[Millennial Star, 10 Jan. 1857, 19:2:26–27]
Report of President E. T. Benson.
8, Ravensworth-street, Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland, December 16, 1856.
President O. Pratt,
Dear Brother,— It is with pleasure I sit down to write a brief report of my labours since I left you on the 27th ult. [November 1856], in company with brother W. G. Young. We went via Holyhead, and took steamer to Kingstown, thence five miles to Dublin, where we arrived on the morning of the 28th [November 1856], about seven o’clock, at Elder Thos. H. Rutledge’s, 18, Albert Place East, and were kindly received. Brother J. C. Scott met us here, and received us with open arms. On the 29th [November 1856] we took a walk through the great city, Dublin, and found it to be much superior to what we anticipated. Some of the streets are unusually wide. I measured one, which was eleven rods, called Sackville-street.
On the 30th [November 1856] we met in Conference, and after the business was done, we preached to those assembled, and comforted the Saints. Three offered themselves for baptism. On the whole, we think Dublin a pretty hard place to promulgate the Gospel in on account of the priestcraft, bigotry, and superstition, that exist in the minds of the people. We left Dublin for Belfast, December 3rd [December 1856], a distance of 113 miles, and arrived at 29, Great George-street, in time to hold a meeting. Brother W. G. Young addressed the congregation in a very spirited manner, and the Saints and friends who were present rejoiced. On the 4th instant [December 1856] we met in council, with Brothers Scott, Mc.Gee, Sloan, and others, to take into consideration the best interests for the Irish mission, when it was deemed wisdom for brother Scott to lessen his expenses in Belfast, and to send the Elders out among the towns and villages, and hunt out the honest in heart. I preached in the evening, and the Lord was with me in an unusual manner, by His Holy Spirit, and I prophesied good things concerning the Irish mission, inasmuch as the brethren would carry out the counsel they had received, which I believe they will. [Elder Benson’s speech is reprinted in the Millennial Star, 3 Jan. 1857, 19:1:1–4.] Here permit me to say I was happily disappointed in finding so good and intelligent Saints in Ireland. The manners and customs of the people here are not a whit behind any in the British isles. Brother John Croston who is appointed to Ireland will soon be in his field of labour, and will be a very great assistance to the Irish mission.
Dec. 6 .—We left Belfast on the royal mail steamer, at eight o’clock, p.m., for Glasgow, and had a favourable passage across the channel; arrived at 41, Charlotte-street at half-past seven, a.m., where we were kindly received by Elder Pymm and Pastors J. P. Park and James Ure. The brethren here seemed to enjoy the spirit of their mission. Sunday the 7th inst. [December 1856], held three meetings in a fine hall, when I and brother W. G. Young occupied most of the time in preaching. Several offered their names for baptism.
Dec. 9 . —We started for Edinburgh, where you first raised the Gospel standard, and a beautiful city it is, indeed. The Saints there particularly desire a visit from brother Pratt. We put up with Brother McComie, 11, Cheyne-street, who is President of the Conference, and a kind good man he is. We met with brother Phineas H. Young at that place, who is in good health and spirits; he left on the 10th for Silkirk to preach the Gospel to some of his acquaintances. Pastor Park accompanied us on our tour through Scotland, he is an humble good man.
Dec. 10 . —We visited Edinburgh old castle, and saw the crown of Scotland, and many other antiquities which were quite interesting. On the 11th instant [December 1856] we went to Dundee, held a meeting with the Saints; and on the 12th [December 1856] returned to Edinburgh, I left for Carlisle, and brother W. G. Young proposed leaving the following day for his field of labour. Pastor Lunt and brother Smith met me at the railway station, Carlisle. We went direct to the Conference meeting hall, where I found the Conference convened all ready for business, “in apple pie order.” Pastor Lunt speedily dispatched the business; after which, I preached for an hour and a half with much freedom. The Saints here were well, and felt to rejoice and serve the Lord. On the 13th instant [December 1856] I accompanied brother Lunt to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, (distance 60 miles) where we found a nice hall filled with an intelligent auditory. After meeting we came to Sunderland, and were very comfortably provided for by brother and sister Newton, who keep the Conference house. Sunday the 14th [December 1856], I attended the Durham Conference, in company with brother Lunt, which was convened in the Saints meeting-room, Sunderland, it was well attended by the Saints from all parts of the Conference. I preached twice, myself and hearers were satisfied with the meetings, for the Lord was with us. Brother Lunt is full of the spirit of Zion, and seems to have infused a good share of the same into the hearts of the Saints, and better order I have not observed anywhere in the British isles, than in this Pastorate; nineteen have been added to the Church by baptism during the last week in the Newcastle and Durham Conferences, and many more are believing.
On Monday [December 15, 1856] at ten o’clock we held a council of the general authorities of the Pastorate at brother Newton’s house, when I gave considerable instructions for the prosperity of the work and the good Spirit rested down upon us in power. Some of the brethren spoke in tongues and prophesied. We called out Elder Joseph Doxford to preach the Gospel in the Durham Conference. Council was dismissed at two o’clock, when the brethren left for their several fields of labour. In the evening I went with brother Lunt and several of the brethren to North Shields, (seven miles distant) where we found the meeting-room filled to overflowing with Saints and strangers. I preached for one hour, during which time the most profound attention was paid by the congregation. Brother Lunt bore testimony. At the close of the meeting two persons gave in their names for baptism. We returned to Sunderland by the nine p.m. train, and today I leave this place for Leeds.
May God bless you, brother Pratt, and brothers Little and Ray, and all in the Office.
With affectionate love, in which brother Lunt and others join.
Your brother in Christ,
E. T. Benson.