Aberdare, December 21st, 1849
Dear Brother,--October 7th--I had the pleasure of
preaching the gospel to a small congregation, in the number of which where two
exalted ladies from Paris--one being the companion of a princess. They desired me to send all the tracts and books, which they intended to
purchase. One of the ladies had a son, who believed
the priesthood, &c. On replying to one of the various questions put to me, one said, "how strange! that
is what my son says."
10th.--Great day at St. Malo, being race day, the
thousands present enjoying the sport of seeing the poor breathless horses
driven by spur and whip over hurdles, &c.; the multitude being Catholic and
Protestant professors of christianity, and it is
difficult to say which hates the other most.
11th.--Visited a learned Catholic priest according to invitation. I reasoned with him for some hours, after which he said,
"I believe the Bible to be true, because the church gave it me as such, otherswise I should think no more of it than Punch.
12th.--In visiting several families I was informed that a
certain gentleman belonging to the missionary society had visited the neighbourhood some time ago, and presented a Catholic
family with tracts and a Bible, which were received with great politeness, but
before the donor had reached the outskirts of the premises, the tracts and
Bible made a fire under the boiler, to the great amusement of the family.
The lady who gave me this information saw the family
do what I have related, she being present at the time. She questioned them on
their conduct, and received for a reply that it was the general plan the
Catholics adopted--the Bible and Protestant tracts being
forbidden to the laity. The Protestants joined with the Catholics in
burning our tracts.
13th.--At a visit to Madame Carteret, met a learned Hebrew scholar, and a rich lady who greatly admired the Voice of Warning, which she
bought together with your interesting tracts from 1 to 6. I heard this lady read "M'Ghie's
Drama" with so great an effect, that I could scarcely refrain from tears,
finding many circumstances narrated there, corresponding with those in connexion with myself. I had frequently the pleasure of
being their guest, and on parting, the lady with her
companion presented my daughters with several articles as a token of respect,
although the great folks of the neighbourhood
despised them for granting me leave to enter their hospitable dwelling.
20th.--A learned Catholic of the name of Brown, on the verge of entering into
holy orders, and a gentleman named Hansel, a classical
scholar and a clergyman of the Church of England, both testified to me
"that they could not find any passage in the Book of Mormon contradicting
any truth in the Bible."--The opening of a place for
preaching the gospel at St. Servan, and the baptising of brother Peddle, caused the persecution to
become so warm, that after having remained there near two months, and having
ordained our brother to the priesthood, I presented him with a number of the
French tracts, and thought it prudent to leave for a short time for Dinan, a town twenty miles off. About this time,
Miss Anna Browse introduced me as a Mormon missionary
to a countess from Paris, who had
just paid her a visit. She listened to the principles of salvation set before her,
with apparent interest. The Sunday I baptized Miss
Anna Browse, being very cold, all her friends said, "that it would cost
her life," but her answer was, "if I lose my life in serving God by
obeying his counsel in being baptized for the remission of my sins, I cannot
lose it in a better cause." At she entered the water with great courage,
in the romantic bay near Chateau du Briond, before the town of St. Malo. The parties who witnessed
the baptism, lifted their hands and said "Mon Dieu;"
but instead of the death, her neighbours spoke of,
she was revived by the spirit of the Almighty, and the disease that had preyed
upon her constitution for years, and baffled the power of the physician, was
completely eradicated. The pallid cheek from that moment showed the healthy
bloom of youth, so much so that all congratulated her, and the report
circulated that a ducking in the sea on such a cold morning was a sure cure,
but our sister is determined to give God the glory.
22nd.--The following paragraph in the Standard of Freedom newspaper drew
my attention. When one of the
members of the Wesleyan connexion at Nottingham
replied to a question put to him by the preacher, "What do you give to the
preacher's fund?" as his reason for giving nothing said, "That he
considered the preachers ought to take care of their money, and not spend it in
riding in first class carriages, and drinking wine, and dining at splendid
hotels." If you allow me to give you an account
of my stewardship in this way, you will find that I take good care of my money:
good reason why; it is not so easily got, being hitherto part of the little my
wife gains in business, which, to save a clerk's salary, she attends to
herself, occasionally until the midnight hour. The thousands of miles I
have travelled with the scanty sum, caused me to be
thankful for a third class carriage, and hope that the various railway
companies will set up a fourth class carriage to assist the poor Mormon
missionaries of Jesus of Nazareth to reach foreign shores. Wine
on the continent is to be bought for seven sous per
bottle, so I spent three-pence half penny for wine the first three months I was
in France; but thanks be to our kind Master, I had good bread and butter for
breakfast, dinner, and supper, and as desert, I generally added an apple or two
after dinner, and for the last six months have not felt a moment's sickness.
23rd.--Brother Peddle kindly carried my bag, books,
and tracts to the stream packet, leaving for Dinan at
, distant from St. Malo, twenty miles, up a fine river. In going up to the
town from the steamer, in company with an English clergyman of the Established
Church, he made the remark, that if I could not get
lodgings, it being then late, I should have to return to the packet. I replied that I had been refused permission to remain on
deck. The gentleman made no further remark. All the caffés being shut, and the person
to whom I had a letter of recommendation having left the place, I had to bend
my way to the square, where, at the base of a monument erected in honour of a celebrated person who conquered the English on
that spot five hundred years ago, according to the French account, I spent the
dark, cold night on the 23rd of October, with my daughter in my arms.
Had the gentleman-clergyman taken us as his guests, "forgetting not to
entertain strangers," we could have spent the night more happy.
24th.--And two following days, visited sixteen families with tracts and books,
and I did not forget the English clergyman, who
received the tracts with politeness, and promised to read them.
27th.--Attended the services at the church of the said gentleman,
who took for his text Luke xiv, 23; "And the Lord said unto the servant,
go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in that my house
may be filled." I felt happy, for surely I have
been through all the highways, streets, and lanes of the town, and over some
hedges, for many miles into the country, compelling all by tracts and testimony
to come in, that the Master's house may be filled.
November 7th.--Wrote a letter to the Protestant minister, at Havre, desiring
him to correspond with sister Anna Browse. Not
understanding the English language she will be able to
answer all his enquiries in the French language.
11th.--Sunday morning; in passing one of the Roman Catholic
churches, at Dinan, the great folding doors being
thrown open, I saw the place crowded with devoted Catholics, as busy as bees at
their religious services, called mass, viz., the offering up of the consecrated
bread and wine, which are supposed to be changed into the body and blood of
Christ, as an expiatory sacrifice for the quick and the dead. Outside, before the said church, in the square, a great multitude,
as busy as bees, selling cabbage and other vegetables. The voices of
those outside and those inside mingling together--a fine token of the
industrious habits of the French, in connexion with
the living and the spirits of the dead. The following day, in the
same church, a company of soldiers met to say mass and get the blessing of the
priest to prosper their military warfare in connexion
with the powder and bullet, the sword and bayonet, and also
to get their souls saved. The drummers took the lead at the head of the grand
procession; the brass band followed, then the priests in their different
orders, with white robes, walking two together, guarded by a soldier on each
side. They entered the great edifice, drums beating; the priests and officers
entered the choir before the altar, the musicians in a circle outside, playing
their charming music during the mass. The effect in the great massive temple
was truly thrilling. They had many trumpets, and instead of the psaltry they had many drums. The size of the lofty edifice that had its pinacle
towering as it were in the clouds, may be guessed by the number of drawings and
paintings. I reckoned about thirty, some ten
16th.--I had the pleasure of visiting the Roman
Catholic Seminary, containing eleven tutors, and one hundred and thirty
students. The discussion with one of the learned priests, for some hours, on
the evenings of the 16th & 17th inst., was truly interesting. The first
hour of the second night's discussion was spent in answering questions put to
me by M. Lemú, one of the tutors, a gentleman of great courtesy (the general character of the
Catholic priests). He bore the plain truths and hard sayings of my sermons with patience, and acted towards me with the
greatest politeness, shaking me by the hand at parting, receiving our tracts
with thanks, which I believe will be well digested by the learned linguists of
A description of the vast college, an account of the priests
chamber, with the nature of the conversation would be interesting, but it would
fill a STAR, so I shall postpone it until we meet in our sure dwellings and
quiet resting place in Zion's happy land, when from my journal I shall run over
the record, of a Latter-day Saint's visit to a Catholic college.
17th.--Visited the jail, a large ponderous tower, built five hundred years ago.
Not many prisoners: I spent some time with an Irish gentleman,
imprisoned for debt. The law of France
authorises the creditor to take the body of a debtor
without any previous notice; so that this gentleman
was put in jail although his coach and horses, and he testified, were
sufficient to pay his whole debt in the place. I sent
him some Mormon tracts the following day, for he had been circulating false
reports from the prison about our principles.
18th.--Sunday. I visited the Catholic church erected in honor of St. Malo, it being the day set apart in veneration to his
memory. The grand ceremony was performed before the
thousands present, in the great church, having about twelve altars, lighted
with candles nearly six feet long. I reckoned before
that of the soirour upwards of one hundred, dazling their lights on the cross, &c.
19th.--Visited Dinan Museum, containing a fine
collection of many curiosities in the different departments of art, science,
and nature. I also paid Mr. Thompson the fourth visit, according to invitation,
a gentleman professing himself to be a disciple of Swedenborg. During the conversation
an English clergyman entered. I had to contend with both for some hours, and
considering the plain truths set before them without respect
of persons, their politeness in parting was truly laudable. Mr. Thompson
belived Swedenborg, that a certain part of the word of God was hidden in the
earth on plates, and that it should come forth. He particularly desired me to send him a copy of the Book of Mormon.
21st.--Left Dinan for St. Malo,
on my return home to visit my family in Wales.
Found brother Dunbar, family, and Saints at Jersey,
doing well; also brother Stenhouse, and the host of
Saints at Southampton.
25th.--Spent a happy day at Bristol,
with brother G. Halliday; I
had to preach for him, at , to
a multitude of the Bristolians, who appeared to enjoy
27th.--Reached home, "sweet home," where I
had the pleasure of enjoying the smiles of my family.
Labours.--The distribution of tracts, Spencer's Letters, Voice of Warning,
&c. Testifying and preaching from house to house, when an opportunity would
be granted--discussing the truth of our principles in connexion
with the nature of the kingdom of God, with Protestant clergymen and Catholic
priests, and also the laity, comprise the principal part of my labours for the last three months on the continent of
France, which I know will not be in vain in the Lord.
Success.I have not as yet reaped a rich
harvest, but the few that have entered the kingdom by being "born of water
and of the Spirt" have received glorious
testimonies of the power of the truth as it is in Jesus. The Master has also
said, "the little one shall become a
Prospects.--The plowshare of truth has pierced the heart--the seed of
truth was sown--a few grains immediately sprang up, the fruit appears strong
and healthy, proving that the climate soil, (may I say instrument) and
seed will soon cause a Mormon market to be established in France, in the
very teeth of the gates of hell.
Amongst those whom I have baptized since I have been
home, is an intelligent Baptist minister, upwards of 60 years old. He appears
already to be a new man, commencing a new life in a new world. To God be all the praise.
With great respect, yours truly,