Monday, December 19, 2011

This Week in Texas Methodist History December 25

William Bollaert Describes Methodist Political Power December 25, 1843

William Bollaert (1807-1876) was an English scientist, traveler, and adventurer who arrived in Galveston in February 1842. He lived in Texas about 2 and one-half years, and in that time, explored much of the Lone Start Republic. His journals and notes eventually found their way to the Newberry Library in Chicago and have been published. His descriptions are entertaining and informative and of much value to historians.

On Christmas day, 1843 his travels had taken him to Huntsville. The fourth session of the Texas Annual Conference was meeting at Robinson’s, just a few miles from Huntsville. He was aware of the conference and mentioned it in his Journal. He also related a story that purported to show the political power of Methodist clergy in the Republic. Here it is from the diary entry for December 25, 1843.

Minister: “Friend---We never see you at our meeting.”

Friend: “I read my bible at home.”

Minister: “That’s well, but, but, but—it would be better to attend meeting and if it be true what I hear that you intend running for Congress next year, if you do not mix with your Methodist friends you will not be elected. They all know you to be generous, well to do, and a man they like, but not being satisfied with your non-attendance at public worship, they will oppose your election and probably some one may get the votes over you, who may do us all great harm in Congress. My Christian friend, consider this, and I’ll do much for you with the brethren and minister.”

Friend: “I will take your views into consideration and will attend meeting next Sunday.”


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