A superb assemblage of important early Methodist material from the Methodist Historian and Collector, F. A. Wilshire, Recorder of Bridgewater. See his Victory Purdy. Hero of the 18th Century Religious Revival. In the Proceedings for the Wesley Historical Society, for 1939.
The collection includes:
1. A 19pp non-authorial holograph in early Methodist hymnist and lay-minister, Wesley correspondent, Victory Purdy’s [1747-1822] hand. It begins, Conference. Monday June 25, 1744. The following persons being met at the Foundery, John Wesley, Charles Wesley, John Hodges, Henry Piers, Saml Taylor, & John Meriton. After some time spent in Prayer, the design of our Meeting was propos’d, namely to consider etc. It continues through June 30th in a very neat hand summarizing the activities of the first ever Methodist Conference. Interestingly, it seems to be a holograph of an unpublished earlier manuscript. Purdy himself would not have been present, though his father, John Purdy, was one of Wesley’s earliest preachers and at times acted as Secretary. Perhaps this is a holograph of a document his father held. If extant, it appears to not have been published that we can trace. In it, they discuss Whitefield, the Moravians, etc. Some passages are word for word from the published minutes; for instance, Wesley’s famous articulation, “Justifying Faith is a supernatural inward sight of God in Christ’s reconciling the World to himself. First, a Sinner is convinc’d by the Holy Ghost,” etc. A unique and historical important record.
2. A 5pp manuscript in Purdy’s hand of five 18th century manuscript hymns, later published in the posthumous, Poetical Miscellanies. By the Late Victory Purdy, published 1825. The hymns are Election, Redemption, Conviction, Confession, and Contrition. I do not locate these five in the published volume and it is indicated that two further volumes were planned, but were not published. Likely not extant in print form. Very neat hand and complete and legible.
3. A small quarter 8vo sheet in an envelope of Wilshire’s notating it as Wesley’s hand, o – the Edifice remains and may be an ornament to the ****** and certainly is a monument of the ***** of the Time. And it gave Bread by Employment to the Artist and Labourer. If to Favorites, it probably is expended in *****”
4. A Volume II of Wesley’s Survey of the Wisdom of God, 1763 edition with an early note referencing the passages on lightning [which would of course perhaps be of personal interest to Wesley] and one one on the cause of gravity and motion. These are indicated as being in the hand of Wesley. Perhaps excised from a note included with the book sent by Wesley in response to questions? The connection is uncertain. Front board detached; rear absent.
5. 1780 First Edition of the A Collection of Hymns by Wesley inscribed to Lydia Horton from J.H. 1780, notated as being John Horton, wealthy financier, long-time friend of Wesley, and one of the executors of Wesley’s estate. Very nicely preserved example in original plain calf with early Methodist provenance.