The life of a Methodist preacher in those days, included little variety: its general record was, -- travail of soul, and, anxiety of mind; -- hard work; -- much discouragement, by reason of prevailing ignorance and wickedness; -- privations, -- in many cases life itself threatened, being called to furnish that test of faithful adherence to his Divine Master, which required him to go forth at his bidding, "not counting his life dear unto himself." Norwich, like the preceding circuit, spread open an extensive field to the culture of Mr. Clarke and his colleagues, choked up as it was, with the thorns and thistles of the curse: he set out for his station on the 11th of Aug., but as he traveled on horseback, he did not arrive till the 16th.
He states his colleagues to have been "Richard Whatcoat, John Ingham, and William Adamson:" but in the printed minutes, the station stands, "Richard Whatcoat, Joseph Thompson, William Adamson, Adam Clarke." As it is not likely that Mr. Clarke would confound Mr. Ingham with Mr. Thompson, it is probable, that some alteration had been made after the Conference, as in the case of Edward Ripon, the year preceding, whose name stood for Bradford, Wilts., though he never entered the circuit. In the account he has penned, he does not name his colleagues in his last circuit; but in this, he furnishes a characteristic sketch of each.
The picture he has given of the general accommodations for the preachers, his sufferings from intense cold, and his often scanty fare, is truly affecting; but there is much more behind the scene. While lying at anchor in Lerwick Bay, and in conversation with M. Scott, Esq., one of the "Lords of the Isles," the lodgings of the preachers came upon the tapis [on the tapis (of a subject) under consideration or discussion -- Oxford Dict.]. "I have sent off new sheets today, to each of the preachers' houses," said the subject of the Memoir. "There is a difficulty," replied one of the brethren, who was standing by, "in preserving them from filth and vermin." The great mainspring of the Zetland [Shetland] Mission, who was careful not to give offense in any way, and afraid lest the remark, in the presence of a respectable native, should be felt, as a man finds his nationality roused when a reflection is thrown out against the land of his fathers, dexterously parried off the unintentional insult, and, turning to the gentleman, said, in a jocose manner, -- "Never mind, Mr. Scott; we can match that on the other side of the water; and all that does not belong to Shetland, should go elsewhere."
He then furnished an instance, of which he himself was eye-witness, and to the annoyances of which he was subject, which instantly diverted attention from the Isles, and fixed it upon the mother-country, who herself would find it difficult to furnish a parallel to the example afforded of a person utterly lost to the niceties of taste and cleanliness; the subject of the Memoir, in the midst of all, being lodged in an attic next [to] the thatch [roof], spending the night in wakefulness, while his clothes were suspended on the pointed boughs that fastened the thatch to the timbers.
Mr. Clarke entered upon this circuit in the genuine spirit of a missionary, seeking out "several new places;" among others, Diss was one. He spoke of having gone frequently thither, putting up his horse at an inn, -- preaching, -- paying for his horse, and riding several miles to preach at some other place, without any person offering him even a morsel of bread. He observed, "The scene, in process of time, changed, and a man of the name of Clarke, who was a farmer, at length invited me to his house. He might possibly, at first, have been taken with the name; but he soon grew pleased with my company; and, on one occasion, presented me with a piece of money, saying, -- 'You must be at some expense in keeping a horse, and that will help to defray it.' Preaching, after this, was established in Diss."
When he visited Yarmouth, which was then in the Norwich circuit, he lodged at the house of Mr. King, whom he described as a "sensible, religious man." On one of his visits to this place, he had the happiness of witnessing a remarkable answer to prayer, which he related to the writer and others, and to which the employment of the phrase, -- "a thousand to one, by one of the company, gave rise, -- bringing a "million to one," to bear against it. But as he gave the same relation in a letter to a friend, his own written statement to that friend, is adopted in the present instance, rather than the memoriter account which the writer had entered in his notebook. Mr. John Sewell, a class-leader, to whom the cause of Wesleyan Methodism, in Yarmouth, was greatly indebted, was the person, in reference to whom prayer was answered. He "was a warm friend to the cause," said Mr. Clarke, "and an excellent man. While I was in that circuit, he had a very bad typhus fever, and there was no hope of his life. I happened to come into Yarmouth when he was given over by his physicians: they had been expecting his death some days. I went to see him, and meeting one of the friends coming out, I asked 'How is Mr. Sewell?' He answered, -- 'Almost gone.' I said, -- 'Has the physician been here this morning?' Yes. ' 'Did you ask him seriously his opinion?' 'Yes, I did.' 'What did he say?' 'He had no hope; adding, it was a million to one if he recovered.' I answered, -- 'If the ONE be God's, it will outweigh the physician's MILLION.' I went straight up stairs to his bedroom, and found him scarcely able to speak. I thought, -- 'What a pity so good and useful a man should die, and particularly, in the present weak state of the Society.' I said, -- 'I will wrestle with God for his life.' I did so; and while praying, these words came with mighty power into my mind: 'He shall not die, but live; and show forth the glory of God.' In that moment, I knew he would recover, and said to him, 'My brother, God will raise you up; this sickness is not unto death.' Those around me in the room, seemed astonished at me. In that hour, he began to amend; and I believe was a steady, consistent, useful member of society to the end of his life." Had Mr. Clarke been prone to the indulgence of egotism, here was an excellent subject for autobiography; but in this case, it was withheld; and, in both of the other instances of communication, there was no design on his part of giving publicity to them.
In the month of October, Mr. Wesley paid his annual visit to Norwich, when Mr. Clarke had the high gratification of hearing him preach on nine different occasions, and also of having some private conversation with him on the subject of experimental religion. As Mr. Wesley's account of his visit embodies in it some notices of the state of the Societies, &c., it may here be transcribed:-
"Sun., Oct. 19. -- I took the diligence for Norwich, and preached there the next evening, to more than the house would contain; and both this night and the following, we sensibly felt that God was in the midst of us.
"Wed., 22. -- I went to Yarmouth. Often this poor Society had been well nigh shattered in pieces; first, by Benjamin Worship; then a furious Calvinist, tearing away near half of them; next, by John Simpson, turning Antinomian, and scattering most that were left. It has pleased God, contrary to all human probability, to raise a new Society out of the dust; nay, and to give them courage to build a new preaching-house, which is well finished, and contains about five hundred persons. I opened it this evening; and as many as could get in, seemed to be deeply affected. Who knows but God is about to repair the waste places, and to gather a people that shall be scattered no more." 
This extract furnishes a noble instance of the openness and candor of Mr. Wesley. He had no disguise; but was like a piece of beautiful rock crystal, showing its transparency to the eye of the beholder on every turn of the hand; and he was as open to conviction, as the same body is to the admission of the rays of light. He makes no scruple of telling his mode of conveyance to Norwich on the Sunday, -- a point which thousands would have left unnoticed, lest it should leave a stain on their religious profession, as many -- from motives of piety, might have objected to such conveyance, under the impression that they would become the abettors of Sabbath-breaking, by encouraging stage-coach proprietors in the work of secularizing the Christian Sabbath, to purposes of worldly gain. But Mr. Wesley himself had nothing secular in view; -- he looked alone to God, and at the sacred cause of that God in the world; -- and he knew, that if "the Sabbath was made for man," it was especially "made" to assist him in promoting the salvation of sinners, in the prosecution of which, even brute strength and brute speed -- with "the diligence" to boot, must contribute their aid; for if men will persist in working their horses, &c., on the Sabbath-day, why may not Providence be permitted to overrule even this evil for good, and the church receive occasional benefit from that which the world is disposed to devote to its own exclusive advantage! There are persons to be met with, who are more scrupulous for others than themselves, and who bring much more conscience to bear upon the church, than the world. They raise an outcry against a man for engaging a horse to convey him to a distant place to preach the gospel; and yet they would admit of horses being yoked to the fire-engine and the cart on the Lord's-day, the one to expedite the business of quenching the flame, and the other to convey the rescued property from the range of its destructive influence. We should always attend to the moral involved in the question, -- "Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath-days, or to do evil?" and also to the decision of Christ in the case, -- "Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath-days."
Mr. Clarke related to the writer a circumstance which occurred on Mr. Wesley leaving Norwich, on the occasion of the present visit, which shows the character of that great man. "When Mr. Wesley was about to depart," he remarked, "the poor, as usual, flocked around him, and were extremely annoying, by pressing upon him, having only as much money as would defray his expenses to the next place, he turned, and said, rather sharply, when near the carriage, -- 'I have nothing for you; -- do you suppose I can support the poor in every place?' he then proceeded to ascend the steps, in doing which, his foot slipped, and he fell back upon the ground. Mr. Bradford being near, raised him up; and just as he was re-ascending the steps of the carriage, he turned his head towards Mr. Bradford, who stood behind him, and bending a benignant, yet pensive eye upon him, meekly said, -- 'It is all right, Joseph; -- it is all right; it was only what I deserved; for if I had no other good to impart, I ought, at least, to have given them good words.'" The venerable man felt as though he had injured the poor by the sharpness of his manner, and was instantly melted into tenderness in their presence, as well as impressed with a consciousness, that God had permitted him to be rebuked before them by the accident.
The Norwich circuit was very extensive. "It embraced," Mr. Clarke remarks in a letter to a friend, "Norwich, Thurne, Yarmouth, Lowestoff, Cave, Baccles, Wheatacre, Haddiscoe, Thurlton, Heckingham, Hempnell, Loddon, Barford, Hardwick, Stratton, Fasburg, Dickleborow, Winfarthing, N. and S. Lapham, Diss;" adding, in the language of Horace, -- "Cum multis aliis, quæ nunc præscribere longum est. It cost us about 250 miles a month; and I have walked this with my saddlebags on my back."
The city of Norwich itself had long been noted for riotous conduct towards the Methodists; and in it Mr. Clarke had his share of annoyance. "I rarely preached," said he, "in Cherry-Lane chapel in an evening, without disturbance." He then proceeded to relate some of the exploits of Mr. Hampson, who, by the majesty of his person, the roar of his voice, and his menacing attitude, awed and dispersed the mob, relinquishing the arm of Mr. Clarke who, while he hung upon it, looked up to the gigantic figure by his side, and watched the result -- Hampson announcing death to the first assailant.
A friend acquainted with this period of Mr. Clarke's personal history observes, that there were strong indications of future greatness; and also states, that while on the circuit, "he wrote an Answer to the Rev. Mr. Lemon's Remarks on Enthusiasm;" a subject to which Mr. Clarke himself referred, but stated it to be a "long letter" to that gentleman, "occasioned by a definition of the word Methodists, in his Etymological Dictionary, just then published." We are not informed, in either instance, whether the letter written, was printed and published. This early entrance into the arena of controversy is neither to be viewed as indicative of his disposition -- as though delighting in combat, nor as the promise of anything in reversion, (for he had a decided aversion to controversy in every form;) but as arising from, a strong sense of duty, and an ardent love of the Methodist body, which he was anxious should stand fair before the public, and particularly when exhibited in the works of a clergyman of the Established Church. It was rare, indeed, that he allowed himself in the indulgence of humor, irony, or sallies of wit, especially in the pulpit: but in one instance, having occasion to refer to the acrimonious spirit too often manifested by controvertists, he suddenly broke out thus: -- "Among other things, in connection with religion, we have, what is called, POLEMIC DIVINITY! And what is polemic divinity? Why, warlike divinity! so that, in a church established for the purpose of bringing men into a state of peace and amity with each other, -- in the publication of a Saviour, who is the 'Prince of Peace,' -- with a gospel in our hands, the spirit and letter of which is, 'Peace on earth, and good-will toward men,' -- in the assumption of an office, which, while retained, recognizes us only as the messengers of peace, and of whom it ought ever to be said by the public, 'How beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace,' -- under the influence of a Spirit that breathes into the soul a 'peace which passeth understanding,' and which ought to 'flow as a river;' -- and the whole of this system of peace originating with the 'God of all grace;' -- in the midst of all this, I say, we have a theology among us, which breathes nothing but war!'
Though he had a pretty keen perception of the ludicrous, and met with various instances for its indulgence, he permitted them to escape only occasionally in the way of communication. A case was noticed, by a friend, when he paired it with the following:-
"I was partly witness of a scene, in the East of England, in a family which duty led me to visit, and which seldom occurs. The husband stood about five feet five inches, and the wife about six feet three; the former was not quite so good as he ought to have been, and the woman had some religion. He came home one night, -- not drunk, but a little inflamed with liquor. He became very abusive, -- first walked up and down the room, -- and then seated himself in a chair. She, in her turn, walked the floor like Juno among the gods; and while moving majestically along on one side of the room, he took care to keep on the other: he at length went to bed in the sulks, where he lay till late in the morning, declaring that he would not get up -- no, not if he burnt forever for it. 'You won't get up, then?' said she. 'No;' was still the sullen reply. She said no more, but walked downstairs, as majestic in purpose as in body; and taking up a very large pitcher, filled it with water, -- returned to the room, -- went to the bed, -- drew down the clothes, -- and pouring the contents upon him, repeated, -- 'You won't get up, then; lie there, till you are weary.' This had the desired effect; he rose immediately; and went about his business as usual." Notwithstanding Mr. Clarke could relate an occurrence of this kind, with occasional humor, he was as averse to polemics in the domestic circle, as in the church.
The time arrived when he had to take leave of his friends in the Norwich circuit; and although the year he had spent with them was distinguished for hard labor, as well as great personal suffering, owing to the severity of the winter, yet he increased his knowledge of men and books, multiplied his friends, and added to his personal piety.
He was appointed at the Conference held at Leeds, July 27th, &c., 1784, for what he denominates the "St. Austell circuit," but what is designated in the Minutes of Conference, "Cornwall East. " His colleagues were Francis Wrigley and William Church. He left Aug. 11th, and arrived at St. Austell on the 28th of the same month. Speaking of his equipment and of his journey, he entered into the relation with the pleasurable feeling of a mariner, who, after the storm has blown over, recounts the perils and privations of the voyage, seated in the bosom of his family, and surrounded by the comforts of home. "I had a guinea allowed me," said he, "for the keep of myself and my horse, to pay the toll-bars, and to meet the other incidental expenses of a journey of between three and four hundred miles. To this, a good woman kindly added half-a-crown; and with this, I set off, very often either walking about, or remaining in the stable, in the course of the journey, while the horse was feeding, for I could not, in every instance, afford a meal to myself."
At this Conference, the Deed of Declaration occasioned much discussion. Mr. Clarke was not at Leeds to hear it; but he heard much respecting it. "Mr. J. Hampson, his son, and others," he remarked, "took offense, because they were left out of the Deed. I was left out; and so were many more. A reason might be assigned for the omission of my name, as I had traveled only two years: but that would make equally against the insertion of the name of Jonathan Parkin, who had traveled only one. The truth is, the whole was undesigned; Dr. Coke declared, with all the solemnity of an oath, that the names were taken promiscuously from the Minutes, without the least invidious distinction.
As London lay in Mr. Clarke's route he entered that city on Saturday the 14th, and remained there till the Monday. The Sabbath being a day of hard Methodistical labor, he, in common with his brethren, was furnished with ministerial employment. Inquiring of J. Cromie, Esq., whether he knew Moorfields, when speaking of the Metropolis, and being answered in the negative, he observed, -- "I knew it when there was not a house on the ground; and now, I may say, that it is covered with thousands. It was customary, at the time to which I refer, in 1784, for seven or eight preachers, to collect together as many congregations, on a Sunday morning, on different parts of the ground, and publicly to address them. Desks were brought out for the accommodation of the person who had to preach; and on one I stood, at the period referred to, and spoke to the people." He then proceeded to relate a striking circumstance which occurred on the occasion, and which received an illustration at a subsequent period. The same circumstance was narrated by him on a previous occasion; and, on the whole, with greater particularity. The introductory remarks belong to the latter recital.
"While I was thus addressing the people," said he, "out of doors, I perceived two men, whose conduct appeared strange to me; I marked them, but could offer no explanation of it at the time, to satisfy myself. Some years afterwards, a man came to me after preaching, and asked me, whether I recollected preaching at Moorfields? -- specifying the time. I told him, I did. He next inquired, whether I had perceived two men describing their conduct. I answered in the affirmative. He returned, -- 'I was one of those men; the person with me was my brother: we had both heard the truth, and hated you for telling it to us. We thought you were too young to teach others; and therefore resolved to pull you down, and do you injury: for this purpose, we made our way to the desk, taking our stand on each side of it, and encouraging each other: he beckoned me to do it, and I beckoned him; but neither of us seemed to have power to effect our intention: we were secretly and unaccountably deterred: at length we began to attend to what was said, -- were both impressed with the force of truth, -- and I am now, through the mercy of God, a local-preacher in the Methodist Society."
Having given an instance of the force of truth, exciting, in the onset, the hatred of the persons under its influence, he furnished another, exemplifying a native love of it, when in danger of being traduced by those who ought to uphold its interests. "Everett," he inquired one day, when sitting with some friends, "have you any account of Peter Jaco?" "I have, Sir," returned the writer, "but have not yet taken up his character." "You hear," he replied, turning to the company, "the emphasis he lays on 'yet,' -- telling us in effect, that the way is still open for more; well, you shall have your knowledge enlarged. He was an excellent preacher; and was in London on a particular occasion, about 1777, when Antinomianism was so rife in the land. An Antinomian preacher occupied part of the ground in Moorfields, on which I preached, on my way to Cornwall. There he erected his booth, and told the people, that they had no occasion to fear sin; that though David was both a murderer and an adulterer, yet it made no difference in the sight of God. A person in the crowd shouted out, -- 'This will not do; this man is for murdering our souls; we must have him down.' 'Must we?' exclaimed another. 'Yes,' was the general cry: 'those honest fellows at the Foundry, tell us that sin will bring us to hell, and we know it too; but this fellow is full of falsehood, and we'll choke his breath.' The cry of 'Down with him,' was no sooner heard, than the work was done. News instantly got to the Foundry, that a Methodist preacher was mobbed. Jaco came down, but soon saw it was no one belonging to the body: he asked what the man had done; they told him, adding, -- 'he is for killing our souls, and we will kill his body.' 'Let him alone this time,' said Jaco, mildly; 'he will not come again.' They asked him, -- 'Will you come again?' 'No;' he replied, 'let me go, and I will never return more.' They mauled the poor fellow most unmercifully, tore his gown, and sent him about his business in rags." Truth is upheld, under such circumstances, like an old friend, who, on being recognized -- though in disguise, commands the homage of the multitude; loving what they pursue not, and knowing what ought to be possessed.
The St. Austell circuit embraced forty regular places, besides several occasional ones; but the moral circumstances by which he was surrounded here, were far more encouraging than those of the preceding circuit; for while "his work was before him, his reward was with him;" -- toil of body, and anxiety of spirit, being compensated by universal prosperity. His congregations were overflowing; he was received as a messenger of mercy wherever he went; and while the trumpet he blew, "gave no uncertain sound," the ingathering of the people who became obedient to its call, presented a scene of moral renovation and beauty, in the contemplation of which angels rejoiced, and the servant of Christ became strengthened and encouraged! Here also, he grew in wisdom; and favored by the circumstances of the country, indulged his taste for mineralogy, and fortified his views on divers points connected with the Mosaic account of the creation; observing, "I frequently took my hammer out with me in Cornwall, to examine the rocks, &c., and satisfied myself by various experiments, of the truth of the Mosaic account of the creation, in opposition to the objections of the earth-makers of the day."
With Samuel Drew, and a few other (since) distinguished men, he formed valuable friendships; well knowing that the friction of minds not altogether uncongenial, often produces a light which dispels doubts, that necessarily gather around us in the midst of solitary musings; thus he was ever seeking to enlarge his knowledge, that it might be imparted to others, while it tended to exalt his own contemplations, and to bring him into nearer contact with the wisdom and energy which govern and animate all things: it was in the mightiness of this feeling, that he "sought to intermeddle with all wisdom;" assured that the more knowledge he realized, the steadier and stronger would his faith become, in the great invisible Maker and Director! To this end, he borrowed books upon various subjects, and thus the field of human as well as of "divine philosophy" became expanded to his view, and his eye "wandered o'er the scene outspread, with interest intense: indeed, under the guidance of "the wisdom which cometh from above," and ennobled by the consciousness of a divine expansiveness within, -- his intellectual movements were secreted "as dew, from the womb of the morning;" and his untiring energies, and perpetually accumulating stores, were concentrated into the spirit of a pure offering, and yielded up to the service of Him, who as "the Giver of every good and perfect gift," was the source and spring-head of all he possessed! With Samuel Drew, especially, a greater than ordinary friendship was established: in this "untutored child of nature," as the Anti-Jacobin Reviewers denominated him, he found a mind in many respects kindred with his own: he had the satisfaction of joining him to the Methodist Society at St. Austell. Mr. Drew did not long survive his friend, for his sun went down only a few months after the brighter orb, had set in this, to arise with increased brilliancy in another hemisphere!
Mr. Drew, writing on the subject, observed, that "multitudes, who scarcely ever visited the Methodist chapels on any other occasion, flocked to hear Mr. Clarke; and, at times, the places were so thronged, that it was with difficulty he could urge his way through the concentrated mass. One instance of this fell under the writer's notice. It was at the town of St. Austell; the room was so completely filled, that he was obliged to enter through a window, and literally creep on his hands and knees over the heads and shoulders of the people, to reach the pulpit. This tide of popularity continued to follow him, without any abatement."
In Dr. Twentyman, of Port Isaac, -- (whose first introduction to Mr. Clarke was of a professional character, the latter having been dangerously hurt by a fall from a refractory horse, which he would continue to ride, both against its own will, and rational entreaty, because it had belonged to Mr. Wesley,) -- Mr. Clarke found an intelligent friend: he represented him as an old man of majestic features. One of his interviews with the Dr. was striking:--
Dr. Twentyman -- "Pray what school were you last at?"
Adam Clarke -- "Kingswood, Sir."
Dr. Twentyman -- "I ask the question because I dreamed that I met you, and saw a school-house and a pump in the yard. I never saw the place in my life, but the whole appeared with great clearness, especially the peculiar manner of pumping."
Adam Clarke -- "Have you no recollection, Dr., of the place having been described to you."
Dr. Twentyman -- "None at all."
We then turned to other subjects; Alchemy was named: he said, "read hermetical books, Mr. Clarke; the knowledge of nature is open to all who fear God, and you will ever find a nearness of nature to its Creator. He then descanted on the working of God in natural things," proceeded Mr. Clarke, "and to heighten my relish for this subject, he took me into his laboratory, showed me his furnace, -- kindled his fire, took up some things which I very well knew, calling them by the allegorical names by which they were designated in his hermetical books, and trying several processes, explaining them as he proceeded; thus he deeply interested me for a while; at the conclusion of the experiments, I hinted, as delicately as I could, a wish to be permitted to share in the expense incurred by them, intimating that it had all been done on my account, and for my benefit; he replied, 'Friendship, Mr. Clarke, will not admit of any price.'" This acquaintance was maintained by correspondence as long as Dr. Twentyman lived. And, observed Mr. Clarke, in closing this account, "I never visited him without being the better for it."
An amusing circumstance took place, while in this circuit, between himself and one of the "gentle craft." He ordered a pair of shoes, and gave particular directions, while the man was measuring the foot, how he wished them made: on the maker presenting them to him, he looked at them, and pronounced them not according to order.
Shoemaker -- "They have been made according to the measure, and your own directions."
Mr. Clarke -- "That cannot be; if you had worked according to my directions, the shoes would have fitted."
Shoemaker. -- "How can you tell they will not do before you try them on?"
Mr. Clarke -- "I am convinced of it from appearance and I know that my eye is pretty correct."
Shoemaker -- "I defy any man to be able to know, in a case where a shoe has been made according to the measure, till he has tried to fit it to the foot."
Mr. Clarke -- "I will try to put it on, in order to convince you of your error."
Here Mr. Clarke made the attempt, but the shoe would not admit the foot. Then, turning to the shoemaker, he said, "I told you they would not fit!" The man was a good deal surprised, and was at a loss to account for it. Mr. Clarke at length relieved him, by first pointing to his foot, and next to the shoe, saying, "The defect is in the instep; you should (directing his eye to the part) have taken, according to my directions, about half an inch from one side, in order to relieve the other."
This was no sooner said than honest Crispin exclaimed, "Aye, I have found you out, -- I have found you out; -- no one but a shoe-maker could have detected that!" Mr. Clarke added, pleasantly, "He might, on the same ground, have taken me for a watchmaker; for finding on one occasion, that my watch did not go well, I took it in pieces -- laid the different parts in a saucer -cleaned them -- put them together -- and the watch went well afterwards; and this I did though I never had seen a watch taken in pieces in my life." The biographer remarked, "You ought, on the same principle, to have been a tinker in the Norwich circuit, for having mended the bellows, together with some other household utensils." Several instances, (besides the present) but that in particular of taking the watch in pieces, cleaning, and putting it together, go to prove, that Mr. Clarke was possessed of no small degree of mechanical genius; and that if Divine Providence had not assigned another sphere in which he was to move, he might, with his inventive, constructive, combining powers, have risen as high in some of the Arts, as he afterwards did in Literature and Science.
When an opportunity of usefulness presented itself to him, he never permitted appearances or trivial circumstances to turn him aside from embracing it. Among other instances of zeal to benefit the people among whom his lot was cast, the following is one -- though mixed up with a curious circumstance.
"When I traveled in Cornwall, " he remarked, "I was frequently at a place, in the neighborhood of which was a slate quarry; the men had an hour allowed them for dinner; of this hour, I very often took the one half to preach to them. Among many others that constantly attended on these occasions, was a Quaker, who was a good man. A clergyman, who was remarkably fond of hunting, resided in the same neighborhood. This gentleman was out one day; and coming up to the Quaker, who was passing, when the hounds were at fault, he asked, 'Have you seen the hare?' -' Wert thou wanting one?' inquired the friend. 'Yes,' returned the clergyman: 'Well,' replied the friend, 'if I knew, I would not tell thee, unless she were in a place were thou couldst not find her.' 'And where is the place,' rejoined the clergyman, 'in which I could not find her?' 'In thy study,' retorted the friend, -- 'a place which thou rarely visitest.' The clergyman proceeded with the chase, but the word finally fastened: he yielded to conviction, and preached Christ till he died."
This anecdote, though often heard before, was only admired for the truth and point which it contained, and then thrown among the general mass, without an owner, to be received as true or false, agreeably to inclination. But coming in this shape, with such associations, and through such a channel, its authenticity gives it an interest which it did not before possess.
Just as Mr. Clarke was on the point of leaving the circuit, (being appointed for "Plymouth Dock" at the Conference held in London, 1785,) Mr. Wesley paid it a visit. The latter remarks in his Journal, "Monday, August 22. I took a cheerful leave of our brethren at the Dock, leaving them well united; and on the following days preached at Liskcard, St. Austell, Sticker, (a new place near it,) Helstone, Marazion, and Penzance." The three first places were in the St. Austell circuit; and as Mr. Clarke did not leave it till three or four days after Mr. Wesley's arrival, the probability is, that he enjoyed his society on the occasion: his own silence on the subject may be resolved into the act of reserving everything he could prudently omit, and that would serve a better purpose in another place, for his intended life of Wesley: and as they were both geographically and chronologically thrown together, the writer would introduce on the present occasion, two or three notices respecting that great man, particularly as they belong, according to the best calculation he has been able to make, to somewhere about this period. "To give you," said Mr. Clarke, "an instance of Mr. Wesley's punctuality, being with him one day, when his chaise was not at the door at the time he had ordered it, he immediately set off on foot, and I accompanied him: it was not long, however, before Mr. Bradford overtook us with it:
Mr. Wesley inquired, 'Joseph, what has been the matter?'
Mr. Bradford -- ' I could not get things ready any sooner, Sir?'
Mr. Wesley -- 'You should have urged the people to it.'
Mr. Bradford -- 'I spoke to them to be in readiness, Sir, no less than nineteen times.'
Mr. Wesley -- Pleasantly, 'You lost it, you blockhead, for want of the twentieth.' Thus giving both Joseph and his young friend a gentle hint on the propriety of perseverance." It is very likely, if Joseph had even gone to the twentieth, or to a still further extent, that he would yet have lost it for want of the succeeding number." 
Adverting again to Mr. Wesley, Mr. Clarke observed, "I was present on the occasion when he had an interview with an Italian Count, who was also a priest. Mr. Wesley could not converse in Italian, and the Count could not converse in French; and the Latin pronunciation of both differed somewhat from each other: Mr. Wesley had permitted his Italian to rust, and felt unusually awkward. The subject was chiefly the witness of the Spirit: there was one point which Mr. Wesley could not correctly catch, where the Count intimated that he had no well-grounded hope: it was referred to me, as I stood, on that occasion, interpreter." He then proceeded to give the following brief history of the stranger.
"He was a priest at Rome: he had confessed upwards of two millions of persons: he, however, had conscience. A lady of distinction came to him, whom he refused to absolve: he said -- (without naming the offense,) that it was the price of blood, and he could not absolve: she said, she would appeal to the Pope: he knew the consequence must be, that he must either violate his conscience, or be ruined in his property, and preferred the latter. He left Italy -- was denounced a heretic -- his next brother seized the paternal estate -- he landed in England -- came to London -- was introduced to Bishop Porteus, and his case inquired into -- it was found correct -and the Bishop presented him with a living in one of the Norman Isles, where I afterwards met with him, and renewed the acquaintance. I heard him preach, when I traveled in the Islands. He was one of the most extraordinary men I ever heard for taking up the human heart, dissecting it, dividing it into threads, and laying it before the people: he had a son, who was a member of our society."
Either the Count must have been in the country some considerable time at the period of the interview, or Dr. Clarke's knowledge of his son must have been many years subsequent to it, as the former, while a priest of the Romish Church, would be obliged to pay respect to the rule of celibacy. Mr. Wesley's respect for Mr. Clarke too, could not but be heightened by the service he rendered on this occasion; and this, in all probability, induced the venerable man, a little after this time, to urge him to cultivate his mind, " and not to forget nothing he had ever learned;" an advice to which he has referred more than once in the presence of the writer, with unusual pleasure.
A case full as extraordinary as the one noticed respecting the two persecutors, who combined to pull him from the preaching desk, in Moorfields, occurred in the course of his station in this part of the kingdom. "I was preaching out of doors in Cornwall once," said he, "close to some haystacks, when a man brought a pocket full of eggs to throw at me: he was at a distance, when I first noticed him, and although I did not perceive anything in his hand, yet I was persuaded from his various movements, that he had some other object in view than that of hearing the word of life. He took his station on the one side of me, at a moderate distance, where he appeared to consider himself most sheltered from my eye, and could secure a steady aim at the side of my face. A friend, however, suspicious of his intentions, continued to watch his motions the whole of the time.
This friend, though often tempted to go up to him, was nevertheless afraid, as he knew not what additional persecution his interference might draw down upon me: but he still watched his eye; at length, the man took an egg out of his pocket, and began to square himself for the work, partially raising his hand by his side, and projecting it from him. He looked -- listened -- and dropped his hand. In this way he squared -- lifted the hand -- looked -- listened -- and dropped the arm several times. He then began to hear with deep attention -- seriousness sat upon his countenance -- and as he continued to drink in the word, he stole nearer and nearer to me. His eye soon became fixed, and the hand which grasped the egg no longer retained its hold, but dropped it, as if nerveless: the tears began to start -- he became more and more affected -- and as if unperceived by any one, the same hand which had been raised against me, stole into the pocket -took one egg out after another, till he cleared away the whole, silently dropping them on the ground. The man received lasting good."
Mr. Clarke further observed, "For thus preaching out of doors, I was taken before Sir Henry Trelawney, the chief magistrate of the place. Sir Henry himself had been a singular character; he had preached all over that country; sometimes in trousers belonging to the sailors, till his own clothes got dried, after being drenched with rain. His friends advised him, on the conviction of his being called to preach the gospel, to get ordained: he did so; and as he had the gift of the living in his own parish, he took it himself, and preached the gospel to the people. He asked me, whether I had a licence? I told him I had not: he then inquired into the reason, when I informed him, that I could not conscientiously take the oath, -- that the law was enacted for the relief of good men, who could not conform to the ceremonies, &c., of the Church of England, -that I could not take the oath, was not a dissenter, and had nothing in common with the dissenters beyond the general religion of Christ, -- that the law was not made for me, -- that it could afford no relief to me, -- that I was, in short, a member of the Church of England, as I could subscribe to its forms, believed in its doctrines, &c. Sir Henry advised me to go and procure a licence, telling me, that at the place to which he recommended me to make application, I should not be asked any questions, and then I should be protected by law; stating, that I might, under these circumstances, if molested, bring the offenders before him, and he would grant protection.
"Many years after this, I was in company with Spencer Percival, who was of opinion that I might take the oath. I stated the same objections to him, which I had employed to Sir Henry. Lord Sidmouth was present with the Hon. S. Percival, and his lordship fully coincided with me, giving it as his opinion, that I could not conscientiously take the oath; -- and to this day, (1830,) I am without a licence."
The good effected by his unremitted labor, fervid zeal, and increasing growth in spiritual wisdom, in this circuit, was great and permanent. Indeed such was the abiding strength of impression throughout Cornwall, that the writer has been repeatedly told that his [Adam Clarke's] name is held sacred there to this hour, nor ever mentioned either by rich or poor, without the deepest feeling of respect and veneration: the hearts of the thousands of Israel were in his hand, and he might have commanded them as he pleased.
* * * * * * *