as these, in his Life of Mr. Wesley, and have expatiated 
abstracted from religion, on their poetic effect on the 
human mind. But visible things had fewer attractions 
than the voice of truth ; and not a few were impressed 
with the subject, which was selected from that portion 
of scripture which relates to the worth of the soul. 

His sermons were always of a character that might 
be understood ; and being occasionally interwoven with 
" COTTAGE STORIES" and "COTTAGE SCENES," par- 
ticularly in the rural districts, they never failed to rivet 
attention, and affect the heart. The author of " The 
Wanderer of Switzerland." has been heard to express 

T2 



442 MEMOIRS OF 

his admiration of Mr. Dawson's tact for relating 
" Cottage Stories," being distinguished for so much 
simplicity, ease, character, and pure nature ; combined 
with point, and good moral and religious improvements ; 
and often so beautifully illustrative withal, either of the 
general subject, or some particular point arising out of 
it, as well as admirably adapted to the occasion. 

On the platform, when in a state of high-wrought 
feeling, he sometimes proceeded to extreme lengths. 

This was the case at S . He had been rolling on 

in all his strength for some time, and, in the esteem of 
most, even seemed to surpass himself for freedom of 
expression, power of thought, and splendour of imagery; 
when, all on a sudden, some freak of fancy shot across 
the mind, and he took his seat. He had borne the 
people onward with himself, who seemed like persons 
transported into a strange country, when their leader 
suddenly disappeared, and they were left in silent 
astonishment. After a short pause, he sprang from his 
seat again, with the elasticity of youth, and directing 
his eye to the chairman, said, " with your permission, 
Sir, I should like to sing a little ;" and immediately 
pitched a tune to 

" We are soldiers fighting for our God, 
Let trembling cowards fly," &c., 

assuming, at the same time, a martial air, as he crossed 
the platform, bidding defiance to all the powers of 
earth and hell, and representing the missionary cause 
as towering abov^ all opposition. The effects of this 
eccentric movement were various, but such as would 
scarcely warrant a repetition ; nor could the thing itself 
apparently have been premeditated, as under such cir- 
cumstances it must have been an evident failure. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 443 

At the same place, on another occasion, he was inter- 
rupted in his speech by an unusual commotion, in which 
every eye was directed towards the door, accompanied 
with loud peals of approbation ; on which he coolly and 
mildly turned to the chairman, saying, "I'll stop a 
little, Sir ;" adding, with a sudden turn of pleasurable 
feeling " There he is there he comes all are glad to 
see him, fresh as a roe from the mountains of Israel, 
and leaping with all the agility of a Luck over his 
neighbour's fences." This only heightened the feeling 
of gladness, as the Rev. George Roebuck, who had 
travelled in the circuit, and just then unexpectedly 
appeared, making his way over the backs of the seats 
to the platform, being unable to gain access to it by 
any other mode, owing to the crowded state of the 
aisles. In this way, he often laid hold of little inci- 
dents, to relieve attention, incidents which would 
prove the death of mere rehearsals, but which were life 
to him, as they were the occasion of life in others. 

Several remarks escaped from him in different social 
parties, in the course of the year, when the biographer 
was present, some of which, though separate from their 
connection, may be useful to others, and also serve as 
a key to the character of his mind. "Without the 
SPIRIT, the promises of God are ineffectual. You may 
lay promise upon promise, like plaster upon plaster, to 
staunch the bleeding wounds of the soul ; but all is 
vain, till the Holy Ghost presses his hand upon them. 
With the letter we must have the Spirit. Look at 
Adam ; one of the fairest creatures of God ; perfect in 
all his limbs and features. God breathes into him a 
living soul, and he instantly starts on his feet. So 
much for forms without the Spirit. There is yet a 



444 MEMOIRS OF 

little wreck of divinity in man ; but he must be in 
Christ before he can live ; and thus, in Christ, divinity 
meets divinity." He met in his travels, one of the des- 
cendants of Oliver Hey wood ; and referring to this, he 
observed, " I regret to find, that most of the descen- 
dants of that excellent man are Socinians." Then 
glancing at the history of the Church, he said, " Mo- 
hammedanism arose at an early period, and the Arab 
thief from hell tried to rob Christ of his honours. 
Popery, though long working, came next in its grosser 
form ; and required paintings, vestments, and other 
adornings, to hide its hideous features. But we, as 
Methodists, preach Christ the MEDIATOR, and have 
no need to go to the virgin Mary to mediate for us. 
We preach forgiveness, through faith in his blood, and 
have no need to go to the priest for absolution ; we 
receive it from our Great High Priest. We preach the 
sanctification of the Spirit, and have no need to go to 
purgatory to be purified; no, we shall glide past it 
without feeling its heat. After the Reformation, the 
Church again relapsed. The Nonconformists, some 
of whom were among the best men that ever lived, were ex- 
pelled from the English Church: then came Socinianism, 
into which most of the Presbyterians fell ; and chapels, 
erected by orthodox men, were consecrated to error." 
" The Letters of Joseph Alleine/' said he, "are equal 
to those of Fletcher for piety ; but he cannot stoop 
like the latter." Directing attention to preaching, he 
observed, " Ministers cannot be too plain and striking, 
provided they are not vulgar and absurd. Let Mr. E. 
read a page out of Bishop Butler's Analogy of Religion, 
Natural and Revealed, to a Christian congregation, and 
another out of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and it will 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 445 

soon be seen which will strike the most, and with which 
they will feel most interested." 

At the Leeds borough parliamentary revision, before 
Mr. Kaye, Mr. Dawson was objected to by the liberals, 
when some rather amusing questions were propased, 
arising from the station he occupied in the Wesleyan 
body ; but the " objection was dissallowed."* 

* The following account appeared in the Leeds " Mercury,' 1 among other 
cases. 

Mr. William Damson, house, Springfield Terrace, Burmantofts. Objected 
to by the Liberals. 

Mr. BOND called a person named Hargreave, who proved the occupancy 
of the house in question by Mr. Dawson, the sufficiency of value for the pur- 
pose of conferring a vote, and also the period of possession by the voter. 

Mr. PREST. What is Mr. Dawson? 

Witness. He's a Methodist preacher. 

Mr. PREST. Don't you know he occupies the house under trustees ? 

Witness. He is not a travelling preacher, unless he has become so very 
lately. 

Mr. PREST. Why, you anticipate the question. 

Mr. BOND. I believe Mr. Dawson is not called 'Reverend.' 

Mr. MORGAN". He is as much ordained as any other Methodist preacher. 

Mr. PREST. Dont you know that gentlemen of Mr. Dawson's calling are 
removeable at pleasure? 

Witness. I believe he is considered a local preacher, and not a regular 
minister. 

Mr. Thomas Simpson, painter, said, that he had a notion 

Mr. PREST. We dont want any of your notions here unless you can swear 
to them. 

Mr. Simpson. I bare known Mr. Dawson for thirty years. 

Mr. KAYE. Then what is he? 

Mr. Simpson. He is a local preacher, and nothing more. He takes the 
house himself, pays the rent, and no one has any control over him. I am a 
local preacher, same as he is. 

Mr. PHEST. How do you know that? 

Mr. Simpson. I know it as well as I know my own brother's affairs. 

Mr. PREST. Can you give us the definition of a local preacher' 

Mr. Simpson. If the Barrister wishes it I will give him one, but I don't see 
that it is requisite. 

Mr. KAYE. Does Mr. Dawson occupy this house under trustees? 

Mr. Simpson. No ; he has nothing to do with trustees. 
Mr. KAYE. Does he preach in any particular chapel. 

Mr. Simpson. No ; he travels from one part of the country to uuotlu r, and 
preaches to any congregation who may send for him. 



446 MEMOIRS OF 

At the time the liberals were disputing his civil 
rights, he received marked attention from the Mayor ; 
to whose polite note he returned the following answer : 

" The right worshipful the Mayor of the borough of 
Leeds. 

" Honoured Sir, Your kind invitation to dine with 
you on "Wednesday the 1 6th instant, came to my house 
in due season. But not being at home at the time, I 
was unable to do myself the honour and the pleasure of 
complying with your wishes : the honour, so far as 
being under your roof as the chief magistrate of the 
borough of Leeds goes ; and the pleasure of being in 
your presence, as a friend, not omitting, a friend and 
relative of old and dear friends. To have been with 
you, would have afforded a gratification, which few, if 
any, of your respectable company would equally have 
felt. So speaks the heart of Honoured Sir, 

"Yours, most respectfully, W. DAWSON." 

Mr. KAYE Then he takes the house, and the furniture is his own? 

Mr. Simpson. Yes. 

Mr. BOND. Is he removeable by Conference ? 

Mr. Simpson. No. 

Mr. KAYE. If you show me that this house belongs to certain trustees, then 
the occupation is a permissive one, and there is an end of the case : but if, to 
use a familiar expression, he takes it in his own private right, why then he 
stands unconnected with the trustees. 

Mr. PREST. He mayjje removed. 

Mr. KAYE. Show me the difference between an officer in the army or navy, 
sent on foreign service, and the case of Mr. Dawson. You don't mean to 
contend that an officer sent abroad is not entitled to have a vote. I think 
there is nothing in the objection. 

Mr. PREST. My objection is, that Mr. Dawson may be removed at any 
time from this house by the Conference, and sent to a distant part of the 
country. 

Mr. KATE. Exactly: he may be sent from Leeds to attend a congregation 
in some other part ; but can you, as I said before, distinguish him in any way 
from an officer in her Majesty's service. You might as well say that I have 
no vote in London, because her Majesty's Judge of Assize sends me here for so 
many days in a year. I think there is no validity in your objection. Otgeclion 
disallowed. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 447 

Being in the house of a friend about the same time, 
and looking at a bust, he said to the biographer, " I 
never like to see a bust. There is no soul in the eye ; 
it always appears ghastly, and reminds me of death in 
a coffin." Painting had rather more charms than 
sculpture ; but here too more perhaps from a want of 
knowledge than a want of taste, he felt comparatively 
little interest. "If I have any taste," said he, "it 
belongs more immediately to the ear than the eye. 
When I visited Windsor Castle, I was struck with the 
antiquity, the grandeur, and the majesty of the place. 
In passing from room to room, I saw paintings, which, 
I take for granted, were by the first masters ; but they 
were all lost upon me. I was pleased with the group- 
ing, colouring, &c., but could not tell why. I was 
grieved at myself, and said inwardly, ' I wish I had my 

friend Mr. here ; he would be able to point out 

the peculiarities and excellences of each.' This itself 
was a drawback upon my pleasure." The truth is, in 
all art there is more or less deception ; and hence, the 
artist is advised to " put a generous deceit on the 
spectators, and effect the noblest designs by easy 
methods." Another authority Sir Joshua Reynolds, 
tells us, " What has pleased, and continues to please, 
is likely to please again ; from whence are derived the 
rules of art." The more perfect the deception, there- 
fore, the more likely it is to please. Mr. Dawson was 
a pure child of nature, and hence it was, that nature 
had always more charms than art. In the mean time, 
" it must be a great mortification to the vanity of man, 
that his utmost art and industry can never equal the 
meanest of nature's productions, either for beauty or 
value. Art is only the under-workman, and is employed 



448 MEMOIRS OF 

to give a few strokes of embellishment to those pieces 
which come from the hand of the master. Some of 
which may be of his drawing, but he is not allowed to 
touch the principal figure. Art may make a man a suit 
of clothes, but nature must produce a man." The 
" Mountain Daisy," or the cowslip possessed more 
attractions for such a man as Mr. Dawson, than the 
chef-d 1 -ceuvre of the most eminent master of either the 
chisel or the pencil. 

When speaking of the tour, in the course of which 
he visited Windsor, he observed to the biographer, 
" My heart was wrung with grief during the six weeks. 
With only one reluctant exception, the speakers Avert- 
never cheered when Popery was referred to with disap- 
probation. The people seemed absolutely afraid of 
giving the smallest countenance to any discussion on 
the subject. So much for popish influence in the 
cabinet and elsewhere." 

In the course of this journey also, he met with his ven- 
erable friend, the Rev. H. Moor. Speaking of the leader 
of a certain party, and the dissension occasioned by 
him ; "Yes," said Mr. M., "the devil took it into his 
head once to set up for himself; but he soon found, 
he had better have been quiet." Mr. Dawson himself 
made a good remark, when speaking of two persons 
who were often striving for the mastery, " The English 
[language] will never admit of two great I Is together." 
Referring to Mr. M's attack of paralysis, he related the 
following characteristic anecdote : " When he began 
to rally in mind, he expressed a wish to be taken down 
stairs. There were none but females in the house at 
the time. He was impatient to be removed, unable to 
assist himself, and the females were unequal to the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 449 

effort. One of them going out for aid, saw a gentle- 
man passing, and requested his assistance. When 
they got him down stairs, and matters adjusted, Mr. 
M. thanked the gentleman, who, as he was about to 
retire, politely put his card into his hand. Mr. M. 
looking at it, and seeing 'UNDERTAKER' upon it, 
returned it, and coolly observed, 'Thank you, Sir, 
for your kind attentions ; but it has not come to that 
yet.' " With the exception of physical debility, Mr. 
Dawson thought the mind of Mr. M. very little 
impaired. 

Mr. Dawson having been advised, in a certain trans- 
action in which an equivalent was not given for value 
received, and which would admit of certain claims of 
justice and mercy, in the event of success, called upon 

the biographer, and said, " I was at , in the 

course of my journey, and recollecting your hint, I 

called on Mr. , who handed me ten pounds, as 

part profit on ; I therefore made iip my mind, the 

first time I should meet with you, to thank you for ten 
pounds. This I shall devote to the two orphan chil- 
dren." These were the children of a friend. Friend- 
ship, with Mr. Dawson, was not merely, as La Roche- 
foucauld defines it, an exchange of good offices, a 
reciprocal management of faults and virtues, a com- 
merce in which self-love finds something to gain. To 
lower thus the principle of human actions, may serve 
the cause of infidelity, but not that of disinterested 
Christianity ; and the worst of consequences may be 
deduced from such theories. These orphans would 
have lost ten pounds on reducing such principles to 
practice : and say What would be the loss to the poor 
in particular, and to the world at large ! 



450 MEMOIRS OF 

He was at Swanlow Lane, in Cheshire, about the 
same time. His friend Mr. Russom drove him to the 
house of Mr. Stones, where he was to lodge. Having 
perspired profusely while preaching, and forgotten his 
top-coat, he felt chilled by the evening air. While his 
friend was urging on the horse, he said, " Friend R., 
a prudent man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself, 
but the simple pass on and are punished." He was 
providentially preserved, however, from receiving any 
material injury. 

After much hard labour in the course of the winter, 
and in the early part of the year succeeding, he left 
Leeds, March 30th, 1840, for Liverpool, and set sail 
for Ireland, April 1st, the day on which the Rev. R. 
Newton embarked for America. He had not been in 
Ireland before. While there, he travelled from place to 
place, preaching, and attending missionary meetings. 
His fire and his genius were admirably adapted to gain 
the attention and the hearts of the inhabitants of the 
Emerald Isle ; and his conversations, on his return, 
afforded no small proof of close observation, and shewed, 
that if he had been so disposed, and had had sufficient 
time at command to have gone forth for the purpose, 
he might have produced a good article, not in an 
offensive sense, on the " Lights and Shadows of Irish 
Life ;" omitting, of course, the farce of brogue and 
humour, the gusto and buoyancy, and the finish of 
touch displayed by some authors that might be named. 
The productions of his pen would have been more 
adapted to the closet than the drawing-room table, 
his " Lights " arising from the wholesome effects of 
Protestant instruction and piety, and his " Shadows " 
from Popish ignorance and superstition. Some him- 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 451 

dreds of volumes and pamphlets have been published 
on the evils of Ireland, and the remedies for those 
evils ; but it has been affirmed, and affirmed with truth 
too, that scarcely any three of the doctors are agreed 
as to the nature of the disease ; and there is still a 
greater discrepancy as to the mode of cure. Two or 
three valuable aphorisms, however, may be selected 
from some of these brochures. "The evils of Ireland," 
says a sound thinker, "are high rents and low wages ;" 
and he is perfectly correct. "The evils of Ireland," 
says another, " are its book-makers and its speech- 
makers ;" and he is not very far wrong ; especially if 
the latter be coupled with Daniel O'Connel, who, by 
the way, has made as much in hard cash by his 
speeches, as some of the greatest landed proprietors in 
Ireland have made by their estates. Here comes a 
third : " Give me," said the celebrated Mr. Stephens 
and the saying contains volumes " Give me," said 
he, when the government was about to send an armed 
force into Ireland, " Give me an army of school- 
masters, and I will conquer Ireland." Aye, there it is, 
WHOLESOME INSTRUCTION ! The evils of Ireland 
must be traced, in a great measure, to the important 
fact, which, with the exception of Mr. Taylor in his 
" Civil Wars of Ireland," both Protestant and Catholic 
writers have been careful to suppress, the fatal gift 
of the island by the Pope to Henry II. To this 
atrocious act may be attributed most of the misery 
of Ireland. It armed the conquerors with a right 
divine, and it unnerved many of the wisest Irish 
chieftains, who imagined that opposing the will of 
one, whom other nations regarded as the infallible 
head of the Church, was at once fruitless and impious. 



452 MEMOIRS OF 

Popery is at the root of all : its crimes and follies 
have disorganized Irish society, rendered the fertility 
of the Irish soil a curse, and derived misery from 
the very bounties of heaven. 

Few men, with the exception of the author of 
"Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry," who 
has been justly denominated a Crabbe in prose, would 
have been better able to depict the state of the pea- 
santry, than Mr. Dawson. Like the author in question, 
he would have delineated with sternness, but with 
fidelity ; with inexorable severity when a vicious system 
was to be portrayed, yet ready to shed the tear of 
sympathy over those whom that system had made 
its miserable victims. He possessed the power of 
giving reality to humble life, and the consistency of 
his narratives never failed to convince those who at- 
tended to them, of his fidelity ; constantly reminding 
a person acquainted with them, of some of the Dutch 
painters ; possessing like them, minute fidelity, even 
in the circumstances which are apparently the most 
trifling, and depicting matters often slurred over by 
mere narrators of fiction. 

Mr. Dawson saw enough of the Irish character, dur- 
ing his brief stay, to produce a love of it; every 
peasant with whom he met and this is the general 
feeling pervading society, considering his visit more as 
a compliment paid to himself, than a general love to 
the cause of Missions, and deemed it a direct duty to 
pay him every possible respect. 

Not long after his return from the green isle, he re- 
opened a chapel in Gloucester, and improved the death of 
his beloved friend, Mr. Thomas Stoner, the father of the 
Rev. David Stoner, with whom he had been intimately 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 453 

acquainted, for a period of forty years. He died, 
Friday, May 22nd, 1 840, aged 75 years. Mr. Stoner, 
as well as himself, was brought to God under the 
ministry of the Rev. Thomas Dikes ; and afterwards, 
he received the sanctification of the Spirit, Friday, 
April 12th, 1806, under Mr. Dawson' s own ministry. 
He was a man of slow speech, of great tender- 
ness, timidity, and modesty ; uniform in his Christian 
character, powerful in prayer, faithful and persevering 
in the discharge of religious duty. When he joined 
society, the "Wesleyans in Barwick had only one sermon 
in the month from the local preachers 011 the Sabbath 
afternoon : but the few members who were competent 
to exercise in prayer, and in this Mr. Dawson joined, 
" went two and two, on a Sabbath evening, to hold 
prayer meetings in the neighbouring places." On the 
alternate Sabbath, he threw open the best room in his 
house, for a "fellowship meeting;" and it was here 
that Mr. Dawson received so many baptisms of the 
Spirit. Mr. Dawson, in a MS. account of this good 
man, observes, in reference to this room ; "This was 
the birth-place of many souls. This room was, for 
years the study of the preachers. They felt, when 
within its walls, that it was like the ' holy of holies,' 
in which the glory shone from between the cherubim 
upon the High Priest, while worshipping within the 
veil. If the figure may be allowed, it was always kept 
well warmed, well aired, and well perfumed with the 
' odour of sweet smell,' emanating from the presence 
of God, who appeared to take up his abode within its 
sacred walls." Mr. Stoner established a class of young 
boys and girls, and was eminently useful in the Sunday 
School. Before he died, instead of a room, preaching 



454 MEMOIRS OF 

once a month, and only one class, he lived to see a 
chapel, preaching twice every Sabbath and once on 
the week day, and four classes. Though called to pass 
through deep waters in the course of a few of the last 
years of his life, " the bitters of his cup," observes 
Mr. Dawson, "were softened and sweetened by the ex- 
emplary, and truly praiseworthy affection of his beloved 
daughter, and her no less worthy husband ; added to 
which was the love and care of his youngest son, who 
was to him a JOSEPH." He left Tadcaster on the 7th 
of May, to visit his son, resident at Barwick. There 
he took ill and finished his earthly, where he com- 
menced his Christian course. During his last illness, 
the family wished to know what message he had to 
deliver to his daughter, the wife of the Rev. George 
Croft, a Missionary in the West Indies, when he said 
"Heaven! Heaven!" Some of his last words were, 
" I am ready ! I am ready ! 

' For me my elder brethren stay, 
And angels beckon me away, 
And Jesus bids me come.' " 

Mr. Dawson preached the same sermon on the occa- 
sion, both at Tadcaster and Barwick. His friend John 
Batty heard him at both places ; and named the cir- 
cumstance. " I had forgotten yon were there," said 
Mr. Dawson ; " and it is as well I did, or it would have 
been a snare to me." John replied, " I liked it better 
the second time than the first." This was not a solitary 
case; for as he often extemporized, and always left 
room for the inspirations of the Spirit in the pulpit, his 
sermons, by the occasional introduction of episodical 
matter, though substantially unaltered, carried a fresh- 
ness with them, resembling the breath of spring and 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 455 

the balm of summer. Hence, when his .sermons were 
published by short-hand writers, he met occasionally 
with passages which he had forgotten, being struck off 
at the moment, and possessed of amazing force and 
beauty. 

Prior to the Newcastle Conference, the "Gown" 
question, which was settled the Conference following, 
became a subject of conversation. " My prejudices," 
said Mr. Dawson, " are in favour of a gown ; but my 
reason, in the present state of affairs, is against it. 
When young, I could not bear to hear a person preach 
without a gown ; and hence I feel strong objections to 
the use of one in the Sheffield Proprietary School. 
The boys will, like myself, imbibe a prejudice in favour 
of the gown ; and it will have a tendency to alienate 
the mind of the boys, on their return home, to find 
Wesleyan Ministers denuded of what they have been 
practically taught to value." 

In one of his excursions, in the course of summer, 
he was in the neighbourhood of Chatsworth, and availed 
himself of the opportunity of going over the house and 
grounds belonging to his Grace the Duke of Devonshire. 
What he was especially struck with was, the " CON- 
SERVATORY ; " * from which he came to Acaster, fresh 

*Thi:> is stated, by Dr. Granville, in his " Midland and Southern Spas of 
England," to be perfectly original and unique, so far as it was proceeded with, 
when his work was published. It would, by modern Parisians, receive the 
title of " Terre Monstre." It stands at a short distance from the great water- 
work or cascades in the park. Here a spot of ground was cleared of trees and 
shrubs to the extent of two acres, one of which is covered over with glass. 
The glazed surface contains seventy thousand square feet of glass, divided into 
slips, each two feet long and six inches wide, arranged in perpendicular rows, 
and so that the angles upwards and downwards, give to the whole the appear- 
ance of a series of horizontal zig-zag lines of panes of glass one above 
another. Under this enormous dome, some of the best garden soil is strewed 
on the levelled ground, to the extent of seventy thousand square feet, including 



456 MEMOIRS OF 

as from paradise, where the biographer met him at the 
house of his brother, Mr. Richard Dawson. He took 
up the subject at a Missionary Meeting, which was held 
in a large barn, and with a fine play of rich imagina- 
tion, and gorgeous colouring, represented the Christian 
Church as the Conservatory of Jesus Christ, adorned 
with every variety of character, like flowers of various 
hues, and enriched with " the fruit of the Spirit." 

After this, he went into the north, and though not in 
full strength, yet he had, on reaching Carville, travelled 
four hundred miles, and preached twenty-nine times, 
within the space of eighteen days. 

On completing this tour, and returning home, he 
visited the Rev. Alexander Bell, Superintendant of 
Leeds first circuit, and, making a low bow, pleasantly 
said, "I am a poor man, and have been out of work 
four days ; will you be kind enough to give me a job ?" 
Such were his habits of industry, that he could not en- 
dure the thought of being out of employment. He had 
never eaten the bread of idleness ; and even with his 
limited annual stipend from the Missionary Fund, he 
never thought he could do enough for the sacred cause. 
When he went to John Burton, Esq., of Roundhay, 
who was commissioned by the Missionary Committee, 

both wings ; and in it is planted, sown, and transplanted, every vegetable 
production that requires a permanent atmospheric heat, higher than what is 
peculiar to our own climate, a temperature for which a suitable provision is 
made under the Conservatory, by means of boilers and pipes, conveying hot 
water along corridors some hundreds of feet in length, ami high enough for a 
man lo walk upright in them from one to another. Tim various plants, shrubs, 
and flowers of the two tropics, and Australia, are reared in this artificial 
southern hemisphere, arranged in groves and parterres, as if growing naturally 
on the spot, v.'itliout the appearance of pot or box of any kind ; streamlets of 
running water, or standing pools, giving freshness to the sultry atmosphere ; 
and meandering paths through these bowers, and a carriage-way, across every 
part of ihis conservatory. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 457 

to pay him his quarterly instalment, which was little 
more than an acknowledgment for labour so great, he 
would say, " You had better take ten pounds of this 
for the Missions ; I have no use for the whole." Mr. 
Burton replied, " I am commissioned to pay the whole, 
and the whole you shall have from me. Do with it 
what you please, when you receive it." 

Adverting to his physical state at this time, he re- 
marked to one who wished to engage his service, " You 
must not trust to such a broken reed, as your old 
friend." He was troubled with cough and shortness of 
breath. 

Having to go into the north again, he wrote to his 
friend Mr. Longden, of Sheffield, from North Shields. 
"DEAR SIR, God willing, I hope to set off on 
Saturday evening, by the train which leaves Leeds at 
five o'clock in the evening, and professes to arrive at 
Sheffield about half-past six, when I expect to enjoy the 
mental, social, and spiritual pleasures of your society, 
and that of your worthy partner and family. So be it, 
says the heart of, Yours truly, W. DAWSON. 

" P. S. I write this note in the house of Mr. Bram- 
well. Mr. and Mrs. B. desire to be affectionately 
remembered to you and yours." 

On reaching Sheffield, he was a good deal indisposed. 
Mr. and Mrs. L. urged him to seek medical advice ; but 
to this he objected, owing, it was supposed, to his 
having been so seldom in the hands of the gentlemen of 
the profession. This passed over ; and Mrs. L. having 
to make a call or two the day following his pulpit ser- 
vices, asked him to accompany her, with which request 
he readily complied, supposing a morning ride might be 
serviceable to him. Alighting at the door of a friend, 
o 



458 MEMOIRS OF 

he was soon introduced to the good lady of the house. 
Not long after, the gentleman of the house stepped out 
of an adjoining room. Combined with the object of 
Mrs. L. seeing her friends, was the welfare of Mr. 
Dawson. The plan was complete. The gentleman 
belonged to the medical profession. Mrs. L. told him 
Mr. Dawson had been complaining a little, and wished 
to know whether he could prescribe anything to afford 
relief. Mr. Dawson found where he was, and saw no 
way of escape. He, therefore, entered frankly into the 
state of his health, when the doctor told him, that 
there was water in the chest. " That," said Mr. Daw- 
son, without any emotion of fear, " is the complaint of 
which my mother died." The doctor advised him to 
relax his pulpit exertions ; stating, that if he did not, it 
would be perilous, if not fatal. 

No advice, however, of this kind, seemed at the 
time to be availing, in consequence of the engagements 
into which he had entered, and his anxiety to fulfil them. 

While at Sheffield, the following account on "the 
power of conscience," was written, which pairs well 
with another case mentioned in the preceding pages. 
" It is always pleasing," says he, "to a pious mind, to 
observe the workings of Divine grace in the soul, as it 
manifests itself in appropriate fruits ; but seldom do we 
witness such a remarkable instance of its power on the 
conscience as in the following case, which lately came 
under my observation : About seventeen years ago, a 
young man in this town was sent to get change at a 
neighbouring shop for a ten-pound note, when, by 
mistake, he was paid ten guineas, which he received, 
and said nothing on the subject. Of late he has been 
converted to God ; and, having an uneasy conscience 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 459 

on account of this transaction, felt desirous of making 
restitution. But the person from whom he received 
the money being dead, he was unable for sometime to 
obtain any information concerning the family. At 
length he discovered where the son resided ; and having 
ascertained that neither of the parents was living, 
during the last week, he sent a person to inform him 
of the circumstance, and to pay him the extra ten 
shillings which had been received of his father at the 
time stated, with interest, if required ; adding, that he 
could not be happy until he had paid the same. The 
son expressed pleasure in witnessing such an instance 
of the grace of God ; but said he would not take the 
interest, and that the ten shillings should be given to 
the cause of Christ. He has since presented it to the 
"Wesleyan Missionary Society, as God's own peculiar 
property. I understand the same person has made 
restitution in several other cases of a like nature." 
This account appeared in the Wesleyan Methodist 
Magazine, 1841, p. 123, signed, " William Dawson." 
The Rev. B. Clough appends to it, " The ten shillings 
referred to in this interesting note, have been paid to me 
on the behalf of the Missions, and accounted for ac- 
cordingly." 

He visited the city of York in December, where the 
biographer had much of his society, and where he 
could not but observe a change for the worse in his 
physical energies. While accompanying him to the 
houses of a few old friends, Messrs. Peart, Rocliife, 
Lyth, and Agar, he observed to the writer on passing 
along the street, " I believe I shall die of diabetes 
at last. " He lodged at the house, as usual, of 
Mr. Isaac Taylor, while in the city ; and when the son 



460 MEMOIRS OF 

of his friend was parting with him at the railway 
station, he said, " Farewell, John ; this is perhaps the 
last time I shall see you upon earth ; I have a presenti- 
ment that I shall go off suddenly, and you must not be 
surprised if you hear tell of me being found dead some- 
where." 

In addition to his regular missionary work, which, as 
already intimated, included one-half of his time, he had 
no less than four hundred and twenty letters of invita- 
tion to different places in the course of the year : not 
from small insignificant places leading him hither and 
thither, and giving the notion of a mendicant, by 
accepting them with hungry anxiety, as though "the 
smallest offering would be thankfully received." His 
popularity was of a higher order ; it partook of the 
character of that of some of the "mighty dead," not 
forgetting a few of the living, to whom the Connexion 
is so deeply indebted. 

The London " Times," relying on the report and 
comments of the York Herald a paper not to be 
trusted for too much candour where Methodism is con- 
cerned, nor yet for too little when Popery is in question, 
passed some strictures on Mr. Dawson's speech at the 
York Missionary Meeting, stating, that railway travel- 
ling and steam-engines were improved in a style which, 
though common two centuries ago, and not unknown to 
the early ages of the Church, bordered too closely on 
the ludicrous to be- properly applied to sacred subjects. 
It was admitted that the speaker's meaning was good, 
and that the speech was well received ; but that they 
seldom had read anything which gave them a lower 
opinion of the taste of orator or audience. In this, 
there is as severe a reflection on the Wesleyans, for 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 461 

being pleased with such an orator, as on the speaker 
himself. But Mr. Dawson, with all his eccentricities, 
was too high for the pages of the York Herald, 
which it would be much more easy to burlesque, than 
the subject in question. 

A few days after Mr. Dawson left York, he preached 
a funeral sermon at Barwick, occasioned by the death 
of his friend, Mr. Thomas Lumb, a local preacher, 
who died suddenly, on the 15th of December, in the 
fortieth year of his age, just after he had been praying 
with his family. A few sentiments at the close of Mr. 
Dawson' s address will show the views he entertained of 
" sudden death ; " and these taken in connexion with 
his own presentiment, expressed at the York station 
to Mr. Taylor only a few days before, cannot but 
awaken in the mind some powerful emotions ; the 
preacher living hi daily expectation of the sudden 
transit on which he was descanting, in reference to the 
subject of his discourse! "Blessed is that servant 
whom when his Lord cometh shall find watching ; so 
he found our beloved brother. the delightful, the 
important change ! Now bowing before the throne of 
grace, and in a few minutes worshipping before the 
throne of glory ; one minute surrounded by his fellow 
creatures, clad in the garments of mortality, and another 
minute, surrounded by angels, archangels, and the 
spirits of just men made perfect, one minute holding 
communion with the presence of his adorable Saviour 
by faith, and in another minute, beholding him face to 
face. Farewell ! may we meet thee in glory ! " A manu- 
script account of this excellent man was found among Mr. 
Dawson' s papers. His demise is noticed among the "Re- 
cent Deaths," in the Methodist Magazine, 1841, p. 152. 



462 MEMOIRS OF 

Immediately on this, Mr. Dawson, appears to have 
paid a visit to the Isle of Wight, where he was put into 
a bed, which was too thinly clothed for the season of 
the year, and of which the family do not appear to 
have been sufficiently aware. The consequence was, 
that he took cold, and became much indisposed. Ill as 
he was, he had to preach. In this state also, he pro- 
ceeded to London, where other public services awaited 
him. Having fulfilled these engagements, he returned 
to Leeds, where he instantly took a cab, and proceeded 
to the house of Mr. Morley, who bled him, till, in his 
own language, he "was almost drained," but without 
producing faintness. Mr. Morley was apprehensive of 
pleurisy following ; but by precautionary measures, it 
was prevented, and Mr. Dawson began to recover. 
Although he had experienced a few slight illnesses, yet 
till this period, he had never been confined to the house 
one whole week through indisposition. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 463 



CHAPTER XVI. 

The King's Daughter. The Will of God. Proverbial Sayings. 
Indisposition. Acaster. Plan of Labour. Mr. J. Wild. 
Dover. Letter to Mrs.Ince. Croydon. Birkhamstead. Last 
Sermon. Return Home. Colne. Sudden Death. Reflections. 
Processions. Funeral Obsequies. Tokens of Respect. 

MR. DAWSON commenced the labours of 1841 with 
his accustomed spirit, but not with his usual physical 
strength. 

Being at Nottingham, he took for his text, Psalm 
xlv. 13, &c., "The King's daughter is all glorious 
within; her clothing is of wrought gold," &c. ; a 
part of the imagery according as much with the 
net, lace, and needle-work of the place, as it was 
suited to the peculiar character of his genius. His 
manner of handling the subject was peculiar to him- 
self; and in consequence of making every thing tell 
on the conscience and the understanding, the sermon, 
connected with an extraordinary influence of God upon 
the people, was rendered extensively useful. A friend, 
who had heard him in different parts of the country, 
enquired afterwards, " How is it, we have not had 
this sermon before?" Mr. Dawson replied, "It is 
not altogether new ; -for I took it at Manchester, in 



464 MEMOIRS OF 

Oldham-street chapel, on the evening of Dr. W's. 
return from his chancery trial in London, when the 
Society was balancing, and when it was unknown a 
short time before, whether I should be allowed to 
occupy the pulpit. Since then, I have had her, in 
true oriental style, though the daughter of a king, 
locked up, and have not once suffered her to go 
abroad till to-night." And with his touchings and 
embroiderings, she was, indeed, on the testimony of 
those who heard him, made "glorious " to the auditory, 
being arrayed in the "beauties of holiness." 

When speaking of subjects for the pulpit, he ob- 
served to the writer, " I never preached on the will 
of God but once." This was owing to the compre- 
hensive character of the subject, the nicety required 
in its management, and to what he conceived to be 
the pre-requisites of the speaker, whose own will, 
should, in everything, be swallowed up in the will 
of God : and though few men could, with greater 
sincerity, say, "Thy will be done," yet such were 
the views he had of his many imperfections, that 
they awed him away from the subject. Glancing at 
Acts xiii. 36, "For David, after he had served his 
own generation, by the will of God fell on sleep, and 
was laid unto his fathers," he said, "I have long 
viewed this passage as David's epitaph, endited by 
the Holy Ghost, written by the pen of an apostle, 
and placed, as it were, over his tomb, to be read by 
the Church and by the world to the end of time." 

In his tcte-h-tetes with his private friends, he often 
introduced the proverbial expressions of rural and 
humble life ; and even seemed to delight in them. 
"Allow me to help you to a little more, Mr. Dawson," 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 465 

said a friend at a social meal, where plain col- 
loquy was in use. " " No more, I thank you, " 
was returned ; hitching in, "if there have been 
shameful eatings, there shall not be shameful leavings:" 
a gentle hint, by the way, for the more saucy part 
of the community, who pay more attention to the 
desire of the eye, than the wants of nature and the 
feelings of the provider of the repast, by turning 
aside what they have, perhaps, previously solicited. 
To waste, sauciness, and extravagance, he was a deter- 
mined enemy. 

He was down in Lincolnshire, preaching occasional 
sermons in connection with Mr. Charles Welch of 
Hull, author of "Wesleyan Polity," and some other 
excellent publications ; on which occasion he stated, 
that he felt the work too laborious for him; further 
adding, " I purpose going on till July, and then 
I shah 1 state to the committee, that I must become 
a supernumerary." It was not the feeling of a tri- 
fling ailment, that induced him to make this remark ; 
and it is only to be regretted, that it had not been 
made earlier, and made also to the committee, as 
his labours would have been instantly diminished. 

In the month of March, he spent three days with 
his brother, Mr. Richard Dawson, at Acaster, one of 
which was his birth-day ; the longest period the 
family had enjoyed his society for many years, and even 
then, he was engaged part of the time in preaching 
in the neighbourhood. He complained of indisposition ; 
and said to Mrs. Dawson, who was previously pain- 
fully impressed with what she had observed, that he 
was "troubled with a wheezing, tickling cough, ac- 
companied with difficulty of breathing, and believed 
u2 



466 MEMOIRS OF 

he was labouring under the complaint of which his 
mother died. " He manifested on this, as on a 
former occasion, no painful apprehensions, but was 
cheerful, as usual, and under a sweet religious influence. 
He left Acaster for Leeds, on the 1st of April, 
and on his arrival at his own house, he had almost 
immediately to set out on his missionary tour.* This 
he undertook with the fortitude of a martyr going 
to the stake ; and with as full a persuasion apparently, 
that his adherence to the good cause was hastening 
his dissolution, as the sufferers for Christianity were 

* The following is his route. 
1841. 

April 4 (Sund.)Burslemand Tunstal May 11 Bristol 

5 Uttoxeter, Staffrdsh. 16 (Sund.) Pontefract 

6 Newcastle-under-Lyne 17 Ditto 

7 Burslem ditto 19 Bramley 

8-- Tunstal ditto 23 (Sund.) Northampton 

9 (Good Friday) Leek 24 Ditto 

10 Return home 25 Daventry, Nortbamp. 

11 (Sund.) Huoslet & St. Peter's 26 Towcester 

12 Aberford 28 Leighton Buzzard 

13 Vacant 30 (Sun.) Dudley 

14 Barwick S. School June 1 Perhaps Burton circuit 

15 Vacant 4 Melbourne 

16 Ditto 6 (Sund.) Borrowash near Derby 

17 Go to Birmingham 7 Hyson Green near Nott. 

18 Birmingham 8 Long Eaton, ditto 

19 Ditto 13 (Sund.) Richmond 

20 Ditto 14 Brompton near Northal. 

21 ..-..- Redditch, Worcestersh . 15 Perhaps Masliam 

22 Tewksbury, ditto 16 Weeton near Harewood 

23 Evesham, ditto 20 Queen-street, London 

24 ....... .Go to Oxford 25 Tunbridge Wells 

25 (Sund.) Oxford 27 (Sund.) Perhaps Canterbury 

26- Return to BirminghamJuly 4 Colne 

27 Denby potteries 5 Haworth 

28 Riddings, Derbyshire 6 Steeton 

29 Rotherham 11 (Sund.)New Mills 

May 2 (Sund.) Cheltenham 18 (Sund.)Knaresbro' 

9 (Sund.) Bristol 25 (Sund.) Doncaster 

10 Bath 26 Worksop 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 467 

assured, that their creed was the cause of their pre- 
mature death. But it was a cause in which he gloried, 
to advance the interests of which he laboured, 
for which he felt he was ready to die ; and, to the 
memory of such a man, everything is due, in the 
shape of honour, from the Wesleyan body. 

In the course of his peregrinations, he preached 
the funeral sermon of his old friend, Mr. John Wild 
of Armley, of whom there is a brief account in the 
Wesleyan Methodist Magazine for 1841, p. 620. From 
a nearly thirty years acquaintance with this man of 
worth, the biographer does not say too much, when 
he affirms from his personal knowledge, that the reli- 
gion of Mr. Wild bore the character of Seneca's 
description of virtue, which, like fire, turned every- 
thing into itself; his actions and his friendships being 
tinctured with it, and whatever it touched was im- 
proved. He died at the age of between eighty and 
ninety; and in advanced life had the ruddy hue of 
youth. He suffered long and much, before he died; 
but his religion, like precious odours, became the 
sweeter, the more he seemed to be crushed by affliction 
in its exercise. 

Mr. Geden observed, in correspondence with a 
friend, that Mr. Dawson had been at Dover, where 
he preached on Psalm xl. 1 3, and Luke xv. 11 

July 27 Hayton Aug. 22 (Sund.) Scarbro' 

28 Tnxford 29 (Sund.) Ashton-under-Lyne 

Aug. 1 Birstal Sep. 5 (Sund.)Farnley 

3 Acaster 6 Armley 

8 (Sund.)Cullingworth 12 (Sund.) Perhaps Camileo 

9 Bradford Low Moor 19 (Sund.) Liverpool 

10 Wibsey perhaps 21 Wensford, Cheshire 

11 Wilsden 26 (Sund.) Selby 

15 (Sund.) Loughborough 30 At Workington, Curob. 

17 Draycott 



4G8 MEMOIRS OF 

to the end ; and also, that he had preached at 
Canterbury on Acts xiii. 38, 39, and Matt. xvi. 26 ; 
and that at Dover especially, his ministry was made 
a great blessing, while his private conversation was 
truly spiritual and impressive. On leaving the house 
of Mr. Geden, he laid his hand upon the head of 
his son, who was just entering upon the work of 
the ministry, and said, with great affection and solem- 
nity, "Live when I am dead, live better than I 
have lived ! " This was truly Dawsonian ; urging 
others to duty, while he attended to it himself, 
but with his glory swallowed up in shame. 

Though the introduction of Letters from Mr. Daw- 
son himself, has been studiously avoided, for reasons 
stated in the preface, yet it may be proper here to 
give an extract from one to Mrs. Ince, 21, Bedford- 
Street, Covent Garden, London, dated June 11, 1841. 
"I thank God," he remarks, "that my health is 
considerably restored, though I still feel a little diffi- 
culty in breathing, when going up stairs, or walking 
quick up hill. But I must not expect to be exempt 
from the failings of mortality. The pins of my taber- 
nacle must loosen, and the canvas must have its 
rents and holes, as well as others ; and, therefore, the 
leading wish of my heart is, as strikingly expressed 
in those words of the German Hymn, translated by 
Mr. Charles "Wesley, and which I often say and sing : 

' Let me in life, in death, 

Thy steadfast truth declare ; 
And publish with my latest breath, 
Thy love and guardian care.'" 

When in the metropolis, in the latter part of June, 
he domiciled several days in the house of his friend, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 469 

Mr. William Ince ; and proceeded from thence to Tun- 
bridge Wells, and some other places. 

The following notice in the "Watchman," of July 
7th, shews that he was at Croydon on the 30th of 
June. " On Wednesday last, the friends of this place 
were favoured with the services of Mr. W. Dawson, 
who preached two sermons in aid of the Sabbath 
School. The congregations were excellent, particularly 
in the evening. The use of a meadow, adjoining the 
chapel, was kindly granted by W. Taylor, Esq., where 
a spacious booth was erected, in which about 250 
persons sat down to tea ; after which the friends 
re-assembled in the chapel, and were gratified with 
appropriate addresses from the chairman, E. Corderoy, 
Esq., Haynes, Esq., (Independant), Mr. Dawson, 
J. Corderoy, Esq., and the Rev. H. Castle." 

According to previous promise, having a little time 
to spare for more extra work, he proceeded the next 
day to Great Birkhamstead, in the St. Albans circuit, 
to engage in the services connected with the opening 
of a place for divine worship. These services he 
closed on Thursday, July 1st, by preaching in the 
afternoon and evening. On commencing the after- 
noon service, he remarked, in reference to the hymn 
he was about to give out, "This is a solemn and 
remarkable hymn ; unlike most of those we sing. 
It is neither a hymn of praise, of adoration, nor 
yet of prayer : it is a soliloquy, and represents a 
person talking to himself. Let each person in the 
congregation, then, talk to himself, as I purpose talking 
to myself, while singing these solemn words : 

'And am I only born to die ? 
And must I suddenly comply 
With nature's stern decree ? '" &c. 



470 MEMOIRS OP 

He then joined in the singing, with a loud and clear 
voice, and manifested great depth of feeling. On 
offering up a deeply interesting and ardent prayer, 
and reading the thirty-second chapter of the book of 
Exodus, he selected part of the 26th verse of the 
same chapter as his text, "Who is on the Lord's 
side?" In introducing the subject, he observed, 
"This is a most remarkable chapter, respecting a 
most remarkable people, by a most remarkable man;" 
and afterwards, in his peculiar and impressive manner, 
pointed out the base ingratitude of the children of 
Israel to Moses. At the close of the afternoon ser- 
vice, he took tea with about one hundred friends ; 
immediately after which, he delivered an appropriate 
and interesting address, in reference to the infant 
cause in the place, and exhorted the friends, tenderly, 
watchfully, and perseveringly, to care for the infant, 
with which they had thus been entrusted. At the 
evening service, the congregation was exceedingly large, 
many of the people having journeyed several miles 
to the place. He took for his text, "And now also 
the axe is laid unto the root of the trees : therefore, 
every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn 
down, and cast into the fire." Matt. iii. 10. In 
preaching on this text, his familiar acquaintance with 
rural life, furnished him with various observations, 
which, proceeding from some ministers, might have 
been deemed not sufficiently dignified for the pulpit, 
but which, with the Baptist before him as a model, 
a plain, pointed preacher, homely in costume, and 
with a "wilderness" for his sanctuary, were rendered 
strikingly illustrative of the subject. He made, in 
the course of his sermon, some interesting and touching 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 471 

references to the doctrine of divine Providence; and, 
in support of it, noticed the particular providence 
of God towards himself and his family connexions. 
After this, he offered up a devout and suitable prayer 
for the salvation of souls, and thus closed the public 
service. 

The last text was mixed up with several affecting cir- 
cumstances in the mind of Mr. Dawson. He preached 
on it at Horseforth, near Leeds, in the year 1819, 
when much good resulted from it. Mr. J. Verity, 
having to wait upon him some time afterwards, told 
him, that Thomas Jackson, who had heard him on 
the occasion, retired to rest in health, about nine 
o'clock the evening, after taking his supper, and 
was found dead, by the side of his son, at eleven. 
Mr. Dawson clasped his hands, and, after a brief 
pause, said, "It is very strange! I never feel my 
mind impressed to preach upon that text, but it is 
almost invariably followed by a sudden death." 

Having completed his southern tour, which, with 
journies in other directions, had occupied a period of 
some months, and during which he had been engaged 
in almost incessant pulpit and platform labour, he 
returned home, where he arrived on the Friday, 
having travelled all night. On his arrival, by rail- 
way, at Leeds, he was about to engage a cab, to 
convey himself and his luggage to his own house. 
Two of the cab-men, each asserting his right to the 
conveyance of his person to the destined place, quar- 
relled, both maintaining the priority of addressing 
him. Mr. Dawson, in order to settle the dispute, 
having been frequently annoyed by such officious- 
ness, dismissed them both, and resolved upon car- 



4/2 MEMOIRS OF 

rying his own luggage. It was heavy, and fatigued 
him so much, that he was compelled to leave it at 
a friend's house on the road. He felt the effects of 
the exertion, but concluded, that a little rest would 
enable him to regain his wonted state of feeling and 
strength. Accordingly, after a few hours repose, he 
felt improved ; set to work, and wrote sixteen letters, 
in answer to a number he found, lying in the house, 
and which required immediate attention. One of the 
shorter, to the Rev. P. "Wilkinson, being among the 
last letters he wrote, may be here introduced. 

" Burmantofts, Leeds, July 2nd, 1841. 

DEAR SIR. Returning home this morning, after 
a fortnight's absence, I found your letter. My arrange- 
ments at present, are as follow : Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 
Sunday, July 18th; Wall's End colliery, 19th; Middles- 
bro', 21 ; and Dishforth, 22nd. I thought I could 
get from Middlesbro' on Wednesday, and then by 
railway to Thirsk on Thursday, and from thence to 
Dishforth that day, and return next day. But as 
I am not yet sufficiently acquainted with the railway 
communication, I cannot speak positively upon the 
subject. I have received no intelligence from Middles- 
bro' yet ; but I think of writing to-day to Mr. 
Jackson, to know his mind upon the subject. 

Could I meet every case, it would highly delight, 
Dear Sir, yours affectionately, 

W. DAWSON." 

After this, he went into the town to see the mem- 
bers chaired, who passed the house of his friend, Mr. 
Reinhardt, where he enjoyed himself with a social 
religious party, and was Tory enough to express his 
satisfaction in the non-election of Mr. Joseph Hume. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 473 

While in the shop of Mr. Reinhardt, druggist, a 
friend enquired into the state of his health, when 
he replied, laying his hand on his hreast, and gently 
patting it, " I am not right here ;" subjoining, "my 
work is too hard for me. " The propriety of medical 
advice was suggested, and the Rev. Edward "Walker, 
with his accustomed kindness, proposed to attend to 
his appointment, provided he would tarry at home. 
He returned, that he was always hest when in the 
open air and travelling, and hoped that the journey 
would be conducive, rather than prejudicial to health. 
On his return home with Mrs. Phillips, he paused, 
and said, " I am short of breath ; " and reclined 
himself against a wall. Mrs. Phillips, on their reaching 
Spring Field, again urged the propriety of medical aid, 
coupled with the advice of a few days' rest from labour. 
But he still clung to the hope, that the journey would 
be advantageous to health. He, therefore, rose about 
six o'clock on Saturday morning, July 3rd, and left 
Leeds for Colne, in Lancashire, in company with his 
relative, Mr. Phillips, at which place they arrived in 
safety, and took up their residence at the house of 
Mr. John Phillips, the brother of Mr. Edward. 

Though his appearance seemed to indicate, that 
he was not quite well, when he arrived at Colne, 
yet he did not complain, but conversed on various 
subjects in his usual cheerful manner with the friends 
in whose society he spent the afternoon. He also 
joined in singing several hymns, and selected the 
tunes which he wished to have sung in the chapel 
on the ensuing day. At eight o'clock, he took a 
Bible, and went to his apartment, where he remained 
for some time. On his return, after a light supper, 



4/4 MEMOIRS OF 

he prayed with the family in a very comprehensive 
manner, for the nation, the Church, and particularly 
the inhabitants of Colne, that the Lord would assist, 
and crown with his blessing, the services of the ap- 
proaching Sabbath. He retired to his chamber about 
eleven o'clock, and was soon after followed by Mr. 
E. Phillips, with a floating light, in order to leave 
it in the room, stating, that as he had not been very 
well, it would be better to have a light at hand; to 
which Mr. Dawson replied, "O child, I am much 
better; there is no need of it, blow it out." It 
would seem, that he soon sunk into a state of rest, 
on his friend leaving the room, as nothing was heard 
of him till two o'clock in the morning, when he awoke 
Mr. Phillips, saying, "Edward, get up, I am very 
poorly." Mr. Phillips was instantly at his side ; and, 
in a few minutes, several members of the family and 
a medical gentleman were present, to render all the 
assistance in their power. But it was unavailing. 

While sitting in a chair, and labouring for breath, 
he spoke a little to those around him. His walking- 
stick, which is preserved as a little memento of 
private friendship by the biographer, was reached 
to him by Mr. Phillips, to grasp, while the medical 
attendant endeavoured to open a vein. But the 
hand had nearly become powerless. He slightly 
pressed the "staff" between his finger and thumb, 
upon which, like another Jacob, he had so often 
leaned, an incident not beneath the pen of inspira- 
tion, and fell back in the chair on which he sat. The 
increasing difficulty experienced in respiration, soon 
rendered speaking next to impracticable. The few 
sentences, however, which fell from his lips, attested 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 475 



that all was right within, and his last words were, 



" Let ns in life, in death, 

Thy steadfast truth declare." 

In attempting to repeat the other lines of the verse, 

" And publish with our latest breath, 
Thy love and guardian care, " 

utterance failed ; and in his inclined position, he 
crossed his hands upon his breast, as occasionally 
in the pulpit, and expired without a struggle; thus 
giving reality to poetic expression, he " ceased at 
once to work and live. " 

His sudden departure from the present state of exist- 
ence itself but transitory, reminds us of the sentiments 
to which he gave utterance in the sermon he preached, 
occasioned by the sudden death of the Rev. "William 
Bramwell. " Mr. Bramwell," said he to the listening 
multitude, who, in open air, stood near the spot where 
he had expired " Mr. Bramwell was unusually favour- 
ed in this respect. His health was seldom interrupted 
by sickness ; and he tasted little of the bitter cup of 
indisposition, of which many take large draughts. In 
the time of his removal from this world, he was also 
peculiarly indulged. Never was Jordan's current 
smoother than when he embarked, and along its banks 
was never seen a narrower place than that which he was 
privileged to cross. He was not, as some have been, 
five or six weeks, or even a longer period, in passing 
over the river, 'tossed with tempests and not com- 
forted.' No : in a few minutes he was wafted across the 
stream : so that we may justly adopt the language of 
the Rev. Henry Moor, who emphatically remarked, upon 
the suddenness of Mr. Bramwell's removal, ' We can 
scarcely call it DEATH. It is almost a TRANSLATION.' " 



476 MEMOIRS OF 

In this brief statement, he might have been describing 
his own general state of good health ; nor could he, if, 
with the eye of a seer he had been capable of glancing 
at his own exit, have portrayed it more correctly. It 
was, indeed, a narrow place, occupying only a few 
minutes in crossing, from ten to twenty ! All was like 
the sudden dropping of a curtain ; and when over, and 
once awakened from the hurried surprise, left upon those 
around the impression of a dream. In his own house 
at Leeds, in Yorkshire, on the Saturday, and at Colne, 
in Lancashire, the same evening. In Time, when the 
clock struck twelve on the Saturday night, and in Eter- 
nity a few minutes after two on the Sabbath morning ! 
leaving the dawn of one Sabbath for the brighter day of 
another and one whose day should never have a close. 
The body animated by its active spirit, and in its home, 
at the close of one week ; and after a sudden transit 
from one county to another, coffined within the walls of 
that home, at the beginning of another week ; and in 
the space of two brief days more, conveyed to the 
church in which he had sat as a hearer, when a boy, 
and laid in the ground over which his boyish feet had 
strayed! It brings to recollection also, some of the 
expressions he employed in his sermon a few months 
before at Barwick, on the equally sudden death of 
Thomas Lumb, to which the reader will be able to 
advert. 

Another reminiscence may be here indulged, relative 
to a previous visit to Colne, in company with his friend 
Mr. Phillips. It will be recollected that the two lines 
of the hymn which he falteringly quoted, form a part of 
the eighth verse of the hymn which he gave out with 
his accustomed energy and animation, in the pulpit of 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 477 

the Wesleyan Chapel, in the same place, on a public 
occasion, at the time to which reference is made. It 
was, as has been already observed, during a period of 
considerable commercial depression, when the spirits of 
many serious persons were bending beneath the load, 
and when he laboured to elevate their spirits by singing 

" Giye to the winds thy fears ; 

Hope, and be undismayed," Sec. 

Little was he aware, that part of the last verse of that 
hymn would be the last words that should escape from 
his lips that they should be uttered in the town to 
which he was then on a visit that they should be 
addressed to the ear of the friend who was with him on 
both occasions, and in the house he had just left and that 
the last " night " on which he closed his eyes, should so 

" Soon end in joyous day." 

Equally remote was it from his apprehension, on the 
Thursday previous to his death, when giving out the 
hymn at the commencement of the service at Great 
Birkhamstead, that he was, on that day, closing his 
public services, that " nature's stern decree " was to 
be fulfilled within the space of little more than two 
days from the close of the one on which he was preach- 
ing, that the text and sermon which had been so 
often the forerunners of the sudden death of others, 
should immediately precede his own, and that he was 
not only unconsciously sounding the requiem of his 
ministerial labours, but that he was, as if in prophetic 
strains, singing, in mournful yet in fearless notes, his 
own funeral dirge. But, being " on the Lord's side," 
the "axe " was "laid at the root of the tree " of mor- 
tality, only for the purpose of fixing him by the side of 
the " Tree of Life " for ever. 



478 MEMOIRS OF 

The tidings of his death soon spread through the 
town and neighbourhood, and the house was beset with 
a crowd of people by five o'clock in the morning. After 
Mr. Phillips had given orders for a lead coffin to be 
made, and entered into other necessary arrangements, 
he hastened into Yorkshire, to communicate the melan- 
choly intelligence of his death to his friends ; and in 
the afternoon of the same day, the tidings reached 
Acaster, near York, at the residence of Mr. Richard 
Dawson. 

On Mr. Phillips leaving Colne, the itinerant and local 
preachers, and other officers in the Society, with the 
members and friends, assembled in the chapel, to pay 
their last tribute of respect to the memory of the de- 
ceased. The Rev. T. Powell, of Burnley, it may be 
observed, very obligingly preached the sermons on the 
Sabbath day. Mr. Charles Smith, co-executor with 
Mr. E. Phillips, left Leeds at four o'clock on the Mon- 
day morning, from whence a hearse had also been 
forwarded, to convey the corpse to its place of rest. On 
the coffin being placed in the hearse, it was preceded by 
travelling and local preachers, stewards, trustees, and 
leaders ; and these were followed by a crowd of Wes- 
leyans and others. Some of the factories having been 
stopped, in order to give the members of society an 
opportunity of joining the procession, the crowd of 
attendants became the greater. In passing slowly 
through the town, the people sung one of Mr. Dawson' s 
favourite hymns ; and when the procession had pro- 
ceeded about a mile, the people divided themselves into 
two companies, one on each side of the road, where 
they stood men and boys, with their heads uncovered, 
while the hearse passed between ; when, as a last fare- 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 479 

well, they again united in singing the verse which he 
had attempted to repeat the morning before carrying 
it out for him, as it were, and wafting it with becoming 
reverence to heaven : 

" Lot us in life, in death, 

Thy steadfast truth declare ; 

And publish with our latest breath 

Thy love and guardian care." 

Before the hearse reached Keighly, it was again met by 
Wesleyans and others, when another procession was 
formed, accompanying it some distance through the 
town; where, as the friends had done at Colne, they 
halted, bared the head, gazed sorrowfully on the mov- 
ing vehicle as it passed between the lines, and then 
sung, 

" Oh that without a lingering groan, 

I may the welcome word receive ; 
My body with my charge lay down, 
And cease at once to work and live." 

The same respect and deep feeling appeared in every 
place which the hearse had to pass through. The 
remains arrived in Leeds on the same day. It was in- 
tended that the funeral should take place on the 
Friday ; but circumstances rendered it necessary to fix 
upon Wednesday the 7th, as the day of interment ; so 
that little more than twenty-four hours could be secured 
to give notice to the friends, and make other arrange- 
ments. But short as the time was, the feeling of 
respect was such, that the hour had only to be an- 
nounced, for public homage to be paid. 

The Trustees of the principal Wesleyan Chapels in 
Leeds, expressed a wish that the remains should be 
interred in connexion with one of the places of worship 
belonging to the body, and kindly offered a vault, and 



480 MEMOIRS OF 

proposed a tablet to his memory. But the family 
burying ground was preferred by the surviving relatives. 
One o'clock was the time fixed for removal ; and on 
the corpse being brought out, an interesting service 
took place in the open air. The Rev. Edward Walker 
commenced by giving out an appropriate hymn ; after 
this, the Rev. Alexander Bell, engaged in prayer ; he 
was followed by the Rev. Thomas Galland, A.M., who 
delivered an interesting address, combining with it the 
character and talents of the deceased ; then the Rev. J. 
Cusworth concluded with prayer. At the close of the 
service, the procession formed, composed of the travel- 
ling and local preachers, together with the leaders, 
&c., of the four circuits belonging to Leeds ; these 
preceded the hearse, six abreast. A long train of 
people followed the hearse and mourning coaches. The 
streets, and public road out of Leeds, for the space of 
about a mile and a half, presented one congregated mass 
of people, though the weather was rather unfavourable, 
and the funeral had thus taken place earlier than was at 
first anticipated by the populace at large ; and multi- 
tudes of these followed to the distance of a mile and a 
mile and half. The distance from Leeds to Barwick-in- 
Elmet is seven miles, and the funeral did not reach the 
village till six o'clock. The hearse, drawn by four 
horses, was preceded by the singers, and followed by 
three mourning coaches. Besides many persons on foot, 
who proceeded the full length of the journey, it was 
calculated that there were not less than a hundred per- 
sons on horseback, while sixty eight carriages were 
counted in the train, multiplying to eighty-six when the 
remains reached the village, containing friends of various 
ranks, who thus paid their voluntary respect to one 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 481 

whom they loved in life, and by the effects of whose 
ministry they were likely to be benefited forever. 
Hymns were sung in passing through Seacroft, Scholes, 
and Barwick, while the old family residence of Barubow 
appeared on the brow of a hill to the left, reviving 
many recollections in the minds of the mourners. The 
church was crowded, and those who were unable to 
gain admission stood in the church-yard amidst heavy 
rain. The service was impressively read by the Rector, 
the Rev. W. H. Bathurst, nephew of Earl Bathurst, in 
the midst of deep feeling ; and the 50th hymn on page 
52, of the Wesley an Collection, was sung, the son of 
one of the early friends of the deceased officiating as 
clerk. Another hymn was sung at the grave. The 
grave itself was very deep, penetrating through the rock, 
lined at the bottom with brick, and at least a couple of 
yards deeper than the remains of his mother, part of 
whose coffin was visible to the eye. On seeing the mul- 
titudes, hearing the sighs, and witnessing the tears that 
were shed, the writer could not but recur again and 
again to that portion of holy writ, " Them that honour 
me, I will honour." But even "THIS honour have" 
NOT "all his saints." Thus lived thus died and 
thus was honoured WILLIAM DAWSON, who departed 
this life, July 4th, 1841, in the 69th year of his age. 

In his Will, dated April 15, 1841, written by him- 
self, we find the following bequests : To the Wesleyan 
Missionary Society, 50 guineas ; to the Methodist 
Preachers' Annuitant Society, 30 guineas ; and to 
Kingswood and Woodhouse Grove Schools, 30 guineas. 

Funeral sermons were preached in different places, 
on the occasion of his death. The Rev. R. Newton 
preached on the occasion at St. Peter's, Leeds, on 
x 



482 MEMOIRS OF 

2 Sam. xiv. 14, the circuit in which Mr. Dawson 
had resided. The biographer preached sermons on 
the same occasion at Banvick, Bradford, Tadcaster, 
Bramley, in Wesley Chapel, Leeds, and in York. In 
the last place, the collectors of the Juvenile Mis- 
sionary Society were all arranged in front of the 
gallery of the Centenary Chapel, some of whom were 
Mr. Dawson' s children in the gospel, and at the for- 
mation of which Society he preached the sermons, 
as well as generally aided the young friends for a 
period of upwards of twenty years. 

Several touching tributes of respect were paid to 
his memory, at missionary meetings. The day after 
his death, a Missionary Meeting was held at Thorp- 
Arch, in the Tadcaster circuit, at which W. G. Scarth, 
Esq., presided. On the forenoon of the same day, 
a trustee meeting was held at Tadcaster, and when 
Mr. Dawson' s name was called over, which stood at 
the head of the list, the mournful intelligence of his 
sudden death was communicated. At the Missionary 
Meeting, in the afternoon, Mr. Scarth, to whom Mr. 
Dawson had been endeared by an intimate friendship 
of forty years, adverted to his character and labours. 
Several of the speakers also referred to his services, 
and their value to the missionary cause ; and at the 
evening meeting, a substantial proof of a feeling of 
gratitude to God, and affectionate regard for his de- 
parted servant, was furnished by the presentation, 
through the Rev. Alexander Bell, of a purse of gold, 
containing .11 10s., privately offered in the course 
of the meeting by various friends in the chapel, and 
announced as " A token of affectionate esteem, pre- 
sented by a few mourning friends of the late Mr. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 483 

William Dawson, in support of the Mission cause, 
which lay so near his heart, and which he so zealously 
laboured to promote." Mr. Bell was much affected 
while presenting this appropriate expression of truly 
Christian feeling ; and ventured to express a hope, 
that the example set in this probably the first mis- 
sionary meeting held after Mr. Dawson' s death, would 
be followed by his numerous friends thnnigh the Con- 
nexion. 

Two or three friends at the small village of Buck- 
land, in the Aylesbury circuit, who heard Mr. Dawson 
preach his last sermon at Berkhamstead, were deeply 
affected by the intelligence of his death so soon 
after, and felt an earnest desire to offer some memo- 
rial of their attachment to him, and of the high 
estimation in which they held his services. In reading 
an account of the above meeting at Thorp-Arch, 
which appeared in the "Watchman," and especially 
that part of it which stated that the sum specified 
had been presented to the meeting, hy certain friends, 
in grateful remembrance of Mr. Dawson' s services, it 
was thought something might be done at Buckland 
for the same noble cause. The subject was named 
to the Society and other friends, and the sum of 
4 was raised for the Mission fund, as a thank- 
offering to God for raising up a man so eminently 
distinguished for his Christian virtues, ministerial 
abilities, and great usefulness ; and in mournful, but 
submissive remembrance of that Providence by which 
the Church was so suddenly deprived of his valuable 
sen-ices. A donation also, of ^10, was given by 
Jacob Harrison, Esq., of the St. Albans circuit, to 
the Mission cause, in memory of his labours. In 



484 MEMOIRS OF 

none of these instances are we to look so much at 
the sum, as at the principle ; in each we recognize 
a principle recommended hy our Lord, "She hath 
done what she could; verily I say unto you, Where- 
soever this gospel shall be preached throughout the 
whole world, this also that she hath done shall be 
spoken of for a memorial of her." 

The Rev. Louis Rees, it may be added, composed 
a "Funeral Anthem" on the occasion of his death, 
to " Servant of God ! well done ; " a piece entitled, 
"The Christian Soldier," by the Author of the 
"World before the Flood," &c. 

In " The Annual Address of the Conference to 
the Methodist Societies," is the following tribute to 
his memory, " Valuable members of the Connexion 
have likewise been removed by death; among whom 
we feel it right to mention the venerable William 
Dawson ; who, after many years of useful and ac- 
ceptable labour as a Local Preacher, has this year 
died in the Lord. Few men were ever more exten- 
sively known in the Wesleyan Connexion in Great 
Britain, or more highly esteemed wherever known : 
it is, therefore, unnecessary that we should speak 
to you at any length of either his character, talents, 
or labours. Earnestly desirous of promoting the 
prosperity of the work of God, especially in its 
Missionary department, he devoted his very popular 
talents to its advocacy. His numerous sermons and 
addresses, delivered with all that sanctified energy 
which belonged to his character, were highly acceptable, 
and often produced the most important results. His 
removal was sudden, and he was engaged in his valu- 
able labours to the last. During the brief interval 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 485 

between his final seizure and death, he was enabled 
to express his unfailing trust in the Saviour who had 
died for him, and been his guide through life. While 
he lived, he had always been ready to attend to the 
voice of Providence when it called him to labour : 
by the grace of God he was not less ready when 
suddenly called to die. The calmness which he mani- 
fested on experiencing what he felt to be the stroke 
of death, and the holy joy with which he at once 
commended his spirit to his Redeemer, proved that 
while he had long and extensively lived what may be 
termed a public life, he had yet maintained all the 
inward power of religion, and had walked humbly 
with God. His happy death was a suitable close to 
his holy and useful life." Minutes, 1841, pp. 1378. 



To such as were personally acquainted with Mr. 
Dawson, any description of his external appearance 
will be unnecessary, as a correct portrait of him 
in full length, will be found suspended in the inner 
chambers of the soul, touched off to the life with 
all the colourings of the imagination, and will there 
hang for the eye of the inner man to repose upon, 
till its own outward form shall crumble into dust, 
and mingle with the clods of the valley ; for, with 
such, his image will ever live. It was that of a man, 
a man in the most manly sense of the term. He 
was strong of bone, muscular, well built, well 
rounded, proportionate, standing about five feet 
nine inches, had hair of a deep auburne, and a 
complexion approaching the embrowned rather than 



486 MEMOIRS OF 

the dark. The eye, of a lightish grey, and with a dark 
pupil, was round, keen, full of fire, and well set 
in the head, mounted with slightly overhanging eye- 
brows. The face too, was round, somewhat full ; 
the ears small, thick, and closely attached to the head ; 
a good mouth, with a somewhat biting expression, 
similar to what is found in some of the portraits of 
Sir Walter Scott ; and an excellent forehead, covered 
in later life, as was that of the Rev. Daniel Isaac, 
with false hair, but hair much worse in construction, ill 
adapted to the head, and overhanging the fine sin- 
ciput like an eave of thatch, an article on which 
the writer did not fail to rally him, though perhaps 
indispensable to comfort. The features might be pro- 
nounced regular, but expressive, inclining to the 
fierce, on the eye being fixed, full of meaning, and 
conveying the impression of thought ; that thought 
which is brilliant, active, penetrating, which only 
himself could seize, and which others could neither 
tame nor break, fertile in a fruitfulness which only 
died with himself. Three or four years prior to his 
death, he shrunk a little, walked with a stick, 
and complained of being more timid in pointing the 
foot at night, than formerly, lest he should fall. Still, 
his general health was unbroken, and he soon regained 
more than he had lost in actual corpulence. 

In social life, there was an agreeableness which 
ingratiated Mr. Dawson into the good feelings of the 
heart, and made him a general favourite. It was 
not that, however, which connects itself with softness, 
and with a something bordering upon harmlessness 
and insipidity, turned off" with a smile ; but that 
which partakes of cheerfulness; that which proceeds 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 487 

from the heart rather than the will, and is innate 
rather than acquired. When his wit was the most 
sparkling and penetrating, he never assumed any osten- 
tatious airs; and when his thoughts appeared a little 
high in their hearing, they were still perceived to be 
seated in a heart of tenderness and of courtesy. Though 
free to converse, he was never forward or loquacious, 
always leaving the company with a relish for more, 
rather than producing satiety ; and though void of polish, 
possessed of a fine sense of propriety ; that kind of 
behaviour which is destitute of all squeamishness and 
fastidiousness, and which, in the higher walks of life, in 
properly constituted minds, " gives beauty to pomp, and 
majesty to adversity." This is not too much to claim for 
Mr. Dawson, and would only be denied him by "puppets 
led about by wires," and who would reverse the order of 
things, by converting the cottage into a drawing-room, 
and who confound good behaviour with affectation. 

Though he loved society, yet he was not one of 
those persons, who can only live in its bustle. He 
took society in his way to more important work, and 
enjoyed it as a relaxation from severer mental toil. 
His popularity was not merely the result of certain 
peculiarities, combined with great native genius; but 
added to good soil to work upon, there was more 
than ordinary persevering industry. For want of this, 
even talented men, men popular in early life, have 
become formal and insipid before they have more 
than reached their prime. They have settled down 
upon a few years' industry, at the commencement of 
their ministerial career ; and by attending to anything, 
but the thing itself for which God called them into 
the work of the MINISTRY, have lost the freshness 



488 MEMOIRS OF 

which they once had for the pulpit, have starved 
the spirit of preaching out of their souls, and at 
length have found the sacred work of calling sinners 
to repentance irksome, and have shunned it ; moving 
in the church of God, with a decent morality, the occa- 
sional cant of better things upon their lips, in full 
orders, and in full pay, and yet living monuments of 
indolence, as to pulpit reading and pulpit thought. 
It is melancholy, when men outlive the spirit of their 
office. Not so with the apostles of Christ, who im- 
proved as they proceeded ; nor yet with the subject 
of this sketch. He earned his notoriety with hard 
toil, though he might have flourished a little without 
it ; and candidates for the Christian ministry should 
be deeply impressed with the fact, that the industry 
which is necessary to raise a man to a high point 
of elevation, is equally necessary to keep him there ; 
for, like a growth in grace, not to proceed, is to draw 
back, and a man often loses the past for want of per- 
severance. Mr. Dawson's studies and reading could 
not be denominated systematic : but still he thought, 
and thought intensely too ; and he also read to 
purpose, not absorbing the mind in the newspapers 
of the day, and giving a political hue to every thing 
he touched, but works that assisted his piety and his 
preaching. He was far from being extensively read, as 
to the actual number of volumes which passed through 
his hands, though extensive when taken in connexion 
with the small portion of time he had at command for 
the purpose : but when we advert to the authors that 
have incidentally occurred in the course of the Memoir, 
such as Dr. Walls, Flavel, Drelincourt, Sherlock, Dr. 
Owen, Romaine, Burgess, Scougal, Dr. Bates, Saurin, 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 489 

Dr. Manton, Dr. Goodwin, Baxter, Alleine, Showers, 
Law, Fletcher, Brainard, Young, Venn, Benson, Bishop 
Newton, Bishop Butler, Bunyan, Rogers, Ambrose, Dod- 
dridge, Wesley, Whitfield, Cennick, Henry, Preston, 
Watson, Clarke, &c., and others that might be noticed, 
a familiarity with the theological writers of his own coun- 
try may be fairly inferred ; and when the manuscripts 
he has left, are taken into the account, comprising at 
least four hundred sermons, mostly full, and others in 
outline, exclusive of essays, diaries, speeches, and other 
public addresses, and an extensive correspondence, he 
may, all his secular engagements, travels, and pulpit 
labours, being preserved in remembrance, be exhibited 
as an unusual type, or extraordinary model of industry ; 
a son in whom the Founder of Methodism himself 
one of the most laborious men that ever lived, would 
have gloried. A sentiment found in Ischomachus, will 
apply either in a civil or ecclesiastical sense, "He 
who will not apply himself to business, evidently dis- 
covers that he means to get his bread by cheating, 
stealing, or begging, or is wholly void of reason. " 
In Methodism, however, there are, perhaps, fewer 
opportunities for the indulgence of indolent habits 
than in almost any other religious system ; and if a 
man's zeal is not tempered with knowledge, he may 
soon abridge life, and bring it into much less compass 
than the portion of time allotted to humanity. 

Such a habit, in connection with talent, was sure 
to raise a man above the common-place characters of 
which society is often composed. In passing from 
his private, to what more immediately connects itself 
with his public character, his manner might not, in 
every instance, be prepossessing when in the pulpit ; 
x 2 



490 MEMOIRS OF 

but it was rarely offensive, though sometimes strange 
to strangers. He did not uniformly commence his 
sermon by announcing his text ; and then proceed 
with his introduction ; but very often made two or 
three remarks before, by way of awakening attention, 
and then by an easy transition glided into it. When 
the text was rousing, and the materials he had to 
bring to it, by way of enforcing and applying it, 
partook of the same character, he sometimes employed 
too much vehemence in the outset, and conveyed the 
notion of a general resolved to storm and fire a 
city, rather than to take it by tact and stratagem. 
On these occasions, while grappling with a subject, 
and battling with the vices and follies of men, there was 
generally fixed attention and deep feeling in the hearers ; 
but through continued excitement, a degree of fatigue 
ensued. This, however, was only the case when he 
missed his way in the commencement, which was 
but seldom. His more general manner was not sub- 
ject to this charge ; and if brought to bear upon the 
energy displayed by the celebrated Dr. Chalmers, the 
difference would be found to exist in the circumstance 
of the latter giving out in greater lengths, that which 
the former usually let out at intervals. In Mr. Daw- 
son, the disturbed air, so to speak, came in more 
frequent and unexpected gusts ; in the doctor, the 
tempest, when he himself was in the hey-day of 
health, was of longer continuance ; yet both moving 
the leaf, the twig, the branch, the stem, and the trees 
of the human forest, over which the voice was per- 
mitted to pass. 

Though very far indeed from being a finished speaker, 
yet there was that about him, as there has been already 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 491 

occasion to remark, which at once disarmed criticism, 
and disposed persons to apologize rather than find 
fault. The energy which he displayed, often trenched, 
as has been seen, on violence; but it was not energy 
throughout, as in the comparison of his manner with 
that of Dr. Chalmers; it was not the torrent over 
the wide and inclined champaign, which sweeps on 
with one continued force ; it belonged more to the 
flood among the mountains, rolling over tremendous 
heights ; and in proportion to the depth of its falls, 
again tossing its spray upward, with breaks and 
pauses among the rocks, then murmuring along the 
plainer portions of the country, and rarely ever, in 
its loudest roar, its boldest dashes, distracting the 
ear of the bystander. The secret of this is, that he 
was never vehement, never impassioned, except in cases 
where truth from its strength, and sin from its 
atrocity and other peculiar characteristics, required k ; 
then, and then only, was he energetic, powerful, 
overwhelming, almost oppressive. He seemed to set 
persons before him, in danger of drowning or burning. 
Every turn bore on the point of rescue ; and inven- 
tion was always the most rife when trying to succeed 
in desperate and difficult cases. To save was his 
object. 

One point, touched by the Rev. R. Philip, in his 
Life of the celebrated George Whitfield, chimes in 
here, and is distinguished for its justice, so far as 
the moving principle by which Mr. Dawson was ac- 
tuated goes ; when he says, " I studied Whitfield 
until I understood him ; and therefore, I have instinc- 
tively recognized whatever resembled him, in all the 
popular preachers of my time. James, of Birming- 



492 MEMOIRS OF 

ham, has occasionally reminded me of his alternate 
bursts of tenderness and terror, in all but rapidity; 
Rowland Hill of his off-hand strokes of power; and 
Spring, of New York, his off-heart unction, when it 
fell like dew, copiously and calmly. Baptist Noel, 
also, has reminded me of this. Robert Newton has 
some of Whitfield' s oratory, but none of his high 
passion. Irving had nothing of him but his voice. 
Cooper, of Dublin, when in his prime, and preaching 
in the open air, has enabled me to conceive how 
Whitfield commanded the multitude in Moor-fields. 
I must add, although I shall not be generally under- 
stood, that Williams of the Wern, and my friend, 
Christmas Evans, of Wales, and Billy Dawson, of 
Yorkshire, have oftener realized Whitfield to me, than 
any other preacher of my time : and yet, these three 
men do not resemble him, nor each other, in mind 
or body ; but they can lose themselves entirely as he 
did, in tender and intense love to souls. This is 
what is wanted ; and it will tell by any voice or 
style, and from any eye or stature." Mr. Philip's 
either did not know Mr. Dawson personally, or had 
ceased distinctly to remember him, when he states 
him not to have resembled Mr. C. Evans "in mind 
or body ; " for in both of these there was a striking 
resemblance. Both were corpulent, each had a strongly 
marked countenance, and there was a similarity in 
the formation of the head. Mr. Evans was taller than 
Mr, Dawson. With regard to mind, a friend well 
acquainted with both, observes, "If originality of 
thought a luxuriant imagination a peculiarity of voice 
a singularity of style and influence over their 
hearers, beyond precedent, possessed by both, will not 



WILLIAM DATVSON. 493 

identify likeness, I am at a loss to imagine what 
will." Admitting Mr. Philips to have seen and heard 
Mr. Dawson, he must only have glanced at him, 
while he studied Mr. Evans. On intense love to 
souls, Mr. Philips is correct ; and it was this that 
influenced Mr. Dawson' s manner, as well as his matter. 
Never, never did man, in modern times, take captive 
an audience sooner or more effectually, in consequence 
of the ardour of his love. He bore his hearers along 
with him, after first drawing them to him, relieved 
them every now and then from an intensity of feeling, 
under which was manifested the stillness of the tomb, 
by some lighter, but more graphic picture presented 
to the imagination, and coming upon them as un- 
expectedly as a beautiful, yet picturesque scene, in a 
lovely valley, invisible to the tourist, till he is brought 
in his rambles to the verge of the elevated ground 
in the vicinity. 

Instances have occurred in the course of the Memoir, 
to shew, that there was as little formality in his mode 
of commencing the general service, as in commencing 
his sermon ; but his usual manner was, to glance at 
the hymn, after announcing the number and page, 
and to give out the first and second line, with his 
eyes closed, engaging in the singing himself, and 
often beating time with his hand, which rose and 
fell either on the Bible, or the open pages of the 
hymn-book, accompanied with an occasional graceful 
sweep, like a half circle, and a pendulum kind of 
motion, with the palm spread downwards. The eyes 
were often closed, too, when delivering a sentence 
or two during sermon. This was chiefly the case, 
when, through impetuosity of feeling, he struggled for 



494 MEMOIRS OF 

expression ; and it was too rapid for distinct enuncia- 
tion. His features then became distorted, the nose 
was partially drawn up, the eye-brows were knit 
together, the eyelids compressed, and the fore- 
head was thrown into conflicting curves, shewing the 
struggle within. The face, meanwhile, was flushed ; 
and the veins, full and throbbing, seemed like snakes 
writhing their way up the temples. These, to per- 
sons unacquainted with him, were moments of peril, 
being half afraid of the rupture of a blood-vessel. 
But he was no sooner relieved by expression, than 
though crippled and halting before, away he went, 
the curves retiring like dying waves, leaving the 
face open, the eyes piercing through the unruffled 
countenance, like planets breaking forth from a serene 
sky. He had amazing flexibility of muscle ; and could 
have accommodated the whine, the wooing, the smirk, 
the comic, the sneer, the tender, the terrific ; and, 
with a little more refinement, would had he been 
disposed to indulge in them, have made as great a 
noise in the world, as the most noted for such qualifica- 
tions. When he was in his gayer moods, he was 
a little extravagant in this way, not being in every 
instance well timed, and bordering upon the ludicrous, 
though mostly tolerated, and always within the pale 
of forgiveness. 

When very vehement, there was often a sway of the 
whole person from side to side, like a vessel yielding 
to the rocking of the waves ; and the hand occasionally 
placed on the top of the head, as if a little anxious 
respecting the proper adjustment of his upper adorn- 
ment, which, owing to its form, was apt to shift 
its position with his violence, sometimes requiring 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 495 

the thumb and finger of each hand to draw it over 
the ear. His hand was inclined to the thick and 
short, was sometimes laid upon the breast, as if 
suddenly smiting it, and at other times, according 
to the subject in hand, as if gently patting it. On 
other occasions, when extremely emphatic, it was 
suddenly driven down by his side, as if giving a 
sudden stroke to a stake, with a -view to fix it in the 
earth ; during which the shoulders were slightly raised, 
the chin partially lowered on the breast, the eye- 
brows rising and falling like curtains, and the eyes 
flashing from beneath them. His actions were occa- 
sionally a little heavy towards the close of life, but 
never, strictly speaking, awkward ; almost invariably 
comporting with his person, his matter, and the ex- 
pression of his face. There was generally ease, if 
not, in every instance, grace ; and, till latterly, they 
corresponded with his eye, varied and quick ; and 
though sometimes slightly redundant, not offensive. 
In his more colloquial moods, when he had a rest 
for the hand, or the arm, he often planted one leg 
across the other ; but when impassioned, the union 
was instantly dissolved, and there was an occasional 
stamp with the foot. 

He had a tolerable ear, but not a correct one ; 
and here, as in the case of certain provincialisms, 
persons are much more alive to the defects of others, 
than their own. Hence, Mr. Dawson has sometimes 
remarked to the writer, on the monotonous manner 
in which the late excellent Rev. Daniel Isaac gave 
out the hymns ; and yet, when he brought his own 
imitative powers to bear on some exquisitely tender 
subjects, or those of a bolder character, such as pro- 



496 MEMOIRS OF 

clamations, &c., the subjects were occasionally over- 
wrought by the manner. The subject of the Memoir, 
like all others, was most natural when without design. 
When he set his heart on the manner, he often 
failed. His voice was not adapted to all circumstances, 
subjects, and occasions; and yet he tried all with it, 
when it would gladly have yielded, but could not, for 
want of flexibility. It was not, like some, equally 
adapted to the sarcastic, the ironical, the colloquial, 
the pleasant, and the oratorical, but excelled in the 
three latter, in which it sometimes yielded the same 
variety to the ear, that a tolerable landscape affords 
to the eye. 

In reading the Lessons, he was sometimes running 
and monotonous ; leaving the impression, that there 
was not only a defect in taste, but in the ear, for 
though he delighted in music, he had not the nice 
discrimination requisite to enable him to form a judg- 
ment in every case ; being pleased, without the ability 
critically to examine it. Hence, in imitating the per- 
sons supposed to speak, which he often did while 
reading and preaching, he sometimes failed to hit to 
a nicety the intonations required, as just noticed, 
being either underdone or overdone, but most frequently, 
in consequence of the strength of his own feelings, 
the latter. At other tunes, he was extremely happy ; 
though generally more natural in extempore speaking 
than reading. His expositions of the Lessons, when 
he indulged in this way, were mostly brief sentences 
on some particular verse or turn of expression ; rarely en- 
tering comprehensively into the design of the sacred pen- 
man, connecting one part with another, or bringing one 
part to bear upon another. His forte was not exposition ; 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 497 

and, therefore, he generally, and wisely, avoided any 
formal attempt to elucidate Scripture in that way. 

But though he failed in real effectiveness occasionally 
in reading, he amply made up for it in his sermon. His 
voice was not clear, nor yet sweet and musical, and 
rarely varied beyond three or four notes ; but amazingly 
effective in its higher and bolder tones. In its middle 
tone, there was occasionally the apparent effect of a 
slight hoarseness, after hard labour and outdoor ex- 
posure, accompanied with something like roughness, 
but not unpleasantly so ; perhaps, rather a want of 
sharpness, than otherwise. Its ordinary tone could be 
given out with great fuhiess, then, screwed up to a 
height till it became shrill, narrowing the mouth, 
and pouring it out from a smaller aperture, still rising 
till the key differed, and there was a pause for want 
of breath, the last note quitting the ear, like the 
last shrill blast of a bugle horn among the moun- 
tains, which was as much felt in the sensations pro- 
duced, as the other is heard in its echoes. He would 
next, according to the subject, move the more tender 
feelings, or rouse the stronger passions, sometimes 
roaring it out, like the lien in the forest, while his 
eyes seemed to flash fire upon all that looked upon 
them. At a moment, when perception was clear, but 
recollection was faulty as to expression, in not bringing 
up words for the occasion, he became rapid, stut- 
tered, and would have run on three or four times, 
with "there, there, there, &c., but seemed to feel 
no pain on that account ; or if any were felt, it 
instantly died on the sentiment being delivered, pleased 
with its anticipated beneficial effect upon the audience. 
On some of these occasions, he exhibited some of the 



498 MEMOIRS OF 

finest and most sublime strains of natural oratory. 
One of his sermons, on "the fields are already white 
unto the harvest," which he preached at Hull, on 
a Missionary Anniversary, in 1818, which the writer 
heard, was in the highest style of sacred action ; 
especially when, like an ancient priest under the law, 
he waved his hand over his head, as if filled with 
stalks of precious grain, and with a heart teeming 
with the finest emotions, his prophetic eye, mean- 
while, darting forth its rays to the grand millenium, 
when God shall have gathered into his church all 
nations, and the reapers shall be seen returning, 
and heard shouting, " Harvest home ! harvest home ! 
harvest home ! " The voice and manner being adapted 
to the occasion, and for which they were admirably 
fitted, nothing but the "joy of harvest" was felt by 
an electrified auditory. The same fine intonations 
were heard also in his appeals to sinners, hastening 
to destruction, and whom he was urging to enter 
the Christian race ; " Stop, stop, strip, strip, start, 
start sinner ! " 

Often at the close of an impressive passage, he 
would offer up a petition in prayer, as "The Lord 
grant it! The Lord apply it," &c., during which, 
the hands were either clasped or spread, the face turned 
up to heaven, and the piercing eye, like a wedge, seemed 
as if it would cleave the heaven towsards which it was 
directed. 

In singing, his voice was much sweeter than in 
speaking ; he could humour it more ; and it seemed 
as if it had acquired additional flexibility in the exer- 
cise. His voice was, upon the wh.ole, sound, though 
not like a bell ; and full, rather than richly varied. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 499 

He bad much more eloquence of feeling, than correct- 
ness of ear. His feelings were right, when his into- 
nations and emphasis were not always properly placed, 
but always most correct when loud, or rising to a 
climax. His, in short, was not among the " airy 
tongues that syllable men's names," but which put 
forth things, and dealt them out with tremendous 
force. 

As to his language and pronunciation, there were 
several defects to a merely critical ear ; the one, in 
some instances, being homely from preference, and the 
other provincial from habit and localization. It was, in 
some cases, expressively Yorkshire ; as nou, shou, 
nou-en, shou-en, for know, show, known, shown, 
giving the two latter the effect of words of two syllables. 
Wouldn't, shouldn't, &c., were often employed, and 
earthen had the sound of ear t hern. Yet, like most 
persons, he was unconscious of some of his defects, and 
could occasionally smile at those of others, when tried 
upon his own ear. His accentuation very often partook 
of the same character as his pronunciation. When in 
a homely vein, he would as to language, have selected 
" black hole " instead of prison or cell ; and would 
have represented, in true "Pilgrim Progress" style, 
the devil as the "gaoler" of the "prison house of 
sin," and the sinner with the chains of his unforgiven 
crimes "clanking around him." Then, in a moment, 
like a sudden gleam of sunshine, he would have stolen 
over the spirit, with " But even, in this state, there 
is, while on this side the gulf, encouragement for the 
poor sinner. If angels sung, ' Glory to God in the 
highest,' when Jesus was in a manger, we may well 
sing it now, that he is upon a throne." There was a 



500 MEMOIRS OF 

negligence about him now and then, a want of neat- 
ness in his style ; but still, in the general, his language 
was respectable, sometimes rough, or rather plain, 
but never vulgar. Its leading characters were strength 
and perspicuity. Though occasionally undignified, it 
was never distorted, laboured, or inharmonious. He 
was not among the defilers of the pure " well of Eng- 
lish," but preserved the idiosyncracy which it possesses 
independant of mere grammatical rules. He was never 
harsh, crude, dissonant, or obscure, but might have 
been understood by a child. "Style" has been prop- 
erly denominated "the envelope of the inner thoughts ;" 
and his perceptions being invariably clear, his language 
was in harmony with his ideas. There was nothing misty 
and undefined. It was not difficult, as just stated, to detect 
occasional inaccuracies, and to perceive a want of early 
classical training sometimes, in his impetuosity, sub- 
stituting were for teas. But even here, there were no 
blemishes of thought, through the weight of which he 
sometimes broke down. Independant, however, of his 
own style, and also of the style of those men, he united 
in himself the allegory and tenderness of two of the 
most famous of the Italian poets ; and he would have 
excelled in language, in its strength, if not in its ease, 
if polite literature, instead of the world's business, had 
engaged his time and attention. " He sought," in his 
own words, " to impress truth upon the heart in living 
characters of light." 

In his writings, as in his public speaking, are to be 
found some fine touches, and some passages of great 
brilliancy and strength. He published a sermon, as 
already adverted to, on occasion of the death of the 
Rev. William Bramwell, several short memoirs, a few 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 501 

letters, and some addresses on passing events ; and 
some of his sermons were taken down in short-hand, 
and published in the " Wesleyan Preacher." But he 
was not equally happy in writing as in speaking. The 
reader loses the fire and the unction enjoyed by the 
hearer. And besides, except in his private letters to 
his friends, many of which are exquisitely tender, faith- 
ful, forcible, and graceful, he generaUy wrote under 
restraint, when the press and the public stood before 
him, owing to a consciousness that he wanted the pre- 
requisites for the niceties of English composition. 
Proceeding in fear, a degree of stiffness was the result ; 
the fountain of his thoughts sent forth its streams with 
less copiousness, and the affections of the heart were 
but partially unsluiced. Yet, in this case, his poverty 
would have been another man's wealth ; and it was 
only the poverty of a rich man, under less felicitous 
circumstances. He always paid for perusal, and im- 
parted to the reader what he could not obtain else- 
where, though somewhat less than might have been 
obtained from himself under more auspicious cir- 
cumstances. He frequently interlined his manuscript 
sermons with large emendations introduced whole 
paragraphs wrote out new plans, and prefixed them to 
the old materials, and sometimes re-wrote the greater 
part, and intermixed the new with the old, in such a 
way as to confound any one besides himself; and in 
such a way too, as, would have even distracted his own 
attention, had he been a mere memoriter preacher. 
But he dwelt on things, not on mere verbiage ; the 
thought was there, and the drapery followed. 

Perhaps, in prayer, he was less acceptable to the 
fastidious, than in preaching and writing. By some 



502 MEMOIRS OF 

persons, who knew but little of his sincerity, and could 
make no allowance for the peculiar cast of his mind, he 
would have been deemed too colloquial at a throne of 
grace, and more desirous of producing an effect upon 
the hearer, than of obtaining a blessing from God; 
more busily engaged with man than with his Maker ; 
more disposed to strike the one, than to produce 
reverence towards the other ; in short, too quaint, 
figurative, and familiar giving the notion of a person 
working out, and working up a thought, with a view to 
impress the creature, rather than interest the Supreme 
Being. Not only the fastidious, but pious, candid, and 
intelligent persons, have demurred here. Hence, the 
Rev. J. A. James, of Birmingham, in a letter to the 
biographer, observes, "It occurred to me, that with 
occasional real pathos, there was blended, as in the 
case of my venerated friend, Rowland Hill, too much of 
the humorous : and, in prayer, I thought there was a 
too great familiarity in his style of address to God." 
This defect was sometimes felt by his best friends ; and 
both matter and manner might give rise to an impres- 
sion of this kind ; but it was generally more at the 
commencement, than in the body of his prayer. As 
an example ; he commenced his prayer, on a particular 
occasion, by telling his Maker, that he is the centre 
and element of man ; that man had wandered from his 
proper centre, and must now address himself in the 
language of the Psalmist, " Return unto thy rest, O 
my soul ;" and that he could no more be happy out of 
his clement, than " the fish of the sea could be satis- 
fied to live in green fields." Than this, not any thing 
can be more naturally or theologically correct. The 
last expression was the result of the previous train of 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 503 

thought ; and though few men, besides himself, would 
have employed the simile in prayer, yet the intonations 
of the voice which followed his earnestness of spirit 
his evident hold of God and the thorough Christian 
feeling of his heart, instantly swallowed up the first 
impression of the ludicrous ; and nothing but the sober, 
deep, devout, yet fervid emotions of the soul, were felt 
by all present. These were the general impressions 
left upon the minds of religious characters, who united 
with him in devout addresses to heaven, with the excep- 
tion of the drawback to which reference has been made. 

Being familiar with the liturgy of the Church of 
England, he not unfrequently interwove a part of its 
sentiments and phraseology into his prayers ; which, 
with his earnest pleadings, had an amazing effect upon 
the heart, and drew forth the deep response from the 
audience. On other occasions, he would lay hold of 
some text of Scripture, such as, " I will sing of 
mercy," or, " His mercy endureth for ever," and 
would apply it to the various states in which persons 
might be found, or the circumstances in which they 
might be placed, and then plead with God for mercy, 
in connection with his promises to man. 

He was always most in danger when he indulged his 
fancy, which led him to the verge of the wild and 
ludicrous. This faculty, when restrained, has been 
aptly compared to a fountain, which plays the highest 
by diminishing the aperture. But though he occasion- 
ally, apart from prayer, indulged in the arabesque, 
and the picturesque ; and was fond, especially on the 
platform, of bewitching fancies ; and though he abound- 
ed in carelessnesses, yet he rarely dealt in the super- 
ficial, and scarcely beyond a few moments, ever lacked 



504 s MEMOIRS OF 

vigorous variety. There was such glowing imagery, 
such strength of expression, such fine strokes of wisdom, 
such tenderness ; that the turns of humour, and the 
sportings of fancy, were soon lost, " like the splendid 
but unsubstantial creations which rise in the mists of 
the morning, but are dissolved in the noon-day sun." 
He knew, to change the metaphor adopted by another, 
that sand often contains gold, but that sand would 
make a very sorry foundation ; and therefore, never 
failed to dig till he reached the rock. 

Imagination, which is less airy in its character, and 
somewhat more sedate in its movements, as well as 
more correct in its delineations, was still more con- 
spicuous. This was always at his command ; and 
through the influence of the grace of God upon his 
heart, he rarely failed to mirror things to the life. 
Eveiy man could see himself in the glass held up, and 
the particular truth in which he was most interested, 
as immediately connected with his state and character. 
The likeness was not always finished, but it was invari- 
ably strong ; and no one could mistake the object or 
character portrayed. He had the power, in a high 
degree, of representing even sentiments and abstract 
ideas, such as justice, mercy, and truth, and of 
putting appropriate speeches into their mouths, as in the 
" Sacred Dramas " of Mrs. H. More, and other moral 
dramatic pieces ; and these impersonated ideas, had very 
often an extraordinary effect upon his auditors. Had he 
not been under the influence of religion, and had he 
belonged to the reigns of JAMES and CHARLES, or to 
the seventeenth century, he would have excelled Daniel 
in his masques a species of writing consisting chiefly of 
dialogues, and supported by allegorical characters. 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 505 

On subjects where all was gay and brilliant, fancy 
would sometimes steal a march upon him ; as when 
representing the church under the similitude of a 
building. "There," he would say, "every stone is 
polished each fitted to its place ; and on one square is 
written sparkling, not in letters of gold, but in living 
letters of light, ' Him that cometh unto me, I will in 
no wise cast out ;' on another, ' Wherefore he is able 
also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God 
by him ;' and on the top-stone, ' Glory to God in the 
highest.' " Yet, for the spiritually-minded class of 
hearers before him, the whole was sufficiently intelligible, 
and his other matter amply atoned for any little freak of 
imagination in which he might indulge, the object and 
motive tolerating, if not justifying, the thing itself, 
when even at issue with good taste and rigid criticism. 
His descriptions were sometimes mixed up with 
pictorial remarks, referring to moral and religious ideas, 
while his moral and religious sketches and personifica- 
tions were now and then as quaint as Quarles ; at 
one moment horrid and unearthly, and at another 
gay ; thus rendering them occasionally repulsive to 
persons of refined taste but accordant with the feelings 
of the uncultivated mass. 

He seemed to have the faculty for representing what 
are called the "Miracle Plays," whose object was to 
present the principal supernatural events of the Old 
and New Testament, not with their proofs of divine 
authority by argument, but in their proper character, 
and the incidents attendant on them. This remark 
is of course made with a view to shew the character 
of his mind, and is not to be understood as expressive 
of regret, that it was not employed in that peculiar 

Y 



506 MEMOIRS OF 

way on divine subjects. Like Bunyan, he stood in 
a class by himself. He exhibited some of the darker 
and more violent passions of human nature, often 
beautifully relieved and contrasted with the sorrows of 
an unoffending and virtuous mind, as to the characters 
he drew. He spoke as a traveller writes, who has 
seen the object, and designs not neatly, but boldly, 
touchingly, and sometimes minutely, as by the pencil 
of an artist ; and he felt like a man who believes what 
he says. His descriptive powers were such, as to 
enable him to throw off what might be deemed faithful 
portraits : they were exact and living, and often rapid 
in their succession, for he had amazing quickness ; 
and such, though often explored in their hidden 
depths, as were not always brought to view. Others 
often referred to what he described ; and the descrip- 
tions, as already observed, in reference to himself, 
were hung up in the chambers of the heart like 
a portrait, but sometimes in the reverse way to his 
own, for the portraits, as noticed in the commence- 
ment of this article, were such, that the possessors, 
when they themselves were represented, would have 
gladly exchanged for others, but could not get rid of 
them, and memory would not permit their destruction ; 
and though sometimes a little caricatured, still the 
likeness, even under these seldom occurring circum- 
stances, might be seen, and the portrait fastened on 
its rightful owner. He never attempted, however, to 
caricature, but with a view to induce the sinner to 
fall out of love with his sins and with himself. He 
seemed now and then to have the singular faculty, 
which is said to have been possessed by an eminent 
German poet, of divesting himself of intellectual 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 50,7 

identity, of becoming that which he contemplated or 
described, of feeling the sensations, of thinking the 
thoughts, of other persons. He would have become 
the mother, the child, the penitent, the joyous Chris- 
tian, the horror-stricken sinner, and his hearers 
seemed to see and hear the person, and sympathize 
with him. 

Distinct from imagination, and from his descriptive 
powers, there was the faculty of invention, and that 
too, in an eminent degree. This may be distinguished 
from the creative power which he possessed, and which 
will not be overlooked, by applying the one to the act 
of bringing a world of thought, so to speak, into exist- 
ence, in the mass ; and the other, to the power of 
eliciting from that mass, things in detail, in an almost 
endless diversity of form. Not that his inventive 
faculty was equal to his creative powers. He had his 
divisions and subdivisions ; but still his sermons were 
not branched out into various puritanical particulars. 
Multiplicity would have embarrassed him ; a settled 
plan of this kind would have destroyed his freedom. 
It was the inspiration of the moment that awakened 
his inventive faculty. He could have taken up a 
single thought or figure, which flashed upon his 
mind, could have turned it round and round in a 
cylindrical way, both in prayer and preaching, con- 
stantly exhibiting, as it revolved, some new point, 
some new appearance on the surface, producing on 
the minds of others the same effect that is experienced 
by panoramic exhibitions upon the eye. On other 
occasions, to employ the still less sanctified allusion 
to the chase, which almost demands au apology for 
its use, because of other more serious associations, 



508 MEMOIRS OF 

he would start a thought, pursue it for some length 
of time, keep pressing upon it, lose sight of it for 
a few seconds, then branch off in another direction, 
in consequence of other conceptions, suddenly, and, 
in an unexpected moment, springing upon the old 
thought again, in another part of the field, then 
re-pursuing it for a brief space, till, like an animal, 
taking shelter among the brushwood, it no less sud- 
denly disappeared. When he broke away thus, they 
were moments of intense interest with the hearers, 
who were all fixed in palpitating pleasure in the 
pursuit. He never, in any of his chasings, any of 
his revolvings, failed to rouse and to instruct : and 
on other occasions, he would have conjured up enemies 
to the truth, of all sorts, and would have knocked 
them down like "nine pins." 

When not on particularly touching subjects, his wit 
would sometimes unexpectedly escape ; and though not 
always refined, yet always helpful to the point in ques- 
tion, and never indulged merely with a view to produce 
amusement. He invariably gave greater latitude to his 
devious, roaming, and abrupt imagination on the plat- 
form, than in the pulpit ; a proof of his discretion. 

As is generally the case with highly imaginative 
characters, he never shone as a logician ; and would, 
from his want of ability to enter consecutively into 
subjects of a profound, subtle, and abstract nature, 
have been soon baffled by a metaphysician. Yet, 
notwithstanding this, there was great shrewdness and 
quickness of perception : but with him, it was the 
blade that made an entrance at once, the logic of 
a single stroke ; a few sentences grasping the general 
argument, but specially, and, as by instinct, finding 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 509 

their way to a vulnerable part, laying it bare, and 
producing such conviction as to affect, and to render 
suspicious, if not to demolish, the whole, in the esteem 
of his unsophisticated hearers. He frequently employed 
the terms therefore and consequently, which shewed 
that the mind was exercising its reasoning powers. 
But while he admitted with Fuller, that " Reasons 
are the pillars of the fabric of a sermon," he knew 
with him at the same time, that " similitudes are 
the windows which give the best light." Hence, he 
dismissed argumentation the moment he found he had 
established his point, and gave scope to his imagination. 
But though it was not a mind that could delight itself 
with entering into the various subtleties and niceties 
of an argument, pursuing it through all its intricacies, 
doublings, and bearings, ferreting the designs of an 
opponent out of all their lurking places, and keeping 
close to the heels to the very last; yet he possessed 
what was infinitely better for his purpose and for 
his work, and this, by the way, is no bad proof 
of the sagacity of the friends and members of the 
Missionary Committee in the selection they made, a 
ready perception of truth, took a masculine grasp of 
his subject, and had a bold, persuasive, effective ora- 
tory. The facts of man's fall were too glaring, and 
the truths of the gospel too clear, for a profuse 
expenditure of logic. In thus speaking of his argu- 
mentative powers, it is by no means insinuated that 
there was any essential defect in the manner, the 
process, or the result of his reasonings. He sustains 
no injury, when it is affirmed, that he was not a 
Locke, not a Reid, not a Beattie, not a Dugald Stewart. 
There are many gradations of intellect between a person 



f*10 MEMOIRS OF 

of respectable talents and the first of these masters. 
He might not have reached any of these, and yet 
have surpassed millions of the human species. Mr. 
Dawson's was not the long even thread of the finest 
spun silk, but a logic of points and angles, shooting 
out in unexpected directions, and excessively annoying 
to the persons against whom it might be directed ; 
scattering, to change the metaphor, his shafts, like a 
shower of barbed arrows, which were left rankling 
in the conscience of the sinner, compelling him to 
flee to the spiritual physician for healing and strength. 
It was the logic, not of the study, but of the market, 
of the exchange, and of the counting-house ; the logic, 
not of the few, but of the multitude ; the logic which 
the least cultivated could understand. It was, in short, 
the logic of the lightning, whose stroke was death 
to the subterfuge of every sinner, and whose flash 
was conviction to the lukewarm professor. 

He proceeded to work with an argument, like the 
eagle, on perceiving its prey, never for a moment 
busying itself in the examination of the plumage or 
the form of the bird upon which it is about to 
pounce, but viewing it as a whole, making one fell 
swoop, clutching it at once, and bearing it up, writhing 
in very agony, till lost for ever to the gaze of the 
spectators. There was no delicacy in the handling ; 
it was prey he had to deal with, prey to be 
destroyed, not for its value, but because of its odious- 
ness, having been hurtful to the life of the sinner 
himself and his associates, and in the destruction of 
which angels might rejoice. This was the man for 
the work of the ministry. If there was a naked point, 
it was seen ; and though visible before to the sinner, it 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 511 

was laid still more bare to the public eye, so that he began 
to suspect he was as well known to the preacher and 
others as to himself. If deception had been resorted 
to, it was exposed ; if the sinner persevered, the 
branding iron was applied. If he had been in the 
hands of others, had been tampered with, and his 
case had become desperate, he was dealt with like 
a person whose life was at stake. There was no 
ceremony, rank never occurred to the mind, health 
was the object, a few twinges and writhings in the 
patient were unheeded, so intensly was the eye fixed 
upon the grand object to be attended to, health, 
perfect health. He boldly lashed the vices and follies, 
both of individuals and whole classes, sometimes with 
bluntness, but always with fidelity : and when he found 
persons ministering to the grovelling tastes, and un- 
reasonable prejudices of the multitude, he never failed 
to launch a bolt at them, regardless of consequences. 
Every thing was done and said, whether in the pul- 
pit or the social circle, with such honesty of purpose 
and manner, that his very failings commended him 
to confidence. There were no suspicious pretensions 
to credit. When speaking of himself, though he might 
excite a quiet smile now and then at his own expense, 
it was unmixed with anything offensive ; and at no 
time did he ever attempt to raise himself by sinking 
others. All his remarks upon himself were good- 
natured, not selfish, somewhat gregarious ; and he 
felt a pleasure in extolling others whenever praise 
was due. The fact is, that, in the minutest circum- 
stances, and in all his transactions with men, he 
permitted an enlightened conscience to tell its own 
tale ; and trivial things, things unavoidable in them- 



512 MEMOIRS OF 

selves, produced the greatest sensibility, when they 
would have been passed off by others as things of 
course. 

Generally speaking, he had a consummate know- 
ledge of man, a shrewd insight into business trans- 
actions, and good judgment and experience in the 
leading truths of the Bible. This, with his rich 
imagination, which aided him in drawing out and 
illustrating the general doctrines of the gospel, in his 
peculiar way, formed a good ground-work for his appeals 
to the conscience. In some very rare cases, the love 
of novelty, and the desire of producing effect, gave 
a momentary bias to the judgment ; particularly when 
grappling with some great subject, or employed in 
the work of illustration, and at the moment that 
thoughts appeared to be teeming in upon him, re- 
turning to them again and again, then, throwing 
out his feelers for expression, but still in love with 
the conceit or novelty, and trying to justify it, with 
a disposition to maintain it, from a pure love of its 
being new, till the judgment rose up in rebellion 
against it. Thus, in an attempt to encourage the 
desponding sinner, he observed on one occasion, 
" There are two Infinite Loves ; one in the Deity, 
and another in the humanity of Christ; two infinite 
oceans meeting in one." Now, the idea of two in- 
finities, and one of those infinities in a finite humanity, 
involves an absurdity which would soon Jbe detected 
by the mind, though capable of administering encourage- 
ment to the feelings of an uninstructed awakened 
sinner. Besides, an attempt to augment the infinite 
love of God by dividing it for it could never in- 
crease it, will admit of but little support in the way of 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 513 

argument. This, however, was urged by the excellent 
subject of the Memoir ; and when, in his amplification, 
he found the love of novelty fetter him, he endeavoured 
to qualify it, by asserting an infinite love in the God- 
head, and a perfect love in the manhood. The same 
consequence resulted from his desire to produce effect, 
which was generally mixed up with his love of novelty, 
the one originating chiefly in his creative powers, 
and the other in his deep feeling. The latter some- 
times led him to mar his best thoughts, by over- 
shooting them. His mouth was generally, in the 
language of the apostle, full of " strong meat " from 
GoS to the people. His thoughts resembled his phy- 
sical frame ; they were solid, full, strong. It was 
not unfrequently the sledge-hammer, the battering 
ram, the thunder, the lightning. In some instances, 
he would be heard by persons of no religious feeling, but 
of refined taste and classical attainments, for amusement, 
owing to his light, daring, terrific, singularities. 

If he ever failed, it was when fancy was in- 
dulged in the illustration of a subject : in his deduc- 
tions from scriptural truth, he was remarkable 'for 
soundness of judgment ; always clear and condensed 
in his definitions, and convincing in his conclusions. 
He had a quick and clear insight into the Word of 
God; and the truths there, like certain propositions 
noticed by Reid on the "Intellectual Powers," were 
no sooner understood than believed. The judgment 
followed the apprehension of them necessarily ; and 
both were equally the work of nature, and the result 
of his original powers. There was no searching for 
evidence, no weighing of arguments ; no inference 
drawn from other things. He saw the light of truth 



f>14 MEMOIRS OF 

in itself; and with the same clearness, and force, 
and correctness, he imparted it to others. There is 
hut too much truth in the remark, that "it is with 
our judgments as our watches ; none go just alike, 
yet each believes his own." But if a man wish to 
keep his watch right, he will take care to regulate 
it by the sun, as the good man takes care to regu- 
late his creed by the Bible. This was the case with 
Mr. Dawson, who read and examined the Sacred Re- 
cords for himself, and would never rely on "visual 
beams refracted through another's eye." 

In directing still further attention to the mind, his 
originality seemed at once to invite observation ; a 
talent by which things and qualities not previously des- 
cribed, are discovered and exhibited, or, if familiar, are 
shewn in new lights. It is only occasionally, as it 
was in his case, united with power, for it is a slow 
and studious faculty ; and when combined with genius, 
is often mistaken as the peculiar element of that 
remarkable energy. His creations were numerous and 
varied, and of a character peculiar to themselves but 
never finished. They resembled a bold, rich, well- 
wooded country, not the gay, lined, systematized 
pleasure-ground, in which art is stealing upon the gaze 
of the spectator at every turn : but though rich, always 
in want of a certain portion of cultivation, the veriest 
trifle of which would amply compensate for the labour 
bestowed, and which stood more in need of the hoe, the 
knife, and the mattock, than the shower, the sun, and 
the manure. When most unfinished, they still bore the 
hand of a master, the principal thing required to im- 
prove them being, not so much the general adjustment, 
as merely a little levelling here and there, for the sake 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 515 

of greater grace and ease, there being prominences 
sufficient, even more than a due proportion, without 
it. Nor were they, it may be added, always beautiful, 
indeed rarely ; but they were invariably striking. He 
was never without original imagery, striking sentiment, 
fertility of expression, and happy combinations though 
occasionally a century behind some of the modem 
sermonizers, associating more immediately with the 
most useful, the purest, and noblest of the Puritan divines. 
The Rev. J. A. James, of Birmingham, himself an 
excellent model, as well as an admirable judge of minis- 
terial character and qualification, whose opinion has 
already been adverted to, observes in the same letter to 
the biographer, " With respect to the opinion which I 
am alledged to have expressed of Mr. Dawson, I cannot 
take upon myself either to confirm, or deny the report. 

If you had it from Mr. himself, I have no doubt of 

its correctness : for if I did not say it, I thought it. Mr. 
Dawson was in every respect a man sui generis, and 
must not be tried as a public speaker by the rules 
which are applied to other men." Mr. James then, in 
allusion to what the classical reader will find in one of 
the most admired Italian poets one of those thoughts 
which could only proceed from a great mind, and only 
occur once to the same mind, 

" Natura lo fece, e poi ruppe la stain pa ;" 

" Nature formed him, and then broke up the mould ;" 
further observes, " The mould in which his mind and 
manner were cast, was exclusively his own, and was 
broken up when his character was formed. No one 
should none I believe did, for none could imitate him. 
I never heard him preach but once, nor did I ever hear 
more than one speech from him ; but both the sermon 



516 MEMOIRS OF 

and the oration displayed a force of genius, and com- 
mand of striking illustration, such as I had scarcely 
ever heard. The taste of some of his most splendid 
corruscations of mental brilliance might be questioned, 
but their power over a certain class of minds was irre- 
sistible." In a conversation which the biographer had, 
about the same time, with the author of "The World 
before the Flood," the latter remarked, when speaking 
of Mr. Dawson, that he often employed beautiful 
figures, not figures for the occasion, introduced for 
the sake of embellishment, as in a poem, but woven 
into the very texture of his language, and forming a 
part of it. He admitted that he occasionally bordered 
on the absurd, when he gave scope to his fancy, but 
that he sometimes rose into sublimity, and into the 
highest style of natural eloquence ; added to which, 
and it was here that he admired him most, there was 
often uncommon power of thought, and unusual pathos ; 
though he always preferred him in the pulpit to the 
platform. He considered him a good subject for 
biography, though not equal to Samuel Hick for sim- 
plicity and unexpected variety ; being much more varied 
in his discourse than in his character, and so consti- 
tuting one difference, with many others, between 
Hick's originality and his own. In matter, he pro- 
nounced him to be exceedingly varied having height 
and depth, with all the shades between. 

It will be easy to perceive the kind of matter in 
which it was likely he would deal, from the peculiarity 
of his genius, and the strength of his feelings. His 
thoughts, both in prayer and preaching, were like 
masses of ore and often of the most valuable kind, 
like ingots of pure gold, from which the most beautiful 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 517 

current coin might be struck into form and size, and 
without which, though devoid of polish, a realm might 
have been without a currency ; at least, without a 
currency but for similar minds ; as it is not likely that 
the "coinage of the brain," would have received the 
same sort of die if die at all, except taken up from 
such minds, by others of inferior intellectual grade. 
Throughout the whole, there was an evident want of 
refinement, which a thorough discipline might have 
produced. It is doubtful, however, whether the exu- 
berance of his fancy and genius, would have ever allowed 
him to be pinioned down to order. The question pro- 
posed to the Rev. J. A. James, of Birmingham, 
" What would he have been had he been favoured with 
an academical education?" and the reply given to it, 
" He would have been spoiled," comprehends much 
more of truth without at all interfering with the gen- 
eral question which involves the propriety of a whole- 
some early training than will at first sight be admitted ; 
for it is not improbable, that the buoyancy of his native 
genius, whatever might have been the polish bestowed, 
would have turned up the surface, and have rendered it 
occasionally a little rough to the eye. He was one of 
the patriarchs of Methodism not in years but for 
being hale both in body and mind unsmitten by 
effeminacy ; a diamond in the rough, who received 
sufficient polish from the station which he was destined 
to adorn, as he rolled on with the tide of labour that 
carried him forward precious for his value, and 
dazzling for his brilliancy, without being indebted to 
the hand of the lapidary. His value was seen and 
known through his coating ; as much so, as was that 
of John the Baptist through his "leathern girdle," 



518 MEMOIRS OF 

and his garment of " camel's hair. " He thought 
strongly, and he spoke strongly. The thoughts, how- 
ever, which he bolted forth, were not mere huge, 
shapeless masses, 'but were often worked up with con- 
siderable skill. 

Love and fear were the two passions on which he 
principally laid hold ; and these had a corresponding 
influence upon his matter. No congregation could 
resist his appeals, when addressing the maternal, filial, 
or fraternal feelings. On all pathetic subjects, the 
people were like a piece of mechanism in his hand, 
which he could wind at will. In the same sermon, 
and within only a few seconds, the same persons, 
melted into tenderness, and like the wax, ready to 
receive the impression, or like the ore in a fluid 
state, ready for the mould, would have been suddenly 
awe- struck, the eyes fixed, the lips apart, the 
body motionless, and within hearing of the beating 
of their own hearts. On the horrors of hell, the 
flame seemed to flash upon the eye, representing, 
in terrific contrast, the rich, the titled, the gay, 
surrounded with everything calculated to fascinate the 
eye, captivate the ear, and minister to the taste, 
tossed from a bed of feathers into a bed of fire, 
exchanging the salubrious air for the suffocating stench 
of brimstone, the salute of fondest friends, for in 
his own language, the "grin of demons," and where 
"the least and meanest fiend in the regions of woe, 
was permitted to spit hell fire in their face. " It 
was, indeed, on such occasions, " the reign of ter- 
ror." But even Here, he was very often on his way 
to something exquisitely tender. He was never remote 
from the cross ; rarely out of sight of it, generally 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 519 

hovering round it, and sometimes, like a bird of 
heaven, would seem to alight upon it, and there 
make his stay. He generally avoided long declama- 
tion ; and his style being_ highly impassioned, was 
consequently metaphoric, and therefore striking ; for 
all metaphor is the natural language of a raised 
imagination and agitated heart : and his own heart 
being affected with his subject, he found ready access 
to the hearts of others. When he did declaim, he 
was generally brief; though he was as powerful a 
declaimer, as he was an excellent painter ; and always 
had logic enough for the subject upon which he des- 
canted. 

In connexion with his matter, and uninjured by his 
lighter moods, was a certain authority which he 
invariably exercised over his respective auditories. 
Whatever he might have felt, he appeared an utter 
stranger to everything like fear in the pulpit. He 
was there like " one having authority." Beside his 
native courage, the immense crowds that attended 
his ministry sometimes, as in Manchester and other 
populous places, rendering the presence of the police 
necessary, attested how much he was beloved by the 
people ; and it was love in him which, in return, 
" cast out fear." He spoke, whether colloquially or 
oratorically, acted, and was as free, even with the 
most splendid, and most numerously attended audience 
in the city, as with the smaller and humbler in the 
rural districts. On entering the pulpit, and closing 
the door, he was like a man who had entered his own 
dwelling, where he only, of human beings, exercised 
the authority of a master, and those around were at 
his bidding, and under his influence, as dependants. 



520 MEMOIRS OF 

The pulpit was his home, wherever it might stand. 
Yet, though master, there were no authoritative airs. 
With a becoming dignity, there was always that feeling 
of reverence present, that left the impression, that one 
was his Master even CHRIST. In his fearlessness 
and authority, with other qualifications, he reminds us 
of the self-possession, and some other traits that were 
found in the character of Bridane, who, like himself, 
acted in the capacity of a Christian Missionary.* 

*The Abbe Maury has given us a striking exordium of Bri Jane's. Speakii.g 
of Cicero, and extolling his eloquence, he says, 

" If there remain any traces of this ancient and vigorous eloquence, which 
is no other than the voice of nature, it is among the missionaries, and we 
must go to the country for examples. These apostolic men, endued with an 
imagination vigorous and strong, know no other success than conversions, no 
other applause than tears. Often destitute of taste, they descend, I grant, tt> 
burlesque details ; but they strongly strike the senses. Their threatenings 
impress terror ; and the people hear them with concern. Yet many among 
them have sublime strokes; and an orator does not attend them without profit, 
when he knows how to distinguish the great effects of his art. Mr. Bridane, 
the man of this age the most justly celebrated of that order, was born with a 
popular eloquence, full of metaphors and fire ; and no one possessed in a 
higher degree the talent of seizing on an assembled multitude. He had such 
a fine voice, as rendered credible all the prodigies that history recounts of the 
declamations of the ancients. He could be as easily heard by ten thousand 
people in the open air, as though he had spoken under the most sonorous arch. 
One could remark in all he said natural turns of eloquence ; very expressive 
metaphors; blunt, new, and striking thoughts, with all the characters of a 
fertile imagination; some extemporaneous stroke, and sometimes even whole 
discourses, delivered with the correctest taste and warmth. I remember to 
have heard him preach his first sermon in the church of St. Sulpicius, in Paris, 
in the year 1751. The most brilliant circles of the capital, excited by curiosity, 
came to hear him. Bridane perceiving in the assembly many bishops and 
persons of distinction, with an innumerable crowd of ecclesiastics, the siglit, 
far from intimidating, inspired him with the following exordium: 

"'At the sight of an audience so new to me, it might seem, my brethren, I 
should not open my mouth, but only ask favour in behalf of a poor Missionary, 
destitute of those talents which you require when we address you on the 
concerns of your salvation. But I feel impressed to-day with a sentiment 
widely different ; and if I appear to humble myself, do not believe that I abase 
myself to the miserable inquietudes of vanity, as though I were accustomed to 
preach myself. God forbid that a minister of heaven should think he has any 
need of apologizing for himself to you I For, whosoever you are, yon are no 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 521 

Associated with his authority, was his power, which 
was still more perceptible, though often confounded by 
less critical minds, with power altogether divine, as 
attendant on his ministry. This faculty was distin- 
guished in him, not barely by bringing a creation of 
the mind into existence, but by occasionally heaving up 
the mighty mass manufacturing materials already 
brought into being, and shewing a Herculean power 

other than sinners like myself. It is before your God and mine that I feel 
constrained to smite upon my breast. Ace Maria .' 

'"Till the present time, I have published the righteousness of the Most 
High in temples covered with thatch ; I have announced the rigours of 
penitence to the miserable who wanted bread ; I have proclaimed to the good 
inhabitants of the country the most terrific truths of my religion. What have 
I done 'wretch that I am? I have saddened the poor, the best friends of 
my God. I have carried grief and dismay into those simple, faithful souls 
whom I ought to have consoled j and with whom I should have sympathized. 
" ' But here my looks fall on the great, on the rich, on the oppressors of 
suffering humanity ; or on sinners audacious and hardened. Ah .' it is here 
only I should make the holy word resound with all its strength and thunder ,- 
and place with me in this pulpit, on the one hand, death, which threatens 
you; and on the other, my great God, who is about to judge you. I hold 
to-day your sentence in my hand. Tremble, then, before me, ye haughty and 
disdainful men, who hear me. The necessity of salvation, the certainty of 
death ; the uncertainty of that hour so terrible to you ; final impenitence ; the 
lust judgment; the small number who obtain salvation; and, above all, 
ETERNITY ETERNITY ! These are the subjects with which I come to enter- 
tain you, and which I ought, without doubt, to have reserved for you alone. 
Ah ! what need have I of your applause, which might damn me without saving 
you ? God is going to affect you by his unworthy minister who addresses 
jou ; for I have acquired a long experience of his mercies : then, penetrated 
with horror for your past sins, you shall come and cast yourselves into my 
arms, pouring out tears of compunction and penitence ; and, by the force of 
remorse, 'you will find me to be eloquent enough. Ah.' upon what do you 
found your hopes, my brethren, that your last moments are so distant? Is it 
because you are young ? Yes, you say, / have as yet but twenty or thirty years. 
Ah ! it is not you who have twenty or thirty years, but death who has twenty 
or thirty years in advance upon yon. Take heed. Eternity approaches. Do 
you know what eternity is ? It is a clock, the pendulum of which incessantly 
says, ALWAYS ! EVEE! EVER! ALWAYS! ALWAYS! During these vibrations, a 
damned soul cries out, What o'clock is it? And the same voice replies, It it 
KTERXITY ! '" Dicours sur f Eloquence de la Chaire, page 45. 

I am afraid we have no traces of this missionary eloquence in England, 
unless it be among the itinerant missionaries. 



522 MEMOIRS OF 

in their use : hence it has been styled, and not un- 
aptly, "a manufacturing faculty." It is not in the 
light, superficial, "namby pamby" way that it acts; 
but it shews itself by wielding the mace, or, like the 
giant of old, by handling the weaver's beam ; or, 
perhaps, more appropriately still, like Samson, shaking 
pillars, temple, and all, but without expiring in the 
struggle, again, and again rising with the same giant 
might as before : and here was a peculiarity in the 
subject before us ; for it was not with him. as with 
a man, who puts forth all his energies on a solitary 
occasion, and, by one single effort, exhausts his strength, 
requiring a lapse of time to recruit again, but it 
was a regular succession of efforts, without any appa- 
rent feebleness occasioned by exercise, year after year, 
and in place after place, manifesting the same power 
in body and in intellect. He had a remote resem- 
blance to one of our first poets, whom to name 
might be deemed a profanity by some, and a weakness 
by others, but so it is believed is the fact, he had 
a power of conceiving characters, and, after conceiving 
them, a readiness of throwing himself into them, as 
has been shewn, though a little too comic now and 
then, so as to bring from them a discourse which 
would generally be allowed, to be such as would be 
spoken under the supposed circumstances. It was 
the same with characters selected from Scripture, from 
personal observation, and general history. He seemed 
to have strong pleasure, when his subject led to it, 
in whatever was terrible, even though it bordered 
sometimes upon extravagance ; and there were single 
passages in his sermons, which, as exhibitions of the 
more violent passions, were inferior to nothing in the 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 523 

whole range of modern pulpit oratory. He shewed ex- 
traordinary power also, as has been noticed, of managing 
argument in sentences, of compressing his thoughts, 
like Pope, in his "Essay on Man," into clauses of the 
most energetic brevity, as well as of expanding them 
into passages glittering though in the rough, with 
every ornament calculated to captivate the general 
hearer. Such a man, it would not be unnatural to 
conceive, when we connect with his native energy, 
the overwhelming power that attended his ministry, 
would have been a fine companion in open field with 
Luther ; nor is it at all derogatory to either the 
birth or native character of Luther, his learning of 
course unmixed with the comparison, to have another 
noble creation of God placed by his side. 

There is a passage in the works of a popular author, 
on the least fascinating portion of Luther's character, 
which as it contains some points of similarity, will 
produce the impression that the writer wishes to con- 
vey, and so form an apology for the subject in question, 
an apology, be it observed, not so necessary because 
of any positive defect in the subject alluded to, as 
because of the mistaken views of others. "Hitherto," 
the author observes, " the too common idea of the 
great Reformer's character has been, that it was a mere 
compound of violence and ruggedness. These traits 
have been made so prominent, that the finer lines of the 
portrait have been completely shaded from the sight. 
If, in fact, we knew nothing of Dr. Johnson but his 
occasional bursts of savage and vmcouth manners, we 
should not have a more erroneous impression of him 
than is generally entertained of Luther. Another 
reason of our misconception is, that we too often honour 



524 MEMOIRS OF 

mere daintiness of mind with the name of delicacy, 
sensibility, humanity, and virtue; whilst the rough 
exterior and the passionate expression, smack to the 
taste of drawing-room, fashionable society, whence 
opinions are usually circulated, only of brutality and 
ferocity. Perhaps, however, the finest, richest, and 
most generous species of character is that which pre- 
sents to the dainty the most repulsive surface. Within 
the rough rind the feelings are preserved unsophis- 
ticated, robust and healthy. The rough outside keeps 
off that insidious swarm of sensibilities, which taint, 
and adulterate, and finally expel all natural and vigorous 
emotions from within us. The idea of a perfect man 
has always been figured forth in our minds by the em- 
blem of the lion coming out of the lamb, and the lamb 
coming out of the lion. Of this description of charac- 
ter was Luther. Nothing could exceed his submissive- 
ness and humility when choice was left him whether to 
be humble or daring; but when conscience spoke, no other 
consideration for the moment was attended to, and he 
certainly did then shake the forest in his magnificent 
ire. But if we behold him one moment, to use his own 
quotation from Scripture, pouring contempt upon princes, 
and highly raging against the highest upon earth, we 
see him the next in his familiar correspondence, a poor, 
humble, afflicted man, not puffed "up with pride at the 
great things he had accomplished, but rather struck 
down at a sense of his unworthiness. As to his violence, 
it was part of his mission to be violent, and those who 
charge it as a fault, blame Divine Providence. Not to 
have been violent, would have been in him not to be in 
earnest. And here it may be observed, that his violence 
was not verbal ; it was merely the rousing voice to 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 525 

awaken Europe from the lethargy of ages. In his 
opinions and views, he was the most moderate of all 
reformers. In his coarseness, however, his low origin 
certainly speaks out ; yet there is something sublime in 
the peasant (the miner's son) dragging popes, and 
kings, into his wrestling ring, and handling them with 
as much roughness and as little ceremony as he would 
a hob-nailed clown from a country market-place. He 
was moulded by the hand that sent him. The acci- 
dents of this world had no power to change or modify 
his moral conformation. There was a oneness, a whole- 
ness, an uncompoundedness of character in him. The 
Divine finger had chiselled on his moral frame but one 
idea and that external to his earthly condition. Hence 
was begotten the simplicity and homeliness of Luther's 
walk and life. Had he acted the great man, he would 
have proved that he was not the apostle." 

The similarity between the two men, the son of the 
Isleben, or Saxon Miner, and the son of the Yorkshire 
Colliery Agent, is not, as already intimated, so much to 
be seen in the detail in the filling up as in the broad 
mass, the masculine character sustained in the separate 
spheres in which they moved. The one had the range 
of Germany, the other, England, Ireland, and Wales ; 
the one had to do with princes and ecclesiastical 
dignitaries, the other with the humbler orders of 
society ; the one had to uproot error in the church, 
the other to grapple with vice, in its various forms, in 
the world ; the times of the one were of the most 
sombre character, those of the other, of religious light ; 
the one had few aids, and public favour was on 
the side of the other : but like Luther, from the collo- 
quial cognomen of " BILLY " in his own neighbourhood, 



526 MEMOIRS OF 

and the "YORKSHIRE FARMER" abroad, an air of 
rusticity was thrown around his character which did not 
belong to it ; and from the mistaken notions of others, 
who never entered within the walls of a Wesleyan 
chapel, and who received their impressions from the state- 
ments of either the ignorant, the irreligious, or from the 
burlesqued accounts of the profane, he dwindled down 
into the character of a plain well-meaning man, with 
something of fancy, with less of judgment, whose 
popularity arose from his eccentricities, the thunder 
of whose power was merely in the strength of his voice, 
and whose religion was enthusiastic rant. But com- 
bined with vast power, he possessed, beyond all ques- 
tion, the greatest degree of originality of any of his 
contemporaries in the ministry. His genius too, was 
of a high order the highest in the body ; but it was 
by his power and originality that he was principally 
distinguished. In Luther's day, and in Luther's cir- 
cumstances, he would have been found, vested with a 
Luther's prowess, and armed with the quailing power 
comprised in some of the best and most condensed of 
Luther's replies. Who, but a man of more than ordi- 
nary mental capacity, could have given birth to the 
conception, or would have been ready with the reply 
which Mr. Dawson gave to the question respecting the 
sublime and benevolent object of Christian Missions ? 
" Their object," he returned, "is no other than that of 
blocking up the ' broad icay ' of covering it over 
with verdure and of preventing the keen eye of an 
archangel from seeing so much as the print of a human 
foot upon it." This was reformation on a much more 
magnificent scale, an object much more sublime, than 
Luther ever contemplated, whose object was not so 



WILLIAM DAWSON. 527 

much the conversion of the world, as the purification of 
the church. 

But in that which has been stated, we can scarcely 
fail to perceive, in the late Mr. William Dawson, the 
MAN, the CHRISTIAN, and the MINISTER; the Man, 
who was an honour to human nature, the Christian, 
who was an ornament to the Church, and the Minister, 
who, in Methodism, whether ancient or modern, stood 
more apart from his brethren than almost any other 
preacher for the peculiarity of his genius, and the bold, 
original, and successful character of his ministry 
approaching the nearest of any man to the definition 
given by the poor countryman of the celebrated George 
Whitfield as a preacher, who, in reply to the interroga- 
tory of his master on the subject, returned, " Preach, 
Sir ! He preached like a lion ; " a metaphor full of life, 
full of fire, full of power, full of majesty. But if Mr. 
Dawson preached like a lion, he lived like a lamb ; and 
has in this furnished posterity with another example of 
a " perfect man " as far as perfection can be attached 
to the human character, in connexion with its own 
peculiarities " the Lion coming out of the Lamb, and 
the Lamb coming out of the Lion " bold, yet harmless, 
innocent, inoffensive; nay, more, a blessing to his 
species; thus terminating one of the most brilliant 
and extraordinary careers in the history of the lay 
ministry of Methodism, at the close of its first trium- 
phant CENTENARY. 



FINIS. 



YORK : J. COULTAS, PRINTER. 






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