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HISTORY OF METHODISM,

&c.

PART FIRST.

CHAPTER 1.

The first Attempt to introduce Methodism into

Yarmouth by Mr. T. Olivers, who was driven out of the Town by the Mob.

It appears that Mr. Thomas Olivers was the first who attempted to introduce Methodism into the town of Great Yarmouth, in the year 1754, being at that time stationed in the Norwich circuit.

About twenty-nine years before this period the Rev. Robert Camell, LL. D., Rector of Bradwell in Suffolk, preached in St. Nicholas' Church, in this place, and in St. George's Chapel, for his friend Dr. Macro, and gave huge offence by reproving the reigning sins.

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So that “a certain personage of great power in the town summoned some of his brethren together, then sent for the clergy who were in Yarmouth, and made a virulent speech," &c., against Dr. C.'s sermons, and sent the good Doctor word “ he should never enter the pulpit' again.”

The Doctor's sermons, published by himself in vindication of his own character, lie now before me, and are mentioned merely to give the reader some idea of the state of Yarmouth at that time, as to morality and religion. They could give offence to none but sinners of gigantic stature, such as the Doctor only generally reproves, though with a fidelity and zeal that must have produced some effect.

When Mr. Olivers visited Yarmouth, no change for the better appears to have taken place among the people. They had heard something of the Methodists, and had come to a conclusion what they would do, should they ever make an attempt to preach in the town. Mr. Olivers was aware of all this: Yet he resolved in his mind to visit them, if by any means he might save some of them from death eternal.

The individual whom Mr. Olivers took with him from Norwich, happened to be under conviction for sin at that time, and consequently felt much terrified and alarmed at the thoughts of death; and being fully alive to the kind of treatment which they might expect at Yarmouth, he frequently exclaimed, as they rode along, “ I shall be murdered this day, and go to hell! For I know not the Lord.”

It being the Sabbath-day, on their arrival they both went to church; and from thence, when the service was over, they repaired to the market-place, where they begun to sing a hymn, while the multitude gathered together round about them. Mr. Olivers then offered up prayers to Almighty God. All this while, the crowd was tolerably quiet. The text was then read, and the preacher began to address his audience, when the aspect of things changed, and the tumult increased like the waves of the sea. Mr. Olivers, however, was not the man to be easily intimidated by a lawless mob. But as there was no prospect of stilling the tempest, so as to obtain a hearing for the present, one of his friends pulled him down and led him away from their fury and rage.

Retiring to a friend's house in one of the Rows, they there rested a while, and then sent for their horses in order to return. But the mob following Mr. Olivers’ horse, completely filled the Row where he was. Mr. Olivers mounted, and his friendly steed made the best way for him he could, driving a part of the infuriated rabble before him up the narrow passage.

But the women, standing in their door-ways on each side, with basins of water, and dirt and filth, in their hands, darted the contents right at him as he passed along; and the narrowness of the Row allowed him no means of escaping their fury, which vented itself

him without mercy. But even this was not all: When they came into the open street, “such a shower of sticks, stones, turnips, apples, potatoes," &c., he says, I never witnessed before or since.” His fellow-traveller galloped out of the town as fast as his horse could carry him: But Mr. Olivers himself, having somewhat more courage, warded off the weapons of his assailants as well as he could, and so made a regular retreat.

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