Frongoch (1859)

Frongoch, Lead Mines, near Aberystwyth,.—Captain Collins writes, March 20 1860:—" About eleven years ago I left Cornwall, and came to this place as agent in the mine-works. I found the majority of the workmen living in sin—Sabbath-­breaking and drunkenness prevailed to a most alarming extent. We pay the men on Saturday, once in the month. On the Monday following, many of them used to come to their work with bruised faces and blackened eyes; some would remain in the public-houses for two or three days, and even a week, where they spent a great portion of their hard earnings, leaving their families destitute of the common necessaries of life. On this account we felt com­pelled to impose a fine for neglect of work, and when other means did not succeed, to discharge them altogether. "But about two years since, the churches became more earnest in prayer. God heard and answered. He poured out His Holy Spirit. Sabbath-breakers and drunkards were convinced of sin, and began to cry out for mercy. They obtained it and were comforted. The change which has taken place is beyond everything I have ever known. I have seen great revivals in Cornwall, but nothing to be compared with the present awakening in these parts. I believe there is not a drunkard, or Sabbath-breaker, or openly immoral person to be found amongst our two hun­dred workmen. The men work in pairs, or companies of four, six, eight, twelve, twenty, more or less. There is not a company, small or large, without its prayer-meeting, held under-ground previous to the commencement of work. The meetings are conducted in the usual way, but shorter. They are allowed fifteen or twenty minutes to get into their places—and this time they formerly spent in telling stories, often lies, and in doing that which did not profit them. But now this interval is spent in prayer. The singing is admirable. It is delightful to hear the voice of praise ascending to Heaven from the very depths of the earth! The men work for three or four hours, and then they sit down to their refreshments. One of the company asks a blessing, and when they have finished their meal, they return thanks and resume their work. At the end of the week, as many as can make it convenient meet together in the most suitable spot under-ground to join in thanksgiving and praise for the mercies of the past week. "The surface people, namely, the boys and girls employed on the flooring, have an hour allowed for dinner, and these, during the summer season, get into one of the machine houses to spend half-an-hour in prayer and praise. It is truly affecting to see fifty or sixty young people on their knees in the attitude of prayer! The 12th of July was a day of thanksgiving and prayer. The meeting was held on the top of the mountain near the mines and was attended by nearly three thousand people. It was conducted in Welsh and English—Churchmen, Calvinistic Methodists, Wesleyans, and Baptists took part in it. We had prayers, hymns, and short addresses, and while memory holds its seat, I shall never forget this meeting. We hope, God willing, to have another meeting of the same kind in July next. There is hardly a house in the whole neighbourhood without a family altar."

From ‘The Welsh Revival’ by Thomas Phillips.

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