ANN CARR (1783-1841) Revivalist
This account is taken directly from ‘Memoirs of the Life and Character of Ann Carr, by Martha Williams, published in 1841. I have scanned the book and put excerpts below. The ‘MW’ sometimes mentioned is her friend, the author.
Ann Carr, daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Carr, was born at Market Raisin, in the county of Lincoln, on March 4th, 1783. She was the youngest of twelve children. Her parents moved in an humble sphere of life and were unacquainted at the period to which we refer, with the nature and obligations of true religion. She lost her mother when she was five years of age, but found a second mother in an excellent aunt who came to be her father’s housekeeper. We are not possessed of materials for furnishing information respecting her early days. Her natural disposition was gay, volatile, ardent, sanguine and affectionate. Often with tears flowing down her face, she has exclaimed, “Ah! I was in my natural state a proud trifling girl, fond of company, gaiety and dancing.” Her education was much neglected and she furnishes another striking illustration of the great and important fact that Christianity develops the intellectual powers of our being. Many a mind, uninstructed by the wisdom of this world, would have been a perfect blank, unblessed itself, and useless to others if “the truth as it is in Jesus” had not taught it to exert the faculties, and enjoy the privileges, of its rational and immortal nature. We have known those who had scarcely an idea on matters of a secular nature, whose views of the great truths of the gospel have been most comprehensive and sublime, and who have been able to express themselves, with a propriety, a beauty and an eloquence, which have arrested attention, charmed the ear and delighted the heart. There is no teaching like the teaching of the Spirit.”
It pleased God to call her by his grace when she was about eighteen years of age. A young man of good character and respectable connexions was paying his addresses to her and to him she was expecting shortly to be united by the most interesting of all earthly ties. But, alas! “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are our ways his ways.” The individual referred to was seized by sudden disease, and in a few days his body was stretched a lifeless corpse and his spirit rose to God. Ann went to the house of mourning, and as she stood pensive and weeping over the beloved remains, the thought rushed upon her, like a sudden wave of the sea—“ Had it been me, and not thee, that is taken away, my soul this moment would have been in hell.”
She became deeply impressed. She sought the retirement of the closet, her former frivolous, gay pursuits lost their interest and she purposed to abandon the society of the trifling and worldling, and to “become the companion of all them that fear God.” But, having been strongly urged by her youthful associates, and the natural levity of her disposition prompting her to yield to their solicitations, she was prevailed upon to go to a dancing party. No sooner, however, did she join the scene of gaiety and mirth than she became thoughtful and sad. Others were amused, but she was not amused. She thought, ‘If I should die in this room where will my spirit be? Oh! if I could once get away, never will I come here again.’ Whilst these reflections were passing in her mind, one of the party came and took her hand that she might go and join in the dance, but before she reached the other end of the room the convictions of her mind had so wrought upon and overpowered her bodily frame that she lost all recollection and consciousness, sudden giddiness and insensibility came over her and she fell senseless on the floor. The agitation of the company was intense. All were in a state of alarm, whilst many were weeping over her and thought that she was struggling in the agonies of death. In a little time her consciousness returned—her spirits rallied and she was conducted to her home. The distress of her mind, from this time, was overwhelming. The sinfulness of her past life burst upon her. She was dismayed at the discovery of what she was, of what she had done, of what a guilty, ungrateful, rebellious, reckless, mad part, she had acted. “How holy a God,” she would exclaim, “have I offended! how dreadful a punishment have I deserved! Can I escape the damnation of hell?”
For three months she continued in this condition of distress and alarm, but at last the long night of conviction and despair ushered in a bright day of hope and consolation and joy. She had gone to a prayer-meeting which was held in a cottage, and whilst bending on her knees, and with strong cries and many tears beseeching God to have mercy on her poor guilty wretched soul, an aged Christian female came to her and said, “Ann, my dear, believe.” She inquired, “What must I believe?” She replied, “Believe that the Lord Jesus died for thee.” She said, “I do believe.” And it “was given to her to believe in Christ.”
The effect was instantaneous. The burden, too heavy to be borne, fell off. The chains that so long had confined her were broken and the bitter cry, “What must I do to be saved?” was exchanged for that song of gratitude, “I will praise thee; for though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away and thou comfortest me. Behold, God is my salvation.”
The change wrought in her could not fail to arrest attention. Some mocked and reviled, but many “saw and feared and trusted in the Lord.” “The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant,” and they “glorified God” in her. She now identified herself with the friends of the Redeemer. The Wesleyan Methodists were the people of her choice and affection. She heartily embraced the religious doctrines and discipline of that large, influential and useful body, became a member of their society, and continued to be one with them in principle and affection till she left the communion of the church on earth for that of the church above.
The emotions of sacred pleasure, of which she was happily conscious, she could not conceal. Accordingly she went, from house to house, to tell “what the Lord had done for her soul.” Jesus was, all the day long, her joy and her song. The Lord established her goings. She sat at the feet of the Great Teacher. She was enabled to keep up an uninterrupted intercourse with the Father through the eternal Spirit. The ordinances of God’s house were “seasons of refreshing” to her. Sin was the object of her abhorrence. She “delighted in the law of the Lord, after the inward mind.” The image of God was impressed upon her soul and she shone forth in all the beauties of holiness.
Thus, qualified by nature and grace to be an instrument of extensive usefulness, she was importuned to devote herself to the service of the church and the conversion of sinners. She was appointed a leader of two classes which had been raised chiefly through her instrumentality. She continued to watch over them in love and to rejoice in their prosperity for many years. She became an assistant at meetings for social prayer, and occasionally she gave an exhortation. The door thus opened became wider and more effectual. Such were her love to her Saviour, her zeal in his cause, her unwavering decision, her heroic courage, and her unbounded benevolence, that her labours could not be confined within a narrow sphere of operation. She very soon became extensively known, and invitations from various quarters, to make known to them the cheering message of her Saviour’s love, crowded upon her, and she dare not refuse the call.
She says—“My public labours are increased, the field opened becomes wider and wider, and this without any efforts of my own; so that I cannot attend to the invitations which I receive without giving myself up wholly to the work of the Lord. This, indeed, is contrary to any purpose of my own; could I have maintained my confidence in God and enjoyed peace with him, I would have declined all publicity, but being persuaded that necessity is laid upon me to publish salvation by Jesus Christ, I feel it to be an imperative duty to consecrate myself fully to the Lord and his work.”
The question—“Is female preaching lawful and justifiable?” naturally presents itself. It will not be disputed that retirement is woman’s proper sphere. It is in the peaceful and sequestered paths of private and domestic life, pursuing the noiseless tenour of her way that she fulfils the duties assigned her by the God of Providence and exerts her happiest and most useful influence. But to this general rule are there no exceptions? Was it not predicted, that “in the last days,” not only your sons, but “your daughters shall prophesy?” Does not the apostle refer, in terms of commendation, “to those women which laboured with him in the gospel?” Does he not give directions in what manner a woman should “prophesy”, or teach, in the public assembly? And who can doubt whether the Head of the Church has affixed the broad seal of his sanction and approval to female labours and female preaching? How many did the preaching of that gifted and holy woman, Mrs. Fletcher of Madeley, bring to the feet of Christ?
Miss Carr now entered on a sphere of extensive public labour. The attention which she had excited was considerable and invitations for her services, from various quarters, pressed upon her. Nor was she disobedient to the call of God and the openings of his providence. She went everywhere preaching the word, and everywhere her labours were owned by God in the awakening and conversion of sinners.
One of her friends writes: “She has preached the unsearchable riches of Christ through a great part of Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Cleveland, Durham, and in the city of London.”
A very valuable correspondent in the Methodist connexion says: “The labours and usefulness of Ann Carr have been most extensive. From my knowledge of her for six or eight years, I can indeed say I never knew a more consistent character; too much cannot be said of her usefulness.” The following communication is from a near relative of our beloved friend:—
“Hull, March 5, 1841”
DEAR SISTER IN CHRIST,
“We received your letter of the 27th, and in answer to it, will give you all the information which we can. Mr. Kitchen says that be has been acquainted with my aunt for above thirty years, but that it is impossible for him to speak to the extent of her usefulness; for in all her visits to Hull, whenever she unfurled the banner of the cross and proclaimed a Saviour’s love to a perishing world, she was always listened to by hundreds, and that with the greatest of attention and respect; but for the number that the Lord made her the honoured instrument of ‘plucking as brands from the burning,’ it is impossible for him to say, but that he has seen them brought to God by a dozen in a night, and sometimes more; and that he has heard of a person of the name of Isaac Johnson, who was brought to God in one of her visits to Hull about twenty-six years ago, and that he was one of the wickedest men in Hull, but he still holds on his way, and is now a local preacher in St. John’s, in America. For myself, all that I can say is that from being quite a child, I can remember her in her visits to Hull, and was in the habit of going to the different meetings with my mother that she was at; and I have seen souls in distress in all parts of the place, for it was before the chapel was built; and I well remember her laying the foundation-stone of the Ranters’ Chapel in Hull and preaching upon the stone with her trowel in her hand, where she was listened to by hundreds. But for the extent of her usefulness, or the number of souls brought to God, eternity must reveal the secret.”
It was in the year 1820 that I first had the pleasure of seeing the face of this devoted woman, and enjoying the privilege of spiritual converse with her. I had before heard much of her Christian charity and her devoted labours; but I soon found that “the half had not been told me.” And after having known her intimately for more than twenty years, I can honestly testify that during the whole of that period, whether at home or abroad, she was one of the most active and influentially benevolent persons with whom it was ever my lot to be acquainted. There was a sincerity of purpose, as well as an humility of deportment in all that she did in the cause of Christ, which were sure and infallible indications that her heart was right with God whilst it was kindly affectioned towards her fellow-creatures.
It was at this time that she visited Nottingham, in the bloom and vigour of her excellent bodily strength, her heart filled with love to Jesus and poor sinners. This was evinced in all her conduct, and in all places, whether in a place of worship, in social company, or in private families. If beggars came to the door she would immediately arise and go to speak with them; and if she found them strangers to God, (it mattered not to her if they were clothed in rags) she would have them into the house and in a friendly and loving spirit get them to bend their knees, whilst she would with tears and earnest prayer supplicate the throne of grace in their behalf: and on many of those occasions I have seen them deeply affected and go away under a very good feeling. She was the same in the streets, on highways, on the stagecoach, travelling on horseback, or by water in the steam packets: she would speak of the things of eternity to rich or poor, and reprove in with meekness, in any one she came in contact with. She proved by her earnest zeal for God, that she loved all men, but feared none.
The following extracts, recording one of her early preaching excursions, will serve to show the workings of a heart warmed with the love of Christ and panting for the salvation of souls.
Kirton, Lincolnshire, June 3rd, 1820.
“I was preserved in safety to this place, and met with friends A. and L. After much labour and trouble for their good, I believe two souls were made happy and one backslider restored.
“June 16.—Left Market Raison for a visit to Nottingham—was preserved in safety, free from all fear and danger by the way. Called at Langworth—took tea with my old friend K., who received me as a servant of God— requested me to hold a meeting with them on my return. I travelled into Lincoln—the same evening, at 7 o’clock, attended a bandmeeting—three souls obtained the blessing of sanctification, also one of pardon of sin. I spent the night with kind friend C.—had a comfortable time with them at family prayer —visited a sick friend, and then travelled on 30 miles through the mercy of God. Arrived at Bridgford. I was assisted all the day by my Master Jesus. Bless and praise his dear name. He is always near. I was kindly received by my worthy friend, John Parrot, who treated me with every mark of Christian kindness, and took charge of my pony until I returned from Nottingham.
“June 18.-1 walked 11 miles to Nottingham, arrival by 10 o’clock in the morning and went to their place of worship. Brother King preached to a numerous company in a large mill-room. The people in this place are very lively and happy in their public assemblies for worship: they broke out with such blessed shouts of “Glory, Hallelujah,” Amen, all around the place that I felt quite at home with them. At the first interview with this dear people I felt much affected. The love-feast commenced at 2 in the afternoon. It was a time of refreshing, notwithstanding a little stiffness with some. I bore my testimony nearly at the close of the meeting. My Master assisted me, as he always does, as far as I believe. Some fell upon their knees and cried for mercy. Many were comforted, blessed, saved and made happy. I was appointed to speak to the people, in the same place, at six o’clock. I had but just time to take one cup of tea, and then to come before the people. The portion given me was, “Will ye also be his disciples?” John ix. 27. I was divinely aided. The holy influence did, indeed, rest upon the people, filling them with joy and peace, to which they gave full expression; and such triumphant bursts of glory and praises to Jesus, as exceeded all I ever heard. Many, very many, were the slain of the Lord, and made happy. It was with great difficulty we got the meeting concluded at all. I was much wearied, but thank my Master, I had a good bed to retire to. After attending five o’clock preaching in the morning, I was invited to take breakfast with some happy souls. After singing and prayer with the family, the people gathered round the house. I felt some of the ‘compassion’ of my Master Jesus, while seeing the multitude.’ I took my stand in the open air. Many hundreds of precious souls received the word of life with gladness. Twenty-one of them were in distress for their sins, and one of them was made happy. Here appears a blessed prospect for a great work for the Lord in that part of the town. Attended preaching in the evening—the Lord was present—all seemed to unite in the work. The Lord in a most gracious manner poured down his Holy Spirit. I cannot tell the number who professed to get converted—it is with the Lord.
“24th.—Spoke to a large company in the open air in Ricks’ garden. The word given was Gen. xlvi. 1. The Lord came down in the power of his spirit; many old grey-headed sinners were brought upon their knees and cried aloud for mercy. 0! it was a most blessed sight. God knows that I ‘did travail in birth’ for souls here. I had the ‘desire of my heart’ given—seeking, inquiring souls stopped me in the streets as I passed. Holy God! let thy kingdom come and bind the whole earth to thy sway. Amen.
“26th.—I visited the sick. The friends, at a quarterly-meeting in Nottingham, requested that I would devote one month in visiting the Colliers, in Nottinghamshire. It will, indeed, be a great work to go among that uncivilized degraded class of people, but I have my great Jesus to help me and go before me. I hear him say, my presence shall go with thee.’
Miss Carr paid a second visit to Nottingham in July, 1820, being on her way to publish the glad tidings of salvation to the Colliers. The particulars of this mission are recorded in her Journal and will, I doubt not, afford much profit and gratification to the reader.
“19.—Returned from labouring and found his promise fulfilled—was greatly assisted— sinners cut to the heart. Went from thence to the love feast; it was a good time. In the evening, a great number assembled in the open air. M. W. addressed them first. I spoke to them also and was divinely assisted. Many poor sinners were deeply affected, and some made very happy. Glory be to God; to Him alone all praise be given.
“20th.—Six o’clock went to Rick’s Gardens—had a blessed time, blessed with liberty to plead the cause of God and warn poor sinners to ‘flee from the wrath to come’. Many were well affected. I expect great good will be the result of this meeting.
“22nd.—I, this day enter on my mission, my labour of love, for one month amongst the poor Collier’s’ Families in the Nottinghamshire coal mines. Ten in the morning, held a meeting at Buwell in the open air; at three in the afternoon and seven in the evening at Brinsley. A very overshadowing divine power and hallowing influence rested upon the great multitude of people who assembled. No place of worship would have held one-third of them. In these places, five poor sinners were brought to Jesus sorrowing for their sins, and returned home rejoicing in the God of their salvation, and several backsliders restored. Praise the Lord my soul. I consider this a good prospect of future good in this mission. I returned to bed very weary, but God is love and all in all to my soul.”
At six in the evening held a meeting in the open air. I was led to speak from Psalm cix. 4; had sweet liberty given with the word. The Lord, by his Spirit, conveyed it to the hearts of his people. Everlasting glory be to God. Amen. Amen.
“26th—In the evening went to Begerlee; the Lord’s presence was there to open the word from Jerem. iii: great grace rested upon the people. Held a prayer-meeting; after which, formed a Society. Thirteen gave their names to be on the Lord’s side and evinced by their conduct a good determination for Heaven. I have seen my desire in this place; praise the Lord, my soul; let them all be thine when thou makest up thy jewels.
“29th—I went from house to house visiting the people, inviting and entreating them to turn unto the Lord. Oh! how good to my own soul while reading the Scriptures unto them. I trust and pray it may be as ‘bread cast upon the waters that shall be found after many days.’ I am in my element any way, only that good is done.
“30th.—Attended a camp-meeting at Brinsley—great numbers of people present; also many of the Lord’s servants who cried aloud and spared not, while proclaiming a full, free and present salvation to all penitent, humble and believing sinners. I believe much good was done. I did not leave the ground from ten in the morning until eight in the evening. I saw souls made happy. I pray they may be presented spotless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.
“August 1st. —I thank my God for all his love and care over me this last month. He has enabled me to travel on horseback and foot three hundred miles, all in new work and opening fresh places; and favoured in all my little unworthy labours in seeing poor sinners awakened, young and old, and savingly converted to God. I have had to pass through some unpleasant things, quite common to those engaged for the good of souls, but God has been with me.
“7th.—I went with these friends to see a coal-pit where the men were at work. I cannot describe the feelings of my heart when I saw the danger they were momentarily exposed to. I begged they would prepare to meet the Lord. The blessed influence of the Holy Spirit followed the word of exhortation—I found it good and profitable to my own soul. I shook hands with the poor Colliers and blessed them in the Name of the Lord, bowed my knees with them at the pit’s mouth, and in fervent prayer commended them to the dear Saviour. 0! what I felt for the souls of these people in this visit is only known to my Master, Jesus; and as I look unto him, he smiles from his excellent throne. Everlasting glory be ascribed to his Name.
“13th.– was a day ever to be remembered. The Lord, the dear Saviour, crowned it with his especial presence. In the morning, at Cotmany, found it good to talk of Jesus by the way. M. W. was graciously assisted; the word given her was Isaiah xxxiv 16. Returned to Brinsley in the afternoon and held a Colliers’ love-feast. I trust many will have to praise God in a blessed eternity for the day. It was truly affecting to see and hear the sincerity and simplicity of this dear people. I could do little else but weep and admire to hear their testimonies; some of them being plucked as brands from the burning; others reclaimed from backsliding; others renewed in the spirit of their mind; and many filled with joy in the Holy Ghost. I am lost in wonder, love and praise. Holy Father, let these all be thine when thou makest up thy jewels. This meeting broke up at five; at six we returned for worship; the place was crammed. The word given to M. W. was Revelations xii. 10, 11, 12. And now, my Lord, accept of my humble and hearty thanks given from soul, body, hands and heart, which I would offer unto thee. I beg to commend unto thee all these souls and those dear families who have kindly entertained me as a servant of the Lord and treated me with all parental affection. Good and gracious God, keep them all until we meet in thy kingdom, and may the very God of peace sanctify them wholly; and I pray God their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Amen.
“14th.—Returned to Nottingham from my mission.”
All who were acquainted with the subject of this narrative will readily concede that she was a beautiful example of this heavenly charity. Hers was not a cold selfish religion. Like her Master, she went about doing good. She waited not for solicitation she sought them that were lost. Among all classes, and both sexes, at home and abroad, in the great congregation and in the private circle, she never lost sight of the one great object of her life, and that was to bring sinners to Christ.
The following facts are pleasing illustrations of her active zeal, and of the blessed effects resulting from it.
‘On another occasion, Ann Carr lent me her horse to take a journey into Staffordshire. I had not proceeded far on the highway before the horse turned oft’ the road, seeing some men beside the way who were breaking stones. When he came to them he stood still. The men inquired—“Is something matter with the horse.” I replied, “O no; the reason why he comes thus to you is my friend, to whom this horse belongs, is a preacher of righteousness and it is usual with her, when travelling on horseback, to stop and speak with stone-breakers respecting the things which make to their eternal interest.” The men received all I had to say very kindly, nor would the horse pass by any company of labourers by the way-side until I had spoken to them.’
. To MISS WILLIAMS. It was at the close of 1821 that Miss Carr first visited Leeds. The report of her zeal and labours had reached that place and she received pressing invitations to come and there plant the standard of Emmanuel. Her labours were abundant and were most signally owned of God. Very many souls were pricked to the heart and they found mercy. The impression produced by this visit led numerous friends to wish that she would continue among them and watch over them in the Lord. She had no thought or desire of forming a separate Society, either here or elsewhere, but .many circumstances induced her to seriously ponder on the matter and to ask direction from her God. The entreaties of those to whom she had been made a blessing and whom she loved as her own soul—the important sphere of usefulness which this great and densely populated town presented—and. the painful consciousness that her bodily strength was beginning to fail, at last prevailed on her to yield on certain conditions to the voice of entreaty, believing it to be the voice of God.
Those conditions were that her labours should not be confined within her new sphere of labour, but that she should go and proclaim Christ wherever the door was wide and effectual opened. The first place which she occupied was a large room at Spitalfields, on the Bank: here the Society was formed and the first quarterly-meeting held. She had soon to enlarge the place of her tent and she took possession of the large room, George’s Court, George’s Street, at an annual rental of £30. Here she remained three years. But though Leeds was the scene of her stated ministry, it only became a centre, the circumference of which extended far and wide. And not only the villages about Leeds, but places far remote were favoured with her faithful services. She visited and preached the gospel at Knaresborough, Hull, Barnard Castle, Darlington, Preston, Chorley and Bolton. Within four months she held meetings in the open air in five sea-port towns, by the sea side, at the market places and in the open fields. Oh! with what impassioned earnestness did she cry, “ Flee from the wrath to come”—“ Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world,” and with what powerful impression did listening thousands hang upon her lips
Her little Society continued to prosper. The want of more ample and suitable accommodation than the place she had hitherto occupied forcibly struck her mind and she arranged and adopted plans for meeting the necessity of the case. An eligible site of ground, situated in the Leylands, in the very heart of a vast and most ignorant and depraved population, was selected and purchased; and on the 7th of March, 1825, the first stone of the chapel was laid. In 1826, another chapel was built in Brewery Field, Holbeck; and in 1837, a large School Room in Jack Lane, Hunslet
The erecting of these sanctuaries was a most injudicious step. Little did she imagine the fearful responsibility which she was incurring and the trying difficulties in which she was involving herself. The tendency of these engagements was to secularize her mind, to paralyse her exertions, and to impair her usefulness. Much precious time, which should have been exclusively occupied in the furtherance of the great work to which she was devoted, was to a very considerable degree spent in going from house to house to solicit donations and subscriptions on behalf of these buildings for the whole of which she was alone responsible. The reception which she met with was, as might be expected very diversified. By many she was treated with true Christian affection and liberality; and it would be unjust to her numerous friends of all Christian denominations did I not refer to unprecedented acts of kindness and support conferred by them on her and her cause. But it was far otherwise in other cases. Many did not appreciate her worth; they misrepresented her motives and they maligned her character. Often was she treated with much insult and the greatest indignity. It is not in my power to tell a thousandth part of the calumnies heaped upon her. I have seen her again and again burst into a flood of tears, whilst she exclaimed, “for my love are they my adversaries, but I give myself unto prayer. But the Lord knoweth the way that I take; when I am tried, I shall come forth as gold.” I have no hesitation in asserting that it was the pressure of deep thought and painful anxiety, arising from the frequent and urgent demands made upon her for these chapels, together with the evil surmisings and false accusations of Christian professors, and even of her own people, which crushed her sensitive spirit, and shortened her invaluable life.
(An address by Ann Carr)
‘Mr. President, Ladies, and Gentlemen,–
‘Facts are stubborn things! I am perfectly satisfied that my mission to this town is from God. I have been delighted beyond measure whilst I have listened to my blessed sister, who stands near me. I have no doubt the change has come from God. In reference to the poor degraded sisters I use the words of my Saviour, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but shouldest keep them from the evil.” Though this is a moral institution, it is a most honoured one and has been a life-boat to thousands, great numbers of whom have been united with religious societies and have been blessed by the Prince of the people. When my esteemed sister reclaimed from intemperance was addressing you my bosom heaved with emotions of gratitude and praise; and hard indeed must be the heart which did not beat with devout thanksgiving. The practice of drinking, if done in secret, will become open. You may cram your mouths with peppermint-drops to cause others to think you have got nothing, but teetotallers have got a keen smell. They will find you out. I have the honour to inform you that we have banished alcoholic wines and now we use the unfermented wines in the holy sacrament— the pure juice of the grape. We now use it monthly, and sometimes weekly. Away with all alcoholic liquors! We will have nothing to do with them. Being a stumbling-block to my weaker brethren, I will not drink intoxicating liquors “whilst the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” When I signed, I felt quite delighted when I knew we could commemorate the dying love of our Redeemer without these alcoholic compounds. The day of small things is never to be despised. I remember well the first time I came into this room at a meeting. There were a few females sat there, and your honoured secretary alone, except one person advocating the cause; but now, what a fine society, and what a splendid female anniversary! The day of small things, I say, must not be despised. Let us, therefore, at all times strive to do good and leave the blessing to God. ‘Paul may plan, and Apollos may water, but it is God that giveth the increase.’ We rejoice to water the good tree of teetotalism. It has taken deep root, is springing up and now bearing fruit, to the honour of humanity and the glory of God. Reflecting upon the value of our principle, I do not know how to express my ecstacy! False prophets say our cause will come to naught, but I am sure it is of the Lord; it cannot be otherwise, and if properly attended to, must go on—and it shall go on so long as I can use my tongue. I have often thought a woman can do anything with a man, only go the right way about him. Every innocent means is right to be used to bring him over to our cause. When he is angry, his wife must be affectionate (laughter). Never mind a black eye! It never broke a bone… (Here Miss Carr’s manner was more expressive than her language). Our object is to win you on the side of teetotalism, and then to the side of Christ. There appears to be something like the dividing of the sea through which Israel passed. You must become sober before you can be virtuous, religious and happy. Last Tuesday night, I was among my poor degraded townsmen. I saw one of my neighbours reclaimed. He delighted me exceedingly. To him I addressed the language of a dying woman. What! Shall they say teetotalism has done no good? May the Lord remove their ignorance! At Market Raisin one hundred reformed characters have united with the Wesleyan Connexion, and the Primitive Methodists have added greatly to their number. They are now singing the praises and the hallelujahs of the Lamb. I must tell you the whole truth, and while I do so, it comes warm from the heart! In one society I know, there have been one thousand, two hundred brought to God, and numbers go to their band-meetings. There is no more ‘strap’ wanted of 10s. or 12s. a week. This is done with. The strap is paid off, and the 10s. or 12s. go into the pockets of the wife, instead of those of the landlady. It is the custom, sometimes, of the foreman of a mill to keep a tom-and-jerry shop for the men to spend their money at. I knew the above case of a man spending 10s. or 12s. every week. It is not so now. Instead of bad meat, and sometimes scarcely any, the family have coffee, cocoa, a whirling leg of mutton, a pudding and sometimes plums too to please the children. These, my friends, are the things in store for teetotallers. Will you keep back then? I ask, will you? I fancy I hear you say you will not. Come then, and let us have gatherings-in by hundreds. I rejoice over all the friends who thus unite in carrying out the principle. I hail the Female Committee in their labour of love and pray God that he may give them an increase of courage. I thank my heavenly Father for your Parent Society (male). There was a day when it was small, but now you have two, and they are one. Give praise to the Great Head of the Church. I hail you, Christian friends, in presenting yourselves in this audience; and should we be spared to meet at another anniversary without one drunkard in Hull, what “a feast of fat things” it would be to our souls! This, indeed would be true wine which would make our hearts glad. What rejoicings of mothers and children! Christian females come and unite. You that fear God will do much good in this great work in the sight of the world. Females have done much mischief, but in the teetotal cause they may make amends. The following anecdote will illustrate the importance of female abstinence. Two lovers were on the point of marriage. A lady of their acquaintance wished to rob the bride-elect of her intended happy husband. Fatigued on returning from a journey, she drank some brandy presented by her secret enemy. Some time after, the gentleman made his appearance, but to his astonishment, he found her drunk. He stopped and asked himself, “what shall I do? I never imagined that she whom I had hoped to make my wife had any inclination to drink, but, as this is the case, I shall bid her farewell.” Thus, by means of brandy, this evil-disposed rival thwarted the intended marriage. Be quite sure, my young females, how small soever be the quantity you take, the keen scent of a teetotaller will find it out. By acting up to this principle, good will always follow. I knew a young woman who, when a child, was allowed half a glass of wine. She continued drinking wine as she advanced in years. In course of time she married very respectably. She drank to excess; her husband found it out, and as a solace—mistaken solace! to his grief – he became a drunkard. All things went wrong. Bankruptcy followed, and he is now***. Thus, by the half glass of wine given in childhood by the mother, it became the ruin of herself, her husband and children. Mothers, beware and not give wine to your children! Mothers, beware and not give wine to your children! She came to our place of worship, and when I looked at her, oh! how humbled I felt! Her face was red and bloated, though she was once the form of beauty— how lost! how degraded! how wretched! and all through intoxicating liquors! I thought I would visit her and persuade her to sign teetotal. I besought her with a mother’s prayers and a mother’s tears. She could not speak for grief. Her friends thought it was folly in me. I persevered, and she signed.’
(Some anecdotes about Ann Carr) “She did good to all within her reach. Neither imposture, nor ingratitude, nor opposition, could chill her ardour, or relax her exertions. Any one who had injured her, either by word or deed, was sure to excite her lively interest and to share in her kind bounty. The following fact is a striking example of her noble and disinterested benevolence. She received one day a basket containing a large supply of very choice provisions from her friends at Market Raisin. Having opened it and examined its contents, she clasped her hands and exclaimed, “Blessed! blessed! be the Lord for sending us this good stuff. Oh! we will have a glorious Jesus Christ dinner;” referring to the words of the Redeemer,— “When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours, but call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.”
She prepared the repast in the very best manner that it was in her power, and then invited a large company of her poorest neighbours who, she well knew, could not invite her back again to partake with her. My pen cannot describe the charm of her manner in dispensing the provision. With a countenance beaming with benignity and joy she presided at the table, loading and re-loading the plate of each guest with a profusion of rich dainties till all were abundantly satisfied. Never was there a display of hospitality more genuine, more hearty! One of the company said, “Mistress, but you don’t help yourself. We should like to see you eat some’at.” “Oh!” she replied, “never mind me. I will attend to myself by and bye.” I observed the peculiar play of her features. She was evidently under the influence of some powerful excitement. Something unusual marked all her movements. In a little time she filled her own plate. Still she did not eat. She laid down her knife and fork, took up another plate, covered the one containing the meat with it and said to one standing near to her, “Go to such a person and say I have sent him a little dinner.” This person was one of her bitterest enemies and most cruel persecutors; and thus did she literally obey the divine injunction—“if thine enemy hunger, feed him.”
The subsequent history of this individual is not unworthy of notice. He was a most depraved, wicked, vile sinner. Often had he insulted us with the most profane language and heaped upon us every abusive epithet. Still A. C. would not give him up. She knew that he had not gone beyond the reach of the mercy of God to pardon him of the grace of God to change him. She often prayed for him,, and she expressed her unwavering conviction that the Lord would save him. And so it proved. Whilst A. C. was lying on her dying bed, the hand of disease touched him and his “sickness was unto death.” He became a true penitent—he found mercy and before he expired, with tears in his eyes looking towards our house, he said, “Oh! that I should ever have spoken evil of those blessed women. Ann Carr was my best friend.”
Hundreds, both of the poor and the rich, invariably sent for her in seasons of affliction. I could enrich the pages of my narrative by numerous and delightful instances of her active and untired zeal in this respect and of the blessed effects which have followed them. During the prevalence of the cholera she was “in labours more abundant.” She refused no application, however desperate the case, or unseasonable the hour. Often in the stillness of midnight the knock at her door has disturbed her sleep; when she instantly arose, as quickly as possible dressed herself, flew to the house of contagion and death, pleaded for the sufferer in all the agony of prayer and urged him to apply to the skill and tenderness of the great Physician.
Her earthly father was very dear to her. The thought of him, during her frequent preaching excursions, greatly oppressed her spirit and prompted her to say, “Oh! my dear father lays near my heart!” After her settlement in Leeds, she prevailed on him to come and reside with her; and she contributed in every possible way to the comfort and enjoyment of a life that was evidently drawing to a close. He was a source of deep anxiety and much sorrow to her. He was full of prejudice and enmity to God and his truth. Often did she beseech the Lord for him with earnest groans and sighs and tears; but he turned away in disdain and aversion and under the influence of irritated feeling. I have heard him say, “Before I would go to heaven your way, I will go to hell.” Disease invaded his frame, prostrated his vigour and brought him down to the gates of death. Memory now recalled the sins of his life. Conscience told him of the aggravations of his guilt, whilst the terrors of God made him afraid. And he was not left to despair. On one occasion he called us up to him in the middle of the night. He said, the tears running down his aged cheeks, “The Lord had mercy on Manasseh.” A. C. replied, “Yes father, and he will have mercy upon you.” We earnestly supplicated the throne of grace on his behalf, and the Lord most graciously heard and answered the voice of our prayer. He, in that same hour, manifested His saving power to him, spoke peace to his troubled heart, and filled him with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
He said to all around him, with deep emotion, “God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven me.” The last scene was rapidly hastening. We hung over him in his dying moments with intense anxiety. His eye-sight was gone. Still he had the power of articulation. He said to his daughter, “Ann, thou art watching.” She said “Yes, father.” He affectionately took her hand and exclaimed, “Ann, my dear, thanks be to God who giveth me the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ;’” and then in a few moments he expired. He was in the eighty-sixth year of his age.
Ann Carr made no pulpit preparation. She never composed a sermon. It was her custom to retire with her Bible into her closet, and after leaving examined its pages, to implore with strong cryings the assistance of the Holy Spirit. She went from her knees to her pulpit. Like Moses, she ascended the holy mount to receive the message of God, and then came down with it in her hand and in her heart to announce it to the people.
Her manner of address was perfectly unique. She was no imitator or copyist. She attempted nothing like a logical arrangement; made no divisions and subdivisions in her discourses. Her style was distinguished by its simplicity, perspicuity, and force; though she often gave utterance to bursts of the most thrilling and overpowering eloquence. Simple, unsophisticated, unadorned, she laboured to arrest the attention, not by the beauties of language and the charms of oratory, but by the importance and grandeur of her mighty theme.
Her doctrinal views were decidedly Wesleyan, but totally free from sectarian bigotry. She seldom insisted on the peculiarities of a party. The spirituality, extent and obligations of the divine law; man’s apostacy, guilt and ruin; his recovery by the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus Christ; the fulness, freeness and universality of the benefits of redemption; repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ; the importance of a total change of heart and transformation of character; the necessity of good works and of perseverance in well-doing to the end of life—these were subjects dear to her heart, and on them she expatiated with ever new and delighted interest.
During the summer of 1839 the physical strength of Ann Carr became greatly decreased, attended with symptoms which excited distress and alarm in our minds. The organs of digestion were gradually failing, and we could not conceal from ourselves the distressing fact that the vital powers were giving way.
(After a long painful illness – her final days)
Being Sabbath morning, she awoke very early. Her first words were; “Glory begun below. I feel as if I wanted to leap out of bed, and bend my knees to bless and praise my God.” At another time she observed; “I have much to say, but have not strength. O if I had, I could make all around me echo, with praises to my Jesus. Oh! Hallelujah! sweet Hallelujah! O how wonderfully I am kept in this state of suffering; it is not because of my good natural constitution, or the skill of my very kind doctor, but it is the wisdom, love and power of God which keeps me here, that His glory may, in some way, be revealed. What we know not now, we shall know hereafter.
The following communication has been furnished by one of her most endeared friends who witnessed and soothed her last moments. “I beg to bear my humble testimony to this excellent and extraordinary woman. I have met in her class for twelve years, and can truly say that I was never acquainted with one more faithful, and yet more affectionate and tender, to the souls committed to her charge. As she approached the close of her valuable life an unusual unction of divine love and heavenly influence rested upon her which richly diffused itself on all around her.
“I was permitted to sit up with my dear leader during the last four nights of her life and was present when she breathed her last. It was Heaven to be in the room. Never before have I witnessed such a death; neither my pen nor my tongue can describe the rapture and triumph of the scene.
“On the following night she said, ‘Oh! my Father, why am I kept in this scene of suffering. Is there anything or any creature which I love in comparison with thee? But why should I wish a will of my own? Oh! no, not my will, but thine be done. Take me not one moment before thou pleasest.’ In a little time after another attack of extreme pain, she wished us to sing.
Life was rapidly ebbing. That eye which had ever beamed with intelligence and love was closing in darkness. That tongue, to whose accents of friendship and pious zeal we had delighted to listen, was soon to be silent in death. She made one last effort to articulate—‘ GLORY BE TO GOD, HALLELUJAH !’ We offered, with indescribable feeling, fervent prayers for her and we could see her dear dying lips breathe the hearty “Amen.” Soon after this she fell into a profound sleep, a sleep from which she never again awoke in this vale of tears, this region of woe. Her spirit gently passed away to behold the face of Him whom she had so ardently loved.”
The esteem and veneration in which Miss Carr’s private and public character was held were strongly marked at her funeral. It took place on Thursday, the 21st January, 1841. Thousands assembled to witness this last sad token of respect and affection to her memory whilst the sorrow depicted in every countenance spoke more for her worth than the most animated and eloquent eulogium pronounced on her extraordinary merits.
The Public Prints were not behind in bearing testimony to her consistent character and her extensive usefulness. The following extract will not be unacceptable.
“ In our last week’s paper,” The Leeds Mercury observes, “we recorded the death of this well-known and worthy female preacher who is entitled to the reputation of foundress of the sect of Female Revivalists, one of the numerous divisions which have sprung up amongst the Wesleyan Methodists of this country. Miss Carr was a person of good natural understanding and great energy, and her exertions in the cause of religion were most assiduous and self-denying. Indeed, her friends consider that she has fallen a sacrifice to her earnest zeal and unwearied labours in preaching and promoting the gospel of Christ. The death of Miss Carr will be felt as a great loss by the society she had founded and to which she had faithfully ministered for so long a period. The esteem in which she was held by them was strongly evinced by the sorrowing multitudes who followed her to the grave; while the attendance of a numerous body of friends of other Christian denominations was a pleasing tribute to her moral worth and excellence, and a proof of the general estimation in which her character and memory are held. The chapel at the Cemetery, where the interment took place, was crowded to excess; and many more were unable to get within the walls. The service was conducted in a very solemn and impressive manner by the Rev. J. Rawson, chaplain to the Cemetery, who, after reading appropriate portions of Scripture, delivered an interesting and eloquent address in which he faithfully portrayed the character and excellencies of the deceased—her various and useful labours, — and dwelt with much effect on her patience and consolations during the season of her protracted illness, and her happy death.
A Tablet, commemorative of her excellencies, has been placed over her grave containing the following inscription :—
IN MEMORY OF ANN CARR,
FOUNDRESS OF THE SECT OF FEMALE REVIVALISTS AND FOR 23 YEARS ONE OF ITS MOST DEVOTED PREACHERS. HER NATURALLY STRONG INTELLECT AND ARDENT SPIRIT WERE EARLY SANCTIFIED BY THE GRACE, AND CONSECRATED TO THE GLORY OF GOD; AND SHE BECAME, BY HER HOLY ZEAL AND UNTIRED EFFORTS, AN INSTRUMENT OF EXTENSIVELY MAKING KNOWN THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.
SHE DIED ON THE 18th JANUARY, 1841, AGED 57 YEARS.
“I KNOW THY WORKS AND THY LABOUR, AND THY PATIENCE, AND HADST BORNE AND HADST PATIENCE, AND FOR MY NAME’S SAKE HAST LABOURED AND HAST NOT FAINTED.”
THIS TABLET IS ERECTED IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF HER WORTH & LABOURS, BY THE MEMBERS OF THE FEMALE REVIVALISTS’ FRIENDLY SICK SOCIETY,OF WHICH SHE WAS PRESIDENTESS.