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Early Methodism. Portland Circuit History. Reminiscences by Rev. J. B. Smith. (Continued from a previous issue.) I was sent to Portland in 1866 to succeed the Rev. F. Tuckfield.- The place is the oldest township and set- tlement in Victoria, and had been a great depot for emigrants in the days of the frst gold rush. Most of these, drawn from the rural coun- ties of England, settled in and around Portland, retaining their na- tive habits and simple manners to the end. Retired squatters, Go vernment oficials, tradesmen and fisherfolk made up the community. I found them a very warm-hearted. people, but I will only speak of those who have passed away. The others who "remain unto this day" are able to speak for themselves, or younger and better pens will set forth their praise. Mr. John Pearson (father of Mrs. P. Learmonth, and closely related to Rev. J. Y..Simpson and Sir James Y. Simpson) was a picturesque. and notable figure in our congregation. Grave and reverend as a Scotch baille, and yet with a deep well of pensive humor in him. He was a warn friend to our Church, giving the use of his house for a parsonage. Captain Fawthrop, harbor master, who went in a whale boat to the res- cue of the survivors of the Admel- la wreck off the South-Australian coast, was another warm-hearted friend. Mr. Davidson, who helped to build the first bridge over the Yarra, and then became a wealthy squatter in the Western District, built a mansion on Observatory Hill. He was an expert in stock, and had an amusing fad for size in man and beast. He worshipped with us, and would listen with painful interest (for he was deaf), to the word of life. He told Rev. W. L. Binks that he would give him £1000 if he would satisfy him of his salvation. My circuit steward was ,Mr. Dun- bar, a courtly nominee of the old school, fit to sit as a model. for Ian Maclaren. He had been a private tutor to some of the Scotch nobility, was the soul of chivalry, and had a rich fund of quaint lore and ancient history. Mr. Schofield had a wool- washing establishment on the beach, and his home was a choice and fav- orite resort. There wes, in it a blend of the best qualities of the Ir- ish and Yorkshire characters. The sons were then as plants growing up in their youth, and the daughters like olive branches twining round the table. Only four of that lovely home now survive. Mr. Thomas Adamson was a pillar of strength to our cause on "the Hill." Both'he and Mr. Schofield are still represen- ted by worthy sons in the Methodist ministry. Mr. H. Dusting, our lea- der, was one of a large tribe of that name (at one time as many as forty families and young men.) They were Cornish fishermen, of whom Henry was chief. He was a man of meek and quiet spirit, but it was good to hear him pray and tes- tify. He once reminded me, in a significant way, that Jesus Christ never used big words. Mr. and Mrs. S. Jarrett were Methodists of the best English type. Mrs. Jarrett was a mother in Egypt to many. Her memory is clierished still, and her children rise up and call her blessed. The ministry and death of the Rev. F. Tuckfield had told upon the people, who could not.forget the simplicity of his character and the fervor of his piety. His widow was a great help in the church work. But what shall I more say for the time would fail me to tell of Powers and Powell, Cook, Renfry, Marriot, Webber, Wilson, Hawkins, and oth- ers who, with those who still sur- vive, were the strength and joy of the church. The people, I found, cherished a grateful regard for their past minis- ters, and the names of Lightbody and Witton, the pioneers of the dis- trict, and the Revs. S. Knight, G. BB. Richards, Worth, Rigg, Hunter, Kane, etc., were held in high esteem. There were some striking individu- alities among the local preachers on the plan. Father Salmon, who, with his sons, was long identified wiith the circuit, and whose grand- son is now one of our ministers; Bro. Satchell, with his rich Zomerset brogue; Bro. Bye, with his happy and amusing pulpit sayings- ("We shall be swimming in glory, and rowing in glory, and, tumbling in glory ; it will be all glory") and others. As many as four ministers have come from the old-fashioned Blble and Improvement Class. The present church was building when I the Rev. F. Tuckfield died, and from various causes operations were sus- pended for nearly 12 months. The opening services by the Rev. W. L. Binks and S. Knight were matters of great eclat and blessing. The old church was turned into a par- sonage, and the writer had the hon- or of being its first occupant. It has since been modified and improved beyond recognition. The editors of the two newspapers were kindly and helpful. Mr. Hughes, editor of the Portlantd "Guardian," and father of Mr. E. F. Hughes, of Cas- terton, was an interesting and re- markable man. Originally a Con- gregatioinal minisiter and the author of the hymn "How kind was the Saviour, how great was His love," in his later years he was troubled with strange views, which con- strained him to seclude himself from the church life and work. He had some marked poetic gifts. His last effort was an Epic poem of 202 pages on "The Millennium." The writer had the privilege of seeing it in MMS., and the author printed and published his own work. It came upon a careless, busy money- making generation, but one may
h0pe that its merits will some day be detected and win their way to fame. In one of his sonnets ("Ef- forts to be heard") he bespeaks a resting place in the old Double Cor- ner Wesleyan burying ground, but we found his grave in a quiet and remote corner of the Portland ceme- tery, fit spot for a neglected, if not disappointed, poet. His wife was a charming literary lady, a friend and school fellow of "George Elliot," and full of pleasant reminiscences. The Circuit at that time was very wide, and included Narrawong, Heywood, Bridgewater Drik Drik, etc. The adjoining Circuits were Port Fairy and Mount Gambier, and in going to and fro on horseback we had to cross the Glenelg and Fitzroy rivers, sometimes a difficult feat. The writer had the honor of opening our cause, at Darttmoor and Drik Drik. The latter was about 40 miles from Portland, on the banks of the Glenelg. A small colony of enterprising young far- mers had settled there, the late Rev. W. Lightbody being the Joshua who led them into that promised land. The writer had ridden all the way from Bridgewater to this place (30 miles) and encountered nothing but wild cattle and kangaroos. A small, slab and bark church, with earthen, floor, was raised in this wil- derness. At the opening service we found twelve young men and twelve huge kangaroo dogs present. The evening service was held round a large bonfire, for candles and kerosene had not reached that be- nighted spot. The next day at two o'cloc the tea meeting began. It was a veritable bachelor's table, al- though two young ladies had been specially imported from Bridge- water to preside. We reclined un- der the shade of forest trees with imaginary table cloths of sheets of bark, and pannikins for our.china. The fare was, however, first rate, and the meeting which followed, with Mr. Lightbody in his buggy for chairman, was a great success. Now we have a fine, stone church and school there and a second generation of Lightbodys, Kittsons, Mullens, Malseeds, and others nobly carrying on tbe work. At Bridgewater, we held a week day afternoon service in the house off Mr. Kittson, senr., the venerable pioneer of the dis- trict, for the benefit of a few elderly people, and sometimes also, at the "Cape," and then in the evening in our own church in the village. The Rev. W. Lightbody was a power for good, and his widow, "the. lady of the lake," survives in a gay and graceful old age. Mrs. Hedditch was a saint indeed, and her home like a garden which the Lord hath blessed. The family is still "hold- ing the fort" unto the third and fourth generations. At. Wattle Hill we had a most warm-hearted cause, a little plot of intense cul- ture, which diffused its influence far and wide. The church building it- self is now a ruin, and the last time I saw it was occupied as a potato store.