This is an excerpt from the first monthly report from the Salvation Army station here.
We arrived in this town at 4 p.m. on Friday, February 8th, 1878.
On the station platform we bought an evening news, a halfpenny daily paper, just ran down the advertisements, saw a house to let, came and took it right off; we deposited a few things we had brought with us, and then went to a temperance coffee-house for the night.
Saturday, we advertised our services and began to publish the Jesus we love. We furnished the house as far as our means would allow, with ten pounds, which God sent us in answer to prayer, the morning we left Leicester, enclosed in a letter which read "A gift from the Lord for house furniture at Bolton." With the above and £8 19s. presented to us by the warm hearts at our farewell-meeting in Leicester, we again realised the fullness of that promise, ''My God shall supply all your need."
However, in a day or two our money was all gone, and our faith was tested, but again God came to our help. A friend in Edinburgh having heard of our work in Leicester, wrote us saying, Can I help you in tracts and books for distribution? This was another proof of God's love to us and an answer to prayer. The gentleman was an entire stranger to us; we had never seen ·him or written him or even sent him our reports, but God had written him, and God had inclined his heart to send us help. In a day or two we received tracts and books, &c., and cheque for £3; a few days further on and another cheque for £3 was sent us from the same God through the same gentleman.
A few days further on, and a church clergyman sent us n. P.O.O. for £1.
And again and again has our faith been tried, but God has helped us in a way we cannot describe.
We have ransacked the town for a week-night place, but one day God sent us help.
Mr A Thompson, from the Fee Methodist Church, York Street, came to our house and offered us his school-room. We got upon our knees and thanked God, and prayed His blessing upon our work; the Holy Ghost fell on us, and Mr Thompson told us and his People publicly in a meeting in his church that God had sanctified his soul in our little parlour. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! In a fortnight's services held in Mr Thompson's place, more than fifty souls professed to find peace. Glory be to God!
On Saturday, March 9th, we finished a fortnight's work in that place with a very nice tea-party, a grand procession, and a public band meeting, many of the young converts and friends testifying for Jesus.
...At the close of one meeting about thirty souls, in two long rows, fell at the penitent form.
...Sunday, March 10th, nine souls professed to find peace in Jesus.
Monday, March 11th, we commenced in the Mission room, Back Can Row. God gave us four souls. Oh, hallelujah we are going on in strong faith.
From, 'The Christian Mission Magazine', April 1878, page 104.
Precious souls have professed to find peace at every evening service right through the quarter. Three months' hard and heavy firing into the enemy's camp, and somebody wounded in every engagement! Hallelujah!
Over 400 men, women, and children have been to the penitent form and professed to find peace in the various places where we have held meetings. In the York Street Free Methodist Church, Can Row Mission Room, the Independent Methodists, Fold's Road and Noble Street, Queen Street Mission Room, and Mr Robertshaw's Mission Room, Hanover Street, and in the Temple Opera House~ night after night, 10, 15, 20, 25, ana. sometimes 30 or 40, have cried for mercy at one time, and God has set them free. Many of them have joined the societies where we have been. Others had belonged to some church or chapel for some time but did not belong to Christ, and a few are standing by The Christian Mission.
From, 'The Christian Mission Magazine', June 1878, page 164.
Bao. DAVEY, of Bolton, then rose, (At the Salvation Army annual meeting) and said:-
! thank God we had forty souls at Bolton yesterday, although Bro. Corbridge was not there.
When the evangelists first came to the town, they were for weeks without any week-night place, wandering about like Noah's dove with no place to rest their feet. But Bolton is now rocking like a ship in the sea, beneath the mighty power of God. The devil has met us in all forms and ways. We went out one evening and the mob carried us fifty yards, but we escaped them as we were carried off. Bro Gipsy Smith, said, "They can't hurt me." Bro. Corbridge was not with us that night. He was very poorly. He said he would go the next night if he had to be carried in a chair, and sit on men's shoulders. He thought he could manage better, but he got sucked. The crowd rushed upon us. They would have knocked the gipsy down, but we have got a converted sweep, and when he saw the man coming at him, he gave him a blow just like this (striking the palm of his hand) and the man said "Oh!" and went over. We had to take refuge in a druggist's shop. And when the owner saw the crowd, he said, 'This isn't the place for you with all this glass and these bottles about." But we waited till eight or nine policemen came to escort us home, and then we gave the crowd the slip. When we went to the square to hold service after that, we had twenty policemen at the beginning and fifty at the close, and 3,000 people to see us home. But although we were all expecting a row, they couldn't get at Gipsy Smith; there was a halo of power around him. Of course he was on the altar, and how could they get at him there.
We were for three months without any place of our own, and we accepted invitations to chapels. We had 60, 70, 80, and 100 souls in a week. We were at one place for five nights, and the secretary reported that we had amongst the converts 20 of their own people- those who habitually attended the place -20 who had never attended anywhere before, and 70 belonging to other chapels and churches, in all 110 souls. We can't go anywhere without helping other societies. We are always filling our own boat and other people's too, and we are always beckoning to our comrades in other ships to come and help us.
I have often met with opposition, but never with any so severe as at Bolton and I never felt so much sustained and upheld by Divine power as in the midst of it there. God filled me with heaven as I never experienced before.
...And now the town is full of conviction. Every day we are bearing of one and another seeking the Lord. We have got a prizefighter, a prize wrestler, and a prize runner, and the ''biggest liar in Bolton" converted to God amongst many more.
From, 'The Christian Mission Magazine', September 1878, pages 227-8.
(Corbridge moved on and was replaced by two women.)
THANK God His arm has been made bare in Bolton. Our first meeting was crowned with fifteen souls, and on the next day, Sunday, God gave us 107 precious souls. Some of the roughest sort have been enlisted in our army. Six hundred precious souls have professed to find the Lord during the three weeks we have been here. Homes have been made happier, hearts have been made light, and many can say, "Whereas once I was blind, now I see "; to God be all the glory.
When we are out in the open air hundreds of people gather round us, and the police, who are our friends, have to work before us to clear the way. It is something new to see two women walking backwards leading a procession of blood washed men and women. We get t the Opera Honse, which holds 4,000 people so crowded, that we have to shut the doors shortly after we begin our service on Sunday night, and our hall which we have for weeknights gets so crowded that we get a good Turkish bath for nothing every night. Hallelujah.
We have one penitent form for saints and another for sinners. We never have a meeting without some of our brothers and sisters coming out for the blessing of a clean heart. Bless the dear Lord! We mean preaching holiness to the Lord. Oh may God help us to live it! A brother who came to our services one Sunday afternoon was in such a state about the blessing that he had no sleep. On the Saturday night he came out to the penitent-form weeping; he had been a preacher of the Gospel for years and he was to have taken a service that night, but could not because he was so wretched. Hallelujah! We would like the Lord to serve every preacher so that has not got the blessing of a clean heart. We got him on his knees and pleaded till he got it. He has given up all for God, and now he is one of the happiest men in Bolton.
Another brother who had given himself to the Lord while brother Corbridge was here, who had been a wrestler, last Sunday morning brought a brass knuckle-duster, and gave it to me, and preached a funeral sermon over it. He had often said he would never part with it and made a god of it, but he had to give it up, now he is shining for God. Time and space will not permit us to go on. The Devil is being defeated in the Salvation Army,
From, 'The Christian Mission Magazine', October 1878, pages 267-8.
Thank God we are very glad to say that hundreds of precious souls have worked their way to Calvary and plunged in the Fountain that is opened in Dale Street mission hall for poor black, polluted, hell deserving sinners, such as pugilists, infidels, drunkards, liars, cock fighters and public dancers. When we are gathered together in a large Opera house it brings very vividly to our minds the great judgement day, to gaze upon 4000 faces and to realise we have to meet them at the judgement bar of God: it makes us feel what a great responsibility rests on us. Over 1000 precious souls had professed to find the Lord during our 11 weeks campaign in Bolton.
From, 'The Salvationist', January 1879, page 27.
I do not know where in Dawes Street the Opera House was.