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Howells, William - Letter to Orson Pratt - 9 Aug 1849

Howells, William - Letter to Orson Pratt - 9 Aug 1849

Aberdare, August 9, 1849.

Dear Brother,--Lest I should take up your precious time too much, I shall not in future be so minute in account of all circumstances in connexion with my mission. July 27th, I went to the English Vice-Consul at Havre for the books lent: the kind gentleman thanked me greatly for my kindness, asked me many questions, and after having preached the gospel to him for half an hour at least, standing before a mahogany table, he testified that I had truth which he could not contradict, but refused then to be baptized. The lady of Mr. Fetherstone, the English Consul, gave me a franc for the tract "Remarkable Visions." Visited the members of the American church, also some members of the Episcopalian Church of England. Called upon clergyman Adams, the minister of the first; the servant told me he was not at home. Saw Mrs. Adams, who said clergyman Adams did not like my tracts, and shut the door. Preached the gospel in some of the American ships.
28th--Rather idle in the morning, so low spirited. Had a long conversation again with a fine young Dutchman, whom I hoped to baptize. He refused to obey, and was taken very ill and constrained to go home to
Holland immediately. I took him to lodge with me, believing that I should be successful in getting him into the kingdom. He was a zealous professor of the Dutch religion, but after all my kindness to him he left me minus of a shirt, which he took away in mistake perhaps. Distributed about fifty tracts in Rue de Paris. They are desirous of having tracts, but will not give a sou for a dozen.
29th (Sunday)--Visited the large American vessels, the ships being destined for different ports in America, carrying, with merchandize, thousands of human beings as emigrants from all the continental nations, to seek for temporal riches in the land of Ephraim. They took but little notice of God's servant, who was present to inform them of a sure salvation on the sides of the north, both temporally and spiritually, to all those who obeyed the gospel, &c. Some of the sailors had seen and heard Joseph preach, but the tracts they had read, written by the apostates, filled them with the spirit of the Missourian and
Illinois mobs. The state of the thousands of sailors in the port of Havre is poor indeed. It appears, from the account given by the captains and mates, that they are generally so, preferring, as the sailors often said, novels for religious tracts &c. If the elders of the church should visit the vessels when in their neighbouring ports, converse freely with the sailors, and then enter seriously into a religious conversation, preach the gospel and warn them, great good might be done. We may not reap any fruit immediately, but, when the sailor goes from one port to another, and finds in every port a guardian angel, in the form of a Mormon priest, exhorting, warning, and preaching the gospel, a harvest may follow. Besides, the liberty granted to strangers to visit American vessels is truly characteristic of the true American disposition, and it opens a wide field for further exertions in extending our labours of love, &c., and preparing thousands of the seafaring multitude as a peculiar people for the Lord.
31st (Tuesday)--Went to a village called St. Addresse, and preached the gospel to an English family, standing before their pavilion on the green. A gentlemen and lady present asked me many questions commencing with the word "delusion." They told me to visit clergyman Adams. After having visited sixteen English families, I returned home to rest.
August 1st--Went to five English families, then to Mr. Adams, the American clergyman, a kind gentleman. I spent two hours with some pleasure in his company. He allowed the truth of our principles, but practised others taught by his sect generally. Then I visited clergyman Dukes, of the Church of England, three times, but could not see the gentleman. I left the precious warning tracts, 1 to 6, with all the clergymen of the place. The French Protestant minister, an honest hearted gentleman, questioned me minutely for eleven hours. A French lady interpreted the questions he asked in French, and the answers I gave in English. They thanked me sincerely for the information they received, took my address, and said that they would not be baptized then, but that they had not been easy since the first five hours they questioned me, the first day they saw me. In the evening, the 2nd instant, he came to the steam packet, and took me again under his arm to madam, to know what I thought of mesmerism; the answer I gave appeared to please him exceedingly. No wonder, because the inspiration of the almighty gave me understanding throughout the eleven hours questioning. He came with me to the vessel and bought (1 to 6 tracts I presented) Spencer's Letters, Voice of Warning, the Dutch publication of Brother O. Hyde, and the Stick of Ephraim, which he appeared very proud of, and for which he gave me five francs. Before parting he put his hand in his pocket and offered me a handful of money. I thanked him for his kindness, and at the same time begged to decline the offer, because I was not then in want, and he had liberally paid me for the books; so we parted sorrowfully for a short time.

The following register will give you some pleasure. Monday, July 30th, baptized in the sea Augustus Saint d'Anna, and confirmed him a member of the Church of Jesus Christ the same day; aged 30 years, Feb. 20. He speaks fluently the English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Creole languages. He said that he should come to meet me by the end of August at
St. Malo, Brittany. He is a single, intelligent young man, and a foreigner by birth, but has resided for some years at Havre. He testified that he felt a happy peaceable sensation when confirmed.

Dear brother, circumstances at Havre at present, and also at Aberdare, induced me to return and spend a few days with my family, and set my house in order in connexion with things of importance. I intend leaving home immediately for
Jersey and St. Malo, having left Havre's shore early on Friday morning, the 3rd instant.

Your humble servant in the Lord,




Howells, William


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