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beguiled by the pleasantness of the ramble that, having no timepiece to warn us of the flight of time, we stayed much longer than we should have done, and on returning to school we were severely reprimanded.
On the subject of the fortunate purchase made by the Grove committee, the Monthly Magazine, or British Register, for November, 1811, says: "Woodhouse Grove, near Leeds, the estate recently purchased by the Methodists for a large seminary of education, is, without exception, one of the most delightful situations in this country. It is situated in a rich and highly-cultivated valley on the banks of the river Aire, abounding in wood and water. To the north is the beautiful scenery of Esholt; the south aspect presents the bold and interesting landscapes of Rawdon and Horsforth, and the west the towering woods of Calverley. The estate, which, besides the mansion, consists of about fifteen acres of land, cost the Methodists only £4,575, a sum scarcely equal to the value of the buildings.”
It can hardly be believed that the numerous advantages of such a fortunate purchase should have been so readily sacrificed. Every youth who had the advantage of being a scholar there will ever regard the fact of his having been educated there as most fortunate.
It was my happy lot to be a scholar at the Grove from 1822 to 1828, where I spent six pleasant years, to which, at seventy years of age, I am permitted to look back with fond delight. It has been to me a labour of love, and no small joy, to gather together as many recollections of the past as possible, of others as well as myself; and, at the request of some of my old schoolfellows, present the following Memorials.
In the year 1822, and for many years after, boys entered the school at eight and left it at fourteen years of age. In that year my father was “travelling” at Malton, having for his superintendent the Rev. Francis Derry, whose eldest son, Frank, had been two or three years at the Grove. Born in June, 1814, I was eligible that year to be admitted into the school, and my father, having arranged preliminaries with the governor, agreed to take me with young Derry, calling at York for two or three other boys, one of whom was going also as a new scholar. Accordingly we proceeded to York on the outside of the coach, where we were joined by some of the sons of the Rev. Isaac Turton, then stationed there. My father engaged a post-chaise for us, putting us juveniles inside whilst he rode outside. In due time we arrived at the Grove safely. My father stayed all night there, and I was allowed to sleep with him in a bedroom known as the “Green Room.” In the morning he prayed with me before leaving the room, commending me to God's care, whilst I sobbed and shed an abundance of tears, boy-like, under the circumstances. I had my breakfast with the other boys, of butterless bread and milk, and at nine o'clock entered the school, where I was put into a class and an Eton Latin Grammar was placed in my hands, with instructions to learn by heart so many lines. Before leaving home I had learnt Lindley Murray's English Grammar, and had gone through it five times, which fact gave me an easy acquaintance with the mysteries of the Latin one. In this way I was first introduced into Woodhouse Grove School, where I spent six happy years, and where I experienced advantages the results of which I reap at this day.
In the following pages will be found reminiscences illustrating other portions of the history of the school. Amongst them will be read with interest those of the Revs. Dr. Moulton; E. H. Sugden, B.A., B.Sc.; Elijah Jackson (who for a time was a junior master), and others.
THOSE persons are mistaken who suppose that the
present perfected form and constitution of Methodism are the products of John Wesley's mind; that all their details were hatched in one day in his brain! Instead of this, when he took one step he hardly knew, or even guessed, what the next would be, or where it would lead him. The whole system of Methodism is the result of development, over-ruled by the providence of God. This was especially the case as to the calling out and sending forth of Mr. Wesley's “helpers,” the earliest race of Methodist preachers. Only they who have taken any interest in the matter know or can conceive what hardships these noble-minded and heroic men endured. Previous to 1752 all the stipend they received was simply their travelling expenses, which were paid them by the stewards of the various circuits in which they laboured. Many of them gave up their business and employment to preach, not knowing how they were to be fed and clothed. In most cases they were single men, and their board was gratuitously given by members of the societies as they passed along from town to town.* At the Conference of 1752 an attempt was made to provide for their better support, and it was ordained that each preacher should be supplied with £12 a year, which sum for many years was paid them very irregularly, the self-denying itinerants having to be content with such partial payments as their brethren could make. Small as was the pittance allowed, we learn that in 1765 a deputation was sent from York to the Conference at Manchester to plead against the large sum of £12 being allowed to the preachers.* Mr. Wesley himself received a stipend of twelve guineas a year, obtaining it from the stewards of the place where he chanced to be when it was due. There is a society book still in existence in Manchester containing several entries of this sum paid to him. He sympathised with the straits to which his preachers were put, and relieved them as far as he could. As late as 1788 he wrote to Jonathan Crowther: “You want money, and money you shall have, if I can beg, borrow, or—anything but steal it. I say, therefore, 'Dwell in the land and be doing good, and verily thou shalt be fed.' When I had only blackberries to eat in Cornwall, still God gave me strength sufficient for my work.”
* Stevens' “History of Methodism.”
In the cash-book of a society, in one of the most ancient cities of the kingdom, there is an entry of “75. 6d. for turning the preacher's coat, and making it fit the second preacher.” And so the practice sprang up of supplying the various wants of the preachers in this way. In the circuit cash-book already alluded to, there are entries of moneys paid on Mr. Wesley's account when he visited Manchester. For instance—“A pair of breeches, 155. gd.; a saddle, 9s.;
* Smith's "History of Methodism."