On 21 April 1842 addressed a letter to JS, whom he called a “Beloved Brother in Christ,” documenting his fourteen-month mission to . Adams apparently wrote the letter for publication in the Times and Seasons, which regularly featured missionary reports. At the time Adams wrote the letter, JS had served as editor of the paper for two months.
On 13 February 1841 accompanied to aboard the packet ship United States. Hyde and Adams arrived in on 3 March 1841. For a month Adams visited cities in northwest England. In April the decided that Adams should relocate southeast “to Bedford & Northampton and labour in that region.” He was appointed to serve as the president of the Bedford . Four days later, at a in , he was a . He departed for Bedford on 9 April, stopping to preach in Birmingham for eight days.
The need for additional support in Bedford was identified in August 1840 by , who was a member of the mission presidency before the Quorum of the Twelve arrived. Bedford was Fielding’s birthplace. He believed the had not given the area “a fair chance” as they had in other places in where more growth was apparent. Bedford received little attention from traveling elders after and John Goodson served as the city’s first missionaries in 1837. In 1841 missionary Joseph Brotherton described the congregation in Bedford as “feeble.” Fielding understood that residents of Bedford felt a “great dissatisfaction about religion,” creating an opportunity for missionaries to share their message. During ’s ministry, the branch membership steadily increased.
In December 1841 boarded the Mersey, which was bound for . After eight weeks at sea, a series of storms forced the vessel to return to . On 16 March 1842 Adams departed again, this time on the Sheridan, and arrived in New York one month later, on 16 April.
Writing to JS five days later, provided a triumphant narrative of his mission, focusing on his many successes in converts. He detailed public debates and sermons before large audiences in and while at sea. Adams also described his difficult journey from Liverpool to New York.
The original letter is not extant. The featured version was published in the 15 June 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons.
Adams reported that the branch had fewer than thirty members when he arrived. A month later he reported “68 members, 8 priests, 1 teacher, and one deacon.” (George J. Adams, Northampton, England, to Parley P. Pratt, 22 June 1841, in Millennial Star, July 1841, 2:33; Lorenzo Snow, London, England, to Parley P. Pratt, 25 May 1841, in Millennial Star, June 1841, 2:32.)
cumstances that took place while we were at sea but that would occupy too large a space; suffice it to say that the Lord so ordered it, that I had a full opportunity to teach the fullness of the gospel to Captain, Clergyman, and all the passengers, and in the end they all looked to me for counsel and advice. It was made known to me in a night vision long before we returned that we could not reach at that time but would be compelled to return to for some wise end and purpose, and although many expected to meet a watery grave, I told them if they returned to not one of them should perish; but if they persisted in going to they would be wrecked and many lives would be lost. Finally, after the vessel had become almost disabled and the tempest still raging with unabated fury, the Captain concluded to take my counsel and turn the ship towards . At this time we had only about ten day’s provisions, allowing about one meal per day, and that chiefly oatmeal and water; some of the water that we were compelled to drink had dead putrid rats in it which gave some of the passengers pains in their bowels; but I can praise the Lord that from the time I left until my return, which was nearly ten weeks, I had not one hour’s pain or sickness. In just eleven days after we put the ship about we landed safe in precisely as I had told them we should; we landed on the 25th of February, and on the 27th I preached three times in to overflowing congregations, and among others we had Capt. Rae, the Clergyman and many of their friends; our return created a great excitement in , and will cause hundreds to hear the truth. I remained in about three weeks, and then by the counsel of , my passage was engaged for me on the packet ship Sheridan, to sail for the 16th of March. Previous to the sailing of the Sheridan I had the happiness to see some of the passengers of the Mersey embrace the truth by repenting and being , and some of them are now on their way to , by the ships Hanover and Dunbarton, under the direction of the saints; one of them, the Hanover, sailed on the 15th of March, and the other was to sail on the 17th. Elder was on board the Hanover; the Sheridan sailed on the 16th with 400 souls on board, we had a passage of 31 days, landing in the 16th of April, I preached every Sabbath during our passage, and sometimes during the week, they treated me with kindness, and hundreds on board of the Sheridan listened with profound attention to the fulness of the gospel; many of them are believing and no doubt but they will embrace the work soon.
I need not tell you how I was received by my family and friends in , language cannot describe it; but suffice it to say they received me as one from the dead. A few words of reflection upon the whole and I must close. In looking back upon the past, when I behold the goodness and mercy of the Lord, I am lost in wonder and amazement; I have beheld the rolling forth of the great work that God hath set his hand to perform, not only in this land but throughout the vast empire of Great Britain. In Bedford and its vicinity, the particular field of my labors, what a work has the Lord our God performed. When, by the council of , and sanction of the whole , I took charge of that (under the Presidency of ) we had but two preaching places, two and between fifty and sixty members; now there is about fifteen preaching places seven elders, fourteen priests, and over two hundred and fifty members; and still the work is spreading far and wide. I also would bear testimony to the untireing zeal and perseverance of my brethren throughout that land, espcially our beloved brethren, Elders , , , brother [Theodore] Curtis, and many others. I was absent from fourteen months and three days, during which time I have preached, or bore testimony in public, by sea and land, over 500 times, traveled over fifteen thousand miles, held fifteen public discussions, baptized and confirmed some hundreds; and I have seen error, superstition, bigotry and giving way on every side before the power of eternal truth. Thus you see the work of the Lord is rolling on both by sea and land, and my sincere prayer is, that it may continue to roll on until it becomes the glory of the nations; even so, Amen.
With sentiments of high esteeem, I subscribe myself your friend and brother in the .
In summer 1840 Curtis arrived in England from Nauvoo. By 25 May 1841 he was proselytizing in Cheltenham. Richards arrived in England from Nauvoo in October. He proselytized in several locations in western England. (“News from the Elders,” Millennial Star, Sept. 1840, 1:135; News Items, Millennial Star, June 1841, 2:24; Richards, Diary, 18–31 Oct. 1840.)